Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2086 for Friday, October 20 2017

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    Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2086 for Friday, October 20 2017Audio -

    Amateur Radio Newsline Report Number 2086 with a release date of Friday, October 20 2017 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.
    The following is a QST. Hams step up and give support during California's wildfires. Amateur donations help rebuild Caribbean communications after Maria. It's Jamboree on the Air time - and it's almost Halloween! All this and more as Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2086 comes your way right now.
    (Billboard Cart Here and Intro)
    CHRISTIAN/ANCHOR: Our top story this week focuses on the California wildfires. Paul Braun WD9GCO spoke to some hams who found themselves in key roles helping the affected communities.
    PAUL: The wildfires in California have burned over 220,000 acres, destroyed close to 6,000 structures and have killed over 40 people so far.
    Once again, amateur radio operators have been called in to help with communications support. In the Sonoma area, the Sonoma Auxiliary Communications Service, or ACS, was pressed into duty supporting shelters in the Petaluma area. I spoke with Steve Fischer, K6ETA, about their role.
    FISCHER: We've coordinated the delivery of over 500 cots, breakfasts from the Redwood Empire Food Bank and many donations and volunteer offers that the public has been generously bringing forward. Those sorts of efforts actually can cause as much confusion as they can help, so we helped do the triage and get the logistics folks just what they needed.
    PAUL: The head of the main local food bank is also a ham, and he's been working with ACS:
    FISCHER: David, W9FOG, has been working with us over the local repeaters to coordinate very large food deliveries. Actually the very first morning they had their act together and were ready to serve breakfast to all the new evacuees, so we had to coordinate with him and find out what facilities they had at each of the shelters and line it all up.
    PAUL: Part of ACS's function is to coordinate with community support:
    FISCHER: The community at large was very helpful. We were the link between the Salvation Army and the Petaluma logistics team. The Marin RACES folks, our colleagues to the South, offered mutual aid and helped us track down information about overflow when our evacuation shelters reached max. Our logistics team needed information about the Marin shelters and didn't have access to it. We used our contacts at Marin RACES to answer those questions.
    PAUL: According to Fischer, even when primary communications are still online, there is a place for amateur radio:
    FISCHER: The ACS is usually a secondary or tertiary communications channel and usually we're called in when all else fails. So, we're sort of the effort of last resort. But in this case, we had all of our Internet and cell phones working. However, we were still needed to fill in any gaps that existed due to the situational awareness challenges of having multiple fires.
    PAUL: The weather forecasts show possible rain moving into the Napa valley, so hopefully the fires will finally be extinquished. But the cleanup and recovery efforts will be ongoing and, as always, amateur radio operators will be there. For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Paul Braun, WD9GCO.
    CHRISTIAN/ANCHOR: The ham radio community is known for its generosity and right now no one knows that better than residents of storm-hit Dominica as we hear from Bobby Best WX4ALA.
    BOBBY: The damage done by Hurricane Maria's powerful punch continues to ripple through the Caribbean where the long process of repair and restoration enters its second month. Amateur radio organizations, manufacturers and donors are rallying around Dominica, where the ham radio capability was virtually wiped out by the storm. The effort is being led by the Yasme Foundation, the Foundation for Amateur International Radio Service, Yaesu USA's Amateur Division, and a group of private pilots who are also hams, including Brian Machesney K1LI, Dave Bridgham N1AHF and Brian Lloyd WB6RQN.
    More than $30,000 worth of ham radio equipment has been deployed to Dominica, where hams are now working with the Dominica Amateur Radio Club and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission in Dominica to set up the stations and train new operators so Dominica is better prepared in future emergencies.
    Meanwhile, in another part of the Caribbean, post-Maria conditions have prompted the cancellation of the 2018 ARRL Puerto Rico State Convention, which was to be held on January 26th through 28th in Hatillo. Organizers said the coliseum that was to be the convention's venue was too badly damaged to be ready in time.
    For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm Bobby Best WX4ALA
    CHRISTIAN/ANCHOR: If you're in the UK, you can soon look forward to a new option for taking your license exams, as Jeremy Boot G4NJH tells us.
    JEREMY: Get ready for more online licensing tests in the UK. The Radio Society of Great Britain has given the OK for Foundation and Intermediate licensing exams to be administered online. The action comes on the heels of positive feedback from exam centers, clubs and license candidates following the online launch of Full examinations this past March. Now, starting November 1st, applications will be accepted by the society's exams department for intermediate exam-taking online. The application process will begin on January 2nd of next year for online exams for Foundation licenses.
    Of course, this doesn't mean you can take your test in the comfort of your own home. Like paper exams, these online counterparts must still be overseen at designated exam centers with the same level of supervision.
    The Radio Society calls the decision a win-win in that it reduces paperwork on their end and gives more immediate results to test-takers waiting to hear their fate.
    For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jeremy Boot G4NJH
    CHRISTIAN/ANCHOR: Planning and drilling for emergencies is one of the things amateurs do best. A group in Arizona is getting ready for their turn as we hear from Caryn Eve Murray KD2GUT.
