First of all, I sincerely apologize for not publishing an ARRL NW
Division Newsletter last month. That was the first one I’ve missed in
a quite a while, and I’ll try to keep them flowing in the future. July
was a very busy month for your Director, and between preparation for the
ARRL Board meeting, the meeting itself, putting together a program for
the ARRL Contest Forum at the Pacific NW DX Convention and another
program for the QSO Today Ham Expo this upcoming weekend, I simply ran
out of bandwidth!
Just a couple weeks ago Mark and I flew home from a grueling week in
Connecticut for the ARRL July Board Meeting, the first one done
“live” since January 2020. Despite the overwhelming convenience and
obvious cost savings related to virtual Zoom meetings, nothing beats a
live and in-person Board meeting, and in the end it was well worth it.
There are many personal interactions, and ad-hoc meetings that go on
during breaks and off-times during the week that are just about
impossible to replicate in a virtual setting. I believe this additional
personal interaction and input from others provides a better thought-out
outcome in the end.
I heard it once said: “For great ideas and true innovation, you need
human interaction, conflict, argument, and debate.” I believe this
certainly rings true, at least far as the ARRL Board meetings are
concerned, as ALL those vital elements are present!
NEW ARRL STANDING COMMITTEE:
The biggest decision to come out of the Board meeting was the creation
of a new Standing Committee devoted entirely to Emergency Communications
(EmComm), and Field Service. The “EmComm” part of this brings that
important purpose for Amateur Radio as outlined in the FCC Part 97 rules
to the forefront of the ARRL Board mindset. It also demonstrates to our
strategic partners, such as FEMA and the Red Cross, that the ARRL is
serious about EmComm. The Field Service aspect ensures that the ARRL
continues to better its focus on providing support for both local ARRL
Affiliated clubs and ARRL Section Managers, something that many believe
has been severely lacking in the recent past.
From the July 23rd ARRL Letter: “The charter of the new Emergency
Communications and Field Services Committee (EC-FSC) is to develop and
recommend new or modified Board policy and programs for emergency
communications through the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®)
and National Traffic System™ (NTS™) entities.
The committee also will offer enhanced support for its Field
Organization leadership volunteers, including Section Managers, and an
increased focus on ARRL-Affiliated Clubs.
The EC-FSC will further provide guidance to the CEO in translating Board
policy into prioritized tasking, funding, and staffing of programs,
services, and training in support of amateur radio emergency
communications, field organization volunteers, and recruitment and
retention of new and existing members through assistance to Affiliated
and Special Service Clubs.
The EC-FSC will have additional responsibility for monitoring and
assessing trends in emergency communications technology and participant
skills worldwide, and for identifying “best practices” for voluntary
emergency communications provided by ARES and NTS, coordinating and
cooperating with other amateur radio national societies as
That all said, it was not as easy to get this through the Board as it
first might seem. This particular proposal brought on quite a bit of
controversy, with Directors concerned with everything from what
individual words meant in the motion, to whether or not it needed to be
done at all. There was also vigorous debate as to exactly what the new
committee make-up should look like.
Previously, the 15 Directors were evenly divided among the three major
Board committees; the Executive Committee, (these members are elected by
the Board), and the two Standing Committees, (Programs and Services, and
Administration and Finance, with members of both appointed by the ARRL
President). Now throw a fourth committee in the mix, and one can easily
see that 15 cannot be easily divided by four. That means that some
Director members might have to serve on two of these committees,
something currently outlawed in the By-Laws. Or maybe drop the number to
four Directors per committee, and use Vice Directors to make up the
difference in numbers, something the framers of the motion would not
agree to, nor budge on.
To get this one motion finally passed took no less than two hours of
discussion, including lunch and meeting breaks where several
simultaneous side-meetings took place.
Not everybody was happy with how the motion was worded, but in the end
it was decided by the vast majority of Directors that the motion needed
to pass as-is, and worry about possible tweaks necessary at the January
FCC RF EXPOSURE GUIDELINE UPDATE:
As mentioned previously, the FCC has updated and adopted guidelines and
procedures for evaluating environmental effects of RF emissions. Under
the new FCC rules, some amateurs need to perform routine station
evaluations to ensure that their stations comply with the RF exposure
rules. This can be as simple as running an on-line calculator to
determine the minimum safe distance between any part of your antenna and
areas where people might be exposed to RF energy from your station.
