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From: Sean Dennis (1:18/200)
To: n/a
Date: Fri, 07.08.20 11:05
The Weekly ARRL Letter
The ARRL Letter
August 6, 2020

* Amateur Radio Volunteers Go on Alert for Isaias
* ARRL 2020 Simulated Emergency Test (SET) Scheduled for October 3 -
4 Weekend
* German Satellite Demonstrates Orbit Control on a 1U CubeSat
* ARRL Podcasts Schedule
* The K7RA Solar Update
* Just Ahead in Radiosport
* Meet Up with ARRL Virtually August 7 - 9 at QSO Today Virtual Ham
* New England Division Convention Canceled Due to COVID-19
* Radio Amateur Takes Part in Historic First Commercial Human
Spaceflight to ISS
* Announcements
* SAQ Alexanderson Day in the Age of COVID-19
* Lost Video Archive from 1997 Heard Island VK0IR DXpedition Found
* In Brief...
* Getting It Right
* Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
Amateur Radio Volunteers Go on Alert for Isaias

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers along the eastern
seaboard were on alert this week to support needed communication as
Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaias worked its way north. The storm is now
in Canada after first making landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1
hurricane. High wind, rain, and the possibility of coastal flooding
were considered the most likely dangers, but tornadoes broke out in the
middle Atlantic states, triggering extensive damage, flooding, and
knocking out power to more than 3 million homes and businesses. The
storm caused at least five deaths. Southern New Jersey Section
Emergency Coordinator (SEC) Tom Devine, WB2ALJ, was among several SECs
who said their Sections were on alert but not activated for tropical
storm winds, flash flooding, and tornadoes.

"All county teams are prepared, and SKYWARN teams are requested to
provide key severe weather data to the regional National Weather
Service (NWS) Office," Devine told ARRL, adding that other SECs from
the middle Atlantic states were in communication.

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) activated twice for Isaias -- on July 31
and on August 1. The initial activation ran 41 hours, the second about
12 hours. HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, reported "very poor to
nonexistent propagation" for the second activation, but he noted that a
few members remained on the air to assist as needed.

"Throughout this short 12-hour activation for this second activation
for Isaias, members of HWN collected and forwarded many surface reports
from the coastal areas of South Carolina and North Carolina to the
National Hurricane Center by way of WX4NHC [at the National Hurricane
Center]," Graves said.

Tornadoes, flooding caused by heavy rainfall, and falling trees
accounted for most of the fatalities. The storm tracked into eastern
Pennsylvania as well as through the New York City-Long Island area.
ARRL 2020 Simulated Emergency Test (SET) Scheduled for October 3 - 4

The 2020 ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET) will take place October 3
- 4. The annual, nationwide exercise provides Amateur Radio Emergency
Service (ARES) volunteers the chance to test personal
emergency-operating skills and communication readiness in a simulated
emergency deployment. ARRL is asking participants to adhere to Center
for Disease Control (CDC) and local health department COVID-19
guidelines by staying home, maintaining safe distances when around
people, and following recommended cleaning and disinfecting practices.

Ed Compos, K5CRQ (left), and Bart
Pickens, N5TWB, serve as net control
operators from the Tulsa County
Emergency Operations Center during
the 2019 SET in Tulsa County,
Oklahoma. [Paul Teel, WB5ANX, photo]

ARRL Field Organization leadership at the Section and local levels --
as well as many other volunteers who are active in public service and
emergency communication -- are developing emergency scenarios with a
variety of agencies and organizations they've partnered with in the
past during real emergencies and disasters.

Given the ongoing pandemic, an in-person emergency exercise may not be
possible this year, but volunteers are encouraged to adapt to the
circumstances. Station and skills readiness are tenets of the Amateur
Radio Service. Any time we spend on the air will contribute to
developing and practicing our personal radio communication capability.

Volunteers with ARES, the National Traffic System (NTS), the Radio

Emergency Response Team (CERT), Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio
Network (SATERN), and other allied groups and public service-oriented
amateur radio groups are among those eligible to participate in the SET
to practice emergency operation plans, nets, and procedures.

ARRL has long-standing relationships with several national
organizations including the American Red Cross, the National Weather
Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Salvation
Army, among others.

This year's SET can be a chance to reach out to these partners -- at a
safe distance and/or via online meetings and teleconferences -- to
establish or review plans and develop working relationships.

