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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
February 16, 2023
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


ARRL Headquarters will be Closed on Monday, February 20, 2023

ARRL Headquarters will be closed on Monday, February 20, 2023, for Presidents' Day. There won't be any W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions on that day. ARRL HQ will reopen on Tuesday, February 21, at 8 AM EST.

The Mount Vernon Amateur Radio Club of Alexandria, Virginia will celebrate George Washington's 291st birthday at Mount Vernon, the former plantation of George Washington and his wife, Martha. The club will be on the air February 18 - 19 on 14.260, 14.074, and 7.040 MHz. Visit the ARRL Special Event Stations database to find more on the air commemorations of Washington's birthday.

Amateur Radio Digital Communications Releases 2022 Annual Report

Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) has released it's 2022 Annual Report detailing grants made for amateur radio projects.

In 2022, overall, ARDC approved nearly $6.7 million in grants, and distributed nearly $7.7 million.

ARDC's 2022 grants were distributed in four categories: Amateur Radio, Education, Scholarships, and Research & Development. Below is a list of the total grant amounts distributed in each category.

  • Amateur Radio $2,145,686

  • Education $2,326,744

  • Scholarships $1,561,548

  • Research & Development $2,402,293

In 2022, international grant making was expanded to 13% of funded projects, which was an increase from 9% in 2020, and is an area where ARDC is aiming for additional growth in 2023.

ARDC made 47 grants to amateur radio in 2022, which accounts for almost half of the total projects funded.

These included nine college amateur radio club projects and 33 community amateur radio club projects which involve network build outs, equipment upgrades, and repairs to old equipment.

Communications vehicles were commonly applied for, meaning that they were more competitive and difficult to obtain funding for. Clubs often share that these projects re-energize their membership and activities.

ARDC reviewers focused on selecting projects with strong outreach plans or opportunities to bring new people into the hobby. Projects with unique approaches and ones that aimed for big impacts stood out from the crowd. At the same time, funds were available for bread-and-butter club projects in order to continue supporting typical groups enjoying the hobby.

An example of a stand-out project is the one proposed by Bay Area Mesh (BAM). BAM's goal is "to install a resilient, high-speed, wireless network throughout San Francisco and the greater Bay Area." The network would be used by responders, volunteers, and served agencies during disasters, emergencies, and large community events.

ARDC noted in the awarding of the grant, "They're building this network using inexpensive, commercial-grade Wi-Fi equipment, running open-source software developed by the Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network (AREDN)." Using AREDN software allows BAM volunteers to set up a node with minimal expertise and effort, Advanced network technology is not needed because the software configures the network automatically.

Scholarships continue to be a focus for ARDC. In 2023, ARDC is funding 95 scholarships, bringing the all-time ARDC scholar total to 313. The ARRL Foundation was the biggest beneficiary, with a grant of $500,000. And, in keeping with their goal of reaching underserved groups, scholarship programs were also funded for the Society of Women Engineers and OMIK (a multicultural amateur radio organization), among others.

ARDC is a private foundation that exists to support amateur radio and digital communication science and technology.

The mission of ARDC is to support, promote, and enhance digital communication and broader communication science and technology, and to promote amateur radio, scientific research, experimentation, education, development, open access, and innovation in information and communication technology.

You can read more about ARDC at their website.

Bouvet Island DXpedition Wraps Up

The 3Y0J activation of Bouvet Island has finished. The team concluded operations at 3:00 UTC on February 14, 2023, with around 19,000 contacts logged.

Bouvet Island, as seen from a sailing yacht.

Bouvet Island shrinks from view as S/V Marama takes the crew toward South Africa. 3Y0J Bouvet Island DXpedition, photo.

The team has boarded the S/V Marama and began their journey to Cape Town, South Africa. They expect to arrive by February 23.

Photos uploaded to social media by Steve Haas, N2AJ, the team's Media Officer, show the harsh reality of the operating environment. The crew operated in tents, with radios and equipment stacked on buckets.

