ARRL Northwestern Division Newsletter – Sept 26, 2022

Well, another month has come and gone faster than I can believe.
Sunspots are up, and we certainly had a great time operating in the CQWW
RTTY contest last weekend, the unofficial beginning to the 2022-2023
contest season. It was very refreshing to have both the 15 and 10 meter
bands alive again, and I’m expecting things to only get better as we
move through Cycle 25.

I hosted several operators at my QTH for the contest, including a
brand-new ham who has been licensed for less than 9 months. They had
just passed their Extra ticket the Saturday before, and this was their
first time operating in a real contest.  They left the shack on Saturday
night with a big smile and just one question: “When IS the next
contest?” The question for all of you is: What have YOU done to mentor
a new ham lately?  Whether it’s chasing DX, contesting, EMCOMM, or
Foxhunting, do all you can to mentor a new ham, and share whatever your
ham radio passion is with them.  That’s how we ALL got to where we are
now, way back when!


This Wednesday morning I’m heading down to Klamath County, OR, to
visit the Klamath Basin Amateur Radio Club in Klamath Falls, and join
them in celebrating a full 75 years as an ARRL Affiliated Club. Joining
me there will be Bonnie Altus, AB7ZQ, our former Northwestern Division
Vice Director, and the current ARRL Club Coordinator for the Oregon

Joining them in the “75 Year Club” this year is the West Seattle
Amateur Radio Club of Washington, and I certainly hope to get up there
in person to present them their award soon. Congratulations to both
clubs, and I wish them both many more years! (Both were affiliated on
October 2nd, 1947.)

So, what is an “ARRL Affiliated Club”? Rather than take the space
here denoting the many benefits of being an ARRL Affiliated club,
here’s a website link with all the details:

Just a note that ARRL club affiliation is perpetual, once a club is
affiliated it is always affiliated.  Keep in mind that a club may be
listed as “active” or “inactive”. In order to remain on the
active affiliated club roster, clubs must update their information with
ARRL annually. If two years pass without an update then the club will be
automatically moved to inactive status.

Updating your club record is easy using the online update tools.  A
frame-by-frame tutorial on how to accomplish this is available at:
Because this tutorial is in pdf format it may be a good suggestion to
print it or save the file and include it with any important document
given to incoming club officers.

Send a note to: E-mail with any questions about the club
update process.


Immediately following my trip down to Klamath Falls this week, on
October 1st I will be heading up north to the First Annual High Desert
Hamfest, in Redmond, OR. Bonnie, AB7ZQ and I will be working the ARRL
booth at the event, so stop by and say HI!
This event is presented by the High Desert Amateur Radio Group, and the
Central Oregon Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Team, both of
which are 501(c)3 non-profit organizations. The event will be held at
the Deschutes County Fairgrounds, 3800 SW Airport Way, Redmond, OR.,
from 8:30 AM until 3 PM. They will be conducting testing sessions for
all license classes there, but please contact them prior to the event to
make arrangements.

For more information, check out: www,


I receive a number of e-mails from Division members each day. Some are
simple complaints, usually something related to a problem at HQ, and
some are much more involved, requiring some research. I want to share
with you an interesting version of the latter I received a couple of
weeks ago: 

An amateur was attempting a “Parks on the Air” (POTA) activation
while visiting a wildlife refuge, something that is done just about
every weekend somewhere in the US. This particular refuge happens to be
under the control of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The
member was quickly confronted by a park ranger who essentially told him
to “cease and desist”, and later, after he returned home, he was
contacted by a federal law enforcement officer. What seemed to be the
issue was that the local USFWS park manager had interpreted the rules
and decided that amateur radio use on National Wild Life Refuge land was
not in keeping with the official land use polices.  Further, the amateur
was told by the law enforcement officer that if he operated at the
refuge again, he would receive a citation.

While POTA is not an ARRL sponsored activity, it could just as easily be
any amateur operator who decided to get on the air from any refuge. The
amateur affected contacted both the POTA organizers, and myself, to see
if there could be any mitigation negotiated. After all, wildlife refuges
are often put “on the air”, and in fact, at the national level
amateur radio HAS a history of being designated as an acceptable use of
designated wildlife facilities all over the world, due to our overall
low impact on the environment. Even on remote Pacific islands designated
as sensitive wildlife refuges, amateurs are usually able to obtain a
permit, get themselves and their equipment there, set up in a safe area,
operate, dismantle, and leave. And very importantly, they “leave no
trace” when they are all done. It’s worked that way for a long time
now, quite successfully.

So, what are the actual rules here? Where there is nothing in Federal
land use codes specific in regards to amateur radio, the below is from
the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 50, Part 27, as provided to me by
staff at ARRL HQ:

“§ 27.72 Audio equipment. The operation or use of audio devices
including radios, recording and playback devices, loudspeakers,
television sets, public address systems and musical instruments so as to
cause unreasonable disturbance to others in the vicinity is

The issue, it seems, is whether amateur radio causes an “unreasonable
disturbance”. It’s assumed that the government allows each facility
manager to determine what is “unreasonable”, and that makes it a
question mark. 

What did this amateur do that caused the site manager to decide this
particular operation was “unreasonable”, and even followed it up by
notifying federal law enforcement?

