FCC Opens 630 & 2,200 Meter Bands

630 Meter Ham BandAs we reported here last March, two new ham bands were recently authorized by the FCC here in the United States. Since then, we have been waiting for publication of the rules in the Federal Register, and that time has finally come.

Stations cannot immediately start transmitting between 472 kHz. through 479 kHz or between 135.7 kHz and 137.8 kHz. First of all, the soonest one can transmit is 30 days after the aforementioned publication which was dated September 15, 2017. Additionally, ALL amateurs wishing to use these new Low Frequency (LF) and Medium Frequency (MF) bands must  notify the Utilities Technology Council (UTC) that they plan to do so. According to the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), if the UTC does not respond within 30 days, [licensed hams] may commence operation.

You can notify the UTC via the following website:  https://utc.org/plc-database-amateur-notification-process

If the UTC does not object to your use of these new frequencies from your specified antenna location within 30 days, then you may commence operation. So, the needed 30-day waiting period after publication in the Federal Register will run concurrently with that same period that one must wait to hear from the Utilities Technology Council. So, assuming one notified the UTC on September 15, 2017, and they receive no objections from them, then it’s safe to say that the earliest we can expect to use these new bands would be Sunday, October 15, 2017. It is not known whether the UTC will notify hams saying that they can operate on those bands. It will most likely be a “no news is good news” type of situation.

According to the ARRL, The FCC Part 97 rules that will apply to these new bands are: Part 97.3, 97.15(c), 97.301(b) through (d), 97.303(g), 97.305(c), and 97.313(k) and (l), which do not require OMB approval.

In a nutshell, here are a few requirements and restrictions for 630 meters and 2,200 meters:

1) You cannot operate portable or mobile! You may only transmit from a fixed antenna whose coordinates are registered and approved by the Utilities Technology Council (UTC). If you plan to transmit from more than one location, you must first notify the UTC of each specific antenna location. If a location is objected to, then you may not transmit from said location.

2) Only General and above licensees may transmit on 630 meters and 2,200 meters.

3) On 2,200 meters, the maximum Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power (EIRP) is 1 watt with a maximum transmitter Peak Envelope Power of 1,500 watts allowed.

4) On 630 meters, the the maximum Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power (EIRP) is 5 watts with a maximum transmitter Peak Envelope Power of 500 watts allowed (except in parts of Alaska within 800 kilometers (approximately 496 miles) of Russia, where the maximum is 1 watt EIRP) still with a maximum transmitter Peak Envelope Power of 500 watts allowed.
EIRP refers to the effective power output when antenna gain is factored in. Given the very long wavelengths on these bands, most antennas will be very inefficient and will thus have negative gain. So, most hams will most likely be able to transmit a PEP of 100 watts or maybe more while remaining well below the EIRP limits of 1 watt and 5 watts on 2,200 meters are 630 meters respectively.

5) Maximum antenna height is 60 meters (about 196 feet) above ground.
Most folks will not come close to putting an antenna up this high.

6) Emission Types Allowed: CW (international Morse code telegraphy), RTTY (narrow-band direct-printing telegraphy), data, phone, and image emissions.
The FCC’s allowance of telephony (aka: phone or SSB voice) is surprising given the narrow bandwidth of both of these bands, especially 2,200 meters. In their Report and Order dated September 15, 2017, the FCC says, “These emission types provide amateur operators with maximum flexibility, and we find that additional restrictions would needlessly hinder experimentation.” This is a commendable stance on the part of the FCC, and experimentation is indeed what will be required in order to squeeze an analog voice transmission into 2.1 kHz. of spectrum on 2,200 meters.

7) We must not cause harmful interference to, and must accept interference from, stations authorized by the United States Government in the fixed and maritime mobile services and stations authorized by other nations in the fixed, maritime mobile, and radionavigation services.

