Register Account

Login Help

ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
September 7, 2023
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


USA Radio Orienteering Team Brings Home Silver and Bronze Medals

At the 21st International Amateur Radio Union World Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) Championship in Liberec, Czech Republic, held August 27 through September 2, 2023, USA competitors won a silver medal for an individual competition, as well as two bronze team medals.

ARDF, also known as radio orienteering, is a multi-skill sport that involves running and navigation using only a map and compass.

Nadia Scharlau, KO4AD, competing in the 3.5 MHz (80-meter) Sprint. Photo courtesy of IARU.

Competitors use a 2-meter (144 MHz) or 80-meter (3.5 MHz) radio receiver to locate multiple transmitters hidden in a forest. The sport directly applies to important activities such as search and rescue, wildlife tracking, airborne and seaborne navigation, and communications. The competition at the championship in Liberec involved mountainous terrain, intricate navigation challenges, periods of rain, and elite racing.

The USA fielded its largest team ever, including 21 athletes, with seven competing in a world championship for the first time. The (IARU) and Czech Radio Club hosted the event in the mountainous region of North Bohemia, with 28 countries and nearly 400 racers attending.

Ruth Bromer, WB4QZG, won a silver medal in the W65 category during the 3.5 MHz "foxoring" event that combines orienteering and transmitter (fox) hunting. Nadia Scharlau, KO4ADV, and Natalia Leoni earned a bronze team medal in the W55 category 144 MHz classic competition. Several USA athletes also finished within the top 10 results in nearly all the classes, including two fourth - place finishes by Scharlau.

Scharlau was thrilled with the results. "All our newcomers performed beyond our expectations. The courses were extremely hard. We all got along and supported one another. Most importantly, almost everyone expressed their determination to improve and come back to compete again," said Scharlau.

ARRL's ARDF Committee Chair Charles Scharlau, NZ0I, who also raced, echoed the positive take on the USA team, stating, "They successfully navigated well-designed courses on rugged terrain against a field of skilled and experienced competitors. The Czech Republic is an ideal place to hold the world championships. They have great maps, excellent venues, and they know how to put on a world-class event," he said.

The USA Radio Orienteering Championship will be held in Michigan on October 7 - 13, 2024. Team USA will select its team members for the 2025 USA Championship, and that team will travel to Lithuania in 2025 to compete in the 22nd World ARDF Championship.

A complete list of the 2023 results can be found at

Thanks to ARRL ARDF Committee and Event Director Joseph Burkhead, KE8MKR, for the information contained in this story.

North Carolina School Contacts the International Space Station

On August 28, 2023, students at Bowman Middle School in Bakersville, North Carolina, talked to NASA Astronaut Stephen Bowen, KI5BKB, who as on board the International Space Station (ISS).

For months, 22 students had been preparing for a 10-minute window to ask Bowen about his time and experiences on the ISS. They were able to ask 13 questions, like, "What is it like to be in space?" and, "Is the crew doing any research on diseases that affect humans?"

Section Manager of the ARRL North Carolina Section Marv Hoffman, WA4NC, presented the Supporting, Upgrading, Growing Amateur Radio (SUGAR) Award to the school and its science, technology,

Students at Bowman Middle School in Bakersville, North Carolina, who participated in contacting the ISS on August 28, 2023, with STEM teacher Dan Hopson, back row, right. Photo courtesy of Tammy Hopson and used with parental permission.

engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teacher, Dan Hopson, for arranging the ISS contact.

Hopson said, "The waiting and static, are suspenseful but when you hear the man's voice or that person's voice come over the air, the kids know this is really happening."

Bowen, returned to Earth with SpaceX Crew-6 on September 5.

US Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (NC-05) also attended the event. She called the experience "a stellar opportunity." In a recent letter to her constituents in North Carolina, Foxx wrote, "On Monday, I traveled to Bakersville in Mitchell County to meet with students, staff, and administrators of Bowman Middle School - as well as to view the school's International Space Station (ISS) contact project. As part of the project, students were able to ask questions in real time via ham radio to Steve Bowen, a NASA Astronaut who successfully traveled to the ISS on March 3 of this year. This impressive event was one that these students will surely remember as they continue their educational journeys. Congratulations to all who made this event, and learning opportunity, such a success."

