The ARRL Letter, October 30, 2014, balloon launch successful.


Colorado EOSS-202 Balloon Flight Carrying Amateur Radio Payloads “Awesome”

An Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS) balloon flight, launched on October 25 by students from Colorado and New Mexico, and carrying three ham radio payloads into near-space surpassed its planned altitude. The mission, designated EOSS-202, took off under a clear sky from Deer Trail, Colorado. The Douglas County, Colorado, STEM School and STEM Academy and Spartan Amateur Radio Club, AB0BX, sponsored and coordinated the balloon flight.

“It was awesome,” said Paul Veal, N0AH, a Rocky Mountain Division Assistant Director and AB0X trustee. “It was simply the best weather any of us could have hoped for. According to EOSS, our flight reached one of the highest altitudes they’ve had in years — nearly 104,000 feet!”

Veal said a large number of young students participated “with great enthusiasm throughout the morning cold at sunrise throughout the heat of the day.” Several of the more than 2 dozen students taking part in the project are radio amateurs.

The “AB0BX Spartan Space Sciences” mission carried seven student-designed payloads aloft. All payloads were retrieved after the balloon burst, at first tumbling and then descending gently to Earth borne by a parachute. Video from the ground was able to capture the balloon’s burst as it attained its maximum altitude. The onboard ham radio payloads served to track the balloon during flight and recovery and also transmitted telemetry during the mission.

Veal said the only major snafu involved the onboard Go-Pro cameras, which were equipped with 8 GB cards. “We really needed 32 GB [cards], so we got awesome pictures but only up to around 80,000 feet,” he explained.

Veal said a parent-led chase team convoy was able to see with the naked eye the sun’s light reflecting from the balloon when it was more than 84,000 feet up. “This included several parents and students who tagged along in 13 vehicles — around 50 of us altogether.” The balloon traveled more than 70 miles, 19 more than predicted.

“The farming-ranching community in and around the recovery area near Cope, Colorado, gladly helped us to recover the balloon on private land,” Veal said. “All payloads were recovered with no serious damage.”

“Data from the various experiments, along with photos and videos from EOSS and spectators, will be collected in the next few weeks,” said Veal. “I am hoping that the school can create a student team to formulate a digital book to count toward credit.” As a result of the balloon project, he said, several project-based lesson plans for grades 6 through 12 can be formulated along STEM standards.

via The ARRL Letter, October 30, 2014.

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Amateur Radio is playing a huge part of high-altitude balloon launches around the world.  The Colorado EOSS flight on 25 October 2014 was a complete success.  These flights are often part of a student-designed CubeSat later on.  According to Paul Veal (N0AH), the ” Data from the various experiments, along with photos and videos from EOSS and spectators, will be collected in the next few weeks…to formulate a digital book to count toward credit.”  Great job by all involved.

For the latest Amateur Radio news and events, please check out the blog sidebars.  These news feeds are updated daily.

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

The ARRL Letter, October 30, 2014


Satellites Carrying Amateur Radio Payloads Among Those Lost in Launch Explosion

The RACE and GOMX-2 CubeSats, both carrying Amateur Radio payloads, were among more than 2 dozen satellites lost after an unmanned Orbital Space Sciences (OSC) Antares 130 vehicle exploded spectacularly shortly after launch at 2222 UTC on Tuesday, October 28, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The Antares is a new medium-class launch vehicle developed by OSC. The rocket exploded about 6 seconds after launch, sending a huge ball of fire hurtling toward the ground and igniting a massive fire at the NASA launch site.

“While NASA is disappointed that Orbital Sciences’ third contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station was not successful today, we will continue to move forward toward the next attempt once we fully understand today’s mishap,” said William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Directorate. “The crew of the International Space Station is in no danger of running out of food or other critical supplies.” Indeed, a smaller resupply mission, launched from Russia, reached the ISS the next day.

The Radiometer Atmospheric Cubesat Experiment (RACE) CubeSat was a joint project of The Texas Spacecraft Laboratory (TSL) at the University of Texas-Austin and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Built by a 30-student team, it carried a 183 GHz radiometer, a new science instrument designed by JPL. The spacecraft was equipped to transmit using GMSK at 38.4 k and CW telemetry on a downlink frequency of 437.525MHz.

TSL’s Glenn Lightsey, KE5DDG, a UT engineering professor, oversaw the student project that worked hand-in-hand with NASA staff in creating a satellite that aimed to measure water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere.