8) We may not communicate with holders of experimental licenses on these frequencies, and they may not communicate with us. According to the FCC, “Amateur operations in these bands currently authorized under experimental licenses should transition their operations in accordance with the adopted rules and not circumvent such rules by use of experimental licenses.”

9) Automatically controlled stations are permitted on these new bands!

For more details, you can view the FCC’s Report and Order pertaining to this article by clicking here.

And to view the latest edition of Part 97 Rules, you can visit the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations Website for Part 97.

Good luck on our newest amateur radio bands!

GOOD NEWS: 145.49 Repeater Back On Air!

145.49 MHz. Repeater is On the AirWe are thrilled to report that the 145.49 MHz. repeater is back on the air today following a major antenna and coaxial feed line failure earlier this month. For the time being, we are using a temporary, bare-bones setup. It does work, and it will get the job done. EchoLink appears to be working as well, so the N0NWS-R EchoLink node should function properly with a few minor differences in sound quality.

As a result, the Skywarn Training Net for, Tuesday, September 12, 2017, is scheduled to take place starting at 7:00 p.m. Central. Please be sure to join Jim, N0UAM on the air and check in.

We thank you for your patience during this challenging time. There is much work ahead to restore the 145.49 MHz. repeater (which is the hub of our Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn Repeater Network) back to its full capacity. Please stay tuned.

URGENT: Sunday Nets Cancelled Tonight!

The Springfield E.R.C.Net and the Skywarn Youth Net for today, Sunday, September 10, 2017, have been cancelled.

The 145.490 MHz. N0NWS Repeater is currently operating at extremely low power following failure of its antenna system earlier this month.

We are hoping to have a temporary setup in place sometime on Tuesday. As such, there is a chance that we will be able to resume our net schedule in time for the Skywarn Training Net on Tuesday, September 12, 2017.

At this time there is no severe weather expected for the next 7 days. The latest Forecast Discussion from the National Weather Service in Springfield says “we will have some rain chances into our eastern counties late Tuesday/Tuesday night/early Wednesday” as the remnants of Hurricane Irma are expected to shift northwest into western Tennessee by Tuesday night.

Thank you for your patience. Rest assured, we are working fervently to resolve this matter. Please continue to watch for future email blasts and check our website at www.N0NWS.com often for the latest updates.

URGENT: Training Net Cancelled Tonight!

Due to catastrophic failure of the antenna and coaxial feed line system on the 145.49 MHz. repeater in Fordland, Missouri, the Skywarn Training Net for today, Tuesday, September 5, 2017, has been cancelled.

If we are unable to return the 145.49 MHz. repeater to the air later this week, we will be forced to cancel the Sunday evening E.R.C. Net as well as the Skywarn Youth Net for this coming weekend. Future net cancellations will be announced going forward.

At this time there is no severe weather predicted for the next 7 days. In fact, the latest Forecast Discussion from the National Weather Service in Springfield states that “there is no sight of rain chances through at least the next 7 to 10 days”.

Thank you for your patience as we work diligently to resolve this matter. Please watch for future email blasts and check this website often for the latest updates.

145.49 Repeater On Low Power – UPDATE

Technical DifficultiesUpdated on 9/2/17: The output power on the 145.49 MHz. N0NWS repeater has been boosted by about 6.6 dB. Ideally, we would like to see it go up by another 8.5 dB. However, this boost is enough to allow the Branson repeater at 147.105 MHz. as well as the other repeaters in the network to remain linked in reliably. This 6.6 dB boost should also make it a lot easier to hear the 145.49 MHz. repeater in outlying areas. Thank you for your patience.

Original story:
The 145.49 MHz. N0NWS repeater is currently transmitting on low power following the failure of its final power amplifier stage on Tuesday evening. While the repeater is in this mode, you may find it difficult to hear the output especially in areas that are shaded from the Fordland tower. Additionally, some of our outlying affiliate repeaters such as the Branson 147.105 MHz repeater, the Joplin 145.35 MHz. repeater and the Laurie/Lake of the Ozarks 146.955 MHz. repeater may have difficulty receiving link audio. In fact, the Branson repeater is currently not able to link in during this low power operation.

