30 Jun 2012

Amateur Radio TV and CW beacons for ISS

ARISS are hoping to establish an amateur radio 2.4 GHz TV beacon and a CW beacon on the International Space Station. The minutes of the ARISS International Monthly Teleconference for June 19 carry this report on the status of the amateur radio equipment for the ESA Columbus module.

Gaston, ON4WF said the HamTV project is progressing. There have been discussions with ESA about the possibility of adding extra units to the HamTV transmitter that is being developed by Kaiser Italia. This is acceptable in as far as the KI unit under construction does not need to be modified.

A so called “Video Beacon” will be added externally to the HamTV unit. This beacon will allow automated DATV transmissions more or less permanently. The content of these DATV transmissions will be uploaded from the ground through existing channels and transferred to the Video Beacon on request. This function will also be used for educational purposes. Moreover, astronauts could record footage and load it into the Video Beacon for automated transmission.

Another additional unit will be a CW beacon transmitter delivering a small band low power signal (100 mW) on a frequency nearby the HamTV frequency. This beacon will transmit permanently and use the second ARISS L/S-band antenna. This offers ground stations signal reception with large S/N margins, facilitating antenna tracking and signal acquisition, especially at the beginning of a pass. The CW Beacon will transmit telegraphy signals, alternating its identification (call sign), a continuous carrier and possibly some telemetry comprizing onboard parameters (temperature, pressure, humidity, ambient sound level, etc.).

Lou W5DID suggested that we may be able to power it from the packet module already on the ISS, making it simple to operate.

ESA is being asked to address the cost of the Safety Package and testing such as EMI tests and outgassing tests for these additional units, but development and manufacturing will be supported by ARISS. A cost estimate is being developed for our team to build the units. A funding campaign will be set up to collect donations to cover the cost.

Regarding the amateur radio station in the Russian Service module the minutes say:
Kenneth N5VHO reported that an onboard power issue somewhat impacted ARISS radio operations. The air purifier for the ATV [Automated Transfer Vehicle] has needed to be plugged in, recently, in the Service Module (SM). The ARISS radio in the SM was turned off while the purifier was being used. The radio is turned on by the crew for school contacts and when the crew gets on the air for random contacts, as Astronaut Kuipers has done in the past few weeks. The ATV will be docked at the ISS until late September.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) http://ariss.rac.ca/

25 Jun 2012

2012 IARU HF World Championship

The 2012 IARU HF World Championships will take place during the second full weekend of July, beginning at 12:00 UTC on Saturday 14 July and ending at 12:00 UTC
on Sunday 15 July 2012.

The objective of this contest is to contact as many other amateurs, especially IARU Member Society HQ
stations, around the world as possible using the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 metre bands using phone
and/or CW.

All IARU Region 1 Member Societies are invited to actively participate with their official stations and
to encourage their members to also participate.

The rules for the 2012 contest are available on

Change to the IRTS 40 Metre News Frequency

The present 40 metre radio news frequency has become increasingly busier on Sunday mornings. This has lead on occasions to some difficulty in the reception of both the bulletins and the reports on the transmissions. It has been decided, therefore, to move the transmission of the 40 metre news to a new frequency of 7123 kHz on and from Sunday the 1st of July 2012. This frequency was selected after monitoring a range of frequencies over a period of time by amateurs who use this particular transmission of the radio news bulletin.
HF News Readers Needed

Additional HF newsreaders are required to cover the 40 & 80M news broadcasts over the summer months due to holidays etc. Any IRTS members that wish to join the panel and are available to read the HF news would be most welcome. Please send an email to info@irts.ie

2012 Leap Second

The last minute of June 30th 2012 UTC will be 61 seconds long, the extra second being a "leap second".
Leap seconds are introduced to maintain synchronisation between atomic clocks and more traditional time scales such as Greenwich Mean Time. These leap seconds are introduced approximately every 18 months, at the end of June or December, usually to give the Earth's rotation a chance to catch up on our clocks. In Ireland and the UK the leap will take place close to 1am local time.

This leap second represents a chance to record the leap second by DXing an international time signal (e.g.
Rugby on 60kHz, Moscow on 4.996 MHz). As the future of leap seconds is under discussion at the ITU, this could be the last chance to have a QSO with a leap second!


