The ARRL Letter, August 26, 2021

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by WW1ME, Aug 26, 2021.

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  1. WW1ME

    WW1ME Ham Member QRZ Page

    The ARRL Letter
    August 26, 2021

    Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, Editor

    [Note: Clicking on the story links below will take you to the news article as it appears in The ARRL Letter on the ARRL website.]
    Grace and Henri Keep Amateur Radio Weather Spotters Busy

    Hurricane Grace and Hurricane Henri drew the attention of weather spotters over the past week. The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), which tracked both storms to gather weather data for the National Hurricane Center (NHC), was able to secure operations at 1800 UTC on August 22 after watching Grace make two landfalls in Mexico.

    “Things got busy — and fast!” said HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV. “Just before activating at 1200 UTC [on Sunday], Henri was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm. Normally, we — HWN — don’t activate for tropical storms. However, given the wind speed at the time of activation was just shy of being a hurricane, there was a slim possibility Henri could regain Category 1 status.” And, Graves noted, the storm was headed into the densely populated northeastern US. The rainfall generated by Henri, some of it record-breaking, caused heavy flooding in some areas, including New York City. That storm came ashore near Westerly, Rhode Island.

    Over the weekend, Eastern Massachusetts ARES® Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY, who also manages the VoIP Hurricane Net, announced plans for the Commonwealth in advance of Henri’s arrival. These included coordination with ARES® and SKYWARN teams in the region and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

    All told, the HWN racked up a combined total of 27 hours on the air — with two activations for Hurricane Grace and two for Hurricane Henri. Graves said only one station reported from Mexico, but the net remained available to assist in any capacity needed.

    It was another story for Henri. “We were not lacking reporting stations, and that’s a good thing,” Graves said. “While maybe not as many as we would like, we certainly had a good number checking in and forwarding their data.”

    He said conditions, while improved over the past few years as Solar Cycle 25 ramped up, got tough. “At times, we would experience one-way propagation. For example, on Sunday, the NCS on duty was being heard by a station in the affected area but could not hear the reporting station,” Graves recounted. “His relay was able to hear the reporting station, but that station could not hear the relay. So, the NCS asked the questions, and the relay received the report. This is what’s called ‘teamwork.’”

    Graves is grateful that Henri was not as bad as it could have been. “It never really got itself organized, unlike storms such as Sandy in 2012 and Bob back in 1991,” he said. “Had Henri been another Sandy, the outcome would have been much worse.”

    On the other hand, Grace, which made landfall in the Mexican state of Veracruz, just south of Túxpam, as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 MPH, caused several fatalities. “Grace tied a record (with Karl in 2010) of being the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Bay of Campeche,” Graves pointed out. Once it hit land, though, Grace quickly dissipated over mainland Mexico, while its remnants later reformed into Tropical Storm Marty in the Eastern Pacific early Monday morning.

    Julio Ripoll, WD4R, at the National Hurricane Center, praised members of the VoIP Hurricane Net for being extremely supportive of WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center. “They are a vital part of the WX4NHC team and part of our elite group we call ‘Hurricane Hams.’”

    Ripoll said the NHC and WX4NHC rely heavily on the work of the hurricane nets and appreciate the time and effort that goes into gathering surface reports from stations in the affected areas. “These surface reports are vital to NHC, as they paint a picture of ground level physical conditions in real time,” he said. “We all work as a team with a common goal to help NHC, which will help those in the affected areas and hopefully help save lives.”

    NHC Senior Hurricane Specialist Stacy Stewart singled out the VoIP Hurricane Net and the HWN for praise, calling the amateur radio reports “extremely helpful.” Read an expanded version.

    ARRL Podcasts Schedule

    The latest episode of the On the Air podcast (Episode 20) features a discussion with Oliver Dully, K6OLI, who describes how amateurs use the Winlink network for various public service applications. He also discusses the equipment and software necessary to access Winlink.

    The latest edition of Eclectic Tech (Episode 41) features a conversation with Lin Holcomb, NI4Y, about experiments he is conducting on 8 meters with his recently issued FCC Part 5 Experimental license, WL2XUP, from Georgia.

    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.

    Huntsville Hamfest Hosts 2021 ARRL Southeastern Division Convention

    The annual Huntsville Hamfest, held on August 21 – 22, served as host for the 2021 ARRL Southeastern Division Convention. Convention visitors were able to meet with many ARRL officials and staff, including President Rick Roderick, K5UR; Chief Executive Officer David Minster, NA2AA; Director of Membership, Marketing, and Communications Kathleen Callahan, KC1MBY, and Product Development Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. Also on hand at the ARRL booth were many Southeastern Division officials, Section Managers, and Field Organization volunteers.

