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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
December 8, 2022
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


ARDC Awards Grant for New Amateur Radio Station

Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) has awarded a $16,495 grant to fund a modern amateur radio station in the soon-to-open Museum of Information Explosion (MIE) in Huntsville, Alabama.

Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, ARDC Communications Manager, said the amateur station will be staffed and maintained by members of local amateur radio clubs, including the Radio Club of the MIE, who will install and operate the equipment and serve as docents for the station. "Licensed amateurs can use the station to try out new modes and techniques without making a major financial commitment. Specialized tools and test equipment will be available to use on-site," said Romanchik.

The station will present a contrast between modern digital technology and the historic, yet classic equipment found in the museum's other exhibits. The juxtaposition of old and new is designed to illustrate the accelerating evolution of amateur radio.

Dr. Marcus Bendickson, Executive Director of the museum, said they expect to open in early fall 2023, and visitors will be able to explore the history of communication, computing innovation, and how these technologies have shaped our modern way of life.

Youth on the Air Camp 2023 Application Period Now Open

Applications are now being accepted for campers interested in attending Youth on the Air (YOTA) Camp 2023.

Licensed amateur radio operators ages 15 through 25 are encouraged to apply online at The Radio Amateurs of Canada will be the local host for the 2023 YOTA Camp. It is scheduled to take place July 16 − 21, 2023, at the Carleton University campus in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Applications will be accepted through May 31, 2023, but for the best chance at being selected, applications should be submitted by 2359 UTC on January 15, 2023.

The application process is free. However, a $100 deposit is required upon acceptance. If a camper is unable to pay the deposit, they may be able to apply for a scholarship or waiver. Camp Director, Neil Rapp, WB9VPG, said campers are responsible for their transportation to the camp location, though some assistance may be available. Travel during camp events is provided.

Campers will be selected by the working group and notified by February 1. To encourage attendance from across the Americas, allocations for campers are being held open for various areas of North, Central, and South America. If countries do not use their allocation, or should someone within an allocation decline acceptance, those positions will be filled from the remaining pool of applicants. As this will be an ongoing process, everyone will not receive notification of acceptance at the same time. Preference will be given to first-time attendees.

COVID-19 guidelines are still in effect and may have an impact on offering the camp. Currently, the outlook on offering the camp in July 2023 is positive. If the camp cannot be hosted, or would need to reschedule, all applicants will be notified as soon as possible. Appropriate requirements on masking and vaccination statuses will be announced as needed.

A YouTube video is now available about the 2023 YOTA Camp. For details and additional information, contact the Camp Director Neil Rapp, WB9VPG, at

A Christmas Message to the World

On Christmas Eve morning, December 24, 2022, the Alexander Grimeton Friendship Association, in southern Sweden will be on the air sending out a special Christmas message to the world.

The event will begin at 08:30 CET (07:30 UTC) with the startup and tuning of the Alexanderson alternator transmitter through Grimeton Radio Station, call sign SAQ. The transmission will begin at 09:00 CET (08:00 UTC) with the 98-year-old 200 kW Alexanderson alternator on 17.2 kHz CW.

Grimeton Radio Station, SK6SAQ, will be QRV (ready) on the following frequencies:

3.535 MHz CW
7.035 MHz CW
14.035 MHz CW
3.755 MHz SSB
7.140 MHz SSB

QSL reports can be sent to SK6SAQ via email at

The event will also be live streamed on the Alexander SAQ Grimeton Friendship Association YouTube Channel.

The Alexanderson alternator transmitter is the only remaining example of early pre-electronic radio transmitter technology. The station, built in 1922 - 1924, has been preserved as a historical site. From the 1920s through the 1940s, it was used to transmit telegram traffic by Morse code to North America and throughout the world during World War II.

More information about the December 24 Christmas Eve event and the transmitter can be found at the Grimeton Radio Station website.

New General Question Pool Released for Ham Radio Licensing Effective July 1, 2023

The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators' (NCVEC) Question Pool Committee (QPC) has released the 2023 - 2027 General Class FCC Element 3 Syllabus and Question Pool to the public. The new General Question Pool is effective July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2027.

The new pool incorporates some significant changes compared to the 2019 - 2023 version. Its 432 questions were modified slightly to improve wording and to replace distractors; 51 new questions were generated, and 73 questions were eliminated. This resulted in a reduction of 22 questions, bringing the total number of questions in the pool down from 454. The level of difficulty of questions is more balanced, and the techniques and practices addressed have been updated.

The pool is available as a Microsoft Word document and PDF. The single graphic required for the new General Question Pool is available within the documents, or separately as PDF and JPG file formats.

"The newly revised pool must be used for General-class license exams starting July 1, 2023," said ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, who is a member of the NCVEC Question Pool Committee. "New test designs will be available to ARRL Volunteer Examiners on that date. The ARRL VEC will supply its officially appointed, field-stocked VE teams with new General exam booklet designs around mid-June."

