Tag Archives: Just Ahead in Radiosport

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

Ad
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.

Ad
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.


Ad
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.

Ad
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


Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.


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

.

.

  • Join or Renew Today! ARRL membership includes QST, Amateur Radio’s most popular and informative journal, delivered to your mailbox each month.

Subscribe to…

Free of charge to ARRL members…

  • Subscribe to the ARES E-Letter (monthly public service and emergency communications news), the ARRL Contest Update (bi-weekly contest newsletter), Division and Section news alerts — and much more!
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
www.arrl.org

 

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.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

Back issues published since 2000 are available on this page. If you wish to subscribe via e-mail, simply log on to the ARRL Web site, click on Edit Your Profile at the top, then click on Edit Email Subscriptions. Check the box next to The ARRL email newsletter, the ARRL Letter and you will receive each weekly issue in HTML format. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): letter-dlvy@arrl.org

Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, at ww1me@arrl.org.

Plain-Text

The ARRL E-Letter e-mail is also available in plain-text version:

Outlook Express

1. From the Inbox view, select the Tools menu and the Options selection.

2. Click the Read tab

3. Check the Read All Messages In Plain Text box.  When you open the e-mail, it will be in plain text without images. Other e-mail programs may be able to make a Mail Rule for e-mail received from the address memberlist@www.arrl.org so that the plain-text-only display is selected automatically.

Outlook 2007

Use the same procedure as for Outlook Express, although the global option is under “Tools/Trust Center/E-mail Security”.

Thunderbird

Use the menu item “View/Message Body As/Plain Text” or “View/Message Source” options.

OS X Mail (Mac)

Use the “View/Message/Plain Text Alternative” menu item.

GMail

Use the “Message text garbled?” link in the drop-down menu at the upper right of the displayed message block. pine, alpine Set “prefer-plain-text” in your ~/.pinerc configuration file: feature-list=…, prefer-plain-text, …

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.

Ad
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.

Ad
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.

Ad
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.

Ad
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.


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

.

.

  • Join or Renew Today! ARRL membership includes QST, Amateur Radio’s most popular and informative journal, delivered to your mailbox each month.

Subscribe to…

Free of charge to ARRL members…

  • Subscribe to the ARES E-Letter (monthly public service and emergency communications news), the ARRL Contest Update (bi-weekly contest newsletter), Division and Section news alerts — and much more!
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
www.arrl.org

 

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.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

Back issues published since 2000 are available on this page. If you wish to subscribe via e-mail, simply log on to the ARRL Web site, click on Edit Your Profile at the top, then click on Edit Email Subscriptions. Check the box next to The ARRL email newsletter, the ARRL Letter and you will receive each weekly issue in HTML format. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): letter-dlvy@arrl.org

Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, at ww1me@arrl.org.

Plain-Text

The ARRL E-Letter e-mail is also available in plain-text version:

Outlook Express

1. From the Inbox view, select the Tools menu and the Options selection.

2. Click the Read tab

3. Check the Read All Messages In Plain Text box.  When you open the e-mail, it will be in plain text without images. Other e-mail programs may be able to make a Mail Rule for e-mail received from the address memberlist@www.arrl.org so that the plain-text-only display is selected automatically.

Outlook 2007

Use the same procedure as for Outlook Express, although the global option is under “Tools/Trust Center/E-mail Security”.

Thunderbird

Use the menu item “View/Message Body As/Plain Text” or “View/Message Source” options.

OS X Mail (Mac)

Use the “View/Message/Plain Text Alternative” menu item.

GMail

Use the “Message text garbled?” link in the drop-down menu at the upper right of the displayed message block. pine, alpine Set “prefer-plain-text” in your ~/.pinerc configuration file: feature-list=…, prefer-plain-text, …


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

The ARRL Letter for June 6, 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 provided by HQ ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT, 06111.  Rick Lindquist (WW1ME) is the editor of “The ARRL Letter.”

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

Please scroll down to read the full text of “The ARRL Letter”.   At the close of the letter, I’ll have a few remarks pertaining to Hawaii Island radio amateurs.

Emergency Messaging Demonstration for Red Cross, FEMA is a Success

On May 23, with Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials monitoring, dozens of radio amateurs along the US east coast demonstrated Amateur Radio’s ability to deliver messages without commercial power, infrastructure, or permanently established stations. The event took place in coordination with ARRL, as a mock response to a simulated disaster 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, which coordinated and delivered the information to officials attending a joint Red Cross-FEMA meeting in Baltimore.

W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q (front), and ARRL Emergency Preparedness Assistant Manager Ken Bailey, K1FUG, working the mics while Red Cross volunteer Rosty Slabicky, W2ROS, looks on. [Michelle Patnode, W3MVP, photo]

“About a dozen stations participated in the demonstration, including operators in 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. At both sites, they indicated that were impressed with Amateur Radio’s ability to deliver messages digitally so that could be displayed on a computer screen and in a format that matched the format for messages that the Red Cross uses.” Isgur said ABC, CBS, and Fox TV affiliates sent reporting teams to W1AW.

A few stations, including W1AW and stations in Baltimore, generated local media coverage of their participation, much of it tied into the notion of “Amateur Radio operators and the partner agencies they serve are getting ready for the 2018 hurricane season,” which begins on June 1 and continues through November 30.

W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, said the exercise went well overall. “Conditions were a bit tepid at best, but we were able to establish voice contact first, and then proceed with the digital traffic (MT63-1KS) during the roll call,” Carcia said. “Digital signals were good. I needed just one retransmit. We used fldigi with flmsg. This made life so much easier.”

+++

Ohio ARES Activates in Wake of Tornadoes that Badly Damaged Hara Arena

Hara Arena, in Trotwood, Ohio, which served as the home for Dayton Hamvention® for more than 6 decades, was among the structures extensively damaged when tornadoes swept through the Dayton area on Memorial Day. WHIO-TV drone video showed that the roof and side of the structure had been blown off in several places by the EF3 (severe-scale damage) event. Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator Stan Broadway, N8BHL, said ARES counties and districts activated after nearly 40 tornado warnings were issued across the state. He said Ohio ARES was in the process of announcing a partnership with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency Watch Desk, in which some 2,000 Ohio radio amateurs will feed situation awareness to the state.

“Our plan was to use the Ohio DMR statewide talk group along with our normal HF 80-meter voice and digital nets — depending on storm noise,” Broadway said. “We got to launch that system under pressure [on] Memorial Day.” Broadway said information received from radio amateurs during the all-night effort was fed directly into the state’s WebEOC software to help the Watch Desk determine the need to assist county EMA directors requests for aid. The Ohio AuxComm’s W8SGT was on the air continuously, receiving reports from county ARES groups, he added.

The severe weather struck after dark, causing widespread damage in and around Dayton and elsewhere in the Miami Valley. Multiple injuries and one fatality have been reported. It appears that at least two tornadoes were responsible for most of the devastation, which was called “catastrophic.” 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 Route 75, and the American Red Cross set up shelters to accommodate displaced residents.

“First-tier communications remained solid in most of the affected areas,” Broadway recounted, “but amateur operators were able to provide situational awareness that enhanced the response.” Most ARES activities in Ohio wrapped up on May 29.

WHIO-TV reported on June 5 that structural engineers were still assessing the damage at Hara Arena, but Michael Heitz, the Kentucky developer who now owns the building and the surrounding 120 acres, has expressed confidence that the main arena can be saved, although an attached section will have to be demolished.

+++

Ad
Hurricane Michael Investigation Digs into Factors that Hindered Wireless Services Recovery

On May 9, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released a report on its investigation into communications providers’ preparation for and response to Hurricane Michael last October. An array of Amateur Radio public service assets was active as Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach on the Florida Panhandle, boasting devastating 155 MPH winds. The storm was the first Category 4 or stronger hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle since 1992.

The FCC investigation found that three key factors — insufficiently resilient backhaul connectivity, inadequate reciprocal roaming arrangements, and a lack of coordination between wireless service providers, power crews, and municipalities — were the predominant causes behind what the FCC called “the unacceptably slow restoration of wireless service in the Florida Panhandle” in the storm’s wake. According to the FCC, its investigation even found that recovery efforts themselves often led to communication outages.

“There were numerous cases in which a wireless provider had restored service to customers only to have that service brought down as third-party crews damaged communications assets while clearing trash or restoring power lines and utility poles,” the FCC recounted in a news release.

To improve recovery efforts from future storms, the report recommended, among other things, that wireless providers use diverse backhaul options, such as microwave links and satellite links in hurricane-prone areas, and that communication providers participate in training to improve coordination of restoration efforts.

