HR 1301, the US House version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act, will be among four communications-related measures set for a legislative hearing on January 12 before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. Chairing the panel is US Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI, an Oregon Republican.
Continue reading Amateur Radio Parity Act HR 1301 to Get House Subcommittee Airing
The year-long ARRL’s National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) event got off to a strong start, with considerable activity reported on the HF bands and even some on the SO-50 satellite over the first weekend of the new year. Throughout 2016, Amateur Radio will be helping the National Park Service (NPS) to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Hams will activate NPS units, promote the Park Service, and showcase Amateur Radio to the public. During the first three days of NPOTA, “Activators” were on the air from 78 of the 483 NPOTA Units — about 16 percent of the total.
Continue reading National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) Event Gets Off to a Strong Start!
Dishtronix, an electronics design and manufacturing company, has purchased the assets of Amateur Radio equipment manufacturer TEN-TEC from RKR Designs. The company, headquartered in Bellefontaine, Ohio, manufactures and, among other things, makes and markets the “Prometheus” solid-state Amateur Radio amplifier. No formal announcement has been made by either company, and details of the purchase are still being finalized. RKR Designs announced last April 2 that it had acquired the assets of TEN-TEC and Alpha Amplifiers from RF Concepts, less than 1 year after the two lines had merged under the RF Concepts in an asset sale. Dishtronix owner Steven M. “Mike” Dishop, N8WFF, told ARRL that, while TEN-TEC has had different owners over the years, he is in it for the long haul.
Continue reading Dishtronix Purchases TEN-TEC Assets
Let the 2016 pileups begin! Two major January DXpeditions will be among other smaller efforts, with all aimed at providing a new one to the madding crowd. Look for the Palmyra Island and South Georgia Island/South Sandwich Islands activations, starting around mid-month.
The Pacific Islands DX Group’s K5P DXpedition to Palmyra hopes to be on the air on January 12 and will continue until January 25. Palmyra ranks among the Top 10 most-wanted DXCC entities. Initially a 12-member team was set to depart and activate K5P. Due to a change of aircraft that will transport the team to the island, the team has been trimmed to nine operators. The team is planning to leave Hawaii for Palmyra on January 11. The Pacific Islands DXpedition Group has been awarded permission to activate Cooper Island in the Palmyra Atoll.
Continue reading Palmyra, South Sandwich/South Georgia Will Help Kick Off 2016 DXpedition Calendar
The ARRL has again complained to the FCC to allege illegal marketing of electronic RF lighting ballasts, operating under Part 18 of the Commission’s rules, on the part of two major retailers. Letters went out this week to the FCC Enforcement Bureau and its Office of Engineering and Technology claiming Part 18 marketing regulations violations by Lowe’s and by Walmart stores. At issue is the sale of non-consumer RF lighting ballasts to consumers who, in several instances, were told by store personnel that it was okay to install these in a residential setting. In addition, non-consumer and residential-class ballasts are intermixed in store displays with inadequate signage to direct consumers to the correct choice. Both letters asked the FCC to investigate and commence enforcement proceedings with respect to the two stores’ marketing and retail sale of RF lighting devices in the US.
Continue reading ARRL Again Complains to FCC about Illegal Marketing of Electronic Lighting Ballasts
Well-known AMSAT figure and Virginia Tech researcher Bob McGwier, N4HY, says the Amateur Radio payload planned to go into geosynchronous orbit in 2017 will be like “a new ham band” for the Americas, available every hour of every day. McGwier, a research professor in Virginia Tech’s Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Director of Research for the Hume Center for National Security and Technology, said the satellite’s geosynchronous orbit also makes it viable for emergency and disaster communication. AMSAT-NA announced in April that Amateur Radio would be a “hosted payload” on the geosynchronous satellite that Millennium Space Systems (MSS) of California is under contract to design, launch, and operate for the US government.
Continue reading First Geosynchronous Orbit Amateur Radio Payload Could Aid Disaster Communication
In an unexpected turn of events, Polish DXer Dom Gryzb, 3Z9DX, who has been visiting North Korea this week in advance of a planned Amateur Radio operation early next year, came on the air from the most-wanted DXCC entity around 0000 on December 20. P5/3Z9DX has been active on both 20 meters and 15 meters SSB only, and a few hundred stations have been fortunate enough to work him. The P5/3Z9DX operation is the first since the 2001-2002 operation in North Korea by 4L4FN.
Continue reading North Korea on the Air for First Time Since 2002
The FCC Enforcement Bureau has proposed fining William F. Crowell, W6WBJ (ex-N6AYJ), of Diamond Springs, California, $25,000 for intentionally interfering with other Amateur Radio operators and transmitting prohibited communications, including music. FCC San Francisco District Director David K. Hartshorn released a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) on December 18, detailing the allegations. An Advanced class licensee, Crowell is no stranger to the Enforcement Bureau, which had warned him as far back as 2000 about intentional interference. In 2008 the FCC designated his current license renewal application for hearing, alleging that he had caused intentional interference, interrupted others’ communications, transmitted music, and made one-way transmissions, including some containing “indecent language,” the FCC said. His license, which expired in 2007, has not been renewed, but Crowell may continue to operate while his application is pending. Prompting the December 18 NAL were complaints earlier this year by members of the Western Amateur Radio Friendship Association (WARFA), which conducts nets three times a week on 75 meters.
Continue reading FCC Proposes to Penalize California Licensee $25,000 for Causing Intentional Interference
To mark the 15th anniversary of continuous Amateur Radio operations on the International Space Station, the first session of Slow Scan TV (SSTV) transmissions from the ISS are tentatively set to take place on Saturday and Sunday, December 26 and 27. The downlink mode will be PD120, which should allow for the reception of more images in a single pass. The first ISS crew conducted its inaugural ham radio contact from NA1SS in November 2000. The first Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contact took place the following month. ARISS will post more information as it becomes available.
The FCC Enforcement Bureau has entered into a consent decree with a Florida radio amateur to resolve an investigation into whether the licensee violated Sections 97.113(b) and 97.119(a) of the FCC rules by transmitting one-way communications and failing to identify. As part of the deal, Thomas J. Warren, K3TW, of Lecanto, Florida, will pay a monetary penalty. The FCC issued an Order incorporating the Consent Decree on December 9 in the case, which dates back to June 2015.
Continue reading Florida Ham Agrees to Penalty for Failure to Identify