Greetings to all the Amateurs of Michigan,
Fall, Elections, Aggravation, Relief – all this and more in this month’s newsletter. The good news is I’ve had plenty of “at home” time to focus on my antennas before the weather changes.
Great Lakes Division Elections
I’m hopeful you are all executing your right to vote in the Division Elections. Your involvement doesn’t have to stop there, however. Making the world of amateur radio the best it can be is our collective responsibility.
I’ve shared this with many in the past at ham swaps – it’s relatively easy to see the issues, but solutions are always a bit more challenging. Getting involved will be good for all of us.
Your votes are important. Execute the ballots you will receive. Taking an active role is even more important…I look forward to collaborating with all of you.
Michigan ARRL Section Call To Action (FCC Fee Plans)
(Copied From Director Williams Earlier Note)
It is time to protest the imposition of fees for Amateur Radio Licensing.
The fees Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in this yesterday morning’s Federal Register (https://tinyurl.com/yyk8f2yp). The deadline for comments is November 16, and the Reply comment deadline is November 30.
I am extending the following suggestions you might consider using in writing to the FCC in response to the NPRM. Our thanks to Dave Siddall K3ZJ, ARRL Counsel, for these guidelines. Be sure to carefully review the paragraphs; “Some Suggestions” as the information therein will assist with much of the applicable background.
This subject is critical; the timing is critical. I urge you to contact the FCC. Address and related information is contained in the article referenced in the Federal Register. Please use your own words to express your objections to the proposed fees.
(Good) Arguments Against FCC Fees for Radio Amateurs
Amateurs contribute to the public good. In many areas they provide an emergency communications backbone capability at no taxpayer cost. Consistently we have witnessed storms and natural disasters completely wipe out internet, cellular, and other means of communication. Radio amateurs often fill that void on an unmatched, flexible basis when
needed. One recent example is the California wildfires.
Unlike operators in other FCC licensed services, Amateur Radio operators by law – domestic and international — must eschew using their license for any pecuniary interest. Amateurs are prohibited from earning or charging any money for any communications activity. The expenses for their equipment and activities come out of their own pockets, with no opportunity for reimbursement or payment of any kind.
The United States is experiencing a severe lack of RF engineers and expertise at the very time it is needed by the burgeoning wireless industries. Amateur radio is helping to meet the deficit, but much more is needed and youngsters (High School and College-aged) are least able to afford licensing fees. RF knowledge and related digital expertise is needed to maintain U.S. leadership in wireless industries. At a minimum, young people (below the age of 26) should be exempt from the proposed license fees.
Amateur radio is self-regulating. (a) Amateur examinations are written and administered by radio amateur volunteers. (b) Examination results and paperwork most often are submitted electronically to the FCC. Electronic submission could be required if there would be a cost savings to the Commission. (c) Amateur radio educational classes are conducted by volunteers who by-and-large do not charge fees or tuition forteaching. (d) The amateur service, in cooperation with the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, has a volunteer corps that monitors the amateur airwaves and has programs that try to prevent their misuse before FCC involvement might be needed. The amateurs also observe non-amateur signals both within amateur spectrum and outside it, and report unusual or suspicious signals.
Amateur radio continues to be a source of significant technological innovation that should be encouraged, not discouraged.
We do not recommend arguing that the $50. fee every 10 years, which amounts to $5.00 a year, will “kill” amateur radio, even though as proposed this is for each covered application, which includes upgrade applications. Tech-General-Extra could be $150. If those exams were taken at different sessions, a substantial amount. But it “rings” the wrong way to say the whole service turns on $5/year for each licensee. If that’s all it would take ….
The Commission argues that the charges are required by the statute. The word used is “shall”, which is mandatory, not optional. But the statute does not set the amount, nor does it prohibit reasonable exceptions – evidenced by the Commission’s proposal to exempt from fees administrative update applications based on policy grounds.
This is not “aimed at amateur radio to kill it.” There is a long history and precedent on charging fees for the licensing service involved, just as there is for passports, green cards, drivers’ licenses (issued by states), etc. Better to make pertinent arguments on why the fees would impair the public benefits of the amateur radio service than argue that the whole service might die as a result of a fee that, infact, is less than the fee many of us paid in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
For background: this proceeding is being handled by staff unfamiliar with amateur radio. It is being handled in the FCC’s Office of Managing Director (OMD), not in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau where the amateur-specific Part 97 matters are handled. The focus of OMD is accounting – budgets and the like for the entire Commission. The fee proposals cover every FCC license and service across the board and the consideration was directed by Congress. It is recommended keeping “ham jargon” out of comments, it won’t be understood by
the intended recipients.
Michigan ARRL Section Staff Travel Plans
There just isn’t any (physical or virtual) currently to report. Again, if your group is holding virtual meetings, and you would like any of the Section staff to attend, please let us know. It is important to note that many clubs meet on the same day and time each month. We’ll do our best to accommodate. I have made it to a few outdoor events, and always enjoy chatting with hams in Michigan.