The Hurricane Michael Report is available at on the FCC website. — FCC News Release


The Doctor Will See You Now!

“Stringing Up Wire Antennas” is the topic of the new (June 6) 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.

Ad
New FT4 Beta Release “Leaps and Bounds” Better than Earlier Iterations

The WSJT-X Development Group released yet another new beta version of the FT4 protocol this week, and WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc7 is now available for testing. Developers point out that the FT4 included in this “release candidate 7” version is not compatible with any previous releases. A short mock contest session to wring out the contesting features of FT4 took place on June 4.

“Thanks to all who participated in yesterday’s FT4 mock-contest practice session — and especially to those who provided useful feedback. It is much appreciated!” said developer Joe Taylor, K1JT. “Everyone likes the 7.5-second T/R sequences, which provide operators with significantly more human interaction time than in previous revisions of FT4. Users also appreciated the sensitivity improvements and a larger range of acceptable time offsets (DT).” DT represents the combined clock difference for the transmitting and receiving computers, he explained.

Based on data compiled by Steve Franke, K9AN, Taylor said that it appears developers have the WSJT-X timing behavior under good control on all supported platforms, and the range of measured signal-to-noise values extended down to -21 dB.

“I operated for about 3 hours using 100 W and a dipole,” Taylor recounted. “I copied transmissions from 263 unique call signs and made 143 QSOs in 29 states, 5 Canadian provinces, and 15 DXCCs.”

Taylor said the developers anticipate addressing all remaining issues they’re aware of. “I believe we are on a good path toward a General Availability (GA) release of WSJT-X 2.1.0 by mid-July,” he said.

Steve Franke, K9AN, of the WSJT-X Development Group spent most of his time observing during the mock contest on June 4, decoding some 25,300 FT4 transmissions. This chart represents signal-to-noise ratios reported.

“This new version of FT4 is leaps and bounds better than before,” said Mike Black, W9MDB, in a June 4 post to the Yahoo WSJT Meteor Scatter and Weak Signal Group. “I worked almost everybody I could see without any repeats. Seems like we have a winner here.”

Changes, improvements, and bug fixes that have been made since WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc5 include:

  • T/R sequence length increased from 6.0 to 7.5 seconds.

  • Signal bandwidth decreased from 90 Hz to 80 Hz.

  • Improved sensitivity: Threshold S/N is now -17.5 dB.

Release candidate WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc7 will be available for beta-testing through July 21, and it will permanently cease to function after that date. It will not be usable during the ARRL June VHF Contest or during ARRL Field Day. Taylor advised using WSJT-X 2.0.1 and FT8 for these events.

Downloadable installation packages for WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc7 under Windows, Linux, and macOS are available on the WSJT-X web page.

China Set to Launch New Amateur Satellite with “Sail Ball” Stabilization

Chinese Amateur Satellite Group (CAMSAT) has announced the impending launch of the CAS-7B satellite, also designated as BP-1B, a short-lived spacecraft that will carry an Amateur Radio payload. An unusual feature of the spacecraft is its “sail ball” passive stabilization system. The 1.5 U CubeSat is attached to a 500-millimeter flexible film ball — or sail — that will offer passive “pneumatic resistance” stabilization, the announcement said. CAS-7B is expected to remain in orbit for up to 1 month.

The spacecraft will carry an Amateur Radio transponder and educational mission. CAMSAT is working with the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), a top aerospace school, which is providing launch support. BIT faculty and students are participating in the development and testing of the satellite, and, with CAMSAT’s help, the university has established an Amateur Radio club (BI1LG). CAMSAT said many students are now members, “learning Amateur Radio satellite communication and [experiencing] endless fun.”

The VHF and UHF antennas are quarter-wave monopoles. CAS-7B will transmit a CW telemetry beacon on 435.715 MHz. The V/U FM voice transponder downlink will be 435.690 MHz, and the transponder uplink will be 145.900 MHz (16 kHz passband).

CAS-7B during testing. [CAMSAT photo]

The 3-kilogram satellite will have an apogee of 300 kilometers.

“Because of the orbital apogee and the size and mass of the satellite, the orbital life is expected to be only 1 week, up to a maximum of 1 month, which will also provide an opportunity for hams to track and monitor satellite entering the atmosphere,” CAMSAT said in announcing the new satellite, scheduled for launch late this month.

“The launch will use a new launch vehicle from a small commercial rocket company,” CAMSAT explained. “This is the first launch of this launch vehicle, and there is a large possibility of failure; if the launch fails, we will have another launch later this year.” — Thanks to Alan Kung, BA1DU/CAMSAT

Ad
Mexican Amateur Radio Volunteers Provide Communication in Wildfire Response

Mexican radio amateurs provided communication support in late May from a fire scene in a remote area to civil protection authorities in Monterrey, Mexico. Two-member teams of volunteers were flown in via helicopter since May 20, the first day of radio support, when the fire had already been burning for a couple of days. The fire in Pajonal — about 20 kilometers south of Monterrey — covered more than 200 acres in rough terrain. Temperatures topped 100 °F.

Fueled by hot and dry conditions, Mexico’s 2019 fire season has been intense, leading to poor air quality. By mid-May, more than 100 wildfires were active in 17 Mexican states.

Teams had been using Winlink but added the weak-signal software Vara HF, after José Alberto Nieto, EA5HVK, provided a Vara license on short notice. Tom Whiteside, N5TW, in Georgetown, Texas, supported the effort from across the border, aiming his 40- and 20-meter arrays in the direction of the fire in Nuevo Leon. Alfonso Tamez, XE2O, president of Mexico’s IARU member-society Federación Mexicana de Radioexperimentadores (FMRE), was been among the volunteers.

In addition to HF digital traffic, the volunteer teams took advantage of VHF repeaters. HF antennas consisted of a 40-meter dipole for 40 and a steerable portable dipole. A generator is providing electrical power.

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: According to Spaceweather.com, as of June 5 there have been no sunspots for 17 days in a row. Average daily solar flux went to 69.5 for the May 30 – June 5 reporting week from 67.4 in the previous 7 days. The average daily planetary A index declined from 7.3 to 5.6, while the mid-latitude A index dipped from 8.1 to 5.

Last week I suggested that sunspots should return soon, based on the predicted solar flux, but those projections have softened. On June 5 the 45-day predicted solar flux was 70 on June 6 – 13; 72 on June 14 – 16; 71 on June 17; 70 on June 18 – 29; 71 on June 30; 72 on July 1 – 13; 71 on July 14, and 70 on July 15 – 20.

Predicted planetary A index is 5, 8, 10, and 8 on June 6 – 9; 5 on June 10 – 22; 8, 10, 12, and 8 on June 23 – 26; 5 on June 27 – 29; 8 on June 30 – July 2; 5 on July 3 – 4; 8 on July 5 – 6; 5 on July 7 – 19, and 8 on July 20.

Spaceweather.com reported on June 5 that Northern Hemisphere radars were “pinging with activity” from a strong daytime meteor shower.

In Friday’s bulletin, read about recent openings on 10 and 6 meters.

Sunspot numbers for May – June 5, 2019 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 0. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 68.7, 68.7, 69.7, 69.9, 69.8, 70, and 69.8, with a mean of 69.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 8, 5, 4, 4, 5, 8, and 5, with a mean of 5.6. Middle latitude A index was 8, 5, 3, 4, 4, 7, and 4, with a mean of 5.

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.

Ad
Just Ahead in Radiosport

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.

  • June 7 — HA3NS Sprint Memorial Contest (CW)

  • June 8 — Asia-Pacific Sprint, SSB

  • June 8 – 9 DRCG WW RTTY Contest

  • June 8 – 9 — VK Shires Contest (CW, phone)

  • June 8 – 9 — Portugal Day Contest (CW, phone)

  • June 8 – 9 — SKCC Weekend Sprintathon (CW)

  • June 8 – 9 — GACW WWSA CW DX Contest

  • June 8 – 9 — REF DDFM 6-Meter Contest (CW, phone)

  • June 8 – 10 — ARRL June VHF Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • June 9 — All Cookie Crumble QRP Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • June 10 — 4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint (CW, phone)

  • June 10 — RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (Digital)

  • June 12 — NAQCC CW Sprint (CW)


AMSAT, ARISS Veteran Keith D. Pugh, W5IU, SK

AMSAT and ARISS engineering veteran, Keith Pugh, W5IU, of Fort Worth, Texas, died on May 24. An ARRL Life Member, he was 80.

