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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
June 9, 2022
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


FCC Proposes Record $34,000 Fine for Alleged Interference and Unauthorized Transmissions During Idaho Wildfire

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a $34,000 fine against Jason Frawley of Lewiston, Idaho, for allegedly interfering with radio operations of the U.S. Forest Service during firefighting activities for the Johnson Creek Fire near Elk River in July 2021. The FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) on June 8, 2022 to Frawley. The FCC states in the NAL that Frawley holds an Extra-class Amateur Radio Service license, WA7CQ, and is the owner/operator of Leader Communications LLC, licensee of eight microwave licenses and one business license.

The FCC alleged in the NAL that "On July 17, 2021, using his amateur hand-held radio, Frawley transmitted five (5) times, and on July 18, 2021, Frawley transmitted three (3) times on frequencies allocated and authorized for government use, apparently causing harmful interference with his apparently unlawful transmissions."

The frequencies with which Frawley is alleged to have interfered were being used to coordinate firefighting crews from the U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Department of Land to fight the 1,000-acre Johnson Creek Fire, including the communications between fire suppressant aircraft and ground crews.

Leland Complex Johnson Creek Fire, July 21, 2021 [Photo courtesy of]

The NAL includes details of the Forest Service's complaint and the FCC's investigation. On July 18, 2021, the Johnson Creek fire operations section chief drove to the Elk River airstrip and hanger where Frawley, who had disclosed his location, was found holding a radio next to a banner that read, "Leader Communications." Frawley admitted to transmitting on government frequencies and identifying himself as "comm tech." He argued that he was not trying to cause interference but instead was transmitting to provide information to the fire fighters.

"[A]t no time was I trying to disturb any other communications or air traffic. I was honestly just giving them information I had since I have been working on the butte since the early 90's . . . " wrote Frawley in his October 15, 2021 response to a Letter of Inquiry from FCC Special Counsel Laura Smith.

The FCC however concluded that "Frawley's admitted unauthorized transmissions on frequencies for which he did not have a license had the potential to cause substantial harm to life and property."

The FCC held that Frawley, by his own admission, apparently willfully and repeatedly violated the Commission's rules when he made eight separate radio transmissions on a frequency for which he did not have a license. The FCC stated that unauthorized transmissions on frequencies licensed to public safety entities using those frequencies to respond to emergencies also constitutes a violation of Section 333 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

A news release from the FCC states that the fine is the largest of its kind proposed. "The Communications Act prohibits such interference with authorized radio communications and the Commission takes very seriously any interference with public safety communications," said the FCC. In a separate statement, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel added, "You can't interfere with public safety communications. Full stop. So today we propose the largest fine of its type for this interference that put fire suppression and public safety itself at risk."

SEA-PAC Celebrates 40th Year

The Northwest's largest amateur radio convention, SEA-PAC, held its 40th anniversary show, June 3 - 5, 2022. The convention drew more than 1,500 attendees to the Seaside Convention Center, just steps from the Pacific Ocean in Seaside, Oregon. SEA-PAC is sponsored by the Oregon Tualatin Valley Amateur Radio Club, and co-sponsored by the Clark County Amateur Radio Club. The event also hosted the 2022 ARRL Northwestern Division Convention.

SEA-PAC offered a treasure trove of workshops covering a variety of topics and interests.

The convention kicked off on Friday with a series of all-day workshops. An Emergency Communications workshop covered topics from 'what to take' during an emergency, to disaster response experiences and stories. ARRL Director of Emergency Management Josh Johnston, KE5MHV, participated in the workshop, offering a perspective on the role of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) in responding to local disasters. Other workshops included a basic electronics course, and building baluns and ununs.

On Saturday, attendees were greeted by dozens of exhibitors including manufacturers, equipment dealers, radio clubs, and organizations. At the busy ARRL booth, visitors could meet with President Rick Roderick, K5UR and his wife Holly; CEO David Minster, NA2AA; Northwestern Division Director Mike Ritz, W7VO; Vice Director Mark Tharp, KB7HDX; Western Washington Section Manager (SM) Monte Simpson, W7FF; Eastern Washington SM Jo Whitney, KA7LJQ; Oregon SM David Kidd, KA7OZO, and Alaska SM David Stevens, KL7EB. Also participating was ARRL Director of Public Relations and Innovation Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R and Director of Membership, Marketing & Communications Kathleen Callahan, KC1MBY.

