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20 Years of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

Amateur radio achieved 20 years of continuous operations on the International Space Station in December and celebrated with a slow-scan television (SSTV) event at the end of the month. The ISS crew set up automated SSTV transmissions of 12 different images and multitudes of Earth stations received them. I managed to copy 7 of the 12, plus the very bottom of an eighth, using my makeshift setup: an iPhone with the Black Cat SSTV app held at the speaker of my Kenwood TH-F6A handheld. I used a rooftop 7/8-wavelength 2-meter vertical for my first attempts, which gives good results except for some noise banding. My best images came with the Arrow antenna I use for all satellites. Like many other listeners, I uploaded my image files to the ARISS SSTV Gallery , then requested a certificate of accomplishment. It arrived promptly today. The first successful ARISS contact with a school happened December 21, 2000. Since then, astronauts have made more than 1300 school contacts all over the world.

FCC to Collect Application Fees for Amateur Radio Licenses

The Federal Communications Commission spends $35 to process amateur radio license applications, a cost it will soon pass on to hams. Congress directed the FCC "to adopt cost-based fees for processing applications" when it passed the RAY BAUM'S Act of 2018 (H.R.4986). Amateur radio licensing was caught up in this effort to Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services. Amateur radio licenses are valid for 10 years, so even though the hit comes all at once, the $3.50 annual amount should not raise a barrier to anyone intending to participate in practically any aspect of amateur radio during their licensed period. The FCC will collect fees for five application types: new license, special temporary authority, rule waiver, renewal, and Vanity Call Sign (Amateur Radio Service). Licensees requesting minor administrative updates, such as address changes, will not incur charges. In explaining the new fee structure, the Commi