“We promote public service as back-ups to the police department and communication support for the Community Emergency Response Team,” which is a national organization under the Department of Homeland Security, said James Knighton, president of Amateur Radio Euless. “CERTS can do basic first aid, assess situations to tell the city’s responders where and whether help is needed.”
Some club members are also Skywarn storm spotters with the Tarrant County branch of Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES), among hundreds of North Texas operators trained by the National Weather Service, Knighton said.
“We have eight or 10 members in RACES,” Knightson said. “We’re called up by the county during bad weather. But we’re storm spotters, not chasers. We looking for wind speeds above 50 mph, water coming up over curbs, and hail bigger than three-quarter inch.”
Euless Police Lt. Joe Kraft recognized how vital amateur radio operators can be in crises, so when he became the department’s emergency management coordinator, he sought out and joined Amateur Radio Euless.
I saw this over on the Adafruit blog today. I don’t know why they called it “How Does Your Smartphone Know Your Location?“, to me it explains how any GPS receiver works. But maybe I’m the only person left that uses a GPS navigator that is separate from my cellphone. I don’t know. But it’s interesting. Especially in how it describes the workings of an atomic clock.
Ahhh, HF. It’s been a long time since I called CQ on 20 meters. When I lived in Grand Rapids, our local club (The Grand Rapids Amateur Radio Association) opened up our radio room at the Red Cross on Wednesday nights, and I loved playing on 20 and 40 meters. Even some 10 meter contacts when the sunspots were just right.
Brandon Byrd KF5NYQ proudly displays his DX Century Club award from the ARRL (Photo Credit: WLOX)
Since I moved to Texas, I haven’t had the time or opportunity to set up on HF. But this kid in the news is much luckier. WLOX TV in Biloxi Mississippi reports that Brandon Byrd KF5NYQ, an 11 year old General class ham operator (which is impressive enough) has earned his DX Century Club (DXCC) certificate–for those not familiar with this prestigious Amateur Radio award, this means he managed to contact 100 different countries. Which is about 90 more than I have managed to do in my 25+ years in ham radio.
Mike KM5Z posted this article from Bloomberg.com on the Dallas Amateur Radio Club Facebook page that outlines the current negotiations that Radio Shack is making with Sprint Corp. In the proposed deal, Radio Shack would sell around half of their store leases to Sprint, and close the rest. The locations sold to Sprint would operate under the Sprint name, effectively ending the Radio Shack brand after 94 years.
Was nice to see the nod to Radio Shack’s roots in the Ham Radio business. From the article:
The discussions represent the endgame for a chain that traces its roots to 1921, when it began as a mail-order retailer for amateur ham-radio operators and maritime communications officers. It expanded into a wider range of electronics over the decades, and by the 1980s was seen as a destination for personal computers, gadgets and components that were hard to find elsewhere. In more recent years, though, competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and an army of e-commerce sellers hurt customer traffic.
Radio Shack is the company that was responsible for my entry into the electronics hobby, which went on to define my career. In my personal opinion, and I will probably come up with a lengthy editorial about this, Radio Shack numbered it’s days when it left the hobbyist market in the 90s and went on to become a place where you would go to buy a cell phone or maybe an audio cable. Radio Shack could have saved itself by watching the market when the maker movement started exploding over the last 10 years and re-entering it with more electronics stuff, which they ended up doing by getting into the Arduino and Raspberry Pi market, but it was too little too late. Online companies like Allied, Digi-Key, and Jameco (to name a few) had beaten them to the punch. When I was young, if Radio Shack didn’t have it, you didn’t build it until you decided to cough up the high minimum orders, or you just bit the bullet and waited until the next hamfest and hoped you could find the part. Now, there are many local electronics shops, and the major vendors no longer have insurmountable minimum order policies. Or you can go on Ebay and get twenty times what you need at the same cost as just a few, if you can wait a week or two for it to get here from China.
Soon it will be time to say goodbye to the Jap Shack. May they rest in peace.
Colton KEØCRD and his VE team (photo credit KEØCRD bio page at qrz.com)
And now on to the meat of the matter. Let’s all welcome Colton Ragsdale KEØCRD to the hobby, one of our newest Technicians. What makes Colton so special? He’s five. And he only missed three questions on the Tech exam. I’ll let Meagan Fitzgerald explain the whole thing to you because she will do it better than your humble blogger can (after the jump, due to the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to turn off AutoPlay on the embedded video): Read more
A few weeks ago the news came out that Marriott International (full disclosure: I am a Platinum Premiere member of Marriott, having stayed more than 1000 nights at their properties in the last 15 years or so) wanted to persuade the FCC to allow them to “block” personal Wi-Fi devices at some of their properties. This all comes after they actually tried doing so without the blessing of the FCC last year. From the FCC website (October 3, 2014):
Marriott International, Inc. and its subsidiary, Marriott Hotel Services, Inc., will pay $600,000 to resolve a Federal Communications Commission investigation into whether Marriott intentionally interfered with and disabled Wi-Fi networks established by consumers in the conference facilities of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, in violation of Section 333 of the Communications Act. The FCC Enforcement Bureau’s investigation revealed that Marriott employees had used containment features of a Wi-Fi monitoring system at the Gaylord Opryland to prevent individuals from connecting to the Internet via their own personal Wi-Fi networks, while at the same time charging consumers, small businesses, and exhibitors as much as $1,000 per device to access Marriott’s Wi-Fi network.
