Information Net for August 27

FCC Denies Petition Seeking to Designate Nationwide Emergency Calling Frequency

Read by:ED KE4JWS

Amateur Radio Emergency Service

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (credit: Wikipedia)

Saying that it believes that the Amateur Service “allows flexibility to provide emergency communications in a way that takes into account channel availability and other local conditions,” the FCC denied a Petition for Rulemaking to create a nationwide emergency calling frequency. The Petition — filed by Bryan Boyle, WB0YLE, of Morrisville, Pennsylvania, and Jim Dixon, WB6NIL, of Alhambra, California — called upon the FCC to designate 146.550 MHz as a “non-exclusive nationwide Amateur Radio Service emergency communications channel using FM wideband modulation.”

Doyle and Dixon noted in their Petition that other services, such as the Citizens Band Radio Service, the Aviation Service and the Maritime Service have specific channels set aside for emergency communications. They claimed that use of these channels “to good effect by those in distress [and that this] is a testament to the need for individual services to have a readily accessible and publicized” emergency communications channel. In denying the Petition, the FCC said in part that Boyle and Dixon “had not shown an existing problem that would be addressed by a rule change designating a nationwide Amateur Service emergency calling frequency.”

Read by: Martha KJ4RIQ

The FCC told Boyle and Dixon that the rules of the Amateur Radio Service allow “an amateur station to transmit one-way messages necessary to providing emergency communications,” maintaining that these messages may “be transmitted on any frequency authorized [by] the control operator of the amateur stations transmitting the messages. Additionally, the rules require that, at all times and on all frequencies, each control operator must give priority to stations providing emergency communications. Administration of these rules is accomplished primarily through voluntary frequency planning by, and cooperation among, Amateur Radio operators.”

Pointing out that the its Wireless Telecommunications Bureau had previously considered establishing a nationwide common calling or distress channel “in a service where transmission of such communications is permitted but not required…and the channels are shared by all users,” the FCC said that it had concluded that “it was not necessary to designate a Family Service Radio (FRS) channel for establishing emergency communications because emergency communications have a priority on all FRS channels and the record did not demonstrate that FRS users were having any difficulty establishing communications.”


The FCC did note, however, that unlike channels in the Citizens Band Radio Service and the Maritime Service, channels in the FRS are not routinely monitored by emergency first-responders: “Like the FRS, the Amateur Service differs from the services in which our rules designate a nationwide emergency calling channel in that it is not routinely monitored by safety entities such as the police or the Coast Guard. Additionally, those services do not require an individual to have an operator license or otherwise demonstrate the ability to operate the station by performing such functions as selecting transmitting channels to avoid interference. Therefore, we believe the administration of these services primarily through operational rules that specify the use of a channel and transmitter technical standards is reasonable.”

The FCC observed that under the current rules of the Amateur Radio Service, operators can use “multiple channels on the same or different amateur band if needed for an event, or use multiple channels in the same band when multiple, but different events occur.” It also mentioned that the Boyle and Dixon’s proposal “that the channel be a ‘non-exclusive nationwide’ channel is, substantively, no different from current channel priorities because all Amateur Service channels are shared and may be used for providing emergency communications. If such a ‘non-exclusive nationwide’ channel is needed, nothing in our rules prevents the amateur community from voluntarily agreeing to designate a channel for this purpose. We conclude, therefore, that you have not shown an existing problem that would be addressed by a rule change designating a nationwide Amateur Service emergency calling frequency.”

NOAA Updates 2012 Hurricane Season Outlook


According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season has been “busy,” with six named storms since the season began June 1. In May 2012, NOAA forecasters originally indicated a 50 percent chance for a near-normal season in 2012, and predicted the chances for an above-normal season at 25 percent and a below-normal season at 25 percent. But on August 9, NOAA revised the chances for an above-normal season — upping the odds to 35 percent — while saying that the chances for a below-normal season have decreased to 15 percent.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the season — June 1 to November 30 — NOAA’s updated seasonal outlook projects a total (including the 2012 tropical storms Alberto, Beryl, Debbie, Florence and the 2012 hurricanes Chris and Ernesto) of:12 to 17 named storms (top winds of 39 miles per hour or higher), including:5 to 8 hurricanes (top winds of 74 miles per hour or higher) of which 2 to 3 could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5 with winds of at least 111 miles per hour)

Read by: RICK N9GRW

The numbers are higher from the initial outlook in May, which called for 9-15 named storms, 4-8 hurricanes and 1-3 major hurricanes. Based on a 30 year average, a normal Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.

“We are increasing the likelihood of an above-normal season because storm-conducive wind patterns and warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures are now in place in the Atlantic,” said NOAA Climate Prediction Center Lead Seasonal Hurricane Forecaster Dr Gerry Bell. “These conditions are linked to the ongoing high activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995. Also, strong early-season activity is generally indicative of a more active season.” But NOAA seasonal climate forecasters also announced on August 9 that El Niño will likely develop in August or September. “El Niño is a competing factor, because it strengthens the vertical wind shear over the Atlantic, which suppresses storm development,” Bell explained. “But we don’t expect El Niño’s influence until later in the season.”

Saying that there is still “a long way to go until the end of the season,” National Weather Service Acting Director Laura Furgione advised that “we shouldn’t let our guard down. Hurricanes often bring dangerous inland flooding, as we saw a year ago in the Northeast with Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Even people who live hundreds of miles from the coast need to remain vigilant through the remainder of the season.” — Thanks to NOAA for the information

Information from the Past from Paul KJ4WQN


Star Trek: The Next Generation’ sets off
Set in the 24th century and decades after the adventures of the original crew of the starship Enterprise, this new series is the long-awaited successor to the original Star Trek. Most of the original Star Trek crew eventually appeared on the show.

First commercial Internet Service Provider: UUNet
Founded in 1987 as a non-profit entity, UUNet would become the first commercial ISP.

The Unabomber strikes again
On Feb. 20, 1987, Gary Wright became the 11th victim of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski when he bent to pick up what he thought was a piece of wood outside the office of his Utah computer company. He survived, although shrapnel damaged nerves in his left arm. Years later, Wright would forge a strong friendship with David Kaczynski, the Unabomber’s brother and the man most responsible for his capture.


Bill’s first billion … and pitch
This was the year that Bill Gates was officially credited with his first billion … and, on May 1, he threw the official first pitch at a Seattle Mariners baseball game. From Forbes: “In 1987 Gates was officially declared a billionaire in the pages of Forbes’ 400 Richest People in America issue, just days before his 32nd birthday. As the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, he was worth $1.25 billion, over $900 million more than he’d been worth the year before, when he’d debuted on the list.”

RoboCop debuted in American theaters on July 17, 1987. The computer that RoboCop looks up criminal records on is actually a Northern Telecom telephone switch, and the point-of-view shots from RoboCop include references to MS-DOS

Numbers 64 and 73 on the list of oldest .com domains was registered on Feb. 19, 1987 and followed suit May 14.

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