Introducing Ham Radio

In last Thursday’s Zoom session we were honored to have Carole Perry WB2MGP visit with us about getting youths and others involved in Ham Radio.   Carole had many wonderful ideas and suggestions that she shared with us.
 
As an addendum to Carole’s fine presentation, I just received this link for us to watch about introducing ham radio to folks in England.
 
It is very well done!
 
Here is that link:
 
 
73,
 
Dale
W5WI

 
 

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.

73,

Rick Roderick, K5UR

Planning Your ARRL Field Day 2020 Operation

For most of us, ARRL Field Day 2020 is going to look quite different than it did in past years. Considering the impact of social distancing due to the pandemic, many radio clubs and large groups will not gather in their usual Field Day locations this year. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a Field Day first-timer, there are many questions about how to participate in amateur radio’s largest annual on-air event under these unusual circumstances. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you plan this year’s operation.

Don’t Forget 6 Meters

Remember, Field Day is a non-adjudicated operating event and not a “full speed ahead” contest. It is also not an HF-only event. All amateur radio bands above 50 MHz may be used during the event too.

This includes 6 meters, which often offers significant propagation enhancements in the summer months around Field Day weekend, to help you make contacts. The band is available to amateurs holding a Technician-class license or higher. If you have an HF/VHF/UHF multi-mode transceiver, try making SSB, CW, or digital contacts on 6 meters. You don’t need fancy beams or large antenna arrays. A simple vertical or dipole will allow you to experience operating on the “Magic Band.”

Activities for Techs

One suggestion for clubs to consider in order to increase participation among their Technician-class members is to schedule specific times where these club members will monitor designated VHF and UHF simplex frequencies for Field Day activity. Keep in mind that the published national FM simplex calling frequencies should be avoided, and the use of repeaters is prohibited for Field Day contacts. This way, members who have equipment capable of VHF/UHF-only operation may be able to participate from their homes or vehicles. Your club can choose a list of frequencies and scheduled times in advance, and publish them in the club newsletter, or via email or other electronic means before the start of the event.

On the HF bands, Technician-class licensees have CW privileges on 80, 40, and 15 meters, as well as RTTY/data and SSB phone privileges on 10 meters. If you aren’t a CW operator, try calling CQ on 10-meter SSB in the late afternoon and early evening on Saturday and see if conditions are favorable for long-distance communications. Try experimenting with a simple wire antenna for 10 meters. You might discover that the band can offer plenty of unexpected propagation.

Get Set Up for Digital Modes

You might want to explore one of the newer FT4/FT8 digital modes on 10 meters, 6 meters, or even the VHF/UHF bands. These modes offer an opportunity to make weak-signal contacts when band conditions often do not support voice communication. There have been reports of some great 6-meter openings in recent weeks, and these are likely to occur more frequently as the summer months approach. If you’ve never experimented with digital modes, perhaps this year is an opportunity to give them a try.

Setup is relatively straightforward. You’ll need a computer and a digital interface to connect the radio to the computer, and you’ll need to download one of the digital mode software packages such as the free WSJT-X suite, which incorporates FT8 and FT4. Many modern transceivers have built-in support for digital modes, so in those cases, all you’ll need is the proper cable to connect the radio to the computer’s USB port. You’ll need software that supports the ARRL Field Day exchange (WSJT-X version 2.0 or later, for example). ARRL’s book Get on the Air with HF Digital (2nd Edition) is also a great primer for anyone beginning to explore the digital modes.

The Excitement of Ham Satellites

Another area you might wish to explore is operating via one of the amateur radio satellites, or “birds,” as they’re often called. Many hams have had success making contacts via the FM satellites by using a VHF/UHF handheld radio and a small handheld directional antenna, or a multi-mode VHF/UHF transceiver for the linear (SSB and CW) satellites. You’ll only be able to work the satellites when they are overhead, so you’ll need to know when they will be visible at your operating location. Visit AMSAT’s Online Satellite Pass Prediction page to see which ones will be orbiting overhead, and at what times they’ll be visible. You can find many satellite operating tips and resources on the AMSAT website too.

An Opportunity for Learning

ARRL Field Day 2020 may be the year you decide to participate solo, or with other members of your household. You may want to focus on expanding your knowledge base and experiment with new modes or bands that you never thought of using before. If you’re a mentor to a newer ham, Field Day can be an opportunity to share some of your knowledge, and for you to expand your own operating horizons. This might be the year to leave your Field Day comfort zone and try something new!

http://www.arrl.org/news/view/planning-your-arrl-field-day-2020-operation

ARRL Headquarters is Closing

ARRL Headquarters will comply with an executive order from Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont that all non-essential businesses and not-for-profit entities reduce in-person workforces by 100% no later than March 23, 2020, at 8 PM. ARRL will equip as many Headquarters staffers as possible to work remotely.

