Monday, September 20, 2021

NEWS from CQ Magazine - W8TEE Joins Contributing Staff, K8ZT Launches New Column


Dr. Jack Purdum, W8TEE, Joins CQ Staff as Microcontrollers Editor
Anthony Luscre, K8ZT, to Refocus on Exploring Ham Radio's Many Facets 


(Sayville, NY, September 20, 2021) - Arduino authority Jack Purdum, W8TEE, is joining the CQ staff as Microcontrollers Editor, while current Microcontrollers Editor Anthony Luscre, K8ZT, shifts to a new column encouraging hams to try new activities within the hobby, CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, announced today. 

Purdum is a retired professor of computer technology at Purdue University, who previously taught at Creighton and Butler Universities. He is the author or co-author of several programming books, including two editions of Arduino Projects for Amateur Radio and, more recently, Microcontroller Projects for Amateur Radio. Jack has written previously for CQ, most recently as Guest Microcontrollers Editor in our June 2021 issue. Purdum's vision for the column that it "will talk about tips and tricks, useful software tools and even applications that might make experimenting easier. The other thing I want to do is encourage hams who have never tried to program to see how easy it really is, yet the power it brings to the table." Jack's first column will appear in the November issue. 

Luscre, who has been CQ's Microcontrollers Editor since 2018 (and New Products Editor prior to that), will continue as a Contributing Editor, shifting his focus to exploring the many nooks and crannies of amateur radio. His goal is to help expand the horizons of newer hams who are still discovering different aspects of the hobby as well as experienced hams who are looking for a change of pace. Anthony's new column, "Ham Radio Explorer," will premiere in the December issue of CQ

CQ is available by subscription in either print (U.S. only) or digital (worldwide) formats. For details, visit

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

And Then There Were Two…

The Intrepid DX Group has dropped its plans for a DXpedition to Bouvet Island in the face of two other groups planning trips sooner. According to the ARRL Letter, group president Paul Ewing, N6PSE, says his team is now "re-examining the top 10 most-wanted DXCC entities, with a plan to redirect our efforts to an activation that will be most beneficial for everyone." A DXpedition to somewhere is now planned for early in 2023. Groups led by 3Z9DX and LA7GIA plan to activate Bouvet in late 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

NJ Club Loses Towers and Antennas to Ida - Donations Sought to Help Rebuild

The following is from New Jersey's Gloucester County Amateur Radio Club, via ARRL Southern New Jersey Section Manager Tom Preiser, N2XW, and CQ DX Editor Bob Schenck, N2OO:

The Gloucester County Amateur Radio Club, W2MMD, on September 1st 2021, suffered extensive damage to two of its towers and multiple antennas, during a EF3 tornado spawned by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. Many nearby homes and several farms were severely damaged or destroyed. The W2MMD club station building, a 14x70 mobile home, miraculously was undamaged despite being directly in the path of the twister, and the radio equipment remained safe and dry, but is unusable now without the towers and antennas.

The GCARC was founded in 1959, and is one of the most active general interest ham clubs in the region, with about 150 members. We are heavily involved in education and community service, and operate three repeaters and a very popular SATNOGS station. Our HF station is, or was, completely remote-controllable including antenna rotation and legal limit power. The station in its current form was the dream project of many club members past and present, and has taken some 40 years to build, as time and funds permitted.

In order to rebuild the antenna systems promptly and get the station back on the air as quickly as possible, we will need more funds than we have available at this time. We are therefore appealing to our fellow hams, friends, family, and community to help us in any way that you can. Your donation, no matter how small, will help get us back on the air, serving our community and helping friends around the world with vital HF and VHF communications.

Please see our GoFundMe page under the heading of "Rebuilding Club Station W2MMD" at <> and donate there, or visit our website at <> and click on the link. You may also send a check or money order to Gloucester County Amateur Radio Club, P.O. Box 370, Pitman NJ 08071. There are some pictures of the damage on the club website. Thanks and 73 from W2MMD!

License Fees Likely on Hold Until 2022

The $35 fee for new and upgraded amateur radio license applications that the FCC announced earlier this year likely will not take effect until early next year. According to the ARRL, FCC staff recently told a meeting of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (VECs) that work still needs to be done to prepare the Universal Licensing System to process fee collection from hams, and that it probably will not be ready to go live until early 2022. 

The $35 fee will apply to all applications for new or modified licenses (such as upgrades or changes in non-vanity calls), as well as renewals and vanity call applications. This will apply to both individual and club licenses. There will be no fee charged for administrative updates, which include changes of name, mailing address or e-mail address, or cancellation.

