Announcements

Disclaimer:

The announcements and information provided here are for expanding the amateur radio and communications hobby experience. They are offered as a free non-commercial service. If you have a recommendation to be added, please contact the website administrator (Callsign at arrl.net).



4/12/10 - Radio Amateurs of Skagit County site gets a makeover

I’m taking an opportunity to toot the horn for Radio Amateurs of Skagit County newly designed website. (http://www.rasconline.org/) Maybe I’m just tooting my own horn at the same time as I’m the current admin for the site. The recent makeover has taken the site from a 1990’s “what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) design to a blog style allowing for leadership and members to interact with each other during the course of the month between official meetings. You can take a look at the prior site style by visiting http://web.archive.org/web/20080704235701/http://www.rasconline.org/
The current design is based on Drupal allowing for a modularized approach to its build and maintenance. This allows for easy and quick updates to keep the site securities current with the added bonus of flexibility on layout and function. Since this site is also based on Drupal, I didn’t have much of a learning curve to getting it up and function. A little graphical editing using Gimp, I was able to provide for a fresh and crisp look.
The multi-tiered approach to access securities allows for expanding the user experience while limiting the potential for site contamination from website trollers who only have ill intent. As the users get used to the open nature of a community website, I am hoping that this will generated additional interests in current technologies.
Along with the blog style approach, members now can post photos of hobby related events and functions. This helps in establishing a personality to the site thus showing those interesting in Amateur Radio a peek into the hobby.
Since this redesign is only a couple of weeks old, there will be additional pages and items added as the leadership and members take a more active role. Take a moment and stop on by.

11/28/09 - VHFDX.NET Propagation Suspended

It has been brought to my attention that vhf.net, a popular propagation website has been suspended by it's host IPOWER.COM. I don't have any information to the reasoning at this time but will keep checking on it as I have it linked from the Ionospheric Propagation Maps Page on this site.



10/16/09 - 900MHz back up on Lyman Hill!

After a long absence off of Lyman hill, the 927.6875/R is back up and running.

The W7UMH/R fell victim to the harsh conditions of the repeater site a couple of years ago. The amateur radio community had lost many of it's resources after a chain of weather related events crippled the repeater site. Slowly, after years of efforts by many different groups, the site has slowly recovered from that harsh season.

Now with the new tower erected and equipment being re-installed, the site is blossoming back to life in time for the 2009-2010 winter season. From the user perspective.... We say "Thank You"!!

The 927.6875/R is one of the best 900Mhz systems available in Northwest Washington State. I have used this system from King County North into Whatcom County with just a Kenwood handheld.

I encourage you to check into this facet of amateur radio. It is a quiet band allowing for experimentation and additional knowledge of UHF RF propagation.

9/20/09 - 220MHz is Looking Better in Western Washington

I have to apologize up front that this website has been a bit static. With two months working in St Louis, MO, I have been a bit distracted from the local events occurring in Washington State.

One of these are the repairs of the 224.780 (N7IPB/R). Located on Lyman Hill around 4300 feet, it has one of the most commanding locations for coverage on the Puget Sound. It is by far one of the most sensitive systems on the site as it out performs both it's 2Meter and 70Cm counter parts.

Now for many in this area, this doesn't equate to being news worthy. What isn't well know is that this system is now linked to 224.28 K5IN/R) on Capital Peak just South of Olympia, WA.!

Now that is news worthy as this linked system easily covers from well into British Columbia Canada, West towards Forks, WA, East passed Marblemount, WA and South towards Castle Rock Washington!

WOW!!!!!

These systems are supported by the the efforts of K5IN, N7IPB and the Wetnet Team. I highly recommend paying a visit to one of these repeaters and getting to know the individuals who frequent them. They are a techie type group who enjoy meeting new people.

On a side note, if you any other announcements of similar nature, please either drop me a line direct or become a member of this site and post them yourself!



8/26/09 - New radios announced at JAIA (Japan)

The following was submitted by Scott (N7SS)....

The two major venues for new radio announcements are Dayton and Tokyo. The Tokyo JAIA hamfest was just last weekend (August 21-23). There were undoubtedly plenty of announcements I missed but I wanted to mention the new products I saw from the big three (Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu). These radios are a long way from production (some further than others) and pricing is a long way from determined.

