Let not your Baefong lead you to temptation!

 Or,  Know the FCC rules!

 On a groups.io that I follow, there was a recent posting about a CSX train crew in New York state.  They were M409, a manifest or “mixed” freight.  They called their dispatcher to ask who was calling them.  All they could hear was a weak transmission ending in “M409”. The dispatcher said he would check and said no one else was around.

A little bit later, the dispatcher was heard telling someone to get off frequency and “go home” and that he would be notifying the police and the FCC.

The speculation is someone had a Baefong U5VR series radio that is old enough, or was illegally modified, so that it could operate on the 155-174 MHz Land Mobile band.

Baefongs seem to be popular “entry level” radios based on their low price.  In 2018 the FCC cited the importer for selling units that did not conform to the FCC Part 90 certification they were granted in 2012.  One of the many issues was they could transmit at 4 watts and regulation limits them to less than 2 watts.

Baefongs are the only DMR radios that seem to have compliance issues, but if you have another brand, do not be tempted to see of if you can transmit outside the amateur frequencies. 

Two Meter radios from Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood are all “locked down” so you cannot transmit on the Land Mobile frequencies even if you have entered and are scanning them.

 

For more information about radios, setting up your station and another topics, please follow the trail to:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.
Frank KB3PQT

 

QRZ.com announces a JUMPSTART PROGRAM to First Time Newly FCC Licensed Hams.
Details and conditions in the accompanying advertising image.

Don’t delay — Offer Ends October 31, 2022

 

Please Note: The sponsors of this program have designed their website in a way that prevents long-time Amateur Radio Operators, such as your Editor, from viewing the content.  In that sense, newly licensed Amateur Radio Operators reading this web page will need to judge for yourself the merits of this program.

#####

Two New PA QSO Party Awards for 2022!

Encouraging Participation by Non-Hams and Young People

Recognizing Elmers

The PA QSO Party Association will introduce two new awards aimed at encouraging participation by non-hams and young people in the Pennsylvania QSO Party starting in October 2022.
The PA QSO Party log submittal process will include an option for multi-operator participants to identify non-hams of any age, and/or licensed hams under the age of twenty-five, that operated or logged during the contest, as well as the call sign(s) of their Elmer(s).  Inclusion of this information will enable the submitter to receive a certificate and purchase a plaque commemorating participation in the PA QSO Party by the non-hams, young operators, and Elmers.
Given the importance of Elmers, the PA QSO Party Association will sponsor a new award for the Elmer that supports the largest number of non-hams and/or young operators participating in the PA QSO Party.  All Elmers will also receive certificates.
All non-hams, licensed hams under the age of twenty-five, and Elmers will be noted in the PA QSO Party results report.
#####

I am pleased to announce that the 2022 PA QSO Party Bonus Station operation has been awarded to the Stepansky brothers,

Joe (KQ3F),
Steve (KC3WX) and
Andy (N3VZ). 

The Stepanskys are long-time Party participants and will be operating from Lehigh County in eastern PA using callsign KQ3F.

Please join me in congratulating the KQ3F team.

 

Details on the KQ3F operation will be posted in the PA QSO Party website in coming weeks.   www.paqso.org

 

73

Goody   K3NG

 

#####

Section Traffic Manager Scott Walker (N3SW) is leaving our region. He has handed his managerial duties over to me.

Monthly, the traffic manager submits reports to the ARRL, regarding public service honor roll, and net activities.

Another responsibility of the traffic manager is to “insure that all traffic nets within the section are properly and adequately staffed.” [ARRL] Currently, both the Eastern Pennsylvania Emergency Phone and Traffic Net (EPAEPTN), and especially the CW Pennsylvania Traffic Net (PTN) are operating with minimum staff.

We need volunteers.

Please consider checking in to one or both of these networks on a regular basis.

EPAEPTN 17:00 Eastern 3918 kHz Phone
PTN 19:00 Eastern 3585 kHz CW

Both nets meet daily.

Arriving traffic is delivered best by a local ham, especially the “welcome to ham radio” messages we handle often.
Both are a great way to improve your operating skills, and give back to the community.