Affiliated clubs and individuals are invited to help put EI80IRTS on the air in this our 80th Anniversary
year. If you or your club wish to use EI80IRTS please contact Ger McNamara EI4GXB at ei4gxb@gmail.com or Thos Caffrey EI2JD at thoscaffrey@hotmail.com.
Reports from SWL's are particularly welcome and a very attractive award is available for working the station.

19 Jun 2012

Segment of 2m to be used for Olympics

Ofcom has announced that a small block of the amateur radio 144 MHz band is to be used for the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

The RSGB have issued the following announcement:

Following negotiations to minimise the impact on amateurs, Ofcom has now announced that it will temporarily authorise a small block of 12.5kHz channels, ranging from 144.0125MHz to 144.1375MHz, for the period
27 July to 28 August 2012 only.

The frequencies to be used specifically exclude 144.0500MHz (CW Calling) and 144.1000MHz (Perseids Meteor Scatter CW Calling).
Ofcom are aware of the various amateur contests scheduled for 4 and 7 August and will work with Game users to keep operations to a minimum on these dates.

Usage of this spectrum by Games users will be in the vicinity of London Olympic venues and will be limited to handheld equipment operating on a maximum of 5W output. Ofcom emphasises that use of Primary Amateur spectrum is only for the specified time period and does not constitute a change of usage.

RSGB Announcement

RSGB 2012 Olympic Pages

- Posted from my iPhone - 73's DE EI5IX

18 Jun 2012

BBC is developing 3D radio

Researchers at the BBC's technology unit, BBC R&D, have
been developing acoustics that can trick the listener
into believing they are really at events such as concerts with sound coming from every direction - even
above and below. Look forward to listening to these developments!

- Posted from my iPhone - 73's DE EI5IX

16 Jun 2012

Double CME targets Earth

Active sunspot AR1504 is facing Earth and hurling coronal mass ejections (CMEs) in our direction.

A fast-moving CME that left the sun on June 14th is expected to scoop up another CME already en route and deliver a double-blow to Earth's magnetic field on June 16th.

Weak-to-moderate geomagnetic storms are possible when the clouds arrive.

Check http://spaceweather.com for images and updates.

- Posted from my iPhone - 73's DE EI5IX

13 Jun 2012

Ofcom Wireless Telegraphy Regulations 2012 Statement

Ofcom has published a statement on its decision to make the Wireless Telegraphy Regulations 2012 control interference from apparatus during the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

The report notes that the BBC and the RSGB both also expressed the view that the Proposed Regulations should be extended to address undue interference with wireless telegraphy used for purposes other than public safety.

One responder to the consultation pointed out that “..... the powers that are conferred under these proposed regulations to prevent harmful interference should not be limited either geographically, or in time, this legislation is needed to generally protect radiocommunications, and not just for the period of the Games. This is because the level of electromagnetic pollution is steadily rising, even from devices meeting the requirements of Harmonised EMC standards.”

Another responder said that “if the existing EMC regulations laid down in European law are policed correctly 24/7, then none of this would be necessary.”

The statement, Decision to make the Wireless Telegraphy (Control of Interference from Apparatus) (the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Regulations 2012, can be found here.

Full PDF document

RSGB response to consultation on proposed Wireless Telegraphy Act Regulations 2012

- Posted from my iPhone - 73's DE EI5IX

11 Jun 2012

Gene Zimmerman W3ZZ SK

Radio Amateurs will be sorry to hear of the death on Sunday last, 3rd June 2012 of 
Gene Zimmerman W3ZZ

Gene wrote the popular QST column 'The World Above 50 MHz' from 2002 to 2011. Over the years he worked more than 140 DXCC entities on 6 metres, 38 States on 144 and 220 MHz and held the VHF/UHF Century Club (VUCC) on the 50 to 1296 MHz bands. Gene was first licensed in 1956 and held an Amateur Extra Licence since 1963.

Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.

4 Jun 2012

International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend

The 15th International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend
in August has inspired many to register early with 32
countries and nearly 250 registered already. To
register, complete a short online form, read the event
rules and have lots of fun. We have complete statistics
on past events, reports from previous years and we're
on Facebook too. Visit the website at www.illw.net for the
International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend held on
August the 18th and 19th.