Nominations Solicited for Six ARRL Awards

ARRL is inviting nominations for awards that recognize educational and technological pursuits in amateur radio. Nominations are also open for the League’s premier award to honor a young licensee.

  • The Hiram Percy Maxim Award recognizes a radio amateur and ARRL member younger than age 21, whose accomplishments and contributions are of the most exemplary nature within the framework of amateur radio activities. Nominations for this award are made through ARRL Section Managers, who will forward nominations to ARRL Headquarters. The deadline is March 31, 2020.
  • The ARRL Herb S. Brier Instructor of the Year Award honors an ARRL volunteer amateur radio instructor or ARRL professional classroom teacher who uses creative instructional approaches and reflects the highest values of the amateur radio community. The award highlights quality of and commitment to licensing instruction. Nominations are due by March 16, 2020.
  • The ARRL Microwave Development Award pays tribute to a radio amateur or group of radio amateurs who contribute to the development of the amateur radio microwave bands. The nomination deadline is March 31, 2020.
  • The ARRL Technical Service Award recognizes an individual radio amateur or group of radio amateurs who provide amateur radio technical assistance or training. The nomination deadline is March 31, 2020.
  • The ARRL Technical Innovation Award is conferred on an individual radio amateur or group of radio amateurs who develop and apply new technical ideas or techniques in amateur radio. The nomination deadline is March 31, 2020.
  • The Knight Distinguished Service Award recognizes exceptional contributions by a Section Manager to the health and vitality of ARRL. The nomination deadline is April 30, 2020.

The ARRL Board of Directors selects award recipients, and winners are typically announced following the Board’s July meeting. More information about these awards on the ARRL website, or contact Steve Ewald, WV1X, telephone (860) 594-0265.

Puerto Rico Volunteers Deployed to Red Cross, ARRL Sending Equipment

Puerto Rico Section Manager Oscar Resto, KP4RF, reports that several Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers have been deployed to earthquake-ravaged regions of the island at the request of the American Red Cross. Initial operations got under way in the town of Yauco, where the Red Cross has a central warehouse for the earthquake relief effort. Operations are on VHF and UHF, although commercial telecommunication services remain in operation for the most part. A station has also been activated at the Red Cross Headquarters in the capital of San Juan, which is not in the earthquake zone. Aftershocks continue on the island. A magnitude 5.9 tremor struck over the weekend.“The stations are operating as a backbone, in case a new or stronger earthquake hits the region,” Resto explained. “HF equipment is stored in Pelican Cases for protection from a larger catastrophic event, if communications fail.” Power has been re-established over more than 90% of Puerto Rico, and water service is operational in most places, Resto added.

ARRL is shipping six VHF/UHF base/repeater antennas and six 50-foot rolls of LMR-400 coax, through the Ham Aid Fund.

Since January 12, the ARES Zone 5 amateur radio volunteers have been handling health-and-welfare traffic from the earthquake zone, reports Yauco ARES District Emergency Coordinator Heriberto Perez, WP4ZZ, who said internet service has been slow. He said the Red Cross has been providing food and drinks for the volunteers. Operations are running from 9 AM until 5 PM each day.

“Today was a bit of a rough day,” Perez said on Saturday. “Many quakes during the day. It feels like you’re in a simulator.” He said the three-person team is using UHF for direct contact with San Juan, with a backup support frequency on VHF, and communication has been solid.

“During the course of the day, we began to handle health-and-welfare traffic from nearby victims,” he said. “We are now reaching out to affected communities asking for tents for the community [as well as] diapers or medicine, and many other requests. We also initiated food collection in our community.”

Perez said an HF radio was to be on site for backup on 20 and 40 meters. Power to the distribution center is 40% from the power utility and 60% from generators.

Resto said over the weekend that he’d been told that the Red Cross was relocating the disaster relief operation to Mayagüez, which is a much closer site to the initial impact area, and ARES will provide communication support at the new site.

“A personal comment,” Resto added. “[It] is very difficult to sleep with so many earthquakes — more than 3,000 from December 28 — shaking your house. I hope that my house survives these intense seismic events.”

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the southwestern part of Puerto Rico on January 7, fast on the heels of a magnitude 5.8 tremor the day before. The worst-impacted cities were Guayanilla, Peñuelas, Yauco, and Guánica, where, Resto said, engineers have determined that 80% of the houses in the earthquake’s impact zone are uninhabitable.