    CARYN: Imagine a meltdown at a U.S. nuclear power plant. Hopefully that's all you may ever need to do - imagine it - but a group of hams in Arizona are taking it one step further next month by simulating a meltdown or other accident by testing the warning sirens that alert the public near the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. On November 8th, a team from the West Valley Amateur Radio Club, the Tri-City Amateur Radio Club, Arizona ARES and other hams will be stationed at 58 sirens going off during the test. David N7TWT, who has been at the helm of this mandatory exercise since 2007, says he is counting on some dedicated volunteers - husbands, wives, retirees and others - to show up as usual with their 2 meter radios at the starting point, Buckeye Municipal Airport.
    DAVID: We start going out at 10 in the morning to get to the sirens and it takes til almost noon to get everyone on the sirens covered. We will do a countdown "10.....9...." and we wll count down and then they turn the sirens on. Within a few minutes you hear all the sirens going off. They go for about three minutes and then they stop. If a person calls into me and says "my siren did not go off," we do some troubleshooting and do some checking and then we set it off again at 12:30 and if it goes off at that time, we can diagnose what's going on.
    CARYN: The public is notified well in advance that it's only a test. As for the hams, they start their day early coordinating with the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management and other offices. They get water and earplugs during the exercise -- and afterward they get a real nice thank you.
    DAVID: Oh yeah, a nice meal from Dillon's! It's catering - they come out. APS always comes out with nice thank you gifts every year for the people who come out and do it. They don't restrict me as to how many people come out. If I have 10 or 15 extra people they don't care, they understand because it's difficult. Some people may just go out together because they know I have extra people. Most people say we can still do everything we need to do and and enjoy the day.
    CARYN: Another group of hams doing good public service work. Sirens aside, everyone seems to have a real blast. For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Caryn Eve Murray KD2GUT.

    CHRISTIAN/ANCHOR: The test is one of many around the U.S. relying on amateur radio participation near nuclear power plants. Another one is scheduled for the Limerick Power Plant in Pennsylvania which will take place on Nov. 14, coordinated by the Reading (REDDING) Radio Club.
    CHRISTIAN/ANCHOR: The FCC has announced that it will be assessing a $400,000 fine against a New York City man who they said has failed to respond to an April Notice of Apparent Liability from the agency. The FCC action against Jay Peralta of Queens, New York, was prompted by malicious interference on police radio frequencies, including false distress calls and false bomb threats. The agency said the 20-year-old admitted to the interference, which the FCC said occurred between April and August of 2016. Peralta is presently in custody on related charges and is awaiting trial. He and two other men were arrested in the fall of 2016. The FCC said that the Justice Department will begin collection proceedings if no payment is received within 30 days.
    Time to identify your station. We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world including The W8GK repeater in Charleston, West Virginia on Sundays at 8:30 p.m. after the ARES Net, during the KARC Club Net, following check-ins.
    CHRISTIAN/ANCHOR: In the UK, one repeater group is calling it quits and Jeremy Boot G4NJH tells us why.
    JEREMY: The decision to close down a repeater is never taken lightly so when the South Yorkshire Repeater Group elected recently to close the seven repeaters in its network, the move was unprecedented. The group's announcement, which was also made on its Facebook page, said that it was simply unable to continue service at the level it has maintained for a number of years. The seven stations to cease operations include four D-Star repeaters, one Fusion repeater and two analog voice repeaters. In making its decision, the group said it hoped that interested parties might have the time or funding to take over operation of one or more of the repeaters and encouraged them to write them at comms at southyyorkshirerepeatergroup dot co dot uk (
    For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm Jeremy Boot G4NJH
    CHRISTIAN/ANCHOR: The worldwide event Scouts have been waiting for just lit up the calendar between Friday October 20th and Sunday October 22nd. Here's Bill Stearns NE4RD.
    BILL'S REPORT: This week in radio scouting is all about this weekend on the air and on the internet. Jamboree on the Air starts Friday October 20th and goes through Sunday October 22nd. Over 3,300 stations from all over the world will be getting scouts on the air. This event will go throughout the weekend so expect a lot of young voices making their way to your station while tuning around the scouting frequencies. In addition to voice traffic, expect a lot of these scouts to experience the various digital modes that amateur radio provides.
    Since we're mentioning digital modes, we did have one concern reported about the new FT8 frequency on 17 meters overlapping the existing PSK31 frequency on that band. Remember that these are suggested frequencies, so feel free to tune the dial a little bit to give yourself some separation on that band.
    In addition to K2BSA being on the air in all the call districts, we're hearing from our neighbors overseas about their operations. VK3CUB from Australia will be on the air with the Bendigo District Scouts in Longlea, Victoria. SC�UT and SC�JAM from Sweden will be on the air with the RadioScouts of Stockholm. ST60JOTA will be on the air from Sudan with the Sudan Technological Scouts. What a great opportunity to connect with youth all over the world using Amateur Radio.
    The internet will also be busy with scouts on October 21st for Jamboree on the Internet. Scouts will be busy chatting with other scouts through IRC, Skype, Teamspeak, and other modes of internet-based communications.
    If you haven't registered your station yet, head over to our website and follow the instructions for station registration like the other 437 stations in the U.S. have done.