Michigan Section Emergency Test (SET)
The Fall Statewide Auxiliary Communications (AuxComm) Exercise was held on October 10th . The simulation scenario was widespread power outages and Internet disruptions preventing use of repeaters and digital voice technologies.
Approximately 200 participants from over 30 counties representing each district in the state exchanged over 100 resource requests via VHF simplex with their neighboring counties, and then sent an ICS-213 (general communication) to the state emergency operations center (SEOC) to summarize their results.
Messages that were sent to the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) were passed via VHF simplex (direct and relayed), HF SSB phone, and Winlink.
There was a high level of participation for the exercise, and we learned about several areas that need work, including a refresh of the simplex frequency assignments as well as future training opportunities (hint: traffic handling is on the list).
Thank you to all who participated, and to the Emergency Management & Homeland Security Division for allowing us to use the communications room in the SEOC for the exercise.
Michigan Public Service Activities
Michigan Section Traffic/ARPSC Nets (all times local)
Please note that time adjustments may be necessary due to propagation
changes. Contact your net manager for alternate frequencies and/or
MACS – MI Amateur Communications System 3.952 1000 Daily
UPN – Upper Peninsula Net 3.921 1700 Daily; Noon Sun
MIARPSC – MI Amateur Radio Public Service Corps 3.932 1700 Sun
QMN – The Michigan Net 3.563 1830 and 2200 Daily
MITN – MI Traffic Net 3.952 1900 Daily
MIDTN – MI Digital Traffic Net 3.583 (Olivia 8/500) 2000 Tu, Th, Sat
MIADS – MI ARES D-Star Net Reflector 24A Mon 2000
D8EN – District 8 Emergency Net 3.909 Wed 2000
GLETN – Great Lakes Emergency and Traffic Net 3.932 2000 Daily
MVTN – MI VHF Traffic Net IRA Link System 2100 Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun
NLEUP – Northern Lower Eastern UP Net 146.64- 18:30 Daily
SEMTN – SE MI Traffic Net 146.76- 2215 Daily
TMMTN – Thumb Mid-Michigan Traffic Net 147.30+ 2130 Mon – Sat
Michigan Amateur Radio Public Service Corps (ARPSC) Activities for September 2020
Station Activity Reports (SAR) for September 2020
WB8WKQ 515, KB8RCR 509, K8ED 188, WB8TQZ 129, ND8W 96, K8BKM 67, K8RDN 60, KD8ZCM 46, WD8USA 38, KE8CEH 30, KE8KOC 25, W8MSK 21, KB8PGW 10, WB8R 4, KE8BYC 1
Public Service Honor Roll (PSHR) for September 2020:
KE8BYC 368, KE8KOC 355, ND8W 310, KB8RCR 180, WD8USA 138, K8RDN 133, N5MKY 115, KD8ZCM 115, WB8TQZ 110, WB8WKQ 90, K8ED 90, KC8YVF 84, WB8R 79, W8DW 70, KB8PGW 55, KE8CEH 54
Brass Pounder’s League (BPL): No reports this month
Net traffic for September 2020:
Michigan Amateur Communications System 177
Michigan Traffic Net 110
The Michigan Net 71
Upper Peninsula Net 36
Southeastern Michigan Traffic Net 30
Michigan Digital Traffic Net 26
Michigan VHF Traffic Net 16
Northern Lower Eastern Upper Peninsula Net 11
Luce County ARES Net 8
District 3 ARPSC Net 3
Saginaw County ARES Net 3
Michigan Amateur Radio Public Service Corps 2
Red Cross Net of Greater Grand Rapids 1
NTS person-hour Value for September 2020: $ 52784
(NOTE NTS PERSON VALUE ONLY)
More information is available at http://nts-mi.org/.
Come join us on our traffic and public service nets.
A hearty thanks to the hundreds of volunteers across the State of Michigan who work hard as volunteers to hone their skills month after month to make sure they are ready for any situation that may arise. Our ARPSC and NTS programs are an integral part of AuxComm, which in turn is an integral part of the Michigan State Police Homeland Security Division. Public service is in the DNA of Amateur Radio, one of many reasons we enjoy so many radio frequencies to utilize, experiment with, and enjoy.
I am hopeful you are all staying home, staying healthful, and staying hopeful. Our current global conditions are testing the mettle and resolve of simply everyone, everywhere. As we move into cooler weather, it’s even more important to protect yourself and those you care about.
Visit the ARRL Lifelong Learning Center on the web.
Be sure and vote in the Division Elections, and make a note to become more involved.
Thanks to all the radio amateurs who continue to make the hobby great! Get Active, Get Involved, and Get On The Air!