Sunday, March 02, 2008

Automatic Information Terminal Service

Do you ever wonder what you can do with your 2m rig beside having QSO with fellow hams on 2m? Most of the rigs in the marketl have a range of 137 MHz ~ 174 Mhz. Some include the airband as well and so, the range is from 108 Mhz to 174 Mhz. I haven't met anyone who is stupid enough to utter words like "You are not supposed to listen to those frequencies outside of 144 Mhz ~ 148 Mhz". Idiots exist no matter where you are, but some are just trying to portray the holier-than-thou image. Anyway, airband monitoring is something fun to do.

One very interesting broadcast on the airband is the ATIS (Automatic Information Termnal Service). Here in Penang, you will be able to listen to 2 ATIS stations. Here are the samples.

122.750 MHz AM / 230.100 MHz AM:
Butterworth terminal information Hotel
Time 0400 UTC
Runway 36 open VFR
Wind 310 degree 03 knot
Visibility 10 kilometer
Present weather hazy
Cloud scattered 2000 broken 28000
Temperature 29
Dewpoint 24
QNH 1011 hectopascal or 29.85 inches
On first contact Butterworth ground approach acknowledge received information Hotel.

126.400 MHz AM:
This is Penang terminal information X-ray
Time 1130
Duty runway 22
Surface wind 230 degree 07 knot
Visibility more than 10 kilometer
Weather hazy
Few charlie bravo 1700 direction northeast and east scattered 14000 broken 27000
Temperature 28
Dewpoint 24
Humidity 77 percent
QNH 1008 hectopascal or 29.79 inches
Be advised 63 hotel closed due to construction work

The above were just what I heard and might not be accurate. Anyway, enjoy yourselves monitoring the airband. You are encouraged to monitor the airband and you might save many lives someday, who knows? The aircraft emergency frequency is 121.500 MHz AM.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Malaysia, Truly Boleh!

Let's keep trumpeting that we are now a developed country. Yes, we can do anything! The "Malaysia Boleh!" catch phrase has gain much notoriety after all these years of craps. The "latest" bull shit which has been around for a few years though, is "Cemerlang! Gemilang! Terbilang!" (Excellence! Glorious! Outstanding!). So, this is just another "same shit, different day" thing.

Let's look at ourselves first. Let's say we missed the very last RAE organized by the tuck shop. The waiting time will be about 6 months for the next one since RAE is held twice a year. OK, maybe we don’t have that many hams, so let's group more together and concentrate the exams at a few examination centers.

After you have taken the RAE, there will be a waiting period of about 2 to 3 months for the paper to be graded. Then, you will get your result in the mail. The license application must come with the declaration of secrecy of wireless communication, and another referral letter signed by 2 old men who hold class A license. This will take you another week at least. Finally, you submit you application. Lo and behold, another few months waiting time, nothing you can do except checking your mailbox, the snail mailbox everyday.

Overall, it takes you almost a year to get your class B license. Yes, RAE is just for class B because in order to get the class A license you need to pass your CW test. The prerequisite is to hold class B license for one year. Again, CW test is held at a different schedule from the RAE. This sucks even more as you have to go to Cyberjaya for the test.

When it comes to examination fees, it cost you RM50. Once you have passed, the license fee is RM 24 per year, while the processing fee is RM 60 for each application. Naturally, people will apply for the maximum license period because it is still the same RM 60 that you have to pay, no matter it is 1 year or 5 years. OK, let's take a 5-year license and we end up paying RM 180. Wait a minute, don’t forget the fee you paid to the Pesuruhjaya Sumpah (Commissioner of Oath) which is RM 4, for that declaration of secrecy of wireless communication. To renew for another 5-year period, it will cost you another RM 180.

From the day you decided to be a ham till 10 years later, you have to fork out RM 414 (RM 410 is paid to the tuck shop). I think this gives you an impression that we don’t pay taxes. Everything costs money here and it is damn expensive, considering the amount we make every month.

Back in the 70s, our economy was better than Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. Our GDP was much higher them. Now, we have to use Ghana for comparison. In the very near future, we will be running out or choice. By then, maybe Zimbabwe will be best candidate. Sorry, I really can't use Pakistan, I have to use United States for comparison today. Let's see how FCC is licensing hams…

First of all, go to ARRL website and do a search for exam. They are held everywhere throughout the country. I would say, exams are held at least twice a month within certain location, such as within 20 miles. Check it out yourself. Many Volunteer Examiners (VEs) allow walk-in, but I would suggest that you should take the effort to make an appointment. Oh yeah, you don't have to take leave from your day job since most of the exams are held at night.

On the night of the exam, all you need to do is bring a photo ID (drivers license, passport, etc.), and USD 14.00. You might want to write a check (cheque) payable to "ARRL VEC". That's it. You may start by taking Element 2 for Technician Class. If you pass and you think you can go on, then take Element 3 (General Class). Finally, you can also attempt Element 4 (Extra Class) as well.

