Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Charles "Chip" Margelli, K7JA, SK

Chip Margelli, K7JA, operating Field Day, one
of his favorite ham radio activities. (Photos
courtesy Gordon West, WB6NOA)
One of the best-known amateurs of the past 40 years has become a Silent Key. CQ joins the contesting and DXing communities in mourning the loss of Charles "Chip" Margelli, K7JA, to cancer on May 25. We first received the news from his close friend and CQ Contributing Editor Gordon West, WB6NOA:

"Chip left us yesterday at 4pm, after spending weeks putting together Field Day station antennas and gear. That is all he would talk about - a great station on the air! He was ready for Field Day!

He and Janet (KL7MF, Chip's wife of 45 years) fought this fast-spreading cancer for months, with never a word to most anyone about his heroic fight. He passed away peacefully, with dignity, at his home, with Janet and his cat at his side. He gracefully closed his eyes, with piles of Field Day equipment and cables he prepared, ready for deployment, right next to his chair.

Chip never complained, never let on to his fight, and always had a smile for the upcoming Field Day event. So professional. He was always total positive in all that he could do for ham radio operators.

What a gentleman - a true fighter to the end. We are all heartbroken."

Chip with his wife of 45 years, Janet, KL7MF

Chip was a ham's ham, a contester (and frequent winner), DXer, DXpeditioner (he was part of the ZA1A team that reintroduced ham radio to Albania in 1991 and a member of the 2003 CO0US joint US/Cuban Field Day operation), moonbouncer, weak-signal VHFer, satellite operator and more. Chip spent three decades as the "face" of Yaesu in the United States, attending hamfests, visiting dealers and introducing new gear. After leaving Yaesu, Chip worked for Heil Sound and as CQ Advertising Manager before leaving the hamfest circuit and working behind the scenes at Ham Radio Outlet. He couldn't totally stay home, though, as he continued to be in high demand as a banquet speaker at conventions and hamfests.

Chip is perhaps best known among the general ham public for his 2005 appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," in which he and partner Ken Miller, K6CTW, proved they could send a message faster in Morse code than by texting. Chip was inducted into the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame in 2008 and awarded Russia's E.T. Krenkel medal in 2021

"In a hobby full of really nice and really knowledgeable people," recalled CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, "Chip was without question one of the nicest and most knowledgeable. He was experienced in nearly every aspect of amateur radio and was always happy to share that knowledge as well as his many ham radio adventures. While Chip was on the CQ staff for only a short period of time, he and Janet have been part of the extended CQ family for many years. More than that, he was always just a good friend. We will miss him greatly."

"OMG!" responded CQ Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA, when he heard the news. "Chip was the picture of good health! He used to go out running at shows. He and Arnie (Sposato, longtime CQ ad manager, also SK) would be out early on a Sunday to do a few miles together. And he had just retired from HRO after a lifetime at Yaesu. Another old friend gone ... Certainly, we all know of those who were very sick and who we expected to leave us, but too often (others have) left us with no warning and no time to prepare our minds for the inevitable."

Words cannot even begin to express our sorrow. All of us at CQ extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to Janet and their entire family.


Friday, May 12, 2023

New RF Exposure Rules Take Full Effect – Station Evaluations Required

The FCC's latest rules on RF exposure evaluations, which were announced two years ago, took full effect this May, meaning that all amateurs must now conduct evaluations of their current stations and do it again anytime there is a change that might affect RF exposure measurements. 

The ARRL has online tools available to help with making assessments. According to the ARRL Letter, its RF exposure landing page at <www.arrl.org/rf-exposure> offers a variety of resources, including an RF exposure calculator into which you can enter information about your station and your operating practices to see if you are in compliance. The Letter notes that these resources are available to all, regardless of ARRL membership.

