This is certainly a time for thanks. Let me start by saying both HAPPY
THANKSGIVING, and THANKS to all our Northwestern Division radio
amateurs. Thank you for supporting the ARRL and for all you do being
active in our hobby. The fact that you actually read these tomes from
Mark and myself shows you care about our hobby and the ARRL, and without
you and your support, I would actually be retired!
I’d especially like to say THANKS to our Northwestern Division
Vice Director, Mark Tharp, KB7HDX
Division Section Managers: David Stevens, KL7EB, Jo Whitney, KA7LJQ, Dan
Marler, K7REX, Paul Stiles, KA7SOJ, David Kidd, KA7OZO, and Monte
Division Assistant Directors: Daniel Stevens, KL7WM, Delvin Bunton,
NS7U, Lynn Burlingame, N7CFO, Dave Cole, NK7Z, Steve Aberle, WA7PTM,
Steve McKeen, W7QLO, Michael Sterba, KG7HQ, and Bill Balzarini, KL7BB.
And, not least: Contest Advisory Committee representative: Jim Cassidy,
KI7Y, and DX Advisory Committee representative: Dick Swanson, K7BTW
Thank you all, for all you do for our Division!
Both Fall and the amateur radio contest seasons are in the air! Last
month the CQ World Wide DX SSB Contest, arguably the largest radiosport
contest in the world, was held, and this weekend is the CW version of
the same contest. Whether or not one despises contesting, and absolutely
hates it when they tune around only to hear a wall of signals filling
the ham bands, one has to be in awe of the worldwide impact on
international goodwill the CW Worldwide contests have. Beyond that are
the lengths that amateurs worldwide go through to get on the air for
these contests from unique or rare locations. Some 15,000 amateur
stations worldwide were on the air for the SSB version last month,
probably involving around 25,000-30,000 amateurs in total, and that is
nothing to ignore.
Many amateurs I know fly to the far reaches of the world to be part of
these contests every year. Amateurs from all over the world, from the
Sultanate of Oman, to Japan, the Caribbean, and even Cape Verde (off the
west coast of Africa), get together in teams to operate the contests,
and most importantly have fun with fellow amateurs in an international
Whether one enjoys this facet of amateur radio or not, radiosport indeed
fulfills one of the basic purposes for amateur radio outlined in FCC
Part 97, §97.1: “Basis and Purpose”, and I’d like to take a
moment to remind us all what is stated there:
“The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an
amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the
….. (e) Continuation and extension of the amateur’s unique ability to
enhance international goodwill.”
IMHO, there is no better “international goodwill” than sharing the
hobby we love with the rest of the world in a weekend of fun.
LATEST BOARD COMMITTEE NEWS
Next, I was part of several important ARRL sub-committee meetings that
were held via Zoom in the last month. One of the sub-committees is
looking at proposed Field Day Rules for 2023 and beyond as part of the
Board’s Programs and Services Committee (PSC), and the other is the
Clean Signal Initiative Committee (CSIC), responsible for incorporating
provisions of the initiative, as approved by the ARRL Board in 2021.
Both sub-committees are moving along at a good clip, and I am proud to
be part of both of them!
Regarding Field Day, while the final rules for 2023 will not be formally
voted upon by the PSC until the January 2023 meeting in Newington, it
appears at present the 2023 Field Day rule set will look pretty similar
to 2022, with a couple of exceptions.
There is a proposal on the table to bring back a limited high-power
category to help those in the field that need the extra power. What is
being proposed as “high power” is limited to just 500 watts (rather
than 1,500 watts), and with a penalty of ½ credit for all contacts.
(One point per contact, verses two for five-to-100-watt entrants.)
Please note that the proposed HP category will be valid for “stations
in the field only” (Classes A, B and C, and maybe F), and not for any
home stations (Classes D and E). These stations (Class D and E), will
continue to be limited to 100 watts maximum power. To encourage more QRP
activity (five watts or less), in FD, operating, we may increase the
points available to 10 points per contact, rather than the current five.
Both of these subjects are still open to debate.
The shift to FT-8 as the “digital mode of choice”, and a primary
operating choice for many, has lessened the need for extra bonus points
to encourage FD stations to use the digital mode. As a result, you may
see a flattening of the point bonuses so all modes (CW, SSB and Digital)
are the same point value. (Two points per contact for stations five to
100 watts, regardless of mode.)
The final decisions for all these proposed updates will be done during
the January PSC meeting in CT.
On the CSI committee front, we are in the process of determining which
transmit parameters will be part of ARRL Lab testing benchmarks, and how
many categories (levels) of certification there will be.
So far, we are looking at benchmarks for several transmit parameters
including: composite phase noise, harmonic suppression, intermodulation
distortion products (IMD), and creating a mask template for CW signals
that sets limits on rise and fall times. Next, debates will be held
centering on exact benchmark values for each parameter.
There may be a special “gold” certification for supplier’s radio
equipment that by design cannot be mis-adjusted by the operator to
exceed spurious emission standards set by the committee. (ie: Not
enabling the operator to set microphone gain, processor gain or ALC
levels so high as to cause splatter on SSB or FT-x, or allowing
excessively fast rise times for CW signals as to cause wide-band
We are currently holding CSIC meetings monthly, and so far, there are
three major amateur radio manufacturers that have provided
representation on the committee. Ed Hare, W1RFI, ARRL Lab Manager and
CSCI committee chair is working on bringing in others as well.
