Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2068 for Friday, June 16, 2017

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  1. KB7TBT

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    Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2068 for Friday, June 16, 2017
    Amateur Radio Newsline Report Number 2068 with a release date of Friday, June 16, 2017 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.
    The following is a QST. South Africa's hams mobilize as deadly wildfires knock out communications. An amateur radio club in Minnesota marks a milestone. Morse Code is history for hams in Jamaica -- and the FCC gives an ultimatum to manufacturers causing RF interference. All this and more as Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2068 comes your way right now.
    NEIL/ANCHOR: Our top story comes to us from a fire-stricken region of South Africa, where hams were recently called in to assist as flames swept through a coastal resort community. For more on that, here's Amateur Radio Newsline's Graham Kemp VK4BB.
    GRAHAM: In South Africa's Southern Cape area, the region exploded with fierce wildfires, prompting the activation of area radio amateurs to assist with communications after landlines and cellphones were disabled along with internet services. On the 8th of June, hams reported to the Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network: Mossel Bay Mesh Network working around the clock on the emergency network as well as on HF and VHF/UHF. Strong winds from a storm kicked the flames yet higher, sweeping through an estimated 20 suburbs. Hams remained engaged until June 11th when conventional means of communications returned. The deadly fires claimed at least four lives. Especially hard hit was the coastal resort community of Knysna, where more than ten thousand were evacuated as humanitarian support was summoned. Homes were also destroyed in nearby Pletternberg Bay. The bush wildfires came as the region was struggling with a severe drought. It was unclear what ignited the fires.
    For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Graham Kemp VK4BB.
    NEIL/ANCHOR: As Amateur Radio Newsline went to production, news broke that a magnitude 6.9 earthquake had struck Guatemala. Radio Amateurs Club of Guatemala said an amateur radio net was monitoring 7.090 MHz and the net frequency on 146.88 MHz.
    As of June 14, there were no reports on damage or victims. We will be following the aftermath of this story into next week.
    NEIL/ANCHOR: Emergency response is so much a part of being a ham that one community in Texas decided to help give that life-saving effort greater communication access. Amateur Radio Newsline's Paul Braun WD9GCO has those details.
    PAUL: In Texas, the Gun Barrel City Fire Department is celebrating its newest piece of life-saving equipment: a Hexbeam antenna and rotor giving the firefighting QTH access to the HF bands. The antenna was installed with the help of the Cedar Creek Amateur Radio Club, and the new HF station uses the club's call sign K5CCL.
    The club station's new Hexbeam has access to 20 through 10 meters, with a long wire for the lower bands.
    The fire department has had basic radio service on site as part of its emergency operations center but adding a ham radio club station provides what Cedar Creek club president Ed Busch K8MKN calls "another layer of protection for area residents."
    For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm Paul Braun WD9GCO.
    NEIL/ANCHOR: Manufacturers and marketers of products that generate RF interference in the U.S. could be facing an ultimatum from the FCC. Amateur Radio Newsline's Stephen Kinford N8WB has that story.
    STEPHEN: The FCC has announced that overseas manufacturers who are not in compliance with RF equipment testing could be barred from selling their products in the U.S. The products could range from lighting to devices for the Internet of Things. Any devices that generate RF energy, including those using wireless connections, are subject to FCC authorization.
    The communications agency's action comes on the heels of the most recent FCC enforcement action - this one announced in May against AFX Inc., a manfacturer whose lighting fixtures were reported last year to be interfering with AM/FM radio signals. The negotiated settlement produced a $90,000 civil penalty and the company's agreement to institute tougher compliance procedures.
    The agency's announcement this month formally puts IOT manfacturers and other producers on notice that their equipment must adhere to FCC rules before they can be permitted into the U.S. marketplace.
    Manufacturers and marketers of unauthorized devices are subject to various sanctions including substantial monetary fines.
    For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Stephen Kinford N8WB.
    NEIL/ANCHOR: It's goodbye dits and dahs for amateurs in Jamaica, as the island's regulators give a nod to modern technology. Here's Amateur Radio Newsline's Jeremy Boot G4NJH with that story.
    JEREMY'S REPORT: Jamaica has joined the ranks of many nations that has done away with the requirement of Morse Code for amateur radio licenses. The Regulations Committee of Parliament was told that Morse Code is no longer relied upon, as it once was, for emergency transmissions, especially with the development of more modern modes of communication.
    The argument was made to the committee by Ida-Gaye Warburton, director of legal affairs for Jamaica's Spectrum Management Authority. She said the Jamaica Amateur Radio Association can expect to see a boost in membership as a result of these changes and there are hopes this will also result in greater support for Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, especially with the start of 2017's Atlantic hurricane season underway. The Jamaica radio group has a memorandum of understanding with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and the government to respond in times of crisis.
