Winlink – email over Amateur Radio

Join us at our January Tech Night for a review of Winlink: email over Amateur Radio, to be presented by Bob Murphy, KI4MEU.

This presentation will be at the Live Oak Baptist Church and on Zoom at 7:00 pm Central Time on Thursday, January 28th.

Zoom information will be sent out that week prior to the meeting.

Tech Night (Winlink)

The January  28th, 2021 Tech Night meeting topic will be WINLINK – EMAIL OVER RADIO, presented by Club President Bob Murphy, KI4MEU. 

Bob is a starting his second term as President, and has been a ham for a few (less than ten) years.   Winlink is an interesting topic where email messages can be sent over radio (HF, VHF, UHF) without an internet backbone.  Users connect to a relay station outside of their area “that has internet” and relays it to the end.  Transfer speed on HF is rather slow, so, large pictures are not recommended.  The other two areas of spectrum can handle faster transmit speeds.

Bob will be presenting from his home station, so, be sure and come by to learn more about WinLink.  Come join us at the Live Oak Baptist Church (Crestview) Fellowship Hall, or via Zoom (Meeting: 984 8548 1626 and Passcode 866344) to listen to Bob’s presentation from his home station.   The meeting starts at 7:00 pm

NOARC Remote Classes for the General License

Michael Behr, W4BZM

The North Okaloosa Amateur Radio Club (NOARC) will hold classes for the General license beginning in January 2021. Classes will be held remotely, via the Zoom application. Our current intention is to hold classes from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM (with breaks) Central Time on the following dates in 2021:
January 25
February 1, 8, 22
March 1, 8
Mach 15 – tentative test under WCARS VEC


We will be using the ARRL General Class License Manual, 9th Edition. A Zoom account will be required, available free from zoom.us.


NOARC’s home location is in the Florida panhandle, but during a previous
Technician class, we had students from out of state (Alabama) and in other
time zones (Tampa area). So don’t let geographic separation be a limiting factor.


Interested in participating in the classes? Please contact one of the following instructors prior to the signup deadline of Thursday, 07 January 2021.


Mike, W4BZM w4bzm@arrl.net
Bruce, KA5DLV badams138@yahoo.com

FCC Reduces Proposed Amateur Radio Application Fee to $35

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.”

QST NFL

QST NFL December 2020


What’s Inside….Page   2      

Mysteries of HF Radio & Statewide Nets, Part 2
Page   4       SEC Message
Page   5       Five Flags Completes Fall Term
Page   5        NOARC Remote Classes for General License
Page   6       Santa Rosa County ARES Activities  
Page   7       Alachua County General Class Review
Page   8       QRP Labs 50-Watt HF Amplifier
Page   9       Improved 49:1 End-fed Half-wave Balun        
Page  10      Trailer Hitch Mount HF Antenna Testing, Part 2

Send January 2021 input to n4gl.marty@gmail.com

73,

Marty Brown, N4GL

Editor, QST NFL

Election Results

At the Annual Meeting of the club on 11/12, incumbent President Bob Murphy, KI4MEU, was re-elected for another two year term. Bob Hurley, KN4UDT, was elected Treasurer for the same term, starting January 1.

Please congratulate, and work positively with the new officers and the existing officers. The other “returning” officers are Vice-President Ron Mahn, KI5FR, and Secretary Ralph Zecco, KM4JJS.

Exam Results from the 11/07/2020 Test

Matthew Colucci, an associate of Jesse Peters, passed his Technician license and is now KO4JBC; Don Boaz, KD4BWN, upgraded to General from Technician; Joseph Hughes, KO4FNK, also upgraded from Technician to General, plus brought donuts for the group; and Bob Raffety, N1KRE, took his last exam – going from General to Extra.  You will recognize the last three as NOARC club members.  Hopefully Matthew will join us.

Thanks to Live Oak Baptist Church allowing us to test at their facility; thanks to the four VEs – we are always looking for more volunteer examiners – it is easy to get credentials, and minimal time commitment; thanks to the applicants for showing up on time (we actually started five minutes early) and showing that you all were prepared. 

Enjoy your new privileges!

