• Amateur Radio Newsline (A)

    From Daryl Stout@618:250/33 to All on Thu Dec 31 19:49:07 2020
    Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2253, for Friday, January 1st, 2021

    Amateur Radio Newsline Report Number 2253 with a release date of Friday, January 1st, 2021, to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

    The following is a QST. A satellite 'first' for a small island nation.
    A California community rallies around a damaged radio tower - and hams
    in the US face new fees for their licenses. All this and more, as
    Amateur Radio Newsline Report Number 2253 comes your way right now.



    PAUL/ANCHOR: Our top story this week takes us to a small island nation
    in the Indian ocean that is poised to enter the world of amateur radio satellites in the new year. Graham Kemp, VK4BB, has the details.

    GRAHAM: Get ready for a history-making satellite to launch in February
    of 2021: Mauritius is preparing to send MIR-SAT1, the nation's first
    CubeSat, to the International Space Station. The nanosatellite will be carrying an amateur radio digipeater and a whole lot of national pride.
    It is the creation of a team of engineers from Mauritius working with a
    ham radio operator from the Mauritis Amateur Radio Society. The project
    was also a collaboration with AAC-Clyde Space UK. "MIR" stands for
    Mauritius InfraRed satellite.

    According to the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council, the
    satellite will use the digipeater to enable experimental communication
    with other islands via the satellite, both for emergency purposes and scientific research. The CubeSat will also collect land and ocean data. Management of ocean resources is a top priority of the government of
    the Republic of Mauritius.

    It is expected to be deployed in May or June from the Japanese
    Experimental Module on board the ISS. MIR-SAT1 has an expected lifetime
    of between two and three years and during that time it is expected to
    make ground contact with Mauritius four to five times daily.

    For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Graham Kemp, VK4BB.




    PAUL/ANCHOR: In an action that many hams throughout the US had been
    watching closely for months, the Federal Communications Commission is
    now requiring amateurs to pay a $35 application fee for new licenses, renewals, and vanity call signs. The controversial move by the agency
    is a modification of its earlier proposed fee of $50. The FCC announced
    its decision on December 29th, after reviewing nearly 4,000 public
    comments submitted. Commissioners said they determined that amateurs,
    who previously paid no fees for their licenses, were not considered
    exempt from such payments. In another action, US hams are also being
    required to post their email addresses in the FCC's Universal Licensing System, or ULS, enabling the agency to email their licenses to them.
    Hams may either log into the ULS itself or apply for an administrative
    update through a Volunteer Examiner Coordinator. This change is an
    important step for hams, because the FCC plans to use email for all notifications to licensees.




    PAUL/ANCHOR: Efforts are under way to help rebuild a California radio
    tower that was devastated by wildfires in the summer of 2020. Ralph
    Squillace, KK6ITB, has that story.

    RALPH: When wildfires ignited by lightning swept through northern
    California this past summer, they consumed more than 86,000 acres in
    San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. The fires also left another
    casualty: the Empire Grade Radio Tower and its equipment. The tower
    provided critical connections for firefighters, hams and Community
    Emergency Response Teams. The Community Foundation of Santa Cruz has
    pledged $25,000 from its Fire Response Fund to the restoration of this important radio tower and is using the pledge to match donations, many
    of which are being collected via the GoFundMe site.

    The nonprofit organization wrote on the fundraising site: [quote] ôThe
    loss of this tower has impacted several community organizations. Fire departments relying on the Alertwildfire camera; community fund-raisers
    like bike and horseback rides that rely on the ham radio communicators
    who used repeaters at the tower site; and emergency preparedness, like
    the CERT teams and equine evacuation teams that also relied on the communication resources made possible by this tower.

    According to the Salinas Valley Repeater Group website, the tower's destruction impacted the W6WLS 2 meter repeater, the W6DXW 70 cm
    repeater, and the WB6ECE 70 cm simulcast repeater. The website said
    that the W6WLS repeater returned to the air in October with a temporary
    setup in the Santa Cruz mountains, running analog only and on battery
    or generator power.

    For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Ralph Squillace, KK6ITB.

