Welcome to the Jackson County Amateur Radio Association's web site. It shall be our purpose to further the exchange of information and cooperation among members, by promoting radio knowledge and individual operating efficiency. JCARA conducts club programs and activities to advance the general interest and welfare of Amateur Radio within the county and surrounding areas of South Mississippi.
The JCARA Club meetings are held monthly on the last Tuesday of the month, except in December. The next Club next meeting will occur on September 29, 2015.
Please make arrangements to attend this meeting. This is your club so we welcome and encourage your participation.
If you wish to become a member of the JCARA please click here and fill out the application then get in touch with a Club Officer.
The President's Message
I am woefully behind in my duties this month, including getting out my monthly message. Both professional and family reasons are behind my tardiness. But on to the pressing matters for this month. JCARA supported the Mississippi Section for the Simulated Emergency Test the 8th of August. I am looking forward to Chris, K5MOZ out brief at this month’s meeting. I will tell you this that I was very proud of the members that participated, net controllers and check-ins. Activity on the net was very professional and no one seemed upset about the repeater being taken out of normal operations.
Katrina Commemorative Event
As you know, this year marks ten years since Hurricane Katrina. A special event is being put together, in order to commemorate this anniversary. There are special event call signs assigned to the different cities along the Gulf Coast and Don, KA5DON has informed us we are assigned to represent Pascagoula with the call sign K5A. Please look at the website:
The information can also be found at QRZ under the call "K5H".
Don, KA5DON wants everyone to email their preference of day/time they want to operate as “K5A”. Please let Don know of your time slots. Remember, it can be any frequency but the most important frequency is the one that has good propagation. He doesn't want any blank times where someone is not on the air. Two stations can not use the same call sign at once which is why Don needs your information so he can slot you in. The sooner you get it to him, the sooner you will get locked in!
Remember, August 15th is the deadline that will be the lock-in date. You can have multiple date and time groups so you can be on the air more than just once. His email address is:
Let him know your name, call sign and your time slots.
Time and frequency standard station WWV's resurrected 25 MHz signal -- now back on the air for more than a year after going silent in 1977 -- is once again transmitting on a vertical dipole from its original antenna and location. The 25 MHz signal returned to the air on an "experimental basis" in April 2014, and it's been transmitting ever since. The WWV vertical dipole is not something you'd likely find in the average ham radio antenna farm.
"The antenna the 25 MHz [transmitter] is on right now is the original antenna it was on in 1977," Matt Deutch, N0RGT, WWV's lead electrical engineer, told ARRL. "When the 25 [MHz transmitter] was shut down [that year], the radiating section was removed and tossed in the bone yard, and a new longer section put on the tower to make it a 15 MHz stand-by antenna."
Deutch said that when WWV first reintroduced the 25 MHz broadcast in 2014, it used a broadband monopole. It was later decided to use that antenna for WWV's 2.5 MHz stand-by transmitter, though. "So, we decided to rebuild the 25 MHz antenna," he recounted. "A few weeks ago the boys dug the 25 MHz radiating section out of the mud in the bone yard and rebuilt the 25 MHz antenna, so that it looks identical to what it looked like in 1977."
Deutch said the 25 MHz WWV vertical dipole now is coupled to its own, dedicated transmitter, radiating 2.5 kW "with near zero watts reflected," he added, and modeling has showed that the dipole exhibits a lower angle of radiation than the broadband monopole did. "There is no automatic backup transmitter for 25 MHz at this time," Deutch added. The 25 MHz WWV signal had been operating at about 1 kW for the past 16 months.
Deutch has said that WWV has received reports on the 25 MHz signal from across the Atlantic. The 25 MHz transmission not only provides another option to check your frequency calibration or the exact time, it also can serve to indicate the state of propagation on 12 and 10 meters. The 25 MHz broadcast includes the same information transmitted on all other WWV frequencies and at the same level of accuracy.
ARRL Audio News - August 21, 2015
ARISS delegates meet in Tokyo; home of K0RF is severely damaged by fire
Please allow several seconds for report to download ...آ it may take a long time depending on your internet connection speed.
Ham Nation - Episode 211 - August 26, 2015
Bob Heil, Gordon West, George Thomas, Don Wilbanks, Valerie Hotzfeld, Amanda Alden, and Dale Puckett will cover the excitement and importance of ham radio - from tossing an antenna wire in a tree allowing you to talk to the world, to the importance of ham radio operators in time of disasters.
This week's episode is Hosts: Gordon West (WB6NOA), George Thomas (W5JDX), Don Wilbanks (AE5DW), Dale Puckett (K0HYD) and Valerie Hotzfeld (NV9L)
This week Don Wilbanks remembers Hurricane Katrina on the 10th anniversary.
ARRL President Expects Parity Act House Bill Cosponsorships to Top 100 Soon
ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, expects to see the list of cosponsors for the US House version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 -- H.R. 1301 -- top 100 soon after Congress reconvenes following its August recess. As of August 27, the measure had attracted 94 cosponsors. A US Senate version of the bill -- S. 1685 -- also has been introduced. President Craigie again encouraged ARRL members to urge their congressional delegations to cosponsor the bills. Summertime ARRL conventions have also been affording more members a chance to make their voices heard.