Live Oak Baptist Church Fall Festival – Thanks To All

 A huge shout out and thanks to everyone from NOARC who supported the Live Oak Baptist Church (LOBC) Fall Festival on 31 October.  The LOBC have been outstanding hosts to the North Okaloosa Amateur Radio Club (NOARC) over the years and this is one of the ways we try to pay back their hospitality. 

Because of COVID, the event was much smaller this year than usual, which was good because we had a little less space to park than usual.  However our lead, Joe KN4UDS packed those cars in like sardines…safely but tight enough to have plenty of space available.  We had more folks then we needed for parking the cars, but having those vests all over the place showed how serious we are about assisting the church. 

This year we had lights, based on ideas from Joe KN4UDS, Rob KM4SPJ, and Bruce KA5DLV. This was key to a safer event this year.  While we have had no accidents in the past, the lights made it easier for walkers to watch their step and drivers to see walkers a little better.  Yet more improvement.  Thanks everyone for joining us this year.

Our Crew!

Joe KN4UDS (Co-Lead)Ted KM4SRO & Sue
Ted KM4SRO & SueRich N4DPM
Craig KK4WDQ & JuanitaRandy KN4OPX
Jim AJ4XKDave WB4EWS
Mike KK4KRZRon KI5FR
Bruce KA5DLVIan White
Rob KM4SPJ

Ron Mahn KI5FR

WINMOR is No More

There are rumors that “Winlink is going away”. Well, no, not really — but some of the modes that we were accustomed to using as hams are being replaced by new modes. This article is an attempt to clear up some of the confusing Winlink terminology perhaps get hams back into Winlink e-mail if they have been recently “shut out”.

Those of us using Winlink to send messages via RMS Express may have recently noticed responses back from the RMS Gateway that WINMOR will no longer being supported, and users should switch to ARDOP or VARA mode.

Huh?

First, some background on terminology:
1. Winlink is a system of message distribution. The Winlink system is still here to stay. The Winlink system allows messages to be sent via multiple modes:

  • WINMOR mode on HF
  • PACTOR mode on HF
  • Packet mode on VHF
  • Telnet mode via an Internet connection
  • Post Office mode via a LAN network (hard-wired or wireless mesh)

2. This discussion will address only the first mode, WINMOR and its replacements, ARDOP and VARA. WINMOR was the “go to” mode for HF message exchange in the software package RMS Express, which many of us hams used. RMS Express software has now been replaced by Winlink Express.

3. In July 2020, the WINMOR mode has been “deprecated“. That means the Radio Message Server (RMS) Gateways in the Winlink system will start to refuse message transfer via the WINMOR mode. WINMOR mode is being replaced by the modes of:

  • ARDOP (Amateur Radio Digital Open Protocol), or
  • VARA HF (and I can’t seem to find what VARA stands for)

In response to this decision, the latest versions of Winlink Express now include ARDOP Winlink and Vara HF Winlink as options to open a session.

4. WINMOR mode formerly offered speeds up to 1,300 bps and is still included in Winlink Express software (at least, in version 1.15.31.0) — but is being “deprecated”.

5. ARDOP Mode offers speeds up to 4,000 bps and is also included in Winlink Express software. (My experience with ARDOP mode on a Yaesu FT-991 is that ARDOP is difficult to get set up and running.)

6. VARA HF offer speeds up to 7,000 bps but requires an external add-on software package which interfaces to Winlink Express. (This external software package requires a $69 user license, but VARA HF can be tested without registration at a restricted speed.) My experience with VARA HF on the Yaesu FT-991 is that is runs right out of the download with no problems .

So if you are being shut out of the Winlink message system because your software is out of date, go to the Winlink site at www.winlink.org, where you will find links to update your software to the new configurations. If you are successful, send me an e-mail at W4BZM@winlink.org!

Mike – W4BZM

New QTH for KN4UDV

Jim Mc Clure and Rich Girardin work at the club station.

Many of you know Jim McClure, KN4UDV, as the motorcycle-rider with the handlebar mustache.  Jim sends that he will soon be moving to Colorado Springs to be with his daughter and son-in-law.  He asked us to tell the NOARC members that he has enjoyed the chance to get to know all of you and that he will especially miss the opportunities for contesting with everyone.  He will still be receiving text at his current phone number and email at his current address, and hopes to work some of the members again on HF from Colorado Springs. [relayed via W4BZM]