ARRL NW Division Newsletter, Feb 17, 2023
Due to having lots to do over the last couple of months, (mostly related
to ARRL Foundation club grant vetting in December, and ARRL Board
committee work in preparation for the January ARRL Board meeting),
I’ve really been remiss in providing the Northwestern Division a
timely newsletter. As a result, there is LOTS to talk about this month.
Let’s get started!
NW DIVISION CREATING DIVISION WIDE SPEAKER’S BUREAU
NW Division Assistant Director Lynn Burlingame, N7CFO has for years
maintained an “ARRL Western Washington Section Speaker’s Bureau”,
providing and updating a list of hams that have educational seminars
they have developed, and can present to radio clubs in the area. With
the continued use of Zoom, and with many clubs operating in at least a
hybrid mode, (combination of both “in-person” and via Zoom virtual),
this can now be expanded to include the five states that encompass the
ARRL Northwestern Division. No matter where you are in the Division,
please contact Lynn at: email@example.com, and get your seminar listed!
Lynn is especially interested in speakers on the following topics:
• Antenna construction
• Antenna theory
• HF operation
• Home station setup
• How to make Co-ax connections
• Mobile installations
• Radio programming
• VOM use
He would also like to get speakers that can discuss more advanced
• Contest Software
• Introduction to Contesting
• Learning Morse code
• National Traffic System (NTS)
• QRP operations
• Raspberry PI intro
• Software Defined Radio (SDR)
• Tower safety
• Youth programs
For a list of what he has currently on his speaker’s list, check out:
ARRL VOLUNTEERS ON THE AIR SPECIAL EVENT
I hope many of you are getting on for the ARRL Volunteers on the Air
(VOTA) operating event! As announced in the January 2023 issue of QST,
ARRL is holding a year-long operating event, entitled “Volunteers On
The Air” (VOTA), honoring all ARRL volunteers. In similar fashion to
the 2014 ARRL Centennial QSO Party and the 2018 International Grid
Chase, this event is exclusively driven by contacts uploaded to Logbook
of The World (LoTW).
Highlights of the event include:
Earning points for contacting W1AW portable stations: There are
week-long activations of portable W1AW/# stations in all 50 states, and
in several US possessions/territories, which will generate on-air
activity to earn points. Each state will be activated twice. The
schedule of when each state will be activated will be updated as changes
and additions occur. See the Points Table at
www.arrl.org/volunteers-on-the-air for the full list of points.
Contacting ARRL volunteers or members on the air: ARRL Officers,
Directors, Section Managers (and their appointees), staff, and even
domestic and DX ARRL members, can be contacted for points. If you hold
ANY ARRL appointed or elected position, or are even just an ARRL member,
you are worth VOTA points!
Using LoTW (http://www.arrl.org/logbook-of-the-world) as the contacts
data source, the Volunteers On The Air event features W1AW activations
from all 50 states (twice) and several territories during 2023. Weeks
will begin on a Wednesday and end on a Tuesday. Some weeks will be shown
as off weeks to avoid other major operating events.
Participants will work W1AW portable stations and ARRL volunteers to
earn contact points.
A leaderboard will be activated after the event ramps up, and
certificates will be available during and after the event concludes.
Once the year is completed, an annual summary will be released.
As part of the ARRL RTTY Roundup contest weekend at the beginning of
January we ran a second HF station here at W7VO doing nothing but making
VOTA SSB contacts on 10 meters through 20 meters, concentrating on the
General and Technician portions of the bands. We ended up giving out
some 347,000 VOTA QSO points in that one weekend alone, and it was
absolutely some of the most fun I’ve had recently on the air! That
effort was followed by the CQ WPX RTTY contest weekend, where we logged
some 725+ contacts for VOTA using SSB, some 557 of which were on the
Technician sub-band of 10 meters.
We hope to be on the air again this weekend during the ARRL DX CW test,
and again concentrating on Technicians on 10 meters using SSB. Work us,
and get 225 easy VOTA points! We’ll be spotting ourselves on the
packet clusters regularly, so we should be easy to find.
