29 Dec 2008


Amateur Tube

The amateur radio site www.cqtube.com is back active
again after some technical problems, there are some
interesting audio and video files available.

DX News

Escape2Adventure 9-14 January 2009

The 14th Australian Venture, 'Escape', will take place
in January and Amateur Radio will be a part of it.

It is a major National youth event of the Venturer
section (14-18 years old) of Scouts Australia.
Venturers and Guides from all over Australia and around
the world will be taking part.

The Amateur Radio Shack will be on-air from Friday 9th
January until Wednesday 14th January 2009 using the
callsign VK6SAA

Operation will be on HF will be on or near the Scout
Calling Frequencies:

3.650 and 3.790 DX, 7.090, 14.190 or 14.290, 21.190,
28.590, 52.160

Sked can be arranged via email: vk6scouts@westnet.com.au

Radio Rallies

15th February 2009 Coolmine Radio Rally,

The Coolmine Radio Rally, run by the Phoenix Radio Club
will be held in the Coolmine Community School,
Clonsilla Dublin 15 on Sunday 15th February 2009. Doors
open 9.30 am for table bookings and information please
contact Tony 087-2439997 or Tom 01-8211043 See map on

This week in History

1900 Fessenden is claimed to be first to transmit sound
of the human voice without wires.

1906 Fessenden transmits voice and music on
Alexanderson alternator.

1947 Transistor invented at Bell Telephone Labs. USA

22 Dec 2008


2009 International Space Station Calendar

As part of NASA's celebration of the 10th anniversary
of the International Space Station, the agency is
offering a special 2009 calendar. The calendar can be
downloaded from the link www.nasa.gov/station


Another experiment using the ham station on board the
International Space Station. From December 28th through
January 3rd ARISS plans to reconfigure the on-orbit
crossband repeater for test of its L-Band uplink
capability, which, to date, has not been proven out.

Plans call for an uplink of 1269.65 MHz and downlink on
the standard frequency 145.80 MHz. The system will be
in low power transmit. Given the substantial cable
losses of the L-band system, ARISS hopes that some big
gun stations on the ground will be able to penetrate
through, keep up with Doppler, and make a contact.

DXCC End of year approaching

In order to appear in the printed 'Annual and Honour
Roll' listings your submission must be postmarked on or
by Wednesday, December 31, 2008.

For the 2008 calendar year the minimum requirement to
appear in the Honour Roll list is 329 current entities.
Direct comments or questions to http://www.arrl.org/awards/dxcc/faq/

Radio Rallies

15th Feburary 2009 Coolmine Radio Rally, The Coolmine
Radio Rally, run by the Phoenix Radio Club will be held
in the Coolmine Community School, Clonsilla Dublin 15
on Sunday 15th February 2009. Doors open 9.30 am for
table bookings and information please contact Tony
087-2439997 or Tom 01-8211043 See map on

This week in History

1879 Edison demos his incandescant light at Menlo
Park, NJ. USA.

Switzerland to allocate 6m

Swiss telecommunications authorities will allocate the
50 MHz band to amateur radio on a secondary basis
beginning January 1, 2009.

Swiss and foreign CEPT class licensees will be
permitted to transmit with up to 100 watts PEP on 50 to
52 MHz without any antenna restrictions. The one caveat
is that primary users may not be disturbed. This
includes some TV stations active on the VHF band I in
Northern Italy.

Canada’s official time broadcast, frequency change

After seventy years of broadcasting Canada's official
time, shortwave station CHU will move the
transmission frequency for the 7335 kHz transmitter
to 7850 kHz. This, to avoid interference to its
operations as the result of band allocation changes
approved by the International Telecommunications
Union back in April 2007.

CHU is a part of Canada's National Research Council's
system for disseminating official time throughout that
nation. It broadcasts 24 hours a day from a location
approximately 20 kilometres south-west of Ottawa.
Transmissions include tones to mark the seconds, voice
to announce the time in French and English, and digital
data to interface with computers.

The frequency change to CHU change will occur on
January 1st, 2009 at 0000 UTC. More is on-line at


BEST 73's & 88's TO ALL


16 Dec 2008


Santa DX

Santa Claus Land active (Special Event - this one for
the kids!)

Once again OH9SCL will be active from Santa Claus
Land (SCL) in the Arctic Circle, during the month
of December.

Activity will be on 160-10 meters using CW, SSB and
the Digital modes. There has been plenty of activity
over the past week on 40/20/30 meters, some SSB, RTTY
and PSK31.


This week in History

1901 Marconi received the first transatlantic
communication, letter 'S'.

1961 The first amateur satellite, OSCAR I was launched.

New Worked All States Award

The ARRL has introduced a new award called the "Triple
Play Worked All States Award". This award is unusual in
that it requires confirmed contacts with each of the 50
states in the USA using three modes for each state -
CW, phone and digital. All 150 contacts must be made on
or after 1st January 2009 and must be confirmed via
Logbook of the World. All bands - with the exception of
60 meters - may be used. Further details of this and
other ARRL awards are available on www.arrl.org/awards

DXCC End of year approaching

In order to appear in the printed 'Annual and Honour
Roll' listings your submission must be postmarked on or
by Wednesday, December 31, 2008.

The DXCC Honour Roll list is scheduled for publication
in August 2009 QST. For the 2008 calendar year the
minimum requirement to appear in the Honour Roll list
is 329 current entities. The Top of the Honour Roll
total is 338 for this period. Remember, deleted
entities do not count towards the Honour Roll.

Direct comments or questions to dxcc /@/ arrl.org ....

80 metres Counties Contest

The IRTS 80 metres Counties Contest takes place on
Thursday 1st January 2009. Rules for this contest were
published in the October-November 2008 issue of Echo
Ireland - they are also available for download at

In previous years, during this contest there has been a
lot of contest activity around 3.680 MHz, a popular
frequency for those chasing Worked All Ireland squares.
This frequency is however outside the contest-preferred
parts of the 80 metres band. To encourage all
participants in the Counties Contest to adhere to the
Band Plan, we have amended the contest rules to make it
a requirement that the IARU Region 1 Band Plan should
be observed. We have also provided that CW contacts in
this contest should only be made in the recognised CW
end of the band.