FCC Looks for Input on 60 Meters

The FCC is asking the amateur community to weigh in on the future of the 60-mater band. In a proceeding more than seven years in the making, the Commission is proposing to adopt the contiguous 5351.5-5366.5 kHz segment approved by the International Telecommunication Union at the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15), but is seeking comments on what to do about the four current 60-meter amateur channels that are not part of that segment as well as the question of power limits. 

U.S. amateurs are currently permitted to use up to 100 watts effective radiated power (ERP) on the band while the international rules adopted at WRC-15 limit power to the equivalent of 9 watts ERP. For more detailed discussion of this matter, see the "Zero Bias" editorial in the June issue of CQ. Proceeding numbers are ET Docket 23-120 and RM-11785. At press time, we did not have a comment deadline but it is expected to be late June or early July.

Tweaks Made to New General Class Question Pool

The Question Pool Committee of the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators has made a few adjustments in the General Class (Element 3) question pool scheduled to be used on licensing exams beginning this July 1. 

According to the ARRL Letter, three questions were removed from the pool and minor changes have been made to several others. Details are available at <http://www.ncvec.org/page.php?id-369>.

Hams Heading to the Moon

The crew of the Artemis 2 moon mission includes
(L-R) Jeremy Hansen, KF5LKU; Victor Glover.
KI5BKC; Commander Reid Wiseman, KF5LKT,
and Christina Hammock Koch. (NASA photo)
Three of the four astronauts selected for next year's planned Artemis II mission to orbit the moon are licensed hams. Newsline reports that mission commander Reid Wiseman, pilot Victor Glover and mission specialist Jeremy Hansen all hold amateur licenses (KF5LKT, KI5BKC and KF5LKU, respectively). The only non-ham on the crew is mission specialist Christina Hammock Koch. 

'There are no plans for any amateur radio activity during the mission, currently scheduled for November 2024.

2023 Dave Kalter Youth DX Adventure Trip Cancelled

The widely-reported backlog in processing U.S. passport applications has apparently caused the cancellation of this year's David Kalter Memorial Youth Adventure trip to Curacao. 

According to the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, which sponsors the program, "there was not enough time to put a successful plan together and allow participants to obtain passports in a timely manner." The announcement suggested that alternate activities may be planned.

YOTA Camp Program to Expand Thanks to ARDC Grant

The Youth on the Air summer camp program is being funded through 2025 by a $125,000 grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications, the foundation that has been providing funding for a wide variety of amateur radio programs and activities. 

The YOTA organization also reports that the grant will enable the 2024 and 2025 camp sessions to expand to 50 participants from the current 30. This year's YOTA summer camp is scheduled to be held in Ottawa, Ontario, from July 16-21.

ARDC Funds Spectrum Education Program

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is using a grant from the Amateur Radio Digital Communications foundation to continue its "Exploring the Electromagnetic Spectrum (and Why Amateur Radio Matters)" program with a second group of 20 students between ages 18 and 20. According to ARDC, the online program will run for 40 weeks between September 2023 and May 2024 and "aims to educate emerging generations about the electromagnetic spectrum through an interactive, substantive experience with amateur radio." The program specifically aims to broaden the excitement of amateur radio among minority and LGBTQ students. 

Participants will receive a $4,000 stipend, meet weekly to learn about the role of the electromagnetic spectrum in a variety of science, technology, math and engineering fields, engage with scientists and engineers using state of the art technology, earn their Technician and General Class amateur radio licenses and more. Additional information and program application may be found at <https://tinyurl.com/3bepb4bv>.

USA-Made Vacuum Tubes Return

 reports that vacuum tube manufacturing is making a comeback in the United States, and so is the Western Electric brand name. 

Charles Whitener purchased the rights to manufacture Western Electric vacuum tubes from AT&T 25 years ago and is now ramping up his plant in Rossville, Georgia to begin manufacturing a "reimagined" version of the iconic 12AX7 dual triode frequently found in guitar amplifiers, to be followed by others. 

