|Posted by Kevin Dawson on November 4, 2013 at 9:15 AM||comments (3)|
Paul Jarvis, Ofcom, addressed the National Hamfest on 27th September and the RSGB Convention with their thinking for the Licence Review. In the presentation he covered the reasons why the review was being undertaken and emphasised that it was not intended to be a radical change, but that the Licence Review was geared to be more explicit with regard to the wording of some of the existing clauses, on operational practice and to help extend the services available to Amateur Radio to encourage development of modern technologies. He went on to explain that whilst he was keen to hear views from those present, his workload and staffing meant that he would not be able to enter into general discussions on the likely topics prior to the consultation. He did though stress that Ofcom were working with the RSGB as part of the pre-consultation preparation, and invited the RSGB to feedback general comments on the topics that he raised.
Ofcom announced areas where they were considering improving the clarity of the current licence and changes to improve both their management of amateur licensing as well as progression through the licence structure. To assist Ofcom prepare for their consultation the Society is to run several Litmus Tests over the next few months to provide feedback to Ofcom prior to their setting up of their consultation questions. The following Litmus Tests are currently available
Embedding the Progressive Licence concept
Single call sign per station
Regional Secondary Locator
Suggestions for additional topics
Opinions and views will no doubt vary, but the Litmus Test process may be able to identify a consensus on each of the subjects under discussion, and this will be captured by updating the discussion document. At the end of this process this final draft will be passed to Ofcom as a pre-consultation input from the RSGB to help Ofcom frame their consultation approach.
The Litmus Test can be found by following this link
|Posted by Kevin Dawson on July 10, 2013 at 6:25 PM||comments (0)|
The teenage radio enthusiasts who helped win World War II
By Katia Moskvitch
Technology reporter, BBC News There were about 1,500 so-called voluntary interceptors during WWII - civilians helping to intercept secret Nazi codes
Continue reading the main story Related StoriesBletchley Park huts ready for repair [/news/uk-21850753] Uncovering a World War II Colossus [/news/technology-21384672] GCHQ releases WWII Turing papers [/news/technology-17771962]
To mark the centenary of the Radio Society of Great Britain, one of its members recalls how the amateur organisation played a key role in a covert operation to safeguard the country's independence.
One day, towards the start of World War II, a captain wearing the Royal Signals uniform knocked on a British teenager's door.
The 16-year-old was called Bob King. When he went to greet the visitor, he had no idea that soon he would become one of Britain's so-called "voluntary interceptors" - some 1,500 radio amateurs recruited to intercept secret codes broadcast by the Nazis and their allies during the war.
"The captain asked me if I would be willing to help out with some secret work for the government," remembers Mr King, now 89. "He wouldn't tell me any more than that.
"He knew that I could read Morse code - that was the essential thing."
The captain had heard about Mr King through the RSGB - an organisation for amateur radio enthusiasts. Many of its members were youngsters curious about the possibilities offered by tinkering with radio receivers.
Bob King was only 16 when he was recruited by MI8
During World War II, dozens were recruited by MI8 - a division of the British Military Intelligence department, and a cover name for the now-defunct Radio Security Service (RSS).
The purpose of their work was to intercept secret wireless transmissions by German and Italian agents in Britain.
Mr King signed the documents the captain had handed to him, which, he says, basically stated that he had "read them and knew what would happen to me if I opened my mouth too wide".
He was then given the instructions to scan shortwave bands and write down Morse code he discovered on a piece of paper.
Continue reading the main story “Start QuoteYou didn't ask questions in those days, otherwise you'd be in real trouble”
End Quote Bob King Voluntary interceptor
Mr King worked from his home in Bicester, Oxfordshire, but voluntary interceptors were scattered all around Britain.
Many used their own radio equipment to eavesdrop on enemy messages.
The RSS's original headquarters had been in Wormwood Scrubs, London but in 1940 it was moved 12 miles (19km) north to the village of Arkley when German air raids threatened its efforts to analyse and sort the intercepted data.
By mid-1941, the new base, Arkley View, was receiving about 10,000 message sheets a day from its recruits.
"I worked for five years scrutinising the logs that came in from the other amateurs - thousands of log sheets with the signals which we knew were wanted, and you could only know it from experience," remembers Mr King.
Arkley View became the main office of the RSS during the war - it is here that the intercepted data was sorted and analysed
"We knew it wasn't Allied army air force, we knew it was German or Italian - various things gave that away, but it was disguised in such a form that it looked a bit like a radio amateur transmission.
"We knew it was highly important, everything was marked 'top secret,' but only many years later we discovered that it was German secret service we were listening to.
"Of course you didn't ask questions in those days, otherwise you'd be in real trouble."
Encoded messages were transmitted to Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, the UK's former top-secret code-cracking centre.
Once decoded, the data was sent to the Allied Commanders and the UK Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.
Just like thousands of code-crackers working at Bletchley Park during the war, voluntary interceptors had to keep quiet about what they were doing.
