ISS Packet System is Back on VHF

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) packet digipeater system is again operating on VHF — 145.825 MHz. The failure of an Ericsson handheld VHF transceiver on board the ISS last fall had caused ARISS to shift packet operation to 70 centimeters. A cargo resupply mission in February delivered a new Ericsson 2 meter handheld, to replace the one that had failed, which had been used in the Columbus module for school group contacts and for Amateur Radio packet.

While the VHF transceiver was offline, ARISS shifted school contacts from NA1SS to the Kenwood TM-D710 transceiver in the Russian Service Module. NASA ISS Ham Project Coordinator Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO, said the VHF capability now back in Columbus can be used in conjunction with passes involving the HamTV digital amateur television (DATV) system, which operates on 2.4 GHz.

Continue reading ISS Packet System is Back on VHF

FCC Proposes Levying Huge Fine on New York Police Radio Jammer

The FCC has proposed a fine of more than $400,000 on a Queens, New York, man who has admitted making unauthorized transmissions on New York City Police Department (NYPD) radio frequencies, maliciously interfering with NYPD officers’ communications. Peralta, 20, is alleged to have transmitted false bomb threats, false claims of criminal activities involving firearms, false distress calls from purported NYPD officers, and threats against individual NYPD officers. The unauthorized transmissions began a year ago, according to the FCC.

“Through his actions, as he described them to the NYPD, Mr. Peralta has demonstrated not only a deliberate disregard of the Commission’s authority and rules, but of the safety of NYPD officers and the public that they are called to serve and protect,” the FCC said in a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL), issued on April 14. “Commission action in this context is therefore essential to safeguard authorized operations on spectrum licensed for public safety uses, and, accordingly, a substantial penalty appears warranted.”
Continue reading FCC Proposes Levying Huge Fine on New York Police Radio Jammer

W1AW Spring/Summer Operating Schedule

Pacific Mtn Cent East UTC Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
6 am 7 am 8 am 9 am 1300z Fast Code Slow Code Fast Code Slow Code
7 – 9 am
10 am -12:45 pm
8 – 10 am
11 am -1:45 pm
9 – 11 am
Noon – 2:45 pm
10 am – Noon
1 – 3:45 pm
1400z to 1600z


1700z to 1945z

Visiting Operator Time

(Station closed from 1600z to 1700z)

1 pm 2 pm 3 pm 4 pm 2000z Fast Code Slow Code Fast Code Slow Code Fast Code
2 pm 3 pm 4 pm 5 pm 2100z Code Bulletin
3 pm 4 pm 5 pm 6 pm 2200z Digital Bulletin
4 pm 5 pm 6 pm 7 pm 2300z Slow Code Fast Code Slow Code Fast Code Slow Code
5 pm 6 pm 7 pm 8 pm 0000z Code Bulletin
6 pm 7 pm 8 pm 9 pm 0100z Digital Bulletin
6:45 pm 7:45 pm 8:45 pm 9:45 pm 0145z Voice Bulletin
7 pm 8 pm 9 pm 10 pm 0200z Fast Code Slow Code Fast Code Slow Code Fast Code
8 pm 9 pm 10 pm 11 pm 0300z Code Bulletin

W1AW’s transmitting schedule occurs at the same local Eastern time throughout the year.

Continue reading W1AW Spring/Summer Operating Schedule

62nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Hamfest and ARRL West Texas Section Convention

March 18th, 2017Click to go to ARRL website.
Grand Texan Hotel and Convention Center
4300 W. Wall Street
Midland, Texas
All the information about the hamfest will be posted on the MARC website as soon as it’s available. In addition, our traditional hamfest flier will be mailed out in January. If you’ve registered in the last three years you should receive a flier.  Or download a flier in PDF format here.

This year in addition to our normal hamfest prizes we are again raffling an Elecraft K3S transceiver with MH2 microphone.  A maximum of 300 tickets will be sold at $20 each.  For complete details please visit the raffle page on this website or the K3S raffle website.


Boy Scouts Announce 2017 JOTA-JOTI Theme

Scouting’s World Jamboree on the Air/Jamboree on the Internet (JOTA-JOTI) Team has announced the theme for this fall’s JOTA-JOTI event: “60 Years Connecting Scouts.” The 2017 theme recognizes the event’s beginnings in 1957 and commemorates its growth in participation and in the expanding communication channels activated this coming October. In addition to Amateur Radio, those channels include Internet-based channels and other Internet-based options, including social media, ScoutLink, IRC chat services, Skype, and more.

“It also recognizes the goal of the event — connecting Scouts so that they can engage in conversations with other Scouts across town and around the world,” said JOTA Coordinator Jim Wilson, K5ND. “This allows them to discover geographic and cultural differences and similarities. Plus, they are exposed to the technology that makes all this happen.”

The JOTA-JOTI 2017 logo contest is about to start. Plans for 2017 include a simplified registration system.

According to the World JOTA-JOTI Report 2016, more than 1 one million Scouters in 156 countries and at 33,000+ locations took part in JOTA-JOTI last fall. The numbers for US participants were 10,700 for JOTA and 560 for JOTI. Wilson said there was a problem integrating those statistics into the final report.