“It’s unfortunate, but it is also part of the aerospace industry,” Lightsey told the Texas Statesman newspaper. “The nature of building space vehicles is that it is not a 100 percent reliable process. Getting into space is really the hardest part.”

The 2U GOMX-2 CubeSat was intended to test a de-orbit system designed by Aalborg University in Denmark. Karl Klaus Laursen, OZ2KK, is listed as the “responsible operator” on International Amateur Radio Union frequency coordination documents. The Amateur Radio payload proposed using a 9.6 k MSK data downlink on 437.250 MHz. Also on board was an optical communications experiment from the National University of Singapore. The mission also aimed to flight qualify a new high-speed UHF transceiver and SDR receiver built by an Aalborg University team.

The Antares 130 resupply mission was carrying some 5000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station. The Antares 130 also was carrying the Flock-1d array of 26 satellites as well as Arkyd-3 and Cygnus CRS-3. RACE, GOMX-2, and the other satellites were to be launched into orbit from the ISS later.

via The ARRL Letter, October 30, 2014.

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Here’s more information on the launch pad explosion that destroyed an Orbital Space Services Antares 130 rocket.  Although no human casualties were reported, several amateur radio CubeSats were lost, including RACE and GOMX-2.  The Antares vehicle was also carrying supplies for the International Space Station.

For the latest Amateur Radio news and events, please check out the blog sidebars. These news feeds are updated daily.

Thanks for joining us today!

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

Army, Air Force MARS Merge Nets


N1IN

 

Army, Air Force MARS Merge Nets

During a 48 hour DOD sponsored contingency communications exercise which began on 26 October and ended Tuesday evening the Army and Air Force branches of the MARS merged their long-distance radio networks in order to provide communications support following a simulated disruption to the nation’s communications infrastructure. In addition to passing message traffic for the DOD, the scenario also required the MARS stations to interface with the Department of Homeland Security SHARed RESources HF network.

Another objective of the exercise required the MARS operators to reach out to the amateur radio community and attempt to contact amateur radio operators (Hams) in as many counties across the United States as possible. Regarding this objective Army MARS Program Manager Paul English explained, “This communications exercise is sponsored by the DoD to provide MARS operators the opportunity to develop and train interoperability procedures with their state/local ARES emergency coordinators and their Amateur Radio colleagues.”

The plan called for MARS members, using their Amateur Radio call signs and operating on amateur frequencies, to establish two-way communication with Amateur Radio emergency Service (ARES) leadership or members in as many U.S. counties as possible by using VHF/UHF simplex channels or local repeaters or near vertical incidence skywave (NVIS) propagation on HF. “The contact can be with any amateur in the county, if an ARES member or leader is not available,” English added.

“In order to better support [our] new mission, both Army and Air Force MARS are looking for efficiencies in how we conduct our national nets,” Army MARS Chief Stephen Klinefelter said. ”This National Exercise is the perfect venue to test out this new relationship. We will make mistakes and we will improve by learning from those mistakes.”

“Dave Stapchuk, Chief Air Force MARS, commented: “Interoperability is key to mission success. This joint exercise is the first step toward demonstrating that we can be truly interoperable in support of our mission and DoD customer. It also strengthens the operational linkages between our MARS Services and highlights the growing relevance of the contingency communications service we provide to the military and the nation. While there are many challenges to overcome and lessons to be learned, I am optimistic that we will steadily improve our abilities over time thanks to the dedication and commitment of our volunteer members.”

via Army, Air Force MARS Merge Nets.

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Thanks to N1IN for this MARS report.  Hopefully, we can see more interoperability tests between MARS operators and the amateur radio community.  MARS is another part of the emergency communications network of the Department of Defense, with many MARS operators being licensed amateur radio operators. Dave Stepchuk, the Chief of Air Force MARS, says, “This joint exercise is the first step toward demonstrating that we can be truly interoperable in support of our mission and DoD customer…(it) highlghts the growing relevance of the contingency communications service we provide to the military and the nation.”

For the latest Amateur Radio News and Events, please check out the blog sidebars.  These news feeds are updated daily.

Thanks for joining us today!

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM.

