AMSAT-UK Colloquium in TX Factor Show

In this episode of the TX Factor Show Bob McCreadie G0FGX reports from the recent AMSAT-UK Colloquium in Guildford, and finds time to test out the SuperAntenna Superstick delux package. Nick Bennett 2E0FGQ travels north and discovers a rather remarkable radio club.

Among those interviewed at the Colloquium are AMSAT-NA VP Operations Drew Glasbrenner KO4MA, Tom Harle from VR2Space, Graham Shirville G3VZV, Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG and Carlos Eavis G0AKI.

Watch TX Factor – Episode 5 (TXF005)

View recordings of the talks given at the Colloquium
http://amsat-uk.org/colloquium/colloquium-2014/presentation-videos/

Previous editions of TX Factor are at https://www.youtube.com/user/txfactorshows/videos

TX Factor http://www.txfilms.co.uk/txfactor/

IARU R1 VHF/UHF/uW C5 meeting has started work

Delegates of the key IARU Region 1 C5 VHF, UHF and Microwaves C5 Committee

The key IARU Region 1 VHF, UHF and Microwave C5 Committee

The VHF, UHF and Microwave C5 Committee meeting has started work at the IARU Region 1 General Conference in Varna-Albena, Bulgaria.

The meeting discussed the 70 MHz IARU Region 1 initiative to obtain regulatory recognition in Europe for a secondary frequency allocation to the amateur service at 70 MHz. Also covered were the challenges to Amateur and Amateur-Satellite allocations in the UHF and Microwave bands.

24th IARU Region 1 General Conference opens
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/09/22/24th-iaru-region-1-general-conference-opens/

IARU Region 1 Conference documents and pictures http://iarur1con2014.bfra.bg/

23 cm band and WRC-2018 http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/13/23-cm-band-and-wrc-2018/

24th IARU Region 1 General Conference opens

Delegates at IARU Region 1 Conference 2014

Delegates at IARU Region 1 Conference 2014

The First Plenary of the 24th IARU Region 1 General Conference was opened at 10:30 on Sunday, September 21, 2014 in the Grand Hall of the Flamingo Grand Hotel, Albena, Bulgaria.

The message of Dr Kristalina Georgieva, European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response was read by Mr Encho Gospodinov.

Dr Kristalina Georgieva

Dr Kristalina Georgieva

“Dear IARU Conference participants,

Dear radio messengers in times of trouble and hope

Friends, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure and privilege to address your General Conference. The timing for your gathering could not be more indicative for the world we live in and the challenges we all face today.

The lives of millions of people is impacted by troubling events: conflicts in Africa and the Middle East (and sadly, in Europe); natural disasters all over the world with all the un-predictabilities of the mother Nature and the responsibilities of the human beings for the Climate Change; human waves of migrants and refugees moving from one place to another, and assorted diseases often trailing the disasters and conflicts. In short, this is a world, which does not stop to surprise us every morning when we open the TV screen or a newspaper.

At the same time, the world has never been better connected and wired. Today\’s communications are a real miracle once considered a fantasy coming from the novels of Arthur Clarke or Rey Bradbury. Never before, we had this privilege to transmit or exchange information with such accuracy, speed and scope of distribution. And never before so many people from all corners of the world and all layers of the society had access to this information. The arrival of internet really made our planet a Global village and ever since our live changed forever in the way we deal with information. Politics, diplomacy, journalism, technology, science, research, banking, literally all changed overnight with this powerful instrument.

However, there are moments in life when a good, stable, reliable and independent information tool is the only one we can use to save lives. And this is the one we call simply the RADIO.

IARU_Region_1_logoImagine a major natural disaster, which knocks down all modern information tools in the affected area: with no electricity, no internet, no telephone and fax connections, not even the old telex machines. No trains and ships moving, no roads to use or airports functioning. Nothing. We know a tragedy has happened, we know many are dead, and even more still alive, but trapped and helpless. And no one can help them as nobody knows what has happened. Because there is no information.

Luckily, there is a last resort: the radio amateurs; the people who are the eyes and the ears of the world in time when all other information channels are silent. “Amateurs” is actually not the right word in this case: these are professional communicators who are listening to the heartbeat of the planet and registering the emotional vibrations of people who may be in danger. In short, you are the last technical miracle, which is independent, reliable information channel, which can transmit an important piece of news from any place in the world, any time, by anyone who knows how to operate this wonderful creature, called radio.

Your advantage is that you are independent. A well-trained radioman with good equipment and ever-charged batteries can be a fantastic link between two villages, two countries or two continents. When organized in a Union, you are a communication superpower in time of total electronic darkness. But the most important part of your equipment is the people you have; the Bravehearts of men and women listening to people who may be in danger and may need help; the professional live-savers called strangely amateurs, who nevertheless act as volunteers when and where they are needed.