ARRL Field Organization leaders have the option of conducting local or
Section-wide SETs on dates other than the October 3 - 4 focal-point
weekend, but no later than the end of the calendar year. Contact your
local ARRL Emergency Coordinator or Net Manager or ask your Section

ditional information about SET and the reporting forms are available
on the ARRL website.
German Satellite Demonstrates Orbit Control on a 1U CubeSat

The University of Wuerzburg Experimental Satellite 4 (UWE-4)
successfully used its propulsion system in order to conduct orbit
control. The 1-unit (1U) CubeSat is equipped with an electric
propulsion system called NanoFEEP, developed by the Technical
University in Dresden. This marks the first time in CubeSat history
that a 1U CubeSat has changed its orbit using an onboard propulsion
system. Several maneuvers were performed within 11 days, between June
23 and July 3, lowering the CubeSat's altitude by more than 100 meters
(328 feet), compared to an average of 21 meters (69 feet) with natural
orbital decay.

Coincidentally, on July 2, the UWE-4 team received a "conjunction data
message" from the US Air Force, indicating a potential safety threat
from a non-operational Iridium satellite, although UWE-4 was already
below the Iridium satellite at the projected time of conjunction.

Lowering the altitude of a spacecraft in low-Earth orbit (LEO) has the
negative effect of reducing its lifetime, because low-Earth-orbiting
(LEO) satellites usually burn up during re-entry. "Thus, this
experiment is a concept demonstration of a deorbiting maneuver shown at
the smallest class of spacecraft in LEO," the university said.

While satellites are not yet required to carry propulsion systems to
facilitate a planned deorbiting, such an obligation is under serious
discussion, due to the vastly increasing number of satellites in mega
constellations. "The experiment of UWE-4 presents a deorbiting solution
for the fraction of space debris of operational, but unused, satellites
of today and for the mega constellations of tomorrow," the university
said. AMSAT notes that US regulations make the ability to deorbit a
requirement for high-Earth-orbit amateur satellites in the future.

The first activation of the NanoFEEP thruster on UWE-4 took place in
early 2019. UWE-4 transmits telemetry on 435.600 MHz.

ARRL Podcasts Schedule

The latest episode of the On the Air podcast (Episode 7) features tips
for soldering a PL-259 connector onto the end of a coaxial cable, and
information on beginner courses for hams who want to serve their
communities during disasters and other incidents. The On the Air
podcast is a monthly companion to On the Air magazine, ARRL's magazine
for beginner-to-intermediate ham radio operators.

The latest episode of the Eclectic Tech podcast (Episode 13) features
discussions about Hellschreiber, wireless charging on the fly, and an
interview with Paul Denisowski, KO4LZ, about the state of amateur
Automatic Link Establishment (ALE).

The On the Air and Eclectic Tech podcasts are sponsored by Icom. 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: Sunspot Cycle 25 is under way! We saw
one new spot on July 28 and two new ones on August 2 and 3. The August
daily sunspot numbers were 22 and 23 on the dates of their appearance,
and the total sunspot area grew on Wednesday to 160 millionths of the
visible solar disc. The sunspot area has not been as large since May
2019, when it ranged from 140 to 410 millionths of the solar disc over
a 2-week period.

The average daily sunspot numberfor July 30 to August 5 was 19.6, up
from 14.1 over the previous 7 days. Average daily solar flux rose from
71.1 to 72.8 over the same period.

The planetary A index increased slightly, from 6.7 to 7, and the
mid-latitude A index declined slightly, from 8.7 to 7.4.

Predicted solar flux is 73 on August 6 - 8; 71 on August 9 - 13; 69 on
August 14 - 17; 71 on August 18 - 25; 73 on August 26 - 30; 71 on
August 31 - September 7; 69 on September 8 - 13, and 71 on September 14
- 19.

The planetary A index forecast is 5 on August 6 - 7; 8 on August 8; 5
on August 9 - 23; 8 on August 24 - 25; 5 on August 26 - 28; 12, 8, and
8 on August 29 - 31, and 5 on September 1 - 19.

Frank Donovan, W3LPL, noted this week that August 5 marked "the longest
stretch of consecutive days with sunspots since September 2017, when
there were 56 consecutive days. The next Solar Cycle 25 milestone will
be an energetic sunspot region that increases the adjusted SFI to 80 or

WJ5O has an interesting history of 10-meter sporadic E and info on

Sunspot numbers for July 30 - August 5 were 22, 23, 22, 22, 23, 12, and
13, with a mean of 19.6. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 73.3, 72.3, 72,
72.7, 72.7, 73, and 73.4, with a mean of 72.8. Estimated planetary A
indices were 4, 4, 3, 9, 16, 8, and 5, with a mean of 7. Middle
latitude A index was 5, 5, 3, 9, 15, 9, and 6, with a mean of 7.4.

