Radio Amateur’s Call for Help Relayed from across the Atlantic

When Richard Tashner, N2EO, of Massapequa, New York, suffered a medical emergency on May 18, his DMR radio was closer than his phone. His call for help was answered by Maxis Johnston, GM0MRJ, who put out a call for “anyone in the states.”

Kent County Amateur Radio Club member Ken Dix, KB2KBD, in Delaware heard the call on the local 146.91 MHz repeater, which was linked to the North American talk group. Dix called authorities in Tashner’s vicinity, and help was dispatched.

Dix said the dispatcher in New York was able to hear part of the call and was amazed at how an amateur radio communication had gone from New York to Scotland to Delaware and then back to New York. The dispatcher expressed surprise at how quickly the information had been relayed across the Atlantic. The Delaware repeater, at the Delaware State Communications complex, is set on C4FM Fusion and linked to DMR on “America’s Net.” — Thanks to the ARES E-Letter via Jerry Palmer, N3KRX

ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, Issues Field Day 2020 Statement

ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, has released a statement in advance of ARRL Field Day 2020.

Dear ARRL Members,

For the first time since the event was introduced in 1933, ARRL Field Day will indeed be significantly different this year. Continuing public safety restrictions due to COVID-19 will force many of you to operate from home, while some radio clubs, where permitted, will venture outside in limited gatherings practicing social distancing. By all means, get on the air this weekend and show the world that Amateur Radio operators remain adaptable to changing situations.

Although points are awarded, the underlying purpose of Field Day is to demonstrate the versatility and reliability of radio amateurs under simulated emergency conditions. For some of you, especially new licensees, this may be the first time you’ve established your own home station or portable radio communications capability. Let’s use this opportunity to show our friends, families, and community leaders that we are a trained, resourceful and reliable corps of volunteers, especially when other forms of communications are not available.

In addition to operating, please take a few minutes to document your station with pictures, or even offer to host a videoconference and give virtual tours. Social media is the way most people are discovering amateur radio these days, so post your photos and videos to the social media pages hosted by your clubs and ARRL.

Finally, please use the hashtag #ARRLFD along with community hashtags to get the word out that we are enjoying an amazing hobby that is also a public service. Field Day is the largest gathering of communicators on the face of the earth. Let’s show the world what amateur radio can do!

On behalf of ARRL board members and staff, have a fun and safe ARRL Field Day.


Rick Roderick, K5UR

San Angelo ARC Field Day

This weekend is field day, June 27 & 28.  This year SAARC will be field day will be at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), not far from the clubhouse on the airport grounds.  We plan to start setup at 10:00 am Saturday morning.  We will operate from 1:00 pm Saturday till 1:00 pm Sunday.  Saturday dinner will be hot dogs and hamburgers, you can bring deserts or salads to share. All are welcome to join us for Saturday dinner.  Saturday lunch will likely be take out pizza.  Note the EOC has kitchen facilities.   We plan to have a “go to station” to get new or rusty operators on the air.  Come an join the fun!

God Loves You,
Bob W7IKT & Carol N5CBQ Heiser

WTX Zoom Section Meeting July 9th

Thursday, July 9th’s special guest is scheduled to  be Carole Perry, WB2MGP.

If you have not received your invitation contact Dale at



WSJT-X Version 2.2.0 is Now in General Release

WSJT-X version 2.2.0 is now in general availability release, after a short stint in beta (or release candidate) status. WSJT-X version 2.2 offers 10 different protocols or modes — FT4, FT8, JT4, JT9, JT65, QRA64, ISCAT, MSK144, WSPR, and Echo. The first six are designed for reliable contacts under weak-signal conditions, and they use nearly identical message structure and source encoding. JT65 and QRA64 were designed for EME (“moonbounce”) on VHF/UHF bands but have also proven very effective for worldwide very low-power communication on HF bands.

“FT8 is operationally similar but four times faster (15-second T/R [transmit-receive] sequences) and less sensitive by a few decibels,” developer Joe Taylor, K1JT, explains in the version 2.2.0 User Guide. “FT4 is faster still (7.5-second T/R sequences) and especially well suited for contesting.”

Taylor noted that even with their shorter transmit-receive sequences, FT4 and FT8 are considered “slow modes,” because their message frames are sent only once per transmission. “All fast modes in WSJT-X send their message frames repeatedly, as many times as will fit into the [transmit] sequence length,” he explained.

Compared with FT8, FT4 is 3.5 dB less sensitive and requires 1.6 times the bandwidth, but it offers the potential for twice the contact rate.

New in WSJT-X version 2.2.0: FT8 decoding is now spread over three intervals, the first starting at 11.8 seconds into a receive sequence and typically yielding around 85% of the possible decodes. This means users see most decodes much sooner than with previous versions. A second processing step starts at 13.5 seconds, and a third at 14.7 seconds.

“Overall decoding yield on crowded bands is improved by 10% or more,” Taylor said.

Other changes: Signal-to-noise (SNR) estimates no longer saturate at +20 dB, and large signals in the passband no longer cause the SNR of weaker signals to be biased low. Times written to the ALL.TXT cumulative journal file are now correct, even when decoding occurs after the T/R sequence boundary.

“June 2020 Festival of Frequency Measurement” Seeks Ham Radio Volunteers

Grad student Kristina Collins, KD8OXT, in Cleveland, Ohio, is looking for radio amateurs and shortwave listeners — particularly in Africa and Asia — to help her collect data for an experiment. On June 21, an annular solar eclipse will cross eastern Africa and Asia, affecting the ionosphere and, in turn, radio propagation. “We’re interested in having amateur radio operators around the path of totality collect Doppler shift data on that day, which can be performed using an HF rig connected to a computer running fldigi,” she said.

Details of the experiment are on the HamSCI website. Two data-collection exercises will take place, starting with a control day on June 14 UTC followed by the event on June 20 – 22 UTC, which encompasses the annular solar eclipse across eastern Africa and Asia on June 21.

Interested operators may sign up online or contact Kristina Collins directly.