Dec 15

fcc-transThe rule proposal is RM-11708

Time is running out for comments on the ARRL proposal to modernize the FCC’s digital regulations.  The current rules date from the 1980’s before modern modulation schemes were available.  The end result is that we are limited in how fast we can send data by these rules.  Right now, the rest of the world (advanced technology societies such as Mexico, Haiti, and others) can use the latest digital techniques while we can’t.  The result is actually more bandwidth utilization due to slower speeds.

( and comments can be filed until December 21.  The proposal would not increase the frequencies used for digital communications and would not result in any degradation to existing operations.  It would increase the efficiency of spectrum utilization by allowing digital messages to be sent roughly twice as fast so they would be on the air half as long.  It would also allow continued development of newer techniques that could be even more efficient.  Without the rule change, US amateurs will be shackled with an obsolete regulation while the rest of the world moves ahead.

I encourage you to fill your own comments with the FCC.  You can do so on their web site with an express filing which only takes a few minutes.

Jim Russell, NQ5L

Jun 11

I would like to congratulate Stuart Rohre K5KVH – Red Cross AEC in Travis and Williamson County.  Stuart received the West Gulf Division Excellence award – as the EMCOMM Ham of the year 2012.  The presentation was made by Coy  Day, retired ARRL West Gulf Division Director and Dr. David Woolweaver – Director of West Gulf Division ARRL.

In receiving the honor Stuart’s first words were in praise of his team mates – Joe Fisher K5EJL and Bob Morgan WB5AOH who have supported W5KA Red Cross Station in many drills and deployments.

A member of Travis County ARES since 1975, Stuart began working with Red Cross in earnest in 1991.  Stuart had his baptism of fire serving Red Cross in the Jarrell Tornadoes of 1997.  He was the first ARES operator at the chapter and was asked to organize communications for the disaster.  Public Safety communications were out!

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Nov 21

The ARRL newsletter has the following story in it:

“FCC Seeks to Assign Entire Amateur Portion of 160 Meter Band to Primary Status to Amateur Radio Service, Proposes New LF Amateur Band at 135.7-137.8 kHz”

 “Most of the NPRM does not concern the Amateur Radio Service, but the FCC is requesting comments on the three parts that do: changing the allocation to the amateur portion of the 160 meter band, allocating a new Amateur Service band at 135.7-137.8 kHz and cleaning up the rules for the 10.0-10.5 GHz band. ”

“In the US, the 130-160 kHz portion of spectrum is allocated to the Fixed Service and the Maritime Mobile Service on a primary basis for both federal and non-federal use. Delegates at WRC-07 allocated 135.7-137.8 kHz to the Amateur Radio Service in all ITU Regions on a secondary basis”

Sep 7

Last week Joe Gadus, KD5KTX resigned as the Public Information Coordinator for the South Texas Section. I was sorry to receive this resignation as Joe has done a fantastic job in the Section both as a Public Information Officer and as the Public Information Coordinator.  During his tenure as PIC he pursued the creation of a new position in the section, that of  an Assistant PIC and signed up five excellent PIO’s to fill those slots. With the five assistants in place to help him they, as a team, have grown the South Texas Section list of ACTIVE Public Information Officers to over 21. This is very likely the largest active group of PIO’s in any single section in the league.  

Joe also was one of the very first to be recognized formally by the ARRL as one of three PIO’s of the year last year.  His PR efforts within the section have been everything I could have hoped for in both a PIO and PIC.  I want thank Joe for his time and dedication to the position.

In finding a replacement for the PIC job I found myself with the enviable task of having several very qualified volunteers that have offered their services to the section. It made the decision a tough one as I would have felt comfortable in appointing any of them and knowing they will do a great job. 

Having said that, I would like to announce the appointment of Mike Manshack, AD5OG, as the new Public Information Coordinator for the South Texas Section.  Mike has been active as a PIO and as an Assistant PIC and has done a great job in recruiting new PIO’s,as well as working with the local ARES and Clubs to get media coverage for their events. I feel comfortable that the entire PIO  team will continue to excel while working with Mike.

Please join me in congratulating Mike on his new role.

