W1DAN Featured on Pittsfield Community TV, WTBR-FM, May 19, 2021

Dan Brown, W1DAN, will be the featured guest on Ham On!, simulcast on Pittsfield (MA) Community Television and WTBR-FM 89.7 on May 19, 2021. Dan will speak about the new RF Exposure rules that went into effect on May 3, 2021. 

The early morning program is produced and moderated by Western MA Assistant Section Traffic Manager Peter Mattice, KD2JKV.  

RF Exposure Rules Presentation Video Recording

screenshot from RF Exposure presentationMany amateurs have requested a recording of the RF Exposure Rules presentation featuring Eastern MA Technical Coordinator Dan Brown, W1DAN on May 4, 2021.  ARRL Laboratory Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI also participated in the call, fielding questions from the audience.

The presentation can be viewed at: <https://youtu.be/7dSieKF3rm0>. 

[See also: Additional RF Exposure Rules Presentation, May 4, 2021]

Additional RF Exposure Rules Presentation, May 4, 2021

Dan Brown, W1DANEastern MA Technical Coordinator Dan Brown, W1DAN, will hold another presentation addressing the new FCC RF exposure rules on May 4 at 7:30 PM using the ARRL GoToWebinar platform. 

His April 27 talk was a hugely successful–a maximum number of 100 connections for the call was reached just as the discussion started. The GoToWebinar has a much higher limit and should accommodate all who are interested.  ARRL Laboratory Manger Ed Hare, W1RFI, will serve as Technical Moderator on the call.

To sign up for the presentation, visit:

Tech Support: (833) 851-8340
 

RF Exposure Rules Discussion Video Posted to Internet

Dan Brown, W1DAN screenshotFrom ema.arrl.org:

 The April 27, 2021 RF Exposure Rules Zoom Discussion by Eastern MA Technical Coordinator Dan Brown, W1DAN, has been posted to the Eastern MA ARRL website at: <https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1_qIGZhHyMrha-axJt87Dcu0UZuJO0t8F>. 

The discussion was a huge hit. The maximum number of 100 connections for the call was hit just as the discussion started; many late arrivals were disappointed to be turned away, but W1DAN plans to hold at least one additional online discussion before the May 3 deadline using a larger “Zoom room.” 

Watch this space for details. 

FCC Issues Enforcement Advisory: Radio Users Again Reminded Not to Use Radios in Crimes

FCC sealARLB013:

On April 20, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a new Enforcement Advisory, repeating the admonishments contained in a January Advisory that no licensee or user of the Amateur or Personal Radio Services may use any radio equipment in connection with unlawful activities of any nature.

The Enforcement Advisory can be found online in PDF format at https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-453A1.pdf.

The Commission specifically cautioned that individuals found to have used radios in connection with any illegal activity are “subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and in some cases, criminal prosecution.”

In addition, licensees should be aware that illegal operation in any service or band, including completely outside the amateur allocations, could potentially disqualify a person from holding any FCC license in any service, not just the Amateur Service.

Any amateur observing a suspicious infraction that might be of illegal or criminal nature should report it to their local law enforcement office or the FBI.

ARLB011: Updated Radio Frequency Exposure Rules Become Effective on May 3

FCC sealThe FCC has announced that rule changes detailed in a lengthy 2019 Report and Order governing RF exposure standards go into effect on May 3, 2021. The new rules do not change existing RF exposure (RFE) limits but do require that stations in all services, including amateur radio, be evaluated against existing limits, unless they are exempted. For stations already in place, that evaluation must be completed by May 3, 2023. After May 3 of this year, any new station, or any existing station modified in a way that’s likely to change its RFE profile – such as different antenna or placement or greater power – will need to conduct an evaluation by the date of activation or change.

The Report and Order can be found online in PDF format at, <https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-19-126A1.pdf>.

“In the RF Report and Order, the Commission anticipated that few parties would have to conduct reevaluations under the new rules and that such evaluations will be relatively straightforward,” the FCC said in an April 2 Public Notice. “It nevertheless adopted a 2-year period for parties to verify and ensure compliance under the new rules.”

The Amateur Service is no longer categorically excluded from certain aspects of the rules, as amended, and licensees can no longer avoid performing an exposure assessment simply because they are transmitting below a given power level.

“For most amateurs, the major difference is the removal of the categorical exclusion for amateur radio, which means that ham station owners must determine if they either qualify for an exemption or must perform a routine environmental evaluation,” said Greg Lapin, N9GL, chair of the ARRL RF Safety Committee and a member of the FCC Technological Advisory Council (TAC).

“Ham stations previously excluded from performing environmental evaluations will have until May 3, 2023, to perform these. After May 3, 2021, any new stations or those modified in a way that affects RF exposure must comply before being put into service,” Lapin said.

The December 2019 RF Report and Order changes the methods that many radio services use to determine and achieve compliance with FCC limits on human exposure to RF electromagnetic fields. The FCC also modified the process for determining whether a particular device or deployment is exempt from a more thorough analysis by replacing a service-specific list of transmitters, facilities, and operations for which evaluation is required with new streamlined formula-based criteria. The R&O also addressed how to perform evaluations where the exemption does not apply, and how to mitigate exposure.

