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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
April 29, 2021
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


Amateur Radio Credited with Rescue of Back-Country Hiker in Tennessee

A back-country hiker was rescued from Great Smoky Mountains National Park with assistance from amateur radio after she became exhausted on the trail and possibly dehydrated. A member of the hiking group on the park's Little River Trail, Tim Luttrell, KA9EBJ, put out a call on the evening of April 11 via the W4KEV linked VHF repeater in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, requesting assistance in extricating the injured member. No cell phone service was available at the location, and Luttrell's signal was spotty at times, owing to the mountainous terrain.

Responding was David Manuel, W5DJR, who obtained more information and called 911, which routed the call to Great Smoky Mountains National Park Emergency Medical Service (GSMNP EMS). The national park EMS relayed through Manuel a request for the group to continue down the trail as far as possible to shorten the rescue time.

A medic with the Park Service search-and-rescue team subsequently reached Manuel by telephone, who served to relay questions to Luttrell. Manuel contacted members of the hiker's family after Luttrell provided contact numbers. Manuel was asked to relay information for the family to arrange to meet in Cherokee, North Carolina, and be prepared to transport the distressed hiker's vehicle to her home.

Manuel got a call from Luttrell indicating "all clear" shortly after 2 AM.

The injured hiker was hospitalized and required surgery and rehabilitation. ARRL Tennessee Section Manager Dave Thomas, KM4NYI, told ARRL that he'd learned another hiker in the same group was close to hypothermia by the time they were rescued.

Thomas will recognize each of the radio amateurs involved in the rescue with a Certificate of Merit during the ARRL Tennessee State Convention in Knoxville on June 19. Read an expanded version.

ARRL Awards Colvin Grant to 3Y0J Bouvet Island DXpedition in 2023

ARRL has awarded a Colvin Grant of $5,000 to the Intrepid-DX Group to help in funding its 3Y0J DXpedition to Bouvet Island, scheduled for January to February 2023. ARRL Life Member Paul Ewing, N6PSE, and ARRL member Ken Opskar, LA7GIA, will share leadership for the 14-person multinational team. A dependency of Norway, Bouvet is a sub-Antarctic island in the South Atlantic. It is the second-most-wanted DXCC entity, behind North Korea. The last Bouvet activation was 3Y0E in 2007 - 2008. Ewing has said that the team began planning for the Bouvet DXpedition on the heels of its successful 2016 VP8STI and VP8SGI efforts. The announced budget for the 2023 DXpedition is $764,000. The Northern California DX Foundation and the International DX Association are major sponsors.

The Colvin Award is funded by an endowment established by the legendary DX couple Lloyd Colvin, W6KG, and Iris Colvin, W6QL, both now deceased. The Colvin Award is intended to support amateur radio projects that promote international goodwill in the field of DX. Grantees must be groups with a favorable DX track record and with experience directly related to the proposed enterprise.

Ewing said in a recent interview that the 2016 VP8STI and VP8SGI DXpedition provided perfect preparation for the Bouvet DXpedition that lies ahead. A 2018 DXpedition to Bouvet by another team had to be scuttled -- with Bouvet Island already in view -- after encountering severe weather and an engine problem.

The plan calls for spending 20 days on Bouvet with "14 to 16 good days of radio activity." Ewing has called on the DX community for support in achieving its mission of 100,000 or more contacts from Bouvet.

Follow the Intrepid-DX Group's 3Y0J plans via Facebook. Visit the 3Y0J website for more information and to make a donation.

Career Opportunities Available at ARRL Headquarters

ARRL continues to have employment openings for energetic and motivated professionals with a passion for ham radio. Positions, which include full-time employment at ARRL Headquarters in Connecticut, and consulting or contract opportunities, are posted at

For candidates with a background in journalism and public relations, ARRL is hiring for a new position of Public Relations and Outreach Manager.

"The ideal candidate will be a storyteller," said Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, ARRL Product Development Manager and Chair of the ARRL Public Relations Committee. "The Public Relations and Outreach Manager will draw out stories from our network of dedicated member-volunteers and radio clubs who help us attract new entrants to amateur radio. The position will also interface with the media to increase the awareness of the value of the Amateur Radio Service to the public at large."