W1AW bulletin and code practice transmissions will continue. Customer service representatives will be available to take calls, although response times could be longer than usual. Operations at the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) will also continue, and the best way to receive a timely response is via email, as call volume has been heavy. The ARRL publication schedule will remain unchanged.

The ARRL warehouse will be working with a reduced staff, so orders will be delayed, and ARRL will not be able to respond to expedited shipping orders. ARRL Headquarters will remain open until 5 PM on March 23, as managers and staff prepare for the shutdown.

ARRL will keep members posted on this situation.

ARRL Hamfest and Convention Closings

The ARRL has created a webpage that lists all hamfests and
conventions that have advised the League that they are canceling
scheduled events.

For the list of currently known closings, please go to:

http://www.arrl.org/canceledHamfests.php

Correction to Frequency Measuring Test Website URL

An incorrect website address for the April 24 Frequency Measuring Test (FMT) appeared in QST. The correct URL is fmt.arrl.org. The old website is still active and has a hyperlink to the new site.

Nominations Invited for 2020 McGan Silver Antenna Award for Excellence in Public Relations

The ARRL Public Relations Committee invites nominations for the Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award, presented annually to a radio amateur who has demonstrated success in public relations efforts on behalf of amateur radio and who best exemplifies the volunteer spirit of Philip McGan, WA2MBQ (SK).

“ARRL Public Information Officers (PIOs) and other volunteers are working hard every day to create greater awareness of all that amateur radio has to offer,” the Committee said in announcing the opening of nominations for the award. “They are publicizing special events, writing press releases, or doing interviews on radio and television or in newspapers to highlight the service that amateur radio provides.”

A journalist, McGan was the first chairman of the ARRL’s Public Relations Committee, which helped reinvigorate ARRL’s commitment to public relations. To honor McGan, members of the New Hampshire Amateur Radio Association joined with the ARRL Board of Directors to establish an award that would pay lasting tribute to the important contributions he made on behalf of amateur radio.

Activities for which the McGan Award is presented include those specifically directed at bringing amateur radio to the media’s and the public’s attention in a positive light. This may include such traditional methods as news releases or interviews, or less traditional methods, such as hosting a radio show or being an active public speaker.

The ARRL Board of Directors will choose the award winner at its July 2020 meeting, based on recommendations from the ARRL Public Relations Committee. The Committee has responsibility for reviewing the nominations and supporting material.

Eligible nominees must be full ARRL members in good standing at the time of nomination. The award is given only to an individual, and nominees may not be current ARRL officers, directors, vice directors, paid staffers, or members of the ARRL Public Relations Committee. Nominees must not be compensated for any public relations work involving amateur radio — including payment for articles.

A nominee’s efforts must fit the definition of public relations and recognize the promotion of amateur radio to the non-amateur radio community.

Nominations must be received at ARRL Headquarters by the close of business on Friday, May 15, 2020. Nominations must be on an official entry form. Anyone may make a nomination.

Just Ahead in Radiosport

  • March 14 — AGCW QRP Contest (CW)
  • March 14 – 15 — RSGB Commonwealth Contest (CW)
  • March 14 – 15 — F9AA Cup, SSB
  • March 14 – 15 — South America 10 Meter Contest (CW, phone)
  • March 14 – 15 — Stew Perry Topband Challenge (CW)
  • March 14 – 15 — Oklahoma QSO Party (CW, phone)
  • March 14 – 15 — TESLA Memorial HF CW Contest
  • March 14 – 15 — QCWA QSO Party (CW, phone)
  • March 14 – 15 — Idaho QSO Party (CW, phone)
  • March 14 — QRP ARCI Spring Thaw SSB Shootout
  • March 15 — North American Sprint, RTTY
  • March 15 – 16 — Wisconsin QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)
  • March 16 — Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)
  • March 17 — CLARA Chatter Party (CW, phone)
  • March 19 — NAQCC CW Sprint

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.

Interruption to Internet Access at ARRL Headquarters Scheduled for March 4

As part of ARRL Headquarters’ transition to new internet service providers, an interruption of internet access at ARRL Headquarters is set for Wednesday, March 4, starting at 2300 UTC. The interruption will last no longer than 4 hours.During the work period, these services will be unavailable:

  • Logbook of The World (LoTW)
  • Online DXCC
  • International Grid Chase Archive
  • National Parks on the Air Archive
  • Centennial QSO Party Archive,
  • W1AW Echolink Conference Server
  • VPN access to Headquarters.

Email to Headquarters will remain online, and the ARRL website (www.arrl.org) will remain operational throughout the maintenance period, along with the Contest and advertising pages. We apologize for any inconvenience.