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Default The ARRL Letter, Vol 28, No 32 (Friday, August 14, 2009)

The ARRL Letter
Vol. 28, No. 32
August 14, 2009


* ARRL President Harrison Presents League's Views on Distracted
Driving Laws to Safety Advocacy Group
* ARRL Responds to FCC's Proposed Allocation for Medical Devices in 70
cm Band
* ARRL Executive Committee Approves Eight Education & Technology
Program Grants
* QEX: Look for the September/October 2009 Issue
* Cutting Edge ARRL Contest Runs this Weekend
* Amateur Radio Station WX4NHC Featured in National Commercial
* 7O1YGF Operation Approved for DXCC Credit
* Solar Update
This Week on the Radio
ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration
RadioShack Rebranding Itself as THE SHACK
FCC: Vanity Call Sign Fees to Increase September 10
Mickey "Santa Claus" Hicks, WO6T (SK)

There will be no ARRL Audio News for Friday, August 14. The ARRL Audio
News will return on Friday, August 21.

================================================== =========
==Delivery problems: First see FAQ, then e-mail

==Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA

================================================== =========


To ensure that Amateur Radio is not an unintended victim of the growing
public debate over what to do about distracted drivers, ARRL President
Joel Harrison, W5ZN, has written a letter to the National Safety Council
(NSC), highlighting issues regarding the use of
Amateur Radio emergency communications devices in vehicles Many states have
outlawed the use of cell phones while driving; some states with these
laws have ambiguous wording (such as "mobile communication devices" or
"mobile electronic devices") concerning the use of Amateur Radio while

According to their Web site, the NSC is "on a mission" to "alert the
American public that different kinds of distractions have different
levels of crash risk. Talking on a cell phone and sending text messages
are much higher risk activities that occur for longer durations and with
more people than most other actions engaged in while driving." They also
seek to "lead a change in our nation's cultural norms, so people come to
view cell phone conversations and text messaging while driving as unsafe
and socially unacceptable. Calling for a legislative ban on these
activities is the first step in a long-term process to educate Americans
to their risk and change the culture"

Harrison explained to NSC President Janet Froetscher that Amateur Radio
operators provide essential emergency communications when regular
communications channels are disrupted by disaster: "Through formal
agreements with federal agencies, such as the National Weather Service,
FEMA and private relief organizations, the Amateur Radio volunteers
protect lives using their own equipment without compensation. The
ability of hams to communicate and help protect the lives of those in
danger would be strictly hindered if the federal, state and local
governments to not ensure that Amateur Radio operators can continue the
use of their mobile radios while on the road."

According to ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, it boils
down to the difference between simplex -- when only one message can be
sent in either direction at one time -- and duplex -- a communications
mode, such as a telephone system, that provides simultaneous
transmission and reception in both directions. Harrison, citing Sumner's
40-plus years of experience as an Amateur Radio operator, puts it this
way: "Simplex, two-way radio operation is simply different than duplex,
cell phone use. Two-way radio operation in moving vehicles has been
going on for decades without highway safety being an issue. The fact
that cell phones have come along does not change that."

Harrison attached a copy of the ARRL's Policy Statement on Mobile
Amateur Radio Operation to the letter to the NSC. "Amateur Radio mobile
operation is ubiquitous, and Amateur Radio emergency and public service
communications, and other organized Amateur Radio communications
activities and networks necessitate operation of equipment while some
licensees are driving motor vehicles," the Policy Statement reads.
"Two-way radio use is dissimilar from full-duplex cellular telephone
communications because the operator spends little time actually
transmitting; the time spent listening is more similar to, and arguably
less distracting than, listening to a broadcast radio, CD or MP3 player.
There are no distinctions to be made between or among Amateur Radio,
public safety land mobile radio, private land mobile radio or citizen's
radio in terms of driver distraction. All are distinguishable from
mobile cellular telephone communications in this respect. Nevertheless,
ARRL encourages licensees to conduct Amateur communications from motor
vehicles in a manner that does not detract from the safe and attentive
operation of a motor vehicle at all times. See the Policy Statement on
the ARRL Web site:

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