Although amateurs can make direct measurements of their stations,
(however, NOT easily), evaluations are allowed to be done by
The FCC guidelines already incorporate two tiers of exposure limits
based on whether exposure occurs in an occupational or “controlled”
situation, or whether the general population is exposed or exposure is
in an “uncontrolled” situation.
To make this easy for amateurs, the ARRL now provides an RF exposure
calculator on its RF Exposure page on the ARRL website:
http://arrl.org/rf-exposure-calculator . (This calculator is also now
available through the ARRL NW Division Website, under the
“Resources” drop down menu.) To use the calculator, enter your
transmit peak-envelope power (PEP) and operating mode, and answer the
questions about the maximum amount of time you might be transmitting.
The calculator will give you the minimum distance people must be from
your antenna to minimize human exposure to safe levels.
You can print the results and keep them in your station records. There
is no requirement to send your results to the FCC.
ARRL FOUNDATION NEWS:
I just received news that the window for 2022 ARRL Foundation
Scholarship Program applications will open on November 1, 2021 and will
close at midnight on December 31, 2021. This is a later and a tighter
window than in previous years, but is consistent with other scholarship
programs out there. It also allows ARRL staff more time to work with a
new ARRL scholarship program database program vendor, and get any bugs
Another important change: All transcripts and any additional
documentation needed are now required to be submitted with the
application as opposed to being emailed to the Foundation e-mail as was
done in the past. Scholarship recipients will be notified of the results
in May 2022.
THE “ARRL TECHNICAL INNOVATION AWARD”:
I would like to congratulate and acknowledge Northwestern Division
amateur Steve Hynal, KF7O, of Wilsonville, OR as one of three
recipients of the 2021 ARRL Technical Innovation Award, as voted upon at
the last PSC meeting in Newington. From the ARRL Board motion: “Steve
Hynal, KF7O has been instrumental and the driving force behind the
Hermes Lite 5W HF SDR transceiver as an open-source hardware and
software project, (even down the tools to produce the printed circuit
board), enabling the design to be fully shared and further developed by
other amateurs for the good of the hobby”. Kudos!
“ARRL CONTEST FORUM” VIDEO NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE:
For those that are interested I have posted the ARRL Contest Forum
program video from last weekend’s Pacific NW DX Convention up on
YouTube. In this informational program panelists discuss the latest
happenings from the Contest Advisory Committee (CAC) in regard to
proposed rule changes for ARRL contests, (such as the RTTY Roundup,
Sweepstakes, and the ARRL DX Contests). Here is the link:
SWAPTOBERFEST AT RICKREALL IS ON!
I was just informed the “much missed” annual tradition of
Swaptoberfest, sponsored by the Mid-Valley ARES group, (and just about
the last chance in 2021 to find new gems for your shack!), will be held
at the Polk County Fairgrounds, Rickreall, OR on October 16th, 9 AM to
3 PM. The buyer entry fee is $10 at the door, or either $20 for
unpowered, or $22 for powered swap tables. For the latest information
regarding the event, check out their website: www.swaptoberfest.net,
(but as of today it doesn’t appear to be live quite yet).
I certainly plan on attending Swaptoberfest, in October, as well as the
Spokane, WA Hamfest and Washington State Convention, September 25th, and
hope to see you at either event. Stop by the ARRL booths and say HI!
73, stay safe, and get on the air!
Mike Ritz, W7VO
ARRL NW Division Director
Director, ARRL Foundation
Now, we’ll hear what Vice Director Mark Tharp, KB7HDX has to say!
Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 3, August 2021
What a whirlwind July was, and now here we are almost halfway into
Field Day has come and gone since our last newsletter and although it
was blistering hot, I did hear many NW Division members and clubs out
and on the air. The new reduced power for class D and E stations made
for a more even playing field in my opinion, and from the cuff, it looks
like overall participation was up again this year.
