ARRL NW Division Newsletter, May 30, 2023

First of all, welcome to mid-Spring in the Pacific Northwest. What does
that mean? It means it may be Spring per the calendar, but it also may
be Summer, Fall, or Winter in reality. Sometimes all in the same day!
HF propagation sort of falls into the same category as our Spring
season. One never knows what actual band conditions will be like until
you turn on the radio and scan the bands, despite what the propagation
forecasts indicate. During the longer 36 to 48 hour long radio contests,
you might have excellent propagation throughout the world one day or
evening, then the second day conditions are so poor that you come to the
conclusion that the only sane thing to do is turn off the radio and grab
a cold one. That said, you won’t know what the real band conditions
are until you actually get on the air! That is one of the many things
that makes our hobby both challenging, and in the end, rewarding. Just
like Forrest Gump and his “box of chocolates!”


Next, for only the second time in 22 years, ARRL is considering an
increase in member dues. No organization likes raising dues, but just
like our own personal expenses have gone up over the last few years, so
too has the cost of operating ARRL. The League is expecting a
significant net loss that could approach a million dollars this year,
and a perhaps a larger deficit next year. Even though the ARRL balance
sheet shows we have significant savings in the bank, largely due to the
League’s generous donors, those donor dollars are not a reliable
source of income, and large losses are not sustainable over the long
term. Eventually the ARRL will go broke unless we can match revenue with
costs and future inflation.

The last dues increase, back in January 2016, was done without member
input, and ARRL membership dropped by some 20,000 members over the next
few years as a result. This time around the ARRL wants your input on how
the ARRL should handle an increase in dues. Should they increase dues,
and if so, by how much? Would members be willing to forego printed
copies of QST and be satisfied with just obtaining digital versions
on-line, or pay extra for printed copies? It’s all on the table, and
my understanding is that there are no solid plans to do anything until
the results are in. Despite the social media pundits, it’s NOT a
forgone conclusion that dues will be increased, and that the survey is
whitewash. CEO Minster really wants your feedback.

The results from the survey will be tabulated and shared with members on
the ARRL website in June. Any final decisions regarding dues will be
made by the ARRL Administration and Finance Committee, with consultation
with the ARRL CEO, CFO and Treasurer, then most likely approved by the
full Board in July. Your responses will aid their analysis and
discussions, and ultimately help guide the future of ARRL.

The survey will remain open until May 31, 2023, which is tomorrow!
Members can reach the survey right from the front page of the ARRL
website, or here: .

Note: If you have not logged into the ARRL website since April 2022,
when the new association management software was installed, you will
have to reset your password. Information on how to accomplish this is
available here:


Next, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking comments
about changing the secondary allocation available to US radio amateurs
on the 60-meter band. The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
(NPRM) DA-23-26 on April 21, 2023, that deals with the band. In a prior
petition, ARRL urged protecting the existing use of the band by amateurs
when adding a new allocation adopted internationally. (The NPRM is
available here:

Currently, radio amateurs in the US have access to five discrete
channels on a secondary basis: 5332 kHz, 5348 kHz, 5358.5 kHz, 5373 kHz,
and 5405 kHz. Users of these channels are limited to an effective
radiated power (ERP) of 100 W PEP. What the FCC proposes is to allocate
15 kHz of contiguous bandwidth between 5351.5 – 5366.5 kHz on a
secondary basis with a maximum power of 15 W EIRP (equivalent to 9.15 W
ERP). This allocation was adopted at the 2015 World Radiocommunication
Conference (WRC-15).

The federal government is the primary user of the 5 MHz spectrum. The
government’s manager of spectrum use, the National Telecommunications
and Information Administration (NTIA), has expressed support for
implementing the allocation as adopted at WRC-15. Doing so would result
in amateurs losing access to four of the five discrete channels, and
power limits would be reduced from 100 W ERP to just 9.15 W ERP.
However, it would provide access to a new contiguous 15 kHz band that
includes one of the current five channels.

In 2017, ARRL petitioned the FCC to keep the four 60-meter channels that
fall outside the new band, as well as the current operating rules,
including the 100 W PEP ERP limit. The ARRL petition stated, “Such
implementation will allow radio amateurs engaged in emergency and
disaster relief communications, and especially those between the United
States and the Caribbean basin, to more reliably, more flexibly, and
more capably conduct those communications.” This is especially important
for those amateur radio EMCOMM organizations that utilize that band,
such as up in Alaska.

ARRL said that years of amateur radio experience using the five discrete
channels have shown that amateurs can coexist with primary users at 5
MHz while complying with the regulations established for their use. The
petition also stated, “Neither ARRL, nor, apparently, NTIA, is aware of
a single reported instance of interference to a federal user by a radio
amateur operating at 5 MHz to date.”

The FCC proposed to allocate the 15 kHz bandwidth, but stopped short of
making a proposal on whether the existing channels should remain
allocated to amateur radio and what the power limitations should be.
They requested comments on their proposal and the related channel and
power issues. Comments will be due 60 days after the NPRM is published
in the Federal Register, which is expected to be done in the next
several weeks.


