Tech Net News 05-09-2020

Artist’s impression of the triple system with the closest blac
Two stars orbiting the center of mass they share with a hidden, nearby black hole. Credit: ESO

I’m sorry that I’m late posting my news today…Erin and I got to install some bees in a hive at our house! We were distracted this afternoon.

Our club will continue to hold virtual Lecture and Lab events. This month’s lab will focus on the Winlink radio e-mail software, which can be very useful both for fun and in an emergency. Radiograms work, and sending them is a good skill…but served agencies just love to use email when they can.

The contest calendar for this week is full of little sprint events, which are great if you have a chance to try one. The RSGB Hope QSO Party continues, and if you want an electrifying contest experience, you could try out the Contest Volta RTTY contest, sponsored by the Associazione Radioamatori Italiani.

And one quick tip: if you want to quickly check the time in UTC, just use You can also use their front page to check if your computer’s clock is reasonably correct.

In news from the world of amateur radio, via the ARRL:

The first Guatemalan satellite, Quetzal-1, has been deployed from the ISS. It’s not really an amateur radio satellite,  but amateurs are encouraged to decode its telemetry on 437.2 MHz.

The venerable MMSSTV amateur radio TV software has received a major update—basically, a replacement—but the website hosting the application is available in Spanish only. The ARRL has instructions on how to download the new program.

The ARRL is providing a short summary of special event stations operating in honor of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, but if you know of more stations, please share your information on the net.

And this month’s RSGB Radcom magazine, Britain’s equivalent of QST, is available as a free sample.

In news from the world of science:

Bees are fascinating and useful, but some bees are more surprising than others. The Cape honey bee in Africa can reproduce without sex, and workers can turn into queens who sneakily lay eggs in other hives. It turns out that just one gene controls this behavior, and it’s now been identified.

The Earth’s Magnetic North Pole has been moving towards Russia rapidly, and new computer models suggest this is due to a conflict between two magnetized blobs of minerals in the Earth’s outer core, one under North America and the other under Asia.

Scientists have used the European Southern Observatory to discover the closest black hole to Earth! Fortunately, it’s still 1,000 light years away.

And don’t forget that this is a great time of year to turn off your outside lights to help migrating birds. The folks who manage the Gateway Arch in St. Louis are doing just that.