News/Bulletins

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) introduces new International Reply Coupon (IRC)

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) has introduced the newest model of the International Reply Coupon (IRC): The Doha model -- so named for the 25th Universal Postal Congress that took place in Doha, Qatar in October 2012 -- will replace the current model, known as the Nairobi model

The Doha model IRC will go on sale on July 1, 2013. It is valid for exchange it until the end of 2017. The Nairobi model -- first issued on July 1, 2009 -- remains valid until December 31, 2013. IRCs are exchangeable in every UPU member country for stamps representing the minimum postage for an ordinary priority letter-post item or airmail letter sent abroad for a reply. According to the UPU, 120 postal systems around the world worldwide had issued more than four million Nairobi IRCs with a total value of approximately $5 million as of October 31, 2012.

The Czech Republic has won the UPU's competition to design a new international reply coupon (IRC), beating 13 or countries.  The work of Czech artist and graphic designer Michal Sindelar will display the theme "Water for Life", chosen to reflect the 2013 United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation in 2013. The new "Water for Life" IRC will go on sale on 1 July 2013. Postal customers will be able to exchange it until the end of 2017. It will replace the current coupon, known as the Nairobi model, which was first issued on 1 July 2009 and will remain valid until 31 December 2013.

How does it work?

When one writes to a stranger and requests a reply, it is considered polite to enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope. This works well when both persons live in the same country; however, if they are from different countries, the enclosed postage stamp will not be valid. This technical problem was solved in 1906 when the Universal Postal Union, during its Congress in Rome, introduced the International Reply Coupon service. As the service began before the days of airmail, the earliest coupons could only be redeemed for a single-rate ordinary postage stamp to a foreign country. In terms of today's UPU Convention, International reply coupons (IRC) are exchangeable in all member countries for the minimum postage of a priority item or an unregistered airmail letter sent to a foreign country.

The UPU's International Bureau processes several million coupons each year and deals with of all accounting aspects. The International Bureau does not sell IRCs directly to customers; they must buy them from their local post office. Although Posts are not obliged to sell IRCs, it is mandatory for Posts to exchange the coupons. If a Post does not sell IRCs, it is possible to purchase them in a post office located in a neighbouring country.

Ham Radio Deluxe V6.0 Released

HRD Software, LLC announced the release of Version 6.0 of the Ham Radio Deluxe Software. The product will be available at noon on Friday, February 8th, 2013. This culminates more than a year of development with both the free 5.x versions and the new 6.0 versions.

Features include 8 new DX awards, 7 updated awards, QSL card label printing, support for new radios, true FSK for RTTY, RTTY for SuperSweeper (CW coming in an .0X release), support for AR and CC clusters, QSX support for select radios (more coming in a .0X release), new rotor support and much more. One of the spectacular new features for DXers is in the DX Cluster window. These new Worked Status Indicators (WSI) icons let you know if you’ve worked that spot on country, band, mode, band/mode, and/or leaderboard (for DXpeditions). The new cluster also has support for indicating if the spot is a member of LOTW or eQSL. 

Videos for Version 6.0 are also provided on our YouTube channel | You can purchase and download the product at HRD website.

My second DV QSO

Article written by Julian Moss, G4ILO, as published on AmateurRadio.com on February 4, 2013
 
"Just as I was finishing writing my previous post I heard someone else calling on the 20m DV frequency. It was Elie, OD5KU.  Yesterday I had heard him working a French and then a Dutch station but signals were weak and not good copy at all.
 
I replied to Elie but he couldn't make out my call. I tried several times and was about to give up when he called again with solid copy. Perhaps he had turned his beam my way. I tried calling one more time. This time he heard my reply and we had a good QSO with several periods of solid copy punctuated by occasional break-ups. These occurred when QSB took the  digital signal down to near-invisibility in the FreeDV waterfall. I doubt that good SSB copy would have been possible at those times either. I managed to make a recording of the end of this QSO so you can get an idea of the audio quality. It was recorded off-air using my Olympus digital voice recorder, then played back using the mic input of the USB sound dongle to make an MP3 file. 
 
Given the way it was created I think the clip is quite a good example of the FreeDV audio quality. As you'd expect from a digital signal either it's all there or you just get gobbledygook. It doesn't degrade gracefully. Is this the future of ham radio? Have a listen and let me know what you think."
 

14th IARU Region 1 Youth ARDF Championships 2013

 

Bulletin No. 1 of the 14th IARU Region 1 Youth ARDF Championships 2013 is now available.

Date: June 12 – 16, 2013
Venue: Tři Studně, Czech Republic

More information is available at http://eyac2013.com/

DX Code of Conduct

  • I will listen, and listen, and then listen again before calling.
  • I will only call if I can copy the DX station properly.
  • I will not trust the DX cluster and will be sure of the DX station's call sign before calling.
  • I will not interfere with the DX station nor anyone calling and will never tune up on the DX frequency or in the QSX slot.
  • I will wait for the DX station to end a contact before I call.
  • I will always send my full call sign.
  • I will call and then listen for a reasonable interval. I will not call continuously.
  • I will not transmit when the DX operator calls another call sign, not mine.
  • I will not transmit when the DX operator queries a call sign not like mine.
  • I will not transmit when the DX station requests geographic areas other than mine.
  • When the DX operator calls me, I will not repeat my call sign unless I think he has copied it incorrectly.
  • I will be thankful if and when I do make a contact.
  • I will respect my fellow hams and conduct myself so as to earn their respect.

