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To Hamsters young and old...

Were you around to feel the Y2K bug bite (byte)

Or to see that magnificent (tongue in cheek) flyby of Halley's Comet
and tail?

Well, be afraid, VERY afraid because now comes 46P/Wirtanen - a comet
as big as the FULL MOON.

Hyperactive comet 46P/Wirtanen is approaching mother earth for one of
the closest Earth-comet encounters of the Space Age.

Observers report that the comet's gaseous green atmosphere now covers
a patch of sky as large as the full Moon--and it is growing larger.

Sky maps and expert observing tips are featured in the 'link we like'

Bushfire season here in Australia brings the prospects of runaway,
deadly destruction.

That time is happening now - cue, VK4JJW and VK3KKP

TONY: Our bushfire are wildfires that are a danger everywhere from
spring to autumn and the season like everywhere else is getting

JOHN: That's Tony Falla VK3KKP, who is about to help conduct a
training project in the Shire of Mount Alexander in Victoria,
Australia. The effort is designed to provide a greater safety net
against the deadly fires, also known as fire tornadoes. Tony said
that while the Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network works on a
grand scale, this effort is designed to be very community-based,
expanding on small radio networks that already exist in communities
within the shire where hams regularly check in with one another

TONY: Most of the time everyone has got this things covered.
They have radio systems all in place between the emergency
networks. What they haven't got - what I think is the missing
link -- is the person in the bush who needs to call for help
and can't get through and that's what I would hope we could

JOHN: Most particularly that means disabled residents of the shire,
individuals who would have difficulty if evacuation is needed or
simply getting the message out that they're in trouble. Starting on
the 12th of December, Tony, who is a member of the Bendigo Amateur
Radio and Electronics Club, will be working with committee members
of the Mount Alexander Shire Disability Advocacy Group who have
expressed an interest in getting a Foundation Licence to help build
this critical community-based network.

TONY: This is basically friends training friends to become eligible
to communicate using licenced equipment and that's all. It is
a bit like the Air BnB of communication really. Just a
friendship ostensibly that develops into a network of people
who listen out for one another.

JOHN: The new hams will then go on to help other candidates,
establishing regular nets, health-and-welfare checks and of course
being ready for those emergencies when they happen.

TONY: We'll be acting as an intermediary between the person
calling and 000 -- but if someone is in dire danger we will
be able to tell the police the fire brigade and so on that
that's the case.

JOHN: That's life-saving communication for the people in the shire
of Mount Alexander.

For Amateur Radio Newsline and the WIA, I'm John Williams VK4JJW


What is immediately facing the WIA?

The 'Current WIA Hot Issues' section on the website gives you a view
into some of the major pressure points that the WIA stays across on
your behalf.

This is all part of the service that the WIA provides to Amateur

You can find the list easily:

just click the burning flame icon on the home page.

Some of the items are on the list because they need further action
or submissions. Some are there to invite input from members.
Others are tracking long term activities or have an indefinite
time-frame. All these items are things that are identified
and watched by the WIA board.

To be informed and become aware, check out the 'Current WIA Hot
Issues' section at via the icon on the home page
or type "hot issues" into the search bar.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS With thanks to IARU, RSGB, SARL, Southgate AR Club,
the WIA.


South Africa's ICASA/SARL Liaison committee met last week to discuss
various regulatory issues affecting Amateur Radio.

One issue, which we in VK don't have to contend with is the reception
of weather satellite pictures and the licensing of equipment in South
Africa has been a grey area.

Their licensing body, the ICASA, has the rule that Radio Amateurs
wishing to set-up and own equipment to receive signals in the 137 MHz
band must apply for a separate satellite receiving licence as it is
not covered under their amateur radio license. Non-licenced persons
must in addition also apply for a radio receiving license.


Turkey's telecom regulator, BTK, in a government gazette notice of
29th November 2018, released two new Amateur Radio allocations.

They are:

The new WRC-15 60m Secondary allocation of 5351.5 - 5366.5 kHz with a
power limit of 15W EIRP. All modes are allowed.

A 6m allocation of 50 - 52 MHz, all modes allowed, with a power limit
of 75W.

BTK National Frequency Allocation Table (p.11,27)

(Tnx: TA4ED, BTK, W8GEX)
Paul Gaskell G4MWO,
The 5 MHz Newsletter

and its archive



In an interview with the Austrian state broadcaster ORF, Erich OE3EMB
described intercepting shortwave communications between the
German Federal Intelligence Service and the UK's GCHQ

The interview was for Radio FM4 and the transmission Erich describes
intercepting back in the 1970's was between Norddeich Radio used by
Germany's BND and Cable & Wireless, London which was apparently being
used by GCHQ.

