A $400 million class action lawsuit was filed Monday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims against the Broadcasting Board of Governors over personnel and contracting practices overseen by top agency officials in recent years. The plaintiffs, several Voice of America (VOA) workers, allege that the U.S. government-funded, international news broadcaster’s Board of Governors denied proper pay and benefits to VOA employees intentionally misclassified as independent contractors by agency officials, Law360 website reported.
As reported by Law360, plaintiffs in the latest class action lawsuit allege that the Broadcasting Board of Governors has implemented a system of using “Purchase Order Vendors” (POVs) “for services indistinguishable from those of direct employees, to avoid a 30 percent budget increase from providing the lawful wages, paid leave, workers compensation, and tax contributions the workers are owed.”
“The BBG put the plaintiffs and class members on purchase orders so it could extract their faithful service to the United States while avoiding payment of the more substantial compensation that is owed to federal employees,” the complaint states.[…]
Many thanks to Jon Hudson with SDRplay, who shares the following announcement:
We are pleased to announce release 1.8.0 of the API for the RSP. This is a major upgrade to the API with new features and an improved gain map which should result in improved performance over a key portion of the gain control range. Currently this API is available for Windows only, but versions for Linux and Mac OS and Android will follow shortly.
The API now incorporates automatic post tuner DC offset correction and I/Q compensation. This will almost completely eliminate the DC centre spike that was previously present in zero IF mode and also correct for amplitude and phase errors in the I/Q signal paths that can lead to in-band images when strong signals are present.
There is a new gain map for the RSP which should help improve the receiver noise floor for gain reduction settings in the range of 59-78 dB. To achieve this, the IF gain control range has been increased from 59 to 78 dB. In addition, the user can now turn the LNA on or off at any point within the IF gain control range. This means that the LNA can remain on for gain reduction settings of up to 78 dB, whereas previously the maximum gain reduction that could be attained whilst the LNA was on was only 59 dB. Being able to leave the LNA on will result in improvements in the receiver noise performance for gain reductions in the range of 59 to 78 dB. The upper 19 dB of the IF gain control range have now been disabled. In practice this part of the gain control range was useless as trying to operate within this region always lead to receiver overload even when signals were very weak.
To fully exploit the features of this new API release, we have also issued release 3.5 of the ExtIO plugin. This plugin will work with HDSDR, SDR sharp (releases 1361 or earlier) and Studio 1. Automatic I/Q compensation and DC offset correction will work with later versions of SDR sharp, but we will need to update the native plugin for users of these later versions to be access the new gain map.
Similarly, users of SDR Console will gain the benefit of automatic DC offset compensation and I/Q correction, but will not yet be able to access the new gain map. We hope that a version of SDR console that unlocks this feature will become available in the near future.
Until a new release of SDR-Console is available, you can copy the API into the SDR-Console installation directory…
from C:\Program Files\MiricsSDR\API\x64\mir_sdr_api.dll to C:\Program Files\SDR-RADIO-PRO.com\mir_sdr_api.dll
The API installer has also contains an extra certificate to be more user friendly for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 users.
The new API and ExtIO plugin can be downloaded from our website at: www.sdrplay.com/windows.html
Many thanks for sharing this, John! I’ll update my RSP today.
BERLIN (AP) — On the top floor of an old brick building in the heart of Berlin, a group of journalists and tech enthusiasts are working to spur the Syrian media revolution.
Their weapon is an unassuming black case the size of a shoebox that allows opposition radio stations in Syria to transmit inside hostile territory.
Dubbed PocketFM, the device is basically a low-powered radio transmitter. Coupled with a satellite dish to receive new programs, a car battery for power and a one-meter (three-foot) antenna, it can broadcast FM radio within a 5-kilometer (3-mile) radius.
That’s enough to cover a town or a city district, said Philipp Hochleichter, who oversees development of the device for the Berlin-based nonprofit organization Media in Cooperation and Transition.
