Posted Nov 1, 2023
October 31, 2023
GREETINGS FROM THE HIGH COUNTRY
Up here at 3850 feet amsl it looks like most of the leaves are on the ground and the hills are increasingly turning from gold with some reds to brown as the remaining leaves continue to fall. Sunday afternoon was pleasant (68 degrees) but things will turn cool beginning on Monday evening and Tuesday. Halloween is expected to cold, windy and wet. Trick or treaters will likely have a cool, dreary night and the kids may be hard to see as they walk along roads from house to house.
Fall is fleeting away. The overnight low on Tuesday is expected to be 21 and the Wednesday overnight low will be around 20 degrees. Chill temperatures down below 10 degrees are headed this way.
Daylight Savings Time is about to end. Remember to reset your clocks on Sunday November 5, when Standard Time returns. The quick phrase, â€śSpring ahead, Fall backâ€ť may help you remember whether to move the clock ahead or backward.
HAMS BEING ACTIVE
Kudos go out to two NC groups for their activities in the very recent past.
First, credit goes out to the hams in the Raleigh area who were able to secure a spot at the State Fair to highlight amateur radio, distribute ARRL literature and answer questions from the public concerning getting an amateur radio license. Good job! They were able to staff the State Fair booth with three hams for two shifts most every day that the Fair was operating.
Next, congratulations go out to Zach Thompson (KM4BLG) and his team for putting together the NC Parks on the Air activities. No report yet on how many groups activated at various parks and historical sites but the project was a success!
ARRL indicates that the FCC has an item on the agenda for the its November meeting that the Commission may change its rules to remove the 300 baud digital rate limit on hf amateur bands. Such a vote, once it is followed by appropriate rule making and comment notices, would permit the use of Pactor 4 and other digital modes that can be accommodated within the 2.8 KHz bandwidth occupied by conventional SSB voice signals. Information on this matter can be found at . The technical notice that was posted by the FCC on this topic can be found at .
You should not use Pactor 4 on amateur frequencies until and FCC and ARRL advise that the 300 baud rule has been eliminated. The process requires appropriate public notice and review of comments prior to final action.
CONGRESS APPARENTLY LIKES AM RADIO
Congress is working on passing proposed legislation that would mandate that every new vehicle sold in the United States would contain an AM radio. You may be surprised to learn that seven automobile manufacturers had announced that most of their electric vehicles would not have AM radios and AM radios were targeted for elimination from new conventional vehicles as well.
Lobbying by broadcasters has led a growing number of Congressional leaders to support AM IN EVERY VEHICLE ACT which has been introduced in both the US House of Representatives and Senate.
Arguments in favor of keeping AM radio are based the rules which require that broadcast stations carry Emergency Alert warning while there is a potential for cell towers going quiet during power outages. Hihger power AM stations cover wider areas that cell towers and may well remain on the air even though a closer cell tower may go off the go off the air. Broadcasters obviously have a vested interested in having car radios that receive their stations and the National Association of Broadcasters has lobbied Congress vigorously on this issue. Information can be found at .
On the other hand, automobile manufacturers claim that AM radios in cars could cause interference with complex vehicle control systems and AM reception in new vehicles could be adversely affected by interference produced by the growing number of microprocessors extensively used in the newest cars.
US CONGRESSWOMAN DEBBIE LESKO (AR-8) ANNOUNCES SHE WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION
Described as a friend of ham radio and married to a ham (W2SSH), Congresswoman Debbie Lesko has announced she will not seek re-election to the US House of Representatives in 2024. During a recent Congressional hearing, Ms. Lesko directly asked the FCC Chairman about the long-pending rule making proceedings filed by the ARRL over a decade ago. ARRL noted that Congresswoman Lesko â€ť introduced The Amateur Radio Communications Improvement Act (H.R. 3241) on May 11, 2023, to require that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) eliminate the obsolete HF digital symbol rate limit with a 2.8 kHz bandwidth limit.â€ť
FCC EXTENDS DEADLINE TO FILE COMMENTS CONCERNING PROPOSED CHANGES ON 60 METERS
On October 30, the FCC extended the deadline to November 28, 2023 for filing comments on the proposals to change amateur radio privileges in the 60 meter band.
According to an earlier notice, the FCC proposal is to lower permitted power from 100 watts ERP to 9.5 watts ERP for amateur transmissions and to remove amateur radio as a secondary user on four existing designated channels in the 60 meters band (but allowing amateur operation at reduced power within a 15 KHz slice of spectrum between two of the current 60 meter channels.
ARRL is asking amateurs to file comments that urge the FCC to retain the existing power level and to retain amateur operation as a permitted secondary user on 60 meters. Advice from ARRL on how to file comments with the FCC can be found at .
OTHER AMATEUR RADIO MATTERS
As part of its goal to increase the number of young people becoming amateur radio operators, the ARRL has taken steps to reduce the cost of test and licensing for youths under 18 years of age if when a young person completes the license exams through an ARRL VE Team. First off, the ARRL exam fee will be reduced to $5 and the ARRL will reimburse the (under 18 years old) applicant for the $35 FCC application fee once the ARRL receives completed documentation. Information on the youth reimbursement program can be found at .
DMR radio using the TDMA modulation system continues to grow! According to data posted at radioid.net, there are 247,783 DMR radio idâ€™s that have been issued around the world. In the last 30 days, 1531 new DMR radio idâ€™s were issued by radsioid.net.
Drilling down into the data, the radio id database shows 110,290 radio idâ€™s assigned in the United States, including 4530 of which have been issued to persons who have addresses in North Carolina. In considering these numbers, please remember that the entries are for a person or group but there may be several DMR radios associated with a single radio id. For example, a single radio id might be show up on one or more portables, mobiles and even a hotspot.
