Area Scouts Learn about Amateur Radio

It is that time of the year again. The days are getting shorter, leaves are turning, fall and winter ham projects await, and Scouts gather for their October events.

Scout Leaders and MCWA members Doug Tucker (KD9PQI) and Bill Wacaser (KD9GIU) hosted a special Scouting event on October 18th to coincide with the annual Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA). The event was held at the Crystal Lake Nature Center and followed strict COVID-19 safety procedures, which included a limit on attendees, use of hand sanitizer, mask wearing at all times by everyone, and observing social distancing practices.

KB3LKM and two scouts
Desmond (KB3LKM) and two scouts at the portable HF station

After an interactive and engaging presentation and Q&A, the scouts were broken into groups of two and then visited five exploration areas that showcased various aspects of amateur radio.

Six meter SSB communications:  Scouts were able to get on the air and make contacts on 6m facilitated by John Dewey (KA9CAR). John was assisted by remote operators Pierre Berube (K9EYE), Dean Hettel (WD9FOO), Dennis Ryan (KA9PUC) and Mike Salak (KC9Q).

Two meter FM communications:  Gary Dembski (W9GD) guided the scouts as they reached out to contact local amateurs, which included Pierre Berube (K9EYE), Rob Fesus (KD9KZW), Mike Salak (KC9Q), Jen Van Zieleghem (KD9FMJ) and Dave Whaley (NT9E).  

Amateur Radio and the Internet: Ralph Iden (WB9ICF) demonstrated how the Internet complements amateur radio operations. The scouts learned about APRS, DMR, PSKReporter and OpenWebRx.

Portable HF Operations:  Desmond Sharpe (KB3LKM) showcased his QRP transceiver running off of a battery, thus showing how amateur radio can be used in the field.

AllStarLink: Dave Holmgren (K9AT) brought his ClearNode hotspot and demonstrated how it is possible to communicate not only locally, but reach out and converse with amateurs around the world. A highlight was a QSO between the scouts and Les Emanuel (2E0LRV) from Redditch, Worcestershire, England.

I am really happy the boys enjoyed the event and feel honoured to be part of your Scouting Jamboree on the Air event.
– Les 2E0LRV

It was a successful event by all measures. Doug and Bill are planning a series of follow-up classes to prepare the scouts for getting their amateur radio licenses.

Sam Lounsberry from the Northwest Herald visited the event and wrote an excellent story which appeared in the Herald the next day.

Crystal Lake Boy Scouts tune in to amateur radio operation 

November VE Testing Canceled

MCWA was informed this morning by Steve Maresso (KB9OLD) that the November VE Testing in Woodstock has been canceled. If anyone has any questions, please contact Steve.

For other local locations offering VE Testing see VE Testing Opportunities.

Because of the many event cancelations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Events Calendar, going forward, will be limited to MCWA meetings and other events that have been confirmed as going forward.

FCC amateur radio fees NPRM published

The Federal Communications Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM)  regarding  amateur radio fees (20-270)  has been  published in the Federal Register. This action has started the clock ticking for the deadline to post comments regarding this action.

As of this posting, 1,791 comments have been submitted, but more are needed.

You are encouraged to view or submit comments prior to the close of the 30 day comment period.  Kermit Carlson’s post on the K9RN reflector provides more information about the commenting process.       

The deadline for comments for November 16, 2020. 

The following excerpt is from the ARRL Central Division Director, Kermit Carlson (W9XA). Mr. Carlson’s message, sent to all ARRL Central Division members, can be read in its entirety on the MCWA K9RN reflector. It contains additional material important to the commenting process.

Many Central Division members have contacted me in the past month about the FCC’s proposal for a $50 “application fee” for license applications in the Amateur Radio Service.

The Notice of Proposed Rule Making was published in yesterday’s Federal Register.  The deadline for comments is November 16, and the Reply comment deadline is November 30.

Since the “official” comment period is now open and now is the time to file comments against this proposal!

…This subject is critical, the timing is critical.  I urge you to contact the FCC. The address and related information is contained in the article referenced in the Federal Register. Please use your own words to express your objections to the proposed fees.

Updated 10/20/2020 to better highlight comment link and update number of comments.

FCC Orders Amateur Access to 3.5 GHz Band to “Sunset”

The ARRL Central Division Director, Kermit Carlson (W9XA) sent a message to ARRL members in the Central Division this morning.  A portion of his message follows.

The following message is from the ARRL HQ regarding the
loss of access to the 3.3-3.5 GHz secondary spectrum allocation. I wish
that I would be able to relay a more acceptable message to you this
morning. The timing for actual end to amateur operations on the 9-CM
band has yet to be announced.

FCC Orders Amateur Access to 3.5 GHz Band to “Sunset” 

Despite vigorous and continuing opposition from ARRL and others, the FCC has ordered the “sunsetting” of the 3.3 – 3.5-GHz amateur radio secondary spectrum allocation. The decision allows current amateur
activity on the band to continue, “grandfathering” the amateur
operations subject to a later decision. The FCC proposed two deadlines
for amateur operations to cease on the band. The first would apply to
the 3.4 – 3.5 GHz segment, the second to 3.3 – 3.4 GHz. The FCC will
establish the dates once it reviews additional comments.

Full announcement from the ARRL



Proposed amateur radio fees comments are open

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing an amendment to the Schedule of Application fees (proceeding 20-270) which would assess a fee of $50 for new and renewed amateur radio licenses and applications for vanity callsigns. There would be no fee for administration changes such as a change of address.

The comment phase is now open and you are invited to submit comments to the FCC for consideration. Comments should be brief and respectful.  Our ARRL Section Manager has requested that your comments should also be sent to the Central Division Director, Kermit Carlson at 

You may post your comment for proceeding 20-270 . Be sure to enter the proceeding number “20-2020”.  Comments are due no later than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

As of this posting, the proceeding has not appeared in the Federal Register. There have been 1,442 comments in the last 30 days.  They can be viewed at 20-270 comments .