Tech Net news 12-15-2018


wirtanen finder crop
Credit: Sky and Telescope

Save the date! Winter Field Day will be coming up on January 26th-27th, 2019.

And if your dues are due, do you know where to pay them? Do pay dues!

The contest calendar has few well-known events on it, but if you’re a new amateur and you’d like to try your hand at CW, you could try the ARRL Rookie Roundup tomorrow afternoon.

There’s been plenty of news from the world of Ham Radio, though.

Broadcasters have been interfering with the 40-meter amateur band, and high-frequency stock traders have been trying to use high-frequency radio to save microseconds off of their trade times…but in violation of their experimental license.

The FT-8 Roundup was a success, with 1,300 logs turned in despite short notice and competing contests.

The Apollo 8 50th anniversary special event will be on the air Dec. 21st through 27th, and the famous VLF station SAQ will make its annual broadcast on Christmas Eve.

Unfortunately, it seems that the new AO-95 satellite (Fox-1 Cliff) lacks a working receiver.

But in happier news, WSJT-X 2.0 has been released. You must upgrade your software if you want to keep using FT-8 in 2019.

In news from the world of science:

It turns out that not only can you track birds using radio equipment, you can track their poop. The circle of life is now on the air, and it’s smelly.

It’s life Jim, but not as we knew it. Scientists from the Deep Carbon Observatory have published new results showing that there is far more life deep inside the earth than generally believed. That “solid” rock is more like an apartment building for bacteria, it seems.

46/p Wirtanen is a small comet, and it’s not really very bright. But on the other hand, it’s very close to the Earth (in astronomical terms) and you can go out and see it this weekend.

Carbon-14 dating of archaeological sites and artifacts is difficult. Not only is the precision analysis hard to do well, but the amount of carbon-14 in the Earth’s atmosphere each year varies. Now, stalagmites found in a Chinese cave will help provide the data to calibrate dates going back up to 50,000 years ago.

And finally, in case stalagmites aren’t exciting enough, new information has been published suggesting that some tornadoes form from the bottom up, not the top down. Remember, we can’t let our guard down even at this time of year.

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