The group has been training journalists in conflict zones for more than a decade and often relies on FM radio to reach populations in far-flung areas that don’t have access to the Internet or smartphones. But when the group realized that shifting front lines and the brutal treatment of journalists meant operating large broadcast antenna could become too cumbersome or risky, it developed PocketFM.
This was first reported in Wireless Design Magazine
Researchers at the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology are preparing to send an amateur radio transponder into a geosynchronous orbit in 2017.
“Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, a new ham band will be available for the Americas,” said Robert McGwier, a research professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Hume Center’s director of research. “It will allow rapid deployment to disaster areas and support long-haul communications for first responders.”
This would be the first amateur or “ham” radio payload in a geosynchronous orbit, and would significantly enhance communications capabilities for amateur radio operators, in particular following natural disasters or other emergency situations. The Hume Center team met with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate in September to discuss the project.
The full article may be found following this link.
I have really been enjoying trying to catch the satellites and the International Space Station as I am able, but it really is catch as catch can due to orbiting times and changing horizon points. A geosynchronous orbit satellite means we could plant an antenna pointed directly at the satellite and find it there day or night. I for one am ready!! I might even dedicate an inexpensive dual-band radio to it assuming typical satellite repeater protocol is used.
I will post more details as I find out additional information. Cheers! Robert
(Source: VOA News)
Cuban President Raul Castro is urging the U.S. government to stop radio and television broadcasts that Cuba considers harmful, while also saying that his government is willing to keep improving relations with the United States.
In a speech broadcast on state television Friday, Castro said that his government will “continue insisting that to reach normalized relations, it is imperative that the United States government eliminate all of these policies from the past.”
He noted that the U.S. government continues to broadcast to Cuba, including transmissions of Radio Marti and TV Marti, despite Cuba’s objections. Radio Marti and TV Marti are overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is also the parent organization of the Voice of America.
Castro also criticized U.S. immigration policy that allows Cuban migrants to live in the United States if they reach U.S. territory.
“A preferential migration policy continues to be applied to Cuban citizens, which is evidenced by the enforcement of the wet foot/dry foot policy, the Medical Professional Parole Program and the Cuban Adjustment Act, which encourage an illegal, unsafe, disorderly and irregular migration, foment human smuggling and other related crimes, and create problems to other countries,” Castro said.
(Source: Southgate ARC)
Ham radio activation of North Korea
The ARRL reports the first amateur radio operation from Pyongyang, N.Korea in 13 years took place on December 20.
In an unexpected turn of events, Polish DXer Dom Gryzb, 3Z9DX, who has been visiting North Korea this week in advance of a planned Amateur Radio operation early next year, came on the air from the most-wanted DXCC entity around 0000 on December 20. P5/3Z9DX has been active on both 20 meters and 15 meters SSB only, and a few hundred stations have been fortunate enough to work him.
Propagation was unfavorable due to a geomagnetic storm that seems to have affected his efforts on 20 meters. He also reported that he faced extremely high ambient noise levels in Pyongyang. He ran 100 W to a vertical antenna mounted on a metal fencepost some 7 feet above the ground among government high-rise buildings.
Read the two ARRL stories:
North Korea on the Air for First Time Since 2002
P5/3Z9DX Concludes Demonstration Operation from North Korea
Earlier today, I published a post noting that I thought I heard the time station WWV in a scene of The Empire Strikes Back.
SWLing Post reader, RadioGeek, quickly corrected me: that’s Canadian time station CHU‘s data pips I’m hearing, not circa-1980s WWV. Cool!
Listen for yourself
Now listen to the recording of CHU I made only moments ago–note the tone and duration of the data pips:
No wonder I mixed up CHU and WWV; I’ve listened to both for propagation since I was a kid.
I wonder which of the Lucas Film sound engineer(s)/artist(s) chose CHU for this scene? Anyone know, by chance? Or can anyone find out?
No doubt, that sound designer is an SWL or ham radio operator. Perhaps this may also explain the SSB-esque radio dialog between fighter pilots throughout the Star Wars films: