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The ARRL Letter November 18, 2021
- Registration Opens for the 2022 ARRL National Convention in Orlando
- Russia's Destruction of an Orbiting Satellite Raises Space Debris Concerns
- ARRL Podcasts Schedule
- Ham Radio Volunteers Support Communication for Tour de Lincoln Bicycle Event
- ARRL Learning Network Webinars
- Amateur Radio in the News
- AREx Says Artemis 2 Proposal Process was Instructive
- In Brief...
- The K7RA Solar Update
- Just Ahead in Radiosport
- Upcoming Section, State, and Division Conventions
ARRL Headquarters will be closed on Thursday, November 25, and Friday,
November 26, for the Thanksgiving holiday. The ARRL Letter will not be
published on Thursday, November 25, and ARRL Audio News will not be produced
on Friday, November 26. There will be no W1AW bulletin and code practice
transmissions on either day. ARRL Headquarters will reopen on Monday,
November 29 at 8 AM EST. ARRL wishes you a safe and enjoyable holiday.
Registration Opens for the 2022 ARRL National Convention in Orlando
ARRL and the Orlando Amateur Radio Club (OARC) will host the 2022 ARRL
National Convention and Orlando HamCation© on February 10 - 13, 2022, in
Orlando, Florida. The convention theme, "reDiscover Radio," highlights radio
amateurs' commitment to developing knowledge and skills in radio technology
and radio communication. Convention co-organizer and ARRL Director of Public
Innovation Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, promises the ARRL National Convention at
Orlando HamCation will be one of the best in-person conventions that ARRL
has ever assembled.
"There will be expert presenters, community-building opportunities, and
plenty of social time to celebrate being together with our friends from
across the ham radio community," Inderbitzen said. "And who doesn't love
Florida in February?"
The convention will kick off on Thursday, February 10, with a series of
morning and afternoon Training Tracks and a National Convention Luncheon at
the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando at SeaWorld. Registration is now open
for Thursday's program, and an early-bird registration rate of $75 is in
effect through December 15.
The National Convention Training Tracks are workshops providing an in-depth
learning experience in one of the four track topics. Attendees will select a
Training Track when completing their online National Convention registration.
Training Track #1: Contest University. This marks the first time that
Contest University¸ (CTU) is coming to Orlando. Registrants will learn from
some of the top amateur radio contesters in the world. CTU will appeal to
new and veteran contesters alike who are looking to hone their skills.
Presenters cover general contest operations, contesting skills, and many
resources and tools to get more out of contesting. The Track Leaders are Tim
Duffy, K3LR, and Teri Grizer, K8MNJ. Presenters include ARRL US Virgin
Islands Section Manager Fred Kleber, K9VV/NP2X; Chris Blake, NX4N; Luis
Romero, W4LT; Claudio Veroli, I4VEQ, and Max Fountain, KJ4EUT, who will
offer a youth perspective on contesting.
Training Track #2: Emergency Communications Academy. Guest speakers from
amateur radio emergency communications training will present an overview of
amateur radio responses during disasters, message traffic handling, Amateur
Radio Emergency Service© (ARES©), Auxiliary Communications (AUXCOMM),
Winlink, emergency antennas, and emergency power. Participants will learn
the skills and roles needed to be an effective volunteer. The Track Leader
is Rick Palm, K1CE. Presenters include Gordon Gibby, KX4Z; Mike Walters,
W8ZY; Curt Bartholomew, N3GQ; Matthew Curtin, KD8TTE; Helen Straughn,
WC4FSU; Leland Gallup, AA3YB; Earl McDow, K4ZSW, and others.
Training Track #3: Hands-On Handbook. Generations of radio amateurs have
turned to The ARRL Handbook to be inspired to be radio-active in new ways!
This series of presentations will take a deeper dive into a handful of
topics covered in the Handbook, encouraging you to explore a variety of
amateur radio activities. Topics (subject to change) include portable
operating, remote station control, amateur satellite communications, and HF
Training Track #4: Technology Academy. Track Leader Kristen McIntyre,
K6WX, will be joined by technical experts in the amateur radio community,
including ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI. Topics (subject to change)
include antennas, radios, standing wave ratio (SWR), grounds, and "hints and
hacks" to keep our stations humming along at maximum efficiency.