Vacuum tubes remain popular among hams, musicians and audiophiles as tube amplifiers produce a distinctive sound quality. For decades now, tubes have been manufactured primarily in Russia and China, but costs have been increasing along with U.S. sanctions on trade with Russia. A report in Wired magazine on Whitener's tube plant says that "if all goes to plan, the U.S. could once again dominate vacuum tube manufacturing."

"GridTracker" Wins Software Award

GridTracker, described by the ARRL Letter as "a tool that visualizes WSJT-X amateur radio traffic, like FT8 and contacts from log files, which makes it easier for radio amateurs to track their contacts and participate in contests," has been awarded the fourth annual Amateur Radio Software Award. 

According to the Letter, the award committee "was impressed by the breadth of features in GridTracker, its innovative graphic interface, and its ability to make amateur radio more fun." The ARSA awards recognize software projects that "enhance amateur radio and promote innovation, freedom and openness in amateur radio software development." More information about GridTracker is available at <https://gridtracker.org>.

Milestones: Awards for N1UL, VE3ZQW

Dr. Ulrich Rohde, N1UL, needs to make space on his shelf for one more award – this one the 2023 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Communications Society Distinguished Industry Leader Award. According to the ARRL Letter, the award recognizes "contributions and leadership in radios and electronic test measurement equipment that has supported the design of modern communications systems and their implementations." Rohde is a partner in Rohde & Schwarz and has won many other accolades, including induction into the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame in 2004.

Moving north, Canadian Sea Cadet Second Lieutenant Matthew Batten, VE3ZQW, was honored with the National President's Award as the top Sea Cadet officer in Canada for 2023. According to the online newspaper InQuinte.ca, the award was in recognition of his work in developing a nationwide network of cadet amateur radio stations. He started with a small local group in Belleville, Ontario and the program has since spread east to Nova Scotia and west to British Columbia. The Royal Canadian Sea Cadet program is open to young people between the ages of 12 and 18.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Special Prefixes for Israel ARC 75th Anniversary April 14-30

Attention WPX fans: The Israel Amateur Radio Club is happy to announce a special "75" callsign prefix in honor of the 75th anniversary of the State and the Israel Amateur Radio Club.

The prefixes 4X75 and 4Z75 are valid from April 14th 2023 00:00 UTC until April 30th 2023 23:59 UTC, including the Holyland Contest (Worldwide Holyland Contest, WWHC, runs from 14th April 21:00 UTC - 15th April 21:00 UTC)
Israeli stations, 4X75 and 4Z75, will log their QSOs online with our HolyLogger application, and then upload to eQSL and LoTW.

Special 75 Award:
All QSOs with Israeli stations during the activity earn points. Anyone achieving 75 points is eligible for our “75” award. Stations with a 4X75 or 4Z75 prefix will earn you 3 points, and regular 4X/4Z callsigns are worth 1 point.

A total of 3 QSOs are allowed with each Israeli station (SSB, CW & DIGI). Award eligibility can be checked here: https://www.iarc.org/iarc75/

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

HamCation Reports Attendance of Nearly 22,000

Post-Covid hamfest attendance continues to rebound, with the Orlando HamCation reporting a 2023 attendance of 21,830, its third-largest number ever. 

This represents a 12% increase from the 2022 attendance of 19,500. Orlando is the second-largest hamfest in the U.S., behind only the Dayton Hamvention.

FreeDV Project Gets Major ARDC Grant

The FreeDV Project has received a grant of $420,000 from ARDC, the Amateur Radio Digital Communications foundation, to further develop FreeDV and advance the state of the art in HF digital voice. 

According to the ARRL Letter, FreeDV is an open-source amateur radio technology that allows any SSB transceiver to be used for low bit-rate digital voice. The grant will fund ongoing work to improve speech quality and low signal-to-noise ratio operation; inclusion of FreeDV in some commercially manufactured transceivers and other development projects. 

More information on FreeDV is available at <www.freedv.org>; ARDC’s website is <http://ardc.net>.

Amateur Radio Included in FEMA Emergency Guide

The latest functional guidance document from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) includes amateur radio as part of the web of public and private communication resources for emergency managers to turn to in an emergency or disaster. 