Icom announced the IC-9100. It appears to combine the features of the IC-746Pro and IC-910 into a single updated radio (shack in a box). It has IF DSP so there are no filters to buy and still offers high power on 2m (100w) and 70cm (75w). There will be an optional 1.2G band unit, a DSTAR DV mode option and optional narrow roofing filters. Adam Farson already has a web page up at http://www.ab4oj.com/icom/ic9100/main.html which includes a prerelease brochure (in English) and there is a Yahoo group already buzzing with questions and guesses.

Ever since I got my ham license, I’ve been hearing that Kenwood is getting out of the ham radio business. That have always had a smaller product line than Icom and Yaesu but new models have arrived intermittently. This year at Dayton Kenwood had nothing new to show but had a huge banner with pictures of radio components that hinted at a new HF rig coming. They are now showing a new box all lit up but it still has a large number of buttons with no labels. It’s hard to determine features and you have to assume availability is a ways off. The one sure thing is they aren’t out of the ham radio business yet.

Several years ago Kenwood discontinued their TH-D7A handheld with APRS. It was a good rig but big and heavy with marginal battery life. This year Yaesu tried to update it with the VX-8r. Now Kenwood is showing their own update. It appears to be a bit smaller than the TH-D7 but still larger than the VX-8r. It is a dual VFO dual-bander with APRS but other features are hard to determine. Hopefully it will offer access to the TNC - like the old TH-D7 but unlike the VX-8r. I have only found some video with Japanese audio like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM96Wl7Alag.

Yaesu has stepped further into the APRS ring with their new FTM-530. This appears to be a direct competitor to the Kenwood TM-D710. It’s a dual VFO dual-bander with APRS and a very large display with speakers on the back of the head. It has optional Bluetooth and an internal GPS. You can find a Japanese flyer at http://www.onjapan.net/2009/hamfair/img_3638.jpg and below is a rough translation of the interesting bits.

Full dot matrix LCD
Dual receive, full duplex, GPS location display, APRS, a variety of timers?
2/440 50W, 20W model also available. Right and Left VFOs independently band-configurable with simultaneous receive & full duplex.
Way cool stuff happens when you connect the FGPS-1 GPS antenna.
Location, direction, compass display, speed display, simplified NAV feature shows distance and direction to destination. Features useful for motorsports include: Various timer features (UP/Down timer) and APRS distance/direction info on other stations. Location memories (waypoints?) with alarm feature when nearing a stored waypoint. Graph display of altitude and barometric pressure.
Graphical display of APRS WX info. Up to 67 chars APRS message RX/TX.
High speed bandscope!
Front panel has L/R speakers, one for each VFO
Optional voice module.
Eight color LCD backlight.
1200/9600 8-pin mini DIN data port.
Front panel is separate standard - not meant to be attached to the main box. 3m cable is included, with 6m cable optional.
Something about rear die-cast (heat sink) ensures stable TX output.
Wide band RX. Something about being able to pick up Japan Railways stuff.
FM stereo reception.
Some crap about ARTS that nobody cares about.
Lotsa memories, DTMF memories, atmospheric pressure sensor, easy-to-operate set menu. Handsfree with Bluetooth BU-1 unit.
PTT and mic are built into the front panel, thus operation without a hand mic is possible.

As people return from the show, more photos and blogs will start appearing. One of the best photo galleries I’ve seen so far is http://www.onjapan.net/2009/hamfair/index.html. You’ll find Yaesu products under the Standard label.

Looks like we have some cool products coming!

Scott N7SS


8/11/09 - Washington State DNR Site Repeater Questions

I received this from Jim Pace (K7CEX) Section Manager, Western Washingon. Keep an eye on the Western Washington Section Web for additional information.

No doubt, many of you have heard reports that the Washington State
Department of Natural Resources has a plan to sell off some of their
Mountain Top assets (towers, buildings and equipment -- not the land)
to a commercial company or companies. The reports are true, and
members of the ARRL Western Washington Section Staff have been working
with DNR and some Legislators since the end of June, to determine just
what impact this move will have on Amateur Radio repeaters located on
DNR sites.

The DNR issue touches more than just Amateur Radio Repeaters;
Washington State Patrol, many County Sheriffs and other agencies who
lease space from DNR, will be impacted, making this more than an
Amateur Radio concern. The selling off of State of Washington Assets
in order to raise funds to help budgets ... seems to make the matter a
'Taxpayer' concern.