Key skills include the ability to interpret and express technical concepts in plain language, and a thorough knowledge of conducting media outreach and creating social media strategies.

ARRL has additional positions posted for Acquisitions Editor, Director of Information Technology, Director of Operations, and Senior Lab Test Engineer. Both technical and non-technical positions are available now, with more on the horizon. If you have amateur radio experience and a desire to work at ARRL, apply for one of the positions listed on the ARRL Employment Opportunities page, submit your resume with a bio and cover letter to Read more information.

ARRL Learning Network Webinars

Visit the ARRL Learning Network (a members-only benefit) to register, check on upcoming webinars, and to view previously recorded sessions.

HF Noise Mitigation -- ARRL Northwestern Division Director Mike Ritz, W7VO / Thursday, May 6, at 3:30 PM EDT (1930 UTC)

An educational seminar to help both new and experienced HF operators who find themselves plagued with noise. We'll learn what "noise" is, discuss the various noise sources, and talk about how to mitigate those noises using a variety of techniques.

W1AW Antenna Farm -- W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q / Tuesday, May 18, at 1 PM EDT (1700 UTC)

Experience a bird's-eye view and description of the antennas used by W1AW for the station's scheduled transmissions and visiting operator activity. All the antennas used at W1AW are single-band Yagis. Viewers will also see the 5 GHz sector antennas that are part of W1AW's AREDN system.

Ask the Lab: How ARRL's Technical Information Service Can Help You -- ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI / Tuesday, June 8, at 1 PM EDT (1700 UTC)

Learn all about the ARRL Technical Information Service (TIS) and the expert ARRL Laboratory staff who answer thousands of questions each year from members. Get tips about projects, suggestions to address various station installations, and help for some of your most pressing ham radio questions. You'll discover how to search ARRL's extensive Periodicals Archive, find helpful articles, read test reports, access technical forums, and find answers to technical questions beyond the Lab.

These Learning Network presentations are sponsored by Icom.

ARRL members may register for upcoming presentations and view previously recorded Learning Network webinars. ARRL-affiliated radio clubs may also use the recordings as presentations for club meetings, mentoring new and current hams, and discussing amateur radio topics.

The ARRL Learning Network schedule is subject to change.

Support ARRL When Shopping for Mother's Day

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 9. 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 ARRL to extend its reach in public service, advocacy, education, technology, and membership.

Make Mom smile while supporting amateur radio and ARRL. And you can support ARRL all year long. Bookmark ARRL's link and support amateur radio and ARRL every time you buy something online. For more information on AmazonSmile visit AmazonSmile and log in to your Amazon account.

ARRL Executive Committee Nominates Joel Harrison, W5ZN, to be Next IARU Secretary

At its April 5 meeting via Zoom, the ARRL Executive Committee (EC) nominated past ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, to become the next Secretary of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). The incumbent Secretary, David Sumner, K1ZZ, has announced his intention to step down on July 1. ARRL International Affairs Vice President Rod Stafford, W6ROD, explained that ARRL, as IARU Secretariat, has the right and obligation to appoint a successor. Harrison currently serves as IARU Assistant Secretary. The ARRL Board of Directors ratified his nomination on April 16.

The EC also agreed to hold an in-person Board of Directors meeting in July, in accordance with Connecticut COVID-19 regulations. ARRL CEO David Minster, NA2AA, told the EC that a new procedure was being put into place to recognize centenarian members -- those who are 100 years of age or older. The membership team will now identify members who qualify for ARRL's Centurion Award, and the corresponding Director will determine how to proceed with the award presentation. The EC agreed to include a $100 ARRL gift certificate to accompany the award. In addition, with the changes pending in the 9-centimeter band, the EC adopted a new calling frequency for that band of 3400.1 MHz. Minutes of the EC meeting have been posted.

ARISS-USA Seeks Volunteers to Further its Mission

The US segment of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS-USA) is seeking volunteers to support its mission. ARISS-USA is best known for providing opportunities, mostly for students, to speak via ham radio with astronauts on board the ISS. Less known is its important role in providing and supporting amateur radio equipment for the ISS (NA1SS), which could offer backup communication in an emergency. Its primary objective is educational -- to inspire, teach, and engage youth and communities in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics via amateur radio.

