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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
November 30, 2023
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


ARRL RF Safety Committee Develops New Guidelines to Communicate RF Safety

Radio amateurs now have a new tool from ARRL to help answer questions about their stations. Neighbors of amateur radio operators are sometimes concerned about transmissions and radio frequency exposure from amateur stations.

The ARRL RF Safety Committee, with their international counterparts at the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), the Irish Radio Transmitters Society (IRTS), and the Swedish Society of Radio Amateurs (SSA), has developed a new set of guidelines to help amateurs interact with and talk to their neighbors about RF exposure.

Chairman of the ARRL RF Safety Committee Greg Lapin, N9GL, said the new informational PDF found on the ARRL RF Exposure page, Helping Amateurs Interact with Neighbors Asking About Radio Transmissions, was developed after a year of discussions about RF safety.

"Neighbors may be alarmed by some of the misinformation about RF safety that is available from a variety of sources. By following the exposure regulations from the Federal Communications Commission, we can be confident that our families and neighbors are safe," Lapin said.

Lapin added that RF exposure regulations are based on decades of trustworthy research. He also encouraged all amateur radio operators to perform exposure assessments for their stations to make sure they meet those regulations.

ARRL Advocacy Win: FCC Approves Request for Pearl Harbor Day Crossband Operations

ARRL sought a waiver on behalf of the activators, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted it. The waiver allows amateur radio operators to participate in a special event commemorating the 82nd annual National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The Battleship Iowa Amateur Radio Association (BIARA), with authority from the US Navy and Southwest Marine Corps Spectrum Office, will honor the sailors and ships previously homeported in San Pedro, California, who were attacked on December 7, 1941. There will be special crossband activations of NEPM, Battleship Iowa's original call sign, on December 6, 7, 8, and 9, 2023.

The Battleship Iowa at home port in San Pedro, California. [Photo courtesy of Battleship USS IOWA Museum]

Using the call sign NEPM, the club will transmit on assigned military frequencies and listen for calls from the amateur radio community on their adjacent bands. NEPM will transmit on 14.375, 18.170, and/or 21.856 MHz on J3E/USB and/or A1A/CW. The club operator will tell participating hams where BIARA will be listening, which will be 10 KHz below the top of each adjacent band when working J3E/USB, or 10 KHz above the bottom of each adjacent band when working A1A/CW. Amateur participants are reminded not to transmit on the NEPM military frequencies. Operations on all 4 days are expected to be from 0700 to 1600 PST (1500 to 2400 UTC).

The FCC stated the grant of the waiver meets the second prong of the waiver standard in section 1.925(b)(3)(ii) in that the event presents a unique opportunity for the amateur and military communities to practice communication skills under the guidance of military officials, which may be useful in the future and serves the public interest.

In addition to the skills gained by amateur operators participating in the test, National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day has historical significance. It emphasizes the importance of reliable communications and the need to be vigilant in national defense.

If amateur radio operators who wish to participate are licensed in a country outside the US, BIARA advises to check the terms and conditions that govern their respective licenses.

QSL procedures can be found at For specific questions before the operation, email

WX1AW Active for 2023 SKYWARN™ Recognition Day

As part of the celebrations for SKYWARN™ Recognition Day (SRD) on December 2, 2023, hams will be on the air as WX1AW from the ARRL Radio Laboratory station, W1HQ. ARRL Director of Emergency Management Josh Johnston, KE5MHV, and other amateurs plan to be on the air for several hours Saturday morning and midday.

The event honors all SKYWARN storm spotters and amateur radio operators for their contributions to the National Weather Service (NWS) during severe weather. Amateur radio operators also provide vital communication to the NWS and emergency management teams in other instances when normal communications fail.

"SKYWARN is a perfect example of an opportunity for hams to provide situational awareness for our communities during severe weather. We are happy to participate with our partners at the NWS and look forward to continuing the service provided by amateur radio operators around the country," said Johnston.

For those interested in participating in the operating event, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website is updated with the SKYWARN registration form, mapping form, rules, and information.

SRD was developed in 1999 by the NWS and ARRL. On SRD amateur stations exchange contact information with as many NWS stations as possible on 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, and 6 meters, plus the 2-meter and 70-centimeter bands. Contacts made via repeaters are also permitted. Non-amateur radio spotters can exchange information with NWS offices using social media. To learn how to become a trained NOAA storm spotter, visit Spotter Training (

Radio amateurs frequently contribute to their community's situational awareness through the SKYWARN program during severe weather such as this tornadic supercell thunderstorm near Medicine Lodge, Kansas. [Sierra Harrop, W5DX, photo.]