Resto told ARRL last week that the earthquake disaster has definitely been a setback for the US territory as it continues its long recovery from severe hurricane damage in 2017.

ARRL On the Air Podcast Premieres on January 16

ARRL’s new On the Air podcast for those just getting started on their amateur radio journey, will debut this Thursday, January 16, with a new podcast posted each month. The podcast is a companion to the new bimonthly On the Air magazine, which is already on its way to member subscribers. On the Air magazine editor Becky Schoenfeld, W1BXY, will be the host of the new podcast. Both the podcast and the magazine are aimed at offering new and beginner-to-intermediate-level radio amateurs a fresh approach to exploring radio communication.Listeners can find the On the Air podcast at Blubrry, Apple iTunes (or by using your iPhone or iPad podcast app (search for On the Air), and Stitcher (or through the free Stitcher app for iOS, Kindle, or Android devices). Episodes will be archived on the ARRL website.

Each On the Air podcast will take a deeper dive into the articles and issues raised in the magazine, including advice and insight on topics covering the range of amateur radio interests and activities: radio technology, operating, equipment, project building, and emergency communication.

Supplementing On the Air will be a new Facebook page for those who share a love of radio communication and are looking to learn and explore more about their interests.

The biweekly Eclectic Tech podcast for experienced radio amateurs will launch on February 13. Hosted by QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, Eclectic Tech will highlight topics involving amateur and non-amateur technology, offer brief interviews with individuals involved in projects of interest to amateurs, and include practical information of immediate benefit to today’s hams. Eclectic Tech will be available via iTunes and Stitcher.

The ARRL Mags apps including QST and On the Air are now live on Apple iTunes and Google Play. The digital edition of On the Air magazine is now live and linked from the On the Air page on the ARRL website.

Leadership Elections to Highlight January 17 – 18 ARRL Annual Board Meeting

The ARRL Board of Directors will elect League officers when it meets for its 2020 annual meeting on January 17 – 18 in Windsor, Connecticut. The Board will hear nominations and then vote, as necessary, for ARRL president, first and second vice presidents, international affairs vice president, secretary, treasurer, chief executive officer, and chief financial officer. The Board will also choose members to serve on the Executive Committee and on the ARRL Foundation Board. Successful candidates will take office after the Board meeting adjourns.Some new faces will be around the table. The ARRL Southeastern Division has entirely new leadership. In last year’s elections, Mickey Baker, N4MB, defeated Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, to become the new Southeastern Division Director, while James Schilling, KG4JSZ, won a three-way race for Vice Director. In the Southwest Division, new Vice Director Mark Weiss, K6FG, was the sole candidate to succeed Ned Stearns, AA7A, who decided not to stand for another term.

The Board will hear officers’ reports and receive financial reports. Members will also hear reports from ARRL’s Washington Counsel, David Siddall, K3ZJ, and from its Connecticut Counsel. The Board will also receive and consider reports and recommendations from committees and coordinators.

The Board will also consider recommendations of the Standing Committees, including the Executive Committee, the Administration and Finance Committee, and the Programs and Services Committee and consider additional recommendations as contained in reports.

The meeting will hear any motions that the 15 individual Directors may offer for Board consideration

ARRL Reshapes its Podcast Offerings for 2020

In conjunction with the launch of its new On the Air magazine, which is aimed at those just beginning their journey in amateur radio, ARRL is reconfiguring its podcast lineup.Heading up the new schedule will be a free companion podcast to the bimonthly On the Air magazine. The “On the Air” podcast will take a deeper look into select features and projects from the magazine. Each month, host and On the Air Editorial Director Becky Schoenfeld, W1BXY, will offer additional resources, techniques, and hints to help less-experienced radio amateurs to get the most from the magazine’s content.

In addition to the podcast, ARRL will introduce a free “On the Air” blog featuring curated content from the communicators and makers who are the driving force of amateur radio today. Curated by ARRL Product Development manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, the blog will highlight opportunities and activities available to new licensees. The “On the Air” blog is intended as an entry point into the world of amateur radio for those seeking original voices and perspectives. Readers will be invited to take part in the conversation by sharing their stories and experiences.

ARRL’s current “So Now What?” podcast will cease production in January 2020, as the full complement of On the Air content is rolled out. The catalog of “So Now What?” episodes is available for listening or downloading.

