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ARRL Sacramento Valley Section News - Under Construction
Most Meetings, Classes and VE Sessions are suspended
due to the COVID-19 Shelter in Place order.
Check with groups and clubs for alternate plans.

American Radio Relay League
The National Association for Amateur Radio
American Radio Relay League is a 501(c)3 non profit organization.

Sacramento Valley Section

Serving Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo & Yuba Counties in Northern California

Sacramento Valley Section is located in the ARRL Pacific Division.

Sacramento Valley Section Web Resources

ARRL National Page: www.arrl.org/Groups/view/sacramento-valley
Organization, Clubs, Calendar, Nets
Sacramento Valley ARES: www.sacvalleyares.org SV ARES Brochure
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ARRLSacramentoValley
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ARRL_SV

Thanks to Greg Kruckewitt KG6SJT for maintaining our Section ARES web page and for assisting with our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Thanks to Les Cobb W6TEE for maintaining the Section Net list.

Submit Section News updates to kp4md(at)arrl.org


ARRL Conventions/Hamfests & other Regional Events

Past Section News Archive

Section Media


Amateur Radio License Classes and Volunteer Exam (VE) Information and Schedules
Class and VE Session Calendar

NOTE: Most VE Sessions and Classes are now cancelled due to the Coronavirus Shelter in Place Orders

Classes and Exam Sessions


Getting Your Amateur Radio License

Before you go on air, you need to be licensed and know the rules. In the United States the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) grants Amateur Radio licenses to individuals who successfully pass a multiple choice written exam at a Volunteer Exam (VE) session.  
The FCC currently issues three levels of amateur radio license: Technician, General and Amateur Extra.

The license exam contains multiple choice questions selected from lists that are published online at http://www.arrl.org/question-pools. Many individuals prepare for an exam session using self-study license manuals and online practice exams. From time to time, license preparation courses are offered that cover the exam material over several weeks. "Ham-Cram" sessions are also popular, where a several hours' review class of exam questions and answers is immediately followed by a license exam session.

Visit http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-class to find a license class.
Visit http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session to find a license exam session.

For more information on testing, preparation and study materials, see:


License Courses

Citrus Heights 2019 Ham-Cram Sessions - New Location
Posted January 7, 2019

Section member Joe Cardoza, KA6ROM, announces that his Citrus Heights VE Team will conduct their amateur radio Ham-Cram Technician License training and examinations on the fourth Saturday every other month at starting at 8:45 am at the Metro Fire Station #32, 8890 Roediger Ln, Fair Oaks, CA 95628.

The Ham-Cram and Exam dates for 2019 are:

  • January 26, 
  • March 23, 
  • May 25, 
  • July 27, 
  • September 28, and 
  • November 16.

Contact Joe Cardoza, KA6ROM, 916-725-6443 or cardozas@comcast.net to pre-register.


California Emergency Volunteers Ham-Cram Sessions
Posted December 4, 2017

The California Emergency Volunteers, Inc. offers 6 hour long "Get Your License in One Day" Ham-Cram sessions followed by a Technician Class license exam session. These sessions are held on monthly on a Saturday alternating between Stockton and Manteca, CA. Visit http://www.hamcram.org/ for more information and to register.


Folsom ARRL Volunteer Exam 2019 Schedule - New Location
Updated January 5, 2019

Folsom ARRL VEC exams are held at 6 pm the third Thursday of each month except July and December.
Here is our updated exam scheduled for 2018:

  1. January 17
  2. February 21
  3. March 21
  4. April 18
  5. May 16
  6. June 20
  7. July NO EXAM
  8. August 15
  9. September 19
  10. October 17
  11. November 21
  12. December NO EXAM
All exams start at 6:00 pm.

Round Table Pizza, 9500 Greenback Ave, Suite 1, Folsom, CA 95630.  We meet in the large meeting room.
For information click here or contact Steve Porten, KN6OX at steve@kn6ox.net.