Born and raised in Dodge City, Kansas, Pugh was licensed in 1953. Amateur Radio strongly influenced his decision to pursue a career in electrical engineering, and he earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering at Kansas State University in 1961. He moved to Texas to work for Convair (later General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin), and, after upgrading to an Amateur Extra-class license, he became W5IU. Pugh retired from Lockheed Martin in 2004 after a career in RADAR and Navigation Systems Engineering.

At Dayton Hamvention®, Pugh volunteered in the AMSAT Booth for many years and frequently headed up the Dayton Hamvention Satellite Demonstration Station.

In the early 1980s, he became interested in ham radio satellites, making contacts on AO-08 and AO-10. He went on to become an AMSAT Area Coordinator and, later served as AMSAT Vice President for Operations.

Pugh jump-started his passion for Amateur Radio on human spaceflight missions in 1991, when the Soviet space station Mirwas in orbit. Pugh joined the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) team in 2004, where he has provided support as an operations leader, mentoring numerous schools and ARISS contact organizations and attending ARISS International meetings.

ARISS ARRL Representative Rosalie White, K1STO, said Pugh made a difference in his role as an ARISS Technical Mentor for many schools. “ARISS contacts are always exciting and sometimes produce tense moments,” White said. “He touched hundreds of thousands of youth along with all ages of people who had curiosity about ham radio, space, and satellites.”

Yasme Foundation Designates Supporting Grant, Excellence Award Recipients

The Board of Directors of The Yasme Foundation has awarded $5,000 each to the Foundation for Amateur Radio (FAR) and ARRL scholarship programs for 2019, and $5,000 in general support to World Radiosport Team Championship 2022 (WRTC 2022) in Italy and a second grant to sponsor the so-called “Widow’s Ball” during WRTC 2022.

The Yasme Foundation Board also announced recipients of the Yasme Excellence Award. They are:

  • Angel Vazquez, WP3R, for his work in disaster relief, and as an outstanding ambassador for Amateur Radio.

  • Nikola Percin, 9A5W, for his outstanding work in advancing Amateur Radio in Croatia and the surrounding region. He is a cofounder of 9A1A. Percin initiated efforts to recruit young amateurs and established youth programs in coordination with local universities.

The Yasme Excellence Award recognizes individuals and groups who, through their own service, creativity, effort, and dedication, have made significant contributions to Amateur Radio. These may be in recognition of technical, operating, or organizational achievement, as all three are necessary for the growth of Amateur Radio. The Yasme Excellence Award is in the form of a cash grant and an individually engraved crystal globe.

In Brief…

The next Kids Day is Saturday, June 15. That’s the day to get youngsters on the air to share in the joy and fun that Amateur Radio has to offer. Kids Day gets under way at 1800 UTC and concludes at 2359 UTC. Sponsored by the Boring (Oregon) Amateur Radio Club, this event has a simple exchange, suitable for younger operators: first name, age, location, and favorite color. After that, the contact can be as long or as short as each participant prefers. Look for activity on these frequencies: 10 meters: 28.350 – 28.400 MHz; 12 meters: 24.960 – 24.980 MHz; 15 meters: 21.360 – 21.400 MHz; 17 meters: 18.140 – 18.145 MHz; 20 meters: 14.270 – 14.300 MHz; 40 meters: 7.270 – 7.290 MHz, and 80 meters: 3.740 – 3.940 MHz. Repeater contacts are okay with permission of the repeater owner. As with any on-the-air activity that includes unlicensed individuals, control operators must observe third-party traffic restrictionswhen making DX contacts. Additional details are on the ARRL website.

+++

LoTW is now accepting FT4 contacts.The latest TQSL update (Config.xml version 11.8), released on May 22, includes FT4 as a submode of MFSK. It also adds AISAT-1 and PO-101 in the satellite category. As of June 5, more 1 billion contact records have been entered into the system, resulting in 201,492,514 contact confirmations. LoTW has 118,729 users worldwide.

+++

Adafruit Industries Founder Limor Fried, AC2SN, was one of two 2019 Women in Open Source Awardwinners. Sponsored by open-source solution provider Red Hat, the awards honor women who make important contributions to open-source projects and communities, or those making innovative use of open-source methodology. Nominations for this year’s awards were accepted for two categories: “Academic” for those currently enrolled in a college or university, and “Community” for those working on or volunteering with projects related to open source. A panel of judges determined finalists based on nomination criteria, and the public voted to determine the award winners. Fried was recognized in the community category. She is the founder and lead engineer at Adafruit Industries, an open-source hardware company designed to provide a place for people to learn about and purchase open tools, equipment, and electronics online.

+++

Tom Roscoe, K8CX, has posted 361 photos in his Ham Gallery of various Dayton Hamvention®2019 events. Hamvention 2019 hosted the ARRL National Convention. This is Roscoe’s 23rd year of documenting the event, bringing the total to 6,053 Hamvention photos, including this one of ARRL Washington Counsel David Siddall, K3ZJ. Search the entire photo database by entering a call sign. Roscoe also invites photos via email, but at least one ham not already listed on his page must be in the photo, and all hams shown must be identified by call sign. He also accepts Dayton Hamvention photos from past years that meet the same requirements, as well as any “interesting stories or fun moments” from Dayton Hamvention 2019 or forum reviews for his blog.


Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.


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

.

.

  • Join or Renew Today! ARRL membership includes QST, Amateur Radio’s most popular and informative journal, delivered to your mailbox each month.

Subscribe to…

Free of charge to ARRL members…

  • Subscribe to the ARES E-Letter (monthly public service and emergency communications news), the ARRL Contest Update (bi-weekly contest newsletter), Division and Section news alerts — and much more!
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
www.arrl.org

 

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.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

Back issues published since 2000 are available on this page. If you wish to subscribe via e-mail, simply log on to the ARRL Web site, click on Edit Your Profile at the top, then click on Edit Email Subscriptions. Check the box next to The ARRL email newsletter, the ARRL Letter and you will receive each weekly issue in HTML format. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): letter-dlvy@arrl.org

Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, at ww1me@arrl.org.

Plain-Text

The ARRL E-Letter e-mail is also available in plain-text version:

Outlook Express

1. From the Inbox view, select the Tools menu and the Options selection.

2. Click the Read tab

3. Check the Read All Messages In Plain Text box.  When you open the e-mail, it will be in plain text without images. Other e-mail programs may be able to make a Mail Rule for e-mail received from the address memberlist@www.arrl.org so that the plain-text-only display is selected automatically.

Outlook 2007

Use the same procedure as for Outlook Express, although the global option is under “Tools/Trust Center/E-mail Security”.

Thunderbird

Use the menu item “View/Message Body As/Plain Text” or “View/Message Source” options.

OS X Mail (Mac)

Use the “View/Message/Plain Text Alternative” menu item.

GMail

Use the “Message text garbled?” link in the drop-down menu at the upper right of the displayed message block. pine, alpine Set “prefer-plain-text” in your ~/.pinerc configuration file: feature-list=…, prefer-plain-text, …

————

Hawaii Island Amateur/Ham Radio News:

The next meeting of the Big Island Amateur Radio Club will be held on 08 June 2019, 1400 HST, at the Keaau Community Center in Keaau, Hawaii Island.

“Grid Madness 2019,” the Hawaii-based VHF/UHF Simplex Contest, is coming Sunday, 15 September 2019, from 1300 to 1700 HST.  For details, visit this website:  https://gridmadness.blogspot.com.  You can also contact Stan (AH6KO) 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

ARRL Letter for May 16, 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 provided by HQ ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT, 06111.  Following the “ARRL Letter” I will have some news from the Big Island Amateur Radio Club. Accessed on 17 May 2019, 0015 UTC, Post 973.

Source:

http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2019-05-16

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

ARRL Invites Applications for Volunteer Monitor Positions

ARRL is now accepting applications from individuals interested in becoming part of the new Volunteer Monitor program, a joint undertaking of the FCC and ARRL. The program seeks volunteers who — working under the direction of ARRL — will monitor and survey the Amateur Radio bands both to detect improper activity and to recognize exemplary on-the-air behavior.

Prospective Volunteer Monitors must be ARRL members. They will undergo a training and certification program administered by ARRL, and will be vetted by ARRL through at least one oral interview and a preliminary evaluation by ARRL staff. Such requirements will continue for Volunteer Monitors once they are selected.

Volunteer Monitors will serve 3-year terms at the pleasure of ARRL, and ARRL will reserve the right to terminate the participation of any Volunteer Monitor for any reason.