Download an Arabic article on DX Code of Conduct written by HZ1YR - yousef Raffa

DX Etiquette

A good article written by Randy Johnson, W6SJ published in QST - February 2010

FreeDV | HF Digital Voice for Radio Amateurs

FreeDV is a GUI application for Windows and Linux (MacOS and BSD are in testing) that allows any SSB radio to be used for low bit rate digital voice.

Speech is compressed down to 1400 bit/s then modulated onto a 1100 Hz wide QPSK signal which is sent to the Mic input of a SSB radio. On receive, the signal is received by the SSB radio, then demodulated and decoded by FreeDV.

FreeDV was built by an international team of Radio Amateurs working together on coding, design, user interface and testing. FreeDV is open source software, released under the GNU Public License version 2.1. The FDMDV modem and Codec 2 Speech codec used in FreeDV are also open source.

Why FreeDV?

Amateur Radio is transitioning from analog to digital, much as it transitioned from AM to SSB in the 1950's and 1960's. How would you feel if one or two companies owned the patents for SSB, then forced you to use their technology, made it illegal to experiment with or even understand the technology, and insisted you stay locked to it for the next 100 years? That's exactly what was happening with digital voice. But now, hams are in control of their technology again!

FreeDV is unique as it uses 100% Open Source Software, including the audio codec. No secrets, nothing proprietary! FreeDV represents a path for 21st century Amateur Radio where Hams are free to experiment and innovate, rather than a future locked into a single manufacturers closed technology.

For more information and to download FreeDV software visit FreeDV Homepage

Morse Code Plays Role in New Spielberg Movie

Producer Steven Spielberg has used Amateur Radio or Morse code in three of his last four movies: Super 8 (2011), The Adventures of Tin Tin (2011) and Lincoln (2012). Members of the Morse Telegraph Club (MTC) — an association of retired railroad and commercial telegraphers, historians, radio amateurs and others with an interest in the history and traditions of telegraphy and the telegraph industry — played an integral part in the production of Lincoln.

According to International President of the Morse Telegraph Club James Wades, WB8SIW, several MTC members — including Tom Perera, W1TP; Derek Cohn, WB0TUA; Kevin Saville, N7JKD, and Roger Reinke — provided telegraph instruments to equip the 16 operating positions portrayed at the War Department set. Jim Wilson, K4BAV, and his son Matt had roles as extras. Wilson also worked with production staff and the actors to explain telegraph technology and the role of the telegrapher in the 1860s.

“Nine of the 16 telegraph positions depicted in the War Department were fully operational,” Wades said. “These instruments could be operated in any combination through the use of a specialized computer program and custom built terminal units for the process. When necessary, a hand key could be inserted in the individual telegraph loops so messages could be improvised.”

Wades, who was employed as a Technical Advisor for the production, worked with set designers over a period of months to develop the War Department telegraph scenes, coordinating the process of procuring the necessary instruments and serving as an historical consultant as the telegraph scenes were developed. He also worked the producers to develop historically appropriate message traffic that fit the sequence of the script; however, as the movie was edited, he explained that the final product evolved into a more generic facsimile of Morse traffic. “Those with a background in landline telegraphy will hear the occasional snippet of message traffic in the audio track of the movie,” he said.

Source: ARRL

Technical identification of digital signals

Those of you interested in monitoring and analyzing digital signals may find the ITU SM.1600 perhaps interesting:

Recommendation ITU-R SM.1600-1  "Technical identification of digital signals"

Dip from time to time also into the ITU monitoring reports

The ITU Radio Regulations 2012 may be downloaded now free of charge.

2013 Global Amateur Radio Emergency Conference

The Global Amateur Radio Emergency Conference (GAREC) is the premier annual event attended by those with an interest in amateur radio providing emergency communications during training exercises or in response to disasters.  Since it was first held in 2005, the conference has taken place in all three IARU regions and is open to all emergency communications groups.

In 2013 GAREC returns to IARU Region 1 and will be held in Zurich, Switzerland between 25th to 28th June. The conference has been timed to precede Europe's largest amateur radio exhibition, HAM RADIO in Friedrichshafen so that people can enjoy both events. 

General information on GAREC 2013 including information on the venue, registration fees and the tentative agenda and the registration forms is now available on http://www.garec2013.ch/ . This website will be updated frequently to keep all updated with the latest news and program changes. For more information you may also email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Among the draft topics to be discussed are the relevance of Amateur Radio Emergency Communication in the '1st World', the HAMNET high speed data network along with presentations from the three regions of the IARU and also some presentations from groups with recent disaster relief communications operations.

The past presentations from the conferences including GAREC 2012, are now available at http://www.iaru.org/garec.html

Joomla templates by a4joomla