Date: Fri, 14.08.20 11:05
The Weekly ARRL Letter
August 13, 2020
* ARRL Welcomes Paul Z. Gilbert, KE5ZW, as Director of Emergency
* ARRL Board Confers Awards
* Arecibo Observatory Reflector Dish Damaged When Cable Snaps
* ARRL Podcasts Schedule
* QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo to Become Twice-Yearly Event
* US Department of Defense to Share 3450 - 3550 MHz with 5G
* The K7RA Solar Update
* Just Ahead in Radiosport
* Campus Radio Clubs Face an Altered Fall Landscape
* Russia-Ukraine "Radio War," HF Radars are Most Frequently Reported
Ham Band Intrusions
* Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
ARRL Welcomes Paul Z. Gilbert, KE5ZW, as Director of Emergency
As another step in ARRL's increased focus on strengthening its
emergency communications capabilities and long-standing working
relationships with federal and state agencies and private emergency
response organizations, ARRL has hired Paul Z. Gilbert, KE5ZW, of Cedar
Park, Texas, as its first Director of Emergency Management.
Gilbert brings more than 30 years of experience in public service in
both his professional and amateur radio endeavors. Beginning with his
appointment as Emergency Coordinator in 1987, he has held multiple
positions in the ARRL Field Organization. Currently in his second term
as South Texas Section Manager, he has also served for more than a
decade as the West Gulf Division's Assistant Director for Public
Service, acting as liaison between Division leadership and local,
state, and federal emergency management organizations.
Professionally, Gilbert most recently was Radio Officer, HQ Staff, for
the Texas State Guard, where for the past 6 years he has been
responsible for planning and implementation of the organization's
communications capabilities. Previously, he was a Public Safety Radio
Coordinator for a Texas agency, charged with overseeing that
organization's large-scale disaster communications response and
identifying and eliminating in-state interoperability issues.
Gilbert, who has an Amateur Extra-class license, is a member of Army
MARS, and holds numerous DHS certifications, including COML, COMT, COMT
Instructor, and AUXCOM Communicator. He is a member of the FEMA
Regional Emergency Communications Coordination Working Group (RECCWG),
a graduate of the FEMA Emergency Management Institute's Exercise Design
Course, and was a founding member of the Texas Division of Emergency
Management Communications Coordination Group.
In his new role, Gilbert will manage a team responsible for supporting
ARRL Emergency Communications (EmComm) programs and services, including
the Amateur Radio Emergency Service^(R) (ARES^(R) and National Traffic
System (NTS), as well as lead the continued modernization of those
programs in consonance with the future emergency communications needs
of the public and ARRL's key partners.
ARRL Board Confers Awards
Meeting in virtual session July 17 - 18, the ARRL Board of Directors
conferred three major awards.
The Hiram Percy Maxim Award
The ARRL Board conferred the 2020 ARRL Hiram Percy Maxim Award on Jacob
M. Nagel, AD0JA, of Wright City, Missouri. Licensed since 2012, the
Board cited Nagel for exemplifying the spirit of amateur radio by
learning new technologies, providing community service, and helping
with emergency communication. ARRL's top youth honor, the Hiram Percy
Maxim Memorial Award is given annually to a radio amateur and ARRL
member under the age of 21. The award consists of a $1,500 stipend and
an engraved plaque, to be presented at an ARRL convention or event.
The Board cited Nagel's involvement in providing technical assistance
to the Okaw Valley Amateur Radio Club and the Egyptian Radio Club of
Illinois for the installation and upgrading of their club repeaters;
advising the Germantown, Illinois, Fire Department on upgrading its
communication systems; speaking at the 2016 Dayton Hamvention^(R) Youth
Forum; sharing his expertise in online forums, and active involvement
in projects that allow him to integrate his amateur radio knowledge
with other technical ventures in electronics.
Knight Distinguished Service Award
The Board named veteran ARRL Rhode Island Section Manager Robert G.
"Bob" Beaudet, W1YRC, of Cumberland, Rhode Island, as the recipient of
the Knight Distinguished Service Award, given to an ARRL Section
Manager. Beaudet has been Rhode Island SM since 2002.