Volunteer Monitors must be able to utilize state-of-the-art receiving equipment and to access no-cost remote receive sites, if requested. Applicants must possess strong writing and communication skills and an understanding of the importance of thorough documentation. They must have basic word processing and data entry skills and be able to send such information, including recordings, to ARRL electronically.

Applicants must have no history of warning letters or other enforcement-related action from the FCC, must hold a Technician or higher class license, and must have been licensed for at least 3 years.

Applicants should send applications to volunteer-monitor@arrl.org for processing.

In February, Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, was named to oversee the development and implementation phases of the Volunteer Monitor program, which will replace the Official Observer (OO) program. Hollingsworth once handled Amateur Radio enforcement for the FCC.

+++

FCC is Not Reinstating a Vanity Call Sign Fee

An erroneous report this week suggested that the FCC planned to again impose an Amateur Radio vanity call sign application (regulatory) fee of $70 for the 10-year term. This incorrect conclusion resulted from an incomplete reading of the May 7 FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the matter of the assessment and collection of regulatory fees for fiscal year 2019.

Although the Schedule of Regulatory Fees does show a $7 annual fee for Amateur Radio vanity call signs, a boldface heading in that section of the NPRM states, “REGULATORY FEES. This section is no longer in effect as it has been amended by RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018…” Section 9(e)(2) of RAY BAUM’S Act gives the Commission discretion to exempt a party from paying regulatory fees when the FCC determines that the cost of collection exceeds the amount collected. A new section 9(e)(1) incorporated the Amateur Radio vanity fee exemption from FCC rules into the statute.

The NPRM makes clear in several other places that regulatory fees no longer apply to Amateur Radio licenses. The FCC eliminated the regulatory fee for Amateur Radio vanity call signs in 2015.

+++

Ad
Radio Amateurs to Demonstrate Emergency Messaging Capabilities for Red Cross, FEMA

Just days ahead of the 2019 hurricane season, dozens of hams along the US East Coast will demonstrate Amateur Radio’s ability to deliver messages without commercial power, infrastructure, or permanently established stations for officials of the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Thursday, May 23, event will take place in coordination with ARRL, during a joint meeting with Red Cross and FEMA officials in Baltimore. The demonstration will be a mock response to a simulated disaster scenario — a major hurricane with mass casualties striking the east coast. Amateur Radio operators at portable stations from New England to the Carolinas will deliver messages to W1AW, which will then coordinate and deliver the information to officials attending the joint FEMA-Red Cross meeting in Baltimore.

Messaging will be handled using digital modes, which can allow for the transmission of images as well as text, as a showcase for the full range of modern Amateur Radio technology. The American Red Cross will also have a NexGen Emergency Response Vehicle parked at W1AW in Connecticut as part of the training exercise, which will take place from 1330 to 1530 UTC.

ARRL and its members have a long history of working with emergency response agencies, such as the American Red Cross and FEMA, to provide or support communication in times of disaster for served agencies and partners. A principal served agency, the Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides emotional support to victims of disasters.

+++

FCC Chairman Proposes Call Blocking By Default to Combat Robocalls

FCC Chair Ajit Pai is proposing action to help consumers block unwanted robocalls. He has circulated a declaratory ruling that, if adopted, would allow phone companies to block unwanted calls to their customers by default. In addition, companies could allow consumers to block calls not on their own contacts lists. A draft Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would propose a safe harbor for providers that implement network-wide blocking of calls that fail caller authentication under the SHAKEN/STIR framework, once it is implemented.

FCC Chair Ajit Pai.

“Allowing call blocking by default could be a big benefit for consumers who are sick and tired of robocalls,” Pai said. “By making it clear that such call blocking is allowed, the FCC will give voice service providers the legal certainty they need to block unwanted calls from the outset.” Pai encouraged carriers to start providing these services free of charge and by default to current and future customers.

According to an FCC news release, many voice providers have held off developing and deploying call-blocking tools by default because of uncertainty about whether these tools are legal. “Allowing default call blocking by voice providers could significantly increase development and consumer adoption of such tools,” the FCC said. “This blocking could be based on analytics and consumer ‘white lists.’ Similar analytics are currently used by third-party developers in call-blocking apps.” The FCC said consumer white lists could be based on a customer’s own contacts list.

Pai also proposed seeking public comment on how caller ID authentication standards, known as SHAKEN/STIR, can inform call blocking. He has demanded that carriers adopt these standards to combat malicious spoofing. This system of signing calls as legitimate as they pass through the phone networks may be useful for call-blocking tools, the FCC said.

The May 15 action would mark the first by the FCC to directly combat robocalls that spoof legitimate, in-service numbers. This follows adoption of new rules in 2017, which allowed blocking of calls before they reach consumers when they are highly likely to be illegitimate. “These calls might appear to come from nonexistent area codes or from numbers on the Do Not Originate list that do not make outbound calls — like the FCC’s own consumer help line, which was added to the list following scam calls that spoofed the agency’s 888-CALL-FCC number,” the Commission said.

The FCC will consider these measures at its June 6 open meeting.

Ad
So Now What? Podcast

Due to the ARRL National Convention at Dayton Hamvention®beginning on Thursday, May 16, there will be no new episode this week of the So Now What? podcast for Amateur Radio newcomers. At Hamvention, the podcast team will doing some special guest interviews for an upcoming episode of the podcast. In addition, keep an eye on ARRL’s social media feeds — Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter — for photos and video from Hamvention.

If you’re a newly licensed Amateur Radio operator, chances are you have lots of questions. The biweekly So Now What? podcast has answers, offering 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.

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Sunspot activity continues, and this reporting week, the average daily sunspot number rose from 16.1 to 22.7, while average daily solar flux went from 73.5 to 75.7. The two sunspot groups that appeared on May 3 and May 6 are fading fast and rotating off the visible solar disc. Two geomagnetically active days occurred on May 11 and 14, when the planetary A index reached 25 and 36.

Predicted solar flux is 72 on May 16 – 18; 70 on May 19; 68 on May 20 – 22; 67 on May 23 – 29; 70, 72, 74, and 76 on May 30 – June 2; 77 on June 3 – 11; 75 on June 12; 72 on June 13 – 14; 70 on June 15; 69 on June 16 – 17; 68 on June 18; 67 on June 19 – 25, and 70, 72, 74, and 76 on June 26 – 29.

Predicted planetary A index is 28, 20, and 8 on May 16 – 18; 5 on May 19 – 27; 10, 12, 8, and 10 on May 28 – 31; 5 on June 1 – 15; 8 on June 16; 5 on June 17 – 23; 10, 12, 8, and 10 on June 24 – 27, and 5 on June 28 – 29.

On May 10, Jeff, N8II, in West Virginia reported a sporadic-E opening on 10 meters. Also on May 10, Jon, N0JK, reported 6-meter sporadic-E openings from Kansas.

Sunspot numbers for May 9 – 15 were 25, 24, 26, 24, 23, 24, and 13, with a mean of 22.7. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 76.2, 76.3, 78, 76, 74.7, 74.4, and 74, with a mean of 75.7. Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 7, 25, 4, 6, 36, and 6, with a mean of 13. Middle latitude A index was 8, 7, 19, 5, 5, 23, and 8, with a mean of 10.7.

A comprehensive K7RA Solar Update is posted Fridays on the ARRL website. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service web page, 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.

Ad
Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • May 17 – 19 — Portuguese Navy Day Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • May 18 — Feld Hell Sprint

  • May 18 — UN DX Contest (DX, phone)

  • May 18 – 19 — NZART Sangster Shield Contest (CW)

  • May 18 – 19 — His Majesty the King of Spain Contest, CW

  • May 18 – 19 — EU PSK DX Contest

  • May 18 – 19 — Aegean RTTY Contest

  • May 18 – 19 — Baltic Contest (CW, phone)

  • May 20 — Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)

  • May 22 — SKCC Sprint (CW)

  • May 22 — 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.

Arizona Homeowners Association and Hams Agree on Outdoor Antenna Guidelines

The Board of Directors of an antenna-restricted community in Arizona voted overwhelmingly in April to allow radio amateurs to erect certain outdoor antennas on their properties. Some 75 hams live in the 10,000-home Sun City Grand, a self-contained residential community for older adults in Surprise, Arizona. An article in the Grand Ham Newsletter by Gordon Bousman, NW7D, called it “a big win” and said the Sun City Grand community homeowners association (HOA) is believed to be the largest in the US to permit Amateur Radio antennas. The HOA board includes one radio amateur. The new antenna guidelines went into effect on May 9.

