Tag Archives: 2019

The ARRL Letter for August 29, 2019


Welcome to “The ARRL Letter” update from Big Island ARRL News.

Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Content supplied by HQ ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT, 06111.

Accessed on 30 August 2019, 1420 UTC, Post 1097.

Source:

http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2019-08-29

Please click link or scroll down to read your selections.

Amateur Radio Resources Ready as Dorian Predicted to Become a “Major Hurricane”

Amateur Radio resources organized this week as Hurricane Dorian threatened Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and worked its way through the Caribbean. A change in direction spared Puerto Rico — still recovering from hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 — from taking a direct hit; the Virgin Islands suffered downed trees and widespread power outages. As of August 29, Dorian was a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds near 85 MPH with higher gusts. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Dorian was expected to become a major hurricane on Friday and remain an extremely dangerous hurricane through the weekend, reaching Category 3 or 4 by September 1. Heavy rainfall generated by Dorian could cause flash flooding, the NHC said.

“The risk of devastating hurricane-force winds along the Florida east coast and peninsula late this weekend and early next week continues to increase,” the NHC said on August 29.

“We are standing by in a ready-to-respond state, once a more definitive track is known,” Southern Florida Section Manager Barry Porter, KB1PA, told ARRL Headquarters on August 29. “We will be holding a tri-Section conference call tonight to firm up any plans.” Porter said Florida Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and Red Cross were in preparation mode.

On Wednesday, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), activated for about 9 hours on 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz, working in conjunction with WX4NHC at the NHC in Miami to provide “ground truth” weather data to forecasters. The VoIP Hurricane Net also activated.

The HWN has continued to closely monitor Dorian’s progress. HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said the HWN tentatively plans reactivate on August 30 at 2100 UTC.

The ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team is also monitoring the situation closely. ARRL officials are in regular communication with partner agencies, particularly FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, ARRL HQ remains in close contact with Field Organization officials in the affected region, where some ARRL Ham Aid equipment was previously positioned.

W1AW, which had already planned to be in operation for the Hiram Percy Maxim 150th Birthday special event this weekend, will remain ready to assist with emergency communications.

Visit the ARRL website or the Hurricane Watch Net website for updates on the progress of Hurricane Dorian.

ARRL HF Band Planning Committee Reactivated to Address Spectrum Issues

In an effort to more effectively address HF digital technology issues, ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, has reactivated the ARRL Board of Directors’ HF Band Planning Committee. The six-member panel, chaired by First Vice President Greg Widin, K0GW, will primarily focus on spectrum allocation issues that have gained increased visibility with discussions on accommodating automatically controlled digital stations (ACDS) — many employing Winlink email. The committee will also discuss operating frequencies for FT4, FT8, and other digital modes. Widin says the committee will meet next week to chart its course. Reactivation of the HF Band Planning Committee came out of discussions during the July 2019 ARRL Board meeting.

ARRL HF Band Planning Committee Chair and First Vice President Greg Widin, K0GW

“ARRL is not trying to shut down digital communication or shut down Winlink in particular,” Widin said, adding that ARRL recognizes Winlink’s proven track record in emergency communication. His committee also will consider Winlink supporters’ calls for the expansion of the ACDS segments spelled out in §97.221(b) of the amateur rules.

“This is not an easy task by any means,” Widin allowed. “They’re not making more bandwidth.”

“We’re well aware that Winlink is the de facto standard supporting emergency communications in many parts of the country, but we have to figure out how it can operate with other modes, so that everybody can communicate, without having one mode overrun any other mode,” Widin said. The committee will not address data encryption questions at this point, however.

In response to ARRL’s 2013 petition to delete the so-called “symbol rate” limit and replace it with a maximum bandwidth for data emissions of 2.8 kHz below 29.7 MHz, the FCC proposed to eliminate symbol rate (baud rate) limitations for data transmissions but declined to propose a bandwidth limitation.

At its July meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors called for ARRL’s Washington Counsel to obtain FCC approval for several Part 97 rule changes. The Board asked for a rulemaking petition to remove the current 300 baud rate limitation; authorize all ACDS below 30 MHz, regardless of bandwidth, to operate only within the ACDS bands designated in §97.221(b); require digital stations operating with a bandwidth greater than 500 Hz to operate within the ACDS bands, whether or not automatically controlled, and limit the maximum bandwidth of digital signals below 29 MHz to 2.8 kHz.

“We still want to change the symbol rate limitation into a bandwidth limitation, which makes a lot more sense in terms of current and future modes,” Widin said. The panel also hopes to work with the WSJT-X Development Group to establish FT4 frequencies compatible with existing band plans. Read more.

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160 Years Since The Carrington Event

September 1 marks the 160th anniversary of the Carrington Event, the strongest geomagnetic storm known to have hit Earth since at least the 14th century. The event was named for British astronomer Richard Carrington, who first viewed and sketched the huge sunspot complex on the sun from which a gigantic solar flare — a coronal mass ejection — erupted, as he watched. Within hours, Earth was virtually enveloped by an aurora borealis that was visible even at lower latitudes and into the tropics. It was a truly spectacular light show that in some places, turned night into day. When the flare interacted with Earth’s magnetosphere, however, it was another story.

This was the Victorian age, when practical wireless was still a few decades off, but the “auroral phenomena,” as it was called then, had “a remarkable manifestation of magnetic influence” on telegraph wires — the internet of the day, as it were. So considerable was the effect that The New York Timesreported telegraph operators were able to disconnect the batteries that normally operated the system and were “working by the atmospheric current entirely!” Although the operators subsequently were able to reconnect their batteries, the storm continued to affect the lines. A telegraph manager in Pittsburgh reported “streams of fire” emitted from the circuits. In Washington, DC, telegraph operator Frederick W. Royce was severely shocked as his forehead grazed a ground wire. A witness said an arc of fire jumped from Royce’s head to the telegraphic equipment.

The Times account quoted an operator in Worcester, Massachusetts, who said, “During ten years’ experience in telegraphing, I have frequently observed the effect of the Aurora Borealis on the wires, but never before have I seen it so grand and appalling.”

Operators said that at times the polarity of the battery power supply would become reversed. “One moment the batteries would begin to boil over, and we would have so strong a circuit that the armature would not come away from the magnet; the next moment, there would be no current at all,” a report from Quebec recounted.

Based on examinations of ice samples, scientists believe that geomagnetic storms two and three times stronger occurred prior to the 14th century.

After the Carrington Event, scientists began paying a lot more attention to solar phenomena and sunspots. — Thanks to Frank Donovan, W3LPL

The Doctor Will See You Now!

“Different Types of Grounds” is the topic of the new (August 29) episode of the ARRL The Doctor is In podcast. Listen…and learn!

Sponsored by DX EngineeringARRL The Doctor is In is an informative discussion of all things technical. Listen on your computer, tablet, or smartphone — whenever and wherever you like!

Every 2 weeks, your host, QST Editor-in-Chief Steve Ford, WB8IMY, and the Doctor himself, Joel Hallas, W1ZR, will discuss a broad range of technical topics. You can also email your questions to doctor@arrl.org, and the Doctor may answer them in a future podcast.

Enjoy ARRL The Doctor is In on Apple iTunes, or by using your iPhone or iPad podcast app (just search for ARRL The Doctor is In). You can also listen online at Blubrry, or at Stitcher (free registration required, or browse the site as a guest) and through the free Stitcher app for iOS, Kindle, or Android devices. If you’ve never listened to a podcast before, download our beginner’s guide.

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Efforts Continue to Enhance ARES Program, Add Resources

The ARRL Board of Directors, committees, and Headquarters administrative staff are continuing efforts to enhance the venerable Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) program. A major ARES Plan has been adopted, providing new direction going forward. In addition, a standardized training plan has been adopted, and a new ARES Emergency Communicator Individual Task Book has been approved and published.

At its July meeting, the ARRL Board considered the report of its Public Service Enhancement Working Group (PSEWG). A “change log” was proposed for the Task Book that will highlight changes made as the document is periodically revised and updated. ARES position guidelines were posted to the online ARES Workbook and a major revision and update of ARRL’s Introduction to Emergency Communications course — now designated as EC-001 — has been completed.

The course is now available at no cost to any ARES registrant, and a “mentor-less” format has been added as a parallel path for completing the course. Additional mentors were recruited to assist in handling the initial surge of interest. A self-guided version that leads up to the final exam is also being implemented. An update and introduction of EC-016 — Public Service and Emergency Communications Management for Radio Amateurs — has been completed.

Veteran Ohio Section Manager Scott Yonally, N8SY, has been brought on board to assist in implementing ARES Connect and to field questions about the new software package from users. ARES Connectis a volunteer management system covering event signup, reporting, and roster management, to simplify managing volunteers and events.

Some modest procedural revisions have been made to the Ham Aidprogram. Read more. — Thanks to The ARES E-Letter

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: The current stretch of spotless days has continued for more than 3 weeks, according to Spaceweather.com. The continuing quiet seems eerie. For the past reporting week, Thursday through Wednesday, the average daily solar flux — 10.7 GHz radiation that roughly tracks with sunspot activity — was only 66. I had to go back to the fall of 2007 to find average solar flux in that range.

Predicted solar flux for the next 45 days is 66 on August 29 – September 4; 67 on September 5 – 11; 68 on September 12 – 15; 67 on September 16 – October 8, and 68 on October 9 – 12.

Predicted planetary A index is 5, 8, 20, 34, 16, and 8 on August 29 – September 3; 5 on September 4 – 5; 8 on September 6 – 7; 5 on September 8 – 21; 10, 15, and 8 on September 22 – 24; 5 on September 25 – 27; 35, 18, and 10 on September 28 – 30; 5 on October 1 – 2; 10 and 8 on October 3 – 4, and 5 on October 5 – 12.

Spaceweather.com reported that a large recurring coronal hole is facing Earth, and the effects are expected to be felt on September 1, when the predicted planetary A index is 34.

Sunspot numbers for August 22 – 28 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 0. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 65.7, 66.5, 66.3, 66, 65.8, 66.1, and 65.9, with a mean of 66. Estimated planetary A indices were 6, 4, 5, 4, 6, 10, and 5, with a mean of 5.7. Middle latitude A index was 7, 4, 5, 5, 6, 10, and 5, with a mean of 6.

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 K9LA’s Propagation Page.

A propagation bulletin archive is available. Monthly charts offer propagation projections between the US and a dozen DX locations.

Share your reports and observations.


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Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • August 31 – September 1 — UK/EI DX Contest, SSB

  • August 31 – September 2 World Wide Digi DX Contest

  • August 31 – September 8 — Hiram Percy Maxim Birthday Celebration

  • September 1 – 2 — Tennessee QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

  • September 2 – 3 — Michigan QRP Labor Day CW Sprint

  • September 3 — ARS Spartan Sprint (CW)

  • September 4 — UKEICC 80-Meter Contest (Phone)

  • September 5 — NRAU 10-Meter Activity Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • September 5 — SKCC Sprint Europe (CW)

See the ARRL Contest Calendar for more information. For in-depth reporting on Amateur Radio contesting, subscribe to The ARRL Contest Update via your ARRL member profile email preferences.

Inter-American Proposal Removes 47 – 47.2 GHz from Bands under Study for 5G Services

The 34th meeting of the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) Permanent Consultative Committee II (PCC.II) concluded a week of meetings on August 16 in Ottawa, Canada, in advance of World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19). The meetings were aimed at reaching regional consensus on WRC-19 agenda items. Attendees at PCC.II included ARRL Technical Relations Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, who is on the US delegation to WRC-19.

Radio amateurs present at the CITEL meeting tasked with looking out for issues of concern to the Amateur Service were (from left to right) Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN, a member of Canada’s WRC-19 delegation and Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) Special Advisor to World Radiocommunication Conferences; George Gorsline, VE3YV, an IARU Region 2 Executive Committee member; Flavio Archangelo, PY2ZX, a member of Brazil’s WRC-19 delegation and the IARU Region 2 CITEL coordinator; Sergio Bertuzzo, VA3SB, RAC International Affairs Officer, and Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, a member of the US delegation to WRC-19 and ARRL Technical Relations Officer.

“The big news is that the Inter-American Proposal (IAP) going forward to ITU from CITEL countries has removed the 47 – 47.2 GHz Amateur Radio allocation from WRC-19 agenda item 1.13,” Siverling said. “We are putting forward a ‘no change’ proposal.” Supported by 13 member-states, the IAP would take frequencies in that range off the table for possible sharing with 5G International Mobile Telephony (IMT). Siverling conceded that other administrations could raise the issue at WRC-19.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) was to conduct and complete appropriate studies to determine spectrum needs for the IMT terrestrial component in the 24.25 – 86 GHz range, and studies on sharing and compatibility, while taking into account the protection of services with primary allocations on the band. ITU-R has not conducted any sharing studies between the IMT-2020 systems and incumbent Amateur Radio and Amateur Satellite services. “Therefore, it has not been demonstrated that the incumbent services can be protected, as required by Resolution 238 (WRC-15), and no change is proposed for the 47 – 47.2 GHz frequency band,” the IAP said.

Under WRC-19 agenda item 10 (future agenda items), language to protect the Amateur Radio primary 50 – 54 MHz allocation was included in a US proposal to study implementing space-based Earth Exploration Satellite Service (EESS) radars to operate in the 40 – 50 MHz range, in time for WRC-23, recognizing that 50 – 54 MHz is primary in Regions 2 and 3, with an alternative primary Amateur Service allocation in a number of Region 1 countries.

Also under agenda item 10, the frequency segment 47 – 47.2 GHz was removed from a proposal to study several additional frequency ranges for the Fixed Satellite Service (FSS).

Language in a Canadian contribution, with additions from the US delegation, was added regarding WRC-19 agenda item 9.1.6, which seeks to identify frequencies for medium- and high-power wireless charging of electric vehicles (WPT-EV). Delegates to PCC.II forwarded an IAP of no change to the Radio Regulations.

The recent CITEL meeting was the last prior to WRC-19. Read more— Thanks to Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, and Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN

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France Stands its Ground on 144 – 146 MHz Aeronautical Mobile Sharing Proposal

Heading into this week’s European Conference of Telecommunications and Postal Administrations (CEPT) Conference Preparatory Group (CPG) meeting in Turkey, France was holding firm on its proposal to have the Aeronautical Mobile Service (AMS) share 144 – 146 with Amateur Radio. An “annex” submitted for the CPG doubles down on that country’s determination to secure AMS access to that spectrum, although no longer on a primary basis. The CPG meeting will consider CEPT ECC positions for World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 this fall. In the annex, France counters contrary assertions from International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) and continues to insist that spectrum sharing is possible.

“France recognizes the wide range of amateur applications hosted by the 144 – 146 MHz band,” the French annex document said. “The band will remain available for all these applications after WRC-23. However, a clear vision of the band segmentation per application and associated occupancy rates will be necessary for the sharing and compatibility studies carried on during the WRC-23 preparation cycle. Such studies are essential for assessing the possibilities of frequency sharing and establishing, where appropriate, the conditions that will ensure the continuity of operation and the protection of existing services.”

If the French proposal gets a thumbs up from at least 10 CEPT countries at the CPG meeting — with not more than 6 opposing — the proposal could appear on the agendas of WRC-19 and WRC-23, where a final decision will be made.

In its own CPG meeting submission, the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) called the French proposal “unsound” and contended that sharing of the current amateur allocation with AMS radio systems “is not possible without a significant likelihood of mutual interference.” Read more.

