Updated January, 2021
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.
Raffle Prize goes to a New Home
John Hardin, KE5WQD, won the very fine Yaesu FTM-300DR dual-band transceiver. Congratulations to John and we look to hear it on the air soon!
December 8, 2020
It seems like it was just last week that we had our MARS Christmas Party at La Victoria... those halcyon days before 2020 and the COVID-19 mess. And in other ways it seems like we’ve been isolated for a long time.
If I had it my way, I would want to give everyone in MARS a great 2021. A year like those good ol’ days: face-to-face meetings; Radio Play Days at the Library; looking forward to events like TSPOTA or Ham-Com. That’s my wish, anyway. For now, let’s keep looking forward to better times in 2021.
Do what you need to do to stay safe. My family is being extremely protective of my 90-year-old mother-in-law (who still lives alone) and my 91-year-old mother (who lives with my brother).
If you get some extra time over the holidays, fire up a radio—HF, VHF, UHF, voice, digital, CW—whatever makes you happy. Make a contact. Listen to or participate in a Net. Plan for and study for a higher license class—that includes you Advanced ticket holders!
The Officers and Committees with the Metrocrest Amateur Radio Society will continue to do all we can to keep MARS a place for North Texas Hams to hang out and have FUN!
My wish to everyone is a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year’s Day celebration.
—73 Dave Gilpin, K5GIL