While 3.775 MHz to 3.800 MHz is within the SSB
contest-preferred segment of the band, the Band Plan
also indicates that priority should be given to
intercontinental operation in this segment. Given that
the Counties Contest is largely a local contest, we
have indicated therefore that no operation should take
place above 3.775 MHz.

In summary, the frequencies available to contesters in
the 80 metres Counties Contest are: CW 3.510-3.560 MHz;
SSB 3.600-3.650 and 3.700-3.775 MHz

29 Nov 2008

The Mayo Radio Rally 2008

The Mayo Radio Rally was held on the 23rd of November 2008 which had been changed from usual venue, The Belmont Hotel in Knock to the Welcome Inn Hotel in Castlebar Co. Mayo, due to unforeseen circumstances.

The doors open at 11.00 am and the radio rally turned out to be a massive success.

When speaking to the rally organiser Padraic Baynes EI9JA he mentioned of "the trojan work given by the members of the Mayo Radio Club". Two days before the event the Mayo Radio Club learned that the rally would not be taking place in the Belmont Hotel, Knock, Co. Mayo. Swift action was undertaken by the radio club and within hours every commercial radio station and media outlet in Ireland carried details of the new venue the Welcome Inn Hotel Castlebar. It has to be acknowledged that without the unstinting help and support of a member of the radio club, Adrian Healy the rally may not have taken place this year. I understand that despite all the problems the attendance at the rally had increased on previous years.

I'm looking forward to 2009 rally in Mayo, it was unfortunate that I missed the rally this year as I get to meet new radio friends face to face, even meet many of my old radio friends. I also get the opportunity to thrash out ideas upon antennas, new rigs & technology to other interesting things like DX conditions
new methods on operating on-air and all other aspects of broadcasting.

Below are some photos provided by Padraic EI9JA from the rally taken during the day. Were you there can you see yourself???

Mayo Radio Experimenters Network

Winners of the Portable Section in the MRG Autumn Challenge 2008

Is DXAnywhere Your Q Exchange Of Choice For CQ WorldWide DX CW 2008?

TABLE 1. DXAnywhere (link).

TABLE 2. The Q Exchange.

TABLE 3. Q Exchange Social Value Per Call Sign.

TABLE 4. Aggregation of Q Exchange Value Per Spectrum Space.

Why not make DXAnywhere your Q Exchange of choice during CQ WorldWide DX CW 2008 this weekend? DXAnywhere provides dynamic social data beginning with individual call signs to near complete aggregation of telnet data based on spectrum space activity.

Table One.
A video presentation of DXAnywhere mechanics is in production with a release date in the very near future. Additionally, DXAnywhere continues beta testing features while soliciting feedback on Twitter. Perhaps we will see solar data woven in with Q Exchange statistics as well.

Table Two.
Straight forward data with high frequency (HF) operator commentary included. However when one clicks on an individual call sign additional data pops up in a new window.

Table Three.
DXAnywhere searches Internet for additional call sign data to include DXCC information, 73s.org information, and call sign social Q-value based on telnet activity. One can track the ebb and flow of RadioSport activity per call sign by spectrum spaces like 40, 20, or 15m.

Table Four.
DXAnywhere aggregates social activity according to telnet data by spectrum space. However, I'm not aware of social inflation controls such as, an HF operator spotting a specific station more than once on any given spectrum space. In contrast, if social value quickly inflates, this condition may suggest an operator is moving frequency-to-frequency or a telnet spotter is speculating.

DXAnywhere Your Q Exchange of Choice.
My basic premise is fun. My angle is imagination. CQ WorldWide DX CW 2008 is the social event for many ham radio operators from the serious to the casual. Why not make DXAnywhere your destination to measure, calculate, observe, and have fun this weekend?

Contest on.

27 Nov 2008


Irish Castles and Stately Homes on the Air

Steve, EI5DD, has become coordinator for Irish Castles and Stately Homes on the Air. Basically this is an award scheme for working or activating Irish Castles and Stately Homes.

The award scheme will be launched on the 1st of January 2009.
A web site has been set up to show a log of activated Castles and Stately Homes.

This scheme should be of great interest to individuals or clubs who enjoy taking gear out on portable expeditions.
We look forward to plenty of activity in the new year.

It is important to note that to be valid, intended activations should be registered with CASHOTA-Ireland a minimum of 10 days prior to the activation.

Full details are on the website



ContestDateDeadline for logs
80m CountiesThur 1 January 200931 January 2009
2m CountiesMon 13 April 200913 May 2009
CW Field DaySat/Sun 6/7 June 20097 July 2009
VHF/UHF Field DaySat/Sun 4/5 July 20094 August 2009
2m CountiesSun 30 August 200929 September 2009
SSB Field DaySat/Sun 5/6 September 20096 October 2009


IARU REGION 1 Conference

The IARU Region1 tri yearly conference opened in
Cavtat Croatia on Sunday last. Among the guests
present at the opening ceremony were the Mayor of
Dubrovnik County, the Director of Electronic
Communications and Postal Directorate and the Deputy
President Croatian Agency for Telecommunications and
Post. Over 130 delegates representing 52 member
societies as well as IARU Headquarters and the other
IARU Regions were in attendance. The Society was
represented by the President, Fr.Finbarr Buckley EI1CS
and Sean Nolan EI7CD.

The Conference in its three main Committees had to
deal with over 120 papers on a wide range of issues
that had been submitted to it for consideration. The
days were long with meetings commencing at 8.30am
and running on until 1800, with an hour for lunch
and two short tea breaks. On two evenings there were
workshops on operating standards and on the future
direction of amateur radio which went on to 22.30.
On Wednesday evening Alexander Gulyaer of the
European Radio communications Office gave an
interesting Short presentation on CEPT Activities
related to Amateur Radio.

