Date: Fri, 02.10.20 11:05
The Weekly ARRL Letter
October 1, 2020
* Get Ready for the 15th Annual ARRL Online Auction!
* Pandemic-Delayed ARRL 2019 Annual Report Released
* Former Dayton Hamvention Venue Hara Arena is Being Demolished
* ARRL Podcasts Schedule
* HF Station Grounding and Arduino Microcontroller Projects are Next
ARRL Webinar Topics
* Special Pricing on ARRL 5-Band WAS and Triple Play WAS Award Plaque
* The K7RA Solar Update
* Just Ahead in Radiosport
* WSJT-X Beta Release Introduces Digital Protocols Designed for LF
and MF Bands
* Chinese Amateur Radio Satellite Launches Delayed
* Sterling Mann, N0SSC, Named IARU Region 2 Liaison for Youth
* In Brief...
* Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
Get Ready for the 15th Annual ARRL Online Auction!
The 15th Annual ARRL Online Auction will open for an "early bird"
preview and registration on Thursday, October 8, and will open for
bidding at 10 AM EDT (1400 UTC) on Thursday, October 15. The auction is
sponsored by GigaParts. The 2020 ARRL Online Auction includes a large
assortment of ARRL Product Review items, including an SPE Expert
1.5K-FA HF amplifier, ACOM 120S 160 - 6- meter linear amplifier, Yaesu
FTDX101D HF + 6-meter transceiver, and an Icom IC-9700 VHF/UHF
The ARRL Online Auction also features a wide assortment of vintage
books, including The ARRL Handbook, Radio for Everybody, and CQ Ghost
This year, bidders will find a large variety of equipment, vintage
books, novelty items, ARRL bundle packs, and a number of special items
donated by the cast and crew of Fox Television's Last Man Standing,
starring Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, KA0XTT.
In order to place a bid, you must register on the ARRL Online Auction
website. You may browse the website and scope out those "must-have"
items without being a registered bidder, and you can register at any
time during the auction. If you are interested in some great bargains
-- and some great fun -- check out the 2020 ARRL Online Auction, which
concludes on October 25 at 10 PM EDT (0200 UTC on October 26 in North
America). Registration begins on October 8 at 10 AM EDT (1400 UTC)
during the auction preview.
Proceeds from the Online Auction benefit ARRL education programs,
including activities to license new hams, strengthen Amateur Radio
Emergency Service (ARES) training, offer continuing technical and
operating education, and create instructional materials.
Pandemic-Delayed ARRL 2019 Annual Report Released
The 2019 ARRL Annual Report is now available in print and online. The
publication's release was delayed as a consequence of the coronavirus
pandemic. Print copies for members who are interested will be available
soon. ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, called 2019 "an exciting year
for ARRL," with several new initiatives moving through planning and
development for rollout in 2020.
"Two of them -- On the Air magazine and the ARRL Online Learning Center
-- signify steps taken toward the 'new generation of hams' that I've
been talking about in the past few Annual Reports," President Roderick
said. "They've been asking ARRL for help finding their way in amateur
radio for so long, wanting to know everything from how to serve their
communities, how to integrate the ham radio hobby and service with all
the demands that modern life makes upon them, and even simply how to
determine which parts of ham radio interest them."
President Roderick also cited the development in 2019 of the ARRL
Online Learning Center -- an array of online courses that will at first
serve new hams and later expand to courses and materials for hams at
all skill levels. The Online Learning Center is expected to launch in
"2019 was more than busy for ARRL -- it was productive and
constructive," President Roderick concluded. "We're growing and
ARRL President Rick
changing, and we do it all for you, the members, with an eye on our
mission: to advance the art, science, and enjoyment of amateur radio."
ARRL membership was essentially flat from 2018 at 156,755 -- likely a
result of the membership dues increase in 2019, but still slightly
The ARRL Volunteer Monitor Program was developed in 2019, replacing the
Official Observers program. The new VM Program is a formal agreement
between the FCC and ARRL in which trained volunteers will monitor the
bands and collect evidence that may be used both to correct misconduct
and to recognize exemplary on-the-air operation.
The Report summarizes a raft of responses to emergencies and disasters
by Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES^(R) volunteers. ARES
membership grew by 3,130 in 2019, and a new ARES Comprehensive Plan was
Financially, ARRL had a particularly good year in 2019, producing a
$596,000 gain from operations, along with strong investment markets
resulting in an overall net asset gain of $3.75 million. Read more.