    The convention, held annually at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, had to be canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “For many of us, this was our return to a large in-person convention after nearly 18 months,” Inderbitzen said. “The crowds were big, but the organizers had spread out the exhibits and widened the aisles, allowing for plenty of physical distancing. It was nice to have eyeballs on so many members and friends I’ve missed seeing.”

    ARRL author Glen Popiel, KW5GP, presented a forum on the Arduino and various ham radio applications using this microprocessor prototyping platform. Popiel’s recent book, More Arduino for Ham Radio, is now available from ARRL and its dealers. Other forums included an update from principals for Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS), an ARRL Membership Town Hall, and an opportunity to hear from ARRL Alabama Section leaders regarding key areas of volunteer activity, including the Amateur Radio Emergency Service®.

    Volunteers from the North Alabama DX Club (NADXC) hosted a sold-out banquet on Saturday night that included a presentation from DXpeditioner Adrian Ciuperca, KO8SCA. He shared stories and photos from his 2019 DXpedition to Bhutan, where he operated as A50BOC, A50BPC, and A5B. Just ahead on his travel agenda, Ciuperca will be a member of DXpedition teams to Swains Island and Bouvet Island in 2022. NADXC members were also on hand throughout the convention to help check applications for DXCC and other ARRL Awards.

    A Youth Lounge at the Convention included opportunities for young hams and future hams to listen and get on the air. There were also demonstrations of robotics, 3D printing, and activities that included a radio direction-finding foxhunt and kit building.

    ARRL CEO David Minster, NA2AA, and ARRL Instructional Designer Steve Goodgame, K5ATA, organized a YouTube Meet Up with many content producers for popular ham radio-themed YouTube channels — an opportunity to thank the community for its part in nurturing active radio amateurs with information and learning.

    ARRL has produced a YouTube video chronicling the convention.

    ARRL Learning Network Webinars

    Visit the ARRL Learning Network (a members-only benefit) to register, check on upcoming webinars, and to view previously recorded sessions.

    ARRL members may register for upcoming presentations and view previously recorded Learning Network webinars. ARRL-affiliated radio clubs may also use the recordings as presentations for club meetings, mentoring new and current hams, and discussing amateur radio topics.

    Introduction to DMR and Digital Voice by Tim Deagan, KJ8U / Thursday, September 9, 2021 @ 3:30 pm EDT (1930 UTC)

    An introductory overview of digital voice (DV) technologies for ham radio, focusing on DMR with notes on System Fusion, D-STAR, etc. The session includes a description of DV architecture and components, as well as the interesting opportunities and challenges it presents amateur radio operators.

    Working the Pileup, presented by Ron Delpiere-Smith, KD9IPO / Tuesday, October 5, 2021 @ 1:00 pm EDT (1700 UTC)

    Ron Delpiere-Smith, KD9IPO, Vice President of the Chicago Suburban Radio Association and an ARRL Assistant Section Manager in Illinois, will offer an enlightening discussion on working a pileup from both sides of the contact. Whether your interest lies in ARRL Field Day, contesting, special events, or rare DX, this is a must-see presentation. Ron will discuss search-and-pounce and running techniques, when to use them, and some tips on working them to your advantage.

    The ARRL Learning Network schedule is subject to change.

    Newspaper Article Boosts Interest in Net Aimed at Visually Impaired, Disabled Amateurs

    In June, Gerald Gaule, KE7GGV, of Vancouver, Washington, announced that he was launching a new net in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington Metro Area for the visually impaired, blind, and disabled. The net runs on the fourth Sunday of each month at 8 PM Pacific Time on the W7RAT repeater on 440.400 MHz. Some publicity about Gaule and the net in The Columbian, a regional newspaper, has boosted attendance, Gaule said, as well as a request for help.

    “Within a few minutes after the article came out, a mom approached me about helping her son, who is visually impaired and autistic, and interested in becoming a ham,” Gaule said. “I am planning to help him every step of the way, even becoming a mentor after he gets his license.” Gaule said that ARRL Western Washington Section Manager Monte Simpson, W7FF, was providing material and working to come up with a plan involving the 25-year-old's parents that would help get him licensed.

    “He’s a very nice young man and very confident in himself,” said Gaule. “We had a 2-hour meeting yesterday at a local coffee shop. I’ve offered my help to read the material and get him the right sources to get him on the way to becoming a successful amateur radio operator.”

