- Meeting Notice
- Calendar of Events
- Notes from W6EJJ - Jay Holladay, W6EJJ
- August Club Meetings - Chris Zygielbaum, N6WEI and Scott Nolte, N6CUV
- DX News - Bob Polansky, N6ET
- Operators Needed - Bob Deen, N5DPU
- Rescue Effort on W6VIO/R - Courtney Duncan, N5BF and Jan Tarsala, WB6VRN
- Pasadena Radio Club No Code Technician Class - Phil Barnes-Roberts, KE6PMZ
- Classified Section
- ARRL News
By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ
The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 11, at noon in building 238, room 543. The guest speaker will be from Air-touch Cellular and will discuss the cellular telephone system in Southern California and how things would work in the event of an emergency. Club Board of Directors meetings are held at noon on the fourth Wednesday of each month in 301-227. Everyone is welcome at all club meetings; bring your lunch.
Calendar of Events
Date Event September 7 [Angeles Creset Century Bike Ride] September 11 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543 September 25 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227 September 21 [Pomona Swapmeet, DeVry Institute] September 28-29 [Angeles Crest 100 Foot Race] October 9 General Meeting, Noon - 28-543 October 11-13 [1996 Southwestern Division, ARRL Convention, Mesa, Arizona October 23 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
Notes from W6EJJ
By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ
Amateur Radio - The New and The Old
As I sat down this morning to write my September column I was planning to write some comments on the new RF safety rules which FCC recently approved. Wanting to check a few points, I logged onto the Internet and visited the ARRL's home page on the Web. They now have a page called "RF Safety News" that includes a summary of the new regulations and how they are likely to affect radio amateurs. An article on the new RF safety rules is printed elsewhere in this issue, but my experience on the Internet set me to thinking....
The ways in which news about amateur radio is disseminated have changed greatly over the past few years. The League now has a fine presence on the Web, as well as other outlets on the Net. Many special interest groups within our hobby have their own mailing lists or "reflectors" (Top contesters' claimed scores now appear on the reflector within hours after the contest is over.) There are a multitude of Web pages out there for your favorite specialty area. With Internet access relatively cheap (I pay $19.95 per month for unlimited access) and prices of Web-capable computers coming down, an increasing number of us are receiving much of our AR information via the Net.
The Internet and digital modes in amateur radio are indeed causing great changes. The "Packet Perspectives" column in QST has become "Digital Dimensions," and lists of ham radio Web sites appear regularly. Some have even asked whether the Internet will replace ham radio.
Some things stay the same. While checking the League's Web page I read the latest ARRL Bulletin, dated Sept. 1. It seems Hurricane Edouard is approaching Southern New England and may make landfall by midnight tonight. Amateurs, ARES and other groups, are being mobilized. Two-meter net frequencies are given for Connecticut and Massachusetts, and a Web link is provided to the home page for W4EHW at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The Hurricane Center will probably be activated later today.
Many of our basic strengths remain. Trained communicators, having considerable technical knowledge and furnishing their own equipment, continue to provide an important public service as volunteers.
I don't think the Internet is going to replace amateur radio anytime soon. But it certainly is going to change our service in ways that are only now beginning to emerge. And it is a challenge to today's amateurs to get our message out to those interested in communications technology, both prospective hams and policy makers: that amateur radio is still a vital service and it is changing with the times.
Some Amateur Radio Web Sites:
If you have access to the Web, check out the ARRL home page at: http://www.arrl.org/ The most comprehensive list of amateur radio Web sites is maintained by WZ1V at: http://hartford.edu/~newsvhf/ham-www.html Another great set of links to sites of interest to radio amateurs is found at: http://www.west.net/~sbarb/links.htm This is part of the site maintained by the Santa Barbara Section of ARRL. For a good rundown of what's available on the Web, see "Surf the Ham Webs!" in QST for February 1996, p. 62.
August Club Meetings
By Chris Zygielbaum, N6WEI and Scott Nolte, N6CUV
The general meeting of the JPL Amateur Radio Club was held on Wednesday, August 14, 1996. Vice President Scott Nolte (N6CUV) called the meeting to order.
There were no committee chairmen present to make reports and there were no announcements.
The program was a presentation by Jan Tarsala (WB6VRN) and Bob Dengler (NO6B) describing the operation of the JPL club repeater controller. Jan presented an overview of the hardware configuration of the Linkcom RLC-3 controller. He described the ability to remotely command the controller to link the 224.08, 147.15, and/or the Table Mountain repeaters. Jan encouraged the members to learn and use the commands for normal or emergency communication.
The Pasadena Emergency Group, which uses the 147.15 repeater, can easily be linked to the 224.08 repeater for emergency communication with the JPL community, and visa versa, the JPL ARC members have easy access to Pasadena emergency support.