Remember that you don’t have to be an ARRL member to participate in
VOTA, nor are you required to have a Logbook of the World (LoTW) account
to qualify for the special VOTA awards. That said, if you are out
looking for the W1AW/x stations in each of the 50 states as they appear
each week, and want to use those QSOs towards an ARRL Worked All States
(WAS) award, you will need to have a LoTW account set up in advance to
Information on LoTW is available on their website:
For more information on VOTA, check out: vota.arrl.org.
LATEST ARRL BOARD NEWS
Last month Vice Director Mark Tharp, KB7HDX and I attended the latest
ARRL Board meeting, one of the two “live meetings” we attend each
year back in Connecticut. Because of continuing COVID restrictions,
most of our time was spent at the host hotel in Windsor, (near the
Hartford Airport), but I did get a chance to get into ARRL HQ to have
productive meetings with a few ARRL staff members the day before the
One of the meetings was with Ed Hare, W1RFI, the ARRL Lab Manager. He is
also the Chair of the Clean Signal Initiative Committee (CSIC), and I
can report that things with the committee are progressing at a good clip
now. At least four major amateur transceiver manufacturers are now on
board with the program, and I have just submitted an article for QST
magazine to publicly announce the initiative. Hopefully the article will
be published sometime later this year, but that decision is up to staff.
In regards to the actual Board meeting itself, it was for the most part
a fairly quiet affair. There was some discussion regarding recent
actions of the Board’s Ethics and Elections committee (E&E), where the
Board, in its special November virtual meeting, accepted an E&E
recommendation to “recuse” a fellow ARRL Board member over a book
the member wrote that competes with an existing ARRL publication. I’m
not going to go into the details here, as it would more than fill my
allotted newsletter space, but if you want to know more about this,
please contact me “off-line”. For now, I will leave you with two
important words on the subject: “fiduciary responsibility”.
As a former member of the E&E committee, I can tell you that it’s one
of the most difficult assignments on the Board, without much
documentation available on how to serve on the committee, other than
reviewing ARRL By-Laws, and our Articles of Association as references.
The Board did vote this meeting to put together a new committee to
produce an “Ethics and Elections Committee Guidebook”, with the
purpose of documenting and maintaining standard operating procedures for
E&E committee members.
In other Board actions, the Directors voted to increase funding for ARRL
legislative advocacy and lobbying efforts in 2023 related to the
congressional bills for easing of HOA antenna restrictions, and also
added funding for 2023 to help keep ARRL Division Conventions afloat.
(Due to the rapid increase in venue costs, several ARRL Division
conventions have been canceled the last few years, and several others
are in jeopardy of being canceled.)
One bit of good news, after years of hard work put in by the ARRL
Board’s Legislative Advocacy Committee, there has FINALLY been some
activity on the HOA “antenna restriction relief” front, with a new
bill being recently introduced into Congress with major input from the
ARRL. Here is an excerpt from the ARRL press release:
“Congressman Bill Johnson (OH-6) introduced a bill in the U.S. House
of Representatives (H.R.9670) on Thursday, December 22, 2022, to
eliminate private land use restrictions that prohibit, restrict, or
impair the ability of an Amateur Radio Operator from operating and
installing amateur station antennas on property subject to the control
of the Amateur Radio Operator.
The exponential growth of communities subject to private land use
restrictions that prohibit both the operation of Amateur Radio and the
installation of amateur station antennas has significantly restricted
the growth of the Amateur Radio Service. These restrictions are
pervasive in private common interest residential communities such as
single-family subdivisions, condominiums, cooperatives, gated
communities, master-planned communities, planned unit developments, and
communities governed by community associations. The restrictions have
particularly impacted the ability of Amateur Radio to fulfill its
statutorily mandated duty of serving as a voluntary noncommercial
emergency communications service.
Congress in 1996 directed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to
promulgate regulations (Public Law 104-104, title II, section 207, 110
Stat. 114; 47 U.S.C. 303 note) that have preempted all private land use
restrictions applicable to exterior communications facilities that
impair the ability of citizens to receive television broadcast signals,
direct broadcast satellite services, or multichannel multipoint
distribution services, or to transmit and receive wireless internet
services. ARRL attempts to obtain similar relief for Amateur Radio were
rejected by the FCC with a statement such relief would have to come from
The ARRL’s Legislative Advocacy Committee has had one more win
recently, by working to override the lack of FCC action related to the
Symbol Rate Petition filed by the ARRL way back in 2013! Here is an
excerpt from that particular press release:
“Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (AZ-08) introduced a bill in the U.S.