ARISS Moves Closer to Launching New Radio System to Space Station

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) reports it has met a major milestone and now is “one giant step” closer to flying its new interoperable radio system to the International Space Station. Eventual plans call for installing a new JVC Kenwood TM-D710GA-based radio system on the station as part of an overall approach that will allow greater interoperability between the Columbus module and the Russian Service Module.

Lou McFadin, W5DID, and Kerry Banke, N6IZW, travelled to NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston in mid-February for preliminary testing of Banke’s “breadboard” version of the ARISS multi-voltage power supply that’s essential to the upgrade. They worked with JSC engineers and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Lab personnel to put the specially built power supply through its paces, checking against US and Russian space specifications for preliminary power quality and EMC tests.

Continue reading ARISS Moves Closer to Launching New Radio System to Space Station

You have DXing Questions? Dr. DX has Answers!

The Southern California DX Club (SCDXC) has announced that “Dr. DX” is on call and ready to answer questions via e-mail from fledgling DXers. A team of experienced DXers will offer helpful replies to any and all DXing-related questions.

The club has also distributed a brochure to Southern California Amateur Radio clubs to entice hams who are not yet DXers into that area of the hobby. Ham clubs outside of Southern California may request a PDF.

The SCDXC says its efforts to promote DXing in general are not limited to Southern California, and Dr. DX will take questions from anywhere. Through the Dr. DX program, new DXers may ask about equipment, operating techniques, antennas, QSLing, and related topics, and someone on the SCDXC Dr. DX team will have the right answer! SCDXC Dr. DX team members will respond to every question. — Thanks to SCDXC

Mar 12, 2017 – Daylight Saving Time

When local standard time is about to reach
Sunday, March 12, 2017, 2:00:00 am clocks are turned forward 1 hour to
Sunday, March 12, 2017, 3:00:00 am local daylight time instead

Sunrise and sunset will be about 1 hour later on Mar 12, 2017 than the day before. There will be more light in the evening.

Also called Spring Forward, Summer Time, and Daylight Savings Time.

More info:
DST Starts in USA & Canada
States in the US Consider Scrapping DST

Nov 5, 2017 – Daylight Saving Time

When local daylight time is about to reach
Sunday, November 5, 2017, 2:00:00 am clocks are turned backward 1 hour to
Sunday, November 5, 2017, 1:00:00 am local standard time instead

Sunrise and sunset will be about 1 hour earlier on Nov 5, 2017 than the day before. There will be more light in the morning.

Also called Fall Back and Winter Time.

New FCC Chairman Declares First Phase of Pilot Transparency Project a Success

New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, just nominated for a second 5-year term on the FCC by President Donald Trump, is declaring the initial phase of his pilot program to increase the transparency of its rule making process a success. Pai announced the program in early February, It will, for the first time, make public the full text of documents circulated to the rest of the Commission for a vote at FCC open meetings. Under prior practice, such documents would have been kept under wraps until after the Commission voted on them.

“I’m pleased to report that the initial stage of the pilot project was a success!” Pai said in a March 2 blog post. “We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the public.”

As a result, he continued, the FCC would expand its pilot project by releasing the text of all six issues that the FCC will consider at its March open meeting. “Allowing anyone, anywhere to see these documents publicly is another step towards shedding more sunlight on the FCC’s operations,” Pai added.

Commenting on FCC process reform in 2014, the ARRL said, “The Commission’s decision-making process must not only be fair, it must be perceived as fair.”

Continue reading New FCC Chairman Declares First Phase of Pilot Transparency Project a Success

The K7RA Solar Update

Over four days last week, we saw a blank Sun, starting with March 4. On March 5, the sunspot number was 11 (indicating a single sunspot), then on March 6-8 the Sun was blank again. Thus, we saw an average daily sunspot number of just 14.1, a 20-point drop from the previous seven days.

Yesterday (Thursday) still no sunspots (our reporting week for calculating averages runs Thursday through Wednesday, so the zero-sunspot number for Thursday will be included in the average for the March 17 bulletin).

Average daily solar flux decreased by seven points from 81.3 to 74.3.

Geomagnetic indicators increased, with average planetary A index rising from 13.1 to 20.9, and mid-latitude A index went from 8.7 to 15.

Predicted solar flux is 71 on March 10-12, 73 on March 13-16, 76 on March 17, 78 on March 18-23, 76 on March 24, 75 on March 25-29, 73 on March 30 through April 5, 72 on April 6-7, 74 on April 8-12, 76 on April 13, and 78 on April 14-19.

The planetary A index outlook shows 10 on March 10-11, 8 on March 12-15, then 20, 15, 10 and 8 on March 16-19, then 5, 8, 10, 15 and 8 on March 20-24, 5 on March 25-26, then 12, 35, 30, 20, 18, 12 and 8 on March 27 through April 2, 5 on April 3-4, 8 on April 5-6, 5 on April 7-10, then 10, 20, 15, 10 and 8 on April 11-15, and 5, 8, 10, 15 and 8 on April 16-20.

Geomagnetic activity forecast for the period March 10-April 5, 2017 from F.K. Janda, OK1HH, of the Czech Propagation Interest Group.