The ARRL Letter
July 18, 2019
* No Consensus Reached for FCC on "Symbol Rate" Issues
* HWN and National Hurricane Center's WX4NHC Activate for Tropical
* Centenarian Radio Amateur's Efforts Helped Pave the Way to the
* The Doctor Will See You Now!
* Major WSJT-X Upgrade Boosts FT4 into "a Finished Protocol for HF
* The K7RA Solar Update
* Just Ahead in Radiosport
* New Summer EURAO Party to Premier FT4
* World Wide Radio Operators Foundation Announces Global Digital DX
* Dayton Hamvention 2019 Attendance Approaches All-Time Peak
* IARU Represents Amateur Radio at CEPT Meetings
* 2018 Leonard Award for Outstanding Video Journalism Presented
* In Brief...
* Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
No Consensus Reached for FCC on "Symbol Rate" Issues
ARRL-initiated efforts for rival parties to reach consensus on issues
raised in the so-called "Symbol Rate" proceeding have ended. In
April, the FCC granted ARRL's request for a 90-day hold in the
proceeding, FCC Docket WT 16-239, to provide an opportunity for ARRL
to lead an effort to determine whether consensus could be reached on
some or all of the issues that commenters raised in the FCC's
proceeding. The FCC already has issued a Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking in WT 16-239, which stemmed from ARRL's rulemaking
Discussions were since widened to include issues raised in another
Petition for Rule Making, RM-11831, filed by Ron Kolarik, K0IDT, that
seeks, "to ensure Amateur Radio digital modes remain openly decodable
and available for monitoring" by the FCC and by other third parties,
including other radio amateurs. His petition also aims to limit
Automatically Controlled Digital Stations (ACDS) to identified
subbands on HF, to reduce interference. Last month, ARRL filed an
interim report with the FCC summarizing its efforts to bring all
sides to the table, and on June 28, ARRL requested an additional
60-day pause to pursue promising talks.
"In seeking the delay, it was the ARRL's intent to facilitate
discussions between the opposing parties in an effort to explore the
possibility of an agreed resolution that would better protect users
of the Amateur Radio spectrum from interference and would permit all
members of the Amateur Radio service to continue to contribute to the
advancement of the radio art," ARRL Washington Counsel David Siddall,
K3ZJ, said, summarizing the situation in a July 15 letter to the FCC.
"The end purpose, if a binding agreement between the opposing parties
could not be reached, was to provide the strongest possible basis for
the ARRL to file its recommendations on a fair and equitable
resolution of the issues."
Siddall said that despite difficulties "partially attributable to the
passions of the respective parties," ARRL was able to schedule
meetings with both sides and, eventually, facilitate joint
discussions among the respective parties.
Siddall said in his letter, "At the beginning of our meetings there
emerged consensus on the issues to be discussed. By the end, the
parties had reached consensus on some of the issues, but not all.
Despite our best efforts, some of the parties did not agree to submit
to the Commission any of the recommendations on which there had been
an apparent consensus, having negotiated with an 'all or nothing'
Despite the disappointing conclusion, Siddall expressed confidence
that a better understanding of issues and positions of the various
interests exists among all of the parties who participated in the
in-person meetings and teleconferences, and that this will have an
overall positive effect upon the outcome of the proceeding. Read
HWN and National Hurricane Center's WX4NHC Activate for Tropical
Responding to then-Tropical Storm Barry, the Hurricane Watch Net
(HWN) and WX4NHC -- the Amateur Radio station at the National
Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami -- activated on July 12. The HWN's
primary frequency is 14.325 MHz with 7.268 MHz as a secondary
channel, depending upon propagation. This time, the HWN fired up on
Net Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, noted that the HWN would be
available to provide back-up communication to official agencies in
the affected area and would collect and report "significant damage
assessment data" to FEMA officials at the National Hurricane Center.
The HWN works in concert with WX4NHC at the NHC to help forecasters
get a better sense of ground-level meteorological data such as wind
speed, barometric pressure, and rainfall.
Forecasters predicted that Barry would develop into a Category 1
hurricane before making landfall, and the storm lived up to those
expectations. Dangerous storm surge, heavy rainfall, and high wind
conditions were expected across the north-central Gulf Coast.
The major fear was that heavy rainfall could generate additional
flooding in the region. NHC forecasters said Barry was expected to
produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 20 inches over
south-central and southeast Louisiana, as well as over southwest
Mississippi, with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches. The actual
rainfall was somewhat less but still significant.