House of Representatives (H.R. 9664) on December 21, 2022, to require
that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) replace the current HF
digital symbol rate limit with a 2.8 kHz bandwidth limit. After being
petitioned by ARRL, The National Association for Amateur Radio, in 2013
(RM-11708) for the same relief, in 2016 the Commission issued a Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking (WT Docket No. 16-239) in which it agreed that
the HF symbol rate limit was outmoded, served no purpose, and hampered
experimentation. But the Commission questioned whether any bandwidth
limit was needed in its place. Most amateurs, including the ARRL,
objected to there being no signal bandwidth limit in the crowded HF
bands given the possibility that unreasonably wide bandwidth digital
protocols could be developed, and since 2016 there has been no further
In conjunction with introducing the legislation, Congresswoman Lesko
stated that “With advances in our modern technology, increased amounts
of data can be put on the spectrum, so there is less of a need for a
regulatory limit on symbol rates. I am pleased to introduce this
important piece of legislation to update the FCC’s rules to support the
critical role amateur radio operators play and better reflect the
capabilities of our modern radio technology.”
This is really good news, however the reason this bill was needed at all
is as a result of years of inaction by the FCC on just about all Amateur
Radio petitions presented to them. This bill instructs the FCC to act on
this particular petition, and since the FCC reports to Congress, the FCC
will have to finally make a decision. Maybe this will also make it
clear to the FCC that Amateur Radio related petitions, such as the
all-important Technician Enhancement petition (RM-11828), can no longer
be completely ignored! We’ll see.
Please note that both of these bills were introduced within the last few
days before the House of Representatives ended their legislative
session, but I understand the bills will be fully re-introduced soon.
Related to the ARRL Board, I can also tell you that both Mark Tharp and
myself have exactly the same 2023 ARRL Board committee assignments from
President Rick Roderick, K5UR we both had in 2022. I remain as Chair of
the Programs and Services (PSC) Committee for another year, and as a
member of both the CSI and HF Bandplan Committees. Mark remains on the
Emergency Communications and Field Services Committee (EC-FSC), is again
Chair of the Amateur Radio aboard the International Space Station
Committee (ARISS), and again a member of the Amateur Radio Legal Defense
& Assistance Committee.
In addition, during the ARRL Foundation Annual Meeting, held on January
31st, I was elected for a second term as Vice President of the
ARRL VOLUNTEER EXAMS CAN BE HELD ON-LINE OR REMOTELY!
There seems to be a misnomer out there that the ARRL Volunteer Examiner
(VE) program does not allow for remote or on-line exam sessions. This is
not true! Since June 2020, ARRL Volunteer Examiner teams have gone
completely electronic by using a web-based examination system to
administer online exams for remote, video-supervised sessions, or
The remote sessions are conducted using a video conferencing platform
with ExamTools onscreen tests. Online exams can also be used at
in-person sessions (candidates must have tablets or computers for fully
electronic in-person sessions). For teams that prefer to generate and
print their own exams, our blue overlay grading template designs are
loaded into the program, and they can be used with the system’s
printed exams for manual grading. This system replaced the ARRL VE Exam
Maker exam-generating software.
The online exam platform includes registering and tracking candidates
throughout the session, onscreen exams and grading, online signing of
Certificates of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCEs) and 605
forms, logging and compiling the session stats and VE participation
list, and output files for upload to the coordinating VEC. The program
manages almost everything needed to conduct a test session.
Interested ARRL VE team leaders should email the ARRL VEC at
VEC@arrl.org for details and instructions on creating an ExamTools
account and training with an experienced team.
SEA-PAC IS GETTING CLOSER….
It’s not too early to make your plans for SEA-PAC, and the ARRL
Northwestern Division Convention, June 2-4, 2023! The SEA-PAC committee
reports that its members are working hard to strive to make the
convention a fun and meaningful experience for all, and they appreciate
feedback they receive from our amateur community. Send comments or
questions you might have to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration for SEA-PAC is scheduled to begin March 1st, 2023! They
hope you have made plans, and have reserved your lodging, as rooms
become scarcer and more expensive as the convention draws closer.
We’ll see you there!
