Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Presents for the Amateur Radio and Scanner Radio Hobbyist

Friday, October 14, 2011

AMSAT to Celebrate 50 Years In Space at Annual Space Symposium:

The AMSAT 2011 AMSAT Space Symposium will be held November 4-6 in San Jose, California. This year's Symposium coincides with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of OSCAR 1, the first Amateur Radio satellite. The Symposium will feature presentations on amateur satellites, operating techniques, news and plans from the amateur satellite world, as well as an AMSAT General Meeting and a meeting of AMSAT's Board of Directors.
While the final schedule is still being worked out, AMSAT has announced that Lance Ginner, K6GSJ, will be the speaker at the banquet. Ginner helped build and develop OSCAR 1 and OSCAR 2. His involvement with Amateur Radio spacecraft continued with OSCAR 3, OSCAR 4, OSCAR 5 (the first for the newly formed Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation in 1970), OSCAR 6, OSCAR 7 and OSCAR 8.
ARRL Laboratory Test Engineer Bob Allison, WB1GCM, will also be speaking at the Symposium, accompanied by a prototype of OSCAR 1. With help from Ginner and other AMSAT members, Allison and W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, refurbished the prototype, one of three made by Project OSCAR. One of the satellites went into orbit in 1961, one is on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC and the other, until recently, was sitting in a display case in the downstairs hallway at ARRL Headquarters. Read more here
The ARRL Letter

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This is my latest gadget.  Check my YouTube Channel to see my first application for it related to shortwave and scanner radios (I will post the video here once is completes uploading to YouTube).  It's doing what I asked for and much more.  Please remember to support my videos by using the Amazon search button on my webpage.  No additional cost to you and I receive a small commission on your purchases when you go to Amazon through my webpage.

Have a great day.

Tom Stiles

Monday, July 11, 2011

TRRS #0041 - Buying Shortwave Radios on Ebay

AO-51 operations update

AMSAT Vice-President of Operations Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, provided the latest details in AMSAT's work to keep the amateur radio satellite AO-51 operational for as long as possible.
Drew wrote, "Keeping AO-51 operating requires the US command team routinely restarting the satellite, and tweaking the power settings to find a combination of operating parameters to get it through eclipse. Currently one of the 6 battery cells onboard is shorted, and another is in really poor shape."
Continuing, Drew explains, "The onboard computer was crashing each orbit because of low voltage when the solar cells were no longer receiving illumination and the satellite relies entirely on its internal battery power. Through experimentation the Command Team seems to have found a balance point where it will sometimes go up to two days before crashing."
Each time the computer crashes the Command Team has to restart it using the housekeeping software onboard in ROM. The firmware code has a limited functionality compared to the normal flight software which we would upload from the ground over a few days time. However the eclipses and battery problem were causing a crash before the upload can complete.
Drew concludes, "With lots of luck we will be able to continue to
limp along. How long is anyone's guess. I'd encourage you to use AO-51 while it's available, and to financially support new satellite programs like Kiwisat, Funcube, and Fox when you can."
Uplink: 145.880 MHz, no tone.
Downlink: 435.150 MHz
The repeater is open to all when the satellite is operational.
Keep up with the latest AO-51 Control Team News on-line at:
Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA
AMSAT-NA VP Operations

Please support our webcasts by using the search box on the extreme left when making your purchases from  Every little bit helps.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Listening to HF via on the Web

A WebSDR is a Software-Defined Radio receiver connected to the Internet, allowing many users to listen and tune it simultaneously.
SDR technology makes it possible for all listeners to tune independently, and thus listen to different signals; this is in contrast to the older Internet connected receivers that can only be tuned by one person.
The site lists Internet SDR receivers all over the world that you can use. If you ever wondered what your 40m signal sounds like in Atlanta then tune in one of the SDR's listed at


TRRS #0038 - Police Scanner Gone Deaf - Rebanding

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Sun is becoming more active again

After an approximate two week slumber the sun is becoming active once again.
The daily solar flux index rose to 91.0 on Friday May 27, 2011 after a minimum of 79.7 on Wednesday May 25, 2011. The daily sunspot number rose to 65 on Friday May 27, 2011 after a minimum of 23 on Tuesday May 24, 2011.
The number of sunspot groups is rising again with five visible numbered groups and one visible but as of yet un-numbered on Friday May 27, 2011.
New sunspot group #11226 located at S18E74 is growing rapidly in size and magnetic complexity and contains a twisted beta-gamma magnetic signature capable of producing M class solar flare and isolated X class solar flares. In the past 24 hour period the sunspot group has released five C class solar flares.
Recurrent transequatorial coronal hole #450 was in geo-effective (earth facing) position on May 24-25, 2011 and has impacted Earth's magnetic field in a negative manner with a maximum Kp of 6 (moderate geomagnetic storming conditions) and a maximum solar wind of ~550 (km/s).
73 & GUD DX,
Thomas F. Giella, NZ4O
Lakeland, FL, USA