WX4NHC volunteers Susie Blank, WX2L
(left), and Alan Wolfe, WB4L
(right), with WX4NHC Coordinator
John McHugh, K4AG, at the Hurricane
Barry activation. [Julio Ripoll,
The HWN officially secured operations for Hurricane Barry on July 13,
after the storm made landfall on the Louisiana coast. Graves said the
activation for Barry "proved to be a good training platform for our
newest members" and an opportunity to test new systems.
WX4NHC remained active for 2 days, gathering surface reports from
stations located in the affected areas for use by forecasters. "We
received many reports about the flooding, downed trees, road
closures, and power outages," said WX4NHC Assistant Coordinator Julio
Ripoll, WD4R. He expressed gratitude for the support of the Hurricane
Watch Net and the EchoLink VoIP Hurricane Net (WX_TALK).
"Remember, the season is still young, so please, don't drop your
guard," Graves advised
Centenarian Radio Amateur's Efforts Helped Pave the Way to the Moon
The Nashville Tennessean newspaper recently featured the story of a
104-year-old ARRL member who contributed to NASA's effort to put the
first humans on the moon 50 years ago this month. Cary Nettles,
W5SRR, of Columbia, Tennessee -- who calls himself the nation's
oldest rocket scientist still alive -- was a NASA project manager and
research engineer on rocket propulsion systems in the 1950s and
While working on the Centaur second-stage rocket program, Nettles
determined that the rocket engine failures NASA was experiencing were
a result of misdirected exhaust destroying the vehicles' engines.
Nettles told the Tennessean he came up with an "exhaust pipe" that
solved the problem. In May 1966, an Atlas-Centaur launcher propelled
the first Surveyor lander toward the moon. That year, NASA awarded
Nettles and colleague Ed Jonash with its Distinguished Service Medal
for "their superhuman effort in turning the troubled rocket into a
reliable upper stage," according to a 2004 NASA publication, "Taming
Liquid Hydrogen -- The Centaur Upper Stage Rocket 1958 - 2002."
On July 16, 1969, a Saturn V rocket with a liquid hydrogen-fueled
second stage carried astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and
Michael Collins to their rendezvous with the moon. Nettles retired
from NASA the following year.
Nettles got his Amateur Radio license in 1945 and remains active on
40 meters as well as on VHF and UHF repeaters. He is a member of the
Maury Amateur Radio Club. In addition to sustaining his interest in
ham radio over the decades, Nettles is an enthusiast of "large-scale"
steam trains, which he works on in his basement. Look for him
Tuesdays at 1400 UTC on 7.215 MHz on the Steam Railroad Net.
In 2015, the year he turned 100, the ARRL Tennessee Section presented
Nettles with its Elder Statesman Award.
The Doctor Will See You Now!
"Antenna Polarization" is the topic of the new (July 18) episode of
the ARRL The Doctor is In podcast. Listen...and learn!
Sponsored by DX Engineering, ARRL The Doctor is In is an informative
discussion of all things technical. Listen on your computer, tablet,
or smartphone -- whenever and wherever you like!
Every 2 weeks, your host, QST Editor-in-Chief Steve Ford, WB8IMY, and
the Doctor himself, Joel Hallas, W1ZR, will discuss a broad range of
technical topics. You can also email your questions to
, and the Doctor may answer them in a future podcast.
Enjoy ARRL The Doctor is In on Apple iTunes, or by using your iPhone
or iPad podcast app (just search for ARRL The Doctor is In). You can
also listen online at Blubrry, or at Stitcher (free registration
required, or browse the site as a guest) and through the free
Stitcher app for iOS, Kindle, or Android devices. If you've never
listened to a podcast before, download our beginner's guide.
Major WSJT-X Upgrade Boosts FT4 into "a Finished Protocol for HF
The WSJT Development Group has announced the "general availability"
release of WSJT-X version 2.1.0. This major upgrade formally
introduces FT4 as "a finished protocol for HF contesting." Users have
been advised to discontinue using any "release candidate" (beta)
versions of the software that WSJT-X version 2.1.0 supplants. The
latest edition of the popular digital software suite also includes
improvements and bug fixes in several areas, including FT8. The list
* FT8 waveform generated with GMSK and fully backward compatible
* User options for waterfall and spectrum display
* Contest logging
* Rig control
* User interface
The WSJT-X Development Group is providing a separate WSJT-X version
2.1.0 installation package for 64-bit Windows that offers significant
improvements in decoding speed.
A detailed list of program changes since WSJT-X version 2.0.1 is
included in the cumulative release notes. Upgrading from earlier
versions of WSJT-X should be seamless, with no need to uninstall a
previous version or to move any files.