"Success doesn't happen by magic," President Craigie said this week. "Offices on Capitol Hill have told us that without constituent expressions of support, cosponsorship -- and, eventually, votes -- will not happen."
The identically worded Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 measures would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions. It would require the FCC to amend its Part 97 Amateur Service rules to apply the three-part test of the PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy to include homeowners association regulations and deed restrictions, often referred to as "covenants, conditions, and restrictions" (CC&Rs). At present, PRB-1 only applies to state and local zoning laws and ordinances, and the FCC has been reluctant to extend the same legal protections to private land-use agreements without direction from Congress.
President Craigie said ARRL staff members and officials have helped members to generate well over 4000 letters to Senators and Representatives at ARRL conventions this summer. Local radio clubs have held letter-signing events at their meetings as well. This week, the ARRL forwarded more than 1000 such letters for hand delivery to Capitol Hill.
"But we need a lot more member action now, to push our bills ahead," she added. "We need letters, phone calls, e-mails from every ARRL member to our Senators and Representatives. We need every ARRL member to urge our friends in our clubs, on our nets, and on our social media, to take 5 minutes today to do something critically important for the future of Amateur Radio."
AMSAT is also encouraging its members to urge lawmakers to cosponsor the two bills. The satellite organization has pointed out that reaching orbiting spacecraft via an appropriate ground station is something that may be denied to satellite enthusiasts living in neighborhoods where outside antennas are restricted or prohibited.
The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 page on the ARRL website has complete information on how to become involved.
"Capitol Hill needs to hear from every friend of Amateur Radio by the end of August," President Craigie said. "Every voice, your voice, makes a difference."'"
Technical Classes Continue On Meeting Night
9. Image Communications
Don will be teaching at 6 p.m. on each meeting night. At 6:30 p.m. we will break for refreshments and eyeball QSO's. Then the meeting will get underway at 7:00 p.m. We hope to see you there.
URGENT !!! Please Read This Message Of Great Importance From Your ARRL Delta Division Director
Greetings ARRL Members in MS:
I am writing you tonight about the most important legislative campaign that we have launched in many years: H.R.1301, the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015. If you haven’t heard about this effort, it would apply the FCC PRB-1 preemption policy protecting antennas to private land use regulations: Homeowner’s association rules, deed restrictions, covenants, conditions and restrictions. We are making this happen in the House of Representatives. We need a companion bill in the U.S. Senate right away. Our Staff and our lobbying firm has met with MS Senator Roger Wicker’s staff in Washington. Senator Wicker is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet which has jurisdiction over FCC. His sponsorship of our Bill in the Senate is critically important to this effort. Senator Wicker’s staff told ARRL that constituent correspondence is needed to show the Senator that there is a desire on the part of Mississippi radio amateurs for his original sponsorship of this Senate bill. We need you as an ARRL member in Mississippi to email Senator Wicker as soon as possible expressing your support of this bill.
You will need to enter your address and zip code to authenticate that you’re a constituent, and you may need the “plus 4” digits of your zip code. Then fill in all the information with “Amateur Radio Parity Act” in the Subject Box and then just copy paste your message text in the Message Box.. Please ask Senator Wicker to sponsor a Senate version of HR-1301 in the message box. You may use the suggested email text below, or write something more personal if you’d like. If you live in a community with a homeowner’s association and have not been allowed to have an antenna, please inform him of this. We hope that by getting member emails to his office, we can convince Senator Wicker to agree to sponsor the Senate companion Bill to H.R. 1301.
Here is suggested text for your email. Please feel free to edit the message as you think best. Once you’ve added your message on the webpage referenced above, please click on “submit.” You can Cut & Paste the sample letter below into the form on Senator Wicker's Website.
Dear Senator Wicker,
I am a constituent in Mississippi and I want to bring an issue of great
We cannot do any of these things, however, without being able to place
As your constituent, I am asking that you support the good work we do
YOUR NAME, CALL & ADDRESS
Again, once you’ve added your message on the above named webpage message box, please click on “submit.” I urge each of you to take the time to do this and let’s make HR-1301, and now a Senate version of same a successful effort!
73 ES GL
David A. Norris, K5UZ
P.S. Even if you are not living in an area with HOA restrictions, we still need your support. Your affected fellow Hams will be forever grateful.
73, Pat - WA5DVV
Letters to Members of Congress Offer Biggest Boost to Amateur Radio Parity Act
ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, has told Section Mangers that, while promotion and positive publicity about the Amateur Radio Parity Act (H.R. 1301) are always helpful, the most useful action radio amateurs can take is to contact their members of Congress, urging them to sign on as cosponsors. As of June 9, 72 members of the US House in both parties were listed as cosponsors of the proposed legislation, which would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions. Craigie told the SMs that the grassroots campaign supporting H.R. 1301 needs more letters.
