Here are the top Amateur/Ham Radio news stories compiled by “The ARRL Letter.”
Views expressed in this post are those of the reporters and correspondents.
Content supplied by HQ ARRL.
Accessed on 02 July 2020, 2208 UTC, Post 1517.
Please click link or scroll down to read your selections.
July 2, 2020
Editor: Rick Lindquist, WW1ME
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.
Prominent Radio Amateur Helps to Lead US Convalescent Plasma COVID-19 Expanded Access Study
Well-known contester, DXer, and National Contest Journal (NCJ) Editor Scott Wright, K0MD, has been “substantially” stepping back from ham radio while offering his expertise to the US convalescent plasma COVID-19 Expanded Access Program. The study began in early April under the leadership of Principal Investigator Dr. Michael Joyner, MD, of the Mayo Clinic; Dr. Peter Marks, MD, PhD — who is AB3XC — and Dr. Nicole
“The US Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access Program is a collaborative project between the US government and the Mayo Clinic to provide access to convalescent plasma for patients in the US who are hospitalized with COVID 19,” Wright told ARRL. The work has been referenced during White House press briefings and in congressional testimony. The US government-supported study collects and provides blood plasma recovered from COVID-19 patients, which contains antibodies that may help fight the disease. The Mayo Clinic is the lead institution for the program.
“My role was to organize the infrastructure and the research approach, and to help lead the set-up of the data collection and of the website teams, while overseeing the study conduct and regulatory compliance,” Wright explained.
According to a June 18 Washington Post article, “A large study of 20,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients who received transfusions of blood plasma from people who recovered found the treatment was safe and suggests giving it to people early in the disease may be beneficial.”
An initial safety report on 5,000 patients appeared in May in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The safety study on 20,000 subjects referenced in the Washington Post article was published earlier this month in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
“We started in less than a week. Most studies recruit 2,500 – 5,000 patients,” Wright said. “We have recruited over 30,000 patients in 10 weeks, exceeding all expectations.”
Hospitals in all 50 states and several US territories are participating, Wright said, and more than 8,000 physician-scientists are working with the team as investigators at their hospitals. “We also helped manage the start-up of collection of convalescent plasma by the large blood organizations, such as the American Red Cross, by strategically connecting donor pools and people willing to donate with the blood collection centers.”
Wright’s study responsibilities, which are on top of his regular day job, have required him to work daily, including weekends, for all of April, most of May, and all of June. “It has been intense,” he said.
Wright said an FDA announcement on the benefit of convalescent plasma was expected soon. The FDA has been inviting donations of convalescent plasma from individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19.
IARU Appoints New Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Coordinator
The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Administrative Council has appointed Martin Sach, G8KDF, as global Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Coordinator, succeeding Tore Worren, LA9QL.
“EMC is a major challenge for all radiocommunication services,” the IARU noted. “Radio amateurs are experiencing increased interference
The EMC Coordinator’s mission is to ensure that the concerns and needs of radio amateurs are effectively addressed in international standards bodies — particularly the International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) — as well as in regional telecommunication organizations and at national levels through IARU member-societies. Assisting in the effort is a network of volunteers with expertise in the field of EMC.
IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, said, “The IARU Administrative Council is grateful for Tore’s leadership and for his willingness to continue contributing to this vital work. We are fortunate that someone as qualified as Martin is willing to take the reins. He has already represented the IARU effectively at important international meetings and we look forward to working even more closely with him.”
Radio amateurs throughout the world support the work of the IARU through membership and involvement in their national IARU member-societies. The IARU needs qualified volunteers in this and other fields.
New IARU Video
The video “What is IARU?” is now available on the International
“This video explains the mission and roles of IARU to represent, develop, and defend frequencies for amateur radio around the world,” IARU Region 2 explains. “It also describes the regional organizations and the critical roles of its more than 160 member-societies.” The English-language presentation was developed by the IARU Administrative Committee and approved at its meeting last October in Lima, Peru.