Once the system is functional, the League says, the new fees will not be collected by Volunteer Examiner (VE) teams, although they will still collect current exam fees. Once a license application subject to the fees reaches the FCC, the Commission will email the licensee/candidate a link through which the fee may be paid via the FCC Pay Fees system. The applicant will then have ten days in which to make the payment. Once the payment is received and the application is processed, the FCC will e-mail the applicant a second link which will provide access for 30 days to view, download or print their official license. After the 30-day period, hams will be able to access their license documents (as they can now) by logging into their FCC ULS account.

ARRL to Cover License Fees for Young Hams

License applicants under age 18 who take their exams with a VE team associated with the ARRL VEC will have their $35 FCC application fee covered (once) by the ARRL, under a new program approved by the League's board of directors. 

The ARRL Letter reports that the "Youth Licensing Grant Program" will cover the FCC fee for anyone under 18 who passes one or more license exams at a single test session. Young applicants will also pay a reduced exam session fee of $5. This would apply only to candidates whose exams are coordinated by ARRL-VEC, which will pay the license fees directly to the FCC. The League anticipates initially covering up to 1000 young applicants.

KT5KMF Honored With ARRL Youth Award

Katherine Forson, KT5KMF, of Plano, Texas is this year's ARRL Hiram Percy Maxim Award winner. This award is given to a young ARRL member "whose contributions to both amateur radio and her local community embody the ideals of the Amateur Radio Service," according to the ARRL Letter. Forson, a high school senior, has been licensed since age 9 and currently holds an Extra Class license. She is the ARRL's North Texas Section Youth Coordinator as well as a trained Skywarn spotter and RACES member. Forson told Newsline that her interest in ham radio has helped her decide on a career path in meteorology. She hopes to enroll in Texas A&M University's geosciences program next fall.

Staff Shakeup at ARRL

A major staff shakeup is apparently under way at ARRL headquarters. The September 2 issue of the ARRL Letter included what was essentially a help-wanted notice, seeking candidates for several high-level positions, including Membership Manager, Public Relations and Outreach Manager, Director of Emergency Management and Director of Information Technology. 

In addition, the League has openings for an Acquisitions Editor, Assistant Marketing Manager, Lab Engineer-EMC/RFI Specialist and Social Media Strategist. No explanation was given for the large number of departures from the ARRL staff. 

Anyone interested in applying for one of these positions may look at the job descriptions at <> or contact the League's human resources department at <>.

FCC Grants 60-Day Waiver to HF Data Rate Rules for Hurricane Relief Traffic

Amateurs participating in hurricane relief communications between August 30 and October 29 may use HF digital modes at speeds faster than normally allowed under FCC rules. 

The ARRL Letter reports that the FCC has granted a 60-day waiver to the usual data rate limits of 300 baud for frequencies below 28 MHz (except 60 meters) and 1200 baud on the 10-meter band in order to permit more efficient transmission of hurricane-related traffic. The waiver applies only to those amateurs in FCC-regulated areas who are directly involved in hurricane relief communications.

Hams Help Coordinate Animal Rescues in California

California's huge Caldor fire resulted in thousands of evacuations from dozens of rural communities but many people were unable to take large animals and livestock with them. Two animal welfare groups in the area have been conducting animal rescues and welfare checks, and the ARRL Letter reports that members of the El Dorado County Amateur Radio Club have been providing the groups with communication support, especially in areas with little or no cellphone service. 

Establishing a net control station in the group's Mobile ARES Communication Center, hams were dispatched with each animal rescue team in impacted areas. The groups are providing food, water and care to animals until their human families can return.

W2NAF Receives NASA Research Grant

Dr. Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF
(CQ archive photo)
NASA has awarded a grant of nearly a half million dollars to Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, to study methods of predicting traveling ionospheric disturbances, or TIDs, using data from HF amateur signals collected by the Reverse Beacon Network, WSPR and PSKReporter. 

According to the ARRL Letter, Frissell, a professor at the University of Scranton, the founder of HamSCI - (Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation)  and a former Dayton Amateur of the Year, will be the principal investigator on the two-year project and will collaborate with Phil Erickson, W1PJE, of the Haystack Observatory at MIT, and the University of Alabama's Bill Engelke, AB4EJ. 

