Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bored? Hack your own satellite.

Many tiny satellites have been launched a short while ago and most work as planned. Only one little Cube-sat was lost.
Its makers (4 German guys in a garage) called it WREN. Its workings are simple. It snaps pictures with its camera on command and sends it down with SSTV on the 70cm band by command. Its like having a wireless web-cam in space. A real cool web-cam.
Only....., this one got lost. Its somewhere up there al-right but there is no signal where its makers, now slowly getting depressed, search for one.

Now its makers ask us to help them out and get things going again. So here it is.
How to hack your own satellite.
Use it to photograph .... well anything from way up there. Maybe make a snapshot of that UFO you know must be out there. Then send the data down to your computer and share it with the world.


The frequency this baby runs on is 437,405 MHz +/- 10 kHz Doppler-Shift where it sends its pictures in SSTV and also has its uplink.

Its location is erm.... somewhere around the earth.  (They hope.) There are some reports of amateurs that heard WREN but its appearances  are shrouded in mist.

To announce it is there, ready and waiting, the satellite sends 1.6 seconds in AFSK. This sounds like: " pipipipipipipipipipip". Then it waits for 6 minutes for a signal.

UB4UAD screen-shot of WREN signal received Nov 26, 2013 at 06:47:13 UT

The signal is simple and any HAM can do this. It waits for a silent FM signal and Morse-like code. (So just keying the mike by hand will do.)

1 = long    0 = short

110011 = Activate (wait for answers within 2 seconds)
11111 = Camera on
110 = Snapshot/Thumbnail (make image with 12x14 Pixels)
110100 = SSTV send in Mode Martin-1 with 320x240 Pixels
No, there is no self destruct code.

Now first activate, then put the camera on, then make the snapshots or full size pictures. If doing it the wrong way around the satellite goes to sleep mode. So don’t mess this up.
By the way, you’ve got about ten to max 15 minutes to activate, turn on camera and download the image, before the cube sat is out of reach. Its not only the coolest web-cam, its also the fastest one.

Don' t forget to contact those Germans and lighten up their day.

More info at:

Sunday, December 01, 2013

eQSL from november

Madeira Island

Guernsey Island



Asiatic Russia

Letland / Latvia


Monday, October 28, 2013

eQSLs from oktober part 2













Monday, October 07, 2013

NRRL recommends a contest free JOTA weekend.

International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 Europe, Middle East, Africa and Northern Asia
Founded 1950
Committee C4 (HF Matters) Interim Meeting
20-21 April 2013           InterCity Hotel, Vienna

SUBJECT Contest-free 3rd full weekend in October for recruitment of young
       radio amateurs via Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA)

Society NRRL Country: Norway
Committee: C4 Paper number: VIE13/C4/09
Contact: Tom V. Segalstad, LA4LN e-mail: LA4LN@ARRL.NET


For a number of years we have at IARU Region 1 Conferences and Interim Meetings
discussed the possibility of having at least one contest-free weekend on the HF bands. Contests are of course good to show activity and that we use the amateur radio bands ("use them or lose them"). But with 8 - 9 contests per weekend, and the number of contests increasing, we hear from our society members an increasing groan that it has become ever so difficult to find a clear spot on the bands for that pleasant and relaxing non-contest contact during the weekends on the 5 "classic" bands + 160 m – unless they use the contest-free, narrow bands of 30, 17, and 12 meters, with limited propagation.
Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA) was established in 1958 by Leslie "Les" Mitchell, G3BHK. A World Scout Jamboree is a camp where scouts from all over the world get together to learn about the world brotherhood of scouting. But it is costly to travel to a World Jamboree, and all the millions of scouts cannot be present at one and the same place. Les realized that many scout leaders were also radio amateurs. And with the help of amateur radio, it would be possible to arrange a Jamboree-on-the-Air.
JOTA has proven to be an enormous success over the years, with thousands of amateur radio stations taking part, bringing together about half a million of boy
scouts and girls scouts and guides from all over the world every year. Many
authorities allow the scouts to operate the radio under the presence and guidance of
the licensed radio amateur.
Amateur radio is also used from national jamborees, smaller scout camps, scout
courses, and other scouting events. Some national scout organizations have their
own committees for amateur radio and "radio scouting", also organizing amateur
radio courses for scouts.
The Norwegian Boy Scout Association established their first "Amateur Radio
Committee" in the late 1960s (with LA5CH as its first chairman). Since that time
more than 500 scouts in Norway have become radio amateurs through this radio scouting program, built around the JOTA event. This constitutes more than 10% of the Norwegian radio amateur census!
There is no exaggeration to say that the JOTA scouting event with amateur radio
is the most effective way to recruit young people to amateur radio. The 55th JOTA was held in October 2012.