    --- SBBSecho 3.11-Win32
    * Origin: The Thunderbolt BBS - tbolt.synchro.net (618:250/33)
  • From Daryl Stout@618:250/33 to All on Fri Jan 8 00:44:40 2021
    Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2254, for Friday, January 8th, 2021

    Amateur Radio Newsline Report Number 2254 with a release date of
    Friday, January 8th, 2021, to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

    The following is a QST. The FCC looks to add coordinators for increased license-testing. Japan studies satellites made of wood - and a probe
    into the collapse of the Arecibo radiotelescope. All this and more, as
    Amateur Radio Newsline Report Number 2254, comes your way right now.





    STEPHEN: Our top story this week finds the Federal Communications
    Commission asking: Is 14 enough? That's the current number of Volunteer Examiner Coordinator organizations who oversee VEs, or volunteer
    examiners, hams who administer the US license exams. In a notice posted
    on January 5th on the FCC website, the Wireless Telecommunications
    Bureau announced it would like public input on whether it should
    authorize additional coordinators - as many as five - to support the
    volunteer examiners' ongoing work. Since 1983, VE coordinators have
    overseen the accreditation of the volunteer examiners, managing
    administrative tasks connected to the exams they give, and coordinating
    when the tests are given.

    The scene changed last year when new rules took effect in July
    permitting VE Coordinators to conduct remote exam sessions. They did so
    most recently this past December in Antarctica.

    The FCC notice said: [quote]: "The Commission has long maintained 14
    VECs, and now seeks to consider whether they continue to serve the
    evolving needs of the amateur community, or whether there are unmet
    needs that warrant considering expanding the number of VECs." [endquote]

    Comments are due by the 4th of February. Details about filing
    electronically or on paper are available on the FCC website.




    STEPHEN/ANCHOR: A late-December agreement has preserved the UK's
    involvement in some European satellite programs, post-Brexit. Jeremy
    Boot, G4NJH, picks up the story from here.

    JEREMY: An agreement between the UK and the EU has clarified the post-
    Brexit relationship between the two with regard to scientific research, permitting the UK's continued participation in Copernicus, the EU's
    Earth monitoring programme. The deal also ensures that the UK and a
    number of private satellite operators based there will also retain
    access to the Space Surveillance and Tracking Programme established by
    the EU for space situational awareness.

    The deal, however, does not provide the UK with access to encrypted or
    secure services on Galileo, Europe's Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Galileo was established to assist emergency response-services on Europe's roads making railways and roads safer. Although smartphone
    users may not notice any difference, the UK itself will no longer have
    access to the satellite services for defence or national infrastructure.

    For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jeremy Boot, G4NJH.




    STEPHEN/ANCHOR: How do you build a satellite that is kinder to the environment? A partnership in Japan is exploring the answer - and Graham
    Kemp, VK4BB, has those details.

    GRAHAM: Solutions to the growing problem of "space junk" don't grow on
    trees - or do they? Perhaps yes: In Japan, a forestry company has
    partnered with Kyoto University to work on building a robust and
    resilient satellite out of wood - something that would be Earth-friendly
    as well as space-friendly. Their goal is to have one such satellite
    ready for launch by 2023. The experimental work includes exposing
    different varieties of wood to extreme temperature changes and sunlight,
    to see how a wooden satellite might behave in space. An added plus: Upon re-entry, wooden satellites could return to Earth without releasing
    harmful substances or debris on the way down.

    Kyoto University professor Takao Doi, a Japanese astronaut, told the
    BBC: [quote] "We are very concerned with the fact that all the
    satellites which re-enter the Earth's atmosphere burn and create tiny
    alumina particles which will float in the upper atmosphere for many
    years." [endquote]

    He said the next step is to develop the engineering model of the
    satellite and after that, a flight model.

    The BBC reports that nearly 6,000 satellites are now orbiting the Earth, according to figures from the World Economic Forum. Some 60 percent of
    them are considered "space junk," meaning they are no longer in use.

    For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Graham Kemp, VK4BB.




    STEPHEN/ANCHOR: COVID-19 precautions have led to the cancellation of yet another major amateur radio gathering. SEA-PAC, the 2021 ARRL
    Northwestern Division Convention, has been called off as an in-person
    event in Oregon where it was scheduled to be held in June. Chairman John Bucsek, KE7WNB, said alternative activities online, and on the air were
    being explored.

    --- SBBSecho 3.11-Win32
    * Origin: The Thunderbolt BBS - tbolt.synchro.net (618:250/33)