Ham Club Tips: How to Ruin Your Hamfest

How to Ruin Your Hamfest (swapmeet)

  1. Find someone that is completely unfamiliar with your state AND cannot read a map.  Then put him in charge of hamfest “talk-in”.  Your club can earn bonus points if this person drinks an entire fifth of whiskey before the doors open.
  2. If you unfortunately find that the only volunteer to run “talk-in” can actually read a map it is permissible to use this volunteer.  He must, however, be provided with maps that use names for all roads which do not match roadsigns.  For example, the hamfest is on U.S. Highway 441 and all intersection signs show 441, the “talk-in” volunteer shall only refer to this as “Range Line Road”.  The words “four fourty one” must never be uttered.
  3. The “talk-in” frequency should be included in all notices and flyers for your hamfest.  HOWEVER, the CTCSS tone frequency required for this repeater must be mis-printed.  If the correct CTCSS tone is accidentally printed, you should change the CTCSS frequency the morning of the hamfest.
  4. Determine who is the most hard-of-hearing in your club.  Have this person make the announcements on the P.A. system inside the building for hourly drawings.  During the announcements, you shall watch the reaction of the attendees; if less than half have their fingers stuck in their ears, the P.A. is much too quiet.
  5. Encourage a local radio or electronics related business to donate a dozen items for your hourly prize drawings.  Not all of these items must be given away by hourly drawing;  any donated items that are not specifically listed in the printed hamfest announcements may be kept by the hamfest chairman.
  6. Determine how many swap tables can be set up in your building; for this calculation you will allow rooom in the aisles for wheel-chairs and clusters of conversants.  Set up twice this many tables; this will cause congestion in the aisles, providing opportunities for photographs that are misleading showing huge crowds that you can use for next year’s hamfest.
  7. The hamfest must start before sunrise.  Ideally, the doors should open so early that all attendees will have to drive over the night before and sleep in the parking lot.  Under no circumstances should attendees have time for breakfast or to even drive to the event on opening day.
  8. Invite lots of vendors that sell dolls, jewelry, video games, blankets
  9. Encourage all commercial vendors to set up yellow flashing lights on their table.  The light should be exactly 5′ 9” above the ground so that it shines in everyone’s eyes.
  10. Under no circumstances should any official from your club send a thank you note to volunteers, spouses, or anyone that donated items.

$2,800,000 fine for bogus “amateur radio” transmitters for drones

June 5, 2018, the FCC announced a $2.8 million fine against Hobby King for repeatedly selling mis-identified un-certified transmitters.  The transmitters, mostly, were advertised for sending live video from unmanned aircraft back to the ground for viewing by the U.A.S. operator.

Hobby King misled website visitors into believing that these transmitters were compliant with FCC regulations for use by licensed Amateur Radio Operators.  The transmitters did not even operate on frequencies which are available to licensed operators!

The FCC had looked into the matter and corresponded with Hobby King in the past.  F.C.C. informed Hobby King that these devices were not compliant and that they should immediately cease selling them.  Well, you get warned, you keep doing something illegal, and eventually, it is going to cost you big-time !

The full F.C.C. Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) can be read here.

In case you would like to know who the money-hungry scoff-law is (without reading the whole FCC N.A.L. ….

“… this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture shall be sent by first class mail and certified mail, return receipt requested, to Mr. Anthony Hand, Owner and Director, ABC Fulfillment Services LLC, via registered agent Davies Pearson, P.C.,P.O. Box 1657, 920 Fawcett Ave, Tacoma, WA 98401-1657; and Mr. Anthony Hand, Owner and Director, Indubitably, Inc. via Corporation Service Company, Registered Agent, 2711 Centerville Rd., Suite 400, Wilmington, DE 19808-1645; and Rebecca Larson, Esq., Davies Pearson, P.C., attorney for ABC Fulfillment Services LLC and Indubitably, Inc., 920 Fawcett Avenue, P.O. Box 1657, Tacoma, Washington 98401-1657.”

FCC confiscates equipment from N.Y. pirate broadcaster

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2018
Taking action against a pirate radio operator, Federal Communications Commission agents, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Marshals Service, seized radio transmission equipment from an unauthorized radio station on April 10, which was operating illegally in Manhattan.  The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has been leading an effort to crack down on this illegal activity, resulting in unlawful broadcasts going off the air, seizure of equipment, fines against pirates, proposed fines against pirates and property owners actively aiding pirate radio operations, and numerous other enforcement actions.

