Balloon Experiments with Amateur Radio

Several amateur radio operators came together and started launching high altitude balloons with experimental amateur radio payloads. They nicknamed these balloon experiments with amateur radio as BEAR. A balloon carrying the payload along with an APRS tracker is released and reaches a height of 117,000 feet. At that altitude, the earth’s horizon is 460 miles compared to 2-3 miles at ground level.

On February 11, 2012, they launched BEAR-9 carrying a 4×5 camera as the payload. This large format camera resulted in spectacular pictures from the edge of Earth’s atmosphere. Check out the BEAR web site for more information.


Alan Applegate, KØBG, has been running his web site at kØ since 2004. While the site is written for mobile amateur radio operators, he has “articles on amplifiers, antennas, bonding, impedance matching, installing hardware, mobile equipment, noise and RFI abatement, wiring, and much more.” They cover topics from the basic to the advanced and include his experiences building them.

Information Net for April 23

Check Your Mailbox for the May Issue of QST

Read by: Ed KE4JWS

This May issue of QST focuses on digital operating. From RTTY to PACTOR III to PSK31 to D-STAR to JT65, there’s a digital mode to satisfy just about every ham appetite. And with new privileges on 60 meters, there’s a whole new band for digital operators to explore. So set aside a couple of hours, grab a snack and get ready to explore the May issue of QST.

If you’ve ever wanted to try D-STAR, but you don’t have access to a D-STAR radio, you won’t want to miss “From Analog to D-STAR” by Gary Pearce, KN4AQ. In his article, Pearce explores how D-STAR works, how to program a D-STAR radio and even how to get on the air with D-STAR using your existing equipment. QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, is a digital radio guru. His article “Who’s on JT65?” takes a look at this mode developed by Nobel Prize laureate Joe Taylor, K1JT, and explores its strong growth as a digital mode on the HF bands.

Continue reading “Information Net for April 23”

Information Net for April 16

ARRL Field Day: ARRL PR Committee to Host Field Day Webinar


The ARRL Public Relations Committee will be holding a free webinar entitled Field Day Press Release on Thursday, April 12 at 9 PM (EDT). This webinar is geared for those who want to learn the easiest — and most effective — ways to write up a media release for Field Day and actually get it noticed by the media in your home region. Learn the “tricks of the trade” from the people who actually work in radio, television and print media. ARRL Public Relations Committee Chairman Steven Polunsky, W5SMP, will host the event; Polunsky is also the Public Information Coordinator for the ARRL’s South Texas Section. Joining Polunsky are Bill Husted, KQ4YA (print), Mark Kraham, W8CMK (TV) and Don Carlson, KQ6FM (radio). Space is limited — reserve your spot today.

Continue reading “Information Net for April 16”

Deadline to Send FCC Your Comments

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...
FCC Logo (Credit: Wikipedia)

As mentioned in the April 9th Information Net, the FCC has been soliciting public comments regarding the impact of private land restrictions, or CC&Rs, to the amateur radio community. The ARRL is collecting and collating this information from members and non-members in order to support its filing with the FCC. All amateur radio operators who wish to comment must send their input, and received by the ARRL, no later than WEDNESDAY APRIL 25, 2012.

“This is the best opportunity that amateurs have had to address the impact of overly burdensome private land use restrictions. If Amateur Radio is to succeed in this effort, it is going to take all of us working together.” — ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND

Continue reading “Deadline to Send FCC Your Comments”

Information Net for April 9

Become a Human Lie Detector


Your boss tells you, “You’re doing a good job.” Do you believe him? You are interviewing a candidate for a job. She says, “I left my previous job, because I was tired of the long commute.” Your romantic partner tells you, “I am not having an affair.” True?

It’s easier than you think to become a human lie detector.

Look for Suspicious Behaviors

By themselves, each of these behaviors can just be signs of stress, or even a person’s natural mannerisms. One can occur by chance, but when two or more of these behaviors suddenly appear at a moment when lying could be expedient, you should be skeptical. For example, when you ask a salesman how reliable that used car is, it suggests he’s lying.

Here’s the top eight list of suspicious behaviors:

Continue reading “Information Net for April 9”

Neighborhood HamWatch

Neighborhood HamWatchOne aspect of amateur radio has been providing communications during emergencies. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) provides assistance in public service and emergency communications.

To those who are unable to deploy during emergencies but still want to be able to make a contribution using their skills and capabilities, Neighborhood HamWatch offers a way to help their neighbor and the emergency recovery effort. Operating from home or work, amateur radio operators whose personal health, physical condition, family needs, work requirements, or other factors that limit their ability to deploy during emergencies can still participate.

Neighborhood HamWatch is built upon three tiers of action:

  1. Neighborhood radio operators can get on their radios and talk to each other – amateur radio operators can break the barrier of silence.
  2. Neighborhood radio operators can contact government Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) – amateur radio operators can describe local neighborhood conditions and special needs to the proper emergency managers.
  3. Specially equipped Hams can send short messages – amateur radio operators can send messages to families outside the disaster zone through the Amateur Radio National Traffic System or via WinLink.

More information, along with a guide to getting started, can be found on the Neighborhood HamWatch website.

Information Net for April 2

Weather Preparedness Tip


MREs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Whether you are isolated because of an ice storm, flood, or any other natural disaster, the food currently stored in your refrigerator and in your pantry has a relatively short shelf-life. This type of food will not keep you going very long in the event of a sustained crisis. To be properly prepared, you need to store food specially formulated for survival situations. As a minimum you should aim to store enough food to meet the needs of your entire family for a week. Again, as with water, if you can reasonably build up a supply to keep you going over a longer period, then do so. The cost of preparing a large stock of food is inevitably quite high. Consider buying a little each week and building it up over time.

There are different types of food can be considered to include into your survival store:

  • Canned Goods – Ready-to-eat soups, meats, vegetables and fruit. Stock a minimum of 3 cans per person per day. When I buy canned goods, I usually write in permanent marker, the date it was bought. That makes it easier to rotate it out. Continue reading “Information Net for April 2”