Welcome to the current edition of “The ARRL Letter.”
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.
Accessed on 24 April 2020, 0545 UTC, Post 1410.
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April 23, 2020
COVID-19 Impact & News
Find the latest news and information on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to ARRL members and our global amateur radio community.
ARRL, AMSAT Seek “Relatively Minor Changes” In FCC Orbital Debris Mitigation Proposals
On April 8, ARRL Washington Counsel Dave Siddall, K3ZJ, and AMSAT-NA Executive Vice President Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, discussed with senior FCC International Bureau staff by telephone the FCC’s draft Report & Order (R&O) on mitigation of orbital debris (IB Docket No. 18-313). The amateur representatives told the FCC staff that “two
First, ARRL and AMSAT requested a revision to proposed language that otherwise would allow only private individual licensees to indemnify the US for the operations of an amateur space satellite. ARRL and AMSAT requested that satellite owners be added to that provision. The amateur representatives, noting that amateur radio licensees may only be individuals under the amateur rules, stated that “[i]n no other service would an individual be required to personally make a similar indemnification” and that “it would be difficult to impossible to find an individual amateur radio licensee willing to bear that risk.”
Second, ARRL and AMSAT asked the FCC to delay by 3 years the proposed effective date of April 23, 2022, for a rule that would require satellite operators to certify that space stations “be designed with the maneuvering capabilities sufficient to perform collision avoidance” for spacecraft designed to operate above 400 kilometers in altitude. Citing the long lead times to design and construct amateur satellites, ARRL and AMSAT suggested that a more reasonable date would be April 23, 2025 and noted that, based on recent past years, only an estimated threeamateur satellites likely would be launched during the extra period.
“We do not disagree with the purpose of this requirement,” they told
Citing the value of amateur satellites to the development of the commercial small satellite industry, and student participation in such projects, ARRL and AMSAT said a strong and robust Amateur Satellite Service will help inspire future developments in satellite technology. The requested changes to the draft R&O would help ensure that amateur radio continues to have a future in space and contribute to the public interest on an educational, non-pecuniary basis.
The FCC was expected to consider the R&O at its April 23 open meeting.
House Leaders Request that FCC Delay Action
Members of the US House Science, Space, and Technology Committee asked the FCC to delay action on the “Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age” rulemaking proceeding. Science Committee members raised several concerns, including the timing of the action during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Given the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, the immense effort undertaken to recover from the pandemic, and the potential for the FCC’s proposal to exacerbate impacts on US
The lawmakers’ letter also raises concerns with the rule itself, with the rulemaking process, and with the potential for regulatory and legislative inconsistency, noting significant stakeholder concerns.
“The proposal contradicts Executive Branch policy and is inconsistent with existing and proposed legislative action,” the letter states. “Regulatory action by the FCC at this time, without clear authority from Congress, will at the very least create confusion and undermine the Commission’s work, and at worst, undermine US economic competitiveness and leadership in space.”
ARRL Suggests Taking a Creative Approach to Field Day 2020
This year, ARRL Field Day promises to be a unique iteration of this annual event, with many individuals and groups coming up with new and interesting ways to adjust their approach. As an event, Field Day is structured to be versatile and can be adapted for any situation.
Many groups have asked how they can adjust their Field Day planning to address social-distancing guidelines that may be in effect in many
ARRL will include club names for all participating stations in the published results, so the efforts of your club’s members can be acknowledged. While we will not publish an aggregate club score, seeing the name of your club associated with various individual member’s results is certainly a way to highlight your club’s activity.
Myriad opportunities are possible in this year’s Field Day setting. A few options are as follows:
One club is planning to conduct its Field Day as a 4A club group, with participants spaced to comply with social distancing guidelines within the required 1,000-foot-diameter circle and operating individual stations. This club also plans to set up a “Get on the Air” (GOTA) station. The club’s plan is to have the GOTA coach at the Field Day site, while GOTA operators participate via remote link.
