UPDATE: New “Amateur Radio Parity Act” in US Senate

Dear ARRL Pacific Division Members,

Many of you have seen that the Amateur Radio Parity Act has been
introduced in the U.S. Senate as S.1534, and has been referred to
committee for review.  This is wonderful news following the unanimous
passage of H.R.555 in the House of Representatives this past January.
Vice Director Jim Tiemstra, K6JAT, and I recently returned from the July
ARRL board meeting at headquarters in Connecticut.  There we learned
that an estimated 90% of all new housing in the U.S. contains covenants,
with the majority of those having boilerplate antenna restrictions.
This means that as housing expands, Amateur Radio will face increasing

It is important to realize that H.R.555/S.1534 is a bill resulting from
negotiations between ARRL and the Community Associations Institute
(CAI), both of whom have approved the wording of the bill.   Some have
questioned whether this bill goes far enough to favor Amateur Radio.  It
does!  At this time, deed-restricted neighborhoods have the authority to
absolutely deny outside antenna installations, with no recourse.  This
bill will guarantee the right of an amateur radio operator to have an
effective outdoor antenna.  It is time for ALL of us to come together,
and get this important bill passed!

We are now the closest we have ever been to obtaining antenna relief in
deed-restricted neighborhoods.  If passed and enacted, the Amateur Radio
Parity Act will be the most important piece of Amateur Radio legislation
since the FCCs 1985 PRB-1 regulation.  That’s over 30 years, or an
entire generation, of no added antenna relief.  To make S.1534 pass,
however, we need your help again.  Below is a hyperlink to an app called
RALLY CONGRESS.  By clicking on the link (or copying and pasting in your
browser) and completing some contact information, within two minutes you
will generate a letter that will let both of your respective U.S.
senators know that you want them to vote for this bill. Time is critical
as we expect the bill to be heard before committee soon, and if passed
in committee, it could go to the floor of the senate for a vote within a
matter of weeks.  Please take a moment NOW to click on the hyperlink and
share with your senators your support for S.1534, the Amateur Radio
Parity Act.  Thank you.

ARRL Rally Congress – https://arrl.rallycongress.net/ctas/urge-us-senate-to-support-amateur-radio-parity-act

I just completed and sent my letter inside of 60 seconds.  Please take a
minute and do so also!

73, Bob W6RGG

ARRL Pacific Division
Director: Robert B Vallio, W6RGG

Original News Post 1/17/17

Posted in Regulatory, Uncategorized

UPDATE: Marin ARS Picnic Date Set

UPDATE:  Piper Park was NOT available on the date the Board approved.  So we have requested Saturday,  Sept.  30.

The Marin ARS returns to Piper Park, on Saturday, September TBD, 2017, 11:30 – 15:00. The club will provide charcoal, burgers, hot dogs, buns, and water. Bring a Salad or Desert to share. See you there!
P.O. BOX 6423
San Rafael, CA 94903
RSVP to: picnic@rfhell.com
Date: September 16, 2017 Time: 11:30 – 15:00


Picnic Saturday, September 30, 2017 Flier

Posted in Club Events, Uncategorized


There be a solar eclipse visible across many regions of North America, on Monday, August 21.   The total eclipse will be visible in a swath from Portland, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Outside that swath, observers may be to see a partial eclipse.

As HF operators well know, solar radiation plays a major role in signal propagation. There is an effort to measure the changes in propagation when the eclipse occurs.   See: February 2017 QST magazine, page 82, or August 2017 QST magazine, page 94 for more details. Also: HamSCI.org, HamSCI.org/2017 Total Solar Eclipse, NASA Eclipse Page, or ARRL.org News CEDAR — Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions .

There is a Solar Eclipse QSO Party  on that date, associated with the effort to measure the effects on propagation. See the above sources for more information, or HamSCI.org/seqp

Posted in Education, Operating Events

2017 Guest Speaker Schedule

Updated: 08/05/2017
All Presentations are Scheduled to Coincide with General Meeting Dates
2017 Scheduled Upcoming Presentations:

9/01/17 – To be Announced. PLEASE RSVP to rsvp@w6sg.net if you are coming to the pre-meeting dinner.

