Here are the latest Amateur Radio news, events, and commentary compiled by “The ARRL Letter.”
Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio News update are those of the reporters and correspondents.
Accessed on 05 August 2022, 0245 UTC.
Content reprinted with permission of The ARRL. Copyright ARRL.
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August 4, 2022
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
New ARRL Radio Lab Inspires Innovation in the Ham Shack
ARRL has unveiled its new Radio Laboratory, W1HQ, in a video released on August 4, 2022. In the video, Jherica Goodgame, KI5HTA, a summer intern at ARRL Headquarters, tours viewers through the station.
“The ARRL Radio Lab is an innovative test space designed to reshape the way we imagine and build a ham radio shack,” said Goodgame. The station is intended to inspire members to build, organize, and equip their own stations in innovative ways. “From a decluttered workspace and a digital user interface, to being able to remote into the equipment from anywhere, W1HQ is a step towards the future of amateur radio stations,” Goodgame added.
The station includes a new tower and antennas atop the main administrative building at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut. Inside the station, three operating positions provide an interface to rack-mounted and computer-controlled transceivers, amplifiers, antenna switches, and rotators.
Goodgame explained that the Radio Lab will also support equipment testing and QST Product Review. “An extension of product reviews in the future will be to take that piece of gear that we’re testing, put it on this test bench, and see how it integrates with a station that’s already under full automation and control,” she said.
The video is published on ARRL’s YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/68BJxGHg74Y.
Sangamon Valley Radio Club to Sponsor Radio Orienteering Activities
Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) has awarded a grant to the Sangamon Valley Radio Club (SVRC) in Springfield, Illinois for a new project to introduce youth, outdoor enthusiasts, and members of the public to amateur radio.
The grant is for Radio Orienteering activities, also known as Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF). SVRC will purchase transmitters, controllers, receivers, maps, and other items needed to conduct successful Radio Orienteering events. In addition, there will be several events for SVRC members and local youth groups such as Boy Scouts of America and Civil Air Patrol. The events will allow participants to learn the technical and outdoor skills needed to succeed in Radio Orienteering.
Radio Orienteering is an international sport. Participants use handheld directional radio receivers, compasses, maps, and radio-direction finding skills to search for transmitters operating in the 2-meter and 80-meter bands. They use their athletic, orienteering, and technical skills, attempting to locate low-power transmitters and get to the finish line first.
The ARRL ARDF Committee explains that in “this sport there are no vehicles, traffic jams, or exhaust fumes. Radio Orienteering (aka, Amateur Radio Direction Finding, or ARDF) brings radios into the great outdoors with maps and compasses, providing a uniquely enjoyable way to learn new radio skills…. It involves constructing direction-finding equipment, training amateurs in the rules of the sport, and organizing events in the USA” and other countries.
The 20th IARU World Championships in Amateur Radio Direction Finding will be held in Borovets, Bulgaria, August 28 – September 3, 2022. The 22nd USA Radio Orienteering Championships will be held April 19 – 23, 2023, near Dallas, Texas.
The Sangamon Valley Radio Club plans to share their experiences and equipment requirements to help other amateur radio clubs who may be considering similar events and programs.
More information about the Sangamon Valley Radio Club can be found at their website.
ARDC is a California-based foundation with roots in amateur radio and the technology of internet communication.
Hams Radio Operators Support American Red Cross in Kentucky Flood Response
As the flood waters began to recede following devastating rainfall in Kentucky that began on July 26, the American Red Cross reported that over 400 of their disaster workers were on the ground, as well as dozens more in other locations. They provided shelter, meals, and other forms of support. Red Cross teams also worked alongside their state and municipal partners among others, including Kentucky Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) volunteers.
ARRL Director of Emergency Management Josh Johnston, KE5MHV, was in touch with American Red Cross personnel in the affected area. He said ham radio volunteers were supporting Red Cross damage assessment teams with radio communications. “The rural and mountainous terrain of the affected area adds to the already difficult situation,” said Johnston.
Much of the local response effort is being coordinated by Steve Morgan, W4NHO, of Owensboro, Kentucky. The response of radio amateurs throughout the region is under and in cooperation with an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Young Amateurs Radio Club to Host Inaugural Special Event
The Young Amateurs Radio Club (YARC) will host their first annual youth-organized special event from September 1 – 15, 2022. Using their call sign, WY4RC, the event is known as “Worked All YARC Zones (WAYZ).” Operators will be activating WY4RC stations from all 10 US call zones. Different awards are available for youth operators who activate a station, and for those who contact at least six WY4RC stations.
Any young amateur or club interested in operating during the event can find the rules and additional information at the Young Amateurs Radio Club website.
YARC, founded in 2017, is an international amateur radio club with a focus on promoting adoption and innovation in amateur radio among young people. In 2018 the club was officially recognized by the FCC as an official amateur radio club under the call sign WY4RC.
YARC has over 1,000 members on their Discord server as of 2022, and has been changing its structure to bring back community events and increase engagement.
ARRL New England Division Helps FEMA Test Message Distribution
The ARRL New England Division recently helped the Massachusetts Task Force 1 (MA-TF1) FEMA Urban Search & Rescue (FEMA US&R) team test message distribution in the event of a total communications failure.
Using the National Traffic System (NTS), nearly 250 radiograms were routed through the system. Charles Rocheleau, W1CPR, a FEMA Communications Specialist for the MA-TF1, said the alerts were the real thing. “The alerts I sent out were real-world alerts as the task force, MA-TF1 FEMA US&R, was on standby for a deployment to Kentucky,” he said. “Steve Hansen, KB1TCE, runs a digital hub in Owls Head, Maine, and was my go-to person for injecting these messages quickly into the [NTS].”
Marcia Forde, KW1U, an active traffic handler in the NTS since 1981, said she received an alert that 40 messages were being sent from W1CPR. “I alerted key Maine traffic handlers to be ready, and these folks did a fantastic job of getting them out,” she stated. “All 40 messages were handled in one day.”
Phil Temples, K9HI, Vice Director of the ARRL New England Division, said the NTS and all amateur radio operators involved did a great job passing the messages.
Amateur Radio in the News
ARRL Public Information Officers, Coordinators, and many other member-volunteers help keep amateur radio and ARRL in the news.
“Local Amateur Radio Clubs Achieve Their Best Results in North American Field Day” / Port Williams News (Canada), July 19, 2022 — Thanks to the Kings County and Annapolis Valley Amateur Radio Clubs.
“HARA donates radio history” / The Times-Gazette (Ohio) July 20, 2022 — The Highland Amateur Radio Association is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
“Kids in Bangor reach for the stars by speaking to astronaut” / WLBZ (Maine) July 28, 2022 — Thanks to the Challenger Learning Center of Maine.
“Challenger Maine campers speak with NASA Astronaut aboard ISS” / WABI (Maine) July 28. 2002 — Thanks to the Challenger Learning Center of Maine.
Share any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.
ARRL Podcasts Schedule
The latest episode of the ARRL On the Air podcast (Episode 31) provides an overview of the 222 MHz frequency band.
The latest edition of the ARRL Eclectic Tech podcast (Episode 65) features a discussion about lightning protection with Ron Block, NR2B.
The Pomeranian Local Branch of the Polish Amateur Radio Union (PZK) has invited all amateur radio operators to participate in the 200th anniversary of the construction and launch of the lighthouse in Rozewie, Poland. The on-air “award competition” is active until August 31, 2022, with nine special event stations. Two of them are “joker” stations that will be on the air only during the 25th anniversary of International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW) on August 20 – 21. Commemorative e-diplomas will be issued to those who meet the special criteria. The competition is also open for shortwave listening (SWL) stations. The rules and frequencies for the 200th anniversary of the Polish lighthouse in Rozewie are available on the website.
Amateur radio provided communications for the Ironman Lake Placid triathlon on Sunday, July 24, 2022. The Champlain Valley Amateur Radio Club (CVARC) provided 29 licensed operators with communications for 11 ambulances, five bike aid stations, four support and gear (SAG) vehicles, two medical tent stations, and two net control stations. All radio operators volunteered their time and many worked 16 hours or more, for a combined 385 hours. They were honored with an award for Special Recognition for a Volunteer Team. — Thanks to Mark Varin, KD2RJP, President of CVARC, an ARRL Affiliated Club.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week’s ARRL Propagation Bulletin:
Solar activity continued to decline this week, with the average daily sunspot number dropping from 91.1 to 36.6, and average solar flux at 95.7, down from 107.6 the week prior.
We have not seen lower values since mid-April in bulletin ARLP015
with average sunspot number at 34.4, and the end of February in ARLP008 with the average solar flux at 95.4.
This was noticeable over the past week on 10 and 12 meters, but there must still be some daily sporadic E, from what I have seen on an email list devoted to 10-meter propagation beacons. I have one myself — K7RA/B transmitting CW from CN87uq on 28.2833 MHz.
The outlook from the United States Air Force space weather group shows a meager forecast for solar flux, according to forecasters Sadovsky and Ciopastu on Wednesday.
Predicted solar flux over the next month never rises above 100, having values of 100 for August 4 – 7; 98 and 96 on August 8 – 9; 98 on August 10 – 14; 100 on August 15 – 16; 98 on August 17 – 18; 96, 96, and 98 on August 19 – 21; 96 again on August 22 – 23; 92 on August 24 – 28; 90 and 92 on August 29 – 30; 94 on August 31 – September 1; 96 on September 2 – 3, and 98 on September 4 – 10.
Predicted planetary A index is 8 on August 4; 5 on August 5 – 7; 8, 14, and 12 on August 8 – 10; 8 on August 11 – 12; 5 on August 13 – 16; 22 on August 17; 15 on August 18 – 19; 8 on August 20 – 21; 5 on August 22 – 25; 10 and 12 on August 26 – 27; 5 on August 28 – 29; 12 and 10 on August 30 – 31, and 5 on September 1 – 6.
Sunspot numbers for July 28 – August 3 were 50, 40, 27, 39, 32, 31, and 37, with a mean of 36.6. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 93, 90.8, 94.3, 95.4, 97.8, 98.8, and 99.9, with a mean of 95.7. Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 4, 7, 11, 8, 9, and 8, with a mean of 7.7. Middle latitude A index was 9, 6, 8, 12, 8, 10, and 7, with a mean of 8.6.
Send your tips, questions, or comments to email@example.com.
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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