Volunteer List for Live Oak Baptist Church Fall Festival

    A quick rundown (as of 10/26) on the volunteers for the LOBC Fall Festival.  Would like you there between 4:30 and 5:00PM and we should be released shortly after 8:00PM.

Still room for volunteers for this, and/or the Crestview Fall Festival earlier in the day.

Comm Plan to follow later this week.

Craig KK4WDQ

Jim AJ4XK

Mike KK4KRZ

Bruce KA5DLV

Rob KJ4SPJ

Ted KM4SRO & Sue

Rich N4DPM

Randy KN4OPX

CJ KJ4PIU

Joe KN4UDS (Co-Lead)

Ron KI5FR (Co-Lead)

Ron Mahn KI5FR

[Editorial note: Live Oak Baptist Church Fall Festival is family fun at the church. NOARC has provided “parking lot control” of vehicles entering and departing the site. Simplex UHF is normally used, and extreme low power since we can see other. Bring extra battery, flashlight and reflective gear. This event is in lieu of door-to-door Trick or Treating.]

FCC Fee Opposition – now is the time!

From: ARRL Members Only Web site <memberlist@www.arrl.org>
Date: October 17, 2020 at 09:57:19 CDT
To: 
Subject: FCC Fee Opposition – now is the time! The amateur radio fee proposal has been published in the Federal
Register.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/10/15/2020-21530/schedule-of-application-fees

Now that it is published, it is time to comment on the FCC website:

https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/filings?proceedings_name=20-270

AND, if you wish, reference the Federal Register, and send your comments
to your elected representatives and the President.

THERE ARE FEWER THAN 30 DAYS TO COMMENT. PLEASE DO THIS NOW!

The Priority is getting comments filed with the FCC.


ARRL Washington Counsel David Siddall, K3ZJ, has suggested the following
arguments:

Arguments Against FCC Fees for Radio Amateurs

1. Amateurs contribute to the public good. In many areas they provide an
emergency communications backbone capability at no taxpayer cost.
Consistently we have witnessed storms and natural disasters completely
wipe out internet, cellular, and other means of communication.  Radio
amateurs often fill that void on an unmatched, flexible basis when
needed.  One recent example is the California wildfires.  

2. Unlike operators in other FCC licensed services, Amateur Radio
operators by law – domestic and international — must eschew using
their license for any pecuniary interest.  Amateurs are prohibited from
earning or charging any money for any communications activity.  The
expenses for their equipment and activities come out of their own
pockets, with no opportunity for reimbursement or payment of any kind.

3. The United States is experiencing a severe lack of RF engineers and
expertise at the very time it is needed by the burgeoning wireless
industries.    Amateur radio is helping to meet the deficit, but much
more is needed and youngsters (High School and College-aged) are least
able to afford licensing fees.  RF knowledge and related digital
expertise is needed to maintain U.S. leadership in wireless industries.
At a minimum, young people (below the age of 26) should be exempt from
the proposed license fees.

4. Amateur radio is self-regulating.  (a) Amateur examinations are
written and administered by radio amateur volunteers.  (b) Examination
results and paperwork most often are submitted electronically to the
FCC.  Electronic submission could be required if there would be a cost
savings to the Commission. (c) Amateur radio educational classes are
conducted by volunteers who by-and-large do not charge fees or tuition
for teaching.  (d) The amateur service, in cooperation with the FCC’s
Enforcement Bureau, has a volunteer corp that monitors the amateur
airwaves and has programs that try to prevent their misuse before FCC
involvement might be needed.  The amateurs also observe non-amateur
signals both within amateur spectrum and outside it, and report unusual
or suspicious signals.

5. Amateur radio continues to be a source of significant technological
innovation that should be encouraged, not discouraged.

Some Suggestions

I do not recommend arguing that the $50. fee every 10 years, which
amounts to $5.00 a year, will “kill” amateur radio, even though as
proposed this is for each covered application, which includes upgrade
applications.  Tech-General-Extra  could be $150. if exams taken at
different sessions, a substantial amount.  But it “rings” the wrong
way to say the whole service turns on $5./year for each licensee. If
that’s all it would take ….

