ARRL Northwestern Division Newsletter- March 6, 2020

It was a certainly a pleasure seeing so many ARRL members and fellow
hamfest junkies at the Salem Hamfair in Rickreall last month. I was also
very happy to walk away from there with a large chunk (350 feet) of
brand new coax to replace a very long HF antenna cable run at the home
QTH! Tomorrow is the large Mike and Key Hamfest up in Puyallup, WA, yet
another opportunity to make shack improvements with all the goodies on
sale there from eager vendors. I’ll be joining Vice Director Tharp,
KB7HDX at the ARRL booth at the event, so come on by and say
“hello”. Now’s the time to get stuff done inside and outside the
shack before the new sunspots for Cycle 25 start appearing!

On the ARRL Board front there is still a lot of activity going on behind
the scenes, keeping me very busy with committee work. The ARRL Director
of Emergency Management position at HQ is getting closer to being
filled, and the special Board committee has started interviewing the top
candidates individually via group teleconferences. There are certainly
some very qualified candidates in the mix, and I’m sure the Committee
will be able to hire the right person who will be able to lead our ARRL
ARES program into the future, work hand-in-hand with our national EmComm
strategic partners, and give the organization the visibility in
Washington, DC it deserves. After a full year of effort, it seems this
process is finally wrapping up.

In February’s newsletter I discussed the recent work of the Board’s
Band Planning Committee, and the fact that the ARRL was opening the
committee’s results related to the separation of wide and narrow band
HF digital modes up to member scrutiny and comments before formally
submitting the proposals to the FCC for action. This was first
accomplished with a “blind” comment input link set up thorough the
ARRL website, but then members complained that they couldn’t see other
comments already submitted. In quick response we also set up a
e-mail reflector to encourage conversations between members over their
band plan concerns, and several of the committee members, and the
chairman, were on hand to answer questions when they came up.

While the web portal is now closed, literally hundreds and hundreds of
comments were received through both venues, and from all over the
country. The e-mail reflector, (which is still active), seems to have
garnered the most comments. I’m subscribed to the reflector, and at
the peak there were over 50 e-mails a day to sort through. As one can
imagine, the overall comments received ranged from: “I fully support
the new band plans” to “You people are incompetent idiots.”

In reviewing some of the comments there was a misconception among many
members that the Technician Enhancement proposal, (which will grant them
limited phone and digital privileges on 80, 40 and 15 meters), was open
for debate as a part of the digital allocation band planning discussion.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Part of the committee’s charter
was that our efforts assumed that both RM-11759, the 80 meter proposal
to reallocate 3600-3650 kHz back to digital from phone use, and
RM-11828, Technician Enhancement proposal, would both be enacted by the
FCC “as written”. That fact is that these proposals have both been
in the FCC’s hands for at least several years now, and the official
comment periods have long expired.

Another misconception that members have espoused is the notion that we
are “giving away a lot of spectrum to Winlink and their Automatically
Controlled Digital Stations (ACDS).” That’s not the case! In all the
HF band plans submitted, all wide-band, and all ACDS, regardless of
bandwidth, will share common spectrum, usually situated right below the
phone portion of each band. That said, there will still be some
occasional sharing with CW and narrow-band digital signals within that
spectrum, as those signal modes are currently allowed everywhere “CW
and Data” is allowed in the FCC rules. The committee didn’t change
that. It’s only the wide-band digital stations and all ACDS we are
moving in to a common “sandbox”.

There’s an argument presented that suggests a narrow-band digital signal
cannot be allowed to occupy and essentially “take over” a wide-band
channel slot, but again, (in my opinion), it’s all about sharing
spectrum, and also encouraging more “spectrum-efficient” digital
technologies to evolve. My guess is that the narrow-band and CW stations
will voluntarily stay down exactly where they are now in each band, not
wanting to get tromped on by a wide-band station up in the wide-band
area. Especially a wide-band station that’s an ACDS, and may not even
know, (or care), they’re there!

The next step is to for the committee to formally review the comments
received via the website and reflector, and make any necessary
corrections to the band plans. Next, the plans will be presented to the
ARRL Board’s Executive Committee, who will review them, and if
approved will then pass them along to our FCC Legal Counsel, David
Siddall, K3ZJ, for action. (How long it takes from there is the big
question!) Thanks again to all of the members of our NW Division that
provided valuable comments and suggestions related to the new digital
band plans.

Last month I also touched on changes your Director initiated at the last
Board meeting related to the Board’s Section Manager and Director/Vice
Director contested election rules. The idea here was to firm up the
rules for acceptable behavior by candidates in these elections, ensure
“the election rules are clear, concise, and fair to all nominees “,
as well as greatly widen the window where the rules are to be enforced.
In the case of the latter, the old rule stated the official “campaign
period” ran from when the candidates were certified, (approved as
candidates by the Board’s Ethics and Elections Committee), and the day
the ballots are due in Newington. That’s only about six weeks, and
that window has now been widened to run from the time the official
“Call for Nominations” is published on the ARRL website, (now the
first business day in July), to the day the ballots are due, a full five

On another note, the ARRL Foundation’s Scholarship Committee has
already begun vetting the 180 or so candidates who have applied for the
many available scholarships the foundation administers. These
scholarships range in value from $500 to $5,000 per, and each applicant
can receive only one scholarship per academic school year. That said,
scholarship winners this year will be receiving an extra bonus! It was
announced this week that the nonprofit Amateur Radio Digital
Communications (ARDC) has generously agreed to award the ARRL Foundation
a one-time grant to match the Foundation’s 2020-2021 scholarships on a
dollar-for-dollar basis, up to a total of $200,000. Scholarships that
are worth $5,000 this year will automatically be supplanted with an
additional $5,000 scholarship from the ARDC, $1,000 scholarships with an
additional $1,000 ARDC scholarship, and so on. A huge THANKS to the ARDC
for this very generous grant opportunity!

