Date: Fri, 25.09.20 11:05
The Weekly ARRL Letter
September 24, 2020
* MARS Communications Exercise to Involve Amateur Radio Community
* Venerable AO-7 Satellite Approaching a Return to Full Solar
* FCC Grants Waiver Permitting Garmin to Market a Combination Part
95/Part 25 Device
* ARRL Podcasts Schedule
* IARU Region 1 President Sounds Alarm on Wireless Power Transfer for
* The K7RA Solar Update
* Just Ahead in Radiosport
* Hams Help Find Kids by Monitoring FRS Channel
* "Foghorn" is Back on the Bands, IARU Monitoring Service Reports
* Phil Temples, K9HI, Appointed as New England Division Vice Director
* In Brief...
* Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
MARS Communications Exercise to Involve Amateur Radio Community
Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) volunteers will take part in the
Department of Defense (DOD) Communications Exercise 20-4, starting on
October 3 and concluding on October 26. The MARS focus is
interoperability with ARRL and the amateur radio community.
"Throughout the month of October, MARS members will interoperate with
various amateur radio organizations that will be conducting their
annual simulated emergency tests with state, county, and local
emergency management personnel," said MARS Chief Paul English, WD8DBY.
"MARS members will send a DOD-approved message to the amateur radio
organizations recognizing this cooperative interoperability effort."
MARS members will also train with the ARRL National Traffic System
(NTS) and Radio Relay International (RRI) to send ICS 213 general
messages to numerous amateur radio leaders across the US.
"This exercise will culminate with MARS Auxiliarists sending a number
of summary messages in support of a larger DOD communications exercise
taking place October 20 - 26," English added. Throughout the month of
October, MARS stations will operate on 60 meters, and WWV/WWVH will
broadcast messages to the amateur radio community. English assures no
disruption to communications throughout the month-long series of
Venerable AO-7 Satellite Approaching a Return to Full Solar
AMSAT-OSCAR 7 (AO-7), the oldest amateur radio satellite still in
operation, is nearing a return to full illumination by the sun, which
should take place around September 25 and continue until around
December 26. AMSAT's vice president of operations Drew Glasbrenner,
KO4MA, says that during this period, AO-7 likely will switch between
modes A (2 meters up/10 meters down) and B (70 centimeters up/2 meters
down) every 24 hours. He reminded users to use only the minimum
necessary power and to avoid "ditting" to find their signals in the
passband, which can bounce the entire passband up and down and
sometimes even cause the transponder to reset to mode A.
"Try to find yourself with very low power, or on SSB, or best, with
full Doppler control," Glasbrenner said. "If you have to use high power
to find yourself, your receive antenna and system probably needs
Last May, the nearly 46-year-old AO-7 made possible a contact between
Argentina and South Africa -- a distance of more than 4,300 miles. Both
when it's receiving direct sunlight and shuts down when in eclipse.
Launched in 1974, AO-7 surprised the amateur satellite community by
suddenly coming back to life in 2002 after being dormant for nearly 30
years and periodically re-emerging. AMSAT considers AO-7
"semi-operational." Theory is that AO-7 initially went dark after
several years of operation when a battery shorted, and it returned to
operation when the short circuit opened. With no working batteries,
AO-7 now only functions when it's receiving direct sunlight, and it
shuts down when in eclipse.
Built by a multinational team under AMSAT's direction, AO-7 carries a
non-inverting Mode A transponder (145.850 - 950 MHz up/29.400 - 500 MHz
down) and an inverting Mode B (432.180 - 120 MHz up/145.920 - 980 MHz
down) linear transponder. AO-7 has beacons on 29.502 and 145.975 MHz,
used in conjunction with Mode A and Mode B/C (low-power mode B),
respectively. A 435.100 MHz beacon has an intermittent problem,
sometimes switching between 400 mW and 10 mW.
FCC Grants Waiver Permitting Garmin to Market a Combination Part
95/Part 25 Device
The FCC has granted the request of Garmin International for a waiver of
Section 95.2761 of the FCC's rules, permitting it to obtain equipment
certification for a handheld unit that combines a low-power,
terrestrial Part 95 Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) transmitter and a
Part 25 emergency satellite communication module in the same device.
The FCC responded to Garmin's request in an Order released on September
21. Section 95.2761(c) precludes combining MURS transmitting
capabilities in equipment that is also capable of transmitting in
another service, with the exception of Part 15 unlicensed services.