A new band plan was adopted for the 7Mhz band to be
effective from 29th March 2009. This is the date by
which broadcast stations should have vacated the 7.1 to
7.2Mhz segment and it becomes and amateur primary
allocation in accordance with the decision of WRC'03

On the final day of the Conference Elections were held
for the Executive Committee. The new President of the
Region is Hans Blondeel Timmerman PB2T who defeated
Colin Thomas G3PSM in the election. The new Secretary
is Dennis Green ZS4BS who defeated Angel Padin de Pazos
EA1QF in the election.

The outgoing Secretary Don Beattie G3BJ was awarded the
Roy Stevens trophy for distinguished service to the
Region over the years. The station 9A0IARU was active
over the period of the conference. We hope that some of
you managed to work it.

The next Region1 conference will be held in Sun City,
South Africa in Sep. 2011

The conference ended with a gala dinner on last
Thursday evening.


The Amateur Radio satellite PCSAT-1 should return to full operations on 9th December.

Bob, WB4APR, writes on the AMSAT Bulletin Board:
PCSAT-1 should return to full operations on 9 Dec 08.
Plan on another Satellite Simulated Emergency Test.

This should give a few weeks for some good 2m packet contacts and the SSET, and if the ISS is also operational on 145.825, then there is the possibility for some lucky 2-hop DX contacts via both birds. Combined, that is 12 opportunities per day for contacts without any change in the radio.

Operating PCSAT-1 is just like any 1200 baud 2 meter packet repeater. Uplink and downlink are on 145.825 and the path is VIA ARISS. This path is identical to the ISS path so that you do not have to change anything between the two spacecraft. (Until PCSAT-1 is reloaded, however, its digipeating alias is its FCC call W3ADO-1.) You can hear it every day, but its packets die before completion because of poor power budget.

I just commanded PCSAT-1 yesterday and all functions are normal. All we need is the first full-sun orbit on the 9th of Dec to be able to do a full recovery; and then it should last for 2 weeks or more.

You can easily operate mobile using any of the APRS radios as is (D7, D700, D710, VX-8R, DR-135), or any other radio with an external TNC, or even any radio with no TNC if you use a sound-card packet application.

You can make two-way contacts, send beacons and bulletins and send your position so you will show up on the PCSAT web page http://pcsat.aprs.org/

I'd suggest everyone plan on testing their emergency Email capability during this time. Lets set the time window of 12 to 15 December for everyone to try to send an Email via one of these birds. Please see the Satellite Simulated Emergency Test http://www.aprs.org/sset.html. You can use any packet system and no special software is required.


More operators needed for Lord Howe DXpedition

Bill Horner, VK4FW, a member of Oceania Amateur Radio DX Group Inc. (ODXG), reports:

"We are looking for more operators (couples or singles) for the VK9LA Lord Howe Island DXpedition after securing extra accomodation at a second boarding lodge.

"As the island is almost full, we need to act now to get this finalized. The ODXG and VK9LA Web pages have details of the operation.

"As the plane is already full on the arrival and departure dates, it will be necessary to arrive a day early and leave a day later. I will change my flight to arrive a day earlier to allow me to start unpacking and setting up.

"Urgently, E-mail me if this suits any of you."

If any of you are interested, let him know at:

For updates, details on the DXpedition and how to donate to this operation, please visit the ODXG and VK9LA Web pages at:


Wanted: CW Operators

Jim Ward, N1LKJ, Eastern MA Section Traffic Manager writes:

If you like CW or want to improve your Morse Code Skills, the NTS Traffic Nets is a great place to do it. We are looking for operators to join us on the East MA. & Rhode Island CW Net (EMARICW).

The Net meets daily at 7:00 PM on 3.565 MHz. If you think it is too fast, just send QNS and they will slow down to anyone's speed. Try it and enjoy the fun of sending and receiving traffic. Help is available for all who want to learn.

For more information about the National Traffic system and traffic nets, please visit http://nts.ema.arrl.org


Satellite Expected to Go QRT by End of Year

Launched in January 1990, AMSAT-OSCAR 16 (AO-16) a
digital satellite has been operating as a voice
repeater since January 2008, using FM voice on the
uplink and transmitting DSB voice on the downlink (best
received on SSB). But according to the satellite's
command team, the satellite's orbit might force this to
end sometime before the end of the year.

AO-16's uplink is 145.9200 MHz FM; the downlink is
437.0260 MHz SSB. Users are asked to restrict their
uplink power to a reasonable power level, and not to
transmit without being able to hear the downlink.


Phoenix Mars Lander goes QRT

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has ceased communications
after operating for more than five months.

As anticipated, seasonal decline in sunshine at the
robot's arctic landing site is not providing enough
sunlight for the solar arrays to collect the power
necessary to charge batteries that operate the lander's

Mission engineers last received a signal from the
lander on Nov. 2.

15 Nov 2008

DX Bulletins

The Vendee Globe Challenge1-15 November

Members of the Radio Club Vendeen will be active as
TM6VG between November 1-15th.

Activity is to celebrate the 6th sailing race called
'The Vendee Globe Challenge' towards and around the
three great capes, marking the southern tips of the
African continent, Australia and America.

Activity will be on the HF bands, 160-10 meters,
included 30/17/12 meter bands, and VHF 2 meters. Modes
will be CW, SSB and various digital modes. QSL via F6KU

DXCC End of year approaching

In order to appear in the printed 'Annual and Honor
Roll' listings your submission must be postmarked on or
by Wednesday, December 31, 2008.

The DXCC Honor Roll list is scheduled for publication
in August 2009 QST. For the 2008 calendar year the
minimum requirement to appear in the Honour Roll list
is 329 current entities. The Top of the Honour Roll
total is 338 for this period. Remember, deleted
entities do not count towards the Honour Roll.

Direct comments or questions to dxcc@arrl.org ....


NASA TV to air clean feed of Endeavour's STS-126 countdown.

NASA Television will provide a continuous clean video feed on its Media Channel of space shuttle Endeavour in the hours before its 7:55 p.m. EST liftoff on November 14.

Beginning at 2:30 p.m., video will show one stationary wide shot of Endeavour on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The feed will include live audio of communications between launch controllers and the shuttle but not the commentary airing on NASA TV's Public Channel. NASA TV commentary will air on both channels beginning approximately nine minutes before the scheduled launch time at the conclusion of what is known as the T minus 9 minute hold in the launch countdown.

