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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
May 11, 2017
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


Hamvention Organizers "Counting Down the Hours," Anticipating up to 35,000 Visitors

Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) treasurer and Hamvention® spokesperson Mike Kalter, W8CI, says that everything is falling into place for "a five-star event" at Hamvention's new venue, the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio, May 19-21.

"We're counting down the hours," Kalter told DX Engineering's Tim Duffy, K3LR, in a May 2 video, produced by DX Engineering. The theme for Hamvention 2017 is "Same friends, new home."

Kalter revealed to Duffy that after Hara Arena announced it would be closing last year, the Hamvention Organizing Committee pondered not staging a show at all in 2017. "We had thought we might not even have the event for another year and take more time and get it all set," Kalter said, "but our team was determined to do this."

The flea market at the new venue turned out to be "one of our more difficult areas," Kalter said. The Hamvention flea market will have the same number of booth spaces as in 2016. "It's looking like it will sell out, but we're not there yet," he told Duffy. Inside exhibitor booth space is in very good shape, he noted.

Kalter said he does not anticipate any problems with parking, explaining that free on- and off-site parking will be available, with shuttle bus service to and from Hamvention for off-site lots. Maps are now online to help visitors navigate what will be unfamiliar territory for most.

Tim Duffy, K3LR, and Mike Kalter, W8CI.

Kalter also told Duffy that he's expecting a bumper crop of attendees at Hamvention 2017. "The way ticket sales are going, and with most of the hotel/motel space sold out by mid-February...we're expecting between 30,000 and 35,000 people," he said. It's still possible to buy tickets online through May 17 and pick them up at the show.

Kalter said there was a lot of demand for forums this year, and Hamvention will be unable to accommodate any repeat sessions. Duffy noted that 2017 will mark his 35th year moderating the antenna forum.

"We're going to learn a lot this year," Kalter said. Some 600 DARA volunteers are involved in making Hamvention 2017 happen. "My hat's off to the whole team," he said. "It's a huge undertaking." Read more.

Registration Now Open for USA ARDF Championships

Registration is now under way for the 2017 USA and International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 2 championships of Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF), which will take place August 3-6 near Harrison, Ohio, northwest of Cincinnati near the Indiana state line. Three optional training days are planned for Monday through Wednesday, July 31-August 2 near Harrison, just prior to the championships. If you have never experienced a full ARDF course, this is your chance to do so in a friendly environment. Your only opponent will be the clock.

Thursday, August 3, will be devoted to the sprint event, a short course with 12-second fox transmissions instead of the usual 60 seconds each. Friday morning will be foxoring, a combination of radio direction finding and classic orienteering, followed by a model event for equipment testing and a competitor briefing.

Classic 2-meter and 80-meter competitions take place Saturday and Sunday, respectively. There will be an awards banquet on Saturday evening for presentation of medals for foxoring, sprint, and 2-meter classic. Awards for 80-meter classic will be presented Sunday afternoon, immediately after the competition.

Organizers of the 2017 USA and IARU Region 2 Championships are members of the OH-KY-IN Amateur Radio Society. They are experienced radio-orienteers who organized the successful national championships of 2003 and 2010. Assisting them will be members of Orienteering Cincinnati.

ARDF Championship rules are set by the IARU. For scoring and awards, participants are divided into 11 age/gender categories. In the classic ARDF events, competitors start in small groups made up of different categories. As they seek the hidden transmitters, they navigate through the forest from the starting corridor to the finish line, a distance of 4 to 10 kilometers. They plot their direction-finding bearings on orienteering maps that show terrain features, elevation contours, and vegetation type.

Ruth Bromer, WB4QZG, was Team USA Captain at the 2016 World ARDF Championships. [Ken Harker, WM5R, photo]

The USA ARDF Championships are open to anyone who can safely navigate the woods alone. A ham radio license is not required. Each participant competes as an individual; teamwork and GPS use are forbidden. Competitors bring their own direction-finding gear to the events, although extra gear is sometimes available for loan from other attendees. Competitors may not transmit on the course, except in emergencies.