The Board cited Beaudet's active promotion of ARRL activities in his
Section, including visiting hundreds of Field Day operations;
participating in many Volunteer Examiner test sessions; attending
countless club meetings; staying active as a contester, DXer, and
mentor, and serving as a model to other Section Managers. The Board
said, "Beaudet's leadership of the ARRL Rhode Island Section Field
Organization has led to a strong working cadre of volunteers within the
Doug DeMaw, W1FB, Technical Excellence Award
The Board named Al Rabassa, NW2M, of Rockville, Maryland, as the
recipient of the Doug DeMaw, W1FB, Technical Excellence Award.
The Board cited Rabassa's frequent contributions to the QST "Hints &
Hacks" column and his QST technical articles, including "The Basics of
Fan Cooling." The Board also noted that Rabassa has served as a
subject-matter expert on the Yaesu FT-101 transceiver, maintaining a
website devoted to the technical aspects of the vintage transceiver
Arecibo Observatory Reflector Dish Damaged When Cable Snaps
An auxiliary cable that helps to support a metal platform above the
Arecibo Observatory radio telescope's reflector dish in Puerto Rico
snapped in the early morning hours of August 10, causing a 100-foot
gash in the reflector dish. Operations at the world-famous observatory,
which is managed by the University of Central Florida (UCF), have been
halted until repairs can be made. When the 3-inch cable fell, it also
damaged about a half-dozen panels in the Gregorian dome above the dish
and twisted the platform used to access the dome. The cause of the
cable break is not yet clear.
The main collecting dish at Arecibo
is among the world's largest
single-dish radio telescopes. The
reflective dish is 1,000 feet in
diameter, 167 feet deep, and covers
an area of about 20 acres.
"We have a team of experts assessing the situation," Observatory
Director Francisco Cordova said. "Our focus is assuring the safety of
our staff, protecting the facilities and equipment, and restoring the
facility to full operations as soon as possible, so it can continue to
assist scientists around the world."
UCF manages the National Science Foundation (NSF) facility under a
Enterprises Inc. Home to one of the most powerful telescopes on the
planet, the facility is used by scientists around the world to conduct
research in the areas of atmospheric sciences, planetary sciences,
radio astronomy, and radar astronomy. Arecibo is also home to a team
that runs the Planetary Radar Project supported by NASA's Near-Earth
Object Observations Program in NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination
Office, through a grant awarded to UCF.
The facility has endured many hurricanes, tropical storms, and
earthquakes since it was built 50 years ago. Repairs from Hurricane
Maria in 2017 are ongoing. Through it all, the facility has continued
to contribute to significant breakthroughs in space research in the
area of gravitational waves, asteroid characterization, planetary
exploration, and more.
The largest single-dish radio telescope in the world for decades,
Arecibo was bumped into second place in 2016 by the Five-hundred-meter
Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in China.
The Arecibo Observatory Radio Club operates KP4AO at the site, mostly
on special occasions. -- Thanks to UCF and other sources
ARRL Podcasts Schedule
The latest episode of the On the Air podcast (Episode features an
interview with brothers Andy, KK4LWR, and Tony, KD8RTT, Milluzzi about
the ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative. 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 14) deals with
interference isssues and features a chat with David Hodge, N6AN, about
his work at Caltech with the radio astronomy team.
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.
QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo to Become Twice-Yearly Event
The QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo over the August 8 - 9 weekend appears to
have been an unmitigated success, so much so that another virtual event
will be held next March.
[IMG]"It was far better than we expected," Virtual Ham Expo Dhair Eric
Guth, 4Z1UG/WA6IGR, told ARRL. "We had over 26,000 registered and over
14,000 on the platform both days."
Guth said event sponsors and exhibitors that he's heard from so far
"are thrilled with the turnout, engagement, and responses that they
received." He said they're also enthusiastic about the second QSO Today
Virtual Ham Expo, set for March 13 - 14, 2021. "Our plan is to offer
this twice a year," Guth added.
The show, an ARRL-sanctioned event, was developed on the vFairs virtual
conference platform, and cleverly re-created the atmosphere of a
typical large hamfest, with several tracks of forum sessions on a wide
array of topics. Those who had registered but did not log into the live
event can see it all on demand until September 9.
"All of the services, except the chat, are running," Guth noted. "The
doors are still open."
