ARRL Northwestern Division Newsletter – January 6, 2020

First of all, I want to wish everybody the best for the New Year.
Twenty-nineteen was a very busy one for your ARRL team, and I’m sure
that 2020 will be no different! Vice Director Tharp and I both are
looking forward to continuing, and improving what was started this year
to keep the NW Division membership informed, and engaged.

In last month’s newsletter I spent a lot of time discussing recent FCC
actions that are having a major impact on the 5 cm (5.9 GHz) amateur
band, based on a memo that FCC Chairman Pai had published. Also a part
of that discussion, but not touched upon in my last newsletter, involved
the removal of the entire amateur allocation on the 3.3-3.5 GHz (9 cm)
band. My comments on that proposal at that time were waiting until the
FCC had their meeting regarding what the actual plans were to be, and
how it would actually affect us as hams. Since the last Division
newsletter was written, (and on December 12th to be specific),the FCC
held their meeting where the proposal in discussion here was presented
as WT Docket 19-348, then released to the public on December 16th. (For
a complete version of this 30 page document, reference:
( ).

The short story is contained within the first sentence of Docket
19-348’s introduction: “In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
(Notice), we propose to remove the existing non-federal secondary
radiolocation and amateur allocations in the 3.3-3.55 GHz band and to
relocate incumbent non-federal operations out of the band, in order to
prepare the band for possible expanded commercial wireless use.” You
may have your own interpretation of that statement, but here’s how I
read it: “That spectrum is worth a LOT of money to the 5G carriers,
and we’re going to auction it off to the highest bidder.” On Page 24
of the document, Commissioner Michael O’Reilly ends his comments with
“I thank the Chairman for starting the process of re-purposing these
bands for next-generation wireless services. In particular, I
appreciate his willingness to add language to the draft stating that
clearing spectrum is the Commission’s priority and that re-purposing
the 3.45 to 3.55 band should be a matter of greatest importance.” That
last one sentence says a lot as to where this is going, and what may lie

So, where does this leave us? I don’t really know. As I write this
letter ARRL FCC Counsel David Siddall, K3ZJ, is drafting the League’s
response to the Docket, using all the information he has been provided,
(mostly by hams here in our NW Division), in an effort to see what can
be done to save at least some of the band. The Amateur Radio Emergency
Digital Network, (AREDN), is very active on this band in other parts of
the country and HamWAN /AREDN nodes themselves are rapidly growing
within our Division. (The AREDN website can be found at:, and the HamWAN website is

The FCC official comment period is now open for this docket, and will
be until February 16, 2020. Current comments can be found here:,DESC.

I urge you to add your comments regarding this NPRM, but please keep
them to the point! Just stating that we “need to keep the band”
isn’t going to work. We need to stress the band’s emerging use as a
backbone for Next Generation amateur digital networks for EmComm use,
and for supporting our FCC mission as an emergency communications
service as listed in FCC Part §97.1 (a) “Recognition and enhancement
of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary
noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to
providing emergency communications.” Another angle is one related to
amateurs “advancing the radio art”, as indicating how experimenting
amateurs are increasing the world’s microwave propagation knowledge,
recently setting several new distance records. (Reference:
I’m sure there are other arguments as well, these are just a couple that
I came up with.

On a separate topic, a motion that I will be presenting at the upcoming
ARRL Board Meeting will be one entitled: “Establishment of a Board
Committee to Draft a New ARRL Strategic Plan”. The current ARRL
Strategic Plan was released in 2016, and was drafted by a committee that
included our very own then NW Division Vice Director Bonnie Altus,
AB7ZQ, and chaired by our own then ARRL 2nd Vice President Jim
Fenstermaker, K9JF. A very quick five years has since passed, and it’s
already time to revisit the Plan and make amendments relevant to
today’s environment, advancements in technology, and changes to the
amateur landscape. Here’s a key part of the motion: “The ARRL
Strategic Plan itself will contain forward looking mission and vision
statements, identify the organization’s core values, address the
organizations strengths, weaknesses, growth opportunities, and threats
to its business unit and membership levels, and will not only provide
goals (both short and long term), and initiatives as a part of the
Strategic Plan, but shall also include proposed tactics/action plans,
and metrics that can be used to measure success”. In other words, the
goal is to put together a fully comprehensive plan. Stay tuned as the
Board progresses on this during the next year, and the Board will be
seeking your input!

