We mentioned last month that Amateur Radio was a segment on the Owatonna Today show taped 02-Apr. What did not make it into the April edition was the article that appeared in the 31-Mar supplement to the People's Press. Portraits In Steele County included an interview with our own Dale WBØPKG. Dale will gladly autograph any copies for those at the next OSCAR meeting.
Thursday Night Net
At the April OSCAR meeting, it was suggested to begin a weekly net on the Owatonna repeater. Local radio personality Matt KAØPQW agreed to start as net control. The net will be on the Owatonna repeater (145.490 MHz) on Thursday nights beginning at 8:00 PM local. Weekly nets are one way to practice communications in a controlled net. Be sure to check in, beginning 03-May.
The west wall of the Fire Station grew a couple of new masts. Dale WBØPKG and Tom NØUW are donating antennas to put on top. Paul WØFEI donated a Kenwood 2-meter rig. The goal is to add packet capability and a second radio for general operations. We will also be installing the console pieces KCØUVY acquired.
Classes continue on Tuesday nights with six individuals participating. The instructors (WBØPKG, KCØREO, and NØUW) are amazed at the shift in test content. Many items that were difficult to teach in the old question pool are gone. We would encourage anyone that had difficulty with the previous question pool to take a look at the current question pool and try the exam process again.
An exam session is planned for Tuesday, 22-May. Exams will be available for all three license classes (Technician, General, and Extra). The VE session begins at 7PM. The exam fee is $14 and two forms of identification are required, along with a Social Security number.
SKYWARN and the Technician Class will collide in and May. The class will be using the meeting room normally used by SKYWARN. SKYWARN will meet in another area of the fire station.
Save the weekend of 23-Jun for Field Day.
Cell Phones and Airplanes
The FCC affirmed the restriction of cell phones during flight. Although the decision was based on technical reasons, many comments to the FCC highlighted annoyance to others travelers as a reason to continue the ban. While the FAA ban is concerned with navigational and communications system interference, the FCC's concern is interference with other cell phone signals on the ground. The FCC noted that "insufficient technical information" was available on whether airborne cell phone calls would jam networks below.
Most of us know that the radio frequency spectrum is shared between multiple services. The amateur 70-cm band is secondary to to miltary use and amateur use cannot interfere with the military use. Unfortunately for some repeaters in Massachusetts and California are interfering with the PAVE PAWS radar system. The Department of Defense has made a formal complaint with the FCC about the interference from a couple of specific 440 MHz repeaters. The repeaters could be forced off the air unless the interference can be eliminated. The ARRL is working with the D-o-D to try to eliminate the interference so that the affected machines can remain in operation.
SYWARN and Amateur Radio
From AR Newsline
The April 13th issue of NOAA Magazine contains a lengthy story about the Skywarn program. The story notes that for more than 35
years, the Skywarn program has been helping the National Weather Service gather critical information from the field during all phases of severe weather events. Nearly 280,000
trained volunteer storm spotters (many of whom are radio amateurs) help keep their local communities safe.
Red Cross Background Checks
The ARRL and ARC have a Memorandum of Understanding on a national level to support each other. Despite the MOU, the American Red Cross (ARC) and ARRL remain at an impasse over background checks. While not objecting to background checks, the ARRL objected to the default inclusion of an examination of that persons finances. The Red Cross holds firm to its position on the right to have its (third-party) contractor conduct a background check that could include personal finance check if it deems it to be necessary and refusing to modify any aspect of it stance.
Morse Code Petitions
From ARRL Letter
Two Petitions for Reconsideration have been filed. One petition calls on the FCC to reinstate the 5 WPM Morse code requirement for Amateur Extra class applicants. Seeking to reopen the proceeding for additional comments, the second suggests there were problems with the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System.
Captive UK Seaman Use Morse Code
From AR Newsline
The British seamen held hostage in Iran used Morse code to stay in touch with one another while imprisoned. The 15 sailors were seized by Iran 23-Mar and held for 13 days. They developed a system of 'knocking in and knocking out' during their first week of solitary confinement. By tapping out code, they were able check up on each other, say goodnight, and
track when they left their cells and returned OK. One sailor commented "Just knocking with knuckles. Little things like that got us through."
Analog Wireless Services
From USA Today
In 2002, the FCC authorized cellphone carriers to turn off their analog networks by 2008. The shutdown of analog wireless networks will mean lost service or disruptions for GM OnStar users, alarm customers, and diehards who refuse to trade in their analog phones. The carriers of analog systems are at odds with OnStar and wireless alarm companies that petitionedthe FCC to delay the shutdown two years. About 500,000 (pre-2003) OnStar customers have analog systems that can't be converted due to their cars' electrical designs. A million homes and businesses have analog wireless alarm systems.
Vanity Call Sign Fee
From ARRL Letter
The FCC has proposed reducing the regulatory fee to obtain or retain an Amateur Radio vanity call sign by more than 40 percent starting later this year. In a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), the Commission is proposing to cut the fee from its current $20.80 to $11.70. If ultimately adopted, that would mark the lowest fee in the history of the current vanity call sign program.
DTV Tuner Waivers
From CGC Communicator
All newly manufactured televisions are supposed to have DTV tuners. Waiver requests were filed with the FCC to eliminate the requirement for "televisions designed for hotels to use with their
closed circuit video systems". Another request involves "bathroom mirrors with an optional television receiver integrated behind the mirror." The FCC is treating these as "permit-but-disclose" cases, suggesting a decision will not be made anytime soon.
Internet in Space
From CGC Communicator
The U.S. Department of Defense is proceeding with initial testing of what is expected to
lead to Internet Routing in Space (IRIS). A space-hardened Cisco router will be launched into geostationary orbit in early 2009. It will support the voice, data and video needs of the armed
forces, first responders, and others who need seamless and instant communications.
Band Plan Layout
Looking for a band plan with a different layout? W1CGS posted HF and VHF band plans that can be downloaded in color or B&W .pdf files. Each HF band is on a separate page running vertically. The band is broken down with the Standard License and operating privleges, the phone and CW portions with the gentleman's agreement areas that should be observed Space is available along the right side to write in your own personal frequencies of interest.
ARRL Bandwidth Plan Withdrawn
From ARRL Letter
The ARRL withdrew its Petition for Rule Making (RM-11306) asking the FCC to set band plans by
necessary bandwidth rather than by emission mode. The ARRL indicated that misconceptions about the petition as the primary reason for removing it from FCC consideration. The ARRL indicated it might refile a similar petition in the future.