Amateur Radio Newsline™ Report 2051

Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2051, February 17th, 2017

Amateur Radio Newsline Report Number 2051 with a release date of Friday, February 17th, 2017 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

The following is a QST. Intensive studies of the ionosphere are resuming at last at a high-profile research site in Alaska. A group of DXers in the U.S. gets a ham in the North Cook Islands on the air after three decades - and shortwave listeners prepare for their 30th annual gathering. All this and more as Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2051 comes your way right now.

PAUL: We open this week's report with word that the ionosphere, the very thing that lets us hams BE hams, is about to go back under formal scientific scrutiny this month at a former military site in Alaska. Now, of course, the study is an academic exercise, as we learn from Amateur Radio Newsline's Jim Damron N8TMW.

JIM'S REPORT:: The University of Alaska at Fairbanks is about to embark on its first radio research project later this month at the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program site. The experiments will occur within HAARP's transmitter tuning range of 2.7 to 10 MHz. According to university researcher Chris Fallen KL3WX, the transmissions are likely to be audible outside Alaska and may even be visibly detected within the state.

He said that if conditions are favorable, HAARP radio transmissions may also be heard from virtually anywhere in the world using an inexpensive shortwave radio. The transmissions' exact frequencies will not be determined until right before the experiment and will be posted on Twitter as soon as they are known. Listeners are advised to follow the site by its Twitter handle, which is at-U-A-F-G-I (@UAFGI).

The work is being done under a grant from the National Science Foundation. The university took over the Gakona, Alaska site 18 months ago from the U.S. Air Force, which had used the 40-acre grid of antennas and powerful array of HF transmitters to conduct research into the properties and behavior of the ionosphere.

Later experiments will include a look at over-the-horizon radar and satellite-to-ground communications.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jim Damron N8TMW




PAUL: In another cold place, on the opposite end of the planet, hams still await signals from hams at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. There are, however, alternatives as we hear from Amateur Radio Newsline's Jeremy Boot G4NJH.

JEREMY'S REPORT: The ice hasn't melted in Antarctica but there appears to be something of a thaw anyway - at least in terms of amateur radio communications. The KC4USV operation at McMurdo Station hasn't been on the air in two years but if you've been listening during the last few weeks you might have heard someone else - KC4AAA -- at the U.S. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Sure enough, there was activity on SSB on 40 meters. Even though the station wasn't on the air too often during 2016, it was active in December and January and will be sending out QSL cards in March, according to the QSL Manager Larry Skilton K1IED (KAY-ONE-EYE-EE-DEE).

If you can't get through to KC4AAA, try Mikhail ìMikeî Fokin, RI1AND, at Novolazarevskaya Base, Antarctica. He has been working stations in the U.S. on 40 and 20 meters using PSK31. You also have a few more days - until the 22nd of February, to contact Oleg Neruchev, ZS1OIN/UA3HK. He is active as RI1ANN from the Russian Progress station.

Meanwhile, McMurdo Station KC4USV is waiting for a thaw of its own and K1IED requests, on its QRZ page, that hams contact the National Science Foundation and press them to put the station back on the air.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jeremy Boot G4NJH. 




PAUL: What's more satifying as making radio contact with a ham from the North Cook Islands? How about...helping him get on the air in the first place! Amateur Radio Newsline's Jim Meachen ZL2BHF tells us that story.

JIM: There's a voice back on the HF bands, and the sound of some well-practiced Code, coming from the North Cook Islands that some longtime hams haven't heard in about 30 years. Pia Taraeka E51PT, also known as Papa Pia, has had his license but until recently little else to get on the air.

That all changed recently thanks to two hams from the Western Washington DX Club, W7DX. Papa Pia received a donation of radio gear from Bob Nielsen N7XY. Another club member, Bengt-Erik Norum K7ADD/E51AMF, who has been active from the region on a DXpedition, helped get the shack up and running again. The DX Club is one of the West Coast's largest, most active radio clubs on the West Coast. 

Now Papa Pia can resume a radio career that began in 1962 when he was employed as a radio operator for the Cook Island and New Zealand governments. His amateur radio activity ended in 1984, he says in his QRZ profile.