The short video, available in English and Spanish, was produced by IARU Region 2 Director Carlos Beviglia, LU1BCE, and Fernando Gomez Rojas, LU1ARG. The videos are available in MP4 format.
Researchers Use 200 Years of Sunspot Observations to Create “Sun Clock”
Researchers in the UK and the US have developed a new “sun clock” that quantifies extreme space weather and pinpoints distinct on/off times of high solar activity and space weather. The sun clock will assist in planning to protect space and ground-based infrastructure that is sensitive to space weather. The study, “Quantifying the solar cycle modulation of extreme space weather,” was published in Geophysical Research Letters. It explains that the sun clock uses the daily sunspot number record available since 1818 to map solar activity over 18 solar cycles to a standardized 11-year cycle or “clock.”
“Extreme space weather events can significantly impact systems such as satellites, communications systems, power distribution, and aviation,” a Warwick University news release said, noting that these events are driven by solar activity. “By devising a new, regular ‘sun
clock’, researchers have found that the switch on-and-off of periods of high solar activity is quite sharp.”
The researchers’ analysis shows that while extreme events can happen at any time, they are much less likely to occur during quiet intervals. The sun clock is aimed at helping scientists to determine more precisely when the risk for solar storms is highest and to plan the impact of space weather on space infrastructure. This gains importance as Solar Cycle 25 is imminent.
According to the researchers, no two solar cycles are the same, but using a mathematical technique known as the Hilbert transform, they were able to standardize the solar cycle for the first time. The clock revealed sharp transitions between quiet and active periods of solar activity.
“Once the clock is constructed from sunspot observations, it can be used to order observations of solar activity and space weather,” the university said. This includes the occurrence of solar flares and the 10.7-centimeter solar flux that tracks solar coronal activity.
The researchers determined that once past on/off times are obtained from the clock, the occurrence rate of extreme events when the sun is active or quiet can be calculated.
“Scientists spend their lives trying to read the book of nature,” lead author and Professor Sandra Chapman of the University of Warwick’s Centre for Fusion, Space, and Astrophysics, said. “Sometimes, we create a new way to transform the data, and what appeared to be messy and complicated is suddenly beautifully simple.”
ARRL Podcasts Schedule
New Extra Class License Manual and Extra Q&A Now Available
Go all the way to the top! ARRL has everything you need to pass the Amateur Extra-class license exam with confidence.
Use this book with ARRL Exam Review for Ham Radio online to review the material. You can even take practice exams, so there are no surprises on exam day!
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To upgrade to Amateur Extra class, you must already hold a General-class license (or have recently passed all of the exam elements required for a General-class license).
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ARRL Illinois Section Has a New Section Manager
Thomas Beebe, W9RY, has been appointed as the Illinois Section Manager, effective July 1. He succeeds Ron Morgan, AD9I,
Beebe was one of three candidates who ran for the post in the spring SM election. He has served as an Assistant Section Manager, Official Emergency Station, and a Field Instructor and Field Examiner. Beebe has been a ham for more than 50 years.
MARS Announces HF Skills Exercise
Members of the Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) will conduct an HF skills exercise July 20 – 24 to hone their operating skills and messaging-handling capabilities. MARS members will be reaching out to the amateur radio community via the 60 meters Channel 1 Net (5330.5 kHz dial) twice a day, the SATERN HF net (14.265 MHz), and
Participating MARS members will be requesting assistance with collecting county status information as well as airport weather information, called METARs. MARS members will also be passing ICS 213 messages to numerous Department of Defense (DoD), federal, and amateur radio addressees.
This exercise will be announced via WWV at 00:10 and via WWVH at 00:50 starting on or about July 13. WWV and WWVH listeners will be asked to take an online listener survey. This HF radio training event will not impact regular communications.