"We have been told quite bluntly by some congressional offices that they want letters from constituents -- that they will be interested in what the ARRL has to say only if they know that voters care about this issue," Craigie said in urging Section Managers to rally the troops. "Why should the congressman care, they ask, if the voters don't? There are tens of thousands of ARRL members who have not written yet. You can do a lot to persuade them to write, because they know you."
Craigie cited the case of US Rep John Carney of Delaware, who signed on as an H.R. 1301 cosponsor this week. Delaware Section Manager Bill Duveneck, KB3KYH, told her that ARRL members have been appealing to the state's lone Member of Congress to support the bill.
"Late last month, ARRL representatives visited Congressman Carney's Washington office and delivered a stack of approximately 50 constituent letters," Craigie recounted. "That, in addition to the in-state contacts, got the congressman's attention, and he agreed to cosponsor."
Craigie pointed out that the 50 letters were all the more impressive in the case of tiny Delaware, where there are fewer than 500 ARRL members. "Do the math!" she said. "If we could get a similar percentage of ARRL members in additional districts to write their members of Congress, the bill's progress would accelerate. Local in-district contacts plus concentrated letter-writing efforts add up to co-sponsorship. Here's to Delaware and all the other districts whose ARRL members are getting the job done for H.R. 1301."
Members are encouraged to contact their member of Congress by writing personalized, signed letters on paper, based on the sample letter, available on the ARRL H.R. 1301 web page. Letters should go to ARRL Headquarters for hand delivery to the appropriate House members. Send letters to ARRL, ATTN H.R. 1301 Grassroots Campaign, 225 Main St, Newington CT 06111.
Sending these letters via ARRL allows Headquarters staff to keep track of how many communications are going to which congressional districts. But more important, Craigie pointed out, when letters are delivered to the Hill in person, there's an opportunity to speak with congressional staffers. "The stack of letters is proof that voters care about the bill," she said. "We have to convince the staff people, so they'll advise the Member of Congress to cosponsor. That's how it works on Capitol Hill."
The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 Introduced in the US Senate
A companion Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 bill has been introduced in the US Senate. Mississippi Republican Sen Roger Wicker introduced S. 1685 on June 25, with Connecticut Democratic Sen Richard Blumenthal as the initial cosponsor. The Senate bill joins an identical measure in the US House, H.R. 1301, which was introduced in March by Illinois Republican Rep Adam Kinzinger. Both measures would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions.
"Introduction of the Senate bill is a huge step toward achieving fairness for amateurs affected by private land-use regulation," said ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN. "For them and for the future of Amateur Radio, I thank everyone who contributed to making this progress. Now let's finish the job!"
Wicker said the bill he introduced with Blumenthal's cosponsorship would allow for transparency and equality in the regulatory process. He said in a June 29 media release that the legislation would ensure that Amateur Radio operators are able to continue to provide "critical communications support at no cost to taxpayers."
"This would be particularly beneficial in Mississippi and other rural states," Wicker said. "During Hurricane Katrina, Mississippians learned firsthand the value of Amateur Radio, and its ability to provide information that could save lives in times of natural disasters."
According to Wicker, the measure "ensures increased access to, and availability of, critical resources and communication tools" to first responders. Added Blumenthal, "We have seen the effectiveness of these systems, and the need to provide these emergency response systems to Americans, regardless of where you live, is evident."
Wicker pointed out that private land-use restrictions prevent many hams from installing functional outdoor antennas. "This bill would call on FCC to apply the reasonable accommodation policy evenly to all types of residential land-use regulations and offer Amateur Radio operators the ability to negotiate with subdivisions that now have restrictions that preclude Amateur Radio antennas completely," he said. "This could be accomplished without taking any jurisdiction away from homeowners associations and would protect neighborhood aesthetics."
S. 1685 has been referred to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, chaired by Sen John Thune (R-SD).
The House version of The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 had attracted support from 83 cosponsors, as of July 1.
FCC Eliminates Amateur Radio Vanity Call Sign Regulatory Fee
The FCC is eliminating the regulatory fee to apply for an Amateur Radio vanity call sign. The change will not go into effect, however, until required congressional notice has been given. This will take at least 90 days. As the Commission explained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Report and Order, and Order (MD Docket 14-92 and others), released May 21, it's a matter of simple economics.
Online Tech Publications You May Want To Read
If you are not reading these online publications you might want to take a look.آ You’ll see and hear about it first here. آ
All Things D(igital)آ Walt Mossberg’s column at WSJ.
WSJ.D Technologyآ The Wall Street Journal’s Technology section
It might be a good idea to visit this page often until you’ve had time toآ peruse these monthly tech publication sites.آ I have created a BOOKMARK category called PC TECH in my browser and placed all these links under that heading for easy retrieval.آ You might find a different way that is more suitableآ for you.آ Each of these online publications are advertiser supported so they remain free to the reader.