 

73
Tom Inman, KC8T
Eastern PA Traffic Manager

 

Editor’s Note:  Perhaps you are not quite ready to volunteer.  That is okay.
You can learn a lot just by listening.
If your schedule permits you to listen to the net now and then I think you will build an understanding of how the National Traffic System operates.
Try it.  You’ll like it.  If not, hit the big switch or turn the big knob.

73,
AF3I  Cumberland Amateur Radio Club Website Administrator

#####

Within the past few days the FCC has retired its legacy version of the CORES system (COmmission REgistration System)

If you are wondering how and where to conduct online business with the FCC here is some information that may be helpful to you.

A good URL starting point is:   https://apps.fcc.gov/CORES/userLogin.do

That URL will bring you to the new CORES login screen.

If this is your first visit to the new CORES you may wish to begin by watching the CORES TUTORIAL VIDEO.
Other first-time-user options include the HELP or FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS link.
If all else fails, there is a Support Services link and telephone number at the bottom of the screen.

 

At some point you will take the plunge and dive into the CORES system.

You will be shown several options.  Your choice depends on what you may have already done in preparation for this change.
Late in 2021 the FCC announced that the New CORES system had been made active and invited Users to register and begin using the new CORES system.

If you took that advice and created a Username  in the new CORES system then you are in a good position to transact your business with the FCC.
You should be able to provide your Username and Password in the first area and press the LOG IN button. 

If you missed your prior opportunity to register in the new CORES system you will be able to create an account and Username by starting your work under the “Need a Username?” heading.  Press the REGISTER button.

 

For those who are registered in the new CORES system, and who used their Username, Password, and the LOG IN button, you will soon see a screen similar to the one shown below.

If you pressed the REGISTER button please follow whatever instructions are shown there.  Your Editor has already registered and is unable to provide details of what you might see on your screen.

Your Editor selected the link called MANAGE EXISTING FRNs. 
This is where you can pay your FCC transaction fees.  You will need this link at license renewal time and after you take a License Exam.

Your needs may be different.  Try UPDATE USERNAME PROFILE for a Change of Address.

 

Good Luck.

 

 

 

 

Introducing the YAESU FT-710 AESS

The ham radio internet world is abuzz this week with the announcement of the new Yaesu FT710.  This is 160-6M  transceiver. 100 Watt output.

 

The preliminary information on the Yaesu website seems to indicate this is a replacement for the FT891.   Ham Radio Outlet has the FT891 steeply discounted at this time.

https://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=102&encProdID=615ADFEAB5EDBC65EBE1D64835F209DB&DivisionID=65&isArchived=0

 

The new FT710 has 2 USB ports and a built in antenna tuner.   It appears to be a miniaturized version of the FT10DX.  It is not clear from the Yaesu site or the articles I have seen if it has a built in sound card.  I expect it does, but do not know.

If you have a FT891 and you are looking for a very portable HF radio with 100 Watt capability, the FT710 looks like a good option. 

 

This device has not yet been approved by the FCC and may not be marketed or sold until approval has been given.  Guess-timated availability is in Late August or September 2022.

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

 

Field Day Logging

If you are doing Field Day 2022 from home (we understand the whole world cannot do Field Day at Shaffer Park) you will want some logging software.

Most of us use the N3FJP software for Field Day. Current version is 6.63

https://www.n3fjp.com/fieldday.html

If you plan to make fewer than 30 contacts, the Field Day app can be free.  A la carte, this one application is $8.99, or go whole hog and buy the entire N3FJP suite, every program, with upgrades for $59.99  An incredible value.

If you want something completely free the best alternative I know of is the N1MM+ logger.      https://n1mmwp.hamdocs.com/

I used N1MM+ for a few contests and while easy to use, the N3FJP software is just so much easier to set-up.   My contesting style will cause W3SOX and AF3I to scream “no”  but I typically wake up Saturday, cannot find anything better to do, turn the radio on, hear a contest, realize I can probably make a few Qs then I go looking for the software.  By the time that is done, the band has faded out and I didn’t do so well. N3FJP just seems easier to find the right contest software and install it.

While you are at it, the 13 Colonies Special Event is coming (July 1-7, 2022).  The N3FJP Amateur Contact Log easily handles that event.  After you launch AC Log, be sure to click on View >> 13 Colonies for an enhanced tracking tool developed by Scott, Kimberly, and Chris.