Bob discussed some of his planned enhancements, such as expanding the capability to include the 440 MHz band (449.75 repeater). One of the about 500 macro slots in the controller is a scheduling capability that allows activation and deactivation at prescribed times. Each capability that is defined takes up one of the slots. There is lots of room for added capabilities.
Rick McKinney requested a short meeting of the Board of Directors to make a decision about the proposed acceptance of a diesel-powered generator to provide power to the radio shack. An estimate of $770 - $870 was submitted for wiring the shack to accept the power. It was moved, seconded, and passed to accept the proposal and proceed with the wiring using FY '96 Emergency Preparedness Account.
Board of Directors Meeting
The JPL ARC Board of Directors meeting was held on Wednesday, August 28, 1996. Jay Holladay (W6EJJ) called the meeting to order.
- Walt Mushagain (K6DNS) provided an update on the delivery of the gas-fueled generator that has been made available for the Club's shack. Walt has contacted Patrick Duffy, who will move the generator from its present location to the shack (after a water tank is removed from the location). Walt has arranged for the generator to be serviced (oil changed and filled up with gas) before it is delivered to the shack.
- Bob Polansky (N6ET), co-chairman for Field Day commented that the charge for the vehicles used during Field Day were minimized by the Mike Nieto, Group Supervisor in the Logistics and Materiel Services Section. Mike's support for the Radio Club's emergency communications efforts are greatly appreciated.
- Chuck Sarture (KG6NF) presented the Treasurer's Report. The General Account is missing receipts for the food expenses and donations at Field Day, and dues were received from three new members. The items identified to be purchased by the Emergency Preparedness Account have been purchased and it appears that the actual expenditure will be very close to the plan. There has been no activity in the Capital Equipment account. Jay will take action to initiate action for one of three options to meet the Capital Equipment plan: a) auction off the equipment, b) sell the equipment at a swap meet, or c) sell the equipment at a reasonable amount, for repair and resale. The Autopatch account was credited by the receipt of dues from 1 new member.
- Jan Tarsala (WB6VRN) suggested that the club participate in a Simulated Emergency Test (SET) similar to ones that he participated in some years ago. The organizers write emergency scenarios in sealed envelopes, which are opened at a prescribed time. For 30 minutes to an hour, the participant works to solve the emergency condition. It was suggested that the test be coordinated with one of the Lab's emergency readiness exercises. The suggestion was accepted and a SET will be planned.
- Jan also requested guidance on the club's membership in the Two-Meter Area Spectrum Management Association (TASMA) and/or the Two-Meter Repeater Coordination Council (TMRCC). TASMA is the traditional two-meter repeater coordination organization and allows repeater owner and user members. TMRCC members broke off from TASMA to organize a group that is composed of only repeater owner/operators. Of the approximately 390 active two-meter repeaters in the Los Angeles area, there are 110 TMRCC members. Jay suggested that because the JPL ARC has been a member of the TASMA and our membership lapsed as of August 5, the club should renew its membership and hold off a decision about joining TMRCC. TMRCC memberships are in effect from January to January of each year and there is no push to join mid-year.
By Bob Polansky, N6ET
No change yet, conditions are as mediocre as they've been for the last several months. 40, 30, and 20 meters have the lion's share of the DX available these days; although, the recently completed Midway Island DXpedition proves that propagation still exists all the way from 160 meters through 15 meters. Just listen every few hours when you think about it and occasionally call CQ. Unless someone does, an open band may never be detected!
The DX Bulletin just changed hands and I no longer get the issue prior to the needed submission date for W6VIO Calling. Because of that, my news input will be a few extra days out of date. Not a biggie, I hope. Again, most of my material is pulled from that publication. Now for the news.
ASIATIC RUSSIA - R0/VK9XL frequents 40 and 30 meter CW near the low end of both bands. Look for him after 0500Z calling CQ with few takers. He even has a local QSL manager. I have heard him on as late as 1430Z.
CHAD - TT8SP, for me has been very elusive; although, he's reported active around 14011 kHz at 2230Z. Maybe I'll get lucky some day.
DOMINICA - PI4COM/J7 (or maybe J77C) will be active from 18 to 30 September. No frequencies given for this CW, SSB, and RTTY operation.
GABON - Look for TR0B as another "regular" on 14245 kHz at 2030Z.
GHANA - 9G1BJ gives out QSO's around 2200Z on 14195 kHz.
GUADELOUPE - September 13 to 18. Same guys as above, same comments apply except that they have applied for the use of the TO5C callsign.
MARTINIQUE - September 30 to October 6. FM/PI4COM again, same guys as above, moving around the Caribbean.
Opportunities still exist to improve your DXCC totals. Listen, participate, and enjoy! 73 until next month.
By Bob Deen, N5DPU
It's that time of year again! Radio operators are needed to help with emergency and logistical communications for the Angeles Crest Century, a 100-mile bike ride up in the mountains put on by the JPL Bike Club. W6VIO has a long history of supporting this ride, so please help if you can! It's usually a lot of fun.
