K8ZT: “Technician HF Privileges” RATPAC Presentation, January 6, 2021

RATPAC logoPlease plan to attend Wednesday’s January 6 Zoom presentation. 

10:00 PM AST / 9:00 PM EST / 8:00 PM CST / 7:00 PM MST / 6:00 PM PST / 5:00 PM AKST / 4:00 PM HST

 Topic: Technician HF Privileges

 Speaker/Presenter: Anthony Luscre, K8ZT  Click on Anthony’s name/call sign to see his QRZ.com page.  

This meeting will be OPEN for all to attend. Please feel free to invite others.

  • This meeting will be recorded. By participating you consent to being recorded. 
  • Please change your display name to Your First Name, Call Sign and Location, e.g. Dan K7REX Idaho. 
  • Please stay muted until ready to speak. Your space bar works like a PTT for unmuting
  • You may ask questions in chat; please stay on topic while using chat.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 212 888 4758
Passcode: HFTECH
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Vermont HAM-CON Goes Online for 2021

Ham-Con logoBilled as “The Best Little Hamfest in the World,” the 2021 Vermont Ham Radio Convention (HAM-CON) will be held online on Saturday, February 27, 2021. 

It features areas for the flea market, vendors, and “Meet Your Pals.”  Also featured will be forums, meetings and demonstrations.  There is no admission fee.

According to the Convention’s website, there will be two accessible portals:

  • FLEA MARKET and MEET & GREET PORTAL has several rooms with vendors showing off their wares via camera. Pick a room, look at the stuff, ask questions and make deals. If you reach a deal, negotiate payment and shipping with the vendor. And run into pals while you shop, move to a rag chew room and tell stories!
  • FORUMS and DEMONSTRATIONS PORTAL has several rooms with a variety of forums on different topics. Some of the forums are pre-recorded, and some are live. In many cases, we will have the speakers available after the forum to answer your questions

For more information, visit http://www.arrl.org/hamfests/online-ham-con-arrl-vermont-state-convention or the HAM-CON site at http://www.ham-con.org 

ARRL New England Division Cabinet Meeting, January 9, 2021

ARRL logoIn advance of the ARRL Board of Directors meeting on January 15-16, 2021, Director Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, will convene a division cabinet meeting online via Zoom. Fred will solicit comments and discuss upcoming ARRL board issues.

“If there is something you’d like the Cabinet to explore, please send it along, as Phil Temples, K9HI, and I will be creating an agenda for the Cabinet meeting.”

Some of the items to be covered will include:

  • Motions to be presented at the board meeting
  • FCC action on the proposal to charge for amateur licenses
  • FCC action to require email addresses on all applications
  • Homeowner Association legislation in New Hampshire and Maine
  • An amateur radio exhibit at the 2022 “Big E” show in Springfield, MA

The meeting will occur in two parts: a morning session and an afternoon session on Saturday, January 9, 2021 from 10:30 AM -12 Noon, and 1:30 – 3:00 PM.

Fred requests, if possible, that clubs send no more than one representative to the meeting. He hopes to have all of the New England Section Managers, and as many club presidents or representatives as possible attend.

If your club representative has not received an invite, please contact Phil Temples, k9hi@arrl.org

FCC Reduces Proposed Amateur Radio Application Fee to $35

FCC sealFrom ARRL Web:

12/30/2020 – The FCC has agreed with ARRL and other commenters that its proposed $50 fee for certain amateur radio applications was “too high to account for the minimal staff involvement in these applications.” In a Report and Order (R&O), released on December 29, the FCC scaled back to $35 the fee for a new license application, a special temporary authority (STA) request, a rule waiver request, a license renewal application, and a vanity call sign application. All fees are per application. There will be no fee for administrative updates, such as a change of mailing or email address.

This fall, ARRL filed comments in firm opposition to the FCC proposal to impose a $50 fee on amateur radio license and application fees and urged its members to follow suit.

As the FCC noted in its R&O, although some commenters supported the proposed $50 fee as reasonable and fair, “ARRL and many individual commenters argued that there was no cost-based justification for application fees in the Amateur Radio Service.” The fee proposal was contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in MD Docket 20-270, which was adopted to implement portions of the “Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act” of 2018 — the so-called “Ray Baum’s Act.”

“After reviewing the record, including the extensive comments filed by amateur radio licensees and based on our revised analysis of the cost of processing mostly automated processes discussed in our methodology section, we adopt a $35 application fee, a lower application fee than the Commission proposed in the NPRM for personal licenses, in recognition of the fact that the application process is mostly automated,” the FCC said in the R&O. “We adopt the proposal from the NPRM to assess no additional application fee for minor modifications or administrative updates, which also are highly automated.”

