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Monthly Archives: September 2012
Rail Car Design Flaw Ignored
Read by: NICKI KF4DHK
CHICAGO — For two decades, one of the most commonly used type of rail tanker has been allowed to haul hazardous liquids from coast to coast even though transportation officials were aware of a dangerous design flaw that almost guarantees the car will tear open in an accident, potentially spilling cargo that could catch fire, explode or contaminate the environment.
The rail and chemical industries have committed to a safer design for new tankers but are pressing regulators not to require modifications to tens of thousands of existing cars, despite a spike in the number of accidents as more tankers are put into service to accommodate soaring demand for ethanol, the highly flammable corn-based fuel usually transported by rail.
Derailments have triggered chemical spills and massive blasts like one in July in Columbus, Ohio, that blew up with such intensity that one witness said it “looked like the sun exploded.” Some communities with busy railways are beginning to regard the tankers as a serious threat to public safety.
Read by: RANDY KJ4TFU
“There’s a law of averages that gives me great concern,” said Jim Arie, fire chief in Barrington, a wealthy Chicago suburb where ethanol tankers snake through a bustling downtown. “Sometimes I don’t sleep well at night.”
The Jonestown mass murder in 1978 is viewed as the largest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the events of September 11. Prior to this, amateur radio was used by the Peoples Temple to maintain communications from Guyana to San Francisco and Georgetown. Their use however raised concerns with other hams due to obvious rule violations made by Temple operators. Some ham operators took action by recording these QSOs and filed complaints with the ARRL and FCC.
These recordings were finally transcribed in 2003 by Josef Dieckman at the request of the Jonestown Institute. He has written two articles about his experiences: “QSL cards provide insight into Temple radio communications” and “Listening to Jonestown”.
Here is an excerpt:
The FCC tapes number 1-24, covering dates in 1977 and 1978, and are in no particular order. I began with a group of four tapes, and what I heard only reinforced what I had already been told about the nature of the material on them: they were coded and secretive ham radio communications. When I began listening to the first tape (FCC #3) I found nothing odd about it. Two men, thousands of miles apart, exchanged part numbers for appliances like freezers and refrigerators. I kept waiting for the blatant rule infractions like obvious business traffic and coded talk. But on first blush, everything sounded on the level. At times, some obvious mistakes came through, such as the botching of call signs, which occurred more than once. This aside, nothing struck me as too odd. However, as I worked transcribing the other tapes, my suspicions grew, and suddenly things began appearing odd and inconsistent. The “code” began to emerge, and although I had no idea what it all meant (and I’m still struggling with it), I knew it sounded peculiar.
Check out the October 2012 Issue of QST
Read by: PAUL KJ4WQN
Have you ever wanted to go on a DXpedition, but lacked the time — or resources — to make it happen? Never fear, because you can go on four DXpeditions from the comfort of your armchair, thanks to the October edition of QST! In our annual DXing issue, discover DXpeditions of lore and legend as we take you to Malpelo, Rotuma, Navassa and the Mountains of the Moon. So sit back and enjoy all the fun and challenges that come with being in a remote part of the world, connected to civilization only by radio waves racing around the world.
The cover of the October issue of QST features the 2012 HK0NA DXpedition to Malpelo, an island located about 235 miles of the coast of Colombia. In his article “Malpelo Island DXpedition 2012 — HK0NA,” Bob Allphin, K4UEE, recounts how 20 hams from six countries came together to activate the #12 most-wanted DXCC entity earlier this year. Travel with Paul S. Ewing, N6PSE, to Rotuma in his article “DXpedition to the Future,” and with J. Robert Eshleman, W4DR, to Navassa in “DX Determination.” Lots of hams depend on spotting networks to work DX. Murray Green, K3BEQ, tells how DX spotting networks have advanced from voice over 2 meter simplex to the Reverse Beacon Network in his article “The Evolution of DX Spotting.”