April 1998

Last year at this time I discussed how the face of Amateur Radio was changing at a faster pace than we had seen in several years. I mentioned how the influx of new Hams due to the no-code license and the FCC's actions in frequency reallocation and vanity callsigns were having major impacts. Although the rate of new Amateurs has now slowed some, the other forces, both internal and external, continue to press upon the fabric of Amateur Radio. My primary message is once again that we need to be sure we are ready to manage those changes that are coming.

Last year I discussed how important it was that we get as many 220 MHz. operators involved in the Association as possible. I had set a goal of doubling the membership by year's end and asked for your help in obtaining that goal. Although we brought in several new members, we certainly didn't achieve our mark. My plea once again is for those of you who care for this hobby, and especially the special environment we have on 220 MHz., to join together and help us prepare for the changes that are coming. Talk to your friends and others who share the same concerns for where our hobby is going, and ask them to get involved. Discuss the importance of Spectrum Management with the new Amateurs you meet on the Band, and help them understand why the Association exists. Encourage them to join us at one of our meetings. Along with local Radio clubs, the 220SMA is one of the best vehicles available to help get the new Amateur involved, and to help us manage those changes that are coming.

DIGITAL RADIO -- The digital world is continuing to evolve and aspects of it are having important impacts upon us. The Internet has both drawn away some interest, and at the same time brought about new interest in the Amateur Service. Packet Radio as we saw it in the early 90's is diminishing, but at the same time totally new implementations and applications are being found for the technology. New radios no longer contain many of the "stages" we thought were basic to receiving and transmitting, instead they have some digital IC that performs the same function in a totally new way. Weak signal work used to mean CW and Beacons in a (hopefully) quiet portion of the spectrum. Today modern forms of digital modulation, forward error correction schemes, and DSP-based receivers make weak signal experimentation possible even when there are no quiet zones. The impact of digital based communications will be upon us before we know it. Will we be ready? Will we be prepared?

220SMA ON THE WEB -- <HTTP://WWW.220SMA.ORG> -- While on the subject of digital stuff, let me say thank you to the many members who have commented about how they like our Web site. This quarter we made additional changes suggested by the membership and they seem to be very well received. Wanting to insure that we share important Association information with the "world", and at the same time make sure that 220SMA membership carries with it the maximum value possible, a new MEMBERS ONLY section was added to our site. All of the latest Coordination Board reports can be found there, along with the Association governing documents and other special items. Members identifying e-mail capability are automatically informed of the required information to allow access, and other Association members desiring access can contact the Treasurer to obtain the required information. The 220SMA Coordinated Repeater List is still available from the public Web page.

ASSOCIATION OFFICERS -- The 220SMA officers serving you this year are listed on the front page of the Bulletin. As you can see several of us are back to serve you again. However, we do have a new Vice President and I want to say how pleased I am to have Don Olejnick, W6KAT, as part of our team. Please support Don when he calls on you for help.

CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS -- Included in the copies of the Bulletin mailed to members is an updated copy of our Constitution and By-laws. All changes made since the 1996 distribution, including the January 1998 revisions, have been incorporated.

GENERAL MEMBERSHIP APPEAL HEARINGS -- Members have the right to appeal findings of the Coordination Boards per By-Laws Article IV, Section 7. The Appeal Hearing listed under New Business was requested in compliance with these requirements. Significant Association policy is established as a result of such Hearings and your participation is very important. Everyone is encouraged to attend this Hearing.

NATIONAL FREQUENCY COORDINATORS' COUNCIL (NFCC) -- The NFCC is alive and functioning. An initial Standards Document was finally approved and membership was established during March. Thirty-four coordination entities across the nation officially joined the NFCC as Charter Members. The 220SMA, along with TASMA and SCRRBA, were among those signing up. Although we have some concerns about how the Council has been operated during the start-up phase, it is believed that we can have more influence working from within the organization than from outside. The first priority of the new Board is to draft a Proposal for Rule Making for submittal to the FCC. This proposal is intended to incorporate language into Part 97 that officially recognizes the role of Regional Amateur Radio Coordinators and requires that Amateurs operating repeater and auxiliary stations obtain coordination in areas where coordination services are operating. I will continue to serve as the Primary Representative to the NFCC from the 220SMA. I have named Walt Diem, W6CWD, as our Secondary Representative.

I look forward to seeing you at the April meeting. Please share your ideas with me on how we can improve.

Jim Fortney K6IYK@K6IYK P.O. Box 3419, Camarillo, CA 93011-3419