If you have no interest in keeping up with what is going on in the tech world then these sites are not for you.آ There are other publications available with online editions butآ access isآ by subscription only.آ These include, PC World, PC Magazine, Computer Shopper and my favorite Maximum PC.آ Of course, QST and CQ Magazine are available online too by membership/subscription only.
One final note .. I have been toying with the idea of getting a Tablet.آ This might be a good reason to own one.آ Crawl up into your favorite easy chair and enjoy reading about what is new and exciting in the world of Tech.
Pat - WA5DVV
FCC "Paperless" Amateur Radio License Policy Now In Effect
Effective February 17, the FCC no longer routinely issues paper license documents to Amateur Radio applicants and licensees. The FCC will continue to provide paper license documents to all licensees who notify the Commission that they prefer to receive one, but what arrives in the mail now will be printed on plain white recycled paper, instead of the more distinctive stock the FCC had been using until recently. All of this is part of the FCC's efforts to streamline procedures and save money.
"We find this electronic process will improve efficiency by simplifying access to official authorizations in ULS, shortening the time period between grant of an application and access to the official authorization, and reducing regulatory costs," the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) said. According to the WTB, the new procedures will save more than $300,000 a year, including staff expenses.
The Commission has maintained for some time now that the official Amateur Radio license authorization is the electronic Universal Licensing System (ULS) record, although the FCC had routinely continued to print and mail hard copy licenses until this week.
In mid-December, the FCC adopted final procedures to provide access to official electronic authorizations, as it had proposed in WT Docket 14-161 as part of its "process reform" initiatives. Under the new procedures, licensees will access their current official authorization ("Active" status only) via the ULS License Manager.
Licensees can also print an official license authorization -- as well as an unofficial "reference copy" -- from the ULS License Manager.
The ULS License Manager now permits licensees to change the default setting, so that the Bureau will print and mail a license document.
ARRL Library Goes Live!
After several months of planning, The ARRL Library is now live! The online Library is a free repository of educational presentations and oral histories. It is aimed at helping to preserve Amateur Radio's history and to educate clubs and individuals.
"This long-term project will be home to what I hope will eventually become one of the largest repositories of Amateur Radio-related papers and presentations, created by and for the Amateur Radio community," said ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. "This is your opportunity to submit material for the betterment and education of all radio amateurs."
Kutzko said the Library will initially consist of three major areas. These will include PowerPoint presentations that may be used at club meetings, for outreach to the general public, or for other public presentations; PDFs of general educational material about Amateur Radio, and oral histories of radio amateurs describing their personal experiences with Amateur Radio.
Current content includes presentations on operating digital modes, HF basics, and impedance matching. While the available material is sparse right now, Kutzko invites all radio amateurs to submit material for consideration -- as long as it relates to Amateur Radio. The Public Relations Committee will vet all submissions, and once a submission is approved, it will be added to The ARRL Library.
"We have lots of tutorials and information on how to create presentations on the site," Kutzko pointed out. "Presenting somebody else's PowerPoint slides is tough," he added, "so we're asking people who submit presentations to make use of PowerPoint's 'Notes' feature, which allows the author to provide more detailed information for the talking points found on each slide, visible only to the presenter. This will make it easier for the presenter to emphasize what the author intended to convey."
Answers to typical questions, as well as information on how to upload content and how to conduct an oral history interview, can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions area.
"Sharing expertise is one of the best things we can do for Amateur Radio," Kutzko said. "I hope you will consider submitting material for the Library and help give back to the entire community."
Ham Corner Library Has Been Updated
Check out the new link in the Ham Corner library. "Chirp" is open source software which helps you program your radio. It will save you a lot of time. Not all radios are supported at this time but you may find yours in the list. The link is available here or in the Ham Corner library.
Thanks to Nick, K5BQJ for the heads up.
Build Your Own Buddipole - AF5AQ Shows You How
If you were able to attend the October 2014 JCARA Club Meeting then you saw a great presentation given by Richard, AF5AQ. He was kind enough to furnish us with an illustrated copy of the building plans for this excellent antenna. You will find his document at this link or in the Ham Corner Library. Enjoy!
ARRL Asks FCC To Continue Issuing Hard Copy Licenses To Those Who Want Them
In comments filed November 5, the ARRL has recommended that the FCC continue to provide paper license documents to Amateur Radio licensees who want them. The League's remarks were in response to an FCC Public Notice (in WT Docket 14-161) that proposed to cease the routine issuance of hard-copy license documents to all Wireless Service licensees, including radio amateurs. While having a paper license document from the FCC to post on the wall of the ham shack has been a tradition, the Commission for several years has considered the "official" Amateur Radio license to be the virtual document residing in its Universal Licensing System (ULS) database.
"The FCC is willing to continue to mail paper licenses to those who request them," ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, has explained. "However, they are making available to licensees -- starting right now -- the actual license to print via the FCC ULS, and it is allowing hams now to opt out of receiving paper licenses from the FCC directly." (See ULS menu below.)
Under the FCC-proposed process, once a license application is granted, the ULS will generate an official electronic license but will no longer mail a hard copy license unless notified that the licensee wishes to receive an official paper license document. Until new procedures are final, however, the Commission will continue to print and mail official paper licenses, unless notified to stop.