The time is coming when we will ask you all to get involved on behalf
of Amateur Radio. But for now, just get prepared. Find the numbers
and addresses for the Legislators who represent the District you live
in and be prepared to get involved in a letter writing and phone call
campaign.

At this time, there is a Statute on the books that provides for funds
from the Legislature, to fund all of the DNR site leases for repeaters
used for Emergency Communications, except for $100.00 per year. Of
course, this Law can be amended by the same body -- but as I said, it
is there now, so at this time nothing changes.

More information will be forthcoming in the next few weeks, so stand by
and be prepared to help.

If you have any further questions don't hesitate to contact me at:
k7cex@arrl.org

73

Jim Pace K7CEX
ARRL Section Manager
Western Washington

8/10/09 - SEDRO Digipeater Getting a Facelift.

When something is sickly, we attend to it. When things break... We linger on it.

The SEDRO Digipeater isn't an exception. Last month, the system seemed to disappear off the APRS screens. While the core of the system was just fine, the transmitter lost it's finals reducing it to milliwatts.

As I watched this event unfold while I was in St Louis, MO on business, this gave me a chance to think through the future state for the system. As of 7/31/09, the digipeater consisted of the following...

Toshiba Libretto 60ct Mini-Laptop running Windows 95 in DOS mode. The APRS software was DigiNed. The transmitter was a Yaesu FT-1500 at 10 Watts into a 4-element yagi at 30 feet. This was all ran off a Astron 12 Amp power supply on a UPS.

The above configuration allowed for 1 hour and 53 minutes of sustained operation without commercial power. This was measured earlier this year when Skagit County and the surrounding areas suffered a sustained power outage start from a vehicle accident.

So with things slowly falling apart, what can be done to better server the community? And, how can this be done on a limited budget? Well, for one, an Internet gateway would be a big plus. This will keep East Central Skagit County on the map during all the VHF seasonal propagation changes. Another item is to be able to increase the service life off the commercial grid. This would provide increased stability in support of ARES/RACES missions. After asking around, I was asked about increased range. This is one thing that I won't be able to achieve. Mother Nature has a say in this matter. The topology of Skagit County prevents any clear "digital" path beyond the city of Rockport. Now this doesn't mean the Sedro digipeater can't be heard, it just can't be reliably decoded beyond that area. I have experienced the same results at 10 watts up to 100 watts. So, I might as well leave the power turned down as not to interfere with other operations and receive the benifit of conserving power during emergent situations.

After chatting with individuals from the NWAPRS and WETNET groups, I decided to go with an "open-sourced software" solution to the digipeaters operations. By using an off the shelf wireless router and the Linux operating system, I can not only have a "zero" cost (legally) approach, but also be able to save on power consumption by not running a full sized computer. Wow!!!!! What a bonus! A single item to address two of the above items!

The router of choice in this case is the Linksys WRTL54GS with the OpenWRT Software packages. I will maintain using DigiNed as the APRS Solution due to it is absolutely the most flexible and stable package available. In addition, I will be running APRSD to allow for the gateway functions to my APRS Server of choice.

For a temporary fix, I placed my Taesu FT-1500 from my APRS Tracker in place as the transmitter which is fed into a Kamtronics KAM in Kiss mode. The neat thing about this is that just about any TNC2 has kiss mode which makes this a flexible system to assemble.

The system is up and operating as of the this write up. The coverages are the same but with the addition of the Internet gateway functions. This is being handled through my hope wireless router using WPA2 securities. By focusing in on traffic that is 100Km in distance from the Digipeater location allows for a very small band width footprint on my ISP connection.

My future plans are to do additional refinements to the system where you may see it off line for 5 - 10 minute periods as I slowly adjust the system. I also plan on replacing the transmitter and TNC with new units. Again, I'm looking at reducing the power consumption which should result in a sustaining system that last 3 plus hours without power. I'm also looking at breaking off the transmitter onto it's own UPS in the future.

So here we are, a face lifted system for all to use. Lets go out and have some fun with it! I'll post updates to this article as I accomplish the rest of the upgrades. For additional information on the OpenWRT software packages, visit http://www.wetnet.net . many thanks to Ken (N7IPB) for working with me on the system debugging.