The ride is Saturday, September 7. Both full-day and half-day shifts are available. No experience necessary. For that matter, no equipment necessary; we'll find you something. If you can't make it but have a 2m or 220 mobile rig or amp that we could borrow, that would be a big help as well.
Also, to whoever is in charge of such things, I'd like to use the club's Kenwood triband mobile rig again. Last year it was a bit of a hassle because it was in use somewhere in the repeater system. Is that still the case? Is the rig available for use and if so, where is it?
Contact Bob at (818)354-7492 (w), (818)796-4111 (h)
Rescue Effort on W6VIO/R
By Courtney Duncan, N5BF and Jan Tarsala, WB6VRN
On the morning of Saturday, July 13, 1996, Viannah, my 11-year-old daughter, and I were walking south on the Gabriellino Trail from Switzer's Falls to Oak Grove Park (at JPL), a nine mile hike. As we entered the Oakwilde campground, about half way down, we encountered Jeff, an injured mountain biker, in the middle of the trail. His foot had failed to come out of its restraint on a sharp turn and his left knee was dislocated. He was unable to stand or walk unaided.
When we came up, he was in the process of giving another cyclist telephone information to call for help down the trail at Gould Campground or Oak Grove Park, an hour or two away. As the other cyclist rode off, Jeff gave us another telephone number to call to notify his workplace that he would not be in that afternoon.
Although I had my IC-3AT in my backpack, I was reluctant to mention it to him. The trail follows the stream bed of Arroyo Seco and, surrounded at this point by 200 meter walls, I had little hope of being able to get out from anywhere nearby and did not want to create false hopes. His cell phone was sitting in the trail next to him. He said the "ready" light would flash but he could not get dial tone. Cell sites apparently dump paths that are marginal.
We made sure Jeff was set with props and supplies for a long wait then headed down the trail. A hundred yards later, I gave W6VIO on 224.08 a try anyway and was surprised to be able to reach it. Bolstered by success, I tried bringing up the link between it and 147.15 and was surprised again to be able to do so. I then called WB6VRN who, luckily, was at home.
Following these initial successful transmissions, the communications path degraded to extremely poor and it took several tries to get any important information through. Jan was unable to get an answer at any of the Forest Service phone numbers (closed on Saturday) and resorted to calling 911. The 911 operator then went through the same list of numbers plus some and finally was connected to the right place.
Jan's intention was to hold the telephone up to the microphone and let them hear from me directly, but my audio was never of that quality. It took many repeats, phonetics, and trying various "Statue of Liberty" like poses on different picnic tables around the campground to verify the location and that this was not a duplicate call (another biker had broken a wrist nearby earlier).
During a transmission just moments later while we were trying to discuss what I would do while waiting for assistance to arrive, Jan noted that there was aircraft flutter on my signal and within seconds a Sheriff's Department helicopter appeared over a ridge and started circling down! I waved him in.
In addition to being at the bottom of a canyon, the Oakwilde campground has considerable foliage. There is a small clearing to the south, about the size of a helicopter, in which they landed. Two guys jumped out with a stretcher. I briefed the leader as we trotted the 100 meters to Jeff's location. Within fifteen minutes, they had checked him, taken his information, and splinted the leg with cardboard and tape. We carried the stretcher back to the helicopter and shortly Jeff and his bike were on the way to the hospital. Another hiker assisting was Ian Rust, an acquaintance of our own Jerry Hawkes. He told me afterwards that he had decided not to get a cell phone for hiking based on this demonstration.
This was not a life or death situation, but in many ways it resembled one. Our efforts probably saved Jeff an hour or two of lonely, painful waiting in the campground.
Half an hour later, where the trail leaves the stream bed briefly to go up and around a dam, I was finally able to get through to W6VIO/R well enough to release WB6VRN and secure the site.
When I tell this story, I start by saying, "It is amazing that I was able to get out of that canyon on 222 MHz, you should see the walls!" When I told my wife (a Registered Nurse), she queried me mercilessly, "You didn't check his pulse? You didn't check for feeling in his foot? You didn't try to move him?" When Viannah tells it, she starts with, "A helicopter came, and we carried the guy in a stretcher!"
This was the most difficult and pressured traffic-handling situation I have ever been confronted with. Courtney has written in these pages before of his experiences surviving the 1973 Hubbard, Texas tornado. His skills had been tried before, but never mine. Yes, I had summoned rescuers to a man who had fallen off a cliff at Avilla Beach while still a student at Cal Poly SLO years ago. The communications path then was not nearly so marginal as this challenge would prove. I dare say that many - no, most - other hams would have given up in this case: "You will just have to get into a better location, OM." I knew from Courtney's voice that this was not an option. We would have to get the message through...correctly!