“The road to success took nearly a year of meetings, negotiations, and occasional setbacks driven by a team of dedicated amateurs who were persistent in reaching our goals,” Bousman said in his article. “While our initial discussion points focused on the possibility of passage of the [Amateur Radio] Parity Act, we later shifted our focus to the value that Amateur Radio operators can bring to the community in the event of an emergency or crisis.”

Bousman told ARRL the group “somewhat” modeled its antenna proposal after that of the Sun City Texas Ham Radio group in Georgetown, Texas, which permitted outdoor antennas several years ago.

Gordon Bousman, NW7D.

The types of antennas permitted are modest. The list includes flagpole antennas that do not exceed 16 feet, verticals that do not rise more than 5 feet above the peak of a home, and wire antennas no higher than 5 feet above the roof peak. No traps in wire antennas are allowed and towers of any type remain prohibited.

“[These] antennas should provide amateurs very adequate capabilities to work long distances on the HF bands and to be able to adequately communicate across our community on the VHF/UHF bands — as well as being able to reach most repeaters in the Phoenix area valley, including several emergency repeaters,” the newsletter article stated.

Radio amateurs will need to apply to the HOA’s Architectural Review Committee Standards Office to obtain approval and may only erect two outdoor antennas.

Bousman said more than a dozen antenna applications were submitted in the first week and other hams are working on designs. Read more.

Ad
First Ham Satellite — OSCAR 1 — will Join AMSAT’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at Dayton

A working prototype of OSCAR 1, Amateur Radio’s first satellite, will be on display at AMSAT’s Dayton Hamvention® booth. AMSAT’s exhibit will be in Building 1 (Maxim Hall) at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio. OSCAR 1 (Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio) was launched into orbit in 1961, at the dawn of the Space Age. Built by a group of California-based radio amateurs for about $60, OSCAR 1 was the first nongovernmental satellite. It transmitted a simple “HI” in CW for nearly 20 days and was heard in 28 different countries. W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, recently had to troubleshoot a problem with ARRL’s OSCAR 1 in preparation for its Dayton appearance in a special “OSCAR Park” display commemorating AMSAT’s 50th anniversary. He said it was a “rather humbling” experience.

“Apparently, OSCAR 1 was not transmitting properly,” Carcia said. “So, I took it back into the shop, changed the power cable, and checked the transmitter. I had to tweak it just a bit.” Carcia said the satellite now functions.

Only three OSCAR 1 satellites were made. One was launched into orbit, of course, while the Smithsonian Institution houses the other. “Assuming it doesn’t get bounced around too much en route, it will be transmitting a chirpy ‘HI’ on 145.224 MHz,” Carcia said. “The load is a 50 W resistor, so you can copy it about 50 feet or so away from the source.”

AMSAT will present Amateur Radio satellite operation demonstrations outside the main entrance of Maxim Hall, 8 AM – 4:30 PM, on all three days of Hamvention. “AMSAT will be demonstrating actual contacts with the operational amateur satellites,” AMSAT said in its weekly AMSAT News Service newsletter. “We especially want to invite youth to make a contact via an amateur satellite. All are invited to observe, participate, and ask questions.”

AMSAT will hold its forum in Room 2 on Saturday, May 18, starting at 12:10 PM EDT. AMSAT Vice President of User Services Robert Bankston, KE4AL, will moderate the session.

ITU Working Party 5A1 Completes Draft New Report on WRC-19 Agenda Item 1.1

Working Group 1 of ITU-R Working Party 5A completed work on the sharing and compatibility studies required for World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) Agenda Item 1.1 during the meeting of WP 5A that concluded on May 9. The report, which began as a nine-page document in 2016, grew to 158 pages developed from 60 input contributions over a 3-year period. Working Group 5A1, responsible for amateur matters, is chaired by Dale Hughes, VK1DSH.

Agenda item 1.1 calls on the ITU to study Amateur Service spectrum needs in Region 1 in the 50 – 54 MHz band, taking into account the results of sharing studies between the Amateur Service and other services using the band to ensure protection of these services.

The report describes work undertaken to prepare for Agenda Item 1.1 of WRC-19 and the associated Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM), which addressed the technical background for WRC. National administrations will use the Draft New Report and the CPM Report to prepare proposals for WRC-19 later this year. Region 1 Regional Telecommunications Organizations (RTOs) will hold preparatory meetings this summer to develop common multi-country proposals. WRC-19 will only consider proposals actually offered by administrations or RTOs.

No impact on Amateur Radio allocations in Regions 2 and 3 is anticipated. WRC-19 takes place October 28 – November 22 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Dayton Hamvention and ARISS Working Together Again this Year

Dayton Hamvention® will support the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program this year by including the first-ever ARISS Forum, on Friday, May 17, from 1:15 – 2:15 PM in Room 3. Speakers will present current and future lifelong learning activities for hams and students via ARISS SSTV, APRS, voice repeaters, radio experiments, and robots.

Attendees will also learn about the next-gen on-orbit hardware systems, updates on school activities, the ARISS initiative to fly ham radio on the human spaceflight lunar Gateway, how to maximize hams’ opportunities to make ARISS connections and listen to the ISS crew in home stations, and meet special guests.

Hamvention will boost ARISS by once again featuring a special ticket-drawing right before the Sunday bonus prize drawing. The winner will receive an ARISS Challenge Coin display. A challenge coin is the premium received by donors who give $100 or more to ARISS. The ARISS exhibit in Building 1 will display equipment that will replace and upgrade the ham station gear now on board. Hamvention visitors donating $10 will receive a new ARISS lapel pin and a chance to win an ARISS Challenge Coin, with the winning ticket to be drawn at the ARISS booth on Sunday morning. Online donations are also invited.

In Brief…

An Amateur Radio weather warning alerted residents of an Ohio town to a possible tornado. A handful of Ohio SKYWARN weather spotters on April 14 forwarded reports to National Weather Service (NWS) Cleveland of a possible tornado near Shelby. As a result, NWS Cleveland was able to issue a tornado warning before the storm struck the town. No lives were lost, but six were injured. The tornado was rated as an EF-2 storm, but it was on the ground for 17 miles and covered a swath of 1/2 mile. Immediately after receiving word of the strike, coordinating through the county emergency management agency (EMA), District Emergency Coordinator Danny Baily, W8DLB, and others headed immediately to Shelby, where they met with law enforcement. Because all of District 6 was activated, it was decided to activate two counties to the north and three counties to the south of Richland. DMR Ohio Talk Group 3139 was used to coordinate resources. While no telecommunications were knocked out of service, hams were assigned to walk the perimeter to keep an eye open for any problems. — Thanks to Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator Stan Broadway, N8BHL, in DELARA News

+++

The ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC) has reissued a call for papers for its 2019 event. Technical papers are invited for presentation at the Conference, set for September 20 – 22 at the Marriott Detroit Metro Airport Hotel. Papers will also be published in the Conference Proceedings. Authors do not need to attend the conference to have their papers included in the Proceedings. The submission deadline is August 5. Submit papers via email or mail to Maty Weinberg, KB1EIB, ARRL, 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111. Papers will be published exactly as submitted, and authors will retain all rights.

+++

The 2019 GNU Radio Conference (GRCon19), September 16 – 20 in Huntsville, Alabama, is seeking papers and presentations. Submissions are due by July 1. The GNU Radio Conference highlights the substantial and remarkable progress of the world’s premier open-source digital signal processing framework for software-defined radios. In addition to presenting GNU Radio’s theoretical and practical presence in academia, industry, the military, and among radio amateurs and hobbyists, GNU Radio Conference 2019 will have a special focus on the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission, which landed the first humans on the moon — hence, the selection of “The Rocket City,” home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, as the venue. Papers for inclusion in the Technical Proceedings are welcome, but submitters do not need to submit papers to the Proceedings in order to present at GRCon19. For more information, visit the GRCon19 website.

+++

Amateur Radio Roundtable will Livestream 50 Hours of Dayton Hamvention®Amateur Radio Roundtable and host Tom Medlin, W5KUB, will be back at Dayton Hamvention to livestream the activity and action before, during, and after the May 17 – 19 event. Amateur Radio Roundtable’s show coverage will go live on Thursday, May 16, and continue through the weekend. “This is a big event and we have viewers in about 150 countries,” Medlin said. “Astronaut Doug Wheelock, KF5BOC, will join us again for the 7th year as cohost. Join in the live chat room.” More information is on the W5KUB Facebook group.