The Commission argues that the charges are required by the statute.  The
word used is “shall”, which is mandatory, not optional.  But the
statute does not set the amount, nor does it prohibit reasonable
exceptions – evidenced by the Commission’s proposal to exempt from
fees administrative update applications based on policy grounds.

This is not “aimed at amateur radio to kill it.”  There is a long
history and precedent on charging fees for the licensing service
involved, just as there is for passports, green cards, drivers licenses
(issued by states), etc.  Better to make pertinent arguments on why the
fees would impair the public benefits of the amateur radio service than
argue that the whole service might die as a result of a fee that, in
fact, is less than the fee many of us paid in the 1960’s and 1970’s,
including myself as a struggling high school and college student (if
adjusted for inflation).

For background: this proceeding is being handled by staff unfamiliar
with amateur radio.  It is being handled in the FCC’s Office of
Managing Director (OMD), not in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
where the amateur-specific Part 97 matters are handled.  The focus of
OMD is accounting – budgets and the like for the entire Commission.
The fee proposals cover every FCC license and service across the board
and the consideration was directed by Congress.  I recommend keeping
“ham jargon” out of comments, it won’t be understood by the
intended recipients.”

73,

——————————————————————–
ARRL Southeastern Division
Director: Mickey V Baker, N4MB
n4mb@arrl.org

Input requested concerning license training — are we dinosaurs?

NOARC members,
The Education and Training Committee is evaluating our methods of providing training for the Technician, General, and Extra licenses.  We are concerned that, in this age of virtual instruction in our schools, our training methods may be outdated.  (Are we dinosaurs?)  We’re asking if there are ways we could better server our community, and we need your input.
The schedule driver is a potential General class that would start in January 2021.  If we are to hold classes in our normal, live-instruction forum, the Committee needs to start making preparations in early November.  Since the General books and question bank have changed since the last time we taught the subject, this will involve substantial effort prior to the class.
We presented our concerns at the October business meeting, and the slides from that presentation are attached.  In a nutshell, we need to decide what training NOARC should be doing in the future

The options are:
1.  Continue to provide live classes, either in-person (Covid permitting) or remotely (via Zoom).

2.  Refer potential students to recorded classes, and concentrate on being Elmers for questions and for getting started operating after the exam is passed.

3.  Do no instruction or Elmering, just testing.


We need input on your point of view.  We would like you to answer the following questions:
1.  How did you study for your license?  What method (class, self-study, YouTube, whatever) worked best for you?  Why?
2.  Do you think NOARC should continue the current method of instruction?  What changes would you recommend?
3.  Have you served as an instructor for a NOARC class?
4.  Have you been an Elmer for a new licensee within the last three years?


Bruce (KA5DLV) and I (W4BZM) would welcome input via whatever method is best for you — verbal, e-mail, discussion on a web page post or Facebook, via 147.36 after the GCVTN, notes passed on a napkin, whatever. 

We’d like to have your input by 23 October.  PLEASE don’t put this in the “I’ll get around to it” or “let somebody else do it, I don’t care” stack.  

Link to Document


Thank you, in advance, for you help.  
73, Mike W4BZM

UPCOMING EXAM – 11/07/2020

There will be an amateur radio exam on Saturday, November 07th, 9:00 am  start,  likely Building D, at Live Oak Baptist Church, 4565 Live Oak Church Road, in Crestview, FL 32539.

Please arrive about 8:30 or a little after.  The fee is $10.00 cash, check or Money Order; if writing a check, make it out to WCARS/VEC.

Unlicensed applicants must have an FRN (Federal Registration Number); Social Security Numbers are no longer allowed.  Obtain your FRN before the exam, from the FCC site at https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/systems-utilities/universal-licensing-system (New User Registration link)

Masks will be required, and we will adhere to the CDC’s six-foot social distancing recommendation.  If you have a special need physically, let us know early, and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Applicants must preregister to me directly, or send a note to me via the club website CONTACT US tab at W4AAZ.com. Space will be limited.

END

FCC Proposes to Reinstate Amateur Radio Service Fees

08/28/2020

Amateur radio licensees would pay a $50 fee for each amateur radio license application if the FCC adopts rules it proposed this week. Included in the FCC’s fee proposal are applications for new licenses, renewal and upgrades to existing licenses, and vanity call sign requests. Excluded are applications for administrative updates, such as changes of address, and annual regulatory fees.

