I gave this speech at the Pelican Bay Amateur Radio Club meeting on February 23, 2024. The motion passed, and at the next meeting, we voted to approve a new version of the rule.

When we recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we promise loyalty to our flag and to our republic. This does not mean that we always agree with our government's decisions. Rather, it means we support our nation and its values – the values represented by the colors of our flag.

The flag’s blue field symbolizes vigilance and justice. It represents the ideal, named in the Pledge of Allegiance, of “liberty and justice for all.”

The white stars and stripes symbolize innocence and pure motives. While America is not perfect, we seek to do what is right and work toward a better nation.

Finally, the flag’s red stripes represent bravery and valor. They remind us of the sacrifices made by the millions of Americans who have served in our armed forces. In particular, they honor the nearly seven hundred thousand men and women who have given their lives for this country. Do we want to stop honoring their sacrifice?

When we pledge allegiance to our republic, we are not endorsing our government, which changes from year to year. Rather, we are expressing support for our form of government: a constitutional democratic republic that has succeeded in reflecting the will of the people for nearly two hundred and fifty years without falling to mob rule.

After the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin what form of government had been established. He told her, “A republic, if you can keep it.” To keep our republic requires that we show respect for our flag and our country. To stop beginning our meetings with the Pledge would work against this goal.

Therefore, I move that we continue and formalize our long-standing custom by adopting a standing rule that all meetings shall begin with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Pledge of Allegiance speech and motion by Samuel Sloniker is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

#PBARC #HamRadio #USA

In a shocking turn of events, a thread on QRZ.com's forums has led to an argument over the best means to attract youth to amateur radio. Also surprisingly, several posts criticized the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), which has, until now, always had the full support of every radio amateur in the country.

It is believed that this marks the first time the topic of encouraging young people to obtain licenses has ever been discussed in amateur radio circles; it is also the first argument to ever take place on “the Zed,” as the popular forum, which has always been entirely peaceful until now, is often called. The criticisms of the ARRL are also entirely new, and are certain to lead to extensive changes within the organization.

At publishing time, some users were beginning to complain about FT8; this is the first time anyone has ever expressed a negative opinion regarding the relatively new but very popular mode.

#HamRadio #satire

There are currently two bills relating to #HamRadio in #Congress. Please contact your representative in favor of both! You can find your representative by ZIP code on the House of Representatives Web site. You should be able to find a phone number or office address on the representative's Web site; both phone calls and letters are helpful.

Remember to explain why amateur radio is important; a brief discussion of the use of ham radio for emergency communications helps to show the importance of these issues. If you have personally been affected by the rules that these laws would change, that is definitely helpful to mention.

Both of these bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives and are currently in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 3241: Amateur Radio Communications Improvement Act

The Amateur Radio Communications Improvement Act would replace the current symbol-rate limit regulating digital modes with a bandwidth limit, which would be less restrictive and more effective.

Update, November 2023: H.R. 3241 is unlikely to pass, because the FCC is making the proposed changes independently, making this bill redundant.

H.R. 4006: Amateur Radio Emergency Preparedness Act

The Amateur Radio Emergency Preparedness Act would override most homeowners' association restrictions on antennas.


Many people see amateur (ham) radio as an outdated method of communication in this era of cell phones and the Internet. However, it is far from obsolete. Ham radio still brings many benefits both to its users and to the general public.

First, amateur radio is useful for emergency communications. Although the global Internet is extraordinarily reliable, the local infrastructure used to access it is less dependable. Natural or human-caused disasters can damage cables and networking equipment, disconnecting affected areas from the Internet. Cell phone networks can suffer similar issues, and are also affected by overloading; often, when the network survives a disaster, the extremely high volume of calls resulting from the emergency makes it nearly unusable.

When local network infrastructure fails, ham radio operators can bridge the gap and provide temporary communication services. Many “hams” have completely self-contained portable stations including antennas, radios, and power sources such as batteries, solar panels, and generators; these stations do not require any local infrastructure to be functioning. The operator can use the station to relay information from the disaster area to another location with Internet access and vice versa, allowing those in the affected area to communicate with the outside world.

