Date: Sat, 22.02.20 17:07
The Weekly ARRL Letter
February 20, 2020
* Coronavirus Outbreak Postpones Swains Island W8S DXpedition
* VP8PJ South Orkney DXpedition Team Arrives
* KX9X Offers Five Tips on Satellite Operating Etiquette
* ARRL Podcast Schedule
* The K7RA Solar Update
* Just Ahead in Radiosport
* Emergency Communication Exercise Set in Northern Florida
* Mississippi ARES^(R) Emergency Coordinator Credits Training for
Effective Tornado Response
* Yasme Foundation Announces Grants and Excellence Awards
* New World Distance Record Claimed on 122 GHz
* FAA's Proposed Remote Identification Rules Would Affect Drones,
* In Brief...
* Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
Coronavirus Outbreak Postpones Swains Island W8S DXpedition
The W8S DXpedition to Swains Island in the Pacific, set to take place
in mid-March, has been postponed until September as a result of travel
restrictions imposed on individuals entering American Samoa, stemming
from the recent coronavirus outbreak. The Department of Health allows
non-residents to enter American Samoa only via Hawaii after a 14-day
mandatory quarantine, and the DXpedition was unable to accommodate that
"Everything is prepared for our DXpedition, and we are eager to go, but
unfortunately the coronavirus outbreak is out of our control," the
DXpedition team said in announcing the delay. "Although this is a
disappointment for everyone, the W8S DXpedition is not cancelled, just
postponed for later this year."
The DXpedition said it would alert the DX community as soon as it has
new firm dates for the trip.
VP8PJ South Orkney DXpedition Team Arrives
The VP8PJ South Orkney DXpedition team, on board the Braveheart,
reached Signy Island in the South Orkneys just after 1000 UTC on
February 20. Team members are now preparing to land Zodiacs and
"We have ice to contend with regarding our planned landing area," the
DXpedition reported. "The ice was pushed in during the previous days,
but we are expecting the winds to change and blow the ice out. We are
currently looking for an alternate site to unload, then move the
equipment to the planned site. An alternative camp/operations area is
being considered as we evaluate current conditions."
The Perseverance DX Group-sponsored DXpedition was set to commence
operation on February 20 (UTC), but it appears that could be delayed.
Team members operated as ZL1NA/mm during their voyage, generating heavy
pileups, and they expect to continue doing so once they get set up as
Operation on CW, SSB, RTTY, and FT8 (always fox/hound mode except on 60
meters) will continue until March 5 (UTC). Stations in Africa and
Oceania may call at any time, regardless of operators' directional
The VP8PJ DXpedition is the recipient of an ARRL Colvin Award grant,
funded by an endowment established by Lloyd D. Colvin, W6KG (SK).
Heading the 14-member DXpedition team are Dave Lloyd, K3EL, and Les
South Orkney Islands is the 16th most-wanted DXCC entity, according to
The DXpedition advises that DXers wait until propagation and conditions
favor their location. VP8PJ will always operate split, and operators
will indicate where they are listening.
QSL via OQRS for direct or bureau, or direct via QSL Manager Tim
Beaumont, M0URX; log search will also be available. Read more. --Thanks
to The Daily DX for some information
KX9X Offers Five Tips on Satellite Operating Etiquette
Former ARRL Contest Branch Manager and Media and Public Relations
Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, shared "Five Tips on Etiquette and Good
Manners on the FM Ham Radio Satellites" on the DX Engineering blog, On
All Bands. Kutzko said the transient nature of satellite availability
can lead to "a natural sense of urgency" among operators trying to
operate through it.
"Satellite operating comes with several challenges, not the least of
which is that it is one of the ultimate shared resources in the hobby,"
Kutzko wrote. "While there are now several satellites to choose from, a
Sean Kutzko, KX9X.
given satellite is only above the horizon for a maximum of 15 minutes
or so. Lots of people trying to access a satellite during a short
window of opportunity can create problems, and that can bring out some
In terms of operating etiquette for satellites, Kutzko advised that the
"big one," is "Don't transmit if you can't hear the satellite first."
He notes that whistling or saying such things as "hello" and "check
one-two" are bad form.
