Friday, August 11, 2017

CQ White Paper - Pros and Cons of the Amateur Radio Parity Act



A CQ White Paper
August 2017

 


 Pros and Cons on
The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017
(H.R. 555/S. 1534)

__________________________

Background
Radio amateurs who live in housing developments controlled by homeowners' associations (HOAs) or on property subject to Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs or deed restrictions) are facing increasing restrictions on putting up outdoor antennas or even operating at all. In addition, a growing number of new housing developments fall into the HOA/CC&R category.

For the past several years, the ARRL has been working hard in Washington to persuade Congress to pass legislation directing the FCC to write rules that would provide amateurs with the same rights to operate and erect outdoor antennas that it provides to hams living elsewhere (so-called PRB-1 rights). The "Amateur Radio Parity Act" was first introduced in 2014 in an effort to achieve this goal.


The Amateur Radio Parity Act
The original bill was strongly opposed by the Community Associations Institute (CAI), the trade organization
representing homeowners' associations. The ARRL worked with CAI to find compromise language that would satisfy major HOA concerns while still providing hams with the ability to set up reasonable outdoor antennas at HOA/CC&R-controlled homes. We applauded those efforts at the time. The revised bill passed the House of Representatives unanimously in 2016 but was not voted on by the Senate prior to the end of the last Congress.

The amended language was re-introduced in the current Congress as H.R. 555 in the House of Representatives <http://bit.ly/2vOn8Jq>, where it again passed unanimously; and is now being considered in the Senate as bill S. 1534. The ARRL is making a major push to encourage its members and other hams to contact their senators and urge support of the bill.


Concerns Arise
However, as some hams with legal and legislative backgrounds began reading the bill closely, they pointed up significant concerns that the bill's revised language may hurt hams as much as it might help them, including adding new requirements to seek permission to put up antennas and the possibility that new or existing  "stealth" antennas might become violations of federal law.

We published a summary of those concerns, as set forth by former FCC attorney Jim Talens, N3JT, in a "Food for Thought" article in the August 2017 issue of CQ, titled "Why H.R. 555 is Not Good (Enough) for Hams." Click here to view.

Within a week of its publication, the ARRL responded (without specifically mentioning the Talens CQ article) with a "Frequently Asked Questions" document claiming to "debunk" the "myths" raised by Talens, titled "The Amateur Radio Parity Act: Setting the Record Straight." The League posted it online at <http://bit.ly/2upYEqA>, and ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, e-mailed all League members, urging them to read the document and to contact their senators if they hadn't already done so.

Jim Talens quickly issued a rebuttal to the League's "FAQ," pointing out what he sees as the flaws in the ARRL's reasoning. Click here to view his complete rebuttal. Talens was joined in rebutting the League's comments by communications attorney Fred Hopengarten, K1VR. Fred is the author of the ARRL book, Antenna Zoning for the Radio Amateur, and is considered by many to be today's leading authority on amateur radio antenna law. Fred says he is a strong supporter of the ARRL but opposes this bill. Click here to view his statement.

Your Turn . . . 
We urge all amateurs to:
a) Read the bill: <http://bit.ly/2vOn8Jq>
b) Read N3JT's "Food for Thought" article: Click here to view
c) Read the ARRL's response: <http://bit.ly/2upYEqA>
d) Read N3JT's rebuttal: Click here to view
e) Read K1VR's rebuttal: Click here to view 
f) Make up your own mind about whether you support this bill as written or whether it needs more work before final Congressional consideration.


This white paper provided as a service to the amateur community by CQ magazine (www.cq-amateur-radio.com) to assure that all valid concerns are heard on this issue of major importance to the future of amateur radio. 