"Should the Commission proceed with the Notice proposals," the League said in its comments, "it is ARRL's strong recommendation that the Commission give serious consideration to continuing a default provision for sending an initial paper license document to new licensees in the Amateur Radio Service, along with detailed, simple instructions for how to make the elections set forth in the notice relative to future modified or renewed licenses."
The ARRL pointed out that not everyone has easy access to, or is comfortable using, the ULS and that Amateur Radio licensees may occasionally need an official license document -- for example, when applying for a license upgrade at a VEC exam session or for vehicle call sign license plates.
"If there is not a license printed on distinctive license stock by the Commission, authentication issues arise and the possibility of electronic alteration of a license document is created," the League.
The ARRL also suggested that requiring individuals to go online in order to obtain a license document may prove to be a roadblock to some applicants.
"It is not acceptable to erect barriers to entry for anyone to obtain an Amateur Radio license or to modify a license," the League commented. "ARRL is concerned that there should be, especially for newcomers, an easy, intuitive path to make the election for license delivery method that does not involve ULS access at the outset."
The Notice also has proposed, alternatively, that the FCC send the official electronic license via e-mail upon grant of an application, if the applicant has provided a valid e-mail address on the application form. Licensees not wanting to provide an e-mail address could obtain an official electronic license document directly from the ULS. The Notice further proposes that licensees could notify the Commission that they wish to receive or continue receiving official authorizations on paper.
The ULS License Manager online system now includes a setting that allows licensees to notify the FCC that they want to receive official licenses on paper. Licensees could change the default setting online, so that once an application has been granted, the FCC would mail an official paper license.
Pneumatic Line Launcher
At July's JCARA Club meeting, Richard, AF5AQ presented an excellent program. He demonstrated how to build and use a pneumatic line launcher. This is a neat tool that every Ham can use. If you want to get a line for a dipole, long wire or other antenna over a tree limb, this device will help you do it in short order. Follow the link below for complete illustrated instructions with a parts list.
Thanks Richard for intoducing us to a great DIY project.
Thinking About Adding Solar Power To Your Ham Shack?
By now you know that Richard, AF5AQ is very handy when it comes to creating innovative, useful tools and gadgets for use around the Ham Shack. You never know what he is going to come up with next. At a past Club Meeting he demonstrated how to build and use a Solar Energy system. It sparked a lot of interest (pun intended).
Richard has put together a "leave behind" for those who would like to try a similar project. Illustrated instructions are posted in the file section and are available at the link below. We think you'll get a charge out of it.
Want To Build A New Skyhook?
Max-Gain Systems is a great place to find fiberglass tubing and rods. Has the idea of building a hex beam interested you? They have parts for that project as well. Building a high power linear? Vacuum relays and capacitors are in abundance too. What about RF connectors that will hold up under extreme conditions. I almost forgot to mention that they have black dacron hex rope, guy rings and "dogbone" strain insulators, Check them out. They could be the source for all those parts you've been needing to get your favorite Ham Project underway.
Thanks to Nick, K5BQJ for the link.
Click here for more info.
So, when you have worked all the DX and have grown tired of Rag Chewing, here is something you might want to try. Remember the game Scarbble? If you do you will really enjoy checking this out. Reaarrange the phrase THE MORSE CODE and you will get HERE COME DOTS. We thought you would want to know. :-)
FCC Okays Changes to Amateur Radio Exam Credit
In a wide-ranging Report and Order (R&O) released June 9 that takes various proceedings into consideration, the FCC has revised the Amateur Service Part 97 rules to grant credit for written examination elements 3 (General) and 4 (Amateur Extra) to holders of "expired licenses that required passage of those elements." The FCC will require former licensees - those falling outside the 2-year grace period - to pass Element 2 (Technician) in order to be relicensed, however. The Commission declined to give examination credit to the holder of an expired Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) or to extend its validity to the holder's lifetime.
"Our decision to grant credit for written examination Elements 3 and 4 for expired licenses that required passage [of those elements] will provide some relief for former General, Advanced, and Amateur Extra class licensees," the FCC said, "and is consistent with how we treat expired pre-1987 Technician class licensees who want to reenter the Amateur Service." Pre-1987 Techs can get Element 3 credit, since the Technician and General class written examinations in that era were identical. The Commission said current rules and procedures that apply to expired pre-1987 Technician licenses "are sufficient to verify that an inidual is a former licensee under our new rules."
The Commission said that requiring applicants holding expired licenses to pass Element 2 in order to relicense "will address commenters' concerns about lost proficiency and knowledge, because a former licensee will have to demonstrate that he or she has retained knowledge of technical and regulatory matters." The FCC said the Element 2 requirement also would deter any attempts by someone with the same name as a former licensee to obtain a ham ticket without examination.
In 1997 the FCC, in the face of opposition, dropped a proposal that would have generally allowed examination element credit for expired amateur operator licenses. In the past, the FCC has maintained that its procedures "provide ample notification and opportunity for license renewal" and that retesting did not impose an unreasonable burden. The issue arose again in 2011, with a request from the Anchorage Volunteer Examiner Coordinator.