USA's ARDF Championships are an ideal opportunity to watch and learn from the best radio-orienteers in the US and from around the world, because visiting competitors from numerous other countries are expected to attend.

Full information is on the ARDF USA website, including a schedule, technical details, lodging, site embargoes, tourism, weather, and much more. An e-mail reflector is available for Q&A with the organizers, as well as for coordinating transportation and arranging equipment loans. Read more. -- Thanks to ARRL Amateur Radio Direction Finding Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV

ARRL Field Day Site Locator is Live for 2017, Public Service Announcements Available

ARRL Field Day is June 24-25 -- always the fourth weekend in June. The Field Day site locator is now up and running, and, to date, around 400 sites are already in the database. To find a Field Day site near you, type in your town and state in the "Location or Call Sign" box at the upper left. Listings are also available by state or Canadian province. To add a site, visit the Add Field Day Station page. The 2017 Field Day public service announcements (PSAs) for event publicity are now available in audio or video formats. There are two versions of each -- "national" (generic) and local MP3 audio spots, and generic and local MP4 video spots. The local versions have room at the end for clubs to add a tag that includes contact information. Each spot is 29 seconds.

Please notify the ARRL Public Relations Department, if you are able to place these PSAs for radio, TV, or cable system airtime.

The Field Day 2017 packet is available from the ARRL website. There have been no significant rule changes from 2016. The Field Day packet contains everything you or your club will need to succeed in June, including explanations, FAQs, articles from experts, and even a log page template, if you log on paper for Field Day.

For more information on Field Day, contact the ARRL Contest Branch. See the May issue of QST, page 93, for the Field Day announcement.

The Doctor Will See You Now!

"Optimizing Receiver Performance" is the topic of the latest episode of the "ARRL The Doctor is In" podcast. Listen...and learn!

Sponsored by DX Engineering, "ARRL 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 e-mail your questions to, 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.

Just ahead: "Optimizing Receiver Performance."

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) Passes Mission Readiness Review, Could Launch in September

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) has successfully cleared another hurdle. A Mission Readiness Review was held April 29, at the Cal Poly campus before a board representing Tyvak, Cal Poly, and NASA, to verify that all requirements have been met for a safe and successful launch and deployment. AMSAT Vice President for Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, presented 81 PowerPoint slides covering all Interface Control Document (ICD) requirements, mission, operations, and deorbit. Following the presentation and a question-and-answer session, the panel unanimously approved RadFxSat as ready for flight.

The next milestone will be integration of the CubeSat into the Poly Picosat Orbital Deployer (P-POD). Launch is set for no earlier than September 21, 2017, aboard a Delta II launcher from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

A partnership with Vanderbilt University ISDE, RadFxSat hosts four payloads for the study of radiation effects on commercial off-the-shelf components. It's one of four CubeSats making up the NASA ELaNa XIV mission, riding as secondary payloads aboard the Joint Polar Satellite System JPSS-1 mission.

RadFxSat features the Fox-1 style Amateur Radio FM U/V repeater, with an uplink on 435.250 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS) and a downlink on 145.960 MHz. Satellite and experiment telemetry will be downlinked via the "DUV" (data under voice) subaudible telemetry stream and can be decoded with the FoxTelem software. -- Thanks to AMSAT News Service via Jerry Buxton, N0JY

IEEE-EMC Society Chicago Chapter Meeting Attendees Give to Spectrum Defense Fund

The more than 200 attendees at the April IEEE-EMC Society Chicago Chapter meeting donated $756 to the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund. ARRL Central Division Director Kermit Carlson, W9XA, called the contributions "spontaneous and voluntary." The Society meeting was a special event at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, to which local Amateur Radio operators had been invited.