"We are seeking knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers who can work effectively as part of a team to support a variety of functions and roles," said ARISS-USA Executive Director Frank Bauer, KA3HDO. "We have volunteer openings in several senior leadership roles, including Associate Director, Treasurer, Secretary, Director of Business Development, Director of Volunteer Resources, Director of Public Engagement, and Director of Engineering." ARISS also has volunteer opportunities to support functions within those roles, as well as openings within the ARISS-USA Operations, Engineering, and Education teams. An amateur radio license is desirable.

Details on responsibilities for these positions are contained in the ARISS-USA Bylaws (see Articles V and VIII).

Candidates accepted into senior leadership positions will be required to serve a 6-month probationary period. All candidates for senior leadership positions must be US citizens.

Submit resume or CV with a cover letter explaining what position(s) you are interested in supporting.

ARISS-USA is an Equal Opportunity Organization. In the US, ARISS sponsors include ARRL, AMSAT, NASA, the ISS National Lab-Space Station Explorers, and NASA's Space Communications and Navigation program. ARISS-USA, is a 501(c)(3) charitable, educational, and scientific non-profit incorporated in the State of Maryland. Read an expanded version.

  • The inaugural QRP ARCI "Virtual FDIM" (Four Days In May) will be held on May 22, the traditional Hamvention weekend. The virtual event includes day and evening lectures, plus a PDF of the proceedings. Registration is $10 and closes on May 15.

  • Bob Wilson, N6TV, has updated his presentation, Everything You Need To Know About USB and Serial Interfaces. His presentation includes the history and evolution of serial ports, chipsets, software tools for troubleshooting, and how to best utilize the built-in USB to the serial functionality built into some modern rigs to support CAT, CW keying, and RTTY keying.

  • Since April 18, Belgian radio amateurs have been using the OS prefix instead of the usual ON, as announced by the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT). The special prefix recognizes World Amateur Radio Day on April 18 and the first transatlantic radio transmission on December 12, 1901.

  • ARRL Field Day is June 26 - 27. Field Day rule waivers that were in place in 2020 are in place for 2021, and Classes D and E have a limit of 150 W PEP output.

  • Check out the New England ARES Academy channel on YouTube for a series of excellent training videos.

  • A special event using the call sign W1B will celebrate the 100th anniversary of affiliation for the Providence Radio Association (W1OP) June 25 - 30.

  • The Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network (AREDN®) Development Team announces the availability of a new stable production release of their software, version This version supports new devices from the MikroTik, TP-Link, GL.iNET, and Ubiquiti.

Annual Armed Forces Day Cross-Band Test Set for May 7 - 8

The US Department of Defense will host this year's Armed Forces Day (AFD) Cross-Band Test, Friday and Saturday, May 7 - 8, in recognition of Armed Forces Day on May 15. The event is open to all radio amateurs.

For more than 50 years, military and amateur stations have taken part in this exercise, designed to include amateur radio and government radio operators alike. The AFD Cross-Band Test is a unique opportunity to test two-way communications between military and amateur radio stations, as authorized under FCC Part 97 rules. These tests provide opportunities and challenges for radio operators to demonstrate individual technical skills in a tightly controlled exercise in which military stations will transmit on selected military frequencies and will announce the specific amateur radio frequencies being monitored.

The schedule of military/government stations taking part in the Armed Forces Day Cross-Band Test and information on the AFD message is available on the MARS website. Complete the request form to obtain a QSL card. --Thanks to MARS

Bill Introduced to Designate April 18, 2022, as National Amateur Radio Operators Day

Arizona Congresswoman Debbie Lesko has reintroduced a resolution with bipartisan support to designate April 18, 2022, as National Amateur Radio Operators Day. Introduced on April 19, the measure recognizes the important contributions amateur radio operators have made. She introduced a similar bill in the last Congress.

"Throughout history, amateur radio operators have provided invaluable services to our communities," Lesko said in a news release. "I am proud to reintroduce this resolution to honor the important contributions amateur radio operators have made in Arizona and across our nation. Amateur radio has brought people together and has provided critical emergency communications during natural disasters. Amateur radio is a vital part of our nation's communications infrastructure."

