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Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 13-Apr-2017

OSCAR News - March, 27
For those that have not been to an OSCAR meeting, dues for 2007 arepayable to any club officer.

Steele County Emergency Management requested ARES assistance on 01-Mar. The county was making preparations for the possible closing of I-35 at Owatonna. The plan for vehicles to be diverted to the Armory on Bridge Street, where the Red Cross had already set up operations. Communications between the Armory and the EOC was identified as a need that could be filled by Amateur Radio. NFDY Scott, NSL Deuel, WBPKG Dale, KCREO Chris, KCUOW Jeff, NUW Tom, and KCWQB Tim agreed to support the operation, if needed. The Interstate remained open and the ARES alert was cancelled around 8:15 PM. Thanks to all that volunteered.

Technician Classes From Multiple Sources
The Rochester ARC is holding a Technician class spanning two Saturdays, 03-Mar and 10-Mar. These are all day affairs.

It is still the intention of OSCAR to have a Technician Class. The intent is to follow previous formats of weekly class sessions spanning April and May. We are behind in finalizing details. We will send a QST when details are finalized. Send an e-mail to OSCAR directly if you have an interest, and we'll be sure you are notified of the details.

Dave KCUVY and Tom NUW attended a briefing in Mankato with the NWS and other southern MN SKYWARN groups. There were about 20 people from the NWS, Albert Lea, Mankato, St. Peter, and Waseca. The discussion covered communication methods, frequencies, and protocols.

The group agreed to use tactical calls when communicating with each other. The tactical call is standardized as "{CITY} SKYWARN", so Steele County SKYWARN will be identified as "Owatonna SKYWARN". This convention eliminates confusion when cities and counties have the same name, like Faribault being a city not located in Faribault County. It also eliminates the need to remember EOC call signs. The local SKYWARN station is responsible for proper FCC identification.

Steele County primary operation is on the Owatonna repeater (145.490), using 145.490 simplex as secondary if there is a repeater failure. Steele County will communicate with the NWS through the Mankato (147.240 PL136.5) repeater. We validated that the Owatonna EOC can hit the Mankato machine directly. If there is an issue, we would ask Waseca (146.715) to relay.

SKYWARN Workshop
The 2nd annual Minnesota SKYWARN Workshop is scheduled for 14-Apr. This full-day severe weather conference is designed to train you in spotting techniques, provide information on weather technology, and network with other SKYWARN communities. The Workshop is free, but registration is required. Dave KCUVY attended the workshop last year and indicated it was a worthwhile trip to Buffalo.

General Class Upgrades From Multiple Sources
The elimination of the Morse Code requirement has brought a lot of interest in upgrades. Those interested in upgrading to General Class, should remember a new Element 3 question pool becomes effective on 01-Jul.

Mobile Communication Laws From AR Newsline
Several states are proposing various lawes that may affect mobile communications.

Oregon has two proposals aimed at mobile cellphone and text messaging that could also restrict their ability to communicate while in motion. A thirs proposal includes increased fines if the violation results in an accident, injury or death. None of the three proposed ordinances contain any exemption for Amateur Radio operations during emergency situations.

New York state pedestrians, including radio amateurs, would be banned from crossing the street while chatting on a cell phone, using a two-way device or just listening to an iPod.

Washington state could ban anyone in a moving vehicle from reading, manually writing, or in any way sending a message using any form of electronic device. This includes "readerboards", which might include the display on a radio receiver, vehicle satellite guidance system, and A-P-R-S systems.

The intent of a New Mexico proposal is to prohibit the use of mobile telephones, but is all encompassing and targets all two-way radio equipment. The only exemption is for public safety and commercial vehicle operators.

Wyoming proposals give C-B (11-meter) operators contain specific exemptions for 11 meter Class D operators along with first responders and most commercial users, but no exemption for Amateur Radio operations.

Georgia could assess anyone found to be operating a motor vehicle while using a wireless communication device one driver's license infraction point. This includes personal digital assistants, citizens band transceivers or commercial two-way radios.

New Jersey might broaden the scope of an existing law to cover distracted driving by prohibiting a motor vehicle operator from engaging in any activity unrelated to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle.

You must use a hands free cellphone or permanently mounted two-way radio while driving on military bases. A new rule mandates that all federal installations prohibit the use of cellular phones, P-D-As', and similar communication devices by persons operating motor vehicles, unless used with a hands-free device. Radio communication devices, hand sets or microphones may only be used by operators if the radio device is permanently mounted to the vehicle (no double-sided tape or Velcro fasteners).

Garage Door Opener RFI From CNN
The military has apparently stepped up the use of reserve frequencies in the 138MHz to 450MHz spectrum. Many unlicensed remote controlled devices operate in the band. Being unlicensed, they must accept interference from licensed users. Garage door openers failed to operate in the vincinity of a Marine base in Virginia in December. Last fall, residents around an Air Force facility in Colorado Springs saw their garage-door remotes stop working. Two years ago, testing of a similar system in Fort Detrick in Maryland resulted in similar problems.

Digital TV Transition From PC World
The Digital Television Transition Coalition pledged to leave no television viewers behind. Analog TV sets will no longer receive over-the-air signals after the Feb. 17, 2009. An estimated 20 million U.S. homes, containing 90 million TV sets, that don't have cable or satellite service will need to buy converter boxes or new TV sets to continue to receive over-the-air digital broadcasts. Congress has approved $1.5 billion for vouchers for residents to buy converter boxes. The coalition will use a variety of means to educate TV viewers about the transition from analog broadcasts. In a recent survey, the National Association of Broadcasters found 56 percent of respondents have "seen, read, or heard nothing" about the transition to digital television.

Wait a minute ---- 20 million homes and 90 million TVs???? Could it really mean 4.5 TVs per home?????

On The BPL Front From Multiple Sources
The ARRL challenged FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin telling theUS Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that BPL technology is the answer to broadband deployment in rural areas. Martin described BPL as a "potentially significant player due to power lines' ubiquitous reach,allowing it to more easily provide broadband to rural areas."

Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the ARRL is trying to obtain several documents froms the FCC related to its dismissal of several BPL interference complaints from radio amateurs in Manassas, Virginia. The FCC told five Manassas radio amateurs December 14 that it was throwing out their complaints, indicatinging the Manassas BPL system was in compliance last October.