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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
January 18, 2024
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


ARRL is New Publisher of Gordon West, WB6NOA

ARRL is the new publisher of the Amateur Radio License Preparation books and related resources authored by Gordon West, WB6NOA.

General Class FCC Element 3 Amateur Radio License Preparation, 11th Edition 2023-2027, by Gordon West, WB6NOA, will be available soon from ARRL and ARRL publication dealers.

Gordon West's popular books, classes, and audio courses have been a mainstay of amateur radio licensing for over 40 years. Generations of hams have learned from 'Gordo', and now the impact of his knowledge and experience will continue with the reach and resources of ARRL.

Current editions of Gordon West's popular license prep books will be available from ARRL and ARRL publication dealers soon. Look for the category "Gordon West License Prep" in the ARRL e-store.

The books, including future editions, will continue to be authored by Gordon West with Technical Editor Eric P. Nichols, KL7AJ. Nichols is a regular contributor to ARRL publications and has written several ARRL books. He has collaborated on the Gordon West books since 2013.

Gordon West Named ARRL National Instructor

ARRL Education and Learning Manager Steve Goodgame, K5ATA, has also announced that Gordon West has been named ARRL National Instructor.

Gordon West, WB6NOA.

Goodgame leads ARRL programs that benefit amateur radio volunteer instructors and professional educators. "Gordon West will serve as the ambassador for the new ARRL National Instructor Program," said Goodgame. "The program will place greater emphasis on connecting prospective hams with opportunities to find ARRL Affiliated Radio Clubs, classes, and exams. The National Instructor Program will also support ARRL volunteer instructors with new resources for teaching amateur radio courses and for developing licensees."

Read more about this exciting collaboration on ARRL News.

Download the press release here (PDF) and visit for more information.

Amateur Radio Club Donation Helps Mississippi Library

The Jackson Amateur Radio Club (JARC) has donated two complete sets of ARRL books and posters on the information in amateur radio, valued at $2,000, to the Madison County Library System (MCLS) in Canton, Mississippi.

"These book titles represent the brain trust of what we know about amateur radio today. We hope they will plant the seed and sow the future for radio-based technology in Madison County," said Frank Howell, K4FMH, an Assistant Director for the ARRL Delta Division. "The books, published by ARRL, include topics on basic electronics, antenna building, [and] rules and regulations, and [include] amateur radio license study guides."

MCLS Director Tammie Terry was excited about the donation. "The Jackson Amateur Radio Club and ARRL have been highly supportive of helping us with our science and technology emphasis throughout our library system," she said. "This large donation will help us get these reading materials to the patrons who will most certainly benefit from them for a long time."

JARC President Jim Armstrong, AK5J, said they hope to continue making donations. "We have worked out a formal partnership between our club and the Madison County Library System. With assistance from ARRL, we are making our first donation of material, equipment, and STEM-oriented programming to the Madison County's libraries. Our intent is to make this support an ongoing [club project]."

From left to right: JARC President Jim Armstrong, AK5J; MCLS Assistant Director/System Administrator Ray Myers; MCLS Technology Training Specialist Tamra Bates; MCLS Director Tammie Terry, and ARRL Delta Division Assistant Director Frank Howell, K4FMH. [Photo courtesy of Frank Howell, K4FMH]

JARC will also be holding periodic events at various Madison County library locations this year. With the slogan, Saturday Morning Amateur Radio Time (SMART), the club is offering a public program at the Rebecca Baine Rigby Library entitled, "Amateur Radio: Do They Still Do That?" on March 2, 2024. A follow-up SMART event with a live on-air operation is planned for May.

ARRL Delta Division Director David Norris, K5UZ, has promoted the Plant-the-Seed Initiative. "We have been very enthusiastic about the concept and program that our Assistant Director, Frank Howell, has created. This partnership concept is being promoted nationwide." Norris added, "The MCLS is the national leader now in using community resources, like area ham radio clubs, to extend their technology-based outreach and leverage the public dollars invested in the local library system."

Georgia State Parks on the Air 2024

The second annual Georgia State Parks on the Air will be held April 6 - 7, 2024. ARRL member and event coordinator Claude Ray, AC4SH, said that the first event was a success and that participants insisted on having another one.

"For both activators and hunters, the event went far beyond our expectations. Of the 50 listed parks, 48 were activated, with 109 activators making nearly 20,000 contacts with over 4,000 hunters," said Ray. He added that the 2024 event promises to be even better, with the addition of two new Georgia parks and, based on feedback from participants, the rules have been tweaked to add new opportunities receiving awards.

