Update August 1: Greetings from UNARC/4U1UN. As most are aware, UNHQ has been shut down for some time due to COVID-19. As a result, basic maintenance of equipment has been postponed until the building is reopened to staff. The Secretary General has implemented a multi-phased approach based on state and federal guidelines. As such, we hope to regain access in October or November. It’s at that time that maintenance activities will be scheduled with the appropriate departments in order to address pressing equipment failures. This includes repair to our Acom amplifier control module as well as the beacon antenna.
On other news, I’ve been testing and evaluating a Flex Radio Systems 6600M which was kindly loaned to us by our friends at Flex Radio. The Flex SDR system has proven more than capable of performing in our constrained operating environment, and is something as current club president, hope to implement into our station as soon as possible. Many thanks go to Flex Radio, especially, Matt Youngblood for his generosity and willingness to work with the United Nations Amateur Radio Club 4U1UN.
I’ll try to update you with more news as it’s made available to me by senior management and our administration.
Until then, be safe. Be well.
73, James K2QI.
Update May 30: James K2QI, President of United Nations Radio Club (UNARC) reports that on June 6 & 7, 2020, the U.N. HQ station 4U1UN will be QRV in support of the global STAY HOME movement, an event endorsed by IARU President, Tim Ellam as well as under the patronage of the Foreign Minister of Finland, Pekka Haavisto.
The United Nations Amateur Club 4U1UN, as well as its sister stations 4U1GSC (operated as 4U9STAYHOME) and 4U1A (operated as 4U2STAYHOME) look forward to making contact with many stations during this special event.
Headed by Ria Jairam, N2RJ and Peter Dougherty, W2IRT the special event W2I/STAYHOME on June 6 & 7, 2020 will be activated on SSB, CW and FT8 simultaneously. You can also join this once-in-the lifetime event and greet your friends all over the world; http://ko8sca.com/rules.pdf
The associated award and certificate program was announced just recently; http://ko8sca.com/awards.pdf
Update April 11: James K2QI, President of United Nations Radio Club 4U1UN reports that as part of the STAY HOME movement, during the UN HQ building lockdown, UNARC was granted special permission to utilize a very limited remote operation possibility. Considering the demand for DIGI modes for 4U1UN – operation will be limited to FT8 mode only. Please be advised that there is only low power operation possible at this point, therefore no Fox/Hound as channel power division will not allow any long-distance stations to be worked. The operator at the keyboard is James K2QI.
Update February 4: YASME FOUNDATION IS RECOGNIZING THE KEY PEOPLE BEHIND RE-ACTIVATING 4U1UN
The project took over four years to complete; James Sarte, K2QI and Adrian Ciuperca, KO8SCA are the key amateur operators who worked on the project and as such they will be the recipients of the Yasme Excellence Award 2020. The team used a slick in-house remote concept, whereby the station is located at the 42nd floor while the control head is located on the ground floor of the UN Headquarters in New York City.
ARRL Hudson Divisions Director Ria Jairam N2RJ and Yasme Director Martti Laine OH2BH will be jointly presenting the Yasme award at the UN Headquarters in New York City on Friday, March 6, 2020. This ceremony will be topped with the first-ever FT8 QSO from 4U1UN – with its inventor Joe Taylor, K1JT at the controls. First twenty-five QSOs will be awarded by U.N special certificate signed by Joe. What perfect timing! — following the ceremony the group of K2QI, G6CBR, N2RJ, OH2BH, KO8SCA and VE7NY will activate 4U1UN in the ARRL DX SSB Contest.
By the way, this will be a much more complex exercise than you might imagine, since, for security reasons, the operators will need to be escorted at all times by the UN security officers. See you in the air! QSL via HB9BOU.
Update December 5: Last few days has seen 4U1UN hit the air more often. Operator is Adrian KO8SCA and is looking for AS/OC to give out a new one to those areas.
Update November 28: 4U1UN was on air for about an hour yesterday beginning at 2200z. More good things to come in future now that the remote setup is working correctly.
Update November 20: Couple of announcements regarding 4U1UN:
1. Beacon is back although the antenna is literally being held together with tape and chewing gum at this point. Not sure how much longer it’ll survive.
2. We’ve managed to figure out the kinks with the rack mounted system. Additionally, Elecraft fixed and returned our malfunctioning K3. We ran a few quick tests today and seems everything is finally functioning as it should. That said, you should start to hear 4U1UN back on the air very soon. Some may have had the good fortune of working Adrian (KO8SCA) today while he ran some tests.
Update November 10: On FaceBook, the United Nations Amateur Radio Club (4U1UN) reports the following on November 8th: Please note -- the 4U1UN beacon has been temporarily deactivated due to wind-incurred damage to the antenna. I'm attempting to schedule a time with relevant parties to gain access to the roof in order to inspect and repair.
Update August, 26: 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!
UNARC/4U1UN IS STILL HAVING DISCUSSIONS WITH DPI (DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INFORMATION) REGARDING REACTIVATING THE STATION PERMANENTLY. HOPEFULLY WE’LL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO PLEAD OUR CASE TO THE NEW ADMINISTRATION AS WELL. KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED. 4U1UN MIGHT BE BACK ON THE AIR SOON!