Saturday, July 30, 2005

Canada Drops Morse Requirement as Sole Additional Requirement for HF Access 

From the ARRL Newsletter Vol 24, No 29

Industry Canada (IC) has adopted elements of the Radio Amateurs of Canada
(RAC) "Proposal on Morse Code and Related Matters" and has essentially
removed the requirement for Amateur Radio applicants in that country to
obtain a "Morse Qualification" for access to bands below 30 MHz.

"Morse code will no longer be the sole additional requirement by which
Canadian radio amateurs will gain access to the HF bands, but it will remain
as one valid criterion," Industry Canada said in its Notice announcing the
regulatory change. Industry Canada said it will continue to include Morse
code as a consideration in granting access to the HF bands. "However, this
is only one criterion and the measure of HF operator abilities should not be
limited to this one facet of operator skills," IC added.

Effective immediately, amateurs certified with the Basic Qualification prior
to April 2, 2002, and amateurs certified with both Basic and Advanced
Qualifications may operate on the HF amateur bands. Licensees holding only
the Basic Qualification who were certified after April 1, 2002, and who
achieved a passing grade of at least 80 percent also are allowed to operate
on HF.

Amateurs certified with the Basic Qualification after April 1, 2002, who did
not achieve a score of at least an 80 on the examination will either have to
attain the Morse Qualification, write the Advanced test or rewrite the Basic
examination and obtain at least an 80 percent grade to obtain HF privileges.

This last requirement is related to a decision to increase the passing grade
for the Basic examination to ensure that candidates have been tested in all
areas of the syllabus. Details of the Industry Canada decision are in the
Canada Gazette Notice and on the Latest News page of the RAC Web site.

FCC Amateur Service rules in §97.107(b) grant Canadian control operators
"the operating terms and conditions of the amateur service license issued by
the Government of Canada" but, in any case, not to exceed the control
operator privileges of an FCC-licensed Amateur Extra class operator. §97.107
does not apply to US citizens who may hold Canadian amateur licenses,

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Friday, July 29, 2005

SWPPG meeting tomorrow July 30th 2005 

Don’t forget that tomorrow, Saturday July 30, 2005, is the next meeting of the South Western Pennsylvania Packet Group. Join us for an interesting meeting and discussion on the digital aspect of amateur radio.

We will be meeting at the Blue Flame restaurant on Rt. 51 just south of the Century Three Mall. Just go south on 51 from the Liberty Tunnels and watch for the Blue Flame on the right hand side of the road. Meeting starts at 10:00 AM and all are welcome.

The Blue Flame provides us with a private meeting room free of charge so we ask that everyone who attends buy something even if it is just coffee and toast. The have an “all you can eat” breakfast buffet that is outstanding. Or you can order from the menu.

Mike, K8LG, will be doing a presentation at the meeting tomorrow and his talks are always interesting. I hope to see you there.

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Local hams to talk with the Post Gazette about BPL 

This from the K3MJW mailing list.

K3FLI, Jerry and another ham are going to be talking to a reporter from the Post Gazette tomorrow about BPL in Monroeville.

Hopefully this will result in an article that tells our side in a positive manner.

Keep a lookout for it and let folks know about it if and when it comes out


Thanks to Joe for the heads up. If the interview results in an article I will post a link to it here.

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Local dispatchers to remain after merger 

From the Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Monroeville will keep local dispatchers when the Eastern Regional Communications Center merges with Allegheny County 911 at the end of the year.

Municipal officials decided to keep its operation in the municipal building to serve as a ringdown center. In a ringdown center, calls to 911 are transferred automatically from the county to local dispatchers.

Katofsky, also a Monroeville councilman and volunteer fire chief, said Monroeville's radio and computer-aided dispatch systems are better than the county's.

"The police records management system is tied into the CAD (computer-aided dispatching system) in the police cars, fire trucks and ambulances," Katofsky said.

Also, Monroeville has silent dispatching, which means as dispatchers can type in a call that shows up on computer screens in police cars.

Follow this LINK for the complete story.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

An enjoyable walk down memory lane 

I subscribe to several mailing lists on a number of topics with more than a few of them being ham radio related. One of them deals with radios manufactured by the Hallicrafters Company. As with many other things electronic in nature there were once a number of companies here in the United States that produced commercial off the shelf amateur radio gear and Hallicrafters was one of the best. Many hams still collect these vintage radios affectionately called “boat anchors” and with an enormous amount of work restore them to their original physical and electrical pristine state. Trust me when I tell you that for many it is a labor of love. Now if only I had more money in the toy budget!

So this morning in my mailbox I found an offer to purchase a piece of history. Towards the end of it's life Hallicrafters made a number of solid state radios that continued to be available into the early 1960's. The FPM-200 was a marvel of technology far ahead of its time and never became a commercial success due to its high cost. In 1959 this radio sold for over $2600 which was more than half a years wages for the average ham at the time. You can follow this link if you would like to see detailed photos of and the story behind this marvelous radio and piece of history. Enjoy.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Listen to the space shuttle Discovery live with your scanner or two meter rig 

If you would like to listen to the space shuttle Discovery while it is in orbit with your scanner you can do so courtesy of WA3PBD by way of a remote two meter base transmitter. Just program your scanner for 145.620 mHz and you will hear the NASA audio feed at they talk with the shuttle. You can also follow this link to AMSAT for a complete list of amateur radio stations that rebroadcast the shuttle audio. Enjoy!

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Fantastic information resource 

While going through some files that have accumulated on my TiVo's hard drive this evening I was watching a 60 Minutes segment that I had recorded back in December of last year. It was all about how Google got started and where the company was at that time. I watched it one more time before deleting it and while there were talking about the various new services that Google was developing they mentioned Google Print.

I made a mental note to check out what “Google Print” was about the next time I was at the computer which I did this evening. Well it blew my socks off. Go try it for yourself and see what you think. Enter http://print.google.com and then put in the words “ham radio” and see the results. I think you will be as impressed as I was. Good stuff!

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Monday, July 25, 2005

This is one of the best that I have seen. 

Every once in a while I see an article in a magazine about using a flag pole or a light pole to hide your HF vertical antenna if you live in an area where they are restricted. It is not a bad idea but I have to admit this is one of the most elaborate versions of it that I have ever seen. Really well done. Check out the article on the eHam web portal at this link. Pretty slick!

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