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 (SCaN) program, the ISS National Laboratory -- Space Station Explorers, ARRL, and AMSAT.

September is National Preparedness Month

September 2023 has been proclaimed National Preparedness Month to raise awareness of the importance of being prepared for sudden disasters and emergencies.

Flooding from Hurricane Idalia in Keaton Beach, Florida. The storm resulted in flooding and damage throughout the communities of Florida's Gulf Coast. [SSG Cassandra Vieira, FLANG, photo]

President Biden's proclamation issued on August 31, 2023, stressed the need to work together to help prepare for and recover from disasters.

The proclamation stated, "In America, we pride ourselves on emerging from every crisis stronger than when we entered it. That is because our people are resilient -- and when we invest in preparing them for disasters seen and unforeseen, we can meet every challenge together."

Read President Biden's full proclamation for National Preparedness Month here.

ARRL Director of Emergency Management Josh Johnston, KE5MHV, said National Preparedness Month is a good time for hams to make sure they are ready for emergencies. Johnston offered the following advice: "During the month of September, we encourage hams to check their preparedness and ensure they are ready for any type of event. Check your go-kit, charge your batteries, and ensure everything is working properly and ready to go if the need arises. The need could be right at home, and your backup gear or go-kit may be all you have to get on the air."

Johnston also advised hams to check more than radio gear, stating, "Make sure you have enough food and water to get by for a period of time. Have your medications listed, and pack that list in your go-kit or somewhere you will have it available. Prepare for anything. It is important to make sure your family is safe before you begin any possible activation."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that their 2023 Ready Campaign's theme, "Take Control in 1, 2, 3," focuses on preparing older adults in communities that are disproportionally impacted by all-hazard events.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell stated, "With the Atlantic hurricane season now underway, it is imperative that we advocate for the well-being of our nation's older adults and champion them as valued, honored, and respected members of our communities."

Emergency managers, and all those who work with and support older adult communities, now have access to new FEMA web pages in English ( and Spanish ( For information on helping people with disabilities prepare for disaster events, visit (English) or (Spanish).

Dave Coons, WT8W, Former ARRL Great Lakes Division Director, SK

David "Dave" Lee Coons, WT8W, former Director of the ARRL Great Lakes Division, passed away on September 2, 2023, at the age of 92. Coons joined ARRL in 1963 and was a member of the ARRL Diamond Club.

Dave Coons, WT8W, SK. [Photo courtesy of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association.]

According to the obituary published in the Dayton Daily News, Coons was a disabled veteran of the United States Navy, having served during the Korean War. He retired from his role as postmaster of the Miamisburg, Ohio, post office after 37 years with the United States Postal Service.

Coons served in numerous volunteer roles within the amateur radio community, including Vice Director of the ARRL Great Lakes Division from 1996 - 1998 and Director from 1998 - 2000. He was a Volunteer Examiner through the ARRL VEC.

Coons was active in leadership of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, where he served as President, Vice President, and Secretary at different times. He served as Chairman of the Dayton Hamvention® Flea Market Committee and on the Communications Committee. He was also active in the Clark County Amateur Radio Association, who honored him with the Frank J. Kirkpatrick Memorial Award in 1993 for services that went above and beyond.

Federal Aviation Administration records show Coons was an Instrument Rated private pilot. According to his obituary, Coons was involved with maintenance at the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport.

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 and the world of amateur radio operators" / Canadian Geographic (Canada) August 30, 2023 -- Society of Newfoundland Radio Amateurs.

"Neighborhood Radio Watch seen as way to strengthen emergency communications" / Buffalo Bulletin (Wyoming) September 5, 2023 -- The Buffalo Amateur Radio Klub (BARK) is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

"Amateur radio hobbyists share historic Texas lighthouse restoration story with world" / Beaumont Enterprise (Texas) September 6, 2023 -- Sabine Pass Lighthouse restoration.

