ARRL Executive Committee meets Saturday, 3/29

The ARRL Executive Committee is meeting this Saturday. I received the agenda for the meeting yesterday. They will be addressing a lot of interesting issues, including:

  • RM-11715; Mimosa Networks, Inc. Petition for Rule Making, proposing Part 90 Mobile allocation in the 10.0-10.5 GHz band; impact on Amateur secondary allocation at 10.0- 10.5 GHz (Development of policy for response to Petition; comment date April 11, 2014).
  • RF Lighting Device Complaint to FCC (Complaint Filed with FCC March 12, 2014; consideration of further strategies to address Part 15 and Part 18 RF devices, especially RF Lighting devices; partnering with AM Broadcast advocates).
  • WT Dockets 12-283 and 09-209; RM-11625 and RM-11629; Amendment of the Amateur Service Rules Governing Qualifying Examination Systems and Other Matters; Amateur Use of Narrowband TDMA Part 90 equipment in the Amateur Service; Examination Session Remote Proctoring (ARRL comments filed December 21, 2012; second temporary waiver request for TDMA emission granted).
  • ARRL Petition for Rule Making to Amend Parts 2 and 97 to Create a New MF Allocation for the Amateur Service at 472-479 kHz. (Status of 472-479 kHz Petition filed November 29, 2012); and ET Docket 12-338, Amendment of Parts 1, 2, 15, 74, 78, 87, 90 & 97 of the Commission’s Rules Regarding Implementation of the Final Acts of the World Radiocommunication Conference (Geneva 2007), Other Allocation Issues, and Related Rule Updates; 135.7-137.8 kHz and 1900-2000 kHz primary allocation.
  • ET Docket 13-84; Reexamination of RF exposure regulations. (FCC proposal to subject the Amateur Service to a “general exemption” table for conducting a routine environmental review of a proposed new or modified station configuration; exemption criteria as the preemptive standard as against more stringent state or local criteria.) 

 

As you can see, there’s a lot going on. Contact your division director if you have a comment or question about any of these issues.

ARRL Board Requests Member Comments About Digital Modes

ARRLSB QST @ ARL $ARLB007
ARLB007 ARRL Board Requests Member Comments About Digital Modes

ZCZC AG07
QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 7  ARLB007
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  March 3, 2014

To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB007
ARLB007 ARRL Board Requests Member Comments About Digital Modes

At the January 2014 ARRL Board of Directors meeting, a resolution was passed which asked for member feedback and input pertaining to the increasing popularity of data modes. The information gathered by  this investigation is to be used by the HF Band Planning Committee of the Board as a means to suggest ways to use our spectrum efficiently so that these data modes may “compatibly coexist with each other.”  As per the resolution, the ARRL Board of Directors is now reaching out to the membership and requesting cogent input and thoughtful feedback on matters specific to digital mode operation on the HF bands.

The feedback may include, but is not limited to, the recent proposal the ARRL made to the FCC, RM 11708, regarding the elimination of the symbol rate restrictions currently in effect.  A FAQ on RM 11708 can be found on the web at, http://www.arrl.org/rm-11708-faq .

The Board of Directors believes that member input in the decision making process is both valuable and important as well as fostering a more transparent organization.  It is to this end that we open this dialogue.

Comments must be received no later than March 31, 2014 to be included in the Committee’s report to the Board at the July 2014 ARRL Board of Directors meeting. Please e-mail your comments to: HF-Digital-Bandplanning@arrl.org

Concerned members may also contact their Division Director by mail, telephone or in person with any relevant information.

ARRL membership: Is 25% asking too much?

ARRLIn the March 2014 issue of QST, Harold Kramer, WJ1B makes a big deal of the fact that ARRL membership is now up to 162,200 members and growing at a rate of about 1% per year. After patting the ARRL on the back about this, WJ1B launches into a discussion of the different programs that WJ1B feels have contributed to the membership growth.

Let’s take another look at the numbers, though. As the editorial points out, 10,300 ARRL members are international members, meaning that there 151,900 U.S. hams are ARRL members. Another article in the March issue, “New Licenses,” notes that the total number of licensed radio amateurs at the end of 2013 was 717,201. If you do the math, you’ll find that only slightly more than one in five hams are ARRL members. I personally don’t think that’s so hot, and it’s certainly not worthy of all the self-congratulation going on in this editorial.

The licensing article also points out that “the amateur radio population in the US grew by slightly more than 1 percent last year.” That being the case, ARRL membership has grown at about the same rate. If all the programs noted in WJ1B’s editorial were so effective, wouldn’t you expect membership growth to be at least 2%?

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. I think the ARRL should set a goal to enroll at least 25% of licensed radio amateur as members. It seems to me that any group calling itself “the national organization for amateur radio” should have at least one in four amateur radio operators as part of their membership. I think it says something that the membership rate is so low.

What do you think? Am I right or is reaching 25% asking too much?

