Here are the latest Amateur Radio news, events, features, and commentary compiled by HQ ARRL.
Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio News update are those of the reporters and correspondents. Accessed on 09 December 2022, 0405 UTC.
Content republished with permission of The ARRL. Copyright ARRL.
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December 8, 2022
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARDC Awards Grant for New Amateur Radio Station
Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) has awarded a $16,495 grant to fund a modern amateur radio station in the soon-to-open Museum of Information Explosion (MIE) in Huntsville, Alabama.
Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, ARDC Communications Manager, said the amateur station will be staffed and maintained by members of local amateur radio clubs, including the Radio Club of the MIE, who will install and operate the equipment and serve as docents for the station. “Licensed amateurs can use the station to try out new modes and techniques without making a major financial commitment. Specialized tools and test equipment will be available to use on-site,” said Romanchik.
The station will present a contrast between modern digital technology and the historic, yet classic equipment found in the museum’s other exhibits. The juxtaposition of old and new is designed to illustrate the accelerating evolution of amateur radio.
Dr. Marcus Bendickson, Executive Director of the museum, said they expect to open in early fall 2023, and visitors will be able to explore the history of communication, computing innovation, and how these technologies have shaped our modern way of life.
Youth on the Air Camp 2023 Application Period Now Open
Applications are now being accepted for campers interested in attending Youth on the Air (YOTA) Camp 2023.
Licensed amateur radio operators ages 15 through 25 are encouraged to apply online at YouthOnTheAir.org. The Radio Amateurs of Canada will be the local host for the 2023 YOTA Camp. It is scheduled to take place July 16 − 21, 2023, at the Carleton University campus in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Applications will be accepted through May 31, 2023, but for the best chance at being selected, applications should be submitted by 2359 UTC on January 15, 2023.
The application process is free. However, a $100 deposit is required upon acceptance. If a camper is unable to pay the deposit, they may be able to apply for a scholarship or waiver. Camp Director, Neil Rapp, WB9VPG, said campers are responsible for their transportation to the camp location, though some assistance may be available. Travel during camp events is provided.
Campers will be selected by the working group and notified by February 1. To encourage attendance from across the Americas, allocations for campers are being held open for various areas of North, Central, and South America. If countries do not use their allocation, or should someone within an allocation decline acceptance, those positions will be filled from the remaining pool of applicants. As this will be an ongoing process, everyone will not receive notification of acceptance at the same time. Preference will be given to first-time attendees.
COVID-19 guidelines are still in effect and may have an impact on offering the camp. Currently, the outlook on offering the camp in July 2023 is positive. If the camp cannot be hosted, or would need to reschedule, all applicants will be notified as soon as possible. Appropriate requirements on masking and vaccination statuses will be announced as needed.
A Christmas Message to the World
The event will begin at 08:30 CET (07:30 UTC) with the startup and tuning of the Alexanderson alternator transmitter through Grimeton Radio Station, call sign SAQ. The transmission will begin at 09:00 CET (08:00 UTC) with the 98-year-old 200 kW Alexanderson alternator on 17.2 kHz CW.
Grimeton Radio Station, SK6SAQ, will be QRV (ready) on the following frequencies:
3.535 MHz CW
QSL reports can be sent to SK6SAQ via email at email@example.com.
The event will also be live streamed on the Alexander SAQ Grimeton Friendship Association YouTube Channel.
The Alexanderson alternator transmitter is the only remaining example of early pre-electronic radio transmitter technology. The station, built in 1922 – 1924, has been preserved as a historical site. From the 1920s through the 1940s, it was used to transmit telegram traffic by Morse code to North America and throughout the world during World War II.
More information about the December 24 Christmas Eve event and the transmitter can be found at the Grimeton Radio Station website.
New General Question Pool Released for Ham Radio Licensing Effective July 1, 2023
The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators’ (NCVEC) Question Pool Committee (QPC) has released the 2023 – 2027 General Class FCC Element 3 Syllabus and Question Pool to the public. The new General Question Pool is effective July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2027.
The new pool incorporates some significant changes compared to the 2019 – 2023 version. Its 432 questions were modified slightly to improve wording and to replace distractors; 51 new questions were generated, and 73 questions were eliminated. This resulted in a reduction of 22 questions, bringing the total number of questions in the pool down from 454. The level of difficulty of questions is more balanced, and the techniques and practices addressed have been updated.
The pool is available as a Microsoft Word document and PDF. The single graphic required for the new General Question Pool is available within the documents, or separately as PDF and JPG file formats.
“The newly revised pool must be used for General-class license exams starting July 1, 2023,” said ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, who is a member of the NCVEC Question Pool Committee. “New test designs will be available to ARRL Volunteer Examiners on that date. The ARRL VEC will supply its officially appointed, field-stocked VE teams with new General exam booklet designs around mid-June.”
General class examination candidates preparing for their exams using the 9th edition of The General Class License Manual, and/or the 6th edition of ARRL’s General Q & A are encouraged to test by, or before, June 30, 2023. New editions of ARRL licensing publications will be available in May, for exams taken on, or after, July 1, 2023.
Amateur Radio Operators and National Weather Service Mark SKYWARN Alliance
Saturday December 3, 2022 was SKYWARN® Recognition Day (SRD), an event that recognizes SKYWARN volunteers for their contribution to public safety. SRD was observed by several National Weather Service (NWS) locations across the United States. Amateur radio volunteers set up temporary operations from forecasting headquarters to make contacts with other stations to demonstrate their readiness to operate in emergency conditions and to act as observers for the NWS. As of the last count there were over 4,700 SKYWARN spotters taking part in SRD.
Near Los Angeles, California, at the NWS office located in Oxnard, volunteers set up six stations on different radio frequencies and operated through the day under simulated emergency conditions. Several members of the general public visited the NWS office during the exercise.
ARRL Headquarters, participating as WX1AW, was activated by ARRL Emergency Management Assistant Ken Bailey, K1FUG, during SRD. WX1AW was active on 40 – 10 meters using SSB and FT8 modes and monitored local VHF and UHF repeaters.
Radio amateurs participating as SKYWARN volunteers assist the NWS with real-time observations of adverse weather conditions that pose an imminent threat to life and property. Those alerts may include tornadoes, waterspouts, damaging hail, blizzard conditions, sleet, strong winds, heavy rainfalls and flooding, dust storms, damage assessment, and other significant anomalies. NWS personnel can utilize information from ham radio operators to issue alerts or assess threat levels to areas that may be affected by abnormal conditions.
The 2022 NWS Spotter of the Year Award was given to Bryan Loper, WX5CSS, of Atlanta, Texas. The award noted that Loper is very active with the amateur radio network and weather community within the Ark-La-Tex region, and is always reliable in providing weather reports. Loper is also an ARRL member.
Santa is On the Air Via Ham Radio
As Christmas approaches, many amateur radio clubs carry out an annual tradition of helping kids talk directly to Santa Claus while he is still at the North Pole before his big ride.
On Saturday, December 10, 2022, the Wallingford Amateur Radio Group in Connecticut will connect kids to Santa and Mrs. Claus via amateur radio during their Calling Santa event. The group organizes the event in cooperation with the Wallingford Health Department, Youth & Social Services, and support from an Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) grant to the Meriden Amateur Radio Club (MARC).
MARC President Dr. Ed Snyder, W1YSM, said this will be the third year for Calling Santa. “The location is ideal for this event,” said Dr. Snyder. “Our communications van will be there, and the kids go inside and talk to Santa and Mrs. Claus on a real amateur radio. There will also be a fire truck, coloring books, crayons, and allergy-safe snacks.” Each child will receive a full-color certificate signed by the Clauses.
Already in operation for the 16th consecutive year, The 3916 Nets are hosting the Santa Net on 3.916 MHz. Kids can talk to Santa Claus nightly via amateur radio at 7:00 PM CST now through Christmas Eve, December 24, 2022. The shortwave net welcomes radio amateurs to help their children and grandchildren get on the air to talk to Santa (third-party rules and regulations apply).
The Big Bend Amateur Radio Club, covering the Big Bend area of west Texas and based in Alpine, will have their 15th annual Santa Net ready to go on December 14, 2022. Local 2-meter repeaters are used to make the connection to Santa. The club highlights that “Santa Net introduces kids to ham radio.” The event is promoted through the local elementary school and its teachers. Participants get a candy cane and a card commemorating the radio contact with Santa.
The ARRL Special Event Stations database is updated regularly and includes other Christmas and holiday-themed on-the-air events. You can search the database at www.arrl.org/special-event-
Amateur Radio in the News
ARRL Public Information Officers, Coordinators, and many other member-volunteers help keep amateur radio and ARRL in the news.
“Redding veterans use HAM radio to connect to people across the globe on Veterans Day” / KRCR TV (California), November 11, 2022 — Thanks to the CalVet Redding, California Veterans Home and the Redding Veterans Amateur Radio Club special event station, W6VET.
“Amateur radio-aided rescue highlights useful hobby” / Green River Star (Wyoming), November 23, 2022 — The Buffalo Amateur Radio Klub is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
“Pearl Harbor commemoration events to be hosted on the Battleship North Carolina” / WECT-TV (North Carolina), December 6, 2022 — The Azalea Coast Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
Share any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.
In the latest episode of the ARRL On the Air podcast, Ginger Wilder, KI5TJE, discusses her first time running an amateur radio net. Get ready to be the next Net Control operator for your local net.
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.
Rodney L. Linkous, W7OM, “a giant of Pacific Northwest (PNW) DXing and contesting,” became a Silent Key on Wednesday, November 30, 2022, reports Danny Eskenazi, K7SS. He was 88 years old. Linkous was first licensed in 1949. For the recent CQ World Wide DX CW Contest on November 26 – 27, 2022, Linkous had over 500 QSOs running low power. In 2014 John Miller, K6MM, interviewed Linkous for the National Contest Journal; https://ncjweb.com/features/
The K7RA Solar Update
There is no report this week. 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.
Share your reports and observations.
Just Ahead in Radiosport
Visit the ARRL Contest Calendar for more events and information.
Upcoming Section, State, and Division Conventions
Search the ARRL Hamfest and Convention Database to find events in your area.
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