Redding ARRL VE Schedule 2019
Posted February 2, 2019

The Redding ARRL VE Team will be hosting exams on the following Saturdays in 2019:

  1. January 19 (7:00 pm this date only)
  2. March 16
  3. May 18
  4. July 20
  5. September 21
  6. November 16
Our exam sessions are now being held at the City of Redding Parks Building, 20055 Viking Way, Bldg #4, Redding. Exams start at 10:00 AM and candidates are encouraged to pre-register.

More information can be found at: www.reddingve.com or by contacting Steve K6KS at sjmosconi@gmail.com


SHINGLETOWN ARRL VE 2019 Schedule

Test Location:
Shingletown Area Resource Center, 31268 HWY 44, SHINGLETOWN, CA. 96088
Testing begins at 10:00 AM.
Candidates should arrive 15 to 30 minutes early. We accept walk ins.
Contact:
Dar Walker W6IO, Shingletown ARRL VE Liaison, w6iodar@gmail.com, 530-474-3087

TEST SCHEDULE:
2019: Feb 16, Apr 20, Jun 15, Aug 17, Oct 19, Dec 14

Dar Walker W6IO


Other VE Sessions - Schedule List (ARRL national site)
  1. BARK Repeater Club - Quarterly - Woodland
  2. Carmichael Elk Lodge ARRL VE - 3rd Sat. at 0700
  3. SFARC ARRL VE at Granite Bay Raley's - 1st Sat. at 0800
  4. WPARC VE at Roseville Round Table Pizza - 1st Wed.
  5. Yuba-Sutter ARC VE - 1st Sat. of odd months at 0900

50 W PEP Maximum Power Limit Area on 70 cm
50 W Power Limit Area on 70 cm

A little recognized portion of FCC Part 97 regulations applies to 420-450 MHz operations in most counties in our Sacramento Valley section:
47 CFR 
§97.313 (f) No station may transmit with a transmitter power exceeding 50 W PEP on the UHF 70 cm band from an area specified in footnote US270 to §2.106 of part 2. The indicated affected areas are specified in http://www.arrl.org/us270, in the State of California within a 240-kilometer (150 mile) radius around locations at Beale Air Force Base, California (latitude 39°08' North, longitude 121°21' West).
More information on the additional impact on 70 cm repeater stations is at http://www.narcc.org/NARCC-ARRL-PAVE-PAWS-Update-2014a.pdf

Pave PAWS Radar at Beale AFB, CA

The Amateur Radio Service shares the 70 cm band on a secondary basis with the US Government which has priority. The US Department of Defense routinely monitors and locates signal sources on these frequencies.  Our voluntary cooperation is mandatory to avoid interference with the Pave PAWS (Phased Array Warning System) radar at Beale AFB and thus to assure our continued access to these frequencies.

More information and videos on Pave PAWS

Spring is here!
April 2020 News

From the Section Manager

Here are the latest Sacramento Valley Section news and happenings.

New Section Appointments - 

No Section Wide Net is scheduled for April

UPCOMING SECTION EVENTS

QST

June 27-28 ARRL Field Day

You can still send April news to kp4md@arrl.org. This website is visited most during the first week of each month, but do check back as it is often updated with late breaking news.

Our Section website, Facebook and Twitter pages are a work in progress, and your suggestions and submissions are always welcome.

73, Dr. Carol Milazzo, KP4MD

American Radio Relay League Sacramento Valley Section Manager
kp4md(at)arrl.org

You can always send compliments, suggestions and submissions for inclusion in our Section News to kp4md(at)arrl.org


Field Day 2020 — A Time to Adapt
from the ARRL News March 27, 2020

Many individuals and groups organizing events for Field Day 2020 have been contacting ARRL for guidance on how to adapt their planned activities in this unprecedented time of social distancing and uncertainty.

“Due to the unique situation presented this year, this can be an opportunity for you, your club, and/or group to try something new,” ARRL Contest Manager Paul Bourque, N1SFE, said. “Field Day isn’t about doing things the same way year after year. Use this year to develop and employ a new approach that is in line with the current circumstances.”