I drew upon all of my twenty-nine years of amateur radio experience here as well as from an intimate knowledge of Courtney's voice and manner of speech (these truly helped), but in truth my best training had come two decades before when I was active in Army MARS. The procedures used in MARS really are for situations when people will die if you do not get the message through.
This situation would turn out not to be that grave, but I could not have known that at the outset, and I would like to think that knowing the exquisite message-handling formalisms of MARS saved Jeff otherwise needless suffering. (I should insert here that interested readers can monitor the Army MARS mixed-mode voice/RTTY repeater on Santiago Peak on 143.99 MHz to sample these techniques.)
I have often reflected in the ensuing days about the operating activities we engage in as radio amateurs and the efficacy of the training they impart. Only the Simulated Emergency Test, from my experience base, is worthwhile; it is a shame that our own club never participates. Let me share with you other insights made clear that Saturday morning:
- Know your radios, and know Radio. Examination of a repeater directory or knowledge of current high-frequency propagation characteristics will inform you as to your options for conveying a critical message. Seventy-five meters or forty meters would have been good at this time of day, but who wants to string an antenna in a crisis? In the end, Courtney had a choice of 145.30, 147.15, 147.27, and 224.08. He knew his options going in. He chose to pack his IC-3AT, which was barely enough.
- Know how to link our club repeaters together and to raise a ruckus. Courtney was very fortunate that this experience followed Murphy's First Law of Radio, which states that the first transmission you make will be the clearest into the repeater, and every subsequent transmission will get worse. Courtney got the link up, but every transmission thereafter would never have been decoded.
- Everyone should experiment setting links up and tearing them down. As Trustee, I want you to do that: to feel so completely at ease manipulating the hardware that it just comes as second nature. Our systems need to be tested and exercised by many different users for their own familiarity and to identify problems. From this, when you really need it, you will have the greatest probability of finding someone like me who just happens to have his radio on while attacking a sink full of dishes.
- Formulate a clear course of action before you seek assistance. Period.
- Know who is master of the situation, and do not secure until they release you. Although it seemed like forever until Courtney came back to give me the all-clear, I realized that only he knew what was going on at the scene. In another situation a net control might have the greatest amount of information: This time Courtney was calling the shots.
- Finally, if the communications path in a given direction is tenuous, keep those transmissions short, breaking frequently for confirmation of receipt. This was the only error Courtney made, and he only made it once. The circumstances were that I had my handheld up to the mouthpiece of my home telephone, talking simultaneously to Courtney and to the Forest Service dispatcher, and reciting information requests from the dispatcher back to Courtney. After one interrogatory that by its nature required a lengthy reply, the dispatcher and I were treated to a couple of clear words from Courtney followed by thirty seconds of noise off the repeater input receiver. Yuk! What an embarrassment. When the blowing squelch stopped, I explained to Courtney what had happened, that he needed to probe again for a better location, and to please keep his transmissions short as I would confirm receipt of each fragment. There were no more problems.
I will remember that Saturday most surely in this way: It was nice to use my hobby to benefit someone other than myself.
Pasadena Radio Club No Code Technician Class
By Phil Barnes-Roberts, KE6PMZ
Pasadena Radio Club's intrepid Instructor, Allen Wolff KC7O, will be holding another 8 weeks of 7-to-9 p.m. evening sessions leading from square one to the No-Code Technician Amateur Radio License, starting on 25 September, a Wednesday evening at Kaiser Walnut Center, 393 Walnut at Los Robles in Pasadena. The last session (mid-November, barring delays) is the VE exam (open to all elements, all licenses,) conducted by Brad Hori WU6H. Contact Allen directly if you are interested, at 818-603-5682 or e-mail to email@example.com, so he will know how many to expect.
Allen uses the excellent ARRL book 'Now You're Talking' and may have copies available at the first session, if you let him know you will need one.
For the exam session, as a reminder for those not taking the class, you will want to bring two forms of ID, one with picture; original and 2 copies of both your current license and any CSCE's you wish considered; pen, several pencils, calculator, and $6.05 (exact change helps.) Note for those taking a Morse test, that in Brad's sessions, no more than 1 minute of the 5 of raw CW copy may be other than alphanumeric copy.
A 50-to-80-foot self supporting/telescoping/tilt-over tower or towers. Can be either tubular or triangular. Need to be in good condition. Motorized would be a big plus. Will pay for packaging and shipping to Prescott, Arizona. Contact Brian (KW6J) at 714-896-3514 (M-F, 8 AM to 4 PM) or via Internet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New or used (but in good condition) HF large mono-band beams which were designed for high gain/good front to back ratio/good directivity etc. Contact Brian (KW6J) at 714-896-3514 (M-F 8 AM to 4 PM) or via Internet at email@example.com.