He's back now, so be listening for him and please note - if you contact him, he only accepts QSL cards mailed directly to him.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jim Meachen, ZL2BHF.



PAUL: There is a movement to honor the heroic and quick-thinking actions of one amateur radio operator and three other crew members on board a military aircraft nearly 43 years ago. We hear more from Amateur Radio Newsline's Don Wilbanks AE5DW.

DON's REPORT: On September 15th, 1974 Staff Sergeant Homer Perry K4YZJ and three other crewmen on board a C-7A aircraft serving with the 94th Tactical Airlift Wing at Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia were on a local training mission with 13 Aeromedical personnel on board.

During the takeoff roll, the number-2 engine exploded and erupted into flames. Unable to abort the takeoff, they continued and attempted a go-around and began shut down procedures on the number-2 engine and to extinguish the fire. 

Due to a magnesium fire in the engine nacelle, practically impossible to put out, the first attempt to extinguish the fire failed. Witnesses testified seeing flames trailing as much as 100 feet behind the number-2 engine.

With an unsuccessful first attempt, the crew discharged the remaining engine fire extinguisher, also unsuccessful. The aircraft commander was able to turn the aircraft around and lined up with the opposite runway as the fire eventually self-extinguished. 
The crew made a successful emergency landing and safely evacuated all personnel on the aircraft. Investigators say that had the fire not been extinguished, the aircraft would have likely exploded in mid-flight resulting in wing separation. The rapid and decisive actions of the crew resulted in the saving of 17 lives and a multi-million-dollar aircraft from total destruction.

There is a petition to award the crew the Distinguished Flying Cross for their heroism.  If you would like to add your name to honor Homer Perry, K4YZJ and the rest of this brave crew please visit, click browse and search for Heroism after 43 years.  The detailed link can be found in the printed edition of this week's Newsline report.  You can also visit the Facebook page.

Let's see these heroes get the recognition they deserve.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Don Wilbanks, AE5DW.



PAUL: Listen up! There's still time to register for the 30th anniversary of the Shortwave Listeners' Fest in Pennsylvania. Amateur Radio Newsline's Stephen Kinford N8WB has those details.

STEPHEN: The North American Shortwave Association is looking for a few good listeners. Well, more than a few, actually. Radio hobbyists are gathering in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, just north of Philadelphia, from March 2nd through March 4th for the Winter SWL-Fest. They will explore scanning, satellite TV, shortwave, mediumwave and even take a look at pirate broadcasting. Attendees in the past have typically included broadcasters from Voice of America, Trans World Radio, Swiss Radio International and China Radio International, among others. There will also be a late-night listening session on Friday, which will include a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the SWL-Fest.

Yes there's still time to register and you can do that online. Visit for details.

For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm Stephen Kinford N8WB




Time for you to identify your station. We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world including W5AW, the Big Springs Amateur Radio Club Repeater in Big Springs, Texas, on Thursdays at 8 p.m.



PAUL/ANCHOR: Though a solar array can save some homeowners big on their energy bills, it's very possible nearby amateurs are paying a price on the bands. If you are experiencing interference on the air and you believe the source is a nearby solar array, the Federal Communications Commission wants to hear from you. Whether the solar setup is right next door or a few doors down, the agency would like you to document the issue and explain why you believe the solar array is the source of problem. They can then proceed with the investigation.

According to the FCC's Deborah Chen, complaints can be filed with the agency and should include any or all of the following: photographs, recordings and any other meaningful supportive documents.

Submit your complaints on the agency website at consumercomplaints-dot-fcc-dot-gov ( "Consumercomplaints" is one word. 

In followup contacts with the FCC, be sure to mention your complaint ticket number.



PAUL: We note now the recent passing of two Silent Keys who were not just longtime radio operators but centenarians. Amateur Radio Newsline's Heather Embee KB3TZD has the details.

HEATHER:The amateur radio world has lost two among its most senior operators. In Russia, Oleg S. Klyucharev ( pronounced ëclue-cha-rev í), U-1-A-U, became a Silent Key the age of 102. At the time of his death on January 31st, Oleg was an active amateur radio operator. He died only days after Charlie Hellman, W-2-R-P, became a Silent Key in the United States at the age of 106. Oleg had been licensed since 1933 and got his present call sign the following year. A veteran of World War II, he had been a member of the Amateur Radio Association of St. Petersburg.