Amateur Radio in the News

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

"Edmonds Woodway Amateur Radio Club celebrates five years of connecting" / My Edmonds News (Washington) November 22, 2023 -- The Edmonds Woodway Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

"Longmont's Santa on the Air radio call-in program starts next week" / Daily Times - Call (Colorado) November 24, 2023 -- The Longmont Amateur Radio Club and the Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Club.

"Amateur Radio Association expands N6SBC repeater coverage" / BenitoLink (California) November 28, 2023 -- The San Benito County Amateur Radio Association.

any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.

ARRL Podcasts

On the Air
Sponsored by

The Value of Contest Clubs

"Contesting encompasses so much of the hobby," says seasoned contester Craig Thompson, K9CT, in the current episode of the On the Air podcast, "from station building, learning how to operate, understanding propagation, knowing the rules, learning from your peers," that there's something in it for every ham radio operator. As current member and former president of the Society of Midwest Contesters, Craig knows the ins and outs of running a contest club and ensuring that the value proposition makes sense to the average member. In this episode, Craig talks about why you might want to get involved with a contest club, what it entails, and how these specialized clubs stir up on-air activity that benefits every ham. This discussion extends the November/December 2023 On the Air, "Joining a Contest Club," by Leanna Figlewski, KC1RMP.

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. The On the Air podcast and ARRL Audio News are also on blubrry -- On the Air | ARRL Audio News.


The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) Question Pool Committee (QPC) has removed two General-class license questions. Pursuant to the November 13, 2023, FCC rule change to remove symbol rate restrictions on amateur radio digital emissions (, the QPC of the NCVEC has deleted two questions from the General-class question pool because they are no longer correct. General-class questions G1C08 and G1C10 are withdrawn from the pool effective immediately and should be removed from examinations as soon as possible. Updated question pool files, including the errata and new information, have been posted on the NCVEC General-class question pool web page at The current Element 3 General question pool became effective on July 1, 2023, and it is valid through June 30, 2027. The ARRL VEC advises the community to regularly check the NCVEC website at for updates to the question pools, which may include errata and withdrawn questions.

In a ceremony held on November 21, 2023, in Oregon City, Oregon, the Emergency Communications Radio Room in Clackamas County's Disaster Management offices was named in honor of former Section Manager of the ARRL Oregon Section David Kidd, KA7OZO. Kidd is a longtime amateur radio volunteer who stepped down from his role as the County Emergency Coordinator for radio amateurs after 20 years of service. Kidd became the Emergency Coordinator for the Clackamas Amateur Radio Emergency Services® (CARES®) in 2002. Under his leadership, CARES signed a memorandum of understanding with Clackamas County Disaster Management in 2005 that established a strong working relationship between amateur radio volunteers and county disaster management. Kidd's successor, Steve Jensen, KE7GXC, explained, "David built CARES from just a few people to one that has strong cooperation with Clackamas County, city subunits, and a large, active, trained, and committed membership." Interim Deputy Disaster Manager for Clackamas County Jamie Poole announced at Kidd's retirement that the newly established radio room would be named in his honor to recognize his service to the county. CARES is a group of licensed amateur radio volunteers who provide critical communication links during disasters and other major events. For more information about CARES, visit

In Brief...

Summits on the Air (SOTA) is offering a 10-meter Challenge in 2024. The challenge will run from 0000 UTC on January 1, 2024, to 2359 UTC on December 31, 2024. Solar Cycle 25 is beginning to create regular favorable DX conditions on the higher bands, and early predictions indicate the cycle peak may occur during the summer of 2024. SOTA held a 12-meter Challenge in 2013, and since then, more than 90 associations have been added to the SOTA program, including many in South America, the Caribbean, and Asia. There is excellent potential for DX SOTA activity, and activators are encouraged to consider 28 MHz for their summit operations in 2024. Scoring will be done automatically by the database software. Activations and chases should be entered as normal. The software will note 10-meter QSOs and score them according to the rules. Usual SOTA rules will apply. Multi-band activations can also be entered as normal, and all results will be updated. Qualifying 10-meter QSOs will be scored separately from other SOTA activity. There will be a special 10-meter Challenge results page, and electronic certificates will be issued for all participants with their name, call sign, association, and score. For more information, including the rules for the challenge, visit the Summits on the Air website.

