Tip: Military Service Verification

Military members serving on active duty occasionally need to show proof of active duty military service to a private vendor or another government organization in order to qualify for protections offered by the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

The SCRA, enacted in 2003 as an update/replacement to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940 (SSCRA), is a federal law that ensures active duty military members are given protection rights in certain areas such as rental agreements, security deposits, rent, contracts, civil proceedings, and income taxes.  Other protections are offered as well.

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Can you hear me?

Did you know that there are hundreds of stations listening and reporting reception of your digital and CW transmissions when operating on the High Frequency (HF) amateur bands?

A friend recently pointed me toward PSK Reporter, which offers a graphical world map of active stations and allows entry of a call sign to determine where it has been heard.  For instance, I can enter “W1AW,” a time frame (such as 24 hours), and PSK Reporter will display everywhere in the world W1AW was received.

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Viewing the International Space Station (ISS)

International Space Station (photo courtesy of NASA)

In the “must do sometime in your life” category comes watching the International Space Station with the naked eye.  Only visible within a couple hours of sunrise and sunset, while the sun is still below the horizon, the ISS is large and shiny enough to appear, under the right conditions, nearly as brilliant as the brightest star or planet in the sky as it slowly moves across the heavens.

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JT65/JT9 Digital Modes on HF

I had the pleasure of giving a short presentation to the Saint Clair Amateur Radio Club during the last week of February regarding two “relatively” new digital modes of communication on the High Frequency bands that have been gaining in popularity: JT65 and JT9.  A copy of the presentation is posted here.

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IL Non-Resident Concealed Carry – Major Change

On 2 Feb 2017, to the surprise of many, the Illinois State Police changed the list of states classified as substantially similar for the purpose of allowing applications for a concealed carry license.

Since 2014, residents of VA, SC, NM, and HI were allowed to apply.  The new list retains VA, but replaces the other three with TX, MS, and AR.  Residents of states removed from the list are having their licenses revoked, despite the fact that there have been no changes to their laws.  The only difference? Those states responded differently to the newest survey sent to them by the ISP.

More information on nonresident licensing in Illinois is posted here.

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Pentagon Issues New Arming Policy

The Pentagon

The Pentagon just released a new revision of its arming policy, known as the Department of Defense Directive (DoDD) 5210.56, “Arming and Use of Force.”  The new revisions were reportedly made to meet Congress’ inclusion of a requirement in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2016 for the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) to “…establish a process by which installation commanders may allow military members to carry weapons if deemed necessary for personal or force protection purposes.”

Section 4 of the directive allows commanders to authorize carry of personal weapons, with a host of restrictions, including compliance with local and state laws regarding concealed carry of firearms.

It remains to be seen if and when commanders will begin authorizing carry of personal firearms on military installations and where they will allow it.  Most likely there will be a large variety of ways to implement the policy.  For the sake of military personnel, we hope the restrictions will be lifted to the greatest extent possible.

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