Registration includes the National Convention Luncheon, featuring a keynote
address by ARRL CEO David Minster, NA2AA.
The rest of the celebration continues at HamCation on Friday, Saturday, and
Sunday (February 11 - 13) at Central Florida Fairgrounds and Expo Park in
Orlando -- an 87-acre lakefront fairground. Tickets for HamCation are sold
separately and are now available for purchase.
OARC President John Knott, N4JTK, notes that the 2022 convention marks the
75th anniversary of HamCation, one of the largest annual gatherings of radio
amateurs in the US. "We want our diamond anniversary show to be an exciting,
five-star event," said Knott. "We look forward to seeing you in Orlando in
For further details, visit the 2022 ARRL National Convention website at
www.arrl.org/expo and the Orlando HamCation website at www.hamcation.com.
Russia's Destruction of an Orbiting Satellite Raises Space Debris Concerns
Russia tested an anti-satellite weapon on November 15, destroying Kosmos
1408, one of its own old and now-defunct satellites. Launched in 1982,
Kosmos 1408 was some 300 miles above Earth. Its destruction generated a
debris field in low-Earth orbit that prompted the seven International Space
Station crew members, including one Russian cosmonaut, to take cover in
their crew capsules for several hours, in case they had to abandon the
The proliferation of spacecraft in Earth orbit has greatly increased the
possibility of collision with space debris. [Photo courtesy of NASA]
"The [ISS] is passing through or near the cloud every 90 minutes, but the
need to shelter for only the second and third passes of the event was based
on a risk assessment made by the debris office and ballistics specialists at
NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston," NASA Chief Bill Nelson explained.
Occupants of the Chinese space station are reported to have taken similar
The incident also has generated criticism from many corners, as well as a
grave discussion on the possible impact of any future such tests, by Russia
or anyone else.
The danger of damage to the ISS or an orbiting satellite aside, tracking a
debris field that could include thousands of pieces, in order to head off
collisions, is a concern all its own. Very small debris in space is
essentially impossible to track reliably, if at all. The incident also comes
at a time when the number of spacecraft orbiting Earth continues
to grow. AMSAT President Robert Bankston, KE4AL, said that Russia's action
will pose a threat to all activities in low Earth orbit for years to come,
placing satellites and human spaceflight missions at risk.
"Space is already crowded, but now there are at least 1,500 trackable
fragments and, possibly, hundreds of thousands of smaller yet
still-threatening pieces of debris in low-Earth orbit," Bankston said.
"While space stations have the capability to move out of the way, with
sufficient notice, most satellites in low-Earth orbit, including those
designed, built, launched, and operated by AMSAT, do not. As such, they face
greater risk of catastrophic destruction or degraded mission functionality,
if struck by fragments from Russia's destruction of Kosmos-1408."
Bankston said AMSAT is closely monitoring the situation and hoping for the
Nelson echoed Secretary of State Antony Blinken in expressing his own
outrage at Russia's action. "Their actions are reckless and dangerous
threatening as well the Chinese space station and the taikonauts on board,"
FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington condemned the incident as "irresponsible"
and noting that orbital debris fields pose a threat to hopes for the
peaceful use of space and "make the work of using space complicated and
difficult," he said in a statement. "No one owns space," Simington said.
"And no one should intentionally make it more difficult to use."
The FCC has made it clear that orbital debris rules apply to amateur
satellites, in general requiring submission of an orbital debris mitigation
plan with each license application. Read an expanded version.
ARRL Podcasts Schedule
The latest episode of the On the Air podcast (Episode 23) features an
in-depth discussion of Q-Signals, along with several on-the-air examples.
The latest edition of the Eclectic Tech podcast (Episode 47) features a
discussion of new developments in chlorine battery technology, and a chat
with ARRL Central Division Director Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, about the 1921
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.
Ham Radio Volunteers Support Communication for Tour de Lincoln Bicycle Event
Twenty-two radio amateurs from the Western Placer Amateur Radio Club (WPARC)
in Lincoln, California, provided communications and other support for the
Rotary Club of Lincoln Tour de Lincoln charity bicycle event on October 30.