General class examination candidates preparing for their exams using the 9th edition of The General Class License Manual, and/or the 6th edition of ARRL's General Q & A are encouraged to test by, or before, June 30, 2023. New editions of ARRL licensing publications will be available in May, for exams taken on, or after, July 1, 2023.

Amateur Radio Operators and National Weather Service Mark SKYWARN Alliance

Saturday December 3, 2022 was SKYWARN® Recognition Day (SRD), an event that recognizes SKYWARN volunteers for their contribution to public safety. SRD was observed by several National Weather Service (NWS) locations across the United States. Amateur radio volunteers set up temporary operations from forecasting headquarters to make contacts with other stations to demonstrate their readiness to operate in emergency conditions and to act as observers for the NWS. As of the last count there were over 4,700 SKYWARN spotters taking part in SRD.

SKYWARN event coordinator Rick Tate, KQ6NO, operates from the Ventura County, California Sheriff's Emergency Operations trailer. Photo courtesy of Jeff Reinhardt, AA6JR.

Near Los Angeles, California, at the NWS office located in Oxnard, volunteers set up six stations on different radio frequencies and operated through the day under simulated emergency conditions. Several members of the general public visited the NWS office during the exercise.

ARRL Headquarters, participating as WX1AW, was activated by ARRL Emergency Management Assistant Ken Bailey, K1FUG, during SRD. WX1AW was active on 40 - 10 meters using SSB and FT8 modes and monitored local VHF and UHF repeaters.

Radio amateurs participating as SKYWARN volunteers assist the NWS with real-time observations of adverse weather conditions that pose an imminent threat to life and property. Those alerts may include tornadoes, waterspouts, damaging hail, blizzard conditions, sleet, strong winds, heavy rainfalls and flooding, dust storms, damage assessment, and other significant anomalies. NWS personnel can utilize information from ham radio operators to issue alerts or assess threat levels to areas that may be affected by abnormal conditions.

The 2022 NWS Spotter of the Year Award was given to Bryan Loper, WX5CSS, of Atlanta, Texas. The award noted that Loper is very active with the amateur radio network and weather community within the Ark-La-Tex region, and is always reliable in providing weather reports. Loper is also an ARRL member.

Thanks to Jeff Reinhardt, AA6JR, Public Information Coordinator - ARRL Santa Barbara Section for contributing to this story.

Santa is On the Air Via Ham Radio

As Christmas approaches, many amateur radio clubs carry out an annual tradition of helping kids talk directly to Santa Claus while he is still at the North Pole before his big ride.

On Saturday, December 10, 2022, the Wallingford Amateur Radio Group in Connecticut will connect kids to Santa and Mrs. Claus via amateur radio during their Calling Santa event. The group organizes the event in cooperation with the Wallingford Health Department, Youth & Social Services, and support from an Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) grant to the Meriden Amateur Radio Club (MARC).

MARC President Dr. Ed Snyder, W1YSM, said this will be the third year for Calling Santa. "The location is ideal for this event," said Dr. Snyder. "Our communications van will be there, and the kids go inside and talk to Santa and Mrs. Claus on a real amateur radio. There will also be a fire truck, coloring books, crayons, and allergy-safe snacks." Each child will receive a full-color certificate signed by the Clauses.

Already in operation for the 16th consecutive year, The 3916 Nets are hosting the Santa Net on 3.916 MHz. Kids can talk to Santa Claus nightly via amateur radio at 7:00 PM CST now through Christmas Eve, December 24, 2022. The shortwave net welcomes radio amateurs to help their children and grandchildren get on the air to talk to Santa (third-party rules and regulations apply).

The Big Bend Amateur Radio Club, covering the Big Bend area of west Texas and based in Alpine, will have their 15th annual Santa Net ready to go on December 14, 2022. Local 2-meter repeaters are used to make the connection to Santa. The club highlights that "Santa Net introduces kids to ham radio." The event is promoted through the local elementary school and its teachers. Participants get a candy cane and a card commemorating the radio contact with Santa.

The ARRL Special Event Stations database is updated regularly and includes other Christmas and holiday-themed on-the-air events. You can search the database at, and use keyword searches such as "Christmas" or "holiday." Fill out the Special Events application form at to add your event.

Amateur Radio in the News

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

"Redding veterans use HAM radio to connect to people across the globe on Veterans Day" / KRCR TV (California), November 11, 2022 -- Thanks to the CalVet Redding, California Veterans Home and the Redding Veterans Amateur Radio Club special event station, W6VET.

"Amateur radio-aided rescue highlights useful hobby" / Green River Star (Wyoming), November 23, 2022 -- The Buffalo Amateur Radio Klub is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

"Pearl Harbor commemoration events to be hosted on the Battleship North Carolina" / WECT-TV (North Carolina), December 6, 2022 -- The Azalea Coast Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

Share any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.

ARRL Podcasts

In the latest episode of the ARRL On the Air podcast, Ginger Wilder, KI5TJE, discusses her first time running an amateur radio net. Get ready to be the next Net Control operator for your local net.