Social distancing and state and local requirements very likely will impact just how — and even whether — you are able to participate in Field Day this year. ARRL continues monitoring the coronavirus situation, paying close attention to information and guidance offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If social distancing means that Class A with a 30-member team set up in a city park won’t work this year, then it’s time for a Plan B. Part of the Field Day concept has always been adapting your operation to the situation at hand. At its heart, Field Day is an emergency communication demonstration. Field Day rules are flexible enough to allow individuals and groups to adjust their participation and strategies in a way that still addresses their needs while being fun. Some possibilities:

  • Encourage club members to operate from their home stations on emergency power (Class E).
  • Use the club’s repeater as a means for individual participants to keep in touch during the event.
  • Family members interested in operating Field Day and unable to participate as part of a larger group may want to consider setting up a portable station in the backyard with a temporary antenna.

Read the full story at http://www.arrl.org/news/field-day-2020-a-time-to-adapt


No ARRL SV Section-Wide Net Scheduled for April

ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Nets are conducted only on months when announced, on the third Thursday of that month following the 7 pm Pacific Time Yuba-Sutter ARES net on the WD6AXM 146.085 MHz FM repeater, followed by the HF Section Net on 3880 kHz LSB +/- 3 kHz. During spring and summer months the HF net may be conducted on 5330.5 kHz USB as propagation permits.

All Sacramento Valley Section radio amateurs are welcome to check into our Section Nets. The nets carry announcements of interest to our section and test our section-wide station communication capabilities.

Locations of Web SDR receivers.1. W6DRZ Receiver at Half Moon Bay2. Northern Nevada Receiver3. Northern Utah Receiver
Don't have an antenna or HF radio?  Click a link
and Listen to our HF net on a web receiver.
W6DRZ receiver at Half Moon Bay 3880 kHz No 60m
WO7I receiver in Northern Nevada 3880 kHz 5330.5 kHz
Northern Utah web receiver 3880 kHz 5330.5 kHz

Hourly Northern California NVIS Observations
Current NVIS Observations
This chart shows colors that represent the recommended HF frequencies for contacting stations for a particular hour. Both stations should use the SAME frequency denoted by the color at the location of the target station. The chart is in Universal Time (UTC). More information at http://www.sws.bom.gov.au/HF_Systems/6/6


Update from Bob Wortman, WB6VYH, Section Technical Coordinator - Pending
Posted August 1, 2019

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73, Bob Wortman, WB6VYH, wb6vyh@arrl.net, wb6vyh@comcast.net
ARRL Pacific Division DXCC Awards Manager, Sacramento Valley Section Technical Coordinator, WAS Award Manager, VUCC Awards Manager


 EmComm=Emergency Communications 

Placer County ARES "Shelter in Place" Exercise
Posted April 25, 2020

Placer County ARES was planning a face to face meeting on April 25th in preparation for the Sutter Roseville Medical Center exercise on May 5th. Instead Placer County ARES held a Shelter in Place exercise, the purpose of the exercise was three fold, the first was to get outside in the yard, the second was to test “Go Kits” and the third was to pass ICS 213 forms. At 10:00 AM everyone set up their “Go Kits” or their mobile rigs, They then checked in with net control by passing an ICS 213 form describing their setup. This was done either by voice of WinLink. Brian, AI6US, acted as the voice net control and Carl, N6CKV, acted ad the WinLink net control. There were a total of 10 messages passed by voice and 13 messages passed by WinLink. Some of the stations passed their traffic by both voice and WinLink. Overall the exercise went well, everyone did well passing their traffic and enjoyed the exercise.

Carl First N6CKV Placer County ARES EC
Sacramento Valley DEC 5

Michele WH7QC
Mike N6MRP
Bruce K6BAA Michele WH7QC Mike N6MRP

May 9, 2020 - Sacramento County ARES Training
Posted April 25, 2020

Vince Cracchiolo KI6NHP is the Sacramento County EC.

For information, visit the Sacramento County ARES web site at www.saccountyares.org


Light Ballast RFI Pot grow lights interfere with Ham Radio
Submitted by Rene Smythe, WB6PSY, posted March 4, 2017

I have experienced this interference for the past few years. I found the interference by swinging my 10m Yagi monobander around until the noise became over S9. I then went outside to see where the beam was physically pointed and discovered a garage where indoor pot is being grown. The lights are on a time cycle so the interference comes and goes. 40º degrees in either direction takes the noise out.

