Date: Fri, 27.03.20 10:05
The Weekly ARRL Letter
March 26, 2020
* ARRL Headquarters Closes, May QST Delivery is on Schedule
* Ham Radio Clubs Connect Amid Social Distancing
* Radio Amateurs Team Up to Help University Design Low-Cost
* ARRL Podcasts Schedule
* International Amateur Radio Union justing to COVID-19
* The K7RA Solar Update
* Just Ahead in Radiosport
* Major Florida Emergency Communication Conference and Exercise are a
* Long Island CW Club Offering Free Online Code Instruction for
* Tower-Mounted Christmas Lights Cheer California Neighborhood
* In Brief...
* Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
ARRL Headquarters Closes, May QST Delivery is on Schedule
ARRL Headquarters has closed, in compliance with an executive order
from Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont that all non-essential businesses
and not-for-profit entities reduce their in-person workforces by 100%.
ARRL has equipped as many Headquarters staffers as possible to work
"ARRL remains operational, while our teams work remotely to abide by
Connecticut's Stay Home, Stay Safe policy, and most departments are
maintaining business as usual," ARRL Interim CEO Barry Shelley, N1VXY,
explained. "We are doing all we can under the circumstances and trying
to maintain operations in as normal a way as possible."
The print edition of the May issue of QST, now off the presses, will go
out in the mail next week, and the US Postal Service anticipates no
delivery disruptions. Digital QST and the pending digital debuts of QEX
and NCJ are expected to be posted on schedule. The May issue of QST
will include more details on the QEX and NCJ digital editions -- a new
member benefit -- as well as an intriguing cover article on "The
Lightbulb QSO Party."
ARRL also anticipates that The ARRL Letter, ARRL Audio News, the ARES
E-Letter, The ARRL Contest Update, and the Eclectic Technology podcast
will be available as usual.
Although ARRL Headquarters closed, W1AW continues operating, but on a
slightly altered transmission schedule. Morning code practice and
qualifying run transmissions have been suspended; evening
transmissions, including qualifying runs, will go on as usual. W1AW
remains closed to the public, however.
Operations at the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) will also
continue, and the best way to receive a timely response is via email,
as call volume has been heavy.
The ARRL warehouse is working with a reduced staff, so orders will be
delayed, and ARRL will not be able to respond to expedited shipping
Members should direct questions to ARRL via email.
"Thank you for your patience during this time of adjustment," Shelley
Ham Radio Clubs Connect Amid Social Distancing
As college campuses have sent students home to finish their classes
online, members of the K7UAZ Amateur Radio Club in Tucson -- a student
organization at the University of Arizona -- have moved their radio
club meetings to the radio. K7UAZ Station Manager Curt Laumann, K7ZOO,
said that when the university largely shuttered its campus, club
President Ken Gourley, KM6BKU, immediately transitioned regular
meetings to an on-the-air format using the university repeater. The
club was already holding a weekly net on Monday nights, but the added
on-air club meetings offer another opportunity to get on the radio.
In recent months, in-person K7UAZ club meetings have hosted
presentations on such topics as EME (Earth-moon-Earth) communication
and an AMSAT CubeSat simulation. As meetings move on the air, Gourley
explained, he will send out a copy of meeting presentation slides so
members can follow along. "I will lead the net and start with
check-ins," he said. "We will work our way through the slides,
discussing previous events, upcoming activities, the treasurer's
report, projects, etc. I will take new check-ins every 5 - 10 minutes.
We will conclude with officer comments and general comments. Hopefully
it won't take more than 30 - 45 minutes."
ARRL staff member Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, who liaises for the ARRL
Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative (CARI), underscores the importance
that all radio clubs encourage on-the-air activity in this challenging
time. "While I know many businesses and schools have moved to online
meetings and learning, I can think of many advantages for a radio club
to move club meetings to on-air," Inderbitzen said. His list includes:
* Holding short meetings on the air will encourage individual club
members to practice their personal radio communication
capabilities. Station and skills readiness are tenets of the
Amateur Radio Service.