During the shuttle's 15-day STS-126 mission to the International Space Station, the crew will deliver supplies and equipment necessary to double the station crew size from three to six members and conduct four spacewalks.

For NASA TV's downlink coordinates, streaming video and scheduling information, visit:



Historic QSO

On 14th November, the next launch of the space shuttle
Endeavour is scheduled to take place. This is almost 25
years to the day after a famous QSO took place between
the IRTS headquarters station and Owen Garriot(W5LFL)
aboard the space shuttle Columbia. This was the first
amateur radio operation from space. Mike Staunton
(EI3DY) was at the microphone at EI0RTS when contact
was made on two-metres. The station was set up
especially for the occasion at the RTE museum, then
located in Rathmines. Unfortunately, the Columbia
disintegrated on re-entry to earth's atmosphere in
February 2003 killing all seven aboard.

Two events took place recently which brought to mind
that famous QSO in 1983. Own Garriot's son Richard was
recently a fare-paying space tourist when he spent 12
days aboard the International Space Station. However,
on 25th October members of SDR, including Mike (EI3DY)
paid a visit to EI0MAR at the vintage radio museum in
Howth which has a recording of that famous EI0RTS QSO
with the Shuttle from 1983. Tony, EI5EM played the
recording to the gathering, following which, Mike
received a spontaneous round of applause.

Tony hopes to have that recording on youtube by the
time this news is broadcast. Key search words will be
ei0rts, ei3dy, irts and columbia. The museum in Howth
has now reverted to winter opening hours 11-4 on
Saturdays and Sundays. If any groups or clubs would
like to visit the museum they can email tony@ei0mar.org
or through the museum's web page www.ei0mar.org.

Shuttle Launch STS-126

The next shuttle launch is scheduled for the 14th of
November, This mission will have four amateur radio
operators onboard. It will be Piloted by Eric Boe and
Mission Specialist Donald Pettit, KD5MDT, Steve Bowen,
Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, KD5TVR, Shane Kimbrough,
KE5HOD and Sandra Magnus, KE5FYE. Magnus will replace
space station crew member Greg Chamitoff, KD5PKZ, who
has been aboard the station for more than five months.

Cross band Repeater on board THE I.S.S.

Astronaut Mike Fincke, KE5AIT has turned on the cross
band repeater on board the International Space Station
and early reports indicate that its coverage is quite
good to those within its ever shifting radio range.

The world-wide frequencies are 437.80 MHz as your
uplink while you listen on 145.80 MHz as the downlink
or output channel. Operation is similar to working the
Amsat Oscar 51 satellite or any ground-based cross band
system. The big difference is that in this case you
literally talk through the repeater on board the I-S-S
to other hams within range of the I-S-S radio footprint
on the ground.

How long the cross band repeater will remain in
operation is not known. 145.8 MHz is also used for
normal QSO's and school contacts, you can expect it to
be off during those times. Also, the cross band
repeater uses the cross band repeat function of the
on-board Kenwood D 700 radio. This unit is also used
for other on-orbit ham radio operations and during
those periods the repeater will likely be off line.

Chinese Amateur Radio Satellite Update

The XW-1 will be launched into a Sun synchronous orbit
to an altitude: 499 kilometres with an inclination of
98 degrees and an orbital period of 94 minutes. It will
be powered by a 16 amp hour Lithium Ion battery that
will recharge off solar cells that will be a part of
the spacecraft.

XW-1's ham radio payload will consist of a Morse beacon
operating at 435 MHz plus a linear transponder for 2
meter and 70 centimetre operations and an FM repeater
operating cross band from 2 meters also up to 70
centimetres. A digital store and forward transponder on
these same bands round out the gear which Chen says
will way in at 5 point 2 kilograms. That come out to be
about 11 pounds.

27 Oct 2008



The above photo illustrates the IC-7600 as presented at Tokyo HamFair 2008. The IC-7600 is a 100W-class HF/6m HF transceiver, utilizing Icom's well-known and proven IF-DSP architecture and feature set. Note the large TFT display screen. More information will be provided as this radio becomes available.

In the photo below, it will be noted that the elimination of the moving-coil meter has freed up sufficient front-panel space to accommodate the IC-7600's larger TFT display.

IC-7600 and IC-756Pro3 front panels compared. Photo: L. Gentili, I

Salient Points:

  • 13.8V, 100W-class HF/6m transceiver

  • 4-pin DC power connector on rear panel

  • 3 roofing filters (Performance in DW reduced due to roofing filter width)

  • Dual Watch

  • +30 dBm IP3

  • Single USB port on front (USB thumb drive/keyboard, TBD)

  • Single USB port on rear (Rig Control)

  • RTTY/PSK31 Encode/decode

  • APF/TBF (Twin Bandpass Filter for Digital)

  • Separate RX-OUT and RX-IN antenna ports

    • allowing connection of external preselectors, multicouplers etc.

  • Transverter port

  • Audio controls similar to IC-7700

    • TBW

    • TX/RX audio controls

  • Spectrum Scope features identical to IC-7700

  • AM/CW auto tune

  • Items not fitted:

    • Digi-Sel

It will be interesting to see what this radio will do on the air!!!



DX Bulletins

Willis Island Dxpedition

A team of mainly German radio amateurs have been
operating from Willis Island, in the Coral Sea,
north-east of Australia, since earlier this month,
using the call sign is VK9DWX.

The group's signals have been heard on most HF bands in
EI and GI, with 31 EI call signs and 25 GI call signs
in the log by Thursday 23rd October, for a total of 124
QSOs. 20 metres and 17 metres have been the best bands
to work Willis Island from Ireland, however the group's
logs show QSOs with Irish stations on all HF bands
except 10 metres. Monday the 27th October, is
expected to be the final day for the DXpedition.