The FCC said it determined that it would be in the public interest to
waive Section 95.2761(c), so that Garmin may obtain authorization to
produce its proposed handheld device.
"We find here that Garmin's proposed device contains an important
public safety feature, which would not be brought to market if we were
to strictly enforce the rules in this case. As Garmin noted in its
request, the certified Part 25 module in the MURS unit would allow
emergency communication to the outside world at the push of a button."
Garmin's proposed product would include two transmitters: a low-power
MURS transmitter for short-range terrestrial communication, and a
previously certified Part 25 module that would allow emergency
communication via the Iridium satellite system under a blanket license
held by Iridium. End users would have to subscribe to the Iridium
Garmin argued in its petition that the purpose of the original
equipment authorization restriction was "to prevent consumer confusion
with other terrestrial services that either had different licensing
regimes or were for different types of communications" and that it is
inappropriate in this case.
"We agree with Garmin that its device's intended use does not flout the
purpose of Section 95.2761(c)," the FCC said in its Order. "Garmin
maintains that the Part 95 MURS transmitter and the Part 25 module
operate on different frequencies and will not operate simultaneously.
Provided the device is constructed in this manner, we are persuaded
that its dual purposes will be well segregated."
ARRL Podcasts Schedule
The latest episode of the On the Air podcast (Episode 9) features a
discussion on how to tune HF signals and use transceiver tools to
enhance reception. The On the Air podcast is a monthly companion to On
the Air magazine, ARRL's magazine for beginner-to-intermediate ham
The latest episode of Eclectic Tech podcast (Episode 17) features a
discussion of how RSID is used to identify HF digital modes, and a chat
with Bob Allison, WB1GCM, about mysterious Long Delayed Echoes.
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.
IARU Region 1 President Sounds Alarm on Wireless Power Transfer for
International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 1 President Don
Beattie, G3BJ, wants to raise greater awareness regarding the
interference potential of Wireless Power Transfer for Electric Vehicles
(WPT-EV). He is urging IARU member-societies to contact national
regulators to make them aware of the technology's potential for "RF
pollution." Beattie notes that WPT-EV chargers can run as much as 20
WPT-EV was on the agenda for World Radiocommunication Conference 2019
(WRC-19). The International Telecommunication
Union (ITU) Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) conducted studies to
assess the impact of WPT-EV on radiocommunications and suitable
harmonized frequency ranges. Those ITU-R studies identified the 19 - 25
kHz band, as well as bands in the 50 kHz and 60 kHz range, for
high-power WPT-EV, and the 79 - 90 kHz band for medium-power WPT-EV.
The consensus of WRC-19 delegates was to make no changes in the ITU
Radio Regulations with respect to WPT-EV.
The Netherlands' IARU member-society VERON has posted the text
(translated into Dutch) of Beattie's remarks on the subject.
"The discussions about WPT-EV have reached a point where they are
moving from the technical to the political arena," Beattie said.
"Discussions with a national regulator indicate that we must now take
action at the national level. The amateur service, but also other
telecommunication services, will experience the consequences of
Beattie urged member-societies in Region 1 to contact national
regulators, preferably in person, to explain why radio amateurs are so
concerned. He pointed out that long charging times in populated areas
could generate harmonics that make radio communication very difficult.
"Models show that this also applies to the wider environment of a
WPT-EV installation," Beattie said. "Broadcasters, stationary, and
[IMG]mobile services share these concerns" and provided input to CEPT
Electronic Communications Committee Report 289.
Beattie noted that the WPT-EV discussion has been going on for a long
time. The technology is similar to that used for wireless charging of
"The wireless charging of electric cars is done with large coils," he
explained. "One of them on the ground under the vehicle, the second in
the car. Typically, about 22 kW is transferred wirelessly through those
coils. This is done using frequencies between 79 and 90 kHz. Technical
and operational standards for WPT-EV are under development."
WPT-EV developers are seeking noise level limits that are some 30 - 45
dB above current noise levels, Beattie said. "Limits that have a
serious negative effect on the radio spectrum," he asserted.
"In the interests of the future of amateur radio, we need to get the
attention of national regulators," Beattie concluded. "This is about
the future of amateur radio!"