A Department of Defense program, MARS organizes and trains amateur radio volunteers to operate in military radio networks to support HF radio contingency communications. Among other missions, MARS provides communication support to civil authorities and assists in establishing normal communication under emergency conditions. — Thanks to Paul English, Chief, Army MARS
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: No sunspots this week. Spaceweather.com reported a couple of weak, barely emerging spots (never numbered) but, judging by their magnetic polarity, were from new Solar Cycle 25. We rely on NOAA for official sunspot numbers, and the most recent one reported was 11 on June 15.
Predicted solar flux over the next 45 days is 68 each day from July 2 until August 15 — hardly a promising outlook. Even with no sunspots, it would be nice to see solar flux values north of 70.
The predicted planetary A index is 5 on July 2 – 26; 8 on July 27 – 28; 5 on July 29 – August 1; 8 on August 2 – 3, and 5 on August 4 -15.
Sunspot numbers for June 25 – July 1 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 0. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 68.9, 67.8, 68.9, 69.2, 68.7, 68.1, and 68.9, with a mean of 68.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 3, 6, 7, 4, 3, 4, and 6, with a mean of 5.5. Middle latitude A index was 2, 6, 6, 4, 4, 5, and 6, with a mean of 5.5.
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
Annual 13 Colonies Event Now Under Way
The annual 13 Colonies special event kicked off on July 1 at 1300 UTC and will continue until July 8 at 0400 UTC. Stations representing the original 13 British colonies, plus two bonus stations, will be on the air with 1 × 1 call signs.
The event sponsor stresses that participants do not need to work all 13
This year will mark the 12th occurrence of the event. Look for:
Announcements July 2
Ham Radio Reconnects Boyhood Friends after 60 Years
Two radio amateurs who were in school together in Austria decades ago have reconnected via VoIP ham radio. One of the two had moved to the US, and they lost touch. On June 15, Arnold Huebsch, OE1IAH, heard a call via Echolink from Albin Ennsthaler, KK9HAM, near Spokane.
“At first, I did not want to respond as I was working on a program. But
as I know that usually nobody responds here to calls in English, I answered,” recounted Huebsch, who is also KN6EYB and fluent in English.
As it turned out, they chatted for some 20 minutes. Because each was familiar with the geography on both sides of the contact, they had a lot to talk about. Huebsch learned that Ennsthaler was born in Austria and had relocated to the US years earlier. “He pronounced the local city names in perfect German but asked to run the QSO in English, as he felt more comfortable to do so,” Huebsch said.
A few minutes after the contact ended, Huebsch turned his attention to serving as the net control station of a daily net on a local repeater in Vienna. “I mentioned the contact with KK9HAM and noted that his name was Albin, a name not common in Austria. That caught the ear of one of the locals, Gerhard Weissenboeck, OE1WED, who recalled someone named Albin from school in Styria about 60 years ago, but had lost touch with him. Weissenboeck wondered if it could be the same person.
“I initiated contact via email between them, as I knew Albin had come from that area of Austria,” Huebsch said. “They found out that they had shared a desk in school.” KK9HAM and OE1WED arranged a sked via Echolink for a few days later.
“It was an intense, very emotional, funny QSO in a wild mixture of English and German,” Huebsch said. “Without our hobby, these two former school friends would never have had a chance to meet again.”
Ennsthaler later emailed Huebsch. “I am still speechless about this get-together with Gerhard and Fahrdienstleiter [traffic controller] Arnold and other members of the group,” he said. “What a memorable day.”
Getting It Right!
The article, “Rescued Radio Amateur Says, ‘Ham Radio Saved My Life'” in the June 25 issue of The ARRL Letter cited a report in the Bennington Banner. The newspaper’s name was incorrect in the article.
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.
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Hawaii Island Amateur/Ham Radio News:
All radio amateurs are invited to participate in the Sunday, 20 September 2020, Hawaiian Grid Madness VHF/UHF simplex event. The contest runs from 1300 HST to 1700 HST. The event is sponsored by the Aulani Hui Amateur Repeater Club. For more information please go here: https://gridmadness.blogspot.com
Aloha es 73 de Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)
Public Information Officer
Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section
https://paper.li/f-1576465810 (breaking Amateur/Ham Radio News)