November 2020 Michigan Section Report

Greetings to all the Amateurs of Michigan,

This time last year we had 6 to 9 inches of snow on the ground – as I’m typing this, the temperature outside is 52 degrees. What a difference a year can make! The great news is that all of my antennas have been made ready for the coming cold months. Speaking of years that we would like to forget; let’s all try and make it through this one by paying attention to the great suggestions on mask wearing and social distancing.

 

Great Lakes Division Elections

We’ll know in a few more days the outcome of your balloting in the Great Lakes Division elections. I suspect those results will be much less dramatic than other contests around the United States.

My personal thanks to all the candidates and to all those members who executed their ballots.

Michigan ARRL Section Call To Action (FCC Fee Plans)

(Copied From Director Williams Earlier Note)

This deserves repeating

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.

Some Suggestions

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.

Additionally, I have attended a few meetings being held online via video conference bridging. This is a great way to stay in touch.

Physical Indoor Swaps

While I do understand that many clubs rely heavily on revenue from swaps, and that many of us, including myself, do enjoy attending them, I am advocating that we do NOT attend any of these inside swaps currently.

Much like the Spanish Flu of 100 years ago when populations though they had seen the worst – then a second wave became even more deadly than the first one.

Medical professionals are suggesting the upcoming holiday season could lure us in and help support the continued spread of the pandemic.

For me personally I am not likely to attend many events in the near future.

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
times.

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 October 2020

 

Station Activity Reports (SAR) for October 2020

 

WB8WKQ 429, K8ED 347, KB8RCR 284, N5MKY 132, K8BKM 113, WB8TQZ 88, K8RDN 81, KD8ZCM 73, ND8W 71, WD8USA 66, KE8CEH 26, W8MSK 24, KE8BYC 20, KB8PGW 14, KE8DON 7

 

Public Service Honor Roll (PSHR) for October 2020:

KE8BYC 428, ND8W 350, KC8YVF 259, WD8USA 175, KB8RCR 165, N5MKY 135, K8RDN 119, KD8ZCM 110, WB8TQZ 110, K8ED 105, KB8PGW 94, WB8WKQ 90, W8DW 77, KE8CEH 51, KE8DON 37

Brass Pounder’s League (BPL): No reports this month

 

Net traffic for October 2020:

Michigan Traffic Net 161

Michigan Amateur Communications System 113

The Michigan Net 92

Michigan VHF Traffic Net 39

Upper Peninsula Net 36

Southeastern Michigan Traffic Net 36

Michigan Digital Traffic Net 36

Northern Lower Eastern Upper Peninsula Net 10

Monroe County ARPSC Net 3

District 3 ARPSC Net 3

Saginaw County ARES Net 3

 

NTS person-hour Value for October 2020: $ 52743

(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.

 

 

Final Thoughts

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. I know from personal experience that social distancing is challenging, but may help keep everyone alive.

Visit the ARRL Lifelong Learning Center on the web.

Thanks to all the radio amateurs who continue to make the hobby great! Get Active, Get Involved, and Get On The Air!

 

73

Jim K8JK

Updated: November 15, 2020 — 7:44 pm

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