Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Handiham World for 02 December 2009

Welcome to Handiham World!

Pat with headset & microphone

I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving holiday. We certainly had a wonderful time sharing the holiday with extended family. With the new technology, I didn't have to leave my ham radio friends behind, either. At my XYL's sister's house my first job was to repair the broken cable internet, an easy fix that simply required rebooting the cable modem and the wireless router. Now that the internet was back in business, it was easy to check in to the Handiham Echolink net using a tiny netbook computer and a USB microphone. I also managed a couple of check-ins on the 75 meter PICONET during the visit. No one minded, because there always seems to be some "down time" during these multi-day visits, and sometimes I think the best thing for everyone's mental health is to spend some time doing relaxing activities like reading or getting on the air.

One interesting thing I noticed just before we headed out over the river and through the woods for Thanksgiving was the release of an NPRM, or Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, by the FCC. The topic: Amendment of the Amateur Service Rules Governing Vanity and Club Station Call Signs. The notice came to me in an FCC bulletin on the day before Thanksgiving, though the NPRM was actually issued on the day before, which was Tuesday, November 24. I have posted the NPRM on the Handiham website in a format that is more easily read than the original downloads. Because of the timing of the release during a busy, short holiday week, I suspect that many ham radio operators missed the announcement altogether, even though we posted it as soon as it was released, and the ARRL produced a story on ARRLweb that included an excellent explanation of what the NPRM is all about.

Here are the main points. At the end of this story, I will provide links to the ARRL story and the NPRM on the Handiham website.

  • To look up anything on the FCC website or to offer comments on a notice of proposed rulemaking, one needs to know the docket number: WT Docket No. 09-209.

  • The vanity callsign program began in 1996, but the FCC did not set forth all of the procedures governing vanity calls. This NPRM attempts to do a bit of fine-tuning by specifying some procedures.

  • Club station licensing is also due to be addressed in this NPRM, stating: "The Commission also decided in the Vanity Report and Order to resume issuing new club station licenses. We believe that certain rule changes to the club station licensing rules may be appropriate." and " signs shown on the license of a deceased licensee generally are unavailable to the vanity call sign system for two years after the license expires or is canceled. Below, we propose to amend our rules to clarify the process by which such call signs become available for reassignment."

  • If the rule changes are made, Novice Class licensees would be able to serve as club station trustees.

The conclusion states: "In summary, we believe that the public interest will be served by amending certain rules in order to make the amateur service’s vanity call sign system more equitable and transparent. We also propose changes in the rules governing club station licensing, to promote equitable and administratively efficient processes. We therefore seek comment on these proposed rule changes. In addition, we invite commenters to propose any other amendments to the rules governing the vanity call sign system and club station licensing."

I urge you to do some further research on this NPRM, even though it is a busy time of year. You will find the appropriate links after my identification.

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice,