Archive - February 2012

First Boeing 747-8 now delivered…..


The first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental has been delivered to Qatar Amiri Flight today (28th February 2012.

The aircraft, tail number A7-HHE, left Paine Field in Everett Washington at midday PST and is probably going to Hamburg to be fitted out.

The Boeing 747-8 is a wide-body jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Officially announced in 2005, the 747-8 is the fourth-generation Boeing 747 version, with lengthened fuselage, redesigned wings and improved efficiency. The 747-8 is the largest 747 version, the largest commercial aircraft built in the United States, and the longest passenger aircraft in the world.

Earth Photography: It’s Harder Than It Looks


Letters from home by Astronauht Bob Pettit;

”From my orbital perspective, I am sitting still and Earth is moving. I sit above the grandest of all globes spinning below my feet, and watch the world speed by at an amazing eight kilometers per second (288 miles per minute, or 17,300 miles per hour). This makes Earth photography complicated.

Even with a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second, eight meters (26 feet) of motion occurs during the exposure. Our 400-millimeter telephoto lens has a resolution of less than three meters on the ground. Simply pointing at a target and squeezing the shutter always yields a less-than-perfect image, and precise manual tracking must be done to capture truly sharp pictures. It usually takes a new space station crewmember a month of on-orbit practice to use the full capability of this telephoto lens.

Another surprisingly difficult aspect of Earth photography is capturing a specific target. If I want to take a picture of Silverton, Oregon, my hometown, I have about 10 to 15 seconds of prime nadir (the point directly below us) viewing time to take the picture. If the image is taken off the nadir, a distorted, squashed projection is obtained. If I float up to the window and see my target, it’s too late to take a picture. If the camera has the wrong lens, the memory card is full, the battery depleted, or the camera is on some non-standard setting enabled by its myriad buttons and knobs, the opportunity will be over by the time the situation is corrected. And some targets like my hometown, sitting in the middle of farmland, are low-contrast and difficult to find. If more than a few seconds are needed to spot the target, again the moment is lost.

All of us have missed the chance to take that “good one.” Fortunately, when in orbit, what goes around comes around, and in a few days there will be another chance. It takes 90 minutes to circle the Earth, with about 60 minutes in daylight and 30 minutes in darkness. The globe is equally divided into day and night by the shadow line, but being 400 kilometers up, we travel a significant distance over the nighttime earth while the station remains in full sunlight. During those times, as viewed from Earth, we are brightly lit against a dark sky. This is a special period that makes it possible for people on the ground to observe space station pass overhead as a large, bright, moving point of light. This condition lasts for only about seven minutes; after that we are still overhead, but are unlit and so cannot be readily observed. Ironically, when earthlings can see us, we cannot see them. The glare from the full sun effectively turns our windows into mirrors that return our own ghostly reflection.

This often plays out when friends want to flash space station from the ground as it travels overhead. They shine green lasers, xenon strobes, and halogen spotlights at us as we sprint across the sky. These well-wishers don’t know that we cannot see a thing during this time. The best time to try this is during a dark pass when orbital calculations show that we are passing overhead. This becomes complicated when highly collimated light from lasers are used, since the beam diameter at our orbital distance is about one kilometer, and this spot has to be tracking us while in the dark. And of course we have to be looking. As often happens, technical details complicate what seems like a simple observation. So far, all attempts at flashing the space station have failed.”

GB0ANT – 2012


Thanks to all who supported us in the Antarctic Activity Week (AAW) 2012.

We had a great time and had some nice DX with good runs into JA and the Far East on 12 and 15m, plus quite a lot in Far East on 10M. This year we tried different modes with PSK modes also very productive. After 7 days casual operating we worked 2479 stations so many thanks indeed.

Qsl Cards are available via M0OXO.
Please have a look at our OQRS page and request either Bureau or Direct options (Paypal available). It is NOT necessary to send your card but we are always happy to receive them.

IRC’s no longer available at UK Post Offices……


Well its official !

UK Post Offices have now stopped issuing International Reply Coupons (IRC’s).

I tried at two main Branches locally today and both confirmed they have been axed.

There is a some hope though as they will still be valid for mailing as normal and the Post Office are still happy to accept them for that purpose.

Alignment of Planets in the Sunset Sky


The brightest planets in the solar system are lining up in the evening sky, and you can see the formation—some of it at least—tonight.