In Brief…

N1MM Logger+ users planning to operate the Hiram Percy Maxim 150th birthday celebration event must first download the file HPM150.zip.Then, extract the files into C:Users<your user name>(My) DocumentsN1MM Logger+UserDefinedContests. “HPM 150” will show up as a contest choice when you open a new log file. The event is August 31 – September 8. Operating FT4 or FT8 during HPM 150 is not quite as simple. According to WSJT-Xdeveloper Joe Taylor, K1JT, the two digital modes are “not a good fit” for the HPM 150 event. “There’s no built-in support for two stations using non-standard call signs to work each other with standard auto-sequencing,” Taylor said. “Messages intended for Field Day support the exchange of ARRL/RAC sections, but do not include signal reports.” He said it’s possible to piece together the necessary contact information using free-text messages and manual sequencing, “but most FT4/FT8 users would not find this convenient,” he added. — Thanks to Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, and Joe Taylor, K1JT

Registration now is open for stations to register for Scouting’s 2019 Jamboree on the Air (JOTA). JOTA will take place October 18 – 20. JOTA is Scouting’s largest event in the world and always takes place over the third weekend of October. Click on “Sign Up Now” and register using your free Scout.org user id. Use the same site to register for the 2019 Jamboree on the Internet. Bill Stearns, NE4RD, has been named the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) National Jamboree on the Air Task Force Chair. He has activated a number of JOTA and Scout Camp stations from the Montana Scout Council and served on the 2017 National Scout Jamboree K2BSA and 2019 World Scout Jamboree NA1WJ staffs. The NA1WJ Amateur Radio operation at the 2019 World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia reported that more than 3,000 Scouts took part in the ham radio demonstrations, logging more than 4,000 contacts in 86 DXCC entities.

Sweden’s Alexanderson Alternator station SAQ says it received 438 listener reports — “an incredible amount” — for its June 30 Alexanderson Day transmissions. The list included five reports from the US and three from Canada. The historic electro-mechanical transmitter, which dates back to the 1920s, is fired up periodically throughout the year on 17.2 kHz. “We are very thankful for all your enthusiastic and positive feedback, with images, recordings, videos, and even Morse ink writer strips,” SAQ said. The station is a World Heritage Site in Grimeton, Sweden. SAQ’s June 30 message commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first east-to-west transatlantic voice transmission from the Marconi station in Ireland to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. SAQ has posted an interactive map showing the locations of all received listener reports from recent transmissions, including the June 30 transmission, and video of the Alexanderson Day transmission event has been posted to its YouTube channel.


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The ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letterstrives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

Much of the ARRL Letter content is also available in audio form in ARRL Audio News.

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For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please check the blog sidebars and links. These news feeds are updated daily and weekly.  Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section

https://bigislandarrlnews.com

The ARES E-Letter for August 21, 2019


Welcome to “The ARES E-Letter” update from Big Island ARRL News.

Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Content provided by HQ ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT, 06111.

Editor:  Rick Palm (K1CE).

Accessed on 23 August 2019, 1615 UTC, Post 1088.

Source:

http://www.arrl.org/ares-el?issue=2019-08-21

Please click link or scroll down to read the full edition.

ARRL Policymakers, Staff Continue Efforts to Enhance ARES Program, Add Resources

The ARRL Board of Directors, committees and administrative staff have focused on enhancing the venerable ARES program. A major ARES Plan was adopted, providing new direction going forward. A standardized training plan was adopted and a new ARES Emergency Communicator Individual Task Book was approved and published.

Last month, the Board considered the report of its Public Service Enhancement Working Group (PSEWG). A “change log” is proposed for the Task Book that will highlight changes made as the book is periodically revised and updated. ARES position guidelines were posted to the on-line ARES workbook and major revising and updating of ARRL’s Introduction to Emergency Communications course (now designated as IS-001) has been completed. [The course is now available at no cost to any ARES registrant, and a “tutorless” format has been added as a parallel path for completing the course. Additional tutors were successfully recruited to help handle the huge initial interest as the changes were extremely well-received by the field organization. A “challenge” path directly to the final exam is also being implemented.] Similar updating and introduction of IS-016 – Public Service and Emergency Communications Management for Radio Amateurs — will follow in the next few months.

The ARRL HQ staff has brought veteran Ohio Section Manager Scott Yonally, N8SY, on board to assist in the implementation of ARES Connect and to field questions about the new software package from users.

The League’s Ham Aid program was reviewed, with some modest revisions to procedures. Most recently, the PSEWG has begun its examination of the future role of the League’s National Traffic System in concert with ARES. A brief survey of selected SMs, STMs and SECs is to provide a beginning point for a more extensive analysis of the program. This review and evaluation is expected to be a major part of the PSEWG’s efforts in the upcoming months.

A Board Ad Hoc EmComm Manager Requirements Report specifies the job requirements of a new position at ARRL HQ — Director of Emergency Management — who will lead a team responsible for supporting the ARES program and will work with HQ staff to develop standards, protocols, and processes designed to support the Field Organization.

Partners in Service: FEMA Announces Plans for September National Preparedness Month

Next month is National Preparedness Month with the theme Prepared, Not Scared. Be Ready for Disasters. National Preparedness Month (NPM) is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning now and throughout the year. This year’s campaign will feature PSAs and multimedia products around four weekly themes:

· Week 1: Sept 1-7 Save Early for Disaster Costs

· Week 2: Sept 8-14 Make a Plan to Prepare for Disasters

· Week 3: Sept 15-21 Teach Youth to Prepare for Disasters

· Week 4: Sept 22-30 Get Involved in Your Community’s Preparedness

Content has been loaded on the Ready.gov National Preparedness Month Toolkit webpage. This year, FEMA wants participants, which include ARES operators, to share their activities and success stories. The longtime ARRL partner wants brief descriptions of what you are planning for National Preparedness Month. Send them to FEMA-IGA@fema.dhs.gov with the word NPM in the subject line. An appropriate, brief submission would be your planned or conducted ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET) activity. Many groups will be holding their SET during September and through the fall. The primary League-sponsored national emergency exercise is designed to assess the skills and preparedness of ARES and other organizations involved with emergency/disaster response. Here’s an opportunity to let FEMA know about it.

In June 2003, ARRL became an official affiliate program of Citizen Corps, an initiative within the Department of Homeland Security to enhance public preparedness and safety. The Statement of Affiliation makes ARRL an affiliate under the four charter Citizen Corps programs–Neighborhood Watch, Volunteers in Police Service, Community Emergency Response Teams and Medical Reserve Corps.

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Cape Cod ARES and SKYWARN Provide Support in Rare Tornado Event

Cape Cod, Massachusetts ARES and SKYWARN operators responded as a storm system on July 23 produced three tornadoes there. Hurricane-force winds resulted in significant tree and utility wire damage. Amateur Radio SKYWARN spotters were the first to provide critical ground truth information. Under the direction of Cape Cod District Emergency Coordinator Frank O’Laughlin, WQ1O, and Eastern Massachusetts Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY, a SKYWARN net ran for several hours on the Barnstable repeater.

“Dozens of reports of trees and wires down and some structural damage reports were received during the SKYWARN net, and Amateur Radio operators supported initial damage assessment in the hardest hit areas, providing photos and videos that were shared via social media and other outlets,” Macedo said. “This provided critical situational awareness and disaster intelligence information to the National Weather Service (NWS), state emergency management, local media outlets, and helped to diagnose the areas for NWS meteorologists to survey to determine whether a tornado or straight-line wind damage occurred.”

An ARES net supported communications between a shelter at the Dennis-Yarmouth School and the Barnstable County EOC, which serves as the Multiagency Coordination Center (MACC).

Operations continued around the clock, with six radio amateurs engaged in shelter and EOC communications over the course of two days. “Traffic involved the logistics of care of shelter residents until power restoration efforts were near completion,” O’Laughlin said.

A NWS-Norton office team of several meteorologists surveyed damage and confirmed the three tornadoes and destructive straight-line winds. Since tornado records have been kept, starting in 1950, only three tornadoes were recorded on Cape Cod up until last year, highlighting the rarity of the July 23 weather event. — sourceRob Macedo, KD1CY, Eastern Massachusetts Section Emergency Coordinator, SKYWARN

Arizona ARES Gives Communications Support for Museum Fire

Members of the Coconino County Amateur Radio Club (CARC) in Arizona activated on July 21 as winds accelerated the Museum Fire beyond 50 acres, triggering the activation of the county’s EOC. Members of the club, many of them ARES volunteers, staffed the EOC.

“The club has a great working relationship with Coconino County,” said CARC’s Public Information Officer Dan Shearer, N7YIQ. “CARC’s ARES component has a dedicated position in the EOC structure and has assisted on many incidents over the last few years, providing communications to field personnel when cell and radio coverage is limited or nonexistent.” Shearer said Amateur Radio equipment and antennas are stored at the EOC, and CARC members have been trained to set it up and have everything operational within an hour of activation.

The fire grew larger than 500 acres and became a top fire-fighting priority. A Type 1 Incident Management Team took over the fire-fighting effort late on July 22, and more than 12 Hotshot crews (teams highly trained in all aspects of fire management), fire engines, water tenders, and aircraft were engaged in suppressing the blaze. Residents in some neighborhoods were ordered to evacuate, although no homes and structures were lost.

There were fears that the fire might overrun communications sites on Mount Elden, which include public service, private, and Amateur Radio repeaters. “The loss of one or both of these complexes would have been catastrophic,” Shearer said. CARC members were prepared for the risk and quickly assembled spare equipment, including extra radios and repeaters. Air tankers dropped many loads of fire retardant around the repeater sites, and the exceptional work of the fire crews prevented the fire from running up the slopes to the complexes, Shearer said.

The Coconino Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club with about 50 members. Its large ARES component regularly trains and conducts SKYWARN and ARES nets weekly.

“CARC personnel provided well over 250 hours in support of the Museum Fire disaster response and in direct support of the joint EOC,” Shearer said, adding that the EOC professional team and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey expressed their appreciation to CARC operators when the governor visited the fire operations.

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ARES Responds to Earthquake Incidents in Southern California

On the morning of July 4, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the California High Desert, with its epicenter near Trona in the Searles Valley, not far from Ridgecrest, population 29,000. ARES member Jerry Brooks, KK6PA, activated the Eastern Kern County ARES Net, and as members assessed their own situations and were able to participate, activity grew on the emergency net. Steve Hendricks, KK6JTB, assumed net control duties through most of the first day, and others filled in as the activation progressed. The Logistics Chief with the Ridgecrest EOC, Robert Oberfeld, contacted ARES leaders to request a radio operator be assigned to the Ridgecrest Police Department mobile communications van at the EOC.

Eastern Kern County ARES was able to relay reports of roadway conditions from mobile operators to the EOC as several main highways — including Highway 178, the only route between Ridgecrest and Trona — had been rendered impassable. CalTrans was alerted, and repair crews had the route opened for limited traffic within a short time.

As the aftershocks lessened and the extent of the damage by the first temblor had been assessed, the EOC requested that ARES stand down but remain on standby. The next day, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck, followed by 19 aftershocks, ranging in magnitude 4.5 to 5.5. When Eastern Kern County ARES reactivated, significantly more damage had occurred, with the result that fewer operators were immediately available as many residents dealt with serious issues within their own homes. Additional operators became available to provide their observations to the EOC, however. In all, 57 operators were active at various times on the emergency net, providing status reports and updates.

“The ensuing days brought thousands of aftershocks of generally small magnitude, but the threat of larger aftershocks remained, so Eastern Kern County ARES remained on standby,” said Dennis Kidder, W6DQ. A number of homes and businesses were destroyed or severely damaged. Some 150 residents were in shelters. Aftershocks continued to be expected. — source: Dennis Kidder, W6DQ, Eastern Kern County ARES, California

Flmsg Used in Maine Red Cross Mass Care Exercise

On August 9 and 10, the Waldo (Maine) County EMA conducted a 24 hour mass care exercise. A designated Red Cross shelter in Thorndike was staffed with volunteers with the public invited to have meals and stay overnight. Several Red Cross volunteers served as shelter managers and 62 Boy Scouts volunteered to act as residents of the shelter. A meal to which the public was invited was served on Friday evening and over 60 people from the community attended.

The radio communications component of the exercise was focused on the transfer of Red Cross forms by radio. Jim Piper N6MED, a registered nurse and Amateur Radio liaison for the Gold Country Region American Red Cross, headquartered in Sacramento, California, was enlisted to initiate a Red Cross 213 form using the popular flmsg utility of the flidigi suite of digital interfaces. Piper has been an advocate for flmsg as a message tool as it may be used with virtually any electronic communications medium. Based on this need, Dave Freese, W1HKJ, the author of flmsg, created a highly simplified “Agency” GUI for flmsg that is designed to be used by personnel with limited computer skills. There are only three buttons that permit the volunteer to create, view or edit the contents of a form. In the Gold Country Region implementation, flmsg and the Red Cross custom forms are contained on thumb drives that are deployed to all shelter disaster response trailers and that can be handed out to volunteers. There is nothing to install on the computer.

Piper sent an ARC-213 form (a 1kB text file reduced from the custom HTML file) via Winlink attachment to the Waldo County EMA in Belfast, Maine. At the EMA, a radio operator moved the file to flmsg where it was sent by VHF using fldigi to the shelter. A volunteer at the shelter then used the flmsg Agency tool to compose a reply, whereupon the process was repeated to get the reply back to Sacramento. The process worked very smoothly and served to demonstrate to the shelter staff the usefulness of the flmsg tool. The Red Cross forms and information on the message utility can be accessed here. [Fldigi (Fast Light digital) is a free and open source program/suite of utilities that can be used for emergency messaging with simple two-way data communications using a laptop’s sound card].– sourceSteve Hansen KB1TCE, Waldo County, Maine ARES/RACES

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Hurricane Zebra, Florida Hurricane Season Exercises Yield Good Results

The first annual ARRL Northern Florida Section Hurricane Exercise was held on Saturday, August 3, 2019, from 0800-1000 hours eastern time. The mission was to test the section’s HF voice and digital ability to send and receive message traffic between county EOCs and the State EOC (SEOC) in Tallahassee. The plan called for two messages for each county EOC to send to the State EOC by either voice or Winlink. Stations were also to check into the Statewide Amateur Radio Network (SARnet), the network of linked UHF voice repeaters that serves the State of Florida Department of Transportation.

According to an after action report submitted by Dave Davis, WA4WES, Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator, stations throughout the section participated. Davis said “Overall, it was a good first effort, and we did well.” Objectives included stations to communicate with the State EOC by voice and/or digital modes; become familiar with net procedures including message handling using the ICS message form 309; determine viability of communications on different bands, times of day and different modes (voice and data); and network with other message handlers likely to be involved during real incidents.

Results and Lessons Learned

The EOCs at Bay and St. John’s Counties were opened. While the State EOC was unavailable, several stations were able to establish links with KK4SIH in Leon county where the SEOC is located. On 3955 kHz, many stations were able to send messages to the station using Winlink. Operators successfully met the objectives of learning net procedures, and using the ICS form 309 to send messages on different bands at different times of day using both voice and data modes. 80-meters demonstrated the most consistent reliability, followed by 60-meters and 40-meters.

The use and reliability of the HF bands must be mastered by those responsible for using them as they do exhibit periods when they are unusable. The use of propagation charts can help identify the frequencies for optimal communication for any given part of the day. Alternate frequencies and modes need to be part of the plan, and stations must know when to move to the other designated frequencies and modes.

The lack of back up net control stations was an issue: backup NCS and other critical positions need to be pre-assigned. Stations that passed traffic on HF generally spoke too fast. They need to slow down. All messages need to have a standardized message header. See Florida ICS-213 Message Training.

All messages must be originated/written by a person in authority, not by the radio operator. Message logs need to be maintained, and the ICS 309 form is good for this purpose. Its uniform use throughout the section is encouraged. All participating stations should become familiar with Winlink.

ASEC Davis concluded “The response to this exercise was very good. Of course, more work needs to be done, but for a first time effort, I was impressed with the knowledge, enthusiasm, and skill demonstrated by operators throughout the section. The objective now will be to build on what was learned.”