    Earlier this year, Simpson appointed Gaule as an Assistant Section Manager for Inclusivity.

    As a result of the newspaper article, Gaule reports receiving more than 50 calls from amateur radio operators, as well as people who are interested in amateur radio. He’s also gotten more than 100 emails about the story — all positive.

    As the newspaper article explained, “Gaule, who was disabled in 2007, said he worked for commercial radio stations for many years and has been a ham operator for about 20 years. He decided a few months ago to try to include more blind and disabled people in ham radio because it is versatile, educational, and entertaining.”

    Gaule serves as the Public Information Officer for Region 4 ARES/RACES in Western Washington.

    Amateur Radio in the News

    ARRL Public Information Officers, Coordinators, and many other member-volunteers help keep amateur radio and ARRL in the news.

    · Ham Radio Operators Helping Family Members Locate Caldor Fire Evacuees / CBS13 News (California) August 19, 2021

    · East Greenbush Amateur Radio Association meet up to celebrate radio operators / 6News WRGB (New York) August 21, 2021

    · California Man Gets Alarming Call from Friend on Ham Radio -- and Jumps into Action to Save His Life, People magazine, August 16, 2021

    Share any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.

    Registration Now Open for AMSAT Space Symposium

    Registration is now open for the 39th AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting, Friday through Sunday, October 29 – 31, at the Crowne Plaza AiRE in Bloomington, Minnesota, adjacent to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. General registration is $75, and student registration is $40. Registration for the Saturday evening Symposium Banquet is an additional $55. Registration includes a digital copy of the 2021 AMSAT Symposium Proceedings and admission to the Symposium presentations and exhibits.

    The AMSAT Board of Directors will meet Thursday and Friday, October 28 – 29. AMSAT Space Symposium presentations will start at 1 PM CDT on Friday and continue until 5 PM. The AMSAT Reception is set for 7 PM on Friday. AMSAT Space Symposium presentations will continue on Saturday, October 30, 8 AM – 3 PM (with a 1-hour lunch break at noon). The AMSAT General Meeting begins at 3 PM on Saturday. The banquet will begin at 7 PM, preceded by a reception at 6 PM. The 3-day event wraps up with the AMSAT Ambassadors’ Breakfast on Sunday at 7 AM.

    Attendees may make reservations by calling the hotel directly at (952) 854-9000 or (877) 424-4188 (toll free) or online at The group name is Amateur Satellite Group. Platinum and Titanium members of the AMSAT President’s Club receive free admission to the Symposium and a complimentary lunch with the President on Saturday afternoon. Email to arrange registration.

    Presenters are invited to participate at the Symposium and/or submit a paper to the Symposium Proceedings. The Call for Papers includes more information.


    After 8 decades of providing emergency backup communication on a volunteer basis during storms and disasters, the Steel City Amateur Radio Club has hosted a special event station, W8O, sharing the news of their 80th anniversary with the rest of the world. The Steel City ARC is an ARRL-affiliated club.

    John Desmond, EI7GL, reported on a transatlantic opening on 144 MHz between the Canary Islands and the Caribbean on August 20. Distances in excess of 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) were achieved, with EA8CXN contacting both Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe.

    The AMSAT-EA GENESIS-L and GENESIS-N satellites may launch as early as September 2 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The satellites were designed and built by AMSAT-EA in collaboration with university students. The GENESIS satellites are CW and amplitude shift keying (ASK) digital repeater satellites, 145.875 MHz up and 436.875 down for GENESIS-L and 145.888 MHz up, 436.888 MHz down for GENESIS-N.

    ARRL member Ryan Pearson, KN4VKW, of Brentwood, Tennessee, took part in this month’s Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Wearing #7, he is a pitcher and a shortstop. Ryan, along with his brother, Blake, KN4VKY; his dad, Andrew, KN4VKX, and his ham radio mentor RJ, KC4LRR, all upgraded to Amateur Extra class last summer.

    The K7RA Solar Update

    Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Sun watchers saw no days without sunspots this week. Average daily sunspot numbers rose from 17.7 last week to 21.7 over the August 19 – 25 reporting week. Average daily solar flux increased from 73.8 to 78.5.

    Geomagnetic indicators were quiet, with average daily planetary A index declining from 6.1 to 4.7, and average daily middle latitude A index dropping from 7.6 to 5.7.

    We are less than 1 month away from the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere on Wednesday, September 22. That’s when both hemispheres will be bathed in equal measures of solar radiation — always good for HF propagation.