“Pirate radio stations are illegal, as they operate without an FCC license, and cause real harm. 
These stations can cause interference to legitimate, licensed broadcasters and can prevent those broadcasters from delivering critical public-safety information to listeners,” said Rosemary Harold, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.  “We are pursuing multiple legal routes to stop pirate broadcasters and this seizure action in Manhattan is one of them. We thank our partners in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Marshals Service, and we’re particularly thankful for the great work of FCC field agents in combatting this problem.” 

“Rumba FM,” which broadcast on 95.3 FM from a high-rise apartment building in Manhattan, was operating without an FCC license, as required by law. The FCC issued multiple warnings to the illegal operators but the radio station continued to broadcast. Pursuant to a federal court order, authorities seized equipment operated by the illegal radio station at that station’s antenna location on St. Nicholas Avenue in Manhattan.


The Communications Act of 1934 prohibits the operation of radio broadcasting equipment above certain low-intensity thresholds without a license issued by the FCC. The Act authorizes the seizure and forfeiture of any electronic or radio frequency equipment used to broadcast without an FCC license. The number of available radio frequencies is limited, and unlicensed broadcasting can interfere with the broadcasting of legitimate licensed radio stations, potentially causing chaos in the radio spectrum.


In an action to seize a pirate radio station’s equipment, the FCC performs the initial investigation. Once the FCC has built a case against the station, the matter is referred to the relevant U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is then responsible for filing the case and obtaining a warrant to seize the illegal radio equipment from the court. The U.S. Marshals Service is responsible for executing the warrant and seizing the pirate radio station equipment, with FCC personnel provide technical assistance during the seizure.

Another possible cause of T.V.I. ?

“T V I” means Tele Vision Interference.  

The most common causes of TVI are bad powerline insulators, poorly designed LED bulb circuits, poorly designed transmitters.  And, sometimes, the receiver is just overloaded by a nearby strong transmitted signal.

I think I found another source of TVI when I stopped in Douglas, Wyoming and spotted this.

It’s just a cellphone snapshot, I wish I had a better image for you.   But in the center of the image you can see a UHF television receiver antenna….  and it is mounted directly to the radiating element of an 11 meter CB transmitter antenna.

How to select the proper fuse for your circuit

Found a good article on selecting fuses for your project on a website called “Power Electronics”

Here is a snippet from that article, listing the design factors explained in the article.

Proper selection of an input fuse for a dc-dc converter involves 
understanding and consideration of the following factors:
 1. Voltage Rating
 2. Current Rating
 3. Interrupting Rating
 4. Temperature Derating
 5. Melting Integral (I2t)
 6. Maximum Circuit Fault Current
 7. Required Agency Approvals
 8. Mechanical Considerations

Largest FCC Fine Ever ! For spoofing robocalls

96,000,000 Robocalls !

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2018—
The Federal Communications Commission today fined Adrian Abramovich $120 million for malicious spoofing that was part of his massive robocalling operation aimed at selling timeshares and other travel packages.  The caller ID spoofing operation made almost 100 million spoofed robocalls over three months. The Truth in Caller ID Act prohibits callers from deliberately falsifying caller ID information with the intent to harm or defraud consumers or unlawfully obtain something of value.
The FCC proposed this fine in the summer of 2017.  In response to the proposed fine, Mr. Abramovich claimed that he had no intent to cause harm, and that the proposed forfeiture amount was unconstitutional.  The Commission determined that the evidence did not support these claims and is imposing a fine in the amount originally proposed, the largest forfeiture ever imposed by the agency.

Mr. Abramovich, of Miami, Florida, or companies he controlled, spoofed 96 million robocalls in order to trick unsuspecting consumers into answering and listening to his advertising messages.  To increase the likelihood that consumers would answer his calls,  Mr. Abramovich’s operation made calls that appeared to be local—a practice known as “neighbor spoofing.”  The messages indicated that the calls came from well-known travel or hospitality companies such as Marriott, Expedia, Hilton, and TripAdvisor, and prompted consumers to “Press 1” to hear about “exclusive” vacation deals.  Those who did were transferred to foreign call centers where live operators attempted to sell vacation packages—often involving timeshares—at destinations unrelated to the named travel or hospitality companies.

The Federal Communications Commission received numerous consumer complaints about these calls. In addition, the Commission heard from companies such as TripAdvisor, which received complaints from consumers who believed the robocalls had come from the company.   Medical paging provider Spōk also complained after its network was disrupted by these calls, thus interfering with hospital and physician communications. Both companies actively helped the investigation.
Official F.C.C. statements and more are at this link.