Florida Region 4 RACES Communications Exercise Also Conducted

Sumter County (Florida) Emergency Management/RACES hosted a Region 4 Communications Exercise. (The State’s Division of Emergency Management divides Florida into Regions for emergency management purposes. Region 4 encompasses the counties in the Tampa area).

The exercise was intended to test RACES capability to communicate from county to county within the region. Systems used included the SARNet for initial coordination and then FM repeater, simplex and/or or HF systems to pass messages from county to county and back to Sumter County, which had originated them. This procedure included sending the message in both directions so each county could test its capability with its connecting county on each side.

As with most exercises of this nature, several counties did have some minor issues, which were ultimately resolved. It showed that the goals of discovering those minor issues, finding their solutions, and implementing them were met. RACES Officer Gene King, KI4LEH, said “Our hope, of course, is that when we are activated/deployed we will have a properly working communications system, know which system or mode works best for our needs, and fulfill our role as emergency communications operators in serving our respective agencies to the best of our abilities.”

The exercise was well received by those who participated; a good hot wash was conducted via a telephone conference call where each county’s participant(s) related their take on the exercise. There is unanimous support for quarterly exercises. Participants will meet in person for an hour at the Tampa Bay Hamfest, Friday, December 13, and Saturday, December 14, 2019. “This way, we can get to know each other a little better than by just over the airwaves,” King said, adding “we hone our skills as radio operators, enhancing our abilities to serve no matter if we operate under an ARES or RACES umbrella.”

New Books: Volunteer Amateur Radio Operator Hospital Orientation

The new July 2019 edition of the Volunteer Amateur Radio Operator Hospital Orientation, by Duane Mariotti, WB9RER, has just been released. Mariotti is the Volunteer Coordinator of the Kaiser Permanente Amateur Radio Network and has been involved with emergency communications for 30 years as an electrical engineer, responder, and policy leader. His specialty is biomedical technology and he works to improve hospital disaster preparedness and communications systems.

Amateur Radio operators have a long history of providing hospitals with emergency backup communications, but the hospital operating environment has special considerations to understand before an operator is prepared: There are special rules, regulations, policies and protocols in place to protect patient safety and patient privacy that must be observed. The amateur operator also needs to have an understanding of how a hospital works during disasters and in “peacetime,” which can often be complex and even daunting. Mariotti’s book goes a long way towards helping the potential hospital radio operator develop the knowledge necessary to serve on a communications team.

The book is a self-paced orientation, one component of a comprehensive orientation to be completed by hospital personnel and Amateur Radio team leaders. To its credit, the book is not a dense, jargon-laded treatise; rather, it lays out its information in large print, sparse words, boxes, summaries, and graphics. It should take the average reader just a couple of hours to read and study the manual, and take the 50-question summary quiz at the end.

Arguably the most critically important guidance is found at the beginning of the book: Amateur Radio operators are limited to public spaces and specific secure locations such as the Hospital Command Center (HCC). It is not the intent for radio operators to be in patient care areas or situations. The orientation training provided in this book is for the Amateur Radio operator . . . and their limited but critical role in support of hospital emergency management in non-clinical settings.

The remainder of the book is devoted to hospital orientation – departments, safety policies, infection control, privacy and other laws, which include laws requiring hospital orientation of all contractors and volunteers, virtually anyone having any business relationship to the hospital. As the author states early on in the book, “We are supporting hospital emergency communications – we should know something about hospital operations.”

This is not a book about radio operating, modes and frequencies, antenna placement, message types, etc. It is rather a book to convey the sometimes complex aspects of hospital functioning, and how radio amateurs must act accordingly while on assignment there.

The new book is available on Amazon for $12.50. I highly recommend it based on my experience as a veteran ICU RN working on the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) of a major city hospital over the course of many years. – K1CE

First Joint FEMA Region X, Washington State Emergency Communications Working Groups Meet in Eastern Washington

The FEMA Region X (AK, OR, ID, WA) Regional Emergency Communications Coordination Working Group (RECCWG) and the State of Washington Emergency Management Division’s Washington Emergency Communications Coordination Working Group (WECCWG) held a combined meeting in Spokane Valley, Washington last weekendon August 14 and 15, 2019. The purpose of this meeting was to bring together “state, federal, local, tribal, and private sector partners who support or manage emergency communications systems, communications service providers, business continuity professionals, and others that have a stake in the public communications infrastructure.”

Meeting attendees included representatives from FEMA Regions IX and X, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), National Guard, NOAA, Washington Emergency Management and Department of Transportation, the Lummi tribe, Spokane County, public utilities, wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon), and volunteers. Quite a few Amateur Radio leaders from throughout the state attended, including ARRL Eastern Washington Section Manager Jack Tiley, AD7FO, and Western Washington Section Manager Monte Simpson, AF7PQ, two DECs, and several ECs.

Each of the previous nine WECCWG meetings has examined communications responses to various threats. The focus of this event was on cyber security, which is a part of the Communications Function, Emergency Support Function #2. Washington Emergency Management Division Director Robert Ezelle was keynote speaker onthe first day, and talked about “the flow of ones and zeros” and how everything today is linked or networked, dependent, and with dependency comes vulnerability. Spokane County Undersheriff John Nowels served as keynote speaker on the second day, and predicted that the next major attack on the United States will be a cyber-attack.

Meeting presentations included examples of how current phone devices are vulnerable to hacking. Mark Hasse from Sprint reminded everyone that in cyber security defense, you need to be right 100% of the time, while a hacker only needs to be right once to cause damage. One of the ARES ECs commented later that “for someone not familiar with cyber security, the amount of damage that can occur as a result of that hacker being right just once is hard to comprehend.”

As for support resources, FEMA, CISA and the Interoperable Communications Technical Assistance Program (ICTAP) serves all 56 states and territories and provides direct support to state, local, and tribal emergency responders and government officials through the development and delivery of training, tools, and onsite assistance to advance public safety interoperable communications capabilities.

Amateurs who are experienced in cyber security may be interested in taking the new FEMA All Hazards Information Technology Service Unit Leader (ITSL) class when it is available in a city near them. College-bound amateurs interested in cyber security may be interested in the Scholarship For Service (SFS) “program designed to recruit and train the next generation of information technology professionals, industrial control system security professionals, and security managers to meet the needs of the cyber security mission for Federal, State, local, and tribal governments.”

By far the most common theme mentioned by the RECCWG/WECCWG meeting speakers was that adequate ESF #2 responses to emergencies and disasters (both radio and cyber) depends on building relationships between all entities well before the incident. — Steve Aberle, WA7PTM, Assistant Director, ARRL Northwestern Division; and Assistant State RACES Officer, Washington

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For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please check the blog sidebars and links.  These news feeds are updated daily and weekly.  Don’t forget the Hawaii QSO Party from 0400Z 24 August to 0359Z 26 August 2019 (6 pm HST Friday through 5:59 pm HST Sunday).  Grid Madness 2019 is set for Sunday, 15 September 2019.

Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section

https://bigislandarrlnews.com

The ARRL Letter for July 12, 2019


Welcome to “The ARRL Letter” update from Big Island ARRL News.

Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Content, including text, photos, images, and video, provided by HQ ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT,0111.  Editor:  Rick Lindquist (WW1ME).

Accessed on 19 July 2019, 0405 UTC, Post 1044.

Source:  http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2019-07-18

Please scroll down to read the full edition of “The ARRL Letter.”

No Consensus Reached for FCC on “Symbol Rate” Issues

ARRL-initiated efforts for rival parties to reach consensus on issues raised in the so-called “Symbol Rate” proceeding have ended. In April, the FCC granted ARRL’s request for a 90-day hold in the proceeding, FCC Docket WT 16-239, to provide an opportunity for ARRL to lead an effort to determine whether consensus could be reached on some or all of the issues that commenters raised in the FCC’s proceeding. The FCC already has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in WT 16-239, which stemmed from ARRL’s rulemaking petition RM-11708.

Discussions were since widened to include issues raised in another Petition for Rule MakingRM-11831, filed by Ron Kolarik, K0IDT, that seeks, “to ensure Amateur Radio digital modes remain openly decodable and available for monitoring” by the FCC and by other third parties, including other radio amateurs. His petition also aims to limit Automatically Controlled Digital Stations (ACDS) to identified subbands on HF, to reduce interference. Last month, ARRL filed an interim report with the FCC summarizing its efforts to bring all sides to the table, and on June 28, ARRL requested an additional 60-day pause to pursue promising talks.

“In seeking the delay, it was the ARRL’s intent to facilitate discussions between the opposing parties in an effort to explore the possibility of an agreed resolution that would better protect users of the Amateur Radio spectrum from interference and would permit all members of the Amateur Radio service to continue to contribute to the advancement of the radio art,” ARRL Washington Counsel David Siddall, K3ZJ, said, summarizing the situation in a July 15 letter to the FCC. “The end purpose, if a binding agreement between the opposing parties could not be reached, was to provide the strongest possible basis for the ARRL to file its recommendations on a fair and equitable resolution of the issues.”

Siddall said that despite difficulties “partially attributable to the passions of the respective parties,” ARRL was able to schedule meetings with both sides and, eventually, facilitate joint discussions among the respective parties.

Siddall said in his letter, “At the beginning of our meetings there emerged consensus on the issues to be discussed. By the end, the parties had reached consensus on some of the issues, but not all. Despite our best efforts, some of the parties did not agree to submit to the Commission any of the recommendations on which there had been an apparent consensus, having negotiated with an ‘all or nothing’ approach.”

Despite the disappointing conclusion, Siddall expressed confidence that a better understanding of issues and positions of the various interests exists among all of the parties who participated in the in-person meetings and teleconferences, and that this will have an overall positive effect upon the outcome of the proceeding. Read more.

HWN and National Hurricane Center’s WX4NHC Activate for Tropical Storm Barry

Responding to then-Tropical Storm Barry, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) and WX4NHC — the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami — activated on July 12. The HWN’s primary frequency is 14.325 MHz with 7.268 MHz as a secondary channel, depending upon propagation. This time, the HWN fired up on both bands.

Net Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, noted that the HWN would be available to provide back-up communication to official agencies in the affected area and would collect and report “significant damage assessment data” to FEMA officials at the National Hurricane Center.

The HWN works in concert with WX4NHC at the NHC to help forecasters get a better sense of ground-level meteorological data such as wind speed, barometric pressure, and rainfall.

Forecasters predicted that Barry would develop into a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall, and the storm lived up to those expectations. Dangerous storm surge, heavy rainfall, and high wind conditions were expected across the north-central Gulf Coast.

The major fear was that heavy rainfall could generate additional flooding in the region. NHC forecasters said Barry was expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 20 inches over south-central and southeast Louisiana, as well as over southwest Mississippi, with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches. The actual rainfall was somewhat less but still significant.

WX4NHC volunteers Susie Blank, WX2L (left), and Alan Wolfe, WB4L (right), with WX4NHC Coordinator John McHugh, K4AG, at the Hurricane Barry activation. [Julio Ripoll, WD4R, photo]

The HWN officially secured operations for Hurricane Barry on July 13, after the storm made landfall on the Louisiana coast. Graves said the activation for Barry “proved to be a good training platform for our newest members” and an opportunity to test new systems.

WX4NHC remained active for 2 days, gathering surface reports from stations located in the affected areas for use by forecasters. “We received many reports about the flooding, downed trees, road closures, and power outages,” said WX4NHC Assistant Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R. He expressed gratitude for the support of the Hurricane Watch Net and the EchoLink VoIP Hurricane Net (WX_TALK).

“Remember, the season is still young, so please, don’t drop your guard,” Graves advised

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Centenarian Radio Amateur’s Efforts Helped Pave the Way to the Moon

The Nashville Tennessean newspaper recently featured the story of a 104-year-old ARRL member who contributed to NASA’s effort to put the first humans on the moon 50 years ago this month. Cary Nettles, W5SRR, of Columbia, Tennessee — who calls himself the nation’s oldest rocket scientist still alive — was a NASA project manager and research engineer on rocket propulsion systems in the 1950s and 1960s.

While working on the Centaur second-stage rocket program, Nettles determined that the rocket engine failures NASA was experiencing were a result of misdirected exhaust destroying the vehicles’ engines. Nettles told the Tennessean he came up with an “exhaust pipe” that solved the problem. In May 1966, an Atlas-Centaur launcher propelled the first Surveyor lander toward the moon. That year, NASA awarded Nettles and colleague Ed Jonash with its Distinguished Service Medal for “their superhuman effort in turning the troubled rocket into a reliable upper stage,” according to a 2004 NASA publication, “Taming Liquid Hydrogen — The Centaur Upper Stage Rocket 1958 – 2002.”

On July 16, 1969, a Saturn V rocket with a liquid hydrogen-fueled second stage carried astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins to their rendezvous with the moon. Nettles retired from NASA the following year.

Nettles got his Amateur Radio license in 1945 and remains active on 40 meters as well as on VHF and UHF repeaters. He is a member of the Maury Amateur Radio Club. In addition to sustaining his interest in ham radio over the decades, Nettles is an enthusiast of “large-scale” steam trains, which he works on in his basement. Look for him Tuesdays at 1400 UTC on 7.215 MHz on the Steam Railroad Net.

In 2015, the year he turned 100, the ARRL Tennessee Section presented Nettles with its Elder Statesman Award.

The Doctor Will See You Now!

“Antenna Polarization” is the topic of the new (July 18) episode of the ARRL The Doctor is In podcast. Listen…and learn!

Sponsored by DX EngineeringARRL The Doctor is In is an informative discussion of all things technical. Listen on your computer, tablet, or smartphone — whenever and wherever you like!

Every 2 weeks, your host, QST Editor-in-Chief Steve Ford, WB8IMY, and the Doctor himself, Joel Hallas, W1ZR, will discuss a broad range of technical topics. You can also email your questions to doctor@arrl.org, and the Doctor may answer them in a future podcast.

Enjoy ARRL The Doctor is In on Apple iTunes, or by using your iPhone or iPad podcast app (just search for ARRL The Doctor is In). You can also listen online at Blubrry, or at Stitcher (free registration required, or browse the site as a guest) and through the free Stitcher app for iOS, Kindle, or Android devices. If you’ve never listened to a podcast before, download our beginner’s guide.

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Major WSJT-X Upgrade Boosts FT4 into “a Finished Protocol for HF Contesting”

The WSJT Development Group has announced the “general availability” release of WSJT-X version 2.1.0. This major upgrade formally introduces FT4 as “a finished protocol for HF contesting.” Users have been advised to discontinue using any “release candidate” (beta) versions of the software that WSJT-X version 2.1.0 supplants. The latest edition of the popular digital software suite also includes improvements and bug fixes in several areas, including FT8. The list includes:

  • FT8 waveform generated with GMSK and fully backward compatible

  • User options for waterfall and spectrum display

  • Contest logging

  • Rig control

  • User interface

The WSJT-X Development Group is providing a separate WSJT-X version 2.1.0 installation package for 64-bit Windows that offers significant improvements in decoding speed.

A detailed list of program changes since WSJT-X version 2.0.1 is included in the cumulative release notes. Upgrading from earlier versions of WSJT-X should be seamless, with no need to uninstall a previous version or to move any files.

Installation packages for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh are available.

Visit the FT8/FT4/JT9: WSJT 2-Way Narrow Modes for Amateur RadioFacebook page for additional information. Read more.

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Very low solar activity continues; there were no sunspots. Over the past week, average daily solar flux changed insignificantly, from 67.1 to 67. Average daily planetary A index changed from 8.4 to 5.9, while mid-latitude A index changed from 8.6 to 6.7. Conditions remain quiet. Predicted solar flux is 68 for July 18 – 24, and 67 for July 25 – August 31.

