January 17, 2021
Hamfests Fall Victim to COVID
As the pandemic rages on, hamfests around the country continue to be cancelled for 2021. Last month we sadly learned that Ham-Com has permanently closed. The largest hamfest in the country, Dayton Hamvention in Xenia, Ohio, has been cancelled this year. Event sponsors are looking forward to 2022.
Closer to home the Irving ARC Hamfest and the Cowtown Hamfest have been postponed until next year. The Temple Amateur Radio Club (TARC) has cancelled the Belton HamEXPO scheduled for March 20–21, 2021. TARC is hopeful the fall event in October will take place.
While we are disappointed, postponing these events is obviously a wise decision. Let’s hope 2022 brings us back together.
Random QRM from the President:
By now everyone has probably heard that the FCC released a Report and Order on December 29 and have decided on a $35 fee for various Amateur applications including license renewal or a vanity call sign. This was down from the previously proposed $50. There is no fee for administrative updates such as change of mailing or email address. While most Amateurs (and the ARRL) were opposed to these fees, the US Congress insisted on implementing fees as part of the RAY BAUM Act. So, my renewal in 2027 will cost me $35 for 10 years; $3.50 per year. That’s not much more than a large cup of coffee at Whataburger or McDonalds. Getting or renewing your Amateur license can bring a heck of a lot of enjoyment for $3.50 per year.
Also, most folks have also heard the terrible news that Ham-Com is no more. That is very upsetting news indeed. MARS had a heck of a lot of fun—and raised a lot of funds—at Ham-Com events over the years. I’m hoping that other regional Ham Radio conferences may pick up the slack. Upcoming Fests: Texoma Hamarama in October 2021; Belton HamExpo in March 2021 [The Belton HamExpo has been cancelled. —Ed], Cowtown Hamfest in January 2022. Perhaps after this COVID mess is over another regional Hamfest will emerge.
Maybe—hopefully—Solar Cycle 25 will be “up” over our pitiful Cycle 24 results. There are various publications circulating that argue it both ways. It would sure be nice to see 20 through 10 and 6 meters to be really “hot” in a few years!
The COVID-19 surge continues. MARS will continue to monitor the situation, but for the foreseeable future we will continue to meet using Zoom.
Stay safe! Fire up a radio! You’ll be glad you did.
73 de David Gilpin, K5GIL
FCC to Require an Email Address
As part of the transition to paperless filings, the FCC will require a valid email address on all license applications. If no email address is provided, the FCC may dismiss the application to be “defective.”
The FCC published the Report and Order (R&O) in the Federal Register on Decmber 29, 2020. The Order becomes effective on June 29, 2021. You can read the R&O by going to its page on the Federal Register.
The ARRL has more information on their website here: FCC to require email address.
FCC Rules on Licensing Fees
December 29, 2020
The Federal Communications Commission has decided on the fee structure for licensing outlined in its Report and Order dated
December 23, 2020
Based on input from the ARRL and individual radio amateurs, the Commission agreed to lower the proposed fee for new and renewal licenses to $35.00. (Please see paragraph 30 on page 11 in the Report and Order here: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-20-184A1.pdf )
The Commission noted that it spent “substantial resources” to review and evaluate over 3,900 comments from amateur licensees.
The rule becomes effective 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.
December 23, 2020
Ham-Com President, Bill Nelson, AB5QZ, announced today that the iconic event has closed its doors after 41 years. Please go here to read Bill’s announcement: https://sites.google.com/hamcom.org/ham-com/home.
Next Regular Meeting
Thursday, February 11, 2021
“Band Pass Filters” Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, will explain all that you need to know about band pass filters.
We will 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.
Tom Thumb’s Good Neighbor Program
Use your Tom Thumb Reward Card to benefit MARS. Here’s how:
1. Download and print the registration form here: https://www.tomthumb.com/content/dam/store/good-neighbor/GOOD_NEIGHBOR_CHARITY_TT.pdf
2. Fill out the form with your Reward Card number, the MARS charity number 14223, your name and phone number.
3. Sign, date and take the form to your store’s courtesy booth.