ARRL NW Division Newsletter – August 16, 2022

Welcome to the dog-days of August in blistering hot Oregon. It’s been
a very busy last month or so, and there’s lots to cover, so let’s get

Right after returning from the July ARRL Board meeting, I was
immediately immersed in vetting and scoring my allotment of 42 ARRL
Foundation Club Grant requests. The vetting process for these grants
utilized a fairly complicated and weighted “question and answer”
scoring system developed by ARRL staff, in conjunction with a consultant
from the ARRL Board. There were about 125 club grant requests received
at the Foundation, that all together totaled some $1.75M in value, (if
they were all to be fully funded). That’s great, but unfortunately
only $500K in Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) grant funds
are available to disperse for this year, and that amount is being
divided into two “traunches”. The first traunch recipients will be
awarded funds later this month, and the remaining funds (about half of
the pot), will be distributed to approved club grant requests later this

The 125 grant requests were divided up and provided to three Foundation
Grant review teams, with three reviewers on each team. The final scores
for each request were the averages of the three reviewer’s scores.
(BTW, each individual grant application and its associated documentation
took about 45 minutes to one hour to review. I’ll let you calculate
how many total volunteer man-hours the Foundation put into these, not
including what was required to create the process itself!)

During the vetting process I saw a lot of radio clubs with great
projects that were both for the benefit of their clubs and their local
communities, and had the horsepower behind their projects to ensure
proper execution with a high chance of success. Others didn’t do so
well, but might be able to come back with better written requests in the
next traunch go-around.


The ARRL Foundation Board of Directors recently approved the proposed
slate of recipients for all the 2022 ARRL Foundation Scholarships as
recommended by the Scholarship Committee. Foundation Scholarships
totaling $921,250 will be awarded to 139 deserving radio amateurs
pursuing higher education. Individual scholarship awards ranged from
$500 to $25,000 this year. (That $921K is almost double what was awarded
in 2021!).

(As a side note, I personally want to thank our very own Vice Director,
Mark Tharp, KB7HDX, for volunteering to help out with the massive job of
Foundation scholarship vetting this year. With double the scholarship
funds to award in 2022 compared to last year, it was
“all-hands-on-deck”. Mark certainly stepped up to the plate!)

More information about the ARRL Foundation Scholarship Program is
available at The full list of
scholarship awards and recipients can be found in the complete story on
Applications for 2023 ARRL Foundation Scholarships are expected to open
on October 1, 2022.


As you may recall, the three ARRL Board Standing Committees usually meet
in-person in CT on the Thursday before the formal ARRL Board meeting,
and with COVID restrictions lifted this year was no different. As
expected, during the PSC meeting we discussed the results of the 2022
Field Day (FD) effort, but there were several other topics on-tap as
well. One was related to the perceived need for another major ARRL
operating event, akin to the uber successful ARRL Centennial event of

This time ARRL staff has come up with the notion of 2023 being declared
the “Year of the ARRL Volunteer”, and along that theme line will be
putting together a year-long operating event proposal, with the goal to
get hams enthusiastically on-the-air, as many were in 2014! The
structure of the event will look very much like the Centennial event,
with a new 2023 ARRL Volunteer QSO Party (VQP), celebrating ARRL
volunteer support and their contributions. The PSC reviewed a written
summary provided by staff, and discussed options for a possible plaque
and certificate program for the event. I am excited by this, and more
will be forthcoming as things progress. This is not all “set in
stone” yet, but the PSC did grant approval for Staff to proceed with
the plans.
As mentioned, a major topic revolved around Field Day 2022, and how the
PSC should adjust the rules for 2023 and beyond now that the COVID
situation is slowly waning. The result of the discussion was that a
sub-committee working group consisting of several PSC members and ARRL
staff was put together to come up with recommendations the PSC can
consider during our October Zoom meeting. So far, they have under

1.  Bringing back a High Power (HP) FD category for Classes A, B, and C,
but limiting it to only 500 watts maximum, rather than the full “legal
limit” of 1500 watts. Several clubs noted they operate FD from “less
than optimum” canyon locations, and found the 100 watt limit very
confining, especially with poor band conditions. Medium-size amps can be
run easily on 117 Vac, and can also be easily powered from emergency
power sources. This change provides FD entrants a compromise solution
for those that need an extra power boost to be heard, and still limits
full kW+ stations from taking over the bands.

2.  Continuing to limit Class D and E stations (home stations) to 100 W
output power.

3.  Eliminating the bonus point system for both CW and Digital contacts,
making all the contacts the same point value. (As expected, there was a
big shift to digital (mostly FT-8) this year, and there is no longer a
need to incentivize this mode.) 

4.  Providing QSO point incentives to get more ops to operate FD Classes
A, B, C, and F, rather than sitting at home as a Class D or E. (Just
under half of the almost 6,000 FD entries received this year were for
Class D stations!)