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. For customizable
propagation charts, visit the VOACAP Online for Ham Radio website.

Share your reports and observations.


Just Ahead in Radiosport
* August 8 - 9 -- WAE DX Contest (CW)
* August 8 -- QRP ARCI European Sprint (CW)
* August 8 - 9 -- SKCC Weekend Sprintathon (CW)
* August 8 - 9 -- Maryland-DC QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)
* August 10 -- 4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint (CW, phone)
* August 10 -- SARL Youth Sprint (Phone)
* August 11 - 13 -- MMMonVHF 144 MHz Meteorscatter Sprint (CW, phone,
* August 12 -- NAQCC CW Sprint
* August 12 -- VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest


Meet Up with ARRL Virtually August 7 - 9 at QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo

ARRL will be a virtual exhibitor at the all-online QSO Today Virtual
Ham Expo, Friday - Sunday, August 7 - 9. ARRL staffer Bob Inderbitzen,
NQ1R -- a familiar face at many in-person hamfests and conventions for
nearly 30 years -- will be among the more than 21,000 registered to

"The many hamfest cancellations due to COVID-19 have been difficult for
everyone this year," Inderbitzen said. "I'm really looking forward to
this unique online experience and connecting with friends, old and new,
from throughout the amateur radio community."

Inderbitzen will join a handful of ARRL staff members supporting the
organization's virtual booth throughout the event. Exhibitors will also
include major amateur radio manufacturers and equipment dealers, and
there will opportunities to text and video chat with representatives.
In addition to the exhibit hall, five fully interactive lecture halls
will feature speakers and presentations spanning the range of ham radio
interests and activities.

"I hope many members and other attendees will 'drop by' the ARRL booth
to say hello," Inderbitzen said. "Visit us to learn about the many
initiatives and new benefits introduced to ARRL members this year.
We'll also have incentives to join ARRL and the Diamond Club, renew
your membership, and some publication purchase specials."

As ARRL's Product Development Manager, Inderbitzen collaborates with
other staff and member-volunteers to develop and improve membership
services, programs, and products. This year, ARRL has introduced a
string of new membership benefits that includes On the Air magazine,
expanded member-access to all four ARRL digital magazines including
QST, On the Air, QEX, and NCJ, and the ARRL Learning Network, a new
member-led webinar series. ARRL has also added additional programs to
its podcast offerings, which now include On the Air, Eclectic Tech, and
ARRL Audio News.

The QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo is an ARRL-sanctioned event.
Registration is free. A complete schedule and list of exhibitors and
speakers is available on the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo website. Read
New England Division Convention Canceled Due to COVID-19

Initially scheduled for July, the Northeast HamXposition, host of the
2020 ARRL New England Division Convention, was moved back to November
because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the in-person event is off
until next summer, although some activities will take place online this
year. Renamed before the 2019 show, the Northeast HamXposition has
succeeded the long-running annual Boxboro hamfest in Boxborough,
Massachusetts. As announced early this year, the next HamXposition will
take place in a new location -- Marlborough, Massachusetts.

"Large indoor gatherings such as our convention are currently
prohibited by Massachusetts state law," Northeast HamXposition Chair
Bob DeMattia, K1IW, said over the weekend. "This is highly unlikely to
change by November. Unfortunately, we will not be able to hold a
physical convention this year."

The W1A special event station will still be on the air over the weekend
of October 31 - November 1 from operators' home stations. A virtual
banquet on November 7 will feature a guest speaker. Afterward, virtual
break-out rooms will be available for you to converse with your

The Nashua Area Radio Society will run an online version of its "Ham
Bootcamp." This multi-session program covers various amateur radio
Radio Amateur Takes Part in Historic First Commercial Human Spaceflight
to ISS

Bob Behnken, KE5GGX, was one of two NASA astronauts who made
spaceflight history over the weekend. Behnken and Doug Hurley were the
first astronauts since the 1970s to make a water landing, after their
Crew Dragon capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday. On
May 30, the pair made history as the first live crew to be launched

Bob Behnken, KE5GGX (left), and Doug
Hurley after splashdown. [NASA,

into space in a commercial vehicle, for a stay on the International
Space Station (ISS), marking the return of human spaceflight to US soil
for the first time in nearly a decade.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle carried the crew into orbit from Cape
Canaveral. The so-called "Demo-2" was the last major test for SpaceX's
human spaceflight system, to be certified by NASA for operational crew
missions to and from the ISS. Four huge parachutes carried the Crew
Dragon capsule to a safe splashdown near Pensacola, Florida, on Sunday,
August 1.