Well, these good folks decided to make a list of hobbies for men… Manly hobbies. The second item on the list: Ham radio. In the immortal words of Tim Allen (now actually a ham-KK6OTD!): Grunt, grunt!
Looking to be a part of a tight knit community with a focus on radio and communication? Look no further than ham radio. While the internet has taken radio’s place as the dominant form of communication, a vibrant community of amateur radio enthusiasts still exists. Radio hobbyists enjoy communicating directly with people from all over the world while expanding their knowledge of radio theory. In addition, most ham radio operators provide a public service to their communities by acting as relays in the event of emergencies or natural disasters. Radio operation is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, so you’ll have to be licensed to use a radio. Licensing isn’t difficult at all. You just have to take a multiple choice test that covers basic regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory. And of course you’ll need the equipment. Buying new will set you back a pretty penny, but you can find good deals on used radio equipment on eBay. For more info about getting started with ham radio check out the National Association of Amateur Radio (defunct link-use www.arrl.org — AD8BC) and stop by the AoM Community Group-The Manly Art of Amateur (Ham) Radio.
(Of course there are lady hams, like my wife KC8TSX, so let’s not take away from that as well…)
As most technical-oriented people are, I am fascinated with 3D Printing. They have a PolyPrinter 3D printer over at Tanner Electronics (video here) — they sell them, and they will also print out your file on their printer for a few bucks. I could watch that thing print for hours. Even though the costs are coming down, I can’t justify purchasing one yet. But they have one hell of a cool factor.
Yesterday, Hackaday featured two special printers that were demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show. The Voltera is cool enough — it prints a circuit onto a substrate using silver conductive ink. It can even make a second layer on top of the first by printing an insulating layer and then a second conductive layer. This sounds great for making circuit boards in a hurry. What could be better than that?
Oh, wait. How about the Voxel8? It also prints circuits. And, it’s also a 3D printer. And it does both at the same time. In 3D.
The Voxel8 marries the idea of a 3D printer with a silver conductive ink dispenser. You start by modeling your entire design, hardware and electronics, all in one. The printer will then begin the 3D print, pausing when necessary for you to add electronics and mechanicals. With the parts — and their pins — in place it lays out the conductive ink to connect the components and then continues with the 3D printing to finish the object.
The Outstanding Citizen of the Year for 2014 is a humble man, one who is a driving force behind the Central Mountain Section of the San Bernardino County Emergency Communications Service but who also prefers to stay in the background.
Tracy Lenocker, the Mountain Division chief, has had his amateur radio license since he was 14 years old. When he joined the Forest Service’s off-highway vehicle (OHV) program, he became active in amateur radio because communication out on the dirt trails was difficult, even with Forest Service radios.
This was a well-written article and worth a quick read.
In 2005 I joined the San Bernardino County Fire Office of Emergency Services (OES) as part of the Emergency Communications Services or ECS. I currently serve as the Mountain Division Chief for ECS and oversee three Sections with about 90 ECS radio communication volunteers. ECS is a first responder for any incidents providing communications at the ICP and Fire Camps such as for the major forest fires in 2003 and 2007 as well as some lesser fires. We provide radio communications for many events in our county such as the Amgen Tour of California, Baker to Vegas and about another 20 large events each year.
Congratulations Tracy! And congratulations to the Mountain News for a very well written article.
After waffling about it for a few months, I finally made the decision–I’m going to attend the HAM RADIO show in Friedrichshafen Germany this year in June. I got bit by the bug when Joe Eisenburg KØNEB (the famous Cat-In-The-Hat hat wearing photog famous for his annual photo montages of the Dayton Hamvention) decided to go last year. After watching his Dayton-esque Youtube Slideshow of the show (embedded below), I decided it was something that I needed to do at least once.
I was able to swing some free hotel room nights (using a big backlog of Priority Club points) at a brand new Holiday Inn Express within walking distance of the Messe Friedrichshafen (roughly translates to the
The Messe Friedrichshafen, home of the HAM RADIO show in Germany. (Photo credit: Joe Eisenberg, KØNEB)
“Friedrichshafen Fairgrounds”). I will fly into Zurich, Switzerland and take the train to the ferry terminal at Romanshorn, from which I will cross Lake Constance and land at Friedrichshafen. Read more