Now that marijuana is being legalized in more states, more hams are going to experience this noise.

WB6PSY

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/c1b607bfbbab459ba9e21d4c282996e4/growing-problem-pot-lights-give-ham-radio-operators-buzz


Annotated 40 meters showing RFIRadio Frequency Interference
posted February 3, 2018

ARRL and the FCC have a cooperative agreement in radio frequency interference matters. You may submit interference reports together with your supporting documentation to ARRL EMC Engineer Mike Gruber W1MG who then files the report with the FCC Gettysburg office.

You may also contact our Section Technical Coordinator Bob Wortman, WB6VYH, or our Section Official Observer Coordinator Bob Hess, W1RH, for assistance. More information is posted under the "From the Section Manager" notes in the November 2016 Section News - Carol KP4MD

Our Official Observer Coordinator Bob Hess, W1RH, shares this helpful web page by NK7Z for identifying sources of Radio Frequency Interference http://www.nk7z.net/rfi-snapshots


Club and Member News - Under Construction


River City ARCS
Update from River City ARCS
Posted April 25, 2020

President’s Message

Given our current 'Shelter in Place' order for California which at the time of writing we assume will still be in place for our club meeting on April 7th at 7:30pm, we're planning on holding our next club meeting as an online meeting using Zoom. The Board had our regular monthly Board meeting this month also using Zoom and we decided instead of cancelling our monthly club meeting, this should be a good option to allow us to at least continue with out club meetings the best we can given the current situation.

Phil Sittner KD6RM will be presenting the topic for our meeting, which is: "The End Fed Sloper Antenna". To connect to the session you have 2 options, you can either click the following link (or paste into your browser) to download and run the Zoom app which will allow you to hear the audio and see the slides as Phil presents on your computer: https://zoom.us/j/982285849 You'll also be able to type questions to Phil via a chat window, or we can unmute participants at the end of the session for Phil to take Q&A over voice.

Alternatively, you can dial in to the session using a phone number - full connection details will be shared on our www.n6na.org website.

If prompted, the meeting ID for our April meeting is: 982-285-849

All members will receive the password required to connect to the meeting via the club newsletter

As this is a new approach for our club meetings, please be patient with us as we work out any issues. We look forward to you all joining us in the virtual meeting!

Kevin, KK6DCT

Health & Welfare Net

Daily 7:30 pm Informal "Health and Welfare" & Roundtable Net 145.25 MHz

As we are asked to “shelter in place,” many Amateurs may be isolated in their home. Occasionally some may have no outside contact checking on needs. Therefore, the River City ARCS' informal "Health and Welfare Net" is held every evening at 7:30 pm on our N6NA repeater on 145.25 MHz.

Instead of calling for “check-ins,” the net control operator calls for those who have indicated they need a contact.
If the person doesn’t respond, at the end of the net they are called to see if all is well.  After the contact period of the net, we have an informal roundtable giving everyone an opportunity to chat.

Amateurs desiring to be contacted need to e-mail contact@n6na.org with their name, call, complete phone number and address.  Persons desiring to be a net control operator or backup, also e-mail contact@n6na.org

Our on-the-air nets are conducted every Wednesday evening at 8:00 pm on the 145.25 MHz N6NA FM repeater, followed by an 8:30 pm 10 meter net on 28.420 MHz USB and a slow scan television net at 9 pm on the 441.300 MHz N6NA FM repeater.  All club members and visitors are welcome to check in to our nets.  See more information at www.n6na.org/nets

Club member Ioan Negru, AI6UO, invites all interested to check into his Slow Speed (5 wpm) CW Net on 28.055 MHz. Net times are Tues. & Thurs. at 10:00 AM and Wed. at 7:00 PM Pacific Time.

Paul McIntyre at the 2014 ARRL Pacific Division Leadership Summit

Paul McIntyre, KC5JAX
Paul McIntyre 
Celebration of Life - Postponed
Paul McIntyre, KC5JAX, president of the River City ARCS, became a Silent Key at the age of 57 on February 28, 2020. He was one of four victims of a knife attack by a client at the Wellness and Recovery Center in Carmichael where Paul was interning in his training to become a social worker.

