The ARRL Letter, June 10, 2021

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by WW1ME, Jun 10, 2021.

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  1. WW1ME

    WW1ME Ham Member QRZ Page

    The ARRL Letter
    June 10, 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.]
    International Space Station to be in Cross-Band Repeater Mode for Field Day

    The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) cross-band repeater will be available for ARRL Field Day, June 26 – 27. Contacts will count toward Field Day bonus points as satellite contacts and Field Day contacts.

    Field Day rules limit stations to one contact on any single-channel FM satellite. Note that contacts made during Field Day by ISS crew would only count for contact credit, but not for satellite bonus points. ISS cross-band repeater contacts are also valid AMSAT Field Day satellite contacts.

    The ARISS cross-band repeater uplink is 145.990 MHz (67 Hz tone), with a downlink of 437.800 MHz.

    ARISS suggests that those unfamiliar with the ISS repeater may want to practice with it prior to Field Day. ARISS had planned to switch modes to the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) during the second week of June, but this won’t happen until after the first ARISS school contact following ARRL Field Day. The ARISS ham station will be off-air during spacewalks on June 16 and June 20.

    WSJT-X Version 2.4.0 Now Generally Available, Version 2.5.0 on the Horizon

    WSJT-X version 2.4.0 is now available in general release. According to co-developer Joe Taylor, K1JT, WSJT-X version 2.4.0 includes the new digital mode Q65. This protocol is designed for two-way contacts over especially difficult propagation paths, including ionospheric scatter, troposcatter, rain scatter, TEP, EME, and other types of fast-fading signals.

    “On paths with Doppler spread more than a few Hertz, the weak-signal performance of Q65 is the best among all WSJT-X modes,” the Quick Start Guide asserts.

    WSJT-X version 2.5.0-rc1 (beta) has been released. According to the Release Notes, in version 2.5.0, “the Q65 decoder has been enhanced to measure and compensate for linear frequency drift in Q65 signals.”

    Q65 uses 65-tone frequency-shift keying and builds on the demonstrated weak-signal strengths of QRA64, a mode introduced to WSJT-X in 2016. Q65 offers user message and sequencing identical to that in FST4, FT4, FT8, and MSK144. It includes a unique tone for time and frequency synchronization. As with JT65, this “sync tone” is readily visible on the waterfall spectral display. In addition, Q65 provides a sensitive “sync curve” near the bottom of the waterfall window.

    Testing showed that Q65 will enable stations with a modest Yagi and 100 W or more and to work one another on 6 meters at distances up to around 2,000 kilometers on most days of the year, in dead band conditions.

    For the complete announcement, see the WSJT-X website. Read an expanded version.

    ARRL Podcasts Schedule

    The latest episode of the On the Air podcast (Episode 18) helps prepare listeners for ARRL Field Day on June 26 – 27. Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, president of the Nashua New Hampshire Amateur Radio Society, offers advice about how to enjoy one of the largest ham radio operating events of the year!

    The latest edition of Eclectic Tech (Episode 35) features a conversation with Patrick Stoddard, WD9EWK. Patrick brings us up to date on amateur satellites and also offers advice for ARRL Field Day.

    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.

    Separate SATERN Nets Now Operational

    On June 2, The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) launched a new SATERN International SSB Net on 14.325 MHz. Net sessions will take place Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 11 AM Central Daylight Time, in cooperation with the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), which has used 14.325 MHz for many years during its own activations. Just down the band, another net sporting the same SATERN acronym — the Strategic Auxiliary Team Emergency Readiness Net — has established itself on SATERN’s former frequency of 14.265 MHz. The latter net was organized by Lee Glassman, WA5LEE, a former manager of the original SATERN. The Salvation Army made the distinction clear in its announcement launching the new SSB net on 20 meters.

    “The new SATERN organization (Strategic Auxiliary Team Emergency Readiness Net) is not associated with The Salvation Army,” SATERN National Committee Chair Michele Heaver told ARRL. “At this time, SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network) is no longer associated with Lee Glassman and does not support his new efforts with the Strategic Auxiliary Team Emergency Readiness Net. This is a breakaway organization.”

