Date: Fri, 31.01.20 10:05
The Weekly ARRL Letter
January 30, 2020
* ARRL to Argue for Continued Access to 3 GHz Spectrum as FCC Sets
* ARRL Expands Its Roster of Online Discussion Groups
* Yukon's VY1JA Plans to Be Back for 2020 ARRL November Sweepstakes
* The K7RA Solar Update
* Just Ahead in Radiosport
* New Amateur Extra-Class Question Pool Released
* HuskySat-1 With VHF/UHF Linear Transponder Set to Deploy Soon
* State QSO Party Challenge Announced
* Iowa State Parks on the Air 2020 Celebrates Centennial of Iowa
* YOTA Camp 2020 in the Americas Donations Are Being Matched
* Past ARRL Southeastern Division Director H. Dale Strieter, W4QM, SK
* In Brief...
* Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
ARRL to Argue for Continued Access to 3 GHz Spectrum as FCC Sets
At its annual meeting on January 17 - 18, the ARRL Board of Directors
instructed Washington Counsel Dave Siddall, K3ZJ, to prepare a strong
response to protect amateur access to spectrum in the 3 GHz range. In
its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in WT Docket 19-348, the FCC
proposed to relocate all non-federal operations, including amateur
uses, to spectrum outside the 3.3 - 3.55 GHz band.
The ARRL Board met January 17 - 18
in Windsor, Connecticut. [Michelle
Patnode, W3MVP, photo]
The Commission anticipates auctioning this spectrum to expand
commercial use of 5G cellular and wireless broadband services, if
agreement can be reached on relocation of -- or sharing with -- the
federal incumbents that operate in the same band. Publication of the
NPRM in the Federal Register on January 22 established deadlines of
February 21 for comments and March 23 for reply comments.
The FCC has requested comment on the uses radio amateurs make of the
spectrum and appropriate relocation options. Complicating matters is
the fact that radio amateurs must consider the possibility that the
immediately adjacent 3.1 - 3.3 GHz band is included in the spectrum
that Congress has identified for similar study. FCC Commissioner
Michael O'Rielly, in a December statement, referenced the fact that the
lower band may also be considered for non-federal reallocation,
potentially limiting relocation possibilities.
Amateurs make substantial use of the 3.3 - 3.5 GHz band that would be
hard to replicate elsewhere, and they had filed more than 150 comments
before the designated comment period even began. Among users looking at
options are those who use this spectrum for Earth-Moon-Earth
(moonbounce) communication, mesh networks, experiments with
communication over long distances, radiosport, and amateur television.
A portion of the band is also designated for use by amateur satellites
in ITU Regions 2 and 3 (the Americas and Asia/Pacific).
A report is due by March 23 from the National Telecommunications and
Information ministration (NTIA) evaluating the feasibility of having
federal users share all or part of the 3.1 - 3.55 GHz band with
commercial wireless services. This report is required by the Making
Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and
Needless Obstacles to Wireless (MOBILE NOW) Act. The results of the
NTIA report will impact how much spectrum ultimately may be
re-allocated for auction to wireless providers.
ARRL urges amateurs who comment to inform the FCC about the uses they
make of the 3 GHz spectrum. Short comments and longer statements may be
filed electronically. Visit the FCC "How to Comment on FCC Proceedings"
page for more information. Commenters should reference WT Docket
ARRL Expands Its Roster of Online Discussion Groups
ARRL's Committee on Communication with Members has launched three new
online discussion forums as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance and
improve communication between ARRL leadership and members or
prospective members. The new forums, which focus on antenna law,
regulatory issues, and support for new amateur radio licensees, will go
live on Thursday, January 30, at 0400 UTC.
The committee launched the three new discussion groups on the basis of
requests from the amateur radio community, to support ARRL's efforts to
provide more resources for beginner-to-intermediate operators.
The online discussion program launched last fall with three forums --
contesting, awards, and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) --
all open to the amateur radio community. The program was based on the
success of the online ARRL-LoTW Group, which, for the past several
years, has served to answer questions and generate discussions about
ways to improve the service.
* ARRL New England Division Director and attorney Fred Hopengarten,
K1VR, will moderate the Antenna Law and Policy Forum. Hopengarten
is the author of Antenna Zoning for the Radio Amateur.
* ARRL Regulatory Affairs Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, will moderate
the Regulatory Affairs forum.
* QST Editor and ARRL Publications Manager Steve Ford, WB8IMY, will
moderate the New Hams forum.
