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 05 May 2023, 0007 UTC.
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May 4, 2023
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Ready to Welcome Attendees at Dayton Hamvention® 2023
Dayton Hamvention 2023, ham radio’s largest annual gathering, is just two weeks away. Gates open for the 3-day event on Friday, May 19, at 9 AM, at the Greene County Fair and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio. Spokesperson Michael Kalter, W8CI, reports that 700 volunteers are working to get the event ready.
“We like to think of Hamvention as ham radio’s people event, and we have a lot to offer,” said Kalter. This year’s Hamvention theme is Innovation, and will be reflected in the variety of exhibits, activities, and forums that have been organized this year.
ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio® will occupy a large exhibit area in building 2. “Much of our effort this year will build on ARRL’s yearlong theme, Year of the Volunteers,” said ARRL Public Relations and Outreach Manager Sierra Harrop, W5DX. ARRL program representatives and volunteers will be on hand to help interested attendees find paths to become more active and involved in amateur radio.
There will be booths organized around radiosport, emergency communications, technology, and youth. “We’ll also ask everyone to ‘reach one rung higher’ by — encouraging all active hams to pursue opportunities to mentor others, and to consider volunteering in the ARRL Field Organization and elected positions,” said Harrop. A list and map of the ARRL booths and, a list of ARRL-sponsored Hamvention forums can be found at www.arrl.org/expo.
Kalter recommends downloading the free mobile app for smartphones and tablets to help attendees navigate the large-scale event. Developed as a collaborative effort with ARRL, the ARRL Events app is now available and already includes Hamvention’s full program, so attendees can browse and schedule forums, find affiliated events, and preview the extensive list of exhibitors. During the event, attendees can use other app features to follow the hourly prize drawings, browse building and site maps, and even connect with one another. The ARRL Events app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play, or you can use the web browser version.
Kalter said communication during Hamvention is critical and there is a new cellular phone tower near the venue that should improve cell phone coverage.
“Our Talk-in Net will be in operation beginning Thursday, May 18, at 7 AM on the Dayton Amateur Radio Association’s repeater, 146.94 (-) 123.0 PL with an alternate frequency of 146.985 (-) 123.0 PL. The net offers directions and assistance as well as traffic conditions and detours,” said Kalter. Additional frequencies and information are available at Talk In – Hamvention.
Also new this year is a free bus service available on Friday and Saturday that will operate between 10:30 AM and 3 PM to take riders to downtown Xenia.
For more information about Dayton Hamvention, visit hamvention.org.
ARRL Helps Radio Amateurs Comply with New RF Exposure Evaluation Rules
ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio® provides free, comprehensive resources to help radio amateurs ensure they are compliant with the new RF exposure rules.
On May 3, 2021, new FCC rules governing RF exposure evaluations went into effect. While the exposure limits were not changed, the requirement to conduct an evaluation was made more broadly applicable to amateur licensees. A 2-year transition period was implemented to allow existing amateur licensees to conduct evaluations and make any changes necessary to ensure that their station complies with the exposure rules. On May 3, 2023, the transition period ended. All licensees must now conduct evaluations of their current station and reassess compliance when making changes to their stations that would affect exposure going forward.
As detailed in a May 2023 QST article by Greg Lapin, N9GL, the rules now require amateur radio operators to perform station evaluations. The Amateur Radio Service is no longer categorically excluded from certain aspects of the RF exposure rules, and licensees can no longer avoid performing an exposure assessment simply because they are transmitting below a given power level.
The ARRL website features an RF Exposure landing page with resources, such as an RF exposure calculator, the entire RF Safety section from the 100th Edition of the ARRL The Handbook, a video explaining the topic, FAQs about the subject, and more. These tools and resources are available to the public without an ARRL membership or website account.
For further assistance with technical matters, ARRL members enjoy the additional resources of the ARRL Technical Information Service, and access to the experts within the ARRL Lab.
Reminder: ARRL Member Dues Survey
ARRL members are encouraged to participate in the dues survey, that is open until May 31. The results from the survey will be tabulated and shared with members on the ARRL website in June.
Ham Radio Project Seeks Science and Tech-Minded Students
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is looking for up to 20 young adults to join their online amateur radio project, Exploring the Electromagnetic Spectrum. This is the second running of this pilot program.
The program will run from August 7, 2023 – May 13, 2024, for 3 – 6 hours each week. Students selected for the program will receive hands-on experience and learn how the electromagnetic spectrum is used in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. They will also learn about amateur radio and work towards gaining an amateur radio license. Students from BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+ communities are especially encouraged to apply.
ARRL member Jesse Alexander, WB2IFS, Ham Radio Project Lead, said one of the benefits for students is building and using RF muscle memory. “Yes, using what I call radio frequency muscle memory will help in many ways. It will help students learn to think and develop a better understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum and get them ready for their amateur radio training and licenses,” said Alexander.