Frissell says the grant includes funding for undergraduates at Scranton to help the faculty researchers create algorithms for developing empirical TID models. This grant complements a five-year National Science Foundation grant Frissell received last year to study the source of TIDs.

Solar Storms Could Threaten Global Internet Infrastructure

Could a coronal mass ejection like this one disrupt
internet infrastructurse here on Earth? One
researcher in California says yes.
(NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory photo)
A researcher in California is warning of a possible 21st-century repeat of the 1859 "Carrington Event," in which a huge solar storm disrupted telegraph communications around the world. 

Newsline reports that Professor Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi of the University of California at Irvine presented a paper in August at a meeting of the Association for Computer Machinery in which she suggests that severe solar storms could compromise the internet's version of repeaters in undersea cables that link networks on different continents. She warns that it is possible that some countries' internet systems could be cut off from the rest of the world for weeks at a time if such an event would occur … and she reported that astrophysicists predict the chances of that happening within the next decade are as high as 12%.

Several Ham Satellites Lost in Launch Failure

Liftoff of the Firefly Alpha rocket on its first
test flight, which ended seconds later when an
anomaly occurred at the point of maximum
aerodynamic pressure. (Firefly Aerospace photo)
Several satellites carrying amateur radio payloads were lost just after launch when controllers destroyed a Firefly-Alpha rocket after it experienced "an anomaly" as it reached the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure following liftoff. 

Most notable among the lost satellites, according to the ARRL Letter, were two built by the Spanish amateur satellite organization, AMSAT-EA. The GENESIS-L and GENESIS-N satellites were the first built entirely by AMSAT-EA. They had been intended to conduct a series of experiments, including measurement of Doppler variations to help in tracking future satellites as they reached orbit.

This was the first test launch for the Alpha rocket, built by Firefly Aerospace, a private launch company headquartered in Austin, Texas, that is focused on providing economically-priced transport of small and medium-sized satellites to low Earth and Sun-synchronous orbits.

A Mix of In-Person and Virtual Events

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact amateur radio gatherings. The Huntsville Hamfest in August was the first major hamfest to be held in-person since early 2020. Organizers report that attendance was down 20% compared with 2019 and that several vendors pulled out at the last minute due to the spread of the Delta variant, but said they were pleased with the overall results.

Meanwhile, both the TAPR/ARRL Digital Communications Conference (September 17-18) and the AMSAT 2021 Symposium and Annual Meeting (October 29-31) were shifted from in-person to virtual events due to ongoing concerns about travel and group gatherings.

Hikin' and Hammin'

The route of the Appalachian Trail

If you're an "OTA" fan, mark your calendar for the Appalachian Trail On The Air event on Saturday, October 2, from 1200-2100 UTC. Hams with portable stations will be activating various points along the 2,190-mile trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine, according to a report on Newsline

Since the trail generally follows the ridgeline of the Appalachian Mountains and many of its segments are in national or state parks, many of the activations will also count toward Summits on the Air (SOTA) and/or Parks on the Air (POTA) award programs. For more information or to register to be an activator, visit <> or e-mail <>.

Is MEM in Ham Radio's Future?

Artist's conception of the NASA Gateway station
in lunar orbit (NASA image)

That would be Moon-Earth-Moon. If you're old enough to remember the film version of "2001: A Space Odyssey," you'll probably remember that the movie opened in a transfer station orbiting the moon. Well, that is exactly what NASA and other space agencies are planning with the Gateway Project, a lunar-orbiting jumping off point for trips to the moon and to deep space. And, according to Newsline, a group of hams is working to make sure that amateur radio is aboard as well. 

Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, Chairman of ARISS International (which coordinates amateur radio activity on the International Space Station), is also co-leader of a separate group called AREx, or the Amateur Radio Exploration Team. AREx is working with NASA to secure a place for amateur radio aboard the Gateway station, whose initial modules are scheduled for launch next year. Those first modules will carry equipment that is essential to life in lunar orbit, but it is hoped that a ham station can be included on future modules that have a good Earth view and a good supply of solar energy for power. The goal is to make a ham station available for communication between Gateway and hams back on Earth.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Hurricane Watch Net Update on Grace and Henri