ARRL IT Manager Michael Keane, K1MK, worked with Groups.io to set up
the new groups. Those wishing to subscribe must use a Groups.io
username and password, if they have one, or create a Groups.io account
if they don't.
The new groups join an ARRL discussion forum lineup that already
* ARRL-Contesting, moderated by ARRL Contest visory Committee
Chairman Dennis Egan, W1UE.
* ARRL-Awards, moderated by ARRL Radiosport and Field Services
Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ.
* ARRL-IARU, moderated by IARU Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ.
* ARRL-LOTW, moderated by ARRL IT Manager Michael Keane, K1MK.
Everyone who subscribes to an ARRL Group is automatically subscribed to
"ARRL Groups," an administrative feature that allows ARRL to convey
routine announcements to subscribers of all ARRL groups, such as
planned system outages.
ARRL expects to create additional online groups that focus on other
areas of interest to radio amateurs, including ARRL activities,
services, initiatives, and policies.
ARRL currently hosts some "members-only" online forums that include the
topics of Awards and Contesting. While these forums will continue to
operate, participants are being encouraged to post new topics in the
All questions will be welcome, no matter how many times they have
already been asked and answered, or how obvious the answers might be.
Neither personal attacks nor foul language will be tolerated. Violators
will immediately be placed on "moderated" status, meaning their
subsequent posts will require Moderator approval. Civility and courtesy
are expected, even when disagreeing.
The Committee believes that providing more opportunities for two-way
discussion between the organization's leaders and the entire ham radio
community will assist ARRL in truly serving the needs of this
community. -- Thanks to ARRL Communications Manager Dave Isgur, N1RSN
Yukon's VY1JA Plans to Be Back for 2020 ARRL November Sweepstakes CW
ARRL November Sweepstakes stalwart J. Allen, VY1JA, in Canada's Yukon
Territory, may not be off the air quite yet. Allen announced his
retirement from ham radio last November, but now says he plans to keep
a small station on the air "for as long as possible," leaving one
antenna tower in place. Allen told ARRL earlier this month that there's
a "strong likelihood" he'll return for the 2020 ARRL November
Sweepstakes CW in the Low Power category, using his own call sign.
For the past few years, the remotely operated VY1AAA, using equipment
and antennas located at VY1JA, has been among the precious few stations
handing out the Northern Territories multiplier in Sweepstakes. Gerry
Hull, W1VE/VE1RM, told ARRL that the remote equipment and high-power
amplifier have now been removed, along with the radio gear and antennas
from Allen's larger station, which will be sold. Allen, who has been
diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, says his current medication has
stabilized his condition, but he's been looking ahead to the day when
his wife, Ann, would face the task of dismantling and disposing of his
station equipment and antennas.
"Because I am concerned about what I will be like in a few years or so,
I wanted to sell out the station completely so that Ann would not have
a big problem on her hands removing poles, towers, cables, gear, and so
on," he explained.
Allen thanked Hull; Cary Rubenfeld, VE4EA; Chuck Cullian, K0RF, and
Tyson Schulz, VY1SLZ, for their assistance. Rubenfeld is handling the
sale of Allen's gear, while Schulz has pledged to assist in dismantling
and disposing of Allen's scaled-down station when the time comes.
Cullian has provided a transceiver for Allen, who no longer had an
operational radio on site.
"It means that, for as long as I remain functional, I intend to keep
VY1JA on the air, and especially to be there for as many ARRL
Sweepstakes as possible," Allen said.
Hull said he and others involved with the VY1AAA remote operations have
been looking for a new home for the VY1AAA remote gear and radio.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: This week, we finally saw the return
of sunspots over 6 of the last 7 days, January 24 - 29. The average
daily sunspot number rose from 0 to 11.1, while average daily solar
flux jumped from 71.2 to 72.9.
Geomagnetic indicators remained very quiet, signaling continued great
conditions on 160 and 80 meters. Predicted solar flux over the next
month and a half is 74 on January 30 - February 2; 70 on February 3 -
6; 71 on February 7 - 13; 72 on February 14 - 20; 73 on February 21 -
22; 74 on February 23 - 29; 72 on March 1 - 3; 71 on March 4 - 11, and
72 on March 12 - 14.
Predicted planetary A index is 8 on January 30; 5 on January 31 -
February 24; 10 on February 25 - 26; 5 on February 27 - 29; 8 on March
1 - 3, and 5 on March 4 - 14.