The Celebration of Life for Paul McIntyre is postponed due to the COVID Shelter in Place Order.  The future date is to be determined.

Paul was a long time mentor and volunteer, passionate to help others learn and enjoy amateur radio. He served years as a club officer, on the Board of Directors and as our net coordinator. He and his wife Barbara and son Hunter regularly participated in our picnics, Field Days and other club activities.

Newsletters



Member Updates and Feedback

Please send your feedback to kp4md@arrl.org to be included in this section.


K6AAI QSL
QSL CARDS—PAST AND PRESENT
by Al Canton, K6AAI, posted July 8, 2019

Part of the fun of amateur radio is collecting cards, called QSL cards, from other amateurs that you’ve talked to on the radio. Some people like to collect stamps from various parts of the world but hams collect QSLs.

History

The term QSL comes from the radio “Q” code meaning “I confirm reception.”

During the early days of radio broadcasting, the ability for a radio set to receive distant signals was a source of pride for many consumers and hobbyists. Listeners would mail “reception reports” to radio broadcasting stations in hopes of getting a written letter to officially verify they had heard a distant station. As the volume of reception reports increased, stations took to sending post cards containing a brief form that acknowledged reception. Collecting these cards became popular with radio listeners in the 1920s and 1930s, and reception reports were often used by early broadcasters to gauge the effectiveness of their transmissions.

The concept of sending a post card to verify reception of a station (and later two-way contact between them) may have been independently invented several times. The earliest reference seems to be a card sent in 1916 from 8VX in Buffalo, New York to 3TQ in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (in those days ITU prefixes were not used). The standardized card with callsign, frequency, date, etc. may have been developed in 1919 by C.D. Hoffman, 8UX, in Akron, Ohio. In Europe, W.E.F. “Bill” Corsham, 2UV, first used a QSL when operating from Harlesden, England in 1922.

Today

Today ham radio operators send QSL cards for a variety of reasons. It is interesting to collect them. Having made contact with a particular ham radio station it is often nice to have a card from them to remember the contact. It may be a particularly interesting contact, or one with a rare country where few ham radio operators are active. It may even be with a famous personality as there are a number of famous people around the globe who hold amateur radio licenses. In addition to this, the cards can displayed in the radio shack. Being colorful and interesting they can brighten up any ham radio shack.

Collecting QSL cards can be an interesting addition to the hobby of amateur radio. Cards from distant corners of the earth can be attractive and interesting. Not only do they brighten up the shack, but they can act as an encouragement to hear or contact some more interesting stations as well as being used to apply for operating awards.

- RadioQSL.com: Custom QSL cards at an affordable price.

Contact: RadioQSL.com, Al Canton, K6AAI, info@radioqsl.com, 916-962-9296

Duane Wyatt, WAØMJD, on Kaleidoscope Variety Show


Section Member Duane Wyatt, WAØMJD, on Childrens Hospital's "Kaleidoscope Variety Show"
Posted February 3, 2019

The University of California Benioff Childrens Hospital's Kaleidoscope Variety Show recently featured Sacramento Valley Section member Duane Wyatt, WAØMJD, showing his ham radio operation.

In this "Video Postcard" Duane explains and demonstrates his ham radio station in this program for children.


Phil Sittner KD6RM on QSO Today
Section Member Phil Sittner, KD6RM, on QSO Today Podcast

Phil Sittner, KD6RM, has a ham radio story that goes back over 50 years, from childhood. Still living in Northern California, Phil builds his own radios and test equipment, operates CW on 80 and 40 meters, using his fence mounted 80 meter end-fed Zepp and a pair of phased 40 meter verticals in an HOA neighborhood where antennas are forbidden. We harness Phil’s extensive technical expertise and hear his ham radio story in this QSO Today.

