September 13, 2020
Things have been relatively quiet recently. The “new normal” seems to have settled in, although nothing seems normal without a real State Fair of Texas in September/October.
At this writing we are still forecasted to get the first “real” cool front of meteorological fall this week. Anything is better than those terrible 100°+ days! I’m looking forward to having some cooler days so that I can install my mobile rig in my Dodge Ram and finish up a couple of antenna projects.
On Saturday August 29th, I represented MARS at the ARRL West Gulf Club virtual meeting, hosted by John Robert Stratton, N5AUS, Director, West Gulf Division, Lee Cooper, W5LHC, Vice Director, West Gulf Division, and Steven Lott Smith, KG5VK, North Texas Section Manager.
About 18 Clubs from North Texas were represented. We discussed several topics...
Tower Safety — There have been two tower-related deaths due to falls from amateur radio towers in the past several weeks. The ARRL is asking Clubs to remind all Amateurs on the importance of tower safety and the use of proper gear. MARS will be covering this in a future meeting.
The FCC Proposal of adding new fees — The ARRL will be issuing a formal response being against these new fees, but the League is aware that the FCC will most likely go ahead with implementing fees anyway. The ARRL is discussing what tolerable compromises will be offered as counter proposals.
Director Stratton talked about the turmoil inside the League including the churn at President (3 Presidents in the last 4 years). He went over how the new current CEO, David Minster, NA2AA, was selected. One major concern is the ARRL’s antiquated IT department and resources. The League is going through a lot of modernization in IT to provide better, modern, and efficient services.
I discussed how Allan Batteiger, WB5QNG, working closely with W5YI, had made remote Ham Radio License testing a success. The Director, while happy with W5YI’s success, said this highlights the weakness in ARRL IT. The new President and the Board will be focused on modernizing ARRL as a VEC, including remote testing.
Other announcements at the meeting:
The NTX Section will soon be getting a refreshed Web site.
Another West Gulf virtual meeting will be scheduled probably in February 2021.
The NTX Section will most likely schedule its own virtual Club Officers’ meeting in October or November 2020.
That’s it for now. 73 David Gilpin, K5GIL
FCC Proposes New Fees
On Wednesday, August 26, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would subject the Amateur Radio Service to new fees. The FCC is proposing an across-the-board fee of $50 for new, modified and renewal licenses in the personal radio services, which includes Amateur Radio.
Vanity license applications would incur the $50 fee as well. Please see paragraphs 24 and 25 on page 9 of the NPRM which can be found here: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-20-116A1.pdf
Comments are now open through the FCC Electronic Comment System under proceeding 20-270. To post your comments, please go to:
Winlink Wants Programmers
The Winlink Development Team is looking for talented software developers who have expertise in Digital Signal Processing, VB, C#, C, C++ with Windows, OSX, iOS, Android, Open-Source Project Management, Git and AWS. We need developers who can move our programs to new platforms and environments, keep pace with security standards, and to help innovate for the future. If you have some volunteer time, are willing to help, work well with others and would like to join an accomplished team, please contact Tom, KA6IQA
Next Regular Meeting
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Bill Swan, K5MWC, will talk about the Military Auxiliary Radio System (the other MARS).
We will probably meet by teleconference using your computer, tablet or phone. Watch your email in-box for instructions about how to join the meeting.
Play Day on Hold
Play Day is postponed indefinitely until we can get together.
I am busy just now again on Electro-Magnetism and think I have got hold of a good thing but can’t say; it may be a weed instead of a fish that after all my labour I may at last pull up.