Here is a short tutorial concerning the PRN DMR system which links 60 or so DMR repeaters in North and South Carolina. To help you understand the PRN system, look over the information posted at ncprn.net and scheart.us/digital for additional information about the PRN system.
- Only the talkgroups that are listed at https://ncprn.net/repeater/ may be used on the PRN system. Talkgroups listed on Brandmeister website as well as other hotspot-based networks will not work on the PRN system.
- When you program your radio with the PRN talkgroups, remember to associate the talkgroup with the correct timeslot. For example, on the PRN system the local talkgroup is used on Timeslot and programming it to use timeslot 2 will cause the CBridge to reject the communication.
- There is no pathway to the PRN system using a hotspot. This policy was made to protect the PRN repeaters from overheating and failing due to being keyed up for hour after hour (4 a.m. to 2 am on the next day0. If that is what you want to listen to, a properly set up hotspot that is connected to the Brandmeister server will allow you to talk around the world with an inexpensive portable radio using Brandmeister talkgroup 91 which carries worldwide traffic.
- In North Carolina the PRN repeaters were bought and are owned by individuals or clubs while in South Carolina, the repeaters are owned by South Carolina Emergency Management and were purchased using Homeland Security Grant funds.
- In North Carolina, the PRN repeaters use a variety of ways to connect to the CBridge (DSL, cable) whereas the South Carolina PRN repeaters are connected to the SC CBridge by means of the state microwave system that is operated by SC Public Television. In North Carolina. Internet connectivity expenses for linking the PRN repeaters to the NC C-Bridge are paid by the repeater owner or by a supportive club or user group.
- Operationally, proper protocol on the PRN system is to take extended conversations that begin on PRN off to Chat 1 or Chat 2 so that all 60 repeaters do not have to be activated when two or three linked repeaters can link those who want to talk.
- Do not set up your radios to send aprs packets over the PRN system and do not send private text messages from one radio to another over the PRN system.
- Selecting the Echotest talkgroup and making a short test transmission over a PRN repeater will result in the repeater playing back your audio test. This can be helpful by letting your hear how your radio sounds.
- There are several parts of the PRN system in which the local talkgroup on one repeater is permanently linked with other repeaters for coverage over a wider area. Those areas are as follows:
Boone Area includes Boone and Sugar Mountain
Charlotte Area includes Albemarle, Charlotte, Crowders and Wingate
Jackson local includes Cashiers, Cullowhee, Franklin and Sylva.
Raleigh area includes Cary, Raleigh, Hillsborough, Wilson
Triad Local includes Browns Summit, High Point and Sophia
Within the listed areas, talking over the local talkgroup on one repeater s carried on the local talkgroup of other repeaters in that listed area.
If managers in the Eastern Healthcare Preparedness Coalition system, or the WNC network, wish to have information posted about their systems. Please drop me a line with the information you would like to have distributed.
NC EM FULL SCALE EXERCISE BEING PLANNED FOR APRIL 4-8 2024
A Save The Date posting on Facebook a week or so ago advised that there will be a large exercise in Chatham County in April. Details are still being worked out and the event has not yet been listed in TERMS ( ). Persons with open position task books for various COMU roles are advised to make note of this exercise. When more is known, you will be informed.
REQUEST FOR HELP FROM RICHMOND VA FOR THE ALLIANZ MARATHON
Personnel are needed to staff the communications support function at the Richmond VA Allianz Marathon on November 11. Comms Coordinator Jim Rubin (W4PKR) wrote to me, â€śI am still short of volunteers for the upcoming Richmond Marathon on Nov. 11th. Can you please send out a message to the membership about this?
â€śI am the Amateur Radio Coordinator for the 2023 Allianz Partners Richmond Marathon. I still have positions available for the race and I need people to volunteer. Volunteering at events is fun, it's a great way for us to "give back" to our communities, a way to show the general public what hams are capable of and last but not least, it hones our communications skills for those of us that are interested in emergency communications in a way that a weekly net cannot do (we follow net protocols similar to an actual emergency net).
â€śIf you are interested, please contact me, Jim Rubin, W4PKR at [email protected]. In the subject line of the email, please include "2023 Richmond Marathon" (which will help me to find it faster). In the body of the email, please tell me the following:
- Your name and call sign
- Your cell phone number
- What experience you have, if any, operating at events or in emergency nets.
- Your shirt size (we are given race shirts to wear during the event, as well as reflective vests which identify us as volunteers. We get to keep the shirts, but not the vests)
- What portable and/or mobile radio equipment you have for deployment?
Thanks you for getting the word out about this opportunity to be of service and to practice your involvement in helping out in future public service events.â€ť 73, Jim W4PKR, 646-528-6280.
HAM RADIO GETS THE ANSWER
A couple of weeks ago, I received a unique request from a fellow who wanted to ask the father of his girlfriend for the fatherâ€™s approval to marry the girlfriend.
Since the would-be father-in-law was an avid ham operator, the guy who contacted me asked if I could dispatch a radiogram through the National Traffic System asking for the future father-in-lawâ€™s blessing so that wedding planning could begin. My friend, NC4WB, initiated the radiogram and put it on a traffic net. Two days later an answer in the affirmative came back.
Most of the leaves that are going to fall have done so which results in an increased risk for wildfires.
Some people will rake the leaves into piles and burn them and the fire gets away from whoever is in charge. Sometimes there is a carelessly discarded cigarette that starts the pile on fire. Winds and the unusually dry conditions may allow a leaf burning to get out of control. Sometime a firs starts with discarded ashes from fireplaces and grills.
Fire fighters know that the fuel is (leaves) is in place waiting for an ignition and if there is a breeze blowing we have the potential for a wildfire.
Please be careful with outside burning. Much of North Carolina is experiencing unusually dry conditions.