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Circuit Design


Introduction to Radio Frequency Design -- Basic RF concepts (with some related analog subjects) for the amateur or engineer.

Hints & Kinks for the Radio Amateur--17th edition -- Now including the popular Hands-On Radio column from QST Workbench.

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RF Components and Circuits -- A comprehensive introduction to designing and understanding RF circuits.

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Hams Aid Columbia Debris Search in Western States

A single thermal protection system tile from the Columbia, recently recovered near Powell, Texas, as part of the ongoing debris recovery effort. [NASA Photo]

NEWINGTON, CT, Feb 26, 2003--Amateur Radio operators continued their involvement with efforts to locate space shuttle Columbia debris, as NASA's search shifted focus last week to include points west of Texas. According to NASA, the search for parts is running along the shuttle's re-entry path--basically 60 miles north or south of a line from San Francisco, California, to Lafayette, Louisiana.

New Mexico hams were among those helping to check in the Albuquerque area last weekend. "Based on a number of sources and analysis, NASA had reason to believe that debris from the shuttle Columbia may have impacted in Embudito Canyon," read a statement on the New Mexico Search and Rescue Support Team Web site. The team includes a number of hams in its ranks.

NASA wanted to follow up on both radar and eyewitness reports of possible shuttle debris in Embudito Canyon, which is in the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque. Authorities asked the NM SAR Support Team to provide communication and incident base support February 15 for a massive search involving more than 150 searchers. Although several small objects were found in the rugged terrain, none were attributed to the Columbia.

Keith Hayes, KC5KH, of the NM SAR Support Team estimates that more than 40 Amateur Radio operators participated as part of the effort, serving as incident command staff, providing communications for tactical and logistics support, and as members of field search teams.

"In addition to providing tactical and logistics support with its specialized communications trailer, 14 ham radio members of the New Mexico SAR Support Team provided additional APRS tracker and field team GPS track data collection," Hayes said. "Bernalillo County ARES Search and Rescue provided additional off-site logistical communications."

On February 24 near Caliente, Nevada, investigators continued to look for possible debris from Columbia that was tracked by air traffic control radar. Materials have been found in the area, but so far none have been confirmed to be from Columbia, NASA said.

NASA has asked anyone in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah for help in locating any material that may have fallen from Columbia as it was re-entering Earth's atmosphere. "Everyone is asked to be on the lookout for possible shuttle material 60 miles north or south of the re-entry track," NASA said in a news release.

NASA reminded searchers that shuttle material may not look like typical aircraft components. "Anyone who finds material suspected to be from the shuttle is urged to avoid contact, because it may be hazardous due to fuel residue," NASA said, adding that all debris is US government property and "critical to the investigation of the mishap." Suspected debris from the accident should be left in place and reported to government authorities, NASA said.

The search for shuttle debris continues in Texas and Louisiana, where Amateur Radio operators provided communication and other support during the first couple of weeks after the mishap. NASA says that ground searchers, helped by sunny but breezy weekend weather, continued to recover debris believed to be from Columbia. Among the finds were what was thought to be a main landing gear strut, additional parts of the left wing and a four-foot by six-foot foot piece of mid-body sidewall. Other items included what appeared to be a piece of orbital maneuvering system tankage and protective heat-resistant tiles.

ISS Expedition 6 Commander Ken Bowersox, KD5JBP, conducts a foot/ground reaction forces during spaceflight--FOOT --electromyography (EMG) calibration at the Human Research Facility rack in the ISS Destiny Laboratory. This experiment determines the change in joint angles (muscle activity) of the ankle, knee, and hip. [NASA Photo]

More than 2400 ground searchers were in the field February 23 in 20-member teams based in the Texas towns of Nacogdoches, Hemphill, Palestine and Corsicana, NASA said. As of this week, no shuttle debris was confirmed west of the Littlefield, Texas, area.

NASA also has asked skywatchers for any video or still images of the Columbia on its return flight. "Any imagery, especially video, of the shuttle's path might aid the Columbia Accident Investigation Board in determining the cause of the accident," NASA said.

For more information, call Johnson Space Center Emergency Operations Center, 281-483-3388; e-mail still digital images to

ISS Crew Resumes Full Schedule

The Expedition 6 crew returned to a full schedule February 25 after a half-day off. NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit, KD5MDT, assisted ground controllers with troubleshooting efforts on the microgravity science glovebox. Commander Ken Bowersox, KD5JBP, cleaned fan screens in the Pirs Docking Compartment and cleaned heat exchanger screens in the Zarya Module. Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin, RV3FB, changed out a battery in Zarya.

The Expedition 6 crew marked its 90th day in orbit on February 21.

The next Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contact is set for February 27 with students at a high school in Germany. Other school contacts are on the schedule for early March.


Page last modified: 10:50 AM, 27 Feb 2003 ET
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