The predicted planetary A index is 5 on July 18 – 22; 8 on July 23; 5 on July 24 – 27; 8 on July 28; 5 on July 29 – August 3; 8, 15, 15, and 8 on August 4 – 7; 5 on August 8 – 10; 10, 12, and 8 on August 11 – 13; 5 on August 14 – 23; 8 on August 24; 5 on August 25 – 30, and 8 on August 31.

On July 17, Spaceweather.com reported a coronal hole spewing a stream of solar wind, with arrival expected to cause minor geomagnetic upset in the July 19 – 20 time frame. Spaceweather also reported that, so far this calendar year, 64% of all days were without sunspots. Last year the total percentage of spotless days was 61%, 28% in 2017, 9% in 2016, and nearly 0% in 2011 – 2015.

N4SO in Alabama reported some success on July 13 running FT8 with 15 W while testing a new antenna. He contacted stations in Texas, California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Guatemala.

On July 12, KD4SR reported contacting Puerto Rico, Haiti, Hawaii, Brazil, and Canada from central Florida on 6 meters, running FT8 and 100 W to modest antennas.

Sunspot numbers for July 11 – 17 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 0. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 67.1, 66.8, 66, 67.2, 67.1, 67.2, and 67.8, with a mean of 67. Estimated planetary A indices were 8, 5, 6, 5, 7, 4, and 6, with a mean of 5.9. Middle latitude A index was 9, 5, 6, 6, 8, 5, and 8, with a mean of 6.7.

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 K9LA’s Propagation Page.

A propagation bulletin archive is available. Monthly charts offer propagation projections between the US and a dozen DX locations.

Share your reports and observations.


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Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • July 20 — NAQCC CW Sprint

  • July 20 — Russian Radio Team Championship (CW, phone)

  • July 20 — Trans-Tasman Low-Bands Challenge (CW, phone, digital)

  • July 20 — Feld Hell Sprint

  • July 20 — SA Sprint Contest (CW, phone)

  • July 20 – 21 — North American QSO Party, RTTY

  • July 20 – 21 — CQ Worldwide VHF Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • July 21 — RSGB Low Power Contest (CW)

  • July 21 — CQC Great Colorado Gold Rush (CW)

  • July 22 — Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)

  • July 24 — SKCC Sprint (CW)

  • July 25 — RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (Digital)

See the ARRL Contest Calendar for more information. For in-depth reporting on Amateur Radio contesting, subscribe to The ARRL Contest Update via your ARRL member profile email preferences.

New Summer EURAO Party to Premier FT4

The motto of the new European Radio Amateurs’ Organization (EURAOSummer Party is “Premiering FT4.” This is not a contest but an on-the-air radio gathering with some suggested guidelines. The event is set for July 27 – 28 UTC.

A new “general availability” release of WSJT-X that includes the latest FT4 protocol for HF contesting was released on July 15 as part of WSJT-X 2.1.0. FT4 is designed to be suitable for contesting in a manner similar to RTTY. Recommended frequencies for FT4 are 3.595, 7.090, 10.140, 14.140, 18.104, 21.140, 24.919, 28.180, 50.318, and 144.170 MHz.

Exchanges are limited to what FT4 can accommodate, such as call sign, grid square, and signal report. For statistical purposes, EURAO is asking participants to submit logs in ADIF format, with your call sign as the file name. No results will be published, only statistical information.

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World Wide Radio Operators Foundation Announces Global Digital DX Contest

The World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF), in collaboration with the Slovenia Contest Club (SCC), has announced the World Wide Digi DX Contest (WW Digi), which it hopes will become an annual event. The inaugural running of the 24-hour contest will take place on August 31 – September 1. The new contest aims to tap into the enthusiasm being generated by the new digital modes pioneered by Joe Taylor, K1JT, and the WSJT-X Development Group. Participants will use FT4 and FT8 on 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters. The WW Digi will utilize a distance-based scoring system, with participants earning points based on the distance between grid square centers of the two stations in a given contact.

“This will encourage operators to seek out long-distance, weak-signal contacts that highlight the technical advantages of the new digital modes,” WWROF’s announcement said.

To encourage activity across all bands, each new two-character grid field contacted on each band will be a multiplier. The final score will the product of total contact points and grid field (i.e., the initial two letters) contacts. Single-operator and multioperator entries are invited to take part.

“The contest has been designed to enable making contacts utilizing standard WSJT-X software behavior, making it easy for non-contesters to participate,” the announcement said. “At the same time, the contest supports some new techniques that will encourage operating innovation, such as permitting stations to work up to three ‘QSO streams’ on a band at one time. Robotic operation is specifically prohibited in order to keep the human element as part of the game.”

Plaques will be awarded to top scorers. Read more.

Dayton Hamvention 2019 Attendance Approaches All-Time Peak

The Hamvention Executive Team announced July 15 that attendance at Dayton Hamvention® 2019 was 32,472, the second-largest ever. This marks the highest attendance recorded since Hamvention moved from Hara Arena to the Greene County Fairgrounds and Exposition Center in Xenia, Ohio. This year’s attendance also approached an all-time Hamvention high. Attendance at the show peaked in 1993, while Hamvention was still being held at Hara Arena, at 33,669, before the 1996 change in date from April to May. Last year, Hamvention welcomed 28,417 visitors in its second year in Xenia. Attendance in 2016 for the show’s final year at Hara was 25,364. Hamvention hosted the ARRL 2019 National Convention, and both embraced the theme of “Mentoring the Next Generation.”

“Our early indications were that 2019 would be a big year, and it lived up to our expectations,” Hamvention General Chair Jack Gerbs, WB8SCT, said. “Our more than 700 volunteers worked hard to ensure that we presented a great show for our visitors. It wouldn’t have been possible without them. I also want to thank all our vendors and visitors and hope they will all be back next year.”

Hamvention officials suggested that a small factor behind the increased attendance might have been the free admission on Sunday, an effort to allow local non-hams to experience Hamvention. Free Sunday admission is expected to be continued next year.

The world’s largest Amateur Radio exposition, Dayton Hamvention is sponsored by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) every third full weekend in May. Hamvention 2020 will take place on May 15, 16, and 17. Read more.

IARU Represents Amateur Radio at CEPT Meetings

International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU R1) reports that a further meeting to address the topic of Wireless Power Transmission (WPT) took place earlier this month. A subgroup of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) Committee SE24, charged with work on a report on generic WPT devices, met in Copenhagen, Denmark in early July. IARU Region 1 President Don Beattie, G3BJ, provided input on projections of harmful emissions from WPT systems — both generic and WPT for electric vehicles — operating at existing harmonic emission limits.

IARU also reported on tests carried out on small WPT devices, and a full report is to be considered at the next meeting in September. IARU continues to argue for tighter emission limits on harmonics and other spurious emissions from WPT systems, which have the potential to cause sustained harmful interference to incumbent radio services.

IARU also was represented at a recent meeting in Switzerland of the CEPT Project Team D. This was the last of the CEPT project team meetings preparing European Common Proposals (ECP) for a number of agenda items for World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) this fall in Egypt.

WRC-19 agenda item 1.1, which addresses the possibility of a “harmonized” Region 1 allocation at 50 MHz, was the key issue to be resolved. The project team agreed on the text of an ECP for WRC-19, which, if adopted by the delegates, would see an entry in the International Table of Allocations for Region 1 and allocate 50 – 52 MHz to Amateur Radio on a secondary basis.

In addition, the team agreed upon the addition of a footnote to the International Table to permit individual CEPT countries to introduce a national primary allocation in the 50.0 – 50.5 MHz subband.

IARU will attend the final meeting of CEPT’s Conference Preparatory Group (CPG) in late August and finalize CEPT’s input to WRC-19. That meeting will consider a proposal by France to allocate 144 – 146 MHz to the Aeronautical Service on a primary basis.

2018 Leonard Award for Outstanding Video Journalism Presented

ARRL Hudson Division Director Ria Jairam, N2RJ, and Vice Director Bill Hudzik, W2UDT, recently presented the ARRL 2018 Leonard Award for Outstanding Video Journalism to NJTV public television correspondent Andrew Schmertz. The presentation took place in at NJTV in Newark, New Jersey.

2018 Leonard Award for Outstanding Video Journalism recipient Andrew Schmertz of NJTV is flanked by Hudson Division Director Ria Jairam, N2RJ (left), and Vice Director Bill Hudzik, W2UDT.

Schmertz was recognized for his story that featured interviews with New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Assistant Research Professor Nathan Frissell, W2NAF, co-founder of HamSCI and the Solar Eclipse QSO Party, as well as numerous faculty members, members of the NJIT Amateur Radio station K2MFF, and attendees at a February 2018 HamSCI conference at NJIT that Frissell spearheaded. The conference focused on the significance of measuring the effects of solar activity on radio communication. Through HamSCI, Frissell was instrumental in enlisting the global Amateur Radio community to gauge the effects of the August 2017 solar eclipse on propagation.

The ARRL Board of Directors conferred the Leonard Award on Schmertz upon recommendation of the ARRL Public Relations Committee, which oversees the Leonard Awards for Outstanding Journalism in print, audio, and video. The award’s namesake is the late CBS News President Bill Leonard, W2SKE.

In Brief…

The ARRL Board of Directors will meet July 19 – 20 in Windsor, Connecticut, for its second meeting of 2019. According to the agenda, the Board will hear reports from officers and committees as well as from some Headquarters staff managers. Representatives of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) and Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) are expected to attend as guests of the Board.

Language in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018 will exclude all but a small number of Amateur Radio towers from marking requirements. Thanks to action taken in 2017 and 2018 by ARRL, the bill’s original language was amended to the extent that amateur towers, as well as residential towers used for over-the-air TV reception, were effectively exempted from marking requirements. The topic was addressed at the annual “Ham Radio and the Law” forum at the Dayton Hamvention® this past May. Some key points from that presentation: (1) Towers covered by the rules are structures at least 50 feet tall that support an antenna and are located in a rural area or on farmland or immediately adjacent to such land. (2) According to the Act, the term “covered tower” does not include any structure that is adjacent to a house, barn, or other building, and “is within the curtilage of a farmstead or adjacent to another building or visible structure.” ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, explains that, while a few Amateur Radio towers will fall under the Act’s marking requirements and will have to be registered, towers in residential yards or within farmland are specifically exempted. More information is on the ARRL website.

AMSAT has issued a first call for papers for its anniversary symposium this fall. The 50th anniversary AMSAT Annual Meeting and Space Symposium will be held October 18 – 20 at The Hilton Arlington, 950 North Stafford Street, Arlington, Virginia. Proposals for papers, symposium presentations, and poster presentations are invited on any topic of interest to the Amateur Satellite community. AMSAT request a working title for presentations, with final presentations submitted by September 23 for inclusion in the printed proceedings. Send abstracts and papers to Dan Schultz, N8FGV. — Thanks to AMSAT


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The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letterstrives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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The ARES E-Letter for July 17, 2019


Welcome to “The ARES E-Letter” update from Big Island ARRL News.

Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Content, including text, photos, images, and video, provided by HQ ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT, 06111. Editor:  Rick Palm (K1CE).

Accessed on 17 July 2019, 1545 UTC, Post 1043.

Please scroll down to read the complete document.

The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as The Race to the Clouds, is an invitational automobile and motorcycle hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado, held annually on the last Sunday of June. The course is 12.4 miles, with 4700 feet gain in altitude (from 9400′ to 14,115′), with 156 turns to be negotiated. It is the second oldest motor sport event in the US (the Indy 500 predates it by a few years). Last month’s running had 85 registered entrants — 58 cars and 27 bikes – with 17 countries represented. Pikes Peak ARES has a long history of providing communications in support of event safety.

John Bloodgood, KD0SFY, Emergency Coordinator and Public Information Officer, Region 2 District 2, Colorado ARES (Pikes Peak ARES), reported on this year’s ARES effort, which had 23 operators stationed at points along the route. “This is always a tough event, requiring very long hours, sometimes difficult conditions to include the altitude and weather, and tight communications protocols,” Bloodgood said. “This year was no different, though it included a rare fatality.”
Things can and do quickly go wrong on the mountain. Bloodgood reported that the very first contestant to start up the mountain only made it 4.4 miles up the course before having to be evacuated off the mountain. Three hours later, a rider suffered a fatal crash at the 12.1 mile mark, out of the line of sight of two operator positions. Throughout the day, several air and ambulance evacuations were conducted for racers and spectators. While the weather started out great, the very long course red (stop) times pushed many racers to later in the day. “We had to contend with wind, rain, hail, and lightning as well as the eventual shortening of the race.”

This year, gates opened for ARES operators to head up to assigned positions at 0130; they were in queue from 0030-0100. Once on the mountain, operators were required to stay on the mountain and “be ready for anything.” Most operators were in position by 0230. Communications checks commenced at 0600-0630 and roll was called between 0630 and 0700. The race started at 0730. Most operators started descending to the Start at 1730. An estimated 391 man-hours were given to the mountain operation. George Sedlack, KY0D, served well in his first year as Mission Coordinator. Don Johnson, K0DRJ, served as net control and performed the tracking function, with Matthew Tuttle, KD0YBE, as back-up. Bloodgood lauded the excellent work of these coordinators.

Lessons Learned

Bloodgood summarized lessons learned and told his ARES operators: “The events of the day show the importance of not just logging vehicles as they pass your position, but other positions as well, most significantly the ones just below and just above yours, with the time. This can be a real challenge when there are 3 or 4 vehicles on the course at the same time, but it repeatedly allowed us to narrow down when a vehicle was overdue and when it passed the last station.”
He thanked all participating ARES operators for a great job, which “demonstrated the value that radio amateurs add to public safety in a demanding environment.” Bloodgood said it also drives home the reason why we need to bring our “A” game to even the most routine or mundane event communications assignment. “Think about it: Some of the things we have had to deal with during area events over the last several years include a bear on a race course, a car crash along a bicycle ride course, cars on a foot race course, lost and injured runners and riders, severe weather, and even fatalities. Even on the most seemingly routine event where we are just tracking lead runners and coordinating for more Gatorade, things can go wrong in an instant.”
“The truth is that these events do indeed help us practice for real world disaster situations, and these events can quickly turn into real world emergencies on their own.” – Thanks, John Bloodgood, KD0SFY, Region 2 District 2, Colorado ARES (Pikes Peak ARES)

See photos from this event on the PPARES Facebook page here.

[Editor’s note: This ARES communications mission unfortunately involved a fatality. It was reported that some operators did have some emotional distress days after the race. Such events can lead to mental health issues with support personnel, including radio amateurs. There is a plethora of government, private and public resources available to help volunteers cope with such traumatic events. See ARES, EmComm and Mental Health Risks, Public Service column, July 2012 QST, pp. 75-76, for starters. See also a government resource here. – K1CE]

ARES Emergency Communicator Individual Task Book Available

As part of the new ARES standardized training plan, ARRL has added an ARES Emergency Communicator Individual Task Book to its on-line resources. The book is a working document that enables ARES communicators electing to participate in the ARES training plan to track and document their training elements as they are completed towards increasing levels of proficiency. The Task Book should contain all training plan items, completion dates and sign-offs as the ARES communicator transitions through the skill levels.

The ARES communicator is responsible for maintaining their Task Book and having it with them during training and assignments. The Task Book contains sections with definitions of the communicator levels, as well as common responsibilities. Recommendations for minimum proficiencies and skills per level are listed. Emergency Coordinators, at their discretion, can add or substitute skills that they consider important with DEC or SEC approval. Prior known experience may be substituted for some listed tasks. It is suggested that items in the proficiency/skills section be used in training sessions or for meeting/event presentations.