Former Dayton Hamvention Venue Hara Arena is Being Demolished
Hara Arena, the former venue for Dayton Hamvention^(R) and myriad
sports, entertainment, and other presentations over the years, will
soon be history. In the wake of a failed attempt to revitalize the
tornado-damaged complex, officials in the city of Trotwood, Ohio --
where Hara Arena is located -- announced plans last week to raze the
complex and rezone the property from commercial recreation to light
"The complex suffered extensive damage during the 2019 Memorial Day
tornado outbreak," a city news release recalled on September 25, taking
note of hopes to salvage the complex. "However, redeveloping the
property would be a challenge due to the extent of the damage, so the
decision was made...to demolish the legendary venue."
The city said the zoning change will allow manufacturing, distribution
centers, and call centers to establish their businesses in the area.
"We are excited for what the future holds for this property," Trotwood
Mayor Mary McDonald said.
"This is going to create some momentum for redevelopment," City Manager
Quincy Pope told the Dayton Daily News.
According to the Dayton Daily News, the property's owners have said the
iconic marquee spelling out "Hara Arena" atop the main arena will be
preserved and auctioned off, with the proceeds donated to charity.
The Hara complex and the surrounding real estate occupy some 128 acres.
Co-owner Corey Heitz told the Dayton Daily News that it will take up to
6 months to tear down the buildings completely, and he hopes to have
"something" there in the next 12 months.
Hara Arena had served as the venue for Dayton Hamvention from 1964
until 2016. Hamvention announced in July 2016 that Hara Arena would be
closing but that Hamvention would continue. The show is now held at the
Greene County Fairgrounds & Expo Center.
Over its six-decade history, Hara Arena hosted concerts by performers
that included the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead; it was also
where hockey legend Wayne Gretzky played his first professional hockey
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 the 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 (LDEs).
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.
HF Station Grounding and Arduino Microcontroller Projects are Next ARRL
Two well-known ham radio authors and speakers will share their
expertise with members in October during ARRL Learning Network
webinars. ARRL Contributing Editor Ward Silver, N0AX, will present
"Grounding & Bonding for Home HF Stations" on Tuesday, October 6, at 10
AM PDT/1 PM EDT/0500 UTC. Popular ARRL author Glen Popiel, KW5GP, will
present "Welcome to the World of Arduino" on Thursday, October 15, at 5
PM PDT/8 PM EDT (0000 UTC on Friday, October 16). Members must log in
to the ARRL website to register for each webinar.
Silver authored the ARRL book Grounding and Bonding for the Radio
Amateur in 2017 as a practical guide to building a station that
incorporates effective grounding and bonding techniques for electrical
safety, lightning protection, and RF management. Radio amateurs often
cite the title for demystifying an often misunderstood or intimidating
During his webinar, Silver will define grounding and bonding, cover the
benefits and requirements, and share useful references and guides for
hams to apply these techniques in their home HF stations.
In his presentation, Popiel -- the author of several ARRL books,
including Arduino for Ham Radio, More Arduino Projects for Ham Radio,
and High Speed Multimedia for Amateur Radio -- will cover the
open-source, electronic-prototyping Arduino platform, which is widely
popular among electronics hobbyists and radio amateurs. The webinar
will include examples of how to put Arduinos to use in building ham
radio projects and practical station gear.
Live question-and-answer periods will follow each 30-minute
All webinars are recorded, so members and radio clubs can view previous
presentations. Join ARRL to take advantage of this new member benefit.
Special Pricing on ARRL 5-Band WAS and Triple Play WAS Award Plaque
Beginning October 1, ARRL will offer a 10% discount on all applications
for 5-Band Worked All States (5B WAS) wall plaques and Triple Play
(TPA) wall plaques. The discount will be deducted from the total charge
(i.e., application fee, plaque fee, and shipping).
This special is good for first-time applicants, as well as for those
who have been awarded TPA or 5B WAS and want to display their
achievement with an attractive, colorful wall plaque.
Submit contacts via Logbook of The World (LoTW) and indicate in the
comments section of the payment page that you want the wall plaque.
Discounts will be applied during processing.
