First of all, I want to sincerely thank all the wonderful Division
members I had a chance to chat with in-person at SEA-PAC a few weeks
ago, and want to especially thank those that chose to interact with ARRL
CEO David Minster, NA2AA, and ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR at the
busy ARRL booth. The positive comments I heard from both David and Rick,
and personally received from many of you that weekend was overwhelming
to say the least. I will say again that it is a sincere honor to be one
of your two elected representatives on the ARRL Board of Directors.
Again, thank you!
ARRL FIELD DAY 2023 IS NOW HISTORY
Well, the 2023 edition of ARRL Field Day (FD) is now officially in the
books and I hope everybody had a great experience, whether you are a
60-plus year veteran of the event, or you were recently licensed and
this was your very first FD effort. Just like the Indianapolis 500 is
purportedly the “Greatest Spectacle in Motor Racing”, in my opinion
Field Day is the “Greatest Spectacle in Amateur Radio”. No matter
where your passion in the amateur radio hobby lies, there is certainly
something in FD for everybody.
I participated in FD as part of a small Class 3E low-power effort with
several other members of the Columbia River DX Club (WM7A), here in
Scappoose, OR. We had a blast, despite some tribulations with getting a
FT8 digital mode station up and running for the first time this year.
Why FT8? As chair of the ARRL Board’s Programs and Services Committee
I hear a lot of complaints from members. One of the most frequent
complaints revolves around the use of FT8 and Field Day. I’m certainly
not a FT8 user myself, (who has the time?), but had a chance to spend a
good deal of time on the FT8 station position during our FD effort to
learn more about this “state of the art” mode. What I can say about
the experience is that, in my opinion, FT8 is indeed “real amateur
radio”, despite the pundits that complain about the robotic ease of
making contacts. For me, it wasn’t so easy!
During FD working FT8 I found myself glued to the laptop screen,
constantly trying to figure out who to try and contact next, based on
signal strength reports that were coming in from the long streams of
stations calling “CQ FD” on 20 meters. As the waterfall displays
were CROWDED with loud signals and I was only using 75 watts to a ground
mounted multi-band vertical antenna with only 3 non-resonant radials, I
rarely got through on the first try. Making successful FT8 contacts was
a LOT of work, and I was very happy when I received that elusive final
“73”, and the newly worked station appeared in the log.
It was great fun and certainly a new learning experience for this old
“almost 50-year-licensed” ham, but I think I’ll go back to a
traditional operating mode next year and let somebody else have all the
Based on what I’m reading on social media, a LOT of other clubs across
the country had FD fun too. And the good news is, so far, I’ve not
received any complaints from members about the recent bout of FD rule
changes. Even though FD is “not a contest”, (HI HI), kudos to the
club stations that took advantage of the increased emphasis this year on
the beginner/inactive amateur “Get On The Air” (GOTA) scoring
incentives, as a club that focused on mentoring this year found a lot of
new point generating opportunities!
As a side note, I received three traffic messages from participating FD
stations: K7JAR, W7AIA, and WA7PTM. Thanks!
Don’t forget that FD website reporting and logs must be postmarked or
submitted via web app at: www.field-day.arrl.org/fdentry.php by Tuesday,
July 25, 2023, and late entries are not accepted!
How was your club’s FD experience? What went wrong, and what went
right? Send me a brief note, and I’ll print them all in the next
Northwestern Division newsletter.
AMATEUR RADIO RF EXPOSURE EVALUATIONS
Next, a reminder for all of us: Back on May 3, 2021, new FCC rules
governing RF exposure evaluations went into effect. While the exposure
limits were not changed, the requirement to conduct an evaluation was
made more broadly applicable to all amateur licensees. A 2-year
transition period was implemented to allow existing amateur licensees to
conduct evaluations and make any changes necessary to ensure that their
station complies with the exposure rules. On May 3, 2023, the transition
period officially ended. All licensees must now conduct evaluations of
their current station and reassess compliance when making changes to
their stations that would affect exposure going forward.