"On behalf of the SpaceX and NASA teams, welcome back to planet Earth,"
SpaceX Engineer Michael Heiman radioed to the crew after their landing.
"And thanks for flying SpaceX."

NASA ministrator Jim Bridenstine proclaimed that the US was entering
a new era of human spaceflight, noting that NASA was no longer the only
option for US space travel. "We are going to be a customer," he said.
NASA has contracted with two companies -- SpaceX and Boeing -- to ferry
astronaut crews to and from the ISS.

While part of the space station crew for 2 months, Behnken and
Astronaut Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR, the sole American onboard when their
Endeavour capsule docked, carried out four spacewalks to install new
batteries on the ISS.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle was designed for short-term missions,
and Behnken and Hurley's mission had only been expected to last a week.
As a result, Behnken did not receive Amateur Radio on the International
Space Station (ARISS) training on the ISS ham radio gear so he could
take part in school contacts.


* NZART -- New Zealand's IARU member-society -- has reported that the
New Zealand 60-meter trial, which was to end on July 24, has been
extended for another 3 months, until October 24. -- Thanks to Paul
Gaskell, G4MWO, Editor, The 5 MHz Newsletter
* The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has made
some changes to amateur radio call sign policies, including
provision for a call sign for life for all licensees. All
Australian amateurs may obtain three-letter-suffix call signs, but
Foundation licensees may keep their four-letter suffix call signs
if they wish. Full details are spelled out on the ACMA website.
* AMSAT-NA Secretary Brennan Price, N4QX, has announced that Board of
Directors election packages have been mailed to members of record
as of July 1. Members who need a replacement ballot package should
contact Price no later than August 12. Completed ballots should be
returned in the return envelopes provided and arrive at the
designated Post Office box in Vienna, Virginia, by 5 PM on
September 15.
* The Ohio QSO Party on August 22 has announced some rule changes.
First, 160 meters has been added to the list of bands for the
contest. Second, more than one call sign may be used at one
station. -- Thanks to the Portage County Amateur Radio Service


SAQ Alexanderson Day in the Age of COVID-19

Despite mid-summer conditions, at least seven US listeners, most of
them radio amateurs, were able to copy the 17.2 kHz signal from the SAQ
Alexanderson alternator at the World Heritage Grimeton Radio Station in
Sweden. The July 5 transmission from the vintage electro-mechanical
transmitter commemorated the annual Alexanderson Day. All told, more
than 600 reception reports were received -- a new record.

"The odds were not optimal this year, with the ongoing coronavirus
pandemic, and early Sunday morning, the rain was pouring down, and
heavy wind gusts made it hard to even take a peek at the

Kai Sundberg, SA6KSU, at the helm of
SAQ in a radio uniform dating back
to the 1960s.

antennas outdoors," the report from SAQ said. "The transmitter hall was
empty except for five members of the Alexander Association."

Dating from the 1920s, the Alexanderson alternator -- essentially an ac
alternator run at extremely high speed -- can put out 200 kW, but is
typically operated at less than half that power level. Once providing
reliable transatlantic communication, it is now a museum piece and only
put on the air on special occasions.

The transmitter was developed by Swedish engineer and radio pioneer
Ernst Alexanderson, who was employed at General Electric in
Schenectady, New York, and was chief engineer at the Radio Corporation
of America.

Two Alexanderson Day transmissions were made. "On the first
transmission, the rainy weather was making it hard at first to reach
good output to the antenna, but after a few minutes with the 'VVV VVV
VVV de SAQ' loop, the system started to dry, and the amps [antenna
current] increased. Skies cleared for the second transmission later in
the day, and, according to the report, the antenna current rose to 60
A, which 'is optimal,'" the report said.

The occasion marked the inaugural transmission by Kai Sundberg, SA6KSU,
at the helm of SAQ in a radio uniform dating back to the 1960s.