Mike, N0NQW, the trustee of the 145.49 repeater is aware of the problem, and he will restore the Fordland repeater to full power as soon as possible.

In the meantime, if you are unable to use the system due to this amp failure, you are encouraged to log in via our EchoLink node at N0NWS-R or 291849.

We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.

New Logo

Those of you who visited our tables and saw our banner at the Joplin Hamfest last weekend got a sneak preview of the new logo for the Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn Repeater Network. Starting today, we are rolling out this new design across all of our online portals including this website at www.n0nws.com, our social media pages, and our e-mail blasts.

We believe this new design is easier to read on all devices including smartphones and that the wording on it better-represents our position as a very wide-area coverage linked repeater network which is dedicated to helping the National Weather Service to protect lives and property throughout the Springfield, Missouri County Warning Area.

Temperature Change During the Eclipse


The following video illustrates the temperature change observed and recorded in Saint Clair, Missouri during the August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. Two thermometers were used to simultaneously measure the temperature in direct sunlight and in the shade.The video uses a line graph to plot the change in temperature over time which is listed in UTC.

At our exact location in St. Clair, Missouri, the solar eclipse started at 11:48 a.m. Central (1648 UTC) on Monday, August 21, 2017. Totality started at exactly 1:15:44 p.m. Central (18:15:44 UTC), and it lasted exactly 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

The temperature in direct sunlight seemed to react the fastest to the eclipse dropping more than 10 degrees in 40 minutes between 12:20 and 1 pm Central Time.
Meanwhile, in that same span of time, the temperature in the shade dropped about 2.5 degrees.

While the temperature dropped one degree in one minute after totality started, interestingly, it didn’t bottom out until after totality ended and the sun began returning. In fact, it took more than 15 minutes after totality ended for the temperature to start rising again!

As the eclipse coverage became less and less, the temperature seemed to rise about as fast as it fell.

Here are the final temperature changes that we recorded during the August 21st, 2017 total solar eclipse in Saint Clair, Missouri:

Direct Sunlight: Temperature dropped 19.1 degrees in 1 hour and 16 minutes going from 107.8 degrees down to 88.7 degrees. It later rose 22.2 degrees 1 hour and 7 minutes after totality ended rising from 88.7 degrees to 110.9 degrees.

Shade: The temperature fell 8.3 degrees in 1 hour and 16 minutes going from 95.2 degrees down to 86.9 degrees. It later rebounded by exactly 8.3 degrees in 1 hour and 7 minutes after totality ended rising from 86.9 degrees right back to 95.2 degrees.

Temperature readings were taken by Caleb, KE0FOE and George KJ6TQ. Video editing and production was by George KJ6TQ, and narration was by Caleb, KE0FOE.

Thank you for watching the Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn YouTube Channel. Please subscribe to it.

Joplin Hamfest This Weekend

Joplin Hamfest* Update: We have received a notice from MTC Radio that they will not be attending the Joplin Hamfest this year.

Arguably the best and certainly the biggest hamfest in Southwest Missouri takes place next weekend in Joplin. The Joplin Hamfest, sponsored by the Joplin Amateur Radio Club, will draw in hundreds (or even thousands) of people from all over Missouri and surrounding states. Commercial vendors such as Icom America, *MTC Radio, WB0W, and many more will join dozens of private sellers this year. Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn will have a couple of tables this year at the Joplin Hamfest. We will be near the front close to the A.R.R.L. Please stop by and say hello. There will be some used equipment for sale at our tables. Please note that all proceeds from the sale of this equipment will go directly toward supporting our linked repeater network. We will also have a donation jar at our tables, and all contributions are appreciated.