Having intercept the transmissions Erich then wrote to each station
to get a QSL card to confirm his reception.

Evidently the recipients were not happy their "secret" transmissions
had been intercepted and a formal complaint was made to the
appropriate Ministry in Austria who in turn contacted Erich's parents.

Read the ORF story (use Google Translate)


Limited edition RAC 25th Anniversary Challenge Coin:

May 2018, Radio Amateurs of Canada introduced the special RAC 25th
Anniversary Challenge Coin as part of its year-long celebrations.
The coin was designed by Mike Hutchison.

Its design depicts the commitment to a strong 25 years of
Amateur Radio with a large maple leaf acknowledging a true sense
of Canadian pride. The back design is the classic RAC logo with a
gold crest and accents.

It is a unique collectable and is a great collectors piece.

In his Message in the November-December 2018 issue of The Canadian
Amateur magazine, RAC President Glenn MacDonell, VE3XRA, indicated:
"There has been a good response to the RAC Challenge Coin Program
in which a limited number of collectible coins were created in
honour of RAC's first 25 years. These are available to anyone
donating $100 or more to RAC.


At approximately 0030 UTC on December 4, several stations in Brazil,
including PS8MT, PT9BM, and PT2AP reported hearing the voice beacon
"Fox-1Cliff Safe Mode."

This as SpaceX announced that the SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission
carrying AMSAT's Fox-1Cliff CubeSat has been deployed into orbit.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle carried Fox-1Cliff and several other
satellites into space on December 3 at approximately 1334 UTC from
Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, following a launch delay.

Four microsatellites including ESEO carrying an AMSAT-UK FUNcube-4
transponder were deployed about 2 hours and 13 minutes after launch,
the ESEO beacon has been received by Surrey Space Centre

60 CubeSats including Jordan's JY1SAT carrying a FUNcube-6
transponder and capable of transmitting Slow Scan digital Video
images were deployed about 2 hours after that.

According to AMSAT, the Brazilian stations reception of Fox-1Cliff
has confirmed that that the satellite is also 'alive.'

Tecsun Radios Australia, who say they're a bunch of amateur radio
enthusiasts, also say AMSAT's satellite launch of Fox1-Clif" has
inspired them to join forces with the volunteers at AMSAT who build
and launch Amateur Radio Satellites for space research and



Public service and innovation are the backbone of amateur radio and
nowhere was this more evident than during the recent deadly wildfires
that swept through California. Hams responded, as always, with the
help of repeaters - but one amateur-built high-speed data network
stretching nearly 200 miles became the picture - quite literally - of
the peril faced throughout the state.

Andy Morrison K9AWM told our good friends at Amateur Radio Newsline
how hams used mesh camera video to put people on the scene in
real-time - and he spoke to one ham who was part of the process.

BEN: "If you are in the middle of a wildfire, people only hear
evacuation notices. They don't know where the fire is, how far it is
from their house. The public only hears evacuation notices, they
don't know where the fire is, is it a block away? A mile away?
And people make a lot of life and death decisions based on that.
By having the video you can actually say "here" and you can share
that by social media or describe it A video, a picture can tell a
thousand words, a picture does tell you a lot."

ANDY: That was Ben Kuo AI6YR of the Pleasant Valley Amateur Radio
Club which helps manage the Amateur Radio Emergency Data
Network, operating on amateur radio allocations on the
microwave bands at 900MHz, 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Ben says the system
behaves just like the internet and uses similar protocols to
compress video and send it over the packet network.

To transmit, hams use commercial radios adapted for amateur
frequencies. In one instance, he said, the AREDN even
"out-Internetted" the Internet itself during the crisis.

BEN: "One of the big Internet providers here is Spectrum
Communications and they went down. Due to the fire they lost all
phone, they lost TV, and they lost internet, broadband connections.
We were able to provide the people who were on our network with
access to some of the key info they couldn't get. They had no
internet, but they did have us -- and we could actually forward
information to them digitally that they couldn't get anywhere else."

ANDY: The ham-built network has been so successful that the hams hope
to help the state build a wide-reaching network of its own to
make their own videos available to public safety agencies
throughout California. Meanwhile, Ben said, there is always
fine-tuning to be done by the hams themselves.

BEN: "We are now working on lessons we learned from this fire and
enhancing some of the capabilities we have so it is even better
next time."

For Amateur Radio Newsline and the WIA I'm Andy Morrison K9AWM.



All major Australian contests, rules and results, are on the
Contest Section of the WIA website. and.. be it a Contest you are
running or a HamFest or anything at all DON'T forget not ONLY
send it here to BUT enter it on the

ARRL 10M Contest

The ARRL ten meter contest is described as an event "for Amateurs
worldwide to exchange QSO information with as many stations as
possible on the 10 meter band".