The approving EC must meet/exceed the qualifications for each level they are signing off on. [Skill levels include an entry level into the ARES organization, which assumes certain basic proficiencies. Next level candidates hold a set of validated skills desired by ARES, including completion of basic ARRL and FEMA courses. The top level candidate has increased skill set validation for candidacy to leadership positions and ARESMAT deployments.] Candidates review and understand task book requirements and demonstrate completion of tasks for each level; assure the evaluations are completed; and keep their task book up to date and available during assignments.

Fillable ARES Emergency Communicator Task Book

Non-fillable version of the ARES Emergency Communicator Task Book.

See also the new ARES Plan for background.

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Major US Contest Station, Winlink Support Mexico Fire Response

In May, Mexican radio amateurs provided message communications from a conflagration in a remote area to civil protection authorities in Monterrey, Mexico. Two-member teams of volunteer operators were flown in via helicopter. Teams used Winlink connections with Winlink Express software using the weak-signal protocol Vara HF.

Use of Major Contest Station a Boon

A significant factor in this effort was the assistance and support of retired US contest operator and station, Tom Whiteside, N5TW, who dedicates his station to disaster response support using Winlink. His station in Georgetown, Texas, supported the effort from across the border with his 40- and 20-meter arrays. The volunteer teams at the fire site used a 40-meter dipole and a steerable portable dipole.

In addition to the Monterrey fire, Whiteside’s station supported the International Health Service effort in Honduras and was the main link for the ARRL’s effort in Puerto Rico in 2017 following the calamitous hurricanes there. Whiteside has served as the ARRL Section Emergency Coordinator for the South Texas section from 2009 through 2012 and continues as an assistant SEC. He is also a member of DHS NCC SHARES. Whiteside maintains a major antenna farm and operates a Winlink HF Trimode station (PACTOR, ARDOP, Vara and WINMOR) and three VHF RMS Packet stations.

ITU/IARU, Telecoms’ Winlink Initiative Bears Fruit in Fire Response

In 2018, ITU teamed up with regional telecommunications bodies in the Americas and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) to set up Winlink as an alternative telecommunication system for use in times of emergencies. Winlink is a worldwide email service that uses radio pathways and can operate completely without the Internet. Winlink served well for this fire response, and has a proven track record of disaster relief communications, providing its users email with attachments, position reporting, weather and information bulletins. The IARU and the Mexican IARU Society Federación Mexicana de Radio Experimentadores (FMRE) have worked cooperatively to extend this solution to the Americas region.

[Editor’s note: The main takeaway for me from this incident response was the example of the bridge between the amateur disaster response communications community and the “Big Gun” contest community, a bridge that is largely non-traversed but with fantastic potential to fill gaps in the face of poor propagation with high power and large antennas when the message must get through. It seems to me that ARES leadership would be well advised to contact and consult with the major contest stations in their sections to enlist them in advance for plans and procedures for supporting disaster response. – K1CE]

Communications Response to Catastrophic Events: Pacific Northwest’s Venerable Communications Academy Convened in April

The Pacific Northwest’s annual Communications Academy was held over the weekend of April 13-14, 2019, with the theme of “Communications Response to Catastrophic Events.” From its website: “Communications Academy is a non-profit coalition of volunteer communications teams to provide a high quality, professional-grade training opportunity for the various emergency communications teams around the Pacific Northwest. By providing a once-a-year large-scale venue for training, volunteer communicators are exposed to topics in emergency management, communications techniques and protocols, real-life emergency responses, and other pertinent subjects, which might not otherwise be available to them.”

The Communications Academy is open to anyone with an interest in emergency communications, volunteer or professional. The presentations are designed to promote the development of knowledgeable, skilled emergency communicators who will support their local communities during a disaster or emergency response.

Thirty one sessions were presented over the weekend, including Disasters: Hurricanes, Volcanos, and Lessons Learned from Alaska 7.0 Earth Quake; Maritime Disaster Preparedness: Tsunamis in The Northwest; Communications for SAR Dog Handlers; Digital Sound Cards for Winlink: Packet, Winmor, ARDOP, VARA; Integrating Amateur Radio into a Catastrophic Exercise; and many more. The Academy was held on the campus of South Seattle College, Seattle, Washington.

PPT and PDF files of presentations can be found here.

The Academy is sponsored by King County Office of Emergency Management, Bellevue Fire EP Department and Bellevue EARS, Washington (state) Emergency Management Division, other city and county emergency management agencies, and the American Radio Relay League.

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ARRL Simulated Emergency Test More Important Now Than Ever: Start Planning for Fall SET

The main weekend for the 2019 ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET) is just a couple of months away. The primary League-sponsored national emergency exercise is designed to assess the skills and preparedness of ARES and other organizations involved with emergency/disaster response. The SET has never been more important than now given the emphasis on training, the Incident Command System (ICS) and emergency management at large.

Local ARES teams and ARRL Sections as a whole will conduct exercises on scenarios and work with served partner entities including local, regional and state emergency management agencies and organizations with which ARRL holds formal memoranda of understanding (MOU) such as the American Red Cross and many others. Although the primary SET weekend is in October, SETs can be scheduled at the local and Section levels and conducted throughout the fall season to help maximize participation.

ARRL Field Organization Leaders — Section Managers, Section Emergency Coordinators, Section Traffic Managers, District Emergency Coordinators, Emergency Coordinators, and all of their Assistants and Net Managers — are among those tasked with developing plans and scenarios for this year’s SET.

The object of the annual nationwide exercise is to test training and skills and to try out new technologies and methodologies while working with partners to cement relationships in advance of real world need. The resulting networking helps ARES members and leaders get to know their counterparts that they would be working with during actual incidents.

To get involved, contact your local ARRL Emergency Coordinator or Net Manager. See the ARRL Sections web pages or your ARRL Section Manager (see page 16 of QST for contact information). For more information and forms for ARRL SET, click here.

Keeping Lines of Communication Open–CERT & Ham Radio

[This article is from the July 2019 issue of the FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter.]

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members know that communication during an emergency is vital. Don Lewis of the Alexandria Radio Club in Virginia wants CERTs around the country to know how Amateur Radio can help.

Amateur Radio is a useful tool. Lewis, who is trained in CERT, explained that ham radios are more powerful than regular radios. They aren’t incredibly expensive, and they have a wide range of uses.

Sometimes CERTs may need to work together throughout a large area. They need to be able to report things that they have found. They sometimes even need to request medical support. Using a radio is easier, safer, and more efficient than sending a person back with messages, says Lewis. Ham radios enable a CERT to communicate over much greater distances than standard radios. This can improve the level at which a CERT can coordinate. CERTs already use ham radios in exercises and they have extended their range and effectiveness.

The City of Berkeley, California’s CERT has already begun using ham radio in city-wide disaster drills. In the winter of 2018, they held a 24-hour mock disaster where they practiced their ham radio skills to better prepare their city. They were able to maintain communications in the whole city for the entire 24-hour exercise. This allowed them to relay critical information to citizens and disaster crews. They were also able to use hams to aid the city during a blackout in November of 2017. The CERTs used solar powered batteries in their ham radios. This allowed them to function even when power and phones were down.

Amateur Radio protocols are also built into Pasadena, California’s emergency management system. The area experiences earthquakes several times a year. The quakes can destroy cell towers and phones lines in an instant. Amateur Radio can be a huge asset during a disaster like this, so Pasadena has a network of radio operators trained to provide communications at any time they need. They can contact hospitals or fire stations to better serve their community. Ham operators can even aide families in contacting one another once a disaster has passed.

Are you interested in learning how to operate a ham radio of your own to serve your community? Then the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) may be for you. They are a group of radio operators who volunteer for various disasters and public service events. They can provide guidance for training, equipment, and licensing.

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K1CE For a Final: Hurricane Barry and the Hurricane Watch Net

As I draft this issue of the ARES E-Letter, Hurricane Barry is nearing landfall on Louisiana’s Gulf coast and I am monitoring the Hurricane Watch Net on 14.325 MHz, listening to the net controls reciting hurricane advisories issued by the National Hurricane Center and taking weather and status reports from stations in the affected areas. Propagation is not perfect, but I could hear the net controls and the reporting stations with good readability at minimal signal strength. The net was run proficiently with complete observance by all stations on frequency of the “listen, and do not transmit unless absolutely necessary to supply critical information or upon request of the net control” protocol. I heard absolutely zero superfluous transmissions. Stations in the affected areas reported data based on meteorological measuring equipment; in fact, net control would ask the reporting station what make and model of instrumentation they were using. One mobile station (James Lea, WX4TV) in Cypremort Point, Louisiana, reported observing an increase in water level (storm surge) of 4-5″ in just 30 minutes. He reported an hour later that water levels were rising at a rate of 6-8″ per hour and he was leaving the area for safer ground; roads were becoming impassable.

Bravo to all operators of net control stations, reporting stations and standby stations involved in this activation of the net, which seems poised once again to play a major role in getting “ground truth” data to the National Hurricane Center expeditiously.

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Hawaii Island Amateur/Ham Radio News:

The Hawaii QSO Party will be held from 23 August 2019 through 25 August 2019.  According to ARRL Pacific Section Manager Joseph Speroni (AH0A), “There will be lot of activity out there to work.  Hawaii stations work everyone. Everyone else works Hawaii.  Exchange is a signal report and your Hawaii district.”  You can find all of the rules here: http://www.hawaiiqsoparty.org/

“Grid Madness 2019”, the Hawaii Island-based VHF/UHF Simplex Contest is set for Sunday, 15 September 2019, from 1300 to 1700 HST.  You can download the revised contest package here:  https://gridmadness.blogspot.com

Doug Wilson (KH7DQ) is offering one more Technician License Class this year.  The free class begins on Thursday, 17 October 2019 at the Keaau Community Center in Keaau, Hawaii Island.  For details, contact Doug at douscelle@aol.com

For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please check the blog sidebars and links. These news feeds are updated daily and weekly.  Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section

https://bigislandarrlnews.com

 

 

The ARRL Contest Update for July 10, 2019


Welcome to “The ARRL Contest Update” from Big Island ARRL News.

Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Content provided by HQ ARRL, 25 Main Street, Newington, CT, 06111.

Editor:  Brian Moran (N9ADG).

Accessed on 10 July 2019, 1630 UTC, Post 1033.

Source:  http://www.arrl.org/contest-update-issues?issue=2019-07-10

Please scroll down to read the full report:

N THIS ISSUE
NEW HF OPERATORS – THINGS TO DO

Let’s say for argument purposes that you’re already set up for FT8, and you’re sending and receiving just fine. You’re just a software install away from also being able to use the same physical set up for RTTY! Some reasons to try RTTY for contests include:

  • There are a larger number of RTTY contests per year
  • Rates during a RTTY contest can be well over 100 per hour
  • RTTY contests typically ‘spread out’ over a larger portion of the band
  • It’s fun, and can build new radio skills

Before setting up for RTTY, I suggest writing down all of the settings that you are already using with your FT8 software for radio control, including port names, speeds, and so on. Do the same for your audio devices. You’ll need those values to set up the RTTY software.

Close your FT8 application and then install a RTTY program of your choice. There are a number of options for RTTY software, but one of the easiest to get going is MMTTY. You can use Ed, W0YK’s “Getting Started on RTTY” to guide you through the dialogs to get the program configured for stand-alone mode, using AFSK. The trickiest part might be getting the PTT control going if you use a radio command in your FT8 program.

Once you’ve configured the software for stand-alone mode, you’ll want to find some RTTY stations to work to verify everything is as it should be. Best bets for that are on Thursday evenings as part of the NCCC NS RTTY Sprint practice, or on weekends when there are RTTY contests.

Once your configuration has been tested, the next step is getting your contest logging program to work with your RTTY engine. For N1MM Logger+, you can use this guide as a starting point.

The NAQP RTTY Contest is coming up July 20 – a great opportunity to give RTTY a try.

BUSTED QSOS

In the last issue, I gave a rationale for the three contest sessions of the CWT. Alan, AD6E/KH6TU comments: “The reason for three sessions is to give similar conditions in each of the three IARU zones. Basically, one in the morning, one in evening, and one at night. At least that was the original reasoning. It’s similar to how the CW Open is run.”

CONTEST SUMMARY

Complete information for all contests follows the Conversation section

11 Jul – 25 Jul 2019

July 11

July 12

July 13

July 14

July 15

July 17

July 18

July 19

July 20

July 21

July 22

July 24

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NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, AND GENERAL INTEREST

Don’t forget to submit your ARRL Field Day reports by July 23. It’s easy to forget, but it’s also easy to submit it via the web form.

There’s a new exclusively-FT8/FT4 Contest, sponsored by the World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF), and the Slovenia Contest Club: The World Wide Digi DX Contest. The inaugural 24-hour event will occur August 31 starting at 1200 UTC, and features distance-based scoring based on the exchange of grids. Multipliers are grid fields (the letter part of a grid, for example “CN” of “CN87”), and are per band, so it will pay to get multipliers on multiple bands. There are entry categories for single operators of various power levels in addition to Multi-One, Multi-Two, and Multi-Unlimited categories. See the contest rules for more information. An N1MM Logger+ version to be released later this week will have support for this new contest, including a new Grid Field Map display to visually show the multipliers.

The organizers of the World Wide Digi DX Contest would like your help in testing their log submittal and log checking. Ed, W0YK, states: “At the end of May 2019, I worked over 600 QSOs on FT8 and FT4 as P49X. I would appreciate it if anyone who worked P49X on the FT modes would please send me their ADIF log file. It can be any date range as long as it includes the end of May QSOs with P49X. Our software can ignore QSOs outside that period. Just forward your ADIF log file to P49X Log Contacts to help us get ready for log processing.” (W0YK)

Attention Midwest Contesters – The Society of Midwest Contesters’ SMC Fest will be held August 24, 2019 in Normal, Illinois. The program includes practical information on station building, maximizing contest scores even with part-time effort, SO2R from small lots, mobile and rover operations, and more. See you there?

A Call History file with IARU Headquarter multiplier stations for the upcoming IARU contest is available for download. Updates go to Joe, OZ0J.

In a recent blog entry Bob, KB6NU, discusses three areas he’d like to improve on for his next ARRL Field Day: Schedule Operators, Train Operators, and Better Antennas.

Contesting has a big information management component. More computer screen real estate allows the display and management of more information, and it’s typical to see multiple monitors attached to computers used for contesting. A startup is addressing the particular multi-screen needs of laptops with a product called the ‘Trio’ – it brings two additional HD-resolution screens that can be flexibly used in landscape or portrait mode. The extra two screens combined weigh less than 1.8 pounds, so they might be suitable for portable or travel operation. (Dennis, N6KI)

A typical pre-contest task is to load the new “country files” into our logging programs. This file helps logging programs keep track of what zones and countries have been worked for multiplier purposes based on the call sign. Jim, AD1C, compiles these files and periodically releases new versions for different logging programs and different contests. If you’ve never done so before, take a look at a typical change log to appreciate the detail of this information.

Well-known RTTY Contester Bill, W6WRT, has passed away.

WORD TO THE WISE

Country File

A file used by your logging program that maps call sign patterns and individual call signs as necessary to countries and zones so that you can have an accurate display of worked versus needed multipliers during a contest. See further information about country files, above.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

Fifteen operators from the Skyview Amateur Radio Club in Pittsburgh went to K3LR for 10 hours of operating in the 13 colony event as K2M on July 6. They put 7 stations on the air on 80 meters through 6 meters SSB and 20 meter CW. Two thousand contacts were made! According to Tim, K3LR, one of the highlights: “Mike, W3MLJ (pictured above — Ed.) – 14 years old rattling guys on 20 SSB almost the entire time. 745 QSOs on 20 SSB. He’ll be in 9th grade this year.” [Credit: K3LR, Photo]

Videos from Contest University 2019 have been posted on the YouTube, courtesy of Icom America, and of course Contest University. Nine videos, including the “eyeball sprint contest” are available this year!