    For more information on JOTA and Radio Scouting visit our website at
    For Amateur Radio Newsline and the K2BSA Amateur Radio Association, this is Bill Stearns, NE4RD.
    CHRISTIAN/ANCHOR: David Trachtenberg, N4WWL, an active member of the Pentagon Amateur Radio Club, has been confirmed by the Senate for a position in the Department of Defense. The 60-year-old radio amateur has served in other posts within the department and in his new post will be principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for Policy. David lives in Burke Virginia and is president and CEO of the national security consulting company based there, Shortwaver Consulting LLC. He is also Northeast Division Director and national planning coordinator for the U.S. Air Force Military Auxiliary Radio System.
    CHRISTIAN/ANCHOR: Look out below! Well, maybe. China's space laboratory is headed toward Earth, as we hear from Jim Meachen ZL2BHF.
    JIM: The Chinese space laboratory Tiangong 1, launched in 2011, is on a crash course with Earth, according to a Harvard astrophysicist, Jonathan McDowell. He said he expects that the decay in the space station's orbit to bring it back to earth later this year or perhaps in early 2018.
    Communications was lost with the spacecraft last year and by all accounts, there is apparently no way to halt the crash landing.
    At the time of its launch, the Chinese had hopes that Tiangong 1 would serve as a symbol of that nation's abilities in space and solidify its status there as a superpower. The Chinese space agency used the spacecraft for a variety of missions, some of them manned, and had referred to space lab as the "Heavenly Palace." One of the scientists to work aboard the space lab was, Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut. She was on board in 2012.
    The spacecraft is expected to break up upon entering the atmosphere, with some of the resulting debris weighing as much as 100 kilograms or 220 pounds. The Chinese have assured the United Nations that there is only a remote chance that anyone will be harmed by the debris.
    For Amateur Radio Newslie, I'm Jim Meachen ZL2BHF.
    Be listening as the Liberia Radio Amateur Association hosts three IOTA enthusiasts between the 30th of October and the 3rd of November for the first activation of Baiyah Island, a new IOTA designation, AF-111. Col McGowan MM0NDX will operate as EL2EL; David Deane EI9FBB will operate as EL2BB and Jeremy Sheehan EJ5GM will operate as EL2GM. This is described as the first Islands on the Air operation from the island. The DXpedition call sign will be 5L3BI.
    A special event station is operating from October 20th through November 20th, marking the 79th anniversary of the death of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. Listen for operators on all the HF bands using CW, SSB and the digital modes. A bronze, silver and gold diploma will be available. The 10 call signs will include TC10A, TC10F, TC10T, along with numberous others.
    On Mauritius, Jean-Paul HB9ARY will be active as 3B8HC between the 4th and 18th of November, working holiday style. Find him on 80 through 6 meters, though he will concentrate on 80, using mainly SSB. He will also work some slow CW. QSL via NI5DX direct.
    If you want to work Kuwait, be listening for Abdallah, 9K2GS who will be operating from there in the CQ WW DX SSB Contest on the 28th and 29th of October. He'll be using the call sign 9K2K. QSL via Logbook of the World only.
    CHRISTIAN/ANCHOR: Our final story was just made for Halloween. It involves amateur radio operators deep in the woods - and a monster known as Bigfoot. Here's Mike Askins KE5CXP.
    MIKE: Now here's a Halloween question for hams: When you're operating out in the wild, sitting around a campfire and telling ghost stories while pursuing good signal reports, what do you need more than favorable band conditions? How about.....bravery?
    It's the 50th anniversary of a documentary film that is said to have captured footage of the Bigfoot monster at Bluff Creek, Oregon. The controversial 1967 account by Bob Gimlin and Roger Patterson is the inspiration behind the Bigfoot Radio Net Expeditionary Team's sojourn this month into the woods of southeastern Oklahoma. The hams will be calling QRZ on the HF bands, wondering about the likelihood of good copy by Sasquatch himself.
    Maybe the melting Smores will draw him out into the open? Or maybe the smell of good campfire coffee? Look for details about the team's adventures and keep current on their operating frequency on their Facebook Page. Then listen for them on the air. The Bigfoot Radio Net's field operation begins October 23rd. It runs through the least unless Bigfoot has other plans for them. It is, after all, almost Halloween.
    For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Mike Askins KE5CXP in Shawnee, Oklahoma
    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; the Independent; K2BSA; the Ohio Penn DX Bulletin; South Yorkshire Repeater Group; Southgate Amateur Radio News; Ted Randall's QSO Radio Show; Wireless Institute of Australia; 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
    We also close this report by also offering congratulations from all of us at Amateur Radio Newsline to our colleagues at the ICQ Podcast, which just completed its 250th edition, and the SolderSmoke podcast which just marked its 200th. Well done, and we wish you many more 5 and 9 reports on your shows.
    For now, with Caryn Eve Murray, KD2GUT, at the news desk in New York, and our news team worldwide, I'm Christian Cudnik K0STH saying 73 and as always we thank you for listening.
    Amateur Radio Newsline(tm) is Copyright 2017. All rights reserved

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