Apply online with the order forms available to order plaques for the
Triple Play or 5Band WAS. This offer is good until the close of
business at ARRL Headquarters on December 31, 2020, so if you need some
contacts to complete your 5-Band WAS or Triple Play awards, the
November Sweepstakes or ARRL 160- or 10-Meter contests are good
opportunities to fill those empty slots on your scorecard.
Uploading your contacts to LoTW provides quick contact confirmation and
makes it easy to apply for these awards.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Solar wind disturbed HF conditions
over the September 24 - 30 reporting week.
Average daily planetary A index rose from 5.1 to 22, while average
middle latitude A index went from 5 to 15.6. Average daily sunspot
number declined from 1.9 to 1.6; a weak sunspot appeared on only 2
days, September 23 and 25, with sunspot numbers of 13 and 11,
respectively. Average daily solar flux was on the increase, edging up
from 71.1 to 73.4.
Predicted solar flux for the next 45 days is 74 on October 1 - 3; 72 on
October 4; 70 on October 5 - 18; 72 on October 19 - 31, and 70 on
November 1 - 14.
Predicted planetary A index is 15 and 10 on October 1 - 3; 5 on October
3 - 10; 10 on October 11; 5 on October 12 - 19; 10, 18, and 20 on
October 20 - 22; 24, 16, 38, and 38 on October 23 - 26; 26, 15, and 10
on October 27 - 29; 5 on October 30 - November 6; 10 on November 7, and
5 on November 8 - 14.
W6MVT in southern California was pleasantly surprised on September 28
after erecting a new vertical. His first catch was E51JD in the
Southern Cook Islands at 0022 UTC. This was his first SSB DX on 15
meters in many years, although the opening vanished as quickly as it
Sunspot numbers for September 24 - 30 were 0, 11, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0,
with a mean of 1.6. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 73.6, 73.4, 72.6,
74.1, 73.9, 72.8, and 73.3, with a mean of 73.4. Estimated planetary A
indices were 19, 20, 27, 24, 33, 16, and 15, with a mean of 22. Middle
latitude A index was 11, 17, 18, 16, 21, 14, and 12, with a mean of
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
* October 3 -- German Telegraphy Contest (CW)
* October 3 -- FISTS Fall Slow Speed Sprint
* October 3 - 4 -- TRC DX Contest (CW, phone)
* October 3 - 4 -- RTTYOps WW RTTY
* October 3 - 4 -- Russian WW Digital Contest
* October 3 - 4 -- All YLRL DX/NA YL Anniversary Contest (CW, phone)
* October 3 - 4 -- International HELL-Contest
* October 3 - 4 -- California QSO Party (CW, phone)
* October 3 - 4 -- SKCC QSO Party (CW)
* October 4 -- RSGB DX Contest (CW, phone)
* October 4 -- UBA ON Contest, SSB
* October 4 -- Peanut Power QRP Sprint (CW, phone)
* October 5 -- RSGB 80-Meter Autumn Series, CW
* October 6 -- ARS Spartan Sprint CW
* October 7 -- VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest
* October 7 -- 432 MHz Fall Sprint (CW, phone)
* October 7 -- UKEICC 80-Meter Contest (Phone)
WSJT-X Beta Release Introduces Digital Protocols Designed for LF and MF
The latest beta release of the WSJT-X digital software suite includes
digital protocols particularly designed for communication on LF and MF
bands, such as 2200 meters and 630 meters, and its developers say that
during its first few months of testing, contacts have spanned
intercontinental paths "many times" on those bands. New protocols FST4
and FST4W are included in WSJT-X version 2.3.0-rc1 (release candidate
1). FST4 is for two-way contacts, while FST4W is for "quasi-beacon"
style WSPR-type transmissions. Both modes offer a range of options for
T/R-sequence lengths and threshold decoding sensitivities extending
well into the -40 dB range, developers said.
"On these bands, their fundamental sensitivities are better than other
WSJT-X modes with the same sequence lengths," the WSJT-X development
team. "FST4 and FST4W do not require the strict, independent
time-synchronization and phase-locking of modes like EbNaut," a
protocol for VLF and LF communication.
The WSJT-X development team said operators familiar with the software
suite will find using FST4 and FST4W straightforward.
The new modes use 4-GFSK modulation and share common software for
encoding and decoding messages. FST4 offers T/R sequence lengths of 15,
30, 60, 120, 300, 900, and 1,800 seconds, while FST4W omits the lengths
shorter than 120 seconds.
