Here are the latest Amateur Radio news, events, features, 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 03 February 2023, 0443 UTC.
Content republished with permission of The ARRL. Copyright ARRL.
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February 2, 2023
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
USA Radio Orienteering Championships Set for April 19 – 23, 2023
Registration is now open for the 22nd USA Radio Orienteering Championships.
The event will be held April 19 – 23, 2023, at Cooper Lake State Park in Texas, and is hosted by the New Mexico Orienteers, Albuquerque, New Mexico, using maps provided by North Texas Orienteering Association.
The White Rock Lake Amateur Radio Club will provide communications support.
The name Radio Orienteering has been transitioning to this new name but it is actually the same radio navigation sport known as Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF). The sport involves using special radio receivers to find hidden transmitters in timed events.
USA ARDF Co-coordinator Gerald Boyd, WB8WFK, said the event is open to everyone of all age groups, and three medals will be awarded for first, second and third place in all groups. “We have events beginning with the Sprint,” said Boyd. “Participants will have 60 minutes to find their transmitters. After that, three more events, the Fox -O, and two Classics events, all lasting three hours.” Results of the competitions on April 20 – 23, 2023, will help determine the members of Team USA who will compete in the ARDF World Championships scheduled for the fall of 2023 in Liberec, Czech Republic.
Charles E. Scharlau, NZ0I, USA ARDF Co-coordinator, said they are hoping for a good turnout. “It is difficult to estimate attendance this year. We can accommodate up to 100 persons,” said Scharlau. “Historically, we’ve had about 35 or fewer competitors in non-pandemic years, but we are hearing rumors of many people who are eager to get out and do things, so perhaps attendance will be up this year.”
Scharlau said this year everyone participating in or attending the event will need to pay a $5.00 parking fee at the park.
Detailed information about registration and the event site can be found here. More information about Radio Orienteering is available on the ARRL website.
ARRL Foundation Accepting Applications for Grants in February
The ARRL Foundation is now accepting applications for grants to amateur radio organizations. The grants program awards limited funding to organizations for eligible amateur radio-related projects and initiatives, particularly those with a focus in educating, licensing, and supporting amateur radio activities. Youth-based projects and initiatives are especially encouraged. The ARRL Foundation grants program accepts proposals on a cyclical model three times a year, in February, June, and October. Proposals for the February grant period are being accepted through February 28. Awardees will be notified approximately 1 month after the closing of each cycle.
Additional information and a link to the grant application can be found at www.arrl.org/amateur-radio-
Leadership Changes in ARRL Atlantic Division
The ARRL Atlantic Division has new leadership. Tom Abernethy, W3TOM, who had served as an ARRL Director, representing the Atlantic Division since 2015, stepped down on January 6, 2023.
Vice Director Robert “Bob” Famiglio, K3RF, of Media, Pennsylvania, is the new Division Director. ARRL Section Manager for Maryland/DC Marty Pittinger, KB3MXM, of Owings Mills, Maryland, has been appointed Vice Director by ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR.
Famiglio was initially Atlantic Division Vice Director from 2015 until 2017, appointed in 2019 to fill a vacancy, and then elected unopposed for a term beginning in 2021. A practicing lawyer, he has served as an ARRL Volunteer Council for decades. Famiglio is also an electrical engineer and former broadcast station owner and engineer. He is an FAA-certificated pilot. He is a Life Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He earned his amateur radio license in 1967, and is an ARRL Life Member.
In an email to the Atlantic Division members in early January, Abernethy said he still plans to be involved, stating, “After having served for over 20 years in ARRL elected offices, it is my intention to remain very active in support of ARRL, and I wish everyone all the best as we head into the future of amateur radio and ARRL.”
Pittinger was the Section Manager for Maryland/DC, one of seven ARRL Sections that make up the Atlantic Division. He has an extensive background in radio, served in the US Navy on submarines, and works for a federal agency in his professional life.
Assistant Section Manager and Affiliated Club Coordinator for Maryland/DC, Christopher D. Van Winkle, AB3WG, has been appointed Section Manager by ARRL Field Services Manager Mike Walters, W8ZY.
Famiglio and Pittinger will each serve the remainder of 3 year terms ending December 31, 2023.
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station Contacts two US Schools
Astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) were busy the last week of January making contacts with two schools using amateur radio.
The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program arranged contacts with Brentwood Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Norwich Free Academy (NFA) located in Norwich, Connecticut.
