ARRL NW Division Newsletter – Sept 23, 2021

This has been a very busy month for your Director, with quite a few Zoom
club meeting programs presented, (and even a “live” one!). There
was also a short trip down to San Ramon, CA for the PacifiCon ARRL
Pacific Division convention last weekend, and a lot of work to prepare
for the 2021-2022 ARRL Foundation scholarship season as it begins to
ramp up.

As the COVID crisis begins to ease a bit, (at least for now), I’m
seeing more and more radio clubs move to at least a hybrid format, (live
meeting for those members that can attend, and Zoom available for those
that can’t), or even full “live and in person” meetings. It’s
great to see, and it appears there might be the hint of a nanometer wave
signal at the end of the waveguide as far as COVID is concerned. Let’s
certainly hope so, I don’t think I can survive another year of no


There has been a flurry of activity related to the 2021-2022 ARRL
Foundation Scholarship season, which formally begins on November 1st
this year, the opening of the application window. You will notice a new
banner at the top of the ARRL website home page, and a new direct link
to the ARRL Foundation from the home page. No more having to use the
search bar to find information about the Foundation on the website, and
I thank HQ staff for getting this done.

As mentioned, the ARRL Foundation will start accepting on-line
scholarship applications on November 1st, and will stop at 11:59 EST PM
on December 31st. Several things in the process will be different this

  1. Due to the wonderful generosity of the Amateur Radio Digital
    Communications (ARDC) group, we will have about $900,000 in scholarships
    to award this year, compared to $560,000 last year, and about $150,000
    in 2019. I understand many more scholarship awards will be in the higher
    $10,000-$25,000 range as well.
  2. You will be seeing a completely new application process this year, a
    web-based scholarship management solution provided by a third party
    company. This does several things: First it standardizes the
    questionnaire process, and very importantly, will vet students for
    scholarships at a fairly high level right away. At the end of the
    questionnaire process the applicant will be told which of the
    approximately 120 available scholarships they qualify for, based on the
    answers they provided. That certainly makes the Foundation Board’s
    vetting job easier, and lets each applicant know exactly which
    scholarships to apply for, and ensures they are in the running for the
    highest dollar level scholarships they qualify for.
  3. While all of the scholarships require the latest college or high
    school transcripts be submitted with the application, some of the
    scholarships also require other documentation, such as a Letter of
    Recommendation from a local radio club officer or other official, or
    proof of a high level of amateur radio activity. This additional
    documentation must now be submitted with the application, not sent in
    several weeks or months later. Forewarned is forearmed!
  4. Every year at the last minute some hams decide to establish new
    Foundation scholarships. Starting this year any new scholarships that
    are established after November 1st will apply to next year’s
    scholarship program, not added to this year’s.
  5. Finally, more scholarships to award means more vetting work for the
    Foundation Board. As a result, the Foundation is looking to add two
    more Board member slots at the January ARRL Board meeting, including the
    possibility of allowing ARRL Vice Directors and/or current officers to
    serve on the Foundation Board. This would certainly serve to lighten the
    load on the rest of us!

Please remember there are special scholarships set aside for applicants
only residing in our own Northwestern Division! Examples of these are
the Mary Lou Brown Scholarship, ($2,500), the Wilse Morgan, WX7P
Memorial Northwestern Division Scholarship ($2,000), and the Joel R.
Miller, W7PDX, and Martha C. Miller STEM Scholarship, (increased to
$2,000 for this year).

There are also a few more! Last year several of these scholarships went
unawarded, as there were not enough qualified applicants from our
Division that applied. Let’s change that this year!


I’m happy to report that the Oregon HamWAN program has received an
ARDC grant of $88,000 to expand its digital communications network. The
project aims to enhance amateur radio digital and emergency
communications capabilities between Portland and Salem, Oregon.

The nonprofit plans to expand its digital communications network by
deploying 12 network backbone distribution sites between the two cities.
Eventually, the sites will connect to the Puget Sound Data Ring, which
currently extends from Seattle to Vancouver, Washington. The network
would allow emergency management personnel to communicate in the event
of a disaster, such as a major earthquake, that disrupts
telecommunications systems. In such cases, amateur radio operators will
be able to quickly set up network nodes where they are needed to provide
emergency communication via the Oregon HamWAN digital network.

ARDC is a California-based private foundation that supports innovative
amateur radio projects. The foundation makes grants for projects and
organizations that follow amateur radio’s practice and tradition of
technical experimentation in both amateur radio and digital
communication science.


After a few months gathering support from the amateur community for the
project, the ARRL Clean Signal Initiative is finally getting off the
ground. The Board’s Programs and Services Committee approved the
concept several months ago, and since then I have been canvassing some
of the best known RF engineers in amateur radio to get their support and
input. As a result, the team will be conducting our first Zoom call
next week to lay out the next steps for the project. All I can say at
this time is that there are some amateur radio “heavy hitters”
behind this, and I believe will be a game changer for the ARRL.

For those that may be unaware of this project, here is a synopsis (or at
least my vision):

  1. The CSI gets the ARRL formally in the “technical standards”
    business. (Other technical organizations already do it: IEEE, UL, ASTM,
    and SAE, and others.) The ARRL currently tests new products to informal
    standards, with no real hard benchmarks for manufacturers to meet, other
    than the minimal standards outlined in FCC Part 97.307.
  2. Creates and incorporates documented “best practice” standards and
    testing methodologies to ensure commercial amateur radio transmitters
    and amplifiers meet not only minimum FCC requirements for signal
    cleanliness, but push the envelope.
  3. These new standards can be “home grown”, or passed through the
    IEEE, but I think it’s important they be also branded as “ARRL
    Technical Standards”.
  4. Test new commercial transceivers and amplifiers against these
  5. Certify the transmitters and amplifiers that pass the standards:
    “CSI certified by the ARRL”
  6. Work with manufacturers to ensure compliance of those that don’t
    (Market pressure will drive this.)
  7. Market the program to the amateurs through QST
  8. Work with manufacturers and social media experts to create training
    materials to teach hams how to set up their equipment to ensure the
    cleanest transmitted signals. (This education part is key!)

Stay tuned on this one, I’ll keep the Division informed as this
important initiative evolves.

Finally, I hope everybody stays dry and safe as our normally mild fall
season turns into storm season next week. Hang on to your hats!

73 and stay safe;

Mike Ritz, W7VO

Director, ARRL Northwestern Division
Director, ARRL Foundation


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

Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 3, October 2021

The seasons have changed and October has brought our typical fall
weather. We are seeing snow in the Cascades of Washington and Oregon and
in the valleys of Montana and Idaho. (Alaska, I’m not forgetting you,
but it’s to be expected this time of year up there) This early snow
may cause trouble for those of us who have waited until the end of the
year to get repeater maintenance done. I, sadly, am one of those. It is
fun however, to get out of the house and up in the hills after being
locked up and locked out for most of the summer due to fire danger. The
air has cleared, and the fires, at lease here in central Washington, are
now only a smoldering reminder of the devastation of this year’s fire

Washington State DNR and radio leases

I know many of you in Washington have been hearing rumors about
Washington State DNR changing the way they issue and renew leases for
repeater sites. WWA SM Simpson and I, as well as many other repeater
owners and interested parties have had email exchanges, phone calls, and
two ZOOM meetings hosted by DNR representatives and are working with
them to identify ways to help with the potential underfunding in the
“amateur program”, as they call it, as well as educating them on the
value and benefit of having amateur repeaters available in times of
communication outages. As these communications are still ongoing, I will
not get into the weeds of this in this newsletter. If you have specific
questions, feel free to contact me offline.

IMC is back to work

The Investment Management Committee has narrowed down the list of
possible firms to take on the management of the ARRL portfolio. Weekly
meetings have stated again, and I am back to being a fly on the wall
each Tuesday night.


Our work continues in reviewing applications for the Emergency
Management director for ARRL. The committee has submitted our “top
nine” to the CEO and we are pushing to get this done as soon as
possible. ARRL HQ and the committee know how important this position is,
and we want to have a person in place as soon as we can. Interviews will
start soon.

QST Cover Plaque Award

Have you ever read QST? Have you ever found a favorite article in QST?
Have you ever wondered each month how the QST “Cover Plaque” is
awarded? Well, wonder no more for the Cover Plaque award is chosen by
you, QST readers. Each month Articles are posted on a poll page on located here: You simply
click on your favorite article for the month, and your vote is recorded.
Not many take the time to do this so I am encouraging the Northwestern
Division members to make this a regular part of your online activities
each month. The authors spend many hours writing and editing for our
enjoyment and education and this is a great way to say thanks for the

Western Washington Speakers Bureau

If you live in WWA, I’m sure you are aware of this resource. If you
are not, consider yourself now informed about it. Lynn, N7CFO, has
worked on this for years, and asked if a call for additional speakers
and topics could be made to add to this ever-growing list. Most of the
topics can be presented via ZOOM, or Microsoft Teams. All the speakers
are willing to give talks outside WWA so feel free to ask them if you
see a topic your club or group would be interested in. If you, or one of
your club’s members have a presentation to share, please let Lynn know
and he can add you to the list. Lynn can be contacted at
The list of speakers can be found here:


Events are still being added, and sadly, removed from the calendar and
the most current list of Hamfests, Conventions, and other gatherings,
can be found 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 numbers for September have been adjusted after a review by HQ
staff. Life members, who are now SK, were not being taken out of active
status unless a family member notified HQ, a SK report was received by
HQ, or the callsign no longer appeared in the FCC database which could
take over 10 years if the amateur just renewed the license. The audit
resulted in an overall decrease in membership across the league of 1399.
A divisional breakdown was not done so we have no way to know how many
of the 1399 were from the NW Division.

Division statistics from September:

161 new licenses issued and 38 upgraded licenses.
12617 ARRL members in Division
149 Active ARRL affiliated clubs.
2017 New hams in Division YTD.

Our challenge from President Rodrick to pass the Atlantic Division in
membership looks like this.
The Atlantic Division had 12,657 members. (a friendly competition of
course) We are short 40.
Overall league membership 157480, down 0.4% from 2020; however, this
includes the reduction in membership from the SK audit.

If you have any questions or input, an email to is the
best way to contact me.

Mark J. Tharp, KB7HDX
ARRL Vice Director
Northwestern Division.

ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: Michael T Ritz, W7VO

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