Radio Rallies

1-2 November: North Wales Radio Society 22nd North
Wales Amateur Radio Show Llandudno Radio Rally The new
site is the brand new John Bright high school in

2nd November: Foyle & District Amateur Radio Club
Annual Rally in The White Horse Hotel Campsie,
Londonderry Doors open at 11:30 a.m. for Disabled
access Main event at 12-noon info www.mn0aku.org

Sunday 23rd November: Mayo Radio Rally, Belmont Hotel,
Knock, Co. Mayo. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Rally
Director, Padraic Baynes, EI9JA info www.ei7mre.org


IOTA Contest Results

Provisional results for this year's Islands On The Air
Contest have been published. Scores for the EI and EJ
entries are available on the IRTS web site, which also
includes a link to the full provisional results.

The top scoring EI/EJ station was EJ0GI, a combined
team from South Dublin Radio Club and City of Belfast
Amateur Radio Society, who operated from Inis Oirr.
This group achieved 6th place worldwide in their
category. The other EI/EJ stations with scores in the
million-plus range were EI0W (Dundalk Amateur Radio
Society) and EI9HX (Pat O'Connor). Other EI/EJ stations
also achieved high category placings, as can be seen
from the contest results page on the IRTS web site.

Another joint EI/GI entry was GI0MPG, operating from
Rathlin Island, who achieved 13th place worldwide in
their category. This year's IOTA contest attracted more
than 1800 entries worldwide, making it one of the most
popular contest of the year.


Global Simulated Emergency Test November 2008

The next IARU EmComm Party on the Air is scheduled
for Saturday the 8th of November between 0400 and
0800 hours UTC. The time of each exercise changes to
allow more stations to participate from around the
world as well as recognising that emergencies can
happen at any time

This is an exercise between stations interested in
emergency communications and is not a contest. Activity
will be concentrated around the IARU Emergency Centre
of Activity frequencies which are 3760, 7060, 14300
and 21360 kHz.


Great news for 5 MHz

Good news at last. After a long process of contacts
between the military authorities and ComReg the first
of the 5 MHz licences issued on Friday week last
October 17th. We hope by now that all of those who
applied have received the necessary permission. The
permission varies the terms and conditions of the
licences concerned so as to include three 3 kHz
channels with centre frequencies of 5280, 5400 and 5405
kHz. The practice is to use Upper Sideband for voice
transmissions on these channels. As these are centre
channel frequencies and the actual dial readout on
upper sideband is 5278.5, 5398.5 and 5403,5 kHz
respectively i.e. 1.5 kHz on the low frequency side of
the centre of the channel. The maximum power allowed is
200 watts. CW stations are encouraged to use the bottom
300 Hz of the channels as this permits the use of the
channel for SSB at the same time.

It should be noted that military cadet stations in the
UK which use special non amateur call signs are allowed
to participate in the 5 MHz experiment in the UK. EI
stations with 5 MHz permissions can not communicate
with these stations and may only communicate with other
licensed experimenter or amateur stations.

Dave EI3IO was one of the first EI’s on the band and
has sent us some observations. He indicates that 5 MHz
with its near optimum Near Vertical Incidence Skywave
(NVIS) properties provides superb and stable
communication during daylight hours around the Western
European Isles of EI, G, GI, GW and GM. At night,
stations in North America on the East Coast and the Mid
West were easily workable.

After 48 hours with the 5 MHz permission Dave worked
12 DXCC countries including Bermuda, Greenland and
Puerto Rico. In all he had 82 QSO’s in that period
with the best DX being K5RK in Alvin Texas at 7189
kilometres. Other EI’s heard on the band were EI7CD,
EI6IZ and EI7CC.

Finally a word of thanks to ComReg and to the primary
spectrum user for facilitating the release of the three
channels at 5 MHz for experimentation


Morse Code tests at Mayo Rally

There will be Morse Code tests available at the
upcoming Mayo Rally on the 23rd of November. These
tests must be booked in advance by contacting Sean
Donelan EI4GK telephone 01 2821420.


Learn Morse Code Online - K8ASA

WOW! The whole purpose of this website is to encourage new no-code hams,
and others, to try the C.W. mode. No one can know how great it is until they
experience it for themselves. There has always been a problem of learning
Morse code in the first place. Well rest assured I came across this interesting Blog.

A Blog devoted to preserving the unique, and vital, CW amateur radio environment,
Morse Code, as well as the great hobby of Amateur Radio in all its apparitions.

Enjoy, 73's

22 Oct 2008

TV Stations reports of Amateur Radio ISS school contact

On Friday 17th October, the pupils at Budbrooke School in Warwick, UK, spoke to Richard Garriot W5KWQ on the International Space Station.

Video of the BBC and ITV News reports of the contact can be seen on the web at:

BBC TV News Report - Children call outer space

ITV news report


Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS):

Richard Garriott to contact Budbrooke School, Warwick, UK http://www.southgatearc.org/news/oct...event_1710.htm

AMSAT-UK website

Join AMSAT-UK online at https://secure.amsat.org.uk/subscription/

SSB Field Day - 6 &7 September 2008

SSB Field Day

6 &7 September 2008


From 13:00 UTC Saturday to 13:00 UTC Sunday

After a few suggestions and many comments as to where we would set up our station for the SSB Field Day, http://www.irts.ie/cgi/irts_c.cgi we agreed to go back to our favourite place Slieve Cairn IO53LU. For the reasons being, that we would take part in the MRG SSB VHF/UHF Challenge http://www.geocities.com/ei2mrg the next day, Sunday 7th September after the SSB Contest.

It had been six days since we were here. The rain that week had made the track very wet and slippery, much worse than the previous week.

The Sun was shining as we set about to find a place to put our antenna. We had decided to put up a light weight antenna and had brought along all the material to do so. Jimmy, EI2GCB, decided on the location and screwed the base (purchased from ALDI in Castlebar!) for our pole into the bog. We had one of those fishing poles (another great purchase from ALDI!) to support our antenna. As you can see only the best and most sophisticated equipment was used!!! The antenna was made from two lengths (15.54m approx) of copper wire cut for a dipole, and an egg insulator with a roll of orange builders’ line attached at both ends. An open wire feeder, 300 ohm ribbon (10.36m) was attached and this was what we had to couple to the RG213 cable, to link to our radio in the van, that was now to be referred to as the “shack”!! We fitted some clamps on ferrite noise suppressors, to prevent RFI near the joint. With everything in place, I attached the centre piece near the top of the fishing pole with a few cable ties and then extended the sections one by one, making sure to twist lock them as they extended. As all this was going on, there was a gale brewing and this is where the fun began!!

