Tech Net News 04-25-2020

Happy 146th Birthday! Credit:

I don’t have any major club announcements today. Be sure to watch this website and the club Facebook page for updates about upcoming activities.

And unfortunately, I goofed up this morning and missed the Lecture and Lab. But, if you participated, please share what you did and learned. Have you tried a new digital mode today?

The contest calendar is offering plenty of was to have fun while you stay at home this weekend. In fact, did you know there’s an award for contacting “stay home” amateur stations? The RSGB Hope QSO party is still going on, and the 10-10 International Spring Digital QSO Party is trying to add excitement to the 10-meter band. The Florida QSO Party is also this weekend, and it offers a unique bonus opportunity: the chance to spell LOVEBUG with special event callsigns.

In news from the world of amateur radio:

Today would have been International Marconi Day; Guglielmo Marconi’s birthday was today. Unfortunately, the event has been cancelled.

Radio amateurs in Japan have gained new privileges on 80- and 160- meters, but the rules for these bands are very complex in Japan. If you’re trying to make contact with a JA station, please have a look at the rules and learn where to find them.

NOAA has updated its predictions for our next solar cycle, but there’s no excitement on offer here. Things are expected to be just as mediocre this time as they were in Cycle 24.

And The Medical Net, a special COVID-19 net, is currently running Wednesdays, 0130 UTC, on 7.222 MHz. (That’s Tuesday night @ 8:30 pm Dallas time.) This isn’t a net for getting a diagnosis, but it’s open for questions from non-physicians.

In news from the world of science:

On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this month, biologists have been celebrating 50 years of increasing success in saving birds injured  by oil spills. It turns out that cleaning the bird immediately is not as important as helping it recover its strength, and proper housing during recovery is very important.

And speaking of birds, nesting season is still in full swing. Please look out for birds when you’re playing or working outside, and if you see a baby, have a look at this simple decision guide and these instructions to help you decide what—if anything—you should do. Some birds need lots of help, some need just a little, and plenty will be fine on their own.

One of the few exoplanets to be directly seen from Earth, Fomalhaut-B, disappeared. Astronomers think they finally know why: it wasn’t a planet, but a cloud of gas left over from a rare collision between two small planets.

Both Bill, N5BB, and myself ran across this fun story this week: a ham operator has found yet another “zombie” satellite that isn’t quite dead yet, a secret communications satellite known as LES-5.

And last but not least, if you think your antenna needs work, take a look at this one, which won the “rusty nail” award for the worst WiFi antenna ever.