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 27 April 2023, 2156 UTC.
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April 27, 2023
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Advocates for Radio Amateurs as FCC Proposes Changes to 60-Meter Band
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking comments about changing the secondary allocation available to radio amateurs on 60 meters. The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on April 21, 2023, that deals with the band. In a prior petition, ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio® urged protecting the existing use of the band by amateurs when adding a new allocation adopted internationally.
Currently, radio amateurs in the US have access to five discrete channels on a secondary basis: 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz, and 5405 kHz. Users of these channels are limited to an effective radiated power (ERP) of 100 W PEP.
The FCC proposes to allocate 15 kHz of contiguous bandwidth between 5351.5 – 5366.5 kHz on a secondary basis with a maximum power of 15 W EIRP (equivalent to 9.15 W ERP). This allocation was adopted at the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15).
The federal government is the primary user of the 5 MHz spectrum. The government’s manager of spectrum use, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), has expressed support for implementing the allocation as adopted at WRC-15. Doing so would result in amateurs losing access to four of the five discrete channels, and power limits would be reduced from 100 W ERP to 9.15 W ERP. However, it would provide access to a new contiguous 15 kHz band that includes one of the current five channels.
In 2017, ARRL petitioned the FCC to keep the four 60-meter channels that fall outside the new band, as well as the current operating rules, including the 100 W PEP ERP limit.
The ARRL petition stated, “Such implementation will allow radio amateurs engaged in emergency and disaster relief communications, and especially those between the United States and the Caribbean basin, to more reliably, more flexibly, and more capably conduct those communications.”
ARRL said that years of amateur radio experience using the five discrete channels have shown that amateurs can coexist with primary users at 5 MHz while complying with the regulations established for their use. The petition also stated, “Neither ARRL, nor, apparently, NTIA, is aware of a single reported instance of interference to a federal user by a radio amateur operating at 5 MHz to date.”
In the NPRM, the FCC recognizes that Canada has already adopted 60-meter allocations and related rules that align with those proposed by ARRL. The Commission wrote, “Finally, we note that Canada has essentially implemented the same rules as ARRL has requested.”
The FCC proposed to allocate the 15 kHz bandwidth, but stopped short of making a proposal on whether the existing channels should remain allocated to amateur radio and what the power limitations should be. They requested comments on their proposal and the related channel and power issues.
Comments will be due 60 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register, which is expected within the next two weeks.
2023 ARRL Field Day Gear is Now Shipping!
ARRL Field Day is June 24 – 25. Get ready for amateur radio’s largest on-air operating event with official 2023 ARRL Field Day merchandise available for order now. T-shirts, hats, pins, patches, and stickers are great ways to show off your involvement in this annual event. This year’s colorful design features a globe centered on North America and the words, “Tune In The World.” The back of the t-shirt includes a check-off list of ARRL and RAC Sections – a fun way to keep track of your Field Day contacts.
Encourage club members, family, friends, and prospective hams to take part with ARRL Field Day recruitment posters and attractive “Get on the Air” (GOTA) pins for newcomers.
Get your 2023 ARRL Field Day supplies from the ARRL online store or by calling the toll-free number 1-888-277-5289, from Monday through Thursday, 8 AM to 7 PM and on Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM Eastern Time. If you are outside of the US, call 1-860-594-0355.
The complete 2023 ARRL Field Day packet is online. ARRL encourages participants to register their Field Day operations with the Field Day Site Locator.
New STEM Trailer for All Things Amateur Radio Association
The All Things Amateur Radio Association (ATARA), W8ATR, in Carroll, Ohio, revealed its new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) trailer on Saturday, April 22, 2023, at the Rising Park’s Seeds of Change Earth Day event.
The trailer, funded by a grant from the ARRL Foundation, offers visitors a hands-on STEM experience, including a CW oscillator, a display about the history of Morse code, and signage explaining the history of wireless technology and radios.
There are three Snap Circuits® stations set up for visitors to build an FM radio, and a working replica of a spark-gap transmitter. There is also a complete amateur station with a telescoping mast and a quarter wave vertical ground plane antenna. The trailer has all of the necessary equipment for youth to fox hunt.
More than 100 people went through the trailer and ATARA is planning on setting up again for Field Day in June.
ATARA Activities Director Diane Warner, KE8HLD, said it was a great day. She stated, “It was exciting to see children’s excitement as they keyed their name in Morse code, built an FM radio, made a spark on the spark gap transmitter, and watched the waterfall on the radio station’s monitor.”
She added that ATARA plans to add improvements and more exhibits to the trailer.
Warner also thanked the ARRL Foundation, saying, “We have been given a wonderful opportunity to reach youth and adults and show them the wonderful world of amateur radio!”
The All Things Amateur Radio Association is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
International Marconi Day: National Parks Director Makes QSO
International Marconi Day celebrates the accomplishments of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi on the Saturday closest to his birthday each year. Stations around the world activate a special operating event to celebrate.
On January 18, 1903, the first public two-way wireless communication occurred between the United States and Europe. A message from President Theodore Roosevelt was sent to King Edward VII from the South Wellfleet site. The site is preserved within the Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts.
For International Marconi Day 2023, the Marconi Cape Cod Radio Club activated the site with their club call sign, KM1CC. Their event featured a special guest, the Director of the National Park Service Charles “Chuck” Sams III. The Director operated third party from the site for a scheduled QSO with W1AW, the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut.
During the 40-meter QSO, Sams relayed his appreciation for the history of the site, stating, “This historic site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its global importance in communication history.” He also noted his time in the United States Navy and how critical it was to have two-way radio communications from ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship.
Amateur Radio in the News
ARRL Public Information Officers, Coordinators, and many other member-volunteers help keep amateur radio and ARRL in the news.
“West Michigan aviation students speak with astronaut in space” / WOOD-TV (Michigan), April 20, 2023 — Students from the West Michigan Aviation Academy speak to astronaut with help from several amateur radio groups.
“International Marconi Day Celebrated At Binghamton Landmark” / WICZ (New York), April 22, 2023 — The Binghamton Amateur Radio Association is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
“Columbia-based amateur radio operator named Howard’s Emergency Management Volunteer of the Year” / Baltimore Sun (Maryland), April 24, 2023 – Dan Wilt, N3YQ, is a member of the Columbia Amateur Radio Association, an ARRL Affiliated Club.
On the Air
The March/April 2023 issue of On the Air featured an article on “The Incident Command System and Amateur Radio,” that introduced the Incident Command System (ICS), an emergency management system that public safety agencies use to respond to everything from small incidents to large-scale emergencies. ARRL Director of Emergency Management Josh Johnston, KE5MHV, joins this episode of the podcast to share more about the system’s origins and uses, where and how amateur radio operators fit into the system, and where to get ICS training.
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 Houston AMSAT Net has been around since the mid – 80-‘s and AMSAT Board of Directors member Bruce Paige, KK5DO, started hosting it in 1993. Net sessions now total more than 1500; number 1,506 occurred on April 11, 2023. Check-ins feature discussions about satellite and balloon operations. Andy MacAllister, W5ACM (SK), was the host with Paige and Marty Smith, WV5Y. Through the years, they morphed from geostationary satellites and streaming to its current format, podcasting and EchoLink. Smith is now the host and Paige has relocated to a different area and cannot reach the local Houston, Texas, repeater. However, he provides the copy each week for the ARRL Audio News. Vern Jackson, WA0RCR, has put the program on the top band for all these years. You can listen to the last net on 1860 kHz AM. The net can be heard on the local Houston repeater, W5BSA, on 145.190 MHz on Tuesday evenings at 8:00 PM Central Time. At amsatnet.com, you can find a link to the live stream of the net, a link to the recorded nets for the past four weeks, and some older live streams. There is also a link for the URLs that are referenced during the net, so you do not need to write them down. A subscription is available to receive the links via email when they are posted. The AMSAT net can be found with a stream on EchoLink connecting to *AMSAT*. A special thanks to Bruce Paige, KK5DO, AMSAT Board of Directors member for the updated information.
Former Section Manager of the ARRL Northern Florida Section Stephen Szabo, WB4OMM, passed away Sunday, April 23, 2023.
Szabo was an ARRL Life Member and a Quarter Century Wireless Association Inc. member. He served as the Northern Florida Section Manager for four years, from 2014 to 2018. In June 1968, he began his amateur radio journey with the Boy Scouts while on a weekend camping trip to Montrose, New York. He earned his Novice license in 1971. Szabo retired from his full-time role as a captain of the Daytona Beach Police Department of Florida in 2010 but remained active part-time until 2021. He was a member of the Daytona Beach Amateur Radio Association (DBARA) and served as President from 1992 to 1996 and from 1999 to 2003. He also served as Vice President in 1998, Director in 1990, 1991, and 1997, Secretary in 2004, License Trustee, and Treasurer in 2011 and 2012. Szabo won DBARA Ham of the Year in 1995 and 2009 and the President’s Award in 1996 and 1997. In 2005, he started the Daytona Beach CERT Amateur Radio Team and had been very active in the club as President until he stepped down due to illness in early 2023. Read more about his life and his amateur radio journey on his webpage.
The Hualapai Amateur Radio Club (HARC), WB6RER, in Kingman, Arizona, presented the Kingman Regional Medical Center’s WL Nugent Cancer Center with a check for $1,300 in memory of club member Alan Stevenson, KG7YLB, (SK). The check was presented by club President Rick Cooper, K7CNT, Trustee David Admire, KE6HHL, and Stevenson’s widow, Carol Stevenson. Mrs. Stevenson donated her late husband’s amateur radio equipment to the club to be sold. She asked that a portion of the sales be donated to a cancer charity. The remainder of the money was kept by the club to fund activities, which include communications in support of the local community. Most of Stevenson’s equipment was purchased by club members eager to help. HARC chose Kingman Regional Medical Center’s WL Nugent Cancer Center to further assist the people of Kingman. Club Secretary Mike Risser, KG6ECW, said, “One of the reasons that amateur radio exists is to help the communities that we live in, [and] this is another way we were able to do that.” The HARC is focused on radio communications that use internationally allocated radio frequencies. HARC provides communications for community events, promotes Kingman through on-the-air activities and events, and assists with emergency communications. HARC also stands ready to assist people in becoming licensed radio amateurs through certified testing sessions. They are restarting their annual Hamfests, which were on hiatus due to COVID-19. The club is heavily integrated in county and municipal activities throughout the Kingman/Hualapai County area. For more information or to contact HARC, visit https://www.wb6rer.net. HARC is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week’s ARRL Propagation Bulletin, ARLP017:
At 0134 UTC on April 27, The Australian Space Weather Forecasting Centre of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued a geomagnetic disturbance warning, stating, “An equatorial coronal hole is currently elevating solar wind speeds. Combined with the anticipated impact from a recent CME on April 27, geomagnetic activity is expected to be at G0-G1 levels over April 27 – 28, with a slight chance of an isolated period of G2.”
Solar and geomagnetic indicators moved in opposite directions this week. Average daily sunspot numbers over April 20 – 26 made a dramatic drop from 146.9 to 91.4, and average daily solar flux dropped from 164.5 to 139.4.
Average daily planetary A index more than tripled from 8.1 to 26.9, while average middle latitude A index more than doubled from 7.3 to 15.6.
Solar wind and explosions caused all of this grief.
Spaceweather.com reported that on April 21, a large magnetic filament on the sun exploded and hurled debris toward Earth.
Later, they reported that on April 23, at 1737 UTC a CME hit Earth, which sparked a severe G4-class geomagnetic storm. Aurora was visible as far south as southern New Mexico and Texas.
The planetary K index went as high as 8 over April 23 – 24.
Predicted solar flux over the next month is 135 on April 27 – 30; 140 on May 1 – 6, then 145, 150, 155, 160, and 165 on May 7 – 11; 170 on May 12 – 13, then 165, 160, 155, 150, 145, and 140 on May 14 – 19; 135 on May 20 – 21; 130 and 125 on May 22 – 23; 120 on May 24 – 25, and 125, 130, and 135 on May 26 – 28.
Predicted planetary A index is 18, 25, and 12 on April 27 – 29; 8 on April 30 through May 3, then 10, 8, 12, and 10 on May 4 – 7; 8 on May 8 – 9, then 5, 5, and 12 on May 10 – 12; 5 on May 13 – 15; 8 on May 16 – 17; 5 on May 18 – 22, then 15 and 18 on May 23 – 34, and 15 on May 25 – 27.
Here is a link to the aurora as observed in China:
Here is a link to explaining the aurora:
Sunspot numbers for April 20 through 26, 2023, were 97, 114, 87, 86, 88, 87, and 81, with a mean of 91.4. 10.7-centimeter flux was 147, 151.2, 141.2, 135.2, 133.9, 130.7, and 136.5, with a mean of 139.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 5, 9, 7, 66, 76, 10, and 15, with a mean of 26.9. Middle latitude A index was 5, 8, 6, 32, 39, 7, and 12, with a mean of 15.6.
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
The Yearlong — ARRL Volunteers On the Air (VOTA) event continues. On their website you can 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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