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Up until September 23, we saw 32
consecutive days with no sunspots. Then new sunspot group AR2773 came
into view, with a magnetic signature indicating that it's part of new
Solar Cycle 25. According to Spaceweather.com, AR2773 is a weak sunspot
group and may not persist for long. The daily sunspot number for
September 23 was 13, indicating three sunspots visible in that group.
Average daily solar flux rose from 69.2 to 71.1 over the reporting week
of September 17 - 23. Geomagnetic indicators were about the same, with
average daily planetary A index declining from 5.3 to 5.1.
Predicted solar flux for the next 45 days is 73 on September 24 -
October 1, and 70 on October 2 - November 2.
Predicted planetary A index is 12, 15, 12, 25, and 15 on September 24 -
28; 8 on September 29 - 30; 5 on October 1 - 10; 10 on October 11; 5 on
October 12 - 19; 10, 12, 16, 28, 18, and 10 on October 20 - 25; 5 on
October 26 - November 6, and 10 on November 7.
The SciTechDaily article "How NASA & Scientists Around the World Track
the Solar Cycle" is an interesting read.
Sunspot numbers for September 17 - 23 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 13,
with a mean of 1.9. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 69.7, 69.9, 70.6,
70.2, 71.3, 72.4, and 73.3, with a mean of 71.1. Estimated planetary A
indices were 4, 5, 3, 4, 3, 6, and 11, with a mean of 5.1. Middle
latitude A index was 5, 4, 4, 4, 3, 5, and 10, with a mean of 5.
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
* September 26 -- AGCW VHF/UHF Contest (CW)
* September 26 - 27 -- Worldwide DX Contest, RTTY
* September 26 - 27 -- Maine QSO Party (CW, phone)
* September 28 -- RSGB FT4 Contest Series
* September 29 -- 222 MHz Fall Sprint (CW, phone)
* September 30 -- UKEICC 80-Meter Contest (CW)
Hams Help Find Kids by Monitoring FRS Channel
Late on the afternoon of September 16, the police department in Post
Falls, Idaho, received a 911 call that two juveniles -- ages 9 and 11
-- were missing from a Post Falls residence for about an hour.
According to the report, the pair had left home intending to play in
the neighborhood with some Family Radio Service (FRS) radios. Several
patrol cars were dispatched to the area to conduct a visual search, and
detective Neil Uhrig, K7NJU, responded as officer in charge due to his
training and experience with missing persons investigations. The
initial search focused on a 2-mile radius from the missing kids'
One officer received information from witnesses that the pair was
probably using FRS Channel 1 (462.5625 MHz). An officer returned to
police headquarters to retrieve some FRS radios for distribution to the
patrol officers, in the event they might be able to hear the youngsters
Uhrig, meanwhile, pulled out his VHF/UHF handheld with the thought of
setting up FRS Channel 1 as an auxiliary frequency, but without the
manual at hand, he wasn't able to execute the channel setup. But Uhrig
did hear the Northwest Traffic Net (NWTN) that had begun at 6:30 PM on
the local 2-meter repeater.
Checking into the net at about 6:45 PM, Uhrig explained the missing
persons situation to net control station Shannon Riley, KJ7MUA, and
asked if net participants in the Post Falls area with FRS capability
could listen for the youngsters talking.
A number of stations promptly checked in to say they had FRS radios and
were monitoring FRS Channel 1. It was assumed that only stations
located near the missing youngsters would hear them, given the limited
range of FRS radios.
Not long after 7 PM, Jim Hager, KJ7OTD, reported hearing children
talking on FRS Channel 1. Uhrig went to Hager's home to confirm his
observation, and the patrol units were redirected to the new search
vicinity. A short time later, the missing pair was found safe and
Uhrig said the most remarkable thing about the incident was that the
missing youngsters turned out to be some distance from the original
search area, and in the opposite direction from where they were thought
to have been headed.