* Nets generally help new radio amateurs gain practical operating
experience. Think of this current challenge as an opportunity to
encourage your club's new hams to get on the air.
* As online fatigue and a feeling of isolation will inevitably creep
into our "new normal," being on-air will introduce variety into our
communication practices. As many of us are now homebound working or
studying, turning on a radio to connect with your ham radio peers
will be welcome respite!
At K7UAZ, experienced club members provide instruction for members to
access the K7UAZ ARC repeater from 2 meters and via EchoLink. The club
also offers members the opportunity to borrow handheld radios or to be
patched in via HF or videoconferencing, if they live too far away from
ARRL is encouraging university radio clubs to network with other clubs
and students via ARRL's CARI Facebook group. "Keeping our campus radio
clubs going will ensure we are, together, advancing the art, science,
and enjoyment of amateur radio. It's our collective mission,"
Radio Amateurs Team Up to Help University Design Low-Cost Ventilator
Amateur radio volunteers from around the world have volunteered to
assist University of Florida Professor Sam Lampotang and his
engineering team in their quest to rapidly develop an open-source,
low-cost patient ventilator that can be built anywhere from such
commonly available components as PVC pipe and lawn-sprinkler valves.
The amateur radio volunteers are developing Arduino-based control
software that will set the respiratory rate and other key parameters in
treating critically ill coronavirus victims.
Multiple volunteers responding to a call for help from Gordon Gibby,
MD, KX4Z, include noted software developer Jack Purdum, W8TEE, and
uBITX transceiver maker Ashhar Farhan, VU2ESE. University of Florida
physicians are working to address the critical legal aspects as the
design moves closer to fruition. The ventilator's valves would
precisely time compressed oxygen flow into patient breathing circuits
under Arduino control, allowing exhausted patients with "stiff" lungs
impacted by viral pneumonia to survive until their body can clear the
The software design team is also adding simple features such as an LCD
display, encoders to choose parameters, and watchdog safety features.
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 offers information about how hams can get involved with
The latest episode of the Eclectic Tech podcast (Episode 4) includes an
interview with Eric Knight, KB1EHE, updating the RF-based Alzheimer's
therapy featured in QST, and an interview with Robert Dixon, W8ERD,
about the "Wow!" signal and SETI. Dixon was the Big Ear project
director when the Wow! signal was received.
Both podcasts are available on iTunes (iOS) and Stitcher (Android) as
well as on Blubrry -- On the Air | Eclectic Tech.
International Amateur Radio Union justing to COVID-19
The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) has reported on how it's
addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, given the various restrictions in
place to slow the spread of the virus. IARU said the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU) Headquarters in Geneva remains off limits
to visitors until April 17 at the earliest. ITU has cancelled some
meetings, postponed others, and converted others into online
gatherings. IARU representatives are adjusting plans accordingly and
following a similar pattern.
While Dayton Hamvention has canceled its 2020 show, Europe's largest
amateur radio gathering, HAM RADIO in Friedrichshafen, Germany, is
IARU Region 2 Emergency Communications and Satellite Communications
workshops set for May 30 - 31 in Trinidad and Tobago will now be held
online. IARU reports that interest and registrations have surged since
the announcement. These workshops will be held in English, but
preparations are under way for workshops in Spanish to be held later.
IARU Region 3 has canceled its first Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) Camp
that had been planned for early October in Rayong, Thailand.
World Amateur Radio Day on April 18 this year celebrates the 95th
anniversary of the IARU's founding. IARU has allowed that amateur radio
"is the best way to practice social distancing."
IARU Region 1 (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) has asked
member-societies to "reconsider their position" on Field Day events
over the next few months.
"Field Days bring radio amateurs together and, therefore, represent an
environment where social distancing is difficult to achieve," IARU
Region 1 President Don Beattie, G3BJ, said. "We must recognize that
many radio amateurs are in the older, higher-risk age groups." IARU
will not sponsor the Region 1 HF CW Field Day in June but said national
societies have to make their own decisions as to whether their Field
Day events will go forward.