ARRL invites your stories about the interesting and creative ways you’re planning to use to adapt your Field Day operation. Share these on the ARRL Field Day Facebook page.
Another club is planning to set up a remote-controlled station at its usual Field Day site, with club members taking turns controlling the station from their homes. The club is developing a schedule that outlines when each member of the club will be at the helm via the remote link.
Whatever approach you take to this year’s Field Day, keep up to date with the current guidelines issued by local and state health agencies that may impact your proposed operation.
For the latest news and updates, visit the Field Day webpage. — Thanks to ARRL Contest Program Manager Paul Bourque, N1SFE
Ballot Counting Postponed in Four Section Manager Elections
During these unprecedented times of social distancing and staying at home, the ARRL Ethics and Elections Committee (E&E) has postponed ballot counting for four contested Section Manager elections.
Although this extension was granted, it does not change the Friday, May 15, 2020 deadline for ballots to be received at ARRL HQ. Standard operating practice dictates that any ballots received after this deadline will not be counted. The Governor’s mandate and social distancing practices do not affect this section of the election rules.
Terms for election winners are scheduled to begin on July 1, 2020. ARRL hopes to see the Governor’s restrictions relaxed in time to have a team of tellers inside HQ to count the ballots and publish the elections’ results in enough time that the terms of office will not change. The E&E Committee will have to decide the course of action, should any unforeseen circumstances not allow the ballots to be counted by mid-June.
The safety of our staff and members remains the highest priority as we work through these difficult times. Thank you for your understanding.
ARRL Podcasts Schedule
The On the Air and Eclectic Tech podcasts are sponsored by Icom.
Nomination Deadline Extended for Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the ARRL Public Relations Committee has extended the nomination deadline for the Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award until Monday, June 15, 2020.
The Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award is presented annually to a radio amateur who has demonstrated success in his or her public relations efforts on behalf of amateur radio and who best
Public relations activities for which the McGan Award is presented include efforts specifically directed at depicting amateur radio in a positive light in the media and for the general public. This may include traditional methods, such as issuing news releases or arranging interviews, or by less-traditional methods, such as hosting a radio show or serving as an active public speaker.
The ARRL Board of Directors will choose the award winner at its July 2020 meeting, based on recommendations from the ARRL Public
Eligible nominees must be full ARRL members in good standing at the time of nomination. The award is given only to an individual, and nominees may not be current ARRL officers, directors, vice directors, paid staffers, or members of the ARRL Public Relations Committee. Nominees must not be compensated for any public relations work involving amateur radio — including payment for articles.
A nominee’s efforts must fit the definition of public relations and recognize the promotion of amateur radio to the non-amateur radio community.
Nominations must be received at ARRL Headquarters by the close of business on Monday, June 15, 2020. Nominations must be on an official entry form. Anyone may make a nomination.
2020 Youth on the Air in the Americas Camp is Canceled
The inaugural camp for radio amateurs in the Americas aged 15 through 25 has been put off until next year. It was set to take place June 21 – 26 at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester Township (North Cincinnati, Ohio). It has been rescheduled for July 2021. Campers accepted to the 2020 camp will have the first chance to register for next year’s camp. The daily
The committee is also looking at ideas for a shortened, virtual camp this summer, so that campers can participate in limited activities from home. The camp was meant to focus on building peer and mentor relationships and taking amateur radio to the next level.
While many sponsors and donors have already expressed support for holding over funds received for 2020 to use in 2021, refunds of donations made to the camp are being offered. Groups or individuals wishing to receive a refund should contact director Neil Rapp, WB9VPG. Less than $350 of the money spent thus far went to items that may not be usable in 2021, Rapp said.
