CQ CQ Field Day!

The Montgomery Amateur Radio Club cordially invites you to the annual Field Day Operations.  What is Field Day? “Field Day is ham radio’s open house. Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill, and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.” If you are in the Montgomery Alabama area please stop by and learn about what us Hams do!
Continue reading “CQ CQ Field Day!”

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Turn the Bands Green

Since I am home and recuperating from the hospital I thought what better way to relax than to play on the radio.  Today being St. Patrick’s Feast Day there is a contest going on called Turn The Bands Green.

From the website for the contest: “Many people worldwide, annually celebrate St Patricks Day by going green, with many amateurs running special event stations as part of the festivities. St Patricks Day is a celebration of an Irish legend and national holiday on air with our friends and family, whilst promoting on-air activity through a fun award, and a chance to show what an enjoyable hobby amateur radio is.”

The event runs over the full 48 hour period over the 17th March worldwide
(12 noon on the 16th March to 12 noon on the 18th March UTC)

The St Patrick Day Award is 48 hrs of fun noncompetitive on-air celebration of St Patricks Day. As we say “Go Green for St Patricks”.

Now, remember that Saint Patrick was Italian so this Italian will try and make as many contacts as possible during this event (so long as the propagation is with me). I will be operating on HF probably 20M or 40M in the General Class portion of the bands.

ARRL Wake Up!

This is my response to the ARRL:

I am a member and an accredited VE, I am against this and will be sure to inform the FCC about this if they open it for comment. Part of the incentive to upgrade is the opening of HF to General Class.

As a Technician you start to learn all that theory you learned to pass your exam. Gives you good operating practice. For myself it was in part (a huge part) of why I upgraded to General. Now as a General and have played on HF I’ve noticed that most of the good DX is in the Extra portion of the band. So I’m studying to upgrade again; and once I’m done with getting my Extra I will learn CW.

We have these incentives already in place, do not try to re invent the wheel, de KC1FLG.

The issue that sparked that:

ARRL has asked the FCC to expand HF privileges for Technician licensees to include limited phone privileges on 75, 40, and 15 meters, plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. The FCC has not yet invited public comment on the proposals, which stem from recommendations put forth by the ARRL Board of Directors’ Entry-Level License Committee, which explored various initiatives and gauged member opinions in 2016 and 2017.

This action will enhance the available license operating privileges in what has become the principal entry-level license class in the Amateur Service,” ARRL said in its Petition. “It will attract more newcomers to Amateur Radio, it will result in increased retention of licensees who hold Technician Class licenses, and it will provide an improved incentive for entry-level licensees to increase technical self-training and pursue higher license class achievement and development of communications skills.”

Further thoughts on this (after I submitted my reply) is that the FCC Part 97 Rules specifically 97.1b-97.1d where not taken into account here. This section spells out the incentives in our general purpose.

97.1   Basis and purpose.

The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.

(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur’s proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.

(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.

(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.

(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur’s unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

I’ve seen some saying change is good. However change for change sake is not good. Should we just throw out Part 97 Rules and let anyone get on the bands? No! We have a good way of doing things and a good reason too. Leave it as it is!

Having been an active ham and being able to play on HF outside the small window as a Tech (operating at Field Day and at club station) I really got the bug to upgrade. More should be done at the local level. Clubs need to wake up and really encourage their Technicians to further their training.

Part 97.1b-d shows a good reason why we have our incentives. I know my club is getting better at including lower level license in things…the biggest problem we face is we have a membership role of over 150 but it is only ever the same 20/25 people doing anything and Lord forbid you put out a call for volunteer. We should do what was done to us in the service when it came to volunteering!

New Ham Frustration

Are you a new Amateur Radio Operator? Have you been frustrated with the hobby or just don’t know where to begin? Dave Casler offers some great advice to newly minted Hams!

Proud

Snowie and Padre Eddie (KC1FLG)

Today at the bi-monthly VE Test Exam for Amateur Radio sponsored by PCARS at the Melbourne Library. Snowie having completed taking the Element 2 (Technician) Class this past Thursday, sat today for the Licensing exam.  The other student from the Technician Class also passed his Tech Exam today.  I am a proud and happy Amateur Radio Instructor.

Snowie’s CSCE

I’m so very proud of Snowie, she not only passed the Technician Class with only one incorrect answer but she also passed the General Class exam. She is now waiting for the FCC to issue her call sign.

Padre Tatro – KC1FLG
with VE Credential.

Now it is going to be a race to see who gets their Amateur Extra Class (Element 4 the highest class Amateur Radio License) first, then the next competition will be who will learn CW first!

Melbourne Hamfest

CQ! CQ! CQ!  This is KC1FLG.  Today marks the start of the:
52nd Annual Melbourne HAMFEST
and
ARRL State Convention
Platinum Coast Amateur Radio Society (PCARS)
October 13 & 14 2017
Note: The Hamfest is Friday and Saturday ONLY!