Hawaii ARES Volunteers Firming Up Plans for Possible Lava Flow Activation


Hawaii ARES Volunteers Firming Up Plans for Possible Lava Flow Activation

TAGS: amateur radio, ARRL Pacific Section, Big Island, conventional telecommunication systems, emergency operations center, Ham Aid kits, Hurricane Ana, lava flow, Manager Bob Schneider, radio emergency service

10/29/2014

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers on the Big Island of Hawaii are putting plans in place in case they need to activate in response to the Puna lava flow, reported today (October 29) to be 100 yards from the nearest home and with another 40 to 50 homes in its path. On October 28, the lava claimed its first structure — a shed in Pahoa. The lava originated from new “vents” in the Earth as a result of the Mt Kilauea volcano, which began erupting more than 30 years ago. After grinding to a halt nearly a month ago, the lava flow recently resumed its slow and devastating crawl toward populated areas. Residents in the path of the flow have been notified of a possible need to evacuate, and an evacuation advisory for down-slope residents remains in effect.

Lava flows are nothing new to many Hawaiians; ARRL Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider, AH6J, has called them “a slow-motion disaster.” In September ARRL deployed Ham Aid kits to Hawaii for a possible lava flow response then. As it turned out, ARES members there needed the gear for Hurricane Ana first, since the lava flow had abated by the time the equipment got to Hawaii.

 

via Hawaii ARES Volunteers Firming Up Plans for Possible Lava Flow Activation.

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According to ARRL Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider (AH6J), ARES volunteers are firming up plans in case they are activated by Hawaii County Civil Defense in response to a lava flow that threatens to cover parts of Pahoa on Hawaii Island.  The ARRL-deployed “Ham Aid Kits” sent to Hawaii Island in September were first used during the Hurricane Ana emergency, and will now be used to support emergency communications during the lava flow danger.  We lead exciting lives in the Central Pacific–two hurricanes, some earthquakes, and now a lava flow–all within a span of two months.

For the latest Amateur Radio News and Events, please check out the blog sidebars. These news feeds are updated daily.

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

NASA statement regarding Oct. 28 Orbital Sciences Corp. launch mishap


Page last updated on: Wednesday, October 29, 2014

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NASA statement regarding Oct. 28 Orbital Sciences Corp. launch mishap

The following statement is from William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, regarding the mishap that occurred at Pad 0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia during the attempted launch of Orbital Sciences Corp’s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft at 6:22 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28.

“While NASA is disappointed that Orbital Sciences’ third contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station was not successful today, we will continue to move forward toward the next attempt once we fully understand today’s mishap. The crew of the International Space Station is in no danger of running out of food or other critical supplies.

“Orbital has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in its first two missions to the station earlier this year, and we know they can replicate that success. Launching rockets is an incredibly difficult undertaking, and we learn from each success and each setback. Today’s launch attempt will not deter us from our work to expand our already successful capability to launch cargo from American shores to the International Space Station.”

Updates will be posted as available on NASA’s Orbital page, at:

http://www.nasa.gov/orbital

 

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via NASA statement regarding Oct. 28 Orbital Sciences Corp. launch mishap.

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Here is the official statement and some of the video press conference comments from NASA after the launch failure of the Antares 130 rocket at the Wallops Island, Virginia on Tuesday.  Several amateur radio CubeSats were lost, in additon to the destruction of supplies destined for the International Space Station.  Launching space payloads is still a risky business.

For the latest Amateur Radio news and events, please check out the blog sidebars. These news feeds are updated daily.

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

TC2M Broadband HF Antenna


Page last updated on: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 Share on facebookShare on twitterShare on emailShare on printMore Sharing Services3. TC2M Broadband HF Antenna. Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ has developed an omni-directional antenna with a claimed bandwidth of 2-30 MHz at less than 2.5:1 SWR.  View the TC2M site at http://www.tc2m.info/Read the construction article at http://www.tc2m.info/TC2M%20HF%20Vertical%20G8JNJ.pdf 

via TC2M Broadband HF Antenna.

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This antenna appears to be a kind of “cage” antenna (minus the other half) often seen in broadband 80 meter dipoles.  There are a few AM broadcast antennas that employ a variant of this antenna, such as the folded monopole antenna.  At one time Barker & Williamson made something called a TFTD antenna that closely resembled a folded dipole. This antenna was used by the U.S. military to give broadband HF coverage. Martin’s (G8JNJ) TC2M looks fairly simple to make and gives a reported 2.5:1 SWR from 2 to 30 MHz.  This antenna looks interesting.  It might be worth the time to make one.

For the latest Amateur Radio news and events, please check out the blog sidebars.  These news feeds are updated daily.

