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ARRL QRM'ing Maritime Emergency Net

Mar 5th 2012, 00:42

WA4YBC

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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I have been a ham since 1965. During that time, I have been very proud of the work the ARRL and hams have done to providing public service communications in times of need. The ARRL Contest rules are currently in major conflict with the ARRL mission to serve the public in times of need. The 14.300 MHz frequency is the international marine emergency frequency. This frequency is actively monitored and managed by 4 different Amateur net volunteers. The InterCon Net, the Maritime Mobile Service Net, the Pacific Sea Farers Net, and the USCG Amateur Radio Net. The primary mission of these nets provide health and welfare information for small boats at sea. Typically small boats with limited 12 volt power operate their ham sets barefoot with only a backstay, or long wire antenna. Needless to say, the signals from these small boats can be difficult to copy. On contest weekends, the interference from ARRL Contest Operators makes copying weak signals difficult if not impossible. If a small boat had a major problem, and lives were in danger, the ARRL Contest Operators on or near 14.300 would make hearing their cry for help in an emergency extremely difficult if not impossible. I have always considered hams as professional and courteous, yet many ARRL Contest Operators knowingly operate very close to 14.300 Mhz frequency, and knowingly interfere with net operation, even when politely asked to QSY. If the ARRL wants to support this type of activity, this is in direct contradiction of the ARRL's stated desire to provide public service. It should not be asking too much for the ARRL to exclude contest operators from operating within 5 KHz ether side of 14.300 Mhz. That still leaves a large number of frequencies for use by ARRL Contest operators. I would deeply request help from the ARRL to find a solution to this problem. Malicious interference of ARRL Contest participants on the 14.300 Martitime Net Frequency is not a good way for people to view the ARRL. I would hope the ARRL would not want to be known to many hams as the source for malicious interference on the 14.300 Mhz Maritime Nets, and would not want to be known as the cause for a small boat's cry for help not being heard. If the ARRL is serious about supporting public service on the Amateur Radio Frequencies, the ARRL Contest Operations needs to be brought under control before their actions results in an avoidable maritime tragedy with possible loss of life.
Mar 10th 2012, 16:33

N9HTZ

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Many times I listen in on 14.300 just to hear what's going on and occassionally check in when I'm mobile. Last weekend, I personally witnessed several incidents of the ARRL contestors interforing as you described on 14.300 MHz. I participate in the OMISS WAS net. OMISS understands that if they can't find a free frequency, they simply cancel the net. However, last weekend, they started operating right on top of a 17M net that was in progress and refused to QSY after being asked. 17M wasn't included as a band to be used inthe contest but 17M was full of contestors.

You have cited a clear and present danger caused by ARRL contestors that must be addressed and mitigated.
Mar 11th 2012, 00:32

W3WN

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
Quote by N9HTZ
< snip >
However, last weekend, they started operating right on top of a 17M net that was in progress and refused to QSY after being asked. 17M wasn't included as a band to be used inthe contest but 17M was full of contestors.
< snip >
Really? Contesters on 17 meters? Are you sure it was hams operating in a contest, or was it something else... like DX'ers in a pileup for a rare station working split?

Don't suppose you can mention specific times, frequencies, or calls involved?


Quote by N9HTZ
< snip >
You have cited a clear and present danger caused by ARRL contestors that must be addressed and mitigated.
With all due respect, the MMSN has been sharing 20 meters with contesters on the weekends for decades. So with all due respect to Tom Clancy, this is hardly a "clear and present danger."

Most of those contests are not sponsored by the ARRL -- only three events (ARRL DX SSB, ARRL Sweepstakes SSB, and ARRL Field Day, which is not a contest) come to mind. This isn't an "ARRL" problem.

Is MMSN so inflexible that it is unable to adopt contingency plans in the events the band is crowded? If other groups can manage this, why can't they?
Mar 20th 2012, 07:33

