Another ARRL Field Day is in the books, and it seems the world as we
know it did not collapse as a result of the ARRL Board’s Programs and
Services Committee (PSC) decision to allow Class D, (home stations on
commercial power), to get point credit for contacts with other Class D
stations this year due to the COVID-19 crisis. I ran as a Class 2E
(home, emergency power), effort signing as WW7E, (along with Steve,
W7XQ), from my home’s outdoor covered patio. “Social distancing”
here was in full force, as the two HF stations were located about 20
feet apart, and faced away from each other. Still, we had a blast, and I
hope you all did also.
I certainly noticed a big uptick in Field Day activity despite very low
HF propagation numbers. Not surprising, what we worked this year were
mostly Class 1D stations, probably 2/3 of the 475 contacts we made.
That’s pretty significant. How many of those 1Ds were running
kilowatts? I don’t know. That said, I worked quite a few QRP stations
too, more than I have in any recent contest that I can remember. My
personal opinion is that without the Class Ds on the air this year Field
Day would have been pretty boring, with very few stations to work.
While most of the response to the Class D to Class D decision I’ve
seen on social media has been very positive, I’ve heard some
complaining about them overpowering “normal” Field Day Class A, B, and C
stations due to the “unfair advantage” of high power and more
efficient antennas enjoyed by the home stations. Well, the good news
for them is next year we will be reverting back to normal FD rules,
(assuming the COVID-19 virus is in check), and that should make them
very happy. That said, for those ops that still won’t feel comfortable
being back in public by then perhaps we should consider a special Class
D “low power” option for point credit next year. I brought that
possibility up for this year in our PSC meetings, but the consensus of
the group was to keep things as simple as possible for now.
Thanks to EVERYONE that managed to get on the air for Field Day, no
matter how you did it. I’m already looking forward to Field Day 2021!
Next week, the ARRL will be attempting its first ever virtual full Board
meeting, utilizing the Zoom video teleconferencing platform. It will be
a very interesting experience, and I expect will not be as efficient as
a normal in-person meeting in Newington, as informative meetings with
ARRL staff, and the discussion over issues and motions occur during the
Board meeting’s “non-business” hours will simply not happen.
ARRL President Roderick, K5UR, has asked that the Board only tackle the
most urgent of issues this go-around, but we’ll see what happens. I
have several motions in the pipeline, (as discussed in my newsletter
last month), and am supporting a new motion that Hudson Division
Director Ria, N2RJ, has written related to the ARRL accepting
e-signatures on paperwork submissions for candidates. The world is
changing, and the ARRL needs to keep up with 21st century technology.
Congratulations again to the Anchorage Amateur Radio Club and their VEC
program, which became one of the first groups in the nation to be
approved to provide and administer amateur radio exams completely
paperless. Here’s an excerpt from their recent press release: “In
an effort to modernize its amateur radio license testing program, the
Anchorage ARC VEC will become completely paperless effective July 1,
- It will be one of the few (if not the first) VEC programs in the
United States to go completely paperless. The ARVEC will no longer
utilize printed, paper examinations, or session-related paperwork at any
of their testing locations. All examinations will be conducted using
their web-based examination platform; examinees will take their
examinations on a computer that is connected to the internet. All
documents will be electronically completed and signed by the examinee
and VEs.” (The full release can be found here:
The ARRL is working diligently on modernizing and updating its own VEC
program, and certainly will be taking note of this! Again, it’s
exciting to hear of a club in our own Division blazing the trail for the
rest of the country.
Last month one member sent me an e-mail asking for the status of the
League’s latest effort regarding relief for amateurs living in HOA
affected areas and associated deed restrictions. (What used to be called
the “Amateur Radio Parity Act” or “ARPA” for short.) While I’m
sure there will be a detailed report from the Board’s Legislative
Advocacy sub-committee provided to the group at the upcoming virtual
Board meeting, what I’ve heard so far is that they are busy rounding
up sponsors for a new bill to be put before the US Senate early next
year, after the November elections. I’ll have more information on this
effort after the Board meeting, and will report any updates next month.
Next, I received the following from the Chehalis Amateur Radio Society
last week, and am passing it along to the rest of the Division:
July 25 Swapmeet Canceled
We regret to inform you that we will not be hosting our annual CVARS
Swapmeet this year. Despite the high interest from many places we have
been denied entrance to our usual venue. Always remember to check the
cvars.org website for updates and bulletins about CVARS activity.
Have a great rest of the summer. The nice thing about old Ham gear is
that it will still be around next year. Imagine the fun we’ll have
PS: If you know of any non-CVARS folks who plan to come or usually
come, would you please let them know. This email is only going out to
folks on the CVARS list of members/attenders.
Finally, I hope to hear everybody on the HF bands for the upcoming IARU
Radiosport Championship contest on July 11, starting at 5 AM PDT (ugh!).
This is a relatively short 24 hour world-wide contest, where it’s
“everybody works everybody”, using CW, phone, or a combination of
both. Note that this is a great contest for HF beginners! If you
enjoyed operating HF on Field Day, this is the next step up, with lots
of great DX to be worked. Details are available on the ARRL website:
http://www.arrl.org/iaru-hf-world-championship. I’ll be operating
from home using my own callsign, phone only, and hope to work other NW
Get on the air, and have fun!
Mike Ritz, W7VO
Director, ARRL Northwestern Division
Now, we’ll hear from NW Division Vice Director Mark Tharp, KB7HDX:
Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 2, July 2020
Another month has flown by and here we are in July. During a “normal
year”, Mike and I would be making plans for travel to Newington in
anticipation of attending the second Board of Directors meeting next
Sadly, that will not happen. As Mike mentioned, this will be a ZOOM
meeting and we will see how that goes. Everyone has had ample
opportunities to figure ZOOM out during the last three months and as a
result we are hoping it goes smooth. Nothing can replace in-person
meetings and the comradery that takes place over the board meeting week.
The opportunity to sit down and meet with staff and others on the board
is incredibly useful and to me can not be replaced by ZOOM.
Understandably this year we will adjust and do the best we can.
Remember that both Mike and I have full accounts with ZOOM and if your
group has the need to meet, we can help you out with that. Just let us
know. We might even stay for the meeting!
Jo and I participated in a VE session this week, the first in what seems
like forever, and it was GREAT to get out of the house, and out of town
actually. We held it at a campground for a jeep club. Seven took the
test, and seven passed. Kudos to Skip Frans, KE7MPO who helped the group
study and also helped Jo and I as the third VE.
In looking at the division stats this month, two things come to mind.
First that the VEC in Newington is working extra hard processing the
backlog of session paperwork, and second, folks are still administering
exams. We had no issues with keeping folks apart for this exam, it was
outside so the possibility of sharing the bug was almost zero. I
received a number of calls asking about the session, and as this was for
a specific group, we felt it best to not allow walk-ins and did not take
any other than those in the group. The public is obviously interested in
Ham radio and we need to get testing back to a somewhat normal status
sooner rather than later in my opinion so we don’t lose out on the
current enthusiasm for obtaining a license. I know our group will be
putting together another session next month and I would encourage you
who are VE team leaders to consider ways to safely administer exams.
Most of the committees, other than the Emcom Director, and CEO search
committees are in stand-by mode as we all prepare for the BoD meeting on
the 17th. Those two groups are meeting often, two or more times a week
in fact, working through the candidates for each position. The Emcom
committee is in the final stage and sub groups of that committee are
meeting three times this weekend (July 10,11, and 12) to expedite the
process. The CEO committee I understand is right behind, or might be
ahead, I just know both are doing what they can to wrap the process up
so HQ can hire these folks and get them to work. Those of us involved
are spending large amount of time working in these committees, but at
the end of each meeting I remember it’s also a great honor to be a
part of the process in moving the league forward.
303 new licenses issued and 84 upgraded licenses.
12,603 ARRL members in Division (+ 1.5% from 2019)
146 Active ARRL affiliated clubs.
If you have any questions or input, an email to email@example.com is the
best way to contact me.
Mark J. Tharp, KB7HDX
ARRL Vice Director
ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: Michael T Ritz, W7VO