Emergency Frequencies – 6.4 earthquake shocks Taiwan

An earthquake measuring 6.4 has hit Taiwan, and caused buildings to collapse.

HARTS (Hong Kong Amateur Radio Transmitting Society) has received a weak voice signal from the CTARL Taiwan (Chinese Taipei Amateur Radio League) that asks that the following frequencies be kept clear.

HF frequencies used in Taiwan are voice: Main is 7.060 MHz with backup 7.050 MHz and 3.560 MHz.  Short range frequencies are on VHF and UHF.

At least four buildings have collapsed in the south of the island.  Dozens of residents are reported to be trapped in the city of Tainan, those houses nearly two million people.

Tremors were felt in the capital Taipei, on the other side of the island, and aftershocks were felt.

Taiwan lies in the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’ and in 2013, four people were killed in a 6.3-magnitude quake.

Jim Linton VK3PC
IARU Chairman Disaster Communications Committee.

Free book aimed at young people


From ARVic, original post here.

The push for youth involvement in Amateur Radio continues, this time a new free booklet is available to help prime youngsters on what the hobby has to offer.

The aptly named 40-page publication ‘Alex Discovers Amateur Radio’ comes as a downloadable PDF, with a cartoon style story giving basic information, some history, applications and the relevance in the world today.

At the end of each section is as Multiple Choice Quiz in which the reader is invited to tick the box.  It has been peppered with the modern QR-Code which is a barcode for use on mobile devices, and URLs enabling the reader to get more information.

Although written for the British scene its language and style makes it also suitable for use elsewhere including Australia which also has a Foundation Licence.

Downloadable 8.8MB PDF is available here.

IRLP-enabled repeater in Nepal


From ARVic, original post here.

The 2-metre repeater in Kathmandu Nepal serves those with hand-held transceivers has now been upgraded to become the latest IRLP node with worldwide access.

The repeater, donated through the Radio Mala group and the Bay-Net in California, was installed last year following the massive earthquake in the Himalayas.  Bay-Net volunteers helped build, test and ship the repeater system
that is at the Tribhuvan University with the callsign of 9N1SP.

George Zafiropoulos KJ6VU of Bay-Net reports that after testing, the IRLP node has worked well over the last two weeks.  The new IRLP connection in Kathmandu has been assigned the Node number 5511.

Floating in unusual wind flows


From ARVic, original post here.

The wind pattern over Australia’s eastern states last weekend had pico balloon PS-60 taking full advantage, but this time the solar powered payload sent VHF and UHF signals at a mere 10mW for tracking.

Andy VK3YT launched a balloon PS-60 on Saturday (January 30), transmitting Automatic Packet Reporting System or APRS on 145.175 MHz, and Olivia 8/250 with Radio Set Identification RSID on 434.649 MHz USB.  PS-60 was released to explore the interesting wind pattern and provide an opportunity for extended local tracking.

Andy VK3YT says the circular wind pattern happens from time to time in various parts of the world, which causes loops like what we have seen.  It is not very common for a balloon to be in right in the middle of one, like in this case.

After days over Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, it looped six times which gave many hours of tracking.  Moving now over the Tasman Sea, New Zealand trackers are now expected to report its location, altitude, the temperature and battery condition.

Meantime, the earlier PS-58 pico balloon on HF, launched from Melbourne on December 29, safely negotiated the infamous Bermuda triangle.  While still in the northern hemisphere it entered Africa at Guinea to exit at Liberia.

The balloon then returned to the Southern Hemisphere, and was heard last heading again back towards South America.  Trackers in North America and South Africa are keeping a watch on the latest progress via the JT9 and WSPR transmissions.

WIA talk at the Westlakes well received


Via the WIA, original post here.

Date : 01 / 02 / 2016
Author : Jim Linton – VK3PC

The Wireless Institute of Australia gave an insight on its operation and the busy agenda, in an address to the Westlakes Amateur Radio Club at Newcastle, New South Wales.  WIA President Phil Wait VK2ASD explained the structure and challenges ahead to about 50 who had gathered at the club rooms in Teralba on Saturday, January 30.

He talked mostly about the big-picture items, such as how the current WIA operates, and the need for Amateur Radio to show it has public value, and therefore better justify its continued access to spectrum.  Covered was the WIA response to the Spectrum Review and why it is important for the future of Amateur Radio, and the WIA’s suggested changes to the Foundation, Standard and Advanced licences.  Phil VK2ASD also emphasised that there was enormous pressure on the spectrum from the new generation of mobile devices and the Internet of Things – all set to grow in coming years.

The WIA Board in all that it does, both in membership services and the time-consuming often hard advocacy, had as its first priority, the advancement of Amateur Radio.  After the presentation the WIA answered about a dozen questions from the floor.  These included the cost of WIA membership, with a general idea that halving the subscription rate could more than double the member number.  Phil VK2ASD explained that the idea was not new, however it was a pretty dangerous exercise if it didn’t work.  The potential of a membership fee reduction for a no-paper Amateur Radio magazine was also discussed, but the saving to the individual by introducing such a measure was not large.

There was a question about the choice of Norfolk Island for the WIA annual general meeting in May.  Phil VK2ASD replied that it ticked all the boxes, was a majority WIA Board decision, but agreed that some perceived that there could be a problem with the choice.

A positive suggestion arising out of the question and answer session, which the WIA will consider, was a reader feedback form in Amateur Radio each year to gauge what people want in the publication.  Another was the possible re-introduction of the Conference of Clubs in New South Wales that existed some years ago.

At the end of the afternoon session, which ran about two hours, Phil VK2ASD was thanked for providing the sort of big-picture information that affects all, and mostly not known to the audience previously.