In other news, the Clark County Amateur Radio Club (W7AIA) would like to
let everybody know they are once again hosting the Lewis and Clark Trail
on the Air (LCTOTA) special event. The event this year will run from
0000 UTC June 3rd to 0000 UTC June 19th. They have coordinated with 22
clubs from the 16 states along the original Lewis and Clark “trail of
discovery”, and all with be activated during this period. Attractive
certificates are available for those working 1-15 states and another one
for those working all 16. Stations on air times are posted on the
website, A great opportunity to pick up some elusive states
for WAS!


A reminder also that the year-long ARRL Volunteers on the Air (VOTA)
event continues, recognizing the support and contributions of ARRL
volunteers. Get on the air and make contacts with as many ARRL
volunteers or members as possible! (Here at W7VO we have handed out
close to 1,300,000 VOTA points since the first of the year. Staff at
ARRL HQ were so impressed they asked me to write an article to be
published in an upcoming issue of “On the Air”, (ARRL’s
“beginner” magazine), about our VOTA experiences, and how to
maximize your VOTA experience!)

There continue to be week-long activations of portable W1AW/# stations
in all 50 states, and in several US Possessions/Territories.

Be sure to upload your logs to LoTW and check your score online. Check
out the full details at


For all the FT8 fans out there, the second annual ARRL International
Digital Contest occurs during the first full weekend of June (June 3 –
4, 2023). All digital modes, with the exception of RTTY, are allowed in
the event.

In addition to the event being eligible for the ARRL Affiliated Club
Competition, a team competition consisting of teams of 2 to 5 Single
Operator stations is also available. Teams must be registered before the
start of the event at For
full rules, please visit


The ARRL Programs and Services Committee has approved the Contest
Advisory Committee (CAC) recommendation for rule changes to the ARRL 10
GHz and Up Contest, and the January, June, and September VHF contests,
effective with the 2023 10 GHz and Up Contest, and the 2023 September
VHF contest.

In the 10 GHz and Up event, distance point multipliers have been added
for each band as follows: 10 GHz 1x; 24 GHz 2x; 47 GHz 3x; 75 GHz 4x;
122 GHz and above 5x. For example, an 80 km contact made on 10 GHz would
be worth 80 points while the same contact made on 47 GHz would be worth
240 points.

Starting in September, in the January, June, and September VHF contests,
contacts made on 902 MHz and 1.2 GHz will be allowed for participants in
the FM-Only category. Currently, the category only allows contacts on
50, 144, 222 and 432 MHz. Additionally, there will be changes to the
Affiliated Club Competition scoring for entrants in the Rover
categories. For a Rover’s score to be included in their club’s score,
the entrant must make contacts from somewhere within the club’s
territory during the course of the contest.

Contact the ARRL Contest Program at for more
information regarding these changes.


Finally, I hope to see everybody at SEA-PAC next weekend. Of course,
I’ll be helping to man the ARRL Booth there, promoting the Clean
Signal Initiative (CSI) you hopefully read all about in your June 2023
QST. I’ll also be hosting the ARRL Forum, and will be again presenting
my “The Storied History of the Ham Radio Callsign” program, both on
Saturday afternoon.

As that’s not enough, I’m also a speaker at the DX Workshop on
Friday, covering “The History of DX”, among other topics. And of
course I’ll be at the Friday night get-together with the “real”
ARRL SEA-PAC dignitaries: ARRL CEO Minster, NA2AA, ARRL President
Roderick, K5UR, ARRL Director of Innovation, Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, and
our own Vice Director Mark Tharp, KB7HDX. It’ll be a busy weekend,
for sure!

73, and get on the air!

Mike Ritz, W7VO

ARRL Northwestern Division Director
ARRL Foundation Vice President

Now we will hear from Vice Director Tharp

Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 5, May 2023

The last month has again been filled with Scholarship work along with
committee meetings and club meetings. The final list of awarded
scholarships went out to the Foundation board for final approval and
then will go to HQ for processing. It is a time-consuming process but I
am grateful again this year to have been chosen to participate.

Mike and I are again getting things ready for both Sea-Pac in June, and
our trip to HQ for the second Board meeting in July. We will both have
standing committee meetings the day before the Board meeting.
Nothing earthshattering has come out of any of the committees this
spring, we continue to work on ongoing projects.

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:

The Spokane Hamfest, although not yet on the FB list from N7CFO is on
and they are working on ARRL affiliation as of this writing.


VOTA operation is ongoing and I have tried to get on for a few hours
each week to hand out points. The main page for VOTA is at:

A new page linked from the main VOTA dashboard is called “My VOTA”
and is here: Log in using your LOTW
username and password.

Check the schedule for W1AW/* operations at

Division stats:

At the end of April the NW Division had 12,027 members which is down
0.2% from March.
New hams in the NW Division last month totaled 212 (how many did we
educate about the ARRL???)
New ARRL members last month totaled 91.
Members that re-joined after a lapse totaled 88.
License class upgrades last month were 122

Events I am currently planning to attend in person (or have already
attended) are:

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.

Remember if you are ever curious about what is going on in other
Divisions or Sections, your ARRL membership includes access to any news
bulletins put out from Directors and Section Mangers. You can access
that page at:

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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