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FCC: Radio Buoys Operating in the 1.900 to 2.000 kHz Band

[ET Docket No. 15-99]
1. The Commission proposes to amend Section 80.375 of its Rules to make the 1,900 kHz to 2,000 kHz band available to commercial fishing vessels for use by radio buoys on the open sea and to include them in the equipment authorized as part of a ship station license. Authorization allows buoys to transmit on any frequency in the 1,900 kHz to 2,000 kHz band; provided that the transmitter output power does not exceed 10 watts and that the antenna height of the buoy station does not exceed 4.6 meters (15 feet) above sea level.

2. The Commission next proposes rules for the use of SELCAL buoys. Therefore, they also propose to authorize ship stations to transmit selective calling signals on all frequencies in the 1,900 kHz to 2,000 kHz band, provide that transmitter output power does not exceed 10 watts and that the ship station’s antenna height does not exceed 6 meters (20 feet) above the mast of the ship on which it is installed.

3. Finally, the Commission proposes a footnote to the Table of Frequency Allocations (47 C.F.R. §2.106) to restrict radio buoy operations to the open sea “based on the areas where radio buoys appear to be in use” and to “provide greater protection for amateur stations by excluding radio buoys from ‘inland waters’.” The proposed footnote is named NG92.

More Information:
1. (PDF) Radio Buoys Operating in the 1,900 to 2,000 kHz Band (Released April 27, 2015)

TV Everywhere (TVE) Single Sign-on Feature Update

The next software update for Roku players will add a convenient feature many users have requested: TV Everywhere (TVE) single sign-on. Now instead of having to log in to every TVE service you will only need to authenticate just one and the rest will sign-on automatically.

The Roku OS 8 software update should automatically update on your Roku device later this month. You can view your software version and check for updates from the Settings tab.

Unfortunately not all TV providers and channels support the single sign-on feature. Notable providers not currently on board include:

Not Included
Spectrum (Bright House Networks, Time Warner Cable, Charter)
Altice (includes Optimum, Suddenlink and CableVision)

What channels support Single Sign On?
For more details about this feature check out the article on the official Roku blog.

Email With Or Without The Internet

Is there an emergency and you need wireless communication? Got Winlink? “Winlink is an all-volunteer project of the Amateur Radio Safety Foundation, Inc. (ARSFI), a non-profit public benefit corporation.” BTW, you need an amateur radio license to operate.

Winlink is a worldwide radio messaging system that uses amateur-band radio frequencies to provide radio interconnection services that include email with attachments, position reporting, weather bulletins, emergency relief communications, and message relay.”

This is Amateur Radio HF email at its finest. Email via HF can be used nearly everywhere on the planet, and is made possible by connecting an HF single sideband (SSB) transceiver system to a computer, modem interface, and appropriate software.

It usually includes: PACTOR, Winmor, and Automatic Link Establishment (ALE).

“PACTOR-I, WINMOR, HSMM (WiFi), AX.25 packet, D-Star, TCP/IP, and ALE are non-proprietary protocols used in various RF applications to access the Winlink network systems.”

Think Puerto Rico and Hurricane Irma: Hurricane Irma Skirts Puerto Rico, Leaves 1 Million Without Power.

Also, if Irma wasn’t enough devastation for the island, Maria was not far behind.

It could be months before power could be restored, according to some reports.

What is Winlink (Worldwide system for sending/receiving email via radio)?

Your Best Option For A Used Apple

Those shiny new Apple Mac computers might carry a hefty price tag, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a PC if you don’t have that kind of money to spare. You can find good deals on used Mac computers for about the same amount it would cost you to get a new PC. Your best option for a used Apple machine?

Don’t let the word ‘Used’ startle you as many of these bad boy Mac machines are equipped with efficient amounts of RAM, hard drive storage, and processor power.

What operating system do they run you ask? Well most of them can run the latest release of MacOS or whichever version you prefer. And the great thing about Macs is the Boot Camp service which gives you the ability to run Windows as a virtual system. You can also use Linux by downloading the free VirtualBox program. Run whatever OS you like; the Mac doesn’t mind dude.