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

The Completely Updated Incomplete List of Ham Radio iPhone Apps – The KØNR Radio Site


The Completely Updated Incomplete List of Ham Radio iPhone Apps

Posted on 28 October 2014 by Bob Witte — No Comments ↓

It is about time I updated one of my more popular posts about my favorite ham radio apps on the iPhone and IPad. As usual, I will focus on free or low cost (less than $5) apps that I am actively using. Some apps have just disappeared from iTunes and new ones have emerged. While this list is completely updated, it is still incomplete, because there are so many apps to choose from.

 

From the Simple Utility Category:

Ham I Am (Author: Storke Brothers, Cost: Free) A handy app that covers some basic amateur radio reference material (Phonetic alphabet, Q Signals, Ham Jargon, Morse Code, RST System, etc.) Although I find the name to be silly, I like the app!

Maidenhead Converter (Author: Donald Hays, Cost: Free) Handy app that displays your grid locator, uses maps and does lat/lon to grid locator conversions.

HamClock (Author: Ben Sinclair, Cost: $0.99) A simple app that displays UTC time and local time. This one reads out to the second.

 

There are quite a few good apps for looking up amateur radio callsigns:

CallBook (Author: Dog Park Software, Cost: $1.99) Simple ham radio callbook lookup with map display.

Call Sign Lookup (Author: Technivations, Cost: $0.99) Another simple ham radio callsign lookup with map display.

 

There are a few repeater directory apps out there and my favorite is:

RepeaterBook (Author: ZBM2 Software, Cost: Free) This app is tied to the RepeaterBook.com web site, works well and is usually up to date.

 

For a mobile logbook (and other tools):

HamLog (Author: Pignology, Cost: $0.99) This app is much more than a logbook because it has a bunch of handy tools including UTC Clock, Callsign Lookup, Prefix list, Band Plans, Grid Calculator, Solar Data, SOTA Watch, Q Signals and much more.

 

To track propagation reports, both HF and VHF:

WaveGuide (Author: Rockwell Schrock, Cost: $2.99) This is an excellent tool for determining HF and VHF propagation conditions at the touch of a finger.

 

If you are an EchoLink user, then you’ll want this app:

EchoLink (Author: Synergenics, Cost: Free) The EchoLink app for the iPhone.

 

There are quite a few APRS apps out there. I tend to use this one because my needs are pretty simple….just track me, baby!

Ham Tracker (Author: Kram, Cost: $2.99) APRS app, works well, uses external maps such as Google and aprs.fi. “Share” feature allows you to send an SMS or email with your location information.

 

Satellite tracking is another useful app for a smartphone:

Space Station Lite (Author: Craig Vosburgh, Cost: Free) A free satellite tracking app for just the International Space Station. It has annoying ads but its free.

ProSat Satellite Tracker (Author: Craig Vosburgh, Cost: $9.99) This app is by the same author as ISS Lite, but is the full-featured “pro” version. Although it is a pricey compared to other apps, I recommend it.

 

For Summits On The Air (SOTA) activity, there are a few apps:

Pocket SOTA (Author: Pignology, Cost: $0.99) A good app for finding SOTA summits, checking spots and accessing other information.

SOTA Goat (Author: Rockwell Schrock, Cost: $4.99) This is a great app for SOTA activity. It works better when offline than Pocket SOTA (which often happens when you are activating a summit).

 

For ham radio license training, I like the HamRadioSchool.com apps. (OK, I am biased here as I contribute to that web site.)

HamRadioSchool Technician (Author: Peak Programming, Cost: $2.99) There are a lot of Technician practice exams out there but this is the best one, especially if you use the HamRadioSchool.com license book.

HamRadioSchool General (Author: Peak Programming, Cost: $2.99) This is the General class practice exam, especially good for use with the HamRadioSchool.com book.

 

Morse Code is always a fun area for software apps:

Morse-It (Author: Francis Bonnin, Cost: $0.99) This app decodes and sends Morse audio. There are fancier apps out there but this one does a lot for $1.

 

Well, that’s my list. Any other suggestions?

– Bob K0NR

via The Completely Updated Incomplete List of Ham Radio iPhone Apps – The KØNR Radio Site.

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Bob Witte (K0NR) has revised his list of favorite amateur radio appls for the iPhone and iPad.  Most of the apps are free or at a modest price. Some of the interesting apps available include:  Ham I Am, Maidenhead Converter, Ham Clock, Callbook, Call Sign Locator, Repeater Directory, HamLog, WaveGuide, and Echolink.  Some of these apps are quite useful.

For the latest Amateur Radio News and Events, please check out the blog sidebars. These news feeds are updated daily.

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

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