    The SATERN split will entail a new “updated and revised SATERN website” in the near future, The Salvation Army (TSA) said in its announcement. The new SATERN under Glassman has established its own web presence.

    On his profile, Glassman, an Assistant Emergency Coordinator for South Texas District 14 Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), cited “a conflict of ideals.” Among other things, he said he was put off by a building list of requirements imposed by TSA that included credentialing and background checks.

    Glassman told ARRL that the net retained the SATERN acronym because it was familiar to net users, “plus the fact that TSA pretty much decided to dissolve the daily 20-meter net with no plans to replace it, and we did not wish the regulars to be kept hanging. We changed what the acronym stands for. We also have a pending trademark on the name and logo.”

    “We do not disparage TSA, nor do we permit others to do so,” Glassman said. “We wholly encourage everyone to support TSA, ARES, ARC, and any other group that they wish.”

    Glassman lists himself as co-manager of the Strategic Auxiliary Team Emergency Readiness Net, along with Ned Griffin, KL7QK. The net’s stated purpose is to provide backup communication support during disasters.

    The “original” SATERN — the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network — is a fully integrated Salvation Army program within The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS). It was organized in 1988 by Major Patrick McPherson, WW9E (SK). Read an expanded version.

    IARU Attends ITU Wireless Power Transmission Sessions

    The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) represented the Amateur Service at a recent International Telecommunication Union (ITU) virtual meeting on the topic of wireless power transmission (WPT), attended by some 350 delegates. ITU Working Party 1A Working Group WG1A2 was of most relevance to IARU, covering the topic of WPT. The focus is on WPT’s impact on the radio spectrum.

    IARU’s contribution centered on proposing amendments to material submitted by other delegations and a new annex that documents measurements of typical amateur signal levels, comparing these to test data from the US on non-beam WPT emission levels and to suggested limits.

    “Most of the discussions on the detail were resolved with a degree of compromise, and the latest drafts will be attached to the chairman’s report for the meeting,” IARU Region 1 reported. Remaining technical issues include:

    · Whether E-field antennas are as susceptible to WPT-EV (WPT Electric Vehicle) emissions as H-field antennas.

    · The true noise levels in residential areas, with WPT developers claiming that WPT emissions will not be significantly above the (now-elevated) noise level.

    In terms of the E-field sensitivity to WPT emissions, the proposed work plan submitted by IARU to the European Commission, for WPT-EV tests in the Joint Research Centre, included proper E- and H-field measurements.

    “IARU member-society DARC [Germany] has made good progress with the rollout of its ENAMS automated noise measurement system, and IARU is now able to draw heavily on that data,” IARU Region 1 said. “The WPT Emissions document has been under discussion for some time.”

    Discussion on so-called “beam” WPT covered a range of issues, including amendments to the proposed frequencies, none of which is below 800 MHz.

    “Sadly, many proposed frequencies fall in spectrum which the Amateur Service shares with other services,” IARU said. “However, given the nature of the technology and the directivity of amateur antennas in these frequency ranges, the prospect of coexistence seems quite good.” Read an expanded version.

    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.

    Improving Your Club’s 2021 Field Day Score — Paul Bourque, N1SFE, ARRL Contest Program Manager / Thursday, June 10, 8 PM EDT (0000 UTC on Friday, June 11).

    Learn how your club or group can take advantage of the 2021 ARRL Field Day rules waivers for operating as Class D or E from home. We’ll discuss how individuals or groups can boost their scores by earning bonus points, review how to use the Field Day web applet to submit your score, and go over how to attribute your score to your club’s aggregate score. This presentation highlights all you need to know to operate as a group for ARRL Field Day 2021.

    Antenna Zoning: Special six-part webinar seriesFred Hopengarten, K1VR, author of Antenna Zoning for the Radio Amateur

    · Part 1. Permitting in a Nutshell: Monday, June 14, 2 PM EDT (1800 UTC)

    · Part 2. Principles and Preparation: Wednesday, How to Wear the White Hat, June 16, 2 PM EDT (1800 UTC)

    · Part 3. The Application: Monday, June 21, 2 PM EDT (1800 UTC)

    · Part 4. PRB-1: A Deep Dive: Wednesday, June 23, 2 PM EDT (1800 UTC)

    · Part 5. More Laws: Monday, June 28, 2 PM EDT (1800 UTC)

    · Part 6. The Hearing: Wednesday, June 30, 2 PM EDT (1800 UTC)

    Introduction to Remote HF Operation — Davide Lanfranconi, W6DGE, and Kevin Shin-Wheeler, N7KSW, Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club / Tuesday, June 22, 1 PM EDT (1700 UTC).