The following is from Hurricane Watch Net Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV:
The Hurricane Watch Net will activate for Hurricane Grace at 5:00 PM EDT (2100 UTC) August 20 on 14.325.00 MHz and continue on this frequency until we lose propagation. We will startup on 7.268.00 MHz at 7:00 PM EDT (2300 UTC) and continue for as long as we have propagation. Grace, as of 1800 UTC, is a Category 1 Hurricane with sustained winds of 90 mph, is expected to make landfall sometime around midnight local time between Túxpam and Veracruz. Henri, a Tropical Storm, forecast to become a Hurricane later today, is expected to hit the New England area on Sunday. Therefore, we will activate Sunday morning at 8:00 AM EDT (1200 UTC) on 14.325.00 MHz and remain active there as long as propagation allows. We will start up on 7.268.00 MHz at 7:00 PM EDT (2300 UTC) and remain active there until we lose propagation. If required, we will resume operations on Monday beginning at 8:00 AM EDT (1200 UTC) on 14.325.00 MHz As with any Net Activation, we welcome your observed ground-truth data from those in the affected area. The information forecasters at the National Hurricane Center need includes Wind Speed, Wind Gust, Wind Direction, Barometric Pressure – if available, Rainfall, Damage, and Storm Surge. Measured weather data is always appreciated but we do accept estimated. We are also available to provide backup communications to official agencies such as Emergency Operations Centers, Red Cross officials, and Storm Shelters in the affected area. We also collect and forward significant damage assessment data to FEMA officials stationed in the National Hurricane Center. Once we have completed operations for Grace, we will shift our focus to Herni. Henri is expected to make landfall in the New England area on Sunday. We will announce activation plans for Henri as soon as possible. We are quickly approaching the heart of hurricane season. If you haven’t done so already, make sure you have a Family Emergency Plan in place as well as reviewing your Emergency Supply Checklist. If you don’t have one of each already, you can download them from our website homepage,

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Hurricane Watch Net to Activate for Grace

The following is from Hurricane Watch Net Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV: HWN will activate today at 5:00 PM EDT (2100 UTC) on 14.325.00 MHz and continue on this frequency until we lose propagation. We will startup on 7.268.00 MHz at 8:00 PM EDT (0000 UTC) and remain active until we lose propagation. Looking ahead to the final landfall, unless something drastically changes, we will plan to activate Friday afternoon using the same start times. As with any Net Activation, we welcome your observed ground-truth data from those in the affected area. The information forecasters at the National Hurricane Center need includes Wind Speed, Wind Gust, Wind Direction, Barometric Pressure – if available, Rainfall, Damage, and Storm Surge. Measured weather data is always appreciated but we do accept estimated. We are also available to provide backup communications to official agencies such as Emergency Operations Centers, Red Cross officials, and Storm Shelters in the affected area. We also collect and forward significant damage assessment data to FEMA officials stationed in the National Hurricane Center.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Amateurs Asked to Keep Emergency Frequencies Clear Following Haiti Earthquake

The following is from the ARRL. We encourage you to keep these HF frequencies clear for emergency traffic:

Following Earthquake in Haiti, Radio Amateurs Asked to Keep Frequencies Clear 
August 14, 2021 | ARRL

In a statement received by ARRL on August 14, 2021, Region 2 of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU-R2) has requested that radio amateurs in the Americas keep the following frequencies clear to support emergency communications in Haiti following an earthquake this morning: 3750 kHz, 7150 kHz and 14330 kHz. The statement came from IARU-R2 Emergency Coordinator (EMCOR) Carlos Alberto Santamaría González, CO2JC.

According to preliminary information from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on August 14, 2021 at 1229 UTC, about 12 kilometers northeast of Saint-Louis-du-Sud and 33 kilometers to the east-northeast of Les Cayes, Haiti; 18.352 degrees north and 73.4801 degrees west at a depth of 10 km.

Mr. Jean-Robert Gaillard, HH2JR, President of the Radio Club of Haiti, reported significant structural damage.

International news reports fear high casualties.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Growing Confusion on Bouvet DXpedition

There's bad news, good news and growing confusion on the long-planned (but currently cancelled) 2023 DXpedition to Bouvet Island. There are now three separate groups planning trips to the subantarctic island, including one that split off from the original group (but holds the 3Y0J license) plans to make the trip in 2022 and another that says it's ready to go later this year.

We reported last month that the Intrepid DX Group was working to figure out a way that Nigel Jolly, K6NRJ, could continue to be captain of the Braveheart even though he had to sell the charter vessel because of Covid cancellations. Apparently, that didn't work out, but the ARRL reported in early August that the group had found a "suitable and affordable" vessel whose captain was willing to make the trip to the sub-antarctic island. The new team of up to 12 operators will be led jointly by David Jorgensen, WD5COV, and Kevin Rowett, K6TD.  