While the amateur was reasonably operating from the side of a refuge
road, and well off-pavement, he allegedly had to enter a “protected”
area to attach one end of his antenna to a tree. That last part was
important, and a key issue.

After a few phone calls and e-mails, it was all resolved. The federal
enforcement officer had figured out that amateur radio operation in the
refuge is NOT in conflict with any land use polices or wild life
protection policies. The caveat that follows though is: “…. as long
the amateur radio operator sets up and operates in a PUBLIC area that
does not interfere with other visitor’s activities, or interfere with
any wildlife or their habitat.”
The officer further stated that a parking lot at a trail head IS a good
place to set up and operate while at a refuge.  Using fence posts to
support an antenna is acceptable.   However, going into any areas marked
as off-limits even to string up an antenna is prohibited.  “The
amateur and his/her vehicle must stay on designated roads, or in
designated parking areas.” 

He had more suggestions: “Any time an amateur radio operator decides
to use the refuge, it would be good to contact one of the managers/
officers or refuge staff to let them know where the operation will be
set up.  This applies to any refuge.  Other managers in other areas of
the country may deny use at their discretion.”
So, best practice is to make contact before operating.  This type of
cooperation is important to maintain a good relationship with the
managers of these outdoor resources that we like to use.  Further, a
positive, cooperative spirit is in keeping with the basic premises for
Amateur Radio.

That last statement is VERY important.  Amateur Radio does not need any
negative events or issues when it comes to use of public lands or the
service that Amateur Radio provides to the public.

I performed some enquiries with ARRL legal counsel to see if there might
be a perceived need to formally codify amateur radio at the Federal
level as an “acceptable use” of USFWS and National Park Service
(NPS) facilities through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the
agencies, or maybe by some other means. The overall feeling from counsel
was that pursuing an MOU at the national level may create issues where
there aren’t any. Dealing with the Federal government is never easy, and
this could just as easily go the wrong way for amateurs by providing
stronger restrictions, or even being denied the chance to operate in
these facilities at all. I guess I have to agree with that assessment.

What is the take-away here? First, at all times be courteous and
professional when dealing with park rangers and staff, and notify them
in advance of your intended operation. Follow their rules “to the
letter”. If you do activate a park or refuge for Field Day, a POTA or
SOTA activity, or any other amateur radio operation, “leave no
trace” when you are done.

Secondly the amateur kept his cool when confronted, treating officials
respectfully. That goes a LONG way to resolving misunderstandings, and
certainly helped in this case.

And, finally, follow the first bullet point in the Amateur Code when you
activate. It’s just as valid in 2022 as it was in 1928: “The Radio
Amateur is: CONSIDERATE…He/[She] never knowingly operates in such a
way as to lessen the pleasure of others.”


Next, as some of you may know, I was born and raised in Long Beach, CA,
and lived just a few miles from where Howard Hughes’ infamous airplane
creation, the “Spruce Goose”, (formally known as the Hercules H-4
Flying Boat), was assembled and hangered.  Wednesday, November 2, 2022
marks the 75th anniversary of the first and only flight of this massive
“proof of concept” plane, which was moved from Long Beach to the
Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, OR quite a few years ago. To
mark the occasion, the “Spruce Goose 75th Anniversary of Flight
Amateur Radio Special Event” has been established. It’s scheduled to
run from Saturday, October 29, 2022 at 1700 UTC, through Sunday November
6th 2022, at 2359 UTC. The special event is a joint effort between the
Hughes Amateur Radio Club of El Segundo, CA, and the McMinnville Amateur
Radio Club here in Oregon. The callsigns for the event will be W6HA, and
W6HA/7 respectively, and frequencies will be SSB: 3.833, 7.233, 14.233,
21.333, and 28.333 MHz, and CW: 3.533, 7.033, 14.033, 21.033, and 28.033

Address for special commemorative QSL Card:

Brian Johnson, AB6UI, W6HA Trustee
5207 Lillian Street
Torrance, CA   90503

For more information regarding this special event, check out Hughes
Amateur Radio Club website:

For now, 73, and get on the air!

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

Now we will hear from our Division Vice Director, Mark Tharp, KB7HDX!

Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 4, September 2022

I called a meeting of the ARRL ARISS committee on the 7th (of which I
chair) and received a quarterly update from our representative Rosalie
White, K1STO.

The ECFSC committee has been meeting almost every other week and along
with that, the Field Service re-structure sub-committee and the Clubs
Sub-committee have also been getting together regularly. I serve on all
three. Then, Director Kemmerer asked if I could find time to help on yet
another sub-committee to put together some ideas on short videos and
presentations to be used be clubs, or other events. That group is
meeting every week however Fred promised me we would be done in a month.
Time will tell….

Since the last newsletter, Mike, W7VO, and I attended the EC meeting on
the 12th via ZOOM. We received a number of updates from CEO Minster
about the goings on at HQ.

This is another plug for the PNW VHF conference which 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.

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:
PNWVHF conference Oct. 7 and 8 in Salem, OR

Division stats:
At the end of August the NW Division had 12,346 members which is down
2.2% from 2021
GOOD NEWS! The database is no longer broken!

New hams in the NW Division last month totaled 142
License class upgrades last month were 39

We are back ahead of the Atlantic Division by 1. 😊

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’s 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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