delara newsDelaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH VOL 37 NUMBER 8
Ham Radio News
...because we don’t live in a vacuum.
Great Lakes HamCon 2018 has been Cancelled
Great Lakes HamCon 2.0, set to occur in October at Michigan International Speedway, has been canceled. This would have been the second Great Lakes HamCon, which had been sanctioned as the 2018 ARRL Michigan State Convention. In announcing the cancellation, sponsors said failure to come to a final agreement for the use of the speedway led to the difficult decision to cancel the event. "With just 2 months remaining before the event, the issues caused by the lack of agreement were found to be insurmountable,” the announcement said.All who purchased tickets will receive refunds. PayPal ticket purchases will be handled via PayPal. Sponsors said arrangements for refunds for cash purchases are being formulated and will be announced soon. “The support of our affiliated Amateur Radio clubs and their members was very much appreciated,” the announcement said. “We share your disappointment that this year’s event cannot be held. Thank you for your understanding.” No New Building for Dayto…er..XeniaHamvention® and Greene County, Ohio, officials have been unable to reach agreement to erect a new building that could accommodate Hamvention activities at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio.“Hamvention/Dayton Amateur Radio Association has spent many hours working with Greene County officials to reach an agreement on a long-term contract where both the Fairgrounds and Hamvention would feel comfortable erecting a new building,” read an August 5 statement from Hamvention General Chairman Jack Gerbs, WB8SCT, and assistant chair Rick Allnutt, WS8G. “Unfortunately, we have currently been unable to successfully reach an agreement satisfactory to all parties.” Gerbs was quick to reinforce that Hamvention continues to have an excellent relationship with the county and the Fair Board, but it does mean there will not be a new building in time for Hamvention 2019.In January, Hamvention walked back an earlier announcement that a new building would be erected in time for the 2018 show. At the time, then-General Chair Ron Cramer, KD8ENJ, anticipated that construction would be completed this year in time for Hamvention 2019.Gerbs cited some significant upgrades accomplished in 2018, including improved tent shelters, permanent paths in the flea market area, and an additional forum room. “More improvements are planned for 2019,” Gerbs and Allnut said. “We hope the Amateur Radio community will understand and continue to support the event as enthusiastically as in the past.”Et tu, Baofeng? The FCC has issued a Citation and Order (Citation) to Amcrest Industries, LLC (formerly Foscam Digital Technologies, LLC), an importer and marketer of popular and inexpensive Baofeng handheld transceivers, alleging that the company violated FCC rules and the Communications Act by illegally marketing unauthorized RF devices. The FCC asserts that Amcrest marketed Baofeng model UV-5R-series FM handheld radios capable of transmitting on "restricted frequencies." The Baofeng models UV-5R and UV-5R V2+ were granted an FCC equipment authorization in 2012 to operate under Part 90 Private Land Mobile Radio Service (Land Mobile) rules."Under § 2.803 of the Commission's rules, an entity may not market a device that is capable of operating outside the scope of its equipment authorization," the FCC Citation said. "RF devices that have been authorized under Part 90 rules, such as the model as issue, must operate within the technical parameters established in those rules." The FCC also maintained that the UV-5R 2+ is capable of operating at 1 W or 4 W, while the Part 90 Equipment Authorization limits the power output to 1.78 W.Amcrest conceded that the units were capable of operating on restricted frequencies but told the FCC that, per discussions with the manufacturer, were "only capable of operating at 1 W, the FCC said. The company instructed the manufacturer to fix the problem and later confirmed with the manufacturer that all Amcrest inventory on order and in the future would operate only on 145 - 155 MHz and 400 - 520 MHz.While the Citation does not mention Amateur Radio, the UV-5R series radios can be programmed in a channelized configuration to function on 2 meters and 70 centimeters. According to the Citation, Amcrest had added a warning in its user manuals and marketing and sales materials implying that the UV-5R V2+ could operate on unauthorized and restricted frequencies, including Part 87 Aviation Services frequencies, Part 80 Maritime Services frequencies, and frequencies reserved for federal government use.Amcrest told the FCC that it had ceased marketing four models in the Baofeng UV-5R series "a few years ago," but it did not remove them from its website until last February. Numerous online retailers continue selling UV-5R series radios for less than $25, with some ads indicating that these are "ham" equipment. -ARRL
ARRL Board Adopts Volunteer Monitoring Program;
Official Observer Program to be Retired
The ARRL Board of Directors has adopted the recommendations of the Official Observer Program Study Committee, which would retire the venerable Official Observer (OO) Program and institute the Volunteer Monitoring (VM) Program. The Board took the action at its July 20 - 21 meeting in Windsor, Connecticut, instructing that the transition "be implemented as soon as practicable." Under the terms of the new program, current Official Observers will be invited to apply for appointment as Volunteer Monitors. The Board expressed its appreciation for the OOs and their dedicated volunteer service over the years.The Board said the action is expected to re-energize enforcement efforts in the Amateur Radio bands and was undertaken at the request of the FCC in the wake of several FCC regional office closures and a reduction in field staff. Coordination of cases and evidence gathering would become the responsibility of ARRL Headquarters staff, while the FCC will retain the responsibility for final decisions regarding action in specific cases.The study committee report spelled out the additional steps necessary to launch the Volunteer Monitoring Program. Among them would be the appointment of a dedicated Headquarters staff member or an independent contractor working under the direction of ARRL Headquarters to administer the new program and interface with its participants. The Volunteer Monitoring Program administrator would, among other duties, create a vetting and accreditation process for prospective Volunteer Monitors. The authority to accredit, appoint, and dismiss Volunteer Monitors would be assigned to ARRL Headquarters staff. Section Managers will continue to be a part of the vetting process for VMs, although they will not have appointment or dismissal authority.Volunteer Monitor accreditation would be limited to a 3-year term, renewable by satisfying requirements necessary to ensure competency. A new Volunteer Monitoring Training Manual is in the final stages of development.The administrator will create a target for the number of geographically distributed Volunteer Monitors. Preliminary plans would include up to five Volunteer Monitors per ARRL Section and up to 250 Volunteer Monitors overall.The administrator would also "develop a rubric or other aid for program participants to highlight offenses and other criteria that the FCC considers a priority," the motion said. The administrator also would be charged with organizing periodic webinars, highlighting technologies, techniques, and other continuing education topics that would assist, motivate, and better enable Volunteer Monitors. The FCC will be actively involved in the development and presentation of these training opportunities.The new Volunteer Monitor Program would continue to send notices recognizing good on-the-air operating practice. Under the new program, positive or negative operator notices eventually would be sent from ARRL Headquarters, not by individual Volunteer Monitors, in part to maintain their anonymity.The action further authorized ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, to terminate the standing Amended Agreement between ARRL and the FCC Field Bureau regarding the use of amateur volunteers and execute a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ARRL and the FCC Enforcement Bureau. The MOU is under final review.In other action, the Board:•unanimously adopted recommendations of the ARRL Executive Committee to update ARRL's Articles of Association and Bylaws (see the July 2018 issue of QST, p. 74, or refer to Minutes 22 - 25 of the Board's July 20 - 21, 2018, meeting, when they are posted).•established a 3-month general comment period for the ARES Strategic Plan with comments, due no later than October 31, after which the Public Service Enhancement Working Group (PSEWG) will present the final plan to the ARRL Annual Board of Directors meeting in January 2019 for consideration for adoption.•received the preliminary final report of the PSEWG regarding the rollout of the ARES Connect program, which will be announced in the September issue of QST. The Board agreed to obtain additional field input this fall.•received an update from the CEO Search Committee.