Icom IC-04AT 440 MHz HT. Call Joel Mosher KB6RXE at 818-791-1779
Your want ad or article for inclusion in a future issue of W6VIO Calling. Submit either to Bill Wood, Mail Stop DSCC-33; or via Internet (firstname.lastname@example.org)
US Tower (or Wilson) ROTATING BASE and RAISING FIXTURE for a 40 foot tubular telescoping tower. US Tower part number for the rotating base is MARB/40 and for the raising fixture is MAF-40. Please contact Brian Stapleton (KW6J) at 714-896-3514, M-F 8 AM - 4 PM.
Advanced Class ARRL Video Study Course, includes Computerized Exam Review Software, complete course for $50 (New cost $129). Call Bob Dye, KQ6GD, (818)249-0171.
Model HDX-589-MDPL, 89-foot self-supporting US Tower. Includes heavy duty motor, pull downs, and limit switches. Only a few years old with hardly any use. Buyer will be responsible for removal of tower from back yard of property (will require a crane capable of lifting at least 2 tons of weight from the back yard of SK Carl Johansen's QTH, up and over his house to the front street, and onto a flat bed to move to your QTH - probably no more than 2 hours for the crane to be at the job site). Complete tower package originally cost around $8,100 (including shipping to the LA area). Will sell for $5,400. Contact Brian (KW6J) at 714-896-3514 (work number M-F, 8 AM to 4 PM).
Yaesu's - like new. Closing station. FT-470 2m/440 w/tone squelch, PA-6 ~ FNB-12 batteries, chargers, and two vinyl cases. Unused, in carton. $350. FT-212RH 2m mobile w/mic, spkrs. Used very few hours. $295. Astron RS-12 power supply, good condition. $50. George KC6CWA, (707) 945-0705, or via W6MEO@KJ6FY.#NOCAL.CA.USA.NOAM.
Via the ARRL www Home Page
New FCC RF Safety Standards
ARRL Letter, Volume 15, Number 8
New FCC RF safety standards that become effective January 1, 1997, could affect the way some hams operate. As a result of a Report and Order adopted by the FCC on August 1 (ET Docket No. 93-62, Guidelines for Evaluating the Environmental Effects of Radiofrequency Radiation), Part 97 will require hams running more than 50 W PEP to conduct routine RF radiation evaluations to determine if RF fields are sufficient to cause human exposure to RF radiation levels in excess of those specified. "Measurements made during a Commission/EPA study of several typical amateur stations in 1990 indicated that there may be some situations where excessive exposures could occur," the FCC said in ending the blanket exemption for Amateur Radio. Although all amateur operation must comply with the new regulations for Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE), amateur operation at power levels of less than 50 W PEP is "categorically excluded" from the requirement to perform a "routine evaluation" of station operation before operating. Where routine evaluation indicates that the RF radiation could be in excess of the limits, "the licensee must take action to prevent such an occurrence," the Report and Order stated. The FCC said this could mean altering operating patterns, relocating the antenna, revising the station's technical parameters--such as frequency, power or emission type--or "combinations of these and other remedies." Although the new exposure criteria will apply to portable and mobile devices in general, at this time routine evaluation for compliance will not be required of devices such as "push-to-talk" portable radios and "push-to-talk" mobile radios used by Amateur Radio operators. These transmitting devices will be excluded from routine evaluation.
The FCC encouraged the amateur community "to develop and disseminate information in the form of tables, charts and computer analytical tools that relate such variables as operating patterns, emission types, frequencies, power and distance from antennas." The Commission said it intends to provide "straightforward methods for amateur operators to determine potential exposure levels" by year's end.
"Exactly what is involved in conducting a 'routine RF radiation evaluation' is not yet clear," observed ARRL Executive Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, adding that the FCC has promised to release a revised OST/OET Bulletin Number 65, "Evaluation Compliance with FCC-Specified Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Radiation." The League is now studying the 100-plus page docket, to see if the League should seek reconsideration of any aspects of the FCC decision.
In the Report and Order, the Commission adopted Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) limits for electric and magnetic field strength and power density for transmitters operating at frequencies from 300 kHz to 100 GHz. These MPE limits are generally based on recommendations of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement (NCRP) and, in many respects, are also generally based on the guidelines issued by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc (IEEE) and subsequently adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as an ANSI standard (ANSI/IEEE C95.1-1992). The Commission used the 1992 ANSI/IEEE standards instead of the 1982 ANSI standards that had formed the basis for the existing rules under which Amateur Radio stations were categorically exempted.
ARRL Laboratory Supervisor Ed Hare, KA1CV, said the new regulations will give hams an incentive to demonstrate that Amateur Radio operation is safe. "Although this means that hams will have to become more educated about RF safety, most amateur stations are already in compliance with the new regulations," Hare said.
Sumner said that for certain unusual situations where there is "uncontrolled exposure" to neighbors and the general public, "amateurs may well have to make changes in how they operate." The ARRL Lab staff and the RF Safety Committee are continuing to evaluate the new requirements.