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week's ARRL Propagation Bulletin, ARLP048:

Solar disk image taken on November 30, 2023. [Photo courtesy of NASA SDO/HMI]

The Australian Space Weather Forecasting Centre issued the following Geomagnetic Disturbance Warning #23/74 at 2321 UT on November 29, 2023:

"Several coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are expected to impact Earth on November 30 and December 1, 2023. Two CMEs were observed on November 27 that were expected to arrive on November 30, followed shortly by a very mild, glancing blow from a third. One or possibly two halo CMEs were observed on November 29, which are Earth-directed. It is likely that all or some of these CMEs will combine on their trajectory toward Earth, making it difficult to pinpoint an exact arrival time. However, G3-G4 geomagnetic conditions are possible over this period."

Over the past reporting week, 10 new sunspot groups appeared. There were three on November 23, one each day on November 24 - 26, another on November 28, and three more on November 29.

Solar numbers increased, with the average daily sunspot number rising dramatically from 83.3 to 165.9, doubling from the previous week.

The average daily solar flux rose from 146 to 181.5.

Geomagnetic numbers rose slightly, with the planetary A index changing from 10.1 to 11.6, and the middle latitude number changing from 7.3 to 7.6.

Predicted solar flux is 175 on November 30; 170 on December 1; 165 on December 2 - 3; 160 on December 4; 150 on December 5 - 6; 140 on December 7 - 8; 145 on December 9 - 10; 140 on December 11 - 16; 150 on December 17, and 160 on December 18 - 28.

Predicted planetary A index is 30, 56, and 22 on November 30 through December 2; 10, 10, 12, 10, and 10 on December 3 - 7; 5 on December 8 - 11; 10 and 8 on December 12 - 13; 5 on December 14 - 17; 15, 25, 8, and 5 on December 18 - 21, and 20, 10, 10, 8, and 5 on December 22 - 26.

Watch a new video from Dr. Tamitha Skov, WX6SWW, about solar storms at

Sunspot numbers for November 23 - 29, 2023, were 176, 184, 179, 169, 159, 130, and 164, with a mean of 83.3. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 194.2, 178, 176.4, 180.2, 187.3, 183.5, and 170.6, with a mean of 146. Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 7, 38, 10, 7, 7, and 5, with a mean of 10.1. Middle latitude A index was 4, 5, 18, 9, 2, 6, and 9, with a mean of 7.3.

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:

  • Nov 29 - Dec 5 -- Rhode Island W1AW/1

  • Nov 29 - Dec 5 -- Florida W1AW/4

  • Nov 29 - Dec 5 -- Delaware W1AW/3

  • December 6 - 12 -- Louisiana W1AW/5

  • December 6 - 12 -- Illinois W1AW/9

  • December 6 - 12 -- Hawaii W1AW/KH6

Upcoming Contests:
  • December 1 - 2 -- SEC QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

  • December 1 - 3 -- ARRL 160-Meter Contest (CW)

  • December 2 - 3 -- Kalbar Contest (phone)

  • December 2 - 3 -- UFT Meeting (CW)

  • December 2 -- Wake-Up! QRP Sprint (CW)

  • December 2 - 3 -- PRO CW Contest (CW)

  • December 2 - 3 -- INORC Contest (CW)

  • December 2 - 3 -- FT Roundup (digital)

  • December 5 -- Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest (phone)

  • December 5 -- ARS Spartan Sprint (CW)

  • December 6 -- Phone Weekly Test (phone)

  • December 6 -- VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest (digital)

Visit the ARRL Contest Calendar for more events and information.

Upcoming Section, State, and Division Conventions
  • December 8 - 9 | Tampa Bay Hamfest, hosting the ARRL West Central Florida Section Convention, Plant City, Florida

  • January 6 | Ham Radio University, hosting the ARRL New York City-Long Island Section Convention, Brookville, New York

  • January 12 - 14 | ARRL Puerto Rico State Convention, Hatillo, Puerto Rico

  • January 19 - 20 | Cowtown Hamfest, hosting the ARRL North Texas Section Convention, Forest Hill, Texas

  • January 27 | Winterfest, hosting the ARRL Midwest Division Convention, Collinsville, Illinois

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
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  • 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.

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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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