"If you don't hear other activity, you're probably not going to hear
yourself, either," Kutzko explained. "Blindly calling or whistling may
cause unintentional interference to other stations that can properly
hear the satellite."
Next on the list is to wait your turn. "Given the rapid nature of
satellite contacts, you shouldn't have to wait very long for your
chance during a pass," Kutzko wrote.
Kutzko also advised to always use phonetics when operating on the FM
satellites. "Phonetics help ensure your call [sign] is copied correctly
the first time and can save a lot of precious moments during a short
pass," he said.
Also, avoid making repeat contacts with a station you've worked
previously and resist the temptation to greet an old friend. "[E]ach
contact you make with a person you've already had several contacts with
prevents another person from making a contact," Kutzko pointed out.
Finally, he said, "It may be best to let the rare station have the pass
and try to work as many stations as they can. In some cases, the rare
station may only be audible for a portion of the pass you're on, with
the station moving out of the satellite's footprint before it moves out
of range for you," Kutzko recommended.
"Satellite activity is at an all-time high, with new sats being
launched on a regular basis and more operators discovering how much fun
there is to be had," he concluded. "By being mindful of others trying
to make contacts and thinking of others on the pass, we can all
contribute to a better satellite environment for everyone."
Kutzko won the June 2018 QST Cover Plaque Award for his article, "Get
on the Satellites for ARRL Field Day." He steered satellite newcomers
to his earlier blog posts to help them get started.
ARRL Podcast Schedule
ARRL's "On the Air" podcast's second episode (February 13) focuses on
building the ground plane antenna featured in the first issue of On the
Air magazine, a discussion of open-wire feed lines, and an interview
with a relatively new public service volunteer. New "On the Air"
podcast episodes are available monthly.
The first episode of the "Eclectic Tech" podcast (February 13) includes
a discussion of amateur radio activity on the Qatar-OSCAR 100
satellite, an interview with Assistant ARRL Lab Manager Bob Allison,
WB1GCM, about handheld transceiver testing at Dayton Hamvention and
other conventions, and an interview with Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA,
about propagation conditions. New episodes will be available biweekly.
Both podcasts are available on iTunes (iOS) and Stitcher (Android) as
well as on Blubrry -- On the Air | Eclectic Tech.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: The most recent sunspot appearance
was on February 1, nearly 3 weeks ago.
The average daily solar flux over the past week declined just barely,
from 71.1 to 70.9. The average daily planetary A index changed from 8.3
to 7, and mid-latitude A index went from 6.7 to 5.1. Solar activity
remains very low.
Solar flux is projected to remain very low -- 70 on February 20 - 27,
and 71 on February 28 - April 4.
The predicted planetary A index is 18, 10, and 8 on February 20 - 22; 5
on February 23 - 25; 8 and 12 on February 26 - 27; 5 on February 28 -
March 3; 20, 15, and 8 on March 4 - 6; 5 on March 7 - 14; 10, 8, 10, 8,
and 5 on March 15 - 19; 10, 8, 5, 8, 12, and 10 on March 20 - 25; 5 on
March 26 - 30; 20 on March 31, and 15, 8, 5, and 5 on April 1 - 4.
Sunspot numbers for February 13 - 19 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with
a mean of 0. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 71.2, 71.3, 70.6, 70.5, 70.7,
71, and 71, with a mean of 70.9. Estimated planetary A indices were 3,
3, 5, 3, 7, 14, and 14, with a mean of 7. The middle latitude A index
was 1, 3, 4, 2, 5, 11, and 10, with a mean of 5.1.
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 21 - 23 -- CQ 160-Meter Contest, SSB
* February 22 - 23 -- REF Contest, SSB
* February 22 - 23 -- UK/EI DX Contest (CW)
* February 23 -- SARL Digital Contest
* February 23 -- High Speed Club CW Contest
* February 24 - 25 -- QCX Challenge (CW)
* February 26 -- SKCC Sprint (CW)
* February 26 -- UKEICC 80-Meter Contest (CW)
* February 27 -- RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (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.
