ARRL Northwestern Division Newsletter- June 10, 2019

To start, don’t forget to check out our new Northwestern Division website: Michael Sterba, KG7HQ, has been continuing to add features to make the site a real resource for all hams in our five-state Division. While you are on the site, get registered so you too can be part of the action!

It’s been a very busy last month for your Director, starting with the 7th Area QSO Party contest and the Oregon State ARES Conference in Sisters, OR, (on the same weekend, no less!), a trip to Alaska to visit the wonderful KL7AA Anchorage Amateur Radio Club station, and do a presentation for the well-attended Matanuska Hamfest in Wasilla, then spent almost a week in Dayton, OH for the ARRL National Convention, followed by a night spent sorting QSL cards for the 7th Area QSL Bureau with the Willamette Valley DX Club (WVDXC), and finally the successful SEA-PAC and Northwestern Division Convention last weekend. Whew!

What I learned from all this travel last month is the answer to a question I recently saw posted on a ham radio related Facebook page from a brand new ham. That question was: “Is amateur radio dead?” Well, judging from the almost 30,000 hams attending the Dayton Hamfest, and the approximately 2,200 hams at our own SEA-PAC convention, I’d have to respond with a resounding NO! At Dayton I spent most of my time in the ARRL Foundation booth, and when I wasn’t busy talking to members and donors, I spent time just looking around at the crowds, often standing-room-only inside the buildings at the many vendor displays. There was every kind of ham one could imagine there, from the very old to the very young. There were men, women, old-timers, millennials, and teenagers. They all had one thing in common; the love of this wonderful hobby. It was great to see.

I mentioned my 7th Area QSL Bureau card sorting night with the WVDXC for a special reason. (BTW, the WVDXC has been performing this service for the Northwestern Division, (and the rest of 7 land), since about 1960. That’s now 59 years of dedicated service to amateur radio!) At that meeting we were greeted with several small boxes of DX cards from South America, and a huge box of QSL cards from Japan that weighed in at about 6 pounds. That’s a LOT of QSL cards, and much more than we had been receiving as of late. As I was sorting cards that evening, (along with many other hams there), I noticed one very common thread in the cards. About 80% of them were for FT8 QSOs! Many of them were going to more recently assigned callsigns, too, not just known DXers. No matter where you are in the debate over FT8 and similar modes; where a contact can be made and logged with a signal so low in strength you can’t hear it with your own ears, these new digital modes are certainly reviving HF operating in the middle of a sunspot minimum. The WVDXC proved that point with the many man-hours put in DX QSL card sorting that night. More hams on the air, some with very minimal stations, all busy on the HF bands and working the world, certainly can’t be a bad thing for amateur radio!

Earlier I mentioned my visit to the KL7AA club station in Anchorage, AK, and I want to say how much I enjoyed the afternoon with them. I was awestruck as they have probably one of the best radio club houses imaginable; the use of the old Anchorage FCC monitoring site, and its fixtures. This site came complete with a large building with garage and multiple meeting rooms, a sturdy radio tower, buried hardline to old rhombic antenna locations, coax, and a ton of old parts and equipment. It’s amazing what they have been able to do in the short year they have had access to this facility, and have even worked with local authorities to have an alternate EOC communications console installed in the main operating room to back up first responder communications during a disaster. This is a true partnership between a local amateur radio club and their served agencies.

On the ARRL Foundation front, their Board has finally finished the arduous task of matching the best qualified scholarship candidates with available scholarships. This was certainly not an easy task, as there were many bright and well-qualified candidates, and not enough scholarships to go around. This year we had about 320 applicants for about 77 funded scholarships, ranging in award from $500 to $5000. (Note that no applicant can receive more than one ARRL handled scholarship per year.) The Foundation should be announcing the scholarship winners within a few weeks. The one take away I got from this exercise is how bright, hard-working, and career-focused these students are, and how active within the hobby many of them are. These young adults ARE the future of amateur radio, and we need to do everything we can do to support them.

On a different note, I would like to take this time to congratulate Monte Simpson, AF7PQ, Western Washington Section Manager, and Jack Tiley, AD7FO, Eastern Washington Section Manager, for their 2 year appointment renewals, and also Paul Stiles, KF7SOJ, for being appointed as the new Montana Section Manager. All of these appointments will be official effective October 1, 2019. I’d also like to give my sincere thanks to George Forsyth, AA7GS, for his prior service as Montana Section Manager.

I would also like to recognize our new or returning Northwestern Division Assistant Directors (ADs); Daniel Stevens, KL7WM, Delvin Bunton, NS7U, Lynn Burlingame, N7CFO, Phil Kane, K2ASP, Bill Balzarini, KL7BB, Dave Cole, NK7Z, Steve Aberle, WA7PTM, and Michael Sterba, KG7HQ. These dedicated amateurs have specialized technical skills they offer as resource for other Division amateurs, or distinguished programs within the Division that work to bring many new amateurs into the hobby. If you happen to meet these any of these ADs at an event, please give thanks for what they are doing to better our Division, and amateur radio. We couldn’t effectively operate the Northwestern Division without them.

Next week I’ll be making two trips to the Seattle area, the first on Thursday, June 13th for the dedication of a brand new radio club, the Edmonds Woodway Amateur Radio Club, in Mountlake Terrace, WA. They started the club last November with only four members, and now are up close to 75 on the roster. (Who says, “Amateur radio is dead”?) On Saturday, June 15th, I’ll be presenting a “Behind the Curtain” program for the Kitsap County ARC, in Bremerton, WA, and on June 19th, I’ll be presenting a technical training seminar on NVIS antennas for the Columbia County, OR ARES group. Certainly no rest for your Director!

Finally, for the first time in many years I’ll be missing this year’s ARRL Field Day due to a family commitment. I wish everybody in the Division a very happy Field Day. Please stay safe, have fun, and make lots of contacts!

Mike Ritz, W7VO
ARRL Northwestern Division Director

Now, we will hear from Mark Tharp, KB7HDX, ARRL Northwestern Division
Vice Director

Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 1, June 2019

SEA-PAC 2019 is in the can! (That’s a movie term, not a slam) What a great show even with the convention center still fully involved with its major renovation. The ARRL booth was inside the main hall for the first time ever I believe, and I have to wonder why we were not inside all along! It was a great location to chat with folks and still stay aware of what was going on in the room, like prize drawings and announcements. The ARRL team took in 156 applications either for new members or renewals. Thanks to those of you that are now new members of the ARRL and to those who renewed. Next year’s convention will be bigger and better when the expansion of the center is complete. The SEA-PAC team deserves a huge round of applause for a smooth event throughout the weekend.

On the weekend of May 18th, I made the trek to the Northern part of Central Washington and spent some time at the “Radio River Campout” hosted this year by the Okanogan County Amateur Radio Club, W7ORC. It was a relaxing two days camped on the Methow River along with a great group of Ham radio operators. A small swap meet was held along with a pot luck or two and a great time had by all. If you are ever in the area the third weekend of May drop by and say hi. This was the 20th year of the event if I remember correctly.

The Public Service Enhancement Working Group is in final review of the
ARES® “Task Book”. We met on the 4th via teleconference to offer
suggestions and slight tweaks. I hope we can have the final version out
by the end of the month and get on to the next project.

The ARISS committee is working hard to get the information sheets done I have mentioned before and out to the appropriate people. The Galileo STEM Academy in Eagle Idaho received information the contact will take place the first week of September. I’m sure the group is excited about that. I’m sure we will receive a full report after the contact and can then share it with everyone.

Upcoming events I plan to attend are, the PNW DX Convention in Everett on August 9th, 10th, and 11th, the Spokane Hamfest on September 28th, the PNW VHF conference in Issaquah on October 12th, and the “APRS Summer Gathering” this fall. I hope to see you at one or all of them.

For information on other Hamfests, Conventions, and related “gatherings” please see the list maintained by Lynn, N7CFO at:

A few Division statistics as of the end of May

302 new licenses issued and 84 upgraded licenses

12,462 ARRL members in Division (+ 0.4% from 2018)

If you have any questions or input, an email to is the best way to contact me.

73, Mark

Mark J. Tharp, KB7HDX

ARRL Vice Director, Northwestern Division.

ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: Michael T Ritz, W7VO

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