The ARRL Letter reports that the March 2023 version of the National Incident Management System Information and Communications Technology guide has an expanded Communications unit structure, which includes the Auxiliary Communicator role, a function that specifically includes amateur radio. The complete NIMS ICT guide is available as a PDF at <https://tinyurl.com/bd233bd>.

Amateur Radio Gets a Full Morning at National Hurricane Conference

The value of amateur radio in hurricane preparedness and response was on full display at this year’s National Hurricane Conference, held in-person and over Zoom in early April. A full morning of the conference program was dedicated to various aspects of amateur radio activity, according to the ARRL. Specific presentations included the WX4NHC ham station at the National Hurricane Center, the Hurricane Watch Net, the VoIP Hurricane Net, an overview of SATERN (the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network) and the importance of amateur radio surface reports to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. The amateur radio presentations were livestreamed and were being recorded and posted to YouTube after the conference ended.

Milestones: WD9HBA Named Chief of Air Force MARS

Air Force MARS (Military Auxiliary Radio System) has a new Chief, David Antry, Jr., WD9HBA. 

A ham since 1977 and a retired Air Force Master Sergeant, Antry has been an active MARS member for over a decade and most recently served as Operations Officer for the 51st Air Force MARS Communications Group, it was reported in the ARRL Letter. He also served as a logistics manager in the 635th Supply Chain Operations Wing War Reserve Materiel Program Integration Office. Antry will be based at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. 

Additional information about Air Force MARS may be found at <www.mars.af.mil>.

Milestones: Hamvention Leader Ron Cramer, KD8ENJ, SK

Past Dayton Hamvention® General Chairman Ron Cramer, KD8ENJ, became a Silent Key on March 11. Among other things, Cramer oversaw the Hamvention’s move from Hara Arena to the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio, in 2017. According to the ARRL Letter, Cramer was also a past president and current vice president of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, which sponsors Hamvention.

Two RIBs on a Boat … For Two Years

George Wallner, AA7JV, and Michael Snow,
KN4EEI, with a RIB, or Radio in a Box.
(From Dateline DX Assn. website)
Two hams from the U.S. have embarked on a two-year ocean voyage with two goals in mind: 1) Activate rare water-only grids in the Pacific Ocean (CQ DX Field Award hunters take note! – ed.) and 2) Field-test two remotely-operated “Radios in a Box” or RIBs.” These are self-contained stations built to be set up in locations that are inhospitable for in-person DXpeditions and then to operate them remotely from a boat offshore. 

According to Newsline, George Wallner, AA7JV, and Michael Snow, KN4EEI, set sail from Costa Rica aboard George’s yacht, the Magnet. They will be operating from various locations, using a mix of their own call signs and that of the Dateline DX Association, KH7Z/MM. 

Oklahoma Repeater Destroyed by Fire

A “controlled burn” that got out of control was apparently responsible for the destruction of the W5BLW repeater in southern Oklahoma. Newsline reports that the repeater was a critically important resource for SKYWARN, the Red Cross and other emergency communications groups. A spokesman for the Ardmore Amateur Radio Club, which owns the repeater, says it will be replaced but will take quite a while before it is fully back in service.


The OMIK POTA Challenge

For the rest of this year, the OMIK Amateur Radio Association is encouraging its members to activate Parks on the Air (POTA) program sites with special significance to African American heritage. 

OMIK was founded 70 years ago by a group of Black radio amateurs from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky (thus the name) to help Black travelers with information on places where they could safely eat and stay overnight. Today, the group has a multi-racial and multi-cultural worldwide membership. According to the ARRL Letter, the OMIK POTA Challenge is an effort to promote the club as well as parks with connections to African American culture. 

Members are encouraged to sign up to use the club call sign, K0MIK, during POTA activations. The group hopes to have members make at least 750 contacts from various parks and historic sites between April 1 and December 31, 2023. For more information on OMIK, visit <http://omikradio.org>; POTA info may be found at <https://parksontheair.com>.

