Hurricane Watch Net Announces Plans as Hurricane Michael Approaches Gulf Coast

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has announced tentative plans to activate on October 9 at 2100 UTC on both 14.325 and 7.268 MHz as now-Hurricane Michael is forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane later today. It is expected to make landfall somewhere on the Florida Panhandle on the evening of October 10 as a strong Category 2 or possibly a major Category 3 hurricane.

“However, don’t focus on the primary dotted line of the forecast track, as Mother Nature has a way of changing her mind as to where a storm can go,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, cautioned.

Now boasting sustained winds of 75 MPH, the storm is moving to the north at 7 MPH. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said storm surge and hurricane watches are now in effect for portions of the northeastern Gulf Coast area. Some areas along the Florida Gulf Coast are especially vulnerable to storm surge, regardless of the storm’s exact track or intensity.

Graves said that given the current forecast track and forward speed, the HWN has tentative plans to activate Tuesday afternoon at 2100 UTC, remaining on 20 meters for as long as propagation allows and suspending operations on 7.268 MHz at 0300 UTC on Wednesday, October 10. Operations will resume at 1230 UTC on both 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz and will remain in operation until further notice.

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WWV/WWVH Ending Marine Storm Warning Broadcasts

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has announced that marine storm warning announcements from the National Weather Service – broadcast on WWV and WWVH for the past 47 years, will be terminated as of the end of October. No reason was given for the move. However, NIST has proposed shutting down WWV, WWVB and WWVH as part of its planned budget reductions for federal fiscal year 2019. It is unclear at this point whether Congress has taken final action on the NIST budget request.

We recommend that readers concerned about maintaining funding for WWV and its sister stations contact their Congressional representatives as soon as possible

Online Fundraising Campaign Backs ISS Radio Upgrades

ARISS and AMSAT are supporting a FundRazr campaign to raise $150,000 for critical ham radio infrastructure upgrades on the International Space Station (ISS).

“ARISS is in critical need of infrastructure upgrades to ensure that programs such as talking to astronauts in space using Amateur Radio can continue,” ARISS International President Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said. ARISS seeks several upgrades, including new Amateur Radio communication and experiment capabilities, such as an enhanced voice repeater, updated digital Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS), and slow-scan television (SSTV) with image uplinks and downlinks in both US and Russian segments; next-generation radio systems that will support easier mode and capability transitions, and a multi-voltage power supply to support present and future radio capabilities.

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Remembering the Launch of Sputnik 1 — Earth’s First Artificial Satellite

October 4 marks the 61st anniversary of the launch by the Soviet Union of Sputnik 1, Earth’s first artificial satellite. The Soviets heralded the launch as a national triumph, and the space race between the USSR and the US began.

Sputnik 1 was a 58-centimeter diameter, polished aluminum sphere sprouting four antennas and transmitting a 1 W signal on 20.005 and 40.002 MHz, putting it within the range of nearly any radio amateur. Orbiting the planet about once every 96 minutes, Sputnik 1 could be seen from Earth. Following the launch, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology’s HF radio station WWV even halted its nighttime 20 MHz transmissions to avoid interfering with the satellite’s signal.

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“Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?”

WWV in the Crosshairs
By Rich Moseson, W2VU, Editor
CQ Magazine

“Does anybody really know what time it is?” the rock group Chicago famously asked back in the ’70s, adding, “Does anybody really care … about time?” The answer to both questions is yes, especially today, when so much of what we do, where we go and how we get there are dependent on (our devices, at least) knowing the accurate time. It is perhaps appropriate that I’m writing this while on a (delayed) train, since it was the rise of rail travel that was responsible for standard time zones and the need for accurate timekeeping.

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ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team to Activate on September 12

The ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team will activate today (September 12), ARRL Emergency Response Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, has announced, as what the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is calling “dangerous Hurricane Florence” heads toward the southeastern US coast, where it’s “expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to portions of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states.

ARRL shipped seven Ham Aid kits to South Carolina by way of Georgia on September 11 to assist with emergency preparedness needs in advance of Hurricane Florence. These kits are the same ones that ARRL volunteers took to Puerto Rico a year ago to assist with disaster communications following Hurricane Maria.

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ARRL Headquarters, Hurricane Watch Net, SATERN Monitoring Active Storms

With active storms in the Atlantic and Pacific basins, ARRL Headquarters, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), and the Salvation Army Team Emergency Network (SATERN) are all on alert. The most imminent storm is Hurricane Florence, now a major Category 3 storm, which is set to strike the Carolinas later this week. Hurricane Watch Net Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said over the weekend that the net is keeping a close eye on Hurricanes Florence and Isaac, a Category 1 storm that could affect the Lesser Antilles before heading into the eastern Caribbean.

“Florence is expected to affect the US East Coast midweek, [with] Isaac affecting the Windward Islands about the same time,” Graves said. “The impact of Florence could be catastrophic, as it is forecast to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane.” Graves notes that Charleston, South Carolina, was last hit by Category 4 storm when Hugo made landfall in 1989.

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FCC Fines Drone-Maker, Pennsylvania Ham


In two unrelated actions, the FCC is proposing a fine of nearly $3 million for a drone manufacturer it says is using unauthorized audio/video transmitters in its devices, and agreed to a $7,000 payment from a Pennsylvania ham to settle a 4-year-old enforcement action for interference on 14.313 MHz.

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WEST TEXAS FIELD DAY TOUR

June 23 and 24, 2018

Saturday morning dawned bright and early for Shirley and I as we prepared for our round robin tour of several ham radio clubs in the West Texas Section. I had decided that I would visit seven clubs in eight locations, as the Lubbock club was having Field Day at two separate locations. My wife Shirley KO5M and our dog Bear decided to keep me company on the trip. A decision that they may well regret. Looking back

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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