JIM MORRISON, AJ4XK, IS A SILENT KEY

The following message was posted on Facebook on September 22 by Ron, KI5FR about member Jim Morrison, AJ4XK.  Jim had recently retired; assisted with local public service events and was active as a Volunteer Examiner.   Rest in Peace Jim!

I (Ron Mahn) received some sad news yesterday. James “Jim” Morrison AJ4XK became a Silent Key (SK) on August 17th. Jim was a particularly active member of the club for public service events where he could be seen taking any role that was asked. His combination of friendly voice but imposing presence helped the folks at the LOBC Fall Festival feel secure during our work there. Jim’s biggest passion was motorcycles and he was an active member of the Sandollar Motorcycle Club. He also enjoyed cars. He always had something a little different including one of those little mini cars which was always funny when this tall person got out of that tiny car. He was always a very nice person.

His sister found me on Facebook and told me the news. There was no service at his request, and his sister looks to get out an obituary at some point. Please give a thought and a prayer for Jim today.

Satsuma Tail Gator

The Satsuma “Tail-Gator” will be on September 25, 2021. It will be held again at the Fred K. Wright Municipal Park in Satsuma, AL, from 8AM until 11AM. We will be meeting at the rear of the park, near the rest rooms! Talk-in will be arbitrarily on the 147.015 repeater, no tone.

“Testing for all license classes at this event is optional- please contact your local VEC to see if they are attending and if they will be testing.”

We have had good exposure to the public at each successive “Tail-Gator” and hope to continue to be open and accommodating to the public, encouraging others to enter and enjoy Ham radio!

For those who have not been to a Satsuma “Tail-Gator”, here are the directions:
Directions: From north- or south-bound on I-65, take exit 19 onto Hwy. 43 south, go 1.1 mile and the park will be on the right. If traveling up Hwy. 43 from Mobile just go through Chickasaw, Saraland and into Satsuma…the park will be on the left about ¾ mile past the third light in Satsuma. WATCH SPEED LIMITS!

Also, there are several places to eat in Satsuma: Waffle House, several burger joints (all near/at the Petro Truck Stop), Subway at the Shell Station, and Bay City Grill for lunch- and good prices, too! Gas prices are well in-line in this area as well.

If anyone needs any further info, I’m good on QRZ…hope to see y’all there!

Bud, KC4HGH. SPREAD THE WORD!

YL Net Forming

The first area net by women for women, the Sunday Evening YL net! Even if you don’t have your license, if you know another ham you can join the net using third party traffic.

This net is hosted on the K4SRC 146.700 repeater which covers Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Escambia counties. The repeater is also linked to the KN4JEA Jay repeater which covers Escambia County, AL. You can also join via EchoLink on K4SRC-4 or AllStar Link Node 515591.

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.”

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!

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