    Predicted solar flux is 84 on August 26 – 27; 85 on August 28 – September 1; 78 on September 2; 73 on September 3 – 11; 74 on September 12 – 15; 76 on September 16 – 18; 77 on September 19 – 20; 76 on September 21, and 75 on September 22 – 29.

    Predicted planetary A index is 15, 18, 12, 10, and 8 on August 26 – 30; 5 on August 31 – September 2; 12 on September 3; 5 on September 4 – 10; 10 and 8 on September 11 – 12; 5 on September 13 – 18; 8 on September 19 – 20; 15 and 10 on September 21 – 22; 7 on September 23 – 24; 5 on September 25 – 28, and 8 and 12 on September 29 – 30.

    Sunspot numbers for August 19 – 25 were 25, 14, 25, 16, 14, 29, and 29, with a mean of 21.7. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 74.9, 77.7, 77.1, 77.1, 78.1, 80.9, and 83.6, with a mean of 78.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 4, 5, 3, 3, 4, 5, and 9, with a mean of 4.7. Middle latitude A index was 5, 6, 4, 4, 8, 5, and 8, with a mean of 5.7.

    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 this 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 28 – 29 — ALARA Contest (CW, phone)

    · August 28 – 29 — W/VE Islands QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

    · August 28 – 29 — YO DX HF Contest (CW, phone)

    · August 28 – 29 — World Wide Digi DX Contest

    · August 28 – 29 — Kansas QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

    · August 28 – 29 — Ohio QSO Party (CW, phone)

    · August 28 – 30 — Hawaii QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

    · August 29 — SARL HF CW Contest

    · September 1 — VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest

    · September 1 — UKEICC 80-Meter Contest (Phone)

    · September 1 – 3 — G3ZQS Memorial Straight Key Contest (CW)

    · September 2 — NRAU 10-Meter Activity Contest (CW, phone, digital)

    · September 2 — SKCC Sprint Europe (CW)

    Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions

    Some conventions and hamfests may have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Check the calendar of canceled events on the ARRL website.

    · August 28 — ARRL West Virginia State Convention (online)

    · September 3 – 5 — ARRL North Carolina Section Convention (Shelby Hamfest), Shelby, North Carolina

    · September 10 – 11 — ARRL Illinois Section Convention (2021 W9DXCC Convention), Naperville, Illinois

    · September 10 – 11 — ARRL Arkansas State Convention, Queen Wilhelmena Hamfest, Mena, Arkansas

    · September 10 – 12 — ARRL New England Division Convention (Northeast HamXposition), Marlborough, Massachusetts

    · September 12 — ARRL Southern New Jersey Section Convention and Hamfest, Mullica Hill, New Jersey

    · September 25 — ARRL Dakota Division Convention (RRRA Hamfest), West Fargo, North Dakota

    · September 25 — ARRL Washington State Convention (Spokane Hamfest), Spokane Valley, Washington

    · October 2 — ARRL Great Lakes Division Convention (Vette City Hamfest), Bowling Green, Kentucky

    · October 2 — ARRL South Carolina Section Convention (Rock Hill Hamfest), Rock Hill, South Carolina

    · October 8 – 9 — ARRL Florida State Convention (Melbourne Hamfest), Melbourne, Florida

    · October 8 – 9 —ARRL Louisiana State Convention (Slidell EOC Hamfest), Slidell, Louisiana

    · October 8 – 9 — ARRL Wyoming State Convention (WY HamCon 2021), Cheyenne, Wyoming

    · October 15 – 17 — ARRL Pacific Division Convention (Pacificon), San Ramon, California

    · October 16 — ARRL Wisconsin State Convention (Wisconsin ARES/RACES Conference)

    Find conventions and hamfests in your area.


    The ARRL Letter appreciates the support of these advertisers:

    ABR Industries



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  2. N1FM

    N1FM Ham Member QRZ Page

    It was a very busy week in disaster news...

    The Storm Ida (currently 74 mph) is set to hit the Gulf Coast at 2 AM Sunday.



    The death toll from the Haitian earthquake has risen to more than 2,200 with more than 300 people still missing. Recovery efforts in the country are also ongoing during peak hurricane season with Tropical Storm Grace hitting Haiti last week. The government said Sunday that 344 people were still missing, 12,268 people were injured and nearly 53,000 houses were destroyed by the quake.


    As Henri hit Nit New England, severe flooding killed at least 22 people in Tennessee. More are still missing. In McEwen, about 60 miles west of Nashville, a state record, 17 inches of rain fell in less than 24 hours. Many other towns saw at least a foot of rain in the same time period. And lots of towns got up to a quarter of their typical annual rainfall in one morning. Thousands of homes may be unlivable with severe water damage.