In the January issue of QST, page 76, the League announced the opening
of the election cycle for the volunteer position of ARRL Oregon Section
Manager. The qualifications, duties, and responsibilities of a Section
Manager are listed on the ARRL website here: If you’re interested in running for
this position please follow the instructions as listed in QST, noting
the important dates. Petitions for nominations close at 4 PM EST on
March 6, 2020, and ballots will be mailed out to ARRL members in good
standing on April 1, 2020. The ballots will be counted on May 19, 2020,
so please get them in early! (NOTE: If the election is uncontested there
will be no ballots.) The Section Manager will officially take office on
July 1, 2020, for a new two year term.

Finally, I hope to see everybody at the Salem Hamfest at Rickreall,
Oregon in February, followed by the Mike and Key Hamfest in Puyallup, WA
in March. Please come by the ARRL booths at these events and let Mark or
myself me know what you think of these newsletters, or tell us how they
can be improved.

73 and HNY;

Mike Ritz, W7VO
ARRL NW Division Director

Now we’ll hear from Vice Director Tharp!

Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 2, January 2020

Welcome to the “Roaring Twenties”!

I hope your holiday season was great!

As most of December was taken up with holidays, and preparing for the
upcoming Board meeting, not much happened with various committees. That
being said, I really don’t have much too add this month from that

One item that was brought up by a Washington member had to do with Ham
license plates here in Washington. It seems we still need to
occasionally assist the DOL with renewals and explain certain aspects to
car lots when transferring plates to a new car. The RCW ( Revived code
of Washington ) for this is 46.18.205 One of the requirements for us is
sending a copy of your renewed (Amateur) license to the department. They
have been known to send a reminder, but the burden is on the Amateur to
do this. As it happens only once every ten years, it is one of those
things easy to forget. This came up when trying to renew the yearly
tabs, and as no current license was registered in the system, the person
was not allowed to renew the ham plates. I’m not sure how the other
states handle this, but I would assume a similar process. If you do not
have a set of call plates, you should read the RCW and make sure you
understand what it implies. It’s not just a “get your call on your
car” it is assumed that you are also willing and able to participate
in emergency communications if the need were to ever arise at the state
level. 46.18.205 (6) reads, “Facilities of official amateur radio
stations may be utilized to the fullest extent in the work of
governmental agencies. The director shall furnish the state military
department, the department of commerce, the Washington state patrol, and
all county sheriffs a list of the names, addresses, and license plate or
official amateur radio call letters of each person possessing the
amateur radio license plates.” Here in Washington I believe you still
have to visit your local DOL office to make the original application,
after that, normal renewals are accepted.

This year is an election year for officers of the ARRL. Every two years
at the January meeting the Directors nominate and elect a President, a
First Vice President, a Second Vice President, an International Affairs
Vice President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Chief Executive Officer
as officers who serve on the Board of Directors. The current list of
officers can be viewed here: As the
officers are elected by the Directors, and the Directors, ( and Vice
Directors) are elected BY YOU, here is your chance to offer input to
that process. If you would like to share your opinions about any of the
current officers, now is the time. You can send an email to Mike or
myself. We both welcome input from Division members and this is another
opportunity for your voice to be heard.

January is also the time for scheduling and setting up the calendar for
attending Amateur Radio events. Mike and I work hard to attend all the
events we can, however if we don’t know about them, we can not plan
for them. If your group puts on a Hamfest or convention, please get that
registered with the ARRL as soon as possible. The sooner it’s listed,
the sooner it will be in QST and who would want to miss the free
advertising. Listing your event is easy. All on line at: Another great place
to list your event is the always up to date webpage of N7CFO, Just shoot an email to and he will update the list. I know a number of events in
the near future that are not currently listed, and time is running out
to receive some of the benefits that go along with having your event
sanctioned. As of this writing, only four are on the ARRL list.

Division statistics:
200 new licenses issued and 67 upgraded licenses.
12,496 ARRL members in Division (+ 1.1% from 2019)
146 Active ARRL affiliated clubs.

“The Membership Challenge”, my monthly plug… again…

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 5 months away. More than enough time to
recruit 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 do 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 take issue with the
league, it’s still our number one voice for retaining our spectrum,
privileges, and continued ability to enjoy this fabulous hobby. 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.

73 in the new year!

Mark, KB7HDX

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

ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: Michael T Ritz, W7VO

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