ARRL CEO David Minster, NA2AA, was the keynote speaker at 2022 SEA-PAC.

President Roderick addressed the ARRL Forum on Saturday morning, recognizing the more than 7,000 ARRL Field Organization volunteers and 30,000 ARRL Volunteer Examiners for their contribution to the organization and amateur radio.

CEO Minster was the keynote speaker at the Saturday night banquet. In his remarks, he highlighted ways ARRL members can become even more active and engaged in amateur radio. "We are called to this noble cause of amateur radio," said Minster. "ARRL promotes, protects, and nurtures innovation for this hobby which holds so much meaning for us in our lives. And ARRL is nothing without you."

See ARRL's photo album from SEA-PAC on Facebook.

The next ARRL Division Convention is the 2022 Huntsville Hamfest in Huntsville, Alabama, August 20-21. Visit to find a hamfest near you.

ARRL Podcasts Schedule

The latest episode of the ARRL On the Air podcast (Episode 30) features a discussion with ARRL Contest Manager Paul Bourque, N1SFE, about ARRL Field Day and off-the-grid operating.

The latest edition (Episode 61) of the ARRL Eclectic Tech podcast features an interview with QST "Product Review" Editor Pascal Villeneuve, VA2PV, with a roundup of new products seen at the 2022 Dayton Hamvention®.

The On the Air and Eclectic Tech podcasts are sponsored by Icom. Both podcasts are available on iTunes (iOS) and Stitcher (Android), as well as on Blubrry -- On the Air | Eclectic Tech.

Amateur Radio in the News

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

"Ham radio group receives national recognition" / KAAL-TV, ABC 6 News (Minnesota), June 6, 2022. Featuring Northland Amateur Communications Group of Mason City, Iowa, an ARRL Affiliated Club,

Share any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.


ARRL is seeking an Administrative Coordinator for the new ARRL Foundation Club Grant Program. This program seeks to fund transformative projects that enable growth for amateur radio operators, on the air projects, ham radio training and mentoring, and more. The program is funded by Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), and it will award a total of $500,000 in club grants throughout 2022. The independent contractor will coordinate, administer, manage, and organize club grant applications at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut. To apply for this contract position, send a biography or profile to Visit the ARRL website for a complete job description at

The GI-QRP Convention, the first in Northern Ireland for many years, will take place on June 25, 2022. The convention, which takes place at the Tandragee Golf Club, is being organized by members of the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) Region 8 team, in conjunction with the G-QRP Club. The event takes place at the Tandragee Golf Club, on June 25, 2022. There will be talks, trade stalls, and several Build-a-thon workshops. The talks will be streamed live via a Zoom webinar link. For more information, the G-QRP Club call sign, GI5LOW, will be active for the first time in the lead up to, and during, the convention. It will go live at 00:01 UTC on June 17, which is also World QRP Day. Full details of the convention can be viewed at

The Lewis and Clark Trail on the Air event is June 4 - 19, 2022. The event commemorates the historic Lewis and Clark Trail which covers 4900 miles through 16 states. Contact one club in each of the 16 states on the trail. Operating modes include SSB phone, FM phone (for 2 meters only), CW, and FT8. Any combination of modes towards working all 16 states is allowed. The event is sponsored by the Clark County Amateur Radio Club of Washington. A schedule for planned operations for each state, and more details, will be posted at Find even more Special Events at

In Brief...

Congratulations to Capital City Amateur Radio Club of Montana on their 75 years of ARRL Club Affiliation. The club was recognized at the 2022 ARRL Northwestern Division Convention, SEA-PAC, on June 4. A plaque was presented to the club by Northwestern Division Director Mike Ritz, W7VO (right) and Vice Director Mark Tharp, KB7HDX (left), and received by the club's Technical Advisor Don Heide, W7MRI (middle). Visit for more information about the club.

A SKYWARN training session was held at the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamón, Puerto Rico on Saturday, June 4, 2022. The exercise was presented by Ernesto Morales, who is sub-director of the National Weather Service (NWS) on the island. Facilities were coordinated by Luis E. Cruz, NP4KB; Mario Rivera, KP4NNC, and Migdalia Santiago-Albadejo, KP4MSA.