    Lanfranconi and Shin-Wheeler will discuss the idea, process, and challenges encountered while getting their club’s remote HF station on the air, as well as some methods and resources available for those with a similar interest. A Q&A session and live demo are included.

    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.

    These Learning Network presentations are sponsored by PreppComm.

    The ARRL Learning Network schedule is subject to change.


    · The UK Six Meter Group’s (UKSMG) widely accepted FT8 Code of Practice recommends that European stations transmit during even periods, 00 and 30 seconds past each minute, and that Asian and North American stations transmit during odd periods, 15 and 45 seconds past each minute.

    · Kyrgyzstan is the latest DXCC entity to arrive on 60 meters. The Union of Radio Amateurs of Kyrgyz Republic (ARUKR) announced that the Kyrgyzstan Telecommunications Regulator made a new amateur secondary allocation of 5351.5 – 5366.5 kHz available to Kyrgyz hams at a maximum power of 100 W.

    · The ARRL Letter is available in an accessible format, posted weekly to the Blind-hams email group. The group is dedicated to discussions about amateur radio as it concerns blind hams, plus related topics including ham radio use of adaptive technology.

    · Marcel Mongeon, VA3DDD, and Tim Ellam, VE6SH, have been nominated to the list of Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canadian Lawyer magazine’s annual contest. Ellam is the president of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU).

    · To pay tribute to the individuals who have suffered from or succumbed to COVID-19 and to their caregivers, special event station TM57COV will be on the air June 15 – 29.

    · EZ Hang has changed ownership. The new proprietor is Chris Fox, NI4L, Antennas & Electronics LLC, 3861 Mount Olive Church Rd, Moravian Falls, NC 28654. (828) 855-8869.

    · Six operators will depart for Prins Karls Forland Island in July, landing by dinghy, to operate as JW0W (Svalbard). Prospective 3Y0J (Bouvet Island) team members will conduct some practice landings. All operators will concentrate on RSGB IOTA Contest weekend, July 24 – 25, but otherwise will focus on North America and Asia using CW, SSB, and FT8/4. The Prins Karls Forland DXpedition Facebook group page has more information.

    ARDC Grant Will Support HAMNET Expansion in Europe

    Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) has awarded a grant to support European expansion of HAMNET, a high-speed digital network that interconnects automated amateur radio stations using links in the 13-, 6-, and 3-centimeter bands, the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC) reports. This marks the first international grant from ARDC since it began awarding grants in 2019.

    “Amateur radio is a global hobby, and ARDC wanted to enable international funding from day one,” ARDC President Phil Karn, KA9Q, said. “One way to do this is to work with international organizations that meet [IRS] 501(c)(3) requirements and are able to implement funding in their region. We are excited to see what the DARC will do and look forward to entering into similar partnerships with other organizations outside the US.”

    DARC Chair Christian Entsfellner, DL3MBG, said DARC is “very pleased that we can give the European HAMNET project a big boost with this grant.” DARC will present this project in more detail at the virtual HAM RADIO World, June 25 – 27.

    EASAT-2 and Hades Launch Delayed Again

    Licensing issues have caused another postponement for the EASAT-2 and Hades satellites. The two amateur radio satellites built by AMSAT-EA (Spain) are planned to be carried aloft by a SpaceX launch vehicle. Spain’s IARU member-society URE (Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles) said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US has rejected issuing a license to the integrator Momentus. The FAA denial stems from the company’s capital structure, which, it says, could endanger US national security. The next launch opportunity won’t come until December.

    EASAT-2 and Hades were set to launch in January aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, but the FAA rejected the Momentus license at that time as well. Hades and EASAT-2 are currently at the Momentus space integrator facilities in Santa Clara, California.