The PA QSO Party is coming as well on October 8 and 9, 2022.

For a lot more on computerized logging  and other fun radio stuff, please follow the trail:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

 

 

 

 

Software can make radio more fun !

When I read that headline my first reaction was — “What?  Software can make radio more fun?”

YES, it is true.

Even a fairly modern ham radio can benefit from software enhancements.  FLRIG from W1HKJ  is part of the time-tested FLDIGI suite of amateur radio software.

 

This application is FREE (Free is good!) at http://sourceforge.net/projects/fldigi/files/

 

Using the simple on-screen controls (even works on a touch screen).you can change VFOs, frequency, band. mode, split, volume, squelch, mic gain, RF power, and others.

The programs run on Apple, Windows and Linux operating systems.  Because this popular software is free and is only used by a few thousand people, your anti-virus software may not like it.  Its fine, just give AVG a minute and it will install.

I found it is easier to set the notch filters, noise reduction, and other radio options using the FLRIG graphical interface than it is to go into the radio menus.

 

For a lot more on FLRIG, FLDIGI and other fun radio stuff, please follow the trail:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

 

 

 

 

This is sort of old news. 

On April 19, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission reduced the fee for a ten year GMRS license to $35 from $70.  At the same time, the previously free, but had to pass an examination, amateur radio license fee went to $35 for ten years.

While I am sure there are people who paid for the GMRS license because that was “easier than studying for and passing a test”, I am sort of surprised at the number of licensed amateurs who are reporting buying the GMRS license now that the cost has come down.

While I think the GMRS service has a lot of value, and I see good reasons for being licensed in both, if you were already licensed as an amateur, and if you only bought the GMRS license because the fee came down, would you please reach out to me at the eMail address shown below and tell me what the appeal is?

President@radioclub-carc.com

 

I have heard from a couple of people saying that they want to explore GMRS.

OK…but are there other reasons?

 

 

For more information about radios, setting up your station  and another topics, follow the trail to:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

Tangible Rewards !

Between March 19 and 26, 2022 eleven Cumberland Amateur Radio Club members operated Special Event station W3R, celebrating the 120th anniversary of the Rockville Bridge. At 3,720 feet, the Rockville Bridge is the longest Stone Arch Masonry Railroad Bridge ever built anywhere in the world.

We seem to live in  a digital world.  But at the May meeting, the W3R event operators received a unexpected TANGIBLE REWARD to go with the certificates they were emailed earlier.

The TANGIBLE REWARD came in the form of a stainless steel tumbler or travel mug, bearing the CARC logo and the call sign of the operator. 

 

The recipients were:

 

Andrew      AF3I Doug         KC3CPT Frank        KB3PQT
Garry          K3EYK Harry         K3EYL John          WA3KCP
Maura        KC3SJE Mike          KB3GPX Richard     N3EPY
Steve         N3FWE Valli            N8QVT  

Thank you all!   It was a pleasure to have so many club members pitch-in and pull-together to make the event a success.

In addition, an article about the W3R Special Event operation is also being published in the NRHS News, the monthly newsletter of the National Railway Historical Society.

 

What have you learned today?

 

For more articles please follow the trail below:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

This contesting is nuts.  Why do we do it?

Scott Davis, N3FJP, the creator of the N3FJP line of computer logging programs from Affirmatech, answered a question on the N3FJP reflector with a link to the FAQ page.


This contesting is nuts. Why do we do it?

This question isn’t software specific, but the reasons for the tremendous fun of contesting aren’t always evident and they are too important to miss, especially for new folks just entering the hobby.  What draws us to spend major contest weekends happily glued to our radios?

Following CQ World Wide CW 2020, one of our club’s excellent, experienced contesters, having just made over 1,000 Qs, wrote on our virtual clubhouse text chat group, tongue in cheek and rhetorically: This contesting is nuts! Why do we do it?

Spent from the weekend, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, but the question stayed with me. This contesting IS nuts.  It’s hard work, takes education, effort, dedication, experimentation, knowledge, ingenuity, planning and serious time in the chair. Why DO we do it?

