Date: Fri, 13.03.20 10:05
The Weekly ARRL Letter
March 12, 2020
* Visalia International DX Convention, Other Events, Canceled Due to
* Nominations Invited for 2020 McGan Silver Antenna Award for
Excellence in Public Relations
* "Team Exuberance" Aims to Lower the Average Age of Contesters
* ARRL Podcasts Schedule
* Outer Space is Your Next Radio Frontier!
* The K7RA Solar Update
* Just Ahead in Radiosport
* ARISS Celebrates Successful Launch Carrying Interoperable Radio
System to ISS
* International Group Reactivating the Legendary Yasme VP2VB Call
* In Brief...
* Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
Visalia International DX Convention, Other Events, Canceled Due to
Concern over COVID-19 has led to the cancellation of the 2020
International DX Convention (IDXC) and of several other amateur
radio-related events here and abroad. The IDXC was to be held April 24
- 26 in Visalia, California.
"We send out our apologies to all our prospective patrons of the 2020
International DX Convention," IDXC Co-chairs Cathy Gardenias, K6VC, and
Kris Jacob, K6TOD, said on behalf of the convention committee. "Due to
concerns, health and well-being of our amateur radio family, our age
group, and possible compromised health issues, we are taking the side
of safety and canceling the convention." They conceded that, although
the number of COVID-19 cases remains low, it only takes one person to
pass the virus. IDXC is processing refunds.
On March 11, the Dayton Hamvention^A(R) Executive Committee, said, "As
of now we plan on holding Hamvention unless otherwise directed. It is
our intention to follow the orders of the State of Ohio and the Greene
County Health Department." On March 12, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine
issued an executive order barring public participation in sporting
events and other large gatherings (defined as 100 or more attendees).
Ohio has reported four confirmed COVID-19 cases.
An in-person version of the HamSCI workshop, set for March 20 - 21 at
the University of Scranton, has been canceled because of the
coronavirus situation. HamSCI's Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, who's
organizing the event, said alternative plans are in play to hold a
The Gulf Coast Amateur Radio Club Spring Hamfest on March 14 and the
Great Lakes Convention on March and the March 15 Toledo Hamfest in Ohio
have been canceled. Also canceled: Communications Academy 2020, due to
be held in Seattle, Washington, April 24 - 26.
ARRL has created a URL that will search the ARRL Hamfest and Convention
Database for canceled events.
FCC Headquarters has barred the door to visitors, employees, and
contractors who have been in any country subject to a COVID-19-related
CDC Level 3 Travel Warning. It also has suspended until further notice
any FCC involvement in large, non-critical gatherings involving
national or international participants. Read more.
Nominations Invited for 2020 McGan Silver Antenna Award for Excellence
in Public Relations
The ARRL Public Relations Committee invites nominations for the Philip
J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award, presented annually to a radio
amateur who has demonstrated success in public relations efforts on
behalf of amateur radio and who best exemplifies the volunteer spirit
of Philip McGan, WA2MBQ (SK).
"ARRL Public Information Officers (PIOs) and other volunteers are
working hard every day to create greater awareness of all that amateur
radio has to offer," the Committee said in announcing the opening of
nominations for the award. "They are publicizing special events,
writing press releases, or doing interviews on radio and television or
in newspapers to highlight the service that amateur radio provides."
A journalist, McGan was the first chairman of ARRL's Public Relations
Committee, which helped reinvigorate ARRL's commitment to public
relations. To honor McGan, members of the New Hampshire Amateur Radio
Association joined with the ARRL Board of Directors to establish an
award that would pay lasting tribute to the important contributions he
made on behalf of amateur radio.
Activities for which the McGan Award is presented include those
specifically directed at bringing amateur radio to the media's and the
public's attention in a positive light. This may include such
traditional methods as news releases or interviews, or less traditional
methods, such as hosting a radio show or being an active public
The ARRL Board of Directors will choose the award winner at its July
2020 meeting, based on recommendations from the ARRL Public Relations
Committee. The Committee has responsibility for reviewing the
nominations and supporting material.