Installation packages for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh are
Visit the FT8/FT4/JT9: WSJT 2-Way Narrow Modes for Amateur Radio
Facebook page for additional information. Read more.
The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Very low solar activity continues;
there were no sunspots. Over the past week, average daily solar flux
changed insignificantly, from 67.1 to 67. Average daily planetary A
index changed from 8.4 to 5.9, while mid-latitude A index changed
from 8.6 to 6.7. Conditions remain quiet. Predicted solar flux is 68
for July 18 - 24, and 67 for July 25 - August 31.
The predicted planetary A index is 5 on July 18 - 22; 8 on July 23; 5
on July 24 - 27; 8 on July 28; 5 on July 29 - August 3; 8, 15, 15,
and 8 on August 4 - 7; 5 on August 8 - 10; 10, 12, and 8 on August 11
- 13; 5 on August 14 - 23; 8 on August 24; 5 on August 25 - 30, and 8
on August 31.
On July 17, Spaceweather.com reported a coronal hole spewing a stream
of solar wind, with arrival expected to cause minor geomagnetic upset
in the July 19 - 20 time frame. Spaceweather also reported that, so
far this calendar year, 64% of all days were without sunspots. Last
year the total percentage of spotless days was 61%, 28% in 2017, 9%
in 2016, and nearly 0% in 2011 - 2015.
N4SO in Alabama reported some success on July 13 running FT8 with 15
W while testing a new antenna. He contacted stations in Texas,
California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Guatemala.
On July 12, KD4SR reported contacting Puerto Rico, Haiti, Hawaii,
Brazil, and Canada from central Florida on 6 meters, running FT8 and
100 W to modest antennas.
Sunspot numbers for July 11 - 17 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a
mean of 0. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 67.1, 66.8, 66, 67.2, 67.1,
67.2, and 67.8, with a mean of 67. Estimated planetary A indices were
8, 5, 6, 5, 7, 4, and 6, with a mean of 5.9. Middle latitude A index
was 9, 5, 6, 6, 8, 5, and 8, with a mean of 6.7.
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 K9LA's Propagation Page.
A propagation bulletin archive is available. Monthly charts offer
propagation projections between the US and a dozen DX locations.
Share your reports and observations.
Just Ahead in Radiosport
* July 20 -- NAQCC CW Sprint
* July 20 -- Russian Radio Team Championship (CW, phone)
* July 20 -- Trans-Tasman Low-Bands Challenge (CW, phone, digital)
* July 20 -- Feld Hell Sprint
* July 20 -- SA Sprint Contest (CW, phone)
* July 20 - 21 -- North American QSO Party, RTTY
* July 20 - 21 -- CQ Worldwide VHF Contest (CW, phone, digital)
* July 21 -- RSGB Low Power Contest (CW)
* July 21 -- CQC Great Colorado Gold Rush (CW)
* July 22 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)
* July 24 -- SKCC Sprint (CW)
* July 25 -- RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (Digital)
See the ARRL Contest Calendar for more information. For in-depth
reporting on Amateur Radio contesting, subscribe to The ARRL Contest
Update via your ARRL member profile email preferences.
New Summer EURAO Party to Premier FT4
The motto of the new European Radio Amateurs' Organization (EURAO)
Summer Party is "Premiering FT4." This is not a contest but an
on-the-air radio gathering with some suggested guidelines. The event
is set for July 27 - 28 UTC.
A new "general availability" release of WSJT-X that includes the
latest FT4 protocol for HF contesting was released on July 15 as part
of WSJT-X 2.1.0. FT4 is designed to be suitable for contesting in a
manner similar to RTTY. Recommended frequencies for FT4 are 3.595,
7.090, 10.140, 14.140, 18.104, 21.140, 24.919, 28.180, 50.318, and
Exchanges are limited to what FT4 can accommodate, such as call sign,
grid square, and signal report. For statistical purposes, EURAO is
asking participants to submit logs in ADIF format, with your call
sign as the file name. No results will be published, only statistical
World Wide Radio Operators Foundation Announces Global Digital DX
The World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF), in collaboration
with the Slovenia Contest Club (SCC), has announced the World Wide
Digi DX Contest (WW Digi), which it hopes will become an annual
event. The inaugural running of the 24-hour contest will take place
on August 31 - September 1. The new contest aims to tap into the
enthusiasm being generated by the new digital modes pioneered by Joe
Taylor, K1JT, and the WSJT-X Development Group. Participants will use
FT4 and FT8 on 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters. The WW Digi will
utilize a distance-based scoring system, with participants earning
points based on the distance between grid square centers of the two
stations in a given contact.