Your ARRL Board of Directors at work

ARRL

The ARRL Board held their annual winter meeting on January 17 – 18, and the meeting minutes are now published. Here are a few items that I thought were of interest:

#6. Kay Craigie, N3KN, was elected to a third term as ARRL president. How do you feel about the job she’s doing? She’s certainly been lower key than some of her predecessors. How much of a difference can the ARRL president really make?

#31. Mr. Frahm entertained questions on the report of the Ad Hoc HF Band Planning Committee. Who even knew that the ARRL had an HF Band Planning Committee? Anyone know what they’re up to?

#32, 50. Mr. Mileshosky entertained questions on the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Youth in the Second Century. Later on in the meeting, they disbanded this committee. Apparently, the committee submitted a “comprehensive set of recommendations for staff and Board consideration in July 2013.” Has anyone seen this report or heard about it?

#33. Mr. Widin entertained questions on the report of the Ad Hoc Logbook of The World Committee. This might have also been an interesting report to see. My experience with LOTW has been very positive lately. 

You can download the full meeting minutes here. Being minutes they are very terse, but if you want more information, say on the band-planning committee or the youth committee, contact your ARRL division director.

ARRL Centennial Video

ARRLThis video tells the story of amateur radio and the ARRL’s first 100 years. Some of the commentary by ARRL officials is pretty much just hype, but it’s worth a look. According to Allen, W1AGP, it will be available for order through ARRL (about $12 for the DVD), so you can show it at club meetings or get local cable channels to show it. They’re working on a version with Spanish subtitles, too….Dan

From my Twitter feed: bad soldering, tequila,

hackaday's avatarhackaday @hackaday
New post: Impersonating FBI Agents And People Who Can Solder bit.ly/JQRKil

2e0sql's avatarPeter Goodhall @2e0sql
Interesting talk on using NodeJS and websockets within Amateur Radio specially when using hardware.- youtu.be/r0svcHERWrM #hamr

NS0D's avatarPete NSØD @NS0D
The #Arrl Centennial QSO party starts 1-Jan-2014 – should be a real marathon with a few different awards available arrl.org/centennial-qso…

This isn’t related to ham radio, but I do like a nip of tequila from time time….Dan

Gizmodo's avatarGizmodo @Gizmodo
How tequila geniuses made the best-tasting spirit I’ve ever had: gizmo.do/qo176k0 pic.twitter.com/XAoQTSrcCz

Deadline to Comment on ARRL’s “Symbol Rate” Petition Looms

If you support this petition, please consider submitting a comment…Dan

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB034
ARLB034 Deadline to Comment on ARRL’s “Symbol Rate” Petition Looms

ZCZC AG34
QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 34 ARLB034
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT December 11, 2013
To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB034
ARLB034 Deadline to Comment on ARRL’s “Symbol Rate” Petition Looms

The deadline is December 21 to file comments on the ARRL’s “SymbolRate” Petition for Rule Making (PRM). The ARRL filed the Petitionlast month, and the FCC has put it on public notice for comment asRM-11708. The League subsequently filed an Erratum to correct an incorrect appendix included within the Petition. The Petition already has attracted more than 70 comments. The Petition can be found on the web at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=6017477458.

The ARRL has asked the FCC to delete the symbol rate limit in §97.307(f) of its Amateur Service rules and to replace it with a maximum data emission bandwidth of 2.8 kHz on frequencies below 29.7 MHz. The ARRL contends that the changes it proposes would “relieve the Amateur Service of outdated, 1980s-era restrictions that presently hamper or preclude Amateur Radio experimentation with modern high frequency (HF) and other data transmission protocols” and “permit greater flexibility in the choice of data emissions.” Symbol rate represents the number of times per second that a change of state occurs, not to be confused with data (or bit) rate.

Current FCC rules limit digital data emissions below 28 MHz to 300 baud, and between 28.0 and 28.3 MHz to 1200 baud. The League’s petition points out that other radio services use transmission protocols in which the symbol rate exceeds the present limitations set forth in §97.307(f), while staying within the bandwidth of a typical HF single sideband channel (3 kHz).

“The symbol rate restrictions were created to suit digital modes that are no longer in favor,” the ARRL noted in its petition. “If the symbol rate is allowed to increase as technology develops and the Amateur Service utilizes new data emission types, the efficiency of amateur data communications will increase.”
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ARRL Files “Symbol Rate” Petition with FCC

Here’s the latest bulletin from the ARRL. I like this idea. How about you?

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB030
ARLB030 ARRL Files “Symbol Rate” Petition with FCC

ZCZC AG30
QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 30 ARLB030
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT November 20, 2013
To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB030
ARLB030 ARRL Files “Symbol Rate” Petition with FCC

The ARRL has asked the FCC to delete the symbol rate limit in §97.307(f) of its Amateur Service rules, replacing it with a maximum bandwidth for data emissions of 2.8 kHz on amateur frequencies below 29.7 MHz. The ARRL Board of Directors adopted the policy underlying the petition initiative at its July 2013 meeting. The petition was filed November 15.