Friday: 1 PM – 7PM Saturday: 9AM – 3PM
Setup: Fri, Oct 13th – 9AM to 1PM, Sat, Oct 14th 7:00AM to 9:00AM
Admission Tickets: $7 and Age 12 and Under Free.

· GREAT Outside TAILGATE Area
$10.00 per designated parking space – first come, first served after 12:00 Noon Friday. Tailgate areas not designated as regular parking are $2.00/linear foot, good for both days. These areas will only be assigned by special request. Come early – open at 6:00AM on Saturday! Admission tickets required in tailgate area. Continue reading “Melbourne Hamfest”

Revised ARRL Frequency Chart

An updated ARRL frequency chart is now available for printing and downloading at http://www.arrl.org/graphical-frequency-allocations. The chart has been updated to include our new bands at 2,200 and 630 meters.

Band Charts PDFs:
11×7 Color

8.5×11 Color

8.5×11 Black and White

The Ham Code

$_35

The Radio Amateur is

CONSIDERATE…He/[She] never knowingly operates in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.

LOYAL…He/[She] offers loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs, the IARU Radio Society in his/[her] country, through which Amateur Radio in his/[her] country is represented nationally and internationally.

PROGRESSIVE…He/[She] keeps his/[her] station up to date.  It is well-built and efficient.  His/[Her] operating practice is above reproach.

FRIENDLY…He/[She] operates slowly and patiently when requested; offers friendly advice and counsel to beginners; kind assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the marks of the amateur spirit.

BALANCED…Radio is a hobby, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.

PATRIOTIC…His/[Her] station and skills are always ready for service to country and community.

– adapted from the original Amateur’s Code, written by Paul M. Segal, W9EEA, in 1928

2017 Hamfest Maine

It’s almost that time a year again… HamFest time, so mark your calendars!  What you haven’t heard of HamFest, it’s the next best thing since sliced bread?! Okay this is what it is: ” a hamfest is a meeting of people interested in Amateur Radio. Hamfests offer exhibits, forums, and flea-markets for Amateur Radio operators or “hams.” (ARRL.org).  If you find yourself in Milo, Maine this August, please stop and see my friends from PARC at their HamFest. Mark your calendar’s for Saturday 5 August 2017 and join the PARC at the Kiwanis building in Milo Maine.  

What happens…well besides finding radio equipment…there are events to introduce the public to Ham Radio and even get on the air.  You can also take your Technician, General or Extra Class License Exam at a HamFest (exams start at 09:00 don’t be late)!

This year my friends at PARC will be featuring live music by The Junction Express.  They are set to perform from 11:00-13:00.

ARRL Surprise

I had a wonderful surprise in today’s mail from the ARRL!

I am now a Volunteer General Class V.E., I have to say I love my hobby more and more each day, I’m learning so much. My accreditations thus far: General Class Operator, Licensed Technician and General Class Instructor and ARES member. 

What Ham Radio Operators Do

One of my dearest friends and followers asked me to explain what we do as Ham/Amateur Radio Operators. So this post is devoted to the subject of Ham Radio and what we do.

First let me define Amateur Radio per the ARRL: “Amateur Radio (ham radio) is a popular hobby and service that brings people, electronics and communication together. People use ham radio to talk across town, around the world, or even into space, all without the Internet or cell phones. It’s fun, social, educational, and can be a lifeline during times of need. Although Amateur Radio operators get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology and operating principles, and pass an examination for the FCC license to operate on radio frequencies known as the “Amateur Bands.” These bands are radio frequencies allocated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use by ham radio operators.”

There are three license classes. The entry level license is the Technician Class, the mid-level license is the General Class (I’m a General Class holder) and the final class is the Extra Class.

We are inventors, innovators, scientists, and community service volunteers.

Part of being a Ham Radio operator is building antennas, transceivers (a device that can both transmit and receive communications, in particular a combined radio transmitter and receiver), test equipment, CW (Morse Code) Keys, and many other things. Ham Radio has many facets, many hobbies with in the hobby.

Hams are huge supporters of our Military, in fact we as Hams volunteer with MARS (Military Auxiliary Radio System). “Army MARS is a Department of Defense sponsored program which utilizes Amateur Radio operators to contribute to the mission of the Department of the Army. Army MARS members must have access to HF radio equipment, file a monthly report, and participate a minimum of 12 hours total, including a minimum 6 hours on HF radio each quarter. DoD Directives 4650.2 (26 Jan 98), 3025.1 (15 Jan 93) MSCA, 3025.15, 18 Feb 97 and AR 25-6, 21 Apr 86, defines the primary mission for MARS is to provide DOD–sponsored emergency communications on a local, national, and international basis as an adjunct to existing DA communications. What does this really mean? Army MARS members will be assigned, trained and prepared to provide essential emergency communications support via HF radio to the United States Army, and other Federal Agencies in response to natural and man-made disasters. Army MARS members support America’s “First Responders.”