Recruitment of young radio amateurs

IARU Region 1 has during the last years made strategies for recruitment of young
radio amateurs. Without active radio amateurs on the amateur radio bands, we may
lose our bands! Hence we need to show the pleasure and fun of amateur radio to
youngsters, in order to recruit them.
If IARU would assign just one weekend every year towards such recruitment, the 3 rd full weekend of October would be ideal, because there already is an annual activity there, JOTA, successfully presenting amateur radio to young people for the last 55 years.


The 3rd full weekend of October was selected for JOTA from 1959, because there were no major contests during that weekend. The presence of contests will of course
limit the activities for the scouts, if the scouts should be presented for trying phone,
CW, and digital modes.
How many contests are there per year? In 2012 the [ARRL] Contest Corral database
tracks 440 different contests. The online WA7BNM and SM3CER contest calendars have even more contests. Of the 440 tracked in Contests Corral, 326 (74%) are HF-
only and 35 (8% ) only use the VHF+ bands. 73% feature CW – the most popular contest mode by nearly 2-to-1 over Phone (46%) and Digital (37%). Even though there are 22 more (new) contests this year, the proportion of CW:Phone:Digital remains almost exactly the same. [From ZS4BS "HF Happenings" No. 530, 9 Nov. 2012]. With 52 weekends per year, this gives us an average of 8 - 9 contests per weekend. There are now 15 different contest on the 3rd full weekend of October. It should here be emphasized that DARC has been extremely cooperative in limiting the band segments for their WAG Contest operation the 3 rd weekend of October. But we all know that IARU bandplan segments and contest-regulated segments are not obeyed during the heat of contests.
Contests are absolutely not in the interest of scouts in JOTA, and contests will therefore be counter-productive in trying to catch their interest for amateur radio. A
spin-off from JOTA could be that amateur radio societies ask the scouts for help other times during field-day operations (logistics, tower building, logging help, and so on) to further catch their interest in radio and technology.
Scouts also have a focus on emergency preparedness. It could be fruitful if collaboration was sought between scouts and radio amateurs for emergency preparedness.

Existing recommendations

IARU Region 1 made the following recommendation at the Cavtat Conference in
2008, based on a paper from NRRL:
CT08_C3_Rec 24: (Paper CT08_C3_39)
In recognizing the importance of the JOTA for radio amateur recruiting, it is
recommended that Member Societies encourage radio amateurs to assist boy
scouts and girl guides to participate in the annual JOTA the third full weekend
of October each year, organized by the World Organization of the Scout
Movement (WOSM) and to use this opportunity to present amateur radio
recruiting possibilities to the scouts/guides.
It has also been discussed in IARU R1 that existing contests should be joined and
coordinated, in order to reduce the number of contests. This has successfully been
done in the Nordic Countries, e.g., the SAC (Scandinavian Activity Contest), the
NRAU-Baltic Contest, and the NAC (Nordic Activity Contest for VHF/UHF/SHF).
The HF Managers' Handbook (Chapter 12; Contest rules and regulations) specifies
rules for the establishment of new HF contests within the Region, to be enforced by
the Contest Subgroup. This subgroup has been discontinued; although it is assumed
that new contests pop up without applying.
What to do?
It must be emphasized that very few of the contests now arranged the 3 rd full
weekend of October are arranged by IARU member societies. Therefore a resolution
to keep the 3rd full weekend of October free of contests, if accepted by all the IARU
regions, must be presented by IARU to both member societies and to other contest
NRRL wants to propose the following recommendation, which can be discussed or
modified at the Interim Meeting:


In recognizing the importance of the JOTA for radio amateur recruiting, it is
recommended that Member Societies and other amateur radio contest
organizers seek to move contests away from the 3 rd full weekend of October, in
order to leave this weekend contest-free. The purpose of this is to encourage
radio amateurs to assist boy scouts and girl guides to participate in the annual
JOTA the third full weekend of October each year, organized by the World
Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), and to use this opportunity to
present the full width of amateur radio to the boy scouts and girl guides, as
recruiting possibilities to the scouts/guides.
If a recommendation is agreed on at the Interim Meeting, it is further proposed that
the recommendation be submitted to C3 at the next IARU Region 1 Conference, and
to forward the recommendation to the other IARU regions.

International contests the 3 rd full weekend of October 2013

18 Friday 1400 - 1800  Autumn Sprint (mini) Contest CW SSB
19 Saturday 1400 - 2300  Iowa QSO Party CW Digital SSB
19 Saturday 0800 - 1400  Youth starts CW Digital Phone
19-20 Saturday 1000 - Sunday 1000  SYLRA Contest CW RTTY SSB
19-20 Saturday 0000 - Sunday 1600 Araucária VHF Contest CW FM SSB
19-20 Saturday 0000 - Sunday 2400  JARTS WW RTTY Contest RTTY
19-20 Saturday 0001 - Sunday 2359  10-10 International  Fall QSO Party CW
19-20 Saturday 1500 - Sunday 1459  Worked All Germany Contest CW SSB
19-20 Saturday 1600 - Sunday 2359  W/VE Islands QSO Party CW Digital Phone
19 Saturday 2000 - 2200  Feld-Hell Club Sprint Feld-Hell
19 Saturday 1500 - 1859  ATCC Open (1st round) CW SSB
19-20 Saturday 1400 - Sunday 0200  New York QSO Party CW Digital SSB
19-20 Saturday 1500 - Sunday 1500 Stew Perry Topband
Distance Challenge "Pre-Stew"
19-20 Saturday 1400 - Sunday 1400  Polska WW BPSK63 Contest BPSK63
20 Sunday 0000 - 0200  Asia-Pacific Sprint Contest CW
20 Sunday 0500 - 0859 ATCC Open (2nd round) CW SSB
20 Sunday 1600 - 1659 SP CW Contest CW
20-21 Sunday 1700 - Monday 0100 Illinois QSO Party CW Digital SSB

According to SM3CER contest service

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Scientists admit solar cycle 24 low is puzzling

Predictions that 2013 would see an upsurge in solar activity and geomagnetic storms have proved to be a false alarm. Instead, the current peak in solar cycle 24 is among the weakest for a century.  What scientists are saying:
Subdued solar activity has prompted controversial comparisons with the Maunder Minimum. The Maunder Minimum, also known as the prolonged sunspot minimum, is the name used for the period starting in about 1645 and continuing to about 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time. These minimums supposedly coincided with the coldest period in the last millennium.

But Giuliana DeToma, a solar scientist at the High Altitude Observatory in Colorado says that the unusually low number of sunspots in recent years is not an indication that we are going into a Maunder Minimum, but added that researchers do not know how or why the Maunder Minimum started. As such, they really cannot predict the next one.

Other solar experts think the downturn is linked a different phenomenon called the Gleissberg cycle. The Gleissberg cycle, named after Wolfgang Gleissberg, is thought to be an amplitude modulation of the 11-year Schwabe Cycle which predicts a period of weaker solar activity every century or so. If that turns out to be true, the sun could remain unusually quiet through the middle of the 2020s. However, as scientists still do not fully understand why the Gleissberg cycle takes place, the evidence is, at best, inconclusive.

Conclusion: The coming years will be cold en the conditions will be poor.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sunday, July 07, 2013

To choke or not to choke remains the question.

Coax choke: 14 Turns RG213 around a plastic pipe directly under the GPA.

1 inch = 2,54 cm. 7"=17,8 cm. 4.25" = 10,8 cm.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Saturday, April 27, 2013