As detailed in a May 2023 QST article by Greg Lapin, N9GL, the rules now
require amateur radio operators to perform station evaluations. The
Amateur Radio Service is no longer categorically excluded from certain
aspects of the RF exposure rules, and licensees can no longer avoid
performing an exposure assessment simply because they are transmitting
below a given power level.
The ARRL website features an RF Exposure landing page with resources,
such as an RF exposure calculator, the entire RF Safety section from the
100th Edition of the ARRL The Handbook, a video explaining the topic,
FAQs about the subject, and more. These tools and resources are
available to the public without an ARRL membership or website account.
What is still “in the air”, so to speak, is how to handle amateur
mobile and handheld device RF exposure compliance. These were originally
exempted for mandatory evaluations by the FCC, and are technically not
exempted now. The question is: Due to the transitory nature of mobile
(and pedestrian mobile) operating, how are amateurs going to ensure
compliance under all circumstances? The ARRL queried the FCC about this
last year, but as far as I know at this point there has been no action
taken by the FCC to answer the question.
LEGISLATION TO REMOVE PRIVATE LAND USE RESTRICTIONS ON AMATEUR RADIO
INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS
From a special ARRL Bulletin of June 14, 2023, and reprinted here:
“Congressmen Bill Johnson (OH-06) and Joe Courtney (CT-02)
reintroduced a bill in the US House of Representatives on June 12, 2023
- H.R.4006 – to remove private land use restrictions that prohibit,
restrict, or impair the ability of Amateur Radio operators from
operating and installing reasonable antennas on property that they own
or control. Similar legislation, H.R. 9670, was introduced by
Congressman Johnson in 2022.
The full text of the bill can be found in PDF format at,
“I reintroduced the Amateur Radio Emergency Preparedness Act to remove
barriers to disaster and emergency communications and training, and to
promote education in STEM subjects related to critically needed wireless
technology,” Congressman Johnson said in a release. “Passage of this
bill will promote developing and sustaining our nation’s wireless future
and facilitate and encourage amateur radio operations as a public
“As their actions during recent natural disasters such as Hurricane
Sandy proved, amateur radio operators in Connecticut can be a critical
component of disaster response and emergency management. It is in our
communities’ best interest that we give them the capabilities to operate
at the highest level, and with the re-introduction of this bill, we’ve
taken a strong step in that direction,” said Congressman Courtney.
The exponential growth of communities bound by 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.
ARRL continues its multi-year efforts to eliminate private land use
restrictions that prevent Amateur Radio operations and has pledged to
strongly support Congressman Johnson and Congressman Courtney in their
efforts on behalf of Amateur Radio.
Rick Roderick, K5UR, President of ARRL, on behalf its Members and
America’s Amateur Radio community extended his thanks and appreciation
for the leadership of Congressman Johnson and Congressman Courtney in
their tireless efforts to support and protect the rights of all Amateur
Radio Operators and to further STEM education and the advancement of
American expertise in wireless technology.”
A few comments I have regarding this latest HOA antenna anti-restriction
Number one is that I certainly hope the bill eventually passes! As you
may remember the Board voted in January to substantially increase the
2023 ARRL budget for the League’s legislative efforts to help get this
bill “off the dime”, and we need to show the membership something
for this expenditure. Nothing happens in Congress without a lot of money
being fed through lobbyists, and opponents to our efforts have much more
money to work with than we do.
Secondly, this is nothing like the bill that the ARRL Board pulled from
Congress when Mark and I first came on the Board in January 2019. That
earlier bill basically stated “amateurs can put up any antennas
approved by the local HOA”. I hope you can see the flaw in that
concept, and why the Board pulled it!
This time around, the current bill revolves around the term
“reasonable antennas”. Does that mean an amateur would be able to
install a bunch of 100 foot towers with stacked HF mono-banders without
any restrictions? The short answer is NO. What you will be able to
install without restrictions are wire antennas, such as end fed half
waves, (EFHW) or dipoles, verticals, flagpoles, small 1 meter dishes,
and the like. Enough to get you on the air. The good news is that as
long as towers are installed to manufacturers specifications, in
compliance with local ordinances, and are “reasonable”, the HOA
cannot completely outright ban the installation. It’s a compromise for
sure, but just about everything that comes out of Congress is the result
of a compromise reached somewhere.
