Information Net for November 5

FCC Seeks Comments on Proposed Changes to Amateur Licensing Rules, Emission Types


Seal of the United States Federal Communicatio...

Seal of the United States Federal Communications Commission. (credit: Wikipedia)

Earlier this month, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) — WT Docket No. 12-283 — proposing to amend the Part 97 rules governing the Amateur Radio Service. On October 24, a summary of the NPRM was published in the Federal Register and the FCC is seeking comments on it.

Specifically, the Commission is proposing to modify the Amateur Radio Service rules to grant examination credit for expired and beyond-the-grace-period-for-renewal Amateur Radio operator licenses; to shorten the grace period during which an expired amateur license may be renewed; to revise the time a call sign is not available to the vanity call sign system correspondingly, and to reduce the number of volunteer examiners needed to administer an amateur license examination. The NPRM also asks for comment on amending the rules to permit remote test administration, and proposes to amend the Amateur Radio Service rules to allow amateur stations to transmit certain additional emission types.

Comments must be filed on or before December 24, 2012 (60 days after publication in the Federal Register); reply comments must be filed on or before January 22, 2013 (90 days after publication in the Federal Register). Instructions on how to file comments are listed beginning on page 12 of the NPRM.

Fun and Excitement Fill the Airwaves for the 2012 ARRL November CW Sweepstakes


Steeped in tradition and still as exciting as ever, the 79th Annual ARRL Sweepstakes offers US and Canadian operators a fun-filled contest opportunity again this fall. First up is CW Sweepstakes during the weekend of November 3-5. “You don’t have to have a huge station with large antennas to have fun in Sweepstakes,” explained ARRL Sweepstakes Manager Larry Hammel, K5OT. “Maybe you have 100 W and a backyard dipole or vertical. Or perhaps the challenge of a 5 W QRP effort hits your hot button this year. You will be amazed at the number of stations you can work as you trade exchanges all over the continent.”

This year, with four new Canadian Sections, will be a bit different. In August, the RAC split its Ontario Section into four new Sections: Ontario East (ONE), Ontario North (ONN), Ontario South (ONS) and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Contesters now need to work 83 sections to earn the coveted Clean Sweep. You will want to ensure that your contest logging software is up-to-date and is capable of logging these new Sections. Click here for a map of the four new RAC Sections.

“I just love the CW Sweepstakes,” said ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. “It’s my favorite HF contest of them all. It’s focused on the US and Canada, so a station with 100 W and simple wire antennas can do very well. The chase for the Clean Sweep is always a thrill, and the contest exchange — with the serial number, entry class, your own call, check and Section — makes it one of the most challenging events on the contest calendar. If you make a mistake on any one of those elements in the exchange, you lose the QSO. Sweepstakes is lots of fun, but it also brings out the best in the best contesters.”


A favorite quest during Sweepstakes every year is to try to earn a “Clean Sweep” by working at least one station in all 83 ARRL/RAC Sections. Reach this elite level and you can purchase a highly desired Clean Sweep mug for your accomplishment! Also, each ham who makes a Clean Sweep will be recognized with a Clean Sweep stick on his or her certificate. If you make at least 100 QSOs, you can order a Participation Pin to recognize your effort. There are Section and Division recognition awards in each category that are also available.

If you are a regular CW Sweeps enthusiast, then you already have the first weekend in November marked on your calendar; the SSB running of Sweepstakes is always the third full weekend in November. But what if it has been a while since your last Sweepstakes adventure? Or maybe you are considering a first-time entry this year? Be sure to check out the 2012 ARRL November Sweepstakes Operating Guide. ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, has organized an excellent collection of Sweepstakes information and links in the Operating Guide that will help both newbies and old-timers understand the rules, operating techniques and log submission guidelines.

Read by: RICK N9GRW

“The November Sweepstakes is a great event for contest expeditions,” Kutzko noted. “Do you want to help others get a Clean Sweep and be the DX for a change? The Top 10 rarest sections in the 2011 CW Sweepstakes were Northern Territories (NT), Newfoundland/Labrador (NL), Manitoba (MB), Nebraska (NE), North Dakota (ND), Puerto Rico (PR), Delaware (DE), Arkansas (AR), Quebec (QC) and Mississippi (MS). Consider operating from one of these Sections this year and enjoy operating from the ‘other side of the pileup.’”

Beginning with the 2011 Sweepstakes, the Single Operator Unlimited (U) and Multioperator (M) categories were split into High Power and Low Power. Entrants still send the “U” or “M” precedence as part of the contest exchange, but those stations can now compete with others in a comparable power category. See the rules for more information.

A change that was implemented in 2010 allows alumni to participate in the School Club category when operating from the established school station along with current student members. Maybe your school would like to join the other “S” stations enjoying a break from studies with a Sweepstakes entry? There are many records available to be set in the School Club category, and the Collegiate Championship features head-to-head competition between schools, too.

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