Emergency Communication Exercise Set in Northern Florida
On Sunday, March 1, dozens of amateur radio volunteers from several
states will take part in a 3-hour exercise in the northern Florida city
of Gainesville. The exercise is designed to test and evaluate skills,
assets, and strategies for emergency communication, such as those that
might be needed in the aftermath of a hurricane. The exercise is being
organized by the North Florida Amateur Radio Club (NFARC) and the
Gainesville Amateur Radio Society (GARS), as part of the third annual
Amateur Radio Communications Conference, held on Saturday and Sunday,
February 29 - March 1.
This year's "Hot and Cold" exercise scenario is based on hypothetical
high-pressure natural gas pipeline ruptures and subsequent fires, as
well as a loss of electrical power during an extreme cold-weather
event. The sudden widespread event then caused telecommunications
failures in undersea cables to develop, with widespread communication
systems overloading and failing.
Exercise planners used the revised and just-released Homeland Security
Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) in planning the event. The
update incorporates feedback and input from exercise planners and
practitioners across the country and ensures that HSEEP doctrine, the
training course, and corresponding documents continue to best meet the
needs of communities.
Collaborating Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference
lecturers have created a more than 200-page manual for the multi-track
training sessions on Saturday. Participants will get to put what they
learned into practice the next day, as they fan out to seven assigned
simulated shelter locations and the Alachua County Emergency Operations
Center. The club says Alachua County Emergency Manager Hal Grieb is
supporting the volunteer-driven Homeland Security exercise and
evaluation program-based effort, and he and his staff will serve as
evaluators. Former FEMA ministrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ, also plans
to be on hand.
For the past 3 years, NFARC has published the conference proceedings,
and last year, it also published the written report of its exercise.
Last year's exercise scenario focused on a new respiratory virus that
had crippled the nation.
With the release of the updated 2020 HSEEP document, FEMA will be
hosting webinars to provide information, highlights, and changes as a
result of the review process. Webinars will continue until mid-May.
Visit the HSEEP webpage for additional dates and times. -- Thanks to
Dr. Gordon Gibby, KX4Z; The ARES E-Letter
Mississippi ARES^(R) Emergency Coordinator Credits Training for
Effective Tornado Response
Amateur Radio Emergency Service^(R) (ARES^(R) volunteers in DeSoto
County, Mississippi, devoted a January weekend to assisting local
emergency managers in responding to tornado damage in the region.
Desoto County Emergency Coordinator Ricky Chambers, KF5WVJ; Assistant
EC Gene ams, KF5KVL; Tate County EC Brad Kerley, KG5TTU, and Andy
Luscomb, AG5FG, reported at 3 AM on January 11 to the DeSoto County
Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to open a SKYWARN weather watch.
After a tornado warning was issued for DeSoto County, Chambers
activated an emergency net on a local repeater. Ten minutes into the
net, however, the repeater went down, and the net switched to simplex.
The net subsequently moved to another operational repeater.
Initial reports of downed trees blocking roadways and an eyewitness
report of a possible tornado southwest of Hernando came in just after 5
AM. The ARES team at the EOC began taking damage reports, answering the
telephone, and monitoring and taking calls from public safety
dispatchers. When the deputy EMA director requested traffic control in
Lewisburg, three of the ARES volunteers accompanied EMA director Chris
Olson to Lewisburg. Chambers and Kerley assumed traffic control, and
Olson asked that Chambers put out a call for ARES/RACES volunteers and
EMA reservists to report to the EOC. The ham radio volunteers also
handled welfare checks.
A dozen ARES/RACES and EMA reservists returned the next day to conduct
door-to-door damage assessment. For the next 10 days, Chambers
reported, the DeSoto County volunteers assisted in handling telephone
traffic in the EOC, freeing up first responders to do their primary
"I attribute our effective response to the training we have conducted
on a monthly basis," Chambers said, noting that training included
recommended ARRL courses. "We were able to see how the Incident Command
System worked on a first-hand basis as the incident unfolded, based on
the ICS training courses we have taken. My group went from 0 to 110 MPH
in seconds, never missing a beat [and] everyone performed on a
professional level." -- Thanks to DeSoto County and EMA Reservist
Coordinator EC Ricky Chambers, KF5WVJ
Yasme Foundation Announces Grants and Excellence Awards
The Yasme Foundation Board of Directors announced several grants when
it met in Orlando, Florida, on February 9. Financial support will go
* The SU8WRC/SU8X demonstration station at World Radiocommunication
Conference 2020 in Egypt.
