Tag Archives: ARRL

Preaching to the Choir – An FCC Scold to the Wrong Team

I wanted to let this silly ARRL and FCC thing simmer a while before pointing out that these folks are “preaching to the choir.”

In case you missed this when they put it out:

Dear ARRL Central Division Member,

I have received a number of inquiries asking why the statement from ARRL HQ titled ” The ARRL on the Purpose of Amateur Radio”
had been sent this afternoon. The online web version can be seen here;


Please take a look at the other news piece that was posted today on the ARRL.org Website. The attached link has the Enforcement Advisory posted by the FCC today, Sunday 17Jan21.
Hopefully this will provide the context for the letter sent today from the ARRL HQ.


73, Kermit Carlson W9XA


Here is a direct link to the original FCC scold – https://www.fcc.gov/document/amateur-personal-radio-users-reminded-not-use-radios-crimes

This whole thing is silly and misses the point that FCC-Licensed and ARRL-affiliated hams should be considered to always be “wearing the white hat.”  Hams=Good Guys, not the problem.

The scold should have reserved for non-licensed activists openly carrying HTs while doing social mischief.  These activists appeared to be using Chinese HT’s and web sources suggest that these HTs were reprogramed to obscure their unlicensed use.

And the licensed ham should have been encouraged to use their capabilities to monitor and if possible record/identify/locate those misusing Amateur and other frequencies.

Our amateur radio community basically self-polices itself for the FCC, largely self-administrates its testing process, and has a century of goodwill working with the government.

Remember that is a government we elect and fund – a government drawn from the people including Radio Amateurs.

It usually is counterproductive to punish, which includes shaming, the innocent.

Wiser would have been to have engaged the Radio Amateur community to assist in solving the problem.

It is very curious that the ARRL rolled-over rather than pushing back and on its own encouraged a positive ham participation in solving the problem.  As a group we directly pay to represent our hobby they fell short of expectations.  It seemed like the ARRL response was mostly about liability reduction than stepping up be a positive influencer.

I think we can do better – so let’s go for it.  Taking cue from the OO (Official Observer) concepts of the past, it is time to monitor and report to the FCC and law enforcement the interlopers.



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The Fifty-Dollar Filter – FCC’s Proposed $50 for Ten Year Ham License Fee

Somehow our government has figured out that to maintain a radio amateur’s license costs $5/year and is proposing to recover that cost from each of us.

Actually Congress passed legislation directing expense recovery by user fees.

Well I say the numbers are rubbish.

In the past the vanity-license fee was assessed on a similar basis resulting in a $x.xx/per year fee.  Numbers like $4.17 or $2.13 in form, not a rounded even dollar.

When the true incremental costs above a regular license were used, the the ongoing yearly fee disappeared.  Once established there was no significant difference to carrying either a sequential or a vanity listing.

Of course the previously collected faux-fees were retained rather than refunded.

Afraid our Amateur Radio community is being railroaded again.

The question being put to us is not whether the amount of the fee is accurate.

Instead we are being asked to comment on a feel-good exercise as whether the legally required expense recovery is legitimate.

Personally the proposed fee conceptually amortized at $5 per year as a user fee will not interfere with my pursuit of our hobby.

But I do expect some of my sons who have Tech and General class licenses but are seldom on the air to join the ranks of “former amateur licensees” as they won’t be bothered to jump through the renewal hoops and pay for a license they presently are not using.  I anticipate our all-licensee family will drop from Five licensed amateurs to 1 or possibly 2.  I will certainly renew, but the wife and our sons won’t, expect perhaps one son who earned his general a while back.

This weeding out of the inactive or lightly active will have dual impact – a continued decline in overall licensees which will politically be used against the amateur radio hobby for frequency and support grabs.

And you can expect the fees to treble or more as the total expense is reallocated over a smaller groups of licenses.

So brace for this $50 per 10-year fee becoming $150+ per ten-year period after the first 6-7 years of fees, and then continuing to escalate in years after that.

