Marijuana Grow-lights Cause Problems for Ham-radio operators

The marijuana industry and Uncle Sam haven't been on the same page for 80 years, but these days, in a unique bit of weirdness, it's not the U.S. Department of Justice that could create a problem for pot growers: It's the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC regulates the country's electronic communications, which is relevant because it turns out that, bizarrely, light ballasts used in the growing of cannabis emit radio-frequency interference that screws up amateur-radio transmissions being sent by local ham operators, a licensed, legally protected practice.

Basic Amateur Radio Course

The Nanaimo Amateur Radio Association will be holding a Basic Amateur Radio Course starting on January 31, 2015. Please email naratraining@gmail.com for information.

http://www.ve7na.ca/cms/training

Extra Second to Be Added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) has announced at the Paris Observatory, in a bulletin addressed to the 'authorities responsible for the measurement and distribution of time' that it will be giving us 'more time.' The bulletin advises authorities an extra second will be introduced to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) during the final minute, of the final day of June. That means that right after the clock hits "23h 59m 59s," it will strike "23h 59m 60s" UTC.

ARRL Board Okays Changes to DXCC Program, VHF and Above Contesting Rules

The ARRL Board of Directors has tweaked the DX Century Club (DXCC) rules to clarify and expand their recognition of remotely controlled station technology. It also has added a rule that puts greater ethical responsibility on operators with respect to remotely controlled operation. In addition, the Board adopted changes to the ARRL VHF/UHF contest rules that are aimed at encouraging greater participation. The Board took the actions during its annual meeting January 16-17 in Windsor, Connecticut.

The ARRL Library Goes Live!

The ARRL have announced a free repository of educational presentations and oral histories. It is aimed at helping to preserve Amateur Radio’s history and to educate clubs and individuals. “This long-term project will be home to what I hope will eventually become one of the largest repositories of Amateur Radio-related papers and presentations, created by and for the Amateur Radio community,” said ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. “This is your opportunity to submit material for the betterment and education of all radio amateurs.”

FCC Fines Radio Ham $11,500 for Causing Intentional Interference

The US communications regulator, the FCC, has taken firm action in a case of deliberate interference to amateur radio communications. The ARRL report the FCC Enforcement Bureau has affirmed an $11,500 fine against Brian Crow, K3VR, of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, for deliberately interfering with other Amateur Radio communications. The FCC had first proposed the fine last July in a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), and it released a Forfeiture Order on January 13.

System on a Chip - HT of the Future

HamRadioNow have released a four part presentation from the 2014 Digital Communications Conference (DCC) that describes the amateur radio handheld transceiver of the future.Chris Testa KD2BMH is designing the Whitebox, the "HT of the Future." It will be a multi-mode, multi-band ham radio that will look and work more like a smartphone: touchscreen display, apps, and all the analog and digital modes he can stuff in (and license). Chris is working with Bruce Perens K6BP on the Whitebox project.

The ARRL January VHF Contest Offers a Break from Winter’s Doldrums

If the Polar Vortex has been getting you down, then the ARRL January VHF Contest might just be the antidote! The event gets under way at 1900 UTC on Saturday, January 24, and it wraps up at 0359 UTC on Monday, January 26. The object is for amateurs in the US and Canada (and possessions) to work as many amateur stations in as many different Maidenhead grid squares as possible using frequencies above 50 MHz. It’s the US and Canada (and possessions) working each other and the rest of the world (think F2 propagation!).

British Columbia QSO Party 2015

Rebecca VA7BEC here, contest coordinator for the British Columbia QSO Party. First, let me wish you all a very happy new year - a little late, but it’s still January.) Hope 2015 brings good band openings when you need them and provides lots of DX and contesting fun. BCQP 2015 is coming up the first full weekend in February!