"This donation is a small showing of the collective deep appreciation that all attendees at this meeting expressed for the ongoing efforts of the League in the furtherance of the protection of the Amateur Radio spectrum," Carlson said in a letter to ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, accompanying the donation check.

The meeting presentation, "Man-Made Noise and the Impact to Radio Communications -- The Changing Environment," featured Greg lapin, N9GL, co-chair of the Spectrum and Receiver Performance Working Group, FCC Technical Advisory Council, and ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, IEEE-EMC Society Vice President of Standards.

Over the years, the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund has helped to defeat the threat that Little LEO satellites posed to the 2-meter and 70-centimeter bands; remove high-power international broadcasters from the heart of 40 meters, doubling the size of the worldwide band; gain global allocations at 135 kHz and 472 kHz; battle Broadband Over PowerLine (BPL); defend microwave allocations against commercial wireless broadband interests, and obtain an international allocation at 60 meters.

Your contribution is welcome!

Yasme Foundation Grants will Support Youth Involvement in Amateur Radio

The Yasme Foundation has announced several grants aimed at encouraging and promoting youth participation in Amateur Radio and advancing activities that result in new licensees around the world.

Yasme has designated grants that will allow young radio amateurs to attend the 7th Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) UK 2017 conference this August in England. More than 100 young radio amateurs from all three IARU regions will gather to participate in Amateur Radio programs and workshops as well as cross-cultural exchanges and social interaction.

"Gatherings such as YOTA exemplify the ability of amateurs to work together across national borders and ethnicities in the best 'ham spirit' of friendship," the Yasme Board said in announcing the grant. The Yasme Foundation will continue its support of YOTA by assisting two young radio amateurs each from Ethiopia, Tunisia, and Kosovo to attend YOTA UK 2017 this summer.

The Yasme board also made a grant to Kevin Richardson, G0PEK, and his daughter Lauren, M6HLR, for the purchase of Amateur Radio direction finding, HF, VHF, and UHF portable radio equipment in support of their activities to encourage youth involvement in Amateur Radio in the UK.

Yasme has been a frequent supporter of Contest University (CTU), and the Foundation has designated a grant to CTU to facilitate the attendance of Dr. Tamitha Skov at the CTU session held in conjunction with Hamvention 2017. At the CTU in Dayton, she will discuss "The Wonderful World of Space Weather." A research scientist at The Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo, California, Skov is a frequent lecturer in the fields of solar and space physics. She posts her "Space Weather Woman" presentations on YouTube. Skov also will appear at the Hamvention Instructors Forum, moderated by Carole Perry, WB2MGP.

The Yasme Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation organized to conduct scientific and educational projects related to Amateur Radio, including DXing and the introduction and promotion of Amateur Radio in developing countries.

Ham Volunteers Urgently Needed to Support Communication for NYC NAMI 5K Walk

Amateur Radio volunteers are urgently needed to assist with communications during the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Walk on Saturday, May 13, at the South Street Seaport Promenade in New York City. Jose Lugo, KD2CJP, who is coordinating the NAMI event, said his team needs "all available hands on deck." Contact him with availability as soon as possible. Only reply if you are able to help!

Volunteers will be needed starting at about 8:30 AM. The event begins at 10 AM. This is the 11th annual mental health fundraising and awareness 5K walk.

Through advocacy and fundraising efforts, NAMI supports 16,000 New Yorkers living with mental illness. Support provides for veteran caregiver training, programs for middle and high school students to raise awareness and change perceptions around mental illness, programs to support Spanish-speaking caregivers, and support for the NAMI Young Adult Support Group to reinforce that NAMI-NYC is a place for young adults to gain support during major life transitions. -- Thanks to Deborah M. Kerr, KC2GPV, Amateur Radio Communications Director for the NYC Marathon, Half Marathon, and Triathlon/President, ARC Emergency Communications Service

Historic NSS Call Sign to be Reactivated for First Time in More than 40 Years

Operators from the US Naval Academy Radio Club (W3ADO) and the Potomac Valley Radio Club (W3GRF) will reactivate the historic NSS call sign on May 13-14 during the Armed Forces Day Crossband Military/Amateur Radio Communications Test.