Meanwhile, Ken Opskar, LA7GIA - who holds the 3Y0J license to operate from the Norwegian island - apparently has split off from the Intrepid DX Group and formed a separate group that is now planning a 2022 visit. Plus, Polish DXpeditioner Dom Grzyb, 3Z9DX, says he has secured a license for 3Y0I and has put together a group to activate the island later this year.

We'll keep you posted on everybody's progress.

Shifting Sands (??) on the Sun

(NASA satellite image)
Just as there have been disagreements among predictions for the strength and length of Solar Cycle 25, there are also disagreements about the significance of recent trends. In early August, reported that the cycle was "heating up faster than expected," based on July's sunspot counts, and said that if the trend continues, it could mean that we reach solar maximum in October 2024, a year ahead of the "official" forecast from the NOAA/NASA Solar Cycle Prediction Panel. 

That panel predicted that Cycle 25 would be very similar to the very weak Cycle 24, but a sharper rise could suggest a stronger cycle to come. On the other hand, the Solar Terrestrial Activity Report ( suggests that so far, Cycle 25 is very closely tracking Cycle 24, as predicted by the NOAA/NASA panel. See <>.

NOAA Issues Slight Adjustment to 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Forecast

Hurricane season runs through November 30.
NOAA says to expect 15-21 named storms and
7-10 hurricanes this year. (NOAA file photo)

In its mid-season update, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made a slight upward revision in its forecast for the current Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through November 30. 

The Climate Prediction Center now says we should expect 15-21 named storms this season, vs. 13-20 in its previous forecast. Of those it is expected that 7-10 will develop into hurricanes (vs. 6-10) and 3-5 are likely to become major hurricanes of category 3 or higher (wind speeds of at least 111 miles per hour). The major hurricane prediction is unchanged from the previous forecast. 

Radio amateurs have long been part of the response to tropical storms and hurricanes and there is a permanent amateur station, WX4NHC, at the National Hurricane Center.

Hams Respond to Major Flooding in Western Europe

Hams have been part of the response to widespread flooding in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. According to the ARRL Letter   and International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (representing Europe, Africa and the Middle East), the flooding was caused by unprecedented heavy rainfall and has been responsible for at least 120 deaths. Amateur radio emergency groups in all three countries have a mutual aid arrangement and have been coordinating with each other. 

Hams in Belgium were asked to provide a backup VHF link between the emergency call center in the capital city of Brussels and the hard-hit province of Hainaut. Other groups have been on standby to respond as needed, although it was pointed out that many hams in the affected areas were flood victims as well.

ARRL Board Creates Permanent EmComm and Field Services Committee

The ARRL Board of Directors voted in July to create a standing board committee on emergency communications and field services (the umbrella name for the League's nationwide network of volunteer appointees). The committee's primary role will be to advise the board on changing or adding League policies and programs related to emergency communications through its Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and National Traffic System (NTS). It will also work with League staff to provide greater support to Field Organization volunteers around the country. 

The ARRL Letter reports that this is only the third standing board committee, along with the Programs and Services and Administration and Finance committees. Roanoke Division Director George "Bud" Hippisley, W2RU, will chair the committee. Other appointments had not been made as of press time. (We will cover this in more detail in October CQ's Emergency Communications column.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Faith Hannah Lea, KD3Z, Named Newsline Young Ham of the Year

Faith Hannah Lea,
KD3Z (Photo
courtesy AR Newsline)

Faith Hannah Lea, KD3Z, of Palm Coast, Florida, has been selected as the 2021 Bill Pasternak Memorial Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year. Lea, who's 16, is already a junior in college. She has operated from three continents, attended the Youngsters On The Air camp in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was part of the 2016 Dave Kalter Memorial Youth DX team operating PJ6 from the Dutch island of Saba. A member of an all-ham family, Faith Hannah has also had two articles published in CQ and served as an ARES net control during three different hurricanes. Completing high school via home schooling and earning an Associate of Arts degree at age 15, Faith Hannah is currently a junior at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. She is working toward degrees in both molecular and cellular biology and business administration. 

The YHOTY award was presented virtually this year during a live webcast of W5KUB's Amateur Radio Roundtable (see <>. It is traditionally presented during the Huntsville Hamfest but Newsline opted for the online ceremony because of the spike in the Delta variant of Covid-19.

FCC to Allow FM on CB, Automatic Location Transmissions on GMRS/FRS

In a rare reversal, the FCC has agreed to two petitions for reconsideration of earlier decisions relating to permitted transmission modes on Citizens Band (CB), the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FRS).