Eligible nominees must be full ARRL members in good standing at the
time of nomination. The award is given only to an individual, and
nominees may not be current ARRL officers, directors, vice directors,
paid staffers, or members of the ARRL Public Relations Committee.
Nominees must not be compensated for any public relations work
involving amateur radio -- including payment for articles.
A nominee's efforts must fit the definition of public relations and
recognize the promotion of amateur radio to the non-amateur radio
Nominations must be received at ARRL Headquarters by the close of
business on Friday, May 15, 2020. Nominations must be on an official
entry form. Anyone may make a nomination.
"Team Exuberance" Aims to Lower the Average Age of Contesters
Seven of the world's top youth CW operators will convene at the western
Pennsylvania superstation of Tim Duffy, K3LR, in late May, in an effort
to lower the average age of contest operators -- especially CW
operators. "Team Exuberance (TE)," comprised of teens and early
20-somethings, gained a reputation during the CQ WPX phone event in
2019. This year, they will tackle the CQ WPX CW contest on May 30 - 31.
The young operators have been raising money to minimize the cost of the
adventure for the participants and their families.
"The average age of today's CW operator is 67," the group asserted.
"Team Exuberance CW 2020 (TE CW 2020) is out once again to take a swing
at the radiosport establishment, disprove the adage that old
The 2019 Team Exuberance with
K3LR in the center.
age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance, and bring down
the average age of the contesting community." They also want to prove
"that youth contesters are legit contenders" in the radiosport arena.
Violetta Latham, KK8AT, led the first Team Exuberance contest
operation, which took first place in North America in the Multi-Two
category, racking up a score of 22 million points and logging 5,700
contacts. The team will stick to the Multi-Two format for the WPX CW
The TE CW 2020 team will include David Samu, VE7DZO; Marty Sullaway,
NN1C; Philipp Springer, DK6SP; Bruce Yang, KN8U/BH4EPL; Tomi Varro,
HA8RT; Mathias Acevedo, CE2LR, and Bryant Rascoll, KG5HVO.
The team has mounted a GoFundMe campaign to raise the projected $8,000
necessary to cover airfare, hotel, transportation, and meals for the
duration of the contest. Any excess funds will be donated to the David
Kalter Youth DX venture.
"Your donation will not only help our team achieve the goal of
participating in the CQ WPX CW 2020 but also keep the momentum of
bringing more youth into the hobby and ultimately bring down the
average age," the team said in its pitch.
TE CW 2020 says its operators were handpicked for this contest and are
all highly skilled and experienced. Varro, who is 21, was the 2014
High-Speed Telegraphy (HST) competition champion, while Yang, also 21
and a student at Georgia Tech, was the World Rookie champion for the
2019 CQ WPX CW event.
"While amateur radio is not a mainstream hobby for today's youth,
finding skilled youth CW operators is even rarer," TE CW 2020 said in a
news release. "They do [CW] because it's fun and challenging."
ARRL Podcasts Schedule
The latest (March 12) episode of the On the Air podcast focuses on how
to calculate feed line loss, real-world examples of how digital and
analog FM transceivers handle weak signals, and an interview with Rob
Macedo, KD1CY, Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator
and SKYWARN Coordinator for the National Weather Service Boston/Norton
office. Rob will offer information about how hams can get involved with
The latest episode of the Eclectic Tech podcast (Episode 3) includes an
interview with JS8Call creator Jason Sherer, KN4CRD, revisiting SSTV,
and a discussion of arc-fault circuit breakers with Bob Allison,
Both podcasts are available on iTunes (iOS) and Stitcher (Android) as
well as on Blubrry -- On the Air | Eclectic Tech.
Outer Space is Your Next Radio Frontier!