On January 27, the total sunspot area was 100 millionth of the visible
solar disc. The total sunspot area hasn't been larger or even near that
size since May 18, 2019, when the area was 140 millionth of the visible
Sunspot numbers for January 23 - 29 were 0, 12, 14, 18, 12, 11, and 11,
with a mean of 11.1. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 70.8, 71, 72.7, 74.7,
72.9, 74.2, and 74.3, with a mean of 72.9. Estimated planetary A
indices were 5, 3, 3, 4, 3, 5, and 9, with a mean of 4.6. Middle
latitude A index was 3, 1, 3, 2, 2, 4, and 6, with a mean of 3.
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 K9LA's Propagation Page.
A propagation bulletin archive is available. Monthly charts offer
propagation projections between the US and a dozen DX locations.
Share your reports and observations.
Just Ahead in Radiosport
* February 1 -- Minnesota QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)
* February 1 -- FYBO Winter QRP Sprint (CW, phone, digital)
* February 1 -- AGCW Straight Key Party (CW)
* February 1 -- FISTS Winter Slow Speed Sprint (CW)
* February 1 -- Black Sea Cup International (CW, phone)
* February 1 - 2 -- Vermont QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)
* February 1 - 2 -- 10-10 International Winter Contest, SSB
* February 1 - 2 -- F9AA Cup, CW
* February 1 - 2 -- Mexico RTTY International Contest
* February 1 - 2 -- British Columbia QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)
* February 2 -- North American Sprint, CW
* February 3 -- 3.5 RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship, SSB
* February 4 -- ARS Spartan Sprint (CW)
* February 5 -- UKEICC 80-Meter Contest (Phone)
* February 6 -- NRAU 10-Meter Activity Contest (CW, phone, digital)
* February 6 -- SKCC Sprint Europe (CW)
See the ARRL Contest Calendar for more information. For in-depth
reporting on amateur radio contesting, subscribe to The ARRL Contest
Update via your ARRL member profile email preferences.
New Amateur Extra-Class Question Pool Released
The new Amateur Extra-class license examination question pool,
effective from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2024, has been released
and is available at the National Conference of Volunteer Coordinators
The 2020 - 2024 Extra-class pool incorporates significant changes
compared to the current 2016 - 2020 question pool, which expires on
June 30. The number of questions in the pool was reduced from 712 to
622. The result was 239 modified questions, 49 new questions, and 139
questions removed due to changes in what was felt to be an abundance of
outdated questions, while areas of new technology and subjects were
In addition, an effort was made to balance the difficulty level,
removing or replacing some questions deemed too easy or too difficult
compared to the rest of the pool.
The 2020 pool has 10 diagrams, which have been renumbered because the
new question pool has two fewer than the 2016 question pool.
HuskySat-1 With VHF/UHF Linear Transponder Set to Deploy Soon
The University of Washington's HuskySat-1 3U CubeSat, launched November
2, 2019, is set to deploy on January 31 after the vehicle that carried
it to the International Space Station undocks. HuskySat-1 has remained
stowed aboard a Northrop Grumman Cygnus supply vehicle. Within 24 hours
after Cygnus' departure from the ISS, HuskySat-1 and SwampSat 2 will be
deployed into orbit.
University of Washington graduate
student Paige Northway with
HuskySat-1. She has been involved in
the project since its inception.
After deployment, HuskySat-1's 1,200 bps BPSK beacon on 435.800 MHz
should be active and decodable with the latest release of AMSAT's
FoxTelem software. HuskySat-1 is expected to carry out its primary
mission before being turned over to AMSAT for amateur radio operation.
HuskySat-1 features a 30 kHz wide V/U linear transponder for SSB and
CW. The uplink passband will be 145.910 - 145.940 MHz LSB/CW. The
downlink passband will be 435.840 - 435.810 MHz USB/CW (inverting).
Telemetry will be transmitted on 435.800 MHz, 1k2 bps BPSK with an
experimental downlink at 24.049 GHz. The "Fox-in-a-Box" FoxTelem
software has been updated for HuskySat-1 operation at its download
website. The new release now contains the SD card image,
FIAB-distro8-V1.08w.zip. This file, when unzipped and written to a 16
GB SD card, will provide the latest software for FoxTelem and will run
on a Raspberry Pi 4. The 1.08 versions can switch bands between
listening on VHF and UHF, based on which Fox and Husky satellites are
overhead at the time.