Saturday, May 7, 2011

AO-51 recovery attempts continue

AMSAT-NA VP Operations, Drew KO4MA, provides an update on the work to recover the Amateur Radio satellite AO-51.
We are having a difficult time trying to restore AO-51 to operation. Currently, the satellite will not retain the upload of the flight software across eclipse. The batteries are in very poor condition. We have a few more things to try, but with eclipses peaking around July at ~27 minutes, the long term situation is grim.
There is a brief period around November where eclipses are as short as 16 minutes, but past that it is a long climb to 30 minutes or longer eclipses for many years. We have no expected "return to service" date.
If you have 9k6 digital capability, you can listen in on our attempts at recovery on 435.150 on many passes over the US.
Please support AMSAT-NA and the other AMSAT groups around the world, and help us get new satellites into orbit. Projects like Fox, FunCube, P3E, and Kiwisat need your financial support to keep our amateur satellite fleet flying.

Drew, KO4MA
AMSAT-NA VP Operations

TRRS #0037 - Awesome Portable Shortwave Radios

TRRS #0036 - Troubleshooting Videos of Ham and Scanner Radio Shows

TRRS #0035 - Scanner Radios with Blinking Lights

Friday, April 1, 2011

TRRS #0034 - SDR-Radio Software for Software Defined Radios

TRRS #0033 - Radio Shack Pro-97 Hand Held Scanner

ZL Ham April Band Scope

The April issue of ZL Ham Band Scope is out.
ZL Ham Band Scope is a round up of news, contests, views and items of interest bought to you at the start of every month.
This month...
New Members
Simple Step Start
ODXG DXpedition to Vanuatu
Radio Electronic Group Sale
WIA National Field Day
IARU Amateur Radio Day
Kiwi Digital Modes Group RTTY Sprints
Freescale MC9S08 101
ZL Communications April Specials
Ten Meter DX
Members can go to the ZL Ham Download section or non members can use the link below to download your copy of Band Scope.
April 2011 Band Scope
Peter Bennett ZL1UPB
ZL Ham | One Cycle Per Second.
New Zealand's Premier Radio & Electronic Interest Group.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Icom IC-9100 HF/VHF/UHF Transceiver, available now!

The eagerly awaited IC-9100 all-in-one HF/VHF/UHF transceiver is now available in the UK!!
IC-9100 Amateur Radio transceiver
This new, revolutionary, Amateur Radio base station covers HF, 6M, 2M, 70cm and 23cm* Amateur radio bands.
Operating modes include SSB, CW, AM and FM. It also features dual band simultaneous receive, satellite mode operation and RTTY decode on the display.
One of the most exciting features of this new model is that it is capable of D-STAR (Digital Smart Technology for Amateur Radio) DV (Digital voice) mode operation above the 10M band. The D-STAR DV mode allows simplex, repeater, Internet linking between repeaters, operation with low speed data messaging, GPS position reporting and other data communications capability.
Icom has also engineered into this advanced model a combination of its IF DSP and double conversion system technology providing performance comparable to Icom’s range of high tier HF/6M transceivers.
The IC-9100 HF/VHF/UHF Transceiver is available now at a suggested retail price of £2999.99 inc. VAT and is available from authorised Icom Amateur Radio dealers.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

VHF activity on the increase


Several amateur radio operators in the Johannesburg and Cape Town areas have started to experiment with SSB on 2 meters.
Recently they decided to also use 144,200 MHz SSB as the country-wide calling frequency. This frequency has been in use for a number of years by division 2 and 5 stations and many contacts have been made on SSB.
If you are only equipped with FM then try 144,400 MHz the FM DX channel. Very long distance contacts have been made on this frequency from the east coast of the RSA to Reunion Island on both FM and SSB and over land from Richards Bay to Port Elizabeth.
Amateurs in Port Elizabeth monitor this FM channel from 19:30 CAT until 20:00 CAT for stations in Mosselbay and East London. At 20:00 CAT they change frequency to 144,200 MHz SSB for longer distances to Durban and beyond.
Likewise there has been a revival of interest in the 6 metre band too. Quite a number of stations became active again in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth using the frequency of 50,200 MHz SSB.
To get the best long distance results on VHF you should use around 100 Watt and a high gain horizontally polarized Yagi beam antenna with a LNA.