If you are looking to run the latest version of MacOS, High Sierra, which will be released on September 25, you must meet these hardware requirements.

iMac: late 2009 or newer
MacBook/MacBook (Retina): late 2009 or newer
MacBook Pro: mid-2010 or newer
MacBook Air: late 2010 or newer
Mac Mini: mid-2010 or newer
Mac Pro: mid-2010 or newer

eBay is the hub when it comes to finding affordable Mac computers. Search with a keyword containing the model and year like ‘macbook pro 2010′ to find great deals.

A few things you should do before you order is to check the product description, the seller’s feedback, and the seller’s return policy to make sure you know what you’re getting.

Get a taste of the Macintosh for a fraction of the price.

Cassini: The Final Chapter

The flagship-class unmanned robotic spacecraft named Cassini is planned to descend into the atmosphere of the planet Saturn; the date scheduled is Sep. 15, 2017. This is Cassini’s Grand Finale. It has run out of fuel.

“The spacecraft was launched on October 15, 1997, aboard a Titan IVB/Centaur and entered orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004, after an interplanetary voyage that included flybys of Earth, Venus, and Jupiter.”

Outer Planets Flagship include: Cassini, Galileo, Viking 1-2, and Voyager.

Very large radio telescopes on Earth were also listening to Huygens‘ 10-watt transmission using the technique of very long baseline interferometry and aperture synthesis mode.

At 11:25 CET on January 14, the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia detected the carrier signal from Huygens. The GBT continued to detect the carrier signal well after Cassini stopped listening to the incoming data stream.

The GBT sits near the heart of the United States National Radio Quiet Zone, a unique area located in the town of Green Bank, West Virginia, where authorities limit all radio transmissions to avoid emissions toward the GBT and the Sugar Grove Station.

The “Great Big Thing” is only 148 meters or 485 feet tall.

This reminds me of the 1997 film called Contact.

Farewell to The Great Cassini!

1. New NASA video of Saturn with stunning real images from Cassini
2. NASA is about to destroy a $3.26 billion spacecraft by flying it into Saturn
3. SpaceX launches secret Air Force spaceplane (Sep 7, 2017)

Is The TYT-9800 Getting Popular?

Is the TYT-9800 getting popular? I’m hearing more of these radios every day and there’s a reason why. What is it?

Without a doubt it’s the price. The “other guys” sold a VHF/UHF transceiver of excellent quality, all equipped with four bands, but the price was kind of hefty. This is a point in time where the VHF band has become diminished. I think it’s fair to say so.

The price point on the TYT TYT-TH-9800 is under $200? This is very reasonably priced. Is it worth it?

One comment pointed out that the speaker jack was weak; whether this is true or not is to be seen. This would have to be examined.

One thing is for sure though. I’ve heard the radio on the air and it doesn’t sound that bad at all. Maybe it’s all in the tweaking. The transmit audio is very decent.

Overall a decent radio for the price with caveats. It could be that QC is a hit or miss junction.

Transmits on 10M (29Mhz), 6M (52Mhz), 2M (146Mhz) & 70cm (440Mhz).

I think that the 6 meter band would be worth it! Comeback time!

Although software-defined radio is nothing new, the technological aspects keep expanding and exciting breakthroughs are advancing. What do have when you mix Kiwi with Beagle? Here’s a new one for you: KiwiSDR Kit Software Defined Radio with BeagleBone Green by Seeedstudio. SDR that covers 10 kHz to 30 MHz. The KiwiSDR Kit is plug and play, working right out of the box. Price is approximately $299.00 at this time.

Browser Supported Is Linux & More
The Kiwi is different from other SDRs. It is a standalone device that attaches to your local network and is optionally accessed through the Internet. A browser is used to connect to the user interface. Most other SDRs generate raw IQ data and need to be connected directly to a PC or laptop running OS-specific, installed software.

Browsers supported include Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera on Windows, Linux and Mac.

Power Supply Advice
You may have to get the DC supply. Here’s a source for Power Supply Advice. “The Kiwi must be powered using the round connector DC jack on the Kiwi board (2.1mm ID, 5.5mm OD).”

Antenna Advice
Also, you supply the antenna such as: 10-80 Meter magnetic Alpha Loop HF transceiver antenna. A G5RV Wire Antenna will work. Wire antennas offer good results, although an active antenna is preferred. More for Antenna Advice.