It turns out that, at least for me, there are lots of great reasons!  Here are a few off the top of my head.  I’ll bet that you can add to this list…

Amateur Radio’s basis and purpose includes emergency communication.  There is no better opportunity than during a contest to determine, band by band, the strengths and weaknesses of your station.  If your station can’t make many contacts during a contest, you will be ineffective in passing emergency traffic out of your affected area.

 

And that is just one piece of how contesting enhances our emergency communications ability.  A contest provides the opportunity to:

Practice copying information from stations both weak and strong.
– Check the ergonomics of our station during extended operations.
– See how we hold up with significant time in the operator chair.
– Learn about propagation and what to expect at various times of the day on different bands.

 

And if the emergency communications contest benefits don’t stir your juices, many of us find the contest experience itself to be tremendous fun!  The contesting experience alone keeps us coming back and circling the next events on our calendars because:

– It is thrilling to communicate to every state, section and the four corners of the Earth, including some rare and exotic locations, with nothing but a piece of wire or metal in our yards, from the comfort of our homes and families.

– It is thrilling to set goals, like beating your previous personal best score, having the fastest QSO rate in the club for a one-hour period or scoring top five in the club and then striving to accomplish it.

– It is joyful to share a quick connection, however brief, with all the other stations that have become familiar on contest weekends.

– It is thrilling to watch the bands rise and fall like the tide over the course of the contest weekend, anticipating what may open next.

– It is thrilling to watch our individual and club’s collective QSO rates soar when the bands come alive, on our club’s real time leader board.

– It is thrilling to simultaneously, whole heartedly cheer our NEMARCS brothers and sisters on, while doing our very best to leave them in the dust!

– It is thrilling to recognize the very real accomplishments of our scores, individually and collectively, with our club total.  We know full well what goes into building a successful station and putting in a successful contest effort!

– It is joyful to exchange quick banter on our virtual clubhouse text chat group during propagation lulls, as well as share needed multipliers, mentor new folks and encourage everyone to do their best.

– It is thrilling to see our club rankings in print and moving up the list when the final results are released!

– It is thrilling to watch our club’s scoreboard participant numbers grow, seeing new guys jump in for the first times, knowing the fun that awaits them!

– It is thrilling to get that certificate in the mail, after you have placed well enough to earn one!

– It is fascinating to learn the strengths and weaknesses of our stations, that are so quickly revealed on contest weekends.

– It is thrilling, after the contest is over, to improve our stations, our antennas and our operating skills, to see what we can do better next time. In fact, the grand contest never ends.  We are always looking for that edge and helping each other find theirs!

– It is thrilling to befriend such a fine group of folks, with whom to share this amazing adventure!

 

This is really, really fun stuff!


Thank you, Scott for fun piece.

 

What have you learned today>

 

For more articles like this, please follow the trail below:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 


The History Guy tm  discusses Ham Radio’s contribution to world science in the 1950s.

Every now and then YouTube turns up a real gem.  https://youtu.be/uaTm_LUifUI  is one of these. 

The History Guy tm takes a look at a pair of teenage amateur radio operators and their efforts to support American scientific bases in Antarctica. 

 #####

 

W3R QSL Cards

The W3R  Special Event station QSL cards have arrived from the printer.   They look fabulous.  Look to the right where you will find an image of the card.

Cumberland Amateur Radio Club sends its THANK YOU to Randy Dorman at https://www.KB3IFHqslcards.com for a great job.

The Special Event made 670 contacts between March 19 and March 26, 2022. 

From among the many people we worked during those eight busy days about 60 QSL cards have arrived at the home of our QSL Manager.  Those cards represent 28 of the United States of America and Canada.  We expect DX QSL Cards will take longer to arrive.

A duo of CARC Members have been huddled around the kitchen table burning the midnight oil for several days  admiring the QSL Cards we received from our friends and colleagues, checking our logs for the matching QSOs, and preparing our W3R QSL cards to be signed and mailed.

The cards will be mailed the first week of May.  A little birdie told your Editor that some cards are already in the mail.

#####

 

 

 

 

FCC Application Fee Effective Date Announced — Contains clarification of the License Upgrade Exception.

The new Amateur Radio license application fees will take effect on April 19, 2022.  The Federal Communications Commission’s authority to impose and collect fees is mandated by Congress.

The $35 application fee, when it becomes effective on April 19, will apply to new, renewal, and vanity call sign applications. The fee will be per application.