+++

Selected Sessions of the 2019 Contest University (CTU) will be Livestreamed, Compliments of Icom America. Streaming on the CTU website will begin on May 16 at 1200 UTC. Topics include Radiosport Contesting with Integrity; 2BSIQ & SO3R: Riding the Edge of Human Capabilities, and No-Compromise Remote Contesting.


Getting It Right!

In “High-Altitude Celebration at SAQ,” which appeared in the May 9 edition of The ARRL Letter, we identified the wrong “B” composer. Ludwig van Beethoven composed “Ode to Joy.”


Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.


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

.

.

  • Join or Renew Today! ARRL membership includes QST, Amateur Radio’s most popular and informative journal, delivered to your mailbox each month.

Subscribe to…

Free of charge to ARRL members…

  • Subscribe to the ARES E-Letter (monthly public service and emergency communications news), the ARRL Contest Update (bi-weekly contest newsletter), Division and Section news alerts — and much more!
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
www.arrl.org

 

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.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

Back issues published since 2000 are available on this page. If you wish to subscribe via e-mail, simply log on to the ARRL Web site, click on Edit Your Profile at the top, then click on Edit Email Subscriptions. Check the box next to The ARRL email newsletter, the ARRL Letter and you will receive each weekly issue in HTML format. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): letter-dlvy@arrl.org

Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, at ww1me@arrl.org.

Plain-Text

The ARRL E-Letter e-mail is also available in plain-text version:

Outlook Express

1. From the Inbox view, select the Tools menu and the Options selection.

2. Click the Read tab

3. Check the Read All Messages In Plain Text box.  When you open the e-mail, it will be in plain text without images. Other e-mail programs may be able to make a Mail Rule for e-mail received from the address memberlist@www.arrl.org so that the plain-text-only display is selected automatically.

Outlook 2007

Use the same procedure as for Outlook Express, although the global option is under “Tools/Trust Center/E-mail Security”.

Thunderbird

Use the menu item “View/Message Body As/Plain Text” or “View/Message Source” options.

OS X Mail (Mac)

Use the “View/Message/Plain Text Alternative” menu item.

GMail

Use the “Message text garbled?” link in the drop-down menu at the upper right of the displayed message block. pine, alpine Set “prefer-plain-text” in your ~/.pinerc configuration file: feature-list=…, prefer-plain-text, …

The ARRL Letter for April 25, 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 provided by HQ ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT, 06111.  Accessed on 16 April 2019, 0205 UTC, Post 950.

Editor:  Rick Lindquist (WW1ME).

Source:

http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2019-04-25

Please click link or scroll down to read the complete newsletter.


Internet Access to ARRL Systems May Be Disrupted on April 28

Maintenance work on April 28 may disrupt ARRL Headquarters systems — including VPN connections and Logbook of The World. The main website should remain online during this outage, which could last for up to 4 hours on April 28, starting at approximately midnight EDT (0400 UTC on April 29). All services will automatically resume as soon as connectivity is restored. Email should not be affected. Any orders placed via the ARRL Store during the outage will be queued for handling after connectivity returns. We apologize for any inconvenience.


Faster, More Contest-Friendly FT4 Digital Protocol Beta Version to Debut on April 29

A new, speedier, more contest-friendly digital mode is just days away, initially in beta form. WSJT-X developers say serious work on the new FT4 protocol began shortly after the FT8 Roundup held last December 1 – 2. The goal was a mode that could compete with RTTY contesting in terms of contact rates, while preserving many of the benefits of FT8.

“Over the past month, a small group of volunteers have been conducting on-the-air tests of FT4,” the WSJT-X development group — Joe Taylor, K1JT; Steve Franke, K9AN; and Bill Somerville, G4WJS — announced this week. “The early tests were very successful and helped us to make a number of important design decisions. We believe FT4 has considerable promise for its intended purpose.”

The developers say FT4 soon will be ready for testing by a larger group and they’re seeking interested participants who can offer their “considered feedback.” They suggest reading The FT4 Protocol for Digital Contesting first. A general release of the WSJT-X suite that includes FT4 is anticipated in July.

According to the document, FT4 is an experimental digital mode designed specifically for radio contesting that — like FT8 — uses fixed-length transmissions, structured messages with formats optimized for minimal contacts, and strong forward-error correction. Transmit-receive sequences are 6 seconds long, making it 2.5 times faster than FT8 and about the same speed as conventional RTTY for radio contesting. FT4 can work with signals 10 dB weaker what would be required to decode RTTY while using much less bandwidth.

Spectra of an FT4 signal transmitted with GFSK (blue), FT4 with FSK (red), and RTTY with continuous-phase FSK (purple).

Transmissions last for 4.48 seconds, compared to 12.64 seconds for FT8. Modulation uses four-tone frequency-shift keying at approximately 23.4 baud, with tones separated by the baud rate. The occupied bandwidth is 90 Hz.

“We plan to post downloadable installation packages for WSJT-X version 2.1.0-rc5 on Monday, April 29,” the Development Group said.

“A few parameters and operating behaviors of FT4 are still being tested and optimized,” the initial FT4 guide says. “It will be very useful to hold several more mock contest practice sessions, with a larger group of active participants.”

Even if these practice sessions reveal no serious bugs or inadequacies, the WSJT-X development group believes FT4 is still too new to be used in the ARRL VHF Contest (June 8 – 10) and ARRL Field Day (June 22 – 23). For that reason, release candidate WSJT-X2.1.0-rc5 will “time out” on June 7. A general availability release is expected in mid-July. Read more.

♦♦♦

IARU Argues for Protection from Wireless Power Transfer Spurious Emissions

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) was represented April 8 – 10, when CEPT Committee SE24 – Short Range Devices met in Ankara, Turkey, to undertake further work concerning wireless power transfer/transmission (WPT). SE24 is considering WPT for electric vehicles (WPT-EV) and also for generic applications.

IARU already provided extensive input on the potential impact on radio communications resulting from spurious emissions from WPT devices, as detailed in CEPT ECC Report 289, published in January. According to that report, given the planned density of WPT systems for electric vehicles operating in the 79 – 90 kHz range, it is calculated that there will be a widespread and serious impact for the Amateur Service in the vicinity of WPT systems, should spurious emissions, measured at 10 meters, be at the current limits of ERC Recommendation 74-01.

At the Ankara meeting, IARU and other interested parties provided further input. SE24 will meet again in early July to focus on WPT issues.

Also at Ankara, IARU attended the Short-Range Devices Maintenance Group meeting (SRD/MG), where it was noted that further work was needed in SE24 before spurious emission limits for WPT devices could be addressed in a regulatory sense. IARU was represented in Ankara by IARU Region 1 President Don Beattie, G3BJ, who is spearheading the IARU’s work in this area.

The issue of WPT-EV is World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) Agenda Item 9.1.6, for which studies are still under way. Broadcasters, land mobile services, and others have also expressed concern about spurious WPT-EV emissions. Further work remains regarding generic WPT systems for such applications as cell phone charging, power tools, and household appliances.

Ad
Technology: FCC Asked to Allow All Digital Transmissions on AM Band

According to Radio World, a prominent advocate for the Standard Broadcast Band (AM band) has petitioned the FCC to allow stations to use all-digital transmissions in the US. In March, Bryan Broadcasting Corporation asked the Commission to initiate a proceeding to authorize the MA3 primary all-digital service mode for any AM station that chooses to do so. Bryan is the licensee of four AM and five FM stations (and six FM translators) in central Texas.

All HD Radio receivers in the market that have AM functionality would be able to receive such all-digital signals, the article explains, but legacy AM receivers would not.

Since last summer, WWFD in Frederick, Maryland, has had special temporary authority to broadcast in all-digital. The Bryan petition appears to be the first to seek all-digital authority. The petition said the broadcast industry’s experimentation with an all-digital approach “could be accelerated by actually allowing stations to fully switch to MA3; actual experiential knowledge by stations that elect to switch will provide economic proof-of-concept for stations that delay in order to see how others fare.”

The petition also noted discussions that the AM band has “become so overwhelmed by interference and impulse noise that the resultant audio product is rendered unacceptable to modern listeners.” The petition said the noise floor generated by unlicensed devices and affecting the AM band “has been noticeable — and increasing — for years.” According to the petition, Bryan has tried to quantify the noise floor increase, but that studies have not been undertaken in the US. The petition said experience in other countries suggests a rise from anywhere between 10 dB and 40 dB between the 1970s and the early 2000s.”

The Doctor Will See You Now!

“Handheld Transceivers” is the topic of the new (April 25) 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.