5.  With the very poor propagation conditions found during the FD weekend
this year, several clubs complained about how hard it was to get the
required minimum of 20 GOTA station contacts to get the extra point
credit listed in the rules. (In case you don’t know, GOTA stands for
“Get On The Air”. By setting up a special GOTA station during ARRL
Field Day, one can give newly licensed hams as well as curious onlookers
the opportunity to strap on a pair of headphones and experience ham
radio firsthand. As these are secondary stations for most club FD
efforts, GOTA stations rarely get the best antennas, nor the best
equipment available at the site!) Under consideration by the
sub-committee is a proposal to lower that QSO requirement, so credit is
given for any GOTA contacts made.

Again, these are just considerations, nothing is in stone yet.


I’m very happy to announce that the very first meeting of the new
technical standards committee, responsible for enacting the recently
approved ARRL Clean Signal Initiative (CSI) will be held via Zoom this
week. I’m very proud to have been asked to participate on this select
committee, assembled and capably chaired by Ed Hare, W1RFI, the ARRL Lab
Manager, (and coincidentally, also the Chair of the IEEE Electromagnetic
Compatibility (EMC) Standards Committee). So far, the initiative has the
interest of several major amateur radio manufacturers, and I am very
excited to see where this all goes. At this point I don’t know exactly
who’s actually serving on the CSI standards committee, but I’ll know
more by the end of this week.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) retired the Legacy version
of its COmmission REgistration System (CORES) on July 15, 2022. CORES is
the FCC’s public-facing database that enables and tracks certain types
of FCC and FCC applicant actions, including amateur radio applications
and licenses. Its implementation has enabled routine amateur
applications and licenses to be issued overnight instead of over weeks,
as was the case with earlier methods. The updated version of CORES is
now available.

In essence, CORES is designed to identify those who hold certain types
of FCC licenses and FCC authorizations, including amateur licenses, and
organize them in an easily accessible manner under a common FCC
Registration Number (FRN) regardless of whether one holds a single such
authority or thousands. The new CORES, in addition to assigning
individual FRNs, allows holders of multiple FRNs to aggregate them under
a single account where the licenses and authorizations, fees and
payments, and related actions can be administered from within the same

In effect, new CORES can be conceptualized as an electronic interactive
file folder. The updated version of CORES has been available since 2016,
and its use is now mandatory for all amateur licensees when submitting
amateur-related applications.

The Legacy CORES website now re-directs users to the Commission’s
updated CORES site. Although some functionalities in the old system will
continue to work for a short time, the FCC has urged all users to
transition to the updated CORES system to take advantage of its enhanced
security and functionality.

Licensees that do not already have an FCC CORES Username Account must
create one with a unique username (a valid email address) and password.
After creating the account, when logged in, users should associate their
existing FRN or FRNs with this account. Instructions for doing so are on
the FCC Registration Help web page. One’s FRN is printed on all current
amateur applications and licenses, and will not change. FRNs can also be
found by looking up one’s call sign in the Commission’s ULS
( or by
using the FCC’s Advanced Search web page.

The FCC has posted tutorial videos to assist with the transition. ARRL
VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, recommends viewing “Getting Started with
the New CORES,” which explains how to register for a CORES Username
Account, and “Associating an FRN to a Username,” which instructs Legacy
CORES users on how to link one or more existing FRNs to a username. FCC
CORES Registration Instructions can also be found on the ARRL website.

Additional information is available on the FCC website or by calling the
FCC Licensing Support Center at 877-480-3201, Option 4, and on the FCC’s
e-support web page.

On a personal note, I had the “privilege” of interacting with this
hybrid FCC CORES system last week when I applied for a new vanity
callsign for the radio club for which I am the callsign trustee. The
process was somewhat confusing, but I eventually managed to get through
it all. The key in my case was that there MUST be an associated e-mail
address set up for every callsign you are responsible for, otherwise you
get error messages that prevent you from “certifying” the application,
the last step before payment. I ran into issues with that part of the
process, despite the fact it appeared there were valid addresses already
assigned. The extremely helpful staff at ARRL HQ helped me get it all
sorted out with the FCC, then everything went smoothly after that,
including figuring out how to pay the $35 “application” fee. 

Remember that ARRL staff at HQ is always ready and willing to help all
members with FCC application issues!


Finally, “SwaptoberFest”, the emergency service volunteer fair and
ham radio swap meet, sponsored by Mid-Valley ARES, will be held again at
the Polk County Fairgrounds, 520 SW Pacific Hwy West, Rickreall, Oregon
on October 15, 2022. The vendor registration deadline: September 20,
2022. Swap tables range from $20-22, and the general admission fee is
still only $10. (Unfortunately, I will not be at Swaptoberfest this
year, as that same weekend I am scheduled to be part of the ARRL team
for PacifiCon, (the ARRL Pacific Division Convention), down in San
Ramon, CA, and providing a technical seminar as well.)