You can make contacts through amateur radio satellites, and even with
the International Space Station, using equipment you probably own right
now! All it takes is the right information, which you'll find in ARRL's
new book, Amateur Radio Satellites for Beginners.
Dozens of spacecraft are in orbit just waiting for your signals, and
more are being launched every year. This book is your guide to a whole
new world of operating enjoyment. Inside you will be able to locate
satellites and determine when they will be available in orbit, gain
tips for building your own "satellite station, find a simple
step-by-step guide to making your first contacts, and discover
satellite antenna projects you can build at home.
"Even with just a dual-band FM transceiver and a mobile antenna, you
can make contacts through an amateur satellite!" said ARRL author and
QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY.
Building amateur radio satellites is difficult; communicating through
amateur satellites is not. Amateur Radio Satellites for Beginners will
introduce you to new experiences that you may have thought were out of
your reach. Start reading and discover how easy it can be!
Amateur Radio Satellites for Beginners is available from the ARRL Store
or your ARRL Dealer. ARRL Item no. 1304, ISBN: 978-1-62595-130-4,
$22.95 retail, special ARRL Member Price $19.95. Call 860-594-0355 or,
toll-free in the US, 888-277-5289. It will also be available as an
e-book for the Amazon Kindle.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: I felt cheated this week when a
much-anticipated sunspot appeared only briefly, and after 2 days was
gone. Sunspot region AR2758 only appeared on March 8 - 9, with daily
sunspot numbers of 13 and 12, respectively. Some new activity is
visible over the solar horizon -- a very active and bright spot, but
this time in the sun's northern hemisphere.
Average daily sunspot numbers for the week rose from zero to 3.6, while
average daily solar flux barely increased, from 70 to 70.2. Average
daily planetary A index declined from 6.7 to 4.4, and average middle
latitude A index decreased from 4.6 to 3.6.
Predicted solar flux over the next 45 days is 71 on March 12 - 14; 70
on March 15 - 18; 72 on March 19 - 22; 70 on March 23 - April 4; 72 on
April 5 - 18, and 70 on April 19 - 25.
Predicted planetary A index is 5 on March 12 - 18; 12 and 8 on March 19
- 20; 5 on March 21 - 26; 12 and 8 on March 27 - 28; 5 on March 29 -
April 5; 10 and 8 on April 6 - 7; 5 on April 8 - 13; 8, 12, and 8 on
April 14 - 16; 5 on April 17 - 22, and 12, 8, and 5 on April 23 - 25.
Sunspot numbers for March 5 - 11 were 0, 0, 0, 13, 12, 0, and 0, with a
mean of 3.6. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 69.5, 70, 69.9, 70.2, 70.8,
70.8, and 70.5, with a mean of 70.2. Estimated planetary A indices were
4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, and 3, with a mean of 4.4. Middle latitude A index
was 3, 4, 5, 3, 5, 3, and 2, with a mean of 3.6.
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
* March 14 -- AGCW QRP Contest (CW)
* March 14 - 15 -- RSGB Commonwealth Contest (CW)
* March 14 - 15 -- F9AA Cup, SSB
* March 14 - 15 -- South America 10 Meter Contest (CW, phone)
* March 14 - 15 -- Stew Perry Topband Challenge (CW)
* March 14 - 15 -- Oklahoma QSO Party (CW, phone)
* March 14 - 15 -- TESLA Memorial HF CW Contest
* March 14 - 15 -- QCWA QSO Party (CW, phone)
* March 14 - 15 -- Idaho QSO Party (CW, phone)
* March 14 -- QRP ARCI Spring Thaw SSB Shootout
* March 15 -- North American Sprint, RTTY
* March 15 - 16 -- Wisconsin QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)
* March 16 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)
* March 17 -- CLARA Chatter Party (CW, phone)
* March 19 -- NAQCC CW Sprint
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.