Mr King says that they were not even allowed to mention anything to their families. His wife only found out about her husband's secret past in 1980 - more than three decades after he had stopped his interception activities.
Some voluntary interceptors had regular meetings during and after the war - but they were not allowed to talk about their work to anyone else
Now that they are allowed to speak up, he seems disappointed that this ghost army of secret civilian listeners has not been given more credit for the part it played in the Allies toppling the Nazis - including the successful invasion of Normandy.
"The main success of the voluntary interceptors was in knowing what the enemy intelligence services were doing, what they believed and didn't believe, and we managed to manipulate them in that way through the agents that we controlled," he says.
John Gould, the organiser of the RSGB's centenary celebrations, agrees. "Not only did the intercepts provide a huge amount of traffic, but through the skills of the radio amateurs 'fingerprinting' the Morse code of the German operators, supported by direction finding, the UK was able to monitor movements of the German forces," he says.
"The intelligence gained from these intercepts was reported to have been of significant importance to control enemy agents and other matters such as sabotage and deception activities."
|Posted by Kevin Dawson on June 28, 2013 at 10:05 AM||comments (0)|
The recent severe flooding in northern India has resulted in communication links being affected when they are most needed. Members of the Indian National Institute of Amateur Radio, Hyderabad have been providing emergency communication facilities in the worst-affected areas of Uttarakhand state, North India. Reported operating frequencies include 7.073MHz and 14.160MHz and callsigns in use include VU2JOS, VU2MCW, VU3NUG. As usual, all amateurs are urged to give priority to emergency communications regardless of any other activities on the bands.
|Posted by Kevin Dawson on June 24, 2013 at 5:55 AM||comments (0)|
GX3RCM trailer gets live BATC channel
The Sheffield Amateur Radio Club's communications trailer now has its very own TV channel thanks to the British Amateur Television Club who have most generously allocated SARC this special live channel.
From now on this new channel will be used to stream live TV from special events attended by the SARC's own communications trailer GX3RCM (Radio Communications Module) whenever a high speed internet link is available. The first of these could be at the LAMFEST mini radio rally at the Elsecar Heritage Centre, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire, on Sunday 23rd June, depending on a broadband link being available.
The following Sunday, 30th June, sees GX3RXM live on internet TV from the 'Owls in the Park' Sheffield Show in Hillsborough Park, Sheffield. A high speed internet link has already been arranged down which SARC will be able to stream live pictures of the various show activities, including all the action within the Communications Module.
This trailer was formerly the Radio Society of Great Britain's GB4FUN travelling exhibition and demonstration vehicle. RSGB has generously donated it to the Sheffield Amateur Radio Club who intend to take the exciting hobby of Amateur Radio out to the wider public, at summer festivals, in schools and at other events such as Scout Jamborees.
GX3RCM TV channel
All enquiries should be sent to the club secretary, Peter Day, call sign G3PHO, at: [email protected]
|Posted by Kevin Dawson on June 18, 2013 at 6:20 PM||comments (0)|
UK Amateur Radio Consultations
The UK regulator Ofcom have published information on consultations affecting the Amateur Radio Services.
Ofcom is planning a number of policy initiatives in the next few months that will have a direct effect on amateur radio in the UK. If you want to keep up to date, you can sign up for updates on the Ofcom website at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/subscribe/select_list.htm
Public Sector Spectrum Release is part of a commitment by government to release 500 MHz of public sector spectrum by 2020. As part of these plans, the Ministry of Defence is looking at releasing 40 MHz of spectrum between 2350 and 2390 MHz and an additional 150 MHz of spectrum above 3410 MHz for new civil uses. These changes will have implications for amateur allocations (notably TV repeaters) in the release bands and may also have an impact on uses in the adjacent bands from 2310 to 2350 MHz; 2390 to 2400 MHz and 3400 to 3410 MHz.
Earlier this year Ofcom invited a group of Amateur TV repeater users to Baldock to participate in testing to determine what the impact might be in the adjacent bands. Ofcom plans to publish a consultation for amateurs about any potential changes within the next month. This will be followed later this year by a statement giving amateurs reasonable notice of any licence changes necessary. Ofcom then aims to issue a full consultation in due course.
Ofcom is also to consult on the release of three tranches of spectrum in Band 1, Low Band and Mid Band respectively. One proposal is that 1 MHz of Mid-Band (146 to 147 MHz, so adjacent to the existing allocation in the 2m band) could be allocated to Amateur Radio. The consultation will be published at the end of May 2013. It will be aimed at all mobile users, including business radio, maritime, PMSE as well as amateurs.
Finally, Ofcom wants to review the terms and conditions of the amateur licence. The current form of the licence has been around for seven years now and Ofcom is keen to ensure that it continues to meet its regulatory needs as well as the needs of licensees. The licence needs to be updated anyway to reflect the changes in allocations agreed at WRC12. That process is at an early stage and the consultation will be published early next year.
All of these consultations will result in changes to the amateur licence. To minimise disruption to licensees, Ofcom intends to effect all of the changes at the same time, probably in summer 2014.