"Tehachapi radio club looking for new members" / The Renegade Rip (California) September 6, 2023 --The Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

"Get your start in the world of amateur radio" / Adirondack Daily Enterprise (New York) September 7, 2023 -- Champlain Valley Amateur Radio Club.

any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.

ARRL Podcasts

On the Air
Sponsored by

The cover story of On the Air's September/October 2023 issue, "Foxhunting Basics," doesn't have anything to do with chasing down a woodland creature. Foxhunting is a radio direction-finding activity that you can enjoy with a radio club or group, or even with just one other friend -- and they don't even have to be a ham! Rob Zielfelder, N1NUG, explains how to get started with a couple of handheld radios and a directional antenna that you can make from inexpensive hardware store materials. One player hides somewhere with a radio, and sends intermittent transmissions, while the other player tracks them with the help of the radio's signal meter and a map. Listen to this month's episode for more information on how to join the fun.

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 Collins Amateur Radio Club station, WØCXX, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is planning three special events to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Collins Radio. Arthur A. Collins (1909-1987) founded Collins Radio Company in 1933 and produced shortwave equipment before supplying equipment for the commercial broadcast industry. The company also built radios for amateur use, including the KW-1, KWS-1, KWM-1, KWM-2/2A, and KWM-380, as well as the classic S line consisting of the 75S-3A, 32S-3, 51S-1, 30S-1, and 30L-1. After several mergers and acquisitions, the company began producing avionics for the aviation and aerospace industries and is now Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies. On September 9, 2023, WØCXX will host a special event station celebrating Arthur Collins' birthday, from 14:00 UTC to 20:00 UTC. On October 14, 2023, a special event station will be in operation from 14:00 UTC to 20:00 UTC to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Collins Radio. On November 18, 2023, a third special event station will operate from 15:00 UTC to 21:00 UTC to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the club's charter. More information is available on the club's website .

In Brief...

The Deep Space Exploration Society will hold its annual open house on September 16, 2023, at the Plishner Radio Telescope Site near Haswell, Colorado. Visitors will be able to hear their voices bounce off the moon using a 60-foot dish antenna operating on the 1296 MHz band. There will be tours of the new building, the communications trailer, and the HF/6-meter remote station in the underground bunker. There will also be a science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and amateur radio event with several optical telescopes on site for viewing the skies during the day and night. More information is available at

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week's ARRL Propagation Bulletin, ARLP036:

Seven new sunspots emerged this week: one on September 2, two on September 3, two more on September 4, one on September 5, and one on September 6.

The average daily sunspot number was up from 78.7 to 95.4, while the average daily solar flux decreased from 140.9 to 137.6.

Solar disk image taken September 7, 2023. [Photo courtesy of NASA SDO/HMI]

Geomagnetic activity was higher. On September 2, the planetary A index was 38 when Earth moved through a high-speed solar wind. In Alaska, the college A index at Fairbanks was 59.

The average daily planetary A index increased from 7 to 15.4, and the average middle latitude A index rose from 8.9 to 16.3.

Predicted solar flux is 150, 155, 155, and 150 on September 7 - 10; 140 on September 11 - 13; 145, 150, 150, and 155 on September 14 - 17; 150, 155, and 150 on September 18 - 20; 145 on September 21 - 22; 150 on September 23 - 24; 145 on September 25; 140 on September 26 - 27; 135 on September 28 - 30; 130, 135, 130, and 135 on October 1 - 4, and 140 on October 5 - 6.

Predicted planetary A index is 12, 10, 5, and 5 on September 7 - 10; 8 on September 11 - 13; 10, 8, 12, 8, and 8 on September 14 - 18; 5 on September 19 - 22; 12 on September 23; 5 on September 24 - 27; 8, 12, 5, and 12 on September 28 through October 1; 12, 10, 12, and 10 on October 2 - 5, and 5 on October 6 - 10.

I observed some interesting 12-meter propagation via PSK Reporter while using FT8 at 1745 UTC on September 4. My signal was received only over a narrow, 300-mile band hugging the east coast from Maine to Florida. The signals were between 2,200 - 2,500 miles away, and nowhere else.

