Here’s the latest ARRL/Amateur Radio News compiled by “The ARRL Letter.”
Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio update are those of the reporters and correspondents.
Accessed on 03 February 2022, 2223 UTC.
Content provided by HQ ARRL, Newington, CT, 06111.
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February 3, 2022
Editor: Rick Lindquist, WW1ME
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ARRL Seeks Candidates to Serve on its Investment Management Committee
ARRL is seeking three qualified candidates to serve on its Investment Management Committee. Selected individuals will be part of a six-member team to provide oversight of ARRL’s external investment manager and to advise ARRL’s Administration and Finance Committee and the Board of Directors on investment policies and portfolio management. It is expected that committee members will meet quarterly, with one or two meetings in person and the remaining meetings via videoconference. Terms of office are to be 5 years, however, qualified candidates will be the initial committee members and the initial terms will be 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 years to create an appropriate staggered term structure.
Applicants should have the following qualifications:
These positions are unpaid; however, necessary expenses, including travel to meetings, are reimbursable.
A committee has been established to recommend three candidates to the President. Qualified members are invited to submit a statement of interest and qualifications via email to email@example.com. The deadline to submit is April 15, 2022.
Research on Ancient Massive Solar Storms Suggests a Need to Prepare for the Next Ones
Numerous powerful X-class solar flares occurred last fall as Solar Cycle 25 activity picked up. Jon Jones, N0JK, covered the event in his QST column, “The World Above 50 MHz,” in the February issue, and he pointed out, “More powerful flares than these have taken place, such as the Carrington Event of 1859, during which aurora was seen in the South Pacific and in Cuba, and it sparked electrical fires.”
Similar events took place in the 20th century, but, as Jones notes, scientists are researching spectacular solar storms that took place as early as 7176 BC and in 5259 BC. The huge solar flare some 9,200 years ago has convinced researchers that we are not ready for the next one, and our modern technology would take a major hit.
Jones said his reading has led him to conclude that these solar superstorms occur more frequently than people think. “As more ice cores and tree rings are sampled, scientists are finding there have been more of these [major solar storms],” he said.
In his February column, Jones cited a 2013 Royal Academy of Engineering report that discussed the risks of a Carrington-level event.
“An extreme space weather event, or solar superstorm, is one of a number of potentially high-impact, but low-probability natural hazards,” said Paul Cannon, a Royal Academy of Engineering fellow and chair of the study working group that developed the report. “Extreme space weather [can have] impacts on engineered systems and infrastructure.”
Cannon said the hazard and risks of extreme space weather on the electricity grid, satellites, and air passenger safety had not previously been critically assessed. His group’s report attempts to address that omission.
The Live Science article, “Ancient solar storm smashed Earth at the wrong part of the sun’s cycle — and scientists are concerned,” cites a study, “Cosmogenic radionuclides reveal an extreme solar particle storm near a solar minimum 9125 years BP.” Study co-author Raimund Muscheler, a geology researcher at Lund University in Sweden, said, “These enormous storms are currently not sufficiently included in risk assessments. It is of the utmost importance to analyze what these events could mean for today’s technology and how we can protect ourselves.”
“A Carrington Event taking place today could destroy orbiting satellites, disrupt GPS, and damage undersea cables and internet infrastructure on the ground,” Jones said in his QST column. “An event in 775 AD was believed to have been 100 times stronger than the Carrington Event.”
ARRL Podcasts Schedule
The latest edition of the Eclectic Tech podcast (Episode 52) features a chat with Sal
AMSAT Withdraws GOLF-TEE CubeSat from NASA Educational Launch
At AMSAT’s request, NASA has “de-manifested” the GOLF-TEE CubeSat from the ELaNa-46 mission. ELaNa is NASA’s Educational Launch of Satellites program. ELaNa-46 was expected to launch no earlier than 2022. AMSAT said COVID-related restrictions and supply chain disruptions affecting both AMSAT’s vendors and team have put AMSAT’s ability to meet the mission integration timeline at high risk. Puns aside, the GOLF acronym stands for Greater Orbit, Larger Footprint, while TEE stands for Technology Exploration Environment.