As Lesko's resolution notes, the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) designates each April 18 as World Amateur Radio Day, to recognize the founding of the IARU in 1925. She said her resolution would recognize the amateur radio community with a national day in the US. The resolution cites the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) for providing "invaluable emergency communications services following recent natural disasters, including, but not limited to, helping coordinate disaster relief efforts following Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, and Maria and other extreme weather disasters."

ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, commended Lesko for her support of amateur radio. "The voluntary contributions of America's approximately 774,000 amateur radio operators in support of the critical communications infrastructure of the United States are rarely recognized," Roderick said. "Congresswoman Lesko's resolution is an important first step in correcting that oversight."

Lesko was joined by members of both parties as original cosponsors of the resolution. Read an expanded version.

Amateur Radio in the News

ARRL Public Information Officers, Coordinators, and many other member-volunteers help keep amateur radio and ARRL in the news.

Share any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.

ARISS Contact with Australian School Proves Educational on More Than One Continent

An April 20 Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with youngsters in the small town of Winmalee, New South Wales, Australia, folded excitement and enthusiasm into their studies. It was a live demonstration for ham radio trainees in Belgium too.

It took a couple of years to arrange the ham radio hook-up with teacher Alison Broderick's K - 6 pupils at Winmalee Public School, but the effort put into the enterprise paid off.

Astronaut Victor Glover, KI5BKC, at NA1SS fielded questions on a range of space travel-related topics. The "telebridge" contact involved a direct 2-meter ham radio connection between Glover on the ISS and ARISS team member Jan Poppeliers, ON7UX, in Aartselaar, Belgium, who used the call sign ON4ISS for the event. Two-way long lines audio between Belgium and Australia completed the circuit for the approximately 11-minute contact.

Lessons in the run-up to the ARISS contact focused on the space station, how to track its position in orbit using applied mathematics, and the ISS crew members and their roles. The ham radio contact gave eight youngsters a possibly life-changing opportunity to learn about living and traveling in space by speaking with someone who's already there.

"I'm still on a massive cloud of happiness," sixth-grader Asher Renwick said. "Victor was so nice, and his answers were excellent. I realized that most people come home to their family each day and take that for granted, but astronauts can't do that."

Glover's number one piece of advice: "Be resilient. Don't stop in the face of challenges."

Channel 9 in Sydney aired a news story about the Winmalee contact that was posted to Facebook.

Meanwhile, Stefan Dombrowski, ON6TI, and Luc Vlecken, ON4ALV, in Belgium, took advantage of the opportunity to listen in to the direct 2-meter (145.800 MHz) signal from the ISS as a demonstration for their Belgian Army trainees learning about amateur radio.

"We both used the Australian Winmalee Public School ARISS QSO/ISS pass between Victor Glover, KI5BKC, and the students," Dombrowski said. "It was an excellent demonstration of ham radio capabilities and was also a good educational demonstration of antenna polarization and signal weakening with distance." Read an expanded version.

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Sunspots have continued to show every day since April 11, the last day with no sunspots.

Average daily sunspot numbers rose this week from 35.1 to 47.6, and average daily solar flux also rose, from 78 to 79.2.

Geomagnetic indicators were quieter, with average daily planetary A index declining from 16.4 to 10.7. The most active day was April 25, with the planetary A index at 20.

Predicted solar flux over the next month is 78 on April 29 - 30; 75 and 72 on May 1 - 2; 70 on May 3 - 5; 72 on May 6 - 9; 73 on May 10 - 11; 74 on May 12 - 13; 77 on May 14; 79 on May 15 - 23; 78 on May 24 - 27, and 75 on May 28.

Predicted planetary A index is 5, 8, and 8 on April 29 - May 1; 12, 8, and 12 on May 2 - 4; 5 on May 5 - 10; 8, 12, 20, and 30 on May 11 - 14; 15 on May 15 - 16; 12 on May 17; 5 on May 18 - 19; 15 and 10 on May 20 - 21, and 5 on May 22 - 28.

