July 1998

Last quarter I discussed the impact change was having on the Amateur Radio Service, and our need to be prepared to manage it for the good it can bring. If you didn't read that set of Comments, may I suggest you find your April Meeting Bulletin or connect to our Web Page at and read them now. There are some trends developing in Amateur Radio that need to be addressed, and the impact of change is right in the middle of what we are facing. Recognizing that most of my audience here is the choir, I still ask that you to read what I have to say because if those of us who are active in the Amateur Radio Service don't recognize these trends and do something, no one else will.

The first is the trend toward being a User. User can mean many things but my reference here is in terms of always being a "taker" and never a "giver". Amateur Radio has a lot for you to receive (enjoy) but if we are not careful it may all be taken before we know it. The current assault on two-thirds of the 420-450 MHz. UHF Band by the LMCC is just one of the more obvious examples of what we could lose. (And we thought the loss of two Megs from the 220 Band was an impact.) The protection we once had in sharing Government Frequencies is now in fact a liability, but frequencies are not all we are losing. The significant shift to use of Family Radio Service frequencies for public service activities needs to be understood. What has happened to participation in Amateur Radio Public Service?

I believe apathy will be the devil that does us in if we let it. Participation is the key to keeping a strong Amateur Radio Service. "Giving" once in a while will make all the difference in the world in our fight to maintain our frequencies and privileges. How much are they worth to you? Clearly, the best defense we will have to the LMCC attack is a demonstration of the negative impact such a loss would have to the Amateur Service, and to the society it serves. We are organized well here because of the ARRL, the UHF Spectrum Management groups, and the special interest groups like ATV that exist across the Nation. Thankfully, the ARRL and these groups have been strong enough to organize a good response. But are you aware of the relative strength of the ARRL to where it has been? Are you aware of the drop in participation in Spectrum Management and special interest groups? Radio Clubs? Do you realize that fewer and fewer of today's Amateurs appreciate the importance of supporting these activities? My case in point is that despite the obvious growth of 222 MHz. activity in Southern California, the number of Amateurs participating in the 220SMA is as low as it has been in over a decade. When I ask both old timers, and new users to the Band, why they don't belong to the 220SMA, almost every one tells me they don't have time. No one complains about the dues, most even complement us on how we operate, very few have anything negative to say about the Officers or Board members. They just aren't interested enough!

So if you agree that we need more participation in order to be ready for the attacks that are going to occur against our frequencies and privileges. If you believe that organizing and making effective use of the 219 and 222 MHz. Bands is important to our ability to retain the allocations, and if you agree that only those of us already participating can do anything to get others to participate, then what do we do? How do we get others interested? Probably the most important way is to share your concerns about the life of the Amateur Service. Make sure others know that strength is in organized numbers. Not everyone will be able to participate in every worthwhile activity, but it is not difficult to support the 220SMA. Membership is the starting step. Attendance at a General Meeting every twelve weeks isn't very difficult and is usually very informative. Participation on a Board or Committee will really make you feel like part of the solution.

The technology changes I have discussed in the last few Comments columns offer us some of the most exciting challenges we could possibly face. These are issues the new breed of Amateur born into a digital world can really sink his teeth into. The 220SMA is looking for Amateurs eager to tackle the communications world of tomorrow.

220SMA ON THE WEB -- -- Yes, we are on a UNIX server and our URL should be entered in "tinywrite" (lowercase). Sorry to those who had trouble with the uppercase example last quarter. If you are a 220SMA member and don't know the "Members ONLY" password, drop me an e-mail.

GENERAL MEMBERSHIP APPEAL HEARING-- An important Appeal Hearing will be held at the General Meeting in July. All members are needed in attendance to vote and decide this Coordination issue. Significant Association Policy is established as a result of such Hearings and your participation is very important.

COORDINATION PROCESS IMPROVEMENT COMMITTEE(S) -- We have some areas which need improvement that the Coordination Boards have not successfully addressed. I plan on appointing some teams to work the issues of a band planning process, coordination procedures, and data base maintenance. I need some seasoned veterans and few newcomers with good ideas. Please call me if I don't call you first.

ARRL SWD CONVENTION -- I hope everyone is planning on attending the convention in San Diego on August 14, 15, & 16. There will be another of our exciting Spectrum Management and Repeater Coordination Forums on Saturday at 2 PM. Please join us if you can, and ask me for a Membership Application Form for your friend.

See you at the July General Meeting. Please share your ideas with me on how we can improve.

Jim Fortney _ K6IYK@K6TZ _ _ P.O. Box 3419, Camarillo, CA 93011-3419