CQ Amateur Radio 17 West John Street, Hicksville, NY 11801 www.cq-amateur-radio.com

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Marty Sullaway, KC1CWF, Named 2017 Young Ham of the Year


Marty Sullaway, KC1CWF, of Newton, Massachusetts, has been selected as the 2017 Bill Pasternak WA6ITF Memorial Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year. Marty,15, is the son of Robert  Sullaway and Gail Schulman. CQ is a corporate co-sponsor of the Young Ham of the Year award.
2017 Newsline Young Ham of the Year Marty Sullaway,
KC1CWF

Marty was first licensed as a Technician in November 2014. He quickly worked his way to General earning his ticket in February 2015. He became an Extra Class operator this past February.

Marty is co-founder of the Eastern Massachusetts Contesting Club and trustee of its call sign KR1DX. Marty created the club to get more young people involved in amateur radio in the suburban Boston area. He has helped teach and mentor many young people, sparking interest in HF contesting. Marty is a member of the Yankee Clipper Contest Club and very active in the contest community. He currently serves on the American Radio Relay League Contest Advisory Committee. KC1CWF's efforts in contesting have netted many accolades, including the 2015 CQWW SSB USA "Rookie" plaque. His score of 1,312,305 operating from K1VR still stands as the CQWW rookie record.

Marty also is QSL manager for three stations in the Yukon and is a board member of the Clay Center Amateur Radio Club which promotes amateur radio at the Dexter/Southfield School in Brookline, Massachusetts. He runs his own podcast, presented at the 2016 Dayton Hamvention Youth Forum, and appears regularly on the W5KUB "Amateur Radio Roundtable" webcast. He even serves as a back-up studio when technical issues arise.
Marty also is involved in amateur radio public service activities, including serving as a net control operator for the Boston Marathon. He is also the owner of his own consulting company, "Newtown Mass Tech," where he handles such tasks as home computer installation to VOIP connections for clients throughout the Boston area.
Marty is entering his sophomore year at Meridian Academy in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, this fall where he has been active in the Model United Nations program for four years and has earned multiple awards, including best delegate. Marty is currently vice president of his  United Synagogue Youth chapter and is involved in an Israeli folk dance group.

His nominator, CQ Kit-Building Editor Joe Eisenberg, K0NEB, described Marty as an "extraordinary young man," noting that "Marty has accomplished things at age 15 that many hams take years to do. And he is only beginning."

Marty will be recognized during the Huntsville Hamfest on August 19 in the Von Braun Center, Huntsville Alabama.

The Young Ham of the Year Award was inaugurated by William Pasternak, WA6ITF, in 1986. Upon his passing in 2015, Bill's name was added to the award as a memorial to his commitment to recognizing the accomplishments of young people to the amateur radio service.

In addition the Amateur Radio Newsline, CQ magazine and Yaesu USA are primary sponsors, along with Heil Sound Ltd. and Radiowavz Antenna Company.

Friday, July 28, 2017

FCC General Counsel to be Named Commissioner

UPDATE: The nominations of both Brendan Carr and Jessica Rosenworcel were confirmed on August 3 by the U.S. Senate, bringing the FCC back to full strength.


(FCC Photo)
President Trump has announced that he plans to nominate FCC General Counsel Brendan Carr to a seat on the Commission. Carr is a key ally of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, according to Newsline, and a strong proponent of Pai's efforts to roll back the "net neutrality" rules that had been approved when the commission was under Democratic control. 
 
Carr's nomination would need Senate confirmation, as does the already pending nomination of former Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to return to the Commission.

ARRL Launches Lobbying Drive for Passage of Parity Act


ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, is urging all League members to contact their U.S. Senators, encouraging them to support S. 1534, the Senate version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act, which already passed the House as H.R. 555. The bill is intended to loosen restrictions on amateur radio antennas in deed-restricted and/or homeowner association-controlled developments. 

[Not everyone feels this bill is a good deal for hams - see N3JT's "Food for Thought: Why H.R. 555 is Not Good (Enough) for Hams" in our August issue. - ed.]

