How Amateur Ham Radio Could Save Us | NBC Left Field

Hawaii's Communication Breakdown and How Going Amateur Ham Radio Could Save Us | NBC Left Field

Hawaii's recent false nuclear missile alert showed us how reliant we are on cell phones and modern technology—and how unprepared we are if they become inaccessible. But in case the unexpected happens, an unlikely group of hobbyists—ham radio operators—are standing at the ready and may save us all.

IRN or Zello This Is Not HAM Radio

IRN or Zello This is not HAM Radio.
Will IRN replace conventional ham radio?
This is so common and claimed all the time.
Radio-Tone RT4
Radio-Tone RT4

But IRN, Zello, Team speak is fun, but I wanna see what you will do when the cell tower is down!
This is bullshit! I get 99,999% of cell signal no matter where I am.

I wonder if you can reach a VHF or UHF repeater for 10% of the time of your traveling with a typical 4 Watt handheld with its rubber duck antenna. And if GSM is not available, I could use a global WiFi hotspot.

Disclaimer: You may be excommunicated by the ham radio community for using satellite wifi hotspots.

Ham radio is a hobby.  We don’t have to be like the ultimate emergency communications service providers.   Leave it to the pros.  Of course we can help with our HF and VHF/UHF as an additional resource. But on a daily basis, for the sake of talking to other hams, about technology and discussing ham topics, IRN, Echolink, Allstar, and others will do just fine.

Did you know that you need to hold a hamradio license to use IRN too, if you want to use the available hamradio RF Live channels?

Every city has, in Toronto Canada (ham club TFMCS) common claim by that one disparaging ham, we all know the disparaging ham that trolls that repeater.
Ok, but Zello, IRN and Echolink is not ham radio!
Yeah sure, it is written in the holy book of ham radio. “They” tell you that such systems are not ham radio, so stay away from such little systems of the devil !

As explained here, to use the IRN, or Zello, a GPRS connection will do just fine. Many hams, that are still reluctant to try the IRN, always have the same old-school speech: “In case of a crisis, where cell networks are down, the IRN radios will be useless”. Well my friends, it is true. The network radios will be useless. No one is saying that IRN is here to replace conventional ham radio. It is an add-on. And now tell me.

During the course of your entire life, how many times did you experience a network shortage due to a natural disaster?   I know, as hams, we always have the spirit to be the last resource in providing emergency communications. Well, keep the spirit, but let yourself enjoy the IRN for the 99,9999% of the time that cell towers are at service.  Take a backup VHF handheld with if you think it’s going to save your ass. Live more in the present because technology is giving us hams a whole new playground that we never had access to before.

In our city of Toronto Canada we also have the bitter elitist and purest, one comes to mind that is holding on to the Baofeng and FM analog ham radio or HF only.  He seems to be wait on the repeaters for that conversation to explode with his bias views, this occurs often when speaking to the newer ham operators and is so quick to preach FM analog and stay away from ....  But to each his own and to those bitter elitist and purest :

The main point and fact here is :
"Live more in the present because technology is giving us hams a whole new playground that we never had access to before."

Here is hoping that we enjoy it all.  Even digital, ie DMR (Brandmeister).

Link here :

Distracted Driving in Canada: An Update - HIGHWAY TRAFFIC ACT - O. Reg. 366-09 Extended 2021

Ontario Temporary Exemption has been Extended until January 1, 2021

HIGHWAY TRAFFIC ACT - O. Reg. 366-09 - Amateur Radio Ontario Distracted Driving in Canada
For immediate release: December 15, 2017

Link here :

Distracted driving regulations continue to be an area of interest for many Canadian Radio Amateurs. These regulations are made and enforced by provincial governments and can vary considerably from province to province and over time. In Ontario, RAC Directors Allan Boyd, VE3AJB (Ontario North/East) and Phil McBride, VA3QR (Ontario South) have been working hard on this issue.

On December 15, 2017, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) announced that the current two-way radio exemption for “Amateur Radio operators and specified commercial, public transit, and public function drivers will be extended for a further three-years, effective January 1, 2018 until January 1, 2021.”

The update to the regulation can be found at

While we were hoping for a permanent exemption, this decision by the MTO ensures our continued ability to operate Amateur Radio apparatus while mobile. RAC will continue to press for a permanent exemption going forward.

FCC Proposes $25,000 Fine for Breaking Now-Voluntary Labeling Rules | fluorescent lighting ballasts

The FCC has proposed fining Acuity Brands Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia, $25,000 for apparently marketing radio frequency devices that were not labeled in accordance with Commission Part 18 rules at the time. The FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) on November 21. Compliance with the particular rule at issue now is voluntary.

“Specifically, Acuity marketed three models of consumer-grade electronic fluorescent lighting ballasts — two since 2006 and one since 2009 — that did not have the FCC logo affixed to them,” the FCC said in the NAL. Application of the FCC logo, which the FCC no longer requires, was to inform purchasers that a device had undergone compliance testing. The FCC also said Acuity continued to market two models of the ballasts at issue for approximately 6 months after being notified, causing the Commission to up the penalty.

