FCC approves google TV white spaces database

reduced size view of google TV whitespaces

This is just starting to percolate into the news. The FCC last friday approved release of google's TV white spaces database which documents what unused TV channels may be used for wireless internet access type services in which areas. You can browse a visual representation in google maps:

On this page, you can download these databases that include US, Canadian, and Mexican TV Sations, TV translators, Broadcast Auxillary SErvice Links, PLMRS/CMRS base station operations, Multi-channel Video Programming Distrbutor (MVPD) receive sits, Temporary BAS links, Low Power Auxillary Devices, Fixed TV-band white space devices.
These databases might be more accurate than the usual FCC transmitter and tower databases for parts of the spectrum since if you aren't in this database someone is likely to start transmitting on top of you.

FCC announcement:

Another reminder that unused spectrum is up for grabs.

Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP)

As some already know, the 146.730 repeater is usually connected via IRLP to the East Coast Reflector (9050). To see the current nodes connected to 9050 go to:

The 73 repeater uses a simplex UHF frequency on the 2nd port of the repeater controller to communicate with another UHF radio at the 4703 node located at Zehmer Hall on UVA grounds. As the 9050 reflector usually has around 30 different nodes connected, when you key up the 73 repeater, your audio has to pass to the UHF radio, transmit to the UHF radio at the node, pass by VoIP to the reflector, located in Michigan, travel by VoIP to the other node computers, and then by whatever connecting hardware is used to pass the audio to the repeater connected to that node. This means that with each transmission, there is a lot of hardware distributed from Michigan to Florida, that needs to be lifted up from its idle state. What does this mean for you the user? All you need to remember is to key your mic and wait a second or two before you start speaking. Also, it is important when the other station stops speaking, wait a couple of seconds before you key up your mic. Also, be aware that there are no repeater controller ID's or courtesy tones that go out on IRLP. There is a short courtesy beep that the link UHF radio gives back on the 146.730 repeater, but the other station needs to know that you are turning over the conversation by ending your transmission with "over" or "back to you".

Does this mean that the 73 repeater shouldn't be used for local conversations? No, local conversations are fine, but the general rules of pauses still need to be applied, because when you are talking locally, your local conversation is going out to the entire reflector population. If you are planning on an extended conversation locally, just DTMF the code 73 and that will drop the 146.730 repeater from the reflector. When your local extended conversation is completed, DTMF 9050 to reconnect to the reflector. Likewise, if you would like to connect to another reflector, or individual node, disconnect from the 9050 reflector, and send the DTMF code for the other reflector, or node. Connections to reflectors will not timeout, they have to be broken by sending 73. On the other hand, connections to individual nodes will timeout in 4 minutes of inactivity.

If you would like to learn more about IRLP visit the IRLP website:

If you have other questions or issues, contact me at:

Jim Wilson K4BAV Field Day Photos uploaded to the photo gallery

Image of AARC Field Day station 2013 Showing radio tents, antennas, and solar panel

Jim's field day photo's have been uploaded to the photo gallery. Mine were posted there five days earlier.

NPEN Frequency List

FrequencyOffsetToneEmergency PowerOther
 52.5250simplex National Simplex Calling Frequency  
 144.3900simplex APRS  
 145.7300simplex VA Section Packet Radio  
 146.5200simplex National Simplex Calling Frequency  
 146.5250simplex National Fox Hunt Frequency/Voice simplex  
 146.5500simplex AARC 2M Simplex  
 146.5800simplex Greene County Simplex  
 147.5400simplex AARC 2M Simplex  
 145.1700minus151.4W4FCO - Fluvanna Countygenerator  
 145.4500minus151.4K4DND - Martha Jefferson Hospitalemergency power 
 146.7300minus151.4K4DND - Carter's Mtbattery and generatorIRLP Node #4703
 146.7600minus151.4WA4TFZ - Marshall Manorbattery onlynet mode links to 444.000
 146.7900minus110.4WW4GW - Spear's Mtsolar and windCVRA link system
 146.8800minus74.4W4RAT - Richmondemergency power 
 146.8950minus151.4WA4TFZ - Bucks Elbowgenerator only 
 146.9250minus151.4WA4TFZ - Heard's Mtbattery only 
 147.0750plusnoneW4PNT - Bear Denbattery only 
 147.1200plus146.2W4CUL - Orange County? 
 147.3000plusnoneKI4ZR - Rockbridge Countyemergency power 
 147.3300plusnoneWA4TSC - Bluemont?NWS Sterling Skywarn