The linear transponder and telemetry system carried aboard AMSAT's
Fox-1E was designed for use in different CubeSats merely by adding an
interface adapter for connection to the host bus. Noting the prevalence
of CubeSats built and launched by universities and other organizations,
AMSAT adopted a goal of "amateur radio in every CubeSat."
ditional information is posted on the University of Washington Husky
Satellite Lab site. -- Thanks to AMSAT News Service via the HuskySat-1
Team, AMSAT Engineering, AMSAT Operations, the Fox Telemetry Team, and
State QSO Party Challenge Announced
The State QSO Party Challenge is a competition comprised of other
contests, namely state and provincial QSO parties. As explained on the
website, the annual cumulative score program is open to any radio
amateur who participates in any approved state QSO parties (SQPs).
Participants just need to submit their QSO party scores to
3830scores.com to enter the challenge.
Participants' cumulative scores will be calculated by totaling up the
number of reported contacts and multiplying by the number of SQPs
entered in the year to date. Periodic standings will be posted to
3830scores.com, the QSOParty Groups.io forum, and the StateQSOParty.com
"Using the number of QSO parties entered as a multiplier is expected to
encourage radio amateurs to enter more state/province QSO parties," the
program's organizers said. "The first SQPs in 2020 are the Vermont,
Minnesota, and British Columbia QSO Parties in the first weekend of
Entrants must make at least two contacts in a QSO party for it to count
as a multiplier. The full details are available on the State QSO Party
Challenge sponsors expressed appreciation to Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, for
developing the SQP Activity Tracker on 3830scores.com.
Iowa State Parks on the Air 2020 Celebrates Centennial of Iowa State
Iowa State Parks on the Air (IASPOTA-2020) is under way and will
continue through year's end. The event is sponsored by the Great River
Amateur Radio Club, with the support of Iowa ARRL Section Manager Lelia
Garner, WA0UIG, and the Iowa Division of Natural Resources (DNR).
According to Colin Wheatley, W9UPK, Iowa had the first state park
system in the nation, and Iowa's first state park, Backbone State Park,
was dedicated in 1920. Since then, the state park system has grown to
some 70 parks and recreational facilities, including 63 state parks.
Stations logging contacts with five of Iowa's state parks during the
year-long celebration can request a certificate by sending a legal-size
self-addressed, sealed envelope to IASPOTA-2020 c/o Great River Amateur
Radio Club, P.O. Box 1384, Dubuque, IA 52004.
YOTA Camp 2020 in the Americas Donations Are Being Matched
Youth on the Air (YOTA) 2020 Camp Director Neil Rapp, WB9VPG, has
announced that, thanks to a generous radio amateur, a matching fund
drive is in progress through the end of February to help fund the 2020
YOTA Camp, June 21 - 26 at the National Voice of America Museum of
Broadcasting in West Chester, Ohio.
"From now until the end of February, every dollar donated to the Youth
on the Air Camp will be matched by Steve McGrane, KM9G, up to a total
of $4,000," Rapp said. "Your donations in support of this unique
opportunity for youth to share ham radio with their peers will count
double until the end of February."
Donations may be made via PayPal, GoFundMe, or a check. Rapp said
donations could make it possible to increase the number of campers from
20 to 30 to better meet demand.
"Our corporate and foundation sponsors have raised most of the funds,
but we need clubs and individuals to finish the job," he explained.
Rapp is an alumnus of the ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless
Technology TI-1 and TI-2 courses.
Past ARRL Southeastern Division Director H. Dale Strieter, W4QM, SK
Past ARRL Southeastern Division Director Dale Strieter, W4QM
(ex-W4DQS), of Cocoa Beach, died on January 6. An ARRL Life Member, he
was 92 and a founding member of the Maxim Society. Strieter was ARRL
Southeastern Division Director from 1970 until 1973.
During World War II, he served as a US Maritime Service radio officer
in the Pacific. After the war, he received a BS in electrical
engineering from Michigan State. He got his amateur radio license in
1947. Strieter later earned an MSEE from Michigan State, and then
worked as an audio engineer.
In 1958, Strieter moved to Cocoa Beach to work for General Electric,
was a NASA contractor, and he served as the guidance engineer on the
Mercury and Gemini manned spaceflight missions.
