Update AB1222, “hands free Law”

Attributed to James Latham, AF6AQ ARRL East Bay SM

“Thanks to Bill Hillendahl, SF SM, for the following update:
A quick update on the CA Hands Free Law – AB 1785/CVC 23123.5.
We have been fielding a number of inquires on if Amateur Radio (2-way
radio) is exempt from the updated “hands-free” law that went into effect
on January 1st of this year. The language of the legislation is “all
inclusive” and tends to, by default, wrap 2-way radio use into the
Amateur licensees in the Pacific and South West Divisions of ARRL have
been working on this issue. The original bill’s sponsor has been
contacted a number of times. The CHP command has also been contacted.
As a result, the CHP has issued a memo to its officers advising that “a
radio installed and mounted in a vehicle with a wired hand microphone is
not considered a wireless communications device……..and therefore is
not subject to enforcement under this section.” That memo was issued
on March 28, 2017.
More recently, the sponsoring assemblyman entered into the Assembly
Journal a letter establishing the legislative intent of the law.
Essentially, the letter states that common 2-way, wired radio use was
not intended to be addressed by the newer hands-free law. This letter
was published in the Assembly Journal on April 27, 2017.
Please note: Use of an HT would still be a violation. The radio must
be mounted and the microphone be corded to the radio.
Please remember that not all law enforcement officers will be aware of
these documents, and may not follow them. Amateurs may still be
I would like to hear if any Amateur is actually cited under CVC 23123.5
for using Amateur Radio.
We can all thank the past SW Div Vice Director Marty Woll N6VI, Jim
Aspinwall NO1PC, Norm Lucas WB6RVR, and others behind the scenes for
their valiant effort to move this clarification forward. The effort is
not over, as equally ambiguous language is being promoted in the
revision to the law moving through the legislature now.
Please remind everyone that they must still not use their radios in a
manner that detracts from their safe operation of their vehicle.
Drivers can still be cited under the very broad “distracted driving”
code section.
ARRL East Bay Section
Section Manager: James R Latham, AF6AQ

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AB1222 information

AB1222 is a modification to the “Hands-free” cell phone law that went into effect on January 1st.  This modification affects every Ham radio operator who operates mobile.  Here are links that will provide the latest information on this bill and more on the way it bears on mobile operation:

The following is a quote from Jim Aspinwall, NO1PC who introduced this information at the annual NARCC meeting on April 29, 2017

Under “Hands-Free Information Links” is a fresh document available to any/all to convey to their local Assembly and Senate representatives.
Do NOT let Quirk win with a few token wording edits.


Go to this site:


and sign-up to track AB1222… do not miss a date/opportunity to get this fixed properly.
CHP did us a tremendous favor.  Insist that their valuable expert input be included!!!


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W6CO Dstar Update

            Dstar status
The gateway computer, the gizmo that ties the  repeater to the internet, is now upgraded for Dplus G-3.

            Dplus G-3. What is it and why do we need it?
To explain the evolutlion we need to go back to the original Dstar concept. One of the more “attractive” features of Dstar is “call sign routing”. Supposedly this permitted a Dstar user anywhere in the world to call another user no matter where he or she was located. The system does this by keeping track of the repeater system  where the operators were last heard. So if you are wandering around Miami or London and I am in Napa and want to talk to you, I don’t need to know what repeater you are using.
By calling you, using call sign routing, my call automatically goes to the repeater where you were last heard. Bad Idea! Here’s why. What if the last place you were heard was in downtown Miami and now you are on your way to Orlando and out of range of the downtown machine?  You won’t hear me call. What if you are still in downtown but now other stations are using the repeater? My call won’t be allowed to interrupt. What if you are still in range of the downtown repeater and it is free? You will hear my call but you will have no idea where I am calling from so how do you return my call? The original concept called for me to simply press one button on my radio and I would instantly have all the right settings to return your call but I had to know that you were calling from a distant location and not from Miami.
Too complicated and confusing and as a result rarely used.
          Enter G3
G3 requires the Dstar radio to have a couple of special features for the new and improved call sign routing to work. These new radios work by connecting them via a special cable to a computer.
The new modes are referred to as “Access Point” and “Terminal Mode”. In effect they are very much like a typical Dstar “hot-spot” except that they don’t require a second Dstar radio to work as is the case with a hot-spot. What they DO require, however is being in the proximity of a G3 enabled repeater and that is what the upgrade is attempting to do.
The ordinary Dstar user, with an older radio, will not have access to the new features and if he or she doesn’t care then they will notice very little difference in the repeater’s sound or  behavior.               more later

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Update: California Handheld Com Devices

From Arrl News,  An update concerning the use of handheld communications devices while driving has been issued by the California Legislature.

While not intended to eliminate the use of Ham Radio devices, the wording of the update can easily be misinterpreted to do just that.  Read the update carefully and you may avoid an expensive ticket.  Use of Amateur Radio walkie-talkies or a handheld microphone is no longer guaranteed an exemption.  The ARRL is working on getting clarifications and when they are published circumstances will still depend on interpretation by law enforcement.

Go to the ARRL News tab (above right) to read the entire update.

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New link in Member’s Favorites

A new link has been added to the Member’s Favorites: “Find your Lot Size”. When you enter your address you will see a satellite image of your house with the ability to set markers and determine distances. Want to know if you have enough room to put that 80m dipole or that full wave loop? This online tool make the process easy.


John, WB6V

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