Archive - August 2011

NASA Moon Mission in Final Preparations for September Launch


NASA’s Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission to study the moon is in final launch preparations for a scheduled Sept. 8 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

GRAIL’s twin spacecraft are tasked for a nine-month mission to explore Earth’s nearest neighbor in unprecedented detail. They will determine the structure of the lunar interior from crust to core and advance our understanding of the thermal evolution of the moon.

The spacecraft twins, GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B, will fly aboard a Delta II rocket launched from Florida. The twins’ circuitous route to lunar orbit will take 3.5 months and cover approximately 2.6 million miles (4.2 million kilometers) for GRAIL-A, and 2.7 million miles (4.3 million kilometers) for GRAIL-B.

In lunar orbit, the spacecraft will transmit radio signals precisely defining the distance between them. Regional gravitational differences on the moon are expected to expand and contract that distance.

GRAIL scientists will use these accurate measurements to define the moon’s gravity field. The data will allow mission scientists to understand what goes on below the surface of our natural satellite.

The launch will also be streamed live, with a chat available, on .

MØOXO…Back on air with new Antenna….


Good to be back on air today after just short of 12 weeks semi-qrt.

I took a few months off to catch up with some important jobs at home and concentrated on Qsl Managing with no radio at all. I had the break at Holy Island of course and that was all, last qso before today being 21st May 2011.

I also managed to get the new antenna sorted last weekend. I erected the G3TXQ Hexbeam built and supplied by Anthony MW0JZE ( at ). I have no doubt the antenna will perform very well as I have used it many times before and this of course prompted my purchase.

K800_SNV35053The standard and quality of the antenna and parts was second to none and I have no doubt it will prove a wise decision to change to it.

For further info on the antenna see the link above or contact me if you need any further information or have further questions.

Solar Storm engulfs Earth……


For the first time, a spacecraft far from Earth has turned and watched a solar storm engulf our planet.

The movie, released today during a NASA press conference, has galvanized solar physicists, who say it could lead to important advances in space weather forecasting.

CMEs are billion-ton clouds of solar plasma launched by the same explosions that spark solar flares.When they sweep past our planet, they can cause auroras, radiation storms, and in extreme cases power outages.  Tracking these clouds and predicting their arrival is an important part of space weather forecasting.

GB2WHL qrv this weekend for ILLW……


GB2WHL will be qrv this weekend (19-21 August 2011) as part of the ”International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend” (ILLW).

The location is ‘Whitby High Lighthouse’ on the East Coast of the UK. Operators this year are Ian M0IAA and Andy M0GGR.

They will be qrv all weekend on the usual HF Bands so please give them a call and make their effort for putting on the station worthwhile!

Qsl via M0OXO

Fraser Island (VK4NM/p) Cards now designed….


The Qsl Cards for the recent Fraser Island trip have now been designed and are awaiting printing by Gennady UX5UO.

We expect the cards in a few weeks time and as soon as they are received, the requests I have received Direct will be done within 24 hours, bureau cards will take a little longer.

Qsl via MØOXO

London burns after third night of rioting….


(Slightly off topic) –

Parts of London became ‘no-go’ areas last night as gangs of youths went on the rampage for the third night running, starting fires, looting and attacking police.

The violence that started in Tottenham at the weekend after a man was shot dead by officers spread throughout the capital. “Inexcusable” marauding saw major fires started in Hackney, Peckham, Lewisham, Clapham, Ealing and Croydon, where a man was injured in a shooting. London_Burns

A furniture shop in Croydon which had been in the same family for five generations was completely destroyed after being torched.

A huge blaze at a Sony distribution centre near Enfield, north London sent plumes of thick smoke billowing into the sky.

Scotland Yard said 334 people had been arrested, 69 charged and two cautioned across the capital, as over 1,700 extra police were deployed across London, some from neighbouring forces.

Dawn’s Smooth Move


When a NASA spacecraft goes into orbit around a new world for the first time, the control room is usually packed to capacity with scientists, engineers, and dignitaries ready to leap and shout when the retro-rockets fire. It’s a big, noisy event.

The 15th July 2011, was one of those days. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft approached Vesta and became the first probe from Earth to orbit a main belt asteroid.

Dawn’s cameras revealed a desolate world of transcendent beauty, thrilling everyone who worked on the project.Needless to say, the control room was …. silent?

Using its framing camera, Dawn obtained this image of Vesta on 24th July, 2011, from a distance of about 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers). The three vertically-aligned craters on the left have been nicknamed “the snowman” by camera team members.