Welcome to “The ARRL Letter” update from Big Island ARRL News.
Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.
Content supplied by HQ ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT, 06111.
Editor: Rick Lindquist (WW1ME).
Accessed on 16 January 2020, 2320 UTC, Post 1282.
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January 16, 2020
ARRL On the Air Podcast Premieres January 16
ARRL’s new On the Air podcast for those just getting started on their amateur radio journey will debut this Thursday, January 16, with a new episode posted each month. The podcast is a companion to the new bimonthly On the Air magazine, which is already on its way to member subscribers. On the Air magazine’s Editorial Director Becky Schoenfeld, W1BXY,
Listeners can find the On the Air podcast at Blubrry, Apple iTunes (or by using your iPhone or iPad podcast app — search for On the Air), and Stitcher (or through the free Stitcher app for iOS, Kindle, or Android devices). Episodes will be archived on the ARRL website.
Each On the Air podcast will take a deeper dive into the articles and issues raised in the magazine, including advice and insight on topics covering the range of amateur radio interests and activities: radio technology, operating, equipment, project building, and emergency communication.
Supplementing On the Air will be a new Facebook page for those who share a love of radio communication and are looking to learn and explore more about their interests.
The biweekly Eclectic Tech podcast for experienced radio amateurs will launch on February 13. Hosted by QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, Eclectic Tech will highlight topics involving amateur and non-amateur technology, offer brief interviews with individuals involved in projects of interest to amateurs, and include practical information of immediate benefit to today’s hams. Eclectic Tech will be available via iTunes and Stitcher.
The ARRL Mags apps including QST and On the Air are now live on Apple iTunes and Google Play. The digital edition of On the Air magazine is also live and linked from the On the Air page on the ARRL website.
Leadership Elections to Highlight January 17 – 18 ARRL Annual Board Meeting
The ARRL Board of Directors will elect officers when it meets for its 2020 annual meeting on January 17 – 18 in Windsor, Connecticut. The Board will hear nominations and then vote, as necessary, for ARRL president, first and second vice presidents, international affairs vice president, secretary, treasurer, chief executive officer, and chief financial officer. The Board will also choose members to serve on the Executive Committee and on the ARRL Foundation. Successful candidates will take office after the Board meeting adjourns.
Some new faces will be around the table. The ARRL Southeastern Division has entirely new leadership.
In last year’s elections, Mickey Baker, N4MB, defeated Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, to become the new Southeastern Division Director, while James Schilling, KG4JSZ, won a three-way race for Vice Director.
In the Southwest Division, new Vice Director Mark Weiss, K6FG, was the sole candidate to succeed Ned Stearns, AA7A, who decided not to stand for another term.
The Board will hear officers’ reports and receive financial reports. Members will also hear reports from ARRL’s Washington Counsel, David Siddall, K3ZJ, and from its Connecticut Counsel.
The Board will also receive and consider reports and recommendations from committees and coordinators.
Additionally, the Board will consider recommendations of the Standing Committees, including the Executive Committee, the Administration and Finance Committee, and the Programs and Services Committee and consider additional recommendations as contained in reports.
US Air Force Space Fence Nearing Operational Acceptance
According to NASA’s most recent Orbital Debris Quarterly News, the space agency calculates about 17.6 million pounds of objects are in earth orbit, a number that will grow as launches proliferate — including thousands of small satellites — presenting a huge problem. The US Air Force Space Fence — a second-generation space surveillance system now nearing completion — is expected to play a crucial role.
Using advanced solid-state S-band radar technology, Space Fence is located on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Such critical space-based technologies as weather forecasting, banking, global communications, and GPS navigation are under threat from space junk orbiting Earth. Collisions already are frequent, and defunct satellites and rocket boosters have increased the amount of space debris.
The Air Force Space Surveillance Network tracks about 25,000 objects. When Space Fence comes online, the catalog will expand considerably, and when fully operational, it will be the world’s largest and most advanced radar system, offering unprecedented space situational awareness. Beyond cataloging objects, Space Fence will detect closely spaced objects, breakups, maneuvers, launches, and more.