Jimmy, EI2GCB, and Shauna, SWL, was holding the lines attached to the dipoles. John, EI3JM, with a line for a back stay all struggled to either pull or release as we shouted orders at each other. The fishing rod bent and flexed and would do everything but stand up straight. I cursed and dammed it and swore that, the next time I would have something more ridged, (well after all it is for fishing, stupid!), as we battled with the wind, which was now bending the pole into the shape of a C . After a half an hour of flexing and twisting, we got it tied. It looked like a “banana,” but it was up, or nearly was anyway! At this stage, patience had worn thin and we would settle for anything that would be off the ground, even the bent fishing rod. We had not checked the antenna before putting it up, but we were hoping the gods would look favourable on us! After connecting the analyser to it, they did. We connected up to the Icom 706 MK2g, and got up and running. With such a struggle to get on air, we found out the contest was well on. The conditions must be good, as the signals were very strong, up and down the bands, and reports were up in the high numbers from central Europe, as we tried to get into a rhythm, running 60-80watts to save on battery power. We concentrated on 20meters; it was the busiest band and got the contacts in the log.

Jimmy EI2GCB was crowned “hero of the day”, because we were in for a surprise! He had brought along the “FOOD”. The beautiful smell from the barbecue filled the shack and the sandpit where we had parked the van. As the fresh pork chops, burgers and a mixture of different flavoured sausages and onions wafted threw the camo it reminded us that we were starving, the contest now was on who would be fed first! The man at the helm, John, EI3JM, was operating the station, and needed to be fed so it was agreed. “That was beautiful” he said as he was handed more. Those who have eaten barbecued food, knows how delicious it tastes out in the open and ours was even better on top of a cold mountain. “Try it”...

Everybody got well fed and watered; it tasted so beautiful I nearly bit off my fingers eating my share. “Top marks Jimmy”.

David, EI3ECB, called around to lend a hand, being our entry was into the restricted section we had only one radio and one antenna and that was all that was in operation. Sorry David, maybe next time! Even though he was disappointed that he could be of no help, he assured me it was worth his while; he got some wonderful photos of the country side, and had a bit of crack with the group. As he left, I heard him saying this looks like fun, “let me know, in advance, when the next Field Day is”.

Darkness soon covered us, and with a clear sky over us, it soon got very cold. We donned our jackets and closed up the windows and doors of the van and settled in for a few hours of contesting. John, EI3JM, had done his term on radio, and together with Shauna, they left for home. Jimmy, EI2GCB, took over the station. After a few hours, we noticed that our power had dropped considerably. Our batteries were failing and needed charging; perhaps it was time to call it a night? We considered connecting to the battery of the van and start it and keep it running. It would serve two purposes, to keep the battery charged but most of all heat up the surroundings! I did that, but shortly after, we disconnected the cable from the radio and YES headed for home with the intentions of being back in the morning…. early!

Jimmy, EI2GCB, was on the mountain early and got a station running, conditions had changed with some of the bands he worked the previous day. He found 40m and 20m were very busy, with short openings on 15m and 10m.

John, EI3JM, was next to get there. He took over operating the radio while Jimmy fired up the barbecue once more for the breakfast. John, EI5GHB, got to the top of the mountain ahead of Shauna and me. We were greeted with the full Monty, chops, rashers, sausages, burgers, and yes “the mushrooms” he had even brought along the kitchen sink. “Grub ready” did not have to be repeated, as the word spread around. So good was the breakfast, that the radio was abandoned for a period while we dined in the sunshine. On behalf of everybody “Thank you Jimmy” it was greatly appreciated.

With everybody fed and watered once more, all hands were on deck. We proceeded to assemble the 2 meter and 70 centimetre antennas for the MRG VHF / UHF Challenge 2008 starting at 1500 hrs to 1800 hrs. Our jigsaw takes time to complete, but we are improving. No need for the ropes today, it was another beautiful morning; you could light and burn a match it was so calm. Little did I know that, by the end of the Challenge I was going to have LUMPS on me as big as marbles. I never seen or felt such large “So an So midges” before. Don’t talk to me about them I still have the marks! Up she goes, and yes, she turns. All set for BLAST off. All while we were putting up the tower, John, EI3JM, was working away in the van.

In a short time, the contest had finished and the bands had an eerie silence all over them. It reminded me of the calm after the storm.

We released the ties on the fishing rod, and it straightened up in the air. If only we had conditions yesterday similar to the calm and sunshine of today. Life would have been much, much, nicer. Needless to say, removing the antenna today was much quicker than putting it up the day previous; such is the joys of radio Hi. Hi.

There would only be a short break between the contests, so we had work for doing.

We had to relocate the “shack” (van) as the tower was setup near the top of the mountain. The dry days had improved the track. With a light foot on the hammer I scratched my way up to where we were the Sunday previous and got hooked up for the challenge.

Conditions were poor”, and contacts were scarce, even though we had perfect swr on our antennas, we thought we had a problem and dropping the tower to double check everything, even changed radio’s, but still no improvement, was it just a bad day?......We did not know how bad those midges were biting until we went outside, the protection of the van had saved us from them. What I would give if only we could hook up and drive away!! It had to come down and be dismantled again (anything that fitted in the van or jeep went in whole). We finally got it all packed away and we were ready for off.

As we drove into the sunset off the mountain, we chatted to some of our good friends through the repeater, about the events and what beautiful weather we had for the weekend. Tired but content that everything was a brilliant success.

A memorable two days was had by all who participated in the field days, and many thanks to everybody who played a part.

The team EI7MRE/P, was made up of Jimmy Kelly EI2GCB, John McAndrew EI3JM, Padraic Baynes EI9JA, and Shauna Baynes SWL. David Hatfield EI3ECB and John Walsh EI5GHB came along and joined in the occasion.