Regarding the ARRL Foundation, the window for 2023-2024 academic year
ARRL Foundation Scholarship applications is now open! The Foundation
will award more than 100 scholarships to deserving radio amateurs
pursuing higher education, and individual scholarships range from $500 –
$25,000. All applicants must be active, FCC-licensed amateur radio
operators and submit a completed on-line application by noon Eastern
Standard Time on January 4, 2023. Active foreign amateur radio operators
are eligible for the Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC)
For the 2023 scholarships, the ARRL Foundation will be utilizing the
same web-based Scholarship Management Platform that was used for the
2022 scholarships. Transcripts and additional required documents must be
submitted with the application and not emailed separately. A number of
scholarships require additional documents, such as a letter of
recommendation from a sitting Officer of an ARRL Affiliated Club.
Applications without accompanying transcripts and additional required
documents (if applicable) will not be considered.
The ARRL Foundation Scholarship Committee will review all applicants for
eligibility and award decisions. Scholarship recipients will be notified
in May 2023 via USPS and email. Please note that awards are mailed
directly to recipients’ schools, not the student. Additional information
and a link to the application can be found at
Finally, I am also in the middle of processing no less than 27 ARRL
Foundation Club Grant “Traunch 2” applications as a team member of
the Grant sub-committee. These grants are funded by funds donated by
ARDC. The Foundation has about $230,000 left in the kitty for this
second traunch of Club Grants, and some 85 or so applications to vet.
There is certainly no shortage of work!
Again, Happy Thanksgiving, 73, and get on the air!
Mike Ritz, W7VO
ARRL Northwestern Division Director
ARRL Foundation Vice President
Now we will see what Vice Director Tharp has been up to!
Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 4, November 2022
The ECFSC committee continues to meet every other Sunday. The
sub-committee I sit on has discussed a few minor changes to the current
Field Service structure and have enlisted the assistance of a group of
sitting Section Managers for input and comments. It has been lively
discussion. The NTS subcommittee has been very busy with putting in
place a nationwide exercise that will enlist all of the Section
Managers, and the ARRL Officers and Board of Directors as well as the
local traffic handlers. It is being done in stages and our Northwestern
Division will be participating in October and November.
Jo, KA7LJQ, and I attended the Spokane Hamfest and Washington State
Convention in September on the 24th. Attendance was very good and a ton
of stuff was out to be bought and sold. Three years of keeping it all in
the garage finally caught up to some from what I could see. Jo staffed
the ARRL table most of the day as did I and it was good to see old
The PNW VHF conference was on October 8th in Salem. Attendance was off a
bit this year but could have been due to the crazy fuel prices. They
found a good location at the Holiday Inn and everyone had a good time.
As with Spokane, it was great to see old friends from that event. I
think next year it will be in the Issaquah area, but that is not
Mike and I attended, via ZOOM, another meeting of the Executive
Committee on October 24th.
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:
Other than a few ZOOM meetings I think my calendar has cleared for HAM
events. But winter is on its way and fall projects are getting done.
Mike and I will be starting soon on preparation for the January ARRL
Board meeting. Hard to believe that is only two months away.
ARRL membership numbers are still on a slight decline and looking at the
number of new licensees it’s hard to understand why we are not able to
engage these folks and talk them into becoming members. It’s a pretty
small cost when you break it down of only 13.4 cents a day, less than a
dollar a week. As a member you have online access to four magazines,
QST, On The Air (OTA), NCJ and QEX. You also have the option of
receiving paper versions of QST or OTA. I know as you are reading this
you are a member, and thank you for that but if you know of others in
your HAM community that are not, see if you can talk them into joining.
The ARRL, in my opinion, is the reason we still have access to the
spectrum we have, and I’m sure you would not like to see it go away.
If your group is hosting exam sessions, ARRL or not, have a few
membership applications handy and if you contact the ARRL VEC, you can
get a pad of tear off half sheets to give your new licensees. It’s
OUR organization and it’s on all of us to help grow it.
The League is important as you all know. Your mission, should you choose
to accept it, is to convince one more person to become an ARRL member by
year end. If you do, send me an email with your name and call along with
the new members name and call for you to be entered in a drawing for
“a Christmas present” from the Division to be awarded early January.
See it pays to read all the way until the end.
At the end of September the NW Division had 12,299 members which is down
2.5% from 2021
New hams in the NW Division last month totaled 141 (how many did we
educate about the ARRL???)
License class upgrades last month were 46
At the end of October the NW Division had 12,223 members which is down
3.2% from 2021
New hams in the NW Division last month totaled 183
License class upgrades last month were 71
For those interested, the total number of Amateur licensees this month
are below. ARRL members make up ~16% of these totals.
National licensees 770,900
ARRL Membership nationally 153,336
Events I am currently planning to attend are:
Mike and Key swap in March
SEA-PAC convention in June
PNW DX Convention in August (In Canada next year)
Spokane Hamfest in September
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 firstname.lastname@example.org is the
best way to contact me.
Mark J. Tharp, KB7HDX
ARRL Vice Director
ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: Michael T Ritz, W7VO