In its first major change to CB rules in over 40 years, the FCC has agreed to allow FM transmissions on the band along with traditional AM and single sideband (SSB). It was persuaded that interference concerns were unfounded and that "users who hear unintelligible audio on a particular channel can simply select another channel or switch modes." CB radios manufactured with FM capability would still be required to offer an AM option.

For some time now, the FCC has permitted the manual transmission of short data messages in the GMRS and FRS services, but has balked at allowing automatic transmissions of location data out of interference concerns. Motorola has successfully petitioned the Commission to OK automatic data transmissions as well, noting that it would help in the location of lost or injured users who could not manually send out emergency messages.

Michigan Radio Club Considering Group E-Mail Address for FCC Applications

As of the end of June, the FCC is requiring all amateurs to include a valid e-mail address on license applications. But some hams, especially older ones, do not have e-mail addresses or access to the internet. The ARRL Letter is reporting that the Big Rapids Area Amateur Radio Club in Michigan is working to establish a single e-mail address for all of its members who don't have their own, citing one member who is in a nursing home and doesn't have internet access. The account would be monitored by a club officer and any FCC messages would be relayed to the appropriate member. ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma said this is perfectly legal, as the FCC's only concern is being able to get in touch with a licensee as needed.

Utah Club Receives ARDC Grant to Engage Youth

 The non-profit Amateur Radio Digital Communications group (ARDC) has awarded a grant of nearly $18,000 to the Bridgerland Amateur Radio Club in northern Utah to support its efforts interest and engage young people in amateur radio. 

The ARRL Letter reports that the club has an 18-month timeline for its proposed projects and activities intended to use amateur radio to further STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs for young people. Among its projects is building a portable ground station for Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contacts which can be transported to different schools for making contact with astronauts in orbit.

CQWW Creates New Categories for Youth and Experimenters

The CQ World Wide DX Contest (CQWW) has added two new "overlay" categories beginning with this year's competition – "Youth" for operators age 25 or younger on the date of the contest and "Explorer" to permit greater experimentation with internet-linked stations and other new technologies. 

 The new Explorer overlay category has been established to allow amateurs to participate in the CQ WW contest while creatively experimenting with Internet-linked stations and other new technologies. The goal of this category is to encourage innovation in operating strategies, station design, and technology adaptation. Specifics for each of these new overlay categories may be found in the complete contest rules at <>.

MARS Members Help in Response to Maritime Emergency

In early July, an Army MARS (Military Auxiliary Radio System) HF training net for members in New York and New Jersey was interrupted by a series of distress calls on their frequency (which is shared with the maritime service. 

According to the ARRL Letter, several net members tried unsuccessfully to establish radio contact with the vessel in distress while the net control station alerted the U.S. Coast Guard. The vessel was eventually identified as a fishing boat traveling from Jamaica to Guatemala, which apparently capsized without warning on the night of July 6. Ten of the 15 individuals on board the boat were rescued by a passing oil tanker. Unfortunately, five others, including the captain, did not survive.

Industry News: Expansion for DX Engineering and HRO

DX Engineering announced in mid-July that it had acquired Top Ten Devices, Inc., a manufacturer of contesting-focused ham station accessories. DX Engineering will take over manufacturing and distributing three popular Top Ten products, the Op Swapper, the A/B Station Selector and the Band Aide Band Decoder. Top Ten Devices was founded 30 years ago by N3RD and W2VJN.

Ham Radio Outlet says it plans to open a new store in Florida, but is playing close to the vest on specifics. Newsline reports that an announcement from the company on social media said "We're not telling yet" in response to speculation on possible locations, adding, "We're open to suggestions." HRO currently has 12 stores across the US, from California to New Hampshire. At present, the closest one to Florida is in Atlanta.

Milestones: MFJ Production Manager KB5YJF SK


MFJ/Ameritron Production Manager Mike Enis,
KB5YJF (SK). (Photo courtesy MFJ)

Covid-19 has claimed another member of the amateur radio community and industry. Michael Enis, KB5YJF, became a Silent Key on August 6 at age 53. He was Production Manager for MFJ Enterprises and its Ameritron line of amplifiers. 

Mike was described in his obituary as "a loving father, son, brother, uncle and fixer of all things." He is survived by his son, daughter and son-in-law as well as his parents, sister and brother. His was predeceased by his wife, Tammy.