Part List
KiwiSDR Board
Beaglebone Green
Unassembled enclosure
Skyworks SE4150L GPS front-end antenna
Micro-SD Card

Any outside event that is planned has a chance of being stifled. You plan, hope, and then wait. Hopefully mother nature will cooperate. The clouds are always a threat. On August 21, 2017, all things agreed for most of us in America. Did you see the eclipse?

Honestly, some solar glasses were bought previously, but the captured magic never occurred to anyone until yesterday. The first observation won the hearts of many! The black moon in front of the great big ol’ sun, which was shining ever so brightly?

Now we are believers in astronomy! Wow!

It’s hard to describe, but you had the feeling that just looking up at the sky would blind you. It is something that we humans take for granted.

The safety issue with welding glasses became obvious after reports came in about the discomfort of some viewing eyes. The reports were troubling, as some complained of sore, red eyes after viewing with welding glasses. Do not think so. Stick with certified solar glasses from now on. Note to self.

There were several amateur radio operators having the QSO party thing, but the bands remained fairly normal, normal lately meaning very poor to non-existent. The event was still very interesting.

You had to chuckle at the poor guys in Carbondale because the clouds would not scatter, or so it seemed. Maybe they got a glimpse at the end.

There were also reports of bumper to bumper traffic with speeds of 7-10 mph on the crowded freeways. Solar eclipse is a term now in the vernacular in America. Hopefully you got to enjoy the day. It was a nice one.

If you missed 2017’s total solar event, start planning for the next one on April 8, 2024: Total Solar Eclipse. You can see the path of the next one, which roughly extends from Dallas to Buffalo and Montreal in Canada.

You have 7 years to prepare for the next one so no excuses. See ya then!

LIVE STREAMING The Great American Eclipse.

1. NASA Live Coverage: Eclipse2017
Coverage Duration: 12pm – 4pm EDT


3. Timeanddate: LIVE Stream
Coming up: Great American Eclipse LIVE


Interactive Map

Find out how long it will last in your neighborhood: Map


Total Eclipse Visible Across 14 States

[Wikipedia] — On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse can be seen in the United States, approximately 70 miles wide.

The total eclipse will be visible crossing fourteen states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Demand For Potties

One of the things in great demand during the eclipse is…a toilet. Demand for toilets is ‘astronomical’…

Back To The ‘Carbondale’ Thing

There’s the Spooky Eclipse Theory In Southern Illinois, with Carbondale being the focus. What?

Cheaper Wire For Ham Antenna Projects

In certain situations less is more!

Especially for listening to the lower bands in this crazy unpredictable solar cycle, I’m accustomed to building my own antennas. Thicker copper wire is usually the standard, but over the years I’ve learned that thinner gauge wire will hold out sufficiently. It’s all in the packaging. Here are a few scattered ideas.

When I built the 160 meter loop I used this type of wire: 14-Guage Galvanized Steel Wire, 1/4 Miles. This is the thicker bare wire and it worked out very well. I’ve had this antenna hanging for a few years and there are no signs of rust that I can tell. Here is another choice: Fi-Shock FW-00001T 1/4 Mile, 17 Gauge Spool Aluminum Wire.

If the The Cobra HF Antenna is going to be deployed, this is the wire to try: RadioShack 100-Ft. (30.4) Three-Conductor Antenna Rotator Cable. It will probably take two rolls to build the Cobra (Sr) antenna and the price is right.

For a vertical antenna project, one will need aerials above or below ground: DOGTEK 500ft Boundary Wire For Electronic Dog Fence System. Isn’t it sly to use this in an amateur radio project? I can’t wait to try it myself!

For something like the Extended Double Zepp (for the low bands) one could try this: Security Burglar Alarm 18/2 Control Cable 500FT. Check it out. You have a 500 ft. roll, but, you have two strands of wire. If my math is correct, you have 1,000 feet of wire!

When building a long antenna like the EDZ, I would probably just leave the wire in tact in a linear-loaded fashion and solder the ends. Why unravel the single strands if you don’t have to? The cable lining will add protection to the sun’s harmful UV rays.

In the past, I had reservations about the thinner strand of wire. However, antennas with the lighter gauge wire have made a believer out of me.

And most of my antennas consist of the heavier gauge wire.

There are major advantages of the lighter gauge wire. Price, easier to manage, and lighter weight. The wind is very active in my location. I’ve learned to leave some slack in the wire antenna. The wind will snap a tightly pulled wire like a pole bean!

In certain situations less is more!

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