Ham Radio Two-Day License Class – New Session

Building on the success of our first Technician License Class, we are offering it again:

Ham Radio Two-Day License Class

Monument, Colorado

Saturday Apr 24 and Saturday May 1 (8 AM to 5 PM)

Location not yet finalized

Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Radio Association

The Technician license is your gateway to the world-wide excitement of Amateur Radio …

  • Earn your ham radio Technician class radio privileges
  • Pass your FCC amateur radio license exam right in class on the second day
  • Multiple-choice exam, No Morse Code Required
  • Live equipment demonstrations
  • Learn to operate on the ham bands, 10 Meters and higher
  • Learn to use the many VHF/UHF FM repeaters in Colorado
  • Find out how to participate in emergency communications

There is no cost for the class

However, students must have the required study guide:
Gordon West Technician Class guide $18.95
And pay the FCC Exam Fee: $15.00

Advance registration is required (no later than Apr 17th).

To register for the class, contact: Bob Witte KØNR   techclass@k0nr.com

For more information on amateur (ham) radio visit www.arrl.org
or www.wedothat-radio.org

FCC Moving Ahead with EmComm Changes

fcc-1The FCC has released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) concerning use of amateur radio by employees of governmental and other agencies. I had previously posted my thoughts on this topic back in October 2009.  A read of the NPRM on the FCC web site reveals that the FCC clearly sees this as an issue that needs to be addressed.

The tone of the NPRM is “what is the best way to address the problem” rather than “should we address this issue”?  In fact, the FCC went ahead and proposed this specific rule change for Part 97.113:

§ 97.113 Prohibited transmissions.
(a) ***
(3) Communications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer, with the following exceptions:
(i) A control station operator may participate on behalf of an employer in a government-sponsored emergency preparedness or disaster readiness test or drill, limited to the duration and scope of such test or drill, and operational testing immediately prior to such test or drill.
(ii) An amateur operator may notify other amateur operators of the availability for sale or trade of apparatus normally used in an amateur station, provided that such activity is not conducted on a regular basis.

The ARRL article concerning this development provides a good summary of the proposal. N5FDL has a brief discussion of the NPRM on his blog. Comments can be filed electronically on this NPRM on the FCC Electronic Filing Comment System.

I think this is moving in the right direction.

- 73, Bob K0NR

Podcast Signals and Noise

step1_ipodnano_whiteI’ve posted before about being a fan of podcasts (those mp3 file “radio shows” that don’t use radio). There are so many decent podcasts out there to choose from, I keep my iPod Touch loaded up with all kinds of mp3 content. Actually, my taste includes topics outside of tech, but that is what I’ll focus on for this blog posting.

One thing I have noticed is that the ham radio podcasts on my mp3 player are getting pushed aside by other tech shows. I think it is driven by the signal-to-noise ratio of the ‘cast. With so many to choose from, I have become less tolerant of rambling commentary, crappy audio and marginal content.

I don’t want to be overly critical, since it takes real work to produce a quality podcast. I have enough trouble keeping up with this blog. I would not be able to do a decent job of an audio podcast and you probably don’t want to hear my voice anyway. (I have a radio face and a CW voice.)

So what am I still listening to these days? Here’s my favorite tech-related podcasts, in rough order of priority:

  • Amateur Radio Newsline
  • Buzz Out Loud (CNET)
  • Cranky Geeks (John C. Dvorak)
  • This Week in Tech (Leo Laporte)
  • Slashdot Review (SDR News)
  • Tech5 (John C. Dvorak)
  • CNET News Daily Podcast
  • This Week in Amateur Radio (TWIAR.org)
  • PC Mag Radio

So the only remaining ham radio ‘casts are Amateur Radio Newsline and TWIAR. AR Newsline is the old standby that I used to listen to on the local 2-Meter repeater, usually interesting and well done. TWIAR has some good content but it often tests my patience with drawn out introductions and weird sound effects. Keep the fast-forward button handy on that one. Slashdot Review sets the standard for “get to the point, say something interesting and move on.”  We need more shows like that. CNET News does pretty well, too.

Oh, I should mention Ham Radio Podclass, which I recommend to students studying to pass their next license exam.

I’ll toss in a couple of non-tech wildcards for you to consider:

  • WNYC’s Radiolab – “Science meets culture”, usually thought-provoking and well-executed
  • The Moth Podcast – People telling true stories without notes in front of a live audience
  • Common Sense with Dan Carlin – a fresh, logical approach to politics that generally annoys both Democrats and Republicans

So what are you listening to? Give me some fresh ideas.

73, Bob K0NR

This Spewed Out of the Internet #13

0511-0701-3118-0930Things have gotten a little busy for me, so sorry about going dark on blog postings. I had several weeks of business travel, followed by a wonderful trip to the Caribbean. Unfortunately, no ham radio action on any of these trips.

As usual, K3NG has posted some interesting stuff on his blog. First, he commented on Amateur Radio Liberation Day, then he had a good post on The Problem of Closed Source and Proprietary Algorithm Modes.

The Fi-Ni report explained the mysterious reappearance of the 15 Meter band.

After pestering hams with announcements that the new ARRL web site is about to be turned on (drum roll please….), the League had to back off and announce that it just wasn’t quite ready yet. It would be a lot more effective to launch the web site, then promote it. That way, when people go to check it out, it is actually there.

The FCC decided that it would be a good idea to allow a remotely-controlled robot to use 430-448 MHz as a radio control link. These robots are intended to be used by law enforcement agencies to enter hazardous areas without endangering personnel. I guessed they missed the fact that the 70 cm ham band is home for thousands of FM repeaters in the U.S. This is yet another lame spectrum management decision by the commission. (See K3NG’s post on this topic.)

- 73, Bob K0NR