8/21 Net Traffic


Calling all amateur radio operators.

The latest Presidential Budget proposal to Congress includes the shutting down radio stations WWV and WWVH.

The JSC Amateur Radio Club, strongly urges all hams to sign an online petition to prevent the closure of the National Institute of Standards and Technology WWV and WWVH radio stations.  These stations have provided radio hams and short wave listeners 100 years of on-the-air radio calibration transmissions on the HF bands. It is the legendary heartbeat of the radio waves in America and we need to seek Congress’ consideration to retain a budget to keep it going.

Please consider signing the simple online petition located on the W5RRR.org website and spread the word to your family and friends.

Special Welcome to all recent, new, and potential members to the JSCARC.

The JSCARC wishes to pause and extend our warmest greetings to all of our recent and new members and those potential members who are may be monitoring right now.  We have some special news for you.

  1. The club will likely kickoff an October club project activity to group-build a 2m antenna, along with another featured night of “introduction to soldering”, which has been very popular especially to our incoming student interns.The other event that new members should focus on is the JSC Safety and Health Day Fun run, scheduled on Halloween. This event will be a great first opportunity to learn how to use your HandHeld Radio in support of a networked operation to monitor and report the safety status of runners and traffic along the event.  We may try to sneak in one additional club activity for new members this year, but between existing operating constests, commitments, and football season, there are scarce free weekends until the beginning of the new year.  Stay tuned to announcements which will be discussed on this net and on the w5rrr.org website.
  2. We need to mention that a few new members have asked great questions about guidance, policy, and checkout of the club radio station. Embarrassingly, it’s now obvious that the club has never developed a good formal orientation kit nor process for a new members.  Not only is this a good idea for new members, but there are many existing members who will directly benefit from this as well.  The orientation kit also makes alot of sense with the recent upgrades and capabilities in the shack including the Satellite station and the incoming Software Defined Flex Radios.  In addition, we really need to extend an special orientation or certification kit for those who wish to be certified for operations supporting the ARISS and EOC stations.  The development of the kits will be a work-in-progress, but in the meantime, we will informally extend hands-on one-on-one orientations for new members, and will also extend out our ELMER program for those seeking a mentor within the club.  The club continues to actively grow and it is expect that we will schedule a recurring hands-on training event on a monthly basis.


Ham Radio License Class Instructors

One of the most valued accomplishments of this year’s club is the reemergence of teacing ham radio classes at JSC.  We must continue this effort, which has not only significantly increased our membership numbers, but it has enriched the club with new talents and skills.  This is a vital aspect of any club that wishes to grow.

As Stu, W4STU and Bob, N9RCS get closer with finishing their Technician and General Class license classes, we want to kickoff another set of classes targetting the new crop of student interns entering JSC for the Fall semester. We’re looking for any licensed member who is willing to conduct weekly noon onsite instruction, or possibly a weekend crash course  We’re interested in taking names immediately so we can plan this out.  At this time, are there any potentially interested members who may be willing contribute?  Please call now.

Calendar of Upcoming Events

Saturday August 25th  The South Texas Balloon Launch Team

will be inflating and launching another large balloon; BLT-50.   Any individual, groups, teams and/or  clubs can build and launch their payloads on these balloons.  This one will carry a variety of payload radios including FM and DMR repeaters, Digital TV, and Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS). See AB5SS for more information.

Saturday September 29  Texas QSO Party

Planning is still under development.   This event will be a continuous 12 hour operation from 9:00AM Saturday to 9:00PM Sunday.

Sunday September 30-October 1 NASA’s 60th Anniversary (again)

October 1 denotes the “other” official NASA 60th anniversary event when the agency opened it doors to the world. The September 30 and Oct 1 Sunday and Monday dates will be featured operations at the W5RRR shack, to reachout on-the-air and disseminate this important milestone to the public.

Saturday October 6th Belton Hamfest

Belton is the premiere hamfest in the Gulf Coast region.  Although its 3.5 hour one way trip to Belton, this is the event to make if you have stuff to sell, or are looking for good deals for treasures to bring back home.  W5OC has reserved a private table, but is willing to allow members to sell their items on it as well.

Wednesday October 31  Safety & Health Day

10:00am-1:00PM at the Gilruth Center with setup beginning at 8:00AM

Theme this year will be Halloween based and we’ll plan to have a booth with giveaway prizes and hopefuly an active HF radio.  A fun run is expect to follow, but details have not been confirmed.

Shack status

2 Flex-6400M SDR radios and a 1 Kilowatt 2m Beko HLV-1000 amplifier have been procured and are expected to be integrated in the shack next month. We’ll likely rearrange some of the shack to accomodate the new equipment.  Both the FlexRadios will be dedicated for HF use and the Beko will be used for experimentation of EME moonbounce activity.  The acquisition of this equipment is sponsored by the JSC Avionic Systems Division as part of our agreement to continue engaging and licensing student interns into the field of radio communications.