Lee, W5LHC

Aug 7
Be a part of this first of it’s kind competition!  Rick Palm of the ARRL ARES E-Letter says of this event: “this is a cool idea!” and is including info about it in the August ARES E-Letter. He will be sent the results for possible ARRL publication. Your last chance to sign up. Get a team together.
When: September 5, 2010
Where: South Texas park. Park location to be announced before the competition to pre-registered teams.  This is not a spectator sport event.
Teams: Teams, made up of 4 people each, will compete to see which team can set up an operational communications (Jump Team) site and make 5 HF contacts in the least amount of time and in the proper manner.
May 14

Per the ARRL Website – posted 05/08/2010…

Acting on a 2006 Petition for Rulemaking filed by the ARRL, the FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), ET Docket No 10-98 to modify the rules that govern amateurs’ secondary use of five channels in the 5 MHz frequency range known as 60 meters. The proposed changes would substitute a new channel for one that is seldom available because of occupancy by the fixed service, which is primary in this range. Also proposed is an increase in power from 50 to 100 W effective radiated…

Acting on a 2006 Petition for Rulemaking filed by the ARRL, the FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), ET Docket No 10-98 to modify the rules that govern amateurs’ secondary use of five channels in the 5 MHz frequency range known as 60 meters. The proposed changes would substitute a new channel for one that is seldom available because of occupancy by the fixed service, which is primary in this range. Also proposed is an increase in power from 50 to 100 W effective radiated power (ERP) and the addition of CW, PSK31 and PACTOR-III modes with provisions to ensure that such operations would be compatible with the primary service. The proposed changes can be found beginning on page 8 of the NPRM.

“The ARRL is pleased that the Commission has opened this proceeding to increase the usefulness of the limited 5 MHz Amateur Service allocation,” said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. “We are gratified that the Commission and the NTIA agree that the responsible manner in which amateurs have been using the five USB channels warrants some expansion of privileges so that the Amateur Service can be even better prepared for service to the public.”

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Apr 20

If you haven’t been to ARRL’s website lately, you don’t know about it’s new look and feel.  They have spent some serious effort (read that as paid a bunch of money to somebody other than me)  to build a site that lets visitors sign up for a free trial before joining ARRL. is the direct  link.

Your membership dollars at work… 

We’ve heard of a few glitches in their system, but that is to be expected on any new major redesign like what was involved here.   

As a webmaster who manages over 80 website / domain names, and has been designing webites since 1995, we say to ARRL “Job well done!”.

Of course if they had let me help… 🙂

Dec 15

Straight_Key1) Object: This is a friendly meeting on the air using straight keys. The object is to simply have fun and enjoy making CW QSOs, preferably with a manual sending device. Any CW is permissible, but straight keys are preferred. Many stations also enjoy using vintage gear, but this is not required. Break out those old J-38s and break the rust off!

2) Date and Time: Every January 1 from 0000 UTC through 2359 UTC.

3) Exchange: Straight Key Night is not a contest; enjoy making leisurely QSOs with no special exchange. Participants are encouraged to call CQ with “CQ SKN” to attract attention.

4) Reporting: Send in a list of stations worked, along with your vote for Most Interesting QSO and Best Fist. Email entries go to; paper entries may be sent to ARRL Straight Key Night, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT 06111.

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Nov 24

100_2935On the morning of Saturday, November 21st, Gary K5GST and Lee N5NTG took a field trip up to New Braunfels, having breakfast with members of the Guadalupe Valley Amateur Radio Club at their favorite restaurant, Los Gallos on Loop 337 near Commons Street.    

After stuffing ourselves on some very excellent Mexican breakfast food, we poured ourselves into Gary’s truck and headed further north on IH-35, looking for the San Marcos Public Library on East Hopkins Street.  This was the location of a meeting for the Hayes Caldwell Hams, a group of hams who has been very active in our recent Hurricane Evacuation Drills.      They were showing a movie from CQ Magazine about Ham Radio, produced in 1994, before the spread of the Internet and Email addresses.

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Aug 18

fcc-transFrom ARRL.ORG On August 11, the FCC announced that the cost of an Amateur Radio vanity call sign will increase $1.10, from $12.30 to $13.40.  Now that notice of the increase has been published in the Federal Register, the increase will take effect in 30 days, September 10, 2009.   The FCC is authorized by the Communications Act of 1934, As Amended, to collect vanity call sign fees to recover the costs associated with that program.  

The vanity call sign regulatory fee is payable not only when applying for a new vanity call sign, but also upon renewing a vanity call sign for a new 10 year term. The notice in the August 11, 2009 Federal Register, entitled “Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2009,” includes regulatory fees; these fees are expected to recover a total of $341,875,000 during FY2009, encompassing all the Services the FCC regulates.

For more information, see the recent ARRLWeb article, “FCC Looks to Raise Vanity Call Sign Fees for Second Consecutive Year.”


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