With enough decline in fee paying licensees it isn’t unreasonable to anticipate a $50/year ($500 for the ten year) levy or higher within the next 15-20 years.

Some hams are noting the ARRL’s opposition and attributing it being self-serving for the ARRL as an organization, which may be part true.

But unless we push hard to get to keep this Pandora’s Box from being opened it will be our wallets that suffer, our feeder system of lightly active amateurs who some later embrace the hobby in a bigger way, and the barrier to entry for new hams that will cause the real damage to our hobby.



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K9ZW LoTW Updates

Over the years I have been an on-again/off-again LoTW participant. Really my uploading logs is more about helping others than any sort of personal effort.

I’ve never gone through the process of adding in what paper DX QSLs and logs could be added to my LoTW totals. Hard to get interested enough to dedicate the hours to sort this out.

My paper QSLing is way behind, and I am currently in the midst of having my cards redesigned with the updates to my current QTH.

I am intrigued with nearly 50% of my QSOs uploaded to LoTW having been confirmed.  Guess that show the system does work.



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How many Zombie Satellites are Up There? Scott VE7TIL found another one

From the ARRL:

British Columbia radio amateur Scott Tilley, VE7TIL, has found another “zombie satellite,” as he calls them. This time, he tracked and identified radio signals from the experimental UHF military communication satellite LES-5. Tilley says he found the satellite in what he called a geostationary “graveyard” orbit after noting a modulated carrier on 236.7487 MHz.

“Most zombie satellites are satellites that are no longer under human control, or have failed to some degree,” Tilley told National Public Radio (NPR) earlier this month. It’s not clear whether LES-5 is still capable of receiving commands.

Link: http://www.arrl.org/news/radio-amateur-finds-another-zombie-satellite

One wonders how many of these Zombie Satellites are up there?



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Revisiting LoTW (Logbook of the World)

LoTW (Logbook of The World) when it first came out was not a great experience.

Back in its early days I tried, and basically gave up.

Well like all things in heavy use, LoTW has gotten a lot better.

Using the ARRL link https://lotw.arrl.org/lotw-help/getting-started/ I decided I would knuckle-down and see if I could get things going.

I found LoTW much easier and much quicker than in the day.

As a starter it took only a day to get my main certificate approved, that is so much better than the weeks plus postcards sent in the mail stuff back in the day.

Continue reading

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ARRL Frequency Measurement Test 2019 – an Amateur’s Challenge

While I don’t think I will be up and running with the new station for the November 7th 2019 FMT, you might want to check it out.

The ARRL Frequency Measurement Test is on the evening of November 7th, Thursday night


0200Z-0520Z Nov 8, Submit Measurements by 0200Z, Nov 11

K5CM 40m (near 7064 kHz)
0200Z Call up for 3 minutes
0203Z Key down for 2 minutes
0205Z End of run

K5CM 80m (near 3598 kHz)
0215Z Call up for 3 minutes
0218Z Key down for 2 minutes
0220Z End of run

K5CM 40m (near 7064 kHz)
0500Z Call up for 3 minutes
0503Z Key down for 2 minutes
0505Z End of run

K5CM 80m (near 3598 kHz)
0515Z Call up for 3 minutes
0518Z Key down for 2 minutes
0520Z End of FMT

A couple reflectors shared some information on tools you can use:

…the FreqCal part of WSJTx. https://www.physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wsjtx-doc/wsjtx-main-2.0.1.html

Spectrum Lab is also a good tool. It can record lots of data for subsequent analysis. Plus you can run multiple instances with multiple slices. It does require some setup so practice early.  [courtesy of ] Logan KE7AZ

Logan also recommended http://www.ve2azx.net/technical/FreqCal.pdf as a good reference on how to do teh test.  It is a PDF of a PowerPoint, so some stuff is spread out like slides do, but it is all there.

Good luck and have at ‘er!



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