Most current licensees  will not be charged the new FCC application fee until they renew their license or apply for a new vanity call sign.

Administrative updates, such as a change of name, mailing address or email address, will be exempt from fees.

VECs and Volunteer Examiner (VE) teams will not have to collect the $35 fee at exam sessions.  Once the FCC application fee takes effect, new and upgrade applicants will pay any exam session fee to the VE Team as usual.  Applicants will pay the new $35 FCC application fee directly to the FCC by using the CORES FRN Registration system (CORES – Login).

When the FCC receives the examination information from the VEC, it will eMail a link with payment instructions to each successful candidate who then will have 10 calendar days from the date of the eMail to make payment.   After the fee is paid and the FCC has processed the application, Examinees will receive a second eMail from the FCC containing a link to their Official License.  The link will be valid for 30 days.

Additionally, the FCC stated that applications processed and dismissed will not be entitled to a refund.  This includes vanity requests where the applicant does not receive the requested call sign.

The FCC published the notice in the Federal Register on March 23, 2022, stating that the amateur radio application fees, including those associated with Form 605 application filings, would become effective on April 19, 2022.

 

What have you learned today?

For more articles please follow the trail below:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

#####

Special Event Station W3R

Bridge scene — Norfolk Southern

The Rockville Bridge 120th Anniversary

Rockville scene — East end of the bridge

 

 

As I write this, operators from the club are hard at work getting W3R on the air. 

CARC Members are operating their stations using the 1X1 Special Event Call Sign W3R.
Operators have been on Phone, CW, and Digital.  You might even find an Operator using SSTV on 146.490 MHz during the evening hours.

This is a once in a lifetime celebration of the 120th Birthday of the Rockville Bridge, built in 1902 when “Stone” Brown was Chief Engineer of the Pennsylvania Railroad. 

Today the Rockville bridge carries Norfolk Southern and Amtrak trains in their journeys between Pittsburgh and eastern Pennsylvania.

 

Please visit the event page https://www.radioclub-carc.com/W3R/
for more information.

 

Big events call for BIG LETTERS.  You won’t want to miss out.

 

What have you learned today?

For more articles please follow the trail below:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

This news blog headline was inspired by something that shows up now and then in my Monopoly game.
You probably will not “Go directly to jail.” but you may hear from the Volunteer Monitor crew if you unknowing do what I am about to describe.

 

The ARRL posted an article in their News section describing how there has been an increase in HF on-the-air operations taking place outside of the privileges available to the Operator based on his or her license class.

The article cites instances of Technician Class operators transmitting digital modes in the 40 Meter Band and in the 20 Meter Band.  The ARRL reminds its readers that Technicians do not have digital mode privileges in those bands. 

There is one HF band in which Technician Class operators may transmit digital modes.  That is the 10 Meter Band from 28.000 MHz to 28.300 MHz. 
Reminder — don’t crowd too close to the band edges.  Your entire signal must be contained within the band allocation.

The ARRL article also cites instances of General Class operators transmitting in portions of the band that are not authorized for their license class.

 

Help yourself stay within the bounds of your license class by downloading and posting one of the ARRL US Amateur Radio Band charts at your operating position.
ARRL offers the chart in a nice variety of sizes and shapes.  This is a free download for anyone.

http://www.arrl.org/graphical-frequency-allocations

#####

 

 

As wars and rumors of wars flood the media, sometimes you just need to step away.

Go to the shack… Turn the transceiver on and do what you enjoy doing: whether you choose to hunt down new-to-you grid squares in FT8, ragchew, check into a net, chase DX, work a contest, or learn something new.    

 

What have you learned today?

For more articles please follow the trail below:

https://www.RadioClub-CARC.com/resources/

 

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

Straight Key Morse Code QSOs

QSO #1 — Jim WE5E and John WA3KCP have an on-the-air conversation using straight keys to send Morse Code while Lynn NG9D listens.

QSO #2 — Lynn NG9D and John WA3KCP hold their own conversation upon completion of QSO #1.

 

Both QSOs were captured on video and audio by NG9D in real-time as the operators chatted on-the-air.

 

WA3KCP is a member of the Straight Key Century Club as well as the Cumberland Amateur Radio Club.