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W5YI News :
February 15, 2012Amateur Radio Headlines of the Week

Ham radio in the news

A quick summary of what is happening in amateur radio

Click on headline to read full story

      NASA Announces Third Round of CubeSat Space Mission Candidates - NASA has selected 33 small satellites to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2013 and 2014. The proposed CubeSats come from universities across the country, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, NASA field centers and Department of Defense organizations.

CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites are approximately four inches long, have a volume of about one quart and weigh less than three pounds.

The selections are from the third round of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. After launch, the satellites will conduct technology demonstrations, educational research or science missions. The selected spacecraft are eligible for flight after final negotiations and an opportunity for flight becomes available. The satellites come from the following organizations:

-- Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio-- Air Force Research Lab, Wright-Patterson AFB-- California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo-- Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.-- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge-- Montana State University, Bozeman-- Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. (2 CubeSats)-- NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.-- NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.-- NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in partnership with the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (2 CubeSats)-- NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Fla.-- The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, Silver Spring, Md.-- Saint Louis University, St. Louis-- Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Mont.-- Space and Missile Defense Command, Huntsville, Ala. (2 CubeSats)-- Taylor University, Upland, Ind.-- University of Alabama, Huntsville-- University of California, Berkeley-- University of Colorado, Boulder (2 CubeSats)-- University of Hawaii, Manoa (3 CubeSats)-- University of Illinois, Urbana (2 CubeSats)-- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor-- University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D.-- University of Texas, Austin-- US Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.-- Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg

Thirty-two CubeSat missions have been selected for launch in the previous two rounds of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. Eight CubeSat missions have been launched (including five selected via the CubeSat Launch Initiative) to date via the agency's Launch Services Program Educational Launch of Nanosatellite, or ELaNa, program.

     IARU Special WRC Report No. 2 - Rod Stafford W6ROD, Secretary International Amateur Radio Union, has released a further report on WRC-12 taking place in Geneva.

472-479 kHz. The worldwide amateur radio service has a new frequency band, 472 to 479 kHz. It is a secondary allocation. There are other services in that portion of the spectrum that must not be interfered with by the amateur operation.

The new band at 600 metres will represent the return of amateurs to the medium waves - an area of spectrum we have not had access to since the earliest days of radio regulation.

The aeronautical radionavigation service is a primary service in the band 415-495 kHz in the following areas: Australia, China, the French overseas communities of Region 3, Korea (Rep. of), India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka.

The aeronautical radionavigation service is a primary service in the band 435-495 kHz in the following areas: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

The amateurs are allowed to use the band so long as it does not cause interference to this primary service or the maritime mobile service operating in the 472-479 kHz band.

There are some countries that will not allow amateur radio operation in the 472-479 kHz band. The use of the frequency band 472-479 kHz in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, China, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, the Russian Federation, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Oman, Uzbekistan, Qatar, Syrian Arab Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen is limited to the maritime mobile and aeronautical radionavigation services. The amateur service shall not be used in the above-mentioned countries in this frequency band, and this should be taken into account by the countries authorizing such use.

The ITU Radio Regulations provide that radio amateurs are limited to 1 watt (e.i.r.p.) however administrations whose territory is beyond 800 kilometers from the borders of the following countries may increase the operating power to 5 watts (e.i.r.p.): Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, China, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, the Russian Federation, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Uzbekistan, Qatar, Syrian Arab Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine and Yemen.

The change becomes effective with the adoption of the Final Acts of the Conference. Of course, it will be determined by each administration around the world as to what modes and bandwidths will be used in this portion of the spectrum and when hams in that country will have access to the spectrum.

More activities from the WRC-12 will be reported at the end of the WRC. The WRC continues until 17 February. There is an effort underway to place an amateur radio agenda item on the agenda for next WRC which will take place in 2015.

     ARRL 500 kHz Experimental Group Sparked Interest in MF Operation - In September 2006, the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology granted a Part 5 experimental license -- WD2XSH -- to the ARRL on behalf of a group of radio amateurs who were interested in investigating spectrum in the vicinity of 500 kHz. Called the ARRL 500 kHz Experiment, this group of hams -- led by Fritz Raab, W1FR -- received permission to experiment and do research between 505-510 kHz using narrowband modes at power levels of up to 20 W effective radiated power (ERP), using CW and PSK31.

The original 500 kHz license called for 23 discrete fixed sites across the US: at Raab’s QTH in Vermont, as well as at sites in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. In 2008, the FCC expanded the scope of the experimental license, allowing for more frequencies, more stations and portable operations: The group could now operate between 495-510 kHz, the number of stations increased from 23 to 42, and participants could now operate within 50 km of their designated stations.

“Operators had to overcome numerous challenges to put transmitters and antennas on the air on these frequencies,” Raab told the ARRL. “Their work has shown that ordinary amateurs can indeed make use of these frequencies. The total of more than 100,000 hours logged by the participants demonstrates that amateurs can use the band without causing harmful interference to other services. Tests of ground-wave communication show that the band can be used for reliable, regional emergency communication.”

At the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-2012), delegates approved an amateur secondary MF allocation between 472-479 kHz.

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