Team Co-Leader Kenneth Opskar, LA7GIA, took to Facebook to tell a bit of their story. His post highlights the physical and technical challenges the team faced. "Pileup was difficult as our signals were weak. We had good reception and very often we called 3 to 5 times to log a QSO. Many DXers called but couldn't hear us, "how frustrating," he wrote "We focused on fewer bands to maximize [all time new ones], and looking at the stats, we achieved 19,000 QSOs and 50% unique calls. And many dupes! Many are satisfied, but some are also disappointed by the performance of either the team or the DQRMers."

In response to some posts on social media questioning the methods and tactics the team used, Opskar continued, "As for Bouvet, there is no guarantee at all, whether you use two helicopters or zodiac! [We wanted] to make more contacts, but safety was and will always be more important than trying to push our limits in a risky environment."

The effort was one of the most expensive DXpeditions of all time. The team raised $715,000 through donations and sponsorships, with each operator contributing a large sum to participate. The original plan was to operate for 22 days on the island. They had set a goal of 200,000 QSOs and hoped to operate up to 12 stations at once, across modes and bands.

As Opskar referenced, getting the equipment onto the island by boat proved to be a logistical challenge. "During the second day we got some supplies in a risky zodiac operation in high swell. We lost several objects in the surf and punctured the zodiac. The conditions on the beach were terrible. Due to the coming storm, we evacuated back to [the] Marama on day 4. Despite this, we decided to scale down [the] DXpedition... We could not fight against Bouvet, but [we] had to adjust to the weather and go ashore when Bouvet allowed us," the post said.

Without the planned kit, the team was largely limited to two radios at once. The only location on the island that was safe to set up camp had a large terrain feature in the direct path toward the east coast of the United States. With antennas limited to wire dipoles, power limited to the transceivers' rated output, and a massive rock in the short path to much of North America, operations were hindered.

Bouvet Island has long been number two on Club Log's DXCC Most Wanted list, right behind North Korea. Previous excursions to the remote island have also faced operational challenges. Antarctic weather, dangerous ice, and rough terrain prevent it from being an easy activation.

IARU Holds First 2023 Meeting

The 56th meeting of the Administrative Council of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) was held via Zoom on January 16, with President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, presiding.

The council received reports from the officers of each of the three regions. The meeting's focus was on the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-23) later this year in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The IARU effort for WRC-23 is being led by IARU Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR.

Here is a summary of the meeting submitted by IARU Secretary Joel Harrison, W5ZN:

"Of particular interest to the amateur radio and amateur satellite services for WRC-23 is agenda item 9.1b concerning the amateur allocation in the 23 - centimeter band at 1240-1300 MHz. The Radio Navigation Satellite Service (RNSS) is seeking protection from secondary users in addition to an expanded allocation. Preparatory work for this item is being conducted within the ITU's Working Party 5A. IARU's global WRC-23 9.1b team, led by Barry Lewis, G4SJH, has been consulting with the amateur community, resulting in a contribution to the draft guidance recommendation in support of coexistence with RNSS. Details on this work can be found at

The council reviewed a comprehensive written report from IARU [Electromagnetic Compatibility] Coordinator Dr. Martin Sach, G8KDF, on his work with the International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR). CISPR was formed in 1934 to set standards for controlling electromagnetic interference in electrical and electronic devices. CISPR's specific areas include radio interference measurements and statical methods, and limits for the protection of radio frequencies.

An ongoing strategic planning review of the current IARU structure is being conducted within several Working Groups (WGs). The Administrative Council received reports from the Futures WG Steering Committee, Relationship WG, Governance WG, and the Legal WG. This work is scheduled for completion no later than July to allow discussion at the Region 1 [General] Conference in Serbia in October, with additional opportunities provided to the other two regions.

