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.

Amateur radio in the news: oldest social media, convention, FCC shutdown

Ham radio operators stay true to social media’s low-tech roots. Long ago, before Facebook, Twitter and email, ham radio operators were the original social media geeks. And they’re still out there, in greater numbers than ever, chatting and messaging each other all over the world without an Internet connection or even a telephone line.

Amateur radio club hosts convention. The Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club hosted the 2013 ARRL Southwestern Division Convention in September at the Marriott Hotel in Buellton. The conference brought together amateur radio enthusiasts from all of Southern California and Arizona to share and learn from the experts on specific topics of concern. The conference stressed two areas of interest: emergency preparedness and attracting young students to the art of Amateur Radio.

Shutdown upends ham radio buffs’ Wake Isle trip marking massacre. For anyone questioning the reach of the federal government shutdown, consider Wake Island. Not much more than military-plane refueling and classified operations occur on the unincorporated U.S. territory, a coral atoll located between Hawaii and Guam, about 6,700 miles (10,780 kilometers) from the legislative standoff in Washington. That was about to change this week with the arrival of a dozen ham-radio operators who thought they’d won approval for a two-week commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the World War II massacre of almost 100 U.S. civilian contractors on Wake Island by the Japanese on Oct. 7, 1943. Instead, after months of preparation, the trip is on ice because of a paperwork delay the group attributes to the partial federal shutdown, which started Oct. 1 as Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on a stopgap spending measure.

ARRL Executive Committee to consider regulatory issues

There’s some interesting stuff on this agenda. For example, I like the idea of changing the rules to delete all mention of “symbol rate,” and instead specify maximum bandwidths. That seems more in line with our charter to “advance the state of the radio art.”

As always, if there’s something that you feel passionate about, get in touch with your ARRL director.


SB QST @ ARL $ARLB023
ARLB023 ARRL Executive Committee to Consider Numerous Regulatory Issues

ZCZC AG23
QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 23 ARLB023
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT October 3, 2013
To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB023
ARLB023 ARRL Executive Committee to Consider Numerous Regulatory Issues

The ARRL Executive Committee (EC) will face an agenda heavy on FCC and regulatory issues when it meets Saturday, October 5 in the Denver, Colorado, area.

Among action items, the EC is expected to consider the filing of a Petition for Rule Making, now in draft, seeking to delete restrictions on symbol rates for data communication and to establish a 2.8 kHz maximum authorized bandwidth for HF digital data emissions. At its July meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors directed ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, to prepare a Petition for Rule Making with the FCC seeking to modify §97.307(f) to delete all references to “symbol rate.” The Petition would ask the FCC “to apply to all amateur data emissions below 29.7 MHz the existing bandwidth limit, per §97.303(h), of 2.8 kHz.”

The Board determined that the current symbol rate restrictions in §97.307(f) “no longer reflect the state of the art of digital telecommunications technology,” and that the proposed rule change would “encourage both flexibility and efficiency in the employment of digital emissions by amateur stations.” ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, explained the Board’s action on symbol rate regulation in his September 2013 QST “It Seems to Us” editorial.

The EC also will consider authorizing comments on an FCC Public Notice on recommendations approved by the WRC-15 Advisory Committee. The Committee will consider approving the filing of comments with the FCC that express concerns about expanding proposed radiolocation use of the 77.5 to 78 GHz band beyond on-vehicle applications to, for example, fixed roadside applications. The comment deadline is October 11, although the FCC shutdown may change that date.

The EC also will continue to evaluate strategies to improve the FCC’s Amateur Radio enforcement program and consider filing reply comments on FCC ET Docket 13-84, regarding a reexamination of RF exposure regulations (reply comments are due November 11, subject to the FCC shutdown). While the FCC proposals do not alter existing RF exposure limits, they do call for the elimination of existing special evaluation exemptions spelled out in §97.13(c) of the Commission’s rules. Minor rules changes adopted in the Report and Order section of the document took effect August 5.

In addition the EC will discuss a manufacturer’s proposal to delete §97.317(a)(2), requiring that amplifiers operating below 144 MHz “not be capable of amplifying the input RF power (driving signal) by more than 15 dB gain.” The Committee will consider whether to propose the rules change described.

The EC will hear status updates on other regulatory matters, including the ARRL’s Petition for Rule Making filed last November to create a new MF allocation for the Amateur Service at 472-479 kHz. The FCC’s ET Docket 13-101 regarding receiver performance standards also will come up for discussion, as will pending amendments of the Amateur Service rules governing qualifying exam systems, Amateur Radio use of TDMA equipment, and remote proctoring of exam sessions.

Other topics on the EC agenda for review include the FCC’s proposed revision of Part 15 rules to permit unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices in the 5 GHz band, the effects of communications towers on migratory birds, and amendments to the FCC’s CORES system. There has been no recent FCC action on these items.

The EC also will hear a report on the status of the effort to have the “Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2013″ introduced in the 113th Congress. The objective of the League’s draft bill is an instruction from Congress to the FCC to extend the existing limited preemption of state and local regulation of Amateur Radio station antenna structures to private land-use regulations.
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From my Twitter feed: attic fan dipole, ADIF 3.0.4, ARRL Centennial

 

MW0IAN's avatarIan @MW0IAN
Attic Dipoles g0kya.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/multi-… similar to what I use here with surprising results #hamr

This is an interesting twist on the fan dipole.

 

colinbutler's avatarColin Butler @colinbutler
Amateur Data Interchange Format (ADIF) Standard 3.0.4 released – ow.ly/of2gL #ham #hamr #amateurr

One Tweeter commented that they should have just used JSON. That might be a good idea for the future.

 

RigolHam's avatar

Steve Barfield @RigolHam\
* Share Your Knowledge at the ARRL Centennial Convention! | @arrl amateur radio goo.gl/FXfDxb
I was actually thinking of attending the Centennial celebration. Maybe I’ll propose a talk on the one-day Tech class.