“We take this action today as part of our duty to ensure that radio frequency devices are marketed in accordance with the Commission’s rules,” the FCC said. “Consistent with this goal, we find it necessary to enforce the rules requiring that devices subject to equipment authorization are properly labeled to inform a consumer that such devices have been tested for compliance under the Commission’s technical rules, because those devices could easily cause interference if they do not conform to those rules.

DMR IDs and Callsigns grouped by Country 2017-12

Summary of files containing DMR IDs and Callsigns grouped by Country
Brought to you by VE3WZW, Last updated: 2017-12-07
Total number of IDs = 78,813

Link here :

Link here :

2017 HAM Radio Canada Christmas Event

2017 HAM Radio Canada Christmas Event #3
Southern Ontario Canada  :  please advise if arriving from out of town.

The Event
Details to follow
Link :

2017 HAM Radio Canada Christmas Event
Details to follow
We will have to limit the list.

Link :

How Does An Inexpensive Transceiver Compare to An Expensive Transceiver

How Does An Inexpensive Transceiver Compare to An Expensive Transceiver

Jim, W6LG looks at  website with extensive detail about receiver performance.

Western New York Southern Ontario Repeater Council Repeater - Coordination

WNYSORC Coordination

UPDATE :  2017 December

The Spring meeting of WNYSORC to be held at the Erie County Fire Training Center Cheektowaga, NY. 11:30 am on Sunday April 8th, 2018

What is frequency coordination?
  1. Coordination, it is a form of voluntary participation in an organized program intended to keep interference between repeaters and their users to a minimum. To do this, repeater owner/trustees work with WNYSORC which maintains a database of repeater frequencies in active use (as well as new repeaters which are under construction but may not yet be in operation). WNYSORC assists the proposed repeater owner/trustee in selecting operating frequencies (and other technical details) which will, hopefully, be compatible with other existing repeaters.
  2. Who is my local WNYSORC representative?
    Your local WNYSORC representative is, first, a volunteer. In the WNYSORC, he/she is an individual who lives in your community or region of the state or province. WNYSORC is an organization of volunteers who are recognized by the Amateur Radio community as their "coordinator". WNYSORC's volunteers might participate in the program because they are interested in either the technical or the political aspects of coordination, but they all do it as a way of putting something back into Amateur Radio. These days, no volunteer is in it for the ego! It's too much work! But all volunteers do get some form of self satisfaction out of doing the job, or they wouldn't bother.
  3. Who benefits from frequency coordination?
    Everyone does. Owner/Trustees of existing coordinated repeaters are assured that the WNYSORC will attempt to protect their repeaters from interference caused by new repeaters. Likewise, owner/trustees of proposed new repeaters will get knowledgeable assistance from WNYSORC in selecting frequencies for their repeater, so that they can feel confident that their new operation will not adversely affect any existing repeaters, and they should experience little interference on their new repeater.
  4. How does frequency coordination work?
    In order to make a recommendation, the WNYSORC needs some data about the proposed new repeater, such as its location, antenna height, ground elevation above sea level, transmit power, owner/trustee etc. These items all affect, to one degree or another, the repeater's area of coverage. WNYSORC will review the data on the new repeater. Then in conjunction with the data in the coordination database, the local frequency coordination committee member may assist the applicant in finding an optimum frequency pair.
    WNYSORC studies the parameters of nearby co-channel (same frequency) and adjacent-channel repeaters, and with the established, adjacent frequency coordination councils, to make sure there are not any valid objections to the new repeater. Once a new coordination is issued, there is a six month construction period to get the new machine on the air. If it's not on by this deadline, the coordination is allowed one additional six-month period (upon written request), after which the coordination is subject to cancellation. This keeps WNYSORC's database from filling up with "paper" repeaters.
    For more detailed information please look at the WNYSORC Coordination Guidelines.
  5. Is frequency coordination required?
    No. Participation in a frequency coordination program is strictly voluntary. No Amateur Radio frequency coordinator has any "authority" to tell a repeater owner/trustee what he/she can, or cannot do. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Industry Canada and the Amateur community has recognized that participation in a frequency coordination program by repeater trustees is in the best interests of all Amateurs. Therefore, FCC rules (Part 97.205c) have been adopted;
    §97.205 Repeater station.
    (c) Where the transmissions of a repeater cause harmful interference to another repeater, the two station licensees are equally and fully responsible for resolving the interference unless the operation of one station is recommended by a frequency coordinator and the operation of the other station is not. In that case, the licensee of the non-coordinated repeater has primary responsibility to resolve the interference.

CANADA - Salvation Army Seeks Amateur Radio Operators for Possible Caribbean Deployment

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Re: CANADA - Salvation Army Seeks Amateur Radio Operators for Possible Caribbean Deployment
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2017 18:18:58 -0500
From: Bill.Feist
CC: Dan_Millar, Jeff_Robertson, Andre VA3AGV, Andre VE3WZW, Perron_Goodyear


I apologize for not having gotten back to you but it got a little hectic around here.

