TAPR Sponsoring Plan for Open Source Hardware

Raymond, Nelson critical of new planned license for open source peripherals

By Michael Stutz


February 07, 2007 – Tucson Amateur Packet Radio (TAPR) is sponsoring a plan to encourage and popularize the idea of open source — for hardware components. The organization released a draft of an open source license for computer hardware this month, and issued a public call for comments on the draft. The new license is already drawing criticism from prominent members of the open source community.

The Open Hardware License (OHL) was written by John Ackermann, a lawyer whose specialty is open source licensing. Ackermann says that one of the primary motivators for developing the OHL was a series of radio hardware projects whose developers asked TAPR for support.

“While I had been interested for quite a while in developing an open source license for hardware, their request for one pushed me into actually doing it,” he says.

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International DX Convention

The 2007 International DX Convention will take place April 27, 28 & 29, 2007 at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Conference Center in Visalia, California. This is an ARRL sanctioned convention that is sponsored this year by the Northern California DX Club. It is expected to draw visitors from around the World and will feature programs from recent DX-Peditions and contest operations.

The Convention theme this year is, “Elmering New DXers is Job Number One!” Accordingly, a portion of the programming will be devoted to helping new DXers learn about how to be noticed in a pile-up, snag a “new one” and get that elusive QSL card.

Other Convention offerings will include: DX, Top Band and Contest Forums, technical talks, many door prizes, both Friday and Saturday evening “attitude adjustments”, Saturday Barbecue Lunch, Saturday night banquet, Sunday morning “power” breakfast, Vendors Exhibits and QSL card checking.

Current information and registration forms are available on the Convention web page, which can be found at www.dxconvention.org. Additional registration information can be obtained by contacting Convention Registration Chairman, Dick Letrich, W6KM via Email at dlw6km@aol.com.

If you’re interested in DX or DXing, the Visalia International DX Convention is the place to be. We hope to see you there.

The Proper use of “Break”

The Proper Use of Break in Amateur Radio Communications

by Rob Mavis AE6GE

January 30, 2007 -There are many terms used in amateur radio communications that have specific meanings or purposes. The term break has three accepted uses. The Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines the word break, in this application, to mean an interruption or to interrupt. In all uses of the term it means just that, to interrupt an ongoing radio communication.


Break is also used to signify there is higher priority traffic. For example, a conversation is in progress between two or more stations about the current weather conditions at their respective locations and another station needs to report a traffic accident. The station with the accident report should, once a station un-keys, key his transmitter and say, “Break. The other stations should immediately acknowledge the breaking station and allow him/her to pass the urgent traffic.

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Morse Code Is Dead. Long Live Morse Code.

IEEE Spectrum

February 2007 – When we learned this past December that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission had finally decided to drop Morse code as a requirement for all ­amateur radio technician class licenses sometime in early 2007, we felt despondent at first. Another soon-to-be-forgotten treasure was about to be cast away on the island of discarded human accomplishments.

So we contacted longtime IEEE member Paul Rinaldo, chief technology officer of the ARRL, the national association for amateur radio (http://www.arrl.org), to see what he had to say about the matter.

He told us: “Elimination of Morse code testing for access to MF/HF bands is not a death warrant for Morse code in the Amateur Radio Service. No question, it will reduce the number of newcomers who learn Morse at the outset. Some will pick it up along the way to join in contacts with other operators, happily using Morse code for contesting, rag chewing, or very-weak-signal communications such as moonbounce. Morse code is also a skill, and many operators just like to demonstrate their proficiency, build up speed, and be regarded as good operators.

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SA Pupil Set to Phone Home from New Satellite


January 30 2007 – A young South African voice will be heard from space after Sumbandila Sat, SA’s second satellite, is launched in April or May.

SA Amsat (Southern Africa Amateur Radio Satellite Association) and the South African Amateur Radio Development Trust have joined forces to find the ideal 15-second spoken message, and are inviting pupils younger than 16 to write it.

The winner will record the message, which will be programmed into the satellite speech processor memory and transmitted around the world. Once Sumbandila Sat is launched and switched on, the message will be the first signal heard from the satellite.

The pupil whose message is selected will receive a HP laptop computer sponsored by the trust.

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How to Call CQ

…or even answer one!

by Steve Katz, WB2WIK/6

It seems impossible, but it’s very true that most new hams don’t know how to call CQ. And a lot don’t know how to answer one, either!

We’re all to blame for that. There just isn’t as much “CQing” as there used to be, except during contests. One reason might be that we’re mostly using transceivers with VFO control – as silly as that sounds. Here’s the explanation: Back in the good old days (for me), we used mostly crystal controlled transmitters with separate, tunable receivers. The odds of having a crystal on exactly the same frequency as someone else who was on the band, and within range, at the same time was pretty slim. So, it was common to call CQ, then tune around, looking for answers.

Well, today, we needn’t tune around looking for answers, any answers will be right there on the same frequency we’re on. Experienced operators know it’s easy to break into an ongoing QSO, if you know how and when it’s appropriate to do so. I make a lot of my contacts like that: Just overhear an interesting conversation, wait for a pause, insert my callsign, and join the group. But many newbies, as well as some old-timers, are too shy to do this, or maybe just not very good at it. And it is frowned on by most to break into a conversation when you’ve absolutely nothing to add to it.

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President Expresses Appreciation to Amateur Radio Operators


NEWINGTON, CT, Jan. 16, 2007 – President George W. Bush has written the ARRL to recognize the just-ended Hello Amateur Radio public relations campaign and to extend “greetings to all those celebrating 100 years of voices over the airwaves.” The president said the centennial of Reginald Fessenden’s landmark Christmas Eve 1906 voice broadcast “opened the door for technological advances” that improved the lives of people around the world.

“I appreciate all who work in radio, and I am grateful to the Amateur Radio operators who provide emergency communications that help make our country safer and more secure,” President Bush wrote. “Your good work strengthens our society and represents the American spirit.”

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Amateur Radio in Fresno County and the Central Valley of California