10/06/17 – To be Announced. PLEASE RSVP to rsvp@w6sg.net if you are coming to the pre-meeting dinner.

11/03/17 – To be Announced. PLEASE RSVP to rsvp@w6sg.net if you are coming to the pre-meeting dinner.

December 06, 2017 Our annual Holiday Party will be our December General Membership Meeting.  No presentation in December. We charge a fee to attend our Holiday Party, which includes dinner and door prizes.  Paid members and guests are welcome. PLEASE RSVP to rsvp@w6sg.net if you are coming.

Presentations this year:

1/06/17 – We had a guest speaker for the Friday January 6th meeting.   Steve Wilson, W6SDY, presented on Direction Finding Methodologies and eccentric uses for AM broadcast receivers.

2/03/17 – Dr. Uhrhammer, WA6VEX, presented on earthquake early warning. He was research seismologist with the UCB Seismology Lab and is now retired after 30 years with the Working Group for California Earthquake Probabilities and the California Integrated Seismic Network. He updated us on earthquake prediction and preparedness.

3/03/17 – Bill Buzzbee presented on his homebuilt 16-bit computer and rebuilding a teletype.

4/07/17 – Our own Rob Rowlands, NZ6J, presented on Software Defined Radio (SDR).

5/05/17 – Leighton Hills presented on West Marin WISP (Getting Internet to Muir Beach & West Marin).

6/02/17 – Michelle Paquette  presented on Antenna Basic Principals.


8/04/17 – Our own Alan Bowker, WA6DNR, presented on current operating availilities for working ham radio satellites.

Posted in Club Events, Education, Uncategorized

Next Monthly Meeting Date

Updated: 08/10/2017

The next regular monthly meeting of the Marin Amateur Radio Society will be Friday, September 01, 2017, and will be held at the Alto Clubhouse.  No speaker is currently scheduled.  Please RSVP to: rsvp@w6sg.net/ if you plan to attend the pre-meeting dinner, so we have enough food. (Meetings are normally held on the first Friday 7:30 PM, monthly; except July and December.) See: Guest Speaker for more information.

The next Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 14, 2017, 7:30PM, at the Alto Clubhouse.  Members and guests are welcomed.  (Normally held the second Thursday 7:30 PM, monthly.)

There is an informal get together at the Alto Clubhouse, weekly on most Sunday mornings; 08:30 – 11:30ish.  If there is a holiday that falls on Sunday, sometimes no one opens up the clubhouse.  The CW practice group and the repair group meet Sundays at the Clubhouse around 10:00am.

The HF Sunday Morning Net is scheduled at 09:00 am, the VHF Sunday Morning Net is scheduled at 10:15 am. See: Nets for more information.

There is a Technician Class starting on Date September 06, 2017.   More details or sign-up at: MARS Education Page

(Directions to the ClubhouseMARS Alto Clubhouse

Posted in Club Events

Our New Website is Here!

If you are seeing this, it means our new website is live!  Take a look around.  Is there something missing?  Is something not working quite right?  Use the new contact form to send us feedback.  This is a work in progress, so be patient, but let us know what you think.

Posted in Club Events, Uncategorized

Next Exam Date: August 12, 2017

Interested in getting your license, or upgrading your current license?  Exams will be administered at the MARS clubhouse on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at 09:00 (9 AM).  (sorry, exams only, no instruction).  Click here for more information.

Last Updated: 06/19/17

Posted in Club Events, Regulatory

NCVEC Form 605 & FCC Form 605 Will Be Updated


The form NCVEC 605 and FCC form 605 will be updated (Federal requirement) to include a statement (check box) that the applicant has never been convicted of any felony.

The FCC has indicated that all VEC’s must begin transmitting this additional data to FCC starting on September 7, 2017Use of older versions of these forms should be good until that date.  (If you are mailing in an older form to the FCC, make sure it is received and processed by that date.) 

If the answer to the basic qualification question (felony question) is ‘YES’,  submit as an exhibit a statement explaining the circumstances. The application will be off-lined (held) for a basic qualification review which FCC already does for other radio license services. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s Mobility Division stated that the fact that an applicant answers ‘YES’ doesn’t mean they will be denied a license.

