LO-94 Lunar-Orbiting Satellite Crashes Into Moon, But Not Before “Photographing” HF Radio Spectrum

Space.com and amateur radio science/technology blogger Daniel Estévez, EA4GPZ/M0HXM, are reporting that the lunar-orbiting LO-94 satellite has been intentionally crashed into the far side of the moon by its controllers. The reports indicate that the crash was long-planned as the satellite had completed its primary mission and exceeded its life expectancy, and controllers did not want to leave it in orbit as space debris.

The satellite, built by China’s Harbin Institute of Technology, achieved many firsts. It was the first lunar-orbiting amateur satellite; amateurs on Earth were able to command it to shoot and send back photos from the dark side of the Moon; it recorded a total solar eclipse back on Earth and served as the platform for the first-ever repeater QSO made from lunar orbit (see July 9, 2019 CQ Newsroom post).

One of LO-94’s final accomplishments, reported on the HamSci reflector, was to take a spectral “photograph” of RF energy emanating from Earth on the MF/HF spectrum. The graph published by Chinese media showed peaks just below the AM broadcast band and at roughly 9, 12 and 17 MHz. Propagation expert Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, added notations to the chart for the HF amateur and shortwave broadcast bands, plus WWV/WWVH, showing that most of the peaks match up with the major shortwave broadcast bands. It was noted by one member of the HamSci group that it would have been interesting to see what the graph looked like if the readings were made during a major DX contest weekend. Carl’s chart is posted below.

Washington Amateur Radio Club Volunteers Track Interfering Signals

Volunteers from the Skagit Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Club (SARECC) in Anacortes, Washington, recently assisted the US Coast Guard in tracking the source of interference on VHF Marine Channel 5A (156.250 MHz). This channel serves the commercial Vessel Traffic Service north of Bush Point on Whidbey Island, as well as in some Canadian waters in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The service offers monitoring and navigational assistance for ships in the region.

The club reports that the channel was unusable for 30 hours, forcing all traffic to other channels. SARECC volunteers promptly tracked down the source of the offending signal — a fishing vessel at the Squalicum Harbor fuel dock — and traffic on channel 5A was able to resume. Last fall, club volunteers were also able to pin down an interference problem for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. — Thanks to Richard Rodriguez, WB6NAH

NOAA: Prepare for Above-Normal Hurricane Activity

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administra- tion’s (NOAA’s) Climate Prediction Center has issued a revised forecast for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, suggesting that it might be more active than originally predicted. NOAA says the El Niño pattern in the Pacific – which typically suppresses hurricane activity in the Atlantic – has ended and more named storms are now likely.

The new forecast predicts there will be 10-17 named storms, of which about half may become hurricanes, including 2-4 major hurricanes (with sustained winds greater than 110 miles per hour). Hurricane season runs through November 30, with August, September and October typically being the most active months. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, be sure that both your personal and ham radio preparedness kits are ready as needed.

ARRL “Symbol Rate” Mediation Efforts Fail

The ARRL reports it was not successful in its attempt to find common ground between proponents of Automatically Controlled Digital Stations (ACDS) on HF – primarily users of the Winlink radio e-mail protocol – and amateurs who want the frequencies available to those stations limited to prevent possible interference. The FCC is currently considering a Notice of Proposed Rule Making on the matter and the ARRL had asked for a 2-month delay in the proceeding so it could try to find consensus between the opposing viewpoints. A series of in-person meetings and teleconferences followed, but despite reaching agreement on some of the issues, neither group was willing to make a submission to the FCC based on their areas of consensus.

According to the ARRL Letter, League Washington Counsel David Siddall, K3ZJ, both groups had an “all-or-nothing approach” that precluded them from moving forward, even on areas in which they found common ground. It will now be up to the FCC to sort it all out and make a decision.

FT4 Released as “Finished Protocol” for Digital Contesting

The latest “general availability” package of the WSJT-X digital mode suite – version 2.1.0 – was ARRL Letter also reports that the new package includes other bug fixes and general improvements, including an upgrade to FT8 waveform generation, improved user interface, rig control and contest logging features. As with other major updates to WSJT, users are strongly encouraged to install the new version and stop using previous ones, including “release candidate” versions. The new version of WSJT-X may be downloaded from <https://tinyurl.com/y2tg2fwp>, along with the user guide in several languages.

On a related note, the ARRL reports that Logbook of the World has been updated to permit FT4 contacts to count for it Digital Worked All States award. According to the ARRL Letter, “(n)o additional endorsements are under consideration at this time.”released in mid-July and includes the new FT4 mode as “a finished protocol for HF contesting,” according to the WSJT Development Group. The 

LoTW Now Accepting FT4 Contacts

The latest TQSL update (Config.xml version 11.8), released on May 22, includes FT4 as a submode of MFSK. It also adds AISAT-1 and PO-101 in the satellite category.

As of May 23, 1,048,281,611 contact records have been entered into the system, resulting in 200,387,247 contact confirmations. LoTW has 118,328 users.

Time Change

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is used to save energy and make better use of daylight. It was first used in 1908 in

What Is Daylight Saving Time?

DST is a seasonal time change measure where clocks are set ahead of standard time during part of the year, usually by 1 hour. As DST starts, the Sun rises and sets later, on the clock, than the day before.

Continue reading Time Change

Broadcaster to Transmit Field Day Greetings in MFSK64

A 100 kW HF broadcast transmitter in Nauen, Germany, will send Field Day greetings to North American radio amateurs in MFSK64 mode during the weekly “Giant Jukebox” broadcast of The Mighty KBC on 9,925 kHz, June 24, 0000 – 0200 UTC. The MFSK64, centered on 1,500 Hz, will begin at about 0130 UTC. An RSID will be transmitted just before the transmission to guide decoding software to the correct mode and audio frequency.

Reception reports are invited. — Thanks to Kim Elliott, KD9XB

W1AW Announces Field Day Bulletin Schedule

W1AW has announced its Field Day bulletin schedule. Those participating in Field Day can earn 100 bonus points for copying the special Field Day bulletin transmitted by W1AW or by K6KPH during its operating schedule on Field Day weekend. The Field Day bulletin must be copied via Amateur Radio. An accurate copy of the message must be included in your Field Day submission in order to earn the bonus points, which are available to all operating classes.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Continue reading W1AW Announces Field Day Bulletin Schedule

2018 ARRL Field Day

Field Day is ham radio’s open house. Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.

“What Is Field Day” (Printable PDF Flier)

We welcome the public to come learn more about ham radio! Use our Field Day Locator to search for a Field Day site near you.


Continue reading 2018 ARRL Field Day