In addition, “The Doctor is In” podcast, which has served more-experienced amateurs since 2016, will conclude its 4-year run on December 19, 2019. “Eclectic Tech,” a new bi-weekly podcast designed to appeal to experienced amateurs, will launch in February 2020.

Hosted by QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, “Eclectic Tech” will highlight technical topics involving amateur and non-amateur technology, offer brief interviews with individuals involved in projects of interest to amateurs, and include practical information of immediate benefit to today’s hams.

“The Doctor is In” co-host Joel Hallas, W1ZR, is selecting some of his favorite podcast episodes for re-broadcast in the interim between the end of production for “The Doctor is In” and the debut of “Eclectic Tech.” The complete “The Doctor is In” archive is available on the ARRL website. Hallas will continue to answer questions about amateur radio in QST’s “The Doctor is In” column.

The “ARRL Audio News” podcast will continue to provide a weekly summary of news and activities within the amateur radio community.

2019 ARRL Board of Directors Election Results

Incumbent Director John Robert Stratton, N5AUS, defeated challenger Madison Jones, W5MJ, to be re-elected as Director of the West Gulf Division, based on results from ballot tabulations on Friday, November 15, in the 2019 ARRL Board of Director elections. The vote was 2498 for Stratton and 1,405 for Jones.

A new Director and Vice Director have been elected in the ARRL’s Southeastern Division. Mickey Baker, N4MB, defeated incumbent Director Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, 2,132 votes to 1739 votes. Also, challenger James Schilling, KG4JSZ, (1,356 votes)  defeated incumbent Vice Director Joseph Tiritilli, N4ZUW, (1,209 votes) and challenger Jeff Stahl, K4BH, (1,281 votes).

Seats for Director and Vice Director in three other ARRL Divisions – Pacific (Director Jim Tiemstra, K6JAT, and Vice Director Kristen McIntyre, K6WX); Rocky Mountain (Director Jeff Ryan, K0RM, and Vice Director Robert Wareham, N0ESQ); and Southwestern (Director Richard Norton, N6AA) — were unchallenged, with incumbents running for election in all but one case. Also, in the West Gulf Division Vice Director Lee Cooper, W5LHC, was running unopposed. In the Southwestern Division, Mark Weiss, K6FG, ran unopposed for the seat being vacated by Ned Stearns, AA7A.

All candidates having no opposition were declared elected at the close of the nominations period.

W1AW to Commemorate 98th Anniversary of First Amateur Radio Signals to Span the Atlantic

December 11 marks the 98th anniversary of the success of ARRL’s Transatlantic Tests in 1921, organized to see if low-power amateur radio stations could be heard across the Atlantic using shortwave frequencies (i.e., above 200 meters). On that day, a message transmitted by a group of Radio Club of America members at 1BCG in Greenwich, Connecticut, was copied by Paul Godley, 2ZE, in Scotland.

While the first two-way contact would not take place until 1923, the 1921 transatlantic success marked the beginning of what would become routine communication between US radio amateurs and those in other parts of the world — literally the birth of DX.

To commemorate this amateur radio milestone, Maxim Memorial Station W1AW will be on the air through the day on December 11 with volunteer operators. The goal is to encourage contacts between radio amateurs in the US and Europe while showcasing the significance of the transmissions that pioneered global communication and laid the groundwork for technology widely used today. The event will run from 1300 until 0000 UTC. Some details are still being worked out, but operation will focus on 40 and 20 meters (SSB).

Contact Clark Burgard, N1BCG, for more information.

The Lastest Episode of ARRL Audio News is Now Available

Listen to the new episode of ARRL Audio News on your iOS or Android podcast app, or online at http://www.blubrry.com/arrlaudionews/. Audio News is also retransmitted on a number of FM repeaters. Click here and then scroll down to see the list. If you visit the Audio News page on the ARRL website, be sure to take our brief survey!

ARRL Creates New Online Groups for Members to Communicate with Leadership

ARRL’s Committee on Communication with ARRL Members has opened new online forums where all radio amateurs — ARRL members and non-members alike — can discuss issues and topics in two-way conversation with ARRL leadership. The new groups are aimed at enhancing communication among ARRL leadership, staff, members, and prospective members, in a manner that enables timely updates and collegial discussion.This project was based on the success over the past several years of the ARRL-LoTW (Logbook of The World) Group in responding to Amateur Radio operators’ questions and generating discussion on ways to improve that program. “The LoTW initiative has clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of online Groups as a means of achieving the desired interaction,” ARRL said in announcing the new groups.