Operation from the former NSS Naval Radio Station sit on Greenbury Point in Annapolis, Maryland, will begin at 1300 UTC on Saturday, May 13, and continue until 0200 UTC on Sunday, May 14.

The Naval Radio Station at Greenbury Point in Annapolis in 1994.

NSS will transmit on CW and SSB on 4,038.5, 7,533.5, 14,487, 17,545, and 20,994 kHz and listen for callers on announced Amateur Radio frequencies. All stations contacting NSS will receive a QSL card.

NSS began operation in 1918 as the Annapolis High Power Radio Station using a Federal Telegraph Company 500 kW arc transmitter and four 600-foot towers, operating in the VLF spectrum. NSS HF operation began about 10 years later, although VLF operation continued into the 1990s. The HF mission was transferred in 1976 to NAM in Norfolk, Virginia. While some of the towers were removed, three lighted, self-supporting towers remain to serve as local landmarks and as navigation aids to boaters on Chesapeake Bay. A brief video history of NSS is on YouTube. -- Thanks to Frank Donovan, W3LPL

W5KUB Again to Offer Next Best Thing to Being at Hamvention

Tom Medlin, W5KUB, of Amateur Radio Roundtable webcast fame, will offer more than 48 hours of live webcasting for Hamvention®, starting on May 17 and continuing through May 22 (to include the road trips out and back). This will mark his 15th year of live streaming the show, and this year's webcast will be called "Hamvention 2017 Marathon by Medlin."

Astronaut Douglas Wheelock, KF5BOC, will join Medlin as co-host. "This live event is structured to make you feel that you are there," Medlin said. Webcast viewers will be able to communicate with other viewers logged into the chat room and can even chat directly with the webcast team at Hamvention. Medlin also promises nonstop prize giveaways.

"You will see many familiar people and celebrities drop by and get on camera and say hello to you," Medlin said. Over the course of his Hamvention webcasts, he interviews visitors and offers a view of the show from his particular perch, which will be in booth 5006 at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio.

"Frequency," "Last Man Standing" QRT

Hollywood Reporter reports that The CW television network has pulled the plug on the Amateur Radio-themed show "Frequency," which stars Peyton List as young police detective and radio amateur Raimy Sullivan. "Frequency was a combination of two of the season's most popular trends: time travel and movie reboots," Hollywood Reporter said, noting that the show had been averaging 1.5 million viewers.

As in the 2000 movie Frequency that inspired the TV show, Amateur Radio provides a means for the protagonist to reconnect over time with her late estranged father Frank Sullivan. NBC had initially expressed interest in launching a "Frequency" TV reprise, but ultimately passed on the idea.

Tim Allen in his role as Mike Baxter, KA0XTT, with TV grandson played by Flynn Morrison.

"Frequency" had joined ABC's "Last Man Standing," starring real-life radio amateur Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, KA0XTT, in providing Amateur Radio some small-screen exposure, albeit fictional. News on May 10 from Variety is that ABC has now canceled "Last Man Standing" after six seasons. Occasional scenes on "Last Man" showed Allen's character at his ham station.

The show's producer is John Amodeo, NN6JA, and real-life Amateur Radio special events have been staged from the show's Hollywood set.

Getting It Right!

In the May 4 edition of The ARRL Letter, the article "Harvard Wireless Club Sponsors Inaugural Amateur Radio Symposium" contained an incorrect call sign for one of the speakers, Flavio Jorge. His call sign is CT7AQK.

In Brief...