* The Youth on the Air and HamSCI exhibits at Dayton Hamvention 2020.
* Contest University at Dayton Hamvention 2020, for audio/visual
equipment, student materials, and live internet streaming.
* The Croatian Amateur Radio Association (HRS) to support the
Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) 2020 Region 1 annual summer camp.
The Board also announced the individual and group recipients of the
Yasme Excellence Award, which recognizes significant contributions to
amateur radio through their service, creativity, effort, and
dedication. The award may recognize technical, operating, or
organizational achievement. The Yasme Excellence Award is in the form
of a cash grant and an individually engraved crystal globe.
K2QI, and rian Ciuperca, KO8SCA, for their efforts in combining the
latest state-of-the-art technology, diplomatic skills, persistence, and
leadership in reactivating United Nations Headquarters club station
4U1UN. ditional help with gathering equipment and logistical support
was provided by RA9USU, NT2Y, NT2X, K2LE, and N2UN (SK).
The Yasme Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation organized to
support scientific and educational projects related to amateur radio,
including DXing and the introduction and promotion of amateur radio in
New World Distance Record Claimed on 122 GHz
A new world distance record of 139 kilometers (86.2 miles) is being
claimed by radio amateurs in northern California. This tops the record
Mike Lavelle, K6ML.
of 114 kilometers set in 2005 by WA1ZMS and W4WWQ, according to the
Distance Records on the ARRL website.
The February 17, 2020, contact was between Mike Lavelle, K6ML, on Mount
Vaca (CM88WJ75ON) at 835 meters (2,739.5 feet) above sea level, and
Oliver Barrett, KB6BA (at 1225 UTC), and Jim Moss, N9JIM (at 1250 UTC),
who were both on Mount Umunhum (CM97BD18VJ) at 1,016 meters (3333.3
feet) above sea level.
approximately 0.35 dB/kilometer.
"CW was used, 122 GHz signals were very weak (7 dB above the noise in
22 Hz; -13 in 2500 Hz equivalent) with [fading] down to the noise
floor," Lavelle told ARRL. "Dishes were aligned on 24 GHz (71 dB above
the noise) prior to [moving] to 122 GHz; we heard signals right away on
122 GHz." The stations employed 60-centimeter satellite TV dishes and
ran "somewhat less than half a milliwatt" on 122 GHz, Lavelle said.
FAA's Proposed Remote Identification Rules Would Affect Drones, Hobby
The Federal Aviation ministration (FAA) is proposing to require
remote identification of so-called "unmanned aircraft systems" (UAS),
which include drones and hobby aircraft. A growing number of radio
amateurs utilize camera-equipped drones for aerial photography
purposes, to examine antenna systems, and to operate hobby aircraft
remotely on amateur radio frequencies. Comments on the Notice of
Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in Docket FAA-2019-11, are due by March 2.
"The remote identification of unmanned aircraft systems in the airspace
of the United States would address safety, national security, and law
enforcement concerns regarding the further integration of these
aircraft into the airspace of the United States while also enabling
greater operational capabilities," the FAA said in proposing the new
The FAA defines remote identification, or Remote ID, as the ability of
an in-flight unmanned aircraft "to provide certain identification and
location information that people on the ground and other airspace users
can receive." The FAA called the move "an important building block in
the unmanned traffic management ecosystem."
"For example, the ability to identify and locate UAS operating in the
airspace of the United States provides additional situational awareness
to manned and unmanned aircraft," the FAA said. "This will become even
more important as the number of UAS operations in all classes of
airspace increases. In addition, the ability to identify and locate UAS
provides critical information to law enforcement and other officials
charged with ensuring public safety."
The FAA said it envisions that the remote identification network "will
form the foundation for the development of other technologies that can
enable expanded operations."
With few exceptions, all UAS operating in US airspace would be subject
to the rule's requirements and would have to comply, "regardless of
whether they conduct recreational or commercial operations, except
those flying UAS that are not otherwise required to be registered under
the FAA's existing rules."
To comment, click on the "Submit a Formal Comment" button on the top of
the Federal Register page that includes the NPRM text.