Net Manager Gabbee Perry, KE7ADN, said, "I'm so proud of what a
superior job NWTN NCS Shannon [KJ7MUA] and all the operators did last
Wednesday. It was a very unusual situation, but everyone had excellent
focus and used their resourcefulness to help quickly find the missing
kids." -- Thanks to ARRL Assistant Idaho Section Manager Ed Stuckey,
"Foghorn" is Back on the Bands, IARU Monitoring Service Reports
The Chinese "Foghorn" over-the-horizon radar (OTH-R) is once again
showing up in the logs of the International Amateur Radio Union
Monitoring Service (IARUMS) in IARU Region 1 (Europe, the Middle East,
and Africa). While the reports reflect what's being heard by stations
primarily in Europe, the same interference can and does affect other
parts of the world, often depending upon the time of day. Named by
former IARUMS Region 1 Coordinator Wolf Hadel, DK2OM, because of its
sound, the Foghorn was first reported in 2017 operating in amateur
bands. The signal is frequency modulation on pulse (FMOP) with 66.66
"In August, we found significantly more OTH radars from the Far East,
especially the system known as 'Foghorn,'" said IARUMS Region 1
Coordinator Peter Jost, HB9CET, noting that the Foghorn facilities
Chinese "Foghorn" signal waveform.
[Wolf Hadel, DK2OM]
generate a signal with a bandwidth of 10 kHz. "But also, the notorious
Russian 'Contayner' radar still contaminated our bands, especially 20
The Foghorn was being heard on 40 meters, in the vicinity of 7113 -
7123 kHz and 7165 - 7175 kHz. Other OTH-R signals tracked to, or
believed to be in, China are showing up elsewhere on the band with
equally broad signals. Some international broadcasters have also set up
shop on amateur bands, including Voice of Broad Masses 1 on 7140 kHz,
and Voice of Broad Masses 2 on 7180 kHz, both with 9 kHz-wide AM
signals. China Radio International has been transmitting at the very
bottom edge of 20 meters, its signal slopping over into the amateur
band. Chinese OTH-R signals were also monitored at various places on 20
Russian "Contayner" OTH-R signals were spotted on several 20-meter
frequencies in August. An idling signal on 14,221 kHz is believed to be
coming from Kazakhstan, showing up every evening. A Foghorn OTH-R has
been appearing in the 14,338 - 14,348 kHz range.
A radio war between Russia and Ukraine has generated signals on 40
meters (Russia on 7055 and Ukraine on 7060 kHz), airing what the
monitor called "very loud" and persistent signals every day, with
"plenty of abuse," propaganda, profanities, and agitation being passed
back and forth.
AM radars with "huge signals" were reported to be taking up segments on
40 and 20 meters. A "monster" F1B signal has been heard on 14,301 kHz.
the amount and variety of intruders is rapidly growing, IARU said. "A
number of national monitoring coordinators and volunteers have been
watching our bands for many years. But more needs to be done to raise
awareness of societies and countries where no national monitoring team
exists. Also, existing groups can still help by sharing detailed
information worldwide with others. 'Monitoring is Teamwork!'"
IARU said it's also very important that as many member-societies as
possible file interference complaints with national regulators when
intruders are heard.
* The ARES E-Letter, ARRL's email newsletter for monthly public
service and emergency communications news, has been renamed, The
ARES Letter. Members can subscribe to The ARES Letter by visiting
their member preferences page and selecting the "Edit Email
* The QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo has announced that all Expo
presentations are available by clicking on "August Speaker
Presentations" on the right-hand side of the Expo home page.
Topping the list is keynote speaker Scott Wright, K0MD, the editor
of NCJ, who spoke on "Amateur Radio's Impact on Problem Solving to
Create a Global Response to the Pandemic." Presentations spanned
topics from "Portable Operating" by John Jacobs, W7DBO, to
"Everything you need to know about Lithium Batteries" by Marcel
Stieber, AI6MS, and individual presentations given by young hams
organized by Carole Perry, WB2MGP. The next QSO Today Virtual Ham
Expo is set for March 13 - 14, 2021.
* Mark Aaker, K6UFO, suggested the ScienceDaily article, "Miniature
antenna enables robotic teaming in complex environments." The
researchers used a 1/50-wavelength antenna with a "modular active
matching network" to obtain a three-fold increase in the antenna's
3 dB bandwidth and a 10 dB improvement in efficiency, compared to a
similarly sized, unmatched antenna.
* [IMG]TM82ALC will be active during October to commemorate the 290th
anniversary of the death in 1730 of Antoine de Lamothe-Cadillac,
founder of the City of Detroit, Michigan, event sponsors say. He
also once served as the governor of Louisiana. The Detroit
Automobile Company was renamed the Cadillac Automobile Company in
his honor and adopted the Lamothe-Cadillac coat of arms as its
* November 15 will mark the 75th anniversary of the post-war ARRL
DXCC program. The first post-war list of DXCC Countries appeared in
the February 1947 edition of QST and contained some 257 countries.