Sín é

dah di dah


Padraig Baynes, EI9JA.








20 Oct 2008

Listening to the ISS

Perhaps most interesting this weekend was taking the time to have a listen to the International Space Station (ISS) on 2m. Alerted to the activity by a friend at the work QTH, I had a listen to a couple of passes on 145.800 FM.

The passes I listened to were good overhead affairs with good strong signals.

If like me, you'd rather listen to some audio - take a listen to the audio file that Paul M3JFM and Pete M3PHP recorded of the QSO between the ISS and Bugbrooke Primary School near Warwick. - it's great.

Well done Paul and Pete - thanks for your enthusiasm on the project - it inspired me to take a listen where I normally wouldn't have done!

The International Space Station Amateur Radio
Gallery has now started to show pictures received
from around the world of the test images being sent
by the ISS. They can be seen at
http://www.amsat.com/ARISS_SSTV/ The ISS SSTV
pictures are transmitted on 145.800 MHz FM.

They should be receivable on an Amateur Radio 2 metre
handheld or a scanner radio connected to an external
quarter wave ground plane or discone antenna. If your
radio has different filter settings for 12.5 kHz and 25
kHz FM then select the 25 kHz filter for best results.

19 Oct 2008

News Updates

Global Simulated Emergency Test November 2008

The next IARU EmComm Party on the Air is scheduled
for Saturday the 8th of November between 0400 and
0800 hours UTC. The time of each exercise changes to
allow more stations to participate from around the
world as well as recognising that emergencies can
happen at any time

This is an exercise between stations interested in
emergency communications and is not a contest. Activity
will be concentrated around the IARU Emergency Centre
of Activity frequencies whdich are 3760, 7060, 14300
and 21360 kHz.


New Sunspot

A"new-cycle" sunspot belonging to Solar Cycle 24 is
emerging near the sun's north eastern limb. This is
the third time in as many weeks that a new-cycle
sunspot has interrupted the year's remarkable run of
blank suns.

The accelerating pace of new-cycle sunspot production
is an encouraging sign that, while solar activity
remains very low, the sunspot cycle is unfolding more
or less normally. We are not stuck in a permanent solar
minimum. Readers with solar telescopes should train
them on the sun this weekend to observe sunspot genesis
in action.


China to Launch its first Hamsat

Originally knows CAS-1 but now known as XW-1. XW-1 will
carry a beacon and three cross band transponders into
space. One is for FM, another is linear, and the last
is designed for digital operation.

Plans call for it to be launched by a CZ-2C rocket into
a sun synchronous orbit in June 2009,from the Taiyuan
Satellite Launch Centre in North China.


Recession hits Amateur Radio

French Amateur Radio Magazine, Megahertz has gone QRT.
It closed due to market factors, production and
distribution costs. Megahertz has been in production
for 26 years.


Contest News

One of the major international contests of the year -
the CQ WW DX SSB Contest - takes place over the weekend
of 25th/26th October. This contest always attracts
considerable interest in Ireland, and a number of
competitive EI and GI stations are expected to be
active. The contest is on all bands, except for WARC
bands, so expect the SSB portion of most bands to be
busy over next weekend

Swaziland, 25-26 October David GI4FUM / EI4DJ will be
active during CQWW SSB from the former IRTS AFRI75
Dxpedition site & antenna farm in Hawane using the
call 3DA0DJ. The 3DA0DJ call will be active from
18-28 October QSL via GI4FUM - see 3DA0DJ details on
“QRZ dot com”


European Common Allocations Table

In February last as a result of an initiative by IRTS
based on a technical paper by Dave EI3IO, ComReg raised
at the CEPT Working Group on Frequency Management WGFM
the question of the inclusion of a mention of
allocations to the amateur service in the region of 70
MHz in the European Common Allocations table (ECA).
There was no mention of these in the table despite the
fact that an increasing number of countries were giving
operating facilities to the amateur and experimenter
stations in that part of the spectrum.

This initiative has now yielded results as the revised
ECA finalised and published very recently by the
European Radio communications Office (ERO) includes a
new footnote which reads as follows ‘EU9 In a growing
number of CEPT countries parts of the band 70.0 to 70.5
MHz is allocated to the Amateur service on a secondary
basis.’ During the consultation period on the draft ECA
which ended on 16 August, the IRTS, with the Finnish,
British, Czech Republic, Dutch and Norwegian IARU
Societies made submissions supporting the inclusion of
the footnote and pressing for its retention in the
final table.

The new footnote now in the finalised table will assist
Societies in CEPT countries which have been reluctant
to grant allocations at 70 MHz because up to now there
had been no mention of such allocations in either the
ITU Radio Regulations or the European common
allocations table.

We are very grateful to the Frequency Management side
of ComReg for their assistance and cooperation in
bringing this initiative to such a satisfactory


Major Award goes to EI

The First Class CW Operators’ Club (FOC) is an
international group of CW enthusiasts whose central aim
is to encourage a high standard of operating and
behaviour on the amateur bands.

FOC sponsors the Al Slater, G3FXB, Memorial Award. This
is given once a year to an individual, group or society
for an outstanding contribution to the hobby that
reflects the attitudes and approach of G3FXB, a former
President and a keen contester.

The 2008 award was presented to Paul, EI5DI, at the
FOC’s annual dinner on 4th October, which celebrated
the 70th anniversary of the Club’s formation. Paul
is a past-President of IRTS and the author of SD
contest logger.