Region 1 has received several inquiries regarding the status of [John Devoldere's,] ON4UN, and [Mark Demeuleneere's,] ON4WW, book, Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur and is considering how this document [can] be updated.

The Summary Record from this meeting, in addition to previous meetings, is available at"

The next virtual meeting of the Administrative Council is scheduled for March 20, and an in-person meeting is scheduled for June 25 at the conclusion of Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

The IARU Administrative Council is comprised of the IARU global officers and the President/Chairman and Secretary from each of the three regions. Members participating in this meeting were IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA; Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR; Secretary Joel Harrison, W5ZN; Region 1 President Sylvain Azarian, F4GKR; Secretary Mats Espling, SM6EAN; Region 2 President George Gorsline, VE3YV; Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD; Region 3 Chairman Ken Yamamoto, JA1CJP, and Director Yudi Hasbi, YD1PRY. Also participating was IARU Assistant Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ.

Founded in 1925, IARU is the worldwide voice of radio amateurs who secure and safeguard the amateur radio spectrum. ARRL serves as the International Secretariat of IARU.

Amateur Radio in the News

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

"Join the Comox Valley Emergency Radio Communications Team" / Comox Valley Record (British Columbia), February 13, 2023 - The Comox Valley Emergency Program (CVEP).

Share any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.

ARRL Podcasts

On the Air
Sponsored by
ARRL has designated 2023 "The Year of the Volunteers," to shed light on the work of the hundreds of volunteers who make ARRL and amateur radio what it is. We've got a year-long, on-air event to go with it; Volunteers On the Air (VOTA) is already taking the bands by storm just 2 months into the fun. In this episode, "How to Be On the Air All Year with VOTA," we talk to ARRL Director of Operations Bob Naumann, W5OV, and ARRL Radiosport Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, about rules, awards, special activations, and all things VOTA.

ARRL Audio News
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.


The 6th Annual Amateur Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) Workshop will be held March 17 - 18, 2023, in person at The University of Scranton and virtually via Zoom. The workshop is open to students and citizen scientists, and all amateur radio operators are invited to attend. The theme of the 2023 HamSCI workshop is "Forging Amateur-Professional Bonds." The primary objective is to bring together the amateur radio community and professional scientists. This year, the workshop will feature a working special event amateur radio station using the call sign W3USR. In-person participants can stop by the station to operate or learn about how an amateur radio station works. The Murgas Amateur Radio Club, K3YTL, is organizing and running the W3USR special event station. The 2023 HamSCI workshop is organized by The University of Scranton with generous financial support provided by the United States National Science Foundation and Amateur Radio Digital Communications. HamSCI is an officially recognized NASA citizen science project. Registration for the in-person workshop is now open. and will close on Monday, March 6, 2023. Virtual participation is free of charge. For more registration information visit HamSCI.

In Brief...

VOTA operations continue at a brisk pace, with tens of thousands of volunteer and W1AW portable contacts having been made. All points for VOTA scoring must come through Logbook of The World uploads. As announced in the January 2023 issue of QST, this is not a QSL card event (there will not be any W1AW portable state activation VOTA QSL cards issued from ARRL Headquarters). Please do not send W1AW portable VOTA QSL cards for VOTA contacts to ARRL Headquarters. W1AW portable VOTA QSL cards received by ARRL Headquarters will not be acknowledged.

The General - Class Element 3 Question Pool Errata has been released. The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators, NCVEC, Question Pool Committee has released the latest errata for the 2023 - 2027 Element 3 General question pool, which goes into effect on July 1, 2023. Nine questions were modified (G1B01, G1C01, G1C02, G5C02, G7C10, G9B05, G9C09, G9D09, and G9D10) and two questions (G9C06 and G9D13) were withdrawn from use. The pool is available as a Microsoft Word document and PDF. These changes are reflected in the new General Pool download file, dated February 1, 2023.