Hare noted that the administrative burden for hams will be minimal, and the FCC does not require amateurs to submit any documentation to the FCC. "In essence, the FCC is telling amateurs that if they run more than 50 W, they need to learn about RF safety and evaluate how this applies to their own operation," he said.
The new regulations also will require the addition of five questions on RF environmental safety to the amateur examinations for Novice, Technician, and General-class elements 2, 3(A) and 3(B). Sumner noted that the Commission's Report and Order does not take into account the practical problems associated with such a significant revision to the volunteer-administered amateur examinations, and that more time than the Commission has allowed will be required to do a good job.
The Commission acknowledged the updated guidelines generally are more stringent than the current rules and are based on recommendations of the federal health and safety agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration. The Commission said that the new rules will protect the public and workers from strong RF emissions. Adoption of the new rules by August 6 was required by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
The Commission also incorporated into its rules provisions of Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that preempt state or local government regulation of personal wireless services facilities based on RF environmental effects, to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission's rules concerning such RF emissions. This preemption does not directly affect Amateur Radio, however.
The FCC said amateur stations "present an unusual case with respect to compliance with RF exposure guidelines," in part because they are authorized to transmit from any place where the Commission regulates the service, as well as on the high seas, and the FCC does not pre-approve individual amateur station transmitting facilities and no additional application is made for permission to relocate an amateur station or to add additional stations at the same or other locations. The FCC also noted that amateur stations "vary greatly" from one location to another, transmit intermittently, and can involve "as many as 1300 different emission types--each with a distinctive on-off duty cycle." The FCC said most amateur stations engage only in two-way communication, thus cutting the transmitting time of any given ham station. "There are many variables, therefore, to be considered in determining whether an amateur station complies with guidelines for environmental RF radiation," the FCC said in the Report and Order.
In comments filed earlier with the FCC, the ARRL strongly opposed adoption of the new requirements. The ARRL said most Amateur Radio users do not possess the requisite equipment, technical skills, and/or financial resources to conduct an environmental analysis. The League has, for several years, recommended a policy of "prudent avoidance" of exposure to electromagnetic radiation as a common-sense approach to potential--but not yet proven--health hazards and against such practices as running high power to indoor antennas or to mobile antennas that might expose the vehicle's occupants. The ARRL also argued that amateur stations, because of their intermittent operation, low duty cycles, and relatively low power levels, rarely exceed the 1992 ANSI/IEEE standard. Finally, the ARRL noted that unlike other radio services, RF safety questions already are included in amateur license examinations.
The FCC agreed in part. "We concur with the ARRL that amateur operators should follow a policy of prudent avoidance of excessive RF exposure," the Commission said. "We will continue to rely upon amateur operators, in constructing and operating their stations, to take steps to ensure that their stations comply with the MPE limits for both occupational/controlled and general public/uncontrolled environments." But the FCC expressed concern that Amateur Radio operations "are likely to be located in residential neighborhoods and may expose persons to RF fields in excess of the MPE guidelines."
For now, the League advises hams not to panic and to read up on the subject. You can download the complete Report and Order at http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Orders/fcc96326.txt. Other resources are available on the ARRLWeb page at http://www.arrl.org/news/rfsafety/.
General information on RF safety is available in the safety sections of the 1996 edition of The ARRL Handbook and in the 15th edition of The ARRL Antenna Book. These materials offer guidelines on how to comply with the ANSI standard the Report and Order refers to. Additionally, the ARRL Technical Information Service offers an information package on RF safety. It includes a reprint of the Handbook material, an April 1994 QST article by Wayne Overbeck, N6NB, and a bibliography on the subject. This package is available for $2 for ARRL members or $4 for nonmembers, postpaid. Nonmembers should include payment with orders. Contact Bridget DiCosimo, e-mail email@example.com or write 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Other resources are available on the ARRLWeb page at http://www.arrl.org/news/rfsafety/. The ARRLWeb information will be updated as circumstances dictate. A Summary of the FCC's New RF Safety Rules
By Wayne Overbeck, N6NB Here are some highlights of the amateur radio portion of ET Docket No. 93-62, approved by the FCC on Aug. 1, 1996:
- When the new rules go into effect next January 1, amateur radio stations will no longer be categorically exempt from complying with the FCC's RF safety standards. However, individual amateurs will not be required to perform the complex environmental assessments that are required of many other FCC licensees.
- The standards for RF safety that amateurs (and other FCC licensees) will be required to meet are a combination of the 1992 ANSI/IEEE standards and somewhat stricter standards developed by the National Council for Radiation Protection and Measurement. The standards establish limits for human exposure to RF fields; the permissible field strength (or "power density") varies by frequency. The lowest power density is allowed in the 30-300 MHz range. At those frequencies, the exposure limit is 1.0 milliwatt per square centimeter in "controlled environments" (averaged over any six-minute period) and 0.2 milliwatts per square centimeter in "uncontrolled environments" (averaged over any 30-minute period). Amateurs' own households will fall under the standards for controlled environments, while RF fields in other areas such as neighbors' homes must not exceed the stricter limits that apply in uncontrolled environments.
