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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
July 11, 2019
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


ARRL Announces "Happy 150!" Hiram Percy Maxim Birthday Celebration

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of ARRL's first president and cofounder Hiram Percy Maxim (HPM), W1AW, born on September 2, 1869. ARRL will hold an operating event to celebrate HPM's legacy, getting under way at 0000 UTC on August 31, and continuing until 2359 UTC on September 8. The event is open to all radio amateurs.

The goal is straightforward: Contact as many participating stations as possible. W1AW and all ARRL members will append "/150" to their call signs during this event (DX operators who are ARRL members may identify as <call sign>/150, if permitted by their country of license.) Participating stations will exchange signal report and ARRL/RAC Section. DX stations will send signal report and "DX." Those taking part may use all Amateur Radio bands, excluding 60, 30, 17, and 12 meters.

Permitted modes: CW, phone (any voice modes), and digital. Submit Cabrillo log or ADI files. ARRL will calculate all final scores based on participants' uploads to the ARRL event web app (link not yet active).

The 84 available multipliers only count once. These include the 83 ARRL/RAC Sections (RAC Sections include the Canadian Northern Territories, encompassing VE8, VY1, and VY0) and DX. The W1AW operating schedule during this period may be adjusted as necessary to accommodate on-air celebration operating activities. Contacts with W1AW/150 will earn 3 points each. Contacts with any ARRL member will earn 2 points each. These stations will also identify as <call sign>/150. Contacts with nonmembers will earn 1 point each.

Participants can earn 150 bonus points by:

  • Contacting W1AW/150 on each band and mode.

  • Uploading entries (ARRL members only).

  • Using social media to publicize this event and/or participation before, during, and/or after the event.

  • Operating with 5 W PEP output or less throughout the event.

  • Making at least 20 contacts while operating portable.

  • Completing at least 150 contacts.

Online certificates will be awarded, and are available via download only. Updates and results will be publicized.

There are no power or operator categories. Participating ARRL members who use Logbook of The World (LoTW) are encouraged to create a separate LoTW certificate for uploading <call sign>/150 contacts. Members then should upload logs for this event using their /150 certificates. Submissions must be via the online web app. No email or paper submissions will be accepted.

Window Closes on July 15 for Volunteer Monitor Program Applications

Monday, July 15, will be the last day that applications for the new Volunteer Monitor Program will be accepted. Some 250 applications have been submitted to fill approximately 150 Volunteer Monitor (VM) positions in the program, which is succeeding the Official Observer (OO) program. Retired FCC special counsel and former Atlantic Division Vice Director Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, is overseeing ARRL's role in the development and implementation of the program, and he has been interviewing all applicants. Those not selected as VMs will be placed in a reserve pool. Current OOs have been invited to apply for appointments.

Approved by the ARRL Board of Directors at its July 2018 meeting, the new Volunteer Monitor Program represents a formal agreement between the FCC and ARRL in which volunteers trained and vetted by ARRL will monitor the airwaves and collect evidence that can be used to correct misconduct, as well as to recognize exemplary on-air operation. ARRL will refer incidents of flagrant violations to the FCC for action, in accordance with FCC guidelines, and the FCC will give priority to enforcement cases developed by the Volunteer Monitor Program. The FCC proposed the program following the closures of several FCC regional offices and a reduction in field staff.

ARRL and the FCC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that establishes the Volunteer Monitor Program as a replacement for the Official Observers.

The first Volunteer Monitors could be in place and ready to begin their duties by this fall.

FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 Changes Recreational Drone Flying Requirements

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 includes changes to recreational drone flying in the US. Radio amateurs have used drones to inspect antenna systems and terrain and to carry support lines aloft, as well as for other purposes. The FAA considers those who fly their drones for fun as recreational users. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 describes how, when, and where owners may fly drones for recreational purposes. These broad guidelines should apply to most Amateur Radio users of drones.

  • Register as a "modeler." A registrant must be at least 13 years old and a US citizen or legal permanent resident.

  • Label your model aircraft with your registration number.

  • Fly only for recreational purposes.

  • Follow the safety guidelines of a community-based organization (see below).

  • Fly your drone at or below 400 feet when in uncontrolled or Class G airspace, and do not fly it in airspace where flight is prohibited.

  • Keep your drone within your line of sight or within the line-of-sight of a visual observer who is co-located and in direct communication with the operator.

  • Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports.

  • Never fly over groups of people, public events, or stadiums full of people.

  • Never fly near emergencies such as any type of accident response, law enforcement activities, firefighting, or hurricane recovery efforts.

  • Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Recreational flyers who intentionally violate any of these safety requirements and/or operate in a careless and reckless manner could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties. Read the Authorization for limited recreational operations as described in Section 44809 (PDF). All limited recreational operations should be conducted in accordance with this authorization.

For more information, read Advisory Circular 91-57B.

The FAA is upgrading the online system, known as LAANC (the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability), so that recreational operations can get automated airspace authorizations to fly in controlled airspace.

The new law also will require that drone operators pass an online aeronautical knowledge and safety test and carry proof of test passage. The FAA is developing the test in consultation with stakeholders. Recreational flyers would have to pass the test, which could be administered electronically. The FAA will provide additional guidance and will notify when the test is available. The FAA also will issue guidance for how it will recognize community-based organizations.

More detailed information about the FAA's plan to fully implement the requirements of Section 349 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 is available in the Federal Register.

So Now What? Podcast

"Fan Questions" will be the focus of the new (July 11) episode of the So Now What? podcast for Amateur Radio newcomers.

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 iTunes, Blubrry, Stitcher (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.

Shop AmazonSmile on Prime Day and Support ARRL

Amazon Prime Day is almost here! Deals start at 3 AM ET on Monday, July 15, and continue through Tuesday, July 16. Prime Day is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

As you browse the great deals available exclusively to Amazon Prime members, we invite you to shop at AmazonSmile, choosing the ARRL as your charity of choice.

With every qualifying purchase you make through AmazonSmile, Amazon will make a contribution to ARRL. This helps ARRL extend its reach in public service, advocacy, education, technology, and membership.

Support the Amateur Radio Service and ARRL with your eligible purchase on Amazon Prime Day, or on any day of the year.

For more information on Amazon Prime Day and AmazonSmile visit AmazonSmile and log in to your Amazon account.

IARU President Offers Assurances Regarding French 144 - 146 MHz Allocation Proposal

International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, said his organization empathizes with the concerns of radio amateurs worldwide regarding a French proposal to allocate 144 - 146 MHz to the Aeronautical Service on a primary basis, essentially sharing it with Amateur Radio. The band is currently allocated to Amateur Radio on a primary basis around the world. Ellam this week offered assurances that the IARU is on top of the matter, which is still a regional issue, and is already working to keep the band in the hands of radio amateurs. While the issue could end up on the agenda of World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23), a lot would have to happen first.

"There is a lot of misinformation circulating as to what the proposal is seeking and how IARU is responding to it," Ellam told ARRL. "While the proposal is a concern, petitions and the like, while well intended, are going to have very limited value and, in fact, may harm the steps being taken in the regulatory environment."

The French proposal, submitted last month to a pre-WRC-19 European Conference of Telecommunications and Postal Administrations (CEPT) meeting, included 144 - 146 MHz within a range of frequencies to be studied for future airborne, non-safety applications in the Aeronautical Service. Germany opposed the move, and IARU "objected strongly," Ellam said. "Nonetheless, the proposal was carried forward to the next meeting of the CEPT Conference Preparatory Group in late August." IARU anticipates that other countries attending the August meeting will oppose the inclusion of 144 - 146 MHz as a frequency range to be considered for the WRC-23 agenda, Ellam said.

IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA

Since the June meeting, IARU Region 1 (Europe, Africa, and the Middle East) has asked its member-societies to contact their national administrations (i.e., governments) to explain the importance of the 144 - 146 MHz primary allocation, Ellam recounted. "IARU is also taking other actions to make its views known to those involved in the proposal," he said.

"If accepted as a WRC-23 Agenda Item, this proposal would require 4 years of studies by administrations," Ellam stressed. "Considering the challenges of sharing spectrum with aeronautical systems, it seems inevitable that the conclusion of such studies would be that sharing with a widely used part of the amateur spectrum presents too many problems to be viable."

Ellam encouraged individual radio amateurs who want to help to become members of their IARU member-society. "If anything," Ellam concluded, "this recent news should serve as a timely reminder that defense of the amateur spectrum does not just happen. Your member-societies and the IARU constantly work at defending the amateur allocations." Read more.

