andre kesteloot andre.kesteloot at verizon.net
Fri Dec 12 15:09:01 CST 2008


Earlier this month, the ARRL received a request from the FCC asking that
ARRL members provide technical educational assistance to their
communities concerning the FCC-mandated digital television (DTV)
conversion scheduled for February 17, 2009 <http://www.dtv.gov/>. 

According to ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP,
Amateur Radio clubs across the country are being asked to develop and
implement plans to provide information throughout January and February
about the DTV conversion in their areas. The FCC is leaving it up to the
clubs to decide how to do this, as local groups understand the
communities in ways that the FCC does not. Each community is a little
different, Pitts said, so plans carried out by the clubs will vary from
community to community. Interested groups should contact their ARRL
Section Manager.

Pitts stressed that hams should not make "house calls," sell any
equipment or do actual installations; the request is only to distribute
technical information and FCC materials. He commented: "As we all know,
some folks just never get the message until too late. Materials for
presentations, education and many other activities are available online
<http://www.dtv.gov/outreach.html>. Beginning early January, FCC staff
will contact Section Managers and leaders of interested clubs and, where
possible, arrange to meet to share even more information, audio, visual
and printed materials, as well as training aids, with the clubs involved
this effort. We know the time is short, but your aid in this now will be

In early January, Pitts said that the FCC will ask Section Managers for
the names and contact information of the volunteering groups. The FCC
staff will then make contact with the groups, learn their plans and
provide them with the media, brochures or other materials groups may
need in this effort. FCC regional staff members may even come and visit
with larger groups to aid in implementation of the group's plans.

"I really appreciate the willingness of the ARRL to actively participate
in helping Americans with the transition to DTV and your helpful
suggestions," said George Dillon, FCC Deputy Bureau Chief for Field
Operations. "The DTV transition will be an historic moment in the
evolution of TV. Broadcast television stations can offer viewers
improved picture and sound quality and new programming choices.
All-digital broadcasting also will allow us to significantly improve
public safety communications and will usher in a new era of advanced
wireless services such as the widespread deployment of wireless
broadband. Our goal is to engage the amateur community on a cooperative
basis to help with the DTV outreach and to educate consumers."

Dillon continued that local Amateur Radio clubs might consider offering
technical advice to consumers via telephone to those consumers who may
encounter difficulty with the installation and setting up of their
converter box. "Any assistance...will greatly help in the efforts of the
FCC to ensure a smooth transition to DTV on February 17, 2009."

Pitts advises interested groups to keep in mind that they are to provide
technical educational help only: "At no time should the hams enter
someone else's home or install equipment. They should not broker or sell
conversion boxes in any way. Clubs can provide such things as a call-in
telephone number for technical help, make presentations at meetings, do
demonstrations at malls or give talks to other groups -- whatever works
in their community."

More information about the Tacos mailing list