NEWS UPDATE — We are receiving a lot of messages regarding the lack of 4U1UN (United Nation Amateur Radio Club) activity on the bands. We will try to clear some things about the current Club’s activities.
Many of you do not know that after the renovation of the UNHQ building in New York, the room dedicated to the recreation area, on the 41st floor, in which the 4U1UN radio equipment was located, was transferred to the special UN unit – Broadcast and Conference Support Section. That room now is allocated to professional communications equipment. This was the only room technically suitable to be used for installing our gear, with easy access to the roof but after renovation it became off-limits for any other services, except BCSS.
Please do not think that UNARC members gave up and are doing nothing – believe me, almost daily communication has not been interrupted for the past seven years. After the successful activity of 4U70UN back in 2015, with the support of the UN Administration, we were able to secure a tiny 20-square-feet room for the Club’s needs on the ground floor of the building. For obvious reasons, no one will give us the opportunity to run a separate coaxial cable from the ground floor to the 41st floor. Considering the fact that the room, allocated for the Club, can be transferred to any other place at any time, we have developed a project for installing a remote station on the 41st floor.
The main difficulty in quick implementation of such project at the UNHQ is not political, but administrative and organizational. The BCSS is responsible for the security for all the UN communications equipment. They provide the entire UN communication (including emergency etc.) to all UN field locations around the World. There are communication repeaters, satellite links and other equipment, access to which is strictly limited. Only security personnel, authorized by this service, have permission to be there. Coordination of access to this room for club members (UN staff) at such a high level, takes several months to be approved, and the time allowed for work is limited to only one or two hours per visit.
If it were not for BCSS support, nothing would have been possible at all, even the placement of the beacon station and antenna! Imagine that you want to put a remotely controlled and unsupervised amateur radio station in the server room of the White House special communications service, and you will get the picture. Every time we get access – we are accompanied by representatives of three different UN services, and only because none of us is giving up – the process of returning the UN amateur radio station in the air, although slowly, continues.
Now, some good news!
This Saturday, several members of the UN radio club, representatives of UN services and guests, once again got the opportunity to continue the configuration of equipment and its connections. Unfortunately, the assembled 19-inch rack and part of the equipment were disconnected during delivery to the 41st floor, including disassembling of the power amplifier. This is mainly because the BCSS personnel needed to hand carry all the equipment several flights of stairs to the top floor. The ACOM-2000A amplifier fully assembled is very heavy, so its disassembling was certainly needed.
After four hours of work, the connections of the SteppIR BigIR vertical antennas were restored, a new SDA-100 controller was installed and a RemoteRig 1216H was connected for easy remote access. The antenna was tested and configured. Remote access from the first floor works (special thanks for the separately run Ethernet cable over the entire height of the building, for the use of the Radio Club). The operation of the ACOM-2000A amplifier with an antenna was tested.
While we were testing, we realized that our Elecraft K3 needed to be disconnected and sent for repair. Apparently, due to the lack of the ability to retract BigIR antenna earlier, static discharges damaged the K3 power control board. Updating/re-installing of the K3 firmware didn’t helped. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery of the transceiver after treatment at Elecraft!
We really hope that in the very near future, after debugging and setting up all the equipment, we will finally be able to proudly look at the work done and begin to appear steadily on the bands; and you will be able to get ATNO with the UNHQ!
Thanks to everyone involved, especially to:
James Sarte K2QI UNARC President
Philip Dale G6CBR UNARC
UN Security Staff
UN BCSS Staff
Adrian Ciuperca KO8SCA
To be continued!
AUGUST 22, 2018 – Earlier today, Adrian KO8SCA was active from the UN Building on 20m SSB. Recording by N0UN
AUGUST 16, 2018 – Following on from recent info regarding lack of 4U1UN activity here’s some good news:
“It’s been a while since the last update but I have some news to share. We’re one step closer to being back on the air. As some may know, Dmitri Zhikharev RA9USU along with Adrian Ciuperca KO8SCA have been working with me behind the scenes to get the station operational again. Through the generous donations of Dima and his associates (notably Ed Kritsky NT2X), we were able to get a rack mounted K3, Acom 2000 linear amplifier, and associated network-enabled control hardware. We were also granted another K3 to act as a remote head from SK Tony N2UN via his widow, and delivered to us by Andrew Bodony K2LE. Finally, Adrian has been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes networking and legwork with his counterparts to help get things done from within the United Nations.
Yesterday represents an additional milestone for the club as Adrian (who did most of the work) and I, finally erected a brand new SteppIR BigIR vertical antenna on the Secretariat’s roof. All that remains is to connect and lay the ground radials, fine-tune the rack mounted devices, and setup and configure the remote K3. Once done and after almost a decade off-air, we can finally call CQ 20 de 4U1UN”.
73! James K2QI