A Down Under special event will use former Radio Australia
international broadcast antennas. Over the March 14 - 15 weekend,
members of the Shepparton and District Amateur Radio Club (SADARC) in
Australia will be on the air as VI3RA (Radio Australia), connecting
their transceivers to the curtain array and rhombic antennas at the
former Radio Australia site in Shepparton. Radio Australia ceased
transmitting from the site in 2017. VI3RA will operate on 40, 30, 20,
17, and 15 meters. "Local amateurs will be given the unique opportunity
to explore the use of high-gain antennas whilst giving amateurs
throughout the world a unique opportunity to contact a station using
such high-gain antennas," said SADARC President Peter Rentsch, VK3FPSR
(Australia's call sign structure accommodates four-letter suffixes).
"This is a rare opportunity for amateur radio operators, who are only
allowed a peak output power of 400 W in Australia when compared to 100
kW of Radio Australia transmitters to hopefully achieve some remarkable
communication outcomes. We expect to get a gain of 15 dB on the lower
frequencies and at least 20 dB on 21 MHz." The special event is being
conducted in cooperation with BAI Communications (Broadcast Australia).
More information is on the club's website.
AMSAT reports that the pioneering AMSAT-OSCAR 85 (AO-85) CubeSat, also
known as Fox-1A, has gone silent. "Having not been heard throughout the
most recent period of full illumination, it is reasonable to believe
the batteries have deteriorated to the point of no longer being able to
power the transmitter," AMSAT said this week. "Should some future event
cause a cell to open, it is possible the satellite may be heard again,
but for now, it is time to declare end-of-mission. AO-85 was conceived
as the first AMSAT CubeSat and designed to be a successor to the
popular AO-51 Microsat. AO-85 was launched on October 8, 2015. Its
success led to further Fox satellites AO-91, AO-92, AO-95, and
RadFxSat2/Fox-1E, which will be launched later this year. The Fox-1E
transponder was also spun off into a radio system now in orbit on board
HuskySat-1, and soon to be in several other university CubeSats. --
Thanks to AMSAT News Service
France has authorized use of 60-meter band. Telecommunications
regulator ARCEP has authorized the use of a 60-meter band -- as agreed
upon at World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 -- for French radio
amateurs. The formal announcement was published in the Official Journal
of the Republic of France (JORF) on February 13, IARU member-society
MHz band will be available at a maximum EIRP of 15 W.
ARISS radio telebridge stalwart Gerald Klatzko, ZS6BTD, has died. When
the International Space Station (ISS) orbit is not favorable for a
direct Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact
with a particular school or location scheduled to speak with an
astronaut, ARISS radio telebridge stations bridge the gap. Gerald
Klatzko, ZS6BTD, of Parklands, South Africa, was one of the "regulars"
during the earlier years of the ARISS program. He died on February 1 at
age 95. Klatzko served as an ARISS radio telebridge station in South
Africa for many years until he retired. ARISS telebridge stations
establish the direct ham radio link and feed two-way audio into a
telebridge line for delivery to the contact site. John Sygo, ZS6JON,
described Klatzko as "always bright and cheerful and a great operator,"
who made major contributions to the amateur service. "He was one of the
first to experiment with slow-scan television," Sygo said. "For many
years, he assisted NASA to link astronauts with their families using
amateur radio links from Mir, the Space Shuttle, and the International
Space Station. For over 2 decades, he was the co-producer and presenter
of Amateur Radio Mirror International."
Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
* 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
* March 29 -- Virginia Section Convention, Vienna, Virginia
* April 10 - 11 -- Oklahoma State Convention, Claremore, Oklahoma
* April 11 -- Roanoke Division Convention, Raleigh, North Carolina
* April 18 -- Delaware State Convention, Georgetown, Delaware
* May 8 - 9 -- Utah State Convention, Orem, Utah
* June 6 - 7 -- Northwestern Division Convention, Seaside, Oregon
* June 6 - 7 -- West Pennsylvania Section Convention, Prospect,
* June 6 -- Georgia State Convention, Marietta, Georgia
* June 20 -- Tennessee State Convention, Knoxville, Tennessee
Find conventions and hamfests in your area.
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* Origin: Outpost BBS * Limestone, TN, USA (1:18/200)