More below the fold...

Field Day clippings from 15 different years of Beacon Back Issues

Sample page from beacon with pictures from Field Day 2003 including Joe W2PVY, W2EIU, W4BZW,K4DU, and the tents

48 Pages from 15 different years, 21.7MB download:

Some pages appear half size due to mixing from different pdf resolutions. Zoom as needed.

Many pages are marked with year and month, but some are not. Here was the list of files (filename is year and month) and page numbers.

AARC Beacon/Bulletin newsletter back issues scanned and uploaded.

Cover of the 1994-06 issue of the beacon newsletter.  Cover prominently mentions Field Day.

I have scanned and uploaded 13 years of past newsletters, 1992-2004. The newsletters are an important part of the documentation of the clubs history. They include:

  • Minutes of meetings
  • Descriptions of past Field Days and other contests and operating events
  • Information about past responses to emergencies
  • History of our repeaters
  • Information about past VE sessions
  • Information about our past public service events
  • Information about our interaction with served agencies
  • Silent Key obituaries
  • Club financial business
  • Who presented what and when
  • Past Foxhunts
  • Donations
  • New Members - when they joined
  • Club Calendar
  • Who held elected offices, and when
  • Club Property
  • Member biographies
  • A record of member's legacy (for family genealogists)
  • Articles on technology and technique
  • 10 or 20 Years ago today...

As many of you know, back during the changing of the guard from last years leadership to this years, I encountered 4 binders worth of back issues of the beacon and although back issues of the beacon are online back to 2005, the contents of several of these binders were not found on the website. I realized that these might be the only copies or one of a few copies remaining of these important documents. If they were lost or destroyed, the info might be gone forever. And their use is limited sitting in the secretary's house where they are not as readily available. Taking leave of my senses, I undertook the task of scanning these beacons. And thus began a tale of fighting with bad drivers, slow software, and misfeeds caused by pages which had been folded, spindled, and mutilated.

Lightning Protection and Station Grounds

NOAA Photolibrary image of multiple lightning strikes
Photo Credit: NOAA Photo Library

National Weather Service Blog notes that:

June, July, and August are the peak months for both lightning and lightning fatalities

Slides from Feb 2008 AARC Presentation on Station Grounding and Lightning Protection by Alan Swinger, K9MBQ.

In April 2012, Joe Flamini, W4BXG, gave an AARC presentation on station grounding and lightning.His Powerpoint slides as PDF. Note that he plans to add explanatory text to the slides to make them more useful without a presenter standing in front of you.

Field Day 2013 - W4DO generates 71 spots on reverse beacon network

The reverse beacon network picked up the W4DO call sign 71 times during field day on 15m,20m,40m, and 80m bands. This includes spots from HD9DCO Switzerland, EA4TX Spain, DL1EMY Germany, ON5KQ Belgium, S50ARX Slovenia, DR1A Germany, F5VLY France, VE2WU Canada, and PJ2T Curacao (Island off coast of Venezuela ). All of the spots outside north america were on 15m and 20m except a single spot from France on 40m.
plot of SNR for W4DO as Received by DL1EMY on 20m
plot of SNR for W4DO as Received by DL1EMY (Germany) on 20m on 20130622.

Field Day 2013 photos uploaded

Field Day Photo
Photo Credit: AK4OL

Field Day Photos taken by AK4OL have been uploaded to the Photo Gallery.


