Information Net for February 20

New Rules for 5 MHz (60 Meters) To Go Into Effect March 5

Read by: Dennis KF4CSR

On November 18, the FCC released a Report and Order (R&O), defining new rules for the 60 meter (5 MHz) band. These rules are in response to a Petition for Rulemaking (PRM) filed by the ARRL more than five years ago and a June 2010 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). In the February 3 edition of the Federal Register, the FCC announced that these new rules will go into effect at 12:01 AM (EST) on March 5, 2012.

In summarizing the new rules, the FCC explained that the new rules amend the current rules to facilitate more efficient and effective use by the Amateur Radio Service of five channels in the 5330.5 – 5406.4 kHz band (the 60 meter band):

Specifically, and consistent with our proposals in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in this proceeding, the Commission replaces one of the channels with a less encumbered one, increases the maximum authorized power amateur stations may transmit in this band and authorizes amateur stations to transmit three additional emission designators. The Commission also adopts an additional operational rule that prohibits the use of automatically controlled digital stations and makes editorial revisions to the relevant portions of the Table of Frequency Allocations and our service rules.

The Amateur Radio Service in the United States has a secondary allocation on 60 meters. Only those amateurs who hold General, Advanced or Amateur Extra class licenses may operate on this band. Amateur stations must not cause harmful interference to — and must accept interference from — stations authorized by any administration in the fixed service, as well as mobile (except aeronautical mobile) stations authorized by the administrations of other countries.

ARRL Field Day: 2012 Field Day Packet Now Available

It’s that time of year again — time to start gearing up for ARRL Field Day, June 23-24, 2012! ARRL’s flagship operating event — always held the fourth full weekend in June — brings together new and experienced hams for 24 hours of operating fun. Field Day packets are now available for download and include the complete rules, as well as other reference items such as forms, ARRL Section abbreviation list, entry submission instructions, a Frequently Asked Questions section, guidelines for getting bonus points, instructions for GOTA stations and a kit to publicize your event with the local press. A brief one-page flyer with basic “What is Field Day” information has also been included in this year’s Field Day packet. Amateur Radio clubs and individuals are encouraged to reproduce this flyer as a handout for information tables.

Coming Soon – 2012 Field Day Merchandise!

Are you or your club clamoring for Field Day shirts, hats and other gear? Don’t worry! We’ll have these items up at the ARRL store shortly, so you and your club can attend Field Day 2012 in style!

ARRL Field Day Overview

Read by: Nikki KF4DHK

ARRL Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. Each year over 35,000 amateurs gather with their clubs, friends or simply by themselves to operate.

ARRL Field Day is not a fully adjudicated contest, which explains much of its popularity. It is a time where many aspects of Amateur Radio come together to highlight our many roles. While some will treat it as a contest, most groups use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities. It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate Amateur Radio to local elected community leaders, key individuals with the organizations that Amateur Radio might serve in an emergency, as well as the general public. For many clubs, ARRL Field Day is one of the highlights of their annual calendar.

To work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions. Field Day is open to all amateurs in the areas covered by the ARRL/RAC Field Organizations and countries within IARU Region 2. DX stations residing in other regions may be contacted for credit, but are not eligible to submit entries.

REMEMBER THIS DATE ARRL Field Day, June 23-24, 2012!

Conversation from NØAX


Something Old…. I was poking around in my toolbox and junk box and rooting through parts bins recently when I came across a little box marked “Crystals”. Oh yeah, I recalled – I had picked these up from various hamfests and what not when one caught my eye. My rack of crystals from my Novice days was long gone but I’d never gotten over that feeling of plugging in an FT-243 and pounding some brass, seeing the needles jump, and just maybe hearing my call come back over the headphones.

Having several crystals was important if you wanted to call a station that might be several kHz away and not make them tune the whole band to find your 3-by-3-by-3 plea for attention. Of course, with the broad-as-the-side-of-a-barn receivers most of us used in those days, being a little off frequency wasn’t the handicap it is today…you just had to squint!

I enjoy holding a crystal now – if it happens to be on a useful frequency, so much the better, but that’s not the story. The point is the feel of it and the way it was manufactured and used.

Read by: Ed KE4JWS

Those old crystals – from JAN, Texas Crystals, International Crystal, and many, many other companies from the back pages of QST – were hand-assembled and had attractive logos and text engraved into the crystal holders. Each one was an advertisement for the manufacturer and many were miniature works of art in their own right. Some were even hand-labeled as the Bliley crystal in the photo.

Everybody ought to have one little thing from ‘back then’ – maybe a tube or a key or a meter or an insulator. Hold it in your hand and think about how many different meanings that artifact has had throughout its history. At first, it might have been cutting-edge technology, then a more ordinary commodity, finally to be dropped into a junk box as obsolete. Someday, someone like me spies and buys it for a pittance – like a lucky radio buckeye, polished and rounded and comfortable in my pocket or drawer.

If the item Is truly fortunate, its new owner may go home and put it on the air once again. I am reminded of many childhood stories of forgotten toys that were rescued from an attic or basement to find new purpose. I have a soft spot for crystals, obviously, but you might find a tool or connector equally evocative. “Old” is subjective – perhaps all we mean is just “from a period preceding mine”. These visitors from era gone by help connect us to the traditions of radio. Like grandparents, they connect us to history and might be no farther away than the next hamfest or swap meet, in a little box marked “Crystals”.

73, Ward NØAX

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