The Tour de Lincoln consists of three routes -- 25-kilometer, 50-kilometer,
and 100-kilometer rides through the hills of Lincoln, California. At least
425 riders participated in this year's event, with 230 of them on the
100-kilometer route. The mayor of Lincoln participated in the 50-kilometer
ride. This was the 14th year that WPARC volunteers have supported the event.
"Our goal is to help the cyclists, their support crews, and their families
have a safe and enjoyable event," said Roger Brunnquell, K6OU, the club
coordinator for the event. "Similar to a real emergency event, we have to be
flexible in our planning and execution." In addition to communication, the
WPARC radio operators are able to help with basic bicycle repairs or to
transport a broken bike and/or an overly fatigued rider back to base. The
participating ham radio operators get to dust off their event and emergency
communication skills by providing support, which Brunnquell said is greatly
appreciated by the riders and the Lincoln community.
The WPARC K6PAC repeater serves as the communications backbone, with two
alternate repeaters in the area available for tactical and emergency use.
"This year, we had 14 support and gear (SAG) units on the course and hams at
the three rest stops," Brunnquell said. "All ham radio vehicles on the
course and at rest stops bore SAG signs printed on bright orange cardstock
so riders could flag them for help," he explained.
"We take our responsibilities very seriously, but have a lot of fun at the
same time. One of our rules as a club is that we never leave [our assigned
positions] as long as there is a rider on the course," said Michael Buck,
K6BUK, who leads the net control team for the event. "At net control, we log
the time and content of every communication.
From left to right: Michael Buck, K6BUK, operated net control with this
year's event director Bryan Ludwig and past event director Jerry Johnson, at
McBean Memorial Park in Lincoln, California. [Photo courtesy of the Rotary
Club of Lincoln]
The Net Control Station (NCS) was located at the event's base and the
riders' starting and ending point. The experienced team of three net control
operators set up a station, ran the event, and interacted with the event
director, from coordinating vehicle rollout to staffing rest-stop relay
stations, checking out first aid and mechanical kits, and preparing for the
Many of the WPARC radio operators have been helping with the event for over
10 years. "Every year we add a few new radio operators, which helps our
continuity of operations for the subsequent years," Brunnquell emphasized.
"But what makes the amateur radio portion of the event so successful is
those who come back year after year. They know the routine, they just need
updates, course changes, and additional training determined from the last
year." After the event, the volunteers evaluate what went well and what
improvements are needed.
Rotary Club of Lincoln Event Director Bryan Ludwig told Brunnquell that some
riders said the ham radio support was an order of magnitude better than what
they had experienced in other cycle events and made them feel safe. --
Thanks to Frank Boardman, K1FMB
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.
More webinars are coming soon!
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.
The ARRL Learning Network schedule is subject to change.
Amateur Radio in the News
ARRL Public Information Officers, Coordinators, and many other
member-volunteers help keep amateur radio and ARRL in the news.
RamSat taking photos while orbiting Earth / Yahoo! (California) November
Alike, but Not Alike: Broadcast vs. Ham Radio / Radio World (Washington,
DC) November 7, 2021
Redding Home Resident Looking for a Few Good Vets to Ham It Up on
Amateur Radio / CalVet Connect (California) October 11, 2021
Share any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.
AMSAT is looking for volunteers. Keeping amateur radio in space is a
team effort, and volunteers carry out all of the work. AMSAT seeks
individuals having a wide range of technical and non-technical skills.
Openings include Vice President of User Services, Secretary, Volunteer
Coordinator, and Public Information Officer. Submit a resume and cover
letter to Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, or email.
GB1002ZE and GB2ZE will be on December 1 - 26 to mark the first personal
message sent across the Atlantic Ocean from ham to ham on December 12, 1921.
In Scotland that day was 2ZE, Paul Godley, who went to the UK representing
ARRL to attempt this test. The Ardrossan, Scotland, area Crocodile Rock
Amateur Group, is handling this commemorative operation.