Field Day 2013 log

Image of summary.pdf

Field day log file in ADIF format is attached; thanks to Bill N0WP.
Also the summary points file is attached. It does not include bonus points we get for activities unknown to the logging program. This data shown below has also been condensed into a 1 page summary which is attached as a .pdf and .ods (Open Document Spreadsheet) for import into libreoffice, openoffice.org, or recent versions of excel.

There were 845 non-duplicate QSOs, which total 1225 points (1 point phone, 2 for CW or digital). Since all our stations ran at 150W or less, we get a power multiplier of 2, for 2450 points before bonuses. We get Bonus points for:
100% Emergency power - 100 points
Media publicity 100 points
Public Place 100 points
Info Booth 100 points
NTS message to AARC 100 points
copying W1AW message 100 points
1 formal NTS messages 10 points
Natural power QSOs 100 points
for submitting online 50 points
Estimated total bonus points: 760
Estimated total: 3210 points

Last year, our total was 4436

Local TV Coverage of AARC participation in Field Day 2013

CBS19: Field Day Helps Radio Operators Practice Skills 01:56
By Lewis Tingler

NBC29: Amateur Radio Enthusiasts Hold Field Day in Albemarle County 00:50
By Kristen Twiford

NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle Search & Rescue Meeting, CERT Animal Training

Right after field day:

Albemarle Search & Rescue Monthly Membership Meeting
When: Mon, June 24, 6pm – 8pm
Where: 411 E. High Street Bldg B Charlottesville, Va 22902 (map)
Description: ACSO meeting room.

Also, CERT animal training is on Tuesday and Wednesday.

CERT Animal Response Training
Tuesday, June 25th & Wednesday, June 26th (2-day course), 6:30 pm to 9pm, ECC Conference Room
Please RSVP by this Thursday, June 20th.
Currently, we only have 1 person registered. If you are interested in this two day course, please RSVP to Allison Farole at afarole[at]albemarle[dot]org by Thursday. We need at least 8 participants registered for the class to occur.

Note that you usually need to have already taken CERT basic training to take other CERT classes.

Field Day 2013

[2012 Field Day image described in text below]
Picture from last year's Field Day (2012).

For immediate Release

For Additional Information contact:
Albemarle Amateur Radio Club

“Who ya’ gonna call? Charlottesville/Albemarle area Radio Hams!”

Charlottesville, VA 2013-06-17 – Despite the Internet, cell phones, email and modern communications, every year whole regions find themselves in the dark. Tornadoes, fires, storms, ice and even the occasional cutting of fiber optic cables leave people without the means to communicate. In these cases, the one consistent service that has never failed has been Amateur Radio. These radio operators, often called “hams” provide backup communications for everything from the American Red Cross to FEMA and even for the International Space Station. Your Town’s “hams” will join with thousands of other Amateur Radio operators showing their emergency capabilities this weekend.

Field Day & Ham License Test - June 22

The general public is invited to attend Field Day. The AARC will again be operating Field Day from the Earlysville Volunteer Fire Department at 283 Reas Ford Rd, Earlysville, VA. We will begin our on the air operations at 2:00 PM Saturday June 22, and will be on the air continuously until 2:00 PM Sunday, June 23.

The Amateur Radio License Test (VE Session) will be 9:00a on Saturday at the Earlysville Fire Dept.

Club members may wish to sign up for a time slot http://vols.pt/Z5G6yp .

Foxes in Space! – Coming Soon to your Local Sky -- Want to Hunt for Them?

By Bill Arnold – K4IB, June 8, 2013; Edited for web by AK4OL.

KickSprite sm

Would you like to participate in a first of its kind, Foxhunt in Space? The Foxes are miniature spacecraft, dubbed “Sprites” that will be launched into low earth orbit in mid-November 2013 for a limited engagement. Want to find them? . . . .With a few fairly inexpensive parts and rudimentary assembly skills, interested members of AARC can take part in a pioneering experiment in space. Does this grab your attention? If so, read on.