7/11/09 - Having Troubles Reading This Site? Try a Different Theme!

Lets face it..... Not everyone has perfect eye site and idea lighting conditions for web surfing.

In order to to assist on this, I have enabled a site feature in which you can select an alternate theme to view this site. The only draw back is that you require to have an account to achieve this.

I have enables a "light" version of the dark theme you classically see when first visiting. This theme has been configured to be an easier read under less than perfect conditions. The light background allows for better displaying for those of you who prefer it.

I'm hearing some of the questions right now. How does one do this you ask? Well, it does start with a user account. If you haven't subscribed to this site yet, please do. You are "Required" to use your Amateur Radio callsign and a valid verifiable email as a user. I know so some this may seem petty but I have maintain a "ZERO SPAM" policy. If my email to you kicks back, you will be disabled till such time I can achieve that verification. I have had 22 "individuals" try to create spam accounts in the last 2 weeks. If you hadn't notice... this is a spam free zone and I intend to keep it that way for your pleasure.

This rules does apply to myself also. You will not get any unsolicited emails and/or promotions as a result of this web site. I respect your privacy as an user

Now to the good stuff!

With your account logged in follow these easy steps....

1. On the Left side of the page under your callsign, select "My Account"
2. You should have a role of tabs and within these select "Edit"
3. Scroll down till you find the "Theme Selection" menu block.
4. Select the preferred theme.
5. Continue to scroll down and select the "Save" button to register your changes.

That is it! If you notice there are other items for you to update and control also. This is your account so please feel free to update it as desired. The only item you cannot not change on your own is your callsign. If you have a updated callsign issued, please contact me at my callsign at arrl.net for an account update.

7/6/09 - D-STAR Worldwide Contest

OK.... I'm not the biggest fan of D-Star but I am for hams getting involved.

Here is you chance to promote this facet of the amateur radio hobby. Though I don't like to promote specific manufacturers, I think this has some merit in that we may see further interest and development in digital modes within amateur radio.

Icom Inc. is sponsoring the first worldwide D-STAR Contest starting on July 25th through to the 31st.

The results will be announced on the Icom booth at the Tokyo Ham Fair 2009 with ten lucky winners will be selected from all participating stations and will receive either an IC-E80D or IC-80AD D-Star handheld as a prize.

Not a bad promotional to say the least. I will place this on the site calendar as a reminder for those of you who want to participate.

For additional details and a list of contest rules, please visit the Icom Inc. website:
http://www.icom.co.jp/world/d-contest.



7/4/09 - The Latest on the 145.190/R Antenna Replacement Dates

From the most recent Email sent out by Roger (W6TOZ)...

The real news is that Wednesday, July 8th, Day Wireless and the RASC technical team is going to Lyman Peak to replace the 145.19/r repeater antenna and coaxial cable. Anticipated problems are being handled. Unanticipated problems might cause a days delay till Thursday. But, there is a very positive attitude and I don't think we're gonna have any desperate problems.

OPERATIONS:
On Wednesday, the Morning net will be unaffected. The repeater will go down when safety dictates it go down and that should be Wednesday 10AM ish at the earliest. A shutdown message will be transmitted from the site at the time we bring it down.

Announcements should be made on the repeater between now and Wednesday about the planned repeater outage. Yes Dwayne, this announcement you can make on the radio!.

WITH LUCK:
Steve WA7ETE will be able to conduct the ARES net on the new configuration Wednesday evening. Also, on thursday, the morning net will have something to talk about REALLY.

I am confident that signal strengths should go up at many outlying receiver sites. But the coverage issue is not very predictable. Any changes in coverage will have to be determined by folks in the perimeter of the coverage area reporting in either increase or decrease in signal strength. Obviously, I hope that someone in the South Hill of Puyallup, using a 5-watt handheld and an2M Isopole will be full quieting into the reconfigured repeater. We can hope, can we not?



7/2/09 - Island County Has Changed Emcomm Leadership.

The only thing in this world that stays constant is change.

Reported out today, John (K7ACT) is retiring from his Emergency Coordinator/Radio Officer for Island County Washington State. The changing of the watch commenced 7/1/09 with Alan (K6ZY) succeeding him.

Many thanks goes to John for his leadership and professionalism in the area of emergency communications.