Please stay tuned as this effort progresses though the congressional
2023 ARRL VOLUNTEERS ON THE AIR OPERATING EVENT CONTINUES
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. HQ was so
impressed by this they asked me to write an article to be published in
“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 http://vota.arrl.org.
ARRL CLEAN SIGNAL INITITIAVE (CSI) LATEST
I hope you all had a chance to read my article formally announcing the
ARRL Clean Signal Initiative (CSI) in last month’s QST (June 2023).
The very latest news about the program is that now all the major US and
Japanese manufacturers of amateur radio HF transceivers have
representatives assigned to the CSI Committee. The committee continues
to meet virtually via ZOOM monthly, with sessions lasting about two
hours each. Over the last six months many of the proposed benchmark
templates have been decided upon, and soon they will evolve into an
official standard utilizing an Institute of Electrical and Electronic
Engineers (IEEE) template. This is real progress!
At the Hamvention at Dayton in May, the ARRL Lab booth highlighted the
new program, handing out small “CSI” badges to visitors, while CSI
committee members and Lab staff in attendance wore large “Ask Me About
CSI” badges to stir conversations with members. The overwhelming
feeling from members I talked to was “it’s about time”, and it
gives my heart great joy to see ARRL management and staff firmly behind
the CSI. There’s no telling where this program will ultimately end up,
but I’m very proud to have been a part of it during my time on the
ARRL NORTHWESTERN DIVISON SECTION MANAGER UPDATES
ARRL Section Managers (SM) are among the hardest working volunteers in
support of the League and their mission. The SM’s job as the “ARRL
front line” for members is certainly not an easy task, and takes both
time and dedication. We are very fortunate to have a great SM team here
in support of this Division.
Congratulations, and a big THANKS to both Monte Simpson, W7FF, in the
Western Washington Section, and Jo Whitney, KA7LJQ, in the ARRL Eastern
Washington Section for “re-upping” their important roles as SMs for
the next two years. Both ran as incumbents unopposed in their recent
Kevin Kerr, W1KGK, of Plains, Montana, was the only nominee for the ARRL
Montana Section election, and he will be officially taking the reins of
the Montana Field Organization on October 1. Kerr is presently serving
as Section Emergency Coordinator of the Montana Section and as a
District Emergency Coordinator within the Section. The incumbent, Paul
Stiles, KF7SOJ, decided not to run for a new term. Stiles, of Billings,
Montana, has been SM of the Montana Section since 2019.
In addition, SM of the Oregon Section David Kidd, KA7OZO, has decided to
step down from the role for personal reasons. He was first appointed to
the position on July 1, 2018. Effective July 1, 2023, Jonathan Wanzer,
KK6GXG, will fill the role for the remainder of the current term, which
runs through June 30, 2024.
In the July 29, 2023 edition of the ARRL Letter Wanzer was quoted:
“Homebrew radios, tools, and antennas are not my only interests in the
Amateur Radio Service. I like to share with others; I teach license
classes and introduction to Emergency Communications (EC-001). I am an
active Volunteer Examiner. I also have the honor of serving fellow hams
as the Klamath County Emergency Coordinator and as the Assistant Section
Manager for [the Oregon Section]. One of my greatest privileges is in
developing contacts and relationships with non-ham groups and providing
presentations and information on amateur radio and all it has to offer
their members, and the community at large, through the Civil Defense
Vice Director Tharp and I would like to thank both David Kidd and Paul
Stiles for their years of dedicated service as ARRL volunteers, and for
their hard work as Section Managers. We look forward greatly to working
with both new SMs, and welcome them to the Northwestern Division
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, KB7HDX!
Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 5, June 2023
The N7YRC Swap meet in Union Gap (Yakima) went off without much of a
hitch. The group moved the date to May 20th from August last year to
avoid the heat. Turned out to be 97 degrees this year. It also
conflicted with other events in the valley so look for yet another date
change in 2024. This tailgate swap continues to grow a small bit each
year. And if you are missing the Hamburgers from the old Yakima Hamfest,
this is the event to still find them. Our EWA Section Manager, Jo,
KA7LJQ, and her crew were slinging burgers and dogs off the grill.