Beattie said single-operator contests "remain a great way for those
forced to stay at home to enjoy the magic of amateur radio."
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: We saw another week with no sunspots,
which were last seen just briefly more than 2 weeks ago on March 8 - 9.
Spaceweather.com reports that, so far in 2020, the percentage of days
without sunspots (76%) is about the same as all of 2019, when it was
Average daily solar flux inched up from 70.1 to 71.1. Geomagnetic
indicators remain quiet, with average planetary A index at 7.7, a
little higher than the previous week's 5.9 average. Average
mid-latitude A index was also 5.9, up from 4.1 last week.
Predicted solar flux for the next 45 days is 71 on March 26 - April 2;
70 on April 3 - 4; 72 on April 5 - 18; 70 on April 19 - May 1, and 72
on May 2 - 9.
Predicted planetary A index is 5 on March 26 - 29; 12 on March 30 - 31;
8 on April 1; 5 on April 2 - 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; 12 and 8 on
April 23 - 24; 5 on April 25 - May 2; 10 and 8 on May 3 - 4, and 5 on
May 5 - 9.
Sunspot numbers for March 19 - 25 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a
mean of 0. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 72.1, 71.7, 70.8, 70.2, 70.4,
71.2, and 71.2, with a mean of 71.1. Estimated planetary A indices were
12, 7, 8, 7, 12, 4, and 4, with a mean of 7.7. Middle latitude A index
was 7, 5, 5, 7, 10, 4, and 3, with a mean of 5.9.
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
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.
* March 28 -- FOC QSO Party (CW)
* March 28 - 29 -- CQ WW WPX Contest, SSB
* March 30 - 31 -- QCX Challenge (CW)
* April 2 -- UKEICC 80-Meter Contest (Phone)
* April 2 -- SARL 80-Meter QSO Party (Phone)
* April 2 -- NRAU 10-Meter Activity Contest (CW, phone, digital)
* April 2 -- SKCC Sprint Europe (CW)
Major Florida Emergency Communication Conference and Exercise are a
Radio amateurs and communications professionals from several states
convened over the February 29 - March 1 weekend in Gainesville,
Florida, for a training conference and exercise to test new skills
learned along with basic radio communication skills and protocols. The
Alachua County Emergency Manager and staff served as exercise
evaluators. Former FEMA ministrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ, also
attended and served as an exercise player on Sunday. The weekend's
programs and exercise were developed by Gordon Gibby, KX4Z, who also
conducted the optional ARRL EC-001 Introduction to Emergency
Communications course on Friday.
"Overall, the exercise was positively reviewed by both the participants
and the professional evaluators," reported Rick Palm, K1CE, who edits
the ARES E-Letter and took part in the activity. "For the participants,
a few of the more-challenging objectives were documentation on the ICS
forms, and establishing HF voice/Winlink connections, which were
ultimately achieved successfully," he recounted. "Some participants
were unclear on some procedures and instructions. Set-up and getting HF
antennas erected resulted in delay, leaving some message traffic backed
up." These stumbling blocks were discussed in an after-exercise
debriefing, Palm said.
"More easily accomplished was setting up radio equipment, using VHF
packet, and addressing the issues presented [by the exercise
moderators]. Group relationships were dynamic and positive. Units were
able to check into the command net with little difficulty," Palm added.
The conference featured a basic track for individuals needing basic or
advanced skill improvement, and a leadership track for ARES^A(R)
leaders who need to design and execute exercises while growing local
groups. The day kicked off with a review of amateur radio disaster
response, with discussion focused on service to main stakeholders,
including government agencies, NGOs, and disaster survivors. Topics
covered the importance of communications when "lives are really at
stake" and the value of exercises.
Good weather prevailed for the Sunday exercise with a large and
enthusiastic group of radio amateurs on hand to put lessons learned the
previous day into practice by playing out the Homeland Security
Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP)-compliant exercise dubbed
Former FEMA ministrator
Craig Fugate, KK4INZ, also
attended and served as a Hot
& Cold exercise player.