We participate in contests. The biggest reasons we contest or DX is to keep our emergency skills sharp. Contents can be in the local county or the world. The biggest contest day for Ham Radio is Field Day! Click here to read about my experience last year.

“You can communicate from the top of a mountain, your home or behind the wheel of your car, all without relying on the Internet or a cell phone network You can take radio wherever you go! In times of disaster, when regular communications channels fail, hams can swing into action assisting emergency communications efforts and working with public service agencies. For instance, the Amateur Radio Service kept New York City agencies in touch with each other after their command center was destroyed during the 9/11 tragedy. Ham radio also came to the rescue during Hurricane Katrina, where all other communications failed, and the devastating flooding in Colorado in 2013.

You can communicate with other hams using your voice and a microphone, interface a radio with your computer or tablet to send data, text or images, or Morse code, which remains incredibly popular. You can even talk to astronauts aboard the International Space Station, talk to other hams through one of several satellites in space, or bounce signals off the moon and back to Earth!”

I participate in SkyWarn. This past Hurricane season, during Hurricane Matthew I manned a shelter, I was the link between the shelter and the Emergency Operations Center for my county. I am also a QSL Card collector; a QSL card is a written confirmation of a two-way radio communication between two amateur radio stations.

Are you familiar with the Great Balloon Festival in Albuquerque New Mexico, the Boston Marathon? You will find Ham Radio Operators there providing communications for the events. While I lived in Maine and was a member of the Piscataquis Amateur Radio Club I was on the team that provided communications for two big events. The Piscataquis River Race and the Sebec River Race.

We even have some celebrities that are hams…some unfortunately are now Silent Keys.  Here is a list of them:  Patty Loveless KD4WUJ,  Walter Cronkite KB2GSD (SK), Worth Gruelle W4ZG (SK), Burl Ives KA6HVA (SK), Joe Walsh WB6ACU, Chet Atkins W4CGP (SK), Stu Cook N6FUP, Stewart Granger (Actor James Stewart) N6KGB (SK), Garry Shandling KD6OY (SK), Cardinal Roger M Mahony W6QYI, Prince Yousuf Al-Sabah 9K2CS, King Bhumibol Adulyadej HS1A  (SK), Queen Noor of Jordan JY1NH, Bob Heil K9EID, Larnell Harris WD4LZC, Marlon Brando KE6PZH/FO5GJ  held a US and French Polynesia License (SK) and last but certainly not least James E Damron N8TMW.

I’m a Rag Chewer (talker), now that I have my General I’m also going to try my luck at contesting and digital modes. Yes, we can even do Ham Radio on the computer as well as on the internet. You can send pictures, television, and even email over Ham Radio. We can talk via satellites  and even bounce a signal off the Northern or Southern Lights and even a comet! I told you we are innovators!  Did you know that a requirement of being a U.S. Astronaut is being at least a General Class Ham?  Now you do!

Well that’s it in a nut shell.  Now how about you join me in this adventure.  It’s not to difficult and is a great hobby!  Click here or simply ask me and I will get you started!

This is KC1FLG/AG bidding you 73!  Hope to hear you one day soon on the radio waves!

Congress You’re Fired!

Senator Nelson you sir are a cad. You do not speak for this Floridian thanks to you we have to start all over again!  This Amateur Radio Operator will vote you out next election!

From the Facebook group 100W and a Wire.

12/09/2016
The Amateur Radio Parity Act, H.R. 1301, died an unbefitting death as the 114th Congress of the United States drew to a close today. After having passed the House of Representatives on a unanimous vote, the bill stalled in the Senate due to the intervention of only one member, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

Over the course of the past year, Sen. Nelson has received thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls from concerned constituents asking for his support of H.R. 1301. Numerous meetings were held with his senior staff in an effort to move the legislation forward. Negotiations, which led to an agreement with the national association of homeowner’s associations and publicly supported by CAI and ARRL, were brushed aside by Sen. Nelson as irrelevant.

In a final meeting with the Senator’s staff earlier this week, it became clear that no matter what was said or done, the Senator opposed the bill and refused to allow it to move forward. Unfortunately, as the bill did not receive floor time, the only manner in which it could get passed in the Senate would be through a process that required unanimous consent, which means no one opposes the bill.

The legislation will be reintroduced in both houses of Congress after the 115th Session begins in January. We have already been in contact with the sponsors of the bill to allow for an early introduction, which will give us more time to obtain success. We believe that we can get his bill adopted given the fact that we were inches away from crossing the goal line. We will continue to need the support of the membership, particularly in Florida, as we go forward through the next year.

For more information please see this article from the ARRL for further information.