Ham Radio Resolutions for 2021

A new year is upon us, and like life, ham radio goes on. So what would you like to accomplish this coming year in this fabulous hobby of ours?

Work a contest? There are lots of them (and you can find them listed in the “Contest Corral” on the ARRL website).

Do some public service? (Here’s hoping as the world gets back to normal we get some events that need communication!)

How about becoming a Volunteer Examiner? It is extremely rewarding and the club can always use more (and you get to go to Scotland hihi)

How about EmComm? Organizations like ARES, Skywarn and CERT can always use more help.

Maybe it’s time for some new wallpaper in the shack. Have you got your DXCC (DX Century Club, for working 100 individual countries), WAS (Worked All States) or WAC (Worked All Continents), Certificate of Code Proficiency or any of the many operating awards that are available? The pursuit is fun, and getting that certificate up on the wall is a proud moment!

If none of these are your cup of tea, how about just being more active this year? There is a whole world of ham radio out there and many hams never scratch the surface. Be active on the air, be active in your club, be active recruiting and elmering new hams and just be active building up ham radio. Let’s make this coming year the best year ever in Amateur Radio!

Be sure to post your 2021 Ham Radio Resolution on the email list.

73 and Happy New Year from your friendly neighborhood blogger, AB4KA

FCC Announces $35 Amateur Radio License Application Fee

In a Report and Order (R&O), released on December 29, the FCC scaled back to $35 the fee for a new license application, a special temporary authority (STA) request, a rule waiver request, a license renewal application, and a vanity call sign application. All fees are per application. There will be no fee for administrative updates, such as a change of mailing or email address. The FCC has agreed with ARRL and other commenters that its proposed $50 fee for certain amateur radio applications was “too high to account for the minimal staff involvement in these applications.”

The effective date of the fee schedule has not been established, but it will be announced at least 30 days in advance.


Dust off those Keys…Straight Key Night is coming!

Every New Year’s Eve, starting at 0000 UTC starts an operating event like no other. It’s Straight Key Night!

Straight Key Night is not a contest…there are no points scored. It is a 24 hour operating event that celebrates our CW heritage. Contacts are strictly for fun and it’s a fabulous opportunity to hook up that straight key (or your trusty bug) and get on the air. See the attached link for details. Have fun!


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…

‘Twas the night before Christmas,  
And all through two-meters,  
Not a signal was keying up  
Any repeaters.

The antennas reached up  
From the tower, quite high,  
To catch the weak signals  
That bounced from the sky.

The children, Technicians,  
Took their HT’s to bed,  
And dreamed of the day  
They’d be Extras, instead.

Mom put on her headphones,  
I plugged in the key,  
And we tuned 40 meters  
For that rare ZK3.

When the meter was pegged  
By a signal with power.  
It smoked a small diode,  
And, I swear, shook the tower.

Mom yanked off her phones,  
And with all she could muster  
Logged a spot of the signal  
On the DX PacketCluster,

While I ran to the window  
And peered up at the sky,  
To see what could generate  
RF that high.

It was way in the distance,  
But the moon made it gleam –  
A flying sleigh,  
With an eight element beam,

And a little old driver  
Who looked slightly mean,  
So I though for a moment  
That it might be Wayne Green.

But no, it was Santa,  
The Santa of Hams,  
On a mission this Christmas  
To clean up the bands.

He circled the tower,  
Then stopped in his track,  
And he slid down the coax  
Right into the shack.

While Mom and I hid  
Behind stacks of CQ, 
This Santa of hamming  
Knew just what to do.

He cleared off the shack desk  
Of paper and parts,  
And filled out all my late  
QSLs, for a start.

He ran copper braid,  
Took a steel rod and pounded  
It into the earth  
Till the station was grounded.

He tightened loose fittings,  
Resoldered connections,  
Cranked down modulation,  
Installed lightning protection.

He neutralized tubes  
In my linear amp…  
(Never worked right before –  
Now it works like a champ).

A new low-pass filter  
Cleaned up the TV.  
He corrected the settings  
In my TNC.

He repaired the computer  
That wouldn’t compute,  
And he backed up the hard drive  
And got it to boot.

Then, he reached really deep  
In the bag that he brought,  
And he pulled out a big box.  
“A new rig?” I thought!

“A new Kenwood? An Icom?  
A Yaesu, for me?
An Elecraft, TEN-TEC
Or Flex, could it be!”  
(If he thought I’d been bad  
It might be QRP!)

Yes! The Ultimate station!  
How could I deserve this?  
Could it be all those weekends
I worked Public Service?

He hooked it all up  
And in record time, quickly  
Worked 100 countries,  
All down on 160.

I should have been happy.  
It was my call he sent.  
But the cards and the postage
Will cost a month’s rent!

He made final adjustments,  
And left a card by the key: 
“To Gary, from Santa Claus. 

Then he grabbed his HT, 
Looked me straight in the eye, 
Punched a code on the pad, 
And was gone – no good bye.

I ran back to the station, 
And the pile up was big. 
But a card from St. Nick  
Would be worth my new rig.

Oh, too late, for his final
Came over the air.  
It was copied all over. 
It was heard everywhere.

The Ham’s Santa exclaimed
What an old ham expects: 
“Merry Christmas to all, 
And to all, good DX.”

Here’s wishing everyone a very, Merry Christmas from your friends at the Lakeland Amateur Radio Club!

FCC to require email addresses for all hams

The FCC has announced that they will be transitioning to all-electronic communication and will require that all amateur radio operators have a valid email address on file. The date that the requirement will take place is still to be determined, however it appears it will be in the summer of 2021.

There’s no time like the present to make sure Uncle Charlie has your correct mailing address, and be sure to get that email address listed!



Tampa Bay Hamfest is this Friday & Saturday!

The annual Tampa Bay Hamfest is this weekend! It is once again being held at the Strawberry Festival grounds, however due to virus concerns it is primarily going to be held outside (so far the weather looks like it should be good). It starts Friday, December 11 at 1 p.m. and runs through Saturday, December 12 at 4 p.m.

See the attached link for details. See you there!

Skywarn Recognition Day December 5

SKYWARN™ Recognition Day was developed in 1999 by the National Weather Service and the American Radio Relay League. It celebrates the contributions that SKYWARN™ volunteers make to the NWS mission, the protection of life and property. Amateur radio operators comprise a large percentage of the SKYWARN™ volunteers across the country. The Amateur radio operators also provide vital communication between the NWS and emergency management if normal communications become inoperative.

For additional info and details on the operating event go to https://www.weather.gov/crh/skywarnrecognition

It’s ARRL Sweepstakes SSB Weekend!

Once again it’s time for the November Sweepstakes (ok, CW weekend was two week ago)! ARRL’s November Sweepstakes is the oldest U.S. based contest, having been around since 1930, and has it’s roots in traffic handling, thus the somewhat complicated exchange.

Sweepstakes is a great way to sharpen your H.F. operating skills, and it’s a fun way to spend some time on the air as one doesn’t need a killer station to make lots of contacts and work plenty of states and counties. The ultimate Sweepstakes goal is a “Clean Sweep”, which is to work all 84 U.S. and Canadian ARRL/RAC Sections, which is definitely a challenge in these times of diminished solar activity.

Visit http://www.arrl.org/sweepstakes for details, and see you on the air!