    Red Cross volunteers drove the torn apart streets to hand out food, National Guard service members roamed around with cranes and trucks clearing debris and volunteers from all over the country helped cook meals for the grief-stricken town.

    "By the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 20, as weather forecasters in central Tennessee began to predict intensifying rain overnight in Humphreys County — an area with no building codes, no flood insurance and outdated flood maps — there was one big decision left: When and how to warn people.

    At 4:55 p.m., the National Weather Service’s Nashville office asked local TV and radio stations to warn people that, in addition to the heavy rainfall of the previous few days, that night could bring an additional 2 to 4 inches.

    “Higher amounts may be possible,” the message said. “Be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.” It did not say what action people should be prepared to take.

    At 6:09 a.m. the next morning, the Weather Service began sending warnings directly to cellphones. “A FLASH FLOOD WARNING is in effect for this area,” that message said. “Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.”

    But by the time those first messages started hitting people’s phones, there was little time to react. “They received the notification on their phone at about the same time the water was at their door,” said Dale Popp, the emergency management director for Houston County.

    The warnings from the National Weather Service should have gone out before the flooding started, according to Sarah Tuneberg, an emergency manager who started a company called Geospiza that helps local governments protect people during disasters. And she said those warnings should have given people specific instructions on whether to leave their homes.

    Krissy Hurley, the warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Nashville, said her office decided to alert people to avoid travel once it got reports of roads flooding. She said the agency was wary of sending alerts too early.

    “If you did that before it starts raining, people are going to get really annoyed at you,” Ms. Hurley said.

    And her office doesn’t have the authority to customize the phrasing in those alerts, Ms. Hurley said, which she said were standard messages agreed to by the National Weather Service and FEMA.

    In McEwan, a town in Humphreys County, Linda Ragsdale saw the warnings. But, as she recalled them, the alerts were vague and generic, cautioning that there could be flooding in Middle Tennessee.

    She had no inkling that she would wind up crawling into her attic with her dog, her medication and her cellphone, waiting for hours while she could hear wood in her house groan and snap."


    United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit judges in favor of environmental health groups and petitioners; finds FCC violated the Administrative Procedure Act and failed to respond to comments on environmental harm.

    The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled EHT et al. v. the FCC that the December 2019 decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to retain its 1996 safety limits for human exposure to wireless radiation was “arbitrary and capricious.”

    The court held that the "FCC failed to respond to evidence that exposure to RF radiation at levels below the Commission’s current limits may cause negative health effects unrelated to cancer.” Further, the agency demonstrated “a complete failure to respond to comments concerning environmental harm caused by RF radiation.”

    The court found the FCC ignored numerous organizations, scientists and medical doctors who called on them to update limits and the court found the FCC failed to address these issues:

    +impacts of long term wireless exposure
    +impacts to children
    +the testimony of people injured by wireless radiation
    +impacts to wildlife and the environment
    +impacts to the developing brain and reproduction

    “I am very pleased to see that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled that the FCC ignored decades of studies about the potential health harms of cell phone radiation and must adequately review this material before making a decision about new regulations of cell phones,” said Dr. Jerome Paulson, former American Academy of Pediatrics Environmental Health Council Chair and now Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics and Environmental and Occupational Health at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Milken Institute School of Public Health. “It is very important that the court ruled that the FCC must address the impacts of radiofrequency radiation on the health of children amassed since 1996.” The American Academy of Pediatrics’ submission to the FCC called for a review of safety limits to protect children and pregnant women.

    In overturning the FCC determination for its lack of reasoned decision making, the court wrote that the commission cannot rely on agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if the FDA’s conclusions are provided without explanation.

    “While imitation may be the highest form of flattery, it does not meet even the low threshold of reasoned analysis required by the APA under the deferential standard of review that governs here. One agency’s unexplained adoption of an unreasoned analysis just compounds rather than vitiates the analytical void. Said another way, two wrongs do not make a right,” the court wrote.

    The court further noted that the FCC failed to respond to approximately 200 comments on the record by people who experienced illness or injury from electromagnetic radiation sickness.

    The court ordered the commission to “(i) provide a reasoned explanation for its decision to retain its testing procedures for determining whether cell phones and other portable electronic devices comply with its guidelines, (ii) address the impacts of RF radiation on children, the health implications of long-term exposure to RF radiation, the ubiquity of wireless devices, and other technological developments that have occurred since the Commission last updated its guidelines, and (iii) address the impacts of RF radiation on the environment.”
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