I do plan on attending the 2022 Spokane Hamfest (and ARRL Washington
State Convention), on September 24th. (Info here:

Hope to see you up there!

73, and get on the air!

Mike Ritz, W7VO
Director, ARRL NW Division
Vice President, ARRL Foundation

Now, we will see what Vice Director Tharp has been up to!

Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 4, August 2022

August, wow, time flies.

We have finished up the scholarship applications and by the time this
hits your inbox, those receiving funds have all been notified. It was a
lot of work but very rewarding in the end. I am very appreciative to the
ARRL foundation for allowing me to take part in the process.

The ARRL Board of directors met in person on July 14, 15 and 16. The
three standing committees met on Thursday, all day, and much was
accomplished. It was the first time the EC-FSC committee has met in
person after being officially created in January and it was very
productive. This committee has been meeting every two weeks via ZOOM.
Minutes from the board meeting should be out anytime, in fact, we
received the first draft for review as I was writing this.

Since the last newsletter, Mike and I attended the PNW DX Convention.
This year it was back “live” and in Spokane. Another great event and
congratulations to all that helped putting it on. Next year the
convention will rotate up to the ORCA DX club in BC. (If you are going,
remember to check your passport expiration date) As plans develop, you
can check the convention website at:
The management of this page is also rotated each year to the next group
hosting the event and still shows information from Spokane. It will be
updated soon.

W1AW relocated to Spokane? Yes, well, sort of. Thanks to Ed Hare, W1RFI,
W1AW was “live” from the IEEE symposium in Spokane on August 2, 3
and 4. Back in Newington, a FLEX 6400 and Alpha 87A was put into service
by station manager NJ1Q, Joe Carcia and hooked to the 5 element Yagi on
20 meters. Ed remoted into it using the FLEX Maestro control head and
appropriate software. This was a first run for the remote operation and
it was not without issues, some of which were band conditions. The
biggest trick in this operation is having a station at W1AW trying to
operate when the bulletin transmitters fire off in the afternoon.

Needless to say, the noise floor goes up quite a bit during those
transmissions. It was a good test, and those that operated had a fun
time. Thanks to Pat, (Murf) N7UVH who held court on Tuesday and
Wednesday, and Frank, AG7QP who had duty for the shortened day on
Thursday. Due to “technical issues” namely the shortened hours of
the event, the others we had lined up to operate were not able to do so.
I promised to get them in the chair the next time we have this
opportunity in the NW. Those folks were Brian, W7BJN – Mike, N7MGW –
Leigh Ann, W7LEA – Brian, N9ADG and Larry, W7DGP. I really appreciate
everyone that volunteered and understanding the hiccups we had.  Ed also
attended and presented at the PNW DX Convention as he was already in
town. Thanks Ed!

The N7YRC group held their 4th annual swap meet on July 30 this year and
are looking to move to a date in May for 2023. Watch “The source”
for all things Hamfest related, that being the N7CFO website, for
details as they are worked out.

The PNW VHF conference will be held on October 7-8 this year and will be
live! If you are into VHF/UHF contesting and or weak signal work, this
is the event for you. This is another rotating event and will be held in
Salem Oregon this year at the Holiday Inn. Always a great collection of
technical talks.

One of the items brought to the EC-FSC committee was to pursue a way for
members to either receive, or in some manor gain access to, news and
bulletins from sections or divisions they are adjacent to. We had a good
conversation about the way this could be done, and the simplest answer
was to open up the existing web page that has been available to Section
Managers and those members of ODV. (Officers Directors and Vice
Directors) Without further ado, I am pleased to announce that is open to all members
at this time. You can view newsletters and announcements from any
section or Division of the ARRL. We are still waiting for a “public
link” on the website and formal announcement but as they say, “You
heard it here first”.

ARISS has been very active this year with schools opening up more and
more for live contacts rather then having to use the telebridge. ARISS,
in conjunction with ARRL, has launched a fundraiser for an upcoming
project called *STAR*. You may have seen the banner at Sea-Pac or other
locations I have set it up at. I would encourage all members to take a
look at the project, and if you can help, please do so. ARISS, and the
youth the project is geared towards will thank you. More information can
be found here:

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:

Events I am currently planning to attend are:
Spokane Hamfest September 24th
PNWVHF conference Oct. 7 and 8 in Salem, OR

Division stats:
At the end of June the NW Division had 12,493 members which is down 1.5%
from 2021

We are still having issues retrieving data for the new ham reports. That
is supposed to be resolved soon. I’m starting to question the
definition of the word “soon”. I’m told it is an interface issue
between the FCC and the software at HQ.

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
us a note and we would be glad to include it here. It is always good to
hear from members.

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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