I hope that everyone is doing well and keeping busy! It's good to hear members and vistors checking in on our Weekly Wednesday Night Net....keep it up!!
Our guest speaker for the March 5th meeting will be George Jacob (N6VNI). He will be talking about his antenna takedown and repair project. George will also be showing off pictures of his "ham shack" or "radio room". If you have not seen it in person, then you may just want to come to the meeting and see what N6VNI's radio room looks like. If you would like to showcase your "shack" at one of our meetings, please let one of the board members know and we can get that arranged for you!
A couple dates to remember:
2. Hamcon 2017 will once again be held in Torrance, at the Torrance Marriott Redondo Beach Hotel from September 15-17, 2017. WARA is once again in charge of the vendor room and we will need our member's help to make this a successful event. There will be guest speakers and vendors throughout the event. Please visit: hamconinc.org for more information.
We hope to see everyone at the March 5th meeting at the Sizzler Restaurant in Fullerton. A group of members and vistiors arrive around 6pm to have dinner and socialize before the meeting starts at 7pm.
2017 President of the Western Amateur Radio Association
ARRL - 02/08/2017
An Entry Level License Committee was established by the ARRL Board of Directors and appointed in September 2016. As part of its ongoing work, the committee is gathering member input and will make recommendations to the Board for possible rules changes to submit to the FCC.
The result could mean changes to the Technician license, but it could also be an additional, but simpler, license with privileges that would give a newcomer a taste of most facets of ham radio from HF to VHF and UHF.
Amateurs in California and in several Arizona communities are facing recently enacted or impending bans on handheld electronic devices while driving. Here’s what we currently know about these laws.
In California, Assembly Bill 1785 took effect on January 1 of this year. Now included in Section 23123.5 of the Vehicle Code, this law provides that “a person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving . . . For the purposes of this section, “electronic wireless communications device” includes, but is not limited to, a broadband personal communication device, a specialized mobile radio device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile data access, a pager, or a two-way messaging device.”
Whether intentionally or unintentionally vague, interpretations of this language have ranged from applying to all mobile communications (a traffic court commissioner speaking to a radio club) to excluding mobile radios (a CHP spokesperson in Orange County). One of our ARRL Volunteer Counsel attorneys spoke with a staff member of the Assembly Transportation Committee, which introduced the bill. The staffer told him that the law was intended to apply to smartphones and similar broadband devices, not to Amateur Radio or other radio communication services. Another Volunteer Counsel attorney is attempting to get a clarifying statement to that effect entered into the official record.
Meanwhile, CHP in Sacramento has provided guidance to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office that wired microphones permissible but handheld radios are not. Until the law is amended or clarified, it might be prudent for California Hams to avoid wielding a handheld while driving.
In December, the Town of Oro Valley (in Pima County), Arizona adopted a “hands-free” ordinance that states, "No person shall, except as otherwise provided in this ordinance, use a mobile telephone or portable electronic device while operating a motor vehicle upon a street or highway, unless that device is specifically designed or configured to allow hands-free listening and talking and used in that manner while operating a motor vehicle." The ordinance defines "hands free" as the "use of a mobile telephone or portable electronic device without the use of either hand by employing an internal feature of, or an attachment to, the device." Like the new California law, this one was ostensibly targeting smartphones and the like, but its lack of clear definitions or specific exclusions has Amateurs concerned. The town has provided for a warning-only period of a few months during which mobile radio operators can make their case if stopped. (Source:Oro Valley Web site)
A similar bill was passed earlier in 2016 in the City of San Luis (in Yuma County) but has not led to any enforcement cases to date.
On January 10, the Tucson City Council approved in concept a law similar to Oro Valley’s, and the final language is expected any time now. The stated purpose was to enable better enforcement of the city’s four-year- old ban on texting while driving, and it appears that the implementation will be as a secondary offense, one for which you can be cited only of you are already being stopped for another offense such as speeding. (Source: Tucson News Now.)
Tucson Amateurs are contacting their council members to request inclusion of appropriate exemption or exclusion language.
It is worth noting that an overly broad mobile-communications ordinance enacted in Coconino County, Arizona in 2014 was amended after pressure from both Amateurs and commercial trucking interests, according to Section Manager Robert Spencer KE8DM.