The Ham Radio Project is operated by the NRAO’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which has similar programs designed to increase equitable access to STEM education and careers.
ARRL contributed license manuals for students participating in the project.
Below is a list of qualifications for the program:
Students selected will:
The application deadline is June 1, 2023. For more information or to apply, please visit superknova.org/ham-radio-
USA ARDF 2023 Championships Results
The results from the 22nd USA Radio Orienteering Championships (ARDF) have been posted.
This year’s event took place April 19 – 23, at Cooper Lake State Park near Dallas, Texas.
The event saw participation from 34 individuals representing nine US states and Ontario, Canada. April 19 was dedicated to radio direction finding training and practice. The competitions began April 20 and helped determine the members of Team USA, who will participate in the ARDF World Championships scheduled for August 27 – September 2, 2023, in Liberec, Czech Republic.
Here are direct links to all of the results for the 4 days of competition:
Maps were provided by the North Texas Orienteering Association. The New Mexico Orienteers of Albuquerque, New Mexico, organized and sponsored the event across state lines to bring a challenging new venue to the championships. Professional communications and logistics support was provided by the White Rock Lake Amateur Radio Club, WA5WRL.
The Event Director Gerald Boyd, WB8WFK, said, “The terrain at this championship was the most challenging of any championship in memory. The relative flatness of the course was more than compensated for by the challenges posed [by] the thorny vegetation.”
Plans are underway for the 2024 USA Championships to take place in Michigan.
The name Radio Orienteering has been around for a long time and has been frequently applied to the ARDF sport, but it hasn’t been recognized in any official sense. The ARRL ARDF committee has decided to officially favor the use of the term Radio Orienteering because it is more descriptive of the sport (especially to the orienteering community), and Amateur Radio Direction Finding is often confused with other radio direction-finding activities (like mobile t-hunting).
For more information on radio orienteering, visit Amateur Radio Direction Finding (arrl.org).
The Rooster Net: For Whom the Rooster QSOs!
On May 26, 2023, The Rooster Net will celebrate 24,000 daily sessions on 3.990 MHz.
Doug Frothingham, K2IZI (SK), founded the Rooster Net on September 10, 1957. The net has met at 6:00 AM Eastern time every day without any interruptions since, possibly making it the longest-running amateur radio net.
Besides its more-than- 65-year existence, the Rooster Net operates without any rules or a traditional club structure. It depends upon the goodness of the amateur radio operators that make up the group and traditions they have established over the years.
Roy Hook, W8REH, is the Chief Rooster, and he says the flock is unique. “Unlike most ham groups that focus on specific areas of interest, the Roosters (members) [are] interest[ed] in not only every individual [ham], but also everything ham radio,” said Hook. The net opens every day of the week with a different net control team and a brief description of the net by the control operator, “open to all properly licensed amateurs; everyone wants to hear what you have to say,” even if your work schedule or other circumstances don’t allow you to stay and listen for the whole duration of the net.
Hook says there is one common question he answers frequently about the net: where does the net operate from? “I describe it as an area bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and wherever 75-meter propagation permits at 6:00 AM,” said Hook.
A typical morning check-in list has 50 to 60 Roosters from all over the globe, from Canada to Florida, west to Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, and beyond. Occasionally, Roosters in Puerto Rico, South America, Arizona, and Montana have checked in. Roosters flock to many national ham radio events and attend an annual picnic of their own to meet their friends.
During a time when rapidly changing interests, technologies, and diversity in amateur radio seem to divide organizations, the Roosters welcome all interests and personalities in order to bring the community closer together. Even more diverse than their geography ist he backgrounds of the group. School teachers, aerospace engineers, telecommunication engineers, mechanical engineers and highway workers only begin to define more than 1,500 official Roosters. Hook says members like to say that celebrating traditions is the key to longevity.
The Rooster Net is certainly not for everyone, especially if some good-natured joking among friends bothers you, but on any day, you will likely hear an educational discussion on something from an infinite list of Rooster interests: DX, CW, repeaters, digital operating, contesting, astronomy, antique ham equipment, cooking, golf, antique and modern cars, remote station control, pro sports, fishing, gardening, railroading, airplanes, operating and building model railroads and airplanes, hunting, and military history and experiences.
To become an official Rooster, there is a “Crow-in Procedure” on-the-air initiation once you have checked in 20 times within 90 days between 6 and 7 AM. You have to convince a group of judges that you can follow instructions and really crow like a Rooster. Whether an official Rooster or not, everyone is always welcome to participate by visiting www.rooster-net.org. Hook notes, “I guarantee tomorrow at 6:00 AM the rooster will crow on 3.990 MHz.”