* SmallSat 2020 Conference Proceedings are available online. The 34th
annual conference was a virtual event that attracted 8,100
participants over 3 days. The conference theme was "Space Mission
Architectures - Infinite Possibilities."
Phil Temples, K9HI, Appointed as New England Division Vice Director
ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, has appointed Phil Temples, K9HI,
of Watertown, Massachusetts, as New England Division Vice Director. He
succeeds Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, who was elected earlier this year as
ARRL First Vice President. President Roderick made the appointment
after consulting with New England Division Director Fred Hopengarten,
K1VR, and the region's Section Managers.
"I want to thank all of those who forwarded their recommendations to
Director Hopengarten," Temples said. "Mike Raisbeck left some big shoes
to fill. I look forward to working with Fred, and to advise and assist
him with various tasks and board committee assignments. One task I'm
especially eager to tackle is launching a New England Division
An ARRL Life Member, Temples has been licensed for 50 years, initially
as WN9EAY in Indiana. He has written articles for QST and contributed
articles for the ARRL website. He also co-authored a chapter in the
Amateur Radio Public Service Handbook.
Temples served three terms as Eastern Massachusetts Section Manager and
now is an Assistant SM and an Assistant New England Division Director.
He's also held ARRL field appointments as Affiliated Club Coordinator
and Public Information Officer and currently serves as program chair
for the Northeast HamXposition.
Temples has been active in MARS, the National Traffic System, and as an
Emergency Coordinator, and he enjoys CW. He holds a degree in
electrical engineering from Purdue University.
Temples has actively promoted instruction and licensing and is a
Volunteer Examiner under the ARRL, W5YI, and Greater Los Angeles ARG
Volunteer Examiner Coordinators. He's currently involved with New
England Amateur Radio, Inc. in administering remote exam sessions
during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Temples is employed at Boston College as a computer systems
After counting the ballots, AMSAT has announced its Board of Directors.
In order of votes received, Mark Hammond, N8MH (707); Paul Stoetzer,
N8HM (703), and Bruce Paige, KK5DO (667), were elected as AMSAT
Directors for terms ending in 2022. Stoetzer, a former Board member and
current Executive Vice President, fills the seat being vacated by AMSAT
veteran Tom Clark, W3IO. Howie DeFelice, AB2S (550), was elected as
first alternate director, and Bob McGwier, N4HY (534), as second
alternate director for terms ending in 2021. Jeff Johns, WE4B, received
429 votes. -- Thanks to AMSAT News Service
Radio Amateurs of Canada has announced that videos from its Annual
Conference and General Meeting earlier this month are now available.
All presentations may be viewed on the new RAC YouTube Channel. ARRL
President Rick Roderick, K5UR, addressed the meeting. Presentation
topics include "Getting Started with Amateur Radio Satellites,"
"Amateur Radio and Youth," and "Contesting: Remote Operating." --
Thanks to Radio Amateurs of Canada
Former West Virginia Section Manager Karl Thompson, K8KT, died on July
28. He was 80. Thompson, of Charleston, served as West Virginia Section
Communications Manager (SCM) from 1979 until 1983, and, after the
position was renamed, as Section Manager (SM) from 1984 until 1994.
Thompson subsequently served the Section as an Assistant Section
Manager and Technical Coordinator. Current West Virginia SM, Dan
Ringer, K8WV, said in a message to members, "Karl was one of the
best-known amateurs in West Virginia. He represented all of the best of
the amateur community." A ham from the age of 15, Thompson was employed
by the telephone company (C&P, Bell Atlantic, and Verizon), retiring
after 28 years of service. He was president of the West Virginia State
Radio Council for several years and was honored with the ARRL Roanoke
Division Amateur of the Year award in 1983. He received the ARRL
Roanoke Division Service Award that same year. Thompson played guitar,
autoharp, and piano and was a member of several singing groups over the
years. He co-hosted the Old Time Country Music Hour on WZAC-FM for 4
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.
* November 21 -- Alabama State Convention, Montgomery, Alabama
* December 11 - 12 -- Florida State Convention, Plant City, Florida
Find conventions and hamfests in your area.
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