Once you are done, you will be issued the Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) signed by 3 VEs on the spot. Submit the application to FCC tomorrow and you will get your 10-year license with a sequentially assigned callsign in about a week. It is "online", OK?

In summary, in Malaysia, it takes about 1 year to become a ham and it costs you RM 414 (USD125) for 10 years. In the US, it takes about 3 weeks to become a ham and it costs you RM 46 (USD 14) for 10 years. Please don't get me started into talking about getting rigs. You should have already known the red tapes here. By the way, you shouldn’t reason with people who can't take feedback or criticism. All you get is, "Kalau tak suka, keluar dari Malaysia!!!" (If you don't like it, get out of Malaysia!!!). On the other hand, some idiots can't figure out why there is brain drain in the country.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Apa Guna Mari ?

It took me quite a while not just to complete, but to decide what to blog about the annual craze of AGM. As usual, people will go mad and that is not new. If I am going to repeat the same old crap like the year before, it wouldn’t be fun anymore, right?

Well, "Apa Guna Mari?" (What is the use of coming?) will be the theme for the 2007 AGM. Many readers would be disappointed that this entry will not be long enough to entertain. I have just 2 highlights of the year though.

First of all, the turn out was pretty much reduced. Quite a number of people that I talked to before the AGM told me that they have given up hope on the society. Talking in terms of risk assessment, the question will be, what is the impact if hams are without a society? This thing always has a chain effect, and keep reinforcing each other unless we continue to have "faith" in the society. Anyway, there were many not renewing their membership this year and thus, not showing up.

On the other hand, many trouble makers were not making it here this round. These people are not contributing to the proceeding of the AGM but just to add idiotic comments and try to start a fight or something with other members. Come on, grow up. This is no longer the 60s or 70s where the fist rules. If you can’t reason well and convince people, it is time for you to catch up with more sleep rather than going to the AGM as a clown. Talking about SYSTEM, Save Yourself Some Time, Energy, and Money. That's why, Apa Guna Mari? Why bother to come then?

The council election is always the climax of the party. Meritocracy rules at least here in this society. The second highlight was nonetheless about the infamous newsletters made up of photocopied old materials back in the 70s. Time has changed, people are talking about fractal antenna these days. So, what was so interesting at the AGM? The newsletter guy suffered from a humiliating no-confidence defeat and was kind of voted out. Even days before the AGM, many people had been talking about "reformasi"… hahaha. For the rest of the story, please ask your friends.

Oh yeah, before I forget, I would like to share one interesting concept in the mind of Malaysians. Everyone knows that it is kind of hard to get rigs in here in this full-of-red-tapes country. In order to improve the system itself, ask any Mat Salleh, the ultimate goal is not to have human intervention. Please feel ashamed if we need to call someone to get rigs released.

The system has to be improved to the level that it becomes pretty much automatic such as the ham radio license by sekolah kebangsaan mat motor (the tuck shop la…) is good enough to import rigs. Not that you have to call a Tun or a Tan Sri to get your rig to be released. "Special human intervention" is not and should not be seen as improvement. Ah, again, if control is not there, it will be prone to misuse and abuse. Sorry, third world mentality.

As promised, I will make this short and stop here. Thanks to all the members who keep the society in check and keep it running well. Not forgetting the old dogs or old guards (take this as a compliment, OK?) who keep doing due diligent and challenge the council every now and then. Good job!

Congratulations to the new council! "The people" will do a performance review for you guys in the next AGM. Gambatte kudasai! Wareware wa dekiru!!!


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Phonetic alphabets in Bahasa Malaysia

In the spirit of Malaysia Boleh, demi memperjuangkan kedaulatan bahasa kebangsaan kita, pengleng emecher lehlew klab brings you the phonetic alphabets in our national language. This is a preliminary draft and is subject to kutukan, cacian, dan sebagainya.


Sekian terima kasih.


Epi Apple Fool. Oops, sorry, Happy April Fools' Day!

Tujuh Puluh Tiga.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Chinese phonetic alphabets

Almost every ham is pretty "proficient" in the phonetic alphabets, i.e. the Alpha, Bravo, Charlie ... Zulu stuff. "Certain quarters" or "pihak-pihak yang tertentu" make it compulsory to spell your callsign using the phonetic alphabets. As I blogged before, maybe their monitoring skill is so poor that they need it badly even on 2m band...

On HF, you might hear hams using another set sometimes. America, Boston, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Honolulu, Japan, Kilowatt, London, Mexico, Norway, Ocean, Pacific, Radio, Santiago, Tokyo, United, Victoria, Washington, Yokohama, Zanzibar. Well, fine! Every country has its own set of phonetic alphabets. In certain languages, it is also necessary to have phonetic alphabets for letters not found in A to Z.