AMSAT Vice-President Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, said the situation facing AMSAT is similar to what other payloads and space-industry providers are experiencing. The worldwide pandemic and supply chain shortages are threatening everyone’s ability to properly and successfully deliver for launches.
“Out of respect for NASA, the launch provider, and other payloads, it is important to withdraw now, rather than later or, even worst, missing a launch integration deadline, which has possible financial penalty
Buxton said both GOLF-TEE and GOLF-1 have been selected to participate in NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative program (CSLI), and NASA will continue to look for another launch opportunity for GOLF-TEE.
AMSAT says its GOLF program plays an important role in its return to highly elliptical orbits. “In addition to proving the maneuverability capabilities required by current and proposed orbital debris regulations, the GOLF program will work through a series of increasingly capable spacecraft to develop skills and learn systems for which we do not yet have the necessary low-risk experience,” AMSAT said. “Among these are active attitude control, deployable/steerable solar panels, radiation tolerance for commercial off the shelf (COTS) components in higher orbits, and propulsion.”
The GOLF-TEE mission goal to test two critical systems needed for higher orbits. The first is an Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS) that will allow active pointing of high gain satellite antennas, provide accurate attitude adjustments in future missions with maneuverability systems, and allow pointing the fixed solar panel array for best solar power in any given orbit type,” AMSAT explained. “The second is the Radiation-Tolerant Integrated Housekeeping Unit (RTIHU), which will allow AMSAT to gain initial orbit and space radiation exposure for radiation event-induced fault tolerant systems designed using COTS components.”
GOLF-TEE will carry a modified Ettus E310 commercial software-defined radio (SDR) as an experimental package, to test the high-speed data downlink at 10 GHz and a parrot V/x mode linear transponder to provide users with an opportunity to experiment with the 10 GHz microwave downlink. GOLF-TEE will also carry a legacy V/u linear transponder, AMSAT said.
ARRL Learning Network Webinars
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ARRL members may register for upcoming presentations and view previously recorded Learning Network webinars. ARRL-affiliated radio clubs may also use the recordings as presentations for club meetings, mentoring new and current hams, and discussing amateur radio topics.
Amateur Radio Challenged by Tonga Emergency; Radio Network May be Set Up
Radio amateurs in the US and around the world have expressed concern over the situation in the Kingdom of Tonga, after a volcano on an uninhabited island in the archipelago erupted on January 14. The shock wave set off tsunami warnings.
A representative of International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 3 has said that amateur radio in Tonga is difficult, as there are currently no HF operators and only a few transceivers in storage. An amateur radio emergency communication network may be set up in the future.
Operators have been asked to keep the IARU Region 3 emergency frequencies clear. They are 3.600, 7.110, 14.300, 18.160, and 21.360 MHz.
Amateurs have been asked to maintain a watch on those frequencies, at least when propagation is open to that region, for any possible activity related to the volcano.
ARRL has reached out to the IARU Region 3 emergency communications representative to offer any assistance.
The volcano spewed a huge cloud of electrically charged ash that has disrupted or impaired telecommunications, including satellite and telephone networks, although at least one native of Tonga, who now lives in California, got word via a brief satellite telephone call that her family and others in the vicinity all were okay. Electrical power also was affected. Maritime VHF communication is said to be possible.
Several Tongan call signs are listed on www.qrz.com, but many appear to be call signs used for temporary DXpeditions and special events, or are call signs obtained by hams not living on Tonga. The Amateur Radio Club of Tonga, A35HQ, is not active.
US entrepreneur Elon Musk has offered to send Starlink internet terminals to Tonga in the wake of the recent events that have left the Pacific Island nation without communication links to the rest of the world.
Amateur Radio in the News
ARRL Public Information Officers, Coordinators, and many other member-volunteers help keep amateur radio and ARRL in the news.
Share any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.
IARU Region 1 Working to Resolve Potential Amateur Interference to Satellite Navigation System
IARU Region 1 (Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Asia) continues wrangling with the issue of interference potential to GALILEO global navigation satellite system (GNSS) sites in Europe from amateur radio operation in the 1240 – 1300 MHz (23-centimeter) band. Considerable work has gone into documenting an interference case on a single GALILEO channel between a “very local” Italian 23-centimeter repeater and receivers at the nearby European Commission Joint Research Centre in Ispra, where GALILEO applications are developed and tested.
“This one case is often cited as the ‘proof’ that interference can occur,” said Barry Lewis, G4SJH, the chair of IARU Region 1 Spectrum Affairs. As a consequence of this single instance of interference, the IARU has been engaged for several years in defending amateur
In 2018, the FCC granted, in part, the European Commission’s request for a rules waiver so that non-federal devices in the US may access specific GALILEO signals to augment the US Global Positioning System. The two systems are interoperable and RF compatible. That Order permits access to two GALILEO satellite signals — the E1 signal in the 1559 – 1591 MHz portion of the 1559 – 1610 MHz Radionavigation-Satellite Service (RNSS) band, and the E5 signal in the 1164 – 1219 MHz portion of the 1164 – 1215 MHz and 1215 – 1240 MHz RNSS bands.
The Order does not grant access to the Galileo E6 signal on 1278.750 MHz in the 1260 – 1300 MHz band, which is not allocated for such services in the US. Omitting that channel eliminates any need for US radio amateurs to protect GALILEO receivers from interference.
“The impact of traffic through this very local repeater (12.5 kilometers distant) on three different GALILEO receivers has been documented,” Lewis said. “This work suggests that while RNSS receiver bandwidth can have a part to play in enabling coexistence, beyond that nothing has been reported that could help develop any coexistence criteria.”
IARU Region 1 President Don Beattie, G3BJ, stated last year that IARU does not want the Amateur Service to affect GALILEO system operation in any way.
Lewis said the IARU has provided extensive information regarding amateur applications in the 1240 – 1300 MHz band as well as operational characteristics and data indicating the density of active transmitting stations and the busiest periods when these are most likely to be operational.
“Amateur transmissions virtually anywhere in the band will be co-frequency with the RNSS receivers from one system or another,” Lewis said. “It is therefore obvious that any RNSS receiver will be open to any co-frequency amateur transmission, and amateur operators have no way of knowing where or when a RNSS service user is active.” Lewis suggests that “some compromises will need be necessary” to develop a co-existence model. Read an expanded version.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Our sun was much more active over the past week, with the average daily sunspot number more than doubling from 39.6 in the previous week to 81.3 in the current January 27 – February 2 reporting period.
Geomagnetic indicator average daily Planetary A index rose from 8.3
Predicted solar flux for the near term is 130 on February 3 – 4; 125 on February 5 – 6; 120 on February 7 – 8; 118 on February 9 – 10; 128 on February 11 – 12; 125 on February 13 – 14; 120 on February 15 – 17; 128 on February 18 – 21; 125 on February 22 – 25; 128 on February 26; 132 on February 27 – 28; 135 on March 1 – 3; 125 on March 4 – 7, and 128 on March 8 – 11.
Predicted planetary A index is 10, 6, 12, 14, and 8 on February 3 – 7; 5 on February 8 – 9; 12 and 8 on February 10 – 11; 5 on February 12 – 16; 10, 12, 8, and 5 on February 17 – 20; 10, 8, 5, and 8 on February 21 – 24; 12, 8, 5, and 8 on February 25 – 28; 10, 5, and 5 on March 1 – 3; 20 and 12 on March 4 – 5; 5 on March 6 – 8; 12 and 8 on March 9 – 10, and 5 on March 11 – 15.
An interesting new Solar Cycle 25 update is available, thanks to K9LA and K1HTV.
Sunspot numbers for January 27 – February 2 were 85, 77, 74, 70, 100, 88, and 75, with a mean of 81.3. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 107.1, 113.4, 125.3, 129.6, 129.5, 128.6, and 128.2, with a mean of 123.1. Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 8, 17, 10, 10, 7, and 12, with a mean of 10.1. Middle latitude A index was 5, 5, 7, 7, 3, 10, and 8, with a mean of 6.4.
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 the Propagation Page of Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA.
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