Steve, VE6WZ, has been publishing videos on different aspects of station and antenna building on 160 meters. He’s added more on the topic of receive antennas. Steve says it best: “A few weeks ago I uploaded a video on some design and construction ideas for Beverage matching and termination boxes. I show how to wind your own transformers, and present a few different enclosure methods. I show how I have designed and built some commercially made double sided boards for broadside phase boxes and 4 Beverage switch boxes using KiCad and OSH park. This video is part of my “RX antenna series” which includes various videos about low-band RX antennas. It is still a work in progress and in a week or so I will add another video about installing Beverage wires in the field, and a video about beverage maintenance.” (via Topband reflector)

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RESULTS AND RECORDS

Results for the Ontario QSO Party have been posted. Over 170 logs were received for this contest. The highest-QSO-count station, VE3ODX in the SOHP mixed class made 832 contacts split roughly between CW and SSB. The highest-scoring station was VE3EJ in the SOHP class with 600 CW contacts.

OPERATING TIP

Rates are Relative

If you’ve been maintaining a high run rate for an extended period of time, any reduction is bound to feel like there’s something wrong. A 75 QSOs-per-hour rate seems slow after you’ve been running at 120+ per hour, but it might be all that you can do on that particular band at this particular time. Modern logging programs can tell you what your rate is for the last 10 or 100 contacts. Use this information to help you make a decision based on data vs. your gut. Is another band better? Better check before committing to the change!

TECHNICAL TOPICS AND INFORMATION

NXP Semiconductors has released two new LDMOS transistors that will certainly be of interest to HF circuit designers – the MRF101AN and MRF300AN. Both are for 50 volt designs — the MRF101AN is for 100 watt applications, while the MRF300AN is targeted for 300 watt applications. Both parts are available in complementary pinouts for push-pull designs. To get the designer juices flowing, NXP is also sponsoring a design contest for these parts, with a submission deadline in October. (PA1DSP via Twitter, K5EM via email)

Bob, 5B4AGN, is gauging demand for a group buy of components to assemble single-band bandpass filters. Bandpass filters are useful for SO2R station setups, or any time you have multiple transceivers on different bands in close proximity. Based on a W3NQN design, these filters are generally well regarded and can be a satisfying and useful project to undertake if you have all of the correct parts on hand. Please see Bob’s email message in the Multi-band TX BPF Yahoo group (you will have to log in to Yahoo to view this message).

Amateurs looking to assemble a new computer for their station might want to look into new CPUs just released by AMD. The Ryzen 9 chips are getting great reviews for their combination of high computing capability, low power consumption, and very competitive pricing. Checking for them online, it’s not that they’re not available yet, it’s that the first run of these high-end chips is mostly sold out.

According to researchers, telepathy is possible with the right gear. Immediately after the announcement, telepathy traditionalists stated that the use of technology isn’t “real telepathy.”

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CONVERSATION

“Perfect is the Enemy of Good”

That little gem of a phrase has been attributed to Voltaire, and it gets rediscovered and repackaged from time to time. I bet that most Amateurs would say “of course it is” if you mentioned this phrase to them. There’s imperfection all the way down! The Ionosphere is an imperfect medium, subject to the capricious nature of the sun. Our operating location can suddenly be surrounded by plasma TVs and people arc welding on contest weekends. We don’t have enough room for all of the antennas we want. We can’t get our antennas high enough. The exact relay we wanted for our coax switch is no longer available. The zip ties we had to use most recently are the wrong color and don’t match the others.

All of those things could keep us from the enjoyment of being on the air, if we demand perfection!

Instead, we muddle through, sometimes using compromise antennas, re-purpose equipment that we have, or surplus equipment.

But just having “good” leaves room for the possibility of always finding and using something better, which drives innovation.

I don’t know if Robert Watson-Watt was an Amateur Radio Operator, but in my mind this Scotsman certainly had all of the qualities. In the 1920s he figured out how to use oscilloscopes with long-persistence phosphor and directional antennas to detect the direction of potentially damaging thunderstorms for pilots. He also was among the first to determine there was a layer of something in the sky that would reflect radio signals. It was called the Heaviside layer then, ionosphere now. He was able to use his oscilloscopes to observe the return echoes of signals to determine the height of the reflective layer. This was the precursor to RADAR. During WW2, he was instrumental in developing airborne RADAR to counter nighttime enemy bombers. But he faced challenges in the physical size of the equipment and power consumption. The gear he came up with weighed less than 200 lbs, and consumed less than 500 watts of power. He realized those constraints meant that he would have to use a frequency greater than 300 MHz to minimize antenna size, but those frequencies were a challenge in those days. It wasn’t perfect, but worked well enough by 1940 to help end the Blitz.

His view on perfection? “Give them the third-best to go on with; the second-best comes too late, the best never comes.”

That’s all for this time. Remember to send contesting related stories, book reviews, tips, techniques, press releases, errata, schematics, club information, pictures, stories, blog links, and predictions to contest-update@arrl.org

73, Brian N9ADG

CONTESTS

11 Jul – 25 Jul 2019

An expanded, downloadable version of QST’Contest Corral is available as a PDF. Check the sponsors’ website for information on operating time restrictions and other instructions.

HF CONTESTS

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 10, 1300z to Jul 10, 1400z and, Jul 10, 1900z to Jul 10, 2000z and, Jul 11, 0300z to Jul 11, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 13.

QRP Fox Hunt, Jul 12, 0100z to Jul 12, 0230z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: July 13.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Jul 12, 0145z to Jul 12, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: July 14.

NCCC Sprint, Jul 12, 0230z to Jul 12, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: July 14.

FISTS Summer Unlimited Sprint, Jul 13, 0000z to Jul 13, 0400z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; FISTS: RST + (state/province/country) + first name + FISTS No., non-FISTS: RST + (state/province/country) + first name + power; Logs due: August 12.

IARU HF World Championship, Jul 13, 1200z to Jul 14, 1200z; CW, Phone; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; IARU HQ: RS(T) + IARU Society, Non-HQ: RS(T) + ITU Zone No.; Logs due: July 21.

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, Jul 13, 1200z to Jul 15, 0000z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./”NONE”); Logs due: July 21.

QRP ARCI Summer Homebrew Sprint, Jul 14, 2000z to Jul 14, 2300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (ARCI no./power); Logs due: July 28.

4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint, Jul 15, 0000z to Jul 15, 0200z; CW, SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: RS(T) + (State/Province/Country) + Member No., Non-member: RS(T) + (State/Province/Country) + Power; Logs due: July 17.

Phone Fray, Jul 17, 0230z to Jul 17, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: July 19.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 17, 1300z to Jul 17, 1400z and, Jul 17, 1900z to Jul 17, 2000z and, Jul 18, 0300z to Jul 18, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 20.

QRP Fox Hunt, Jul 19, 0100z to Jul 19, 0230z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country) + name + power output; Logs due: July 20.

NCCC RTTY Sprint, Jul 19, 0145z to Jul 19, 0215z; RTTY; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: July 21.

NCCC Sprint, Jul 19, 0230z to Jul 19, 0300z; CW; Bands: (see rules); Serial No. + Name + QTH; Logs due: July 21.

NAQCC CW Sprint, Jul 20, 0030z to Jul 20, 0230z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + (state/province/country) + (NAQCC No./power); Logs due: July 23.

Russian Radio Team Championship, Jul 20, 0700z to Jul 20, 1459z; CW, SSB; Bands: 40, 20, 15, 10m; RRTC: RS(T) + 3-character code, Non-RRTC: RS(T) + ITU Zone No.; Logs due: July 20.

Trans-Tasman Low-Bands Challenge, Jul 20, 0800z to Jul 20, 1400z; CW, Phone, Digital; Bands: 160, 80, 40m; RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: July 27.

Feld Hell Sprint, Jul 20, 1200z to Jul 20, 1359z; Feld Hell; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6m; (see rules); Logs due: July 24.

North American QSO Party, RTTY, Jul 20, 1800z to Jul 21, 0559z; RTTY; Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; NA: Name + (state/DC/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: July 26.

SA Sprint Contest, Jul 20, 2100z to Jul 20, 2259z; CW, SSB; Bands: 40, 20m; RS(T) + Serial No.; Logs due: July 27.

RSGB Low Power Contest, Jul 21, 0900z to Jul 21, 1200z, Jul 21, 1300z to Jul 21, 1600z; CW; Bands: 80, 40, 20m; RST + Serial No. + Power; Logs due: July 22.

CQC Great Colorado Gold Rush, Jul 21, 2000z to Jul 21, 2159z; CW; Bands: 20m Only; RST + (state/province/country); Logs due: August 20.

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest, Jul 22, 0100z to Jul 22, 0300z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + (Member No./power); Logs due: July 28.

SKCC Sprint, Jul 24, 0000z to Jul 24, 0200z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; RST + (state/province/country) + Name + (SKCC No./power); Logs due: July 26.

Phone Fray, Jul 24, 0230z to Jul 24, 0300z; SSB; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15m; NA: Name + (state/province/country), non-NA: Name; Logs due: July 26.

CWops Mini-CWT Test, Jul 24, 1300z to Jul 24, 1400z and, Jul 24, 1900z to Jul 24, 2000z and, Jul 25, 0300z to Jul 25, 0400z; CW; Bands: 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10m; Member: Name + Member No., non-Member: Name + (state/province/country); Logs due: July 27.

VHF+ CONTESTS

CQ Worldwide VHF Contest, Jul 20, 1800z to Jul 21, 2100z; Any; Bands: 6, 2m; 4-character grid square; Logs due: July 26.

Also, see SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, above.

LOG DUE DATES

11 Jul – 25 Jul 2019

July 11, 2019

July 12, 2019

July 13, 2019

July 14, 2019

July 15, 2019

July 16, 2019

July 17, 2019

July 18, 2019

July 19, 2019

July 20, 2019

July 21, 2019

July 22, 2019

July 23, 2019

July 24, 2019

ARRL Information

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Hawaii Island Amateur/Ham Radio News:

“Grid Madness 2019”, the Hawaii Island-based VHF/UHF Simplex Contest, is set for Sunday, 15 September 2019, from 1300 to 1700 HST.  You can download the revised contest package here: https://gridmadness.blogspot.com.

For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please check the blog sidebars and links.  These news feeds are updated daily and weekly.  Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section

 

The ARRL E-Letter for June 19, 2019


Welcome to “The ARRL E-Letter” update from Big Island ARRL News.

Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Content, including text, photos, images, and video, provided by HQ ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT,06111.

Accessed on 19 June 2019, 1945 UTC, Post 1011.

Source:  http://www.arrl.org/ares-el?issue=2019-06-19.

Editor:  Rick Palm (K1CE).

Please scroll down to read the full message:

The ARES E-Letter

June 19, 2019

Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE

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ARES Briefs, Links

Mexican Amateur Radio Volunteers Providing Communication in Wildfire Response (5/3019) Puerto Rico Declares May 14 as “Radio Amateur Day;” Recognizes Ham Radio “mission of transcendental service for the safeguard of life and property of the people.” (5/13/19)

Successful Emergency Messaging Demonstration for FEMA, Red Cross

With Red Cross officials and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel monitoring, dozens of radio amateurs along the US east coast on May 23 demonstrated Amateur Radio’s ability to deliver messages without commercial power, infrastructure, or permanently established stations. The event took place in coordination with ARRL. The demonstration was a mock response to a simulated disaster

W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia NJ1Q and ARRL Emergency Preparedness Assistant Manager Ken Bailey, K1FUG, are relaying messages from field operators while Red Cross volunteer (and radio amateur) Rosty Slabicky, W2ROS, looks on. (Photo by Michelle Patnode, W3MVP)

scenario — a major hurricane with mass casualties. During the event, radio amateurs at portable stations from New England to the Carolinas delivered message traffic to W1AW, where Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, and ARRL Emergency Preparedness Assistant Ken Bailey, K1FUG, coordinated and relayed the information to an amateur station at the Baltimore American Red Cross office for officials attending a joint Red Cross-FEMA meeting there.

“About a dozen stations participated in the demonstration, including operators in Virginia, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, northern New Jersey, western Pennsylvania, Delaware, and South Carolina,” ARRL Communications Manager Dave Isgur, N1RSN, said. “Red Cross officials were on-site at W1AW and at the receiving station in Baltimore. [Red Cross volunteer Rosty Sablicky, W2ROS, observed the W1AW operation]. At both sites, they indicated that they were impressed with Amateur Radio’s ability to deliver messages digitally so that they could be displayed on a computer screen and in a format that matched the format for messages that the Red Cross uses.”

ARRL Virginia Section Participates After Rebuilding ARES Program, Enhancing Winlink Capability

In Virginia, ARRL Section Manager Dr. Joe Palsa, K3WRY, and Section Emergency Coordinator John Roberts, WB4AXY, participated as well as Greg Butler, KW6GB, who transmitted digital mode messages to W1AW. When the messages collected from all participating stations were transmitted from W1AW to the Red Cross receiving station in Baltimore, Butler provided backup reception of the messages in northwestern Virginia.

The Virginia Section recently underwent a massive rebuilding program, re-establishing its ARES and other emergency communications programs. Butler developed and recently upgraded the state’s Winlink capabilities. A weekly exercise, dubbed “Winlink Wednesday” is conducted with about 100 check-ins from Virginia digital stations, and another 20-30 Winlink-equipped stations from outside the state. Check-ins employ multiple modes, such as traditional Winlink hybrid internet connections via HF Pactor and Telnet, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) connections and a new mode called ARDOP, for Amateur Radio Digital Open Protocol. The ARDOP project is a joint development effort among Amateur Radio developers that seeks to provide a specification and implementation (software or hardware) for a modern versatile open digital protocol. See https://qsl.net/kw6gb/ for more information on Winlink Wednesday.

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ARES/RACES, Clubs Help State Police Monitor NY State Super Highway on Halloween

“Net control to Bridge 16”

“Bridge 16 here. All is clear. Back to net control.”

Exchanges like this are heard for two nights along the New York State Thruway on Halloween Eve and Halloween night each year for the Pumpkin Patrol. The Rochester Amateur Radio Association (RARA), other clubs and ARES/RACES participate in the annual New York State Police-sponsored public service event with its mission of preventing objects from being thrown from bridges onto vehicles below, keeping drivers safe on the super highway. It allows the State Troopers who patrol the Thruway to concentrate on their other responsibilities. The New York State Thruway is a 570 mile long super highway system spanning the width of New York, connecting all of its major metropolitan areas. Approximately 250 million vehicles use the system annually.

The genesis of the Pumpkin Patrol was in 1976 when Katherine St. Jacques of Port Johnson, New York, was speaking with a truck driving friend on her CB radio when an object was thrown from a bridge into his windshield. The broken glass injured the driver. She and two friends then went to the three bridges near her home to watch and make sure no one else threw anything and injured someone else.

St. Jacques continued her vigil every year with friends, and later CB radio networks and Amateur Radio groups joined the effort. In 1990, St. Jacques turned over the coordination of the effort to Troop T of the New York State Police. Troop T is responsible for patrolling the Thruway.

The Rochester Amateur Radio Association has been participating in the Pumpkin Patrol for many years and it’s a popular event with members. Volunteers sign up for one or both nights. A net control station maintains the list of bridges and members assigned to the bridges as well as emergency contact information. RARA staffs all of the bridges in Monroe County. The net control station contacts all of the volunteers at the bridges on the hour and half hour. Roll call is conducted to make sure that there are no problems with communications and that the volunteers are safe. That may include making sure the volunteer’s car battery hasn’t died, leaving the volunteer stranded.

If a volunteer monitor notices suspicious activity, he contacts net control who then contacts the police. The volunteers do not take action on their own. A “goodie patrol” comprised of other volunteers rounds on the bridge monitors with coffee or cider and a snack.