There are now separate classes for rovers and single-park activators, as well as a new category for QRP activators. There are also new bonuses available, not only for past winners but also for first-time activators and those who contact the two newly added locations. A new hike-in bonus has been added for operators who carry their gear more than a mile into the park and activate from there. Ray said the basic purpose of the event remains the same. "The objective is to encourage ham radio operators to visit Georgia state parks and experience the fun of Parks on the Air activations. This is a fun contest only. The rules are minimal, the scoring is simple, and the main award is simply the fun of getting on the air."

The contest period begins at 8:00 AM EDT on April 6, and ends at 7:59 PM EDT on April 7. Operating hours are subject to park rules and times. Every station participating in the event and registering will, upon request, receive a certificate of participation. The top finishers in each category will also receive an award certificate.

Further information and event rules are available at

Radio Help Wanted: Must Like Geysers, Bison, and Helicopter Rides

Occasionally, The ARRL Letter shares job postings that may be of interest to radio amateurs, and this one may be the most scenic job yet -- Yellowstone National Park is looking for three radio technicians, according to posts on the park's social media and a listing on the USAJobs website.

The job listing says that the electronics technician (radio) positions are "located in Yellowstone National Park, in the Technology Services Radio Shop within the Administrative Division." There's even a provision for hazard-duty pay for mountaintop repeater helicopter flights and tower climbing.

On Facebook, the park has some fun with their post: "Does your idea of taking your career to new heights involve flying in a helicopter to 10,000 foot peaks? How about hiking, snowmobiling, and even skiing your way to telecom sites? Well... do we have the job for you! We are hiring not one, but 3... yes THREE, Electronic Radio Technicians," it says.

The lucky three who are hired for these positions will have their work cut out for them; the system has eight repeaters, more than 20 base stations, and 500 mobile and 1,000 portable radios -- all in a national park with 500 geysers and 5,900 American bison.

A radio technician works on a tower in scenic terrain in this photo from the job posting. [Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park.]

Amateur Radio in the News

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

"NC homeowners tell legislators: We need more protections from unscrupulous HOAs" / The Charlotte Observer (North Carolina) January 11, 2024 -- Marvin Hoffman, WA4NC, is the Section Manager of the ARRL North Carolina Section.

"Fort Myers Amateur Radio Club to host Hamfest Jan. 19-20 at FSW" / Lehigh Acres Citizen (Florida) January 12, 2024 -- The Fort Myers Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

"Radio to the rescue" / Midland Express (Australia) January 16, 2024 -- Tony Falla, VK3KKP, amateur radio operator from the Bendigo Amateur Radio and Electronics Club.

"The Bosque Amateur Radio Club is connecting with people in Ukraine. Here's how." / Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico) January 18, 2024 -- The Bosque Amateur Radio Club.

Share any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.

ARRL Podcasts

On the Air
Sponsored by

Maintaining a "junk box" -- a collection of odds and ends that can be used in future projects and repairs -- is a time-honored practice among hams. Every ham radio junk box has to start somewhere, though, and the cover story of the January/February 2024 issue of On the Air, "A Fine Mess: Starting Your Junk Box," by Eric P. Nichols, KL7AJ, offers advice about how to do just that. The January 2024 episode of the On the Air podcast digs deeper by going on location to the workshop of W1AW, ARRL's Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station. Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, welcomes us into this working space to show us some real-life junk boxes and discuss how they come in handy.

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 and ARRL Audio News are available on blubrry, iTunes, and Apple Podcasts -- On the Air | ARRL Audio News.


2024 QuartzFest, a weeklong amateur radio camping event, will be held January 21 - 27. The event began in the Sonoran Desert in 1995 near mile marker 99, about 6 miles south of Quartzsite, Arizona. According to its website, Quartzfest was initially billed as "just a simple little campout in the desert with good friends sharing a common interest with ham radio and RVs." Today, it draws nearly 1,000 visitors with a weeklong agenda of activities and presentations. Special event station W7Q will be active on SSB voice, CW, and FT8 in the Northern Arizona DX Association's communications trailer. A complete listing of activities and events can be found here. Be on the lookout for the March 2024 issue of QST, in which Bob Wertz, NF7E, of the Northern Arizona DX Association talks about how clubs can stay active by way of special events like this in the issue's "Club Station" column.