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week's ARRL Propagation Bulletin, ARLP007:

At 0725 UTC on February 15, 2023, the Australian Space Weather

Solar disk image taken February 16, 2023, courtesy of NASA SDO/HMI.

Forecasting Centre issued a geomagnetic disturbance warning:

"A coronal mass ejection (CME) impact occurred around 2200 UTC on February 14. Magnetic field strength (Bz) has been southward for the majority of time since impact, and there is a chance of G1 geomagnetic conditions."

Bz is the north-south direction of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF).

They predicted a disturbance for February 15 - 16.

For the latest geomagnetic conditions, I prefer this source:

More on the IMF:

Many sunspots appeared during this reporting week, February 9 - 15: three new sunspot groups on February 9, one more on February 10, two more on February 11, another on February 12, and three more on February 13.

Recent sunspot images:

This URL is for February 12. To see February 13, just change the "12feb23" string in the URL to "13feb23," and so on, for any other dates.

Average daily sunspot numbers increased from 95.1 to 182.4, and average daily solar flux from 155.9 to 196.4.

Geomagnetic activity also rose, with average daily planetary A index going from 11.7 to 13.7, and middle latitude numbers from 7.6 to 10.7.

The most active days were at the beginning and end of the week, with planetary A index at 21 on February 9, and at 29 on February 15. On those two days, the college A index at Fairbanks, Alaska, was 33 and 46. The quietest day was Monday, February 13, when the planetary A index was 4.

The outlook for the next month looks a bit more modest, with predicted solar flux at 175 and 172 on February 16 - 17; 170 on February 18 - 19; 165 on February 20; 160 on February 21 - 23; 130 on February 24 - 26; 140 on February 27 to March 1; 145 on March 2 - 3; 150, 155, and 165 on March 4 - 6; 180 on March 7 - 13; 170 on March 14 - 15; 160 on March 16 - 18; and 150 on March 19.

Predicted planetary A index is 18, 22, 30, and 12 on February 16 - 19; 5 on February 20 - 21; 8 on February 22; 10 on February 23 - 24; then 5, 5, and 8 on February 25 - 27; 5, 5, and 8 again on February 28 through March 2; 5, 5, and 16 on March 3 - 5; 18, 15, and 8 on March 6 - 8; and 5 on March 9 - 20.

Sunspot numbers for February 9 through 15, were 150, 190, 209, 197, 185, 206, and 140, with a mean of 182.4. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 214.9, 207.8, 209.5, 199.7, 189.2, 179.7, and 173.7, with a mean of 196.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 21, 16, 11, 7, 4, 8, and 29, with a mean of 13.7. Middle latitude A index was 16, 12, 10, 5, 3, 6, and 23, with a mean of 10.7.



Send your tips, questions, or comments to When reporting observations, don't forget to tell us what mode you were operating.

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

A Year-long - operating event - ARRL Volunteers On the Air (VOTA) - recognizes ARRL volunteers See also the State Activations Schedule for weekly W1AW Portable Operations including these:

  • February 15 - 21 -- Wisconsin, W1AW/9

  • February 15 - 21 -- California, W1AW/6

  • February 22 - 28 -- Michigan, W1AW/8

  • February 22 - 28 -- Florida, W1AW/4

Upcoming Contests:
  • February 16 - 17 -- Walk for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)

  • February 18 - 19 -- ARRL International DX Contest, CW (CW)

  • February 18 - 19 -- Russian PSK WW Contest (digital)

  • February 18 -- Feld Hell Sprint (digital)

  • February 19 -- FISTS Sunday Sprint (CW)

  • February 19 - 20 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)

  • February 20 -- OK1WC Memorial (MWC) (CW)

  • February 22 -- SKCC Sprint (CW)

  • February 22 -- UKEICC 80-Meter Contest (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.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

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Outlook 2007

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Use the menu item "View/Message Body As/Plain Text" or "View/Message Source" options.

OS X Mail (Mac)

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