This year’s Joplin Hamfest starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday, August 26th and ends around 3 p.m. Entry tickets cost $10 at the door. Advanced online ticket purchases are $8 per person and can be made until Friday, August 25th.

Marvin, NA0OO, tells us that the Joplin Amateur Radio Club is considering going back to a two-day Friday and Saturday format for future hamfests. Club officials have created an online survey, and they would like for you to let them know your thoughts on this idea. You can click here to cast your vote. You do not need to be a member of the Joplin Amateur Radio Club to vote.

The Joplin Hamfest will take place at the Joplin Convention & Trade Center in Joplin, Missouri. Take I-44 to Exit 8 which is Rangeline Road. Go north for about 500 feet, and turn right onto Hammons Blvd. Pass Olive Garden and Sam’s Club, and the location will be straight ahead – you can’t miss it. You can use the interactive Google Map below to help. For more information, visit the Joplin Hamfest website at: www.joplinhamfest.org

Solar Eclipse Experiment

2017 Solar Eclipse ExperimentNot surprisingly, a total solar eclipse that occurs during midday does indeed affect the weather. If you are a Twitter user, please follow Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn on Twitter @SWMOwx (if you don’t already). We will try to broadcast live video from the center of the path of totality on Monday if mobile data service allows. It is possible that the mobile data networks will be overloaded during this event, so, if we are unable to send out live video updates, you can watch them after the fact on our forthcoming YouTube Channel. Click here to subscribe to it.

The National Weather Service plans several weather balloon launches before, during, and after the passage of the moon’s shadow to measure the effects of the midday darkness at various levels of our atmosphere. We plan to chart the changes in temperature on the ground at our location both in direct sunlight and in the shade as the eclipse progresses. We will also note any changes in the wind and in the behavior of any nearby animals such as birds and bats as well as bugs such as crickets and katydids.

Whether you watch our Twitter Live video streams or watch the archive on YouTube, you’ll get to see what we observe during this event. Thank you for watching.

And if you have any notes, photos, and/or videos you would like to share with us, please send them to: webmaster@n0nws.com

Eclipse Cloud Cover Forecast

2017 Solar Eclipse Cloud Cover ForecastIt has been a long time since something scientific has received as much fanfare from the mainstream media as this Monday’s upcoming total solar eclipse. It’s like this is Woodstock for science geeks, and we have front row seats! A huge share of our country’s population will get to witness solar eclipse totality for the first time in their lives, and now the biggest question is: will the weather cooperate? Ideally the best weather would be crystal clear skies from horizon to horizon. Unfortunately, there is nary a summer afternoon here in the Show Me State without at least a few set decorations in the sky. Of course a different perspective could be gained underneath thick cloud cover when even the small traces of daylight remaining during the two-and-a-half-minute-long darkness would undoubtedly be filtered making the midday virtually become like midnight instead of twilight. No matter what the weather, anyone in the path of totality is in for quite a treat on Monday afternoon.

Now, if you are wondering where the chances are higher for the clearest skies on Monday, please join us for the Skywarn Youth Net on Sunday evening starting at 7:30 p.m. Central on most of the Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn Repeater Network repeaters and EchoLink Node N0NWS-R. Scott, KE6ITF, a credentialed meteorologist who specializes in agricultural forecasting in Oklahoma, will join us on the air with a special Eclipse Cloud Cover Forecast.

You can also visit the website of the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Springfield, Missouri for their latest forecast updates for Monday by clicking here: http://www.weather.gov/sgf/

If you’re free on Monday and want to find where the exact path of totality will pass, you can use this neat Google Map application which plots the entire eclipse from coast to coast.

REMEMBER: Damage to your eyes from improperly looking at the sun is cumulative and lasting. Make sure to wear proper protective eyewear if you plan to look directly at the sun. Going outside and looking around at shadows and even up at the sky does not require protection. However, looking directly at the sun does!

We hope this is a fun and educational time for you and yours. We will get to do it all again in 2024!