Furthermore, applicants are required to answer the question only if they are filing NCVEC Form 605 or FCC Form 605 for one of the following purposes indicated: New, Amendment, Modification (Upgrade or call sign change), or Renewal/Modification. The question does not have to be answered if the applicant is filling a renewal only or an administrative update to their license (change of address, name, email, etc.).

This updated form will be available at our VE Sessions as soon as the supplies arrive from the VEC.  When electronic versions of  NCVEC 605 Form 2017 Sept and the FCC form 605 become available they will be posted on the webpages. Out-of-date forms should be disposed of, and out-of-date forms submitted after 9/07/2017 may be subjected to delays or rejection.

From ARRL News: ARRL News, more information

Posted in Club Events, Education, Regulatory, Uncategorized

EBARC Speaker Friday August 11th, 7:30pm

When: Friday August 11th, 7:30pm PDT
Where: El Sobrante Library – Contra Costa County Library, 4191 Appian Way, El Sobrante, CA 94803, USA
Speaker: Rich Holoch, KY6R
Topic: u.RAT – the Universal Remote Antenna Tuner
IS LISTED AS Calendar Event (Non-MARS EBARC Meeting)
Go To: EBARC Current Events  (http://www.ebarc.org/events.htm) , for more details.

Posted in Education, Uncategorized

Board Recommends Proposed By-Laws Changes – UPDATED

The Board of Directors has recommended proposed By-Laws changes to voted on by the membership at the June 02 membership meeting.

We proposed to reduce the Board of Directors size from 9 to 7.  We proposed to eliminate appointed Trustees of License as voting members of the Board.   We proposed to add electronic balloting to measures submitted to the membership.  We proposed to correct in-consistencies in language in the By-Laws.

The membership voted to approve the changes, at the meeting on 6/02/2017.

Updated:  8/02/2017

Full Document:  MARS-Bylaws.unann.v2a

Posted in Club Events, Uncategorized

Mega VE Session at Cal March 15. UPDATED

VE’s are needed. We expect almost 80 candidates from the EE Department and the Solar Car Department. Candidates must preregister for this session Soda Hall, Wozniak Lounge starting about 6:30PM – 10:00PM. Contact Sharon, AA6XZ, if you are available.


On March 15, 2017 there was a VE Session at UC Berkeley.  There were 74 candidates registered, our team of 11 VE’s welcomed 66 candidates, including three upgrades, and 63 new licensees.  62 candidates were successful in getting their initial license.  The three candidates for license upgrades were successful. 65 successful candidates.  The team administered a total of 86 exam elements. The test elements administered (P/F) are; Technician 61/1, General 9/8, and Extra 4/3.  There were 55 new Technician, 6 General, and 4 Extra licenses, awarded. There were students and staff from the Electrical Engineering Department and the Cal Solar Car Team.

Some VE’s on the team drove from Petaluma, Novato, and San Francisco.

Posted in Education, Regulatory, Uncategorized

Cal Balloon Launch March 18. UPDATED

Balloon launch Flier

On Saturday, March 18, a high-altitude research balloon was launched from the UC Berkeley campus carrying amateur radio equipment, including APRS, using the call sign W6BB-1 and a cross-band repeater, and other experiments.  The balloon reached an altitude of 108.346 feet, and traveled from the Berkeley campus to Folsom, CA. When the balloon passed through the cloud deck, the APRS data showed a velocity in excess of 100 mph.  The chase team kept in touch, via amateur radio.  The balloon team included UC staff and students including K6JEB, W6MMR, and KJ6DBZ.

The balloon was named Henry-1, after the late UC Space Scientist Henry Primbsch, KK6PH.   There will be a story with pictures and more details on the EBARC page:  http://www.ebarc.org/hab.htm     The team played the recovered video from the cameras at the March EBARC meeting.