Use It or Lose It – Part One

Our April editorial discussed the importance of making greater use of our microwave bands (and steps to accomplish that) amid growing commercial pressure for use of those frequencies. The following two news items further illustrate that point. - Ed.

The member states of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that will participate in the World Radiocommuniation Conference (WRC-23) later this year in Dubai completed their second preparatory session in late March. According to the ITU, items on the conference agenda include:

  • Identification of additional frequency bands for the continued development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), including the use of high-altitude platform stations as IMT base stations for the universal deployment of wireless networks.
  • Improvements to the international regulatory framework for geostationary orbit (GSO) and non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites while promoting equitable access for all countries.
  • Use of satellite technologies for broadband services to improve connectivity, particularly in remote areas.
  • New spectrum to enhance radiocommunications in the aeronautical mobile service, including by satellite, and to facilitate the use of the Space Research and Earth exploration-satellite services for climate monitoring, weather prediction and other scientific missions.
  • The modernization of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).
  • Regulatory framework for the use of earth stations in motion on board aircraft and ships for communication with geostationary orbit (GSO) and non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites.
  • The future of the ultra-high frequency (UHF) broadcasting band which has implications for television broadcast, programme-making and special events, as well as public protection and disaster relief.

“With the uptake of innovative digital services accelerating worldwide, it is critical that we ensure they are secure, reliable, affordable and accessible, especially to the 2.7 billion people around the world who remain offline," said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin (who is also KD2JTX). The worldwide expansion of digital wireless services puts additional pressure on amateur radio allocations above 225 MHz, virtually all of which are already allocated to hams on a secondary basis. 

Use It or Lose It – Part Two

The National Telecommuni-cations and Information Administration – which jointly administers U.S. spectrum allocations with the FCC – is working on a National Spectrum Strategy with a goal of identifying at least 1500 MHz of spectrum that can be “repurposed” to meet growing demand for wireless applications and other advanced technology. According to Reuters, the agency is seeking public input on identifying “new spectrum bands for potential repurposing that will spur competition and innovation for years to come.” The article noted the huge growth in connected vehicles as just one example of spectrum-hungry services for which demand is likely to keep growing. 

Most UHF and microwave amateur bands are already shared with federal government users, which are regulated by and receive spectrum allocations from NTIA. Editorial comment: Amateurs can contribute to the innovation that NTIA seeks, but only if we make more and better use of these bands.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

KB3UJW Joins CQ Staff as Associate Editor

Sabrina Herman, KB3UJW, of Lyndhurst, Ohio, has been named CQ magazine's Associate Editor, succeeding Managing Editor Jason Feldman, KD2IWM, who is leaving CQ Communications after 12 years to pursue opportunities outside of publishing.

Herman has been a ham for close to 13 years and comes to CQ from Hermes Press, a small book publisher in Pennsylvania, where she served as Managing Editor and Promotional Coordinator.  At CQ, she will be an integral part of the editorial team producing each issue of the magazine and will work to expand CQ's social media presence as well.

 Herman says she hopes to learn more about the ham community in her new position, noting that nearly all of her friends are hams, including her husband, Jacob, about whom she says "he's the reason I decided to take the license exam back in 2010!"

 "I have two dogs who are my fur babies, Ginger Rogers and Noodle," she adds. "I am an avid collector of Disney paraphernalia, books of all kinds, and original comic book art. I play lots of Nintendo Switch games, my favorite being Animal Crossing." 

Hamvention Names 2023 Award Winners

The Dayton Amateur Radio Association has announced the winners of the 2023 Hamvention awards. The awards, among the most prestigious in amateur radio, recognize the Amateur of the Year, Special Achievement, Technical Achievement and Club of the Year.

