Comment Period to be Re-Opened on Forest Service Fees

David Siddall, K3ZJ, writes:

The Forest Service sent a Notice to the Federal Register yesterday announcing that they will re-open the window for comments on the proposed new $1400 annual administrative fee.  This means that amateurs that may have missed the earlier comment period, or who wish to file additional arguments and information,  can submit new filings between March 1 and March 31.   A copy of the Notice to be published on March 1 is here:  (This is completely public information.)

I notice that in several of the amateur comments sent me that there appears some confusion.  The proposed fee is a new and separate fee, not an increase to fees (such as rent) already being paid.  If adopted, the existing fee(s) – which generally have been around $130-140 annually for amateur uses – would have to be paid in addition to the new proposed annual administrative fee of $1400.  IMHO, the fee would be so high because the proposal is to include amateur uses equally with those of commercial wireless entities such as broadcasters, cellular providers and broadband entities that require a much more significant presence and greater Forest Service support than amateurs.  

[ARRL’s filed comments can be viewed at <>.]

[Note: Beginning March 1, 2022, comments can be filed at <>.]

See also: ARRL to Oppose Forest Service Administative Fees for Amateur Facilities

Greater Bridgeport ARC’s New “CARES” Program to Provide Continuous Training to its Members

Greater Bridgeport ARC loogoThe Greater Bridgeport (CT) Amateur Radio Club has established a new program to provide continuous training to its members–both in the classroom and with on-air activities. 

“The program is called “CARES – Continuing Amateur Radio Education & Skills,” says GBARC Public Information Officer and Past President Emily Starbrook, N1DID. “It’s our commitment to our members to help them achieve their goals. CARES believes that no ham should be left behind. Once someone has made the commitment to become a ham, we will make sure they have the skills and technical access to make the most of ham radio.”

CARES will consist of two “tracks.” Track A will target new hams, while Track B will be for ham who are on the air:


Typical Track – Classroom Topics

Track A – Basic Skills

● Buying a handheld radio
● Programming your radio
● Power Supplies
● VHF/UHF Antennas
● How to make a tape measure
Yagi Antenna
● Introduction to Foxhunts
● DMR/D-Star/Fusion
● Q-Codes
● Moving on to your General
Class License

Track B – Skill Building

● HF Privileges for Technicians
● Intro to Soldering
● Make a Cable with PL-259s
● Baluns and Chokes
● How to make a J-Pole Antenna
● Building an arduino based
foxhunt transmitter
● CW keyers and decoders
● Operating digital modes
● Building a multi-band antenna
● APRS and Packet


Typical On-Air Track Activities

Track A – Basic Skills 

● Your first simplex contact
● Your first repeater contact
● New Ham Nets
● New Ham Ragchews
● Rookie Roundup Contests

Track B – Skill Building

● Simplex Nets
● Simulated Emergency Tests
● On-Air Group activities
● New England QSO Party
● Winter Field Day/Field Day
● Antenna Ranging

“The CARES program is for continuing education which doesn’t leave out the possibility of VE sessions,” says Starbrook. “But so much of what VEs do has moved online, so it is unlikely to become an in-person testing service anytime soon. Much self-paced training is available online that is highly effective for people who are motivated.” N1DID feels that GBARC will be much more effective in “offering help to people to navigate questions they have after they take advantage of those online resources.”

Amateur Radio in Ukraine Ordered Off the Air in State of Emergency

Ukrainian flagFrom ARRL Web:
02/24/2022 – A state of emergency was declared in Ukraine just prior to the Russian military invasion. Among other things, the February 24 decree from President Volodymyr Zelensky will remain in effect at least for 30 days and may be extended. As published on the website of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s unicameral legislative body, the state of emergency includes regulation of TV and radio activities and “a ban on the operation amateur radio transmitters for personal and collective use.”The decree also imposes a ban on mass events and on strikes and authorizes checking the documents of citizens, and if necessary, conducting searches on persons, vehicles, cargo, office space, and housing. A curfew could be imposed. “The situation changes rapidly,” IARU Region 1 Secretary Mats Espling, SM6EAN, said. “IARU Region 1 continues to monitor the development and expect all radio amateurs to follow their national laws and regulations.” 


FCC: Amateur Service Licensees May Not Use Radio Equipment to Commit Criminal Acts

FCC sealFrom ARRL Web:
02/24/2022 – The FCC Enforcement Bureau has re-issued an earlier reminder that licensees in the Amateur Radio Service, as well as licensees and operators in the Personal Radio Services are prohibited from using radios in those services to commit or facilitate criminal acts. The FCC did not indicate what, if anything, prompted the renewed Enforcement Advisory or if it was just a routine announcement.“The Bureau recognizes that these services can be used for a wide range of permitted and socially beneficial purposes, including emergency communications and speech that is protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution,” the FCC said. “Amateur and Personal Radio Services, however, may not be used to commit or facilitate crimes.”

