SCARS Weekly Newsletter, April 27, 2015

Times They Are A Changin’ . . .
Texting and Driving Legislation and Why It Matters To You . . .
Amateur Radio Payload Could Share Space on Geostationary Satellite . . .
Advanced Storm Spotter Training – Archive . . .
2015 West Gulf Division Annual Awards  . . .
Upcoming Hamfests within 250 miles _…_._

Times They Are A Changin’

A few items of Club interest before we move on to a wider scope of news:

For those of you saying that you are too old to upgrade, your Editor calls Bull***!
Tom Seale, KH6AAA, upgraded to Extra on April 13. Tom is 83.

I find YOUR excuse invalid! Now get with it and upgrade!

Jeff, KT5OK (well, used to be KT5OK), oh let’s just let Jeff tell the story:

In March, my wife and I made an excursion back to Tucson, Arizona to spend a week or so with her mom.  (Yes, my mother-in-law!)

I absolutely loved the time we spent with her, and I got so homesick I could not believe it.  You see, I am originally from Tucson, Arizona, and my mother-in-law just happens to live only a couple of miles from where I grew up.  So, I was seeing all the same beautiful desert, etc that I was used to seeing years ago…  It was wonderful.

 OK…I will spare you from having to hear about all the memories.  Suffice it to say I got very homesick.

 I was first licensed in Arizona in 1970, and I have always missed – not only Arizona – but my attachment to “Seven-Land.”

So, when I arrived back home, the urge to change my Call Sign kept taunting me…  I relented, and as of today, April 21, my new Call is KJ7EFF.  I love it.  It “fits.”

 So, Gary, if you would like to use this in the Newsletter, please take the story and shape it with your eloquent wording so the fine folks will have at least SOME idea as to why an Advanced-Class operator would  choose to take on such a Call Sign.  Lol

Jeff, I like your new call as well! I’ve thought of changing my call off and on. There are two calls that I’d have to think about. First would be my original Novice call – WN5ULK – and the next would be one that is still available as of when I put the Newsletter to bed – W5GAS – my initials. That call belonged to Boyd Fry from Fort Smith. Boyd passed away 8 or 10 years ago and the call just hasn’t been picked up as a Vanity Call yet. I guess I’ve had my current call now for so long that I have a hard time giving it up. Stuck in a rut fuddy-duddy, I am!

In any case, when you hear Jeff on the radio, be sure and use his new call – KJ7EFF!

For those who have not yet found the officers on the webpage, here is the list:

President: Phil Sinnett, KD5UGO
President-Elect-VP: Harold Black, W5IFN
Treasurer: Doug Forsyth, WX5DF
Secretary: Chris Pape, KE5JZN
Director at Large: Bill Baker, WG5T (appointment)
Trustee: Peter Laws, N5UWY (appointment)
Assistant Trustee: Gary Skaggs, WB5ULK  (appointment)

Also, some of you have asked about the site I use personally to track real-time lightning data. That site can be found here:

Texting and Driving Legislation and Why It Matters To You

Yes, this is long. But more importantly, it matters to you and you should think about calling your legislator about it.

via Lloyd Colston, KC5FM, Oklahoma Section Manager:

Date: Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 6:17 AM
Subject: Texting and Driving Legislation
This note from Michael Dean, K5MFD, your Section Public Information Coordinator, calls for your action to contact your legislators regarding the work on two bills.

Please review the information and act as you feel to be in the BEST interest of amateur radio.

I will suggest the legislation needs to specifically include verbiage that protects amateur radio operators, if for no other reason than the Automatic Packet Reporting System could, by using APRS over a smart phone (see the May 2015 QST) would subject the operator to an unintentional ticket because he receives an APRS message while driving their motor vehicle.

Thanks to Michael, K5MFD, and Eddie Manley, K5EMS, for their work in this area.

Now Michael’s note:
Two bills are close to being reconciled into one final texting bill. House Bill 1965, authored by Rep. O’Donnell goes into great detail about what will not be allowed in his bill He specifically exempted CB radios and operators. The complete bill as amended is at

Senate Bill 183 may be the Senate bill that will be combined with HB 1965. I mainly references drivers of commercial vehicles. If it is amended to remove the word “commercial” it would appear to prohibit us from using our ham radio in our vehicles while the vehicle is moving. The complete senate bill can be found at

Eddie Manley received an email from his legislator telling him at Rep. O’Donnell is not going to allow any amendments to his bill.

It seems that an anti-texting bill is going move forward. The media is all for one, regardless of the unintended consequences. And the death of two OHP Troopers, caused by a driver texting, almost guarantees a texting bill will emerge.

I believe there is still time for all of us, every amateur radio operator in Oklahoma to contact their state representative and state senator and encourage them to exempt amateur radio operators from the final version of the texting bill. There are approximately 10,000 of us in Oklahoma and surely we can make our voice heard.

Relevant section of SB 183

9. Operating a commercial motor vehicle while using a cellular telephone or electronic communication device to write, send or read a text-based communication while the commercial motor vehicle is in motion; or

10. Operating a commercial motor vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone.

For the purposes of paragraphs 9 and 10 of this subsection, operating a commercial motor vehicle and using an electronic communication device or a hand-held mobile telephone is permissible by the operator when necessary to communicate with law enforcement officials or other emergency services. Further, for the purposes of paragraphs 9 and 10 of this subsection, “operate” means operating on a street or highway, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device or other momentary delays. Operating does not include when the driver of a commercial motor vehicle has moved the vehicle to the side of or off a street or highway and has halted in a location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary.