Dozens of video presentations are available to replay, including the
keynote given by the Editor of ARRL's National Contest Journal, Dr.
Scott Wright, K0MD, "COVID-19: Amateur Radio's Impact on Problem
Solving to Create a Global Response to the Pandemic." Presentations
from other ARRL member-volunteers span technical and operating
interests, including "Everything you need to know about Lithium
Batteries" with Marcel Stieber, AI6MS, and an introduction to creating
Arduino-based projects for home and ham radio, with Glen Popiel, KW5GP.
Presentations highlighting young ham involvement and development
include "Youth in Ham Radio," moderated by Carole Perry, WB2MGP, with
six youth presenters.
Guth said a poll would be sent to determine what visitors enjoyed most.
"However, my guess will be that the speakers were fantastic, along with
the moderators for the live Q&A afterwards," he said. Exhibitors will
also be polled for their post-show impressions.
[IMG]Icom, a principal sponsor of the event, had team members from
around the globe staff their exhibits. Icom America Senior Sales
Manager Ray Novak, N9JA, said the event supported their new product
launches including Icom's new IC-705 HF - 430 MHz all-mode 10-W
transceiver, which just received FCC certification.
"We really enjoyed the virtual event," said Novak. "It is our goal to
see this grow and to have hams from the various countries attend in
anticipation of this becoming a multilingual event as we all are
starving for ham radio events during this pandemic."
Kevin Zanjani, KI6DHQ, of Bioenno Power, also gave the virtual event
high marks. The show, he said, "was quite exciting and a great platform
to interact with customers and the entire ham radio community during
these times." Bioenno Power, based in Southern California, is a
provider of Lithium-Polymer (LiPo) batteries and solar-power devices.
Zanjani said the chatroom was very effective to engage with customers.
"Many also dropped by to say hello as well, so we found that nice."
Product Development Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, was among the ARRL
representatives engaging with event attendees using text and video
chat. He described the experience as having some similarities and some
differences from an in-person convention.
"Our team answered questions about ARRL membership programs and
services, amateur radio licensing, and even had some fun challenging
visitors to our booth with ham radio trivia," he said. Physically
located at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut, Inderbitzen
treated more than 500 visitors to live, online tours from inside Hiram
Percy Maxim Memorial Station W1AW.
"It was fun to see a screen full of smiling faces, and to answer
questions in real time. The experience had an on-air feel," Inderbitzen
said. A short welcome video greeted visitors at the ARRL booth.
Guth said the organizers' challenge going forward is to reduce the
workflow in putting the show together. "But all in all, it was a lot of
work, I have a great team, the volunteer speakers and moderators were
out of this world, and I am grateful to our sponsors and exhibitors for
footing the bill," he added. Read more.
US Department of Defense to Share 3450 - 3550 MHz with 5G Commercial
The FCC will auction sharing rights to the upper 50 MHz of the 3300 -
3500 MHz secondary amateur radio allocation to commercial 5G interests
in the wake of the Department of Defense (DoD) agreement to share
spectrum at 3450 - 3550 MHz. The entire band currently supports a
variety of military operations, and amateur radio has a long history of
peaceful coexistence with the Department of Defense as a secondary user
of this spectrum.
Late last year, the FCC proposed to delete the amateur 3300 - 3500 MHz
secondary allocation as well as the amateur-satellite allocation at
3400 - 3410 MHz. The FCC could auction the 100 MHz of spectrum in early
2022. This latest move makes a contiguous band of spectrum from 3450 -
3980 MHz available for commercial 5G networks.
"For a number of years, the National Telecommunications and Information
ministration (NTIA) and FCC have focused on the 3450 - 3550 MHz band
as the spectrum most conducive to sharing with commercial users," said
ARRL Washington Counsel David Siddall, K3ZJ. "Monday's statements
announced that a framework for sharing has been worked out."
In December 2019, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
(NPRM) in WT Docket 19-348 proposing to delete the 3300 - 3500 MHz
secondary amateur band. ARRL strongly opposed the move in its comments
on the NPRM, which put forward the FCC's plans to remove "existing
non-federal secondary radiolocation and amateur allocations" in the
3300 - 3500 MHz band and to consider options for relocating incumbent
Siddall said the spectrum below 3450 MHz presents a more difficult
government/commercial sharing scenario, and that future sharing there
remains uncertain. "We continue to argue that the amateur secondary
allocation should not be deleted in this band," he said. "We recognize
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
that our access is secondary, and ask only to be given a chance to use
our considerable technical skills to work around whatever future uses
may be implemented in this spectrum."