Radio Rallies in Ireland & UK

18th October: Carrickfergus Amateur Radio Group Rally
in Downshire Community School Carrickfergus doors open
12 noon info www.gi0lix.eu

24-25 October: Amateur Radio Show Donington Park,
Leicester Details www.lars.org.uk

1-2 November: North Wales Radio Society 22nd North
Wales Amateur Radio Show Llandudno Radio Rally The new
site is the brand new John Bright high school in

2nd November: Foyle & District Amateur Radio Club
Annual Rally in The White Horse Hotel Campsie,
Londonderry Doors open at 11:30 a.m. for Disabled
access Main event at 12 noon info www.mn0aku.org

Sunday 23rd November: Mayo Radio Rally, Belmont Hotel,
Knock, Co. Mayo. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Rally
Director, Padraic Baynes, EI9JA info www.ei7mre.org

UK's first internet streamed D-star live link

UK's first internet streamed D-star live link currently connected to GB7AU and reflector 5 Alpha

The live link is currently run by Duncan 2E0TDA located in Chesham Buckinghamshire

3 miles north of GB7AU and may occasionally be connected to other repeaters.

The link is a live stream therefore will have a slight delay (normally around 20-30 secs

They now have a live link for GB3AM and are working on a live link for GB3TU. Autostart is disabled so click play on the player you would like to listen to.

Here is the link : http://www.77hz.com/live.html

Amateur Radio SSTV pictures from Space Station

The ARISS-SSTV Gallery has now started to show pictures received from around the world of the test images being sent by the ISS.

They can be seen at

Images received from the AO-51 testing can be uploaded, but they will not be shown on the gallery.

The ISS SSTV pictures are transmitted on 145.800 MHz FM. They should be receivable on an Amateur Radio 2 metre handheld or a scanner radio connected to an external quarter wave groundplane or discone antenna. If your radio has different filter settings for 12.5 kHz and 25 kHz FM then select the 25 kHz filter for best results.

Free Slow Scan TV Software MMSSTV:

Free IZ8BLY Vox Recoder that enables you to record the ISS SSTV pictures on 145.800 MHz while you're away at work

AMSAT Online Satellite Predictions (enter ISS):

Google Earth Satellite Tracking:

Satscape Satellite Tracker:


Ham Radio Deluxe

ISS Fan Club:

AMSAT Bulletin Board AMSAT-BB


12 Oct 2008


This bulletin was made possible with information provided by NC1L, the OPDX Bulletin, DXNL, 425 DX News, The Daily DX, Contest Corral from QST and the ARRL Contest Calendar and WA7BNM web sites. Thanks to all.

KENYA, 5Z. Sam, G4OHX is QRV as 5Z4/G4OHX from Diani Beach in Mombasa until October 20. QSL to home call.

MALDIVES, 8Q. Mike, CT1IUA is QRV as 8Q71U from Kuredu Island, IOTA AS-013, until October 20. He is active holiday style on 80 to 10 meters using CW and SSB. QSL to home call.

GAMBIA, C5. Andre, ON7YK will be QRV as C56YK from October 13 to November 9. Activity will be on 160 to 10 meters using CW, SSB, RTTY and PSK31. QSL to home call. In addition, several DX4DX Team members will be QRV as C56EA from October 14 to 24. Activity will be on all bands using CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL via EA4BT.

SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS. Tomas is QRV as CE9/CE3VPM until November from the Chilean station Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva on King George Island. Activity is generally on 40 meters using CW and SSB. QSL via CE1KR.

EASTER ISLAND, CE0. Tsuyoshi, JJ2NYT will be QRV as CE0Y/JJ2NYT from October 16 to 19. Activity will be on 40, 20, 17 and 15 meters, and possibly 80 meters, using CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL to home call.

MADEIRA ISLAND, CT3. Stan, OK1JR is QRV holiday style as CT3/OK1JR until October 13. Activity is on 80 to 10 meters using mainly CW around 1400z. QSL to home call.

ANGOLA, D2. Vasily, UA0QMN is QRV as D2QMN from Vila Catoca in the Lunda Sul province. Activity is on 40 to 10 meters using CW, SSB, RTTY and PSK. QSL via RZ3EC.

MARQUESAS ISLANDS, FO. Willi, DJ7RJ is QRV as FO/DJ7RJ near the coast on Ua Pou Island, IOTA OC-027, until October 19. He is active using mostly CW on 160 to 15 meters. QSL to home call.

SCOTLAND, GM. Paul, 2E1EUB will be QRV as 2M1EUB from October 11 to 21. Activity will be on all amateur radio satellites from northeast and northwest Scotland. QSL via operator's instructions.

MINAMI TORISHIMA, JD1. Masa, JA6GXK will be QRV as JD1BMM from October 16 to November 6 while on work assignment. Activity will be on 160 to 6 meters during his spare time. QSL to home call.

BELGIUM, ON. Members of Belgium's UBA Waasland section are QRV using special event callsign ON50WAASLAND in celebration of the club's 50th anniversary. QSL via ON6WL.

SEYCHELLES, S7. Tom is QRV as S79TF ands has been active on 30 meters around 1800z. QSL via DJ6TF.

BANABA, T33. Toshi, JA8BMK will be QRV as T33ZZ from October 12 to 22. Activity will be on the HF bands. QSL to home call.

CHAD, TT. Jovica, E78A is QRV as TT8JT until November 18 while on work assignment. Activity is in his spare time on all bands using mostly CW. QSL via E73Y.

MARSHALL ISLANDS, V7. Sei, JA7LU and Yohji JH1AWN are QRV as V73LU and V73WN, respectively, from Majuro, IOTA OC-029, until October 13. Activity is on 40 to 10 meters using CW and SSB. QSL to home calls.

AUSTRALIA, VK. Tad, VK2LNX and Suzanne, VK2FSNJ are QRV for six months from Maatsuyker Island, IOTA OC-233, located off the coast of Tasmania. They are volunteer caretakers at the lighthouse here. QSL to home calls.

NORFOLK ISLAND, VK9N. Tomas, VK2CCC is QRV as VK9CNC until October 15. He is active holiday style on the low bands. He will also be an entry in the Oceania DX CW contest. QSL to home call.

WILLIS ISLAND, VK9W. A large group of operators are QRV as VK9DWX until October 27. Activity is on 160 to 6 meters with four stations operating simultaneously. QSL via DJ2MX.

SOUTH AFRICA, ZS. Look for special event station ZS08YL to be QRV from October 13 to 18 during the International YL and XYL Meeting that will take place in Cape Town. The station will also be active from Joburg, Durban and Cape Town. QSL via bureau.