    Both satellites are FM and FSK voice repeaters and have digitized voice recordings. Hades also incorporates a slow-scan TV (SSTV) camera, developed by the Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic. As an experimental payload, EASAT-2 incorporates a basaltic material from Lanzarote, similar to lunar basalts, provided by the research group on meteorites and planetary geosciences of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) in the Institute of Geosciences. It’s thought the material could be used as a construction material on the moon.

    Frequencies have been coordinated for both satellites.

    More information is in the May 2021 edition of the AMSAT-EA newsletter (in Spanish).

    Spain’s IARU member-society URE has announced that its satellite ground station has been automated and is ready for the launch of the GENESIS, EASAT-2, and Hades satellites. The satellite monitoring and telecommand station is located at URE’s Madrid headquarters. Work on the project began before the COVID-19 pandemic and included installation of a Linux computer, configuration of software-defined radio (SDR) receive software, transmitting software, and PLUTO hardware, along with automation of the rotator control.

    The station will automatically record and analyze the telemetry of the twin GENESIS satellites, as well as that of EASAT-2 and Hades — all designed and built by AMSAT-EA. It allows for remote control to instruct satellites to modify operation. The GENESIS satellites should be launched soon. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service via AMSAT-UK; AMSAT-EA

    Germany to Resume Exams, Testing Demand Remains Unmet in Brazil

    Germany is allowing in-person amateur radio examinations with a reduced number of candidates per exam session, while the heavy testing demand in Brazil is not being met, according to Liga de Amadores Brasileiros de Rádio Emissão (LABRE), Brazil’s national amateur radio society.

    In Germany, regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BnetzA) says examination sessions may resume for individual exam locations with fewer candidates each time. The regulator had canceled all amateur radio exam administration sessions and asked candidates not to register for testing. That changed at the start of June. The regulator said it’s attempting to offer amateur exams again “at all usual locations.”

    The agency said, “Test participants who have already been invited to an examination and whose examination had to be canceled will receive further information from us by post, pending any further development of the coronavirus pandemic.”

    Finally, BNetzA points out that all invitations to amateur radio exams are subject to the further development of the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike the US, Canada, and the UK, Germany does not permit online exam sessions. Tests must be taken in person at a limited number of government exam centers.

    Brazilian telecommunications regulator Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações (ANATEL) met with representatives of LABRE in mid-May to discuss the conduct of that country’s online exams.

    “ANATEL faces problems in meeting the great demand of people from all over the country who wish to become radio amateurs or progress in class,” the agency said.

    ANATEL said it has only a few examiners and cited technical limitations in the online test application platform, Microsoft Teams, preventing the agency “from making further progress in meeting this demand.”

    During the meeting, LABRE cited what it considers an even more serious problem with the current complexity and slow process involved in granting licenses. LABRE said this has not only frustrated candidates, but led some to simply give up on obtaining amateur radio operator and station licenses. LABRE said the process of getting licensed has been lengthy, extremely complex, and bureaucratic.

    ANATEL proposed a joint effort to administer tests and LABRE said it would assist in the initiative, including online testing. The agency also pointed out that standards governing amateur radio licensing in Brazil are undergoing revision.

    Amateur Radio in the News

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

    · Hamming it up: Radio operators enjoy competitions, plan special Kamehameha Day event / Hawaii Tribune-Herald, June 7, 2021.

    · Celebrating 100 Years, Ogden Radio Club Continues to Grow / KUTV (Utah), May 25, 2021

    · 20 Towns in 20 Days: Newington is Home to the American Radio Relay League / Eyewitness News 3 (CBS), May 24, 2021

    · Connecting with Strangers Over Ham Radio Cleared My Family’s Static / The Boston Globe, May 22, 2021

    Share any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.

    The K7RA Solar Update

    Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Sunspot activity has shown a modest increase over the past 3 weeks, with weekly average daily sunspot averages rising from 24.9 to 28 last week to 34.9 this week. Oddly, average daily solar flux, at 77.7, has remained remarkably unchanged over the same period.

    Average daily planetary A index went from 6.1 last week to 5.9 this week. The middle latitude A index rose from 6.3 to 6.9.

