Article “China Set to Launch New Amateur Satellite with “Sail Ball” Stabilization”




Chinese Amateur Satellite Group (CAMSAT) has announced the impending launch of the CAS-7B satellite, also designated as BP-1B, a short-lived spacecraft that will carry an Amateur Radio payload. An unusual feature of the spacecraft is its “sail ball” passive stabilization system. The 1.5-U CubeSat is attached to a 500-millimeter flexible film ball — or sail — that will offer passive “pneumatic resistance” stabilization. CAS-7B is expected to remain in orbit for up to 1 month. 

The spacecraft will carry an Amateur Radio transponder and educational mission. CAMSAT is working with Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), a top aerospace school, which is providing launch support in launch of the satellite. BIT faculty and students are participating in the development and testing of the satellite, and, with CAMSAT’s help, the university has established an Amateur Radio club (call sign BI1LG). CAMSAT said many students are now members, “learning Amateur Radio satellite communication and experience[ing] endless fun.”

The VHF and UHF antennas are quarter-wave monopoles. CAS-7B will transmit a CW telemetry beacon on 435.715 MHz. The V/U FM voice transponder downlink will be 435.690 MHz, and the transponder uplink will be 145.900 MHz (16-kHz passband). 

The 3-kilogram satellite will have an apogee of 300 kilometers. 

“Because of the orbital apogee and the size and mass of the satellite, the orbital life is expected to be only 1 week, up to a maximum of 1 month, which will also provide an opportunity for hams to track and monitor satellite entering the atmosphere,” CAMSAT said in announcing the new satellite, scheduled for launch in late June.

“The launch will use a new launch vehicle from a small commercial rocket company,” CAMSAT explained. “This is the first launch of this launch vehicle, and there is a large possibility of failure; if the launch fails, we will have another launch later this year.”

Article: “The FCC is Not Reinstating a Vanity Call Sign Fee”



The FCC is Not Reinstating a Vanity Call Sign Fee


An erroneous report this week suggested that the FCC planned to again impose an Amateur Radio vanity call sign application (regulatory) fee of $70 for the 10-year term. This incorrect conclusion resulted from an incomplete reading of the May 7 FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the matter of the assessment and collection of regulatory fees for fiscal year 2019.

Although the Schedule of Regulatory Fees does show a $7 annual fee for Amateur Radio vanity call signs, a boldface heading in that section of the NPRM states, “REGULATORY FEES. This section is no longer is effect as it has been amended by RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018…” Section 9(e)(2) of RAY BAUM’S Act gives the Commission discretion to exempt a party from paying regulatory fees when the FCC determines that the cost of collection exceeds the amount collected. A new section 9(e)(1) incorporated the Amateur Radio vanity fee exemption from FCC rules into the statute.

The NPRM makes clear in several other places that regulatory fees no longer apply to Amateur Radio licenses. The FCC eliminated the regulatory fee for Amateur Radio vanity call signs in 2015.

Submitted by KD4WX

Using the Phonetic Alphabet

From WX4W on QRZ


Using The International Phonetic Alphabet

Eliminating confusion and demonstrating excellence in operating technique.

Almost from the time the telephone was invented people have had a need to unambiguously understand one another under less than ideal conditions. It’s one thing to talk face to face yet quite another to understand each other over weak, noisy and otherwise challenging conditions. Telephone spelling alphabets were developed to improve understanding when communicating under difficult conditions. Because of this I want to make the case that as trained Radio Amateurs we all need to use standardized spelling alphabets and in particular the International (NATO) phonetic alphabet.

Prior to World War II many nations used their own versions of spelling alphabets. Starting in 1941 the United States Army and Navy standardized an alphabet across all branches and that became known as the “Able Baker” Phonetic Alphabet. As militaries found the need to ally themselves with other militaries and organizations across the world it became clear that International standardization was needed.

Skipping ahead to the point of this discussion is that the International (NATO) Phonetic Alphabet is now the accepted standardized alphabet used by English speaking radio communications professionals in Aviation, Military, EMCOMM and others. Certainly we, as Amateur Radio operators working under less than ideal communications conditions, need this as much as anyone.