Ham radio can be affected by the same overloading issues as cell phones; the operators cannot, of course, handle an infinite amount of information. However, ham radio operators can overcome this problem in ways that cell networks cannot. Cell towers cannot tell the difference between an urgent request for medical supplies and a casual chat with a friend; the two calls will be handled with the same priority, possibly resulting in the less important call being connected but not the more important one. Calls to 911 or other emergency service numbers are generally prioritized, but automatic algorithms cannot detect all high-priority calls.

Ham radio can handle these situations much better because human operators are involved, not just computers that blindly relay information. Unlike cell towers, ham radio operators will prioritize traffic based on its importance. Urgent messages needed to save lives are handled first. Other messages that are important but less time-sensitive, such as “safe and well” reports from local residents informing loved ones outside the area that they have not been harmed, are given lower priority, while irrelevant messages may not be sent at all. Because ham radio operators prioritize traffic based on its importance, they can ensure that the most critical messages are delivered.

Emergency communication is not the only area in which ham radio is useful, however. It also has many educational benefits. Passing the exam to earn a license requires a basic understanding of electronics theory, and license upgrades that allow greater privileges require more in-depth knowledge; this can encourage operators to learn things that they would not have learned without ham radio. After obtaining a license, ham radio remains an excellent way to learn more about electronics and communications; there is always more for a ham radio operator to learn.

Ham radio can also help in learning about topics that seem unrelated to radio technology. Talking to other operators around the world is an excellent opportunity to learn about geography; it is interesting to learn about another country on a more personal level than would be possible from reading about the country in a book or online. Also, many organizations run “special event stations” commemorating historic events, providing an opportunity for other ham radio operators to learn about historical topics they would not have known about otherwise.

One final use for amateur radio is its benefit to international relations. By connecting people around the world with a common interest, it encourages friendly communication across geopolitical boundaries. This can be a helpful reminder that despite international disputes, the people of other countries have much in common with us. Although individual operators are unlikely to have a strong influence on international relations, ham radio can still help over time by promoting friendly interaction between operators living in different countries.

Ham radio has many important uses and benefits, including providing emergency communications, promoting education, and improving international relations. Even with today's technology, ham radio remains a useful hobby and means of communication.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

More #RandomOpenData! Feel free to use this data for whatever you would like. This data is published in the hope that it will be useful, but without any warranty; without even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

This breaks the number of current FCC-issued US #HamRadio licenses by state and license class.

This data is obtained by scraping the ARRL's FCC License Counts page, which is in turn based on data published by the FCC.

Because this data will change over time, I included both the data in JSON format and a Python script to obtain the data. I update the JSON data when I think about it, but it's better to use the script to get the data yourself if you need it to be up to date.

Scraper program

#!/usr/bin/env python3

# ham_stats.py - get statistics on US amateur radio licenses by state and class
# Copyright 2023 Samuel Sloniker KJ7RRV
# Permission to use, copy, modify, and/or distribute this software for any
# purpose with or without fee is hereby granted.

import json
import datetime
import requests
import bs4

page = requests.get("http://www.arrl.org/fcc-license-counts")
soup = bs4.BeautifulSoup(page.text, features="lxml")

date = datetime.datetime.strptime(
    soup.find(id="content").find("em").text.split(" ")[-1], "%d-%b-%Y"

classes = [cell.text for cell in soup.find("tr")][1:]
table_data = {
    row.find("td").text.replace("*", ""): {
        classes[number]: int("0" + cell.text)
        for number, cell in enumerate(row.find_all("td")[1:])
    for row in soup.find_all("tr")[1:]

print(json.dumps({"date": date, "data": table_data}))

