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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
May 9, 2019
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


Mobile Event App will Help Dayton Hamvention Visitors to Navigate the Show

Dayton Hamvention® 2019, host of the ARRL National Convention, will mark the debut of a free mobile event app to help attendees navigate the extensive Hamvention program, activities, and exhibits using their smartphones or tablets. Hamvention is May 17 - 19 at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio.

A collaborative effort between ARRL and Dayton Hamvention, the app was developed by TripBuilder Media™. ARRL Convention and Event Coordinator Eric Casey, KC2ERC, has been readying the app, with content contributions from Dayton Hamvention Committee members, and he has introduced it in a new ARRL YouTube video.

"Our goal is to have all of the printed program content mirrored in the app, organized so that you can schedule the forums you're planning to attend, and find the exhibitors you want to visit," Casey said. In addition to including exhibits and forums, the app will highlight schedules and details for affiliated events, such as dinners and other special gatherings, and a feature to allow attendees to follow the hourly prize drawings from wherever they are.

"Use the app so you don't miss a winning ticket!" Casey suggested. The Dayton Hamvention Prize Committee will populate the app as winners are drawn.

Attendees are also encouraged to tap on the "MyProfile" icon to optionally include their name and call sign, email address, and any other information they'd like to share with other attendees. "One of the neat features of this app is connecting with other Dayton Hamvention guests who choose to share their contact info," says Casey. "The icon labeled 'Scan Badge' will allow users to scan a QR Code displayed on a second device using the 'MyBadge' icon -- instantly connecting your shared contact information with another ham. After all, Dayton Hamvention and the ARRL National Convention is where you meet with other members and friends from this great big world of Amateur Radio."

The free 2019 Dayton Hamvention event app is available for both Apple and Android smart devices. A web-browser version is also available, which is optimized for nearly any browser or other mobile device type. Visit your app store to download the Apple and Android versions (search "Hamvention") or find links on the ARRL National Convention web page. If you are reading this article on a mobile device, click here to be automatically redirected to the appropriate app store to download the app, or to be redirected to the web browser version. Email with any questions about the app.


Dayton Hamvention to Provide Information Radio Station on 1620 AM

Dayton Hamvention® again will provide an Information Radio Station at 1620 kHz on the AM band to help ease the trip for inbound attendees. Hamvention will host ARRL's 2019 National Convention.

The low-power station will offer traffic, weather, parking, and event information to motorists as they approach Xenia, which is bracing to handle an influx of nearly 30,000 visitors -- roughly doubling the city's population for the weekend.

Due to the web of two-lane roads that serves the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center, a sophisticated shuttle-bus operation will be in place to alleviate traffic congestion. The 1620 AM signal will blanket Xenia and be audible in surrounding Greene and Montgomery counties, directing approaching attendees to special parking facilities.

The service is being provided to Dayton Hamvention by Information Station Specialists of Zeeland, Michigan, which this year will utilize a newly designed, high-efficiency/high-capacity antenna. The transmitter and antenna system will be on display during Dayton Hamvention at Booth 6503.

High-Altitude Celebration at SAQ

On May 1, the Day of Industrial Culture in Europe sponsored "WORK it OUT," during which workers all over the continent displayed their skills in choreographed dance. The occasion involved thousands of dancers in a "massive Pan-European dance event" at 1500 UTC. Participants included a dozen women and men at SAQ in Sweden -- the VLF Alexanderson alternator transmitter and UNESCO World Heritage Site -- all apparently unafraid of heights.

Video, likely shot by a drone and posted on YouTube, shows appropriately equipped workers arrayed across the T-bar support of one of SAQ's tall antenna support towers, dancing to "WORK it OUT," a techno-style theme based largely on Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." They joined other worker groups -- displaying various levels of dancing prowess -- who took part in the May Day event at 41 industrial monuments in 12 European countries.

SAQ maintains a 1920s-vintage electromechanical radio transmitter once used for transatlantic telecommunication in that pre-high-power transmitting tube era. The nearly century-old Alexanderson Alternator at SAQ transmits on CW at 17.2 kHz on special occasions from Grimeton, Sweden. Read more about SAQ in the July 2019 issue of QST.

The Doctor Will See You Now!

"It's About Time!" is the topic of the new (May 9) 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 email 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.