    Predicted solar flux over the next month is 78, 75, and 75 on June 10 – 12; 70 on June 13 – 17; 75 on June 18 – 20; 80, 82, and 77 on June 21 – 23; 76 on June 24 – July 5; 74, 74, and 75 on July 6 – 8, and 74 on July 9 – 14.

    Predicted planetary A index is 5 on June 10 – 13; 8 on June 14 – 15; 20 and 18 on June 16 – 17; 5 on June 18 – 25; 7 on June 26; 5 on June 27 – July 4; 15, 10, and 8 on July 5 – 7; 5 on July 8 – 12; 20 and 8 on July 13 – 14, and 5 after mid – July.

    Watching 6 meters on at 0550 UTC on June 10, I noticed an odd late-night opening in western North America. It showed many long-distance FT8 contacts, but some had positive signal reports. One stood out. It was a 609-mile +5 dB report from K6VVP in San Francisco (CM87rs) to WA7DUH in Eastern Washington (DN06hg).

    Sunspot numbers for June 3 – 9 were 28, 30, 30, 42, 53, 34, and 27, with a mean of 34.9. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 75.5, 77.1, 74.4, 77.4, 80.8, 79.9, and 78.6, with a mean of 77.7. Estimated planetary A indices were 6, 5, 4, 5, 12, 5, and 4, with a mean of 5.9. Middle latitude A index was 8, 4, 4, 6, 15, 7, and 4, with a mean of 6.9.

    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.

    In Brief...

    The FCC is inviting public comments on updating the Commercial Operator License Examination (COLE) Question Pool for Element 7. That covers Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Radio Operating Practices. A proposed updated Element 7 question pool of 600 questions has been submitted to the FCC by the national GMDSS Task Force and has been posted under Docket WT Docket No. 21-238 in the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). The FCC also invites suggestions for new questions to be added to the Element 7 question pool. Comments are due by July 7, 2021.

    Dayton Hamvention® contesting-related activities will move to the Hope Hotel in Dayton, Ohio, in 2022. For many years, these activities took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (now the Radisson Hotel). The schedule will include four nights of the Contest Super Suite, Contest University, Top Band Dinner, Contest Dinner, and the Kansas City (KC) DX Club CW-copying competition. Room reservations are available only by phone, (937) 879-2696. Ask for a reservation in the Contest University 2022 room block. — Thanks to Tim Duffy, K3LR, for the Contest Hotel Committee

    ARRL Volunteer Curator of ARRL’s historical collection, Michael Marinaro, WN1M, of South Glastonbury, Connecticut, died on May 17. An ARRL member, he was 84. “Michael loved the history of radio and had volunteered at ARRL for the past 15 years,” said recently retired ARRL Product Review Engineer Bob Allison, WB1GCM. He authored historical articles for QST, RadCom, and The AWA Journal, where he was a contributing editor. Licensed since 1951, he was active on HF. “This is a loss for ARRL and its members,” Allison said.

    Just Ahead in Radiosport

    · June 12 — AGCW VHF/UHF Contest (CW)

    · June 12 — Asia-Pacific Sprint, SSB

    · June 12 – 13 — DRCG WW RTTY Contest

    · June 12 -13 — SMIRK Contest (CW)

    · June 12 – 13 — Portugal Day Contest (CW, phone)

    · June 12 – 13 — SKCC Weekend Sprintathon (CW)

    · June 12 – 13 — GACW WWSA CW DX Contest

    · June 12 -13 — REF DDFM 6-Meter Contest (CW, phone)

    · June 12 – 14 — ARRL June VHF Contest (CW, phone, digital)

    · June 14 — 4 States QRP Group 2nd Sunday Sprint (CW, phone)

    · June 16 — NAQCC CW Sprint

    · June 16 — SARL Youth Sprint (Phone)

    · June 16 — RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (CW)

    Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions

    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 14 – 15 — QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo (online)

    · August 21 – 22 — ARRL Southeastern Division Convention (Huntsville Hamfest), Huntsville, Alabama

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

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

    Find conventions and hamfests in your area.

    The ARRL Letter appreciates the support of these advertisers:

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