Dateline DX Assn. Picked for Baker Island DXpedition


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has selected the Dateline DX Association to conduct a
Two of Baker Island's signature brown boobies
(US Fish and Wildlife Service photo)
DXpedition to Baker Island at a date to be determined. Several groups had applied to the FWS Pacific Islands Refuges and Monuments Office after the service determined earlier this year that amateur radio operation on the ecologically-sensitive island "is a use that assists in management of the resources indirectly" by bringing public attention and support to the Baker Island National Wildlife Refuge. 


According to the ARRL Letter, the DDXA previously conducted DXpeditions on neighboring Howland Island (2009) and Wake Island (1998). The group will be allowed on Baker for up to 14 days, with a maximum of 12 days for radio operation. Baker and Howland Islands (KH1) are #4 on ClubLog's DXCC Most-Wanted List.

Project Amelia Earhart Flight in Final Phase


Part of WB6RQN's flight path
(Courtesy Project Amelia Earhart website)
Howland Island is believed to be the last place aviatrix Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan attempted to land on their ill-fated 1937 attempt to fly around the world. Earhart fan and radio amateur Brian Lloyd, WB6RQN, took off June 1 to try to follow Earhart's route and make a full circumnavigation. According to the ARRL, Lloyd began the final phase of his flight on July 26, leaving Honolulu for Oakland, California and eventually ending at the Amelia Earhart Museum in Atchison, Kansas. His flight from Pago Pago to Hawaii included a flyover of Howland Island, where he dropped a floral wreath in Earhart's and Noonan's memory.

IOTA Launching New Website


Speaking of islands, the Islands on the Air (IOTA) program is expected to launch a new website in September as part of its ongoing move to operating independently of the Radio Society of Great Britain, the program's original sponsor. 

At press time in late July, the URL of the new website was not yet available, but the ARRL reported that once it goes online, anyone going to the old <www.rsgbiota.org> address would be automatically sent to the new site.

ARRL Adopts Many CQ Contest Rules as "Best Practices"


The ARRL's Contest Branch has adopted a series of rule changes and clarifications to League-sponsored contests that branch manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, says "reflect current 'best practices' in the contest community." Many of them echo changes in CQ contest rules over recent years, including a 5-day log submission deadline for HF contests, public posting of all submitted logs, encouragement to list specific frequencies for all contacts and encouragement to use a web app for uploading log files.

In addition, clubs will be required to submit up-to-date membership lists before a contest and only logs from listed members will be applied to club competition scores; and operators of remotely-controlled stations in the U.S. or its possessions will be required to hold a U.S. license with sufficient privileges for all operations. 

Additional information is available at <http://bit.ly/2eUfsPb>.

FCC to Again Ask About Felony Convictions


The FCC is rolling out a revised application form this month for several licensed services, including the amateur service. According to the ARRL Letter, the new Form 605 will ask all applicants whether they have ever been convicted of or pled guilty to a felony. Applicants answering "yes" will also need to provide explanations and their applications will be placed in the "pending file for review" category. 

FCC and ARRL officials point out that this question has actually been required for many years but was inadvertently omitted from the current Form 605.

WWV Seeking 25 MHz Reception Reports


WWV is now using a circularly-polarized turnstile antenna on its 25-MHz transmitter and is asking for
The WWV transmitter building in Fort Collins, Colorado
(Nat'l Institute of Standards and Technology photo)
reception reports on signal quality. The time and frequency standard station shut down its 25-MHz transmitter in 1977 and resumed operation in 2014 on an "experimental basis," according to the ARRL Letter


WWV lead engineer Matt Deutch, N0RGT, said he hoped that the switch to circular polarization would be helpful to anyone studying propagation during August's total solar eclipse. Reception reports should be e-mailed to <wwv@nist.gov>.

Friedrichshafen "Ham Radio" Show Draws 17,000


Two attendees enjoy an exhibit at HAM RADIO 2017
in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
(Photo courtesy Messe Friedrichshafen)
The "Ham Radio" show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, combined with Maker Faire Bodensee, attracted 17,100 visitors this year, according to show officials. That's nearly identical to last year's reported attendance of 17,230. The show featured 196 exhibitors from 33 countries, as well as an additional 100 exhibitors at the co-located Maker Faire. Ham Radio is the largest hamfest in Europe and is held each June in the southern German city of Friedrichshafen.