Next, in about 90 days the ARRL Northwestern Division Convention at
SeaPac, in Seaside, OR will be here again! (Registration is available
on-line at: As usual we there will be a
Saturday ARRL Forum, with a format very similar to what we did last
year. I’ll also be hosting a Saturday technical seminar entitled “HF
Noise Mitigation”, where I’ll discuss techniques related to reducing
shack ambient RF noise levels, and provide hints to help pull stations
out of the noise at their HF station. I hope to see you there!

Finally, registration is also now open for the 66th annual Pacific NW DX
Convention, this year hosted by the Willamette Valley DX Club in
Portland, OR. (The convention website can be found at: )


Mike Ritz, W7VO
ARRL NW Division Director

Now we will see what Vice Director Mark Tharp, KB7HDX has been up to!

Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 2, March 2020
Mike and I attended the Salem Hamfair and swapmeet on the 15th and had a
great time, even with the rain. Attendance was great with tons of stuff
to buy and use to improve your station. Mike and Key is this coming
Saturday, March 7th in Puyallup and we will both be at the ARRL table to
chat. Stop by and renew your ARRL membership, and you will receive a
free book. Even if you are still current, the renewal will extend your
current expiration date.
The ARISS committee met on February 12th and we finalized changes to a
few PR items for this year including web page sliders, (not the ones you
eat), new roll up banners/displays for use at events, and the new
version of the QST ad we hope to run at least quarterly. ARISS is a
great program and you can donate directly by visiting ARRL supports the ARISS program with ads
and staff support, and by way of a yearly budgeted amount requested by
the ARISS committee and then approved by the A and F committee to assist
with the costs to maintain this program. AMSAT oversees the donation
from the ARRL.
The Public Service Enhancement Working Group, or “PSEWG” continues
its work with NTS and is also discussing the current state of the
Aresconnect system used by a few ARES® groups across the league.
The Legal defense and assistance committee has discussed hands free and
distracted driving laws a bit, however the charter of the committee does
not currently include these items. We hope to correct that possibly in
July at the next BOD meeting. This would allow funds and other resources
available to the committee to be used to help amateurs with mobile
operation regulations and not only tower placement and zoning matters.
On a side note, former International VP Jay Bellows, K0QB, informed the
committee of a change in Canadian law pertaining to hands free law and
Amateur operation. This would also affect US hams while traveling in
parts of Canada. A snippet of that text, and links are here:
(From the RAC Bulletin)
Richard Ferch, VE3KI
RAC Regulatory Affairs Officer
In light of the recent decision by the Ontario Ministry of
Transportation to make permanent the exemption for two-way radios for
commercial drivers and Amateur Radio operators, we have reviewed the
regulations in Canada and, to the best of our knowledge, the exemptions
in all other provinces and territories are “permanent” (i.e., with
no defined end date).
The one exception is Nunavut, where there is apparently no exemption –
although the text of the exemption in some other cases may be somewhat
ambiguous and open to interpretation.
These regulations are made and enforced by Provincial and Territorial
governments and can vary considerably from province/territory to
province/territory and over time and are subject to change.

For immediate release:
Distracted driving regulations continue to be an area of interest for
many Canadian Radio Amateurs.
These regulations are made and enforced by provincial governments and
can vary considerably from province to province and over time.
In Ontario, RAC Directors Allan Boyd, VE3AJB (Ontario North/East) and
Phil McBride, VA3QR (Ontario South) have been working hard on this
We are pleased to announce that effective February 14, 2020, the Ontario
Ministry of Transportation has “made permanent the exemption under
Ontario Regulation 366/09 (Display Screens and Hand-Held Devices) of the
Highway Traffic Act for hand-held two-way radios for commercial drivers
and Amateur Radio operators.”
Section 13(1) of the Ontario regulation states:
(1) Drivers who hold a valid radio operator certificate issued under the
Radiocommunication Act (Canada) may drive a motor vehicle on a highway
while holding or using a two-way radio.
The regulation is available online at:
The official publication of the amendment to the regulations is also
available online at:
Hamfest/Convention season is under way, and I hope to see many of you in
person. Events I have on the list to attend are: Mike and Key 3/7,
Yakima Hamfest 4/18, Comm Academy 4/25, River Radio campout 5/16,
SEA-PAC 6/5, Wenatchee Hamfest 6/12, PNW DX Convention 8/7, Digital
summer gathering (Valley Camp) 9/11, Spokane Hamfest 9/26, and perhaps
the PNW VHF convention in October. Others will come up I’m sure.
If you are on the organizing committee for your event, please get that
information into the league and to Lynn, N7CFO for inclusion on his
webpage at . The go to site for
Northwestern Division Events. (this is also linked from the NW Division
website at:
Division statistics:
343 new licenses issued and 59 upgraded licenses.
12,493 ARRL members in Division (+ 1.2% 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 3 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.
Mark, KB7HDX
Mark J. Tharp, KB7HDX
ARRL Vice Director Northwestern Division

ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: Michael T Ritz, W7VO

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