Current data as of April 19, 2023

{"date": "2023-10-19", "data": {"Alabama": {"Novice": 67, "Tech": 5445, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 3158, "Advanced": 537, "Extra": 2882, "Total": 12089}, "Alaska": {"Novice": 15, "Tech": 1565, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 887, "Advanced": 147, "Extra": 661, "Total": 3275}, "Arizona": {"Novice": 112, "Tech": 11136, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 5121, "Advanced": 1002, "Extra": 4565, "Total": 21936}, "Arkansas": {"Novice": 39, "Tech": 4107, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1960, "Advanced": 312, "Extra": 1616, "Total": 8034}, "California": {"Novice": 648, "Tech": 58946, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 19532, "Advanced": 3434, "Extra": 15521, "Total": 98081}, "Colorado": {"Novice": 90, "Tech": 10653, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 4555, "Advanced": 708, "Extra": 3748, "Total": 19754}, "Connecticut": {"Novice": 121, "Tech": 3122, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1891, "Advanced": 387, "Extra": 1686, "Total": 7207}, "Delaware": {"Novice": 20, "Tech": 768, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 509, "Advanced": 86, "Extra": 416, "Total": 1799}, "District of Columbia": {"Novice": 4, "Tech": 254, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 114, "Advanced": 20, "Extra": 118, "Total": 510}, "Florida": {"Novice": 437, "Tech": 18293, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 11839, "Advanced": 2533, "Extra": 9971, "Total": 43073}, "Georgia": {"Novice": 110, "Tech": 8791, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 4971, "Advanced": 829, "Extra": 4101, "Total": 18802}, "Guam": {"Novice": 1, "Tech": 104, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 50, "Advanced": 8, "Extra": 102, "Total": 265}, "Hawaii": {"Novice": 29, "Tech": 2030, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 770, "Advanced": 146, "Extra": 687, "Total": 3662}, "Idaho": {"Novice": 28, "Tech": 6483, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 2535, "Advanced": 246, "Extra": 1618, "Total": 10910}, "Illinois": {"Novice": 257, "Tech": 8576, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 5290, "Advanced": 1010, "Extra": 4386, "Total": 19519}, "Indiana": {"Novice": 168, "Tech": 7240, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 4148, "Advanced": 717, "Extra": 3179, "Total": 15452}, "Iowa": {"Novice": 55, "Tech": 2987, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1685, "Advanced": 403, "Extra": 1493, "Total": 6623}, "Kansas": {"Novice": 70, "Tech": 3381, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1936, "Advanced": 289, "Extra": 1535, "Total": 7211}, "Kentucky": {"Novice": 72, "Tech": 4573, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 2546, "Advanced": 408, "Extra": 2025, "Total": 9624}, "Louisiana": {"Novice": 60, "Tech": 2623, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1689, "Advanced": 335, "Extra": 1354, "Total": 6061}, "Maine": {"Novice": 38, "Tech": 1853, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1261, "Advanced": 213, "Extra": 1107, "Total": 4472}, "Maryland": {"Novice": 100, "Tech": 4768, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 2811, "Advanced": 541, "Extra": 2662, "Total": 10882}, "Massachusetts": {"Novice": 147, "Tech": 5746, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 3487, "Advanced": 661, "Extra": 3275, "Total": 13316}, "Michigan": {"Novice": 176, "Tech": 9764, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 5349, "Advanced": 988, "Extra": 4675, "Total": 20952}, "Minnesota": {"Novice": 108, "Tech": 5280, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 2970, "Advanced": 600, "Extra": 2509, "Total": 11467}, "Mississippi": {"Novice": 23, "Tech": 2174, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1359, "Advanced": 223, "Extra": 1262, "Total": 5041}, "Missouri": {"Novice": 98, "Tech": 7503, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 3866, "Advanced": 637, "Extra": 3079, "Total": 15183}, "Montana": {"Novice": 27, "Tech": 2244, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1172, "Advanced": 171, "Extra": 