Category Archives: K9ZW Operations

So What Are the New RF Exposure Rules in a Nutshell?

This notice was put up by our ARRL on December 5th and I’ve been puzzling about it since: (Link )

FCC Amending Amateur Radio RF Exposure Safety Rules

12/05/2019The FCC is amending its Part 97 Amateur Service rules relating to RF exposure safety. In a lengthy document in ET Docket 19-226 released on December 4 that addresses a broad range of RF safety issues, the FCC said current amateur radio RF exposure safety limits will remain unchanged, but that the amateur-specific exemption from having to conduct an RF exposure evaluation will be replaced by the FCC’s general exemption criteria. Radio amateurs have always had to comply with RF exposure limits, but certain stations have been exempt from having to conduct evaluations based only upon power and frequency. The Commission indicated that by and large, if an RF source was “categorically excluded” from routine evaluation under the old rules, it will most likely still be exempt under the new rules, which are expected to take effect in the next couple of months.

“For applicants and licensees in the Amateur Radio Service, we substitute our general exemption criteria for the specific exemption from routine evaluation based on power alone in Section 97.13(c)(1) and specify the use of occupational/controlled limits for amateurs where appropriate,” the FCC said.

“The sky is not falling here,” ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, commented. “The major aspects of the rules will not impose major new burdens on the Amateur Radio Service. As in all regulatory matters, though, the devil may be in the details, so the ARRL technical staff, legal staff, and the experts on the ARRL RF Safety Committee are carefully evaluating this FCC document.”
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Even in FT8 some station can overdrive and ruin your band reception

Not that one sees this that often, but it is possible to have another station’s poor signal basically wipe out your FT8 operations.

In this case someone was over-driving to the point their signal splattered wiping everyone else:


When another station is splattering FT8 transmissions

Typically in FT8 this resolves itself when after a bit they give up, as their signal usually can’t be decoded well without some attenuation and gyration.  So they move along.

It is not unreasonable for FT8 operators to run some power.  FT8 is a weak-signal mode, not a QRP mode.

But if they don’t have their station configured correctly the added power can lead to a mess.

(Notice in the picture that the overpowering signal was only the “even” transmissions as the “odd” ones remained regular looking signals.)




Transmitting on Property with a CrankIR

Put my CrankIR together as I wanted to replace some worn out clamps and play with my new Sark-110 analyzer. Also wanted to update the Flex-6300 spare radio.

See the top of the antenna?

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FT8 in the big shack

Thought I would snap a shot of running FT8 from the new radio room.  In this case the actual transceiver is at the “K9ZW Work” QTH:

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SmartSDR for iPad adds FT8

A very neat SmartSDR addition of FT8 to iPad version.

I’ve been making QSOs with it, and can see how with a few small tweaks it could be exceptional.

The screen is pretty uncluttered but the toggles are not so clear.

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Wisconsin Parks on the Air 2019 Event – Sept. 21st

From an ARRL section announcement in my inbox:

It’s coming soon!

2nd Annual Wisconsin Parks on the Air contest coming up on
Saturday, September 21, 2019. Hours: 11 am – 6 pm Central.
See the website:


A flyer and rules are available as pdf’s on the link above.

Would seem like a great excuse to get our and do some field work, or to make contacts with those who are out in the parks.



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