Zac Manchester (KD2BHC) an Aerospace Engineering Graduate Student at Cornell, and his group, chaired by his mentor, Mason Peck, PhD, are preparing to launch several small "KickSat" satellites later this year, piggybacked aboard a SpaceX craft, the prime mission of which is to replenish the International Space Station (see CQ April 2013, pp 74-5). Each KickSat will deploy about 100 solar powered "Sprite Satellites" into low Earth orbit During a recent telephone conversation I had with Zac, he asked us (AARC) to consider joining a growing number of Clubs and Academic Departments who will monitor RF signals transmitted by the satellites.

DETAILS: Each Sprite is a circuit board about the size of two postage stamps, with a mass of 5 grams (that of a U.S. nickel). The board is populated with solar cells, a gyroscope, a magnetometer, a UHF radio transmitter, a micro-controller, a dipole antenna and other components. Individual Sprites will transmit a unique series of characters, usually a few letters, "Like your initials," according to Zac. Currently, three Sprite prototypes are orbiting earth in a Materials Science Experiment Pallet that was mounted on the outside of the ISS in 2011 during the final mission of the Space Shuttle.

Monday Night DIGITAL Net (no special equipment required)

Image of fldigi calling Albemarle Digital Net.

As of last monday, there is a digital net on the 146.730 repeater on monday nights at 8:15PM local time, shortly after the info net (which is voice and on a separate frequency). Probably using MT63-2000 modulation which works well over FM and at least passably with accoustic coupling between computer and radio (no interface needed), although a interface such as a signalink USB would be better. A number of software packages support this, including fldigi (Linux, Free-BSD, OS X, Windows XP, NT, W2K, Vista and Win7). There are also MT63 apps for android and iphone. Include the supplemental programs which are sometimes packaged separately from fldigi as some of these are used to support Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System (. NBEMS) transmission of emergency message forms.

May Sales Tax Holiday: Hurricane and Emergency Preparedness Equipment

Sales tax holiday logo
During the last week of May (May 25 - May 31), Virginia retailers may not charge sales tax on designated hurricane/emergency preparedness items:

Up to $1000 each: generators, solar panels, wind turbines, and inverters

Up to $60 each: two way radios (this would appear to include ham, FRS/GMRS, and CB), portable self powered radios, weather radios, batteries (including AAA,AA,C,D,9V,lantern, and cell phone but excluding car or boat), flashlights, lanterns, and glow sticks,, coolers and ice packs, fire extinguishers, smoke/fire/carbon monoxide detectors, cell phone chargers, first aid kits, ground anchor systems, empty fuel tanks (including gasoline, diesel and propane), water tanks/containers, duct tape, rope, ratchet straps, bungee cords, can openers, tarps, plastic sheeting, storm shutters, and bottled water.

(More below the fold)

Foxhunt Antenna Build Session

Closeup of tape measure yagi antenna feed point
Friday 2013-04-12 6:30PM

The Solutions Group
Citizens Commonwealth Building
300 Preston Ave, Suite 401
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Multiple designs available. If you already have some or all of the parts, bring them. However, a couple of us have picked up extra parts.

More details may follow, late tonight (thursday).

Details on my experimental variant:

Technician Class set for April 22

Please help us spread the word on the upcoming Technician licensing course? It is to start April 22 at CARS Rescue Squad Building, and runs through June 10. ( Eight Mondays.) The VE exam is June 15. Candidates need to register with Bill Phillips via email at: billp1048[at]earthlink[dot]net

April 9 Club Meeting Set

The April 9 AARC Club meeting will be held at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, at 7:30 pm. The board will meet at 7 pm.
Alan K9MBQ recently constructed and is using a coax inverted "L" for 160 & 80M. It
is based on a Mar 2012 QST article by Scott - K4VWK - from Farmville who has
agreed to join us for the presentation with Alan. The presentation is attached and can be downloaded.

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