Three hours later, at 2045 UTC, the reception reports along the coast expanded to 600 miles, and then 2,000 - 2,600 miles.

Later, at 2300 UTC, there was the same pattern, but it was a 200-mile band spanning 2,300 - 2,500 miles wide.

The next day, at 1700 UTC, there was an arc from Virginia to south Texas stretching 1,700 - 2,300 miles wide. At 1715 UTC, it drifted to a coverage of 1,750 - 2,600 miles.

Before FT8 and PSK Reporter, there was no practical way to observe propagation.

Sunspot numbers for August 31 through September 6, 2023, were 77, 83, 77, 79, 100, 121, and 131, with a mean of 95.4. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 139.9, 135.8, 131.2, 130.5, 136, 142.9, and 147.1, with a mean of 137.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 6, 12, 38, 25, 8, 11, and 8, with a mean of 15.4. Middle latitude A index was 8, 15, 25, 28, 14, 14, and 10, with a mean of 16.3.

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 the State Activations Schedule for weekly W1AW Portable Operations, including:

  • September 6 - 12 -- Oregon W1AW/7
  • September 6 - 12 -- Maine W1AW/1

  • September 16 - 22 -- Vermont W1AW/1

  • September 16 - 22 -- Oklahoma W1AW/5

Upcoming Contests:
  • September 9 -- VHF FOC QSO Party (CW)
  • September 9 - 10 -- ARRL EME Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • September 9 - 10 -- WAE DX Contest, SSB (phone)

  • September 9 -- Ohio State Parks on the Air (phone)

  • September 9 - 10 -- Alabama QSO Party (CW, phone)

  • September 9 -- ARRL September VHF Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • September 10 -- North American Sprint, CW (CW)

  • September 11 -- 4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint (CW, phone)

  • September 13 -- RSGB 80m Autumn Series, CW (CW)

  • September 14 -- BCC QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

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

ARRL -- Your One-Stop Resource for
Amateur Radio News and Information

  • Join or Renew Today! Eligible US-based members can elect to receive QST or On the Air magazine in print when they join ARRL or when they renew their membership. All members can access digital editions of all four ARRL magazines: QST, On the Air, QEX, and NCJ.

  • Listen to ARRL Audio News, available every Friday.

  • The ARRL Letter is available in an accessible format, posted weekly to the Blind-hams email group. The group is dedicated to discussions about amateur radio as it concerns blind hams, plus related topics including ham radio use of adaptive technology.

Subscribe to...

  • NCJ -- National Contest Journal. Published bimonthly, features articles by top contesters, letters, hints, statistics, scores, NA Sprint, and QSO parties.

Free of charge to ARRL members...

  • Subscribe to the ARES Letter (monthly public service and emergency communications news), the ARRL Contest Update (biweekly contest newsletter), Division and Section news alerts, and much more!



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.

Back issues published since 2000 are available on this page. If you wish to subscribe via e-mail, simply log on to the ARRL Web site, click on Edit Your Profile at the top, then click on Edit Email Subscriptions. Check the box next to The ARRL email newsletter, the ARRL Letter and you will receive each weekly issue in HTML format. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):

Editorial questions or comments: John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, at


The ARRL E-Letter e-mail is also available in plain-text version:

Outlook Express

1. From the Inbox view, select the Tools menu and the Options selection.

2. Click the Read tab

3. Check the Read All Messages In Plain Text box.  When you open the e-mail, it will be in plain text without images. Other e-mail programs may be able to make a Mail Rule for e-mail received from the address so that the plain-text-only display is selected automatically.

Outlook 2007

Use the same procedure as for Outlook Express, although the global option is under "Tools/Trust Center/E-mail Security".


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

OS X Mail (Mac)

Use the "View/Message/Plain Text Alternative" menu item.


Use the "Message text garbled?" link in the drop-down menu at the upper right of the displayed message block. pine, alpine Set "prefer-plain-text" in your ~/.pinerc configuration file: feature-list=..., prefer-plain-text, ...


Instragram     Facebook     Twitter     YouTube     LinkedIn