wc5b

Joined: Mar 19th 2012, 14:18
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As an ex-sailor, I do appreciate and support the MMSN. I also support radio sport as a very important tool and activity to keep ham radio alive and well and a way to keep it going strong. Every net, EVERY day lays claim to just about every chunk of SSB General portion of the band. You have a couple days a year that contesters want to do their thing, and then its the end of the world all of a sudden. Why does a net get to stake claim to frequencies? I see nothing in the rules that allow this. Contesters are restricted from participating on 17M (and the above poster that claims they were on 17M contesting, I have to pull out my BS card on that). I don't however see anything that says one can't run a net on 17M. What stops maritime net from moving to 17M when conditions warrant? If not, we just need to respect each others hobbies. Just because you do your hobby different, does not make it wrong. I know all I will here is "its been this way for decades" in reply, but if its such an important asset (in which I believe MMSN is), then someone needs to file a request for rule change to setup a 20M emergency Net freq above the adopted 14.350 (say 14.355) and only allow stations involved with this net transmit there. Or of course, try to lay claim as an emergency calling freq only +/- 3k at 14.300, but I don't see how that is in the true spirit of the current rules. Other then that, we just all need to deal with each other for a couple days a year. As a side note, I find it hard to believe that a vessel in distress would not welcome a band FILLED to the brim with stations on the very weekend it needs help. I speak from experience that it is down right tough to get into the net, and I only hear a few NCS through the day. I find it hard to imagine a contester would not be an ASSET in the rare case taht a station came up with a Mayday. Just my 4.5cents
Mar 25th 2012, 00:56

N9HTZ

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Quote by wc5b
As an ex-sailor, I do appreciate and support the MMSN. I also support radio sport as a very important tool and activity to keep ham radio alive and well and a way to keep it going strong. Every net, EVERY day lays claim to just about every chunk of SSB General portion of the band. You have a couple days a year that contesters want to do their thing, and then its the end of the world all of a sudden. Why does a net get to stake claim to frequencies? I see nothing in the rules that allow this. Contesters are restricted from participating on 17M (and the above poster that claims they were on 17M contesting, I have to pull out my BS card on that). I don't however see anything that says one can't run a net on 17M. What stops maritime net from moving to 17M when conditions warrant? If not, we just need to respect each others hobbies. Just because you do your hobby different, does not make it wrong. I know all I will here is "its been this way for decades" in reply, but if its such an important asset (in which I believe MMSN is), then someone needs to file a request for rule change to setup a 20M emergency Net freq above the adopted 14.350 (say 14.355) and only allow stations involved with this net transmit there. Or of course, try to lay claim as an emergency calling freq only +/- 3k at 14.300, but I don't see how that is in the true spirit of the current rules. Other then that, we just all need to deal with each other for a couple days a year. As a side note, I find it hard to believe that a vessel in distress would not welcome a band FILLED to the brim with stations on the very weekend it needs help. I speak from experience that it is down right tough to get into the net, and I only hear a few NCS through the day. I find it hard to imagine a contester would not be an ASSET in the rare case taht a station came up with a Mayday. Just my 4.5cents


Sir, I don't appreciate being called a liar.

To all of our amazement, they actually were contesting up and down the 17M band and parked right on top of the OMISS net that was already in progress.

So, what you're saying is when a net is in progress on a specific frequency, it is acceptable for stations to drop right on top of them and operate anyway? I guess that contrestors are so special that they don't have to worry about things like general courtesy. If the net is in prgress, the frequency is in use. Period. Walking on top of it because you don't think a net needs to be on that frequency is not only unacceptable ham behavior it is intentional QRM.
Mar 25th 2012, 01:20

N9HTZ

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
Quote by W3WN
Quote by N9HTZ
< snip >
However, last weekend, they started operating right on top of a 17M net that was in progress and refused to QSY after being asked. 17M wasn't included as a band to be used inthe contest but 17M was full of contestors.
< snip >
Really? Contesters on 17 meters? Are you sure it was hams operating in a contest, or was it something else... like DX'ers in a pileup for a rare station working split?

Don't suppose you can mention specific times, frequencies, or calls involved?


Quote by N9HTZ
< snip >
You have cited a clear and present danger caused by ARRL contestors that must be addressed and mitigated.
With all due respect, the MMSN has been sharing 20 meters with contesters on the weekends for decades. So with all due respect to Tom Clancy, this is hardly a "clear and present danger."

Most of those contests are not sponsored by the ARRL -- only three events (ARRL DX SSB, ARRL Sweepstakes SSB, and ARRL Field Day, which is not a contest) come to mind. This isn't an "ARRL" problem.

Is MMSN so inflexible that it is unable to adopt contingency plans in the events the band is crowded? If other groups can manage this, why can't they?


Sir, with all due respect, The QRM from contestors on the 14.300 Maritime nets was either drirectly on that frequency and/or very close frequencies, that goes a bit beyond sharing the 20M band with contestors. OK, no one can be linked to dangerous situation on that weekend because of contestors...this time.

Since the17M OMISS net had moved from its normal 18.165 and I made no contacts in my log, I can't remember the exact frequency. I bellieve that it was 18.158 (?). However, the net started at 1900 UTC and the incidents occurred throughout the net and grew continually worse. The 17M band was literally full of contestors. However, the other fellow is claiming that I'm lying about this.