Equipment Details:


    Starts At Approximately 6′ When Filled, About 40′ At Burst

    1500 g latex Kamont

     179.1 cu-ft Helium fill

     106k ft Predicted Burst Altitude

     115 min Predicted Burst Time 

     6.7 lb Neck Lift (5.4 lb Payload) 

     925 ft/min Predicted Ascent Rate



    60″ Spherachute

    885 ft/min Predicted Descent Rate


Radio Module:

    SainSonic APS510 APRS Bluetooth Tracker (1 W) w/Twin Lead J-Pole antenna rigged on flightline)

    Wouxun KG-UV8D HT with Cross Band Repeat Function 

        Output 445.525 MHz NB (1 W)

         Input 135.525 MHz NB (no tone)

         Ground Plane Antenna Mounted on Capsule (Constructed From Welding Rods)

    GoPro Camera


Geiger Module

    Recording Geiger Counter – Records High Energy Particle Strike Locations onto SD Card

        Goldmine Electronics Geiger Counter, Adafruit Arduino Uno & GPS Shield With SD Slot

        Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries (9V & 1.5 V “AA”)

    Up and Down Looking Camera – HobbyKing HD Wing Camera (1280x720p 30 fps)


Atmospheric Sampling Module

    PVC Pipe Within Another Pipe Driven By A Linear Actuator.  Set to Sample at x ft

         Actuonix L12 P Micro Linear Actuator

         Modern Device RBBB Arduino, U-Blox GPS Module

         Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries (9V & 1.5 V “AA”)


Radar Reflector

        Increases The Apparent Size Of The Object On Radar 

        Homemade Aluminum Laminated Cardboard Corner Reflector

For more information, join list: supernode-ham@lists.berkeley.edu

Posted in Education, Uncategorized

California Mobile Cellular Statute Revision AB.1785 UPDATED

Thanks to Bill Hillendahl, SF SM, for the following update:

A quick update on the CA Hands Free Law – AB 1785/CVC 23123.5.

We have been fielding a number of inquires on if Amateur Radio (2-way radio) is exempt from the updated “hands-free” law that went into effect on January 1st of this year.

The language of the legislation is “all inclusive” and tends to, by default, wrap 2-way radio use into the prohibition. Amateur licensees in the Pacific and South West Divisions of ARRL have been working on this issue.  The original bill’s sponsor has been contacted a number of times.

The CHP command has also been contacted.  As a result, the CHP has issued a memo to its officers advising that “a radio installed and mounted in a vehicle with a wired hand microphone is not considered a wireless communications device……..and therefore is not subject to enforcement under this section.”  That memo was issued on March 28, 2017.

More recently, the sponsoring assemblyman entered into the Assembly Journal a letter establishing the legislative intent of the law. Essentially, the letter states that common 2-way, wired radio use was not intended to be addressed by the newer hands-free law.  This letter was published in the Assembly Journal on April 27, 2017.

Please note:  Use of an HT would still be a violation. The radio must be mounted and the microphone be corded to the radio.

Please remember that not all law enforcement officers will be aware of these documents, and may not follow them.  Amateurs may still be cited.

I would like to hear if any Amateur is actually cited under CVC 23123.5 for using Amateur Radio.

We can all thank the past SW Div Vice Director Marty Woll N6VI, Jim Aspinwall NO1PC, Norm Lucas WB6RVR, and others behind the scenes for their valiant effort to move this clarification forward.

The effort is not over, as equally ambiguous language is being promoted in the revision to the law moving through the legislature now. Please remind everyone that they must still not use their radios in a manner that detracts from their safe operation of their vehicle. Drivers can still be cited under the very broad “distracted driving” code section.

ARRL East Bay Section Section Manager: James R Latham, AF6AQ

From ARRL:

California has revised its State statutes addressing mobile wireless
operation. This was done without any advance notice to ARRL
Headquarters from radio amateurs in California. This new statute has
raised serious concerns since its passage by the State legislature and
enactment by the Governor of California for one principal reason: There
was included in the prior mobile cellular statute in California a
complete exemption for licensed Amateur Radio operators, which was not
included in this new legislation. The new legislation completely
replaces the earlier legislation. The new legislation reads as follows:

(a) 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.
(b)  This section shall not apply to manufacturer-installed systems
that are embedded in the vehicle.
(c)  A handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless
communications device may be operated in a manner requiring the use of
the driver’s hand while the driver is operating the vehicle only if
both of the following conditions are satisfied:
(1)  The handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless
communications device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield in the
same manner a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) is mounted
pursuant to paragraph (12) of subdivision (b) of Section 26708 or is
mounted on or affixed to a vehicle’s dashboard or center console in a
manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road.
(2)  The driver’s hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature
or function of the handheld wireless telephone or wireless
communications device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the
driver’s finger.
(d)  A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base
fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars
($50) for each subsequent offense.

