First off, thanks for all the good wishes received from our NW Division
members as I recovered from my hip replacement surgery at the end of
September. The support is much appreciated, and I’m already much
better off than I was before the surgery. When I’ll be allowed to
climb my tower again to replace the broken rotator at the top is another
issue, but we’ll see!
Thanks to help from my XYL I did manage to make it down to Pacificon in
San Ramon, CA the middle of last month to present my latest educational
seminar, “The Storied History of DX”, but had to follow strict
doctor’s orders in the process. Many thanks to Vice Director Tharp,
KB7HDX, for filling in for me both at the hamfest up in Fairbanks, AK
while I was recovering, and also at Swaptoberfest at Rickreall while I
was down in CA.
LATEST ON PROPOSED FCC CHANGES TO US AMATEUR 60 METER BAND ALLOCATION
In a recent Special Bulletin to the Division I discussed in detail the
FCC proceeding currently under consideration regarding changes to our
amateur radio allocations on the 60-meter band. (ET Docket 23-120).
This proceeding, if enacted, would lower allowable power limits on the
band to 15 watts EIRP (9.1 watts ERP), from the current 100 watts of
power. It also removes the channelized portion of the band and adds a
single 15 kHz wide allocation. The ARRL submitted its response to this
and urged members to write the FCC to support the ARRL in this effort.
The good news is the deadline to file comments on the 60-meter band
proposal has been extended by FCC to November 28, 2023. Replies to
comments will be due December 28, 2023. The public comment period was
originally to close October 30, 2023.
I still strongly encourage all amateurs to submit comments expressing
support to the FCC for the current 100 W ERP power limit (instead of
reducing the power limit to 15 W EIRP) and continuing secondary access
to the current channels, if you have not already done so.
The ARRL has assembled a web page with instructions on how to submit
your comments, as well as background information on the issue:
FCC TO RULE ON RM-11708, REMOVAL OF “300 BAUD” DIGITAL MODE
In more news related to recent FCC actions, we certainly welcome news of
a scheduled vote by the FCC to finally consider removing symbol rate
restrictions that restrict digital modes, foster inefficient spectrum
use, and dampen incentives for innovation. The FCC Fact Sheet can be
found online at:
In the draft Commission decision, the FCC would replace the current
“300 baud” HF restrictions with a 2.8 kHz bandwidth limit. The
Commission also announced that it will consider a Further Notice in
which it will propose eliminating similar restrictions where they apply
in other bands. (VHF/UHF) and consider relying on signal bandwidth
limits. If both actions are adopted by the Commission, there will be a
period for public comment on the Further Notice issues. It is expected
the vote will occur in the November 15, 2023 timeframe, and will be an
early Christmas present for US amateurs, especially those involved in
The history of this proposal goes all the way back to July 2016, when
ARRL originally proposed what became RM-11708 (ET Docket 16-239). They
have essentially been sitting on it ever since.
Many times since the original RM was put out for comment, the FCC has
granted numerous “one-time” waivers to allow the use of the 2.8 kHz
digital bandwidth limit during times of natural disasters, such as
hurricanes on the East coast and wildfires fires here in the West. Now,
we are very close to having efficient high-speed modems legal for
applications such as Winlink a reality here in the US. (By the way, they
are already legal in our neighboring countries to the North and South!)
ARRL FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION WINDOW IS NOW OPEN
The ARRL Foundation has announced that the 2024 scholarship cycle
officially opened at 9:00 am (Eastern Standard Time) on October 30, 2023
and will close at 12:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time) on January 10, 2024.
The ARRL Foundation manages more than 100 scholarships established by
generous benefactors, ranging in value from $500 to a full $25,000.
Requirements vary for each scholarship and are determined by a Terms of
Reference (TOR) document supplied by the donor. While one major
requirement for ALL Foundation vetted scholarships is the students
currently hold valid amateur radio licenses, there are scholarships
available for just about any major pursued!
Please remember there are special scholarships set aside only for
applicants residing in our own ARRL Northwestern Division. Examples of
these are the Mary Lou Brown Scholarship, ($2,500), the Wilse Morgan,
WX7P Memorial Northwestern Division Scholarship ($2,000), and the Joel
R.Miller, W7PDX, and Martha C. Miller STEM Scholarship, ($1,000).
All applicants must submit a completed online application. Transcripts
and any additional required documents must be submitted WITH the
application and not emailed separately. Several 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. This is mostly unchanged from the last few years and will
not be new for returning candidates.