ARRL Field Day Site Locator is Live, Promotional Material and FD Gear Now Available

Amateur Radio's most popular operating event, ARRL Field Day is June 22 - 23. See the May issue of QST, page 85, for the official Field Day announcement. The complete 2019 ARRL Field Day packet is online.

The Field Day site locator is now up and running, and by mid-week, 475 sites already were in the database. To find a Field Day site near you, enter your town and state in the "Location or Call Sign" box at the upper left. Listings also are available by state or Canadian province. To add a site, visit the Add Field Day Station page. Information on promoting Field Day is available. Also, visit the Field Day social media page for information on promoting your Field Day operation via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

The ARRL Public Relations Committee will host a series of live video/audio conference calls every Thursday starting on May 9 to help ARRL PIOs with their Field Day publicity efforts. Field Day public service announcements (PSAs) are set to be posted to the ARRL Field Day web page this week.

Official FD 2019 Gear!

Official Field Day gear and supplies available from ARRL including pocket T-shirts, hats, pins, patches, stickers, and coffee mugs are a great way to acknowledge -- and commemorate -- your participation in this most popular on-the-air operating event in Amateur Radio.

Encourage club members, family, friends, and prospective hams to take part using ARRL Field Day with recruitment posters and attractive "Get on the Air" (GOTA) pins for those newcomers.

ARRL's new Radio Communications vinyl banner is perfect for showing off Amateur Radio at ARRL Field Day, any public exhibit or recruitment display. It's good for indoor and outdoor use and reusable for years to come.

Clubs are encouraged to order early. Place a group order and pay just $12.50 shipping for all orders over $50 (while supplies last). Get your 2019 ARRL Field Day supplies from the ARRL online store or by calling (888) 277-5289 in the US, Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM Eastern Time. Outside the US, call (860) 594-0355.

The complete 2019 ARRL Field Day packet is online. ARRL encourages participants to register their Field Day operations using the FD Site Locator.

May 14 FT4 Mock Contest Session Canceled, New WSJT-X Beta Version Pending

A second hour-long FT4 "practice contest" set for May 14 UTC has been cancelled, following the success of an initial mock contest held on May 9 UTC (the evening of Wednesday, May 8, in continental US time zones). The event followed ARRL RTTY Roundup rules, with everyone working everyone. WSJT-X program suite developer Joe Taylor, K1JT, was among those jumping into the fray. He called the exercise "very useful" and has drawn some preliminary conclusions as to how the FT4 protocol functions in a contest setting.

"FT4 works well, but -- as implemented WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc5 -- it has some rough spots and performance issues," Taylor said in a post to the Yahoo WSJT Meteor Scatter and Weak Signal Group. "Many of these have been fixed already during this beta-testing period, and more improvements are still to come."

Taylor said a second mock contest session using the current -rc5 "release candidate" (beta version) would not be helpful, and it's not convenient for the developers to build and distribute -rc6 in time for a session early next week, a few days before the Dayton Hamvention. "Instead, we are aiming now to release WSJT-X 2.1.0-rc6 about 2 weeks later -- probably in the last week of May or the first week of June," Taylor said. "Another mock contest practice session will be scheduled soon after that release." The current -rc5 beta version will expire automatically on June 7.

Post observations and comments to the Yahoo WSJT Group reflector or to the WSJT Development Group Mailing List. Read more.

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: We saw zero sunspots April 21 - May 2, but on May 3 sunspots returned. The average daily sunspot number rose to 16.1 this week, and the average daily solar flux increased as well, from 67.5 to 73.5. Both the average middle latitude and planetary A index this week were 6.6, and last week those numbers were 4.7 and 5.9, respectively.

Predicted solar flux is 75 on May 9 - 11; 73 on May 12 - 15; 74 and 76 on May 16 - 17; 72 on May 18 - 20; 68 on May 21 - 22; 67 on May 23 - 26; 69, 68, 69, 70, and 72 on May 27 - 31; 75 on June 1; 76 on June 2 - 13; 72 on June 14 - 16; 68 on June 17 - 18, and 67 on June 19 - 22.

Predicted planetary A index is 5 on May 9 - 10; 14 and 12 on May 11 - 12; 5 on May 13 - 19; 8 on May 20; 5 on May 21 - 27; 10, 12, 8, and 10 on May 28 - 31; 5, 12, and 14 on June 1 - 3; 8 on June 4 - 6; 5 on June 7 - 15; 8 on June 16, and 5 on June 17 - 22.