7/2/09 - US sets final emergency responder wireless pilot

Scott (N7SS) caught this tidbit and posted it on the SEATCP mailing list. It appears that with the upcoming 2010 Olyimpics in Vancouver, BC., there will be a trial run with this technology.

The referenced article describes at a high level what this system is to accomplish. It also sets the tone on how we as amateur radio operators may be able to adopt the technology within our emergency service communications platforms.

Having a unique area due to our topology will give a good indication whether it can be deployed here in the Pacific West Cost

The referenced article is at http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/43196



6/23/09 - SCARC Field Day 2009

Sent out by John (N7MZ)

SCARC Field Day
June 27 and 28, 2009
W7PIG
3A WWA

Location:
Warm Beach Christian Camps and Conference Center
20800 Marine Drive, Stanwood, WA 98292
Stanwood, Washington

From Points North (Mt Vernon, Bellingham)
Going South on I-5 take exit 212 (Stanwood/Camano Island).
* Turn right onto Hwy 532 and travel approximately 5 1/4 miles west to Stanwood.
* Turn left at the 3rd light onto 88th Ave NW and go 1/4 mile to stop sign.
* Turn right onto Marine Drive and travel South for approximately 4 miles to Camp entrance on the right.
*
From Points South (Marysville, Everett)

Going North on I-5 take exit 206 (Lakewood/Smokey Point).
* Turn left onto 172nd St NE, cross over freeway and proceed approximately 2 1/4 miles to the second stop sign.
* Turn right onto Hwy 531 (Lakewood Road) and travel approximately 6 miles to the stop sign at Marine Drive.
* Turn right onto Marine Drive and go approximately 1 1/4 miles to Camp entrance on the left.
*
For Info Contact: Vic Henry N7KRE 360.387.7705 or nwecop@tgi.net
Experience Amateur Radio !


You are invited to SCARC's presentation of AMATEUR RADIO FIELD DAY 2009.

Traditionally the last full weekend in June is ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League) Field Day. This year the event will be on June 27-28, 2009. With over 3,000 entries Field Day is the most participated on the air activity in North America. For ARRL affiliated clubs Field Day is a great opportunity to introduce new people to Amateur Radio and bring Club and Community members together.

Like many Amateur Radio activities, there are various ways to operate on Field Day. Some Clubs treat Field Day like an emergency preparedness drill, working off grid, using solar and battery power. Others attempt To work as many stations as possible to collect points in the contest. Yet others make Field Day a social event. Then there are clubs like the Stanwood-Camano Amateur Radio Club (SCARC) that include all the above and then some. The emergency preparedness aspect is covered, with installation and fabrication of various antennas, working off the grid, experimenting with Solar Panels for charging batteries and operating equipment. All the time with the objective of learning and having fun.

The SCARC is an open Club, meaning that you do not have to be a member or a HAM to participate, anyone can come out and play. If you have an interest in Radio Communications, you won't want to miss this Yearly Event. At 1 pm there is a scheduled tour and Photo Shoot and News Opportunity for dignitaries attending. It is expected that there will several Elected Officials, State, County, Local and representatives from various emergency response groups, including Red Cross, CERT, and others. The main communication operation will continue from 1200 Local Time on June 27th until 1200 local time on the 28th, with continuing activity during the 24 hour Event. This is an open Event and anyone and everyone is welcome, Come out and participate. Get hands on Amateur Radio Experience and have fun.

Field Day 2009 Event Schedule:

June 27 - Saturday

6AM – Noon Equipment Setup

12 Noon 24 hour Field Day Radio Operation begin

12 Noon 2 meter Antenna Construct/Test Class by W4OWO/KB7RYX

1PM – 2PM Press, dignitary and visitor Photo Shoot

2PM PL259 Soldering demonstration by W7PCK

4PM PL259 Soldering demonstration by N7MZ

3PM – 6PM BBQ and Potluck

June 28 - Sunday

9AM – 11AM Good Morning Hearty Breakfast

12 Noon 24 Hour Field Day Radio Operation ends

noon - ? Tear Down


If you and your guests, plan to attend the Saturday Evening " BBQ - Potluck Dinner" please feel free to bring any side dish of your choice.. If you plan to bring your dish earlier than 3PM, please make arrangements to keep the dish cold until the potluck begins. SCARC will provide the main coarse including BBQ hamburgers and bratwurst.. SCARC will also supply soft drinks, coffee, tea and water.... Prepared and served by the WA7OYI Arnett Cook Team.
On the Sunday morning plan to attend the "Good Morning Hearty Breakfast", even if you don't stay overnight!!! Get there early !!! The menu will include scramble eggs, brats, bacon and diced potato hashbrowns, coffee, tea, and water ! mumm good!
Contact WA7OYI - Dick, if you have questions for the Food Committee... spudarnett@aol.com
The Stanwood Camano Amateur Radio Club is a Special Service Club, one of only three in the State of Washington. As a Special Service Club, SCARC offers, training, testing, license preparation and other activities. Check out the SCARC website http://www.scarcwa.org/ and come and join us.
Feel free to pass this email notice, to anyone you know, interested in Amateur Radio !

Vic Henry - N7KRE - President SCARC



6/23/09 - A Cool Website for locating Hardware Pin Outs!

I just found this while getting my morning dosage of Slashdot.

A site called "allpinouts.org" is built on the theory of providing hardware pinouts to many different types of equipment such as PDA's, Cellphones, modems, etc.

The intent is to give the basic information needed to allow for hardware hacking of electronic devices. What a cool idea!. For more information please visit the slashdot story at http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/06/22/233210/A-Wiki-For-Cable-and-Connector-Pin-Outs?art_pos=2

I'm linking the site off on mine for future references. http://www.allpinouts.org/



3/9/2014 - KG7HQ Website, New look and feel

Today I rolled out the fouth generation of this website. Upgrading to Drupal 7 from Drupal 6 has gone well but some minor pains. As of right now my local weather doesn't display correctly and I have lost my function for photo albums. But with that mentioned, it does have a fresh and current look and feel.
I'm using my website as the test platform before moving forward with http://www.nwarrl.wetnet.net/ and http://www.rasconline.org/ . If there were to be major problems I'd rather identify them here and learn how to work out the bugs before imapcting a true supporting website.
The photos on my front page are of my own. This will create a unique look as not to dupliucate what others have put in place before me. I think of it as an artistic apporach.
Well, I have a lot to do so I'm closing this with a 73 and good DX to all.

6/19/09 - Walter Cronkite Very Ill

Many of you, like myself would sit down and watch the evening news with Walter Cronkite.

If did hadn't known, even at age 92, he is a Novice ham operator with a callsign of (KB2GSD). Walter has spent a lot of time up here in the Pacific Northwest visiting Anacortes and the San Juan Islands. Being an Amercian icon on CBS Evening News, he help shape our worldly views for many decades. We hope for his speedy recovery. You can read the story at http://www.watchingthemediaforyou.com/2009/06/walter-cronkite-sick.html



9/7/10 - AA7AT, Murray Goddard... SK

Passed on by NX7Q.....

Sorry to inform you all that Murray Goddard, AA7AT, passed away friday. The world is a much better place because of him--I can't think of anyone with more class and more of a gentleman. He may have made more people happy though his development of Kodachrome film than anyone before or since.



6/11/09 - 2009 ARRL Field Day Locator

As we close in on this years Field day event, our local representatives have been busy with the plans.

Using following link, enter in and search for K7IP or N7GDE for this years Field Day location. Since this years event is co-sponsored by the Radio Amateurs of Skagit County and Wetnet, you will find both located at N7RIG's (Richard) home QTH.
The link to the ARRL site is http://www.arrl.org/contests/announcements/fd/locator.php

Thank you both Dwayne (W7ABF) and Doug (K7IP) for posting the above.



6/11/09 - Live APRS Map Pages Updated

With a little bit of free time and playing around with some basic HTML, I now have APRS messaging embedded into the live APRS Pages.

This additional service is provided by Findu.com and makes for a nice addition to the page usage. Give it a try at Live APRS Maps You are required to have a valid amateur radio license to use this service.



5/26/09 - Coming soon!! "The Northwest’s Largest Ham Convention"

It's less than 10 days away and counting!

Yes, it's that time of year where amateur radio operators from around the region gather at Seaside, Oregon to attend the 27th annual SEAPAC Convention. Last year we had it a little rough as the weather wasn't playing nice with cooler temperatures and rain. Of course this is the Pacific Northwest and it takes a lot more than that to dampen the spirits of dedicated ham operators!