Here is the definition of an electronic wireless communications device
in the Bill:

(f)  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.

While AB 1785 does eliminate the mobile exemption for Amateur Radio
from the prior statute, there is no indication in this definition of
any intention to preclude either two-way private land mobile voice
communications or Amateur Radio communications. The specific reference
to SMRs and pagers is exclusionary rather than inclusive. They are CMRS
facilities, as are broadband PCS devices and two-way messaging devices.
It would be impossible to include Amateur portable transceivers in the
category of “electronic wireless communications device” as defined
in the Statute unless those were actually being used for mobile data
access while the control operator was driving a motor vehicle. Of
course, the principal use of Amateur portable transceivers is for
two-way voice communications.

The legislative record on this Statute indicates that it was intended
to apply to non-voice, non-text services now available on “smart
phones” (such as streaming video), which the former law did not
prohibit explicitly. However, due to some rather poor draftsmanship in
the text of the legislation defining what constitutes an “electronic
wireless communications device,” it is impossible to determine the
universe of such devices that are included in the definition. This is
because the definition above includes the words “but not limited
to” in giving examples of electronic devices that cannot be operated
while also operating a motor vehicle in California.

Furthermore, the foregoing analysis is very technical. ARRL is
concerned that law enforcement officers might interpret the new
statutory language in the Vehicle Code more broadly than we believe was
  Law enforcement officers are not necessarily skilled enough
in telecommunications technology to be able to make the fine
distinctions that radio amateurs are capable of, and they should not be
expected to do so, where the legislative intent is not clearly

While there is a risk that licensed Amateur Radio operators in
California using portable transceivers in their cars while driving may
be subject to sanctions from police officers, the intent of the
legislation clearly is to address handheld phones and mobile data and
not private land mobile, dispatch radios, or mobile radios for voice
communications with handheld mics.

The definitions in state mobile cellular and mobile texting laws do
make a difference. There are two ways to protect Amateur Radio in the
drafting of those statutes: one is by sufficiently narrowly defining
prohibited activity so as to exclude Amateur Radio. The other is to
create specific exemptions where the definitions are confusing. This
statute is an example of poor legislative draftsmanship. It creates a
motor vehicle law with citations issued for certain activity that
includes the words “but is not limited to” in the language defining the
violation. However, what is included does not proscribe use of mobile
Amateur Radio equipment for voice communications.

There are several ways to respond to this. Perhaps the most difficult
is to obtain a legislative amendment that either restores the Amateur
Radio exemption from the prior legislation. Obtaining curative
legislation so soon after enactment of a state statute is not
politically the most simple of tasks, and State legislatures are not in
session for long periods each year. That fix could take some time.
Another option is to attempt to obtain a favorable exclusionary
interpretation of the new Statute from the California Attorney
General’s office, which we understand has already been attempted
unsuccessfully by some California radio Amateurs, though the effort
could be renewed). Finally, if there is an instance of a radio amateur
being cited for violating the statute, a successful defense of that
citation could be used as a precedent for precluding subsequent
instances of application of the Statute to licensed radio Amateurs.

ARRL monitors state legislation in two ways; one is via a legislative
monitoring service that responds to key word searches and which did
identify this legislation, which when originally introduced was not in
the form ultimately enacted. The second is through ARRL’s section
level State Government Liaisons who monitor state and local
legislation. However, these efforts are not foolproof; mobile cellular
legislation is often introduced and passed on very short notice, and
State legislative sessions are very short. Proposed legislation during
those sessions change often. In this case, some retroactive advocacy is
called for, but the legislation is not as disruptive of mobile Amateur
Radio operation as the current level of concern would indicate. Nor are
the sanctions particularly severe for first or even subsequent offenses.
ARRL expects to pursue a fix for this through its advocacy efforts.


Posted in Education, Regulatory, Uncategorized