ARISS Celebrates Successful Launch Carrying Interoperable Radio System
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is celebrating
the successful launch and docking of the SpaceX-20 commercial resupply
mission to the International Space Station (ISS). One payload on the
flight is the ARISS Interoperable Radio System (IORS), which ARISS
calls "the foundational element of the ARISS next-generation radio
system" on the space station. Amateur radio has been an integral
component of ISS missions since 2000. The Dragon cargo capsule docked
successfully with the space station on March 9. ARISS-US Delegate for
ARRL Rosalie White, K1STO, said hundreds of ARRL members contributed to
make the IORS project happen, and ARISS is celebrating the 4-year-long
"ARISS is truly grateful to ARRL and AMSAT for their co-sponsorship and
support of ARISS since day one," White said. "ARISS greatly appreciates
the hundreds of ham radio operators who have stood by ARISS, sending
financial support and encouragement. A robust ham station is on its way
to replace the broken radio on the ISS, and tens of thousands of hams
will enjoy strong ARISS packet and ARISS SSTV signals as a result. In
addition, thousands of students will discover and use ham radio to talk
with a ham-astronaut. We hope to see the trend continue where more
ARISS teachers and local clubs set up school ham clubs." The new system
includes a higher-power radio, an enhanced voice repeater, updated
digital packet radio (APRS), and slow-scan television (SSTV)
capabilities for both the US and Russian space station segments.
White called the March 7 launch, "beautiful, flawless." ARRL President
Rick Roderick, K5UR, told ARISS that he had his fingers crossed for a
According to NASA Mission Control, it will take the three ISS crew
members up to a month to unload and stow the 4,300 pounds of cargo on
board the Dragon capsule, and the IORS is not a priority. The actual
ham equipment will be installed in the ISS Columbus module. Another
IORS unit is in line to be launched and installed in the Russian
segment of the ISS later this year.
The IORS consists of a custom-modified JVCKenwood TM-D710GA
transceiver, a multi-voltage power supply, and interconnecting cables.
The ARISS hardware team will assemble four flight units -- and 10 IORS
units in all -- to support onboard flight operations, training,
operations planning, and hardware testing. Future upgrades and
enhancements to the next-generation system are in various stages of
design and development. These include a repaired Ham Video system --
currently planned for launch in mid-to-late 2020, an L-band (uplink)
repeater, a microwave "Ham Communicator," and Lunar Gateway prototype
International Group Reactivating the Legendary Yasme VP2VB Call Sign
On Tuesday, March 10, an international group set sail to the British
Virgin Islands and activated the VP2VB call sign of Yasme fame for 6
days, focusing on the low bands with two stations. VP2VB was the call
sign of the legendary Danny Weil, VP2VB, skipper of the Yasme series of
sailing vessels that carried the peripatetic adventurer as he traveled
from one DX location to another in the 1950s and early 1960s. His
activities provided the impetus to create The Yasme Foundation. For the
2020 "Yasme Memorial Expedition," operators will include rian
Ciuperca, KO8SCA; Martti Laine, OH2BH; Niko Halminen, OH2GEK, and
Sandro Nitoi, VE7NY. QSL via OH2BH.
A Briton, Weil was a watch and clock maker by trade, and had a sense of
adventure. His initial Yasme (often rendered as YASME) sailing voyage
was to the British Virgin Islands. Yasme derives from the Japanese word
"yasume," which means "to make tranquil." Another giant of ham radio
history, the legendary DXer Dick Spencely, KV4AA, became aware of
Weil's aspirations and suggested that he combine amateur radio with his
ambitious travel itinerary. Spencely taught Weil Morse code and helped
him secure the VP2VB call sign, which was to become famous around the
globe. Spencely secured the initial ham radio gear for the Yasme and
became a tireless fundraiser for The Yasme Foundation as well.
Ultimately, there were three Yasmes. From 1955 until 1962, Weil
operated from several ports of call in the Caribbean and the Pacific.
