“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]

 

K4ZDH: “ARRL Volunteer Monitor Program” at RATPAC, February 10, 2021

RATPAC logoPlease plan to attend Wednesday’s February 10 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 Volunteer Monitors (VM) program 

 Speaker/Presenter:  Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH 
 Riley K4ZDH oversees the ARRL Volunteer Monitors Development and Implementation

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

Hey folks: These Zoom sessions are left open after the presentation. 

After the Zoom presentation has been closed, sign back into Zoom to visit.

  • 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
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2128884758?pwd=V3Z0VFcvclhkbVpvOG9IenFkK1BUQT09

Meeting ID: 212 888 4758
Passcode: VMPROGRAM

NH Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions Requested re NH H.B. 313

New England Division Director Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, writes:

The hearing on the NH HB 313 bill yesterday [see “New Hampshire H.B. 313 Initial Committee Hearing, January 26, 2021“] made it plain that I should collect NH Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) from people who live in homeowner association communities or condos.

Can you send me your PDF or Word version of CC&Rs from NH? I need as many as possible, to show the Commerce Committee how ridiculous they can be.

Here’s one excerpt I saw yesterday (but I want complete versions):

“4. Transmission antennas are prohibited.”

Think about that. It bans cell phones, baby monitors, garage door openers, and 2 m HTs!

Can you help me round up some CC&Rs from NH?

 

Fred Hopengarten, Esq.   K1VR
Six Willarch Road
Lincoln, MA 01773
781.259.0088
k1vr@arrl.org

New Hampshire H.B. 313 Initial Committee Hearing, January 26, 2021

 

UPDATE: Former N.H. Rep. Bill Ohm, W1OHM, writes:

“Nice work on getting 100 hams to go on the record in support.  This is very unusual in committee and got noticed. … I think the committee decision will weigh the value of having trained radio operators ready to be deployed in an emergency.  The large number of hams submitting their support reinforces their interest in public service. … I expect the bill will be referred to a subcommittee to work on the concerns.  If a quick comprise can be reached, then they can draft a committee amendment for that compromise and send it to the full House for a vote.  Otherwise it will be retained in committee for work later in the year (best case) or simply voted out of committee as ITL, Inexpedient to Legislate.  It will then be voted down by the full Legislature in quick order.”

 
Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, writes:
 
“I write to encourage favorable consideration of HB 313, to benefit the radio amateurs of New Hampshire, the people who provide emergency communications between hospitals, and train the next generation of technologists who will grow the New Hampshire economy. There are ~5700 radio hams in NH, and most of them who live in a Homeowner Association- controlled property find it impossible to put up an outdoor antenna for ham radio, even though federal law, the Over-the-Air-Reception-Devices rule (the FCC OTARD Rule), already allows outdoor antennas that are virtually identical to those allowed under this bill. Please note: This proposal does not allow towers.

This bill would allow:

• 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.

It would only allow antennas on land where the homeowner already has the\ right to exclude others, and it requires safe construction, with municipal approval.

Here’s the procedure to testify in favor of the Amateur Radio bill, HB 313, being heard in the Commerce Committee today.

Go to this link: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/remotetestimony/default.aspx

• Select the date of the hearing as January 26
• Select the committee as “Commerce” (first pick)
• Select the bill, H.B. 313
• Select “I am a member of the public”
• Select, “I am representing myself”
• Indicate your position, “I support this bill”
• Enter name, phone, and email

Decide if you want to testify (not required). If you do, speak for no more than one minute. It’s OK to just say it’s important for emergency communications to be able to communicate, and you need a simple antenna for that. And that antenna is now prohibited.

SUBMIT THE FORM BEFORE 12:30 PM TODAY. This puts your position into the public record.

It’s very important to show support from the amateur radio community. A similar bill has been in Committee before, and has died for lack of sufficient support. Consequently the Committee will be skeptical. Opponents, like the CAI (condo association lobby) will show up and testify against this bill.

Sincerely,

Fred Hopengarten, K1VR
ARRL Director
New England Division

Phil Temples, K9HI
ARRL Vice Director
New England Division

FCC Warns About Use of Ham Radio to Commit Crimes

BLOOMBERG NEWS–January 17, 2021, 10:11 AM ET

Licensed amateur and personal radio services shouldn’t be used to coordinate criminal acts, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau warned after reports that some people were looking to radios as an alternative to social media platforms, which are being monitored by law enforcement following the deadly Jan. 6 raid on the U.S. Capitol.

“The Bureau reminds amateur licensees that they are prohibited from transmitting ‘communications intended to facilitate a criminal act’ or ‘messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning,” the agency said in a statement Sunday.

The licensees, which would include Citizens Band radios, Family Radio Service walkie-talkies, and General Mobile Radio Service, would face fines, seizure of their equipment and possible criminal prosecution.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-17/lin-manuel-miranda-joins-list-of-entertainers-inaugural-update

See also: FCC Enforcement Advisory

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.” 

FCC to Require Email Addresses on Applications

From ARRL web:

12/02/2020 – Amateur radio licensees and candidates will have to provide the FCC with an email address on applications, effective sometime in mid-2021. If no email address is included, the FCC may dismiss the application as defective.

The FCC is fully transitioning to electronic correspondence and will no longer print or provide wireless licensees with hard-copy authorizations or registrations by mail.

Report and Order (R&O) on “Completing the Transition to Electronic Filing, Licenses and Authorizations, and Correspondence in the Wireless Radio Services” in WT Docket 19-212 was adopted on September 16. The new rules will go into effect 6 months after publication in the Federal Register, which hasn’t happened yet, but the FCC is already strongly encouraging applicants to provide an email address. When an email address is provided, licensees will receive an official electronic copy of their licenses when the application is granted.

Under Section 97.21 of the new rules, a person holding a valid amateur station license “must apply to the FCC for a modification of the license grant as necessary to show the correct mailing and email address, licensee name, club name, license trustee name, or license custodian name.” For a club or military recreation station license, the application must be presented in document form to a club station call sign administrator who must submit the information to the FCC in an electronic batch file.

Under new Section 97.23, each license will have to show the grantee’s correct name, mailing address, and email address. “The email address must be an address where the grantee can receive electronic correspondence,” the amended rule will state. “Revocation of the station license or suspension of the operator license may result when correspondence from the FCC is returned as undeliverable because the grantee failed to provide the correct email address.” 

MA Ham Radio License Plate Update

MA ham operator sample license plateFrom ema.arrl.org:

Phil Temples, K9HI, received the following email on November 5, 2020 from Phyllis Burke, a supervisor employed by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles in response to his question about the status of his ham radio license plate order:

“The RMV has out in a fix (sic) for these plates and will hopefully be done with in the next month or two.  We will contact you when it is completed and order the plate.  I apologize for the inconvenience.” 

-Phyllis Burke <phyllis.burke@state.ma.us>.

[See: Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles is Not Processing Ham Operator Plate Applications]