Friday, October 10, 2008

Willis Island Dxpedition Website

For those who will be keeping track of the WIllis island DXpedition, here is their website:

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Desecheo KP5----2009 (Press Release #1)

The Caribbean National Wildlife Refuge Complex has selected and announced a team of operators to activate Desecheo Island (KP5) sometime between January 15, 2009 and March 30, 2009. The Team will be co-led by Dr. Glenn Johnson, WØGJ and Bob Allphin, K4UEE.

Background: On June 30, 2008, the Caribbean National Wildlife Refuge office in Puerto Rico sent a letter to persons that had previously made inquiries about an Amateur Radio operation from Desecheo. They announced their decision to allow one group to activate the island and invited proposals that must adhere to strict guidelines and criteria. Applicant's had 45 days to prepare and submit their proposals.

CNWR received seven written proposals. A panel of three Fish and Wildlife Service employees, from areas within the Service outside of the Caribbean refuge, spent September 24 & 25 reviewing and evaluating the proposals. The selection criteria used were those outlined in the proposal invitation letter. Points were awarded for how well criteria were addressed for thoroughness and documentation.

The proposal with the highest ranking was submitted by team leaders Dr. Glenn Johnson, WØGJ, and Bob Allphin, K4UEE.

Their plan involves a team of fifteen operators for a 14-day operation. USFWS has not announced the actual dates of the operation yet, but the DXpedition is expected to take place between January 15, 2009 and March 30, 2009. A Special Use Permit (SUP) will be issued as per USFWS regulations. We expect that the DXpedition team and DXers worldwide will have a minimum of 30 days notice.

A website is being planned and will be announced in the near future.

Information via Ohio/Penn DX Special Bulletin No. 878.1. Thanks to the Northern Ohio Amateur Radio Society, Northern Ohio DX Association, Ohio/Penn PacketCluster Network, AB5K & the AR TelNet Clusters Network and K4UEE for the following DX information.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Uniden Updates Handheld Trunk Tracker ® Scanner Lineup

An image of the new BCD396XT (Courtesy of Uniden America)

Uniden Raises the Bar for Features and Performance

Uniden America Corporation, a leading manufacturer of wireless consumer electronics, today announced their handheld Trunk Tracker III and Trunk Tracker IV scanner lineup to be debuted in early 2009. “Uniden is making major advances in the category it created” said Paul Opitz, Uniden’s Product Manager for the category. “We’ve listened to our customers and taken these scanners to the next level of functionality and performance based on what they told us they needed to do their jobs better.”

The BC346XT will replace the BC246T as Uniden’s flagship handheld analog Trunk Tracker. Touting 9,000 channels organized using Uniden’s own Dynamic Memory model the BC346XT simplifies scanner programming by modeling the scanner’s memory organization after the real world. The BC346XT also adds GPS support for automatic control of radio features based on location, a first in the industry for a handheld scanner, and a feature Uniden pioneered with the last generation of mobile scanners.

Additional features include:

􀂃 Trunk Tracker III – follows trunked traffic on Motorola, LTR, and EDACS systems (including EDACS systems using ESK)

􀂃 500 TGID Channels per trunked system – doubling the number of channels that can be programmed into a trunked system

􀂃 Temporary Lockout – allows a channel or system to be locked out for a single session and restored by cycling power

􀂃 100 System/Site Quick Key's – provides a way to quickly turn on or off scanning for groups of systems…a feature that provides users of Uniden scanners the most flexibility in programming and operation

􀂃 Startup Configuration Keys – lets specific systems be locked or unlocked automatically when the scanner is powered on

􀂃 System/Channel Number Tagging – makes it easy to jump to a specific channel

􀂃 Multisite Systems – includes support for large systems such as those being installed for statewide operation in some areas.

􀂃 Priority ID Scan -- lets the scanner apply priority to channels as they become active on the system

􀂃 Preemptive Priority (Motorola only) – monitors for priority traffic, even when the scanner is receiving a transmission on the system.

􀂃 Assignable Search Keys – give quick access to favorite search modes

􀂃 IF Exchange – lets the scanner use an alternate IF (intermediate frequency) to help avoid interference sources.

􀂃 Negative dropout delays – resume scanning after the selected time to keep the scanner from hanging on stuck mics or other continuous transmissions

􀂃 Close Call® Temporary Store – buffers the most recent Close Call hits and scans them conventionally

􀂃 Location-Based Scanning – when a compatible GPS unit is connected, turns on and off systems, sites, and channel groups as the location changes

􀂃 Location Alert Systems – allow location-specific alerts to be programmed for such things as dangerous intersections, dangerous roads, or general points of interest

􀂃 Band Scope – gives a rapid graphical display of the strength of signals within a specified range of frequencies

􀂃 Key Safe Mode -- prevents naïve users from accidentally changing programming … a feature that has been a big request from public safety and media radio system managers

􀂃 Private Systems -- prevents a system from being modified or read by PC, to help protect confidential radio system programming

􀂃 Control Channel Data Output – allows the analysis of control channel data without the need to perform invasive modifications to the scanner

􀂃 Volume Offset – lets individual channels be programmed with a volume offset to help balance between channels that are louder or softer than other programmed channels

􀂃 EDACS ESK Tracking – tracks systems that have implemented EDACS System Keys

􀂃 Fire Tone-Out Tone Search – identifies tones used by agencies using two-tone paging for alert signaling

The BCD396XT will provide the same enhancements to Uniden’s Trunk Tracker IV flagship handheld platform. In addition, this new model adds:

􀂃 Trunk Tracker IV – follows trunked traffic on APCO 25, Motorola, LTR, and EDACS systems (including EDACS systems using ESK)

􀂃 25,000 total channels

􀂃 NAC Decoding – allows specific agencies to be monitored on P25 conventional channels

􀂃 P25 One-Channel Trunking – supports P25 conventional systems that include both NAC and TGID access control on a single frequency

􀂃 Automatic P25 Threshold – fully automates the optimization of P25 reception

􀂃 Multicolor Display Backlight – allows the selection of backlight color to meet the user’s own aesthetic taste

􀂃 Visual Alert Notification – lets alerts be assigned to specific display colors, flash patterns, audible tones, and volume levels.

Both models are expected to be released in early 2009 at prices comparable to the models being replaced.

* These models are still under development, so all features are subject to modification or removal based on actual development and testing results. No statement in this press release should be considered as a promise to deliver or guarantee of performance.

Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space Age

Astronomers who count sunspots have announced that 2008 is now the "blankest year" of the Space Age.

As of Sept. 27, 2008, the sun had been blank, i.e., had no visible sunspots, on 200 days of the year. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go back to 1954, three years before the launch of Sputnik, when the sun was blank 241 times.


This is what a spotless sun looks like.