Midway and Kure Islands Reinstated as DXCC Entities: On March 31, 2017, the DXCC desk announced the deletion of Midway Island and Kure Island from the DXCC entities list. The stated reason for this action was because of changes in the administration resulting from changes in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, formerly known as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, of which the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and the Battle of Midway National Memorial, the Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary at Kure Atoll, and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands State Marine Refuge, of which they are all included. After further review, it has been found that the deletion of these two entities is not supported by the changes that were made to the relevant administrations. Therefore, the deletions from the DXCC list should not have occurred, and the two entities, Midway Island KH4 and Kure Island KH7K, will return to the DXCC list as separate entities.

QSL Wall to be Available at Hamvention: Hamvention® May 19-21 in Xenia, Ohio, will borrow a tradition from Friedrichshafen, Germany's Ham Radio event -- a QSL wall, where visitors can tack up their QSL cards for all to see. "The big wall at Friedrichshafen is very popular and covered with hundreds and hundreds of cards by the end of the show," said ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. The Hamvention QSL wall will be in Building 1 near the Hamvention prize booth; ARRL EXPO will be in Building 2 of the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio. Don't forget your QSL for the wall!

NOAA Seeks Comments on Discontinuing WWV-WWVH North Atlantic and North Pacific Marine Storm Warnings: NOAA is considering ending the North Atlantic and North Pacific marine storm warning announcements at minutes 8, 9, and 10 for WWV, and at minutes 48, 49, 50, and 51 for WWVH. Termination would be on October 1, 2017. NOAA wants to hear from as many interested parties as possible. Comments need to be received by NOAA by May 31. Send all comments or issues concerning this proposed action via e-mail with "MARINE WARNING" in the subject line. WWV and WWVH are services of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). -- Thanks to Matt Deutch, N0RGT

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Average daily sunspot numbers over the May 4-10 reporting week were 17.1, down from 25.1 the previous week. Average daily solar flux declined from 76.9 to 71.5.

There were two days with zero sunspots -- May 9 and 10. noted that Wednesday was the 32nd day with no sunspots in 2017; that's as many as during all of 2016. Because it's early May, this indicates an acceleration of the decline of the current solar cycle.

Predicted solar flux is 70 on May 11; 71 on May 12-13; 70 on May 14-17; 80 on May 18-23; 77 on May 24-27; 75 on May 28-June 1; 73 on June 2; 72 on June 3-4; 70 on June 5-8; 72 on June 9-10; 75 on June 11, and 80 on June 12-19.

Predicted planetary A index is 10 on May 11-12; 5 on May 13-16; 15 on May 17-18; 8, 15, 30, 20, 10, and 8 on May 19-24; 5 on May 25-June 3; 8 on June 4; 5 on June 5-7; 8, 5, 5, and 8 on June 8-11; 15, 30, 15, and 8 on June 12-15.

Sunspot numbers for May 4 through 10, were 29, 31, 26, 23, 11, 0, and 0, with a mean of 17.1. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 74.2, 73.5, 72.8, 71.7, 70.5, 68.9, and 68.6, with a mean of 71.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 6, 5, 8, 6, 6, and 6, with a mean of 6.3. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 6, 5, 5, 7, 7, 5, and 6, with a mean of 5.9.

Send me your reports or observations.

Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • May 13 -- FISTS Spring Unlimited Sprint (CW)

  • May 13 -- Jakarta DX Contest, 40 Meters (Phone)

  • May 13-14 -- CQ-M International DX Contest (CW, phone)

  • May 13-14 -- HPC World Wide DX Contest (Digital)

  • May 13-14 -- VOLTA WW RTTY Contest (Digital)

  • May 13-14 -- Arkansas QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

  • May 13-14 -- SKCC Weekend Sprintathon (CW)

  • May 13-14 -- MARAC County Hunters Contest (CW)

  • May 13-14 -- Portuguese Navy Day Contest (CW, phone)

  • May 13-14 -- 50 MHz Spring Sprint

  • May 14 -- WAB 7 MHz (Phone)

  • May 14 -- UA2 QSO Party (CW, phone)

  • May 15 -- 4 States QRP Group Second Sunday 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 e-mail preferences.

Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.

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The ARRL Letter

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

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