"This will encourage operators to seek out long-distance, weak-signal
contacts that highlight the technical advantages of the new digital
modes," WWROF's announcement said.
To encourage activity across all bands, each new two-character grid
field contacted on each band will be a multiplier. The final score
will the product of total contact points and grid field (i.e., the
initial two letters) contacts. Single-operator and multioperator
entries are invited to take part.
"The contest has been designed to enable making contacts utilizing
standard WSJT-X software behavior, making it easy for non-contesters
to participate," the announcement said. "At the same time, the
contest supports some new techniques that will encourage operating
innovation, such as permitting stations to work up to three 'QSO
streams' on a band at one time. Robotic operation is specifically
prohibited in order to keep the human element as part of the game."
Plaques will be awarded to top scorers. Read more.
Dayton Hamvention 2019 Attendance Approaches All-Time Peak
The Hamvention Executive Team announced July 15 that attendance at
Dayton Hamvention^(R) 2019 was 32,472, the second-largest ever. This
marks the highest attendance recorded since Hamvention moved from
Hara Arena to the Greene County Fairgrounds and Exposition Center in
Xenia, Ohio. This year's attendance also approached an all-time
Hamvention high. Attendance at the show peaked in 1993, while
Hamvention was still being held at Hara Arena, at 33,669, before the
1996 change in date from April to May. Last year, Hamvention welcomed
28,417 visitors in its second year in Xenia. Attendance in 2016 for
the show's final year at Hara was 25,364. Hamvention hosted the ARRL
2019 National Convention, and both embraced the theme of "Mentoring
the Next Generation."
"Our early indications were that 2019 would be a big year, and it
lived up to our expectations," Hamvention General Chair Jack Gerbs,
WB8SCT, said. "Our more than 700 volunteers worked hard to ensure
that we presented a great show for our visitors. It wouldn't have
been possible without them. I also want to thank all our vendors and
visitors and hope they will all be back next year."
Hamvention officials suggested that a small factor behind the
increased attendance might have been the free admission on Sunday, an
effort to allow local non-hams to experience Hamvention. Free Sunday
admission is expected to be continued next year.
The world's largest Amateur Radio exposition, Dayton Hamvention is
sponsored by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) every third
full weekend in May. Hamvention 2020 will take place on May 15, 16,
and 17. Read more.
IARU Represents Amateur Radio at CEPT Meetings
International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU R1) reports that a
further meeting to address the topic of Wireless Power Transmission
(WPT) took place earlier this month. A subgroup of the European
Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT)
Committee SE24, charged with work on a report on generic WPT devices,
met in Copenhagen, Denmark in early July. IARU Region 1 President Don
Beattie, G3BJ, provided input on projections of harmful emissions
from WPT systems -- both generic and WPT for electric vehicles --
operating at existing harmonic emission limits.
IARU also reported on tests carried out on small WPT devices, and a
full report is to be considered at the next meeting in September.
IARU continues to argue for tighter emission limits on harmonics and
other spurious emissions from WPT systems, which have the potential
to cause sustained harmful interference to incumbent radio services.
IARU also was represented at a recent meeting in Switzerland of the
CEPT Project Team D. This was the last of the CEPT project team
meetings preparing European Common Proposals (ECP) for a number of
agenda items for World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19)
this fall in Egypt.
WRC-19 agenda item 1.1, which addresses the possibility of a
"harmonized" Region 1 allocation at 50 MHz, was the key issue to be
resolved. The project team agreed on the text of an ECP for WRC-19,
which, if adopted by the delegates, would see an entry in the
International Table of Allocations for Region 1 and allocate 50 - 52
MHz to Amateur Radio on a secondary basis.
In addition, the team agreed upon the addition of a footnote to the
International Table to permit individual CEPT countries to introduce
a national primary allocation in the 50.0 - 50.5 MHz subband.
IARU will attend the final meeting of CEPT's Conference Preparatory
Group (CPG) in late August and finalize CEPT's input to WRC-19. That
meeting will consider a proposal by France to allocate 144 - 146 MHz
to the Aeronautical Service on a primary basis.
2018 Leonard Award for Outstanding Video Journalism Presented
ARRL Hudson Division Director Ria Jairam, N2RJ, and Vice Director
Bill Hudzik, W2UDT, recently presented the ARRL 2018 Leonard Award
for Outstanding Video Journalism to NJTV public television
correspondent Andrew Schmertz. The presentation took place in at NJTV
in Newark, New Jersey.