Mike and I made the all-day long trip to Connecticut last month to
attend the rededication ceremony of ARRL Headquarters. It was outside,
hot and humid….. It was great to see and visit with many HQ staff
members, Board members, and Officers. Also, in attendance, were
Connecticut District 1 US Congressman John B. Larson, Connecticut State
Senator Matt Lesser, and Glenn Field, KB1HGX, a Warning Coordination
Meteorologist for the National Weather Service Boston office.
Representatives from the American Red Cross, IARU, Radio Amateurs of
Canada, and the town of Newington were also on hand.
As we were already in Connecticut, we decided to stay a few days and
attend the July Standing committee and Board of Directors meetings. Mike
has already hit on the highlights from those meetings. The minutes were
released in draft form to the board Monday the 9th and barring any
additions or corrections, should be out to membership in a few weeks.
I made the trip to Chehalis, WA on July 24th for the swap meet, and was
impressed by the number of vendors and buyers. If you have not attended
this in years past, I would recommend adding it to your list of events.
It’s right off I-5 with acres of parking for any size rig.
The IMC (Investment Management Committee) is continuing to meet on
Tuesdays and has started the next phase in finding a firm to manage the
league portfolio. I continue to participate as a fellow board member
visitor in these meetings. RFPs have been sent to potential firms and
the real work is just getting started for this group.
I have nothing to report from the ARISS committee this month other than
the radios are working great, and contacts are taking place. If you
would like to learn more about ARISS visit the website at:
The newly formed ECFSC (Emergency Communications and Field Service
Committee), although new in name, has been very active working on
replacement reporting forms for our SECs (Section Emergency
Coordinators) and has started discussion on the next layer of reporting
for the District and County ECs. The new forms will allow ARRL HQ to
take snapshots of activity to use in various reports sent to the FCC and
legislators as part of our ongoing advocacy efforts to maintain the use
of our spectrum. The new reporting tool is all database driven and no
longer requires any manual data entry from 71 sections by HQ staff. More
tools to allow collaboration among the SMs, SECs and others is also in
the works. A new, enthusiastic attitude from HQ and a few new staff
members with the drive to improve this part of the league is good to
see. We have a lot of work to do and it will take some time, but the
rewards will be worth the wait.
The ECFSC is also charged with reviewing various programs and services
available to clubs. If you are a club official, stay tuned for
information on upcoming potential changes to the membership commission
program and other tools to help grow your club.
Washington State Convention
The School has given the green light for the Spokane Hamfest, and
Washington State Convention. The six clubs that organize this are
excited to hold this event again. It will be great to see members and
friends from that area after two full years. The flyer is available
ARRL, and the Eastern Washington Section, are pleased to announce the
addition of the Saddle Mountain ARC, in Othello, Washington, as the
newest affiliated club in the Northwestern Division. Congratulations to
the club, and welcome to the ARRL family! The club has a Facebook page
ARRL approval for sanctioned Hamfests and conventions this month
Mid Valley ARES for the October 16th “Swaptoberfest” in Rickreall,
Matanuska ARA for their yearly Hamfest on September 11th in Big Lake,
Events I am planning to attend IN PERSON!!
The YARC swap meet, September 18th in Union Gap (Yakima, WA)
The Spokane (WA) Hamfest and Washington State Convention, September 25th
Other events are on the calendar and for the most current list of
Hamfest, Conventions, and other gatherings, take a look at the website
maintained by Lynn Burlingame, N7CFO at:
A link to this page is also on the Division website at:
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 would be glad to include it here. It is always
good to hear from members.
Division statistics from June:
235 new licenses issued and 67 upgraded licenses.
12685 ARRL members in Division (+ 0.7% from 2020)
148 Active ARRL affiliated clubs.
Our challenge from President Rodrick to pass the Atlantic Division in
membership looks like this.
The Atlantic Division had 12,772 members. (friendly competition of
Overall league membership 157,790, down 0.1% from 2020
Division statistics from July:
126 new licenses issued and 36 upgraded licenses.
12599 ARRL members in Division (- 0.1% from 2020)
149 Active ARRL affiliated clubs.
1663 New hams in Division YTD.
Our challenge from President Rodrick to pass the Atlantic Division in
membership looks like this.
The Atlantic Division had 12,718 members. (friendly competition of
Overall league membership 157,131, down 0.6% 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