Ham radio in the news
A quick summary of what is happening in amateur radio
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• FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski was one of the keynote speakers at the recently concluded 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. Held January 10-13, it was the best CES trade show ever with more than 150,000 attendees and some 3,000 exhibitors.
The FCC Chairman said “...from Day One at the FCC, we focused the agency on a mission: harnessing the power of broadband Internet to drive economic growth and benefit all Americans. Starting with our National Broadband Plan, we set out a comprehensive strategy to develop a world-leading broadband ecosystem, from infrastructure to applications, and ensure a strategic bandwidth advantage for the United States.
What are our bandwidth-related strategic goals for the United States? First, we need ubiquitous broadband, so that we have the most attractive market in the world for high-speed broadband apps and services. This will maximize incentives for innovators and entrepreneurs to develop and launch productshere, to start and grow their companies here, while exporting to the rest of the world.
This requires world-class wired and wireless infrastructure, and it requires all entities in the broadband ecosystem – including network operators, device developers, and apps creators – to have access to the platforms and inputs they need to succeed.
Second, we need to unleash spectrum so that mobile broadband can achieve its vast potential in driving economic growth and job creation. We need to address the looming spectrum crunch, and we need to ensure the availability of unlicensed spectrum as a platform for American innovation.
Third, we need broadband innovation zones to fuel U.S. leadership in broadband applications, services and products. Ultra-high-speed test beds can eliminate bandwidth as a constraint on innovation, and give America’s great innovators and entrepreneurs a destination for experimentation and invention. In the coming era of cloud computing and Big Data, if we don’t create these innovation zones based on massive bandwidth in the U.S., other countries surely will, and in a flat, hyperconnected world, capital and jobs will flow in that direction.
Fourth, we need universal broadband adoption, so that every American is taking advantage of our 21st century communications platform – for finding and landing jobs, for connecting toeducation in and out of the classroom, for obtaining health care information, diagnosis and even treatment, and for participating in your community. Right now, one-third of our population doesn’t have broadband at home - 100 million Americans - held back by issues including cost, a lack of digital literacy, and an under-appreciation of the value of broadband. Read the entire speech.
• SpaceX delays February flight to space station - SpaceX said Tuesday it has postponed its February test flight of the Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, the first-ever bid by a private company to dock at the orbiting lab. The delay is due to technical reasons and a new launch date for the unmanned mission has not been set.
"In preparation for the upcoming launch, SpaceX continues to conduct extensive testing and analysis," spokeswoman Kirstin Grantham said in an email to AFP. "We believe that there are a few areas that will benefit from additional work and will optimize the safety and success of this mission. We are now working with NASA to establish a new target launch date."
SpaceX -- owned by Elon Musk, an Internet entrepreneur and founder of PayPal -- in December 2010 became the first commercial outfit to send its Dragon spacecraft into orbit and back.
The next steps -- a fly-by and berthing mission at the ISS -- were initially scheduled for February 7, but NASA said in December that date could change because "a significant amount of critical work" remained before launch.
SpaceX and several other companies are competing to be the first to operate a private capsule that could tote astronauts and cargo to the ISS, after NASA retired its space shuttle program last year.
• Leap seconds to stay - On Thursday, January 19, France and the USA failed in their attempt to break our traditional link with astronomical time. The world currently uses solar based Universal Time (UT) which is tied to the natural rotation of the Earth. Abolishing leap seconds would result in a growing discrepency between our clocks and nature's time. Sundials, used by humankind for 5500 years, would be rendered useless and we could eventually see midday occuring in darkness.
David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, told the BBC: "The UK position is that we should stick to the current system used throughout the world. Without leap seconds we will eventually lose the link between time and people's everyday experience of day and night."
The ITU Radio Assembly meeting in Geneva was unable to reach a consensus on the matter, so the discussion was deferred to a meeting in 2015.
• ARRL Board Welcomes Rick Niswander, K7GM, as New Treasurer - When ARRL Treasurer Jim McCobb, K1LU, announced last year that he would retire after more than three decades of volunteer service to the ARRL, ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, appointed a search committee to find a suitable replacement. The committee received many resumes from League members, and after interviewing several applicants, selected Rick Niswander, K7GM, of Greenville, North Carolina. At the 2012 ARRL Annual Meeting, Niswander was elected by the Board of Directors as the sixth Treasurer of the ARRL.