SEA-PAC pulled off some sort of magic this year or the group spent the
week prior doing some ancient weather dance as it was perfect. First
time I can remember it not raining at least during some part of the
weekend. Saturday night dinner was great as always and we took in some
words of wisdom from President Roderick, CEO Minster, Steve Goodgame,
and Director Ritz even managed to get a word or two in.
Jo and I attended the Wenatchee Hamfest in Dryden, WA on the 10th and
11th. This year it rained on us Friday afternoon and most of Saturday
which kept a few folks home. Registration was a bit below normal but I
am blaming it on the rain. Even with the bad weather a bunch of good
stuff was out for sale. The catered BBQ dinner Saturday was good as it
If your group has held a swap or Hamfest and would like to brag it up a
bit, send the information to Mike or I and we would be glad to add it to
the Division news.
Deep thoughts, by Tharp
President Roderick has had a common theme this year and I would like to
share it this month. The average age of US Amateur operators is now
around 65 years young. This creates a cliff we are headed towards and in
a few short years the number of Amateur Radio operators is going to
start to spiral down. The question President Roderick has been asking is
“who is going to be sitting in your chair in a few years”? And that
is a good question that many may not think about.
Most of us all had an Elmer, or mentor as we call them now and the age
gap between the two was normally at least a decade if not more. We,
(members of the ARRL Board) are asked all the time what “we” are
doing to engage youth and bring the next generation of Amateur operators
into the hobby. Well, we have youth programs, and various activities we
support but this must start and be nurtured at the local level in my
opinion. I have been using an example from one of our clubs in the
Division when asked about this. My reply is “OK, here is a club that
holds a breakfast every week, a lunch every week, and during the summer
months also has a second lunch. And they hold the standard once a month
club meeting. They also make some outings in the summer at a local
The normal reply is “wow, they are really doing a lot.” But when you
look at the details, the breakfast is at 9 am on a Monday. The lunch is
10:45 on a Wednesday. The second lunch is also in the late morning on
Thursdays. The club meeting is mid-morning on Saturday along with the
park activity. So, unless you are retired, breakfast and lunch are out
of the question, and if you have kids, or are a kid,,,,, you are most
likely tied up on Saturdays as well. So where do the new hams and
younger crowd fit into all this? No where. There is not an easy or quick
solution to this. I think back to when I was a new ham. The club
meetings were on a Tuesday evening at 7pm. Time enough to get home and
have something to eat before heading out to the club meeting. If the
meeting had been during the day or on a Saturday, I would have never
made it to them.
This is OUR hobby and even with all the ARRL does for us, I do not see
where they (we, the Board) are going to invent the magic button to start
building our ranks with the younger crowd. It needs to start local with
events and activities to allow and encourage participation. Ask yourself
again, who is going to be in your chair and what can you do to keep it
W1AW/KH8 VOTA operation
At the end of the June Western Washington DX Club meeting James, KB2FMH
mentioned they were going down to American Samoa in July. As ARRL has
been looking for stations to swing W1AW/KH8 I called him and as it turns
out, he, Hal, W8HC and Yuri, N3QQ (who has moved to the NW Division)
were willing and able to help. They will be on the air from Tutuila
Island at random times from July 12th through the 18th. SSB, CW, and
FT-8 and 4. They will be set up at the National Park so this will count
for POTA, K-0053 and as it’s a Island, IOTA, OC-045. DXCC, American
Samoa, and W1AW/KH8 for VOTA. You can work them with one or both calls
during the time they are on the air. www.qrz.com/db/KH8RRC
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 May the NW Division had 11,982 members which is down 0.4%
New hams in the NW Division last month totaled 212 (how many did we
educate about the ARRL???)
New ARRL members last month totaled 92.
Members that re-joined after a lapse totaled 79.
License class upgrades last month were 143
Events I am currently planning to attend in person are:
PNW DX Convention, August 11-13 in New Westminster, BC
Spokane Hamfest, September 23rd
I’m hearing rumors about the PNW VHF conference but have no details
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: https://www.arrl.org/section-division-email-log
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