“The changes proposed would, in the aggregate, relieve the Amateur Service of outdated, 1980s-era restrictions that presently hamper or preclude Amateur Radio experimentation with modern high frequency (HF) and other data transmission protocols,” the League’s petition asserted. “The proposed rule changes would also permit greater flexibility in the choice of data emissions.” Symbol rate represents the number of times per second that a change of state occurs, not to be confused with data (or bit) rate.

Current FCC rules limit digital data emissions below 28 MHz to 300 baud, and between 28.0 and 28.3 MHz to 1200 baud. “Transmission protocols are available and in active use in other radio services in which the symbol rate exceeds the present limitations set forth in §97.307(f) of the Commission’s Rules, but the necessary bandwidths of those protocols are within the bandwidth of a typical HF single sideband channel (3 kHz),” the ARRL’s petition pointed out.

The League said that while bandwidth limitations are reasonable, the  symbol rate “speed limit” reflective of 1980s technology, prohibits radio amateurs today from utilizing state-of-the-art technology. Present symbol rate limits on HF “actually encourage spectrum inefficiency,” the League argues, “in that they allow data transmissions of unlimited bandwidth as long as the symbol rat is sufficiently slow.” The League said eliminating symbol rate limits on data emissions and substituting a “reasonable maximum authorized bandwidth” would permit hams to use all HF data-transmission protocols now legal in the Amateur Service as well as other currently available protocols that fall within the authorized bandwidth but are off limits to amateurs.

The League said it’s been more than three decades – when the Commission okayed the use of ASCII on HF – since the FCC has evaluated symbol rate restrictions on radio amateurs as a regulatory matter. “The symbol rate restrictions were created to suit digital modes that are no longer in favor,” the ARRL noted in its petition. Modern digital emissions “are capable of much more accurate and reliable transmissions at greater speeds with much less bandwidth than in 1980.”

As an example, the League pointed to PACTOR 3, which is permitted under current rules, and PACTOR 4, which is not. Despite PACTOR 4′s greater throughput, both protocols can operate within the bandwidth of a typical SSB transmission.

“If the symbol rate is allowed to increase as technology develops and the Amateur Service utilizes new data emission types, the efficiency of amateur data communications will increase,” the ARRL concluded.

ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, has emphasized that there is no broader plan on the League’s part to seek regulation by bandwidth.

The FCC has not yet assigned an RM number and put the League’s petition on public notice for comments, and there is no way to file comments until that happens.
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ARRL 2013 Auction starts October 24

The ARRL actually purchases the items that they test and review in QST.  They buy them from the same dealers that you and I get our equipment to avoid the manufacturers sending them a “golden unit.”

So, every year, they have a bunch of gear that they need to sell. They now do this online. In addition, they also dredge up some items that have been hanging around ARRL HQ for years.

 

ARRL 2013 Auction

Hello,

If you are receiving this message you are registered at the ARRL On-Line Auction site and the 2013 Auction preview is on right now.

We’ve outdone ourselves this year and you’ll find several hundred items up for bid. Our offerings will include product review gear, prized because it’s already been pre-tested by our ARRL Lab staff; donated items by retailers and manufacturers and a large number of rare books to complete your collection.

Auction will commence on October 24th at 10AM EST and conclude on October 31st. But you can view the items now and browse through the site. Please also take a minute to update your address and credit card information if you’ve made changes since the last Auction.

Be sure to read through the Auction Information area as well. In addition to the conditions of the Auction, you’ll find hints and tips about bidding.

You’ll also be able to retrieve your previous Auction user name and password if you’ve forgotten them since last year. Remember, your regular ARRL user name and password does not work at this site and you created a user name and password here when you registered.

Enjoy the site and enjoy the 8th Annual 2013 ARRL On-Line Auction.

73,

Your ARRL On-Line Auction Crew

ARRL instructor’s newsletter sports new name, look

Radio Waves

It’s been a long time coming—more than two and a half years, in fact—but the ARRL has finally published another issue of the newsletter for  instructors and teachers. It’s now called Radio Waves, and the October 2013 issue contains articles on:

  • teaching amateur radio in elementary school,
  • the new band chart of Tech-only privileges,
  • an exam-prep game modeled on the game show Jeopardy,
  • the upcoming 2014 update to the Technician Class question pool, and
  • 2013 licensing statistics.

Unfortunately, the majority of the issue is devoted to the ARRL’s Education and Technology Program, which sponsors programs for classroom teachers. I may be missing something here, but while I think that these are useful programs, they have little value for instructors teaching amateur radio classes.

At any rate, let’s hope that it doesn’t take the ARRL another two and a half years before they publish another issue of this newsletter.