FCC Revisions Affect Part 95 Devices

In a lengthy Report and Order (R&O) in a proceeding (WT Docket No. 10-119) dating back 7 years, the FCC has announced rule changes affecting the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), the Family Radio Service (FRS), the Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS or “CB”), as well as other applications that fall under the FCC’s Part 95 Personal Radio Services (PRS) rules and regulations.

Part 95 devices typically are low-power units that communicate over shared spectrum and, with some exceptions, do not require an individual user license from the FCC. As the R&O explains, common examples of PRS devices include “walkie-talkies;” radio-control cars, boats, and planes; hearing assistance devices; CB radios; medical implant devices; and Personal Locator Beacons.

Read more …

— Courtesy ARRL.org

The Transistor (1953 Promotional Film)

If we cast our minds back to the early years of the transistor, the year that is always quoted is 1947, during which a Bell Labs team developed the first practical germanium point-contact transistor. They would go on to be granted the Nobel Prize for their work in 1956, but the universal adoption of their invention was not an instantaneous process. Instead there would be a gradual change from vacuum to solid state that would span the 1950s and the 1960s, and even in the 1970s you might still have found mainstream devices on sale containing vacuum tubes.

Watch the Bell Labs promotional film, and read more!

— courtesy Hackaday.com, author Jenny List

And, when you’re done with that, here’s another essay and AT&T promotional film on the Genesis of the Transistor from Hackaday’s Kristina Panos.

EmComm Driving Increase in Amateur Radio Operators

More Americans than ever have been licensed by the Federal Communications Commission as amateur radio operators, and those in the know say that emergency communications is driving their passion to be “hams.”

“There has been a tremendous amount of interest in emergency preparedness since 9/11 and Katrina, and this is true for the amateur radio community as well,” said Mike Corey, the emergency preparedness manager for the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). “Emergency communications is a gateway into amateur radio, and many join our ranks through an interest in being better prepared themselves and as a way to serve their community.

Read more!

— Courtesy James Careless, Emergency Management Magazine

Shakes, Cones, and Salvation

The order for the Mister Softee ice cream trucks specified that they be built on a 1-ton Ford commercial truck chassis, and utilize their heavy duty 262 cubic inch inline six cylinder engine.

The trucks would eventually be fitted with a stainless counter, functional sink with potable water, a generator, and soft serve / freezer machine. The mobile kitchen would be able to serve several hundred people with fresh food without having to replenish supplies back at headquarters.

It was this capability that made the Mister Softee appealing to Civil Defense coordinators during the cold war era. Mister Softee, it appears, would soon roll up his sleeves and help make America safer.

Read More!

Florida Capital District ARES Developing Situational Awareness Tools

Based on its experience with Hurricane Hermine (late summer 2016, Florida Big Bend landfall), the Capital District (around Tallahassee, Florida) ARES members are developing a situation awareness map and report tool to give agencies’ staffs in the Big Bend of Florida and southern Georgia a picture of what conditions are like whenever there is an area wide emergency such as a hurricane, tornado, hazardous materials spill, or other crisis.

Read more!

— Courtesy ARRL ARES E-Letter, Rick Palm, K1CE, Editor

Self-Test Sunday

From the Amateur Extra Question Pool:

E0A11 (C)

Which of the following injuries can result from using high-power UHF or microwave transmitters?

A. Hearing loss caused by high voltage corona discharge
B. Blood clotting from the intense magnetic field
C. Localized heating of the body from RF exposure in excess of the MPE limits
D. Ingestion of ozone gas from the cooling system

Antenna Day, Part One

Saturday, May 6, brought a cool morning after a hot week, perfect for working on the roof of the Emergency Operations Center.

View of the EOC entrance and monopole. Crank-up tower that held the dual-band antenna can be seen laying on the ground. Crane for equipment transfer to the roof can be seen above the parapet. — photo courtesy WT4FEC

Amateur radio projects are often led and managed by amateurs, hobbyists with some technical expertise. Big Lake ARC has the advantage of WT4FEC being a professional service technician for a major communications utility, so the work was managed in a professional manner. OSHA requirements were met and kept, and safety was strongly covered during the briefing and workday.

L-R: K9GZT, KM4RAZ, Hendry EC WA4PAM, Field Day Coordinator KM4EWE, and Net Manager KI4LFF. — photo courtesy WT4FEC

Hendry Emergency Manager KJ4WIC was able to obtain scrap square signpost material earlier in the year that WT4FEC and son fabricated into sturdy stanchions to hold the amateur antenna array. Using commercial software both the bolt-holding and wind-loading were estimated to make sure the structures would withstand the antenna manufacturers maximum wind speed ratings – an important point when you design for hurricane survival.

Ground crew for the project were KM4RAZ and K9GZT; Hendry EC WA4PAM; Field Day Coordinator KM4EWE; Net Manager KI4LFF, and the patient bride of (and photographer) WT4FEC. Hendry E911 Technician KN4AFW was the “designated adult” for the day, the on-site employee from the EOC required by County rules.

Work started at 0800 with masonry impact-drills putting holes in the sold concrete parapet that is about one meter above the building roof. (The roof itself is a poured concrete slab over corrugated steel. It’s not going anywhere.) Sunny skies and cool breezes helped the day move to the scheduled 12N finish time, right on WT4FEC’s planned schedule.

Working around three sides of the parapet, WT4FEC and son; KM4WJV; and WD4RCC and daughter, installed six stanchions, along with a custom-fabricated H-frame for installation of the EOC weather remote sensor package. This will have the sensors sufficiently above ground to have the facility listed as an official data point for the National Weather Service.

KM4EWE, WA4PAM, and KI4LFF relocate the feedline for the HF dipole after removing the temporary VHF-UHF crank up tower. — photo courtesy WT4FEC

The stanchions will hold antennae for:

  • Fixed frequency, repeater based VHF-UHF comms
  • Variable frequency, simplex VHF-UHF comms
  • UHF DMR repeater
  • End-support for long-wire HF (other end, and 9:1 balun, attached to the EOC monopole)
  • End-support for 40-80M Alpha-Delta dipole

The morning was a safe success. WT4FEC and wife also generously fed the crew barbecue ribs and chicken afterward.

Step two of the build is scheduled for mid-June to finish installing the dual-band antennae, HF dipole, weather station remote sensors and conduct final cable clean up.

KM4WJV and WT4FEC and son Chris, look on as trainee Amelia handles comms during teardown. — photo courtesy WT4FEC




Flashback Friday

Boys using telegraph key for Morse code on amateur radio at the School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. 195-. Black & white photoprint. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. Accessed 30 Mar. 2017.

The Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida, was a high risk residential commitment facility operated by the Department of Juvenile Justice for male youth 13 to 21 years of age who were committed by the Court. The school originally opened in 1900 as the Florida State Reform School. It was later known as the Florida Industrial School for Boys (1914-1957), the Florida School for Boys (1957-1967), and finally the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. The school closed in 2011.