Message payloads contain either 77 bits -- as in FT4, FT8, and MSK144
-- or 50 bits for the WSPR-like messages of FST4W.
WSJT-X version 2.3 offers 12 different protocols: FST4, FT4, FT8, JT4,
JT9, JT65, QRA64, ISCAT, MSK144, WSPR, FST4W, and Echo.
The WSJT-X 2.3 User Guide and the Release Notes include additional
information. Read more.
* Scouting's Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) and Jamboree on the Internet
take place October 16 - 18. Groups or individuals can register on
the World JOTA-JOTI site. ditional information about JOTA 2020 is
on the K2BSA website. The K2BSA site offers COVID-19 guidance
during radio scouting activities
* ARRL Life Member Mark Persons, W0MH, of Brainerd, Minnesota, has
been recognized with the 10th Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE)
Lifetime Achievement Award. He was SBE Engineer of the Year for
2018. -- Thanks to Rob Atkinson, K5UJ
* The California QSO Party (CQP) has announced some changes for 2020.
All multioperator stations (multi-single and multi-multi) must
register before the contest. Logs from multioperator stations not
registered in advance will be considered as check logs. The 55th
running of the CQP takes place October 3 - 4.
* Want to know what hams live in your neighborhood? Check out Amateur
Radio License Map. You may have hams nearby you never knew about.
* The United Nations Amateur Radio Contest DX Club at the Vienna
International Center in Austria will operate as 4U75A, in
celebration of the UN's 75th anniversary. The UN Headquarters
Amateur Radio Club (UNARC) will use 4U75UN, although no set
schedule is in place.
Chinese Amateur Radio Satellite Launches Delayed
CAMSAT says the CAS-7A launch has been postponed until next May, and
CAS-5A until next June.
"Because of COVID-19, many things have been delayed," CAMSAT's Alan
Kung, BA1DU, told ARRL. He said an announcement would be made next
CAMSAT had said that CAS-7A would launch in mid-September; the launch
has been postponed multiple times since first announced. CAS-5A was
predicted to launch in October. Both satellites will carry two
transponders that include HF, in a configuration similar to that of the
Russian RS satellites decades ago.
CAS-7A will be placed into a sun-synchronous orbit with an inclination
bandwidth of 30 kHz. The HF/HF linear transponder will uplink on 15
meters and downlink on 10 meters. A CW beacon will transmit on 10
meters. The HF/UHF transponder CW beacon transponder will transmit on
The CAS-5A nanosatellite, with a 6U form factor, carries two HF
transponders and two VHF/UHF transponders. While in orbit, it will
deploy the tiny CAS-5B femtosatellite, weighing just half a
The array of CAS-5A linear transponders will include HF/HF, HF/UHF, and
VHF/UHF with 30 kHz passbands (except 15 kHz for the HF/UHF
CAS-5A will include CW telemetry beacons on HF and UHF. The HF CW
beacon will be on 10 meters, and a UHF telemetry beacon will be on 70
centimeters. Other beacons include the HF/HF transponder beacon on 10
meters, and the HF/UHF and VHF/UHF transponder beacons on 70
centimeters. Telemetry will be transmitted on 70 centimeters. Read
Sterling Mann, N0SSC, Named IARU Region 2 Liaison for Youth
Sterling Mann, N0SSC, has been named as the International Amateur Radio
Union (IARU) Region 2 Liaison for Youth, the IARU Region 2 Executive
Committee (EC) has announced. With the support of IARU Region 2, the
Liaison for Youth will reach out to young hams throughout the Americas
and their member-societies to develop and promote interest in amateur
radio on the part of young hams through self-sustaining groups and
"Our first set of tasks primarily revolves around collecting
information to identify strong leaders and points of contact throughout
IARU Region 2 member-societies," Mann told ARRL. "Ideally, these
leaders are young hams who are willing to help drive the initiative
forward by performing various roles." One of those, he said, is to come
up with and put into action methods to "get ham radio into the public
view in a positive and engaging way." The initiative will also
coordinate and collaborate with other communities with similar goals.
On-the air activities, online meetups, workshops, competitions and
mini-contests, brainstorming sessions, and speaking invitations are all
envisioned as future events.
