Well, the COVID-19 vaccines are now coming on-line, but unfortunately it
appears the actual job of getting people vaccinated is falling behind
schedule, especially in Oregon. As a result, the latest casualty in the
COVID war is the annual Pacific Northwest DX Convention, normally held
each August. The Portland based Willamette Valley DX Club, after the
COVID cancellation last year, has again cancelled for an in-person event
this year. What they are exploring at the moment is the feasibility of
holding a virtual event instead, so stay tuned as this progresses.
Hosting the convention is on a yearly rotating basis between the major
Northwest DX Clubs: The Western Washington DX Club, the Willamette
Valley DX Club, the ORCA DX Club up in Vancouver, Canada, and the
Spokane DX Association/Idaho DX Association. After two failed attempts
to hold the in-person event in Portland, the reins have now been turned
over to the Spokane DX Association and the Idaho DX Association, and
their turn to host the “in-person” 2022 convention.
There are several ARRL sanctioned events that have switched to virtual
settings for 2021, and at this point are still a GO. The first is the
annual Communications Academy, an emergency communications and amateur
radio conference to be held online April 10-11, 2021. Headquartered in
Seattle, the Communications Academy is two days of training and
information on various aspects of emergency communications.
Organizations attending include: Amateur Radio Emergency Services
(ARES©), Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS), EOC Support Teams,
Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES), Civil Air Patrol, Coast
Guard Auxiliary, REACT, and CERT. All those interested in emergency and
amateur radio communications are welcome. Learn, network, and share your
experiences with others! For more information on Communications Academy,
their website is: https://www.commacademy.org/
The second event is the MicroHAMS Digital Conference, this year to be
held on April 24, 2021. This event is sponsored annually by the
MicroHAMS Amateur Radio Club up in the Redmond, WA area. This year,
besides presentations, they hope to have both breakout rooms with
collaborative spaces for attendees. Their website page has apparently
not been updated for 2021 yet, but I understand more information is
coming soon. The club’s website can be found at:
With the pandemic lingering, I’ve been asked by several members what
the ARRL plans are for Field Day this year. Well, the short answer is
that 2021 Field Day rules will look very much like the rules for 2020,
with one big exception. The most major of the complaints from amateurs
participating in Field Day last year was that Class D (home stations on
commercial power), and Class E stations (home stations on emergency
power), were not only very numerous (as expected), but were also
dominating the event due to their high-power home station capability. To
level the playing field a bit for this year, all Class D and Class E
stations will be limited to the “low-power” level of 150 watts PEP
or less. Other classes can still use the “full legal limit” where
allowed by the rules, but the home stations will be restricted to either
the low-power or QRP (Five watts or less) power levels. The feedback
I’ve received on this “one time rule waiver” from members, and
through social media, has been overwhelmingly positive.
One question I’ve heard is: “Why is the low-power limit set at 150
watts, not 100 watts?” There are several reasons for this. The first
reason is that while Field Day is technically NOT a contest, (it’s
considered an “operating event”), the limit for low-power categories
in ARRL contests is 150 watts. The second reason is that while most
modern solid state HF transceivers put out 100 watts maximum, there are
a lot of hams who still use transceivers that use tube finals, such as
the old Yaesu FT-101 series, and the Kenwood TS-520/820 line. These rigs
typically put out 120 watts or so when properly tuned. In the end
though, the difference between 100 watts and 150 watts at the receiving
end is negligible, so it’s not really a big deal.
The ARRL has just released the official minutes from the January 2021
Board Meeting, held virtually via Zoom last month. (The minutes can be
While nothing really substantial happened in this meeting, there was one
item that caught the eye of several members, and that is contained
within Minute 33. This motion was to allow “non-amateur radio
related” advertising within QST magazine. The concern from some is
that QST will now be filled with ads for adult diapers, therapeutic
pillows, male performance enhancement products, or the like. Our CEO
David Minster, NA2AA has assured the Board that the new advertisers will
be carefully selected to complement our existing pool of advertisers.
The major upside of broadening the pool of potential advertisers is
increasing QST advertising revenue, which of course, offsets the costs
of printing and mailing the magazine.
Also, please note Minute 31, proposed by Director Baker, N4MB, and was
passed by the Board. The proposal, intended to aid and encourage younger
hams to get licensed, is to reimburse ARRL affiliated, 501(c)(3)
Charitable Organizations which have an established Youth Program for
Amateur Radio the $35 FCC fee (when enacted), upon the passing of an
amateur radio examination by an applicant who, at the time of testing,
has not reached their 18th birthday. The test must result in that
applicant’s initial amateur radio license, and be tested through the
ARRL VEC testing organization.
For applicants who meet the criteria specified above, the VEC fee will
be reduced to a total of $5, all of which must be paid to the ARRL VEC.
Organizations using authorized ARRL volunteer examiners for applicants
that have reached their 18th birthday may test according to the VEC
rules and fees in place, but neither the FCC fee nor the VEC fee will
change in any way. This plan will be limited to the first 1,000
applicants in 2021.
As the FCC has NOT started to collect fees yet there is still time to
develop the project, and the Board is still working out exactly how this
will be implemented. Stay tuned on this one for further developments.
Congratulations to David Duncan, K7DUN, of Grants Pass, OR, for winning
the ARRL Cover Plaque Award for the January 2021 issue of QST, with his
article “CW-ELMER – An Advanced Morse Code Learning System”
A brand new radio club comes to Oregon! A new University of Oregon Radio
Club has just been formed down in Eugene. For the first time that anyone
can figure, (and the founding of UO goes way back to 1876, long before
there was radio), this is the first ever radio club at the university.
So far they have had their first meeting via Zoom and had 15 attendees.
For more information about this new club, contact Hanna Rosenfeld,
Work has just begun to vet candidates for the ARRL Foundation
scholarships. This year will be the busiest ever for us serving on the
Foundation’s Scholarship Committee, as there are over 175 candidates
that have submitted applications for some 100 plus scholarships. That
has to be a record, and certainly the most I’ve seen while on the
Board. Many of the scholarships will most likely set Foundation records
for amounts awarded, as there are two $25,000 scholarships, thirteen
$10,000 scholarships, and some eight $5,000 scholarships available.
Next, the question has come up from quite a few hams as to exactly when
the new $35 FCC fee will be enacted for amateur radio license
applications, renewals, and vanity call requests. The date of June 29th
has been reported by some on social media, so we need to get this
clarified. When queried, ARRL FCC Counsel David Siddall, K3ZJ responded
with the following;
“At this time there is no date for starting to collect the new fees.
The staff has told me that a number of changes are required and that
likely it will not be until the summer time frame. While the June 29th
date is not inconsistent with the timetable, there just is no set date
as of today. June 29th is, however, the date when all applications must
contain an e-mail address.”
Finally, coming up on March 13-14, 2021 is the QSO Today Virtual Ham
Expo. The last virtual event they held had over 16,000 attendees logging
in! The ARRL is a major sponsor of the event, and will have a virtual
booth there. While at this time I do not know exactly who will be
manning the ARRL virtual booth, I would expect our new CEO, David, NA2AA
to be in attendance some time during the event. Several of us on the
ARRL Board will be presenting seminars at the event, including two from
Central Division Vice Director, Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, (“Design
Notes for Solid-State RF Power Amplifiers”, and “Solar Cycle 25
Predictions”), Hudson Division Director Ria Jairam, N2RJ, (“Systems
Integration For Amateur Radio”), and your very own NW Division
Director with “The Storied History of the Ham Radio Callsign”.
What will be interesting this time around is that the individual
presentations have been limited to 20-25 minutes each in length. Plus,
they will all be pre-recorded, with a short live Q&A following each one.
Should be interesting! For more information on the Virtual Ham Expo,
check out their website: https://www.qsotodayhamexpo.com/
73 and stay safe!
Mike Ritz, W7VO
Director, ARRL Northwestern Division
Now we will hear from Vice Director Mark Tharp, KB7HDX:
Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 3, February 2021
January has come and gone, and along with it, the Annual ARRL Board of
Directors meeting. The minutes were circulated to the board last week
for approval and with any luck, a vote to approve will take place before
you read this and they will be released to members who subscribe for
email, and on the ARRL website.
President Rodrick re-appointed me for another year as chairman of the
ARISS committee as well as remaining on the emcom director search
committee. You may ask, why do we have that committee when the position
is filled? (or you may not) Well, part of the July meeting discussion
was to form a new board committee to support the new emcom director, and
the emcom program in general. As we have yet to name that committee, we
just moved forward with the one we have for now. Our goal is to have the
new committee name and its responsibilities outlined for approval at the
July meeting this year. The PSEWG, which I also served on, was disbanded
at the PSC meeting just prior to the Board meeting as it’s tasks and
responsibilities will be absorbed by the new committee.
Director Ritz was appointed as chairman of PSC (Programs and Services)
as well as continuing on the HF band planning committee. He is also
continuing to serve on the ARRL foundation board.
Short report this month.
278 new licenses issued and 73 upgraded licenses.
12,756 ARRL members in Division (+ 2.0% from 2020)
147 Active ARRL affiliated clubs.
Overall league membership 158,984, up 1.5% from 2020
If you have any questions or input, an email to firstname.lastname@example.org is the
best way to contact me.
Mark J. Tharp, KB7HDX
ARRL Vice Director
ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: Michael T Ritz, W7VO