The 30th Annual Dayton Contest Dinner will be hosted by the North Coast Contesters during the weekend of the 2024 Dayton Hamvention®, which is hosting the 2024 ARRL National Convention. The dinner will be held at the Hope Hotel, located on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, on Saturday, May 18, 2024. Social hour will begin at 5:30 PM and dinner will follow at 6:30 PM. Contest Director John Dorr, K1AR, is the Master of Ceremonies, and Chief Executive Officer of DX Engineering Tim Duffy, K3LR, is this year's speaker. The 2024 CQ Contest Hall of Fame inductees will also be announced at the dinner. Tickets are on sale now. For additional information, visit Dayton Contest Dinner - Ham Radio Contest Dinner in Dayton Ohio.

In Brief...

Amateur radio operators will have an opportunity to contact the USS Iowa during the ship's 81st anniversary celebration. USS Iowa (BB-61) is permanently moored at the National Museum of the Surface Navy in San Pedro, California, and was first commissioned during World War II on February 22, 1943. The on-air event will be held on February 22, 2024, from 1600 to 2400 UTC. The Battleship Iowa Amateur Radio Association (BIARA) will activate NI6BB, the ship's original call sign, utilizing BIARA's amateur gear and a circa 1980s legacy station with an AN/URT-23 transmitter and an R-1051G/URR Navy receiver. To help operators looking for NI6BB, the band plan below has been suggested to qualified associate operators. These bands have been screened to minimize conflict with other modes or known nets, but are subject to change due to existing traffic, contests, or band conditions. FT8 or FT4 operations will be on the standard frequencies for those modes.


40 meters 7.061 MHz 7.261 MHz
30 meters 10.116 MHz ----------
20 meters 14.061 MHz 14.261 MHz
17 meters 18.073 MHz 18.161 MHz
15 meters 21.061 MHz 21.361 MHz
12 meters 24.900 MHz 24.943 MHz
10 meters 28.061 MHz 28.361 MHz

For updates and additional information, contact BIARA.

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week's ARRL Propagation Bulletin, ARLP003:

This solar disk image was taken on January 18, 2024. [Photo courtesy of NASA SDO/HMI]

Solar activity increased substantially over the past week, with 12 new sunspot groups. One on January 11, five on January 12, one on January 13, two on January 15, and three on January 16.

The average daily sunspot number rose from 146.1 to 167.3, and the solar flux increased from 163.3 to 184.1.

Geomagnetic numbers remained low and practically unchanged, with the planetary A index moving from 4.9 to 5, and the middle latitude A index shifting from 4.3 to 3.9.

The predicted solar flux is 165 on January 18; 160 on January 19 - 20; 155, 150, 145, 150, 165, and 167 on January 21 - 26; 170 on January 27 - 29; 175 and 180 on January 30 - 31; 185 on February 1 - 4; 187 and 185 on February 5 - 6; 170 on February 7 - 8; 175 on February 9 - 10; 190 on February 11 - 12; 185, 175, 170, and 165 on February 13 - 16, and 162 on February 17 - 18.

Predicted planetary A index is 8, 5, 8, and 8 on January 18 - 21; 5 on January 22 - 27; 8 on January 28 - 30; 5 on January 31 through February 11; 8 on February 12 - 14, and 5 on February 15 - 23.

In an email on January 14, Jon Jones, N0JK, author of QST's "The World Above 50 MHz column, wrote, "Today there are 13 sunspot groups on the Earth side of the sun -- the greatest number so far in Solar Cycle 25. Despite the surfeit of sunspots, the sun has been quiet all weekend. Could it be the calm before the storm? One of the sunspots (AR3541) has a delta-class magnetic field that poses a threat for X-class solar flares."

Read about a gigantic solar hole at .

Read about solar storms being monitored by the US and Korea at

Find out information regarding a potential solar maximum from January to October, at

Sunspot numbers for January 11 - 17 were 151, 188, 191, 183, 150, 150, and 158, with a mean of 167.3. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 192.5, 186.4, 185.4, 187.9, 182.5, 179.6, and 174.1, with a mean of 184.1. Estimated planetary A indices were 6, 4, 3, 6, 6, 6, and 4, with a mean of 5. The middle latitude A index was 4, 4, 3, 5, 4, 4, and 3, with a mean of 3.9.

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.

Upcoming Contests:
  • January 20 - 21-- Hungarian DX Contest (CW, phone)

  • January 20 - 21 -- PRO Digi Contest (digital)

  • January 20 -- North American QSO Party, SSB (phone)

  • January 20 - 21 -- NA Collegiate Championship, SSB (phone)

  • January 20 - 22 -- ARRL January VHF Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • January 20 - 21 -- Feld Hell Sprint (digital)

  • January 21 -- RSGB AFS Contest, Data (digital)

  • January 21 - 22 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)

  • January 24 -- SKCC Sprint (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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