The FCC pulled back from its own proposal to reduce from three to two the minimum number of volunteer examiners required to proctor an Amateur Radio examination session. The ARRL, the W5YI-VEC and "a clear majority of commenters" opposed the change, the FCC said. The FCC said it found commenters' arguments persuasive that that the use of three VEs "results in higher accuracy and lower fraud that would be the case with two VEs." In a related matter, though, the Commission embraced the use of remote testing methods.
"Allowing VEs and VECs the option of administering examinations at locations remote from the VEs is warranted," the FCC said. The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) in
The FCC declined to address "the mechanics" of remote testing, which, it said, "will vary from location to location and session to session." The Commission said specific rules spelling out how to administer exam sessions remotely "could limit the flexibility of VEs and VECs." The FCC stressed the obligation on the part of VECs and VEs "to administer examinations responsibly" applies "in full" to remote testing.
The FCC amended the rules to provide that VEs administering examinations remotely be required to grade such examinations "at the earliest practical opportunity," rather than "immediately," as the rule for conventional exam sessions requires.
The FCC said it also will make "certain minor, non-substantive amendments to the Amateur Service rules." It is amending Part 97 "to reflect that the Commission amended its rules to eliminate the requirement that certain Amateur Radio Service licensees pass a Morse code examination," the FCC said in the R&O. It also said it was correcting "certain typographical or other errors" in Part 97.
The new rules become effective 30 days after their publication in The Federal Register.
ARRL Announces Free Exam Review Website
The ARRL has launched a new online resource that allows users to take randomly generated practice exams using questions from the actual examination question pool. ARRL Exam Review for Ham Radioق is free, and users do not need to be ARRL members. The only requirement is that users must first set up a site login (this is a different and separate login from your ARRL website user registration).
"The ARRL's online Exam Review is designed to help license examination candidates review their progress as they study," said ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. "As you complete a chapter or section of a license manual, you can turn to the online program to review all of the related questions taken directly from the examination question pool. After answering each question -- right or wrong -- the correct answer is shown, and a page reference to the license manual is displayed for further review."
Inderbitzen said that when you're close to completing your study, you can take as many practice exams as you like. "The practice exams can be taken on-screen or printed. You won't have any surprises on exam day!" he added.
Inderbitzen said users are encouraged to share feedback and suggestions for improvement with the development team, using the online feedback form linked from the Exam Review site. ARRL Exam Review was designed for ARRL by DHF Systems, the creator of ARRL's TravelPlus for Repeatersق software.
Education Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ, pointed out some of ARRL Exam Review features that are intended to help Amateur Radio instructors and schoolteachers. "Instructors have a new online resource at their fingertips," she said. "They can print practice exams anytime and encourage students to review between classes. The site is also mobile-browser friendly, so it can be used on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, at home or in the classroom."
While ARRL Exam Review is being introduced with the new, third edition of the popular Technician study guide, The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, the site also supports practice examinations for General and Amateur Extra. An updated Technician class examination question pool becomes effective July 1, and Exam Review will automatically transition to the new question pool on that date
Radio History: New Website Offers Treasure Trove of Vintage Ham Radio Photos, QSL Cards
The grandson of Thomas "Tom" Russell Gentry, W5RG (SK), has developed a website (click here) that is certain to be of interest to vintage radio enthusiasts. Don Retzlaff, who is not a ham, said his grandfather was among the earliest Amateur Radio operators, getting his license in the early 1920s -- at one point identifying as NU5RG -- and remaining active until he died in 1979. The W5RG call sign has since been reissued.
(At Left: Tom Gentry, W5RG (SK), at his
station in an undated photo.)
He collected QSL cards from other amateur operators all through his life," Retzlaff said of his grandfather. "In recent years I became interested in those cards and my grandfather's hobby."
With the help of his father Donald Retzlaff, W5MIY, Retzlaff located all of the QSLs -- some 5700 in all -- as well as other memorabilia documenting his grandfather's ham radio activities and his time in the Army Air Corps shortly after World War I. He painstakingly scanned both sides of each card along with dozens of photos of now-vintage stations -- many with operators -- that his grandfather had collected and posted them all on a website dedicated to his grandfather and his life as an Amateur Radio operator.
Among other features, the site offers an opportunity to leave comments. "This has definitely been a labor of love," said Retzlaff, who retired this year as a Principal Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at the University of North Texas.
Here is a list of AM Broadcast Band clear channel stations by frequency in Canada, United States, Mexico and the Bahamas.
540 CBK Watrous, Saskatchewan
Try listening after 8:00 p.m. You might be surprised at how many you can hear. Good DXing.
