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.
HAM RADIO IS PART OF MAURITIUS' FIRST SATELLITE
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.
(AFRICA NEWS, MAURITIUS RESEARCH AND INNOVATION COUNCIL)
NEW FCC FEE REQUIRES US HAMS TO PAY $35
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.
COMMUNITY RALLIES TO REPAIR CALIFORNIA RADIO TOWER
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.
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.
FCC EYES ADDING VOLUNTEER EXAMINER COORDINATORS
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.
BREXIT DOESN'T CUT ALL UK TIES TO EU SATELLITES
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.
(GOV.UK, AMSAT, SCIENCEBUSINESS.NET)
WOODEN SATELLITES SEEN AS FIX TO 'SPACE JUNK'
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
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.
SEA-PAC ANNUAL CONVENTION CANCELLED
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