"Together with the spectrum being made available for 5G in the C-band
as well as the 3.5 GHz band, we are now on track to have a
530-megahertz swath of mid-band spectrum available for 5G from 3.45 to
3.98 GHz," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. "The FCC looks
forward to moving quickly to adopt service rules for the 3.45 GHz band
and then hold an auction to bring this prime mid-band spectrum to
market." Read more.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: New Sunspot Cycle 25 continues to
make a strong showing. Sunspots have appeared every day over the past 3
weeks. Average daily sunspot numbers for the week slipped a bit from
19.6 to 14.3 this week, but average daily solar flux increased from
72.8 to 73.8. Geomagnetic indicators remain quiet. Both the average
daily planetary and mid-latitude A index were 3.7.
Predicted solar flux for the next 6 weeks is 74 on August 13 - 15; 72
on August 16 - 27; 73 on August 28 - 29; 75 on August 30 - September 9;
73 on September 10 - 11; 72 on September 12 - 23; 73 on September 24 -
25, and 75 on September 26. This is a welcome change from recent
forecasts, which saw predicted solar flux consistently below 70.
Predicted planetary A index forecasts continued quiet geomagnetic
conditions, at 5 on August 13 - 23; 8 on August 24 - 25; 5 on August 26
- 28; then 8, 16, and 8 on August 29 - 31; 5 on September 1 - 19; 8 on
September 20 - 21; 5 on September 22 - 24, and 8 and 16 on September 25
Sunspot numbers for August 6 - 12 were 14, 14, 11, 13, 12, 12, and 24,
with a mean of 14.3. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 73.1, 74, 74.7, 73.9,
74.2, 73.5, and 73.1, with a mean of 73.8. Estimated planetary A
indices were 5, 4, 5, 3, 3, 3, and 3, with a mean of 3.7. Middle
latitude A index was 4, 5, 5, 3, 3, 3, and 3, with a mean of 3.7.
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 15 - 16 -- SARTG World Wide RTTY Contest
* August 15 - 16 -- ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest (CW, phone, digital)
* August 15 - 16 -- Russian District Award Contest (CW, phone)
* August 15 - 16 -- Keyman's Club of Japan Contest (CW)
* August 15 -- Feld Hell Sprint
* August 15 - 16 -- North American QSO Party SSB
* August 15 - 16 -- CVA DX Contest, CW
* August 16 -- SARL HF Digital Contest
* August 16 -- NJQRP Skeeter Hunt (CW, phone)
* August 16 -- ARRL Rookie Roundup RTTY
* August 16 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)
Campus Radio Clubs Face an Altered Fall Landscape
Many colleges and universities are preparing incoming students for fall
classes, amid a complex landscape of re-entry plans due to COVID-19.
Schools are pursuing a variety of instructional modalities, including
live and asynchronous online classes, reduced-size or no in-person
classes, and hybrid classes with some mix of it all. At schools where
in-person attendance is allowed, the emphasis is on classes. Related
student activities, such as sports, clubs, and so on may be nonexistent
or extremely limited, due to the demands of social distancing and the
need to repurpose facilities and rooms for lower densities. As
institutions are forced to make hard choices, it's going to be more
important than ever for school amateur radio clubs to find ways to
continue, even if in-person meetings are impossible.Some campus radio
clubs continue to sponsor training and testing of new hams by using
videoconferencing and asynchronous communications to offer instruction
ARRL's Instructor Discount Program includes reduced-price self-study
license manuals, including the popular ARRL Ham Radio License Manual.
The discount program is ordinarily offered to ARRL-registered
instructors, but ARRL has temporarily extended the program to any
in-school students who call to order ARRL License Manuals by
referencing their school radio club or their ARRL-registered
instructor. Call toll-free (888) 277-5289, Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 5 PM
Club instructors can download free instructional resources for use with
The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, including PowerPoint slides,
syllabus, and study review questions. Some college clubs are providing
scheduled online license tests. For example, the Columbia University
Amateur Radio Club in New York City and the MIT Radio Society in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, have scheduled online license examinations.
