Hello SBARC Members,
The Spirit of '76 Foundation is displaying the American flag on the side of
the Lobero Theater. Volunteers are needed from 6/14/2009 through 7/2/2009 to
guard over the flag. "Flag Guardians" will be needed every night from 7pm to
7am for three, 4 hour shifts each night. One or more individuals and groups
are encouraged to stand watch. Facilities are limited, the pay is lousy
(none). and a cell phone is needed.
If you want to participate, email or call me.
Rod Fritz, WB9KMO
Utilities turn to IBM for BPL solution
Feb 25, 2009 12:48 PM, By Lynnette Luna
Just when it appeared broadband-over-powerline
(BPL) technology was going to die off, IBM and
rural Internet service provider (ISP)
International Broadband Electric
Communicationswith help from a $9.6-million cash
infusion from IBM and $70 million in government
loansare deploying BPL networks for almost
200,000 rural customers served by seven
electrical cooperatives in Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and Virginia.
The move comes months after two of BPLs highest
profile deployments died out and as many BPL
vendors have begun focusing on smart electrical
networks rather than consumer broadband delivery.
The technology, which modifies radio signals to
transmit voice and Internet data over electric
utility power lines, was extremely hyped early
this decade, when it was billed as a way for
power companies to become the third alternative
in the broadband market, competing against cable
and DSL operators in urban areas.
But the technology has been slow to take off, as
technical limitations and interference problems
with ham radios and local emergency radios kept
it from being adopted widespread. Moreover, power
companies realized they just couldnt compete
with cable and high-speed telco offerings in urban areas.
BPL now has improved from a technical standpoint
and, according to Ray Blair, advanced networking
executive with IBMs Global Technology Services.
BPL has found its niche in the rural market,
where access customers have no wireline broadband alternatives.
Another important niche has to do with the need
for utilities to incorporate intelligent-grid
capabilities, such as smart metering and energy-outage monitoring.
The intelligent grid, by nature, is filled by a
lot of devices that need to communicate with each
other back to a centralized location, and that
drives a lot of bandwidtha lot more than what
utilities can handle today, Blair said.
I, for one, will be waiting to see how IBEC and
IBM can make BPL a profitable technology. Last
May, DirecTV and Current Communications sold a
flagship BPL deployment in Dallas to the local
utility after they couldnt make a go of it. The
utility is using the network for smart-grid
monitoring only. In this case, the combination of
using the technology as a broadband offering and
for the electric cooperatives smart grids increases the chances of success.
Still, Blair concedes that the cost of such
networks vary from situation to situation. BPL
deployments typically cost half of wireless
network deployments, but the ongoing costs might
not be advantageous. Its more than just the
cost of the network. Operational expenditure is
the key piece to understand. In some cases, BPL
looks good paper, but on the opex side, it might
not be so good, and wireless might look better.
So, the business case for BPL isnt
straightforward, and it appears companies looking
to utilize the technology must do some
significant vetting and perhaps look outside the
box to find more ways to recoup their
investments. According to Blair, that might
include striking a deal with the local
municipality to backhaul surveillance cameras or read water meters.
It's Science Night time again, this time at El Camino School, 5020 San
Simeon Drive. Review the attached files for more information.
Cyril AF6GW's wife teaches at El Camino so if Cyril is around, he will
probably be able to get us to the right people if we need something.
If you want to participate, just be there between 5:15 and 6:00pm ready to
go. Because of my work, I won't arrive until about 6:00. If you get there
early, try to secure two tables for us and ask where we can exhibit the
Rover nearby. Call me on the phone (637-0985) if there are any issues.
The event primarily takes place indoors, but we can probably set up the
Rover nearby outside. This is our first time at this school so we need to
play it by ear a little.
I'll bring my portable ATV setup, my laptop with slow-scan programs and
images, and one or two robots.
We would like someone to bring the Rover and set up an operating radio on
2-meters or HF (or both) so we can show off ham radio. All hams are welcome
to explain ham radio to the kids and peak their interest in our exciting
Handouts are a good idea if you have something appropriate. I have my ATV
flyer and a couple dozen flyers announcing the Tech Class on April 4.
Please participate by helping in the demonstration or just attend to give us
moral support. The more, the merrier.
Contact me on my cell at 637-0985 if you have any questions.
See you there,
Rod Fritz, WB9KMO
QRP Dinner this Friday before the SBARC meeting
The QRP Special Interest Group (SIG) will be going to dinner together this Friday night before the February SBARC club meeting. Come and join us. We always have a very nice time, talk QRP, and down some of the best Italian food in Goleta.
We go to Presto Pasta, which is at 5764 Calle Real. We start showing up there at 5:30 PM. We hams wait until all have arrived before starting to eat, just like one pig waits for another!
After dinner, we will drive over to Fairview Ave., turn right and go less than 0.25 mile to the Goleta Union School District facility, which is right across the street from the Goleta Library. That is where we hold our monthly club meetings.
Our guest speaker for the evening will be Rob Griffin, K6YR. Rob is the Manager of the ARRL Santa Barbara Section. He hails from San Luis Obispo. Rob is also the Manager of the Pacific Area Net (PAN) of the National Traffic System (NTS). If you have ever wanted to know what handling traffic is all about, you sure don't want to miss this very interesting presentation by a fellow who lives and breathes traffic.
Don't forget to bring your quality junque to deposit on the "free-to-good-home" table as well as take home your share of what others have deposited thereon.
Please bring your dues for the year with you if you haven't already taken care of that. You can go to our club's website and print out a membership application. Then you can fill it out before you come to the club meeting and turn it in.
Be sure to get your share of raffle tickets for the drawing and, if you get a chance, please bring along some refreshments to put alongside the coffee pot.
See you Friday.
Darryl Widman, KF6DI
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