This month gives us another chance to bring our services to the public. The Fat Tire Fiesta is scheduled for September 19th through the 21st. This is a call for volunteers. You can stop by the store, or call to commit your services to this event. SARA needs you!
November 15 is rapidly approaching. We have a lot of work to do to prepare for the hamfest. This will be a major topic at our September meeting, so plan to be there and put in your two cents.
Finally, we will wind up the meeting with a presentation by Bill Brundage titled "What's All This Stuff About Antenna Gain, Anyhow?".
September 20th is the annual QRP Afield, identical to the NorCal QRP To The Field, except sponsored by the east coast guys. Both are basically the field days for QRPers. Howard K9PV is planning on operating from the NM/Mexico border for that one to be a "DX" contact. Now I've got to think up something even better. Hmmm... (72, Paul NA5N QRP ... mine's smaller than yours!).
(eds note: Paul offered to provide photos of the Area 51 event that could be used in the SARA newsletter. I’ve given too little thought to photos for the newsletter, and could not take advantage of the offer for this edition. Let me work on it and perhaps in the November edition I can bring this rag into the 20th Century. Its about time since it is almost over.)
Kennard is a graduate of Stanford and of Yale Law School. If confirmed, he would be the first African-American to head the FCC.
The president also announced the nomination of Michael K. Powell of Virginia to a seat on the FCC. Powell, the son of Gen Colin Powell, is now the chief of staff of the Antitrust Division in the US Department of Justice. He also has experience in telecommunications law. He's a graduate of The College of William and Mary and of Georgetown University Law Center (The ARRL Letter Online, Volume 16, Number 31; August 8, 1997).
One less Little LEO - The Little LEO industry that has been seeking access to spectrum below 1 GHz, including amateur bands, is about to have one less player. On July 14, CTA Incorporated of Rockville, Maryland, and Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Virginia, announced an agreement for Orbital to purchase CTA's satellite manufacturing and communications service business units. The deal is expected to close in August.
Orbital is already in a joint venture with Teleglobe to provide Little LEO services through Orbital Communications Corp. (ORBCOMM).
ORBCOMM's system is already licensed and is operational on a limited basis. Uplinks are 2400 bps FSK in the 148-149.9 MHz band and user downlinks are 4800 bps FSK in the 137-138 MHz band, with beaconing in the 400-401 MHz band. In its press release announcing the acquisition, Orbital said that a CTA service it had purchased, called GEMtrak, may be expanded to use the ORBCOMM network in the future. GEMtrak is a system for tracking truck trailers and rail cars and their cargoes.
ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, noted that the combining of CTA's satellite business with ORBCOMM's will reduce by one the number of companies seeking Little LEO licenses. ''CTA was one of the companies that sponsored the ill- conceived and controversial 'flexible allocation' proposal that we had to oppose earlier this year,'' he said. ''ORBCOMM did not endorse the flexible allocation concept.''
The Little LEO issue is on the agenda for the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-97) to be held this fall. ARRL Technical Relations Manager Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, is a member of the US delegation. The US is now finalizing its proposals for the conference. At this point, no US Little LEO proposal for WRC-97 would affect ham radio (ARRL Bulletin 45, August 8, 1997).
RF exposure update - The FCC has revised the power level thresholds to trigger a routine Amateur Radio station RF exposure evaluation, and the changes will be welcome news for most hams. When the FCC first decreed a year ago that ham radio stations would have to comply with RF exposure guidelines, it set a 50-W threshold level. The updated guidelines, announced August 25, increase that threshold level on all HF bands except 10 meters, where it remains at 50 W. The FCC made no changes in the RF exposure limits it announced last year. The new RF safety guidelines are scheduled to become effective January 1, 1998, for Amateur Radio stations.