Contractor Lockheed Martin reported last spring that Space Fence was able to detect debris from a microsatellite destroyed by India as part of an anti-satellite test. It then was able to determine the orbit of the remnants and predict when the space junk would pass through the fence again.
Puerto Rico Earthquake Relief Effort Continues, with Help from Ham Radio
In Puerto Rico, Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers continue to operate from the American Red Cross distribution center in Yauco — one of the towns hit the hardest by the recent earthquakes and ongoing aftershocks on the island. The Red Cross requested assistance last week to identify undeclared refugee camps and to report on closed or damaged roadways and bridges. ARES District 5
Emergency Coordinator Herb Perez, WP4ZZ, who is among those volunteering for the Red Cross at Yauco, reported on January 14 that he, Melvin Velazquez, WP4RAP, and Yolanda Garcia, WP4QZF, were on duty there.
“Today, we were able to occupy our space with no major incident other than the usual shaking of the entire structure. More than 10 per hour,” Perez said. “One of our members, Jared Martinez, KP4LCO, was able to search near his hometown of Lajas and was able to locate more than 10 unidentified campsites around the area.” Perez said such reports enable the Red Cross to provide necessary assistance to those left homeless as a result of the earthquakes.
Perez said volunteers were able to collect food from a church-run food pantry in Sabana Grande for isolated communities in the mountain region. He said local members of the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Citizens Band radio communities have been pitching in.
Operations from Yauco have been on VHF and UHF, although commercial telecommunication services remain in operation for the most part. Another station has been established at the Red Cross Headquarters in the capital of San Juan, which is not in the earthquake zone. Puerto Rico Section Manager Oscar Resto, KP4RF, said the stations are operating as a backbone, in the event of new or stronger earthquakes. HF equipment has been safely stowed if communications fail, Resto said. Most of Puerto Rico now has power and water.
ARRL is shipping six VHF/UHF base/repeater antennas and six 50-foot rolls of LMR-400 coax through the Ham Aid Fund. Resto said a new Red Cross warehouse will be placed in Mayagüez, where he will install a third station for backbone communication. “That is the reason for the new antennas,” he said. “We already have the radios. In case we need to escalate to HF, we are ready with ARRL go-kits from Hurricane Maria.”
A lot of seismic activity was reported on January 15. “Many more or less 3.1 quakes were felt during the day,” Perez said. That included a magnitude 5.1 temblor that shook the facilities.
The ARES team in Yauco has also been handling health-and-welfare traffic from the earthquake zone. Operations are running from 9 AM until 5 PM each day.
A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the southwestern part of Puerto Rico on January 7, fast on the heels of a magnitude 5.8 tremor the day before. The worst-impacted cities were Guayanilla, Peñuelas, Yauco, and Guánica, where most homes are no longer habitable.
2019 ARRL Periodicals Available on DVD and via Download
The 2019 ARRL Periodicals DVD is now available and includes the complete, fully searchable collection of three ARRL publications — QST, the official membership journal of ARRL, QEX Forum for Communications Experimenters, and National Contest Journal (NCJ). In addition, the DVD includes source code for software projects and
Search the full text of every article by entering titles, call signs, or names. See every word, photo, drawing, and table in technical and general-interest features, columns and product reviews, plus all advertisements. Print what you see, or copy it into other applications. System requirements: Microsoft Windows and Macintosh systems, using Adobe Acrobat Reader software.
The 2019 ARRL Periodicals DVD is available from the ARRL Store or your ARRL Dealer. (ARRL Item no. 1274, ISBN: 978-1-62595-127-4, $24.95 retail, plus shipping. Call 860-594-0355 or toll-free in the US, 888-277-5289. 2019 ARRL Periodicals is also available as a download in a Windows version (ARRL Item no. 1274_WD) and Mac/Linux version (ARRL Item no. 1274_MLD).