Niswander -- an ARRL Life Member -- has been the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance for East Carolina University since 2010, where he is the senior executive responsible for all financial, administrative, and operational activities at the university. Prior to that appointment, he served as ECU's Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs and Dean of its College of Business. He is also a Professor of Accounting at the university. Niswander is also the Executive Treasurer for the ECU Foundation, the ECU Medical Foundation, the ECU Alumni Association and the Pirate Club (the ECU athletic booster club). A Certified Public Accountant since 1981, he holds a BBA in Accounting from Idaho State University and a PhD in Accounting from Texas A&M University.
• Postage Rates to Rise this Month - Beginning Sunday, January 22, it will cost more to mail first class letters, postcards and packages within the US. The cost to mail a first class letter will be 45 cents, an increase of 1 cent. According to the USPS, this is the first increase since May 2009. The cost of mailing a postcard will be 32 cents, an increase of 3 cents. This is the second increase for postcard postage in less than a year; in April 2011, the USPS boosted the postcard stamp price from 28 cents to 29 cents. You will also pay more to send letters to Canada, Mexico and other international destinations.
• Amateur Radio in WRC-12 Agenda Document - Amateur radio is mentioned in the preface of the ITU agenda document for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 taking place in Geneva Jan 23 - Feb 17.
The preface of the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference Agenda and References (Resolutions and Recommendations) says: "So as to try to better assist you in your preparations for the conference, I would like to present to you this booklet that offers, not only the agenda for the WRC-12, but also all pertinent resolutions and recommendations that are referenced therein.
Among the WRC-12 agenda items of interest to the Amateur and Amateur-satellite Services are:
1.15 to consider possible allocations in the range 3-50 MHz to the radiolocation service for oceanographic radar applications, taking into account the results of ITU-R studies, in accordance with Resolution 612 (WRC-07);
1.19 to consider regulatory measures and their relevance, in order to enable the introduction of software-defined radio and cognitive radio systems, based on the results of ITU-R studies, in accordance with Resolution 956 (WRC-07);
1.22 to examine the effect of emissions from short-range devices on radiocommunication services, in accordance with Resolution 953 (WRC-07);
1.23 to consider an allocation of about 15 kHz in parts of the band 415-526.5 kHz to the amateur service on a secondary basis, taking into account the need to protect existing services
• Special callsigns for UK radio amateurs during 2012 - The Radio Society of Great Britain and Ofcom have reached agreement on the optional use of special callsigns for two significant events during 2012.
For the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, all UK amateur stations will have the option of applying for a variation to their licence if they wish, to use a special prefix for a five week period. This will add or substitute the letter “Q” in the place of the Regional identifier in the callsign. – Period: 00.00 BST 5th May 2012 to 23.59 BST 10th June 2012.
For the period of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, a similar facility will exist for a seven week period, using the letter “O”. – Period: 00.00 BST 21st July 2012 to 23.59 BST 9th September 2012.
• Foundation for Amateur Radio Scholarships - The Foundation for Amateur Radio, Inc., a non-profit organization with headquarters in Washington, D.C., plans to administer fifty (50) scholarships for the academic year 2012 – 2013 to assist licensed Radio Amateurs in the pursuit of higher education. The Foundation fully funds two of these scholarships. The remainder are administered by the Foundation, without cost, for various donors.
Licensed Radio Amateurs may compete for these awards. They must be planning to pursue a full time course of studies beyond high school and be enrolled, or have been accepted for enrollment, at an accredited university, college or technical school. The awards range from $5,000 to $300 with preference given in some cases to residents of specified geographical areas or the pursuit of certain study programs. Non-US residents are eligible to apply for some of the scholarships. Clubs, especially those in California, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin (areas of preferred residence for some of the scholarships), are encouraged to announce these opportunities at their meetings, in their club newsletters, during training classes, on their nets and on their club’s web pages.
Additional information and an application form may be requested by letter or QSL card to: FAR Scholarships; Post Office Box 911; Columbia, MD 21044-0911. Applications are also available for download from the Foundation’s web site. The Foundation for Amateur Radio, incorporated in the District of Columbia, is an exempt organization under Section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 devoted exclusively to promoting the interests of Amateur Radio.