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The ARRL Letter, September 25, 2014

List of "Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014" Co-Sponsors Swells Before Congressional Recess

An intense effort during the few days in September that Congress was in session has resulted in 47 co-sponsors for the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014 (H.R. 4969). Another half-dozen or so US House Members have indicated that they will sign on when Congress returns, something they can do only while Congress is in session. Congress went into recess on September 19. ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, Central Division Director Dick Isely, W9GIG, and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, visited dozens of congressional offices this month. Elsewhere, other ARRL elected and appointed officials and members from across the US met with members of Congress and with their staffers, wrote letters, and made phone calls to urge co-sponsorship.

"This all-member effort is how we went from 17 co-sponsors on August 1 to 47 co-sponsors on September 18," President Craigie said this week. When Congress reconvenes in November, League representatives plan to follow up with US House members who did not have time to make their co-sponsorship official before Congress left town.

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014, introduced in the US House of Representatives with bipartisan support in late June, calls on the FCC to apply the "reasonable accommodation" three-part test of the PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy to private land-use restrictions regarding antennas. The limited PRB-1 pre-emption currently applies only to state and municipal land-use ordinances. The FCC has indicated its reluctance to provide the same legal protections from private land-use agreements -- often called covenants, conditions, and restrictions or CC&Rs -- without direction from Congress.

President Craigie stressed this week that H.R. 4969 is still very much alive, and she urged League members to keep working to convince their representatives to co-sponsor the bill. "These efforts will not be in vain, whether or not the legislator eventually decides to sign onto the bill," she said. "Realistically, we won't get support for H.R. 4969 from every member of Congress who is contacted by amateurs," she said. At the same time, members of Congress who were contacted now know that Amateur Radio exists in their districts and that hams have interests that deserve notice.

"A lot of politics is based on relationships. Contacts made with members of Congress about H.R. 4969 contribute to establishing relationships that can be maintained and enhanced in the future," President Craigie said. "Does your Congressman know how Amateur Radio makes your district a safer place to live if disasters occur? Does your Congressman know how radio amateurs in your district introduce young people to hands-on wireless communication, laying the foundation for careers? What we certainly can do is to build relationships that will serve our interests -- and the public interest -- if not right now, then in the future."

President Craigie encouraged League members whose representatives have become co-sponsors to thank their lawmakers, on the phone or in writing. "It's good manners and a good relationship-building strategy," she pointed out. "Members can also seek out opportunities during the current congressional recess to make a case for the bill at their representatives' district offices and at events. In short: Keep on!"

ARRL Presents Barry Goldwater, K7UGA, Achievement Award to Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI

The ARRL Board of Directors created the Barry Goldwater, K7UGA, Achievement Award last spring to recognize outstanding support of Amateur Radio by an elected federal official. The recipient must be an official who has, in a significant way, supported the well-being and continuity of the Amateur Service in the US. Earlier this month, the Board voted to confer the first such award upon US Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI, (OR-2), "in recognition of many years of exceptional contributions to the strength and vitality of the Amateur Radio Service in the United States."

ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN; Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, and General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, presented the award to Walden in Washington on September 18. In a letter accompanying the award plaque, President Craigie wrote, "Your understanding of the importance of Amateur Radio to the public interest and to the pursuit of scientific and technical knowledge has led you to act in the spirit of Sen Goldwater, whose exemplary support for Amateur Radio in Washington caused the ARRL Board to name this award in his honor."

President Craigie called Walden "a great friend to Amateur Radio over the last 12 years with regard to key issues including spectrum protection." Walden chairs the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, the panel to which "The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014" (H.R. 4969) was referred for consideration.

In 2002 Walden was an original co-sponsor of H.R. 4720, the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act, and sent a "Dear Colleague" letter seeking additional cosponsors. In 2003 he was a co-sponsor of H.R. 713, the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act. During a hearing on the bill at which then-ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, testified, Walden called for a halt to the "astonishing" erosion of Amateur Radio spectrum.

In 2004, Walden wrote the FCC chairman seeking to have the Commission defer action on the BPL rulemaking until the release of an NTIA study and an opportunity for public comment. That same year, during a hearing on telecom convergence, Walden grilled a BPL industry representative about interference.