I know that intentional QRM has plagued the OMISS and other scheduled nets for quite some time. Many participants have documented, recorded, and reported the incidents over a long period of time to no avail.
Mar 27th 2012, 03:36

W3WN

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Quote by N9HTZ
Sir, with all due respect, The QRM from contestors on the 14.300 Maritime nets was either drirectly on that frequency and/or very close frequencies, that goes a bit beyond sharing the 20M band with contestors. OK, no one can be linked to dangerous situation on that weekend because of contestors...this time.

Since the17M OMISS net had moved from its normal 18.165 and I made no contacts in my log, I can't remember the exact frequency. I bellieve that it was 18.158 (?). However, the net started at 1900 UTC and the incidents occurred throughout the net and grew continually worse. The 17M band was literally full of contestors. However, the other fellow is claiming that I'm lying about this.

I know that intentional QRM has plagued the OMISS and other scheduled nets for quite some time. Many participants have documented, recorded, and reported the incidents over a long period of time to no avail.
1. There are no contests on 17 meters.

2. There are no contests on 17 meters.
3. There are no contests on any of the WARC bands including 17 meters.
4. There have never been contests on 17 meters.
5. There are no contests on 17 meters.

Whatever happened on 17 meters was not the actions of contest operators because there is no contesting on 17 meters.

I am not calling you a liar. That said, to be perfectly blunt, if you believe that this was the direct action of contesters operating in a contest then you are mistaken.

I can not explain what allegedly occurred on 14.300 because I did not hear it. However, my own observations on 20 meters over the years is that even though the MMSN claims to be a 24/7 operation, there are many times during the day that the frequency appears to be quiet... no activity. So, on the presumption that the net is operating, the only possible conclusion is that propagation is not open to me at the time, and as a result I can not hear the net.

Now, extrapolating from that presumption... someone in another country, someone who is not familiar with the MMSN (hard to believe, but it's quite probable) could very well have NOT HEARD THE NET, did not / could not hear a reply to his query, incorrectly assumed that the frequency was open, and began operating. IF this or something like this is what happened: this IS NOT deliberate interference. It is the nature of propagation, and an innocent mistake.

Finally, once again I need to point out that under FCC rules. NO ONE owns a frequency. The fact that the MMSN is parked on a given frequency, and it wasn't always 14300, does not give it title to that frequency. Amateur Radio spectrum is a shared resource, and sometimes interference happens.

Claiming (improperly) exclusive ownership of a frequency does not change the laws of physics.
Mar 27th 2012, 13:46

W0BTU

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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To think that the ARRL bears even a single microgram of responsibility for this is simply utter nonsense.

73, Mike
www.w0btu.com
Apr 7th 2012, 02:03

NN3W

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
Quote by N9HTZ
Quote by W3WN
Quote by N9HTZ
< snip >
However, last weekend, they started operating right on top of a 17M net that was in progress and refused to QSY after being asked. 17M wasn't included as a band to be used inthe contest but 17M was full of contestors.
< snip >
Really? Contesters on 17 meters? Are you sure it was hams operating in a contest, or was it something else... like DX'ers in a pileup for a rare station working split?

Don't suppose you can mention specific times, frequencies, or calls involved?


Quote by N9HTZ
< snip >
You have cited a clear and present danger caused by ARRL contestors that must be addressed and mitigated.
With all due respect, the MMSN has been sharing 20 meters with contesters on the weekends for decades. So with all due respect to Tom Clancy, this is hardly a "clear and present danger."

Most of those contests are not sponsored by the ARRL -- only three events (ARRL DX SSB, ARRL Sweepstakes SSB, and ARRL Field Day, which is not a contest) come to mind. This isn't an "ARRL" problem.

Is MMSN so inflexible that it is unable to adopt contingency plans in the events the band is crowded? If other groups can manage this, why can't they?


Sir, with all due respect, The QRM from contestors on the 14.300 Maritime nets was either drirectly on that frequency and/or very close frequencies, that goes a bit beyond sharing the 20M band with contestors. OK, no one can be linked to dangerous situation on that weekend because of contestors...this time.


Its interesting you mention that, because a couple weeks ago a S50 station was on starting at about 1000z on 14299.5. What happened at 1100z, the 14.300 net crowd showed up, didn't ask if the frequency was in use, talked about how difficult it would be to operate the net with some "contest" station down a few hundred hertz and promptly began to start a net. Completely oblivious to the fact that someone else was there first... Glad to see that two can play that game.

