Thursday, September 11, 2014

Solar Storm

A strong solar flare is making its way to Earth, but the worst of its power looks like it will barely skim above the planet. A "strong" solar flare that launched off the sun Wednesday afternoon could cause some fluctuations in Earth's power grid and slight disturbances in satellites and radio transmissions on Friday and Saturday.

Major disruptions are not expected, even though the flare was classified as an "X-class" flare, which is at the high end of the solar flare scale. Wednesday's flare followed a weaker flare late Monday.

It has been several years since Earth has had a solar storm of this size coming from sunspots smack in the middle of the sun, said Tom Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado. The flare on the sun barely hits the "extreme" on forecasters' scale, but with its worst effects missing Earth it is only looking "potentially strong" at most when it arrives at Earth as a solar storm, he said.

New calculations from satellite data show that the worst of the energetic particles streaming from the sun likely will go north or above Earth this time, Berger said late Wednesday.

So while the power grid may see fluctuations because the storm will cause changes in Earth's magnetic field, it won't knock power systems off line, Berger said. It may cause slight disturbances in satellites and radio transmissions but nothing major.

more details at
Updated 09/11/2014 @ 11:50 UTC
Solar Update

Info from ABC, USA Today,

Monday, September 1, 2014

High altitude balloon launch Friday Sept. 5th

The balloon launched on Friday night around 8pm.

9/7/14 UPDATE from N2NXZ:
You probably see the last position on the map.
Bill,VA3XCD came home just in time to grab the signal and gatherthe GPS positions before signal was lost.
The tracker was set to sleep after the first 7 hours,it will resume @ 7:00 pm this evening (9/7) and run another 15-20 hours straight.
Where it ended up is anyone's guess. I think due to the low altitudes,it may have survived the first evening. Should this have occurred, it would have soared double or more of that altitude at sunrise and throughout the following day. So that would mean it very well could be well over the Atlantic ocean and still flying.
The launch went exactly as planned except for the tree incicdents and the GPS glitches.
The 10.135 mhz RTTY beacon should still operate for many more hours,every hour on the hour for 15 minutes. I have been listening every chance possible,nothing heard yet.
Here is the only info left using prediction charts. This will have a Hysplit option where you can see projected flight path.
I would not give up on it yet and still need to notify other operators in the Azores and Europe this morning.
Feel free to share this information Tony and thanks for the email.

(message from N2NXZ)   - NOTE - MOVED TO 8pm Tonight 9/5/14
My name is Jim, N2NXZ - located in grid fn13ch / Hilton, N.Y. This is a request to assist for tracking a high altitude balloon scheduled to launch on September 5,2014 @ 5:00pm EST / 21:00 UTC.(May change due to weather or equipment issues) Payload will consist of (2) two separate transmitters in the bands of 70cm and 30m.
The main GPS tracking will be on the frequency of 434.651 mhz (70cm) USB using RTTY 50. Decoding software (below) will automatically select this mode once configured. This data when received will place the balloon`s location on the map specifically for the callsign N2NXZ-7 indicating your callsign as the RX station.
Decoding software is also specific for tracking and can be found here.
This balloon will be designed to "float" and the goal is to cover many miles if everything goes as planned. But this is never guaranteed and the need for ground tracking stations is important. Your help would be greatly appreciated especially in the flight projection between my location,Hilton,NY to the East (downwind). The tracking transmitter will be timed to operate for 7 hours from launch to conserve battery power should it stay aloft in this period. A second transmitter on the frequency of 10.135 mhz (30m) will be used for RTTY beaconing. It will operate once every 15 minutes every hour. Timing could change as it will begin at any given time. We are going to try starting on the hour at launch.
The HF beacon will aid only in locations that tracking may not be available and is of course propagation dependant for certain locations. Due to temperature changes at altitude,frequencies listed can drift dramatically +/-.
My contact information - email:
Tracking software questions or assistance can be found here by simply logging in. No registration required,only the anti spam code and nickname (your callsign is best).
Progress or discussions related to current balloon activity will be here also. This is much easier for participants to communicate other than individual emails. Some of you are already familiar with this process and this message is general to some who are new to tracking.

Again, your assistance is very much needed and appreciated. Please feel free to pass this information to others that could help.Looking forward to seeing you on the map!

Jim, N2NXZ

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Repeater updates (to the updates)

Folks a couple of new or back on the air repeaters that you
 may want to try out:

145.150 -  Pl 123.0, Lafayette, KD2SL
  (note the PL was changed to 123.0 on 8/23/14)
146.640 -  Pl 131.8, Clay, Bear Bait Radio Club, KD2CDY
444.250+  Pl 131.8, Clay, Bear Bait Radio Club, WA2DAD

If we get any more details on their equipment or future plans, we will post them here. (The original post was on 7/2/14)

Bear Bait Radio Club - Tailgate fest on 9/27

Bear Bait Radio Club is having a tailgate fest Saturday September 27th from 7am-1pm at the Town of Clay Welcome Center on Route 31.

Full details are on the club web site at:

Also: Adirondack Hams - General Exam Class in Long Lake N.Y.
October 17, 18, & 19, 2014

Prerequisite: Tech Class Amateur Radio license
Course fee: FREE
Exam Fee: $14
Learn more at the Bear Bait Club web-site:
or contact Scott WA2DTN at:

Info from Nick - KD2ETO

Sunday, August 17, 2014

New DX cluster and propagation tool -

A friend asked me the other day if I had tried using the new DX reporting web site I told him I had not heard of it but that I would give it a try.

