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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
March 2, 2023
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


2023 Hamvention Awards Announced

[updated 4/25/2023]

The 2023 Hamvention Awards committee for Dayton Hamvention® has announced this year's award winners.

The Technical Achievement Award recipient is Dr. James Breakall, WA3FET.

Dr. James Breakall, WA3FET.

As a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Penn State University from 1989 to 2022, Dr. Breakall developed cutting-edge antenna technology and mentored his students in amateur radio. Through his mentorship, he inspired 700 of his students to become new licensees. Now a retired Professor Emeritus, he serves as a consultant to the Army, Air Force, and Navy on many antenna-related projects.

Amateur of the Year 2023 is Carsten Dauer, DM9EE.

Carsten Dauer, DM9EE.

For 30 years, Dauer has been active in European amateur radio through the World Radiosport Team Championship and Youth on the Air.

Recently, he spearheaded a movement that provides amateur radio equipment to Ukraine by collecting donations and personally delivering them.

You can read more about the 2023 Hamvention Awards at their website or at

Dayton Hamvention® is May 19 - 21, 2023 at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center.

AMSAT Recruiting Engineering Volunteers

AMSAT is looking for an electrical engineer with RF experience to join its FOX-PLUS team. The team will be a collaboration of up to 10 electrical, mechanical, software, and systems engineer volunteers.

There will also be an opportunity to design and build the RF communications subsystems for a series of low-Earth orbit 1U - 3U CubeSats to support AMSAT's educational and engineering objectives.

Candidates should have working knowledge of analog and digital communications protocols (e.g., FM, PSK, and FSK) to provide digitally synthesized audio for FM modulated VHF/UHF/SHF voice and telemetry channels. Development opportunities can begin with modification of previous FOX designs and/or with an original design.

Mechanical engineers are also needed to join AMSAT's FOX and GOLF CubeSat teams. There will be a collaboration with an all-volunteer team of up to 12 electrical, mechanical, software, and systems engineers. The positions entail an opportunity to use structural design and analysis skills to develop a series of low-Earth orbit and highly elliptical orbit 1U - 3U CubeSats.

Contributions may include:

  • The development of the space frame and deployable solar panel subsystem
  • The analysis of the thermal characteristics of the CubeSat and the design of the thermal management system
  • Preparation and oversight of the environmental testing procedure
  • Management of documentation of the CubeSat's adherence to the launch provider's and space vehicle owner's specifications

AMSAT volunteers typically spend 5 hours per week on their projects and attend a weekly meeting online. An amateur radio license and CubeSat experience are helpful, but not necessary. US citizenship or proof of permanent residency is required.

Interested persons should send an email with their resume/curriculum vitae to

- Thanks to AMSAT Assistant VP, Engineering Jonathan Brandenburg, KF5IDY, for the above information.

Schools Set to Talk with Astronauts via Amateur Radio

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) has announced that several schools are planning to communicate with orbiting astronauts in the coming weeks.

Students work on an antenna.

Lana'i High & Elementary School in Lana'i City, Hawaii, will attempt the contact between March 20 and 24, 2023. Students attending the high school already study amateur radio and the research being done on the ISS, among other scientific pursuits.

Stone Magnet Middle School in Melbourne, Florida, will make their contact between March 27 and April 1, 2023. In their application, Stone Magnet wrote that they work to inspire students to develop interest in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) careers. The school has a special program for science research, and students from that program place well in district and statewide science fairs each year.

ARISS is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the ISS. In the US, participating organizations include NASA's Space Communications and Navigation program (SCaN), the ISS National Lab - Space Station Explorers, ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio®, and AMSAT.

ARISS is presently seeking contact proposals for the next round of school selections.

Radio Merit Badge Sees Biggest Gain in Scouting

According to a Scouting magazine study of Merit Badges earned in 2022, Radio had the biggest jump.

Special event station K4S in Jasper, Tennessee, 2018 photo; Radio Scouting.

It is now the 81st most popular Merit Badge, up from being 98th in 2021. Trailing just behind it on the biggest gains list is the Electronics Merit Badge, which jumped 15 spots, from 80th to 65th. To earn the rank of Eagle Scout, members must earn 21 badges, 14 of which are standard. The Scout gets to choose the remaining badges based on personal interests.

Many Scouts take part in Jamboree on the Air, which is being held October 20 - 23, 2023.

Amateur Radio in the News

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

"Amateur radio enthusiasts ham it up in Milford" / The Daily (Connecticut), February 23, 2023. The Woodmont Amateur Radio Association is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

"From Social Activity to Lifeline: Thermal Belt Amateur Radio Club" / Tryon Daily Bulletin (North Carolina), February 23, 2023. The Thermal Belt Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

"Columbiana HS student presents at amateur radio conference" / Salem News (Ohio), February 23, 2023. Columbiana High School Amateur Radio Club.

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.


ARRL International DX Contest Log Upgrades are Now Available for HamDash. N3FJP's ARRL International DX Contest Log 5.1.4 (for US and Canadian users) and the DX version (for users outside the US and Canada), ARRL International DX Contest Log 3.7.4, are now available. These upgrades include:

  • Support for HamDash
  • Ability to sort the Notes list (Ctrl + H) by clicking on the column header

Upgrades are free for registered users. If you are running a version of the software released after January 2021, it will detect the new upgrade and offer to retrieve it for you. If you have any problems with the automatic upgrade, or if you are running an older version, you can install the latest version directly from the website at

In Brief...

