NEW SUBSCRIPTION RATES GO INTO EFFECT JULY. SEE PAGE 9

NUMBER 60 MAY, 1988
Scanned, OCR'ed, and proofed by Bob "Bacon" Bruhns WA3WDR

FCC Releases New Proposed Part 97 Rules

PR Docket 88-139, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to "reorganize" and "de-regulate" Part 97 of the rules governing the amateur radio service, has been released to the public. Upon first examination of the 37-page document, no changes in the rules were found which would have any negative impact on AM! It looks as if the current proposal would actually bring some real deregulation to amateur radio, and so far no anti-AM provisions have been discovered buried in the fine print. In fact, this NPRM follows, to a large degree, the same line of reasoning used by AM advocates in past NPRM's to argue that preservation of AM would be in tbe public interest.

The Docket states that the FCC wishes "to recognize and encourage the experimental nature" of amateur radio, and that the Commission wishes to avoid "placing in the rules detailed regulations and specifications" for amateur radio operators, because overly specific standards "would reduce the flexibility that is a hallmark of a service free to branch out and follow an infinite number of paths." Under the proposal, the FCC states that amateurs would be "limited only by their personal interests, imagination and technical skills."

"It is our intent," the FCC says, "that amateur operators in the U.S. be allowed to experiment with the full range of modulation types... Considering the multitude of different emission types that could be transmitted, there is no need to specify precisely the maximum bandwidth that a transmitted signal may occupy. Our primary spectrum conservation approach is to encourage the good amateur practice (of ensuring that) signals are not unnecessarily broad, (requiring) an amateur...tranamission to occupy no more...bandwidth than necessary for the...emission type being transmitted."

For voice operation, all emission modes are reduced to one term: phone. The definition of narrow band FM (maximum bandwidth no greater than that of AM modulated by the same audio signal) is retained by a footnote, for frequencies below 29.0 mhz: "No angle-modulated emission transmitted on this frequency band may have a modulation index greater than 1 at the highest modulation frequency." The Novice 10 metre SSB-only clause is retained, using the old emission designators: "A Novice or Technician (operator) may only transmit (SSB) emissions J3E and R3E in this frequency band." The 1990 AM power reduction is retained in proposed section 97.403, and this Docket gives us one more official opportunity to bring that issue with the FCC.

The FCC does appear to deviate from its deregulationary philosophy in one minor detail: proposed 97.213(b)(1). This section would impose a specific, one minute time limit for transmissions necesaary to make tranamitter adjustments. It would be more consistent with the rest of this proposal to simply state that test transmissions must be brief, lasting no longer than necessary to accomplish the desired test, with propagation and band occupancy taken into consideration at the time. While it would be, for example, poor operating practice to tune up a KW on 3885 at 8 PM Saturday night with thirty minutes of "hello test" and whistling into the mike, there is no reason why anyone should object to such transmissions in the middle of the day on 75 or 160, or in the wee hours of the morning on 10, 15 or 20 while those bands happen to be essentially dead. Many of the adjustments we routinely make while experimenting with equipment or attempting to resolve RFI problems would take longer than 60 seconds to accomplish.

Formulating Comments

It would obviously be impractical to reproduce the entire 37-page Docket in The AM Press/Exchange, but we have included excerpts we feel would be of most interest to our readers. The complete test may be obtained from tbe following sources: ARRL members may obtain a free copy from League Headquarters by sending an 8-1/2" X 11" SASE with $1.85 in postage affixed. Non-ARRL. members may obtain copies by sending $2 plus an 8-1/2" X 11" SASE with 85 postage to: Westlink Report, Rules Rewrite, 28221 Stanley Ct., Canyon Country, CA 91351. Copies may also be mail ordered, for $4.00 postpaid, from W5YI Report, P.O. Box # 565101, Dallas, Texas 75356-5101.

The comment period closes on August 31, 1988, and reply comments are due October 31, 1988. To formally file in this proceeding, participants must file an original and five copies of comments or reply comments. In order for each Commissioner to receive a personal copy, an original and nine copies must be filed.

Members of the AM community are urged to send for the complete text from one of the sources mentioned on page one, study it in detail, discuss the proposal over the air, at hamfests, clubs, etc., and finally, submit well thought out comments pro or con on any issue brought up by this proposal, from the particular perspective of AM.

Remember, Docket 88-139 is a proposal, and could be drasticalIy revised before it is finally enacted into the regulations. Anti-AM changes, not in the present text of the Docket, could appear in the final rulemaking, especially if little is heard from the AM community, while anti-AM forces submit well thought out comments urging rules and/or wording that would be more restrictive to AM. Even if you agree 100% with the proposal as it is presently written, take the time to tell this to the FCC and explain that you favor it because it would maintain the status of your favorite mode, AM. If you find portions of the proposal objectionable, be sure to explain in detail, in constructive terms, exactly why you object, from a perspective of the "public interest."

Let's all obtain a copy of this proposal and go through it with a fine-tooth comb. Let's make absolutely sure there aren't any anti-AM provisions hidden in the fine print of the text!

 

PR Docket No 88-139

 

In the Matter of

Reorganization and Deregulation of Part 97 of the Rules Governing the Amateur Radio Services.

 

NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE MAKING

3. We wish to recognize and encourage the experimental nature of the amateur service. It is appropriate to avoid, to the extent possible, placing in the rules detailed regulations and specifications for the configuration and operation of various amateur communications systems. Such regulations and specifications would reduce the flexibility that is a hallmark of a service free to branch out and follow an infinite number of paths. A basic amateur service license document encompasses both an operator license and a station license. Our regulatory approach is to state the basic requirements that each amateur operator and station must observe. This enables amateur operators to utilize their individual stations in creating and pioneering communication systems that are limited only by their personal interests, imagination and technical skills.

13. In Section 97.13(b) we state clearly that amateur stations in close proximity to Commission field monitoring facilities must protect these facilities from harmful interference The Engineer-in-Charge of the local field office may impose operating restrictions on any amateur station failing to protect Commission monitoring facilities from harmful interference.

15. Current Section 97.95. 47 C.F.R. 97.95. specifies rules for amateur station operation away from the licensed fixed station location. The original concept of a fixed station location revolved around an amateur operator's "ham shack" - a room or smail building where the station's transmitting and receiving devices were located. More often than not, these devices were built by the amateur operator, and, because of the state of technology at that time, incorporated delicate and bulky components including vacuum tubes, transformers and capacitors that made the devices not very portable. Today's amateur stations often employ commercially manufactured equipment. In the age of the microprocessor and the integrated circuit this equipment is highly portable. It is common for amateur operators to carry hand-held transceivers capable of accessing many local repeaters in urban areas and also capable of reasonably good line-of-sight communication. It appears that the concept of fixed station operation no longer carries with it the same connotation it did previously. For this reason, we propose to delete current rules that relate to station operation away from the authorized fixed station location.

18. Advancing the Radio Art. Under the second heading in Subpart B, advancing the radio art, are the emission types authorized for the various frequency bands and segments. It is our intent that amateur operators in the United States be allowed to experiment with the full range of modulation types. However, in order to comply with international regulations, we are obligated to limit the interference potential of amateur stations, especially those transmitting in frequency bands shared with other services.

19. The principal use of emission designators in regulations for the amateur service is to relegate the transmission of certain inharmonious emission types to different segments of the frequency bands. Originally, emission designators were generally used to reserve a segment of a frequency band for telegraphy transmissions. Although the remainder of each frequency band could be used for either telegraphy or telephony transmissions, as a practical matter it was regarded as the telephony subband. As the amateur service has developed, other specific emission types have been authorized in somewhat piecemeal fashion.

20. Authorized emissions became even more confusing when the Commission's Rules were revised to incorporate the system of designators adopted in the Final Acts of the 1979 WARC.10 Almost 1300 designators replaced the previous system of 14 designators used in Part 97. The greater specificity had the unintended effect of restricting previously permitted operations. We propose to remedy this with a much simpler system using terminology that is already familiar to most amateur operators.11 This approach should eliminate the inadvertently imposed restrictions while continuing necessary emission type segregation. Additionally, the designators would be unambiguous and easy to understand, even for prospective Novice operators. The multitude of designators are categorized under the following nine terms and cross referenced to Part 2 of the Rules.12

1. CW -- Single-channel amplitude-shift-keyed teleg- raphy emissions in international Morse code for au- ral or automatic reception.

2. MCW -- Single-channel modulated tone telegraphy emissions in international Morse code for aural or automatic reception.

3. Phone -- Telephony emissions.

4. Image -- Single-channel emissions for facsimile and television.

5. RTTY -- Single-channel emissions for narrowband direct-printing.

6. Data -- Data emissions, including packet radio.

7. Pulse -- Pulse emissions.

8. SS -- Spread-spectrum emissions.

9. Test -- Emissions containing no modulation or no information for on-the-air transmitter adjustment, two-tone amplifier linearity testing, antenna mea- surements, direction finding, ranging, etc.

25. Training Operators. The fourth heading in Subpart B, training operators, incorporates operator examination requirements. These are the rules that place all amateur operators on notice of what they need to know to advance in the amateur service. Each amateur operator license conveys broad privileges to the holder. These privileges are many and they are diverse. Amateur operators are allowed to communicate using telegraphy, voice, teleprinting, packet radio, facsimile, television and other modes. They are allowed to communicate with amateur operators in other countries and, in some cases, send messages for third parties. An amateur operator is allowed to build, repair and modify amateur station transmitters. For such a flexible radio service to be practical, all amateur operators must thoroughly understand their responsibilities and have the skills necessary to operate an amateur station properly. Preparation for the various operator examinations helps operators to learn and hone the required skills. This subpart clearly defines the requirements for examinations at each skill level.

30. Frequency sharing. We do not assign stations or designate transmitting frequency channels in the amateur service. Rather, we rely upon the control operator to select the station's transmitting channel from those frequencies available prior to causing or allowing the station to transmit. The frequency agility of amateur stations makes it possible for all amateur operators to cooperate in sharing all authorized amateur service frequency bands. Good amateur practice requires that the control operator monitor prospective transmitting channels and then select a channel where the station's transmissions will not cause harmful interference and will minimize incidental interference to other on-going communications. We propose to codify this concept under Subpart C with a new Section 97.203 called "frequency sharing." Certain duties are inherent in any shared frequency environment -- namely, cooperation in channel selection and use to prevent harmful interference and to make the most effective use of the frequencies. We propose to state these duties explicitly in the rules.

31. With the exception of frequency subbands that are currently designated in Part 97 to protect telegraphy and certain other forms of non-voice communication, the Commission and amateur operators rely upon informal arrangements within the amateur community, called voluntary band plans, to assist in achieving the goal of preventing harmful interference. It has been our experience that, consistent with good amateur practice, amateur operators adhere to these voluntary band plans with excellent results for the service. As a general proposition, we favor voluntary band plans over Commission-imposed subbands in the amateur service. Rule-mandated band plans may result in station operation inflexibility and increased enforcement and regulatory burdens.

36. Current policy permits amateur stations to transmit information about the availability of amateur radio equipment, notwithstanding Section 97.110, 47 C.F.R. 97.110, prohibiting business communications. In this context, amateur radio equipment is equipment normally used in an amateur station by an amateur operator. An asking price may be mentioned, but no subsequent negotiations or bartering may take place. If interest is expressed, the amateur operators should exchange mailing addresses or telephone numbers and finish negotiations using means of communication other than amateur service frequencies. Dealers may not take advantage of this exception. Amateur operators who derive a profit by buying and selling amateur radio equipment on a regular basis are considered dealers and violate the business prohibition if they use amateur service frequencies for this purpose. Proposed Section 97.219(c) codifies these policies.

48. As discussed in paragraph 30 above, we do not assign specific frequency channels to amateur stations. Nor do we divide the amateur service frequency bands into specific channels of a particular bandwidth. Therefore, considering the multitude of different emission types that could be transmitted, there is no need to specify precisely the maximum bandwidth that a transmitted signal may occupy. Our primary spectrum conservation approach is to encourage the good amateur practice of each amateur station transmitting in a manner that ensures that its signals are not unnecessarily broad. To this end, proposed Section 97.401 generally requires an amateur station transmission to occupy no more channel bandwidth than necessary for the information rate and emission type being transmitted.

IV. CONCLUSION

54. This reorganization of the rules achieves the objectives we delineated at paragraphs 2 through 8 above. We seek comments on the proposed rules, and we urge interested parties to recommend additional consolidations, clarifications and reductions in regulatory burdens. We also seek the comments of publishers and distributors of commercial versions of Part 97. Accordingly, we propose to revise Part 97 to modify, clarify and update the amateur radio services rules, as set forth in Appendix A. Cross reference lists for the current and proposed rules are set forth in Appendices B and C.

57. Authority for issuance of this Notice is contained in Sections 4(i) and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i) and 303(r). Pursuant to applicable procedures set forth in Sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's Rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.415 and 1.419, interested parties may file comments on or before August 31, 1988 and reply comments on or before October 31, 1988. All relevant and timely comments will be considered by the Commission before final action is taken in this proceeding. To file formally in this proceeding, participants must file an original and five copies of all comments, reply comments and supporting comments. If participants want each Commissioner to receive a personal copy of their comments, an original and nine copies must be filed. Comments and reply comments should be sent to Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC 20554. Comments and reply comments will be available for public inspection during regular business hours in the Dockets Reference Room (Room 239) of the Federal Communications Commission, 1919 M Street N.W., Washington, DC 20554.

2. Part 97 would be revised as follows:

PART 97 -- AMATEUR RADIO SERVICE

Subpart A - General Provisions

Sec.

97.1 Basis and purpose.

97.3 The amateur radio services.

97.5 Station license required.

97.7 Control operator required.

97.9 Operator license.

Advancing the radio art

97.131 Authorized emission types.

(a) The following terms are used in this part to indicate emission types. (Refer to 2.201 of the FCC rules, Emission, modulation and transmission characteristics, for information on emission type designators.)

(1) Test (emissions containing no information or no modulation; test does not include pulse emissions with no information or no modulation unless pulse emissions are also authorized in the frequency band.)

(2) Amplitude-modulated and angle-frequency / phase-modulated emission types:

(i) CW (international Morse code telegraphy emissions having A, C, H, J or R as the first symbol; 1 as the second symbol; A or B as the third symbol; J2A and J2B.)

(ii) MCW (tone-modulated international Morse code telegraphy emissions having A, C, D, F, G, H or R as the first symbol; 2 as the second symbol; A or B as the third symbol.)

(iii) Phone (speech emissions having A, C, D, F, G, H, J or R as the first symbol; 1, 2 or 3 as the second symbol; E as the third symbol; and speech emissions having B as the first symbol, 7, 8 or 9 as the second symbol: E as the third symbol.) MCW for the purpose of performing the station identification procedure, and MCW for the purpose of providing telegraphy practice interspersed with speech, and incidental tones for the purpose of selective calling or alerting or to control the level of a demodulated signal may also be considered phone.

(e) Emission standards (refer to paragraph (d)):

(1) No angle-modulated emission transmitted on this frequency band may have a modulation index greater than 1 at the highest modulation frequency.

(2) No non-phone emission transmitted on this frequency band may exceed the bandwidth of a communications quality phone emission of the same modulation type. An independent sideband emission (having B as the first symbol) or a multiplexed image and phone emission may be transmitted on this frequency band provided that the total bandwidth does not exceed that of a communications quality emission A3E transmission.

(11) A station having a Novice or Technician control operator may only transmit CW emissions and phone single-sideband emissions J3E and R3E on this frequency band.

Subpart C - Station Operation Standards

97.201 Good amateur practice.

In all respects not specifically covered by these rules each amateur station must be operated in accordance with good engineering and good amateur practice.

97.203 Frequency sharing.

(b) No frequency will be assigned for the exclusive use of any amateur station. Each amateur operator must cooperate in the selection and use of amateur service frequencies in order to make the most effective use of the frequencies.

(b) An amateur station may only transmit the following types of one-way communications:

(1) Brief (less than 1-minute) transmissions necessary to make adjustments to the station;

(2) Brief transmissions necessary to establishing a two-way intercommunication with other stations;

(9) Transmissions necessary to disseminate information bulletins (messages directed only to Amateur operators that consist solely of subject matter having direct interest to the amateur service as such);

Subpart E - Technical Standards

97.401 Purity of transmissions.

(a) No amateur station transmission shall occupy more bandwidth than necessary for the information rate and emission type being transmitted. in accordance with good amateur practice.

(b) Emissions resulting from modulation must be confined to the transmitting band available to the control operator. Emissions outside the necessary bandwidth must not cause splatter or keyclick interference to operations on adjacent frequencies.

(c) All spurious emissions from an amateur station transmitter must be reduced to the greatest extent practicable. If any spurious emission, including chassis or power line radiation, causes harmful interference to the reception of another radio station, the licensee of the interfering amateur station may be required to take steps to eliminate the interference, in accordance with good engineering practice.

97.403 Maximum transmitting power.

(a) An amateur station must use the minimum transmitter power (the average power during one RF cycle at the crest of the modulation envelope under normal operating conditions that is present at the antenna terminals where the antenna transmission line, or the antenna if no transmission line is connected) necessary to carry out the desired communications.

(b) No station may transmit with a transmitter power exceeding 1.5 kW. Until June 2, 1990, a station may transmit emission A3E with transmitter power exceeding 1.5 kW provided the power input (both RF and direct current) to the final amplifying stage supplying RF power to the antenna feed line does not exceed 1 kW, exclusive of power for heating the cathodes of vacuum tubes.

 

 

AM Broadcast Band Expansion Update

FCC Commissioner Patricia Diaz will head the US delegation to the second session of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Administrative Radio Conference to establish a plan for the broadcasting service in the band 1605-1705 khz in Region 2, in Rio de Janerio May 23 to June 9. The second meeting will be to plan the use of the 10-channel (100 khz) expansion of the AM broadcast band, which now ends at 1605 khz. The new channels are to be used in the U.S. for additional full-time commercial and public service broadcasting stations, and a travellers information service. This session will determine compatibility among nations, and develop a plan for allotting frequencies to countries. ( ARRL Letter )

 

A Microphone Bargain

The Radio Shack electret mike #270-090 has to be the very best buy in radio today! It has audio quality equivalent to extremely expensive microphones used by broadcast stations, yet costs only $1.19. It appears in the '88 Radio Shack catalogue, at the bottom, righthand corner of page 132. Steve, KAISI uses this mike with his pulse-width modulated hombrew transmitter, and has the best audio quality of any I've heard. -Ed Bolton, WA3PUN

 

FCC Denies Petition Limiting Bulletins

"Broadcasting" on the amateur bands has been the subject of some grumbling within the AM community in recent weeks. Specifically, some amateurs, both AM'ers and SSB'ers, have objected to the bulletins transmitted by the International Amateur Radio Network from K1MAN, Network Manager. Actually, the controversy extends beyond 75 metres and K1MAN. A number of one-way bulletins have recently materialized on a more or less regular schedule, mainly over VHF repeaters. Some of these "broadcasts" last up to 45 minutes, and members of the amateur community have raised objections. James M. Fisher, K4GF, filed a petition with the FCC in November, 1987 that proposed to limit the broadcast of amateur radio information bulletins to 10 minutes during each 24 hour period.

The FCC denied this petition saying "Information bulletin transmissions have served the amateur community by providing an effective means of keeping amateur operators informed about their service. For example, the club station of the A.R.R.L. Headquarters Operators Club, W1AW, transmits concise information bulletins at regular intervals several times each day using voice, telegraphy and teleprinting." The Commission concluded "the transmission of information bulletins is not of lesser importance than other types of permitted communications."

Almost as the above FCC news bulletin was being released to the public, another petition was filed with the Commission seeking to restrict time limits on broadcast bulletins. Extra Class amateur, Bentley F. Adams, Jr., K7LR, of Wheaton, Ills. proposes to add the following definition to Part 97.3: "Information Bulletin: A brief one-way transmission of timely news or announcements, considered to be of outstanding importance or current interests."

Adams argues that the one-way broadcasts of recent months "clearly violate the letter and intent" of FCC rules, and that some, if not all, of the involved hams appear to have connection with and/or the support of commercial broadcast interests. The "programming" can be lengthy - up to 45 minutes, 5 times per day and simulcast on several frequencies, according to Adams. "A significant percentage of a typical 'program' often consists of rambling interviews, editorials, the reading of listeners' letters, recitation of signal reports received, organizational membership solicitations, and diatribes against opponents...It is the expressed intent of certain of these parties to promote the geometric proliferation of their broadcasts...One broadcaster has even announced, on the air, his intention to continually break new ground and set precedent after precedent in the face of FCC inaction in the area...

"Apathy on this issue seems rampant, and thousands of newly licensed amateurs, as well as old timers, are beginning to accept this type of activity as legal, as no enforcement is happening... (If nothing is done about this), the amateur bands may soon resemble the ... broadcast bands, lacking only music."

The AM Press/Exchange editorial policy is to remain neutral in this controversy. We have enough AM-related issues to be concerned with at this time, so we'll leave it to QST and other mainstream amateur publications to slug this one out. However, there is no reason why W1AW should have a monopoly on bulletin transmissions, and any FCC attempt to limit the content of bulletin transmissions would dangerously tread an First Amendment grounds. Several AM'ers used bulletin transmissions back in the mid-1970's to alert the amateur community to the threat of Docket 20777. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that we may use this tactic again in the future. Our only stand on this issue is that bulletin stations and nets have no prior claim to any frequency in the amateur bands, and should respect QSO's already in progress on the frequency. This includes W1AW. Some of the bulletins make for very interesting, and often amusing, listening, so let's just practice a little common sense and normal amateur courtesy in this matter.

(TNX ARRL Letter and W5YI Report)

 

 

Amateur "Broadcasters" Meet at Dayton

If all went as planned at Dayton this year, Hap Holly, KC9RD chaired a panel on Amateur Program Broadcasting, along with Glenn Baxter, K1MAN; Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF (Westlink); and Steve Mendelsohn, WA2DHF (ARRL and CBS). KlMAN and KC9RD have announced the formation of the Radio Amateur Information Net (R.A.I.N.), with a Council and its members to meet each year at the Dayton Hamvention. The R.A.I.N. group will be composed of active producers and/or broadcasters of amateur programming. The purpose of R.A.I.N. is to promote amateur information networking and enhancement of the amateur service through a free exchange of ideas.

(IARN Newsletter)

 

Radio Moscow Moves

This Fall, the International Amateur Radio Network got bombed out by Radio Moscow on 7.290 mhz. Sunday evenings. A quick letter to Mr. Gorbachev on 12 October apparently brought a QSY on 1 November, 1987. See the following exchange of letters.... very interesting.

 

12 October 1987

Mr. Mikhail S. Gorbachev

The KremlinMoscow, U.S.S.R.

Dear Mr Gorbachev: We broadcast amateur radio programming for 45 minutes every Sunday evening on 7.290 MHz. at 2300 GMT. Could you ask Radio .Moscow to avoid this frequency and time so that our programming can be heard without interference by everyone world wide? As radio amateurs, we are quite restricted with respect to frequency availability wheras Radio Moscow has much less restriction and this perfectly reasonable request should present no problem for them.

Amateurs in the U.S.enjoy listening to Radio Moscow and we hope you will tune into our program and learn more about amateur radio and its role in emergency communications.

Thank you for your attention to this request and the best of good will from the United States.

Sincerely,

 

Glenn A. Baxter, P.E.

Registered Professional Engineer

I A R N Network Manager

cc: Radio Moscow

 

 

MOSCOW, U.S.S.R.

22 January, 1988

4-9/ 103

Mr Glenn A. Baxter

Long Point Lodge Belgrade Lakes, ME 04918

U.S.A. Dear Mr Baxter. Your complaint about the interference experienced by radio hams in the United States on 7,290 kHz between 23:00 and 23:45 UTC has been considered by the Technical Board of Radio Moscow.

Radio Moscow does not broadcast to the United States on 7,290 kHz at the time you indicated.

Starting from November 1, 1987, Radio Moscow has been broadcasting on that frequency between 12:00 and 22:30 UTC to Zone 28 -Europe) and between 15:30 and 22:00 UTC to Zone 26 (the Chukot Peninsula) in keeping with our application registered with the International Telecommunication Union.

As you can see, Radio Moscow has not been broadcasting on 7,290 kHz between 23:00 and 24:00 UTC since November 1, 1987. We hope that at the moment radio-hams in the United States are not experiencing any problems caused by interference from our radio stations on that frequency.

Respectfully,

 

Iver I Kezbers

Deputy Chairman of the USSR State Committee for Radio and Television

 

Silent Modulator Don Heukrath, WA2ABK

It is with great sadness and regret that I must report the passing of a close friend and fellow Amateur operator, Don Heukrath-WA2ABK.

Don had been ill for sometime now. His lack of activity on the air became more and more aparent by his absense from the bands. Many were probably not aware of the seriousness of the situation & the slowly deteriorating condition he was in. Throughout this period he maintained a positive outlook and remained in good spirits until succumbing this past weekend. Don's battle with his illness was an inspiration to me in the meaning of quiet dignity and longsuffering these past several months, but this was the man I had come to know all these years. I remember our first meeting in 1958 when I, as a young teenager, came running up to his car asking if his "handle" was Don. He, patiently listening to this out of breath excited stranger explaining he had just heard him on a shortwave radio (an old chassis with frayed power cord- minus cabinet & knobs which was salvaged from a trash can). Actually he was the only station excepting a couple of local BC's that I ever heard on it. It was with his help that I became an amateur & got my license a short time thereafter. He was the one who kept me on "AM" thru those dark days of the 60's when it had all but disappeared from the bands. We became good friends over the years, always keeping in touch via the radio when I was overseas & then living in different parts of the country. Of all his hobbies, radio was first. He was a true amateur, building all of his early AM gear. He took great satisfaction and enjoyment in the rebirth of AM in the east and would recount hard to believe stories of the activity while I was living in Colorado.

It is difficult to accept that he has departed us. I'll miss hearing that familiar voice emitting from the speaker,but sadly realize we've had our final QSO with him. It has been an honor and privilege to know this man.

Your loss is painful for us all Don and on behalf of those who knew and loved you, I bid you farewell.

Goodbye dear friend.

Bill-KIKV

 

ATTENTION !

THE AM PRESS/EXCHANGE SUBSCRIPTION RATE WILL INCREASE TO $10 BEGINNING WITH THE JULY ISSUE.

Not only were we affected by the recent postage increase; our printer raised his rates last month, too. Those recent price increases finally pushed us over the edge. We can no longer continue publication at the old subscription rate.

Actually, it is surprising that we have been able to continue as long as we have without raising subscription rates before. We have absorbed at least one previous postage increase and numerous boosts in printing and other expenses - yet we have maintained our original $9-per-year rate for almost five years - we have maintained the same rate as that of the old PRESS EXCHANGE published by W2NRM.

Starting with the July issue (number 61) our new rates will become effective, allowing us to complete five full years of publication at the original subscription rate.

 

open forum

To The Editor:

A first-time reader of the AM Press/Exchange might get the idea that all we do up here in the Northeast is squabble amongst ourselves. (I refer to the on-going debate within these pages about the use of AM in aircraft service, the furor over K1MAN's weekly broadcasts, the underlying tone of WA1DVU's otherwise interesting series on "The True Nature Of AM," etc.)

Well, okay: it was here in the Northeast that the seemingly regional art of pissing and moaning was given official Net Status. Sure, we talk over each other all the time. And yep, it was here in the icy North that one AMer was heard telling another to tell a weak breaking station that he "threw his QSL card in the trash because he doesn't QSL."*

But should anyone get the impression that we're all a bunch of cranks up here, let me attest that on Sunday, March 27, 1988, at the Lawrenceville, New Jersey Hamfest, two AMers were seen shaking hands. And later that day I spotted another AMer with a smile on his face.

C'mon, guys. Let's put the radio fun back into r.f.!

73, PETE CURRY, KA2TTU

*In malcontent scoring, having a third party pass along your ill wishes constitutues a double bogey.

 

Let's Improve AM Operation

by W. Philip Woodard W1YQA

Recently, I had a visitor in the shack and wanted to show off 75 AM. Unfortunately, as it turned out, she was not impressed. She remarked, "I have a whole new perspective about Ham Radio. It's not the fun thing I thought it would be. They rattle on and on and keep it to themselves too long. You've been here and there in the house and they are still talking about the same thing." She made other comments best kept from print. She didn't care for the language or the message and I can't blame her because of what was transmitted. Hence, the need to speak out.

It is difficult to defend AM operation when one is bombarded with questions from Ham friends, et al., via the land line or at local club meetings when members perceive much questionable activity.

Recently, I received my SPAM certificate and other information from Floyd WA5TWF. His dedication and hard work to enhance AM communications could all come to naught if we don't take a serious look at what is really taking place.

There are many SWLs out there listening and getting the wrong impression. An amateur, who has been absent from 75 AM, recently came back and indicated things were about the same. I haven't heard him on since. There are many hams who get excited about AM. They try it for a while and disappear only to be found later working another mode and moaning about the negative aspects of what they have found on 75 AM.

We who love AM operation are a minority group and do not need any negative situations. Unfortunately, we have individuals who vesuviate volumes of ash, trash and all sorts of wasteful pronouncements indicating their noncomprehension of the concept "cause and effect". We don't need belches and burps indicating a love of that "whacky water". Maybe the "strappers" should be handcuffed and placed out on an ant hill, or suffer RF burns in an oversized final tank.

Also, we don't need music or other illegal activity such as jamming. Much of this is caused by individuals who insist on broadcasting about their favorite theme which, in one case, is almost always what is wrong with our system of government. His stock statements tend to draw unnecessary "spurious radiations".

A more positive approach to our AM operation would be to consider what the listener might find most acceptable. The joy of Ham Radio is enhanced when we get positive feedback from someone who could be critical. Many hams are out there with fine workable equipment, but do not get on because they don't want to be associated with certain individuals or groups. Many amateurs find the same old stuff and go elsewhere. Better language, and interesting and quality subject matter would go a long way to encourage many bystanders to light up their AM rigs and enjoy the wonderful sound of AM. After all, as stated by Bill Wolf in his column, there are some bright AMers out there ready to contribute much expertise. Why kill their incentive to share when we all could profit?

The last few years have been a period of deregulation. Amateurs have been allowed great latitudes. Let's not encourage questionable activity that might tend to force the federal bureaucracy to reap unnecessary restrictions on AM operation.

It would take just one really unthoughtful incident -- e.g., stepping on some official's toes unknowingly, etc. After all, there could be a change of administration and different regulations could be placed in operation.

Some of the suggestions I will present should be "old stuff" for most AM operators, but sometimes we need to be reminded. So be patient.

  1. Listen before transmitting and use a dummy load before firing up the transmitter. There is no excuse for not following this procedure. We all know-some of those who violate this basic rule. Never figure the frequency is yours -- ask, then transmit. It's fine if there is an "AM window", but if someone else is using it, the window is closed. Most sideband operators tend to avoid those frequencies, but common sense should prevail.
  2. It's good policy not to get angry with other operators, especially those using another mode. Keep your cool, and be polite. It pays in the long run. Calling SSB operators nasty names can only aggravate things. Remember many AM operators use other modes which are at times required.
  3. Try not to mix modes as it makes communications difficult, especially with certain types of receiving equipment. Always let the operator of another mode know what you are capable of accomplishing under those conditions. Try to accommodate the other party even if it means switching to the other mode. You are not giving up anything. You might make an impression and encourage a convert to AM in the future.
  1. AM signals tend to be wide even if one believes his is not. Stay far enough away from other operator's frequency, especially AMers, as hetrodynes are always possible. And if you are operating with other stations in a group or "round table", zero beat at least a designated station, preferably one that's crystal controlled. And check this frequently just to be certain you are on frequency. A common complaint -- "those guys are spaced out" and shouldn't take up so much spectrum. Don't get tagged as being the type who doesn't check frequency often.
  2. Transmissions should be properly timed. Anything too long can be a problem for other operators in a group. Transmissions lasting over twenty minutes are taxing and not always acceptable. If you intend to make an "Old Buzzard" transmission, say so and by so doing, others can leave the station, get mail, take showers, eat, sleep and be prepared for another go at it when their time comes up -- if it does. There are some nice people out there who will not observe "moments of silence".
  3. One big complaint of mine -- trouble getting in and out. Maybe someone has a quick comment or message for someone on frequency. Let that individual pass that "whatever" along and get out, if they so desire, or make arrangements to move and complete business somewhere else. Some operators do not like long-winded, group discussions because of length. Transmissions could realistically be shortened. Try more push to stop squawking and a big complaint can be solved. Maybe a key AM-used frequency such as 3885 kHz should be a call in or at least short transmissions should be the norm.

In conclusion, don't be deceived. I am not anti-AM. If the present AM community is interested in saving the AM mode for future use, we must all attempt more positive steps in making AM operation desirable. Stop and think how you can contribute to the enhancement of AM. After all, it sounds better and it can bring out the very best of what one has to offer at this crucial period in amateur radio history.

 

 

NORTHEAST AM SCENE

by Bill Wolf - KA2EEV

UNLUCKY STRIKE DEPARTMENT: The advent of warmer weather often brings thoughts of getting outside to work on the antenna. The warmer season also brings along higher static levels with a reminder that electrical storms are once again a present reality. George, KD2GX, recently was given a surprise reminder of this reality when his antenna became the unfortunate victim of a lightning strike ... although I don't believe it was a direct hit. In this case George got off easy since the only accountable damage was to the feedline and a few coax connectors. Others have not been nearly as lucky. Many years ago I personally knew a CBer named "Six Pack" who routinely disconnected the PL-259 from the rig just before a thunderstorm. He would then leave the coax just freely dangling from the table (which happened to be next to his bed) thinking that all would be hunky-dory. Not so. The day came when "Six Pack" got a direct hit which left his antenna and feedline nothing more than a sorrowful molten mess ... and it didn't end just there. Where "Six Pack" left his disconnected coax dangling from the table, the discharge literally arced off the end of the coax to the metal bed frame setting the bed on fire! Thankfully no one was injured and the fire was doused before spreading. There was another instance where a tall chimney on a school only two blocks from my QTH had a lightning strike, after which there were bricks strewn all over the street from the chimney being blown apart. I can remember very well hearing the explosive clap of thunder and I don't think I've ever heard anything move powerful. This one again turned out to be a "lucky strike" because it occurred at night and nobody was around in its path. I'm sure many of you have similar stories to tell. All of this should obviously give us good reason to take precautionary measures for protection. Afterall, our antennas are sitting ducks as primary targets.

It would be a good idea here to dispel a few misconceptions on the subject. Despite what you've always heard as a kid, LIGHTNING CAN AND WILL STRIKE THE SAME PLACE TWICE (providing the structure survives). The fact that an. object has been bit is an indicator that it's likely to get hit repeatedly. And those "lightning arresters" you commonly see advertised WILL NOT save you from a direct bit. At best they will only "bleed off" excess static from the antenna and feedline. You'd be better off arranging a special position on your coax switchbox which would short the whole cable to a good earth ground. Even with this, however, with a direct hit your still at a likely risk of damage since it can easily arc through. You can kiss that switchbox goodbye. A safer idea would be to isolate the coax from your equipment by manually connecting to a good earth ground at a point far enough from your station. Common sense tells you to make this arrangement if you expect to be QRT for some indefinite period of time (vacation or whatever). Needless to say, you should automatically QRT if there's a local thunderstorm brewing ... unless you want to be a victim of nature's fury.

 

 

SPAM REPORT

LATE SCORES:160&75m AM jAMboree: "Great Big Jim" out on the West Coast reports his (end of January) JAMboree score as 366 points - VERY GOOD for a West Coaster! WA6GBJ was on 75m for the first time thanks to help from fellow SPAMer WD6EWE, obviously their inverted vee radiates ! Steve in the Midwest, KA9QLF from IL, sends in a late-but-big score of 648 points. Good work, Steve! Steve has a reworked Gates 500T broadcast transmitter which (obviously) is doing a fine job. Anybody know of one of those anywhere near Seguin Texas, that our friend K5WLT could get reasonable (or free)? He has been hoping to find one for years .

THE SPAM OFFICE WILL TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION: As soon as we get the full story on what impact the "Rules re-write" will have on AM. At this writing I have just the info in the April AM Press Exchange but will keep close contact with K4KYV on developments.

DID YOU WORK THE APRIL 16th 40-20-10m AM JAMboree? Please report a score, better late than never, hi! Thanks to John Kramer In COLORADO, KA0YAB . He took the time/trouble/expense of telephoning the SPAM office, on the 16th. Hope you did OK in the JAMBOREE.

K5LKM, Mil in Columbus Texas was quite ill earlier in the year but is back on from time to time with the weekday morning AM group around 3880 here in 5-land. Good hearing you on AM , Mil!

W5FLV(Bellaire Ken) has been active with the 40m SPAM group, as has Ozona Bob W5PYT and others . Good propagation has returned to our group, which has been on every Sat. morning since 1978 . W5MEU has been keeping our rotation straight, too!

SPAM STATIONERY PROJECT BOGS DOWN : Sorry we have not gotten this project done sooner but there is a particular typeface I want to use and it gets complicated trying to explain but we'll have it done, soon we hope.

WD5EHS, John in Sulphur, Louisiana has been doing FB late-nites on 75m w/his KW. He attended the April swapmeet in Manchacka TX , as did Lee, W0VT and many others. Otis, K5SWK and I intended to go but got "fogged in" here . Swapmeets are a FB way to meet and visit with our fellow AMers .

STATIC HAS TAKEN OUT 160m : Down here we have the Spring static coming in from storms out in the Gulf so 160 has been useless lately. Many have gone up to 75m and maybe Static will dampen activity there as well. Altho it was quite amazing that last year we had 75m activity thru most of the Summer. We hope YOU can remain AM-active in the upcoming months!

-73 de WA5TWF

EXCHANGE

(Names omitted - Past Copy)

For SALE: Johnson Viking II CDC with VF0122 $175; Ranger $150; Valiant $200; Pacemaker $250; Thunderbolt $475; Invader 2000 $525; Viking 500 $525. Pick-up only.

WANTED: Coils for SB-620, numbers 40-776 & 40-590. It was part of the SB-620 kit used to make it work with the Heath i-f.

WANTED: Manual or copy for Harvey-Wells T-90 Bandmaster transmitter; SM-40 external S-meter for Hallicrafters S-40 receiver.

WANTED: Manual for R-390/URR receiver. This is the model with the tuned circuit i-f, not the R-390A with mechanical filters. Also interested in parts for above receiver, or junker for parts. Also wanted audio transformers LS-49 and Chicage BD-2.

WANTED: HQ-110, BC-348, Super-Pro or similar receivers. NEED!----------1MH 500 MA plate choke & Tank Coil for DX-100 and plate supply filters for same, or some source for obtaining these. Also interested in purchasing a tube type communications receiver. (need lots of free advice, too!)

FOR SALE: Johnson Pacemaker transmitter with orig. box and manual, excellent A1 condition, $275 plus shipping.

WANTED: 1500 kc. i-f transformer, Miller # 912-W1; Stancor # PS-8415 power transformer (small); 3614 40 MEL plug-in coil; National type FWH terminal set. (Building "Super Gainer" receiver in 1956 Bill Orr Handbook.)

FOR SALE: Radio Transmitter T-368/URT (replacement for BC-610) complete mint condition.

FOR SALE: 2 ea. 100TH (used) $10 each. 250TH (1 ea. used) $10, 2 ea. 813 (unused) $20 each. Heathkit HD1416 code oscillator kit unassembled $10. Boonton 202 signal generator, calibrated output dial $30. Motorola VHF 150-174 mobile 30 watt with cables and control head and mike, $30.

WANTED: Collins 75A1 and up, 32V1, SX101, HT37, Globe King 500, National NC-300.

FOR SALE- E.F. Johnson Ranger I with Johnson Viking Kilowatt transmitter, sold as a package; Viking Valiant I, HQ-180AC general coverage receiver with matching speaker, Collins 75A4 receiver with 3.1 and 6 kc filters and matching speaker, along with Collins KWS-1 transmitter, both units sold as package. All equipment in mint condition.

WANTED Hammarlund HQ180A clock cover and National NC109 manual.

WANTED T13 Plate transformer for WRL Globe King 500.

WANTED: Manual for Gonset 2-mtr AM communicator III.

WANTED: Clean KWM2 and power supply speaker complete.

FOR SALE- Heathkit Apache TX1 transmitter; Heathkit SB10 SSB adapter; Hallicrafters SX71 receiver with Model R-46 speaker. All in good, clean condition. Make offer.

WANTED: Service manuals for Globe Scout 40A and Knight TR106. Also VFO for Knight.

FOR SALE: Patch bays - 52 jacks, 3-cond., normalling, 19"W., A-1 condx $35 each. (have 9) 250TH's $25, 100TH's $15, 832's $7, 807's $5, 6C5's $3, 46's $7, 816's $8. Many panel mters - send SASE & needs. WANTED: good 833A's, 845's, 872A's, 808's, 211's, 6A3's, 2A3's, 83's.

WANTED: Instruction and service manuals for General Radio Model 650A Impedance bridge and type 1302A audio oscillator. Will pay reasonable price.

 

 

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