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The ARRL Letter

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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 16 September 2022, 0101 UTC.

Content republished with permission of The ARRL.  Copyright ARRL.

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The ARRL Letter

September 15, 2022

John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor

ARRL Home Page ARRL Letter Archive Audio News

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Join ARRL at the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo this weekend, September 17 – 18, 2022.

Enjoy this fully-interactive online ham radio convention, featuring presentations, new content, and networking opportunities. Over 50 amateur radio presentations on a wide variety of subjects are planned. Get your $10 ticket to the Expo at www.qsotodayhamexpo.com.


104-Year-Old Ham is On the Air

ARRL member Oscar Norris, W4OXH, of Gastonia, North Carolina, will turn 105 on September 25, 2022, and he is still on the air.

Oscar Norris, W4OXH, with his guide dog, Neil, circa late 1940’s.

Norris lost his sight when he was 24 in 1942, and it was his blindness that led him to amateur radio. He earned his license in 1949, and has been on the air for 73 years.

Tony Jones, N4ATJ, has known Norris since he was 14 and remembers the first time he met Norris. It was at a bicycle shop and Norris, blind, was still able to tear down a wheel, replace the spokes, and spin the wheel until it was balanced. Several years later, Norris gave Jones a book on how to earn an amateur radio license.

“Over the years, the book got misplaced,” said Jones. “I would give anything to find that book today.” Jones continued, “Oscar has the personality of one of the kindest people you would ever want to meet, and he never has an unkind word for anyone.”

Norris communicates mostly using digital mobile radio (DMR) on a handheld radio, and he has been a member of the Gaston County Amateur Radio Society (GCARS), an ARRL Affiliated Club, since 1979.

In honor of his 105th birthday, GCARS members will be operating the special event station N1O from 00:01 UTC on September 20 through 20:00 UTC on October 1. Operations will be on the HF bands, 2 meters, 1.25 meters, and 70 centimeters. Modes used will be CW, SSB, FT4, FT8, DMR, and D-STAR.

For additional information, contact Jones at n4atj@twc.com.

100th Anniversary of the Reading Radio Club

The Reading Radio Club (RRC) in Reading, Pennsylvania, will celebrate their 100th anniversary on September 24, 2022. Special event station W3BN will operate from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM EDT on 10-, 15-, 20-, 40-, and 80-meters SSB. All licensed amateurs are invited to join the celebration and make contacts to qualify for a personalized color certificate commemorating the event. RRC operators will be staffing three HF stations from the Reading area for a 12-hour period. Look for spots on your favorite DX cluster to find and contact one of the stations.

The RRC was formed by a group of radio hobbyists in 1921, and it became an ARRL Affiliated Club in February 1922. ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, presented a plaque during the RRC banquet in May, marking the celebration of the centennial.

To qualify for a color QSL card, send log information to w3bn100@gmail.com and include your call sign, the band that you operated on, the time and date, and your name.

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Hawaii “Big Wind” Drill Successfully Tests Emergency Radio Communications

Makani ‘Ino, Hawaii’s big wind hurricane exercise on July 16, 2022, successfully tested amateur radio equipment and the skill of operators in a disaster environment.

Highlights of the drill included:

    • Participation of 112 stations
    • 256 Winlink traffic messages to served agencies
    • 127 voice contacts from spokes
    • 125 Winlink traffic messages from spokes
    • 10 voice traffic messages to served agencies

 

 

 

 

The drill was designed to test the ability of amateur radio operators in establishing emergency communications during a widespread disaster. Makani ‘Ino simulated severe infrastructure failure as a hurricane impacted every island’s electrical power, internet service, and cell phone service. High winds, catastrophic rains, and storm surges on coastal lands produced flooding in many areas.

The timing of the drill could not have been better. Early in the morning on July 16, before the exercise began, Tropical Storm Darby was making a run toward the islands. The National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Warning, and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC). While High Surf Warnings were issued throughout the weekend, the storm weakened and did not reach hurricane strength.

Hawaii Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) Public Information Officer Michael Miller, KH6ML, said that not only were the numbers impressive, but participation in the exercise was excellent. “I was glad to see all of the participating agencies working well together, helping build leaders and train amateur radio operators,” said Miller. “Also, a special thanks to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency for a very engaged Emergency Operations Center,” he added.

The next Hawaii ARES drill is the ARRL Simulated Emergency Test, which will involve an extreme tsunami. The event is set for October 1, 2022.