The FCC went along in part with a request by the ARRL to establish a sliding scale for threshold levels, depending upon frequency. The revised thresholds are 500 W for 160 through 40 meters, 425 W on 30 meters (where the maximum permissible power is 200 W), 225 W on 20 meters, 125 W on 17 meters, 100 W on 15 meters, 75 W on 12 meters and 50 W on 10 meters. The threshold for all VHF bands is 50 W. On UHF, the threshold level is 70 W on 70 cm, 150 W on 33 cm, 200 W on 23 cm, and 250 W on 13 cm and above. Stations operating at or below these respective power levels are categorically excluded from having to perform a routine RF radiation evaluation. However, all stations, regardless of power level, still must comply with the RF exposure limits.
Along with its August 25 Second Memorandum Opinion and Order announcing the changes, the FCC released the ''core'' text of its long-awaited Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) Bulletin 65, Evaluating Compliance with FCC Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radio frequency Electromagnetic Fields. The bulletin contains generic equations that can be used to analyze fields due to almost all antennas, although the FCC warns that ''the resulting estimates for power density may be overly conservative in some cases.'' Hams leery of formulas might opt to wait for the easier-to-use Supplement B to OET Bulletin 65, which will include information designed specifically for evaluating Amateur Radio installations. The supplement promises to detail how hams can determine more simply if their individual stations comply with the new regulations. The FCC says the supplement will contain ''information on projected minimum exclusion distances from typical amateur antenna installations.''
The FCC said it would issue Supplement B ''as soon as a review of the current draft is complete.'' When it's ready, Supplement B will be available to download from the FCC's Web site, http://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety. The FCC directed inquiries as to the availability of the supplement and other RF-related questions to its RF Safety Program, 202-418-2464; e-mail rfsafetyATfcc.gov.
Last year, the FCC established time-averaged maximum permissible exposure (MPE) limits for RF fields in two tiers--for controlled environments (ie, a ham's immediate household, including visitors) and uncontrolled environments (ie, neighbors, the general public).
If a routine evaluation of a ham station indicates that human exposure to RF fields could be in excess of the FCC's MPE limits, the licensee must act to correct the problem and ensure compliance. This could include changing operating patterns, relocating antennas, restricting access, changing frequency, output power or emission type or any combination of these and other remedies.
The FCC says that ham radio facilities ''represent a special case for determining exposure, since there are many possible antenna types that could be designed and used for amateur stations.''
The revised regulations categorically exclude most mobile installations, including those in the Amateur Radio Service, from having to comply with the RF- exposure or station evaluation guidelines. Since the FCC issued its guidelines, additional questions on RF safety have been added to the Amateur Radio examination question pool.
OET Bulletin 65 and the FCC Second Memorandum Opinion and Order are available at http://www.fcc.gov/oet/dockets/et93-62/. More details on the FCC's latest announcement on RF safety will appear in the October issue of QST (ARRL Bulletin 49, August 26, 1997).
Reports - Minutes of the July 9th meeting were read
The Treasurer’s report was read and accepted.
Announcements - see “Skywarn” (above). Jim
(WB5GWH) and Dave (N1IRZ) think Keith (Hayes)
might be interested in giving a program for our club,
and possibly for our hamfest.
See “SARA and the Socorro Triathlon” (above).
Old Business - None
New Business - Al (AC5BX) received a letter from
the Chamber of Commerce asking that we participate in
the Fat Tire Fiesta again this year. See “Fat Tire Fiesta”
Al has contacted the ARRL to get an official hamfest packet. Kalman (AJ5B) needs details about the Exams to advise the ARRL. Al will check with the school principle, whether students will want to provide refreshments to earn money - otherwise we will arrange something.
Paul (N5YGC) volunteered to make new signs directing people to Exam rooms, various programs, etc. See “The Hamfest Cometh” (above).
Bill (K8HUH) heard a suggestion of having a Technicolor presentation at some meetings. Dave (N1IRZ) is working on this; clubs provide him with a list of speakers and their topics, and he will possibly compile a list of speakers each year.
Dave (N1IRZ) moved and Bill (K8HUH) seconded that we adjourn at 8:40 pm. Respectfully submitted: Agnes M. Halls (KA5KIE).
1307 Lopezville Rd.
Socorro, NM 87801-4853