If you missed the 24,000 celebration, don’t worry. The 25,000 celebration will be on February 19, 2026.
Amateur Radio in the News
ARRL Public Information Officers, Coordinators, and many other member-volunteers help keep amateur radio and ARRL in the news.
“Ham radio operators air a grievance: Leave our hobby alone” / The Maine Monitor (Maine), April 29, 2023 — Phil Duggan, N1EP, is the Section Manager of the ARRL Maine Section.
“Out-of-this-world: Local high school students speak with astronauts” (KYW- TV) Pennsylvania, May 2, 2023 — Council Rock High School Amateur Radio Club.
“Artemis 2 astronauts flying to the moon could phone home with ham radio” / Space.com (New York), May 2, 2023 — Elizabeth Howell, Staff Writer, Spaceflight.
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 Fort Herkimer Amateur Radio Association, Inc. (FHARA), in conjunction with Herkimer County and Herkimer County Emergency Services, announced the New York State Citizen Preparedness Corps training event. The free training session is open to the public and will be held Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at the Town of German Flatts Community Center in Mohawk, New York, at 7:00 PM. The Citizen Preparedness Corps began in 2014. It provides residents with the tools and resources to help prepare them for any type of disaster, respond accordingly, and recover as quickly as possible from disaster conditions. All training sessions are coordinated with local county emergency management personnel. To sign up, visit https://www.dhses.ny.gov/
The Fort Herkimer Amateur Radio Association, Inc is an ARRL Affilliated Club.
The 2023 New England QSO Party (NEQP) is on May 6 – 7. The event runs for 20 hours from 4 PM Saturday until 1 AM Sunday, then 9 AM Sunday until 8 PM the same day, with a sleep break on Saturday night. The goal is to get all 67 New England counties on the air and work stations anywhere in the world. Operations will be on CW, SSB, and/or digital modes on 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters. For each QSO, you’ll need your call sign, a signal report, and your county/state. Top scorers can earn a plaque and everyone who sends in a log with at least 25 QSOs will get a certificate. If you will be QRV, send a message to email@example.com. The NEQP is a great event to check out antenna systems, and it offers the opportunity to work new states and countries at a moderate pace. You’ll find a wide variety of participants, from newcomers to experienced contesters, all interested in making contacts with New England stations. Last year, the NEQP had 871 logs from stations around the world, and there were 295 stations from New England on the air. 2022’s full results are posted at https://neqp.org/2022-new-
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week’s ARRL Propagation Bulletin, ARLP018:
Sunspot activity and solar flux increased over the past reporting week, April 27 through May 3.
Average daily sunspot numbers climbed from 91.4 to 114, while average daily solar flux grew from 139.4 to 151.5.
The average daily planetary A index dropped from 26.9 to 13.6, and the average daily middle latitude A index declined from 15.6 to 11.9.
Predicted solar flux over the next month is 154, 152, 152, 154, and 152 on May 4 – 8; 150 on May 9 – 10, then 165, 170, 170, and 165 on May 11 – 14, then 160, 155, 150, 145, and 140 on May 15 – 19; 135 on May 20 – 21, then 130 and 125 on May 22 – 23; 120 on May 24 – 25, then 125, 130, and 135 on May 26 – 28; 140 on May 29 through June 2, then 145, 150, and 155 on June 3 – 5.
Predicted planetary A index is 8, 5, 14, 10, 12, 8, and 5 on May 4 – 10; 8 on May 11 – 12; 5 on May 13 – 22; 12 and 20 on May 23 – 24; 15 on May 25 – 26; 8 and 12 on May 27 – 28; 10 on May 29 – 30, then 8, 5, 12, and 10 on May 31 through June 3, and 5 on June 4 – 6.On Wednesday, May 3, Spaceweather.com posted, “Intensifying Solar Activity: Sunspot complex AR3293-3296 is crackling with strong M-class solar flares — six of them today so far.”
This does not seem to be reflected in the predicted planetary A index, but perhaps that will change tomorrow.
It looks like we face continued favorable HF propagation.
Recently, I wrote of my bafflement at the 10-meter propagation I observed while using FT8 and pskreporter.info, in which my signals were being reported only in Florida. I now have a better understanding; more about this to come in Friday’s bulletin.
Sunspot numbers for April 27 through May 3, 2023, were 136, 111, 82, 105, 87, 134, and 143, with a mean of 114. 10.7-centimeter flux was 140.8, 149.8, 155.8, 153.5, 147.9, 156.8, and 156.2, with a mean of 151.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 23, 19, 20, 10, 10, 9, and 4, with a mean of 13.6. Middle latitude A index was 20, 16, 18, 8, 8, 9, and 4, with a mean of 11.9.
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.
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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