Ham Operator Plate Renewal Problems at MA Registry of Motor Vehicles

Updated October 28, 2020 at 10:00 AM All Massachusetts hams with Ham Radio passenger special plates must renew their plate registration by the last day of November. Eastern MA ARRL staff are receiving reports of license plate renewal problems when attempting to use the online system. Apparently the Registry of Motor Vehicles’ computer system doesn’t recognize the “slash” representing the “lightning bolt” icon. For example, the call sign WX1XXX is actually coded in the system as “WX1/XXX”; KX1X is “KX1/X.” Renewal by phone DOES appear to work when you input the phone ID code listed on the application. Another ARRL …

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FCC Proposes to Reinstate Fees for Amateur Radio Licensees—Talking Points

From nediv.arrl.org: Amateur radio licensees would pay a $50 fee for each amateur radio license application if the FCC adopts rules it proposed [this past August]. Included in the FCC’s fee proposal are applications for new licenses, renewal and upgrades to existing licenses, and vanity call sign requests. Excluded are applications for administrative updates, such as changes of address, and annual regulatory fees. The FCC proposal is contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in MD Docket 20-270, which was adopted to implement portions of the “Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act” of 2018 — the …

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Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles is Not Processing Ham Operator Plate Applications

From EMA ARRL Section News, September 30, 2020: For almost a year now, the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles has been unable to process new “Ham Operator” special plate applications. According to one Western Massachusetts amateur who spoke to a DMV employee, “[…] the person I talked to informed me that this issue has been referred to the software company/vendor. No estimate has been placed on a resolution. She refused to tell me how many applications are being held up. I asked if there was anyone I could refer this to, she declined and said there was no one to …

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FCC Application Fee Proposal Proceeding is Open for Comments

From ARRL Web: 09/03/2020 – Comments are being accepted on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in MD Docket 20-270, which proposes application fees for radio amateurs. Formal deadlines for comments and reply comments will be determined once the NPRM appears in the Federal Register. Comments may be filed now, however, by using the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), posting to MD Docket No. 20-270. The docket is already open for accepting comments, even though deadlines have not yet been set.

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FCC Proposes to Reinstate Amateur Radio Service Fees

From the ARRL Website, 08/28/2020: Amateur radio licensees would pay a $50 fee for each amateur radio license application if the FCC adopts rules it proposed this week. Included in the FCC’s fee proposal are applications for new licenses, renewal and upgrades to existing licenses, and vanity call sign requests. Excluded are applications for administrative updates, such as changes of address, and annual regulatory fees. The FCC proposal is contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in MD Docket 20-270, which was adopted to implement portions of the “Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act” of 2018 …

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“Framingham residents successful in fight to halt ham radio tower construction. For now.”

From Framingham Wicked Local, Posted Jan 9, 2020 at 6:37 PM Updated Jan 10, 2020 at 7:30 AM by Jeannette Hinkle: FRAMINGHAM – The radio tower that Mikhail Filippov wants to build is 80 feet tall. It would be made of extra-strength steel. It would pick up frequencies that allow him to speak with people as far away as Moscow, even in a communications blackout that cut off phone lines and internet. Filippov is an amateur ham radio operator who lives at 273 Prospect St., which is where he wants to build the tower. The city issued him a building permit, and Filippov started to …

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“Neighbors are fighting a Framingham man’s OK to erect an 80-foot ham radio tower”

From Wicked Local Framingham, December 10, 2019: FRAMINGHAM – Attorney Fred Hopengarten [K1VR] literally wrote the book on how to get a personal radio tower approved by your local government. It’s called: “Antenna Zoning for the Radio Amateur: Everything you and your attorney need to know to obtain a permit for your antenna-support system.” Prospect Street resident and licensed ham radio operator Mikhail Filippov [KD1MF] hired Hopengarten to help him convince the Zoning Board of Appeals to reject a challenge by a large group of neighbors who say the 80-foot radio tower Filippov wants to build in his yard is …

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IMPACT ON AMATEUR RADIO FROM DISTRACTED DRIVING BILL

Eastern Massachusetts Section Manager Tom Walsh, K1TW, writes on the ARRL Members Only mailing list on November 21, 2019 at 7:09 PM: The outpouring of concern statewide from the Amateur Radio Community regarding the impact of the Distracted Driving Law has gotten the attention of our Legislators on Beacon Hill in Boston.  Ray, KB1LRL, and Tom, K1TW,  wish to thank all the ARRL members in both Western and Eastern Massachusetts who communicated our concerns so effectively as a community to the Senators and Representatives and staff across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This afternoon Tom Walsh, K1TW, Eastern Massachusetts Section Manager …

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KB1QND: “Hands-free Driving Law” at Falmouth ARA, November 23, 2019

Henry Brown, K1WCC, writes on the Falmouth ARA Facebook page: Our local State Rep. Dave Vieira, KB1QND, will be present at Saturday’s [November 23, 2019 Falmouth Amateur Radio Association] meeting to explain the new hands-free driving law about to be signed by Gov. Baker. It’s important that we understand this law as it’s currently written. [See also: MA Distracted Driving Bill, Call to Action]

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Lawmakers approve ban on drivers using hand-held cellphones

From WCVB: BOSTON–Massachusetts drivers would no longer be able to use hand-held cellphones behind the wheel under a bill approved by state lawmakers. The Senate voted 38-1 in favor of the bill Wednesday. The House approved it on a 153-1 vote Tuesday. The legislation now heads to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker for his signature. Baker has expressed support for a ban on drivers using hand-held cellphones and filed a bill earlier this year that included similar language. Baker’s press secretary said Wednesday that the governor will carefully review the legislation. Hands-free cellphones would still be allowed. Massachusetts already bans texting …