IARU Region 1 VHF, UHF and Microwaves C5 Committee

IARU Region 1 VHF, UHF and Microwaves C5 Committee

In your history, you have many examples of lives being saved because some of your members caught a signal from a village, a region or un-accessible place that someone needs help. We need your skills and services because we will have more and more disasters in the future. The dry statistics reveal troubling trends: during the last 20 – 30 years, the number and the intensity of the natural disasters have increased dramatically. So did the number of people killed or affected. The earthquake in Haiti in 2010 killed 230 000 people alone ….  Between 2003 and 2012, some 6 700 disasters hit the planet with 2005 being the darkest one – 810 disasters in one year. Typhoons in the Philippines, floods in Pakistan, China or Europe, droughts and famine in Africa, garnished with conflicts, are now almost daily events. The economic losses from these disasters went up from $ 50 billion to $ 200 billion a year since the 80s.

Every Red Cross volunteer will tell you that during a disaster the most needed and precious live saving element is not food, water or medicines. It is the timely, accurate information that is the most needed. As timely and accurate information saves lives, prevents major tragedies, stops rumours, which create panic and leads to even more casualties. This is how solid information flow becomes the backbone of a successful communication strategy. In short, everything, which you do and helps your societies to organise themselves better, is vital. Local and national authorities count on you as the last bastion of reliable information channel. Your professional skills and your humanitarian duties make you more than radio amateurs; you are truly needed guardians in time of troubles and I hope you will always stay as a pillar of hope and courage for all who are in danger.

Thank you for your noble work. I wish you every success in this Conference.”

Kristalina Georgieva

Source IARU Region 1 http://iaru-r1.org/

IARU Region 1 Conference documents and pictures http://iarur1con2014.bfra.bg/

23 cm band and WRC-2018 http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/13/23-cm-band-and-wrc-2018/

Ofcom WRC-15 Consultation Responses

Logo WRC RA 2015The RSGB report responses to the Ofcom consultation on WRC-15 prepared by the Society and affiliated groups including AMSAT-UK are now available in the WRC-15 Special Focus section.

In addition to supporting Agenda Item 1.4 for a 5MHz allocation, the detailed responses cover amateur radio interests across several VHF and Microwave allocations. This includes amateur bands affected by other agenda items, ITU procedures for nano- and pico-satellites, and preferences for future agenda items that may be proposed for WRC-18.

AMSAT-UK response

WRC-15 Special Focus section
http://rsgb.org/main/news/special-focus/wrc-15/wrc-15-papers/

For background see the parent RSGB WRC-15 page
http://rsgb.org/main/news/special-focus/wrc-15/

Frequencies of Es’hail 2 Geostationary Amateur Radio Transponders

Qatar Amateur Radio Society Geostationary Transponders Leaflet Page 1

Qatar Amateur Radio Society Geostationary Transponders Leaflet Page 1

 

The Qatar Amateur Radio Society released a leaflet about the geostationary amateur radio transponders at the IARU Region 1 Conference taking place September 20-27, 2014 in Varna-Albena, Bulgaria. The frequencies quoted are:

Amateur satellite service spectrum used by cell-phone masts in the UK

Amateur satellite service spectrum used by cell-phone masts in the UK

Linear transponder
2400.050-2400.300 MHz Uplink
10489.550-10489.800 MHz Downlink

Wideband digital transponder
2401.5-2409.5 MHz Uplink
10491.0-10499.0 MHz Downlink

In the UK the 10475-10500 MHz section of the Amateur Satellite Service allocation was auctioned by Ofcom for nationwide cell-phone backhaul links. The winner of the auction was T-Mobile(UK) now part of the phone company EE. The use of this segment of the band by cell-phone masts may cause problems to UK amateurs wishing to receive the transponders. See this spreadsheet of spectral masks for the 10 GHz links.

Gunter Krebs reports on his Space Pages that Es’hailSat has signed a contract with MELCO to build the Es’hail-2 Geostationary Comsat. Es’hail 2 is a planned communication satellite operated by Es’hailSat, the Qatar Satellite Company. It will also feature an radio amateur payload.

The new satellite will be positioned at the 26° East hotspot position for TV broadcasting and significantly adds to the company’s ability to provide high quality, premium DTH television content across the Middle East and North Africa. It will feature Ku-band and Ka-band transponders to provide TV distribution and government services to strategic stakeholders and commercial customers who value broadcasting and communications independence,interference resilience, quality of service and wide geographical coverage. Es’hail 2 is expected to be launched at the end of 2016.

