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 17 August 2023, 2318 UTC.
Content provided by The ARRL. Copyright ARRL.
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Russ Roberts (KH6JRM), Public Information Officer, Hawaii County (ARRL Pacific Section).
1:07 PM (15 minutes ago)
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August 17, 2023
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
Amateur Radio Operators Serve in Hawaii Firestorm Relief Efforts
ARRL members, in the Hawaii Amateur Radio Emergency Service®, (Hawaii ARES®), continue to respond following to the deadly wildfires on the island of Maui.
The radio amateurs are coordinating with state and local officials during the response and recovery effort. On August 15, an HF SHARES gateway, and an amateur VHF VARA FM gateway were brought back online, after having been damaged. Local hams continue to update lists of frequencies and repeaters that can be used in the response.
ARRL Headquarters staff have been in daily contact with member-volunteers on the island. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Hawaii and especially the island of Maui,” said ARRL Director of Emergency Management Josh Johnston, KE5MHV. “ARRL was in initial contact with Section Manager [of the ARRL Pacific Section] Joe Speroni, AH0A, on Wednesday, August 9, and we have had daily briefs with him. This is an exceedingly challenging time for Hawaii, and we will be available as needed.” ARRL has offered equipment through ARRL Ham Aid, a program established in 2005 and funded by donations, Ham Aid makes emergency communications equipment available to amateur radio organizations during disasters.
Johnston emphasized that most amateur radio communications, including relayed messages are being handled on the existing repeater system in the state. On shortwave, HF stations across Hawaii are operating nets on 7.088 MHz.
On August 8, wildfires fueled by strong winds began burning in Maui, and by the next day, much of Lahaina had been destroyed. As of press time, 110 people have been killed in the blaze and 2,200 structures have been destroyed; 86% of those structures were residential, according to Hawaii Governor Josh Green.
Read more in ARRL News.
STEM in Action: YOTA Campers Contact the International Space Station
On July 18, 2023, a weeklong Youth on the Air (YOTA) summer camp at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, hosted an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) radio contact.
The purpose of the camp is to connect young amateur radio operators from North, Central, and South America through amateur radio and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities.
The youth talked with astronaut Steve Bowen, KI5BKB, who answered 18 questions. ARISS volunteer Ruth Willet, KM4LAO, orchestrated their activities.
“[The ARISS contact] went so wonderfully — I’m still on a high! It never, never, never gets old,” said Willet. A reporter for the Radio Amateurs of Canada magazine, The Canadian Amateur, came to watch and report on the action.
Watch a video of the contact on YouTube
ARISS is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the ISS. In the US, participating organizations include NASA, the ISS National Lab, ARRL, and AMSAT.
Amateur Radio Operator Contacts Spacecraft
The headlines are sensational, although a bit exaggerated: “Ham Radio ‘hacks’ NASA Satellite”. While the phrase is eye-catching for social media, the truth is just as exciting. Amateur radio astronomer Scott Tilley, VE7TIL, has made contact with NASA’s STEREO-A spacecraft, which passed Earth for the first time in 17 years.
The STEREO-A (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) spacecraft was launched on October 25, 2006, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with its twin sister ship, STEREO-B. Both spacecraft were on a mission to circle behind the and send images back to Earth so scientists could make 3D models of solar activity. In 2014, STEREO-B failed and was not heard from again.
“I’m having fun with STEREO-A,” Tilley reported to Spaceweather.com. “The spacecraft is close to Earth this summer, and I can now receive its signal using a small 26-inch dish in my backyard.”
Tilley began hearing rumors that other radio operators were picking up signals from STEREO-A on 8443.580 MHz. He decided to check it out. “The central carrier is very loud, almost 30 dB above the noise,” he said. “I also noticed data sidebands, which are unusual to see on such a distant object for my small antenna.”
Tilley was able to decode and demodulate STEREO-A’s signal using a special program written by Alan Antonie, F4LAU, known as SatDump, and now, he is monitoring almost all of STEREO-A’s science instruments, including its Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUVI), two coronagraphs (COR1 and COR2), the heliospheric imager (HI), and a solar radio burst receiver (S/WAVES).
STEREO-A’s closest approach to Earth was scheduled to occur on August 17, 2023.
Amateur radio operators who would like to monitor STEREO-A can check out Tilley’s technical blog for more information.
Ohio Surplus Store to Close
An iconic electronics surplus store will soon be closing its doors.
Phil Sellati, owner of Fair Radio Sales in Lima, Ohio, says it’s time to close the business.
“I took over the business that my dad started in 1947, and after 50 years, it’s time to close the doors,” he said. Sellati has had an offer on the building and feels that it’s time to move on.
There are 30,000 square feet of equipment and parts that all need to go. Sellati wants to be done with the business by October 2023, but he thinks it might take a little longer. He has even received suggestions to stay open for next year’s Hamvention® in Xenia, Ohio.
Thousands of amateur radio operators, collectors, experimenters, and shortwave listeners have visited the store over the years. The shelves and aisles are full of old military radios and receivers. The store’s fall-winter 1967 catalog lists a BC-499 FM 20 – 28 megacycle five-channel, crystal-controlled receiver with a dynamotor for $18.95; a GO-9 Navy 100 W CW transmitter for $69.95; along with pages of meters, cords, headphones, and microphones circa 1942.
Many Fair Radio Sales visitors started visiting when they were young, and they continue to shop there now. For one radio amateur, it was a must-stop location every year on their way to Dayton Hamvention. Another amateur radio operator said he stopped there in 1980 to pick up a Teletype Model 19 that still works today!
