Tech Talk – National Traffic System and Traffic Handling

The complete slide deck, including audio, from the Hurst ARC Tech Talk on the National Traffic System and Traffic Handling is now available for download.

FCC to Reinstate Morse Code Test

“It was a big mistake eliminating the Morse Code test,” admits FCC official

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

Washington, D.C. – April 1, 2014 - Today, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission or FCC) approved Report and Order 14-987af which reinstates the Morse Code test for General Class and Amateur Extra Class licensees. “It was a big mistake eliminating the Morse Code test,” admits Dotty Dasher, the FCC’s director of examinations. “We now realize that being able to send and receive Morse Code is an essential skill for radio amateurs. As they say, it really does get through when other modes can’t.”

Not only will new applicants have to take the test, but General Class licensees who have never passed a code test will have one year to pass a 5-wpm code test. Similarly, Amateur Extra class licensees that never passed a code test will have one year to pass a 13-wpm test. Those amateurs that fail to pass the test will face revocation of their operating privileges. Materials for administering the examinations will be distributed to Volunteer Examiner Coordinators by the end of April, so that they can begin the testing on May 1, 2014.

“This isn’t going to be one of those silly multiple-choice type tests,” noted Dasher. “We’re going to be sending five-character random code groups, just like we did in the old days. And, applicants will have to prove that they can send, too, using a poorly adjusted straight key.”

Technician Class licensees will not be required to take a Morse Code test, nor will a test be required for new applicants. “We discussed it,” said Dasher, “but decided that since most Techs can’t even figure out how to program their HTs, requiring them to learn Morse Code seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.”

When asked what other actions we might see from the FCC, Dasher hinted that in the future applicants taking the written exam may be required to draw circuit diagrams, such as Colpitts oscillators and diode ring mixers, once again. “We’re beginning to think that if an applicant passes an amateur radio license exam it  should mean that he or she actually knows something,” she said.

For further information, contact James X. Shorts, Assistant Liaison to the Deputy Chief of Public Relations for the FCC at (202) 555-1212 or jim.shorts@fcc.gov. For more news and information about the FCC, please visit www.fcc.gov.

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Dan, KB6NU, is the author of the “No-Nonsense” amateur radio study guides and a leading amateur radio blogger. You can find his study guides by going to his blog at www.kb6nu.com. You can contact Dan by e-mail at cwgeek@kb6nu.com, or, after you pass the test, by CW. Look for him at the bottom of just about any HF band.

5th Sunday Net

This Sunday is the 5th one in the month and that means that our weekly Sunday night net will be on the KM5HT repeater on 442.850 Mhz PL 110.9. That repeater is also available on Echolink as node KM5HT-R (#549691).

Expand Your Knowledge on Saturday Mornings

The Hurst Amateur Radio Club will be begin offering a new time from 8am to 9am on Saturday mornings for those hams that want to continue to expand their knowledge on different topics. This is in addition to the 9am to noon GROUP time that we’ve had for years for projects and mentoring. Come for the knowledge, stay for the practical!

Beginning April 5th, 2014, we will offer a bi-weekly Extra Class Study group for anyone wanting to refresh or test for Extra. This isn’t an instructor-led licensing class, just an opportunity to get together with others studying for their Extra class license. There will also be knowledgeable Extras on hand to share their experiences.

Beginning April 12th, 2014 we will offer a bi-weekly Morse Code class. if you’re ever wanted to learn or you want to get back up to speed on code, this is the one to come to.

The study topics are subject to change based on interest and attendance. Visit our Meetup event calendar for more information and to let us know you’re coming!

Tech Talk: NBEMS (Narrowband Emergency Messaging System)

Thanks to Greg KG5AHK for producing the video of this month’s Tech Talk on NBEMS.

Video: NBEMS (Narrowband Emergency Messaging System) video

Slides: NBEMS (Narrowband Emergency Messaging System) slides

New Hams!

Congratulations to the recent graduates of the February 2014 Technician licensing class! From the test session following the class, there were 12 new hams and 2 of them went ahead and tested for General and upgraded at the same time.

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The monthly business meeting is Monday February 17th at 7pm and we hope to see all of our new hams there.

Bylaws Changes

At the January 20, 2014 meeting, the club membership voted to make some key changes to the Hurst Amateur Radio Club Bylaws as recommended by the Executive Board and the club Risk Management committee.

The new bylaws are published on the Bylaws page and are available for download in  PDF format.

Repeater Shack Replacement

A lot of progress has been made on the replacing the 40 year old repeater shack that houses the equipment for our 2 meter repeater, W5HRc. The new one has been built on site and had most of the wiring done this past week.

On Monday January 27th, we will switch to the backup repeater at Hurst Fire Station #2 so the the equipment can be removed from the old shack and it can be scheduled for tear down. Once it’s removed, we will move the new shack into place and connect the repeater back up and bring it back online.

The old shack is scheduled for demolition on January 29th and we should be back up on the primary repeater within a few days. The repeater coverage will be drastically reduced while we’re on the backup repeater.

Tech Talk – Basic Repeater Operation & Etiquette

Repeaters are a very important part of local amateur radio communications, but they are also a shared resource. Understanding how they work, some common operating rules, and a bit of etiquette ensures that they are used in the most effective and courteous manner possible.

Alternate working title: How to avoid driving the Net Control Station to drink. :)

Join us for our January Tech Talk to discuss everything you want to know about repeater operation and etiquette.

For more information visit the Meetup  event page.

FCC Technician Amateur Radio Licensing Class – February 1st and 8th 2014

The Hurst Amateur Radio Club will sponsor a Technician amateur radio licensing  class which will take place over two Saturdays, February 1st and February 8th 2014. There will be a VE testing session following the last class. There is no cost to attend the class itself.

We will be using the 2010-2014 Technician Class study manual by Gordon West. The manual is highly recommended and can be purchased through the club at our cost.

The deadline to RSVP is January 17, 2014 in order to get the books ordered and distributed. There will be a pre-study worksheet distributed to complete prior to the first class session.

For more information and to RSVP, visit the Meetup event page.