In September 2014, a contract with MELCO was signed to build the satellite based on the DS-2000 bus.

Es’hail 2 will also provide the first Amateur Radio geostationary communication capability linking Brazil and India. It will carry two “Phase 4″ Amateur Radio transponders. The payload will consist of a 250 kHz linear transponder intended for conventional analogue operations in addition to another transponder which will have an 8 MHz bandwidth. The latter transponder is intended for experimental digital modulation schemes and DVB amateur television. The uplinks will be in the 2.400-2.450 GHz and the downlinks in the 10.450-10.500 GHz amateur satellite service allocations. Both transponders will have broad beam antennas to provide full coverage over about third of the earth’s surface. The Qatar Amateur Radio Society and Qatar Satellite Company are cooperating on the amateur radio project. AMSAT-DL is providing technical support to the project.

Gunters Space Page http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_chr/lau2014.htm

2006 Ofcom auction of upper segment of 10 GHz Amateur Satellite Service spectrum
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/10ghz/

10 GHz Cell-Phone Links Spectral Mask http://tinyurl.com/10GHz-Cell-Phone-Mask

IARU Region 1 Conference link http://iaru.lz-live.com/

RSGB WRC-15 page http://rsgb.org/main/news/special-focus/wrc-15/

Qatar Amateur Radio Society Geostationary Transponders Leaflet Page 2

Qatar Amateur Radio Society Geostationary Transponders Leaflet Page 2

 

Essex ISS contact on Echolink and IRLP

Astronaut Alexander Gerst KF5ONO

Astronaut Alexander Gerst KF5ONO

The POSTPONEMENT of this contact was announced on September 21 at 19:55

ARISS Contact Tuesday POSTPONED

Due to the one day delay of the Space X launch, berthing day now falls on Tuesday and has resulted in the cancellation of the Winter Gardens Primary School, Canvey Island and Pilton Bluecoat School, Barnstaple, United Kingdom

73, John – AG9D
ARISS Audio

Please join us in listening to the International Space Station (ISS) contact with participants at the Winter Gardens Primary School, Canvey Island, Essex, United Kingdom and Pilton Bluecoat School, Barnstaple, Devon, United Kingdom, on Tuesday, September 23. The students will be talking to astronaut Alexander Gerst KF5ONO on the ISS who will be using the callsign NA1SS. Acquisition Of Signal (AOS) is anticipated at 1137 BST (1037 UT).

The duration of the contact is approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds. The contact will be a telebridge between NA1SS and VK7KHZ in Australia. The contact is expected to be conducted in English.

Audio from this contact will be fed into the:

EchoLink *AMSAT*  Node 101377 and IRLP Node 9010 Discovery Reflector

Streaming Audio on the web at https://sites.google.com/site/arissaudio/

Audio on Echolink and web stream is generally transmitted around 20 minutes prior to the contact taking place so that you can hear some of the preparation that occurs. IRLP will begin just prior to the ground station call to the ISS.

Please note that on Echolink due to server issues the usual automatic breaks will be done manually. Computer based listeners should after opening Echolink click on tools – setup – timing set receive time limit and inactivity timeout to 0, this should keep you from disconnecting. Echolink introduction guide

* Contact times are approximate. If the ISS executes a reboost or other manoeuvre, the AOS (Acquisition Of Signal) time may alter by a few minutes

73, John – AG9D
ARISS Audio Distribution

Echolink Introduction available on the web
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/april2007/echolink_intro.htm

Echolink Status http://www.echolink.org/

MB7IDA Chelmsford, Essex, Echolink Node 265297
Frequency 145.3375 MHz, Channel V27
Access CTCSS Tone-H 110.9Hz
http://www.essexrepeatergroup.org.uk/mb7ida.htm

South Essex Amateur Radio Club (SEARS) http://www.southessex-ars.co.uk/

Tuskegee Airman Col. Charles E. McGee at AMSAT Symposium

Tuskegee Airman Col. Charles E McGee

Tuskegee Airman Col. Charles E McGee

The AMSAT symposium committee has confirmed that one of the original Tuskegee Airman, Col. Charles E. McGee, will be attending the conference on Friday, October 10. Col. McGee will give a special presentation at our symposium on his experiences as a Tuskegee Airman and as an Army Air Corps and Air Force Pilot. A short question and answer period will follow.

Born on December 7, 1919, McGee rose to the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts and, shortly after WWII broke out, joined the Army. He became a pilot in what was dubbed the Tuskegee Experiment, the first squadron of African American pilots, also known as the “Red Tails” from their red markings on the tails of their aircraft. Col McGee and his Tuskegee colleagues fought two wars—World War II and the war on segregation. This required them to develop an unprecedented level of discipline, excellence and fortitude to achieve success.