CF3BP will be on the air until December 12 to celebrate 100 years of
transatlantic communications. 3BP was the call sign of Edward Roger Sr., the
first Canadian ham to make a transatlantic contact -- from Ontario to
TM60ANT will be on the air until the end of November to mark the 60th
anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty signing. France was one of the 12
original signatories on December 1, 1959. QSL via F8DVD.
With authorization from the US Navy's 3rd Fleet Spectrum Manager, the
Battleship Iowa Amateur Radio Association (BIARA) Inc. and the Iowa's
Innovation and Engineering Team will activate the ship's legacy Navy NEPM
call sign on December 7, 2021, 1600 - 2359 UTC, to commemorate Pearl Harbor
Day. NEPM will transmit on 14,781.5 kHz USB and listen on 14,343 kHz USB.
QSLs will be available for a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
AREx Says Artemis 2 Proposal Process was Instructive
Last November, NASA called for proposal submissions to document the story of
the Artemis 2 mission to the moon. Amateur Radio Exploration (AREx), a joint
initiative of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) and
AMSAT, submitted its plan to fly hardware and cameras on the lunar mission.
Although NASA did not select the AREx proposal, ARISS-USA Executive Director
Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, found a silver lining in the whole process. Bauer said
the AREx team "learned a great deal in the development of the proposal" and
was able to significantly refine its lunar payload design into a concept
that can now meet Lunar Gateway payload requirements.
When NASA next returns astronauts to the moon, National Geographic cameras
will document the historic space mission, in order to share it with the
public. On October 29, NASA announced its selection of the
exploration-focused media company to assist in telling the story of Artemis
2. Like Apollo 8, Artemis 2 will be the first planned human spaceflight
mission in more than 50 years to orbit the moon and return to Earth.
"This time, we are bringing partners and technologies that will create
additional opportunities for the world to share in the experience along with
our astronauts," said Kathy Lueders, NASA Associate Administrator for the
Space Operations Mission Directorate.
Through its proposal entitled, "The Excitement and Inspiration of Artemis
Journeys to a Worldwide Audience through Interactive Amateur Radio
Experiences," AREx wanted to evolve its design to make sure it meets all
known NASA Gateway requirements, "which, at the beginning of the proposal
development, we were not meeting," Bauer said. He said its revised payload
design concept will position the AREx team to respond to future lunar
opportunity requests, as well as to communicate its readiness to fly as a
payload on the Lunar Gateway mission.
ARISS-USA Executive Director Frank Bauer, KA3HDO.
Bauer said AREx went into the proposal process knowing there was a high
probability that an organization like National Geographic might propose.
"But you can never be sure," he said, adding that AREx also did not want to
miss any lunar opportunity.
"What we did learn was that we could develop a hardware concept that can
meet the volume, mass, and power requirements of Gateway, and that we could
develop an antenna scheme that would not require an antenna-pointing system
and still have some decent gain toward Earth."
NASA's Lunar Gateway will be an orbiting lunar outpost that will provide
vital support for a long-term human return to the lunar surface, as well as
a staging point for deep-space exploration. It is a critical component of
NASA's Artemis program.
"On behalf of the AREx team, my thanks to all who supported the maturation
of our lunar design and the development and submission of the proposal,"
Bauer said. -- Thanks to ARISS-USA Executive Director Frank Bauer, KA3HDO,
via AMSAT News Service
Australian hams show high interest in new 2 ž 1 contest call signs. The
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) amateur radio office
has been receiving a high volume of requests for the newly available 2 ž 1
contest call signs. ACMA says the processing time for exam and call sign
applications is now 15 business days. Use of the new call signs starts
November 1, for contests only. At this point, each call sign is valid for 1
year. All 26 VK3-prefix 2 ž 1 call signs were snapped up quickly; demand was
lower in other call areas. A database of 2 ž 1 call signs is available.
The Radio Club of America (RCA) has shifted the 2021 Technical Symposium and
Awards Banquet to a virtual platform. "This decision was made out of an
abundance of caution and in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its
multiple variants," RCA said. "We are fortunate to have the experience of
doing this in 2020 with great success, and are confident we can provide the
same, or even better, experience this year." The Virtual Technical Symposium
and Awards Banquet is set for Saturday, November 20. The cost for the
Technical Symposium is now $40. There is no registration fee for the Awards
Program, although registration is required.