We’re still anxiously awaiting another proposal is being vetted this week to potentially fund the 2nd antenna tower and some accessories.   We’ll post a status as soon as we hear news

Ham-Astronauts among First Nine Astronauts

Three radio amateurs are among the initial nine NASA astronauts scheduled to fly on commercial spacecraft to the International Space Station. Others in the group are studying for their ham licensing exams in order to take part in Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school radio contacts, or because they have expressed interest in supporting ARISS events. The women and men chosen will be the first to fly the SpaceX Crew Dragon or Boeing CST-100 Starliner.

SpaceX plans to fly a two-person crew — Robert Behnken, KE5GGX, and Doug Hurley — in Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center. Boeing aims to launch a CST-100 Starliner capsule on an Atlas V vehicle from Cape Canaveral. It would carry a three-person crew — Eric Boe, Chris Ferguson, and Nicole Aunapa Mann, who attended an ARISS introductory talk at Johnson Space Center (JSC) and voiced interest in doing ARISS contacts in the future. At this point, however, her crew training will be stepped up to a more intense level.

Boe and Ferguson, along with Josh Cassada, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, KF5LJG, and Sunita Williams, KD5PLB, will also be on the commercial spacecraft on later trips following the first test flights.

Behnken earned his license with help from the ARISS team at JSC in 2005. Hopkins got his license in 2011 and made ARISS school contacts in early 2014. Within the Amateur Radio community, however, he may be best known for installing the ARISS Ham Video system in 2014, shortly before wrapping up his ISS duty tour. He transmitted live images of himself in the ISS as the system was being commissioned, in coordination with the ground-based ARISS-Europe team that’s responsible for the equipment.

Glover has been studying for his ham radio license at Johnson Space Center with a little mentoring from ARISS team member Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO. Cassada spoke in person to students taking part in an ARISS contact at an ISS education conference in 2016, at the time telling the ARISS team that he wanted to get his ham radio license.

Williams has supported a large number of ARISS contacts on the ISS throughout her career, and Ransom said that Williams “is already looking forward to talking to kids through ARISS during her tour of duty.”

JSCARC Officer Nomination and Elections

Nominations close on September 10th, 2018 at 11:59pm CT.

Election Volunteers
Keith Brandt, WD9GET
David Fanelli, KB5PGY


Arctic Legends RI0B Roving IOTA DXpedition Set for August 25 – 26

The RI0B IOTA DXpedition  to the islands of the Kara Sea is planned for August 25 – 26, but dates are subject to change due to the long route and complex weather conditions. The RI0B call sign was last used for the 2001 during a similar rare Arctic Island expedition.  Kara Sea is part of the Artic Ocean north of Siberia.

The team will be operating using a Yaesu TS-590 and an Icom IC-706MK2G along with 2 multiband yagis, and an inverted vee for operations on CW, FT8, PSK-63, and SSB 40-10m

The vehicle for the 2018 Arctic Legends expedition will be a helicopter.


Texas Volunteer Examiner Setting Sights on Next 1,000 Exam Sessions

In July, Franz Laugermann, K3FL, of Houston, achieved a milestone that no other VEC has before by taking part as a Volunteer Examiner in his 1,000th exam session. And, he told ARRL, he’s far from finished.

“As long as I can be here, I’m gonna go on doing this,” he said, adding that he’s set his sights on 2,000 sessions. “It’s so rewarding to help other people through this.” He estimated that he’s helped about 5,000 people get their Amateur Radio licenses. At one recent session, a 10-year-old boy who passed the exam became the fourth generation in his family to get licensed through Laugermann, who also had conducted the testing sessions at which the boy’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather earned their ham tickets.

Laugermann became an ARRL-accredited Volunteer Examiner (VE) in 1991. His wife Barbara, KA5QES, has been a VE nearly as long as her husband. Both are ARRL members.

Retired from the US. Army in 1975, Laugermann, 78, has been licensed since 1978 and has served as an Official Observer for 27 years and as a member of ARES®. He supported the ARES effort for Hurricane Harvey at the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s Emergency Operation Center at Houston TranStar.

He has been running VEC sessions at Houston TranStar for more than 16 years.

I personally just submitted my request for VE credentials and want to encourage any club member with a General Class license or above to do the same, since a big part of our club’s goal is to bring onboard and license new fresh talents into the club.  Shout out to the members, in the club like KB5PGY,  who have been doing this for years already.

ARISS Packet Radio System Expected to be Back Late this Year

The currently silent packet radio system on the International Space Station could be back on the air by year’s end.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) hardware team members have located an original duplicate of the packet module that had been in use on the International Space Station (ISS) before failing more than a year ago after 17 years of service. With a new battery installed, the unit was tested and found to be functioning. The ARISS packet system in the space station’s Columbus module, operating on 145.825 MHz, quit last July after first experiencing some problems. All necessary paperwork has been completed to manifest the packet module on the Progress 71P spacecraft launch now set for Halloween, with docking on November 2.

“Installation date will depend on the crew’s busy schedule, but ARISS hopes packet can be online again by the end of November 2018,” ARISS said this week in a news release. ARISS said it’s heard from “many hams” who have been asking when the packet system will be back on the air.


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