I hope this finds everybody well, and have either received, or are ready
to get in line for COVID-19 vaccine shots. We all need to get back to
those ham swaps and live events as soon as possible! As you will read
below in Vice Director Tharp’s report, there are actually some live
ham events on the horizon, so things are definitely looking brighter.
At present, your Director is keeping very busy with applicant vetting
for ARRL Foundation Scholarships. It now appears this will be a record
year for the foundation, with close to $500,000 in academic scholarships
to be awarded to some 130 or so deserving students for the 2021-2022
school year. Both of these numbers are higher than in previous years,
however the total dollar amounts to be awarded is much higher than last
year due to our generous Foundation donors who actually fund most of
You will note a different look to this month’s report. These reports
tend to be on the long side, (there’s always a lot to discuss!), and I
was asked if I could break my newsletter down into sections to make it
easier for members to find items of interest to them. We’ll see how
this works, and if you like the reports better this way, let me know.
The Board’s Programs and Services Committee (PSC) did hold its
February meeting on the 24th, and most of the time was spent discussing
and debating on issues related to tasks the Contest Advisory Committee
(CAC) is currently working on. A couple of interesting things did come
out of the meeting though:
ARRL FIELD DAY 2021:
The first was a proposal discussed in the PSC meeting to possibly change
the point structure for ARRL Field Day (FD) to favor the true “Field
Day” classes by reducing points for Class D to Class D (home stations
on commercial power) contacts, or increasing point credit for others.
In the end the final decision was made to “do nothing more” for this
year, for several reasons.
First, remember that Class D was allowed to get point credit for the
first time last year in order to spur these stations to get on the air
during the pandemic, and this year we have already reduced the power
level for both Class D and Class E (home stations on emergency power) to
“low-power” (150 watts maximum) to keep these home stations from
dominating the event, as they did last year.
Next year, (COVID-19 willing), we will revert back to FD 2019 rules, and
“Class D to Class D” will go back to “NO point credit” status.
To change point structures again is an extra burden on computer logging
software suppliers, as they would have to change their software twice
more. As it sits now, suppliers will be able to use the same software
they used last year for this year, and then can easily revert back to
2019 software for 2022.
A second reason was that in the end, it seems that most points for Field
Day stations come from “Bonus” points awarded, not necessarily
points garnered from contacts. (Remember, Field Day is NOT a contest!)
ARRL RTTY ROUNDUP:
Also entertained in the PSC meeting was the idea of splitting the ARRL
RTTY Roundup into two distinct contests: one strictly for RTTY (the
“Roundup”), and the other a new contest for the other digital modes,
such as the popular FT-x. (Note that the CQ RTTY contests are already
“RTTY only”). This was given to the CAC for their further
discussion, but in the meantime, what do you think of this proposal? Let
UPDATE ON 3.4-3.5 GHZ BAND ALLOCATION:
Well, this is actually great news for a change, and comes due to
extensive lobbying by the ARRL and especially the “never say die”
efforts of our ARRL FCC Counsel, David Siddall, K3ZJ. If you wonder
where your ARRL dues money goes, here is part of it, and underscores why
it’s important to support the League. We almost lost this entire band
allocation to commercial interests with very deep pockets, but things
are now looking a lot brighter!
The FCC, on March 17, 2021, adopted final rules for commercial licensing
of the 3.45-3.55 GHz band as directed by Congress. Amateur secondary
use is allowed to continue in the 3.3-3.45 GHz band indefinitely,
pending future FCC action. Amateur secondary operations in the
3.45-3.50 GHz spectrum are required to cease no later than 90 days after
Public Notice that the auction has closed (which marks the initiation of
licensing). The final cessation date is expected to be in early 2022.
This decision improves upon the FCC’s original proposal in December,
2019, to clear amateurs out of the entire band immediately; and also is
50 MHz better than the Commission’s proposal last September to allow
amateurs temporary use in 3.3-3.4 GHz. However, the FCC warned that the
remaining band 3.3-3.45 GHz is under active consideration for future
Consistent with our secondary status, amateurs must ensure that their
signals do not cause harmful interference to the new commercial
operators above 3.450 when they begin operating, as well as continue to
fully protect federal government operations throughout the band.
UPCOMING VIRTUAL EVENTS:
Despite the cancellation of many ham radio related events as the
pandemic lingers, there are several important 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:
“VOICES OF VANPORT” BOOK:
While many of us are focused on amateur radio emergency communications
through the ARRL ARES program these days, there historically has been
amateur radio involvement in Pacific Northwest disasters for many
decades before now. One notable example was the Vanport Flood of 1948.
On Memorial Day 1948, Oregon’s second largest city was buried under 15
feet of flood water. Eighteen thousand people lost their homes in a
matter of minutes. Several Oregon and Washington broadcasters were
flooded out, as were numerous ham radio operators.
Yet, even as the flood was rushing in, hams were on the scene risking
their lives to help others reach safety. And, often through
extraordinary means, broadcasters managed to get the word out about the
disaster and provide critical aid to the community. Now you can read
about the heroic efforts of first responders and meet many of the Oregon
and Washington hams whose lives were touched by this disaster. Discover
the full extent of this region-wide event that impacted communities from
British Columbia to the Oregon Coast. The great news is that the
Northwest Vintage Radio Society is offering a free download of Dan
Howard (KA7FIP)’s new book, The Voices of Vanport. You can get this
download of this radio history of the Vanport Flood in PDF format at:
As a note, and for those interested in what is expected in our
“flooding future”, thinking that an event such as the Vanport Flood
is only in our past, OPB has an interesting article on the subject that
is worth reading:
NEW CALLSIGN FOR UNIVERSITY OF OREGON RADIO CLUB:
Last month I noted the creation of a new radio club at the University of
Oregon, down in Eugene, OR. They recently received their new callsign
from the FCC: N7DUX. How appropriate!
NW DIVISION HAM FEATURED IN SEATTLE TIMES ARTICLE:
Curt Black, WR5J, the current president of the West Seattle Amateur
Radio Club, was featured in a recent issue of the Sunday Supplement part
of the Seattle Times newspaper. A great article regarding ham radio
activity during the pandemic! Here is the link:
Stay well, and get on the air!
Director, ARRL NW Division
Now, we will see what Vice Director Mark Tharp, KB7HDX has been up to!
Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 3, March 2021
Good news! As of this writing I am aware of two Northwestern Division
LIVE EVENTS taking place.
The “INDOOR HAM RADIO SWAP” is Saturday April 24th in Kamiah, Idaho.
I did not find a website for this; however, it is posted on various FB
pages and should be easy to find.
http://www.arrl.org/hamfests/kamiah-ham-swap (this is an ARRL
The 87th version of the “Glacier Waterton International Peace Park
Hamfest” will be on the weekend of July 16-18. (I suppose we will have
to see how much of the international aspect of this takes place with our
current state of Covid border security) The website can be found here:
https://www.gwhamfest.org/ (this is an ARRL sanctioned event)
Mike and I received a request to announce a new voice net in South
central Oregon. Nora Weed, NW7CQ Sandy Prock, KS7NDY and Chris Reid,
KF7JB are starting a social net for “YL’s, XYL’s and other
interested women who have a Ham Radio control operator with them when
they check-in”. The net will be on the second Thursday of the month
starting March 11th. It will be on the HIDARG repeater system and also
connected to the repeater on “Long Butte”. If you are in ear shot of
the various repeaters, tune in. Thanks, Nora, for the information.
(information on the HDARG repeater system can be found here:
Our “yet to be named” emcom committee has held another ZOOM meeting
and we are working to iron out the specifics of what the actual tasks
this committee will be charged with along with staying up to date with
our Emcom director Paul Gilbert. As I have noted in the past this new
committee will be taking some of what the PSC is currently handling and
that is where the devil is in the details. We want to get this right out
of the gate as it requires a change to the ARRL bylaws and no one wants
to have to do that more often than necessary. We have also been
discussing in depth what we need to look at for a replacement to “ARES
Connect” which was intended to be an hour tracking tool for local ARES
groups as well as a simple way for groups to report monthly to HQ. That
system proved to be somewhat cumbersome to most groups and in some cases
was causing double entry to be done. Once for local served agencies, and
a second time for ARES Connect. As a result, we recommended not to renew
the upcoming contract for another year of service and are working to
replace that platform with something that works for all parties without
double entry and has a simpler reporting tool. We will have a very
simplified, electronic method for reporting in place soon and then we
can focus on the big project of replacing AC.
The ARISS committee has set up some inserts for QST in the coming months
and we are keeping up to date with the ongoing contacts and issues with
the new cabling system onboard the ISS. (you may have seen a news story
about this on the ARRL web:
) We have another meeting planned for next month to discuss a possible
fundraising partnership with ARISS and ARRL. If you are unfamiliar with
ARISS you can find information at: https://www.ariss.org/ UPDATE! The
cable is fixed! Well, actually a faulty cable was removed but that cured
the problem. Contacts are back in our own part of the station, and using
our own radio again.
Mike and I are always looking for information to share with the
Division. If you have a news item you would like to offer please send
Mike or I a note and we are glad to include it here.
152 new licenses issued and 39 upgraded licenses.
12,789 ARRL members in Division (+ 2.4% from 2020)
147 Active ARRL affiliated clubs.
Overall league membership 159,386, up 1.8% from 2020
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