TRRS #0031 - Monitoring Police, Fire and EMS with WWW

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Strongest Solar Flare of the Year

Sunspot 1158 has just unleashed the strongest solar flare of the year, an M6.6-category blast @ 1738 UT on Feb. 13th. The eruption appears to have launched a coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth. It also produced a loud blast of radio emissions heard in shortwave receivers around the dayside of our planet. NOAA has an M6.6-category blast on it. Solar flares are classified as A, B, C, M or X the highest.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Global Tuners reaches 55 receivers world-wide


You can now access 55 receivers world-wide on the Global Tuners website.
Receivers on-line operate a variety of modes including the AM and FM broadcast bands, the shortwave spectrum, HF and UHF bands in various modes.
Countries currently on-line include the USA, Australia, Finland, France, Germany , Greece , Italy , Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the Slovak Republic, Sweden and the United Kingdom to mention only a few.
So far there are 33,777 registered members and you will have to sign up for an account if you wish to control a receiver.
For more information go to:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

ARISSat-1 - Volunteer Request


The ARISSat-1 team is looking for volunteers to manage the QSL operations for ARISSat-1.

There will be recognitions for voice, CW, SSTV, telemetry and Secret Word reception reports. They expect to have participation from many students and classes worldwide.
Please contact Gould at  if you can help them with this part of the project.

TRRS #029 - Ham Radio Apps for Android (Part 2) in High Definition

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Progress-41P Carrying ARISSat-1 Radio Docks at the International Space Station

Gould Smith, AMSAT's ARISSat-1 project manager is pleased to report that the Progress cargo mission carrying ARISSat-1 has arrived and docked at the ISS. NASA confirmed capture and docking completed at 8:39 PM CST (UTC-6) on January 29.

Once ARISSat-1 is on board the ISS, crew members will re-attach the handles, install the battery, replace the dummy loads with the real antennas and perform a quick power-on test.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Support My Videos

I am trying to improve the video quality of my shows on YouTube.  In order to do that I need to purchase some video production software and/or update my internet provider.  I could use your support in this effort.  You can help at no cost to you.  If you are planning on purchasing from, please use my link (see the link at the left of this post).  If you purchase something from Amazon via this link I will receive a very small commission which I will put in a pool for purchasing the new production software.  This will not cost you anything as my commission comes out of Amazon's profit.

Thanks for your support and check out my latest YouTube videos on ham radio and scanner radios.


TRRS #0028 - Amateur and Ham radio apps for your Android Phone

Russia launches another cargo ship to space station with Ham station

With Japan's cargo freighter safely arriving at the International Space Station early Thursday, Russia has launched its next resupply ship loaded with more provisions and even a tiny amateur radio satellite that spacewalkers will deploy from the orbiting outpost.

Full details at

Friday, January 14, 2011

New antenna company launches

New company, Antenna Engineering has recently started trading through their online shop, which is an exciting undertaking for recent graduate Henry and his father, Chris (G4AMN), who has over 40 years experience in the industry and as a amateur radio enthusiast.
Sheffield Hallam Engineering Graduate (2009), Henry Wainwright, has started his own company manufacturing amateur radio equipment with the support of the University’s Graduate Entrepreneurship Scheme (GRADE).
The company, Antenna Engineering (based in Leicestershire & South Yorkshire), has a comprehensive range of amateur radio antenna equipment ranging from mono-band single element verticals to multi-element phased arrays.
Antenna Engineering produces a high performance range of vertical antennas for the serious DX enthusiast.
More information on all of Antenna Engineering’s products can be found at

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Amateur Radio bill introduced in Congress

The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act, which died at the end of the 111th Congress, has been re-introduced in the 112th Congress as HR 81.
The sponsor is Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18). The new bill - which was introduced on January 5 - has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Rep Jackson Lee first introduced the bill - HR 2160 - in the 111th Congress in April 2009. It gained an additional 41 co-sponsors but did not progress out of the committee of jurisdiction. A similar bill introduced in the Senate - S 1755 - made it all the way through that body in December 2009, but likewise was not taken up by the House.
The objective of the bill - which is supported by the ARRL - is for the Secretary of Homeland Security to study the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio communications in emergencies and disaster relief and to identify and make recommendations regarding impediments to Amateur Radio communications, such as the effects of private land use regulations on residential antenna installations.
"We are hopeful that this early start will lead to success in the new Congress," commented ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ.