ARRL Northwestern Division Newsletter- October 10, 2019

For the last few months we have been discussing all the issues
surrounding the various FCC actions pending (RMs) related to digital
communications, specifically as related to Automatic Controlled Digital
Stations (ACDS), and wide-band verses narrow-band digital spectrum
allocations. This remains a hot issue, however the focus for me has now
shifted to the new six-member Band Planning Committee, and the work we
are doing to expand and re-arrange the HF amateur spectrum to mitigate
interference between digital modes, and allow for the future. What will
the amateur HF digital landscape look like five, ten, or even twenty
years down the road? I don’t have a crystal ball, but we need to do
our best as a committee to ensure the various HF digital band plans
accommodate future demands for all the various digital modes, even ones
that have not been invented yet. We’ve had four lengthy
teleconference meetings so far, and have made significant progress.

What we have done so far is classify HF digital transmission modes into
five general modes : CW, (yes, CW is, in a way, a form of “digital”,
as CW shares spectrum space with the “digital” modes), narrow-band
data (< 500 Hz bandwidth), wide-band data (>= 500 Hz), narrow-band ACDS,
and wide-band ACDS. The next step we did was gather intelligence related
to current allocations in the various IARU Regions (1-3), major DXCC
entities, (Japan, major EU and SA countries), to ensure our future band
plans are as consistent as possible with their band plans. We also
evaluated current trends and demands on the HF digital spectrum,
gathered through various digital skimmers, and through an analysis of
recent digital contest traffic. (It’s interesting to note that so far
we have discovered that it appears over 90% of ALL HF digital traffic,
(including CW), are now using the narrow-band FT8 and FT4 modes.
Certainly a “disruptive technology” game changer, if ever there was

One thing I discovered in my research regarding current 80 meter
allocations was yet another ARRL FCC petition already on the books that
most have forgotten about, and was sent to the FCC way back in 2016.
This petition is RM-11759, and is titled “Amendment of Part 97 of the
Commission’s Amateur Radio Service Rules to Facilitate High-Frequency
Data Communications”. In reality this RM is a proposed band-plan
change for the 80 meter band. In case you have forgotten (I had!), here
is a synopsis of this proposal:

(A) To modify the 80-meter RTTY/Data sub-band and defined in Rule
Sections 97.301 and 97.305 so that it extends from 3500 kHz to 3650 kHz;
(Note: adds 50 kHz of spectrum.)

(B) To modify the 75-meter Phone/Image sub-band defined in Rule Sections
97.301 and 97.305 so that it extends from 3650 kHz to 4000 kHz; (Note:
Loses 50 kHz of spectrum.)

(C) To provide that the 3600-3650 kHz segment of the 80-meter band will
be made available for General and Advanced Class licensees, as was the
case prior to 2006; (Note: Gives back what they lost in 2006.)

(D) To provide that the band segment 3600-3650 kHz will also be
available to Novice and Technician Class licensees for telegraphy
(consistent with the existing rules that now permit Novice and
Technician Class licensees to use telegraphy in the General and Advanced
Class RTTY/data sub-bands at 80, 40, and 15 Meters.);

(E) To modify Section 97.221(b) of the Commission’s Rules governing
automatically controlled digital stations, so that the segment of the
80-meter band that is available for automatically controlled digital
operation shifts from 3585-3600 kHz (as per the existing rules) to
3600-3615 kHz (consistent with the IARU Region 1 and Region 2 band
plans); (Note: Moves the 15 kHz wide ACDS window up.)

(F) To provide RTTY/data privileges to Novice and Technician licensees
in their 15-meter band segment and their 80-meter band segment, the
latter contingent on the rule changes at (A) and (B) hereinabove. (Note:
This overlaps RM-11828.)

So, some of the work the committee needs to accomplish for 80 meters is
aided within the “extra bandwidth” proposals contained within
RM-11759, but does need a bit of tweaking to accommodate the various
modes. That said, there are other RMs currently sitting at the FCC to
consider. All the committee’s planning processes have to assume the
previously discussed RM-11709, (the “Symbol Rate” petition), and
RM-11828, (the “Technician Enhancement” petition), will pass FCC
muster, and are enacted. It’s my understanding that the FCC usually
rolls several petitions into a single omnibus order for incorporation,
and any new proposals will most likely be a part of that process several
years down the road. Keep tuned for updates as we progress on this
multi-faceted, complex, and lengthy project.

On to other news! Congratulations to Paul Stiles, KF7SOJ, on his
appointment as the next ARRL Montana Section Manager (SM), and many
thanks to George Forsyth, AA7GS, for his prior service as Montana SM.
Meanwhile, the ARRL Alaska Section is in the middle of a contested
election for their Section Manager slot being vacated by Ray Hollenbeck,
KL1IL, who decided not to run for re-election. The race is now between
David Stevens, KL7EB, and Lara Baker, AL2R, both of Anchorage, AK.
Ballots have been recently mailed out to all Alaska Section ARRL members
in good standing, and are due back to ARRL HQ no later than November
15th. If you have not received your ballot by October 25th, please
contact either: Leona Adams, W1LGA, (, or Steve Ewald,
WV1X ( The ARRL phone number is: 1-860-326-3942.

Come by the ARRL booth and say HI to me down at the Swaptoberfest
Hamfest at the Polk County Fairgrounds, Rickreall, Oregon on October
19th. We’ll be on for the CQWW Phone contest the weekend of October
25th, operating as a multi-op station.


Now we will hear from NW Division Vice Director Mark Tharp, KB7HDX:

Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 1, October 2019

If this is your first Division newsletter, Mike and I would like to
welcome you into the ARRL and are glad to have you as a member of the
Northwestern Division. Feel free to contact either of us for ARRL
related matters.

Last month I mentioned the very successful ARISS contact with the
Galileo STEM Academy in Idaho. A video of that contact is available with
both sides of the conversation at the following link:

The first ever N7YRC swap meet was a success in Yakima on September
21st. They are already making plans for next year. The weather was
perfect for this event, sunshine and close to 70 degrees.

The Spokane Hamfest and Washington State Convention was the weekend of
September 28th. More than 400 other amateur operators and friends were
in attendance and a great time was had by all. A big thank you to the
organizers for making it one of the best hamfests/conventions in the
Northwestern Division. (even with the snow storm)

Upcoming Division events I plan to attend (or might be currently
attending) are, the PNW VHF conference in Issaquah on October 12th.

If your club or group is hosting an event or participating in an
“RRA” (Radio Related Activity) and would like to share that with the
Division, please let us know. Mike and I would be glad to include that
information in the newsletter. This would include event summary’s and
wrap up articles. You never know, it might even end up in QST! We cannot
share information if we never receive it. Hamfests, and Conventions of
course are already listed at the always up to date web page maintained
by Lynn, N7CFO at:

This page is also available from the NW Division Website at Check this page often to see if anything is going
on in your area.

Division statistics:
184 new licenses issued and 42 upgraded licenses
12,369 ARRL members in Division (+ 0.50% from 2018)
143 ARRL affiliated clubs. (If your club or group is not affiliated, why
not? Information on doing so is here:

The Membership Challenge.

Out of all the amateur radio folks you know who are not league members,
get one of them to join, just one, not 20, but one. This challenge
started after the Northwestern Division Convention, also known as
SEA-PAC. That event is now 8 months away. More than enough time to get
one more member, grow our league, and make our voice in Washington that
much stronger. To sweeten the deal, I’ll ask that when you get another
person to join ARRL, send me an email with your name, and the person who
joined. Next July, all those names will go into a drawing for “A Major
Award”. (Yes, that is a reference to “A Christmas Story”) If you
love the league, or hate the league, it is still our number one voice
for retaining our spectrum. This is not a fund-raising challenge, it’s
a membership challenge. Membership numbers matter when we go to
Washington (the East coast one) and work to enhance our hobby, and
maintain our spectrum. Let’s work together to make the league the
best it can be.

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


Mark J. Tharp, KB7HDX
ARRL Vice Director
Northwestern Division.

ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: Michael T Ritz, W7VO

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