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: As was the case in the previous reporting week, the current week had only 1 day, July 13, on which sunspots made a brief appearance; both were new spots from Cycle 25, according to their magnetic signatures.

The average daily solar flux declined marginally from 67.5 to 67.1.

Predicted solar flux for the next 45 days is 68 on July 11 - 18, and 67 on July 19 - August 24.

Predicted planetary A index is 8 on July 1; 5 on July 12-27; 8 on July 28; 5 on July 29 - August 4; 12, 15, and 12 on August 5 - 7; 5 on August 8 - 23, and 8 on August 24.

Here's an interesting article on space weather from The Conversation: "Solar weather has real, material effects on Earth."

Space Weather Woman Tamitha Skov, WX6SWW, has posted a new video.

Sunspot numbers for July 4 - 10 were 0, 0, 0, 12, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 1.7. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 67.8, 67.5, 66.5, 67.3, 66.5, 66.8, and 67.6, with a mean of 67.1. Estimated planetary A indices were 5, 5, 3, 5, 9, 17, and 15, with a mean of 8.4. Middle latitude A index was 8, 6, 5, 5, 7, 16, and 13, with a mean of 8.6.

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
  • July 13 -- FISTS Summer Unlimited Sprint (CW)

  • July 13 - 14 -- IARU HF Championship (CW, phone)

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

  • July 15 -- 4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint (CW, phone)

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.

W1AW, NU1AW to be Headquarters Multipliers for the IARU HF Championship

During the IARU HF Championship contest July 13 - 14, the ARRL HQ station will be W1AW/7, on the air from Nevada with Tom Taormina, K5RC, as control operator. IARU Secretariat Club station NU1AW will be on the air from KC1XX in New Hampshire and K1TTT in Massachusetts and counts as the IARU HQ station.

Both single and multioperator stations may operate the entire 24-hour period, and stations may operate on phone, on CW, or on both modes. IARU member-society HQ stations send signal report and official IARU member-society abbreviation (e.g., ARRL).

Members of the IARU Administrative Council and the three IARU regional Executive Committees send "AC," "R1," "R2," and "R3," as appropriate. All other stations send signal report and ITU zone.

Historic Amateur Radio Contact via Moon-Orbiting Satellite Reported

A contact between radio amateurs in Germany and China took place on July 1 via the moon-orbiting LO-94 satellite, DSLWP-B, launched in May 2018. The two-way exchange between Reinhard Kuehn, DK5LA, in Sorup, Germany, and Harbin Institute of Technology club station BY2HIT (operated by Wei Mingchuan, BG2BHC), in Harbin, China, occurred between 0551 and 0728 UTC, according to reports. The GMSK-to-JT4G repeater onboard DSLWP-B was used to make the contact, the first ever via a lunar-orbiting repeater.

"Using the GMSK-to-JT4G repeater is not easy, in terms of the signal power needed for the uplink," commented radio amateur and engineer Daniel Estévez, EA4GPZ, whose blog includes images of the lunar surface downloaded via DSLWP-B. "There were plans to make a QSO between BY2HIT and Reinhard since many months ago, but previous attempts didn't work out. My congratulations to the people at both sides of the QSO, who have achieved it a month before DSLWP-B crashes against the lunar surface."

As Estévez explained it, the GMSK-to-JT4G repeater works by sending commands to the satellite that embed a 13-character message, using the same frequency and a similar protocol to the one that commands the camera and other satellite functions. He said sending a message in this fashion takes a little longer than 1 minute.

An open telecommand protocol allows radio amateurs to take and download images, and DSLWP-B transmitted images of the moon and Earth during this week's solar eclipse. DSLWP-B was launched as a secondary payload with the Quequiao relay satellite as part of the Chang'e 4 mission to the far side of the moon.

DSLWP stands for "Discovering the Sky at Longest Wavelengths Pathfinder," and was designed to test low-frequency radio astronomy and space-based interferometry. The repeater uplink is on 2 meters and the downlink is on 70 centimeters.