This years event, spanning from June 5th through June 7th, has much to offer keeping the attendees lists high. With the free seminars on Saturday, this year they will also be offering four free 90 minute seminars on Friday. In addition, there will be a seminar on Sunday morning on Antenna types for portable use during an emergency with commentary on the operating characteristics of each type. All of our seminars are free to all registered convention attendees. Cool stuff!
And let's not forget the swap meet and all the treasures one can find as you cruise through the many roles of vendors and friends. Darn it!! I want to leave and go there now!

I'll personally be hooking up with the WETNET Group as we also bring forth our own version of amateur radio (Geek Style). This is where we show and tell our gadgets and concepts, seeding and inspiring each other into some really cool projects.

During the times which I have spare, I will be operating my FT-817ND digital QRP from either the beach or motel room. Being equipped with a Buddipole and 350 foot of wire, I can pretty much setup anywhere. So if for some chance you cannot attend in person, you can attend in spirit via RF.

And wait!!! That's not all....

You will also see my APRS systems operating from down there as I deploy systems running Xastir and Maemo Mapper as clients. So be on the look out for the callsigns of KG7HQ (Laptop), KG7HQ-9 (Mobile) and KG7HQ-12 (Nokia N810).

5/16/09 - APRS Map Pages Update

After a couple of reviews and requests, I have updated the look of the APRS Maps on this site.

I'm now using the hybrid maps that show the satellite and highway maps combined. This does slow down the loading for the users but gives a detailed background to reference by.

In addition, I have separated out the commercial ship mapping on to their own pages. This request was for those who wanted to see the ship traffic but didn't want to have the APRS traffic with it.

All the updated and added pages are located under the "Live APRS Maps" titled page. They draw the live information from http://aprs.fi/



5/15/09 - New Docs Show FCC Glossed Over BPL Flaws

Just as the title suggests and we radio amateurs knew all along.
I captured this information at the below linked site. It is interesting that once again, it's proven that politics can over shadow sound technology and physical laws. For shame on the part of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to allow for this to happen internally.
Please take a moment to read this referenced article on dslreports.com
New Docs Show FCC Glossed Over BPL Flaws

5/7/09 - SB649: Government Audit of Frequency Spectrum

AttachmentSize
PDF icon S649.pdf49.05 KB

There is a Senate bill SB649 "Radio Spectrum Inventory Act" introduced by Kerry and Snowe which will, if passed, require the government to conduct a complete inventory of the country's spectrum allocations in the 300MHz - 3.5GHz range.

This appears to be an attempt to assess re-allocation for certain commercial applications, and has the active support of Google and the wireless telecommunications industry. The bill is presently in the Commerce committee.

NOTE from KG7HQ: A copy of the bill has been uploaded as a down loadable attachment from this site. To see the original copy please visit http://www.kangas.com/S649.pdf

The 3.5 GHz band is allocated to amateurs as such:
3300-3500 MHz:
3456.3-3456.4 Propagation beacons

So, the question is: anyone out there care if hams lose this?
How many hams are using this band in our neck of the woods? Any repeaters or beacons installed? How many hams actually using this band frequently? How many hams currently own equipment for it?

Notice also that 432MHz and 1.2GHz bands will be scrutinized also. I can't imagine ham use of 70cm band being threatened, given the heavy use and ARES importance there; 1.2GHz may be a different story.

Stephen W9SK
District Legislative Action Coordinator, Northwest District, ARRL,



4/28/09 - Attention Oregon State Amateur Radio Operators - HB2377

HB2377 is one of the mobile communication bills in the house that impacts
Ham radio, and it is heading to the House Floor for a vote in the next 7-10
days.

We need your help TODAY to try and defeat this bill. The only exemption for
Ham radio in the bill is during emergency or public service activities.

Please write your representative and ask them to vote against the bill for
the following reasons:

1. It is poorly written. The bill seeks to keep people focused on the road
but still allows people to takes their eyes off the road to dial and program
their phones.

2. Even Representatives on the committee were unsure during the Work Session
if the bill does what it is supposed to. Some believe could be interpreted
to exempt texting while others read the language differently.

3. One clause in the bill, allowing "activating or deactivating a mobile
device", is so vague it could allow nearly any activity depending on how the
phrase is interpreted.