Sunspot numbers for May 2 - 8 were 0, 11, 12, 14, 25, 27, and 24, with a mean of 16.1. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 69.2, 69.8, 72.3, 73.5, 76, 78.7, and 75.3, with a mean of 73.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 12, 7, 10, 4, 5, 5, and 3, with a mean of 6.6. Middle latitude A index was 13, 8, 9, 4, 5, 5, and 2, with a mean of 6.6.

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.

Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • May 11 -- FISTS Spring Unlimited Sprint (CW)

  • May 11 - 12 -- CQ - M International DX Contest (CW, phone)

  • May 11 - 12 -- VOLTA WW RTTY Contest

  • May 11 - 12 -- SKCC Weekend Sprintathon (CW)

  • May 11 - 12 -- Arkansas QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

  • May 11 - 12 -- 50 MHz Spring Sprint (CW, phone)

  • May 12 -- WAB 7 MHz Phone/CW

  • May 13 -- 4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint (CW, phone)

  • May 13 -- RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (SSB)

  • May 16 -- 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.

Spectrum: FCC Adopts Order on Use of Bands above 24 GHz for Next-Gen Wireless

The FCC on April 12 adopted a Report and Order (GN Docket 14-177) aimed at making available millimeter wave (mmW) spectrum at or above 24 GHz for fifth-generation (5G) wireless, Internet of Things, and other advanced spectrum-based services, including satellite broadband services. The FCC first adopted rules to allow Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) Earth stations to be individually licensed to transmit in the 50.4 - 51.4 GHz band using criteria identical to those applicable in the 24.75 - 25.25 GHz band.

"This action will allow FSS operators to provide faster, more advanced services to their customers," the FCC said in announcing the action.

The Commission also established a coordination process to accommodate the military's potential need for additional sites in the upper 37 GHz band (37.6 - 38.6 GHz band) in limited circumstances, while protecting the interests of non-federal licensees in this band.

"The[se] steps are an integral step toward the auction of the Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz spectrum bands slated to begin later this year," the FCC said.

Hams Help Trace "Mystery" Signal Disrupting Keyless Entry Devices in Ohio

A recent article in The New York Times reported that many garage door openers and keyless vehicle entry fobs in an Ohio town near Cleveland mysteriously stopped working. While the article invoked The X-Files and hinted initially that a NASA research center might be involved, the cause was not so much mystifying as arcane.

"Garage door repair people, local ham radio enthusiasts, and other volunteer investigators descended on the neighborhood with various meters," the May 4 article by Heather Murphy recounted. "Everyone agreed that something powerful was interfering with the radio frequency that many fobs rely on, but no one could identify the source."

More than a dozen residents reported intermittent issues getting their key fobs and garage door openers to operate, and most lived within a few blocks of each other. At one point, the local power utility started shutting off power to areas where the strongest RF signal was detected, but the signal persisted. Dan Dalessandro, WB8ZQH, a TV repairer, was among several hams who investigated. He initially picked up "little blips" on a signal detector, but finally, on one block and at a particular house, the signal was quite loud.

"The source of the problem was a homebrew, battery-operated device designed by a local resident to alert him if someone was upstairs when he was working in his basement," the Times reported. "It did so by turning off a light." The inventor, not identified for privacy concerns, had no malicious intent nor any no inkling that his device was wreaking havoc on the neighborhood until a North Olmstead City Council member and a volunteer knocked on his door. The device operated on 315 MHz, the frequency many keyless-entry devices use under FCC Part 15 rules. The device's battery was removed, the signal stopped, and all who were involved breathed sighs of relief.

Former ARRL Headquarters Staffer Ellen White, W1YL, is Krenkel Medalist

ARRL Headquarters staff alumna and Life Member Ellen White, W1YL, has been awarded the Russian E.T. Krenkel Medal, a prestigious award granted to individuals and organizations for outstanding global contributions to Amateur Radio.

First licensed in 1946, White had already learned Morse code in high school, and even today, she only rarely operates any other mode. She served for more than 25 years (1952 - 1978) on the Headquarters staff, at one point heading up ARRL contesting activities. She retired as Deputy Communications Manager and became QST "How's DX?" editor. On her own time, she recorded QST on tape for the vision impaired through the US Library of Congress talking book program.