International Lighthouse-Lightship Weekend
International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW) is on Saturday, August 19, and Sunday, August 20, 2023.
In County Clare, Ireland, the Limerick Clare Radio Club, EI4LCR, will celebrate the 26th annual event by operating non-stop for 48 hours from the Loop Head West Clare lighthouse. The club will be using CW and SSB to contact lighthouses and lightships throughout the world.
Limerick Clare Radio Club Secretary Joe Ryan, EI9HG, said “A special QSL card has been designed to mark the event. The club will operate two stations, one of which will be at the entrance to the lighthouse, so members of the public can listen to some of the transmissions.”
During this weekend’s activation, lighthouse visitors will be able to listen to communications between some of the 500 lighthouses and lightships in over 40 countries that will be activated by amateur radio operators. The ILLW website has a complete list of rules, guidelines, and frequencies for the event.
ILLW began in 1998 as the Scottish Northern Lights Award run by the Ayr Amateur Radio Group. The annual event takes place on the third full weekend in August.
Amateur Radio in the News
ARRL Public Information Officers, Coordinators, and many other member-volunteers help keep amateur radio and ARRL in the news.
“Mississippi Amateur Radio Operators gather for annual Mississippi Simulated Emergency Test” / WLOX (Mississippi) August 13, 2023 — Amateur Radio Emergency Service®.
On the Air
This month, we talk with Steve Simons, W1SMS, the Technical Coordinator for the Connecticut Section, who shares his experiences as a TC, from coordinating with Emergency Operations Centers during an emergency, to presenting technical papers at ham club meetings, to working with the Section’s Technical Specialists to help local hams with troubleshooting and other technical matters.
ARRL Audio News
The September 2023 issue of QST has an incorrect date for the Midwest Superfest at the Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Illinois. In the “Convention and Hamfest Calendar” on page 86 the date is listed as September 9, 2023. The actual dates are September 16 – 17, 2023. ARRL regrets this error. This ARRL-sanctioned hamfest is sponsored by the Peoria-Area Amateur Radio Club, and more information can be found at https://www.w9uvi.org/midwest-
A new special event will take place on Saturday, August 19, 2023, involving amateur radio and former Atlas F missile silos. Beginning at 11:00 AM EDT, amateur radio operators from the Champlain Valley Amateur Radio Club (CVARC), W2UXC, as well as a group of amateurs in Texas, will attempt to activate two missile sites — one in Oplin, Texas, and the other in Champlain, New York. The goal is to establish an HF contact with each site and with other amateurs throughout the day. The frequencies have not been selected yet, but additional information will be posted on the CVARC Facebook page. Robert Grabowski, KB5RG, and Lance Tolar, KD5EFB, will be at the Texas site, which is one of 12 missile silo sites remaining in the state. “The site has been converted into a home, but the owner has agreed to let the amateurs use it for the event,” said Grabowski. “Eight of the 12 sites are lived in, and two are still abandoned,” he added. The site in New York, is listed as Champlain Atlas Missile Silo Site 1, at 67 Missile Base Road. It took only 4 days to plan this event, but both groups say they envision organizing other special events and operations linked to historical dates related to the Atlas F missile program.
In a joint release, the National Telecommunications Council (CONATEL) and the Radio Club D’Haïti (RCH) have announced their commitment to training new amateur radio operators for in Haiti. On Monday, July 2, 2023, CONATEL and the RCH jointly launched a 90 day raining session for CONATEL engineers and young executives to learn Morse code and other basic techniques for using amateur radio equipment. The launch of this activity follows the Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) between CONATEL and the RCH, which was signed on March 26, 2023. CONATEL Director General and RCH President Jean-Robert Gaillard, HH2JR, initialed the MOA. The objective of the training session is to professionally equip participants, and in turn, grow the country’s amateur radio community. About 20 CONATEL employees are taking part in the session. Two representatives, Gaillard and Pierrick Madsen, HH2MK, emphasized the importance of learning the Morse code as they believe it’s the basis of the language of amateur radio.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week’s ARRL Propagation Bulletin, ARLP033:
Eleven new sunspot groups emerged over the past week, August 10 – 16, 2023, but average solar indicators declined.
There were two new sunspot groups on August 11, three more on
August 13, another on August 14, two more on August 15, and three more on August 16.
The average daily sunspot numbers declined from 108.9 to 95.7, while the average daily solar flux dropped from 166.4 to 154.2.
Predicted solar flux is 160 on August 17 – 24; 162, 160, and 164 on August 25 – 27; 168 on August 28 – 31; 165, 163, and 160 on September 1 – 3; 158, 155, 152, and 150 on September 4 – 7; 148, 142, 140, and 130 on September 8 – 11; 135 on September 12 – 14, and 145, 150, and 155 on September 15 – 17.
Predicted planetary A index is 15, 12, and 8 on August 17 – 19; 5 on August 20 – 25; 12 on August 26; 5 on August 27 through September 5; 10, 8, and 8 on September 6 – 8; 5 on September 9 – 11, and 12, 15, 12, and 8 on September 12 – 15.
Look for comments from readers concerning the transition from summer to fall conditions in Friday’s bulletin.
Sunspot numbers for August 10 through 16, 2023, were 83, 105, 61, 89, 85, 107, and 140, with a mean of 95.7. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 155.7, 152.8, 148.3, 150.4, 154, 158.1, and 160.1, with a mean of 154.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 5, 8, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, and 8, with a mean of 6. The middle latitude A index was 8, 6, 10, 7, 6, 7, and 10, with a mean of 7.7.
Send your tips, questions, or comments to email@example.com.
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.
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A weekly, full report is posted on ARRL News.
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