ARRL has added three online groups:

  • ARRL-Contesting — moderated by ARRL Contest Advisory Committee Chairman Dennis Egan, W1UE.
  • ARRL-Awards — moderated by ARRL Radiosport and Field Services Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ.
  • ARRL-IARU — moderated by IARU Secretary Dave Sumner, K1ZZ.

The existing ARRL-LOTW group, which has about 4,750 members, remains hosted by Groups.io but has moved.

Everyone who subscribes to an ARRL Group is also automatically subscribed to the “ARRL Groups” group. This administrative feature will allow ARRL to convey routine announcements relevant to subscribers of all ARRL groups.

ARRL IT Manager Michael Keane, K1MK, worked with Groups.io to set up the new groups. Since these new groups are hosted on a Groups.io platform, those wishing to subscribe must use a Groups.io username and password, if they have one, or create a Groups.io account if they don’t.

In the months ahead, the Committee envisions creating more online groups to support two-way communication focusing on areas of additional interest to radio amateurs, including ARRL activities, services, initiatives, and policies.

ARRL currently hosts members-only online forums that include Awards and Contesting. While these forums will continue to operate, participants will be encouraged to post new threads in the appropriate new groups.

Participants will be expected to adhere to some basic ground rules:

  • All questions are welcome, no matter how many times they have already been asked and answered, or how obvious the answers might be in the documentation.
  • Neither personal attacks nor foul language will be tolerated. Violators will immediately be placed on “moderated” status, meaning their subsequent posts will require Moderator approval until the Moderator’s trust has been regained.
  • Individuals posting are reminded that these forums are open to everyone, including prospective hams and operators who are not ARRL members but may be thinking about joining. Civility and courtesy are expected, even when you may take issue with a post or thread topic.

The Committee on Communication with Members believes that providing more opportunities for two-way discussion between ARRL leadership and the broader Amateur Radio community will assist the organization in truly serving the needs of this community.

Arizona Club Takes Advantage of Low Bands to Support 100-Mile Endurance Run

The Coconino Amateur Radio Club (CARC) provided safety and coordination communications for the 100-mile Stagecoach Line Run over the September 21 – 22 weekend. This endurance run from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon takes place every September. The 31-hour event pushes runners to the limit. The Stagecoach Line Run also tests Amateur Radio’s capabilities and requires planning and commitment. Because of the geographical coverage required, the club’s Amateur Radio support even took advantage of 160 meters, not a band typically associated with public service communication.“Because we are in a solar minimum, a combination of bands and communication methods were required in order to track and maintain contact with the numerous stations,” said Dan Shearer, N7YIQ, the club’s Public Information Officer. “What worked well at 3 o’clock in the afternoon was not going to work at 2 in the morning.” The club’s communication infrastructure required a combination of HF and VHF/UHF equipment that included setting up portable repeaters and stations powered by generators and other power sources.

“When you add in the cold weather of the high desert in September and the possibility of rain and snow, this becomes a test of what Amateur Radio may be called upon to do to support a disaster somewhere in the nation,” Shearer said.

CARC members invested more than 300 hours of their time in planning and supporting the race, helped by a few additional volunteers from Glendale and Prescott. Nineteen club members staffed eight sites, where volunteers set up camps and kept vigil through the night to track and make sure runners were accounted for throughout the race.

In addition to tracking runners into and out of each aid station, net control entered these times into an online spreadsheet as they progressed through the race, allowing runners to be located easily in case they did not make it to the next checkpoint.

During the event, CARC members helped locate two missing runners and helped save the life of another who developed severe asthma. Medical care and treatment during these types of extreme events poses a significant challenge, as EMS responses are delayed. “Much of the area between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon is US Forest Service land, and travel through these areas by vehicles is slow,” Shearer explained. Severe emergencies can only be handled by aircraft, if conditions permit.”

During the race, 75 meters worked well during the day, but 160 meters was put into play after dark. Cross-band repeaters were placed at remote sites to allow access to existing repeaters. Although VHF and UHF were used, these links at times became unusable, and alternate forms and bands were required to maintain contact.

The Coconino Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL-affiliated club with about 50 members. It has a large ARES component that trains regularly and conducts SKYWARN and ARES® nets weekly.