Amateur Radio during Hurricane Matthew

After the longest activation in its more than 50-year history, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) secured operations for Hurricane Matthew on October 9 at 0400 UTC. HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, reported that the net was in continuous operation for 6 days, 7 hours, gathering real-time ground-truth weather data as the storm passed through the Caribbean and up along the US Eastern Seaboard, and passing the data along to WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Various Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) nets also activated along the East Coast. The first major hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season and, at one point, a Category 5 storm, Matthew was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone as it headed out into the Atlantic.

Read more…

Tuesday Self Test (Extra)

This Tuesday Self Test question is from the Element 4 Extra Class Question Pool:

E1F01 (B) [97.305]

On what frequencies are spread spectrum transmissions permitted?

A. Only on amateur frequencies above 50 MHz

B. Only on amateur frequencies above 222 MHz

C. Only on amateur frequencies above 420 MHz

D. Only on amateur frequencies above 144 MHz

Antenn-not, Just Not Sure Edition

-- from user prikiteeeeeww
— from user prikiteeeeeww

“Decreases your chances of electrocution by 60%. Also, your reception.”

Seriously, it looks like five yagi’s pointing to the left, and fanned out by a wooden spreader. This might be someone’s solution to picking up distant UHF broadcast TV in the boondocks.

North Country Hams Fill The Gaps

The North Country’s Solar Powered APRS Digipeaters
– Courtesy ARRL ARES E-Letter, Rick Palm K1CE, Editor

While there are a few good mountaintop Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) digipeaters in northern New Hampshire and Vermont, there are gaps in local coverage — many roads and towns are in valleys, shadowed by high mountains on either side, blocking access to the digipeaters.

Thus, “fill-in” digipeaters are required, critical for support of large ­scale public events such as the Prouty Century Bike rides. For this event, the local Amateur Radio club deploys two dozen trackers, and employs several fill-­in digipeaters for local use and access to the mountaintop machines.

A recently introduced, compact, all-in-one APRS unit (receiver, transmitter, and TNC) is easily incorporated in the fill-in digipeaters, easily transported by off highway recreational vehicles or backpack, and capable of operating for extended periods off the grid.

A solar powered digipeater can be employed for short term use as with our bike rides, or as a permanent installation. Here are a few considerations we factored into our systems.

Read more!

Boys & Their Toys

— Saarland State Police via AP,

Believe it or not, this is not the front seat of ham’s car. (Hard to believe I know…) Here’s a story from 2012… — elmer


MAINZ, Germany — Ever worry about getting caught by police using your cellphone while driving?

That was not enough of a risk for one German driver, who had an entire office installed in his Ford Mondeo station wagon.

Undercover highway police in southern Germany on Monday pulled over a 34-year-old IT specialist after he conducted an illegal passing maneuver and was going 80 miles per hour in a reduced 62-mile-per-hour zone on Germany’s infamous super highway, the autobahn.

“The officers were quite surprised when they found a laptop, a printer and even a medium-size voltage transformer attached to a wood rack that was set up next to the center console,” police spokesman Stephan Lassotta told NBC News.

In addition, the German highway patrol found two cellphones and a navigation system installed in the windshield of the driver’s car.

“We could not prove that the driver had been using the equipment while driving, so he was not fined for that violation,” Lassotta added.

But the man, who was not identified by name, was asked to store the technical equipment in his trunk immediately, before being allowed to continue his journey. German law states that “unsecured items” in vehicles are dangerous and therefore not permitted.

The man now faces a fine of more than $170 for speeding and passing traffic in a right-hand lane, in accordance with German law.

— By Andy Eckardt, NBC News

Cascadia Rising/Coastal Response Exercise

In the June 6-10 Cascadia Rising 2016 FEMA exercise in the Pacific Northwest, amateur radio found a role.

ARRL Oregon Section Manager John Core, KX7YT, and Western Washington Section Manager and State RACES officer, Monte Simpson, AF7PQ promote amateur participation in the September 2016 QST.

The scenario was a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and consequent tsunami, causing a blackout of all conventional communication channels, partnered with British Columbia, holding a parallel exercise, Coastal Response.

Including Amateur Radio as “an actual functional part” of Cascadia Rising was a big plus, and that the participants felt they were “actually part of the team and not some ancillary group that was just being tolerated.”

Among his recommendations, Simpson said there should be more standardization on language and forms, as well as coming up with a method of establishing contact with communities that lack communication if repeaters go down.

Read more!

— Courtesy Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, ARRL Letter and QST Contributing Editor, and ARRL ARES E-Letter, Rick Palm K1CE, Editor

Tuesday Self Test (Technician)

This Tuesday Self Test question is from the Element 2 Technician Class license question pool:

T1F01 (A)

What type of identification is being used when identifying a station on the air as “Race Headquarters” (Not “ARES/RACES”)?

A. Tactical call sign

B. An official call sign reserved for RACES drills


D. Broadcast station