Amateur Radio Helps Disabled Sailboat to Port

On September 7, 2022, Jeanne (Jan) Socrates, VE0JS/MM / KC2IOV, and her sailboat, the SV Nereida, set sail from Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point of the contiguous US. She was on her way to visit friends in San Francisco, California, but 2 days of 35 knot winds and storms left her sailboat disabled and her onboard radio equipment marginally operational. Amateur operators in New Mexico, California, and Canada, and members of Group 7.155 heard her requests for assistance.

Jeanne (Jan) Socrates, VE0JS/MM/ KC2IOV, and her sailboat, the Nereida.

Gil Gray, N2GG, was able to contact Socrates on 40 meters. “Her power was extremely low, and she was unable to communicate on 14.300 MHz to notify the monitoring group on that frequency,” said Gray. “She needed help with wind and sea conditions, and tidal data for San Francisco Bay,” he added.

Low-power output on the HF radio made it very difficult to get Q5 copy, which would typically be Q2 or Q3. With the help of several software-defined radio (SDR) operators in Utah, California, and Maui, Hawaii, they were able to glean enough copy to understand her situation and answer questions for her navigation.

Gray; Jonathan Ayers, AI6NA, and Edwin E. Jenkins, K6EXY, are all experienced sailors. They were able to make periodic contact with Socrates and give her updated wind reports. Their last contact was on Monday, September 12, at 11:00 AM (MSDT). By this time, Socrates was sailing with only the forward sail on her 38-foot sloop. Fortunately, a “following wind” kept her moving without a mainsail. As she approached the Golden Gate Bridge, Socrates was able to use the tidal information passed on by amateur radio operators to make it safely to Berkeley Marina in San Francisco Bay.

“I wouldn’t call it a rescue,” said Socrates, “just good amateur radio assistance — and I’m grateful for their help.”

Socrates is 81 years old and the oldest person to have ever sailed around the world unassisted. Once her sailboat is repaired, she will sail again, not for records, but for the enjoyment of sailing the high seas.

Her situation is one of three events in early September in which amateur radio was able to provide emergency assistance.

More information about Socrates is available on her Facebook page.

Amateur Radio Takes Center Stage at The Big E

The Big E, “New England’s Great State Fair,” kicks off on Friday, September 16, 2022, and includes Project Big E, a 17-day amateur radio exhibit that runs through October 2, 2022. The fair, held in West Springfield, Massachusetts, is the largest agricultural event on the eastern seaboard and the sixth-largest fair in the nation.

Planning for this year’s Project Big E was initiated in 2021 by Larry Krainson, W1AST, ARRL Western Massachusetts Section Affiliated Club Coordinator and President of the Hampden County Radio Association (HCRA), as well as HCRA members and other interested individuals. They envisioned an exhibit that would demonstrate the many aspects of modern ham radio and provide an opportunity for future amateur radio operators to sign up for information and courses in their local area.

“If just one-tenth of 1% of attendees sign up for ham classes, that would be 1,600 names to distribute to all New England radio clubs,” said Krainson. “We would all benefit and grow ham radio,” he added.

HCRA will operate special event station N1E during the 17-day event. A donation from Remote Ham Radio (RHR) will allow N1E access to remote stations throughout the entire event.

Additional exhibits and demonstrations at the event will include:

    • An emergency communications (EmComm) display
    • D-STAR and/or other digital mobile mode demonstations
    • Digital HF modes on a big screen
    • SSB, CW, and digital modes
    • Demonstrations of portable stations for field operation, such as Parks on the Air® (POTA) and Summits on the Air (SOTA)
    • Youth in ham radio

 

 

 

 

 

The International Space Station (ISS). Photo courtesy of NASA.

A related effort includes The BIG E Space Chat, which involves a scheduled ham radio contact from the fair with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The contact is organized through Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS). At press time, the contact is scheduled to take place in The Big E Arena between September 27 – 29. The exact date and time will not be known until a decision is made by NASA, approximately 1 week before the event.

More information about Project Big E can be found at the ARRL New England Division website.

Read the complete Project Big E story on the ARRL website.

— Thanks to ARRL New England Division Vice Director Phil Temples, K9HI, for some of the information in this article.


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Amateur Radio in the News

ARRL Public Information Officers, Coordinators, and many other member-volunteers help keep amateur radio and ARRL in the news.

Amateur radio historic event set for Oct. 1” / The Ironton Tribune (Ohio), September 13, 2022. — The Southern Ohio Amateur Radio Association is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

Special Event At EPM Will Remember Early “Ham”” / The Gardner News (Kansas), September 11, 2022. — The Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

Share any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.


ARRL Podcasts

The latest episode of the ARRL On the Air podcast includes QST contributor Dino Papas, KL0S. Papas provides insight into the construction and tuning of a J-pole antenna, which he built for On the Air from a design by John H. Unrath, K6JHU.

Listen to ARRL Audio News, available every Friday. ARRL Audio News is a summary of the week’s top news stories in the world of amateur radio and ARRL, along with interviews and other features.

The On the Air podcast and ARRL Audio News are available on iTunes (iOS) and Stitcher (Android) as well as on Blubrry — On the Air | ARRL Audio News.


Announcements

The Palo Alto Amateur Radio Association (PAARA) will celebrate their 85th anniversary on October 29, 2022, at Memorial Park in Cupertino, California. PAARA was founded in 1937, and is dedicated to improving the skills of radio amateurs for recreational purposes and emergency communications. The event is open to everyone and will begin at 10:00 AM PT. PAARA will operate a special event station with the call sign, W6P. In addition, two HF stations will be operating along with a Get on the Air (GOTA) station. There will be a special ARRL presentation at 1:00 PM PT. Visit the PAARA website, www.paara.org, for QSL card information and further details about the event.

Southern Ohio Amateur Radio Association (SOARA) and Lawrence County Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) members will participate in an On the Air Special Historical Event on Saturday, October 1. 
SOARA members invited amateur radio clubs across the tristate area to participate in this event. They will be operating on several different frequencies from the Burlington Commons Park shelter on the riverbank in Burlington, Ohio, from 9 AM – 2 PM. The radio stations will use SOARA’s call sign, W8SOE. This year, in keeping with the historical event series, SOARA will bring attention to the early history of Lawrence County and its first county seat, established in 1817, in Burlington. The event will focus on the importance of Burlington as part of the Underground Railroad. This event will be the first for the ARRL Ohio Section at this location. “This event has all the opportunities for a fun-filled family day to engage the public and learn about the rich history of Burlington,” said SOARA Public Information Officer Mike Love, WB8YKS. An effort will be made to raise public awareness of amateur radio and the benefits of getting licensed, as well as emergency and community service. A special certificate will be issued to all amateurs who contact SOARA. “I am excited that the SOARA members have decided to have their special event here at the Burlington Commons [Park] and are focusing on our area’s history,” said Concerned Citizens of the Burlington Area President Tamara Howard. Eddie Jenkins, N8URU, Assistant ARES Coordinator and SOARA Assistant Volunteer Examiner Testing Team Leader added, “The special event station will mimic the emergency conditions required during a total communications failure. This includes telephone, commercial radio, television, cell phone, and web access due to devastating weather, earthquakes, and wildfire conditions,” stated.

ARRL will close early on Friday, September 16, 2022, at 12 PM Eastern time (1600 UTC), for a staff event. The ARRL Headquarters lobby & store, and W1AW will be open to visitors from 8 AM to 12 PM EDT on Friday. There will be no interruption to W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions. W1AW will follow its regular transmitting schedule on Friday. There will be no interruption to the W1AW Qualifying Run on Friday at 10 PM EDT (0200 UTC, September 17). ARRL Headquarters will reopen on Monday, September 19, at 8 AM EDT (1200 UTC). For ARRL News, publications, and to join or renew your ARRL membership, please visit www.arrl.org.

 


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In Brief…

Pete Smith, N4ZR, is looking for call sign updates to include in the latest update of the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) pattern file that will be released ahead of the fall contest season. Smith encourages anyone who wants their updated call signs to be included in the October 1 release to email him at pete.n4zr@gmail.com before September 25. — Thanks to Paul Bourque, N1SFE, and the ARRL Contest Update for the information.

The 75th anniversary of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is being celebrated over a period of several months by various activities
. A special event call sign, K4C/75, will be active September 16 – 30, 2022. The operators are signing K4C/75 from locations in northern Virginia to distinguish this operation from previous temporary users of the call sign. The QSL Manager is Gerard Rossano, N4JR.


The K7RA Solar Update

Solar activity bounced back this reporting week, September 8 – 14, when the average daily sunspot number jumped from 68 to 92.7, and the average solar flux from 125.8 to 141.3.

Fewer Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and flares were evident, with the average planetary A index declining from 24.6 to 10.7, and the middle latitude numbers from 17.4 to 10.6.

Solar disk image taken September 15, 2022, courtesy of NASA SDO/HMI

New sunspot groups appeared: one on September 8, three on September 10, and one more on September 13. The total sunspot area (in millionths of a solar disc) on September 12 – 14 rose from 370 to 870 to 1240 — the highest value in over a month.

The sunspot number was highest on September 10 at 122.

During this week 2 years ago, there were no sunspots at all. The average daily solar flux was only 69.7, over 56 points lower than this week, demonstrating the continued progress of Cycle 25.

The latest (Wednesday) forecast from the space weather folks at Offutt Air Force Base shows predicted solar flux peaking at 150 on October 9, and flux values on September 15 at 140. Then 135 on September 16 – 18; 130 on September 19 – 21; 120 on September 22 – 29; 125 on September 30 through October 6; 130 on October 7 – 8; 150, 148, 143, and 140 on October 9 – 12; 136, 130, 125, and 120 on October 13 – 16, and 125 on October 17.

Predicted planetary A index shows moderate levels of geomagnetic activity until October 1 – 2. The forecast is 5, 15, 18, and 12 on September 15 – 18; 5 on September 19 – 22; 12 and 10 on September 23 – 24; 14 on September 25 – 27; 8 on September 28 – 29; 22, 50, 40, 20, and 12 on September 30 through October 4; 15, 12, 10, 8, and 5 on October 5 – 9; 10, 8, 5, 15, 20, and 12 on October 10 – 15, and 5 on October 16 – 19.

Below is a nice solar video from last month:

https://bit.ly/3BH9ZDm

Here is NOAA’s latest forecast discussion:

https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/forecast-discussion

Sunspot numbers for September 8 – 14 were 75, 72, 122, 113, 117, 93, and 57, with a mean of 92.7. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 126.6, 126.2, 135.9, 151.5, 150.4, 154.1, and 144.3, with a mean of 141.3. Estimated planetary A indices were 19, 13, 12, 9, 9, 4, and 9, with a mean of 10.7. The middle latitude A index was 17, 14, 10, 9, 9, 5, and 10, with a mean of 10.6.

A propagation bulletin archive is available. For customizable propagation charts, visit the VOACAP Online for Ham Radio website.

Share your reports and observations.

A weekly, full report is posted on ARRL News.

 


Just Ahead in Radiosport
    • September 16 — AGB NEMIGA Contest (CW, phone, digital)
    • September 17 – 18 — ARRL EME Contest (CW, phone, digital)
    • September 17 – 18 — SARL VHF/UHF Digital Contest (digital)
    • September 17 – 18 — ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest (CW, phone, digital)
    • September 17 – 18 –Scandinavian Activity Contest (CW)
    • September 17 – 18 — Iowa QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)
    • September 17 – 18 — Texas QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)
    • September 17 — QRP Afield (CW, phone, digital)
    • September 17 — Wisconsin Parks on the Air (phone)
    • September 17 – 18 — New Jersey QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)
    • September 17 – 18 — New Hampshire QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)
    • September 17 – 18 — Washington State Salmon Run (CW, phone, digital)
    • September 17 — Feld Hell Sprint (digital)
    • September 18 — North American Sprint RTTY (digital)
    • September 18 — BARTG Sprint PSK63 Contest (digital)
    • September 19 — 144 MHz Fall Sprint (CW, phone, digital)
    • September 21 — VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest
    • September 22 — RSGB 80-Meter Autumn Series Data ((digital)
    • September 24 – 25 — CQ Worldwide DX Contest RTTY (digital)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit the ARRL Contest Calendar for more events and information.

 


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Upcoming Section, State, and Division Conventions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Search the ARRL Hamfest and Convention Database to find events in your area.


Getting it Right…

In The ARRL Letter of September 8, the article, “Richard Tell, K5UJU, Receives IEEE SA Lifetime Achievement Award” contained an incorrect reference to an IEEE committee affiliation. Tell was mistakenly associated with being the Chair of the Nuclear Power Engineering Committee. The other committee affiliations are correct. The ARRL Letter regrets this error.

Have News for ARRL?

Submissions for the ARRL Letter and ARRL News can be sent to news@arrl.org. — John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, ARRL News Editor


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Amateur Radio News and Information

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    • Listen to ARRL Audio News, available every Friday.
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