This year it is taking place THIS weekend.

In terms of modes, only CW and SSB are permitted.

Now although in the news we steer away from giving out URL's as a bit
like hearing a phone number on some radio advert, who can remember

BUT in this case it's an easy URL for the terms of the 10 mtr contest

Listen for amateur radio clubs at NASA facilities as they participate
in the NASA On The Air activity to commemorate the 50th anniversary
of the Apollo 8 mission that spanned launch December 21, 1968, to
splashdown on December 27, 1968.

The 50th anniversary event will start on 0000 UTC December 21, 2018
through 2359 UTC December 27, 2018.

14.271 MHz and other bands depending on conditions with spotting
announcements on DX clusters, FaceBook, and twitter. QSL and a
certificate with information available on

This marks the concluding event of the year-long NASA On the Air
celebration of 60th anniversary of NASA.



Inaugural "Green Keys Night" Set for New Year's Day, January 1

NZART Portable Activity Day - New Year's Day

ARRL RTTY Roundup January 5 - 6
This contest will, for the first time, permit the use of FT8 as well
as traditional RTTY.

Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 January, the Summer VHF /UHF Field Day.

March 17 - 18 John Moyle Field Day

May Four the 20th Harry Angel Memorial Sprint.

July 20 Trans-Tasman Low-Band Contest

Aug 17-18 VK Remembrance Day Contest.




The Radio Amateur Association of Greece is using special callsign
SX 60 RAAG to the 31st of December to mark its 60th anniversary.


Special event station C 4 XMAS is QRV during the festive season,
throughout the month of December. Activity on 160 to 6 meters using
CW, SSB and various digital modes.


Last Chance to hear and work EI 100 MCV

As we approach December 31 the National Maritime Museum of Ireland
Radio Club would like to remind licence holders to work Special Event
Call Sign EI100MCV before the licence expires.

This commemorates the centenary of the sinking, by torpedo, of
RMS Leinster in the final days of World War 1, resulting in the
largest loss of life in the Irish Sea.

RMS Leinsters own radio call sign was MCV, hence the special call
EI 100 MCV.

(sourced to irts)

Steff, HB9FXL is using the call sign XU 7 AKB across Cambodia through
the 14th of December. Listen for him on 40 through 10 meters
operating SSB and FT8.
Send QSLs via HB9FXL.



THE QNEWS WORK BENCH - the nuts and volts report -
Measure Twice cut Once.

Software defined Doppler radar with LimeSDR Mini

Dan Maloney KC1DJT writes on Hackaday about the work of Luigi Freitas
PU2SPY who shows how even beginners can experiment in the spectrum
above 1 GHz with the LimeSDR-Mini transceiver

Dan writes:

Want to explore the world of radar but feel daunted by the mysteries
of radio frequency electronics? Be daunted no more and abstract the
RF complexities away with this tutorial on software-defined radar.

Taking inspiration from Greg Charvat N8ZRY, Luigi's plunge into radar
is spare on the budgetary side but rich in learning opportunities.

The front end of the radar set is almost entirely contained in a
LimeSDR Mini, a software-defined radio that can both transmit and
receive. The only additional components are a pair of soup can
antennas and a cheap LNA for the receive side.

The rest of the system runs on GNU Radio Companion running on a
Raspberry Pi; the whole thing is powered by a USB battery pack and
lives in a plastic tote. Luigi has the radar set up for the 2.4 GHz
band, and was calibrated with vehicles passing by at known speeds.

Read Dan's Hackaday post





India launched a PSLV flight on Thursday, November 29 that included
four CubeSats which are using 70cm downlink frequencies coordinated
by the IARU:

FacSat-1 - 9k6 GMSK downlink
3CAT1 - 9k6 FSK downlink
InnoSat-2 - 50kHz wide telemetry using AX25 packet format
Hello World - 9k6 packet 2GFSK for telemetry & 1Mbps MSK downlink
on S Band


Happy 20th Anniversary to the International Space Station

The largest and most complex international construction project in
space began on the steppes of Kazakhstan 20 years ago this month.
Atop its Proton rocket, on Nov. 20, 1998, the Zarya Functional Cargo
Block (FGB) thundered off its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome
into cold wintry skies. Zarya was built by the Khrunichev in Moscow
and served as a temporary control module for the nascent ISS.

On Dec. 4, Space Shuttle Endeavour on the STS-88 mission roared off
Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, carrying the
Unity Node 1 module in its cargo bay. Built by The Boeing Corporation
at a facility at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville,
Alabama, Unity was the first American component of the ISS.