2020 Hot & Cold. The scenario was a malfunction of high-pressure
natural gas pipelines with telecommunications failures. Resources
required included VHF/UHF/HF voice and digital equipment and
capabilities; the Winlink system, and the NTS/RRI networks.
The Incident Command post and shelters for area residents were staffed
and set up with both long-haul, regional, and local radio communication
capabilities. The overall exercise mission was "response."
Players worked to meet several objectives, which included joining the
command net, using alternative antennas (such as a long wire to replace
a Yagi), employing emergency power sources and alternatives in the
event of failures, checking into an HF voice net for message handling,
using Winlink to access gateways and make connections, practicing voice
net control procedures, drafting ICS-213 message forms and
transmitting, receiving, and relaying messages, composing and
transmitting situation reports to the Incident Command Post via the
command net, and completing required documentation.
Participant surveys indicated that those taking part felt that the best
features of the exercise were testing equipment, learning how to
complete the ICS forms, having the ICS-205 frequency plan ahead of the
exercise, antennas, and power source testing.
Surveys and comments indicated that some participants wished they had
studied the exercise plan missions and objectives more in advance;
understood the forms they had access to better in Winlink; were more
familiar with Winlink, local frequencies, and digital modes in general;
tested their equipment before leaving home, and had advance practice
with the packet mode.
"[These are] all good learning opportunities that will result in
greater efficiency in next year's exercise, and, of course, the real
thing, should that occur," Palm said.
Long Island CW Club Offering Free Online Code Instruction for Homebound
The Long Island CW Club in New York is offering free online Morse code
instruction for the "many youngsters at loose ends as a result of
school closings due to COVID-19 concerns." The club's co-founder,
Howard Bernstein, WB2UZE, pointed out that learning Morse code is "a
fun and educational activity for children of all ages that can fill
part of the gap left by the current unfortunate situation that has
closed so many schools across the country."
Ongoing classes will take place Monday through Friday, specifically for
school-agers anywhere across the country or overseas, via Zoom online
A computer equipped with a microphone and camera is required. Classes
for elementary schoolers run 30 minutes starting at 1600 UTC, followed
by 45-minute classes for middle- and high school-aged students,
starting at 1645 UTC. Parental permission is required through advance
Contact class instructor Rob Zarges, K2MZ, by e-mail or call
508-831-8248. -- Thanks to Mel Granick, KS2G, ARRL New York City-Long
Island Section Public Information Coordinator
Tower-Mounted Christmas Lights Cheer California Neighborhood
According to media reports, some Southern California residents have
been turning their Christmas lights back on to bolster the mood of the
neighborhood during the coronavirus pandemic.
"That caught my eye," Chip Margelli, K7JA, of Garden Grove, told ARRL.
"Every year, I put lights up on my 70-foot fixed tower, turning it into
the tallest Christmas tree in Garden Grove; it is quite a beacon in the
Because of knee replacement surgery last December, Margelli had not yet
taken down his Christmas lights, so he re-lit them and put an
announcement on the local Neighborhood Watch Facebook page. Margelli
said a lot of positive comments indicated his neighbors would follow
"So, hams everywhere can use amateur radio to do something to increase
the cheer factor in their neighborhoods, even though it's not over the
air," Margelli suggested. "Spreading goodwill like this can surely only
improve our image in the community." -- Thanks to Chip Margelli, K7JA
Refunds are available for canceled Dayton Hamvention-associated social
events. These include Contest University, the Contest Dinner, and the
Top Band Dinner. Each event has its own procedures. Those who signed up
for the DX Dinner will be able to obtain refunds via PayPal. An email
to all registrants will provide details. -- Thanks to Tim Duffy, K3LR,
Club Log is contributing 100% of its computing resources to the
Folding@Home Project. The project simulates the dynamics of COVID-19
proteins to hunt for new therapeutic opportunities. Club Log's Michael
Wells, G7VJR, said he's assigned a higher priority to the Folding@Home
work, so radio amateurs may experience slightly longer upload times.