More HAARP "Music" Planned for September


A few of the HAARP antennas in Alaska, with majestic mountains in the background
(U. of Alaska-Fairbanks photo)
A new ionospheric "research campaign" from the University of Alaska/Fairbanks' High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility is planned for mid-to-late September, according to UAF Space Physics Group Assistant Research Professor Chris Fallen, KL3WX. The ARRL Letter reports that September's planned transmissions will be similar to the university's first round of experiments this past February, except that "another column of transmitter shelters" will be active, increasing both transmitted power and antenna gain, so the signals may be audible by more listeners to its signals on 2.8 and 3.3 MHz. The university took over the research facility in 2015, after the U.S. Air Force - which had built it - shut it down and announced plans to dismantle it.

"BIRDS" Cubesats Deployed from Space Station


 A cluster of five cubesats, known collectively as "BIRDS-1," was deployed from the International Space Station in early July. The five tiny satellites each contain an amateur radio transmitter (all using the same frequency) but no transponders for signal relays. The mission's main project, according to the ARRL Letter, is to "use the constellation to carry out radio communication experiments via a network of VHF/UHF amateur radio ground stations around the world." You can listen for them on 437.375 MHz.
BIRDS-1 Cubesat Constellation Deployed from the
International Space Station (ISS photo)
The satellites will be transmitting with CW, FM audio, 1.2k BPS FM AFSK and 9.6k BPS GMSK.

Illinois Man Convicted of Murdering Ham and His Dog


A Rockford, Illinois, man has been convicted of murder in the death of an Illinois army veteran and amateur radio operator, also of Rockford. The Winnebago County prosecutor's office said 31-year-old Delano Foreman was convicted on 16 counts that included first-degree murder, burglary, concealment of a homicidal death and aggravated animal cruelty.  

According to Newsline, prosecutors told the jury that Foreman first robbed 67-year-old Henry Murphy, WB9TFX, in 2015 before shooting to death both Murphy and his golden retriever, Shelby, and then setting their house on fire. The verdict was announced on June 30. A sentencing hearing was scheduled for mid-August. Foreman could face up to 60 years in prison on the various charges.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Inching Closer on New MF/LF Bands


Access to our new bands at 630 and 2200 meters is one step closer, but not there yet. The FCC's Report and Order establishing a secondary amateur allocation on these bands and setting out the parameters for operating on them (such as power limits, etc.) has been published in the Federal Register, but the door is not yet open.

According to the ARRL Letter, the next step will be for the FCC to work out the procedures by which amateurs will need to notify the United Technology Council of intent to operate on the bands. UTC represents power utilities that use these low and medium frequencies for power line communication (PLC) systems that control the power grid. Amateur operation on 630 and 2200 meters will not be allowed within one kilometer of transmission lines using PLC and notification to UTC will be required prior to going on the air.

Once the procedures have been developed (and there is no timetable for doing so), the FCC will issue a Public Notice providing the details and announcing opening dates for the bands. Until then, general amateur operation is still not allowed.

Hamvention Reports Best Turnout in 20 Years

The new location of the Dayton Hamvention® appears to have been very good for attendance. General
Chairman Ron Cramer, KD8ENJ, reported an official attendance figure for 2017 of 29,296, the best turnout since Hamvention's date was changed from late April to mid-May in 1996. Officials acknowledged some startup problems at the show's new location at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio, but said work is already under way to resolve as many of them as possible. (See our photo essay in the August issue of CQ)

FCC Appointments Announced


Former - and future - FCC
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel
(FCC photo)
President Trump announced on June 13 that he intends to nominate former FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to return to the commission for a second term. She had been renominated by President Obama in 2016 but the Senate did not act on the nomination before its session ended. Mr. Trump is expected to announce a nomination for the vacant Republican seat in the near future.