I am not a huge DX guy, but I occasionally like to quick check conditions and see if I can make some DX contacts. Well, I have tried it now and its pretty cool. Very nice user interface and it automatically updates with the latest beacons (no refresh needed). They also have several mobile versions for smart phones and tablets.

Give it a try:

Balloon chase today!

Be listening this morning for the Cornell Amateur radio club out on another balloon chase. Launching from Cato NY around 10am today. You can listen to the chasers on the 147.000 linked system here in CNY or watch the APRS tracking at There is also a beacon radio you can listen for on 144.310 mhz.

Learn more about their balloon projects.

Predicted path:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

International Lighthouse-Lightship Weekend

Amateur Radio Activation for International Lighthouse-Lightship Weekend - August 16-17

Update 8/13/14 From Fred, W2LGA:
After digging through a HUGE pile of politics, with the help of senator Griffo of Oneida, it appears the permit for me to set up a “special event” station, W2LGA, at the Verona Beach lighthouse is finally a reality. The Verona Beach Lighthouse Association has been a tremendous supporter of this endeavor and they are really looking forward to the event. I will be operating on August 16th by 10 am and continue through August 17th until 4pm. I will try to be on as many HF bands as propagation will allow. My set up will only consist of a 10 x 10 screen tent, 746pro, Spiro D-52 dipole, logging software, ..etc. I have made up a special event QSL certificate that can be obtained by making a contact and emailing I will have giveaway ICOM band plans and Gridmaps if anyone is out and about those days also. If anyone wants to join the festivities and “work the rig” … feel free to stop by and give me a break. Please let me know if you plan on working the rig so I can be sure no 2 hams are there at the same time to work it.

Looking forward to contacting all of you as well as the other 450+ ILLW lighthouses and lightships that are registered to participate ….More information can be obtained from W2LGA -Fred Legawiec at Operators for this event are needed and welcomed.

Background on the International Lighthouse-Lightship Weekend:
Each year, amateur radio organizations across the nation sponsor several activities to increase awareness of our lighthouse heritage. One of these events includes International Lighthouse-Lightship Weekend, which will be observed in 2014 from August 16 & 17. To celebrate this international heritage event, many clubs will activate temporary radio stations at many Lighthouse’s around the world. The main reason this event has become so popular is because it is NOT a contest. Its purpose is to promote public awareness of lighthouses and their need for preservation and restoration and to promote amateur radio as well. Lighthouses are becoming an endangered species with the advent of Global Positing Systems and automation. Hopefully this event will highlight this situation and help prevent further decay of the worldwide lighthouse system. The basic idea is to set up an Amateur station in or adjacent to a lighthouse. In this way, the station makes a visible presence to the passing public who may be visiting the lighthouse.  So if you have some time, tune in that weekend and see if you can make a contact.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

ROC City Net picnic

The 1st annual ROC City Net Picnic will be September 20th at Mendon Ponds Park, south of Rochester, N.Y. Mendon Ponds is a beautiful Monroe County Park located just west of Victor. 

(Update on 8/12/14) Joe, K2QZR reports that they have rented the west lodge at Mendon Ponds Park. "We will be there all day. I am going to have burgers Italian sausage with peppers and onions and salads etc.We also will furnish beverages. (Please bring your own adult beverages.) I won't be having a specific time to eat we will be serving food mostly all day long. Also, we will have a hf  setup as well as a 2m setup with 145.110 as the talk in freq".

"There is no charge to attend or eat. We do ask however for early sign up for food.We are doing this to make sure there is enough for all who sign up. Even if you don't sign up you can still stop bye and enjoy the social activity and get on the air. We can't guarantee there will be food available if you don't get on the list.So far we have 20 sign ups and hope to get at least 40".

 Sign-up or questions - please contact Joe K2QZR, by e-mail at 

.......and if you haven't stopped by yet, try the NET on either Sunday or Wednesday!

ROC City 2M net on the 145.110 repeater in Rochester - Sunday at 7:30pm - same great group!

ROC City HF net on 3.826 Mhz - Wednesday at 8pm - great group and interesting topics!

73 - Tony

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

RARA "Thrill before the Chill"

(from the July 2014 RARA Rag newsletter)

The Rochester Amateur Radio Association (RARA) has once again joined with the Damascus Shriners to produce their fourth annual Fall Fest and Tailgate Party. The Shriners will provide a first class location with ample parking, indoor bathroom facilities, a separate area for larger vehicles and RVs, a large covered picnic area to eat in, and a large deck to rest after all that shopping.

This event will be on Saturday, September 13, 2014 and will open at 7 AM for vendors and 8 AM for all others. It will go to around Noon. It is conveniently located off Rt.104 at 979 Bay Rd., Webster, N.Y. 14580.

Upon entering, the staff will ask for a $5 donation that will all go to help fund the Shriners Hospital for Children. Please spread the word and don‘t miss your last local flea market for buying and selling ham radio supplies in 2014.

Come have fun and Help the Kids!!!

Hope to see you all there! 73.