Other radio clubs across the state are solicited for their help. The State Police provides a letter for each volunteer describing the Pumpkin Patrol and the purpose of the volunteer parking their vehicle near the bridge. The letter identifies the volunteer’s mission to a non-Thruway law enforcement officer who may not be aware of the volunteer’s purpose. It grants the volunteer no authority; it only explains their presence near the bridge.

A Trooper working on the Thruway can be assigned over 30 miles of roadway coverage with responsibilities in traffic enforcement, accident investigations, responding to reports of missing or found property and even criminal investigations. However, there are two situations when everything stops until they are resolved: Vehicles heading in the wrong direction against traffic, and objects being thrown from bridges. Both have the potential to cause vehicle damage, serious injury or fatality.

As the program grew from year to year, the area monitored grew as well. From the three bridges monitored in 1976, the 225 volunteers in 2018 covered nearly the entire 570 mile New York State Thruway System, which includes hundreds of bridges. The success of the program is demonstrated by the numbers: no reported incidents of an object thrown from a bridge have occurred while a bridge was staffed by the Pumpkin Patrol. — Donald Vlack, K2DV, Rochester, NY k2dv.don@gmail.com

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National Hurricane Center Station WX4NHC Test is a Success on Eve of 2019 Hurricane Season

National Hurricane Center station WX4NHC Assistant Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R, reported a successful Annual Test event. The Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center in Miami conducted its annual station test on Saturday, June 1, the first day of hurricane season. WX4NHC operators exercised the station from 1300 to 2100 UTC. “This is our 39th year of public service at NHC,” said Ripoll. The goal was to test Amateur Radio equipment, antennas, and computers for the 2019 Hurricane Season, which runs through November 30.

“This event is good practice for ham radio operators worldwide, as well as National Weather Service (NWS) office staffs, fostering familiarity with Amateur Radio communication services available during times of severe weather,” Ripoll said. “Brief contacts were held on many

Armando Flores, KG4LYD, (l) and WX4NHC Assistant Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R, during the station test. (photo courtesy WD4R)

frequencies and modes, with exchanges consisting of signal reports and basic weather data [sunny, rainy, etc.] with any station in any location.”

WX4NHC was operated on HF, VHF, UHF, APRS, and Winlink.Operators concentrated their efforts on the Hurricane Watch Net frequency of 14.325 MHz, and on the VoIP Hurricane Net (from 2000 – 2100 UTC), IRLP node 9219, as well as EchoLink WX-TALK Conference node 7203. The Florida statewide SARNET and local VHF and UHF repeaters were also employed. In preparation for the 2019 Hurricane Season, the ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team was also meeting to review its procedures.

Ripoll offered special thanks to Armando Flores, KG4LYD, “for coming to operate with me during the very busy afternoon shift when we were engaged in simultaneous HF radio and the EchoLink Hurricane Net operations.” “We made contacts with stations in the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and several NWS offices and EOCs, and with the Canadian Hurricane Center,” Ripoll said. “Armando brought in a new DMR radio that fits in your hand and made several contacts on the DMR Worldwide Net, which was a first for WX4NHC,” he said.

“When cellphone towers go down and satellite phones cannot get a dial tone and the internet goes off, Amateur Radio is one of the few communication services that can still get through. Just one message received from a station in a hurricane can make a big difference.”

Ripoll concluded “We are very proud that Amateur Radio station WX4NHC has been a part of the very unique and important National Hurricane Center mission to help save lives for the past 39 years.”– Thanks, Julio Ripoll, WD4R, Assistant Coordinator, National Hurricane Center station WX4NHC, Miami, Florida

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Ohio Section Manager and Section EC Thank Their ARES Team for Memorial Day Tornado Outbreak Communications Effort

ARRL Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator Stan Broadway, N8BHL, reported ARES groups activated last month after nearly 40 tornado warnings were issued across the state. The state EOC station was on the air and ARES was active for several days during the response and recovery in a situation that was rapidly changing. State and local emergency management agencies handled damage issues. “Because of lack of power, the entire Montgomery County (Dayton area) water system faced depressurization,” Broadway said. “Dayton Children’s Hospital was on complete generator power.” Ohio ARES remained active on HF (SSB and digital modes), as well as on DMR and VHF repeaters.

The severe weather caused widespread damage in and around Dayton and elsewhere in the Miami Valley. The National Weather Service (NWS) said it would take several days to survey the damage. The tornadoes struck after dark, with multiple injuries and one fatality reported.

The NWS office in Wilmington, Ohio, estimated that at one point, storms and tornadoes left some 5 million people without electrical power. Snow plows were repurposed to remove debris from Interstate 75, and the American Red Cross had set up shelters to accommodate displaced residents.

Ohio Section Leadership Thanks the Section’s ARES Teams and SKYWARN: “This has been a significant event. I want to thank all of you who responded to Ohio’s historic Memorial Day Outbreak of tornadoes. There were 21 tornadoes confirmed, with 3 EF-3 tornadoes and 1 EF-4 tornado that hit Trotwood destroying Hara Arena. Your participation in SKYWARN as the system moved into Ohio was important! Situational awareness reports you supplied all night Monday into Tuesday and beyond were a critical part of Ohio’s gearing up to respond.” – Scott Yonally, N8SY, Section Manager; and Stan Broadway, N8BHL, Section Emergency Coordinator

Lessons Learned

“Our Ohio Amateur Radio response was not without problems — the storm-generated de-sense phenomenon was amazingly strong Monday evening,” the SM and SEC said. “At some point we fumble-fingered the DMR radio and lost connection to the network. A local DMR operator re-programmed and improved our DMR situation. New DMR groups were added, and we added surrounding states to coordinate longer-track events. HF picked back up after the main frontal system moved away, but by then ‘normal’ communications were meeting the load.”

“Many accolades were received from emergency managers, and we pass those on to all of you, who were out doing the work. Our fledgling idea to create a statewide flow of information worked, and worked well, just in the nick of time. It was a tremendous opportunity for Amateur Radio to be directly involved with real life-and-death events across the state; and you responded professionally. Thank you. This has been a historic event for Ohio, and I thank you for being a big part of the response,” section leadership said.

Hospital and Health Mutual Aid Agreement Proposed for Southern California Amateur Radio Hospital Support Groups

A Hospital and Health Mutual Aid Agreement is being proposed for southern California’s major Amateur Radio organizations that support hospital emergency communications. The draft proposal recognizes that the organizations are aware of each other’s presence and commit to creating a positive cooperative environment to advance Amateur Radio support of hospital emergency communications. The stated goal is to always have the organizations work together to show a unified and professional front in the best interests of Amateur Radio and the facilities served.

Signatories would agree to the following:

1. To share trained radio operators for crisis communications to health and hospitals if such resources are available.

2. Trained radio operators will be defined as having FEMA ICS 100, 200 and 700 as well as a certified HIPAA course. The radio operators should be trained to hospital environmental issues and certified by the issue of a hospital or health photo ID badge.

3. To share repeater infrastructure when such sharing does not affect the primary user. Approval for use must be provided in writing by the primary user.

4. Allow testing of other agency repeater infrastructure, on occasion and with prior approval.

5. When possible Hospital Communications groups will make other groups aware of any educational, drill or other educational activity in a sharing mode.

6. To annually share radio frequency data for all channels with other signatory groups. This is confidential information and solely to assure up to date radio programming.

7. To annually publish a list of frequencies — called “access channels” — that are monitored by stated group during an activation.

8. The agreement is to facilitate sharing of information, education and best practices.

9. This agreement is not binding and may be dissolved in sixty days upon written notification.

The draft is being circulated for comments and signatures. — Duane Mariotti, WB9RER, Kaiser Permanente Amateur Radio Network

New AUXCOMM Position Task Book Release

John E. Peterson, N4KEA, Telecommunications Specialist with the Emergency Communications Division (ECD) of the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), announced in the DHS AUXCOMM forum at the Dayton Hamvention this year that the new AUXCOMM Position Task Book had been approved by DHS for use by the states in training Auxiliary Communicators. The former Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) is now ECD within CISA.

The new Position Task Book (PTB) documents the performance criteria a trainee should meet to be certified for the position of Auxiliary Communicator within a given state. The performance criteria are associated with core National Qualification System (NQS) competencies, behaviors, and tasks.

Evaluators observe and review a trainee’s completion of PTB tasks, initialing and dating each successfully completed task in the PTB. Evaluators complete an Evaluation Record Form documenting the trainee’s performance. A final evaluator verifies that a trainee has completed the PTB and his/her verification is sent to a review board with ideally at least one member who is an experienced Auxiliary Communicator with Public Safety experience. After board review, a Documentation of Agency Certification is issued as appropriate.

An example of one of the tasks is:

§ Monitor operational performance of AUXCOMM communications systems throughout the duration of the incident.

§ Monitor operational status of all AUXCOMM equipment in use.

§ Establish an operational test schedule and perform tests of communications equipment throughout the duration of an incident.

§ Establish a plan for battery replacement.

§ Establish contingency plans to minimize interruptions in AUXCOMM communications infrastructure and systems.

The PTB can be found on the SAFECOM website at: https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/cisa_auxcomm_ptb_-_final_508c_-_051619.pdf

[I participated in one of Peterson’s AUXCOMM courses, in Orlando, Florida, a few years ago, and wrote about my experience in the Public Service column for May 2016 QST. – K1CE]

K1CE For a Final: Field Day Safety First

Every Field Day participant has the basic duty to ensure a safe weekend. Yes, there is a 100-point Safety Officer bonus, but it’s not just about the extra points; it’s like those safety record signs you see at construction sites – “365 days without an accident,” and “Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility.” Every FD group should appoint a qualified person/s who are present at the operating site from the beginning of set-up until the end of break-down. The Safety Officer/s certify by submitting a form that due diligence was made to provide a safe operation.

Here are only a few safety recommendations from the ARRL Field Day packet: Fuel for generator properly stored. Fire extinguisher on hand and appropriately located. First Aid kit on hand. First Aid – CPR – AED trained participant/s on site for full Field Day period. Access to NWS alerts to monitor for inclement weather. Tent stakes properly installed and marked. Temporary antenna structures properly secured and marked. Site secured from tripping hazards. Site is set up in a neat and orderly manner to reduce hazards. Stations and equipment properly grounded. Access to a means to contact police/fire/rescue if needed. Safety Officer is designated point of contact for public safety officials. Minimize risks and control hazards to ensure no injuries to public. As necessary, monitoring participants for hydration and ensuring an adequate water supply is available.

Consider other safety factors as well, not just those listed above. Have a safe Field Day!

I hope to work many readers this coming weekend: look for K1CE (Class 1E this year). I will be hunting particularly for Class F Emergency Operations Center (EOC) stations: “An amateur radio station at an established EOC activated by a club or non-club group. Class F operation takes place at an established EOC site. Stations can use equipment and antennas temporarily or permanently installed at the EOC for the event. For Field Day purposes, an EOC is defined as a facility established by: a) a Federal, State, County, City or other Civil Government, agency or administrative entity; or, b) a Chapter of a national or international served agency (such as American Red Cross or Salvation Army) with which your local group has an established operating arrangement. Planning of a Class F operation takes place in conjunction and cooperation with the staff of the EOC being activated. See the full rules.

I like the EOC class F operation: it’s a perfect opportunity to demonstrate your group’s capabilities and the Amateur Service in general before the professional emergency managers and staffs that you would likely being serving in a major disaster situation, and conversely, it gives your members an opportunity to learn their way around the EOC facility, meet its staff, and understand its culture.

And lastly, have fun!

ARRL — Your One-Stop Resource for Amateur Radio News and Information

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Hawaii Island Amateur/Ham Radio News:

The Big Island Amateur Radio Club will hold its ARRL Field Day event on Saturday and Sunday at the Hilo Bayfront Parking Lot #1, beginning at 0800 HST on Saturday.  For details, please read yesterday’s post (18 June 2019).  I’ll republish the public service announcement in my next post.

“Grid Madness 2019”, the Hawaii Island-based VHF/UHF Simplex Contest, is set for Sunday, 15 September 2019, 1300 to 1700 HST.  You can download the complete contest package here:  https://gridmadness.blogspot.com

For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please check the blog sidebars and links.  These news feeds are updated daily and weekly.  Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section

https://bigislandarrlnews.com

The ARRL Letter for June 13, 2019


Welcome to “the ARRL Letter” update from Big Island ARRL News.

Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Content, including texts, photos, images, and video, provided by HQ ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT, 06111.

Accessed on 14 June 2019, 0230 UTC, Post 1003.

Source:  http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issues=2019-06-13

Please scroll down to read the full edition of “The ARRL Letter.”

Paul Bourque, N1SFE, Joins ARRL Headquarters Staff as Contest Program Manager

Paul Bourque, N1SFE, of Middletown, Connecticut, has joined the ARRL Headquarters staff as Contest Program Manager. He succeeds Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, who recently was promoted to the post of ARRL Radiosport and Field Services Manager. Licensed since 1994, Bourque’s interest in radio began when, as a youngster, he listened for distant AM stations, and he later developed a career involving various aspects of broadcasting.

“Originally, I wanted to be a DJ, but I ended up being drawn to the technical/engineering side of the radio business,” Bourque said. His journey into Amateur Radio started during his time as the host of an overnight free-form rock music show at WWUH Radio at the University of Hartford, and the station’s general manager, John Ramsey, W1JNR, pushed him to get his license.

Because being an Amateur Radio operator had opened several professional doors for him, Bourque said, “The opportunity to give back to this hobby as Contest Program Manager really appealed to me.”

Bourque, who grew up in Newington, remarked that working at ARRL Headquarters “is like coming home.” In his early years as a radio amateur, he was more of a casual contester, and it “was about making contacts,” he conceded. Today, though, he has become passionate about getting people active and on the air. As Contest Program Manager, Bourque wants to find ways to get newer hams into contesting, and to dispel the idea that you need tons of equipment to participate.

Bourque’s other interests include cooking, astronomy, photography, and meteorology.

Rick Murphy, K1MU, to Receive ARRL President’s Award

At its May 20 meeting in Dayton, Ohio, the ARRL Executive Committee, acting on behalf of the Board of Directors, conferred the prestigious ARRL President’s Award on Rick Murphy, K1MU, one of the unsung heroes of Logbook of The World (LoTW). The President’s Award recognizes individuals showing long-term dedication in support of ARRL programs. Murphy was credited for his work to upgrade and improve the LoTW TQSLsoftware to help users more easily and successfully use LoTW. Murphy was cited for single-handedly rewriting TQSL to make it accessible to those with limited vision, to display information in languages other than English (more than 10 so far), and for providing consistent online support to users.

“Rick is richly deserving of this honor for his efforts to make the TQSL application and Logbook of The World more accessible to all users,” said ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR. “Rick Murphy embodies the spirit of unselfish volunteerism that represents the best of Amateur Radio.”

An information security professional, Murphy, who lives in Annandale, Virginia, is coauthor (with Rickland D. Hollar) of the book Enterprise Web Services Security. He’s a volunteer Incoming QSL Bureau card sorter for the 3rd call district and a past president of the National Capital DX Association.

The President’s Award plaque bears the likeness of ARRL’s cofounder and first president Hiram Percy Maxim, W1AW.

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Tuning Electrically Short Antennas for Field Operation

An article,”Tuning Electrically Short Antennas for Field Operation,” by two well-known amateurs, appeared in Microwave Journal. Authored by QEX Editor Kai Siwiak, KE4PT, and award-winning researcher Ulrich Rohde, N1UL, the article points out that both Amateur Radio and military applications exist for 20 W battery-powered radios equipped with whip antennas. “In general, the whip antenna [that] makes the radio portable is not optimized for signal propagation: A whip antenna has no ground return or proper counterpoise,” the article notes. “While some users drag a wire of up to 8 meters behind, this is not an ideal solution.”