As it did in advisories in 2021, the Enforcement Bureau is reminding amateur licensees that they may not transmit, “communications intended to facilitate a criminal act” or “messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning.”

“Likewise, individuals operating radios in the Personal Radio Services, a category that includes Citizens Band radios, Family Radio Service walkie-talkies, and General Mobile Radio Service, are prohibited from using those radios “in connection with any activity which is against Federal, State or local law.

“Individuals using radios in the Amateur or Personal Radio Services in this manner may be subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and, in some cases, criminal prosecution.

“To report a crime, contact your local law enforcement office or the FBI,” the FCC advised.



Blackstone Valley (RI) CW Classes

Blackstone Valley ARCBob Beaudet, W1YRC, writes in the March 2022 issue of  Blackstone Valley ARC’s The Messenger:

The FCC, sometimes called the friendly candy company, dropped all Morse code proficiency testing from any of the Amateur radio exams administered after Feb. 23, 2007. Understandably, some rejoiced but some were disappointed because they wanted to learn code and use it on the air. At the time, some interpreted FCC’s action as ending all use of CW. Of course, that was never FCC’s intent.

Shortly after that date, there rose a small demand by some to learn CW after being licensed with a General or Extra class license. Responsible clubs that always try to provide service to their members and the community in which it resides, developed classes and taught Morse code to Extras and Generals who wanted to know and use the code. The classes also facilitated obtaining code practice material and keys.  Statistics taken from submitted logs indicated strangely that the use of CW increased by about 15% nationwide in the years following FCC’s dropping the code exam requirement. We’re not sure why.

BVARC organized its third CW class in January, 2022 and unlike past classes, BVARC’s instructor, Bob, W1YRC, selected those who were “high pots” or high potentials to fill the class. On Feb. 16th, the fourth weekly class session was held in Bob’s kitchen. The actual learning of the Morse alphabet and numerals, together with a few pro signs and punctuation was learned at home by each student after the initial session which set down the format and expectations. Bob explained that there is no possible way that he can learn the code for the students. It’s like learning basic verbs in French or Latin. There’s no possible way that the teacher can learn it for the students.

However, once the 26 letters, 10 numbers and about 10 pro signs and Q signals are learned. Bob worked on the students’ smoothness in sending code. To add interest to the classes, the second half of each session is used to “show and tell” related topics; code keys, oscillators, QRP radios, dummy loads, etc. In order to maintain the students’ energy and interest, fresh baked apple, blueberry and pumpkin pies are usually offered along with a variety of other good things. I apologize for the few added pounds that seem to make their way into the CW bag. All our students are very happy that they have added a valuable tool to their tool box, a tool that will help them add plenty of DX to their log.

Students in the latest class are: Joe Campbell, KC1OPD; Marc Caouette, W1MCX; Mickey Callahan, K1WMC; Mike Kenney, K1ETA; Byron Kinniburgh, K1CYQ; Patty Vilnit, W1AUT and Ray Vilnit, KC1HQB. All are now able to copy and send at least 10+ wpm. They need more practice to smooth out their rhythm and feel more comfortable at the key. At least half participated in the recent ARRL CW DX Contest.  If there is interest, another class will be formed and run through the program. Remember, accuracy transcends speed.

Spectrum Protection and Utilization Has a New Web Page

Chart of the electromagnetic spectrumWe’ve created a place to let the New England Division keep up to date on the work to preserve our frequencies and maximize their use.  Our groups are working on ways to better find and eliminate noise and to coordinate the work of various mesh network groups throughout New England.  We are also going to post any developments in pending FCC actions and any other current events that can affect our frequencies.

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AB1OC Helps Prepare Students for ARISS Contact at Sussex County Charter School for Technology, Sparta, NJ, February 23, 2022

ARISS logoNew England Division Director Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, writes:

“It’s been my pleasure to work with the Sussex County Charter School for Technology (SCCST), as their ARISS Mentor, to prepare for their contact. The school has partnered with the Sussex County Amateur Radio Club to build a ground station which they will use to make their contact. Club members have also worked closely with the school to provide many Amateur Radio activities for SCCST students. The school has formed an Amateur Radio club at the school and conducted Amateur Radio activities as part of an outstanding STEM learning program. Working with a school such as SCCST is a great way for a local amateur radio club to build a strong, ongoing relationship with a group of young people interested in Amateur Radio.”

The downlink from the astronaut may be heard in New England on 145.800 MHz. The livestream will start at 9:50 AM and the ISS pass will start at 10:31 AM.

ARISS News Release No. 22-11
Dave Jordan, AA4KN


ARISS Contact is Scheduled for Students at Sussex County Charter School for Technology, Sparta, NJ, USA

February 21, 2022—Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) has received schedule confirmation for an ARISS radio contact with astronauts. ARISS is the group that puts together special amateur radio contacts between students around the globe and crew members with ham radio licenses on the International Space Station (ISS).

