ARRL Board: We Are Not Abandoning Antenna Rights Fight

One of many actions taken by the ARRL board of directors at its January meeting (see details in the March issue of CQ) was a decision to “review, reexamine and reappraise” the organization’s approach to seeking antenna rights for hams subject to private land use restrictions not covered by the FCC’s partial pre-emption of state and local laws regarding antenna structures. That decision included asking Congressional sponsors of the Amateur Radio Parity Act not to try to move the bill to a vote for now, and withdrawing a petition asking the FCC to incorporate provisions of the Parity Act in the amateur radio rules.
“The board wants to make clear,” it said in a statement, “that this pause is not, and should not be interpreted as, an abandonment of its efforts to obtain relief from private land-use restrictions,” adding that it intends “to renew, continue and strengthen the ARRL’s efforts to achieve relief from such restrictions.”

FCC Works Through Shutdown Backlog

Several thousand amateur radio license applications were waiting for FCC staff members when they returned to work after January’s partial government shutdown, but they quickly worked through them. The ARRL Letter reported that the ARRL VEC alone had some 2700 applications awaiting FCC action. It said the FCC told volunteer examiner coordinators that it might take weeks to get caught up, but the staff actually achieved that goal in a matter of days.

As this is written in early February, there is still the chance of another government shutdown on February 15, if Congress and the President cannot agree on border security provisions of a funding bill.

Court Rules Excessive Antenna Application Fees Violated Reasonable Accommodation

Long-pending Amateur Radio antenna litigation that ARRL helped to fund has finally borne fruit. The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division: Second Judicial Department has ruled in the case of Myles Landstein, N2EHG, that the Town of LaGrange, New York, not only overstepped its state-granted authority by assessing excessive fees, but violated the limited federal preemption PRB-1 in the process. PRB-1 requires municipalities and states to “reasonably” accommodate Amateur Radio antennas and to apply the “minimum practicable regulation” in handling Amateur Radio antenna applications. The ruling is slated to be published as a case decision. Landstein had wanted to erect a 70-foot antenna support structure; the Town of LaGrange has a 35-foot height limit.

“This case, which goes back to 2013, was about applying PRB-1 to a situation in which a municipality attempted to thwart the installation and maintenance of ham radio antennas by imposing excessive permit application costs on the ham applicant,” said communications attorney Chris Imlay, W3KD, who is familar with the case. Imlay said the FCC has refused to clarify the cost-prohibition issue as it relates to PRB-1’s “minimum practicable regulation” and reasonable accommodation provisions of PRB-1.

Continue reading Court Rules Excessive Antenna Application Fees Violated Reasonable Accommodation

ARRL BoD Statement on Radio Parity Act

At its annual meeting January 18 – 19, the ARRL Board of Directors decided that the organization needs to “review, re-examine, and reappraise ARRL’s regulatory and legislative policy with regard to private land use restrictions.”

In order to effectively undertake such a review, the Board adopted a resolution to withdraw its December 18 Petition for Rule Making to the FCC, which sought to amend the Part 97 Amateur Service rules to incorporate the provisions of the Amateur Radio Parity Act (ARPA), without prejudice to refiling. The resolution also is asking members of Congress who had refiled legislation to enact the Amateur Radio Parity Act (ARPA) to refrain from seeking to advance that legislation pending further input from ARRL.

Continue reading ARRL BoD Statement on Radio Parity Act

John Robert Stratton, N5AUS, is New ARRL West Gulf Division Director

John Robert Stratton, N5AUS, of Austin, Texas, is the new ARRL West Gulf Division Director. Stratton, the incumbent Vice Director, moved up to the Director’s chair after Director Dr. David Woolweaver, K5RAV, announced his immediate retirement during the ARRL Board of Directors meeting January 18 – 19.

An attorney, Stratton served as West Gulf Division Vice Director since 2009, when he was appointed to succeed Woolweaver, who became Director following the resignation of then-Director Coy Day, N5OK.

Woolweaver served as West Gulf Vice Director from 2000 until 2009, and as Director from 2009 until 2019. During his
tenure, he served on several committees, including the ARRL Board Executive Committee. He is a member of the ARRL Foundation Board of Directors.
Continue reading John Robert Stratton, N5AUS, is New ARRL West Gulf Division Director

West Gulf Division Newsletter January 2019

A special message from your Director

“Everything that the ARRL undertakes must be 100% for the general good.  That policy bred loyalty and confidence.  With those two things an organization can proper forever.”
Hiram Percy Maxim , September 1927 QST.

History.  I joined the ARRL Board in 2000 as Vice Director after Jim Haynie, W5JBP, was elected President and Coy Day, N5OK, moved up to Director.  That is nearly twenty years ago!  I never thought that I would spend nearly twenty years on the ARRL Board.
Continue reading West Gulf Division Newsletter January 2019

Winter Field Day

Winter Field Day Association (WFDA) is a dedicated group of Amateur Radio Operators who believe that emergency communications in a winter environment is just as important as the preparations and practice that is done each summer but with some additional unique operational concerns.

 We believe as do those entities of ARRL Organizations like ARES & RACES that maintaining your operational skills should not be limited to fair weather scenarios. The addition of Winter Field Day will enhance those already important skills of those that who generously volunteer their time and equipment to these organizations. This is why WFD is open to all licensed amateur radio operators worldwide.

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Zaffirini Bill to remove Ham Radio Exemption from wireless law

Attention Amateur Radio Operators!
Legislation is pending in the Texas Senate that will affect your right to operate your mobile amateur radio while in motion.  Below are some clips from the actual document:

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As you can see in the last clip (line 6-8), the exemption for FCC licensees is removed.  This revision to current law will treat amateur radios like cell phones in regard to operation while in motion.  If you are concerned about your right to operate your mobile radio on the amateur bands while in motion, please contact your Texas State Senator and respectfully request that he or she vote “NO” to protect your FCC amateur radio operator rights.

73,
Dale
W5WI

WSJT-X Version 2 Released; Prompt Upgrades Encouraged

A new version of K1JT’s digital communications suite – WSJT-X, Version 2.0.0 – has been released for general use. All users of the software, especially the popular FT8 and MSK144 modes, are encouraged to upgrade promptly. “The FT8 and MSK144 protocols have been enhanced in a way that is not backward compatible with older program versions,” according to an announcement on the WSJT home page. It continued that the new protocols became the world-wide standards as of December 10, 2018, and that “all users should upgrade to WSJT-X 2.0 by January 1, 2019. After that date, only the new FT8 and MSK144 should be used on the air.”

Other modes included in the WSJT-X suite are JT4, JT9, JT65, QRA64, ISCAT, WSPR and the Echo mode for measuring your own signals reflected from the Moon. For more information, visit <https://tinyurl.com/hg6rnxm>.

New Faces Around the Table in Newington

When the ARRL board of directors meets in Connecticut next month, there will be several new faces at the table, as well as the “back bench” for vice directors.

In addition to this being the first board meeting for new CEO Howard Michel, WB2ITX, there will be new directors present from the Hudson, New England, Northwestern, Roanoke and Rocky Mountain Divisions. Three of those new directors defeated incumbents, while one moved up from the vice director’s chair to succeed a director who resigned and the fifth was elected in a division in which the incumbent was not seeking re-election. There will also be two new vice directors.

This represents a change in leadership in one-third of the ARRL’s 15 geographic divisions.