Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Handiham World for 19 November 2008 (2)

Welcome to Handiham World!

Cartoon policeman frowning and holding hand up
"Halt that bad ham radio behavior."

CQ Magazine calls for a new sheriff

CQ Magazine, in the person of editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, a good friend of Handihams, has called for the FCC to stop dragging its feet on amateur radio enforcement. As our readers and listeners know, the FCC's chief enforcer for the Amateur Service, Riley Hollingsworth, has retired and has not been replaced. Rich observes that some pretty dodgy stuff is being heard these days on the HF bands, as the lack of FCC enforcement becomes more and more obvious. Here is the news release from CQ, after which I'll be back for a few comments of my own:

(Hicksville, NY November 18, 2008) -- CQ magazine is calling on FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Kris Monteith to move swiftly to name a successor to Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, as Special Counsel for Amateur Radio, and to bring FCC enforcement back to the ham bands.

Writing in his "Zero Bias" editorial in the December 2008 issue, CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, noted that the Commission not only has failed to name a successor to Hollingsworth, but that not a single amateur enforcement action has been taken since his retirement this past July. At that time, the editorial noted, the amateur radio community was assured that the Commission's dedication to enhanced enforcement in the Amateur Service remains strong. However, the FCC's total inaction since July suggests otherwise.

"This is deeply disturbing and of grave concern," wrote Moseson, adding, "It would be a tragedy, and a travesty, if the FCC were to go back on its promise to be there for us and allowed amateur enforcement to once again drop off the radar."

The need for continuing amateur enforcement was reinforced after the issue went to press when CQ was informed of an outburst of racist diatribes on 20 meters, including the transmission of recordings of a Hitler rally and Nazi marching songs. "This type of behavior was all too common before 'Sheriff' Riley came to town a decade ago," noted Moseson, "and it quickly disappeared once it became obvious that someone in authority was paying attention. But now, only a matter of months since Riley handed in his badge, it has become obvious to these hams that they are once again free to do whatever they please without fear of any consequences."

"The FCC must get back into the amateur enforcement business, and it must do so quickly," says Moseson, "before the situation once again gets out of control. Enforcement Bureau Chief Monteith must act promptly to name a successor to Riley Hollingsworth and assure amateurs that they have not once again been abandoned by the Commission."

You can read the entire W2VU article in accessible PDF on the CQ website.

So what do you think? Have you heard outrageous conduct on the air? What bothers me is that newcomers to short-wave listening will hear this stuff and be turned off - or that word will get around to the general public and lawmakers! This is the sort of thing that can bring down the entire Amateur Radio Service, chipping away at civil discourse and dedication to public service bit by bit. In a moment, we'll hear from Avery, K0HLA, on his memories of short-wave listening. What, I wonder, would have happened if he had heard some of the awful stuff Rich is pointing out on the air back then? Would little kid Avery had even decided to continue listening?

For your Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Courage Center Handiham Manager