In addition, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the appointment of Donald Stockdale as Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (which regulates amateur radio), and of Rosemary Harold as Chief of the Enforcement Bureau. Stockdale is an attorney and economist and held various positions at the FCC between 1994 and 2011, when he left to work in the private sector. An attorney and former journalist, Harold served as deputy chief of the FCC's Media Bureau before joining a private law firm in 2011.

FCC and OHSA Publish "Best Practices" Guide for Communication Towers


Stating that "every tower climber death is preventable," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced in early June that his agency and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) have jointly published the Communications Tower Best Practices Guide, the outgrowth of two joint tower safety workshops held in 2014 and 2016. According to the ARRL Letter, the free guide is aimed primarily at people working on commercial towers, but also "offers information applicable to the amateur radio community and contractors working on amateur radio support structures." The 28-page guide may be downloaded in PDF format from the OSHA website at <http://bit.ly/2t5rvwj>.

USAF: No More Free Rides for Naval Academy Student Ham Satellites



The U.S. Air Force will no longer permit amateur radio student satellites from the U.S. Naval Academy to be carried to orbit aboard Defense Department rockets, according to Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, the developer of APRS and a senior research engineer in the academy's department of aerospace engineering.

Bruninga's comment came in the context of a report on the AMSAT News Service in which he is seeking a launch host for a fully flight-qualified digipeater and DTMF transponder module. "Unfortunately," Bruninga wrote, "the Air Force (responsible for all DoD satellite launches) has unilaterally declared that they will not accept any more Amateur Radio student satellites from the Naval Academy for flight on DoD launches." No reason for the action was given.

Signals from Saturn… and a Satellite Rescue


Artist's conception of Cassini spacecraft in orbit around
Saturn (NASA image)
The ARRL Letter reports that British ham Paul Marsh, M0EYT, has successfully received signals transmitted by the Cassini spacecraft from its current orbit of Saturn. Cassini was launched in 1997 and serves as an orbiting repeater for the European Space Agency's Huygens probe, which is transmitting from the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. According to the report, Cassini is currently making about two dozen dives through Saturn's rings and is expected to crash into the planet in September. Marsh monitored the 8.4-GHz signals with a 2.4-meter dish and a homebrew downconverter.

A ham in Australia is being credited with rescuing a satellite built by three universities in his country and launched as part of the European QB50 project. According to the AMSAT News Service, the I-Inspire-2 cubesat was successfully deployed from the International Space Station in May, but did not appear to come on the air. Engineers determined that the most likely problem was that its antenna did not deploy and that a stronger signal than they could generate was needed to send up new commands telling the satellite to wait until its batteries had recharged before trying again to deploy its antenna. They asked the amateur radio EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) community for help, and Rob Quick, VK1KW, came to the rescue. He was able to work with the satellite's ground controllers to transmit the new instructions, after which it appeared that the antenna was successfully deployed and the satellite came to life!

Finally on the satellite front, a constellation of five amateur radio cubesats built in five different countries was successfully launched to the International Space Station in early June. Once deployed later this year, the BIRDS-1 satellites will be part of an experiment in conducting VHF/UHF communications with amateur ground stations around the world. The challenge, according to the AMSAT News Service, will be to distinguish each satellite from the others – they're all on the same frequency – and to hand over satellite operation from one ground station to another. For more information, visit <http://birds.ele.kyutech.ac.jp>.




Milestones: Three Hams Honored for Looking Skyward


Swedish physics professor and radio amateur Asta Pellinne-Wannberg, SM3UHV, was honored recently by the International Astronomical Union, which named an asteroid for her! In recognition of her work using scattering radar to study meteors and as chair of the Swedish National Committee for Radio Science, Newsline says the IAU has designated a particular asteroid as Asteroid 11807 Wannberg, her very own celestial body.