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Solar Cycle 25 sunspots persisted on January 9 – 10, with daily sunspot numbers of 14 and 11, respectively. This brought the weekly average daily sunspot number from 8.4 last week to 3.6 this week. Average daily solar flux edged up from 71.8 to 72.5.
Predicted solar flux for the next 45 days is 71 on January 16 – 18; 70 on January 19 – 23; 72 on January 24 – 25; 70 on January 26 – February 7; 72 on February 8 – 22, and 70 on February 23 – 29.
Predicted planetary A index is 5 on January 16 – 18; 8 on January 19 – 20; 5 on January 21 – 31; 8 on February 1 – 2; 5 on February 3; 10 on February 4 – 6; 5 on February 7 – 9; 10 on February 10 – 11; 5 on February 12 – 22; 8 on February 23 – 24; 5 on February 25 – 27, and 8 on February 28 – 29.
Sunspot numbers for January 9 – 15 were 14, 11, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 3.6. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 74.4, 72.8, 73.5, 71.9, 71.5, 71.9, and 71.2, with a mean of 72.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 12, 7, 6, 4, 3, 3, and 4, with a mean of 5.6. The middle latitude A index was 8, 6, 4, 2, 2, 2, and 2, with a mean of 3.7.
A comprehensive K7RA Solar Update is posted Fridays on the ARRL website. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service, read “What the Numbers Mean…,” and check out K9LA’s Propagation Page.
Just Ahead in Radiosport
YOTA Month Reported a Success in the Americas
For several years now, Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) has sponsored YOTA Month each December, primarily involving young radio amateurs in Europe and Africa. In December, youth-operated amateur radio stations in the Americas picked up the ball to contribute more than 12,000 contacts to the worldwide event. Eighteen operators aged 25 or younger deployed special event 1 × 1 call signs — K8Y, K8O, K8T, and K8A — to promote youth in amateur radio. Fifteen young operators across the US took turns using these call signs throughout
“Operating-wise, it was definitely the pileups…I love a good pileup,” said Mason Matrazzo, KM4SII. “Apart from that, it was great getting to be part of a group of youngsters that are all into the hobby. Even though we weren’t physically working together, we all got to be part of the YOTA program over the air.”
Audrey McElroy, KM4BUN, also cited the on-air camaraderie. “My favorite part of YOTA month was getting the wonderful experience of talking to other youth all over the world and sharing our experiences,” she said. “It gives us hope to know the future of amateur radio is in the hands of these great kids.” Her brother Jack, KM4ZIA, also took part.
In Canada, David Samu, VE7DZO, signed VE7YOTA in December, making 458 contacts on CW. “My favorite part was seeing all the YOTA stations on the air throughout December and seeing all the high energy youth activity,” he said.
Mathias Acevedo, CE2LR, activated XR2YOTA, and met another young operator from Chile, Manu Pardo, CA3MPR, through YOTA month. Between them, they put 1,535 contacts into the log on CW, SSB, and digital modes.
Bryant Rascoll, KG5HVO, coordinated the efforts of the 17 participants and the logs for the US stations. “I learned much during the month about the importance of teamwork and communication…just like baseball,” Bryant said about his role as coordinator. “I think YOTA month was a great success considering the short amount of time we had to plan this all out. I had a lot of fun operating this event, but it was even more rewarding to see other youth here in the Americas make tons of QSOs during December.”
The first Youth On The Air camp in the US will take place June 21 – 26 at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester Township, Ohio. Read more.
Nominations Solicited for Six ARRL Awards
ARRL is inviting nominations for awards that recognize educational and technological pursuits in amateur radio. Nominations are also open for ARRL’s premier award to honor a young licensee.
The ARRL Board of Directors selects award recipients, and winners are typically announced following the Board’s July meeting. More information about these awards on the ARRL website, or contact Steve Ewald, WV1X, telephone (860) 594-0265.
Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
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