The phone portion of the ARRL International DX Contest runs March 4 - 5, 2023. The event is dedicated to DX contacts only. US and Canadian stations may only contact DX stations and vice versa. The goal of the event is for operators to expand their knowledge of DX propagation on the HF and MF bands, and to improve their operating skills and station capabilities. Participants may only use the 160-, 80-, 40-, 20-, 15-, and 10-meter bands. You can read the complete rules here. This contest is an opportunity for stations to earn points in the yearlong Volunteers On the Air (VOTA) operating event. Each ARRL member is worth one point, and volunteers are worth even more. Refer to the VOTA web page for more information. Logs submitted to ARRL's Logbook of The World are automatically tallied for points.

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week's ARRL Propagation Bulletin, ARLP009:

Solar disk image taken March 2, 2023, courtesy of NASA SDO/HM.

This was a busy week for geomagnetic storms. A solar wind stream from an equatorial hole and a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) seemingly blew geomagnetic numbers off the scale, with the planetary A index on Monday hitting 94. An aurora was visible as far south as Colorado.

This week, the source of the 10.7-centimeter solar flux from the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Kaleden, British Columbia, was again saturated by solar wind on February 25, and the measurement was 279.3. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) corrected this to 152, which I thought was a bit too low. The other recent saturation was on February 17, at 343.1, but for some reason, the NOAA let this stand.

Average daily sunspot numbers rose from 107 to 126.3, but average daily solar flux declined from 162.4 to 158.2.

Average daily planetary A index rose from 10.6 to 27.7.

Over the next few weeks, it appears that solar flux values should hit a peak around March 17 - 18.

Predicted solar flux is 164, 162, and 158 on March 2 - 4; 154 on March 5 - 8; 165 on March 9 - 12; 170 on March 13 - 15; 175 on March 16; 180 on March 17 - 18; 175, 170, and 165 on March 19 - 21; 160 on March 22 - 23; 155 on March 24 - 26; 150 on March 27 - 28; 145 on March 29 - 30, and 140, 145, 150, 155, and 160 on March 31 through April 4.

Predicted planetary A index is 8, 5, 12, 18, 24, 14, and 8 on March 2 - 8; 5 on March 9 - 14; 15, 8, 8, 5, 8, and 15 on March 15 - 20; 5 on March 21 - 23; 12, 16, 56, 32, 16, and 10 on March 24 - 29; 8 on March 30 - 31, and 16, 18, and 15 on April 1 - 3.

The predicted A index of 56 and 32 on March 26 - 27 suggests a return of this week's disturbance in the next solar rotation.

Newsweek reported a radio blackout at the following link:

Sky & Telescope also reported on aurora season:

The News Tribune wrote a story about the northern lights:

The above story features western Washington, where I live. Unfortunately, the sky was overcast, but folks in eastern Washington were able to see the aurora. Remember that many of the images you see were from cameras with a long exposure time, which makes them much brighter than what can be seen with the naked eye.

Thanks to for this NASA video clip of sunspot group AR3234 growing as it comes over our sun's eastern limb:

Sunspot numbers for February 23 through March 1, 2023, were 108, 130, 129, 120, 192, 100, and 105, with a mean of 107. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 148.2, 164.1, 152, 159, 161.2, 160.9, and 162, with a mean of 162.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 22, 6, 10, 26, 94, 28, and 8, with a mean of 10.6. Middle latitude A index was 16, 4, 9, 18, 60, 19, and 6, with a mean of 8.4.



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.

Share your reports and observations.

A weekly, full report is posted on ARRL News.

Just Ahead in Radiosport

Yearlong -- ARRL Volunteers On the Air (VOTA). See also the State Activations Schedule for weekly W1AW Portable Operations, including these:

  • March 8 - March 15 -- Kentucky, W1AW/4

  • March 8 - March 15 -- Idaho, W1AW/7

  • March 15 - March 21 -- Virginia, W1AW/4

  • March 15 - March 21 -- Ohio, W1AW/8

  • There is no W1AW portable activation on March 1 - 7 in order to not interfere with the ARRL DX Contest March 4 - 5.

Upcoming Contests:
  • March 2 - 3 -- Walk for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)

  • March 2 -- CWops Test (CWT) (CW)

  • March 2 -- NRAU 10m Activity Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • March 2 -- SKCC Sprint Europe (CW)

  • March 3 -- NCCC RTTY Sprint (digital)

  • March 3 -- NCCC Sprint (CW)

  • March 3 -- K1USN Slow Speed Test (CW)

  • March 5 -- ARRL International DX Contest, SSB (phone)

  • March 4 - 12 --Novice Rig Roundup (CW)

  • March 4 -- Wake-Up! QRP Sprint (CW)

  • March 5 -- UBA Spring Contest, CW (CW)

  • March 5 -- SARL 40m Simulated Emergency Test (phone)

  • March 5 -- NSARA Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • March 5 -- WAB 3.5 MHz Phone (phone)

  • March 6 -- K1USN Slow Speed Test CW)

  • March 6 -- OK1WC Memorial (MWC) (CW)

  • March 6 -- RSGB 80m Club Championship, Data (digital)

  • March 7 -- ARS Spartan Sprint (CW)

  • March 7 -- AGCW YL-CW 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

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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