"You can help, too, by contributing your own computer to the project,"
Wells said. "If you have a recent home computer with a good graphics
card, and if a lot of people make a contribution, it will make a
significant difference to the research, potentially reducing decades of
work to a far shorter time frame that will make a practical difference
this year." He cautions that computers involved in the project will be
operating at 100% CPU, when not otherwise in use. Club Log's
Folding@Home team number is 246763.
The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) HF and VHF Contest committees
will no longer accept multioperator contest entries. The ban, in
accordance with UK social distancing policies, is in effect until the
end of June and applies to all RSGB-sponsored contests. Single-operator
entries from shared stations also will not be accepted, unless the
station is being shared by family members at the same address. The HF
Contest Committee has canceled the RSGB HF NFD (Field Day) for 2020,
but is okaying portable operation by single operators, "because of the
potential mental health benefits associated with engaging in hobbies,
as well as the lack of person-to-person contact in normal
single-operator contesting." RSGB is encouraging all to follow UK
government guidelines regarding social distancing and unnecessary
travel and will decide in early June if the VHF NFD, the IOTA Contest,
and SSB NFD events can go ahead as planned.
Sean Kutzko, KX9X, is AMSAT's new Volunteer Coordinator. AMSAT
President Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, announced the appointment this week.
Licensed since 1982, Kutzko served for 10 years on the ARRL
Headquarters staff as Contest Branch Manager and as Media and Public
Relations Manager. "It's an honor to be able to volunteer for AMSAT,"
Kutzko said. "AMSAT is a great organization and helping find good
volunteers who are willing to help all areas of AMSAT's growth and
development is the least I could do for the organization that has given
me a lot of enjoyment and technical skill." An active HF and VHF
contester, DXer, and backpack QRP enthusiast, Kutzko started working
satellites in 2011. He's written instructional articles on satellite
operating for the AMSAT website and for QST, and he blogs regularly on
satellite topics on DX Engineering's On All Bands. -- Thanks to AMSAT
Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow, KA1FZQ, and his wife ele
have tested positive for COVID-19. "We started experiencing symptoms on
Sunday -- first coughs, then fevers, chills, and muscle aches -- and
contacted our doctors on Monday," Bacow related in a March 10 message
to the Harvard University community. "We were tested yesterday and just
received the results a few minutes ago. We wanted to share this news
with all of you as soon as possible." Bacow said neither he nor his
wife knows how they contracted the virus and have been working from
home and limiting contact with others. "This virus can lay anyone low,"
Bacow added. "We all need to be vigilant and keep following guidelines
to limit our contact with others."
President Donald Trump has nominated FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly
for another 5-year term on the Commission. The nomination was sent to
the US Senate on March 18. O'Rielly was initially appointed to the FCC
in 2013 by President Barack Obama. "During my tenure at the Commission,
I have advocated for preserving and advancing American free market
principles to develop common sense regulation and eliminate unnecessary
rules that hurt consumers," O'Rielly said in a statement, expressing
appreciation to President Trump. If the Senate confirms O'Rielly's
nomination, the new term would date retroactively to last July and end
The FCC will hold its March 31 open meeting by teleconference. "Due to
the current COVID-19 pandemic and related agency telework and
headquarters access policies, this meeting will be in a wholly
electronic format and will be open to the public on the internet via
live feed from the FCC web page and on the FCC YouTube channel," the
Commission announced this week. Agenda items are expected to be voted
on circulation prior to the meeting. Live audio and video and open
captioning will be provided on the video as well as a text only version
on the FCC website.
Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
Note: Many conventions and hamfests have been canceled or postponed due
to the coronavirus pandemic. Check the calendar of canceled events on
the ARRL website.
* May 9 - MicroHAMS Digital Conference 2020, Woodinville, Washington
* June 6 -- Georgia State Convention, Marietta, Georgia
* June 6 - 7 -- Northwestern Division Convention, Seaside, Oregon
* June 6 - 7 -- Western Pennsylvania Section Convention, Prospect,
* 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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--- Squish/386 v1.11
* Origin: Outpost BBS * Limestone, TN, USA (1:18/200)