Relevant section of HB 1965
C. As used in this section:

1. “Cellular telephone” means an analog or digital wireless telephone authorized by the Federal Communications Commission to operate in the frequency bandwidth reserved for cellular telephones;

2. “Communications service” means any service lawfully provided for a charge or compensation by any cable system or by any radio, fiber optic, photo-optical, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, satellite, microwave, data transmission, Internet-based or wireless distribution network, system or facility including, but not limited to, any electronic data, video, audio, Internet access, microwave and radio communications, transmissions, signals and services and any such communications, transmissions, signals and services directly or indirectly by or through any of those networks, systems or facilities;

3. “Electronic communication device” means an any electronic device, used or capable of being used in a handheld manner, that permits the user is designed or intended to manually receive or transmit a communication of written text by means other than through an oral transfer or wire communication or character-based messages, access or store data, or connect to the Internet or any communications service that allows text communications. This term does not include a voice-activated global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to a motor vehicle;

Michael Dean, K5MFD

Like most Legislation, it is tedious, but it is important to note that WHATEVER the intent, poorly written Legislation will be enforced regardless of the intent. If you do not know who your Representative and Senator are, use this online form to find them:

AMSAT: Amateur Radio Payload Could Share Space on Geostationary Satellite

The Logistics of getting this payload prepped and ready are enormous, not to mention the logistics of managing such a potentially popular resource. But the mind races with the potential!


There is big news on the Amateur Radio satellite front. AMSAT-NA has announced that, if all goes according to plan, an Amateur Radio payload will go into space on a geostationary satellite that’s planned for launch in 2017. As opposed to the more typical low-Earth-orbit, a geostationary orbit would permit earthbound hams within its footprint to operate through the satellite essentially 24/7. According to AMSAT Vice President-Operations Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, the satellite’s potential footprint would extend over the US from the Mid-Pacific to Africa. AMSAT said it’s accepted the opportunity to be a “hosted payload” on a spacecraft that Millennium Space Systems (MSS) of El Segundo, California, is under contract to design, launch, and operate for the US government. Past AMSAT Director and former Vice President-Engineering Bob McGwier, N4HY, said the Amateur Radio payload must be delivered for testing and integration by the spring of 2016.

“It is an ambitious schedule, and all involved will have to gain and maintain a serious level of commitment,” said McGwier, the Director of Research at Virginia Tech’s Hume Center for National Security and Technology. The AMSAT announcement April 25 followed an April 13 meeting at MSS to discuss the project. McGwier said the potential rideshare would be an opportunity to go forward with the AMSAT-Eagle payload, which had evolved nearly 10 years ago into a microwave payload to be flown in a geostationary orbit, although it never got a flight opportunity. Had it flown, it would have provided digital communications to small terminals on the ground and a linear bent-pipe transponder.

AMSAT President, Barry Baines, WD4ASW, said the payload would be a Phase IV geostationary Amateur Radio package. “This is an evolving development, as we collaborate with the VT Hume Center with a project that provides technical challenges to create a new Amateur Radio capability in space that will provide a variety of benefits not only for amateurs but also for emergency communications and STEM educational outreach.”

According to AMSAT, the transponder is expected to support a wide range of voice, digital, and experimental advanced communications technologies. A decision is expected soon specifying the microwave uplink and downlink bands. The satellite would be an Aquila M8 Series spacecraft.

If the Qatari E’hailsat project designed to serve IARU Region 1 is successful, two geostationary satellites carrying Amateur Radio payloads could be in space at the same time.

Read the rest here: AMSAT: Amateur Radio Payload Could Share Space on Geostationary Satellite.

  Advanced Storm Spotter Training – Archive

Rick Smith from the Norman Forecast Office shared the following information about the just-completed Advanced Storm Spotter Training.

If you weren’t able to join us for our advanced storm spotter training, good news – we’ve posted a recording of the webinar on our YouTube channel:

You can also find copies of the slides from the advanced training, as well as all the other spotter webinars this season, along with other links and information here:

 2015 WGD Annual Awards

See the note below from the ARRL West Gulf Division Director. There are a number of folks in Oklahoma and perhaps even SCARS which would merit a nomination for this. 3 or more of you get together and nominate someone worthy of this and then say why!

It is time to start working on your submissions for the WG 2015 Divisional Awards which will be presented at the ARRL Regional Centennial Convention at HamCom in June.   Nominations for 2015 Award Winners will be accepted until May 1, 2015.  Nomination forms for each nominee (by category) must be supported by at least three ARRL members on the award nomination form, a minimum 150-word statement and any available supporting documentation.  Other rules do apply and can be found on the nomination forms.

The Division Awards judging panel consists of four (4) ARRL members, selected by each of the Section Managers in North Texas, Oklahoma, South Texas and West Texas Sections.  The Section Manager may opt to appoint his/herself to the committee.  The fifth judge is selected by the Division Director and may reside anywhere within the West Gulf Division.   Neither the Division Director nor the Vice Director will participate in the vote.

Upcoming Hamfests within 250 miles

Link below lists all the ARRL-related hamfests within a 250 mile drive of Norman for about the next 5 months. Lots of good ones close to Norman.

As always…Nets, Links, Other Stuff in the link at the top AND in the sidebar. Have a great week!

73 de Gary, WB5ULK …_._

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