Dayton’s 2023 Amateur of the Year is Carsten Dauer, DM9EE, a longtime advocate for youth in amateur radio (he and his children are featured in the 2021-22 CQ Amateur Radio calendar). Carsten was honored for his work in collecting and transporting amateur radio equipment to hams in Ukraine and, on the return trips, driving war refugees from Ukraine to safe havens in Germany, including his own hotel. To help, visit <https://tinyurl.com/25baptav>.

This year’s Technical Achievement Award goes to Dr. James Breakall, WA3FET, a prolific antenna designer and professor emeritus of electrical engineering at Penn State University. He helped develop the Numerical Electromagnetic Code, or NEC, which is the basis for most of today’s antenna modeling programs. He also worked with K1JT, WP3R and NP4A in 2010 to do moonbounce ftom the Arecibo Observatory (SK) in Puerto Rico.

The Special Achievement Award for 2023 honors Dr. Jason McDonald, N2TPA. A trauma surgeon by profession, his major ham radio interest is promoting amateur radio among young people, particularly through Radio Scouting, forming scout radio clubs in the U.S., Canada and the Philippines. Through these clubs, he has gotten more than 500 young people licensed and on the air.

The 2023 Club of the Year is the Delaware Valley Radio Association in Trenton, New Jersey, whose wide range of amateur radio activities and events has led the club membership to triple in size over the past six years.

The honorees will be formally recognized at the Dayton Hamvention awards dinner in May,

Sohn Withdraws as FCC Nominee

(CQ Newsroom
file photo)
Gigi Sohn has withdrawn from consideration for membership on the FCC, after her nomination by President Biden was not acted on by the Senate for nearly two years. 

According to “The Hill,” a Capitol Hill newspaper, Sohn’s decision came soon after West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin announced that he would not support her confirmation, which has been supported by most Democrats and opposed by most Republicans and many in the media and wireless industries. 

The White House has not yet indicated when the President might announce another nomination to fill the fifth Commission seat.

3Y0J Wraps Up Weather-Shortened DXpedition

The much-anticipated 3Y0J DXpedition to Bouvet Island is over and the team is safely back in friendlier climes. While the team’s original goal was to operate 12 stations simultaneously for 22 days and hoped to make 200,000 QSOs, they were only able to get two stations on the air and made about 19,000 contacts, according to the ARRL Letter

In addition to terrible weather and extreme difficulty getting equipment on shore, the only safe place on the island to set up camp had a huge rock blocking the short path to most of North America. Plus, the effort was beset by massive amounts of deliberate interference. 

CQ will have a complete report on the expedition in the May issue.

ARDC Releases 2022 Annual Report Showing $7 Million in Grants

The Amateur Radio Digital Communications foundation has released its annual report for 2022, outlining more than $7 million in grants made during the year. 

The ARRL Letter reports that ARDC made grants in four categories, amateur radio ($2.1 million), education ($2.3 million), scholarships ( $1.5 million) and research-and-development ($2.4 million). The foundation’s philanthropy included 47 grants to amateur radio clubs and projects, as well as 95 scholarships. For more information, visit <www.ardc.net>.

“Human Security” Theme for World Amateur Radio Day

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) announced that this year’s World Amateur Radio Day on April 18 will have the theme of “Human Security for All,” of HS4A. The theme is the result of a partnership between IARU and the United Nations Fund for Human Security and the World Academy of Art and Science. 

According to the UN, “human security” includes “seven interrelated dimensions of security” – economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community and political – that are essential to an individual’s well-being. The IARU says amateur radio has “repeatedly demonstrated its ability to address human security needs.” The group and its member societies will have special event stations on the air between April 11 and 25 to call attention to the HS4A theme.

Nominations Open for Young Ham of the Year

Do you know a young radio amateur, age 18 or younger, who is doing extraordinary things for his/her community or for amateur radio? If so, the Amateur Radio Newsline Bill Pasternak Young Ham of the Year Award committee wants to hear from you. Nominations for the 2023 YHOTY award are being accepted through May 31. For more information and nominating forms, visit <arnewsline.org> and click on the YHOTY tab. CQ is a corporate sponsor of the Young Ham of the Year award.