ARRL FOUNDATION NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR GRANTS
The ARRL Foundation is now accepting applications for grants to amateur
radio organizations. The grants program awards limited funding to
organizations for eligible amateur radio-related projects and
initiatives, particularly those with a focus in educating, licensing,
and supporting amateur radio activities. Youth-based projects and
initiatives are especially encouraged. The ARRL Foundation grants
program accepts proposals on a cyclical model three times a year, in
February, June, and October. Proposals for the February grant period are
being accepted through February 28. Awardees will be notified
approximately 1 month after the closing of each cycle.
Additional information and a link to the grant application can be found
CASCADE AMATEUR RADIO CLUB, W7EK, 75th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EVENT
On February 15th I had the opportunity to head up to Everett, WA to
attend the Cascade Amateur Radio Club’s special meeting celebrating
their 75 years as an ARRL Affiliated club. In conjunction with the
anniversary meeting, they will be hosting a commemorative special event
station on Saturday, February 25, and will be on the air using SSB from
9am to 9pm PST. They will be signing W7EK, their club callsign, from the
QTH of Bill Watt, W7VAS.
They will have one station on the air and depending on propagation, and
will be on 15m, 20m, 40m, or 80m. All of their club members will have
an opportunity to take the mic. Note that ALL contacts will receive a
special QSL card without needing to request or send a card. The
frequencies they use will be at or near 21.250, 14.250, 7.250, or
Until next month, 73, and get on the air!
Mike Ritz, W7VO
Director ARRL Northwestern Division
Vice President, ARRL Foundation
Now, we will hear from Vice Director Tharp!
Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 5, February 2023
Shortly after the BoD meeting, President Rodrick distributed the list of
committees and members. I was again assigned to the Emergency
communication and Field Service committee, or ECFSC, Amateur Radio on
the International Space Station, or ARISS – as Chair, and once again I
am back on the Legal Defense and Assistance Committee or LDAC. All three
are about as different as you can get and it is an honor to be selected
to serve on them.
The ECFSC committee met again in person the day before the January ARRL
Board of Directors annual meeting in Connecticut. Another lively
discussion was had about the full committee answer to our minute 55
tasking from January 2022. At the end, a majority of the committee
agreed with one of two proposals and we converted that to a formal
motion which was approved the following day in session. We also
continued our work on many other items that one by one, are being tasked
out to individuals or sub-committees. We have another busy year ahead of
The ARISS committee is close to the same makeup as last year, other than
we are welcoming VD Vizcarrondo from the Hudson Division and saying
goodbye to VD Shilling who lost his election against Director Baker in
the Southeast Division, and VD Walls from the Central division who was
re-assigned to the A&F committee. We will hold our first meeting of the
year in March.
Back in the beginning of December, after consulting with Bart at HQ, I
started a conversation with WA7BNM, Bruce Horn, about a web tool set to
assist the W1AW/* coordinators with processing logs for the operations.
By January those tools had been tested and are currently in use. The
tools combine logs, check for errors, and add in additional data such as
grid square, county, and zone information. As I stuck my nose in that, I
have also been “unofficially” named as the national technical
advisor by HQ for all those with questions using the tools. I guess I
deserve it for the afore mentioned insertion of the nose. This tool set
is for use only by the W1AW/* coordinators and those who have been
selected to operate as W1AW/*. I must admit, it is great to talk to many
of the other coordinators and exchange success, war, and horror stories
about how the weeks go and I am glad to be a part of it.
As we are on the subject of VOTA, the dashboard is up and running now at
vota.arrl.org and you can find all the information about the year-long
event on that page. Hope to “see you” on the air. Mike and I have
been active as well as several our board members and officers. President
Rodrick can be found just about every day lurking around the bands if
not at a convention and if you are calling CQ do not be surprised to
hear a “Kilo Five Uniform Radio” answering your call.
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:
At the end of January the NW Division had 12,120 members which is down
4.8% from 2022
New hams in the NW Division last month totaled 133 (how many did we
educate about the ARRL???)
License class upgrades last month were 82
Events I am currently planning to attend in person are:
Mike and Key swap, March 11th
N7YRC Swap, May 20th
SEA-PAC convention, June 2-4
Wenatchee Hamfest, June 9-11
PNW DX Convention, August 11-13 in New Westminster, BC
Spokane Hamfest, 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 is always good to
hear from members.
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