Frank Bauer, KA3HDO,
receiving his Amateur of
the Year award at the 2017
Dayton Hamvention
(W2VU photo)
NASA's Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, is one of 14 space agency employees to receive this year's Distinguished Public Service Medal. According to the AMSAT News Service, the honors recognize NASA employees who have made "an extraordinary and indelible impact on the agency's mission success." Bauer is the longtime chair of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. He was also honored in May as the Dayton Hamvention's 2017 Amateur of the Year
Amateur radio astronomer as well as amateur radio operator Blair Heath, KD2EPA, has received his Gold certification from the Astronomical League (AL) for making at least ten galactic observations. The ARRL Letter reports that Heath, who lives in Oceanport, New Jersey, made most of his observations using ham equipment and a 60-foot dish antenna. He is scheduled to make a presentation on "How to Use Ham Radio Gear to Do Radio Astronomy" at the AL's international meeting next year.


Hams Exempted from New Distracted Driving Law in Washington State


A new distracted driving law takes effect August 16 in the State of Washington which limits the use of
"personal electronic devices" while driving. However, the new law excludes amateur radio, CB radio and other two-way radios from inclusion under the definition of "personal electronic device."

FCC Cracks Down on RFI Testing, FM "Pirate"


The FCC has told foreign manufacturers of devices that generate RF energy that they must comply with equipment testing rules or face the possibility of being prohibited from selling their products in the U.S. According to Newsline, these products range from lighting equipment to devices for the so-called IoT, or Internet of Things. The notice follows enforcement action in May against a company whose lighting fixtures reportedly interfered with AM and FM broadcast signals.


In another enforcement action, the FCC has warned a New Jersey ham to stop making unlicensed transmissions in the FM broadcast band. According to the Commission, Winston Tulloch, KC2ALN, of Paterson, New Jersey was monitored by FCC officials illegally operating a broadcast station on 90.9 MHz. It noted that while FCC rules permit unlicensed signals on the band whose field strength does not exceed 250 microvolts per meter at 3 meters from the antenna, the signal strength its agent measured was 176,526 microvolts per meter at 231 meters. Tulloch was given ten days from the date of the June 8 letter to respond "with any evidence that you have authority to operate granted by the FCC." It says further enforcement action will be determined in part by the nature of his response.

Hams Set to Regain Access to Full 4-mm Band, But at Reduced Power

The FCC is scheduled to vote at its July 13 meeting on a draft Report and Order that would restore amateurs' access to the full 76-81 GHz (4-mm) band, but at reduced power levels, in order to allow sharing the band with vehicular radars. According to the ARRL, amateur access to the 76-77 GHz portion of the band has been suspended for nearly 20 years. This proceeding would restore full band access, but on a secondary basis and with a maximum power level of 316 watts effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP).

The 76-81 GHz band was adopted for vehicular radar systems worldwide at the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference. The FCC feels that the nature of amateur operations on the band – mostly experimental, with stations located temporarily on mountaintops using antennas mounted as high as possible – will minimize conflicts with automotive radars, which tend to be mounted low on vehicles and point downward. The proposal was still subject to changes prior to the July vote.

ECARS Awards Grant for Education Programs



The East Coast Amateur Radio Service (ECARS) has awarded nearly $1000 to a Pennsylvania group dedicated to promoting amateur radio awareness among Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and to using amateur radio as a vehicle for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. The group says its $984 grant will help The Educational Alliance for Amateur Radio to purchase receivers, transmitters and direction-finding antennas to be used in conjunction with its courses for the Boy Scouts' Radio Merit Badge and the Girl Scouts' Wireless Technologies Award.

ECARS has operated a daily service net on 7255 kHz since 1968. Public relations manager Jim Freed, KA1MQ, notes that additional grant funds are available for amateur radio groups and other not-for-profit organizations "with programs to educate, license and otherwise support amateur radio activities, with emphasis on youth-based projects." For more information, visit <http://bit.ly/2sZoq2z>.