In World War II McGee flew numerous aircraft, including the famous P-51 Mustang as part of the 332 Fighter Group, one of three groups designated as the “Red Tails.” He provided fighter escort for the B-24 Liberator and B-17 Flying Fortress bombers over Germany, Austrian and the Balkans. He holds a US AirForce record of 409 fighter combat missions flown in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Col. McGee received numerous awards for his service, including the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, and Air Medal with 25 oak leaf clusters, amongst others. In 2007 Col McGee and the surviving Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush.

Col. McGee’s presentations are an inspiration to all. He demonstrates, through his life lessons, the need to persevere despite all obstacles and to do your best in all endeavors. Do not miss out on this opportunity to meet this remarkable living legend.

AMSAT Symposium http://www.amsat.org/?page_id=1555

Col. Charles E. McGee http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_McGee_%28pilot%29

Tuskegee Airmen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_Airmen

A number of Tuskegee Airmen also held amateur radio licenses. Among them was George Mitchell, K6ZE, an OMIK Amateur Radio Association member, who passed away September 4, 2014 http://www.arrl.org/news/tuskegee-airman-and-congressional-gold-medal-recipient-george-mitchell-k6ze-sk

HamRadioNow – OMIK with Jeff Drew N4JDU
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/september2012/hamradionow_omik.htm

Connecting across cultural lines with Ham Radio
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2014/september/connecting_across_cultural_lines_with_ham_radio.htm

OMIK Amateur Radio Association, Inc. http://www.omikradio.org/

IARU R1 Release VHF/UHF/Microwave Handbook

IARU_Region_1_logoIARU Region 1 have released edition 6.14 of the free VHF Managers Handbook covering the VHF, UHF and Microwave amateur radio bands.

The handbook has chapters on Band Planning, Contests, Propagation Research, Operating Procedures and Satellites. On page 122 it even specifies a standard for the use of circular polarization defining which way helical beam antennas should be threaded.

Download the handbook – http://tinyurl.com/IARU-VHF-Handbook-6-14

SpaceX to launch SpinSat

SpinSat - Credit Naval Research Laboratory

SpinSat – Credit Naval Research Laboratory

On Sunday, September 21 at 0522 UT SpaceX plan to launch a Falcon 9 from Florida carrying the satellite SpinSat with its amateur radio payload to the International Space Station (ISS). UPDATE: Report on the successful launch at http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/013/140921launch/

On arrival at the ISS it will be put into storage until deployment, later in the Fall, from the airlock of the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM).

Developed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) SpinSat is a 56 cm sphere weighing 57 kg that has 12 Electronically-controlled Solid Propellant (ESP) thrusters spread in pairs throughout the surface of the satellite. They will be fired in pairs to spin the spacecraft. With just primary batteries and only 4.8 grams of fuel this phase may last between three to six months.

The spacecraft will be used to calibrate the space surveillance network. Lasers will be fired at SpinSat from the ground, the light reflected back will be measured to determine where in time and space the satellite is passing overhead. SpinSat will also model the density of the atmosphere.

The IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel report that SpinSat carries a 2 watt RF output 9600 bps AX.25 packet radio store and forward system on 437.230 MHz.

Read all about SpinSat at
http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2014/with-spinsat-mission-nrl-will-spin-small-satellite-in-space-with-new-thruster-technology

Falcon 9 launch status
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/013/status.html

NASA – SpinSat
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1019.html

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel
http://amsat.org.uk/iaru

Postage stamp features amateur radio satellites

LituanicaSAT-1 and LitSat-1 postage stamp

A new Lithuanian postage stamp features the amateur radio satellites LituanicaSAT-1 and LitSat-1.

The two CubeSats were launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on January 9, 2014 and deployed from the ISS on February 28. LituanicaSAT-1 carried a FM transponder and a camera while LitSat-1 had a linear (SSB/CW) transponder developed by by William Leijenaar PE1RAH.

LitSat-1 was the lighter satellite and re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and burnt up on May 23, the heavier LituanicaSAT-1 remained in orbit until July 28.

Watch a presentation on LituanicaSAT-1 given by Gintautas Sulskus to the 2014 AMSAT-UK Colloquium in Guildford http://amsat-uk.org/colloquium/colloquium-2014/presentation-videos/

LituanicaSAT-1 http://amsat-uk.org/2014/03/26/president-tests-lituanicasat-1-fm-transponder/

LitSat-1 http://amsat-uk.org/2014/03/09/litsat-1-transponder-test-successful/