A consultation now in play would permit issuance of amateur radio licenses
in the British Antarctic Territory (BAT). The proposal follows several
months of protracted negotiations involving the UK communications regulator
Ofcom, the Falkland Islands Communications Regulator, and the governments of
the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) and BAT. The new prefix
of VPť would be applied to BAT stations. The existing VP8 prefix would then
apply exclusively to the Falkland Islands. It's proposed that the Falkland
Islands Communications Regulator will administer these licenses. The VPť
prefix would apply in the British-claimed sector of the Antarctic mainland,
including the Antarctic Peninsula and nearby islands, such as the South
Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, and SGSSI.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: New sunspots appeared on November 14 and
16, but solar activity was lower, and geomagnetic activity was lower as well.
Average daily sunspot numbers declined from 36.4 last week to 30.9 in the
November 11 - 17 reporting week. Solar flux averages were off as well,
dipping to to 80.8 this week compared to 89.1 last week.
Average daily planetary A index declined from 18 to 7, and average middle
latitude numbers went from 11.7 to 4.9. Middle latitude A index daily
average went all the way down to zero on November 13.
We see no high numbers in the solar flux prediction, which has 78 on
November 18 - 20; 80 on November 21 - 24; 83 on November 25; 85 on November
26 - 27; 83 on November 28 - 29; 85 on November 30 - December 2; 82 on
December 3 - 11; 79, 80, and 79 on December 12 - 14; 78, 77, 79, and 81 on
December 15 - 18; 83 on December 19 - 21, and 85 on December 22 - 24.
Predicted planetary A index is a quiet 5 on November 18 - 20; then 12 and 8
on November 21 - 22; 5 on November 23 - 27; 10, 10, and 8 on November 28 -
30; 5 on December 1 - 12; 12 on December 13 - 14, and back to 5 on December
15 - 24.
Sunspot numbers for November 11 - 17 were 39, 39, 24, 23, 23, 35, and 33,
with a mean of 30.9. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 84.5, 82.9, 81, 78.7,
79.3, 80.1, and 79.2, with a mean of 80.8. Estimated planetary A indices
were 4, 4, 3, 4, 9, 13, and 12, with a mean of 7. Middle latitude A index
was 3, 3, 0, 2, 6, 11, and 9, with a mean of 4.9.
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 the
Propagation Page of Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA.
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
November 19 -- YO International PSK31 Contest
November 20 - 21 -- ARRL EME Contest (CW, phone, digital)
November 20 - 21 -- LZ DX Contest (CW, phone)
November 20 -- All Austrian 160-Meter Contest (CW)
November 20 - 21 -- REF 160-Meter Contest (CW)
November 20 -- Feld Hell Sprint
November 20 -- RSGB 1.8-MHz Contest (CW)
November 20 - 22 -- ARRL November Sweepstakes, SSB
November 21 -- Homebrew and Oldtime Equipment Party (CW)
November 21 -- FISTS Sunday Sprint (CW)
November 21 - 22 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)
November 24 -- SKCC Sprint (CW)
November 24 -- UKEICC 80-Meter Contest (CW)
November 25 -- RSGB 80-Meter Autumn Series (CW)
November 27 - 28 -- CQ World Wide DX Contest (CW)
November 29 -- RSGB FT4 Contest Series
December 1 -- Phone Weekly Test - Fray
December 1 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test (CW; two events)
December 1 -- VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest
December 3 - 5 -- ARRL 160-Meter Contest (CW)
Upcoming Section, State, and Division Conventions
December 10 - 11 -- ARRL West Central Florida Section Convention (Tampa
Bay Hamfest), Plant City, Florida
January 8 -- ARRL New York City-Long Island Section Convention (Ham
Radio University), Online
January 14 - 15 -- ARRL North Texas Section Convention (Cowtown
Hamfest), Forest Hill, Texas
January 22 -- ARRL Midwest Division Convention (Winterfest),
January 28 - 29 -- ARRL Delta Division Convention (Capital City Hamfest
2022), Jackson, Mississippi
Search the ARRL Hamfest and Convention Database to find events in your area.
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