Amateur radio licensees will have to determine whether any existing facilities previously excluded under the old rules now qualify for an exemption under the new rules. Most will, but some may not.

“For amateurs, the major difference is the removal of the categorical exclusion,” Lapin said, “which means that every ham will be required to perform some sort of calculation, either to determine if they qualify for an exemption or must perform a full-fledged exposure assessment. For hams who previously performed exposure assessments on their stations, there is nothing more to do.”

The ARRL Laboratory staff is available to help amateurs to make these determinations and, if needed, perform the necessary calculations to ensure their stations comply. ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, who helped prepare ARRL’s RF Exposure and You book, explained it this way. “The FCC did not change any of the underlying rules applicable to amateur station evaluations,” he said. “The sections of the book on how to perform routine station evaluations are still valid and usable, especially the many charts of common antennas at different heights.” Hare said ARRL Lab staff also would be available to help amateurs understand the rules and evaluate their stations.”

RF Exposure and You is available in PDF format for free download from ARRL at, <http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technology/RFsafetyCommittee/28RFSafety.pdf>.

ARRL also has an RF Safety page on its website at,<http://www.arrl.org/rf-exposure>.

The ARRL RF Safety Committee is working with the FCC to update the FCC’s aids for following human exposure rules – OET Bulletin 65 and OET Bulletin 65 Supplement B for Radio Amateurs. In addition, ARRL is developing tools that all hams can use to perform exposure assessments.

New Hampshire “Antenna Bill” H.B. 313 Fails in Committee

NH State House, ConcordNew Hampshire House Bill 313, “Relative to property restrictions on certain amateur radio antennas,” failed to reconsider by voice vote on April 7, 2021, according to FastDemocracy.com.
 
The bill was originally heard before the House Commerce Committee on January 26, 2021. Over 100 amateurs went on record to support the bill. 

N.H. House Bill 313 would have allowed:

• Antennas similar or identical to those for satellite TV dishes, broadcast TV, or broadband internet
• single wire or minimally visible antennas
• antennas raised only in darkness
• antennas no higher than 33 feet (i.e., lower than the roof line), and
• the use of a flag pole as an antenna

on land where the homeowner already had the right to exclude others, and would have required safe construction, with municipal approval.

“Another shot is possible in 2022, but it will need to be a much more modest bill to have any chance at passage,” writes former N.H. House Representative Bill Ohm, W1OHM.  “My recommendation is to just permit dual use of an existing structure, like a flagpole. Down the road, in subsequent years, incremental progress can be attempted to permit other structures.”
 
See also:
 

Amateur Radio Fee Collection Schedule

FCC sealContrary to what you may have heard or read, the collection of application fees for the amateur radio service and certain other services will NOT begin  on April 19, 2021.
 
Although April 19, 2021 is the date the rules in the FCC Report and Order adopted last December generally take effect – i.e., one month after the R&O was published in the March 19, 2021 Federal Register – certain parts of those rules, including collection of the application fees for the amateur radio service, will NOT begin on that date. 
 
The effective date for new amateur radio fees has not yet been established. The FCC explicitly states in the published Notice that the fees will not take effect until:
     *  the requisite notice has been provided to Congress; AND
     *  the FCC’s information technology systems and internal procedures have been updated; AND
     *  the Commission publishes future notice(s) in the Federal Register announcing the effective date of such rules.
 
The League’s counsel for FCC matters estimates that the effective start date for collecting the fees will be some time this summer, but regardless of the exact timing we will have advance notice.

“Over neighbors’ objections, Shelburne, VT operator gets the green light for ham radio towers”

Photo of Zachary Manganello, K1ZK, in his ham shack
Zachary Manganello, K1ZK

SHELBURNE, VERMONT – One-on-one talks with fellow amateur radio operators as far away as Moscow are now firmly on the horizon for a Shelburne man.

The erection of two antenna towers on Zachary Mangenello’s rural property on Dorset Street — a source of contention with his neighbors for at least a year — was approved by the Telecommunications Review Board this week…

[Burlington Free Press: “Over neighbors’ objections, Shelburne, VT operator gets the green light for ham radio towers“]

 

ARRL Board Considers Plan to Cover New $35 FCC Fee for Some Young Members

ARRL logoAt its Annual Meeting in January, the ARRL Board of Directors considered a motion to offer a new plan that would pay the new but not-yet-implemented $35 FCC application fee for a limited number of new radio amateurs younger than age 18 who, at the time of testing, belonged to an ARRL Affiliated 501(c)(3) charitable organization and passed their tests through an ARRL VEC-sponsored exam session. The proposal called for reducing the VEC fee for these candidates to $5. The initial proposal came from ARRL Southeastern Division Director Mickey Baker, N4MB. Other Board members offered subsidiary motions. Supporters said the purpose behind the motion was to ameliorate the potential financial hardship the pending FCC application fee posed on certain minors applying for their first license, and to encourage new youth membership. [Full story]

 

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