In 2010 Walden co-sponsored H.R. 2160, the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act. In May 2011, the ARRL was invited to testify before Walden's subcommittee on "Creating an Interoperable Public Safety Network," offering an opportunity to defend 420-440 MHz against reallocation.

As President Craigie handed the award plaque to Rep Walden, she added, "Senator Goldwater was a statesman for Amateur Radio, and so are you."

ARRL Deploying Ham Aid Kits to Hawaii to Assist in Possible Lava Flow Response

ARRL Headquarters is deploying Ham Aid kits to Hawaii as ARES volunteers stand ready to activate in the wake of the massive Puna volcanic lava flow that has been threatening some communities on the Big Island of Hawaii. The lava originated from new "vents" in the Earth as a result of the Mt Kilauea volcano, which began erupting more than 30 years ago. ARRL Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider, AH6J, said Tuesday that while he didn't believe an ARES activation was imminent, lava flows can be unpredictable, and things can change rapidly.

"Lava is a slow-motion disaster," he said. "It's not like a volcano, where the thing just blows up. It's like a pot of soup."

ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said the Ham Aid kits going out to Hawaii include HF gear as well as VHF and UHF equipment. "We're deploying an HF kit -- an IC-718 transceiver, a tuner, and a dipole -- and a VHF/UHF kit." The latter includes a mobile transceiver and power supply as well as several handheld transceivers that have been preprogrammed with local frequencies that may be needed. Corey said the Ham Aid kits are a resource available to ARRL section leadership to add capacity during a disaster or emergency response.

Schneider said that while there is no immediate need for the kits, "if they have it out there, and this thing changes, we'll be prepared. It's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it."

Hawaii Civil Defense said Kilauea continued to erupt at its summit as of Monday, although the more than 10-mile lava flow -- or "tube" -- under the greatest scrutiny halted its progress toward the sea on Tuesday -- at least for the time being. Authorities also are monitoring so-called "breakout" flows. No homes have been affected so far, although the molten rock is causing vegetation to burn in its path. The front of the Puna lava flow is estimated to be some 150 yards across at its widest point.

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie has issued a disaster declaration for the areas that are or may be affected by the lava flow. Schneider and ARES members and officials have been keeping an eye on the situation.

"We anticipate lava may cross the main Highway 130 near Pahoa on the Island of Hawaii in 1 to 3 weeks," Schneider announced on the Pacific Section website over the weekend. He said a "best guess" would be within 10 days. Schneider said Highway 130 is the primary commuter route for residents in several residential subdivisions that might be affected, including one that is home to some 20,000 people -- what he called, "a pretty good chunk of population" overall. The governor's proclamation has permitted authorities to open two alternative routes, in case Highway 130 has to be closed.

Hawaii Civil Defense authorities have deployed their remote emergency operations center in the affected region, and Schneider visited there a few days ago.

"The town of Pahoa is in kind of a slow panic," he reported. "If the lava comes down and goes right to the ocean, probably the only thing that won't be affected will be cell phones. Power and conventional telephone service will be out." In that case, should ARES be activated, Schneider said the volunteers' likely role would be to relay health-and-welfare traffic from affected communities.
Bob Bruno's insight:

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014 (H.R. 4969) will allow those amateurs who are unable to put up a reasonable antennas because their hands are tied by Housing Covenants to finally be able to do so. This is an important step as PRB-1 was!


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W2LJ's Blog - QRP - Do More With Less.: What the hey!

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What the hey! You've undoubtedly heard of Summits on the Air (SOTA), Islands on the Air (IOTA), Lighthouses on the Air and maybe you've even heard of Parks on the Air (POTA). Ed Breneiser WA3WSJ an...
Bob Bruno's insight:

Looks like a promising take on SOTA or POTA. 

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On Sept. 24, 2014, our NAQCC WV Chapter club member Steve Ashcraft (KC4URI) and I met near Grantsville, WV for some quality radio and star gazing time. Steve knew this place because he's been here ...
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Bob Bruno's insight:

I have heard of this theory before but never tried it. Maybe it's time???

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Between 29th September and 14th October 2014, three radio Amateurs who are members of Sands Contest Group from Morecambe England, and also members of the Aegean Radio Association on the island, will be visiting Samos Island, for a holiday and...
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