Recently, I found the phonetic alphabets set used by the Chinese Armed Forces. Here you go:

Hanyu Pinyin - (Simplified Chinese) - (Traditional Chinese)

Aiya - (哎呀)
Boli - (玻璃)
Ciqi - (瓷器)
Desheng - (得胜) - (得勝)
Egu - (额骨) - (額骨)
Fuzhuang - (服裝)
Geming - (革命)
Heping - (和平)
I:Yifu - (衣服)
Keren - (客人)
Leguan - (乐观) - (樂觀)
Mofan - (模范) - (模範)
Nali - (那里) - (那裡)
Ouyang - (欧阳) - (歐陽)
Polang - (破浪)
Riguang - (日光)
Sixiang - (思想)
Tebie - (特別)
U:Weida - (伟大) - (偉大)
V:Wudao - (舞蹈)
W:Wuzhuang - (武裝)
Yisheng - (医生) - (醫生)
Zidian - (字典)

Note: J will be pronounced as "jay", Q as "cue", and X as "axe". (^.^)

Qi shi san (七十三).

Monday, March 26, 2007

Listening to lehlew

Long time no blog, that is for sure. On the positive side, this is a result of me practising The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I am setting the right priority, I am allocating enough time to work on things that belong to Quadrant II. Seriously, I procrastinated many times too. Sometimes, the idea came but by the time you login to Blogger, the idea just went away. Maybe I am prioritising wrongly today but anyway, I think this blog deserves an update. I think I should post more entries spontaneously in the near future.

As hams, we can't help not monitoring the band, especially the 2m band while mobiling. It is kind of fun to have friends keeping you accompanied while you are driving. While idiots on the road are swearing and exchanging sign languages, we hams rag chew on the band, be it simplex or on the repeater. It is always good to hear the voices of your friends.

On the other hand, the on-going QSO topic on the repeater is not always to your liking. You might just prefer to be on monitoring mode. Some might be bored hearing people exchanging the same greetings over and over again, asking about lunches and dinners, and then 73. Some could be bored to death with some not-so-techinical-details, you know, some people trying to show off a little. At certain times, when you hear people talking in codes, you are sure that you are not welcomed to join the QSO. Nevertheless, going on air is fun most of the time!

So, during those periods when you don't feel like monitoring the 2m band but you want to listen to something, you can always turn on the FM lehlew. I know some people also hate listening to Ah Lians and Ah Bengs talking Benglish, Manglish, or Singlish on the local FM lehlew. Fear no more. Here are the alternatives. Don't you remember that you have AM lehlew as well? Use it, don't let it go to waste.

I have no idea about East Malaysia, but here in West Malaysia, I don't think there is any station broadcasting on the AM band. Well, I have been listening to the Voice of America on 1575 kHz recently. They have got pretty good programming from 7:30 pm to 8:00 pm local time (1130 UTC ~ 1200 UTC) and of course, this coincide with my travel back home from the salt mine. From 11:30 pm to 12:00 am (1530 UTC ~ 1600 UTC), Voice of America is broadcasting on Special English.

Other than that 2 slots, it would be hard for me to stay on 1575 kHz unless I start to learn Pasa Thai, Tieng Viet, Bangla, etc. Again, fear no more. We can get Zhong Yang Ren Min Guang Bo Dian Tai (中央人民广播电台) with programs all the way from Beijing on 1134 kHz. I am not sure where the transmitter is located at. It will be great to find out someday. Enough being said, start listening to AM lehlew today!


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tuck shop website hacked

Lehlew pengyiu is a fan of our famous Malaysian blogger, brother Ooi and will try to visit his Screenshots once a day to get interesting information which you might not see in mainstream media.

It was reported that today, the 1st day of the 4th quarter in the year 2006, our beloved tuck shop website was hacked again. Notice that brother Ooi used the word "again" which means this is not the first time intruders gained access and defaced the website.

I don't know how many times it was hacked before, but I had seen once myself. It happened on March 8, 2005. The website was "updated" with the title "Permintaan maaf dari Kerajaan Malaysia" (Apology from the Government of Malaysia). Some texts and 2 flags were added too. This was in conjunction with our government action on deporting illegal immigrants back to Indonesia.

On one side, we Malaysians are helping our neighbour, providing their people with jobs here. We also unreservedly sent aids when natural disaster struck. Many illegals obtained citizenship (not just permanent residence) status due to some kind of wierd policy which I am not going to debate here. Everyone knows, I dont have to reiterate it. The hacker wrote "Hidup Indonesia... Ganyang malaysia". Alright, thank you very much. Don't blame them.

On our side, it is kind of a national disgrace when a "" site was hacked. Some people look at it as something trivial, but to certain people, they consider this as waging war against our country, Malaysia.

Let's see first. I don't know how the people at the tuck shop will react to today's incident. Give them the benefits of doubt. I have high confidence that they will do a thorough investigation, plug the hole, nab the real culprits, and prosecute them to the fullest extend of the law.

I hope they don't resort to blame-storming. Blame the outsource vendor that maintain the website? Shoot the messenger? Instead of solving the problem openly, point fingers at whistle blowers. Ah, that's the culture here, not a surprise. Please don't do this. In martial arts, our sifu told us to thank those who managed to deliver blows to you. You learn through the hard way and will never forget. Don't be "pelanduk lupakan jerat" because those hackers might strick again. Beef up the website security, "sediakan payung sebelum hujan".