- Amateurs whose output power exceeds 50 watts will be required to evaluate their station configuration (including power output, antenna gain, frequency, proximity of the antenna to inhabited areas, and duration of transmissions) to assure compliance with the new rules.
- The FCC will publish charts and tables to help amateurs determine that their installations and operating parameters comply with the rules. There will be examples showing safe distances from various kinds of antennas with various combinations of frequency, power output and transmission duration.
- Five questions concerning RF safety are to be added to each of three amateur radio examination elements (elements 2, 3A and 3B). Application forms for new licenses and renewals will require amateurs to certify that they have read and understand the new RF safety requirements.
- As a practical matter, the new rules will not require most amateurs to modify their stations. The FCC conducted a survey of RF fields near amateur radio stations in 1990 and concluded that only a few station configurations may result in exposures that would exceed the new standards. Potential problem areas may include high power mobile installations, antennas located indoors or close to neighbors' units in apartments and condominiums, and high power VHF-UHF stations using very high gain antennas pointed toward an immediately adjacent dwelling unit. Typical amateur stations using directional antennas about 35 feet above the ground (or higher) do not produce fields that exceed the new standards even at the kilowatt level. The FCC's measurements indicated that my own home station would not violate the new standards even with the tower fully telescoped to 25 feet.
Vanity Filing Gate 2 Opens September 23, 1996
ARRL Letter, August 23 Update
The FCC has announced that vanity call sign filing Gate 2 will open September 23. Under Gate 2, Amateur Extra class licensees may request a vanity call sign on or after that date. File requests on FCC Form 610V. Legibility is critical! If your application is not legible, you could experience a delay in processing, lose the opportunity to obtain a requested call sign or even obtain a call sign different from what you want.
Under Gate 2, you must hold an unexpired Amateur Extra class operator/primary station license to request a vanity call sign for your primary station. To request a vanity call sign for a club station under Gate 2, you must also hold an unexpired club station license grant listing you as the license trustee. Applicants should refer to the licensee database to verify that a requested call sign is not already assigned. A call sign is normally assignable two years following license expiration, surrender, revocation, set aside, cancellation, void ab initio, or death of the grantee.
Using Form 610V, provide a list of up to 25 call signs in the order of preference. The first assignable call sign on the list will be assigned to your station. Remember: When requesting a call sign under Gate 2 for your primary or club station, the call sign must have been unassigned for at least two years. As an Amateur Extra class operator, you may request a call sign from any group, A, B, C or D.
Any call sign requested must be one designated for the region of your mailing address, as follows:
For explanations of Groups A, B, C and D and the geographic Regions, see Fact Sheet PR5000 Number 206-S, Amateur Station Sequential Call Sign System (or see The ARRL Letter Electronic Update, August 16, 1996, available on the ARRL Web at http://www.arrl.org/). For more information on the vanity call sign program, see Fact Sheet PR5000 Number 206-V Amateur Station Vanity Call Sign System.
A $30 fee is required with your FCC Form 610V application. Payment of fees may be made by check (payable to FCC), bank draft, money order or credit card. If paying by credit card, you must also complete and submit FCC Form 159 with your FCC Form 610V. Do not send cash. Send your application package to: Federal Communications Commission, Amateur Vanity Call Sign Request, PO Box 358924, Pittsburgh, PA 15251-5924
If you do not qualify under the above eligibility standards, your application will be dismissed. For further information, contact the Consumer Assistance Branch at 800-322-1117.
Advanced, General, Technician Plus, Technician, and Novice class operators are not yet eligible to request by list. Advanced class operators will be eligible at Gate 3. Others will be eligible at Gate 4.
A separate Public Notice will be released providing guidelines for the implementation of electronic filing procedures for FCC Form 610V.
Solar Flux Down
ARRL Letter August 23 Update
Solar observer Tad Cook, KT7H, in Seattle, Washington, reported August 16 that average solar flux was down about 5 points over the previous week. Flux values are expected to rise above 70 starting around August 22. After that, solar flux should peak around 76 on August 29, and be back to 70 around September 4. No big upsets are expected, but there could be some minor geomagnetic activity around August 27.
The fall equinox is about four weeks away, and the days are gradually getting shorter. Forty meters is the best nighttime band for worldwide propagation, while 20 is best during the day. We are still suffering from very low solar activity at the bottom of the current solar cycle, so MUFs are depressed. Expect big improvements over the next two years.