2018 Leonard Award for Outstanding
Video Journalism recipient Andrew
Schmertz of NJTV is flanked by
Hudson Division Director Ria
Jairam, N2RJ (left), and Vice
Director Bill Hudzik, W2UDT.
Schmertz was recognized for his story that featured interviews with
New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Assistant Research
Professor Nathan Frissell, W2NAF, co-founder of HamSCI and the Solar
Eclipse QSO Party, as well as numerous faculty members, members of
the NJIT Amateur Radio station K2MFF, and attendees at a February
2018 HamSCI conference at NJIT that Frissell spearheaded. The
conference focused on the significance of measuring the effects of
solar activity on radio communication. Through HamSCI, Frissell was
instrumental in enlisting the global Amateur Radio community to gauge
the effects of the August 2017 solar eclipse on propagation.
The ARRL Board of Directors conferred the Leonard Award on Schmertz
upon recommendation of the ARRL Public Relations Committee, which
oversees the Leonard Awards for Outstanding Journalism in print,
audio, and video. The award's namesake is the late CBS News President
Bill Leonard, W2SKE.
The ARRL Board of Directors will meet July 19 - 20 in Windsor,
Connecticut, for its second meeting of 2019. According to the agenda,
the Board will hear reports from officers and committees as well as
from some Headquarters staff managers. Representatives of the
International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) and Radio Amateurs of Canada
(RAC) are expected to attend as guests of the Board.
Language in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization
Act of 2018 will exclude all but a small number of Amateur Radio
towers from marking requirements. Thanks to action taken in 2017 and
2018 by ARRL, the bill's original language was amended to the extent
that amateur towers, as well as residential towers used for
over-the-air TV reception, were effectively exempted from marking
requirements. The topic was addressed at the annual "Ham Radio and
the Law" forum at the Dayton Hamvention^(R) this past May. Some key
points from that presentation: (1) Towers covered by the rules are
structures at least 50 feet tall that support an antenna and are
located in a rural area or on farmland or immediately adjacent to
such land. (2) According to the Act, the term "covered tower" does
not include any structure that is adjacent to a house, barn, or other
building, and "is within the curtilage of a farmstead or adjacent to
another building or visible structure." ARRL Regulatory Information
Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, explains that, while a few Amateur Radio
towers will fall under the Act's marking requirements and will have
to be registered, towers in residential yards or within farmland are
specifically exempted. More information is on the ARRL website.
AMSAT has issued a first call for papers for its anniversary
symposium this fall. The 50th anniversary AMSAT Annual Meeting and
Space Symposium will be held October 18 - 20 at The Hilton Arlington,
950 North Stafford Street, Arlington, Virginia. Proposals for papers,
symposium presentations, and poster presentations are invited on any
topic of interest to the Amateur Satellite community. AMSAT request a
working title for presentations, with final presentations submitted
by September 23 for inclusion in the printed proceedings. Send
abstracts and papers to Dan Schultz, N8FGV. -- Thanks to AMSAT
Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
* July 19 - 21 -- Nevada State Convention, Reno, Nevada
* July 25 - 27 -- Central States VHF Conference, Lincoln, Nebraska
* July 26 - 27 -- Ham Holiday, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
* August 2 - 3 -- Austin Summerfest, Austin, Texas
* August 3 - 4 -- Cedar Valley ARC Hamfest/Midwest STEM Techfest,
Central City, Iowa
* August 8 - 10 -- Rocky Mountain Division Convention, Ogden, Utah
* August 9 - 11 -- Pacific Northwest DX Convention, Everett,
* August 17 - 18 -- Huntsville Hamfest, Alabama State Convention,
* August 24 -- Society of Midwest Contesters Specialty Convention,
* August 23 - 25 -- West Virginia State Convention, Weston, West
* September 6 - 7 -- Arkansas State Convention, Mena, Arkansas
* September 6 - 7 -- Wyoming State Convention, Gillette, Wyoming
* September 6 - 8 -- New England Division Convention, Boxborough,
* September 7 -- Virginia Section Convention, Virginia Beach,
* September 13 - 14 -- W9DXCC 2019, St. Charles, Illinois
* September 21 - 22 -- New Mexico State Convention, Albuquerque,
* September 27 - 28 -- Central Division Convention, Milwaukee,
* September 28 -- Dakota Division Convention, West Fargo, North
* September 28 -- Washington State Convention, Spokane Valley,
Find conventions and hamfests in your area.
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