Go out at sunset and look west. Venus and Jupiter pop out of the twilight even before the sky fades completely black.  The two brilliant planets surrounded by evening blue is a beautiful sight.

If you go out at the same time tomorrow, the view improves, because Venus and Jupiter are converging.  In mid-February they are about 20 degrees apart.  By the end of the month, the angle narrows to only 10 degrees—so close that you can hide them together behind your outstretched palm.  Their combined beauty grows each night as the distance between them shrinks.

A special night to look is Saturday 25th February when the crescent Moon moves in to form a slender heavenly triangle with Venus, Jupiter and the Moon as vertices.  One night later, on Sunday 26th, it happens again. This arrangement will be visible all around the world, from city and countryside alike.  The Moon, Venus and Jupiter are the brightest objects in the night sky; together they can shine through urban lights, fog, and even some clouds.

After hopping from Venus to Jupiter in late February, the Moon exits stage left, but the show is far from over.

In March, Venus and Jupiter continue their relentless convergence until, on the 12th and 13th of March, the duo lie only three degrees apart—a spectacular double beacon in the sunset sky.

Click the image above for a Video account!

Nice opening as warm ups for ARRL Test appear..


Well let’s hope things remain good over the weekend.

After a very poor start to the day again the bands seem to have awoken this afternoon with some nice DX around lunchtime as the stations check their equipment prior to the ARRL DX Contest this weekend.

Here is a snippet so far, fingers crossed it stays this way at least this afternoon and weekend.

PZ5RO (new 10 & 12m CW),

PJ4/NK1Z (new 15m CW),

& V44KAI (both new 10m CW),

8P9CS (new 17m CW),

VR2OP and HC2/W7SE (both new 12m CW)


Europe Hammered by Winter, Is North America Next?


In North America, for the first half of this year’s winter, the big news was warm temperatures and lack of snow. Ski resorts were covered in bare dirt, while January temperatures in southern California topped July highs!

Then, out of the blue, Europe got clobbered: Over the past two weeks, temperatures in Eastern Europe have nose-dived to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit). Blizzards and the bone-chilling cold have resulted in the deaths of over 550 people so far, with rooftop-high snow drifts trapping tens of thousands of villagers in their homes and cutting off access to entire towns. It has even snowed as far south as North Africa. negativeao_med

NASA climatologist Bill Patzert of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains what happened: “A couple of weeks ago, Mother Nature did an about face. The tight polar vortex that had bottled up the cold arctic air in the beginning of winter suddenly weakened. Cold air swept out of Siberia and invaded Europe and the Far East.” Now the vortex is weakening.

With “the AO (Click here for information about Arctic Oscillation) Index going negative,” as an expert or weather-nerd might put it, cold air escapes from that whirlpool and heads southward, resulting in the killing extremes now plaguing the other half of the planet.

Hubble Finds Relic of a Shredded Galaxy…


Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have found a cluster of young blue stars surrounding a mid-sized black hole called HLX-1.

The discovery suggests that the black hole formed in the core of a now-disintegrated dwarf galaxy. The findings have important implications for understanding the evolution of supermassive black holes and galaxies.

Astronomers know how massive stars collapse to form small black holes a few times the mass of the Sun. However, it is not clear how supermassive black holes, which can have masses of millions or even billions of times the Sun’s, form in the cores of galaxies.

One idea is that supermassive black holes may build up through the merger of small and mid-sized black holes, a view supported by a new study using Hubble.

GB0ANT Qrv and this year looking for PSK & CW..

GB0ANT active from Saturday 18th February 2012....

Qsl info click here (OQRS – Bureau or Direct)

‘Antarctic Activity Week’ is managed by the ‘World-wide Antarctic Program’.

This Callsign will be active again from 18th to 26th Feb. 2012

This Year we will concentrate on PSK modes and CW



Our aim is to focus attention on the Continent of Antarctica..

See our Website for further information.

Blank ”fill in yourself” Qsl Cards now available


UX5UO Qsl Print is now issuing Blank Qsl Cards.

Demand has been such that these cards can be bought is very small batches of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 pcs, no problem. If you are interested have a look here and scroll down the page for pricing and designs. K1024_UR_IOTA

As usual if you are interested please contact M0OXO for more details.

K1024_BLANKS_obThese cards will be held in stock with M0OXO and can be issued within 24 hours from order.