"Amateur radio is often viewed as a passion of an earlier generation.
Features that attracted many current hams, such as providing a
real-time social network, have been supplanted by advances in
technology virtually available to anyone anywhere," the EC said.
"Wireless communication is an important aspect of modern life, with
amateurs having the opportunity to experience it in a unique and
personal way. Developing and promoting this experience is key
to...ensuring the future of amateur radio."
The Liaison for Youth implements a "Young Ham Action Plan" to connect
with, engage, inspire, and mentor young hams throughout the Americas.
Mann's role is to be a point of contact for building links to and among
the many groups already developing organically via internet discussion
platforms, on-the-air nets, and virtual clusters of interest -- even
before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The liaison will help to set up, develop, and grow self-sufficient
communities of young hams connected through common cultural, lingual,
and geographic backgrounds, assisted by IARU Region 2 and its
member-societies. This initiative builds on the successful examples of
other youth groups, such as Youngsters On The Air (YOTA) in IARU Region
1, Youth on the Air -- a youth ham radio camp in the Americas, the
Young Amateurs Radio Club -- a large online community of young hams,
and several others. Contact Mann via email or Twitter (@r2youth). Read
[IMG]Applications for the 2021 ARRL Foundation Scholarship Program will
be accepted between October 1 and December 31, 2020. All applicants
must be FCC-licensed radio amateurs, and many scholarships have other
specific requirements, such as intended area of study, residence within
a particular ARRL Division, Section, or state, and license class.
Applicants should review the scholarship descriptions and check off the
ones for which they are eligible. If you complete an online
application, you must also email a PDF of academic transcripts from
your most recently completed school year by January 11, 2021. Some
scholarships require additional documents to be submitted (e.g., letter
of recommendation from an officer of an ARRL-affiliated club).
Applications not accompanied by transcripts and additional documents,
where applicable, will not be considered. The ARRL Foundation
Scholarship Committee will review all applicants for eligibility and
award decisions. Scholarship recipients will be notified in May 2021
via USPS mail and email. For more information, visit the ARRL
Foundation Scholarship Program page.
Stuart Wolfe, KF5NIX, has been appointed ARRL South Texas Section
Manager. He succeeds Paul Gilbert, KE5ZW, of Cedar Park, who has
stepped down as Section Manager to become ARRL Director of Emergency
Management. Wolfe, of Rockdale, Texas, will complete the remainder of
Gilbert's term. Wolfe's appointment as Section Manager begins on
October 1 and extends until September 30, 2021. ARRL Radiosport and
Field Services Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, made the appointment after
consulting with ARRL West Gulf Division Director John Robert Stratton,
N5AUS, and receiving recommendations from Gilbert, West Gulf Division
Vice Director Lee Cooper, W5LHC, and others in the South Texas Section.
Stuart Wolfe currently serves as South Texas ARRL Affiliated Club
Coordinator and Emergency Coordinator. He is the founding member and
President of the Milam Amateur Radio Club. He is also active as a
Volunteer Examiner and teacher of amateur radio licensing classes.
ARRL Member Chuck Butzin, K0BBQ, used ham radio on September 26 to
assist a motorist in need. Butzin came upon a vehicle that went off the
roadway. Fortunately, no one was injured, but a tow truck was needed to
get the vehicle back on the highway. Butzin was beyond cell phone
coverage, so he used the Terry Peak repeater to make a priority call on
the SDLINK repeater system for assistance. On the other end of the
state, Matt Holden, K0BBC, heard the call and relayed location details
via 911. Dispatcher Denny Warrick, W0DGW, used the GPS coordinates that
Butzin provided to pin down the incident location and call in the
closest law enforcement agency. The Pennington County Sheriff sent a
patrol car and summoned a tow truck. Pennington County ARES Emergency
Coordinator Bob Ewing, W0RE, monitored the repeater until law
enforcement arrived, and K0BBQ cleared the scene. SDLINK is a series of
12 repeaters that connect South Dakota radio amateurs along Interstates
29 and 90. Holden advises radio amateurs to keep an ear on your local
repeaters. "They may be quiet, but you never know when a call for
assistance from a fellow amateur radio operator might be heard." --
Thanks to Matt Holden, K0BBC
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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* Listen to ARRL Audio News, available every Friday.
* NCJ -- National Contest Journal. Published bimonthly, features
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