ARISS-International Delegates Meet in Montreal

Representatives of nine nations were on hand as Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) held its 2019 "face-to-face" meeting of international delegates at the Canadian Space Agency in Montreal, June 26 - 28. ARISS-Canada was the host for the gathering. A high point of the conference came when JVC Kenwood Software Manager Shin Aota, JL1IBD, presented two Kenwood TM-D710GA transceivers to ARISS-Russia delegate Sergey Samburov, RV3DR. One of the TM-D710GA radios will replace aging Amateur Radio equipment currently in use on the International Space Station, while the other will remain on Earth as a spare for training cosmonauts. For more than a year, these radios have undergone rigorous NASA qualification testing followed by final software configuration and verification.

"With today's transfer of the radios to ARISS-Russia, we are one step closer to an enhanced Amateur Radio system on board the ISS, supporting various operations such as SSTV, voice communication, APRS, and a variety of experiments," ARISS-International said in announcing the presentation. The ARISS Hardware Team met on June 25.

JVC Kenwood's Shin Aota, JL1IBD (left), hands a new Kenwood TM-D710GA transceiver to ARISS-Russia's Sergey Samburov, RV3DR. [Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, photo]

Other topics included ARISS' future participation in NASA's Deep Space Gateway (DSG) program. ARISS is the only noncommercial entity whose ideas are under study by the program. The ARISS plan focuses on Amateur Radio communication, including optical communication channels, as well as equipment development, team cooperation, education, and public outreach.

Those attending the conference included Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) President and ARISS-Canada Delegate for RAC Glenn MacDonell, VE3XRA; AMSAT-NA President Joe Spier, K6WAO, and AMSAT-Italia President Emanuele D'Andria, I0ELE. ARRL Southeastern Division Director Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, attended in his role as chair of the ARRL Board's new ARISS Committee. Rosalie White, K1STO, represented ARRL as an ARISS-US delegate and handled the duties of ARISS-International Secretary. The other ARISS-US delegate was Dave Taylor, W8AAS. Read more. -- Thanks to Dave Jordan, AA4KN, ARISS Public Relations, and Rosalie White, K1STO

In Brief...

Applications for the 2020 ARRL Foundation Scholarship Program will be accepted between September 1 and December 31, 2019. All applicants must be FCC-licensed radio amateurs, and many scholarships have other specific requirements, such as intended area of study, residence within a particular ARRL Division, Section or state, and license class. Applicants should review the scholarships and check off the ones for which they are eligible. If you complete an online application, you must also email a PDF of academic transcripts from your most-recently completed school year by January 13, 2020. Applications not accompanied by transcripts will not be considered. The ARRL Foundation Scholarship Committee will review all applicants for eligibility and award decisions. Scholarship recipients will be notified in May 2020 via USPS mail and email. For more information, visit the ARRL Foundation Scholarship Program page.

Starting with the August issue, QST will list the recipients of W1AW Code Proficiency certificates. Key manufacturer Vibroplex is now sponsoring the certificates, which have been redesigned. The Code Proficiency program has been an ARRL staple for decades. Participants who copy a W1AW qualifying run and submit 1 minute of legible solid copy and the $10 certificate fee can qualify. Send submissions to W1AW Qualifying Run, 225 Main St., Newington, CT USA 06111. These are checked directly against the official W1AW text, and those demonstrating solid copy will receive an initial Code Proficiency certificate. Endorsement stickers, which cost $7.50, are issued for speeds up to 40 WPM. The W1AW Code Proficiency Program is open to hams and non-hams alike. Those seeking to attain a Code Proficiency certificate can listen to W1AW daily code practice sessions, in which the text is taken directly from QST, as announced before each practice run.

A final call has been issued to solicit technical papers for presentation at the ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC). The event is 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.

Cathryn Mitchell, M0IBG, the academic director of the University of Bath Doctoral College in the UK, has received the 2019 Edward Appleton Medal and Prize. She was recognized for her pioneering research in tomography and data assimilation that revealed a completely new perspective on the ionosphere in response to extreme space weather. "Mitchell innovated a completely new Earth observation technique by adapting medical tomography to image the Earth's ionosphere, thus revealing the dynamics of the near-Earth space environment," an announcement on the Institute of Physics (IOP) website explained. "Her use of Global Positioning System satellite signals as a source for space weather tomography, through a new time-dependent mathematical inversion algorithm, has given us the first global-scale view of the ionosphere in response to space weather storms." The award's namesake, Edward Appleton, won the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physics for his 1924 work that proved the existence of the ionosphere. Radio amateurs participated in listening tests during the early 1920s that provided data regarding how radio signals propagate. Read more.

Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.

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

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

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