Licensing: New Technician Class Question Pool Released
The NCVEC Question Pool Committee has released the new 2014-2018 Technician Class, Element 2, question pool to the public. This pool will take effect on July 1, 2014, and will remain valid until June 30, 2018. The current Technician question pool, released in 2010, is valid until June 30, 2014. -- Maria Somma, AB1FM, ARRL/VEC Manager
16 Boy Scouts Qualify For Their Radio Merit Badges
Sunday, November 3, 2013, JCARA conducted a 4 hour seminar that included the scout’s participation during a special JCARA Emergency Net called for Training.آ Sixteen scouts ages 11 to 15 years successfully completed all the required items in the Radio Merit Badge Workbook and qualified for the Radio Merit Badge.آ There were 53 items that had to be discussed and required the Boy Scout involvement in the BS Radio Merit Handbook. This included a QSO on the air involving Phonetics and Q-Signals.آ Eight JCARA Amateur Operators supported the net. آ
I want to thank the eight Amateurs who supported the training net:آ
AF5AQ Richard, thanks for the use of your great portable 2 meter ground plane, AF5AQ Richard and N9RRI Chuck, thanks for directions, when someone moved St Martin high school on me.آ All in all a great day, one our club should be proud of!!
Round Island Lighthouse Special Event Is History
On Thursday morning, October 17, 2013, the Jackson County Amateur Radio Association and 599DXA members began preparing the Round Island Lighthouse Park in Pascagoula, MS for their "K5R" Special Event. This event was held from 00:00 UTC October 18 through 23:59 UTC October 20, 2013. To check out photos and additional information click here.
A Lovely Experience From Two Perspectives
Chuck and I were privileged to take part in the Round Island Lighthouse Reactivation Event this past weekend.آ I got some experience in working CW in a very interesting and challenging setting.آ Interesting?آ Yes!آ Making contacts with other hams from many different states, including my first DX on CW, in Ontario, Canada.آ Many signals were fairly clear, a few were very clear, and then there were some that were in the “mud.”آ What a challenge to dig them out, and what a thrill when I succeeded!آ I wanted to get all the pertinent info that I could, including call sign, name, state, and RST numbers (readability, signal strength and tone).آ The necessary information was imparted to them, concerning QSL information, and the fact that info at “www.qrz.com” was good.آ Sometimes, I wanted to stick the radio in my ear, to hear the signals correctly. I imagine we’ve all been there, when hearing a faint station.آ The challenging part was in two ways, and helped me in my concentration skills.
Valerie - N9RQX
And now, my turn.آ Way back in the spring, I promised to put in an article and I kept putting it off, until now.آ This Event that Val described above; is our first one.آ This is not going to be our last, Lord willing.آ I may not have gotten on the air but I did the logging for Val and had a lot of fun doing it!آ As she called out the call signs, I logged them and helped her to remember them when she returned their contacts back to them.آ Both of us were very busy before the Event and afterward, helping to put up and then take down the shelters. آ During the Event, Val was able to hold her Friday night Net right at her CW Station, making it easier for her to continue, “Pounding the Brass” right after the Net!آ Now, as I look back, I suppose I could’ve gotten someone to take over, doing Val’s logging, so I could have made contacts myself but we have worked as a team for over 27 years, it would be hard to change now.آ Don’t you worry, I’ve made HF contacts at home and I’ve had fun doing it.آ We spent approximately 12 hours “on the job” and instead of driving home to George County we spent the nights at a Motel in Moss Point ق very convenient to the Event Site and well worth it.آ Taking a shower is so refreshing after 12 hours!آ As a Club family, we worked together very well, even letting Val get involved in putting the shelter pipes together.آ We need, as a Club, to do something like this every quarter.آ It can only strengthen our Club.آ There!آ That’s my perspective!.
Chuck - N9RRI
DX: Advice to Avoid DXpedition Confusion
"DXers do not depend on the cluster spots to tell you who is on what frequency," McClenny says. He notes that it's fine to use DX spots as a reference point, but to make sure you know for certain which station you are hearing/calling, so that you log the correct call sign. Don't assume.
Also, DXpeditions all work split and typically listen a few kilohertz up. Pay attention to your VFOs, and don't transmit on top of the DX station. "If someone does transmit (calls) on top of a DXpedition, you are better off not getting involved and making things worse," McClenny advises. "Don't be a DX pileup policeman!"
He also has some advice for DXpedition operators. "DXpeditioners, before firing up on a frequency make sure your transmit frequency is clear. Listen around to make sure some other DXpedition is not too close to your transmit or receiving frequencies." And, he adds, "Please send your call sign often!"
McClenny says that ultimately the DXpedition operator is responsible for the pileup. "Remember it takes two to make a QSO, and we DXers at home and those on DXpeditions have certain responsibilities to keep the confusion at a minimum, especially with all the DXpeditions that will be QRV [on the air] during this month."
Computer Savvy - The Difference Between http:// and https://
Most of you may know this, but for those of you who don't, it's good to be aware.
Once in a while, there is something that comes down the pike that is of real importance. What is the difference between http and https? Don't know how many of you are aware of this difference, but it is worth sending to any who do not.