Ellen White, W1YL [Photo courtesy of MABUHAY DXstitch]

Her husband Bob White, W1CW (SK), was ARRL DXCC manager. Their son Jim White, K4OJ (SK), also once served on the ARRL HQ staff and was president of the Florida Contest Group, which now holds his call sign.

For several years now, Ellen White has been operating via the W7RN remote contest station in Nevada to stay active on CW as W1YL/7, usually on 40 meters at around 1000 UTC. She is on the roster of the A-1 Operators Club and has served as a West Central Florida Assistant Section Manager. The article "A Conversation with Ellen White, W1YL," by Rosalie White, K1STO (no relation), appeared in the May/June 2015 edition of NCJ.

"It has been quite a ride and one I could not have made without ham radio," White told ARRL. "I am proud and delighted to be a chosen recipient of 'The Krenkel.""

QST was awarded a Krenkel Medal in 2018.

The award's namesake, Ernst Teodorovich Krenkel, was a radio amateur who, over the years, used the call signs RAEM, U3AA, and UA3AA. Krenkel's image appears on postage stamps from the USSR and Russia, and he authored a biography entitled My Callsign is RAEM. Read more. -- Thanks to George Wagner, K5KG

DX Voice from Mount Athos Monk Apollo, SV2ASP, SK

Mount Athos' best-known radio amateur, Monk Apollo, SV2ASP, died on May 5 after complications resulting from cancer. He was 64. Monk Apollo was essentially the lone DX voice from Mount Athos, the 20th most-wanted DXCC entity, where he operated from his Orthodox Monastery of Docheiariou. Born into a large family in western Greece, he became a monk in 1973, eventually joining the ascetic monastery on Mount Athos in 1980.

When the need for reliable communication from the monastery surfaced in the 1980s, Monk Apollo followed a recommendation to become a radio amateur, which he did in 1988. He had to wait for permission from the Holy Council to operate, however, before he was able to get on the air for the first time in 1990. He celebrated his 10th anniversary on the air with the special call sign SY2A.

Monk Iakovos, SV2RSG, who lives at Koutloumousiou Holy Monastery on Mount Athos, was licensed in 2015 and has been active on the air. He is a member of DX Plus Hellenic Radio Amateur Team.

Peter Vekinis, KH6VP, has visited Mount Athos a few times recently to help Monk Iakovos, and an article on his experiences there will appear in an upcoming issue of QST. Read more.

"Put Howard to Work" Event Canceled

In late April, ARRL had announced that ARRL CEO Howard Michel, WB2ITX, would be on the air at W1AW on Monday, May 13, giving ARRL members a chance to chat with the CEO and get to know him better as a ham. An issue was raised, however, that this event may be a potential FCC rule violation.

The particular rule is §97.113: "A station is also not allowed to transmit communication in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer." Given that ARRL is Michel's employer and that an effort was made to publicize an event at which members of the organization could chat with the CEO, such an event could be perceived as a benefit to the organization. So, out of an abundance of caution and to avoid any potential violation of FCC rules, or even the appearance of a violation, Michel decided to cancel plans for the "Put Howard to Work" event.

"I've operated W1AW before and will continue to do so in the future," Michel said. "I hope to meet many of you on the air, but only as part of my regular ham radio activities and not as part of an ARRL-promoted event."

The "Put Howard to Work!" event was conceived by the ICQ Amateur/Ham Radio Podcast, on which Michel was a guest on March 31. "We are disappointed, of course, at this turn of events, but fully understand and endorse ARRL's decision," said ICQ Podcast Presenter Frank Howell, K4FMH.

In Brief...

Support ARRL when shopping for Mother's Day. Mother's Day is Sunday, May 12. If you're looking for the perfect gift, 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. Make Mom smile, and get her something special this year while supporting Amateur Radio and ARRL. Help to support ARRL all year long: Bookmark ARRL's link and support Amateur Radio and ARRL every time you shop online.


National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting will expand its hours during Dayton Hamvention®. The museum, located at the site of the former Voice of America Bethany Relay Station in West Chester, Ohio (between Dayton and Cincinnati, off the I-75 Tylersville Road exit), will be open Thursday and Friday, May 16 and 17, 4 - 9 PM; Saturday, May 18, 1 - 9 PM, and Sunday, May 19, 1 - 5 PM during Dayton Hamvention 2019 weekend. The WC8VOA station also will be open. The museum includes a comprehensive collection of Drake Amateur Radio gear. More information is on the VOA Museum website.

Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.

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