Because the bill is so poorly written, at this point it is not necessary to
be concerned about the effect on amateur radio in your arguments to your
State Representative.

You can find your legislator by visiting this site:
http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/

You can email your legislator directly from this form:
http://www.leg.state.or.us/writelegsltr/

NOTE: Please keep your arguments against the bill confined to the points
above. It is important to send a unified message, and to send a message that
has the best arguments against the bill. Remember, the goal is to get a NO
vote from members. At this point, the best argument for a NO vote is that
the bill is poorly written and vague. An argument solely based on Ham
radio's concerns is not going to convince legislators to vote NO.

BACKGROUND:

Last weekend, after I sent out the section news for April, I learned that a
work session with the House Transportation Committee had been scheduled for
HB2377.

Normally the public is not allowed to testify at the work sessions but I
attended to listen. Rep. Boone from Clatsop County, was concerned about how
this would affect the ham radio operators so the chair of the committee
allowed me to come up and answer her questions. So the fact that some of the
Representatives recognize me and know I represent amateur radio has some
benefit.

I expressed my concerns about the issues with the bill. It passed the
Transportation Committee with the amendments anyway. Rep. Tomei claimed that
all my concerns were addressed. Rep. Boone came back to talk to me after the
work session and said she would make sure my concerns were addressed in the
final wording. I again expressed my concerns to her.

We will continue working on the floor of the House, and on the Senate side
if it passes the House. Since there is a tight timeframe, there is likely to
be a lot of opposition on the Senate side, and there were so many 'no' votes
from the House Transportation Committee, there is a very good chance that a
mobile communication bill will not pass this session.

Kevin Curry, KA7KYQ, recommended to me that I work with a specific
representative who is sympathetic to our cause and have a "floor letter"
distributed to all House members when it comes to the floor of the House. I
will begin working on that.

If it passes there, we will immediately begin working with the appropriate
committee on the Senate side. The Senate President is most likely going to
assign it to the Senate Business and Transportation Committee.

Please be assured that we are watching the bill. Many times when there is
movement, we have very little notice. This is particularly true late in the
legislative session. But either I will be at any hearings and work sessions
or I will make sure someone is there in my place. In addition I am building
a list of primary contacts around the state for each representative and
senator so I can make sure we can quickly make a quality contact from every
district. If you want to be my primary contact, please let me know who your
representative and senator is.

I will be working on getting a "floor letter" distributed and beginning to
make contacts with appropriate senate committee members.

I will keep you updated.

----------------------------------------------------------
ARRL Oregon Section
Section Manager: Bonnie M. Altus, AB7ZQ
ab7zq@arrl.org



4/19/09 - Linuxfest Northwest

It's coming up fast on April 25th & 26th.... "If you live in a house full of Windowz, You may not have the privacy you think!"

This annual event in Bellingham Washington is a great opportunity to learn about the Linux operating system. Individuals from many of the major vendor distrubutions will be there to answer your questions about this type of operating system.

Many of you already have experienced Linux in devices you use and own. Items from cellphones to lottery kiosks, PDA's to home wifi/routers units. Yes it is everywhere and best of all.... It's open sourced.

This means if you want to drive into things, you can contribute to the worldwide development without some monster software manufacturer slamming you with a law suit. Likewise, you can "Legally" share these software's without penalty!

Interested in expanding your horizons? Please take a little time and visit this free learning event. Visit the Linux Northwest Website for directions and information.


4/14/09 - Let's do The Stanwood/Camino Island Hamfest!

AttachmentSize
PDF icon StanwoodCaminoIsland.pdf916.49 KB

We are coming up on that time of year!!!

Yes, I'm talking about the Stanwood/Camino Island Hamfest. This event captures the very essence of amateur radio with friends and family coming together in a common place. I'm not talking about the worlds biggest event..... Nope.... This is the home town event which maintains a consistent personality year after year.

Here, a person can feel at ease as you browse the tables and chat with friends abroad. It's hard to capture in words the charm of this event. So I'll do one better.....

Get on over here and join us!

Don't tell me you don't know where it is being held at? Or even when??
This event takes place on May 9, 2009. For directions, please see the attached .pdf file.

I know you don't want to miss out on the fun.... So I'll see you there!

Michael - KG7HQ