The FCC proposal is 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.”

The Act requires that the FCC switch from a Congressionally-mandated fee structure to a cost-based system of assessment. In its NPRM, 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 that had been excluded by an earlier statute. The 2018 statute excludes the Amateur Service from annual regulatory fees, but not from application fees.

“[A]pplications for personal licenses are mostly automated and do not have individualized staff costs for data input or review,” the FCC said in its NPRM. “For these automated processes — new/major modifications, renewal, and minor modifications — we propose a nominal application fee of $50 due to automating the processes, routine ULS maintenance, and limited instances where staff input is required.”

The same $50 fee would apply to all Amateur Service applications, including those for vanity call signs. “Although there is currently no fee for vanity call signs in the Amateur Radio Service, we find that such applications impose similar costs in aggregate on Commission resources as new applications and therefore propose a $50 fee,” the FCC said.

The FCC is not proposing to charge for administrative updates, such as mailing address changes for amateur applications, and amateur radio will remain exempt from annual regulatory fees. “For administrative updates [and] modifications, which also are highly automated, we find that it is in the public interest to encourage licensees to update their [own] information without a charge,” the FCC said.

The FCC also proposes to assess a $50 fee for individuals who want a printed copy of their license. “The Commission has proposed to eliminate these services — but to the extent the Commission does not do so, we propose a fee of $50 to cover the costs of these services,” the FCC said.

The Ray Baum’s Act does not exempt filing fees in the Amateur Radio Service. The FCC dropped assessment of fees for vanity call signs several years ago.

Deadlines for comments and reply comments will be determined once the NPRMappears in the Federal Register. File comments by using the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), posting to MD Docket No. 20-270. This docket is already open for accepting comments even though deadlines have not yet been set.  [from W4BZM via ARRL]

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]

Results from 8/10/2020 Exam

The exam on August 10 had 14 applicants, 12 of which were from the class. Nine of the 14 got the Technician licenses, one got the General upgrade, and one person went from zero to Extra.   The VEs were KA5DLV, KM4OZK, KL7LS, AJ4XK, KJ4RWD, KK4WDQ and W4BZM.


The list follows: 


Christopher Bolin KO4GDR Tech; Suzanne Cain KO4GDS Tech; David Cook KY4AI Extra; David Craft KO4GDT Tech; Mackenzie Holliday KO4FUU to General; Scott Friesen KO4GDU Tech; Christoper Kelly KO4GDV Tech; James King KO4GDW Tech; William King KO4GDX Tech; Katherine Talley KO4GDY Tech; Michael Williams KO4GDZ Tech


Congratulations to all of the new hams, upgrades, instructors and VEs.

SEPTEMBER Tech Night 2020: Satellite Operations

The SEPTEMBER Tech Night was presented by club member, past President and current Vice-President Ron Mahn, KI5FR.  His topic is Satellite Operations: How do I get started?

Ron is one of the most active hams in the Panhandle using this mode.  He has presented this topic numerous times to the club, and sets up a station at Field Day operations. 

In this presentation learn about the various uplinks, downlinks, Cubesats other “birds”, and software to make the tracking easier on you.  As many of you know, the International Space Station has amateurs on it also.

Download PDf here.
Download Powerpoint here.

Thursday, September 24, 2020, 7:00 pm was at the Live Oak Baptist Church Fellowship Hall and on Zoom. This presentation was rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances.

Loaner Pool ?

I recently accepted a donation of a Kenwood TH-7D7A handi-talkie for use in the NOARC “loaner pool”.  (We currently have three Baofengs which can be checked out by new hams to get on the air quickly while they are deciding what hardware to buy.)  This is an older HT, but still very capable — dual 2m/0.7m FM with built-in APRS capability and the long-life battery.

Unfortunately, it was donated without a charger or reprogramming cable.  Both are available on eBay, but before I spend $50 for a charger and $25 for a cable, I’d like to know if the radio in fact still works.  I have no idea how long it has been since it was operational, since it came from the estate of a silent key. 

Does anyone have a Kenwood BC-19 or BC-17 charger, or a PG-4W programming cable, which I could borrow to test out this new-to-us HT?

Mike W4BZM
W4BZM@arrl.net