Many radio amateurs in the area participated in the exercise including Jorge A. Rivera, NP4ZB; ARRL Puerto Rico Section Manager Rene Fonseca, NP3O; Section Traffic Manager Emmanuel J. Cruz, NP4D; NWS Sub-Director Ernesto Morales; SKYWARN representative Luis E. Cruz, NP4KB, and Section Emergency Coordinator Zone 10B Alberic J. Medina, NP3MR. [Ángel Santana, WP3GW, photo]

A new Czech satellite, the eleventh in a row, was placed into orbit on the evening of May 25, 2022, after launch by Falcon-9 rocket from Florida.
PLANETUM-1 transmits as OK0PLA in the 2-meter and 70-centimeter bands with CW and GFSK. The control center is the Planetarium in the capital city of Prague. More information about PLANETUM -1 is available at this link:

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports:

Hard for me to believe, I had to blink to make sure. On Wednesday, June 8, 2022, for the first time this calendar year there were no sunspots, even though two new sunspot regions appeared on June 4.

New sunspots. [Photo courtesy of NASA SDO/HMI]

Average daily sunspot number declined to 44 from 52.9 last week. Average daily solar flux was only 98, down from 104.3 last week and 158.8 the week before.

Predicted solar flux is 100 on June 9; 105 on June 10 - 11; 110 on June 12 - 14; 115 on June 15 - 17; 120 on June 18; 125 on June 19 - 20; 150 on June 21; 110 on June 22; 100 on June 23 through July 3; 105 on July 4 - 5; 110 on July 6 - 10, and 115 on July 11 - 13.

Assuming the above prediction is true, that would mean average daily solar flux rising from 98 to 107.9 over the next week and 123 the next.

Predicted planetary A index is 5 on June 9 - 15; 10 and 8 on June 16 - 17; 5 on June 18 - 22; 12, 18, 10, and 8 on June 23 - 26; 5 on June 27 through July 9, then 12, 8, 12, and 10 on July 10 - 13.

Despite the recent downturn, Solar Cycle 25 activity exceeds the official forecast, which can be seen at

According to, May sunspot activity was the highest in 8 years.

To see solar images and useful links, visit and

In Friday's bulletin, look for interesting 6-meter observations.

Sunspot numbers for June 2 - 8 were 59, 52, 75, 57, 45, 23, and 0, with a mean of 44.4. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 100.9, 100.7, 100.9, 98.7, 96.4, 98.4, and 99.9, with a mean of 98. Estimated planetary A indices were 5, 4, 4, 4, 10, 8, and 5, with a mean of 5.7. Middle latitude A index was 5, 4, 4, 5, 10, 11, and 5, with a mean of 6.3.

A comprehensive K7RA Solar Update is posted Fridays on the ARRL website. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service, read "What the Numbers Mean...," and check out the Propagation Page of Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA.

A propagation bulletin archive is available. For customizable propagation charts, visit the VOACAP Online for Ham Radio website.

Share your reports and observations.

A weekly, full report is posted on ARRL News.

Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • June 11 -- VK Shires Contest (CW, phone)

  • June 11 - 12 -- DRCG WW RTTY Contest (digital)

  • June 11 -- Asia-Pacific Sprint, SSB (phone)

  • June 11 - 12 -- Portugal Day Contest (CW, phone)

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

  • June 11 -- AGCW VHF/UHF Contest (CW)

  • June 11 - 12 -- GACW WWSA CW DX Contest (CW)

  • June 11 - 12 -- REF DDFM 6 Meter Contest (CW, phone)

  • June 11 - 13 -- ARRL June VHF Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • June 13 -- 4 States QRP Group 2nd Sunday Sprint (CW, phone)

  • June 13 -- OK1WC Memorial (MWC) (CW)

  • June 15 -- NAQCC CW Sprint (CW)

  • June 15 -- VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest

  • June 15 -- RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship, (CW)

  • June 16 -- SARL Youth Sprint (phone)

  • June 16 -- NTC QSO Party (CW)

Visit the ARRL Contest Calendar for more events and information.

Upcoming Section, State, and Division Conventions

Search the ARRL Hamfest and Convention Database to find events in your area.

Have News for ARRL?

Submissions for the ARRL Letter and ARRL News can be sent to -- John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, ARRL News Editor

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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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