Charlie, who lived in New York's Hudson Valley, died on January 25th. He had been licensed for 92 years an d was honored in 2015 by the Quarter Century Wireless Association with a "90 Year Continuous Licensed" certificate award.

Another very senior radio enthusiast, a former licensed ham, died on January 28th at the age of 108. Mary Cousins was no longer active as W-1-G-S-C, but she got her license in 1933 becoming the first woman in the state of Maine to become a ham radio operator.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Heather Embee, KB3TZD 




In the world of DX, it's time to look to those mountain tops, with two Summit to Summit events planned in March. The first organised by Mike 2E0YYY and Andrew VK1AD is a long path Europe to Australia event for Saturday 11 March 2017 starting at 06:30 UTC. Activity will be SSB or CW on 20 metres. The second event planned by Pete WA7JTM and Andrew VK1AD is for the Australia-North America path is later in the UTC day from 19:30 UTC, or 6:30am Sunday in Eastern Australia.  Check for details of both events. Contacts with home stations are welcome from the SOTA activators however those contacts between the mountain peaks are very special.

Several U.S. operators are operating from Guantanamo Bay until February 24th. Be listening for KG4WV, KG4AW, KG4DY and KG4ZK. Visit each of their pages on QRZ.COM for details about QSL cards.

Alain F5OZC and Sebastien F8DQZ are operating until February 26th from the Los Islands off the coast of Guinea. They are using the call sign 3XY3D. Their QSL manager is F5OZC.

Listen for Eric SM1TDE who will be active as 5X8EW from Entebbe in Uganda from February 23rd through the 26th. You can hear him on 40 meters through 10 meters using CW. Send QSL cards to his home call sign.




PAUL: We close this week's report with the story of a newly ticketed amateur who may not be the ONLY ham on an Indian Ocean island but he might just be its newest. Amateur Radio Newsline's John Williams VK4JJW tells us his tale.

JOHN'S REPORT: He's calling himself the Christmas Ham even though it's already February. Cliff Tindall, VK9VKL, is a new licensee who has chosen to announce his advent on the bands by posting on QRZ.COM and on his blog.

He says he's the newest ham on Christmas Island -- even if he can't get on the air just yet.

Christmas is coming soon enough for Cliff, however, because his rig, antenna and other equipment are on their way to his remote location in the Indian Ocean, 870 miles northwest of Australia. He explains on QRZ how his relatively remote location made a Foundation license impractical for him as a DXer, so he studied even more intensely to qualify for a Standard ticket.

It's challenging and lonely not having regular club meetings or an Elmer next door, so while Cliff awaits the contents of his new shack to be delivered, he's been blogging at Vee-Kay-Nine-Vee-Kay-Ell-dot-island-dot-Cee-EX ( bringing the world up to date. As of early February, there's a G5RV enroute to be his starter antenna and a Yaesu FTDX 1200 transceiver - among all the other items on his Christmas list.

Meanwhile, he's puzzling out the slow and costly process of sending those eventual QSL cards out. For their eventual recipients, they're bound to become Christmas cards of a very different sort.
For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm John Williams VK4JJW.

NEWSCAST CLOSE: With thanks to Alan Labs; the ARRL; CQ Magazine; Cook Islands News; The Daily DX; DX Coffee; Hap Holly and the Rain Report; Irish Radio Transmitters Society; North American Shortwave Association; Ohio-Penn DX Bulletin; QRZ.COM; Southgate Amateur Radio News; Ted Randall's QSO Radio Show; University of Alaska; WTWW Shortwave; and you our listeners, that's all from the Amateur Radio Newsline. Please send emails to our address at More information is available at Amateur Radio Newsline's only official website located at

For now, with Caryn Eve Murray, KD2GUT, at the news desk in New York, and our news team worldwide, I'm Paul Braun WD9GCO in Valparaiso Indiana saying 73 and as always we thank you for listening.

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