Too hell with public safety

the Charlotte Hamfest is going on as scheduled. The average age of today’s amateur radio licensee is 60 (+/- a few yrs), which falls right into the high risk category of the COVID-19 virus. Way to go W4BFB – Mecklenburg Amateur Radio Society, Inc., holding your subpar hamfest instead of placing the welfare and health concerns of the public first. Pathetic.

ARRL Suspending Tours and Guest Visits to Headquarters, W1AW

03/13/2020

As part of efforts under way to help protect the health and safety of ARRL Headquarters employees and volunteers from the impacts of the coronavirus, ARRL has decided to suspend all tours and guest visits to Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station W1AW and ARRL Headquarters, effective Monday, March 16. Out of an abundance of caution, this suspension will be in effect until further notice.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to our members and their guests who had been planning to visit us in Newington, Connecticut. We feel, however, that this is a necessary precaution and is in keeping with the guidance being provided by federal and local health professionals.

We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we all endeavor to deal with this difficult public health situation.

My favorite multi-band dipole.

Is the 135ft center-fed dipole with ladder (window) line directly to the balanced output of a transmatch, or to a remote transmatch balun on the outside. I prefer the remote transmatch balun myself. I have ran this design for years, and it performs equally or better than other other wire dipole I have ever used. I also use a similar design that is 270ft in total length, and most say I have an exceptionally strong signal, especially on 160 meters. Sometimes the simplest is simply the best. No G5RV, no Mystery Antenna, etc. Just a simple proven design with no tricks, no magic, no mystery involved.

The decline of ‘new blood’ in amateur radio

Cellphones, Fakebook? Ever considered that maybe we’re just boring to the younger generation. Sure Cellphones and Fakebook are probably the 2 main factors responsible for the decline of new blood in the hobby. However on-air boring discussions has to be a close 3rd. By boring I’m referring to the topics of discussions that typically occur by established groups on 75 and 160 meters. Yes most of us older ham radio operators have aches and pains. But discussing that day after day on-air? The next 2 topics that are beaten to death are religion and politics. These groups usually repeat the same political and religious drivel over and over again. Okay we get it! If I were 40 years younger, and was slightly interested in amateur radio, tuned by one of these groups having their daily boring conversations, I too would have no interest in amateur radio.

2018 Technician Enhancement Proposal

Personally, I have no issues with expanding the privileges (with restrictions) of the technician class licenses into the 75, 40, and the 15 meter band. This is the perfect opportunity to elmer these newly licensed hams, so they will fit in with the seasoned ham. Unfortunately many of these old curmudgeons are stuck in the past, and in my opinion THEY are the ones that are killing this hobby.

If one were to actually examine the FCC Enforcement actions posted on the FCC website, one would quickly discover that a large portion of enforcement actions (NAL’s) are directed toward the 13 and 20 WPM coded hams, of my and earlier generations. Typically not the the new ‘no code’ hams. That being said, I’ve grown very tired of hearing these old bastards giving the new guys (no coders) hell due to them not having to pass a code test, like THEY did. The requirements changed and these new folks are simply following the current rules and regulations of obtaining an amateur licenses. If these old bastards are that upset, they need to direct their complaints to the FCC, not the new ham who is just following the rules as set forth by the FCC.

The bottom line is this. Unless WE (myself included, which I did change) change our attitude toward the new comers into this hobby (yes it’s now a hobby, not much of a service) we are doomed. Maybe try encouraging and elmering the new no code ham, instead of belittling them simply because they entered into this hobby under a different set of rules and regulations than WE did.

Source > ARRL

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.”

Specifically, ARRL proposes to provide Technician licensees, present and future, with phone privileges at 3.900 to 4.000 MHz, 7.225 to 7.300 MHz, and 21.350 to 21.450 MHz, plus RTTY and digital privileges in current Technician allocations on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. The ARRL petition points out the explosion in popularity of various digital modes over the past 2 decades. Under the ARRL plan, the maximum HF power level for Technician operators would remain at 200 W PEP. The few remaining Novice licensees would gain no new privileges under the League’s proposal.

ARRL’s petition points to the need for compelling incentives not only to become a radio amateur in the first place, but then to upgrade and further develop skills. Demographic and technological changes call for a “periodic rebalancing” between those two objectives, the League maintains.

“There has not been such a rebalancing in many years,” ARRL said in its petition. “It is time to do that now.” The FCC has not assessed entry-level operating privileges since 2005.

The Entry-Level License Committee offered very specific, data- and survey-supported findings about growth in Amateur Radio and its place in the advanced technological demographic that includes individuals younger than 30. It received significant input from ARRL members via more than 8,000 survey responses.

“The Committee’s analysis noted that today, Amateur Radio exists among many more modes of communication than it did half a century ago, or even 20 years ago,” ARRL said in its petition.

Now numbering some 378,000, Technician licensees comprise more than half of the US Amateur Radio population. ARRL said that after 17 years of experience with the current Technician license as the gateway to Amateur Radio, it’s urgent to make it more attractive to newcomers, in part to improve upon science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education “that inescapably accompanies a healthy, growing Amateur Radio Service,” ARRL asserted.

ARRL said its proposal is critical to developing improved operating skills, increasing emergency communication participation, improving technical self-training, and boosting overall growth in the Amateur Service, which has remained nearly inert at about 1% per year.

The Entry-Level License Committee determined that the current Technician class question pool already covers far more material than necessary for an entry-level exam to validate expanded privileges. ARRL told the FCC that it would continue to refine examination preparation and training materials aimed at STEM topics, increase outreach and recruitment, work with Amateur Radio clubs, and encourage educational institutions to utilize Amateur Radio in STEM and other experiential learning programs.

“ARRL requests that the Commission become a partner in this effort to promote Amateur Radio as a public benefit by making the very nominal changes proposed herein in the Technician class license operating privileges,” the petition concluded.