To make club resources available when in-person gatherings are not
possible, some college clubs have remote-enabled their radio stations.
California Polytechnic (Cal Poly) recently shared the details of the
monthly ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative (CARI) web conference
in July. The monthly online conferences continue into the fall.
The Collegiate QSO Party is planned for September 19 - 20. The QSO
Party is an operating event focused on amateur radio clubs at colleges
and universities around the world. Each fall, the Collegiate QSO Party
provides an opportunity for clubs to demonstrate amateur radio to new
members, engage with alumni, and promote activity throughout college
and university communities. Read more. -- Thanks to Bob Inderbitzen,
* The Duga-2 was one of three Soviet Russian over-the-horizon radar
(OTHR) sites, now just outside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. In
operation from 1976 until 1986, it was dubbed the "Russian
Woodpecker" by radio amateurs for the widespread havoc it wrought
on the HF bands. BBC Reel has posted a short video about it, in
Russian and English, with English subtitles.
The Russian Woodpecker Duga-2 site.
[BBC Reel, image]
* The GQRP Club has released a detailed agenda for its Online
Convention 2020, Saturday and Sunday, September 5 - 6. The online
event, which replaces the club's annual GQRP convention at Telford
due to current COVID-19 restrictions, is open to existing members.
A special rate for non-members will include GQRP Club membership
until January 2022.
* The Antique Wireless Association (AWA) 2020 Virtual Conference
presentations are available on YouTube. New videos will be added
daily through August 14. -- Thanks to Mark Erdle, AE2EA
* David Burger, K3HZ/VK2CZ, has pointed out a couple of online
Engineering and Technology History Wiki articles regarding the
manufacture of transmitting tubes that make interesting reading.
One discusses Eimac, and the other Heintz and Kaufman.
* ARRL Volunteer Historical Archivist Michael Marinaro, WN1M, is the
recipient of the Antique Wireless Association Bruce Kelley Award
for his historical article, "Early Wireless -- Magazines, Clubs,
* The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) has released its Board
proceedings for January to April 2020. They include mention of a
possible new UK Beginners amateur radio license.
Russia-Ukraine "Radio War," HF Radars are Most Frequently Reported Ham
The Russia-Ukraine "radio war" and the Russian over-the-horizon radar
(OTHR) "Contayner" were the most frequently reported amateur band
intruders during July, according to the International Amateur Radio
Union Monitoring System (IARUMS). IARUMS characterized the ongoing
broadcast radio war transmissions between the neighboring nations as
"spiteful and provocative." Clandestine stations have appeared on
7.055, 7.090, and 7.110 MHz. IARUMS has determined
The Russian OTHR "Contayner" signal
on 40 meters last fall.
that the heavy harmful interference from the Contayner Russian OTHR is
coming from a location east of Moscow. Contayner OTHR signals have been
monitored on various frequencies on 40, 20, and 15 meters, with a
typical occupied bandwidth of about 12 kHz.
"Sometimes, we also found the 20 kHz wide OTHR from the UK base in
Cyprus, but less than in previous years," reported IARUMS Region 1
Coordinator Peter Jost, HB9CET, in the July newsletter. "Due to some
band openings at 10 meters, some of us [also] heard several driftnet
Owing to vagaries in ITU Radio Regulations footnotes that relate to
amateur radio frequencies, however, not every signal classified as an
intruder is actually an intruder. It could be a signal that complies
with the regulations, Jost pointed out to readers.
"The numerous footnotes of the ITU Radio Regulations must always be
taken into account," Jost said. "For example, the 14,250 - 14,350 kHz
range is primarily assigned to the fixed service in some [countries].
Since we cannot determine the origin of signals with absolute
certainty, they are usually recorded as intruders, even if there is the
possibility of an exception, due to a footnote."
The latest IARU-R1 Monitoring System newsletter includes reports from
German radio amateurs on the large number of fishery buoys operating on
10 meters, where amateur radio is primary.
Listeners outside of Region 1 can monitor the HF online using one of
the many web-based SDR receivers.
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
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