SM Newsletter – August, 2021

I hope you are staying cool with the temperatures and humidity soaring.
My forecast today is for 95 degrees and they estimate it will feel like
105 to 110 degrees. At the same time those in northern Illinois are
enduring severe storms and tornadoes.

There is still no definitive word, other than sometime this fall the $35
license fee will become effective. It’s come a long way since I paid
my $4 fee for my General. We have seen increases, then zero cost and now
a fee again. Although I wish it would have stayed at zero, I’m not
going to complain about paying $35 more to enjoy the hobby. It is still
a lot different than it was at one time.

In 1912, licensing first began and required a code speed of 5 words per
minute. Then in 1917, all amateur radio was suspended due to World War
One. Amateurs got their privileges back in 1919.

In 1922 Amateur Radio call signs began to be government assigned.
Previously, hams made up their own call signs and we had two classes of
license.

In 1934 the Federal Communications Commission was established. Prior to
that, amateur radio testing was done by the Commerce Department. When
the FCC was established the code speed went to 13 words per minute. It
was mandated amateurs keep logs and if you wanted to operate mobile or
portable you had to receive written permission from the FCC and the
license was good for three years.

In 1940 US amateurs were required to submit finger prints, a photo and
proof of citizenship to the FCC before they could be licensed. They were
also prohibited from contacting other countries. 

US Amateurs lost 80 meter privileges in 1941 when the army took over 80
meters and from 1942 until 1945 all US amateur activity was suspended
during the war. After the war amateur licenses were extended from 3 to 5
years.

In 1951 the FCC created the Novice, Technician and Extra class licenses
to join the Advanced (formerly class A), General (formally Class B) and
Conditional (formerly class C) licenses. Licenses were still good for 5
years except the Novice which was 1 year and non¬ renewable. Novices
were limited to 75 watts input with crystal frequency control of CW on
portions of the HF bands. The technician license only had UHF privileges
until 1955 when they received 6 meter privileges and then in 1959, 2
meters privileges.

The license fees enacted on January 1, 1964 were:
New or renewed license: $4 
Modified license: $2 
Special call sign: $20  
Novice licenses were free.

They were changed on August 1, 1970 to:
New or renewed license: $9 
Modified license: $4 
Special call sign: $25 
Novice licenses remained free.

Then effective March 1, 1975, the FCC lowered the above fees for amateur
licenses to the following:
New or renewed license: $4 
Modified license: $3 
Duplicate license: $2
Special call sign: $25
Novice licenses remained free.

Finally, effective January 1, 1977, FCC dropped all fees for amateur
licenses. From then until now, all US amateur licenses have been free.

In order to clarify the above fees here is the explanation:
A “new or renewed license” included the fee for taking the tests, pass
or fail, for a new license or a license upgrade. A “modified” license
meant a change of address or name, but not a license upgrade.


Going back to the history, in 1982 President Regan signed into law a
bill that allows the FCC to authorize licensed hams to create and
administer amateur radio license tests and the VEC’s were
established.

In 1984 amateur licenses went from five years to 10 years and we were no
longer required to test at FCC field offices. Volunteer examiners
administered the tests.

In 1991 the No-code Tech license class was created. 

Beginning in 1995 vanity call signs introduced.

Then in 1999 the FCC proposed major changes to amateur rules, cutting
license classes from six down to three with a single five wpm code test
for the two highest classes – General and Extra (new Novice and
Advanced class licenses were eliminated).

More license changes happened on April 15, 2000 when the code speed for
General and Extra license was reduced to five wpm and the FCC stopped
issuing the Novice, Technician Plus or Advanced class licenses. If you
held a Novice or Advanced class license you could continue renew it. The
Technician Plus licenses became converted to Technician. 

Finally in December the FCC eliminated the Morse Code testing
requirements for all license classes.

I have not included every event that has happened between 1912 and 2021.
The complete history can be found on the net. I do need to acknowledge
Tom Hashem, KA1F for his work and the Eastern Massachusetts ARRL. It is
where I gleaned much of this information.

Now on to what’s been happening.

I enjoyed an excellent time with Section Emergency Coordinator W9DSR
Robert Littler, when we attended the Indiana convention. Out of that
visit has come an inclusion of our surrounding state’s participation
in our October 2, 2021 Simulated Emergency Test exercise. More to
follow.

I also had an excellent time at the K.A.R.S., Hamfesters (both Peotone)
and West Central Illinois hamfests (Carlinville). It was good seeing old
friends and meeting new friends. Now I’m getting ready for the SMC,
W9DXCC, PAARC and Radio Expo events in the coming months.

Our Affiliated Clubs Coordinator, AD9I Ron Morgan, is working hard at
getting all the affiliated clubs in Illinois to update their information
on the ARRL website. If you need help updating your club feel free to
contact Ron or me.

If your status has expired, it is a simple process to get it
reestablished. Ron and I have both received a spreadsheet showing all
the Illinois clubs.

Assistant Section Manager, KD9IPO Ron Delpiere-Smith, will be operating
special event call sign W4V at the HOOAH Deer Hunt For Heroes from 0000Z
September 4 through 0000Z September 6 on 80, 40 and 20 meters. All
amateur operators are invited to come and visit at the Hickory Hills
Campground in Secor, Illinois. 
Information on the organization is at
https://www.HoorahDeerHuntforHeroes.com.

Assistant Section Manager, N9MYC, John Nebl will be participating at the
STEM Scouting Spectacular on September 18 at the College of DuPage 

On October 16 and 17 all hams are invited to the Fort Massac Encampment
held at Fort Massac State Park in Metropolis, Illinois. They will be
operating special event station K9E. Local area amateurs will be
providing communications throughout the park on 2 meters.

We are always looking for amateurs to check into the traffic nets. It is
an excellent way to practice your message handling skills in case you
need them during a disaster. The nets can be found on 3912 kHz (M-F) at
7 a.m. local, 3857 kHz (M-F) at 4:30 p.m. local, 3905 kHz (every day) at
6 p.m. and 3940 kHz on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. Also don’t forget the
Illinois ARES net at 4:30 p.m. on 3905 kHz on the first and third Sunday
of each month with the audio simulcast on the WB0VTM-L Echolink site.

Until next month, be safe and remember to disconnect your antennas
during our storms.

ARRL Illinois Section
Section Manager: Dr Thomas H Beebe, W9RY
w9ry@arrl.org