    The Jamaica amateur radio group's president, Nigel Hoyow, 6Y5HN, told the Jamaica Observer newspaper that although older amateurs do use Morse Code, he has found that younger hams lack the patience to learn. He said "Morse Code is not dead but we need to get rid of it here."
    The licensing changes also include a modification of the format of the exams, which presently follow that of the UK test. The Spectrum Management Authority is also looking at the test given in the U.S. to make adjustments accordingly.
    For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jeremy Boot G4NJH.
    NEIL/ANCHOR: Hams in Jamaica will soon discover that sometimes when you lose something - in this case, the Morse Code requirement - you gain something - in this case access to a new band. The Jamaica Spectrum Management Authority recently granted a secondary allocation on 60 meters to hams in Jamaica operating with a maximum power of 25 watts EIRP. The allocation covers 5351.5 kHz to 5366.5 kHz.
    NEIL: A quarter of a century may not seem like a long time, but for one club in Stillwater, Minnesota, it's a lifetime - and a very productive one at that. Amateur Radio Newsline's Heather Embee KB3TZD tells us about the Minnesota club that's celebrating this milestone.
    HEATHER: It's been 25 years since the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association emerged from nothing but an idea in the mind of Hans Wald, a ham who came to Stillwater, Minnesota regularly to spend his summers. He was one of three local amateurs who, in 1992, formed a club where once there was none. Now as it reaches the quarter-century mark, the club has grown to 80 members and among them are some who've been there since the start, including Shel Mann N0DRX and Mary Mann N0DXH.
    In the years since its long-ago founding, the club has stepped up in its public service efforts, providing communications at major events, including fundraising walks and a 2004 visit by President George W. Bush. The club is also at the ready to provide disaster communications in case of an emergency at the Prairie Island Nuclear Plant in Welch, Minnesota.
    The group is involved with the Minnesota-based Courage Kenny HandiHams program, which mentors disabled would-be hams and assists them in getting their licenses and then on the air.
    Perhaps operators nationwide, however, are most familiar with the club's annual tradition - Ice Station W0JH - its challenging portable operation from the frozen surface of Lake Elmo every winter.
    While the Stillwater club looks forward to its next 25 years, it continues to meet every Thursday night and has more ambitious events on its agenda - including its notable Radio in the Park gathering on Thursday, June 29 at Valley View Park in Oak Park Heights, starting at 6 p.m.
    For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm Heather Embee KB3TZD.
    Time for you to identify your station. We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world including the WW8GM General Motors Amateur Radio Club in Michigan on the club's 70cm RenCen Repeater at 443.075 MHz every Saturday at 9pm.
    NEIL/ANCHOR: School's out - and that means the K2BSA callsign is keeping busy on the bands. There's a lot of activity to report this week, along with plans for the scouts' National Jamboree - so let's hear the details from Amateur Radio Newsline's Bill Stearns NE4RD.
    BILL: This week in Radio Scouting you can tell it's summertime, we have 5 activations of the K2BSA Callsign, 5 activations from Scout Camps on the Air, and we hear from the Amateur Radio Direction Finding Lead at the National Jamboree.
    William Coverdell, WD0BC, will be activating K2BSA/0 for the summer at Camp Geiger in St. Joseph, MO, from June 14 through July 14. This station will be giving scouts their on-air component of their radio merit badge.
    Jay Leeper, W4TFX, will be activating K2BSA/4 for the Order of the Arrow Friday Nets at Camp Barstow in Batesburg, SC on June 16, 23, and 30, and July 14. Camp Barstow will be conducting a two meter net on 146.715, at 1900 local with linked repeaters across South Carolina, during summer camp as part of the intro to ham radio.
    Chris Clark, W6CBC, will be activating K2BSA/6 for Scout Field Day at the J.C. Penney Parking Lot in Temecula, CA on June 24. We hope that other clubs are considering inviting their local districts and troops out to field day!
    Richard Zarczynski, AC8FJ, will be activating K2BSA/8 for the Trail to Eagle at D-Bar-A Scout Ranch in Metamora, MI on June 25th through the 28th. This program is specifically designed for older Boy Scouts to give them the opportunity to work on their merit badges they need to complete Eagle Scout requirements.
    John Baddour, KC8KI, will be activating K2BSA/8 at the Beaumont Summer Camp in Rock Creek, OH on June 29. John will be giving a Radio Merit Badge class at camp.
    Russ Bush, N3YD, will be activating KB3BSA at Camp Olmsted in Scandia, PA from June 24th through the 30th. Russ will be operating from the Crew 73 Communications shed. Operations will include: 80m-6m SSB,CW,Dig. 2m FM,SSB 70cm FM and the KB3BSA Camp Repeater 145.250, negative offset, 186.2 CTCSS or PL tone.
    Keith Kaiser, WA0TJT, will be activating NR0AD for the ARRL Field Day in Platte City, MO on June 24th with the Platte County Amateur Radio Group.
