Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Add yourself to the Frappr Map!

Please add yourself to the map! Use the controls to zoom in and out so that you can place the pin somewhere close to where you live


Sunday, January 28, 2007

A quick way to find your grid locator

I found a reference to this brilliant use of Google Maps in the latest RadCom. Laurent, F6FVY has created a superb application to help you find your grid locator. Click here to see it.

If I get a moment, I might apply the same lat/lon code to the Virtual Earth application I was playing with a while ago and see if it does the same thing.

Summits on the Air

The Summits on the Air program was launched some years back now. My friend, John, G3WGV was one of the instigators of the programme, so I worked him on some of his early activations. That was a while ago and life's changed since then and I haven't really followed SOTA's fortunes so closely.

Another friend, Richard, G4ERP has been activating SOTA summits on 2m SSB recently so I've been making a point of trying to work him, if I have been in the shack over the last few weekends. Great fun. This weekend I worked him from a couple of summits in the Welsh borders. If you haven't looked at the program, do visit the website - do check out the Summit Activation videos!

Down here, we're a fair way from any mountains, so it seems unlikely that I'll be activating many myself!

Friday, January 12, 2007

A new editor for RadCom

I was surprised to receive an e-mail earlier in the week from Alex Kearns, editor of RadCom, biding farewell. He's leaving RSGB to pursue some web development opportunities.

Giles Read, G1MFG will take on the editorship pro-tem.

Comet McNaught

OK, it's nothing to do with amateur radio, but we've been talking about it a fair bit. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm hoping for some good weather around sunset over the weekend.

Justin, G4TSH sent me a link to a really nice astronomy site, based in Edgware, Middlesex where David's taken some great comet photos, including McNaught - at the bottom of the page

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Skip Zones - take a look using Google Earth....

Have a look at this - a rather fun way of representing your logs on line and some illustration of where skip zones lie.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

PI7CIS on 70cms

For some reason, last night, it occurred to me to see if there was a PI7CIS beacon on 432MHz. It's pretty reliable copy on 144MHz, so I wondered whether it was worth listening on 432MHz.

Looked it up quickly in the beacon list and found an entry on 432.416. The antenna was beaming up that way owing to the winds and to my surprise I heard a carrier straight away. There was a fair amount of fading, but actually the copy was probably better than the 2m beacon. That might be down to having a bit more antenna gain on seventy than on two.

So the beacon's programmed into the rig memories now, to check when I am in the shack. There doesn't seem to be a 70cms equivalent of F5XAM which is my other really reliable continental beacon on 2m. I think I'll take a look though and see if any of the closer DL beacons are audible.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

ARRL sues the FCC

Courtesy of RSGB's News service, an interesting story. BPL seemed to have receded in this country, but it seems in the US the story seems different...

The American Radio Relay League is suing the Federal Communications Commission over the US watchdog’s policy on broadband over power line. Broadband over power line – or BPL, as it is more commonly known – is a technology for providing internet access over unshielded power lines. The technology is a major threat to amateur radio because it can cause serious interference to radio receivers.

Through careful frequency selection, BPL systems can be designed to prevent interference with specific radio services. But, according to the ARRL, the Federal Communication Commission’s rules allow poorly designed BPL systems to operate on inappropriate frequencies, including the amateur bands. The ARRL and other organisations have petitioned the commission to change the rules to give better protection to licensed radio services. But, far from heeding the advice, the commission recently relaxed the rules on BPL services still further.

ARRL chief executive officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, has launched a scathing attack on the new rules. He said: “With one stroke, the rights of FCC licensees have been subordinated to those of spectrum polluters. Never before has an unintentional emitter been given a free pass to interfere with licensed radio services.”

He said that the ARRL decided it had no other option than to sue the FCC, stating: “Reasoned technical arguments backed up by overwhelming evidence have not altered the FCC's errant course. There was only one thing left that we could do: appeal in federal court. After carefully considering the costs and consequences, the ARRL Board of Directors concluded that was what we must do.”

The ARRL is therefore filing a Petition for Review in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The aim of the legal action is to get the FCC to tighten up the rules on BPL operation in the US.

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