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WiFi and Field Day

An interesting story from our Friends at Southgate News>

 

Al Williams WD5GNR writes on Hackaday about how some radio amateurs deploy long-distance WiFi at their Field Day site

Field Day is an annual exercise where radio amateurs are encouraged to set up stations in conditions that might occur after a natural disaster, using power from a generator, solar cells, or batteries. Some groups even manage to set-up a remote WiFi connection.

Read the full story and watch the video at
http://hackaday.com/2016/07/02/ham-radio-wifi/

FCC Says "No" to Lifetime Amateur Radio Licenses

From ARRL 6-22-16

The FCC has denied the petition of an Arizona radio amateur, who had petitioned for lifetime Amateur Radio licenses. Mark F. Krotz, N7MK, of Mesa, had filed his Petition for Rule Making (RM 11760) with the FCC last November, and the FCC invited public comments in February. Krotz wanted the FCC to revise § 97.25 of its rules to indicate that Amateur Radio licenses are granted for the holder’s lifetime, instead of for the current 10-year term. Hundreds of radio amateurs commented on the petition, but the FCC was not swayed by those favoring the idea.

“Based on our review of the record, we are not persuaded that the petition discloses sufficient grounds for the requested rule change,” the FCC said in a June 21 Order. “Krotz’s primary argument is that extending the term of amateur licenses to the lifetime of the holder would reduce the Commission’s administrative and personnel costs, but it is not clear to us that the proposal actually would enhance administrative efficiency.” That’s because the vast majority of license renewals are submitted online and processed automatically by the Universal Licensing System (ULS), “with minimal staff involvement,” the Order said.

The FCC said it had further reduced its overhead by no longer routinely mailing out paper licenses. “[I]f license terms were extended to the holder’s lifetime, we likely would receive more cancellations on account of the licensee’s death, which are labor-intensive, because staff must carefully verify the deceased’s identity and licenses in order to guard against erroneous cancellations,” the FCC said in its Order, signed by Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Deputy Mobility Division Chief Scot Stone.

Krotz argued that the General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL) already is issued on a lifetime basis, but the FCC said that’s not a comparable situation, because an Amateur Radio license is both an operator’s license and a station license, “and there is no Commission precedent for issuing a lifetime station license.”

In 2014 the FCC granted lifetime credit for examination elements 3 and 4, but applicants seeking relicensing under that provision still must pass examination element 2. The FCC pointed out in its Order that this was done to address the concerns of commenters that a licensee who had not renewed also may not have maintained or expanded his or her knowledge and skills.

Special webcast of Field Day

 

W5KUB.com will have a special field day webcast Saturday June 25th from starting at 2100hrs GMT with live coverage from the Youth Field Day site K1D in Florida at the start and then live webcam visits and tours of their Field Day Stations to field day sites throughout the United States. Other sites can participate with call in to the studio or by skype. The program will also be simulcast on shortwave’s “The Planet” WBCQ on 5130KHz.

Amateur Radio Parity Act Set for House Energy and Commerce Committee Markup

The Amateur Radio Parity Act (H.R. 1301) is among five bills that the US House Energy and Commerce Committee has scheduled for a “full committee” markup on June 22 and 23. The panel, chaired by Rep Fred Upton (R-MI), will consider H.R. 1301 and an “Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 1301.” Earlier this month, the ARRL and the Community Associations Institute (CAI) — the national association of homeowners associations (HOAs) announced that they had reached consensus on the bill’s provisions. The committee is scheduled to convene at 5 PM on June 22 for opening statements only; it will get down to work Thursday morning. Committee members have been asked to submit any amendments they may have for any of the bills scheduled for consideration at least 2 hours before they are offered during the markup. Committee sessions will be streamed live.

According to ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, the substitute bill would guarantee that a radio amateur living in a deed-restricted community — including condominium or townhouse communities — could install and maintain an “effective outdoor antenna.” He said the agreement was achieved without disrupting 30 years of zoning case law that has interpreted the PRB-1 federal preemption and protected radio amateurs from overregulation by zoning authorities. The bill incorporates the basic tenets of PRB-1.  (ARRL, Jun 23, 2016)

The History of the ARRL Field Day

Amateur Radio operators have been transmitting from “the field” ever since radio has been around. In 1933, the American Radio Relay League – the National Association for Amateur Radio – formalized this activity for a weekend each June, called Field Day. For the duration of Field Day, over thousands of “hams” across the United States, Canada, and many other countries take their radio gear out of their homes and set up temporary stations almost anywhere imaginable: public parks, beaches, mountaintops, baseball diamonds, atop parking garages, and yes, even in fields. We do so as part of a local club, or with just a friend or two or their family, or individually. In 2015, over 1.2 million radio contacts were made between Amateur Radio operators during the Field Day weekend. Some stats for the 2015 Field Day are:

Total Participants 36,369  
Total QSO’s (contacts by radio)     1,299,207     (an increase of 1.1% over 2014)
QSO’s by Phone (voice) 668,241        (roughly 51.45%)
QSO’s by CW (Morse code) 578,545      (roughly 44.5%)
Digital QSO’s 52,421        (roughly 4.045%)

 

Information source: ARRL QST Magazine, December 2015

 

Pretty Impressive numbers, even when we recall that propagation ‘gods’ were not especially nice to us that weekend. Over all the number of logs submitted for Field Day 2015 appears to be an all time record. Rol Anders K3RA wrote an article QST in December 1999 titled 'Field Day - A mirror of Amateur Radio History' that reviews filed day by year all the way back to its start in 1933 and can be found here.  Its refreshing that one of the single most popular ‘events’ for amateur radio operators, and for, many the start of our interest in the hobby is – Field Day!

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17 December 2018