821, "Total": 4435}, "Nebraska": {"Novice": 28, "Tech": 1697, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1038, "Advanced": 221, "Extra": 752, "Total": 3736}, "Nevada": {"Novice": 37, "Tech": 4505, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1888, "Advanced": 318, "Extra": 1527, "Total": 8275}, "New Hampshire": {"Novice": 52, "Tech": 2437, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1489, "Advanced": 261, "Extra": 1480, "Total": 5719}, "New Jersey": {"Novice": 196, "Tech": 5944, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 3232, "Advanced": 710, "Extra": 3072, "Total": 13154}, "New Mexico": {"Novice": 27, "Tech": 3256, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1469, "Advanced": 272, "Extra": 1332, "Total": 6356}, "New York": {"Novice": 400, "Tech": 11825, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 6805, "Advanced": 1363, "Extra": 5923, "Total": 26316}, "North Carolina": {"Novice": 145, "Tech": 10303, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 5876, "Advanced": 1018, "Extra": 5131, "Total": 22473}, "North Dakota": {"Novice": 10, "Tech": 743, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 419, "Advanced": 63, "Extra": 300, "Total": 1535}, "Ohio": {"Novice": 319, "Tech": 12255, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 7404, "Advanced": 1294, "Extra": 6107, "Total": 27379}, "Oklahoma": {"Novice": 44, "Tech": 5003, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 2527, "Advanced": 376, "Extra": 1985, "Total": 9935}, "Oregon": {"Novice": 101, "Tech": 11190, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 4967, "Advanced": 707, "Extra": 3578, "Total": 20543}, "Pennsylvania": {"Novice": 276, "Tech": 10644, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 6351, "Advanced": 1293, "Extra": 5579, "Total": 24143}, "Puerto Rico": {"Novice": 100, "Tech": 2917, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1195, "Advanced": 172, "Extra": 702, "Total": 5086}, "Rhode Island": {"Novice": 21, "Tech": 837, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 486, "Advanced": 90, "Extra": 460, "Total": 1894}, "South Carolina": {"Novice": 59, "Tech": 4690, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 2732, "Advanced": 471, "Extra": 2361, "Total": 10313}, "South Dakota": {"Novice": 16, "Tech": 887, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 598, "Advanced": 116, "Extra": 485, "Total": 2102}, "Tennessee": {"Novice": 112, "Tech": 9281, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 5196, "Advanced": 813, "Extra": 4372, "Total": 19774}, "Texas": {"Novice": 293, "Tech": 26659, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 13308, "Advanced": 2289, "Extra": 11236, "Total": 53785}, "Utah": {"Novice": 35, "Tech": 12721, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 3267, "Advanced": 307, "Extra": 2133, "Total": 18463}, "Vermont": {"Novice": 14, "Tech": 973, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 526, "Advanced": 103, "Extra": 496, "Total": 2112}, "Virgin Islands": {"Novice": 0, "Tech": 117, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 71, "Advanced": 10, "Extra": 53, "Total": 251}, "Virginia": {"Novice": 179, "Tech": 9406, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 5353, "Advanced": 935, "Extra": 4804, "Total": 20677}, "Washington": {"Novice": 187, "Tech": 18746, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 8128, "Advanced": 1136, "Extra": 5717, "Total": 33914}, "West Virginia": {"Novice": 41, "Tech": 3054, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 1444, "Advanced": 213, "Extra": 1244, "Total": 5996}, "Wisconsin": {"Novice": 93, "Tech": 4802, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 3217, "Advanced": 561, "Extra": 2553, "Total": 11226}, "Wyoming": {"Novice": 10, "Tech": 1014, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 646, "Advanced": 114, "Extra": 471, "Total": 2255}, "Other": {"Novice": 1, "Tech": 284, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 95, "Advanced": 7, "Extra": 201, "Total": 588}, "TOTAL": {"Novice": 5916, "Tech": 376599, "Tech-Plus": 0, "General": 187188, "Advanced": 32824, "Extra": 155108, "Total": 757635}}}

#Programming #FOSS