The FCC has invited public comments on ARRL’s 2018 Petition for Rule Making, now designated as RM-11828, which asks 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. Interested parties have 30 days to comment. The Technician enhancement proposals stemmed from the recommendations of 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.”
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) International delegates were pleased to learn last week that an ARISS plan is under consideration by NASA’s Deep Space Gateway (DSG) program. NASA Gateway Utilization Manager John Guidi, ex-KF4YUI, informed those attending the annual ARISS International in-person meeting, held in College Park, Maryland, that ARISS is the only noncommercial entity whose ideas are under study by the program. The ARISS plan focuses on Amateur Radio communication, including optical communication channels, as well as equipment development, team cooperation, education, and public outreach.
“Naturally, because the NASA Deep Space Gateway program is so new and has yet to be fleshed out, ARISS needs to follow NASA’s lead in being open to how the DSG program flows,” ARRL ARISS-US Delegate Rosalie White, K1STO, explained. “ARISS’s first moves need to be loose enough that the plan, development, and execution can go in ways that dovetail with what is needed.”
“My best day as a teacher!” That was educator Kathryn Craven’s exuberant reaction following a successful October 22 ham radio contact between International Space Station (ISS) crew member Serena Auñón-Chancellor, KG5TMT, and youngsters at Ashford School in Ashford, Connecticut. ARRL Headquarters provided equipment for the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)-sponsored event, and several ARRL Headquarters staffers were among those assisting in setting up the station, working with teachers, students, and the media, shooting photos, and offering other support.
The entire student body of the kindergarten-through-eighth grade school in northeastern Connecticut sat in rapt attention during the event, as a dozen of their classmates spoke directly to Auñón-Chancellor, who was at the helm of NA1SS on the ISS. Using ARRL’s equipment, members of the Eastern Connecticut Amateur Radio Association (ECARA) set up the Earth station (KZ1M), with technical and hands-on help from W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, who also assisted in summoning NA1SS for the approximately 10-minute pass.
The FCC has adopted guidelines and procedures for evaluating environmental effects of RF emissions. The new guidelines incorporate two tiers of exposure limits based on whether exposure occurs in an occupational or "controlled" situation, or whether the general population is exposed or exposure is in an "uncontrolled" situation.
Under the new FCC rules, some amateurs need to perform routine station evaluations to ensure that their stations comply with the RF exposure rules. This can be as simple as running an online calculator to determine the minimum safe distance between any part of your antenna and areas where people might be exposed to RF energy from your station. Although amateurs can make measurements of their stations, evaluations can also be done by calculation.
To make this easy for amateurs, ARRL now provides an RF exposure calculator on its RF Exposure page. To use the calculator, enter your transmit peak-envelope power (PEP) and operating mode, and answer the questions about the maximum amount of time you might be transmitting. The calculator will give you the minimum distance people must be from your antenna and human exposure.
You can print the results and keep them in your station records. There is no requirement to send your results to the FCC.
[UPDATED on 10/22/2018 @ 1707 UTC] “Signals on this end are loud,” was the assessment as the VP6D Ducie Island DXpedition got under way over the weekend. “Pileups have been deep, energetic and generally well behaved. Thank you.” So far, the main priority has been setting up the CW camp and more antennas.
“Over the next 2 to 3 days, we’ll complete the antenna work, including 30, 80, and 160,” a Team Ducie update said. “Because of the undergrowth, stringing radials is a challenge.” Currently erected are four-squares for 40 meters and vertical-dipole arrays for the high bands. SteppIR beams are scheduled to go up later today (October 22). DX Summit indicates activity on 160 through 15 meters, SSB, CW, and FT8, with US stations reporting success on Top Band. “We are progressing well,” the update said. The DXpedition in an update said that some callers are using the wrong version of FT8. The correct version is WSJT-X 1.9.1 in DX mode, in “hound” configuration. reporting success on Top Band. “We are progressing well,” the update said.
ARRL members may visit the Learning Network website to register for upcoming sessions and to view previously recorded sessions. The schedule is subject to change.
How to Get Started in Amateur Radio Contesting: Anthony Luscre, K8ZT
Why do hams contest? How would I benefit from contesting? What do I need to get started in contesting? What are good contests for beginners? Where can I learn more? This session will answer all of these questions and more.
Tuesday, November 3, 2020, 10 AM PST/1 PM EST (1800 UTC)
Learn and Have Fun with Morse Code: Howard Bernstein, WB2UZE, and Jim Crites, W6JIM
Morse code, or "CW," is a popular ham radio operating mode. Learning CW does not have to be an arduous or lonely experience. Learn, practice, and enjoy CW with the methods used by the Long Island CW Club.
Thursday, December 17, 2020, 5 PM PST/8 PM EST (0100 UTC on Friday, December 18)