Listen to ARRL Audio News, available every Friday. ARRL Audio News is a summary of the week's top news stories in the world of amateur radio and ARRL, along with interviews and other features.

The On the Air podcast is available on iTunes (iOS) and Stitcher (Android). The On the Air podcast and ARRL Audio News are also on blubrry -- On the Air | ARRL Audio News.

In Brief...

Rodney L. Linkous, W7OM, "a giant of Pacific Northwest (PNW) DXing and contesting," became a Silent Key on Wednesday, November 30, 2022, reports Danny Eskenazi, K7SS. He was 88 years old. Linkous was first licensed in 1949. For the recent CQ World Wide DX CW Contest on November 26 - 27, 2022, Linkous had over 500 QSOs running low power. In 2014 John Miller, K6MM, interviewed Linkous for the National Contest Journal; The Daily DX reports Linkous was "instrumental" in the Western Washington DX Club. Linkous had 340/373 (current/total) confirmed contacts in the ARRL DXCC Mixed Standings, and 2,732 in the ARRL DXCC Challenge Standings.

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week's ARRL Propagation Bulletin, ARLP049:

Solar disk image taken December 8, 2022, courtesy of NASA SDO/HMI.

Solar activity bounced back in our reporting week, December 1 - 7. With solar flux and sunspot numbers dramatically higher and geomagnetic activity lower, what could be better? Well, even more sunspots, I guess. But this sunspot cycle is already progressing better than the prediction consensus, so I am grateful.

Average daily sunspot numbers increased from 46 to 85, while average daily solar flux rose from 108.3 to 137.5.

Average daily planetary A index dropped from 18.6 to 14.4, while middle latitude numbers declined from 14 to 9.1.

Predicted solar flux for the next few days is high, at 150 on December 8 - 11; 140, 130, 120, and 115 on December 12 - 15; 110 on December 16 - 19; 115 on December 20 - 22; 120 on December 23 - 28; 125, 130 and 135 on December 29 - 31; 140 on January 1 - 6, 2023, and 135 and 130 on January 8 - 9.

The planetary A index prediction is 20 and 8 on December 8 - 9; 5 on December 10 - 16; 10 on December 17 - 18; 5 on December 19 - 21; 20, 15, and 12 on December 22 - 24; 20 on December 25 - 28; 12, 10, 12, and 8 on December 29 - January 1, 2023; 5, 12, 15, and 8 on January 2 - 5, and 5 on January 6 - 12.

Don't forget the ARRL 10 Meter Contest this weekend; In North America, that starts on Friday evening, and the latest prediction shows a promising high solar flux with low geomagnetic numbers, ideal conditions.

In Friday's bulletin look for a report on 8-meter propagation from experimental stations in the United States from Mike Schaffer, KA3JAW.

Sunspot numbers for December 1 - 7, 2022 were 49, 66, 68, 93, 89, 123, and 107, with a mean of 85. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 118.7, 124, 133.8, 143,7, 149.8, 144.2, and 148, with a mean of 137.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 28, 16, 10, 17, 8, 4, and 18, with a mean of 14.4. Middle latitude A index was 18, 11, 7, 10, 7, 2, and 9, with a mean of 9.1.

Send your tips, questions, or comments to

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.

your reports and observations.

A weekly, full report is posted on ARRL News.

Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • December 8 -- RTTYops Weeksprint (digital)

  • December 10 - 11 -- ARRL 10-Meter Contest (CW, phone)

  • December 10 -- PODXS 070 Club Triple Play Low Band Sprint (digital)

  • December 10 - 11 -- TRC Digi Contest (digital)

  • December 10 - 12 -- SKCC Weekend Sprintathon (CW)

  • December 10 - 11 -- ARI 40/80 Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • December 10 - 11 -- International Naval Contest (CW, phone)

  • December 11 -- QRP ARCI Holiday Spirits Sprint (CW, phone)

  • December 11 -- CQC Great Colorado Snowshoe Run (CW)

  • December 12 -- Four State QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint (CW, phone)

  • December 14 -- NAQCC CW Sprint (CW)

  • December 14 -- 432 VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest (digital)

Visit the ARRL Contest Calendar for more events and information.

Upcoming Section, State, and Division Conventions
  • December 9 - 10 | Tampa Bay Hamfest, hosting the ARRL West Central Florida Section Convention, Plant City, Florida

  • January 7 | Ham Radio University, hosting the ARRL New York City-Long Island Section Convention, an online event

  • January 20 - 21 | Southwest Florida Regional Hamfest, hosting the ARRL Southern Florida Section Convention, Fort Myers, Florida

  • January 27 - 28 | Capital City Hamfest 2023, hosting the ARRL Mississippi State Convention, Jackson, Mississippi

  • January 28 | Winterfest, hosting the ARRL Midwest Division Convention, Collinsville, Illinois

  • February 10 - 12 | Orlando HamCation, hosting the ARRL Southeastern Division Convention, Orlando, Florida

  • February 25 | HAM-CON, hosting the ARRL Vermont State Convention, Colchester, Vermont

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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