Ad
Meet ARRL Authors at the ARRL National Convention

ARRL will present a “Meet the Authors” area at the 2019 ARRL National Convention at Hamvention® May 17 – 19 in Xenia, Ohio. This is an opportunity for visitors to speak with the radio amateurs who are inspiring today’s experimenters, operators, and innovators. A schedule will be posted in the ARRL exhibit area to meet these authors and editors:

Books will be available for purchase within the ARRL exhibit area for authors to autograph. In addition to the Meet the Authors area, ARRL National Convention exhibits and activities will include QSL card checking for ARRL award programs, the opportunity to have your handheld transceiver checked for spurious emissions, and much more.

ARRL exhibits will be located in Building 2 of the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center. Visit the ARRL National Convention and Hamvention web pages for a complete convention rundown.


Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • April 27 – 28 — 10-10 International Spring Contest, Digital

  • April 27 – 28 — SP DX RTTY Contest

  • April 27 – 28 — Helvetia Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • April 27 – 28 — Florida QSO Party (CW, phone)

  • April 28 — BARTG Sprint 75 (Digital)

  • May 1 — AGCW QRP/QRP Party CW

  • May 2 — NRAU 10-Meter Activity Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • May 2 — 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.

Ad
The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Following a good 2-week run, sunspots disappeared after April 20. The average daily sunspot number for the recent reporting week was 8.1, down from 14 last week, and average daily solar flux was 70.6, down from 76.4. Daily planetary and midlatitude A index were nearly the same this week, with the average planetary A index at 4.7 and middle latitude A index at 4.6.

Predicted solar flux for the next 45 days is 69 on April 25 – May 2; 72, 76, 76, and 77 on May 3 – 6; 78 on May 7 – 16; 76 and 72 on May 17 – 18; 69 on May 19 – 29; 72, 76, 76, and 77 on May 30 – June 2, and 78 on June 3 – 8.

Predicted planetary A index is 15, 10, 5, and 10 on April 25 – 28; 5 on April 29 – May 1; 12, 8, 5, 10, 12, and 14 on May 2 – 7; 8 on May 8 – 10; 5 on May 11 – 19; 8 on May 20 – 22; 5, 12, 8, and 5 on May 23 – 26; 10, 14, 12, 8, and 5 on May 27 – 31; 10, 12, and 14 on June 1 – 3; 8 on June 4 – 6, and 5 on June 7 – 8.

Sunspot numbers for April 18 – 24 were 23, 23, 11, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 8.1. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 74.6, 72.7, 69.9, 69.3, 69.4, 68.8, and 69.3, with a mean of 70.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 2, 4, 4, 4, 4, 8, and 7, with a mean of 4.7. The middle latitude A index was 2, 4, 4, 4, 4, 8, and 6, with a mean of 4.6.

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.

Low Audio for ISS SSTV Transmissions Raises Issue of Crew’s Ability to Intervene

Reception problems owing to low audio levels plagued a recent round of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station-sponsored (ARISS) slow-scan TV transmissions from the International Space Station (ISS). Some clever operators on the receiving end were able to use software to bump up the deficient audio so the images would decode properly. But the matter raised questions concerning the ISS

Patrick Stoddard, WD9EWK, was able to get acceptable SSTV images by tinkering with the received audio and then decoding.

crew’s ability to troubleshoot problems and to make adjustments to the Amateur Radio gear on the fly. ARISS-International Chair and AMSAT Vice President for Human Spaceflight Programs Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, subsequently posted an explanation of how Amateur Radio fits into the operation of the ISS and the astronauts’ ability to service and operate it.

“Please remember that ARISS is not the prime activity on ISS,” Bauer said. “There are over 300 international experiments currently operational on ISS on this expedition.” Bauer said the vast array of ongoing experiments means it’s only possible to “occasionally get suggestions to the crew” to make changes relative to the Amateur Radio payload. “Any workarounds on any experiment/payload will compete with the crew’s already fully booked schedule,” he explained.

Frank Bauer, KA3HDO. [Photo courtesy of ARISS]

Bauer said that once ARISS has its Interoperable Radio System on board, it plans to augment the system with ground-command capability. “Once in place, we will be able to do many things with our radio without crew intervention, including mode changes to support SSTV, APRS, voice repeater, etc,” Bauer said. “This capability will also be important if we fly ham radio on the Lunar Gateway, which will not have crew on it 24/7.”

Bauer pointed out that keeping ARISS afloat and able to implement new Amateur Radio capabilities requires “a great deal of funding,” and he used the opportunity to note that ARISS has a fundraising activity under way to get the Interoperable Radio System ready for launch. “If you really want to see improvements in the ISS radio system from where it is today, please strongly consider donating to ARISS,” Bauer said. Read more. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service

Ad
Three BIRDS Constellation CubeSats Delivered to ISS for Orbital Deployment

A Cygnus resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 11 also delivered three CubeSats of the BIRDS-3 constellation and three other CubeSats. The BIRDS-3 constellation is a project of students at the Kyushu Institute of Technology. The additional CubeSats include Swiatowid, KrakSat, and EntrySat.

All BIRDS-3 CubeSats are of the same design and have been coordinated to operate on a common downlink frequency of 435.375 MHz. Each will transmit a CW beacon and 9.6 k GMSK telemetry. The CubeSat deployer in the ISS Kibo module will deploy the BIRDS-3 CubeSats at a later date.

The BIRDS-3 constellation includes CubeSats from three countries: They are Nepal’s first satellite, NepaliSat-1; Uguisu from Japan, and Sri Lanka’s first satellite, Raavana-1. The primary mission of the BIRDS constellation is to provide ciphered short messages via its 435.375 MHz beacon, giving the opportunity for the Amateur Radio community to decipher the messages using a publicly available key on the BIRDS-3 website. Operators able to successfully decipher the message will be recognized on the BIRDS-3 website and receive a BIRDS-3 QSL card.

In addition to their primary mission, BIRDS-3 CubeSats will conduct remote data collection based on low-powered LoRa modulation to demonstrate remote data collection and processing aboard a CubeSat to, for example, monitor water levels in flood-prone areas. The LoRa remote station will operate at 433 MHz for Sri Lanka and Nepal and at 920 MHz for Japan. Data collected will be posted on the BIRDS-3 website. Radio amateurs contributing to receiving the processed data will receive a QSL card showing the nature of data collected.

Swiatowid will carry a V/U transponder, with an FM voice uplink at 436.000 MHz and downlink at 145.850. EntrySat will carry an Amateur Radio FM relay with a downlink of 436.950 (uplink not available). Read more— Thanks to AMSAT News Service

International Marconi Day 2019 is April 27 (UTC)

Some 70 stations have registered to take part in the 2019 International Marconi Day (IMD) observance on Saturday, April 27 (UTC). Registered stations all will operate at sites with a personal connection with wireless pioneer Guglielmo Marconi, including sites at which he set up transmitting and receiving stations. The 24-hour Amateur Radio event celebrates the birth of Marconi on April 25, 1874, with the event typically held on the Saturday closest to Marconi’s birthday. During IMD 2019, radio amateurs around the world will make contact with historic Marconi sites. The event is sponsored by the Cornish Radio Amateur Club, which will operate as GB4IMD.

Marconi at Signal Hill in Newfoundland.

While April 27 is the day of the official celebration, some IMD special events will take place outside of that time frame, although only contacts made on April 27 count for IMD awards. For example, in Austria, OE19M will be on the air for 72 hours, from April 26 until April 28 as an official IMD. Numerous IMD stations will be on the air from various locations in Marconi’s native Italy.

Several US stations have registered as official IMD stations, including two on Cape Cod, where Marconi had established stations in Wellfleet and Chatham. VO1IMD will be on the air from Signal Hill near St. John’s, Newfoundland, where Marconi first received a signal from across the Atlantic in 1901. Read more.

Operating: The Upside of Remote Control

If you’ve ever worked Hal Offutt, W1NN, in a contest and thought he was in Ohio, the more likely possibility is that he was in Japan (he is also 7J1AAI), operating his station in Ohio remotely via the internet. A philosophical debate continues as to whether operating a station from one place (e.g., Japan) that is physically in another (e.g., Ohio) is really Amateur Radio. We’ll leave that for the reflector pundits to resolve among themselves. Fact is, the ability to remotely control a distant station is not all that new, and it’s gaining in popularity, with remotely controlled, specially sited contest stations now available on a rental basis.

Some hams have done it over the POTS (plain old telephone service) or a cell phone in years past, but the typical arrangement these days is via the internet, and some very sophisticated hardware and software (it takes a combination of both) has been cobbled together to make it work.

