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 14 April 2023, 0217 UTC.
Content reprinted with permission of The ARRL. Copyright ARRL.
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April 13, 2023
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
This Week: World Amateur Radio Day Special Event
World Amateur Radio Day (WARD) is April 18, 2023, and will celebrate the IARU’s 98th anniversary. On this day in 1925,the IARU was formed in Paris, France. American Radio Relay League® (ARRL) Co-Founder Hiram Percy Maxim was its first president.
This year’s theme is Human Security for All (HS4A). The day is being celebrated with a 2-week operating event occurring April 11 – 25.
Dave Sumner, K1ZZ, IARU Assistant Secretary, reports that thanks to the support of the IARU Region 1 Youth Working Group, a special website, hs4a.iaru.org, has been established to manage the operating event. If you are planning to operate one or more special event stations for WARD/HS4A, please register at the website. Listed below is the procedure to register:
After your registration request is received, it will be quickly approved, and you will be notified. Please direct any questions to email@example.com.
ARRL encourages all radio amateurs to take to the airwaves during WARD to enjoy our global friendship with other amateurs and to show our skills and capabilities to the public.
More information about 2023 WARD is available at www.arrl.org/world-amateur-
National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting Open during 2023 Dayton Hamvention®.
The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting, in conjunction with the West Chester Amateur Radio Association, announced their expanded hours during the 2023 Dayton Hamvention®.
The museum will be open Thursday, May 18, from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM; Friday, May 19, from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM; Saturday, May 20, from 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM, and Sunday, May 21, from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
Admission is $10.00 at the door. The West Chester Amateur Radio Association, WC8VOA, will be on the air. The museum is a short drive from Hamvention, down Interstate 75 or Route 42 from Xenia. Use the Crosley Blvd address on your GPS.
New exhibits include a dedicated room for amateur radio and shortwave equipment and a newly renovated ham shack with state-of-the-art equipment from Yaesu, Icom, and Elecraft. Docents and operators will be available to enhance visits to the museum.
For further information, visit voamuseum.org or wc8voa.org. You can also find the museum on Facebook or call 513-777-0027. The museum’s regular hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, and it is located at 8070 Tylersville Road, West Chester, Ohio.
ARSA Announces 2023 Award Winner
The Amateur Radio Software Award (ARSA) Committee has announced that GridTracker, a project led by Stephen Loomis, N0TTL, and the GridTracker.org team, has been selected as the recipient of the 4th annual Amateur Radio Software Award.
The award recognizes software projects that enhance amateur radio and promote innovation, freedom, and openness in amateur radio software development.
The committee received many nominations for the 2023 award, and after careful consideration, GridTracker was chosen as the winner. The committee was impressed by the breadth of features in GridTracker, its innovative graphic interface, and its ability to make amateur radio more fun.
GridTracker is a tool that visualizes WSJT-X amateur radio traffic, like FT8 and contacts from log files, which makes it easier for radio amateurs to track their contacts and participate in contests. Its unique approach to visualizing radio traffic adds a new dimension of enjoyment to the radio art.
To learn more about GridTracker, visit https://gridtracker.org.
As part of the award, Loomis has requested that a $300 grant be donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Oregon, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.
The ARSA Committee is already looking forward to next year’s award and welcomes input and nominations for future awards.
2023 Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers Eastern Conference
The 2023 Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) annual Eastern Conference will be held at the Green Bank Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia, on Sunday, August 20 through Tuesday, August 22, 2023.
The trailblazers of American radio astronomy called Green Bank Observatory home more than 60 years ago. Today, their legacy is still alive and well. Nestled in the mountain ranges and farmlands of West Virginia, within the National Radio Quiet Zone, radio astronomers at the observatory listen to the remote whispers of the universe to answer our most astounding astronomical questions.
Attendees will participate in plenary sessions, small group workshops, a technical tour of the facilities, hands-on training, operational experience with a large radio telescope, and they will meet contemporary trailblazers in the field.
Registration for in-person attendance by non-members of SARA is $295.00 if received by July 20, 2023. This fee includes meals and a 1-year membership, but not lodging. The registration fee for online participation is $35.00.
Payment can be made through PayPal to treasurer@radio astronomy.org. Please include that the payment is for the 2023 Annual Conference in the comments.
Suggested pre-conference activities include free self-guided tours of the Green Bank Observatory Science Center and paid public tours of the radio telescope area. Full details with a link for ticket purchase is available at https://greenbankobservatory.
An overall guide to other activities and attractions in the area can be found at https://pocahontascountywv.
Presentations are invited. Individuals or groups who would like to present topics related to radio astronomy can submit abstracts or presentation outlines for consideration by April 30, 2023, to vicepresident@radio-astronomy.
Additional information, conference details, and updates are available at https://www.radio-astronomy.
Amateur Radio in the News
ARRL Public Information Officers, Coordinators, and many other member-volunteers help keep amateur radio and ARRL in the news.
“Students study for ham radio licenses” / Estes Park Trail Gazette (Colorado), April 11, 2023 — The Estes Valley Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
“Local amateur radio group welcomes all” / The Western News (Montana), April 7, 2023 — The Lincoln County Amateur Radio Group is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
“Come help the Beaver Valley Amateur Radio Association celebrate its 100th anniversary” / The Beaver County Times (Pennsylvania), April 8, 2023 — The Beaver Valley Amateur Radio Association is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
“In The Age Of Social Media, Thousands Of Amateur (HAM) Radio Operators In Wyoming Still Use The Airwaves” / Cowboy State Daily (Wyoming), April 8, 2023 — Tom “Tex” Ritter, WY7KY.
“Brandon radio club boosting its signal” / The Brandon Sun (Canada), April 10, 2023 — The Brandon Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
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.
The ARRL Rookie Roundup event begins on Sunday, April 16, at 1800 UTC, and concludes at 2359 UTC. Rookie Roundup is a great opportunity for newly licensed operators to experience competitive amateur radio operating. A “Rookie” is a ham that was first licensed in the current calendar year or the previous three calendar years, regardless of their license class. You can also be considered a Rookie if you haven’t made any contest contacts on the contest mode before the event. Visit the event web page at www.arrl.org/rookie-roundup for rules and more information.
A special thanks to Paul Bourque, N1SFE, for the information about the ARRL Rookie Roundup.
Almost 6 years after the FT8 Digital Mode Club was founded in 2017, club members were asking why there were no diplomas for the FT4 operating mode. After examining the issues carefully, club founders Jo Engelbrecht, OE6VIE, and Hannes Gruensteidl, OE1SGU, arrived at a solution: founding a new club. On March 17, 2023, the FT4DMC was launched. The aims of the club are promoting radio operations in FT4, creating incentives to use this mode of operation with a moderate number of available diplomas, and increasing activity on the amateur radio bands. There are currently 17 different diplomas, with more to come. Membership in the FT4DMC is free and open to all interested parties. FT4 is becoming more popular, and many DXpeditions use this type of transmission and distribute additional band points. FT4 was developed by Dr. Joe Taylor, K1JT. Contacts in this mode count for the same amount as all other digital broadcast types for the ARRL Digital (RTTY) DXCC award. The original idea was to use only FT4 for contests. With about 2.5 times the speed of FT8, FT4 is efficient, and the level of interest is terrific. In just under three weeks, the FT4DMC already has more than 1,300 members and the first diplomas have been awarded. As with the FT8DMC, the application for issuing the diplomas takes place via the program developed by Heinz Urban, DK5UR, which is used by nine clubs. The FT8DMC now has 21,600 members from 148 DXCC entities. More than 1.5 million diplomas have been issued. Every new member receives a membership certificate and new members are welcome. Additional information is available at:
Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, representative of Arizona’s 8th congressional district (AZ-08), attended the DeVry Hamfest in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, April 8, 2023. She had the chance to visit with radio amateurs and explore information about programs such as ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES). Lesko tweeted about her experience at the event, stating, “It was wonderful to join [ARRL’s] Hamfest and meet with amateur radio operators in Arizona! I’m proud to support amateur radio operators, who play a critical role in emergency situations and have provided invaluable contributions to our nation!” Lesko spent several hours at the event. Amateur radio plays a critical role in emergency preparedness plans in Arizona.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week’s ARRL Propagation Bulletin, ARLP015:
Solar activity was up for this reporting week, April 6 – 12.
Seven new sunspot groups appeared: one on April 6, another on April 9, two more on April 10, another on April 11, and two more on April 12.
The average daily sunspot number rose from 53.4 to 70.6, and the average daily solar flux increased from 132.5 to 141.
Geomagnetic conditions were calm. The average daily planetary A index dropped from 15 to 7.6, and the middle latitude average dropped from 11.7 to 6.4.
Predicted solar flux is 155 and 160 on April 13 – 14; 165 on April 15 – 16; 160 on April 17 – 18, then 155 and 152 on April 19 – 20; 155 on April 21 – 22; 158 on April 23; 155 on April 24 – 25, then 152, 148, 145, and 142 on April 26 – 29; 140 on April 30 and May 1; 142 and 140 on May 2 – 3; 135 on May 4 – 5, then 130, 140, 145, 150, 152, 155, and 158 on May 6 – 12, and 160 on May 13 – 15.
Predicted planetary A index is 5 on April 13 – 15; 12 on April 16; 8 on April 17 – 18, then 5, 10, 15, and 10 on April 19 – 22; 5 on April 23 – 25, then 15 and 18 on April 26 – 27; 15 on April 28 – 30, then 12 and 10 on May 1 – 2; 8 on May 3 – 4; 5 on May 5 – 6, then 8, 10, and 8 on May 7 – 9, and 5 on May 10 – 13.
Spaceweather.com released this news on Wednesday:
“Evidence is mounting that Solar Cycle 25 might peak much earlier than expected. New research by a leading group of solar physicists predicts maximum sunspot activity in late 2023 or early 2024 with a peak that could be twice as strong as the previous solar cycle.”
It is all explained in this paper:
Look in the Spaceweather.com archive for April 12 – 13 to read more.
I noticed some odd 10-meter propagation at 2000 UTC on April 11. While running FT8 and a one wavelength end-fed wire at my home in Seattle, the only stations that heard me, according to pskreporter.info, were one in New Zealand, another in Hawaii, and only five stations in Florida over a 200-mile strip from 2,512 to 2,712 miles. Checking again at 2015 UTC, it was still the same.
Sunspot numbers for April 6 – 12, 2023, were 33, 38, 49, 52, 92, 103, and 127, with a mean of 70.6. 10.7-centimeter flux was 137.1, 136.3, 135.9, 140.3, 139.8, 143.4, and 154, with a mean of 141. Estimated planetary A indices were 9, 8, 6, 6, 14, 6, and 4, with a mean of 7.6. Middle latitude A index was 7, 7, 5, 5, 11, 6, and 4, with a mean of 6.4.
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.
Share your reports and observations.
A weekly, full report is posted on ARRL News.
Just Ahead in Radiosport
Yearlong — ARRL Volunteers On the Air (VOTA). See the State Activations Schedule for weekly W1AW Portable Operations, including:
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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Aloha es 73 de Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)
Public Information Officer
Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section
The next meeting of the Big Island Amateur Radio Club is set for Sunday, 16 April 2023, at the Kamana Senior Center in Hilo. Executive Board meets at 1200 HST, followed by the General Membership meeting at 1400 HST.