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MA Distracted Driving Bill, Call to Action

Eastern MA Section Manager Tom Walsh, K1TW, and Western MA Section Manager Ray Lajoie, KB1LRL write: Based on information we have recently received, it may be time to contact your State Representatives concerning the MA Distracted Driving Bill.  Over the weekend, Ray, KB1LRL and Tom, K1TW posted on both the WMA and EMA websites the following news item: https://wma.arrl.org/ https://ema.arrl.org/2019/11/16/ma-lawmakers-announce-surprise-agreement-on-distracted-driving-legislation/ Concerns are being raised across the sections asking what the impact this bill has on amateur radio in the state.  Since the hands-free bills were first filed, Eastern Massachusetts ARRL State Government Liaison, Hank W4RIG, has  been closely coordinating with …

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Hands-free Legislation, November 19, 2019, Additional Update

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: On Tue, Nov 19, 2019 at 1:36 PM Tom Walsh <k1tw@comcast.net> writes: I have an update from the Eastern Massachusetts ARRL State Government Liaison (SGL), Hank W4RIG.  Hank reports he has been in touch with the staff at Senator Tarr’s office and they are not able to confirm there will be no impact on  amateur radio mobile operation.  My understanding is the problem results from the substitution in the final text from committee of the words “mobile electronic device” in place of  “mobile telephone”.  In the original wording,  the definition of a mobile telephone in Massachusetts General Law …

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Update on Hands-Free MA Legislation, November 19, 2019

ARRL Section Manager Tom Walsh, K1TW, writes on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 12:54 AM: “Eastern Massachusetts ARRL State Government Liaison, Hank W4RIG, is working the issue [of hands-free legislation].  Hank is also President of the Cape Anne Amateur Radio Association (CAARA) in Gloucester.  “Since the hands-free bills were first filed, Hank has been closely coordinating with Senator Bruce Tarr, who is the Massachusetts Senate Minority Leader and a radio amateur.  Previously the Senator’s office reported to Hank that Amateur Radio operation would not be impacted by earlier versions of the bill.  I believe this was based on the Massachusetts …

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N1DG Appointed to NOAA/US Fish and Wildlife Service Community Group

Don Greenbaum, N1DG, of Duxbury, Massachusetts, has been appointed to the NOAA/US Fish and Wildlife Service Community Group. He will participate in meetings to discuss the development of the Monument Management Plan that will provide for effective direction over the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM). He will serve as a citizen-at-large representative.  [Full story]

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MA Lawmakers Announce Surprise Agreement on Distracted Driving Legislation

WCVB.com: Boston — After several years and failed attempts, Massachusetts lawmakers have taken a major step toward enacting a law to restrict the use of handheld electronic devices by drivers. State Rep. Bill Straus and state Sen. Joe Boncore issued a statement late Friday (November 15, 2019) announcing the six-member conference committee had reached an agreement on the bill, although they did not reveal the text of the final compromise. […] In July, the committee appeared to have reached an impasse after Senate negotiators refused to sign off on details that House lawmakers thought had been resolved. Earlier that day, …

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Massachusetts Distracted Driving Legislation Stalled

WBZ/ CBS Boston reported House and Senate Democrats “failed to reach a compromise on long-discussed distracted driving legislation after a marathon session Wednesday [July 31, 2019], abandoning the issue about four hours after Senate President Karen Spilka said a resolution appeared imminent.” In its current form, the legislation–also known as the “handheld cellphone ban”–would exempt “federally-licensed 2-way radios” allowing for the unimpeded use of amateur radios in vehicles. [See also: Massachusetts Hands-free Mobile Device Legislation Update] Both branches held sessions open from Wednesday afternoon until after 12 a.m. Thursday in what was expected to be the last day before a …

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“Triple Play:” MA Hams Receive Amateur Radio Proclamations, Resolutions from House, Senate, and Governor

Massachusetts ARRL staff received copies of proclamations and resolutions congratulating the Amateur Radio community for its service to the Commonwealth, and for the upcoming annual Field Day exercise June 22-23, 2019.  The Massachusetts House of Representatives document “offers its sincerest congratulations to the American Radio Relay League in recognition of The ARRL Field Day and the Tireless Work of Amateur Radio Operators.” The document was signed by Robert A. DeLeo, Speaker of the House. The Massachusetts State Senate weighed in with a resolution, adopted May 9, 2019. “[The Senate] extends its appreciation to Amateur Radio operators as they celebrate Amateur …

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Driver Hand-Held Cellphone Ban Moves Closer To Becoming Law

BOSTON (AP), June 6 — A bill that would bar Massachusetts drivers from using hand-held cellphones behind the wheel has moved one step closer to becoming law. The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday voted unanimously to approve the bill that would also ramp up the collection of data on traffic stops around the state, after concerns were raised by minority legislators that a cellphone law could lead to more racial profiling. [Full story] See also: Massachusetts Hands-Free Mobile Device Legislation Update  

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Massachusetts Hands-free Mobile Device Legislation Update

Hands-free mobile device legislation moved one step closer to becoming law, passing in the Massachusetts House on May 16. But by all accounts Amateur Radio operation while driving will remain unaffected. Eastern Massachusetts section staff who have been in touch with legislative aides in both the House and Senate have learned the language that defines mobile devices will continue to exempt “federally-licensed 2-way radios.” “MGL Chapter 90 Section 13 provides for the use of a federally licensed 2-way radio while driving. The hands-free bill being considered (House Bill 3793) does not alter this provision,” according to a staffer in Rep. Ferrante’s office. …

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