Listen to Phil's podcast interview on https://www.qsotoday.com/podcasts/kd6rm


60 meter band plan
Keep Our Digital Transmissions Legal on 60 Meters
Posted January 29, 2017

Our decreasing solar activity and residential antenna restrictions have attracted increasing numbers of radio amateurs to operate CW and weak signal digital modes on our lower HF frequencies including 60 meters. The five frequency channels that US amateur radio operators share on a secondary basis with US federal government users on 60 meters (5 MHz) pose unique requirements for CW and digital operators. As explained on http://www.arrl.org/60m-channel-allocation, US radio amateur emissions on our 60m channels must be precisely centered in the center frequency of each assigned channel, that is, 5332.0, 5348.0, 5358.5, 5373.0 or 5405.0 kHz. Thus, for example, a CW signal on channel 3 (USB Dial frequency 5357.0 kHz) must be precisely on 5358.5 kHz. The same ARRL page explains that all digital emissions must also be centered in the channel center.

This may appear unreasonable to radio amateurs because a 2.8 kHz channel can accommodate many digital and CW transmissions simultaneously, and requiring multiple stations to operate on the same exact frequency would result in mutual interference. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)* explains this requirement in https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/7021871884.pdf which states: "Allowing multiple emissions within the necessary bandwidth of the widest authorized modes (2.8 kHz) increases the possibility of harmful interference from secondary amateur stations to primary federal stations, and would make it more difficult for a federal station to identify an interfering amateur station. In addition, NTIA is concerned about the aggregate equivalent isotropically radiated power from multiple amateur stations transmitting within a single 2.8 kHz channel. Accordingly, NTIA requests that 47 C.F.R. Section 97.303(h) continue to require that amateur stations transmit only on the five center frequencies allocated to the amateur service."  (See http://www.arrl.org/what-the-fcc-rules-say-97-303-h)

Observed Violations of US 60 Meter Frequency Regulations
60 meter JT65 signals

JT65

This screenshot photo shows JT65 signals received on 60 meter Channel 3 (5357 kHz USB dial frequency) from 0300-0309 UTC on January 29, 2017. In the photo, the 5357 kHz dial frequency is at 0 Hz on the left side of the waterfall and the 5358.5 kHz channel center is at the 1500 Hz mark. Decodes of several US radio amateurs are seen transmitting JT65 emissions simultaneously on various frequencies throughout the channel 3 frequency range 5357-5360 kHz. This is the familiar appearance of a JT65 waterfall display on all other amateur radio bands; however, it violates the NTIA requirement that each US radio amateur transmission be centered on the 1500 Hz mark (the 5358.5 kHz channel center frequency).
ARRL Official Observer Richard Saunders, K6RBS, has posted the proper WSJT-X program settings for legal 60m JT mode operation here.
60 meter WSPR

WSPR

The link http://wsprnet.org/olddb?band=60&sort=callsign&reverse=on&unique=on lists WSPR mode emissions on the 60 meter band. One can scroll down that list and see how many A, K, N and W call signs have been transmitting WSPR mode on 5288 kHz outside the authorized 60 meter center channel frequencies.  
US WSPR transmissions continue to be observed on the WSPR software default 60 meter frequency of 5288 kHz, a completely unauthorized frequency for US radio amateurs.

Each licensee has the final responsibility for the lawful operation of his or her station.  Unfortunately, the increasing automation in our radios has apparently accustomed some to falsely assume that the radio will correct for operator carelessness and ignorance of regulations.  Our cooperation with NTIA requirements is essential for our continued access to the 60m channels and for possible future access to the new ITU worldwide 60 meter allocation at 5351.5 to 5366.5 kHz. (See http://www.arrl.org/news/view/arrl-asks-fcc-to-allocate-new-5-mhz-band-retain-channels-and-current-power-limit and http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-invites-comments-on-arrl-petition-to-allocate-new-5-mhz-band). Please be aware of these requirements if you intend to or currently operate CW or digital modes on our shared 60m allocations. The Amateur Auxiliary is documenting this matter and hopes to raise its awareness in the wider amateur radio community.

-Carol Milazzo, KP4MD

*The NTIA is the federal authority that coordinates radio spectrum use for the US military and federal government while the FCC serves in this capacity for US civilian radio spectrum users.


Free Amateur Radio Club Website Template
Posted January 20, 2019

Section Member Al Canton K6AAI is offering a generic amateur radio club WordPress website template for free. See the sample website posted at https://k6anc.com/wpradio/.  If interested, please contact Al at ac@K6AAI.net

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