The main difference between http:// and https:// is that it is all about keeping you secure. HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. The S (big surprise) stands for "Secure." If you visit a website or web page, and look at the address in the web browser, it will likely begin with the following: http://. This means that the website is talking to your browser using the regular "unsecured" HTML language. In other words, it is possible for someone to "eavesdrop" on your computer's conversation with the website.
If you fill out a form on the website, someone might see the information you send. This is why you should never ever enter your credit card number in an http website! But if the web address begins with https://, that basically means your computer is talking to the website in a secure code that no one can evesdrop on.
If a website ever asks you to enter your credit card information, you should automatically look to see if the web address begins with https://. If it doesn't, you should NEVER enter sensitive information...such as a credit card number, SS #, etc.
Thanks to Joe, K5OS for passsing this info along.
Notes From An Old Ham
Hurricane season is upon us. We as Amateurs have contributed many times over by providing communications before and after a big storm approaches our coastline. Nick Conner, K5BQJ has been through many of these over the years. He has taken the time to jot down a few notes based on his past experiences. Read and enjoy his article by clicking here. "Notes From An Old Ham."
Check Out Ham Corner
There is a new file available in the Ham Corner section of our Web Site. The file is Coax Loss Calculator. It is a cool way for you to compare various brands of cable for loss at popular operating frequencies. You can enter your transmitter output power and see the loss at any given frequency. You can customize the tool to show the actual output power at the antenna connector. It is a great way to choose the right coax for your operating preferences whether it be HF, VHF or UHF.
Thanks to Nick, K5BQJ for furnishing the link.
Patrick Fagan - WA5DVV
My Power Plan (Or How To Not Burn Down The Shack)
When I became a ham a couple of years ago I started looking at how I was going to distribute power to all my gear. LOL at that time all my gear was a Yaesu FT-100d with a 30 amp power supply. I looked at power distribution strips from MFJ, West Mountain, and several other companies. I noticed that they all had one thing in common, high price tags. Well this did not set too well with me because I am a frugal person (read that as cheap). So I started researching how other hams were dealing with the issue and I discovered the world of Anderson Powerpoles. I thought to myself that these things were a home brewers dream. There were plans all over the internet on building devices and adapters with them. I also noticed that most people involved with ARES and RACES were using these. In fact there is a RACES standard configuration.
I did a search on Ebay and found tons of people selling the powerpoles so I invested in a few. Well let me tell you something, when you start building and making adapters with these things it gets addictive real fast. You walk around the shack and think, "what else can I put these on?"
Since I first started using them my gear list has grown to include not only the Yaesu but now also a Tentec Omni 6+, a Icom v8000, and an automatic antenna tuner. Plus I have set up a solar array (90 watts of the Harbor Freight panels) and use powerpoles to distribute that power to my in shack LED lighting, 12v fan, and radio gear. I have power distribution boxes, 12v wall outlets, and adapters for everything under the sun. Every piece of equipment I have can now be powered by any power source in my shack because they all use the same powerpole configuration. If I need to operate from emergency power all I have to do is clip an adapter onto a battery and plug my gear into that. If you like to tinker and build stuff then Anderson powerpoles are for you, they are like legos and erector sets for adults. Try your hand at making something with them, you will enjoy the feeling of I made this.
I am including some links I found that show how to install them and many examples of things you can make for the shack.
Richard Warner - AF5AQ
Computer Security - Be Prepared
We all know somebody that has been hacked at some time or another. Hacked or hacker is kind of an incorrect term. A hacker is somebody who is fluent in programming and programming languages. They hack a program to make it better or to make it do something they want it to. Sometimes they hack a program just so they can use it for free. Most hackers are not malicious, misguided maybe, but normally not malicious. Hackers are a curious lot, they hack into programs just to see if they can do it.
What really happens to us as home computer users is that we get cracked. A cracker much like a safe cracker or burglar breaks into your system with the intent to steal your data or to wreak havoc on your system. Why do crackers do what they do? Financial gain of course! They steal your info and sell it, mainly to identity thieves but also to companies that specialize in making and selling lists to the dreaded tele-marketers and spam advertisers. Unlike hackers, crackers are malicious. They create havoc in your computer, most of the time just to cover their tracks but other times just because they can.
It is sad to say but the only real
way to keep your computer safe is to not ever hook it up to the
internet or even to other computers via a network.
Preparedness for your home computer is knowing what you dealing with and having the right tools. It also involves following a few do's and don'ts. Like anything else in life it involves unlearning bad habits and learning new good habits.
Here is a list of tools that I as a computer tech use to clean computers. And the best part about these tools are that they are free to download from doenloads.com which is sponsored by cnet.com.
1: Glary Utilities
Richard Warner - AF5AQ
Computer Definitions Every HAM Should Know
Trojan or Trojan horse:
Tracking cookie or just cookie:
Computer Security Software:
A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet, especially intranets. All messages entering or leaving the intranet pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria.>
A good site on computer security:
A small list of security software that is available for download from Cnet.com. Best of all they are free.
1: Glary Utilities
Some do's and don'ts for home computer security:
Richard Warner - AF5AQ
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