Scholarship recipients will tentatively be notified by early June 2024
via USPS mail and email. Awards are mailed directly to recipients’
schools and will be awarded in early July 2024.
More information about the ARRL Foundation Scholarship program,
including links to the requirements for each scholarship, and a link to
the e-application forms through a 3rd party website (kaleidoscope.com)
can be found here: https://www.arrl.org/scholarship-program
LATEST ON ARRL “CLEAN SIGNAL INITIATIVE”
Finally, the ARRL Clean Signal Initiative (CSI) committee has been
working hard with monthly Zoom virtual meetings and is nearing a
critical step in its process of producing the first “ARRL Technical
Standard” document: putting pen to paper. The first document will
encompass transmit purity benchmark standards for amateur radio HF
transmitters, including parameters for composite phase noise, and
templates for both CW waveforms and transmitted intermodulation products
(IMD). Included in the document will be recommended testing
methodologies for each parameter to ensure both amateur radio HF
equipment manufacturers and ARRL Lab product reviewers are using the
same playbook when performing benchmark tests.
Still to be decided by the committee is exactly how the new standard
will be implemented, both with how new offerings from manufacturers
tested against the standard will be “graded”, and exactly how
manufacturers will have their equipment officially labeled as
It is expected a draft version of the new standard will be completed in
time for announcement during the January 2024 ARRL Board meeting.
Until we can meet again, 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, November 2023
Hello Northwestern Division.
September and October were full of committee meetings, club meetings and
even a Hamfest or two tossed into the mix.
The ECFSC Clubs sub-committee (CSC) meets monthly and after some work
with ARRL HQ, I can now let clubs know we have a new program ready to
launch. It is called “Plant the seed” and I have discussed this a
bit in the past. It basically allows a club to purchase, at a reduced
price, a catalogue of ARRL publications to be donated to a local
Library. The intent of the program is to encourage clubs to contact a
local library and present the books for the public to have access to.
Another goal of the program is to work with the library to possibly make
presentations for the public to educate about Amateur Radio. Some minor
details are still being worked out but if any Club officers are
interested contact email@example.com for more information.
The second tidbit of “inside baseball” from the CSC is again for
club officers. If you have ever had issues vetting the number of ARRL
members in your club for affiliation, (Clubs must maintain at least a
51% ARRL membership to remain in “active” status) you can now email
a simple excel sheet with only callsigns from your membership roster to
firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to have the list checked. HQ will provide the
response back within a weeks’ time.
Clubs are required to update information each year normally on or around
the affiliation date however we have been trying to move all of them to
around the first of the year when new officers normally take office.
Designated Club officials can update information by visiting the
club’s webpage at https://www.arrl.org/clubs/search. If you or your
officials are having trouble feel free to reach out and I can walk you
through the process.
On the Hamfest front, the Spokane Hamfest and Washington State
Convention was cancelled due to a short notice by the school with a
“Student Activity” that took priority over the Hamfest. Many
including myself were disappointed but nothing much could be done. I
understand they are looking for another venue for 2024 and in the future
as this is the second time the event has been bumped out of the
On October 7th I attended the Arctic ARC ( http://www.kl7kc.com/ )
Hamfest in Fairbanks Alaska. It was a marathon weekend flying out Friday
afternoon and then back home on Sunday but it was a great 48 hours. They
put on a full day of great seminars, held officer elections, and gave
away a ton of prizes.
Saturday October 21st Jo, KA7LJQ, and I attended Swaptoberfest (
https://swaptoberfest.org/ ) in Rickreall Oregon. We had a good day with
the new Oregon SM Scott Rosenfeld N7JI. It was great to see a large
turnout. Scott also held an Oregon ARES meeting that I sat in on.
W1AW/7 will be back on the air here in WA starting November 15th along
with our fellow Division members in Alaska as W1AW/KL7. Montana is also
coming up on December 13th.
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 September the NW Division had 11,954 members which is down
0.4% from August where we had 12,004.
New hams in the NW Division last month totaled 138 (how many did we
educate about the ARRL???)
New ARRL members last month totaled 61.
Members that re-joined after a lapse totaled 44.
License class upgrades last month were 47.
At the end of September the ARRL had 150,773 total members.
The number of Amateur licenses in the US through October 12th is
Mike and I are always open to input, good and bad, (we prefer good) from
members. If you have anything you would like to talk about, shoot us an
email or call on the phone.
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 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