A collection of interesting ISS historical articles begins at:


NASA astronaut Nick Hague set for new space station mission after

Nick, KG 5 TMV who was forced to abort his recent mission to the
International Space Station, is scheduled to launch again on the
28th of Feb., 2019, from Kazakhstan.

He will launch with Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency
Roscosmos, who was his commander and crewmate on the aborted mission
in October, and NASA astronaut Christina Koch aboard the Russian
Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft.

The trio will join the station's Expedition 59 crew and return to
Earth in October 2019 as members of Expedition 60.

KG5TMV and Koch will serve as flight engineers for Expeditions 59 and

Crew members will participate in a news conference at 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 12, at NASA's Johnson Space Centre in Houston.
The news conference will air live on NASA TV and the agency's


Two rare French Polynesian islands are available to IOTA chasers
until the 18th December. Firstly there will be TX 0 A on
Maria Est Atoll (IOTA OC-113)

Secondly TX 0 M on Morane Atoll (IOTA OC-297).


Hunter, KK 4 AOS is at present stationed at the Palmer Research
Station on Anvers Island in Antarctica. He has been logged as
active from the KC4AAC club station on 17 an 20m SSB.
The IOTA reference is AN-012.


A Youth Net meets Saturdays at 0100 UTC on IRLP Reflector #2.
Young Hams Net 3.590 - 7:30pm Victorian time.

The Board of Trustees of the Canadian Amateur Radio Hall of Fame is
pleased to announce that Neil Carleton, VE3NCE, of Ontario has been
named to the Hall of Fame.

Amateur Radio played an important role during Neil's career as a
School Teacher. He was a key advisor in the development of the
RAC Youth Education Program which has as its objective
"to provide youth and their leaders with an innovative way of
learning by introducing them to the wonderful world of Amateur Radio".

The Program provides financial and personal support to Teachers in
schools and Leaders in community youth groups in all regions of the

Through his articles in The Canadian Amateur magazine, RAC members
and friends learned that Amateur Radio was a great way to make
classroom connections by youth across the curriculum.

Brett Nicholas VK2BNN Scouts Australia National co-ordinator for JOTA.
Lorraine O'Hare VK2FICQ is Girl Guides Australia National JOTA-JOTI

Please QSY off the calling frequency after establishing communication.

Australian voice calling frequencies:
3.650, 7.090, 14.190, 21.190, 28.590, 52.160

World CW calling frequencies:
3.570, 7.030, 14.060, 18.080, 21.140, 24.910, 28.180, 50.160

World voice calling frequencies:
3.690 & 3.940 MHz, 7.090 & 7.190, 14.290, 18.140, 21.360,
24.960, 28.390, 50.160

Calling frequencies for Slow Scan TV (SSTV):
3.630, 7.033, 14.227

Calling Frequencies for PSK31

Scouting's Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) 2018 reports that total
Scout participation in the USA in the annual event jumped by
36% from 2017.

Each year more than 1 million Scouts and Guides get together
over the airwaves for JOTA, which takes place on the third weekend
of October. Since the first JOTA in 1958, millions of Scouts have
become acquainted via Amateur Radio, and contacts sometimes result in
relationships that extend for many years.

This year, 10,703 Scouts took part in the event, compared with 7,872
last year. Participating Amateur Radio operators topped 1,000
for the first time since 2016. At 610, the number of registered
JOTA locations was way up, as was the number of JOTA stations
registered, with 314.

Participating JOTA stations reported contacts with stations in
99 countries, also up over 2017.

JOTA Coordinator in the US Jim Wilson, K5ND, said he was pleased
with this year's numbers and hopes that 2019's event will show a
continued increase, despite a lack of sunspots.

World JOTA-JOTI numbers are not expected until early 2019,
as each country reports its results by mid-December
followed by number crunching and compiling of the report.

(sourced to the ARRL)


2019 Social Scene

January 24-28 VK4 TARC Australia Day Long Week Family Radio Camp

February 24 VK2 - Wyong Field Day (vk2kfu)

March 23-24 VK7 - Meet the Voice event at Ross (vk7news)

February 13 VK4 - Redfest 2019 (vk4tfn)

April 6 VK5 - BRL Radio Group Annual Gathering, (vk5la)
Overland Corner, S.A

May 3 - 6 VK4 - Claireview Gathering (tarc)

Sept 2019 - Scandinavian YL Radio Operators Convention
will be in Norway LA8FOA is your contact

Oct 27 VK3 Ballarat Amateur Radio Group, BARG Hamvention 2019 3kqt

2020 Social Scene

ALARAMEET 2020 Bendigo (vk5yl)

October 2020 in Bendigo Victoria.

Heidi VK3FHID and Jenny VK3WQ are leading the team who are planning
an eventful weekend. This team is meeting regularly and are looking
forward to seeing you in Bendigo.

Submitting news items

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