Rohde’s al fresco test stand for short HF antennas. [Photo courtesy of Ulrich Rohde, N1UL]

As the article explains, electrically short antennas — typically 0.1 λ or shorter — look like a capacitor, with a typical capacitance of 25 pF per meter of length. “At 2 MHz, where the wavelength is 150 meters, an inductor of 84 μH is required for resonance,” the article says. But just getting a good VSWR is not all there is to it.

Rohde told ARRL that loading coil placement in a short vertical antenna is critical, and “the greater the elevation of the coil, the better the radiation. He said that “center loading” — he considers the “best compromise” to be more on the order of two-thirds’ loading — can dramatically affect both the antenna’s transmitting and receiving performance, as opposed to base loading, as found with popular so-called screwdriver antennas. Radials of some sort also are essential.

As the article points out, “With center loading, both the radiation resistance and integrated surface are larger, which are better for radiation.” Inductors are the lossy components of an antenna tuner, while capacitors “are infinitely better.” The authors conclude that, for optimal operation, antenna radials should be 0.25 λ, with one sufficient for tuning, and up to four producing a symmetrical azimuth. “Connecting the HF radio ground to a large metallic object is a good choice,” the article said.

Ulrich told ARRL that optimizing an antenna in the manner the article describes will produce “significantly better” signal reception, although a short antenna will also have a narrower bandwidth. The objective should not be to get a good VSWR but to keep in mind that there’s a difference between resonance and radiation.

“These requirements for optimum antenna performance make HF manpack radios somewhat complicated and unattractive,” the authors concede. “Nonetheless, the well matched and radiating antenna provides the most success, and some of these highly portable radios provide vital communications in disaster areas — recently in Puerto Rico and South Florida.”


So Now What? Podcast

“Highlights from Hamvention” is the focus of the new (June 13) episode of the So Now What? podcast for Amateur Radio newcomers. It will feature segments from Tony Milluzzi, KD8RTT, and Andy Milluzzi, KK4LWR, of The Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative (CARI); Teachers Institute instructor Tommy Gober, N5DUX, who was at the ARRL Lifelong Learning booth this year; Jet Jurgensmeyer, KE0UWZ, of Last Man Standing, and Space Weather Woman Tamitha Skov, WX6SWW. Two aspiring hams — Sarah Byrne, who works in emergency management, and Valencia Simpson, who has assisted ARRL at Dayton Hamvention® for the past 5 years — also will be guests.

If you’re a newly licensed Amateur Radio operator, chances are you have lots of questions. This biweekly podcast has answers! So Now What? offers insights from those who’ve been just where you are now. New episodes will be posted every other Thursday, alternating new-episode weeks with the ARRL The Doctor is In podcast.

So Now What? is sponsored by LDG Electronics, a family owned and operated business with laboratories in southern Maryland that offers a wide array of antenna tuners and other Amateur Radio products.

ARRL Communications Content Producer Michelle Patnode, W3MVP, and ARRL Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, co-host the podcast. Presented as a lively conversation, with Patnode representing newer hams and Carcia the veteran operators, the podcast will explore questions that newer hams may have and the issues that keep participants from staying active in the hobby. Some episodes will feature guests to answer questions on specific topic areas.

Listeners can find So Now What? on Apple iTunesBlubrryStitcher(free registration required, or browse the site as a guest), and through the free Stitcher app for iOS, Kindle, or Android devices. Episodes will be archived on the ARRL website.

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The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: The long string of days with no sunspots continues, with spots last observed nearly a month ago, on May 18. Predicted solar flux for the next 45 days is 70 on June 13 – 20, and 68 on June 21 through July 27.

The predicted planetary A index is 12 and 8 on June 13 – 14; 5 on June 15 – 23; 8, 12, and 8 on June 24 – 26; 5 on June 27 – July 5; 10, 8, 10, and 8 on July 6 – 9; 5 on July 10 – 20; 8, 10, and 8 on July 21 – 23, and 5 on July 24 – 27.

Scott Avery, WA6LIE, wrote to report his experiences during the ARRL June VHF Contest last weekend. “During the day, expecting sporadic E, we were influenced by a lot of meteor scatter caused by the Beta Taurids, a daytimeevent that is not advertised, as it is not seen and only radio astronomers and hams would be interested,” he said. “I spent a lot of time on 6 meters, FT8 mode [and a] little SSB/CW, and the same with 2 meters. I was bombarded with pings [of] CQ TEST, and that station was gone. This happened for most of the daylight hours with [few contacts].” Avery said an opening to Japan yielded a few contacts. A Sunday multi-hop sporadic E opening to the east coast also occurred, he said.

Sunspot numbers for June 6 – 12 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 0. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 68.9, 68.9, 68.4, 68.4, 68.9, 69.7, and 69.5, with a mean of 69. Estimated planetary A indices were 3, 4, 18, 6, 3, 3, and 4, with a mean of 5.9. Middle latitude A index was 4, 6, 14, 8, 4, 3, and 5, with a mean of 6.3.

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 K9LA’s Propagation Page.

A propagation bulletin archive is available. Monthly charts offer propagation projections between the US and a dozen DX locations.

Share your reports and observations.


Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • June 15 — ARRL Kids Day (Phone)

  • June 15 — Feld Hell Sprint

  • June 15 — AGCW VHF/UHF Contest (CW)

  • June 15 – 16 — SMIRK Contest (CW, phone)

  • June 15 – 16 — All Asian DX Contest, CW

  • June 15 – 16 — Ukrainian DX Classic RTTY Contest

  • June 15 – 16 — ARR BPSK63 Contest

  • June 15 – 16 — IARU Region 1 50 MHz Contest (CW, phone)

  • June 15 – 16 — Stew Perry Topband Challenge (CW)

  • June 15 – 16 — West Virginia QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

  • June 16 — WAB 50 MHz Phone Contest

  • June 17 — Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)

  • June 19 — RSGB 80 Meter Club Championship, CW

  • June 20 — NAQCC CW Sprint

See the ARRL Contest Calendar for more information. For in-depth reporting on Amateur Radio contesting, subscribe to The ARRL Contest Update via your ARRL member profile email preferences.

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QRZ Institutes Password Security, Seller Verification Programs

In an effort to combat fraudsters and password phishers, the popular QRZ Amateur Radio website is offering the option of establishing two-factor authentication (2FA) for its registered users. The site’s founder and president, Fred Lloyd, AA7BQ, explains that 2FA secures a user’s password on the site.

“With 2FA, your actual password becomes nearly moot, and revealing it to a crook has no detrimental effect,” Lloyd told ARRL. “With 2FA, you need the one-time code, and that’s the only thing that will work. It’s a solid technology that is rapidly gaining in popularity.”

Lloyd said that when a user logs into the site with 2FA, the validation for the session is stored in the user’s browser as an encrypted cookie that can live for up to 30 days. He said QRZ.com staffers have been using 2FA successfully for a couple of years now. A video has been posted that demonstrates how to get started with 2FA without using a cell phone to receive codes.

Although 2FA will not become a requirement in order to log onto QRZ.com, a separate seller verification system has been instituted for anyone marketing ham gear via the Swapmeet forum. As of July 1, only those enrolled in the Verified User program will be able to list in that forum. Users may opt out of the Verified User program for the rest of the site.

“While verification is available to anyone on QRZ, it is required only in the Swapmeet section,” Lloyd told ARRL. “Lately, there has been as many as a scam per day in the Swapmeet, and sometimes a popular radio model will be sold several times before it comes to our attention. One false listing can net any number of victims before it’s discovered.”

QRZ Founder and President Fred Lloyd, AA7BQ.

Lloyd explained that these fake listings are being placed using the accounts of users who have been tricked into giving out their log-in passwords though elaborate phishing schemes. “There is virtually nothing that QRZ can do to prevent phishing attacks, as a great many users never even know that they’ve been hacked,” Lloyd allowed. “Scammers find it relatively easy to trick the users into supplying their actual passwords.”

Setting up two-factor authentication is the first step to becoming a QRZ.com Verified User. Information on becoming a Verified User is available to those registered on the site via their Account page, accessible from the QRZ main page. Once they’ve secured their accounts with 2FA, members will have to submit photographic identification to QRZ in order to complete the Verified User process. Read more.

WSJT-X Developer Posts Observations on Using FT8 in June VHF Contest

WSJT-X developer Joe Taylor, K1JT, has tentatively concluded that there are good reasons to use both FT4 and FT8 in ARRL VHF contests. The latest beta version of FT4 was not available for the event, but Taylor noted that FT4 will be available for future contests

(the current -rc7 beta version will not be usable during ARRL Field Day either). Taylor, who was active in the VHF event over the past weekend, made the remark in a post to the Packrats reflector. Taylor reported making 433 contacts (21 dupes) in 152 grids, all, by and large, on FT8.

“Most of the time there was enough sporadic E and tropo-scatter to keep things busy using FT8,” Taylor observed. “In this event, meteor scatter using MSK144 was not, score-wise, time efficient.”

Taylor said he operated from home only on 6 meters and only on digital, “mainly to see how FT8 plays in a June VHF Contest.” He operated for 21 of the contest’s 33 hours and left his receiver running on 50.313 MHz when not in the shack.

Joe Taylor, K1JT. [Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, photo]

“During the contest period, I decoded 45,375 transmissions from others in the 4 kHz window starting at 50.313 MHz,” Taylor recounted. “That’s an average of about 11 decodes per 15-second receive cycle.”

Taylor said he seldom, if ever, found that a single 3 or 4 kHz window was “too crowded” with activity. “There were nearly always some open spots, even with nearly everyone in the first 2.7 kHz of the window,” he said.

Taylor also speculated as to how the twice-as-fast FT4 might have fared, being 4 dB less sensitive than FT8 and having an 80 Hz bandwidth instead of FT8’s 50 Hz bandwidth.

“My guess is that something like 80 – 85% of my QSOs could have been completed using FT4, most of them in half the time than it took in FT8,” Taylor said.

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Wireless Power Transmission Prompts Discussion in ITU-R Study Group

The emerging wireless power transmission (WPT) technology and associated applications came under closer scrutiny during the May/June meeting of International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) Study Group 1 and its Working Parties. Participants wrapped up 7 days of sessions in Geneva on June 7, with International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU-R1) President Don Beattie, G3BJ, representing the IARU. The primary concern over WPT centers on its interference potential.

“Work was advanced on reports on WPT at 100 – 148.5 kHz for low-power charging of portable devices, for WPT for electric vehicles (WPT-EV) at around 20, 60, and 85 kHz, and for ‘beam’ WPT for remote charging,” IARU Region 1 reported. “All of these technologies have the potential for harmful interference to radiocommunication services if not carefully managed, particularly the harmonics of the WPT systems.”

The IARU has submitted formal studies on the impact of WPT on the Amateur Service, and these have been incorporated into a single completed report and will inform a new recommendation being developed on WPT emissions.

IARU says it’s advocating “proper emission limits” to protect radio services and is working with other spectrum users and administrations that share its concerns.

IARU Region 1 President Don Beattie, G3BJ.

The ITU meetings discussed emerging proposals for WPT-EV emission limits from the International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR), where there is a level of concern that these limits fall short of providing the necessary protection to radiocommunication services. Founded in 1934, CISPR sets standards for controlling electromagnetic interference in electrical and electronic devices and equipment.

The issue of WPT-EV is World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) Agenda Item 9.1.6. In a WPT status report at the IARU Region 1 Interim Meeting in Vienna in late April, Beattie said the Amateur Service is “highly susceptible to any increase in the background noise level,” such as that WPT might generate.

He said frequencies being planned for WPT are 19 – 21 kHz for high power; 55 – 65 kHz and 79 – 90 kHz for medium power, and 100 – 148.5 kHz for lower power — but still up to 2.4 kW.

“WPT is generally high duty cycle, located in residential areas, and its harmonics are likely to be spread across a band of frequencies, in some cases the whole of the HF spectrum,” Beattie said in his presentation to the Vienna interim meeting. Read more.

Proposed WRC-23 Agenda Items Causing Concern

Two proposals under discussion in Europe as possible World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23) agenda items “could impact important Amateur Radio frequencies,” IARU reported this week. Included is a proposal from France to consider the 144 – 146 MHz band as a primary allocation to the Aeronautical Mobile service, as part of a broader consideration of spectrum allocated to that service. IARU also cautioned the amateur community against overreacting to the news.

France will submit a paper containing a proposal for an agenda item for “new non-safety Aeronautical Mobile applications” at the June 17 – 21 Conference Preparatory Group meeting of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) in Prague. The 144 – 146 MHz segment is a primary global Amateur and Amateur Satellite allocation. IARU said it “views with grave concern any proposal to include this band in the proposed study” and pledged to “energetically” promote this viewpoint in the appropriate forums “to seek to obtain assurances that the spectrum will remain a primary allocation for the amateur services.”

Another proposal has been raised to study the 23-centimeter amateur allocation, 1240 – 1300 MHz, following reports of interference to the Galileo navigation system — Europe’s GPS system. IARU said it’s aware of “a handful of cases” of reported interference to the Galileo E6 signal on 1278.750 MHz. According to IARU, joint studies have been carried out to assess the vulnerability of the system and, based on these, it considers the proposal to initiate an Agenda item for WRC-23 premature.

IARU asked its member-societies to “refrain at this time from making speculative public comments about the situation until further progress has been made in regulatory discussions,” and said it’s ready to discuss the issue with other non-IARU societies.

One European Amateur Radio organization already has called for radio amateurs to “occupy” 2 meters on June 15 for 1 hour in protest of the French proposal.

In Brief…

Support ARRL as you shop Amazon Smile for Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16. If you’re looking for the perfect gift, we invite you to shop at AmazonSmile and choose American Radio Relay League Inc. (ARRL) as your charity of choice. With every purchase you make at AmazonSmile, Amazon will make a contribution to ARRL. This helps the League to extend its reach in public service, advocacy, education, technology, and membership. Amazon has a large variety of gifts that are perfect for Father’s Day, including electronics, clothing, ham radio equipment, and more. Make Dad’s day! Get him something extra special this year while supporting his favorite hobby. Bookmark ARRL’s link and support Amateur Radio and ARRL every time you shop online.

AMSAT President and ARRL Life Member Joe Spier, K6WAO, has been awarded Russia’s E.T. Krenkel Medal. The prestigious honor is bestowed on individuals and organizations for outstanding global contributions to Amateur Radio. Spier has also served AMSAT as Executive Vice President, and Vice President, Educational Relations. The award’s namesake, Ernst Teodorovich Krenkel, was a radio amateur who, over the years, used the call signs RAEM, U3AA, and UA3AA. Spier became AMSAT President in 2017. He’s a supporter of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) and of scientific, technical, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Spier also is a Life Member of the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA). ARRL Headquarters staff alumna and Life Member Ellen White, W1YL, was awarded the Krenkel medal in May. — Thanks to AMSAT

Getting It Right

The story, “Emergency Messaging Demonstration for Red Cross, FEMA is a Success, in the June 6 edition of The ARRL Letter omitted Virginia from the list of states where radio amateurs participated in the exercise.


Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.


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The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letterstrives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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Hawaii Island Amateur/Ham Radio News:

Doug Wilson (KH7DQ) is offering one more free Technician License Class this year:  17 October 2019 at the Keaau Community Center in Keaau, Hawaii Island. For more information, please contact Doug at douscelle@aol.com

“Grid Madness 2019”, the Hawaii Island-based VHF/UHF Simplex Contest, is set for Sunday, 15 September 2019, from 1300 to 1700 HST.  You can download a complete operator’s package here: https://gridmadness.blogspot.com.  Also, you can contact Stan (AH6KO), the event coordinator, at ah6ko@arrl.net

For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please check the blog sidebars and links.  These news feeds are updated daily and weekly.  Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de Russell Roberts (KH6JRM).

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section

https://bigislandarrlnews.com