Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dale's Tales for November

Greetings everyone, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for November 2015.

SPECIAL EVENT:  Recent activities at the Michigan State University Radio Club, W8SH, have been running in high gear.  First, was the club's hosting Katie Breen WY7YL and Sean Kutzko KX9X from ARRL HQ to meet with MSU's Scott Westerman W9WSW to investigate new ways to market ham radio to a new generation of potential hams.

Then there was "Sparticipation" a Field Day-like event to welcome 8000 new students to the campus, and this included an active demonstration from the MSU Radio Club.   Several potential hams registered their interest in getting licensed and the club welcomed a couple of hams with the incoming freshmen class.

Then...well, MSU alumnus Gregg WB8LZG says it like this:  "The 1st Spartan Radio Tailgate Party was a good one!  We had the chance to meet and play radio with several of the new incoming Hams! It looks like we're off to a great start this year!  Ed Oxer, Reece Cole es I went to the shack a bit early to make sure all was in readiness for the event.

There was a crock pot full of Ed's famous 'busted QSO chili', and lots of snacks and chips, including MSU Football cupcakes! Wow, this really is a tailgate party! At the starting bell the students took right over and started making QSO's ! They did quite well too. A rough tally shows 44 QSO's, in 19 states, the Galapagos Is, Martinique, El Salvador, and others. Just to keep things exciting they also had a few pileups!

Alumnus Mike, KB8ZGL helped out by connecting to the "Mike LINC" so that we could garner some more check in's via 'echo link'. This proved very worthwhile; also as we had many hams reach us on that link. ...  how nice it was to see the shack FULL of students all having fun, as well as learning from each other. To sum it up, our 1st installment to the 'Spartan Tailgate Special Event' went very well."  Gregg says we can look for W8SH and the Spartan Tailgate Special Event as part of every MSU home game.

CLUB OPPORTUNITIES:  So this begs the question:  "With all of the excellent colleges and universities in the Great Lakes Division, Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan, what are others doing to promote the growth of Amateur Radio?"  I am very interested in reporting the activities of all of our Division's college radio clubs and we can do this in "Dale's Tales" over the next few months. Let me know.  This is a wonderful opportunity to share some truly innovative ideas.  Following this, we can introduce our cadre of High School Clubs and their recruitment ideas and activities.

COMMENTS:  from our Vice Director, Tom W8WTD My word for the month is "persistence."  It's a good concept for just about any time, but I use it to refer to the efforts of so many people around the ARRL's legislative efforts for the Amateur Radio Parity Act.

Here's a quick story about persistence.  One member of Congress was approached by a delegation of hams over a year ago.  Follow-up efforts took place.  Then the letter-writing campaign from the League started.

And at least one individual with a personal link made contact.  Just last month, after more than a year of consideration, that member became one of our co-sponsors.  Meanwhile, across the U.S., more and more members of Congress continue to sign on as co-sponsors.  It didn't happen all at once.  Besides the letters, many people took the time to personally contact their representatives through visits or phone calls. Those efforts are still paying off.  The first contact is not always the one that convinces.
But the continuing contacts, and increasing number of constituents advocating the position seems to make the difference.  I think we can be successful in this effort.  But it's going to require some persistence on the part of all of us.  Thank your rep if he or she has signed on.  Keep writing emails if they haven't.  When the bill comes up for a vote, be sure to make a phone call or send an e-mail of continued encouragement.  Don't give up.  We can do this!

73, Tom W8WTD

UPDATE for AMATEUR RADIO PARITY ACT: 111 and climbing.  As of this date, we have 111 contains the complete text of both the House and Senate bills.

House members that have agreed to Co-sponsor HB 1301 in the U.S. House of Representatives. FCC Rules currently allow residents in these associations to install TV receive antennas, both satellite dishes and multi-element arrays.  This bill has been introduced to allow Radio Amateurs parity within homeowners associations so hams may install an antenna. The ARRL Web Page

So, here is the League's recent statement on the Act, written to present some of the key facts:

"Clarity on Amateur Radio Parity"
Prepared by ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio

Some objections and concerns have recently been raised about the Amateur Radio Parity Act, H.R. 1301 and S. 1685, by representatives of community associations.  To address them, and to separate fact from fiction, let’s look at the bill itself and what it would and would not do.

Why is it needed?

Thirty years ago the Federal Communications Commission, recognizing that there was a strong federal interest in effective Amateur Radio communication from residences, adopted a policy of limited preemption of state and local regulations of Amateur Radio station antennas.
Those regulations:
1) Must not preclude Amateur Radio communications;
2) Must reasonably accommodate such communications; and
3) Must constitute the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the state or local authority’s legitimate purpose.

Since that time, private land-use restrictions have become increasingly common. Restrictions on antennas are now so pervasive that they prevent effective communication from residences in large areas of the country.

What would the Amateur Radio Parity Act do?
As introduced in both the House and Senate, the bill recognizes the fact that whether a residence is subject only to state and local regulations or also to private land-use restrictions, the federal interest in effective Amateur Radio communications is the same. The bill simply instructs the FCC to extend its time-tested limited preemption policy to private land-use restrictions.

What would it not do?
The Amateur Radio Parity Act does not create new federal policy regarding outdoor antennas. Congress and the FCC already have acted to prohibit restrictions that prevent the installation of direct-to-home satellite dishes, TV antennas, and customer-end wireless broadband antennas.

The bill does not prohibit community association review of proposed Amateur Radio antenna installations. It simply limits restrictions to what may be necessary to accomplish the association’s legitimate purposes, such as safety and aesthetics. Prior approval still can be required, just as in the case of municipal land-use regulation.

The bill does not mandate that a particular size of antenna be permitted.  As long as a size and placement restriction does not constitute a prohibition, but reasonably accommodates Amateur Radio communication, and provided that the restriction is necessary to accomplish a legitimate purpose, it will be allowed.

Claims that the bill will do any of these things are simply wrong, and are either misunderstandings of the plain language of the bill or deliberate misrepresentations.

What is the current status of the bill?
As of August 28, 2015, H.R. 1301 had 94 cosponsors (Update Oct 30, 2015 to 111) in addition to its sponsor, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.  It has been referred to the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  S.1685 was introduced on June 25, 2015 by its sponsor, Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and original cosponsor, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.  It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

HAMFESTING:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule for the next few weeks.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication. 

Nov   7 - Grant County -  Georgetown, OH
Dec   5 - Fulton County Winterfest - Delta, OH
Dec   6 - L'Anse Creuse    - Harrison Twp., MI
Jan  17 - SCARF - Nelsonville, OH
Jan  24 - Tusco - Strausburg, OH
Jan  24 - Hazel Park - Madison Hgts, MI

HAMFEST OFFICIALS:  Your Division and Section officials want to be at your events and we strive for insuring that the ARRL is properly represented at every ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest.  It is always a good idea for your hamfest chair to contact the Section Manager, Vice-Director or Director early in the planning stages to invite them to attend the activity.  This will allow time to prepare for alternate representation in the event of time conflicts.  When you receive your "Hamfest Package"
from ARRL, please open it immediately.  Read it over and check out all of the material you received.  There is a form included to order additional material if you deem it appropriate.

73, see you on the bands.

Dale Williams WA8EFK
Great Lakes Division