This latter-day VP2VB DXpedition will count toward Yasme awards and
marks the first activation of VP2VB in more than 60 years.
This month's VP2VB DXpedition will trace Weil's original route in the
British Virgin Islands under a special license authorization, to pay
homage to those early years of DXing and to honor the spirit he
embraced, which inspired a generation of DXers.
Weil retired from DXpeditioning and settled in Texas in 1963, resuming
his profession of a watch and clock maker and becoming a US citizen. He
was not to be heard on the air again -- although he kept an ear on the
bands. Weil died in 2003 at age 85.
The launch of the PSAT3 CubeSat, which was part of the DARPA Launch
Challenge, has been canceled. The Challenge offered a $10 million prize
for any launch provider that could deliver a rocket with only 30 days'
notice of what payloads they would have and where they would launch
from -- and then, to do it again only 30 days later. "We were on the
second launch," said PSAT3's Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, of the US Naval
Academy. "But on March 2, the third attempt by the launch provider was
scrubbed at T-9 minutes and was not resolved until the launch window
and DARPA Challenge deadline had passed. Therefore, the Challenge was
over. There was no winner, and we lost the launch." The US Naval
Academy project spacecraft remains available for a CubeSat
Poly-Picosatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD) launch opportunity,
Bruninga said. He described PSAT3 as a follow-on opportunity to
duplicate the functionality of PSAT2 in a full-sized P-POD payload that
remains attached to the upper stage rocket body. The launch was to take
place from Kodiak, Alaska.
The founder of the annual Ham Radio University in New York, Phil Lewis,
N2MUN, of Lindenhurst, New York, died on March 5. An ARRL member, he
was 72. Lewis grew up on Long Island, attended RCA Institute, and
worked for Hazeltine and, later, BAE Systems in the aerospace industry.
Licensed in 1991, he was a member of Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club
(GSBARC), serving as a volunteer examiner and instructor and
participating in Field Day and special events. Lewis was GSBARC
President from 2000 to 2002. He was an active DXer and contester, and a
member of the Yankee Clipper Contest Club (YCCC).
The Dominican Republic now has a 60-meter band. Following an Executive
Branch vote, Dominican Republic telecommunications regulator Indotel
has updated the country's National Frequency Allocation Plan, which
kHz to amateur radio fixed and mobile stations (except for aeronautical
mobile stations). Stations may not exceed a maximum radiated power of
15 W EIRP. The Dominican Radio Club recommended adoption of the plan.
Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
* March 13 - 14 -- Louisiana State Convention, Rayne, Louisiana
* March 13 - 14 -- North Carolina Section Convention, Concord, North
* 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, Annandale, Virginia
* April 3 - 4 -- OzarkCon, Branson, Missouri
* April 10 - 11 -- Oklahoma State Convention, Claremore, Oklahoma
* April 10 - 11 -- Maine State Convention, Lewiston, Maine
* April 11 -- Roanoke Division Convention, Raleigh, North Carolina
* April 17-19 - Eastern VHF UHF Microwave Conference, Manchester,
* April 18 -- Louisiana Section Convention, West Monroe, Louisiana
* April 18 -- Delaware State Convention, Georgetown, Delaware
* April 25 - Aurora Conference , White Bear Lake, Minnesota
* May 3 -- Eastern Pennsylvania Section Convention, Bristol,
* May 8 - 9 -- Arizona State Convention, Prescott Valley, Arizona
* May 8 - 9 -- Utah State Convention, Orem, Utah
* May 9 - MicroHAMS Digital Conference 2020, Woodinville, Washington
* May 15 - 17 -- Dayton Hamvention, Xenia, Ohio
* June 6 - 7 -- Northwestern Division Convention, Seaside, Oregon
* June 6 - 7 -- West Pennsylvania Section Convention, Prospect,
* June 6 -- Georgia State Convention, Marietta, Georgia
* June 12-13 -- Ham-Com, Plano, Texas
* 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)