On January 26, 2023, nearly 400 students at Brentwood Magnet Elementary School filled the gymnasium to listen to astronaut Koichi Wakata answer questions about his experience on the ISS. Wakata told students he loves being in space but is looking forward to taking a shower when he returns in March.
He also told the students that it’s not scary in space and encouraged them to pursue careers in science and engineering.
Then on January 30, 2023, astronaut Dr. Josh Cassada contacted students at NFA. During his 10-minute contact, Cassada shared with students how his career as a Navy Test Pilot helped him become an astronaut. “Do the things you love,” Cassada told the students. During the remainder of the contact, Cassada talked about cargo vehicles making frequent trips to resupply the ISS and how his daily routine is different every day, including working weekends.
The NFA Amateur Radio and Engineering Club, W1HLO, members and advisors installed an amateur radio satellite ground station on the NFA campus in 2023, thanks to an Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) grant, which helped make the contact with the ISS possible.
ARISS is a unique STEM educational program which inspires young people to develop knowledge and skills through their participation in space science and amateur radio. ARISS conducts 60 – 80 of these special amateur radio contacts each year between students around the globe and crew members with ham radio licenses aboard the ISS.
ARISS is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the ISS. In the US, participating organizations include from NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation program (SCaN), the ISS National Lab – Space Station Explorers, ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio®, and AMSAT.
World Radio Day Special Transmission
In honor of World Radio Day, February 13, 2023, radio station SAQ in Grimeton, Sweden, and amateur radio station SK6SAQ, are scheduled to be on the air to send out a peace message to the world, using the unique 1924 200 kW Alexanderson alternator on 17.2 kHz CW.
Test and tuning transmissions will begin approximately at 13:00 CET (12:00 UTC) and SAQ will be on the air for 20 – 30 minutes. Startup and tuning of the Alexanderson alternator will begin at 15:30 CET (14:30 UTC) and transmission of the peace message from SAQ will start at 16:00 CET (15:00 UTC).
SK6SAQ has picked a set of unique frequencies with a “connection” to SAQ’s transmission frequency on 17.2 kHz, and will be QRV between 10:00 CET (09:00 UTC) and 17:00 CET (16:00 UTC) on the following frequencies:
QSL cards will be available and there will be live coverage on YouTube.
For more information about the World Radio Day event and SAQ Grimeton visit their website.
On the Air
ARRL Audio News
The On the Air podcast is available on iTunes (iOS) and Stitcher (Android). The On the Air podcast and ARRL Audio News are also on blubrry — On the Air | ARRL Audio News.
Amateur Radio in the News
ARRL Public Information Officers, Coordinators, and many other member-volunteers help keep amateur radio and ARRL in the news.
“Rescued by ham radio” / WMUR -TV / New Hampshire Chronicle (New Hampshire), January 31, 2023
“Contact! Raleigh students connect with International Space Station astronauts” / WNCN-TV (North Carolina), January 26, 2023. — Brentwood Magnet Elementary School of Engineering.
“Elementary school students in Raleigh use amateur radio to talk to International Space Station” / WTVD (North Carolina), January 26, 2023 — Brentwood Magnet Elementary School of Engineering.
“Dr. Mark ‘KF4MLT’ Aulick memorialized at Amateur Radio Winter Field Day” / Grice Connect (Georgia), January 27, 2023. — The Statesboro Amateur Radio Society is an Affiliated ARRL Club.
“The Amateur Radio Emergency Services looks to recruit volunteers“ / WGXA -TV (Georgia), January 28, 2023. — Macon-Bibb Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®).
“Eastern Carolina amateur radio club puts emergency response skills to the test” / WITN -TV (North Carolina), January 29, 2023. — The Onslow Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
“The dits and dahs of Morse Code in the digital age” / WANE-TV (Indiana), January 30, 2023. — The Fort Wayne Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
“People across North Central Florida learn to use ham radios for communication” / WCJB-TV (Florida) January 30, 2023. — The Gainesville Amateur Radio Society is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
“Connecticut students use ham radio to talk to astronaut at International Space Station” / The Bulletin ( Connecticut), January 31, 2023. — The Norwich Free Academy Amateur Radio and Engineering Club, W1HLO, is a high school club.
The Virginia QSO Party (VQP) and Virginia’s Volunteers On the Air (VOTA) Activation of W1AW/4 are set for the weekend of March 18 – 19, 2023. Virginia amateur radio operators will, at the same time, celebrate the contributions of thousands of ARRL volunteers during Virginia’s activation of the Volunteers On the Air event by contacting W1AW/4 during the VQP. In fact, W1AW/4 will be active from March 15 – 21, 2023. VQP planners are working to activate in some of the rare counties to help increase the chances of earning a Worked all VA Counties award. VQP Rules are at: https://www.qsl.net/sterling/
ARRL VOTA rules are at: http://www.arrl.org/
Louis E. Frenzel Jr., W5LEF, passed away on January 9, 2023. He was 84 years old. Frenzel was a longtime amateur radio operator and freelance writer. He retired in 2022 after 18 years as Technology Editor for Electronic Design magazine. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland. He taught college-level communications and electronics classes in the Austin, Texas, area. His friend and colleague William G. Wong, Senior Content Director of Electronic Design and manager of Microwaves & RF, said Frenzel loved technology and loved to teach people while always learning. “He was outgoing [and] always wanted to educate and make complicated technology simple,” said Wong. Frenzel’s latest, and fifth edition of his book, Principles of Electronic Communication Systems, is considered a mainstay for college curricula. Throughout his career, Frenzel served as vice president for several companies, including Heathkit, Longman Crown, and McGraw Hill. Frenzel was active in amateur radio and held an Amateur Extra-class license.
Richard was 65 years old and is survived by his wife of 30-years, Cynthia. He was a member of the Orlando Amateur Radio Club (OARC) where he served as a past Membership Chairman. He was also the Advance Ticket Chairman for Orlando HamCation. “Serving his community through amateur radio was a passion of Ray,” said OARC President John Knott, N4JTK. “In 2019, Ray was awarded the KB4UT Wayne Nelson Amateur of the Year award for his service and dedication to the Orlando Amateur Radio Club.” Richard was a member of the ARRL Maxim Society, a group of individuals recognized for their extraordinary generosity to the association.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week’s ARRL Propagation Bulletin:
For this week’s ARRL Propagation Bulletin ARLP005:
Solar activity softened again this week, with average daily sunspot numbers changing from 162 to 80.7, and solar flux from 198.9 to 139.5.
This is quite a dramatic shift from the excitement of a couple of weeks ago. To review, average weekly sunspot numbers from the first bulletin of 2023 went from 97 to 135.9, 173.4, and 162. Average weekly solar flux went from 157.8 to 181.2, 221.8, and 198.9.
This variability is expected. Soon, perhaps in the next solar rotation, activity will rise again. The graphs we see of smoothed sunspot numbers are smooth because the numbers are averaged over a whole year.
Geomagnetic numbers barely changed at all, with planetary A index changing only from 8.1 to 7.9. The middle latitude numbers did not change at all, 5.9 last week and 5.9 this week.
Predicted solar flux is 135 on February 2; 140 on February 3 – 5; 145 on February 6; 150 on February 7 – 9; 155 on February 10 – 13; 150 on February 14 – 16; 145 on February 17; 140 on February 18 – 19; 135 on February 20; 130 on February 21 – 23; 125 on February 24 – 25; 140 on February 26 – 27; 135 on February 28 – March 4, and 140 and 145 on March 5 – 6.
Predicted planetary A index is 5 on February 2 – 5; 8 on February 6 – 9; 12, 5, 8, and 8 on February 10 – 13; 5 on February 14 – 17; 8, 7, 5, and 5 on February 18 – 21; 10 on February 22 – 24; 5 on February 25 – 27; 15, 10, and 8 on February 28 to March 2, and 5 on March 3 – 5.
In Friday’s bulletin, we will feature auroral propagation and unusual propagation from North America to Scandinavia on 10 meters.
Sunspot numbers for January 26 through February 1, 2023, were 104, 84, 76, 80, 67, 65, and 89, with a mean of 80.7. The 10.7 -centimeter flux was 150.6, 144.9, 137.6, 137, 135.9, 137, and 133.5, with a mean of 139.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 11, 9, 10, 5, 5, 9, and 6, with a mean of 7.9. Middle latitude A index was 9, 6, 8, 5, 4, 6, and 3, with a mean of 5.9.
Send your tips, questions, or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
A propagation bulletin archive is available. For customizable propagation charts, visit the VOACAP Online for Ham Radio website.
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A weekly, full report is posted on ARRL News.
Just Ahead in Radiosport
Year-long — ARRL Volunteers On the Air (VOTA). See also the State Activations Schedule for weekly W1AW Portable Operations including these:
For more news, please continue to scroll down.
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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