Hal Offutt, W1NN, at his remote station control point in Tokyo. [Hal Offutt, W1NN, photo]

In his “Remote Contesting” column in the November/December 2018 issue of NCJ, Mark Aaker, K6UFO, notes: “Remotely operated contest stations are appearing in greater numbers with each passing contest.” Aaker said he’s noticed four effects of remote stations on contesting: 1. Remote stations are being used to win, and place highly, in major contests; 2. Remote stations provide valuable contacts and multipliers for other contest participants; 3. Remote stations are allowing operators to get on the air who might otherwise not be able to participate, and 4. Remote stations are developing technology that’s useful for all station builders. W1NN explained how it works for him.

“Like most Tokyo residents, I live in an apartment where it is not practical to put up a ham antenna,” he told NCJ. “For much of the contest season I was off the air, missing contests that I had come to like. Dan, WA6URY, helped me through the process of setting up a remote station. I made my first contacts from Japan via my Ohio station in the winter of 2011, so I have been at this now for 7 years. My station in Ohio is quite modest, but it is a lot better than having no station, and [operating remotely] allows me to contest as much as I want while in Japan.”

In Brief…

Ulrich Rohde, N1UL, has been selected to receive the 2019 Circuits and Systems (CAS) Society Industrial Pioneer Award. The Industrial Pioneer Award recognizes exceptional and pioneering contributions in translating academic and industrial research results into improved industrial applications and/or commercial products. The IEEE Circuits and Systems Society sponsors the award, which will be presented at the International Symposium on Circuits and Systems 2019 conference. CAS awards are intended to highlight the accomplishments of CAS Society members and celebrate their dedication and contributions both within the field and to the CAS Society. Award recipients are nominated by their Society peers in order to honor the service and contributions that further strengthen the CAS Society.

♦♦♦

Former ARRL North Carolina Section Manager John Covington, W4CC, of Charlotte, died on April 17 after a long illness. An ARRL Life Member, he was 58. Covington served as North Carolina SM from 2000 until 2006. First licensed in 1972, Covington mainly enjoyed CW and some digital modes, but operated phone on the National Traffic System, where he was very active, and on occasional public service nets, special events, and QSO parties. He also served as the North Carolina Affiliated Club Coordinator from 1997 until 2002, and he was an Official Relay Station.

♦♦♦

The past DX editor of CQ Magazine, John Attaway, K4IIF, of Winter Haven, Florida, died on April 15.He was 88. He served at CQ Amateur Radio magazine for 20 years, and it was Attaway who conceived of a DX Hall of Fame, which was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding DXers. Professionally, Attaway pursued a career as a research chemist, focusing on the then-nascent field of flavor chemistry involved with the citrus industry in Florida, working to identify the chemicals and compounds that give citrus fruits their unique taste. He retired as the director of scientific research for the Florida Department of Citrus, and was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 2001.

♦♦♦

The FCC has announced a position opening that may be of interest to a radio amateur. The Commission seeking a telecommunications specialist to work at the High Frequency Direction Finding Center (HFDFC) in Columbia, Maryland. This is a full-time position. The person holding this position performs “watch duty” and serves as a technical authority providing technical assistance and guidance to communication systems users to resolve radio interference complaints and problems. The telecommunications specialist uses radio signal analysis equipment deployed throughout the US to collect, correlate, and analyze characteristics of radio signals involved in interference problems, distress or safety-related signals, or other radio signals involved in other high-priority activities such as law enforcement or national defense, to include HF, VHF, and UHF. See the position announcement for full details.


Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.


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

.

.

  • Join or Renew Today! ARRL membership includes QST, Amateur Radio’s most popular and informative journal, delivered to your mailbox each month.

Subscribe to…

Free of charge to ARRL members…

  • Subscribe to the ARES E-Letter (monthly public service and emergency communications news), the ARRL Contest Update (bi-weekly contest newsletter), Division and Section news alerts — and much more!
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
www.arrl.org

 

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.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

Back issues published since 2000 are available on this page. If you wish to subscribe via e-mail, simply log on to the ARRL Web site, click on Edit Your Profile at the top, then click on Edit Email Subscriptions. Check the box next to The ARRL email newsletter, the ARRL Letter and you will receive each weekly issue in HTML format. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): letter-dlvy@arrl.org

Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, at ww1me@arrl.org.

Plain-Text

The ARRL E-Letter e-mail is also available in plain-text version:

Outlook Express

1. From the Inbox view, select the Tools menu and the Options selection.

2. Click the Read tab

3. Check the Read All Messages In Plain Text box.  When you open the e-mail, it will be in plain text without images. Other e-mail programs may be able to make a Mail Rule for e-mail received from the address memberlist@www.arrl.org so that the plain-text-only display is selected automatically.

Outlook 2007

Use the same procedure as for Outlook Express, although the global option is under “Tools/Trust Center/E-mail Security”.

Thunderbird

Use the menu item “View/Message Body As/Plain Text” or “View/Message Source” options.

OS X Mail (Mac)

Use the “View/Message/Plain Text Alternative” menu item.

GMail

Use the “Message text garbled?” link in the drop-down menu at the upper right of the displayed message block. pine, alpine Set “prefer-plain-text” in your ~/.pinerc configuration file: feature-list=…, prefer-plain-text, …

 

The ARRL Letter for November 29, 2018


Accessed on 30 November 2018, 0626 UTC, Post 788.

Source:  http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2018-11-29

Please click link to read the full report from HQ ARRL, Newington, CT, 06111.

Comment:

Here are the main topics discussed in the current edition of “The ARRL Letter”:

Just Ahead in Radiosport


Big Island ARRLNews, 15 July 2017, 23:20 hrs, UTC, Post #259.

Source:

http://www.eham.net/articles/39650

The ARRL Letter for Thursday, July 13, 2017.

Please click link to read the full schedule of events.

Comment:

Although the 2017 ARRL Field Day is past, there are still many contests and DX-peditions to keep your operating skills sharp and focused.  According to http://www.eham.net via The ARRL Letter, July and early August are packed with some interesting and challenging events.  At the end of the list, I’ll briefly describe two Hawaii-sponsored operating events that you should consider.

Here’s the list of upcoming Radiosport events:

Just Ahead In Radiosport:– July 15 — Russian Radio Team Championship (CW, phone)

– July 15 — Trans-Tasman Low-Bands Challenge (CW, phone, digital)

– July 15 — Feld Hell Sprint

– July 15 — DMC RTTY Contest

– July 15-16 — North American QSO Party http://www.ncjweb.com/ (RTTY)

– July 15-16 — CQ Worldwide VHF Contest (CW, phone, digital)

– July 16 — RSGB Low Power Contest (CW)

– July 17 — Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)

– July 20 — NAQCC CW Sprint (CW)

See the ARRL Contest Calendar http://www.arrl.org/contest-calendar for more information. For in-depth reporting on Amateur Radio contesting, subscribe to The ARRL Contest Update http://www.arrl.org/contest-update-issues via your ARRL member profile e-mail preferences.

In addition to these operating events, here are two more Hawaii-oriented contests worth your time:

Hawaii QSO Party.  The event will be held from 26 August 2017 (0400 UTC) to 28 August 2017 (0400 UTC). The event promotes HF operation from the unique Hawaii destination in the Pacific.  Hawaii is an ARRL DXCC entity as well as the nation’s 50th state needed for the ARRL WAS (Worked All States) Award.

The Hawaii Grid Madness VHF/UHF simplex event will be held on Sunday, 17 September 2017, from 1300-1700 Hawaii Standard Time.  The event is sponsored by the Aulani Hui Amateur Repeater Club. For details, contact Stan Froseth (AH6KO)–AH6KO@arrl.net. You can get more information at this website:  https://gridmadness.blogspot.com/2016/11/2017-info.html.

For the latest Amateur Radio news and information, please visit these sites:

http://www.HawaiiARRL.info

https://oahuarrlnews.wordpress.com.

https://bigislandarrlnews.com (this site).

https://kh6jrm.blogspot.com (Simple Ham Radio Antennas).

http://www.arrl.org.

http://www.arrl.org/arrl-audio-news (a weekly podcast updated each Friday afternoon).

https://paper.li/kh6jrm/1430289353 (Amateur Radio News & Information).

Please send your Hawaii Island Amateur Radio news items to kh6jrm@arrl.net at least two weeks prior to your event so I can notify our local print and broadcast media in a timely manner.

Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73

Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section