An article about Alexanderson Day, "The Legacy of Radio at Grimeton
Station, SAQ," appears on page 66 of the July 2019 issue of QST.
Lost Video Archive from 1997 Heard Island VK0IR DXpedition Found

The VK0IR DXpedition to Heard Island took place in January and February
of 1997. Co-Leader (with Peter Casier, ON6TT) Robert Schmieder, KK6EK,
shot a lot of video during the amateur radio adventure, but lost track
of it afterward. During the VK0IR DXpedition, DXers from around the
world were astounded that signals from the subantarctic Indian Ocean
could be heard at the bottom of the solar cycle. A team of 20 operators
carried out the massive, expensive, then-high-tech, and very successful
DXpedition, making a remarkable 80,673 contacts. The VK0IR story was
told in detail in the September 1997 issue of QST.

VK0IR operator Willy Reusch, HB9AHL.

"Recently, I discovered about 6 hours of video that I had shot during
the expedition, but which had never been seen -- not even by me!"
Schmieder told The Daily DX. "I divided the collection into six parts,
which I have posted to YouTube." Schmieder offered his introductions to
each segment:

"On 11 January 1997, 20 men landed on one of the most remote places in
the world: Heard Island, located in the Southern Ocean, almost to
Antarctica. They set up a village with all life support, including
accommodations, light and power, galley, and a huge array of radios,
antennas, and satellite communications gear.

"Over the next 2 weeks, using the call sign VK0IR, the team logged
80,673 contacts with radio operators worldwide, a new world record for
self-supported expeditions. The team also made daily explorations
around the island to document the rocks, glaciers, rivers, plants,
birds, and seals that are the dominant residents of this live volcano.
Many of you will remember this expedition, and quite a few of you made
significant contributions.

"The expedition was documented in numerous articles, presentations, and
professional videos, and received many awards, including a 2020 poll
that ranks it #1 among all such expeditions of the past 30 years.

"Unnoticed at the time, [I] shot 6 hours of video of all aspects of the
project. Unfortunately, these videos were lost until mid-2020, 23 years
later. No one, including [me], had ever viewed these videos. Upon
finding them, [I] divided the material into six separate parts. Other
than separation into the parts, the videos needed little editing. They
contain almost all of the material that was shot in 1997, and most of
it is in exactly the order it was shot."
* Part 1: Preparation (22:28)
* Part 2: Outbound (28:11)
* Part 3: Landing/Setup (52:38)
* Part 4: Operations (43:45)
* Part 5: Environment (52:14)
* Part 6: Departure (38:21)

These videos, which might offer an entertaining club presentation, are
also available by searching "Robert Schmieder Heard Island" on -- Thanks to The Daily DX

In Brief...

ARRL Volunteer Monitors recognized 13 operators in 10 states with Good
Operator letters during the second quarter of 2020. Among the operators
recognized were CW and SSB operators on 20 and 40 meters, outstanding
net operators on 2 meters (including a net control of the Central
Indiana SKYWARN Net), and an operator on 40 meters who demonstrated
exemplary courtesy and assistance to amateurs with technical issues.

Nearly 19,000 took part in the COVID-19 Communication Event earlier
this year. In the final tally, the international on-air
STAYHOME/STAYSAFE event logged 18,838 participants (with a median age
of 62) in 181 DXCC entities, who used CW, SSB, and FT8 to share
greetings during the 24-hour contest-like event. Thirty-nine registered
STAYHOME/STAYSAFE stations, many with STAYHOME suffixes, were on the
air from all continents, logging 120,181 contacts during the June 6 - 7
event. World winners were RG9A on CW; PP5JR on SSB; YO9HP on the
digital modes, and LY9A on multiple modes. The STAYHOME/STAYSAFE events
were organized jointly by Radio Arcala of Finland and Araucaria DX
Group of Brazil. -- Thanks to the COVID-19 Radio Communication Event
Organizing Committee
Getting It Right

An item in "Announcements" in the July 9 edition of The ARRL Letter
contained a metric-to-English conversion. A sentence should have said,

meters (about 2,298 feet)."
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.


* August 21 - 23 -- West Virginia State Convention, Weston, West
Virginia (now a free, Zoom-based online event)
* October 3 -- Kentucky State Convention, Bowling Green, Kentucky


ARRL -- Your One-Stop Resource for
Amateur Radio News and Information.


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* Listen to ARRL Audio News, available every Friday.

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--- SendMsg/2

--- Squish/386 v1.11
* Origin: Outpost (1:18/200)


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