Sunspot numbers for April 22 through 28 were 42, 29, 62, 57, 54, 47 and 42, with a mean of 47.6. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 83.5, 77.4, 78.5, 78.8, 80.3, 79.4, and 76.8, with a mean of 79.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 5, 15, 10, 20, 14, 8, and 3, with a mean of 10.7. Middle latitude A index was 4, 15, 10, 16, 12, 8, and 4, with a mean of 9.9.

In Friday's bulletin, look for more insights from Frank Donovan, W3LPL, and 6-meter observations from Jon Jones, N0JK.

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. For customizable propagation charts, visit the VOACAP Online for Ham Radio website.

Share your reports and observations.

In Brief...

WRTC 2022 Postponed Until 2023 World Radiosport Team Championship 2022 (WRTC 2022) has been postponed for 1 year. At the WRTC 2022 Association Assembly on April 23, the event's Organizing Committee decided to postpone WRTC 2022 until 2023 after consulting with the WRTC Sanctioning Committee. "There have been no changes in the qualification process or to the overall structure of the event and its sponsoring committee," said the announcement from WRTC 2022 Organizing Committee President Carlo de Mari, IK1HJS. "A detailed report on the qualification standings will be prepared and released at a later date. In consideration of the worldwide public health challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe our decision is reasonable." Further announcements will be forthcoming as soon as new arrangements for the event have been made.

Nationwide Spring Drill Set for May 8, World Red Cross Day The Red Cross Emergency Communication Training Group is holding its nationwide Spring Drill on World Red Cross Day, Saturday, May 8, 2021. Individuals are invited to participate. Last year, more than 1,000 participated in the initial spring drill. The bar has been raised to Winlink proficiency for this year's drill. Red Cross forms are integrated as templates in Winlink Express, and hams using Winlink can also send messages to non-hams. With this year's drill being held on World Red Cross Day, more international participation will be solicited. Winlink Thursdays training sessions have been attracting more than 500 participants this year. -- Thanks to the American Red Cross Emergency Communications Training Group

North American QSO Parties to Recognize Young Contester Entries To encourage young radiosport participants, National Contest Journal (NCJ) will recognize their entries in the North American QSO Party (NAQP), starting with the August 2021 NAQP CW and NAQP SSB events. Following the lead of Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) in International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU), operators 25 years of age and younger will be highlighted in the results. The NAQP log upload app and will include a "Youth (25 and under)" check box. Initially, the young operator designation will apply only to single-operator entries. This is not a separate category. Participants of any age will compete for awards in the regular single-operator category. 3830 Scores will display the young operator scores as an overlay to the single-operator group. NAQP line scores will note the young operator scores and a separate table of these scores will be included in the results and referenced in the NCJ "NextGen Contesters" column by Neil Rapp, WB9VPG.

Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • May 1 - 2 -- Araucaria World Wide VHF Contest (CW, phone)

  • May 1 - 2 -- 10-10 International Spring Contest, CW

  • May 1 -- Above 902 Microwave Spring Sprint (CW, phone)

  • May 1 -- FISTS Saturday Sprint (CW)

  • May 1 -- AGCW QRP/QRP Party (CW)

  • May 1 - 2 -- ARI International DX Contest (CW, phone)

  • May 1 - 2 -- F9AA Cup (digital)

  • May 1 - 2 -- 7th Call Area QSO Party (CW, phone)

  • May 1 - 2 -- Indiana QSO Party (CW, phone)

  • May 1 - 2 -- Delaware QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

  • May 1 - 2 -- New England QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

  • May 3 -- K1USN Slow Speed Test (CW, 20 WPM max)

  • May 3 -- OK1WC Memorial (CW)

  • May 4 -- Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest

  • May 4 -- ARS Spartan Sprint (CW)

  • May 4 -- RTTYops Weeksprint

  • May 4 - 5 -- MIE 33 Contest (CW, phone)

  • May 5 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test (CW)

  • May 5 -- VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest

  • May 5 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test (CW)

  • May 5 -- RSGB FT4 Contest Series

  • May 6 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test (CW)

  • May 6 -- RTTYops Weeksprint

  • May 6 -- NRAU 10-Meter Activity Contest (CW, phone)

  • May 6 -- SKCC Sprint Europe (CW)
Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions

Many conventions and hamfests have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Check the calendar of canceled events on the ARRL website.

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.

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