Quote by N9HTZ
Since the17M OMISS net had moved from its normal 18.165 and I made no contacts in my log, I can't remember the exact frequency. I bellieve that it was 18.158 (?). However, the net started at 1900 UTC and the incidents occurred throughout the net and grew continually worse. The 17M band was literally full of contestors. However, the other fellow is claiming that I'm lying about this.


let me make it clear. There are no contesters on 17 meters. The accepted procedure is that WARC bands are off-limits. Moreover, contesters operate where other contesters are. Since NOBODY expects contest operation on that band, nobody goes there. You might have been hearing a DXpedition. You were not hearing a contest.
Jul 22nd 2012, 03:27

N9HTZ

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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So, the fact that all of these operators were constantly keying up on 17M and saying, "CQ contest, CQ contest." was a figment of my imagination. While there may not be an official ARRL contest on this band, It didn't stop the contesters for doing it anyway.

I do agree with an earlier point that the ARRL is not directly responsible for the bad behavior of these operators. Perhaps the ARRL should be more forward about which bands are NOT included.
Sep 12th 2012, 13:26

AI4BJ

Joined: Sep 2nd 2003, 12:14
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As others have previously stated, there are no contests on 17M or the other WARC bands. However, the next time that you think you hear such activity, this is what I suggest you do: Record the date, time, frequency and callsign of the ham who is calling CQ, as well as the callsigns of any contesters who answer his CQ. Answer his CQ yourself and ask him which contest he is participating in. (You can also take the opportunity to remind him that contesting is not permitted on 17M.) Report this information back here and I'm sure it will be dealt with appropriately.

Btw, the CQ WorldWide contest is coming up on the weekend of October 27 & 28. This is the biggest contest of the year, and you can expect the 20M phone band to be absolutely jammed for these 48 hours, beginning at 0000Z Friday evening (some 30,000 hams from around the world participated in last year's contest). It might be a smart idea to move your net to 17M that weekend, or to move it to the CW or digital 20M subbands. Fortunately you have plenty of time to prepare for this.
Oct 24th 2012, 19:43

W3WN

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Quote by N9HTZ
So, the fact that all of these operators were constantly keying up on 17M and saying, "CQ contest, CQ contest." was a figment of my imagination. While there may not be an official ARRL contest on this band, It didn't stop the contesters for doing it anyway.

I do agree with an earlier point that the ARRL is not directly responsible for the bad behavior of these operators. Perhaps the ARRL should be more forward about which bands are NOT included.

Ah. Clearly you are not familiar with the General Contest Rules for ARRL contests, which explicitly state that NONE of the WARC bands -- or 60 meters -- are included in the HF contest frequencies.

You really can't get more explicit than that.

---

So, why did someone, allegedly, call "CQ Contest" on 17 meters? [I say "allegedly" because I did not hear this for myself, so I can not state it as a fact as I don't know]. Probably someone who for their own reasons wanted to jam the frequency, and if that is the case, someone who knew what button to push. What better way to tick off the already annoyed operators of a net that moved, to a non-contest band, to avoid a contest, than to call a bogus 'CQ Contest' on top of them -- not only does it cause intentional QRM, but it deflects blame to others than the group is already unhappy with!

CQ WW SSB is coming up in a few days. ARRL Sweepstakes SSB is a few weeks after that. Don't be at all surprised if 20 meters (and 15 and 10 and 40 and 80) are crowded. Be prepared; be flexible. And don't overlook the yahoos who are eager to yank your chains.
Jan 7th 2013, 20:09

KB3LIX

Joined: Jun 24th 2004, 09:37
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I have said this before in other forums, I'll repeat it here for your convenience.

If the captain of a vessel, no matter what size is going to depend on amateur radio for disaster communication should have his pilots license REVOKED immediatly.

It is so much WORSE than FOOLISH to depend on amateurs in an emergency.
The vessel in question SHOULD be equipped with the PROPER
HF & VHF radio equipment to contact public safety or the United States Coast Guard DIRECTLY.

If you own a BOAT...Break out another THOUSAND and equip it properly. You do NOT need the "good stuff" for the bar, spend the $$$ where it is REALLY needed, on the PROPER radio setup.

You can't fix STUPID !
Jul 22nd 2013, 00:15

K5TWM

Joined: Jan 14th 2013, 06:04
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As a new ham I am confused. By what authority does any net claim a frequency at any specific time, date or 24/7 as 14.300MHz operates?

It was my understanding that all amateur frequencies are shared.
Nov 24th 2013, 00:58

NY2RF

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Gentlemen:
There seems to be a dispute of the facts surrounding interference on the important 14.300 frequency. I agree with the bloggers who point out the critical aspects of MMSN and its counterparts. As a blue water sailor, contact with these nets is as good as reaching the CG.

I have a suggestion: record the audio from the offenders and post it to a website for every one to hear. It's hard to shame a jerk, but every dis helps......

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