Historic flight over the Pacific Ocean

From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 23 / 07 / 2017
Author : Jim Linton – VK3PC

The commemorative around the world flight marking the 80 years since the disappearance of aviator Amelia Earhart has finally left New Zealand (July 23) and is headed for Pago Pago American Samoa.

Brian Lloyd WB6RQN the 62-year old pilot has reported all is well after sorting out the reason for an aborted flight out of Hamilton in New Zealand’s north island a week earlier.  On that flight headed for Pago Pago the plane’s engine spluttered and stopped, but with a lower altitude saw him regain control, but decided to return to Hamilton and sort out the problem.  He advised that the test flight had confirmed the earlier fault was a combination of a partial blockage in the fuelling system and vapour lock, where the fuel had vaporised before reaching the engine.

The single engine ‘Spirit’ plane on that test was taken to an altitude of 23,000 feet but could not replicate the earlier fault.  Before taking off from Hamilton, Brian WB6RQN gave his estimated itinerary of Pago Pago International Airport, then an overfly of Howland Island, to Hawaii and the USA mainland to complete the circle.  He intends to drop a floral wreath on Howland Island to pay respect to the Earhart flight that disappeared near there in 1937.

The two month flight began on June 1, and has included South America, Africa, India, South-East Asia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.  At each country he has put a flag sticker on the plane’s fuselage Brian WB6RQN embarked on the Project Amelia Flight in memory of aviation pioneers like Amelia Earhart.  During the flight he has been heard talking on the Amateur Radio bands.

Stuie VK8NSB who met the pilot when in Darwin reports he has worked WB6RQN today on 15m and 20m with the bands being very good.  Many VK’s, ZL’s and also a couple of American stations have made the contact.

Around the world flight strikes more problems

From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 21 / 07 / 2017
Author : Jim Linton – VK3PC

The Project Amelia Earhart flight had a troublesome fuel pump causing its return to Hamilton New Zealand. Brian Lloyd WB6RQN had spent a week in New Zealand to rest and have the aircraft’s HF ham radio and a magneto fixed.

On July 15 Brian WB6RQN took off from Hamilton in what he described as good weather and a tail wind gaining an altitude of 21,000 feet headed to Pago Pago in American Samoa.  Then the plane’s engine surged and cut out.  The pilot fiddled with the throttle and mixture controls and the engine returned to normal.  After a landing on Great Barrier Island to check the problem he took off again headed back to New Zealand.  The air traffic control gave the emergency flight a priority approach.  As Brian WB6RQN put it, he was glad the problem happened so close to New Zealand.

Although everything is all right with the pilot and his aircraft, the schedule has been delayed.  During this drama a new theory emerged about Amelia Earhart by the publishing of an old photo, which turned out to be taken before her famed disappearance.  Brian WB6RQN, a 62-year old Texan, will drop a floral wreath in respect on Howland Island where the Earhart flight disappeared in 1937.

Spectrum pollution and intruders put urban radio in doubt

From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 21 / 07 / 2017
Author : Jim Linton – VK3PC

The International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 told the Ham Radio 2017 Friedrichshafen conference opening ceremony of the need to be more vigilant to pollution and intrusions on our bands.  IARU Region 1 President Don Beattie G3BJ, said the pressures are so intense from other radio services that Amateur Radio needs to work very hard to ensure that we continue to enjoy privileged access to parts of the spectrum.

The IARU is the only organisation representing us at the Regional Telecommunications Organisations meetings, and the ITU World Radiocommunications Conference in 2019.

A second part to the IARU core work is spectrum protection.  Don G3BJ said he is “deeply concerned about our ability to maintain a usable radio spectrum in some parts of suburban Europe.”  Amateur Radio spectrum allocations are of little value if they are “made unusable by the presence of multiple sources of interference – be it electrical interference or intruders”.  Don G3BJ said the IARU is deeply involved in the work of the international standards organisations, arguing for common sense in the setting of emission standards for electrical and electronic devices.  He highlighted major concerns facing the IARU being solar photovoltaic arrays, wind generators, digital devices, VDSL+ and wireless power transfer technology.  “Some would say that even with the work we are involved in on standards, much of the radio spectrum is becoming unusable in the suburban environment,” adding he personally has sympathy with this view.  He also praised the work of the IARU Monitoring System but more intruder watch observers were desperately needed.

The full speech is here.

International HF beacon VK6RBP

From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 18 / 07 / 2017
Author : Anthony Benbow – VK6AXB

Part of the International Beacon Project of the Northern California DX Foundation (NCDXF) and International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) is VK6RBP that has been upgraded by the West Australian Repeater Group (WARG).

The NCDXF is rolling out its Beacon Version 2.0 controller and radio, and WARG are pleased to report that both have been installed.  There are 18 NCDXF/IARU beacons around the globe, each transmitting in separate 10-second blocks across five bands, synchronised to repeat every three minutes.  The network is a very useful propagation tool, but was becoming increasingly unreliable, mainly due to the aging equipment.  These problems also affected VK6RBP, with extended time off air in the last year or two.

Credit for the installation and testing of the new VK6RBP goes mainly to Bob VK6ZGN,  Trevor VK6MS, Graham VK6RO, and especially Walt N6XG and all at the NCDXF.  Signal reports of VK6RBP are welcome.

All network beacons transmit CW on 14.100, 18.110, 21,150, 24.930, and 28.200.  The CW ident and the first ‘dash’ are sent at 100W, with three dashes following at 10W, 1W and 100 mW respectively.  More information about them is at NCDXF.ORG

VK6RBP has its licence paid by the Wireless Institute of Australia through its IARU international activities.

SSTV for ARISS 20th anniversary

From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 14 / 07 / 2017
Author : Jim Linton – VK3PC

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) international team is to transmit a set of 12 pre-selected SSTV images that capture the accomplishments of ARISS over the past 20 years.  Shane Lynd VK4KHZ the Australian ARISS Coordinator says the event will start on Thursday, July 20 around 2125 UTC.  That should allow time to be ready for the transmissions.

The images gathered worldwide are expected to depict school based events, ARISS equipment, ground station operators and astronauts or cosmonauts.  Shane VK4KHZ said for anyone interested in receiving the SSTV images the equipment required is relatively basic.  The most popular SSTV software seems to be MMSSTV, and the mode will be PD120 (PD180 may be a second option) on 145.800 FM using the high powered Kenwood transceiver.

For those wanting to inspire young people the two-day event affords the capture of images directly from space to home computers.  It should cover most of the world with the signal expected to be very strong and easy to receive, even with modest antennas such as an omnidirectional vertical or dipole antenna.  SSTV images received can posted on a blogspot for the public to view.

Access the BlogSpot here.

Current information is available from: AMSAT.org and ARISS.org websites, the AMSAT-BB@amsat.org, the ARISS facebook and ARISS twitter @ARISS_status.

Please note that any ARISS event depends on ISS crew availability and are subject to change.