The September issue of QST includes an informative article by Dean Straw, N6BV, on advanced propagation-prediction software. An interesting one is the Voice of America Coverage Analysis Program or VOACAP, created for The Voice of America. It's available free via the web at http://www.voa.gov/. Click on Other Services, and then Software Distribution after the opening screen. At the Gopher menu, click on Voice of America Coverage Analysis Program.
Sunspot numbers for August 8 through 14 were 24, 20, 33, 30, 22, 16 and 30, respectively, with a mean of 25. The 10.7-cm flux was 69.8, 70.2, 72.8, 72.9, 70.1, 69.6, and 68.8, respectively, with a mean of 70.6.
FCC Issued Call Sign Update
The following is a list of the FCC's most recently issued call signs as of August 1, 1996.District Group A Group B Group C Group D Extra Adv. Tech/Gen Novice 0 AB0CL KI0DX ++ KB0YDQ 1 AA1QJ KE1FS N1XLL KB1BYX 2 AB2BV KG2HV ++ KB2ZOZ 3 AA3OR KE3XD N3XPK KB3BPN 4 AE4WV KT4UJ ++ KF4LDT 5 AC5JD KM5CH ++ KC5VOO 6 AC6WW KQ6IB ++ KF6FLG 7 AB7RW KJ7ZS ++ KC7SEA 8 AA8XS KG8YE ++ KC8ENT 9 AA9TB KG9HP ++ KB9OEY Hawaii # AH6OT # WH6DCN Alaska # AL7QQ KL0AH WL7CTW Virgin Is. WP2X KP2CJ NP2JK WP2AIE Puerto Rico KP3D KP3AG NP3EG WP4NMH # New prefixes are available for this block, but none hve been issued. ++ All call signs in this group have been issued in this area.
Upcoming VEC Examinations
The following test session information is provided by the ARRL/VEC for the upcoming two month period. For further information, please call the test session contact person at the telephone number listed. If necessary, you may contact the ARRL/VEC at 860-594-0300 for additional information. Electronic mail may be forwarded to the ARRL/VEC via USENET at "firstname.lastname@example.org" or via MCI Mail to MCI ID: 653-2312 or 215-5052.
Although the test session information presented here does not indicate whether walk-ins are accepted or not, most test sessions do allow walk-ins. We encourage you, however, to always call the contact person at the telephone number provided so that the VE Team is aware that you be attending the test.09/11/96, Hollywood, 91607, 818-766-1341, Elliott Bloch 09/13/96, Irvine, 92717, 714-824-8477, Jack C Lockhart WD6AEI 09/14/96, Bell, 90201, 213-560-8618, Pedro Cacheiro 09/14/96, Culver City, 90230, 310-827-2538, Clive Morel AA6TZ 09/14/96, Culver City, 90230, 310-827-2538, Clive Morel 09/14/96, Fontana, 92335, 909-822-0392, Bill Hatch N6YTQ 09/14/96, Glendora, 91740, 818-966-7715, Perry Stevens P.R.C. 09/14/96, San Pedro, 90710, 310-325-2965, Elvin Lytle 09/19/96, Fountain Valley, 92708, 714-531-6707, Allan Avnet 09/21/96, Orange, 90720, 310-598-0086, Rick Riness 09/21/96, Santa Clarita, 91322, 805-259-8410, John Abbott 09/21/96, Westminster, 92640, 714-638-4057, Terry Hall 09/26/96, Colton, 92324, 909-825-7136, Harold Heydenfeldt 09/28/96, Culver City, 90049, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson 09/28/96, Garden Grove, 92643, 714-534-8633, John Gregory 09/28/96, Pomona, 91769, 909-949-0059, Don Warburg 09/28/96, Torrance, 96900, 310-834-0558, Renato Santos 10/05/96, Lancaster, 93534, 805-948-1865, Adrienne J Sherwood 10/12/96, Bell, 90201, 213-560-8618, Pedro Cacheiro 10/12/96, Brea, 92621, 310-691-1514, Robert Reitzel 10/12/96, Culver City, 90230, 310-827-2538, Clive Morel AA6TZ 10/12/96, Fontana, 92337, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson 10/12/96, Glendora, 91740, 818-966-7715, Perry Stevens P.R.C. 10/12/96, San Pedro, 90710, 310-325-2965, Elvin Lytle 10/17/96, Fountain Valley, 92708, 714-531-6707, Allan Avnet 10/19/96, R, San Diego, 92104, 619-295-5862, Jeffrey Zimmer 10/20/96, Concord, 94527, 510-427-4022, Jim Wallace Jr 10/24/96, Colton, 92324, 909-825-7136, Harold Heydenfeldt 10/26/96, Culver City, 90049, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson 10/26/96, Pomona, 91769, 909-949-0059, Don Warburg A6HNC
Jet Propulsion Laboratory Amateur Radio Club
Attn: Bill Wood, Editor, Mail Stop DSCC-33
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
Go back to the W6VIO Calling Index.