The 26 Code words in the NATO alphabet are as follows:

Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November,

Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

Using these words under challenging conditions helps the operator get the message when only hearing partial words because the operator knows what to expect. If an operator hears a partial word, like “…ay” the trained operator will likely assume X-ray was the intended word when an improperly trained operator may have used Norway for the letter “N”. This nonstandard phrasing adds confusion, can cause delays for repeats and may cause inaccurate transcription of the intended message. These issues are greatly minimized when using standard phraseology.

Contest operators should be the quickest to adopt this use as it can expedite the contest exchange. However, I hear many casual contesters using non-standard phraseology which most often causes delays and repeats in crowded band conditions. No one wants delays when running rate is King!

When working DX stations, the accent of the operator can make some words hard to understand. But when using the standardized alphabet, a DL station that pronounces Whiskey as “Viskey” is easily understood. In aviation a pilot with a tail number N3656Y will always hear Yankee, never Yokahama regardless of the county he is operating. It’s this consistency that minimizes misunderstandings due to accents or conditions.

As amateur radio operators we pride ourselves as being trained professional communicators and it is very embarrassing when we do not adhere to these standards. The impact of having radio operators who are not trained in standard procedures can cause embarrassing problems. For example, Ham operators assisting in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina were reported …”to have excellent go-kits and technical ability but were seriously wanting in traffic handling skill. In one case it took almost 15 minutes to pass one 25 word message.” (source – Sant Andrea, Steve “When Not to Operate” P.74 April, 2010 QST)

Please help spread the word to improve our skills and increase our efficiency and professionalism in this great hobby. 73 from Whiskey X-ray Four Whiskey!

Curtis Foote – WX4W

Submitted by KD4WX

ARRL Introduces New Beginner Ham Podcast



Introducing, So Now What? A New ARRL Podcast for Beginners!
Featuring co-hosts Michelle Patnode, W3MVP, and Joe Carcia, NJ1Q.

So Now What? is a bi-weekly podcast airing every-other Thursday, geared to those who are just getting started on their Amateur Radio adventure. Whether you’re new to the hobby or looking to get back on the air after an absence, we know that you’ve got lots of questions.

Join Michelle and Joe as they explore the topics that every newcomer needs to know.

Future topics will include:
-The new ham radio operator starter pack
-Available operating modes to us new hams
-Covering the rules on calling CQ
-Propagation and all about sunspot activity
-How to get in on the contest
and more!

Submitted by KW1LL

Article – “ARRL Supports No Change to Table of Allocations for 45.5 – 47 and 47 – 47.2 GHz Bands”

From ARRL News



The FCC has opened a brief window for public comment on recommendations approved by the World Radiocommunication Conference Advisory Committee (WAC). Comments are due March 18 on International Bureau Docket 16-185. The FCC said the short comment period was necessary to allow time to finalize the US position for submission to the upcoming meeting of the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL).

Addressing WRC-19 Agenda Item 1.13, which serves to identify spectrum above 24.25 GHz that may be designated for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), ARRL has recommended no change in the 45.5 – 47 and 47 – 47.2 GHz bands, with hopes that commenters will agree. The 47 – 47.2 GHz band is allocated to the Amateur and Amateur Satellite services.

ARRL and other no-change proponents point out that no sharing and compatibility studies were performed between IMT-2020 systems and the relevant incumbent services in the 45.5 – 47 GHz and 47 – 47.2 GHz bands, although sharing and compatibility studies for a number of incumbent services were required under Resolution 238 of World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15).

“In the absence of [ITU Radiocommunication Sector] studies, the only sustainable conclusion is that it has not been demonstrated that the incumbent services in either band — the Mobile-Satellite Service, the Radionavigation Service, and the Radionavigation-Satellite Service in the 45.5 – 47 GHz band, and the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services in the 47 – 47.2 GHz band — can be protected, as required by Resolution 238,” asserts the proponents of View B, which sides with no change to the current allocations.

“In this regard, the View A proposal to identify mobile spectrum in the 45.5 – 47 GHz band for the terrestrial component of IMT, and to allocate spectrum in the 47 – 47.2 GHz band to the mobile service and identify the same for the terrestrial component of IMT, is fatally flawed. The absence of studies in the responsible ITU-R task group leaves the proposals unsubstantiated and incapable of adoption.”

View B proponents, including ARRL, are urging the FCC to accept the proposals of the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) for no change to the Table of Allocations in the 45.5 – 47 GHz and 47 – 47.2 GHz bands. — Thanks to Jon Siverling, WB3ERA

Submitted by KD4WX