The LOWDOWN This Month|
In the May 2013 issue of the club publication:
- "DX Downstairs" Kevin Carey presents members' LF and VLF loggings.
- "On The Air" Experimenters operating on the 160-190kHz and 136kHz bands... and...
- "The Top End" MedFER and HiFER beacon lists... and...
- "The LF Notebook" Conducted by John Davis. News from, by, and about LWCA members.
- "News From the Old World" Alan Gale keeps us informed of LF experimentation on the "other side of the pond."
- "Natural Radio" Conducted by Mark Karney.
- "Final Comments and Replies on 136 kHz" Wrapping up the public filings in the rulemaking proceeding; ham and Part 5 original comments, plus reply comments by UTC/Edison Institute, ARRL, and individuals.
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| ||136 kHz Ham Rulemaking|
Deadline for original comments with the FCC regarding the proposed 136 kHz LF amateur band in the US was February 25, 2013, and the reply period ended on March 27. If you have not done so, you can download and read the Notice.
As in 2003, the power companies mounted a vigorous but unsubstantiated campaign of fear about possible interference to PLC operation, but this time the amateur community was ready with technical analyses and practical experience of operations in the band under Part 5 Experimental Service licenses.
The proceeding also includes proposed primary allocation of 1900-2000 kHz to the amateur service, which was thought to be utterly non-controversial, along with many additional non-amateur-related provisions to implement international changes approved at WRC-07. Surprisingly, the 160 meter proposal received some last minute opposition from ITM Marine, an importer of marine beacon buoys used by deep sea fishing fleets. In reply comments, ARRL soundly trashed the argument that these unlicensed devices in international waters deserve (or even need) protection from land based amateur operations.
All the original Comments, and all Replies submitted, can be found through the FCC's Comment Search page Use docket number 12-338 in the top field of the form; then simply scroll down to the bottom and click Search for Comments. (You may want to display more than 10 results per page, or else you could spend as much time navigating between pages as reading documents.) We will have a more detailed examination of this story in coming days, and we will watch for the FCC's decision in coming weeks or months.
| ||Amateur 472-479 kHz Allocation Inches Forward|
ARRL petitions FCC; other nations already implementing WRC-12 MF band.
While the FCC was preparing to release its proposed rulemaking for 136 kHz, the American Radio Relay League was filing a petition to implement the 472-479 kHz band that was approved by ITU members on 14 February 2012. The ARRL petition seeks a maximum ERP of 5 watts, except in regions near certain non-participating nations where the ITU limit of 1 watt applies.
You can read the full ARRL petition at the FCC Web site, where it was accepted for filing on 29 November. If the Commission agrees to a formal rulemaking proceeding, it will publish another NRPM and another comment period will apply. That is still some ways in the future, however. The power companies' aggressive stance toward what they consider "their" spectrum could still stand in the way of an allocation. The outcome of the 136 kHz proceeding could have some bearing on whether 472 kHz will be an easy or difficult band to acquire.
The WRC-12 Final Acts went into effect on 1 January of this year. Multiple nations have already authorized amateur operation at 630 meters.
| ||Related Longwave Sites|
William Hepburn's DX Information Centre features many kinds of DX resources, including much on services found at LF and VLF; for example, regularly updated lists of NAVTEX and TWEB (Transcribed Weather) stations, LF/VLF time signals, and longwave broadcasters. Visit the site at its new location:
DX Information Centre. Don't overlook the pages for higher frequencies, and the propagation forecasts as well.
Radio Waves Below 22 kHz Renato Romero's eclectic collection of topics pertaining to both manmade and natural radio signals from near DC to the upper end of audibility. Includes the VLF Open Lab, and articles by many contributors...some fairly orthodox, and some not. Visit: www.vlf.it
| ||QRSS and WOLF Software
Rik Strobbe's QRSS software (for transmitting extremely slow CW) is usually available from our file library, but while it is temporarily out of service, you can obtain QRSS and Rik's other useful software at the ON7YD download page.
Continuing Development of Argo. Alberto di Bene regularly posts the latest version of Argo, a receiving tool for displaying slow CW, that performs FFT spectral analysis and displays it in ways optimized for QRSS. Many of the transoceanic LF amateur records were set using Argo at the receiving end. Argo has somewhat similar performance to Spectran, but interacts better with the user's soundcard and is customized for QRSS modes.
WOLF. Stewart Nelson devised this unique mode, a variant of BPSK. See his announcement of the MS-DOS version for more details. Now, a GUI-based version by Wolf Buscher continues to increase the mode's popularity. Find the new software at the DL4YHF site.
Slow CW for Linux. Claudio Girardi (IN3OTD) has released Slow CW software for users of the Linux operating system, currently v 0.42. The program (called glfer) contains both transmit and receive capability, the latter including an FFT-based spectrum analyzer somewhat similar to those found in popular Windows Slow CW programs.
As with much open-source software in the X-world, you have to compile the C source code yourself. Users will also need additional code libraries. Links to those, plus downloadable source code, can be found at Claudio's glfer page.
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