The FCC said it received more than 197,000 personal license applications in 2019, which includes not only ham radio license applications but commercial radio operator licenses and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) licenses.

The FCC turned away the arguments of some commenters that the FCC should exempt amateur radio licensees. The FCC stated that it has no authority to create an exemption “where none presently exists.”

The FCC also disagreed with those who argued that amateur radio licensees should be exempt from fees because of their public service contribution during emergencies and disasters.

“[W]e we are very much aware of these laudable and important services amateur radio licensees provide to the American public,” the FCC said, but noted that specific exemptions provided under Section 8 of the so-called “Ray Baum’s Act” requiring the FCC to assess the fees do not apply to amateur radio personal licenses. “Emergency communications, for example, are voluntary and are not required by our rules,” the FCC noted. “As we have noted previously, ‘[w]hile the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communications service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications, is one of the underlying principles of the amateur service, the amateur service is not an emergency radio service.’”

The Act requires that the FCC switch from a Congressionally-mandated fee structure to a cost-based system of assessment. The FCC proposed application fees for a broad range of services that use the FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS), including the Amateur Radio Service, which had been excluded previously. The 2018 statute excludes the Amateur Service from annual regulatory fees, but not from application fees.

“While the Ray Baum’s Act amended Section 9 and retained the regulatory fee exemption for amateur radio station licensees, Congress did not include a comparable exemption among the amendments it made to Section 8 of the Act,” the FCC R&O explained.

The effective date of the fee schedule has not been established, but it will be announced at least 30 days in advance. The FCC has directed the Office of Managing Director, in consultation with relevant offices and bureaus, to draft a notice for publication in the Federal Register announcing when rule change(s) will become effective, “once the relevant databases, guides, and internal procedures have been updated.” 

ARRL Staffers to be On the Air from W1AW for Straight Key Night, January 1, 2021

J-38 straight keyMembers of the ARRL Headquarters staff will put W1AW on the air for Straight Key Night (SKN). Set some time aside on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to take part in this annual ARRL tradition.

Information on Straight Key Night can be found at http://www.arrl.org/straight-key-night .

SKN begins at 0000 UTC on January 1, 2021 (New Year’s Eve in US time zones) and wraps up at 2359 UTC. Not a contest, SKN is dedicated to celebrating amateur radio’s Morse code heritage. Bring out the brass, get on the air, and enjoy casual CW contacts, preferably using a straight key (hand key) or a semi-automatic key (bug). Activity traditionally centers on CW segments in the HF bands (W1AW will focus on 80, 40, and 20 meters).

Submit via email your SKN list of stations contacted and your votes for “Best Fist” and “Most Interesting QSO” by January 31 to,
straightkey@arrl.org .

Greater Bridgeport (CT) ARC Fox Hunters of the Year

Jack and Michael Singwald N1PLH
Jack (left) and Michael Singwald, N1PLH

From https://groups.io/g/GBARC/wiki:

This year [the Greater Bridgeport Amateur Radio Club] found, in the middle of a pandemic, we could still be an active club and explore one of the many aspects of radiosport–foxhunting.  Starting with our first foxhunt in April to the Reindeer Run in December, the season was dominated by one team, that team being Jack and Michael Singwald, N1PLH.  

Over the eight foxhunts this year, they dominated the field with an impressive five wins, and never failed to find the fox.  For their efforts they were awarded the Foxhunter of the Year Trophy and bragging rights for the coming year.  

Our next Fox Hunt will be on Saturday January 5th hosted by N1DID.  This foxhunt will be particularly challenging and cover an extremely wide coverage area.  So be sure to plan your time to be there.  Tune in, have some fun, and drive around looking for that elusive fox.

NH7C: “ARRL Public Relations” RATPAC Presentation, December 30, 2020

RATPAC logoPlease plan to attend Wednesday’s December 30 Zoom presentation.  

10:00 PM AST / 9:00 PM EST / 8:00 PM CST / 7:00 PM MST / 6:00 PM PST / 5:00 PM AKST / 4:00 PM HST

Topic: ARRL Public Relations

 Speaker/Presenter: Sid Caesar, NH7C, Chairman ARRL Public Relations Committee

This meeting will be OPEN for all to attend. Please feel free to invite others.

Please note: RATPAC will not be doing Zoom presentations on the following dates: 

December 31 – New Years Eve  /  January 01- New Years Day 2021

  • This meeting will be recorded. By participating you consent to being recorded. 
  • Please change your display name to Your First Name, Call Sign and Location, e.g. Dan K7REX Idaho. 
  • Please stay muted until ready to speak. Your space bar works like a PTT for unmuting
  • You may ask questions in chat; please stay on topic while using chat.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 212 888 4758
Passcode: Public