Greetings to all the Amateurs of Michigan,
Welcome to April, and all that the spring and summer should hold for us! I am happy to be outside more (even if it is for yard work) and look forward to the summer ahead! I am hopeful that spring is finding you safe and healthy.
Updated Radio Frequency Exposure Rules Become Effective on May 3
The FCC has announced that rule changes detailed in a lengthy 2019 Report and Order governing RF exposure standards go into effect on May 3, 2021. The new rules do not change existing RF exposure (RFE) limits but do require that stations in all services, including amateur radio, be evaluated against existing limits, unless they are exempted.
For stations already in place, that evaluation must be completed by May 3, 2023. After May 3 of this year, any new station, or any existing station modified in a way that’s likely to change its RFE profile — such as different antenna or placement or greater power — will need to conduct an evaluation by the date of activation or change.
“In the RF Report and Order, the Commission anticipated that few parties would have to conduct reevaluations under the new rules and that such evaluations will be relatively straightforward,” the FCC said in an April 2 Public Notice. “It nevertheless adopted a 2-year period for parties to verify and ensure compliance under the new rules.”
The Amateur Service is no longer categorically excluded from certain aspects of the rules, as amended, and licensees can no longer avoid performing an exposure assessment simply because they are transmitting below a given power level.
“For most amateurs, the major difference is the removal of the categorical exclusion for amateur radio, which means that ham station owners must determine if they either qualify for an exemption or must perform a routine environmental evaluation,” said Greg Lapin, N9GL, chair of the ARRL RF Safety Committee and a member of the FCC Technological Advisory Council (TAC).
“Ham stations previously excluded from performing environmental evaluations will have until May 3, 2023, to perform these. After May 3, 2021, any new stations or those modified in a way that affects RF exposure must comply before being put into service,” Lapin said.
The December 2019 RF Report and Order changes the methods that many radio services use to determine and achieve compliance with FCC limits on human exposure to RF electromagnetic fields.
The FCC also modified the process for determining whether a particular device or deployment is exempt from a more thorough analysis by replacing a service-specific list of transmitters, facilities, and operations for which evaluation is required with new streamlined formula-based criteria. The R&O also addressed how to perform evaluations where the exemption does not apply, and how to mitigate exposure.
Amateur radio licensees will have to determine whether any existing facilities previously excluded under the old rules now qualify for an exemption under the new rules. Most will, but some may not.
The ARRL Laboratory staff is available to help amateurs to make these determinations and, if needed, perform the necessary calculations to ensure their stations comply. ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, who helped prepare ARRL’s RF Exposure and You book, explained it this way. “The FCC did not change any of the underlying rules applicable to amateur station evaluations,” he said. “The sections of the book on how to perform routine station evaluations are still valid and usable, especially the many charts of common antennas at different heights.” Hare said ARRL Lab staff also would be available to help amateurs understand the rules and evaluate their stations.”
The ARRL RF Safety Committee is working with the FCC to update the FCC’s aids for following human exposure rules — OET Bulletin 65 and OET Bulletin 65 Supplement B for Radio Amateurs. In addition, ARRL is developing tools that all hams can use to perform exposure assessments.
Handy RF Exposure Safety Link
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.
Additionally, I have attended a few meetings being held online via video conference bridging. This is a great way to stay in touch.
New FCC Fees HAVE NOT Gone Into Effect
Contrary to what you may have heard or read, the collection of application fees for the amateur radio service and certain other services will NOT begin on April 19, 2021.
Although April 19, 2021 is the date the rules in the FCC Report and Order adopted last December generally take effect – i.e., one month after the R&O was published in the March 19, 2021 Federal Register – certain parts of those rules, including collection of the application fees for the amateur radio service, will NOT begin on that date.
The effective date for new amateur radio fees has not yet been established. The FCC explicitly states in the published Notice that the fees will not take effect until:
* the requisite notice has been provided to Congress; AND
* the FCC’s information technology systems and internal procedures have been updated; AND
* the Commission publishes [FUTURE] notice(s) in the Federal Register announcing the effective date of such rules.
The League’s counsel for FCC matters estimates that the effective start date for collecting the fees will be sometime this summer, but
regardless of the exact timing we will have advance notice. Stay tuned for further developments on this.
Keep in mind that one can only renew their amateur license within 90 days in advance of the expiration date. If you, or a club station
license you are trustee for, are within that 90-day window now, I’d renew as soon as possible to avoid the new fee.
If you are thinking of switching to a vanity call sign, I’d also seriously suggest you apply for that special call sign sooner rather than later. (Of course, if you are an Extra class seeking a new shorter 1X2 or 2X1 call sign, competition for those calls in the future MIGHT be a
bit less due to the new fees! We’ll see…)
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 March 2021
Station Activity Reports (SAR) for March 2021
KB8RCR 358, K8ED 326, WB8WKQ 307, KE8KOC 169, N5MKY 144, ND8W 83, WD8USA 72, KB8PGW 68, K8BKM 60, WB8TQZ 59, K8RDN 56, W8KOM 51, KD8ZCM 37, W8MSK 32, KE8CEH 28, KE8BYC 27, KE8DON 9, WB8R 4
Public Service Honor Roll (PSHR) for March 2021:
KE8BYC 367, ND8W 285, KE8KOC 270, KB8RCR 220, K8RDN 215, N5MKY 200, KC8YVF 148, KD8ZCM 132, WD8USA 125, KB8PGW 110, K8BKM 110, K8ED 110, WB8TQZ 102, WB8WKQ 90, KE8DON 89, WB8R 79, W8KOM 51, KE8CEH 46
Brass Pounder’s League (BPL): No reports this month
Net traffic for March 2021:
Michigan Amateur Communications System 151
The Michigan Net 93
Michigan Traffic Net 87
Michigan VHF Traffic Net 69
Southeastern Michigan Traffic Net 60
Upper Peninsula Net 38
Great Lakes Emergency & Traffic Net 21
Calhoun Co ARES/RACES/SKYWARN 10
Northern Lower Eastern Upper Peninsula Net 10
Michigan Digital Traffic Net 8
Monroe Co ARPSC Net 8
Thumb Mid-Michigan Traffic Net 7
Saginaw County ARES Net 4
Luce County ARES Net 4
District 3 ARPSC Net 3
Branch County Emergency Net 1
NTS person-hour Value for February 2021: $ 63103
(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.
Connect and support a local club or two. Even consider becoming a mentor to a new ham.
Thanks to all the radio amateurs who continue to make the hobby great! Check out the new updated rules for 2021 ARRL Field Day! Get Active, Get Involved, and Get On The Air!