As I suspect you have already heard the standby is over and no one is going to be deployed at this point. The local Salvation Army units have been provided with satellite phones and there is no longer a need for the SATERN operators to be deployed.

If you have an interest in joining SATERN - assuming you are not already a member - I recommend that you contact your Territorial Disaster Coordinator, Perron Goodyear (VE3PSG).

I hope to see you on our Nets and enrolled as a member sometime.

Ontario distracted driving legislation and Amateur Radio

Ontario distracted driving legislation and Amateur Radio

Like I said in the writeup, the exemption remains in place until Jan. 1, 2018, so mobile operating is allowed.

Calling All Ontario-based Amateur Radio Clubs and ARES Groups

January 1, 2017 – (e-Laws currency date)
December 17, 2015 – December 31, 2016
January 1, 2013 – December 16, 2015
September 6, 2012 – December 31, 2012
October 26, 2009 – September 5, 2012
September 29, 2009 – October 25, 2009

January 1, 2017 – (e-Laws currency date) December 17, 2015 – December 31, 2016 January 1, 2013 – December 16, 2015 September 6, 2012 – December 31, 2012 October 26, 2009 – September 5, 2012 September 29, 2009 – October 25, 2009

As you may well know, Amateur Radio operators in Ontario are enjoying a time-limited exemption under the Highway Traffic Act's distracted driving regulations, allowing us the use of mobile 2-way communications apparatus until January 1, 2018.

However, that day is approaching faster than we think. Amateur Radio operators have been utilizing mobile communications equipment safely and responsibly since before cellular telephony was popular and affordable. In addition, the equipment that can be found in the vehicles of thousands of hams across Canada translates to an instantly available means of communications in time of disaster - a network of no cost to the served agencies who may depend on it.

Every other Province and Territory in Canada has recognized the value of this fact, amongst others, and have granted us permanent exemptions in their laws respectively. Now it's time to ensure that Ontario does the same.

I am spear-heading the effort to lobby the MTO to make the exemption under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) Regulation 366/09 permanent to all certified Amateur Radio operators, but I need help. I am looking to compile the following documentation from as many individual sources as possible:

FCC Changes to PRS Bands GMRS, FRS, CB & MURS

FCC Changes to PRS Bands – GMRS, FRS, CB & MURS

FCC Part 95 Rule Changes for 2017
On May 18th 2017, the FCC adopted parts of a long-standing Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that affects several of the PRS (Personal Radio Service) bands, which include GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service), FRS (Family Radio Service), and CB (Citizens Band), now called the CBRS (CB Radio Service). MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service) remains largely unchanged.

Implementation of the rules took effect 30 days after the new order was published on 08/29/17 (effective on 09/28/17), but some of the equipment changes required by the new rules won’t take place for 90 days to 24 months.
We’ll dive deeper into the changes and also what exciting new gear and programming configurations we’ll be offering to take advantage of the new GMRS capabilities in future posts, but in the meantime, here are some bullet points of the rule changes that might affect BetterSafeRadio customers and FRS/GMRS users in general:
  • Hybrid FRS/GMRS “Bubble Pack” radios will no longer be certified in the future by the FCC. Radios will now only be certified as either FRS, or GMRS (or MURS), etc.
  • FRS radios can now operate on the previously GMRS-only 462 MHz (GMRS ch. 15-22) Channels. Yes, these are the GMRS repeater output frequencies, which could cause even more repeater interference by FRS users (especially considering the next item below), but they will not be allowed to transmit on the repeater input channels, so no repeater use for FRS.
  • FRS radios will now be authorized to use up to 2 Watts ERP (Effective Radiated Power) on FRS 462 MHz frequencies (FRS ch. 1-7), and on the new shared FRS/GMRS 462 MHz frequencies (GMRS ch. 15-22). This means a kid with an FRS radio running 2W next door to you, might be able to mask your repeater reception if they are close to your antenna (although they’ve been doing this with the hybrid FRS/GMRS radios for years).
  • Existing FRS/GMRS hybrid radios that use 2W or less, will now be retro-reclassified as FRS radios, using the new expanded FRS capabilities.
  • Existing FRS/GMRS hybrid radios that put out MORE than 2W, will now be retro-reclassified as GMRS radios, will still require a GMRS license, and will allow the new expanded FRS/GMRS interstitial channels (previously FRS-only ch. 8-14 – see below).
  • GMRS will now become Part 95E (instead of Part 95A), FRS (Part 95B) and MURS (Part 95J) remaining the same.

Salvation Army Seeks Amateur Radio Operators for Possible Caribbean Deployment

Salvation Army Seeks Amateur Radio Operators for Possible Caribbean Deployment

SATERN: Salvation Army Team Radio Network

The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) has been asked to recruit SATERN Amateur Radio operators for potential deployment to TSA’s Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Division. SATERN National Liaison Bill Feist, WB8BZH, emphasizes that this is a recruitment request to be on standby only.

“This will not be an easy deployment so operators interested in deploying on behalf of The Salvation Army should carefully read and ensure that they can meet the conditions and requirements,” Feist said.