More information about YOTA in the Americas can be found at YouthOnTheAir and on YOTAregion2 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
FCC Seeking World Radiocommunication Conference Advisory Committee Members
The FCC has announced that it’s looking for individuals or entities to serve on its World Radiocommunication Conference Advisory Committee. The committee will provide advice, technical support, and recommended proposals in the run-up to World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23). In particular, the committee will focus on
The FCC seeks applications from interested individuals, organizations, institutions, or other entities in both the public and private sectors. Selection will be based on factors such as expertise and diversity of viewpoints necessary to effectively address the questions before the committee.
Applicants should describe both their specific interests and their expertise or experience as it relates to the questions before the committee, including such matters as wireless communications infrastructure and equipment, telecommunications, fixed, mobile, broadcasting, satellite, and other radiocommunication services, consumer advocacy, and underserved populations. It’s anticipated that the committee will meet in Washington, DC, up to three times per year in preparation for WRC-23.
Submit nominations, including contact information and the statement of qualifications, by email no later than May 29, 2020.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: The last day with a visible sunspot was April 4.
Over the April 16 – 22 reporting week, the average daily solar flux was 69, down 0.5 point from the previous week’s average of 69.5.
Average daily planetary A index was 7.3, while the mid-latitude A index was 7, up from 6.1 and 5, respectively, mainly due to the first geomagnetic storm of 2020, which pushed the planetary A index to 18 on April 19.
The predicted planetary A index is forecast at 10 on April 23; 5 on April 24 – 29; 8 on April 30; 5 on May 1 – 4; 12 on May 5; 5 on May 6 – 16; 12, 10, 8, and 10 on May 17 – 20; 5 on May 21 – 23; 10, 5, 5, and 8 on May 24 – 27; 5 on May 28 – 31; 12 on June 1, and 5 on June 2 – 6.
Sunspot numbers for April 16 – 22 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 0. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 68.5, 67.9, 69.8, 68.6, 68.2, 69.1, and 70.7, with a mean of 69. Estimated planetary A indices were 5, 4, 4, 3, 18, 9, and 8, with a mean of 6.1. The middle latitude A index was 5, 4, 4, 2, 16, 8, and 10, with a mean of 5.
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.
Share your reports and observations.
Just Ahead in Radiosport
NOAA Updates Solar Cycle 25 Prediction
Frank Donovan, W3LPL, notes that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has published its official updated prediction of Solar Cycle 25 in new, interactive Solar Cycle Progression graphs. The updated
“SWPC forecasts a solar maximum between 105 and 125, with the peak occurring between November 2024 and March 2026,” Donovan said. “There is broad consensus that solar minimum is ongoing this year — or may have already occurred — and that Cycle 25 will have no major change in the level of solar activity compared to Cycle 24.”
As Donovan explained, for many years the SWPC’s solar cycle predictions have used the Royal Observatory of Belgium’s International Sunspot Number. SWPC’s official solar cycle prediction now uses the SWPC sunspot number. The International Sunspot Number is typically about one-third lower than the SWPC sunspot number.
“While this is SWPC’s official Cycle 25 prediction, it’s important to note there is still divergence among various forecasting methods and members of the space weather forecasting community,” Donovan said. “Most forecasts and forecasters agree that the Cycle 25 peak is likely to be within ±20% of Cycle 24 and is likely to occur between 2024 and 2027.”
Japan’s Radio Amateurs Gain Expanded Access to 160 and 80 Meters
Effective on April 21, Japanese radio amateurs have new privileges on
ARRL Life Member Kenji Rikitake, JJ1BDX/N6BDX, said the new regime allows Japanese radio amateurs to operate FT8 on 80 meters (3574 ~ 3577 kHz), and on 160 meters (1840 ~ 1843 kHz) as well as WSPR (1836.6 kHz).
On 160 meters, the allocations are:
On 80 meters, the allocations are:
Additional details are on the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) website.— Thanks to Kenji Rikitake, JJ1BDX/N6BDX
Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
Note: Many conventions and hamfests have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Check the calendar of canceled events on the ARRL website.
Find conventions and hamfests in your area.
Free of charge to ARRL members…
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