Strieter was a prolific DXpeditioner. After 20 years with GE, he
returned to sea in 1979 as a radio officer in the US Merchant Marine on
a ship generally anchored at the Chagos Islands. As VQ9QM, Strieter
logged more than 200,000 contacts from nearby Diego Garcia Island,
between 1986 and 2001. He retired in 2002. -- Thanks to Tom Tenney,
W8OJM, and Don Karvonen, K8MFO
The W8S DXpedition team heading to Swains Island in the Pacific in
March reports, "All lights are green." Team members will leave from
home in early March, and all will convene in Pago Pago, American Samoa,
to board the vessel Manu Atele, which will transport everyone to the
atoll. The voyage will take 24 hours. Smaller vessels will carry the
operators and equipment to the island at high tide, which the update
called "a serious challenge." The ship will not remain offshore while
the DXpedition is under way, "hopefully picking the team up again after
14 days." An international team of 10 operators will be active from
March 10 to March 25 on all HF bands on CW, SSB, FT8, and RTTY.
Operation will be 24/7 from two separate camps on the island, each with
two stations. Visit the Swains Island 2020 DXpedition website for more
Dayton Hamvention 2020 Web Portal Opens for Tickets, Exhibit Space
Online orders for Dayton Hamvention^(R) 2020 tickets, inside exhibit
spaces, and flea market spots can now be placed online. Those who
ordered online in 2019 should have their user IDs and passwords
available when placing orders. Hamvention's all-volunteer staff will
work as quickly as possible to respond to orders. If you encounter
difficulties, email the appropriate committee: Tickets, Inside
Exhibits, or Flea Market. Hamvention announced in December that it
would be increasing the cost of admission and its booth fees. General
admission is now $26 in advance or $31 at the gate for all 3 days. The
cost of flea market spots has risen by $5 per space, and inside
exhibitors will pay $30. Hamvention 2020 takes place May 15 - 17 at the
Greene County Fairgrounds and Exhibition Center, 210 Fairground Road,
The Northeast HamXposition -- formerly known as "Boxboro" -- is moving
and will take place this year July 24 - 26 in Marlborough,
Massachusetts. The new venue, the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and
Trade Center, is about 15 miles from Boxboro off Interstate 495 (Exit
24A). The Northeast HamXposition, which had been held in early
September in past years, hosts the ARRL New England Division
Convention. "The new venue offers us much-needed additional capacity
for forums, a larger flea market, and ample parking right in the
hotel's main lot," said Event Chairman Bob DeMattia, K1IW. We will
announce very soon when the hotel is accepting reservations." DeMattia
pointed out that the Marlborough location has a lot to offer, including
dozens of restaurants in the vicinity and the new Apex Entertainment
Center on Route 20, adjacent to the hotel.
The location of the W9DXCC ARRL Specialty Operating Convention has
changed. The event will take place September 11 - 12 at the Chicago
Marriott Hotel in Naperville, Illinois. Registration and hotel
reservations will open in the spring. W9DXCC is sponsored by the
Northern Illinois DX Association. This year's event will include a
Contest University and DX University. Saturday's events will include
forums, QSL card checking, a CW pileup contest, an evening reception,
and a banquet. For more information, visit the W9DXCC website. --
Thanks to Kermit Carlson, W9XA; The Daily DX
The Alexanderson alternator 2019 Christmas Eve transmission on 17.2 kHz
from SAQ in Grimeton, Sweden, was heard by more than 400 listeners. SAQ
reported conditions were very good, with clear, dry weather, and the
the key to deliver his last Christmas message before he retired. SAQ
said it was "stunned" by the number of reports it received -- a total
of 426 from 32 countries, including the US and Canada.
Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
* February 1 -- South Carolina State Convention, North Charleston,
* February 1 -- Virginia State Convention, Richmond, Virginia
* February 7 - 9 -- Northern Florida Section Convention, Orlando,
* February 14 - 15 -- Southwest Division Convention, Yuma, Arizona
* March 7 - Delta Division Convention, Russellville, Arkansas
* March 13 - 14 -- North Carolina Section Convention, Concord, North
* March 14 - 15 -- Great Lakes Division Convention, Perrysburg, Ohio
* March 14 -- Nebraska State Convention, Lincoln, Nebraska
* March 14 -- West Virginia Section Convention, Charleston, West
* March 21 -- West Texas Section Convention, Midland, Texas
* April 10 - 11 -- Oklahoma State Convention, Claremore, Oklahoma
* April 11 -- Roanoke Division Convention, Raleigh, North Carolina
* April 18 - Delaware State Convention, Georgetown, Delaware
Find conventions and hamfests in your area.
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--- Squish/386 v1.11
* Origin: Outpost BBS * Limestone, TN, USA (1:18/200)