This will be a direct contact via amateur radio between students at the Sussex County Charter School for Technology, Sparta, New Jersey and Astronaut Mark Vande Hei, amateur radio call sign KG5GNP. Students will take turns asking their questions. Local Covid-19 protocols are adhered to as applicable for each ARISS contact. The downlink frequency for this contact is 145.800 MHz and may be heard by listeners that are within the ISS-footprint that also encompasses the radio relay ground station.

Amateur radio operators, using the call sign KD2YAQ, will operate the ham radio ground station for this contact.

The ARISS radio contact is scheduled for February 23, 2022 at 10:31 am EST (New Jersey), (15:31 UTC, 9:31 am CST, 8:31 am MST and 7:31 am PST).

Sussex Charter School for Technology (SCCST) is a STEM-focused, rural middle school in Sparta, NJ, serving 225 students. In preparation for this ARISS contact, through hands-on activities and class instruction, students worked with the local HAM radio club, high school, and university Physics departments to learn more about radio communications and solar influence on such communications. Members of the Sussex County Amateur Radio Club are supplying the direct contact equipment and will be conducting the ISS radio contact. New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has partnered with the school to introduce modules on space weather, solar cycles and ionospheric phenomena into their curriculum. Faculty members of NJIT’s amateur radio club, K2MFF, are founding members of HamSCI, and will lead the NJIT-SCCST collaboration and assist in the ARISS event and follow-up activities. Sussex County Technical School is their neighboring vocational/technical high school, and will provide filming and streaming capabilities.

The public is invited to watch the live stream at:

As time allows, students will ask these questions:

  1. Do you have any telescopes on the ISS and, if so, how far can they see?
  2. In the event of space debris, asteroids, or solar flares collisions, what are the safety protocols or systems to ensure the astronaut’s/cosmonaut’s safety in situations like that?
  3. How do you exercise on the space station if there’s no gravity?
  4. What science experiments are you working on that will have an impact on the future?
  5. How do you feel about private space companies trying to make space travel open to civilians?
  6. What is the best space food you’ve eaten, and do you notice any improvement in the quality of the food since the Deep Space food challenge started?
  7. How often do you need to communicate with the Earth (Mission control)?
  8. What would you do if the communication with Mission Control broke down and you couldn’t communicate with Earth?
  9. Being that you see 16 sunrises and sunsets in each day, how do you regulate your sleep schedule?
  10. What steps are taken on the ISS to shield you from the pathway of the Sun’s radiation?
  11. How do astronauts control the robotic arm on the outside of the space station? Do you use a computer program or use a joystick like on a game controller?
  12. Who put the first pieces of the International Space Station together and will any of it be reused after the mission ends?
  13. How do astronauts maintain good hygiene on the ISS if there are no showers?
  14. What happens if an astronaut gets a serious virus or other illness while they are on the ISS?
  15. What is your least favorite chore or dangerous task that you do in space?
  16. What are the legal parameters followed in regards to the fly zones? If something should go wrong, while over a country other than the U.S., what fly zone rules are followed for legal purposes?
  17. How did your parents react when you arrived at the space station or when you left them?
  18. Considering the limited amount of your own items you can bring along with you from Earth, can you share with us one of the items you brought?
  19. What are the negative physical impacts on your body of being in space and does it go back to normal when you’re back on Earth?
  20. Would you let your own young kids, nieces, or nephews go to space if young people were given an opportunity to do so?
  21. If you could change one thing about space travel what would that be?

About ARISS:

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the International Space Station (ISS). In the United States, sponsors are the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the ISS National Lab-Space Station Explorers, Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) and NASA’s Space communications and Navigation program. The primary goal of ARISS is to promote exploration of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics topics. ARISS does this by organizing scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crew members aboard the ISS and students. Before and during these radio contacts, students, educators, parents, and communities take part in hands-on learning activities tied to space, space technologies, and amateur radio. For more information, see

January Town Hall Question: How Does My Shack Live On?

Some hams want to know that their equipment will “live on” and be used, especially if it can be made a part of a museum exhibit or club station.  Finding the right place and then including that provision in a will isn’t always easy.  There may not be a museum near-by and the local club may not have a station of any equipment of its own.  We’ve gathered up some information and provided them as either links or text that may point in the right direction.

I’ve been involved in helping to dispose of several estates over the (too many) years and never found a better solution than having a committee of club members help out.  This goes for disposing of the estate as well as finding a good home to donate the equipment to.  That can be a museum, with tax advantages for the estate but it could be a ham who could not otherwise afford that equipment or one that is handicapped.  Using a local club committee usually avoids commissions though the club sometimes shares in the proceeds with the family’s appreciation for their efforts.

If you have additional web sites or information you think we should include let me know and we’ll take a look.

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