    David Gibbons, KC3AFR, will be activating KC3HNB this summer at Resica Falls Scout Reservation in East Stroudsburg, PA from June 25 through Sept. 19th. The Scout Camp will be running a KX3 with 100W amplifier and a G5RV, look for this group throughout the summer looking to get camp goers on the air.
    Darryl Frasier, N3AOI, will be activating W3TSR at the Trexler Scout Reservation in JONAS, PA starting on June 26th. This station operates for the Summer camping season as well as JOTA. They have a TS 950 with a TH7 multi-band beam at 40 feet, wire antennas for 40 meters and 80 meters and a packet node at 145.010.
    The National Jamboree is the Boy Scouts of America's flagship event, and the K2BSA station is there to promote Amateur Radio in Scouting. I had a chance to speak with Keith Kaiser, WA0TJT, about his leadership role this summer.
    KEITH: My name is Keith Kaiser WA0TJT, I live in Kansas City, Missouri and this will be my second year, second time at the National Jamboree. 2013 I was there in pretty much the same role in which I'll be in this year which is the team leader for the ARDF/Foxhunting. I have a tendency to put both terms together ARDF, Amateur Radio Direction Finding, and Foxhunting because the program we do is kind of a hybrid of the two. It's not a true ARDF in the sense that you're not running through the woods as fast as you can with a Yagi tape measure antenna trying to find your hidden fox, so much as it is that foxes have been put out there, in this case in the Summit Center, and the goal is to find 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 of them, however many you feel like finding. Just getting an introduction to how the sport is done. We're using a little different equipment this year than we did last time. But the end result should be pretty much the same.
    BILL: We're looking forward to an exciting event starting July 15th through the 28th.
    For more information on K2BSA and radio scouting, please visit
    For Amateur Radio Newsline and the K2BSA Amateur Radio Association, this is Bill Stearns NE4RD.
    In the world of DX, David, NK5G will be active as NK5G/6Y5 from Montego Bay in Jamaica between the 25th of June and the first of July. You may also find him on APRS. QSL via LoTW and eQSL. David does not accept or send cards by mail.
    Listen for the call sign DL0DFF from Hallig Hooge Island between the 22nd and 24th of June. Operators there will be on 80 through 10 meters, as well as 2 meters, using CW, SSB and various digital modes. A WSPR beacon will be running as well. QSL via DL3HBZ, direct, by the Bureau or ClubLog's OQRS.
    Several special event stations will be active as Azerbaijan hosts the Formula One Grand Prix in the capital city of Baku from the 23rd to 25th of June. Be listening for 4JF1EU, 4JF1BAKU, 4KF0NE and 4KF1BAKU. QSL info can be found on their respective pages on QRZ.COM.
    NEIL/ANCHOR: And, finally... You've heard about high altitude balloon launches carrying APRS equipment and sending data back to Earth. But we leave you this week with this sizzling question: "Why did the chicken sandwich cross the launching pad?" The answer: "To get into space, of course."
    This isn't just any sandwich -- and this isn't just any chicken. This is the main ingredient for a promotional stunt by KFC for its sizzling spicy Zinger sandwich. The space antics are playing off an advertising campaign that features Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Col. Harland Sanders, played by actor Rob Lowe, in a space suit. KFC is introducing the sandwich in the U.S., and decided to mark that launch with........a real launch. Talk about fast food!
    Sometime after June 21, the sandwich will be dispatched to the edge of the atmosphere via high-altitude balloon known as a stratollite, courtesy of World View Enterprises of Arizona. This will be poultry in motion at very high altitudes indeed. KFC is betting its lunch that this flight constitutes the longest controlled stratospheric balloon flight carrying a commercial payload.
    When it comes back to earth - at least four days later -- it will bring back telemetry data - but sorry, there's no dessert.
    Riding aboard the stratollite, it's not likely the sandwich will make it as high as 62 miles up, which is considered the edge of space. But perhaps that honor will someday be reserved, not for chicken, but some high-flying ham instead.
    NEWSCAST CLOSE: With thanks to Alan Labs; Amateur News Weekly; the ARRL; the Associated Press; CQ Magazine; the FCC; Hap Holly and the Rain Report; Irish Radio Transmitters Society; the Jamaica Observer; K2BSA; The New York Times; Ohio Penn DX Bulletin; Reuters; the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association; Southgate Amateur Radio News; Ted Randall's QSO Radio Show; WMUK Public Radio; WTWW Shortwave; and you our listeners, that's all from the Amateur Radio Newsline. Please send emails to our address at More information is available at Amateur Radio Newsline's only official website located at
    For now, with Caryn Eve Murray, KD2GUT, at the news desk in New York, and our news team worldwide, I'm Neil Rapp WB9VPG saying 73 and as always we thank you for listening.
    Amateur Radio Newsline(tm) is Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.
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