CQ Magazine Combining January, February 2015 Issues, Closing CQ Plus Digital Supplement

CQ magazine has announced that it will publish a combined January/February 2015 issue and cease publication of its CQ Plus digital supplement as of the March 2015 issue. Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA, said that both moves are intended to help restore the magazine’s normal schedule for its print edition and to strengthen its foundations moving forward as it enters its 8th decade of publication.

New World Record Claimed on 10 GHz

Two Amateur Radio microwave enthusiasts in Australia are claiming a new distance record on 10 GHz. On January 5, during a tropo opening across the Great Australian Bight, VK6DZ and VK7MO exchanged reports over a 2732 km path, using JT4f mode as well as SSB. The distance surpasses by 36 km the previous World Record of 2696 km from Southern Portugal to Cape Verde Island.

Unexpected Geomagnetic Storm Could Disturb HF Bands, Enhance 6 Meters

Spaceweather.com reports that a G2-class geomagnetic storm erupted during the early hours of January 7, sparking bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. “The interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near Earth tipped south, opening a crack in our planet's magnetosphere,” Spaceweather explained. “Solar wind poured in to fuel the storm.”

K1N Navassa DXpedition Team is Ready to Roll for Early February Start

The K1N Navassa Island team has announced that it will hit the airwaves in about 4 weeks. While the team’s exact departure date from its staging area depends on the weather and the availability of US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) transportation, it appears that K1N will be up and running during the first 2 weeks in February. It’s been more than 22 years since Navassa Island (KP1) was last activated, and, according to the team, the USFWS will not allow another operation for at least another decade.

More Strange Shortwave Noises..

Tune around 28.6 MHz most mornings and you will hear a train of two tones, one low and the other high audio (600Hz, 1500 Hz ?) lasting a few seconds each and with a pause of about two seconds between them.

Can YOU Solve the Mystery of UVB-76?

The Daily Mail newspaper asks its readers if they can explain the mysterious radio signal on 4625 kHz known as the Buzzer. The mysterious transmissions from Russia are thought to have started in 1982 and have continued ever since. Up until September 2010, the station identified itself as UVB-76 (Cyrillic: УВБ-76), and it is still often referred to by that name.

Straight Key Night: A Return to the Basics

ARRL Straight Key Night (SKN) returns on January 1, 2015 (0000 to 2359 UTC), offering a chance for many to get back to their Amateur Radio roots. Those operators who began their years in Amateur Radio restricted to CW on the old Novice bands used some sort of manual key to send. Straight Key Night is an opportunity to relive those "brass-pounding" experiences. This 24-hour event is not a contest but a day dedicated to celebrating our CW heritage.

I'm Not Ignoring You, I'm Listening 10 Up

In passing a few weeks ago I mentioned listening 10-up. It's also a slogan I have on a t-shirt, it says: 'I'm not ignoring you, I'm listening 10 up.' So what does that mean and what do you do when a station tells you that they are listening 'up', or 'down'?

Merry Christmas From the Land of Santa Claus

Our Vision for Every Child, Life in All its Splendor - Our Prayers for Every Heart and Soul. Over a period of several years, Santa Claus has appeared on Amateur Radio bands to bring cheer to the whole world, adults and children alike, with the thrill of hamcasting from Santa Claus Land (SCL) and even talking directly to kids of all ages all over the world.

Special Event Stations OF9X, OH9SCL on the Air from the Land of Santa Claus

The Santa Claus stations, OH9SCL (“Santa Claus Land”) and OF9X (“Old Father Nine Xmas”) are on the air! As Santa is busy loading up his sleigh preparing for his journey around the world, his elves will be at the controls of Santa Radio and can tell you Santa's whereabouts. Stop by and say hello. Santa’s journey starts from Finnish Lapland, continuing through the dangerously narrow Baltic airspace to end up on Christmas Day in the US and Canada.

Anniversary of BBC World Service

Money Week reports the BBC Empire Service, forerunner of the BBC World Service, began broadcasting 82 years ago. Dr Matthew Partridge says the BBC Empire Service started broadcasting on December 19, 1932 and had a budget of just £606 a week in 2014 prices.

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