Milestones: Former FCC Chief Engineer W4QAW Silent Key

Raymond Spence, W4QAW, became a Silent Key in February at age 93. According to Newsline, Spence was retired from a career at the FCC capped off by service as the agency’s Chief Engineer. He was also a dedicated DXer and contester. He lived in Washington’s Virginia suburbs and was an for much of his life.

New Distance Records on IO-117 Satellite

The IO-117 satellite prior to
launch (AMSAT photo)
Italy’s IO-117 amateur satellite is bringing real DXing back to ham satellites. The AMSAT News Service reports on two recent contacts of more than 8000 miles – between KG0D and VU2LBW and between W5CBF and A65BR, the latter setting a new record for the medium-orbit bird of 8075 miles (12,996 kilometers) – as well as numerous hams using IO-117 to qualify for ARRL Worked All States and DXCC awards, plus the initial level of CQ’s Worked All Zones Satellite award (25 of 40 zones needed). The satellite was launched last summer.

Radio and Electronics Merit Badges Score Big Gains

The ARRL Letter reports that the Boy Scouts’ radio and electronics merit badges are gaining significantly in popularity. Quoting a study of merit badges in Scouting magazine, the report says Radio jumped from 98th-most popular merit badge in 2021 to #81 in 2022, a surge of 18 places and the biggest increase in popularity of any merit badge. The second-biggest jump was for the electronics badge, moving up 15 spots from 80th place to 65th

Scouts work their way toward the top rank of Eagle Scout by earning at least 21 merit badges, along with other requirements. 

Saturday, February 11, 2023

3Y0J On the Air From Bouvet

The 3Y0J DXpedition team has landed on Bouvet Island and is on the air. Team co-leader Ken Opskar, LA7GIA, reported to media officer Steve Hass, NA2J, that this is “the most extreme expedition I’ve been to,” adding that “Activating Bouvet is not like activating an island in the Caribbean. It is really windy, cold and exhausting to bring equipment up here.” Opskar added that the only way to get on shore was by floating 50 feet from the boat in survival suits while holding onto a line attached to a buoy; and that the equipment had to be floated in as well, then carried 800 feet up to the camp.

Early pileups were intense and Facebook was filled with reports of jamming and other bad on-air behavior making it difficult for hams to even hear the team’s 100-watt signals. Bouvet Island is a dot of land in the far southern Atlantic Ocean, roughly halfway between South Africa and Antarctica. It is #2 on the DX most-wanted list (North Korea is #1). For updates, please visit https://www.3y0j.no or the expedition's Facebook page..

Hams Respond to Turkish Earthquake - Please Keep 28.540, 7.092 and 3.777 MHz Clear

Search and rescue efforts under way in Turkey
and Syria following massive earthquake
(United Nations photo)
Amateur radio operators are actively involved in emergency response efforts following the massive earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria in early February. 

According to the ARRL, the Turkiye Radyo Amatorieri Cemiyeti (TRAC) organization is coordinating the ham radio response in Turkey, primarily using 28.540 MHz, with 3.777 and 7.092 as backups. Hams are asked to keep these frequencies clear for emergency traffic.

IARU Region 1 (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) Emergency Communications Coordinator Greg Mosup, G0DUB, says TRAC President Aziz Sasa, TA1E, is now in the earthquake zone and is requesting assistance from the international community. However, he asks that any groups planning to come to Turkey to help coordinate their efforts through the Turkish embassy in their home countries. He also requests that all search-and-rescue groups have at least one radio amateur on their teams.

There is no information at this time on any possible quake-related amateur communications in Syria, as there are very few hams active there. The death toll from this massive earthquake is above 20,000 and climbing daily.

HRO ClosingSan Diego Store

Ham Radio Outlet is closing its store in San Diego, California. According to a post on its website, the building’s landlord informed the company in late 2022 that its lease would not be renewed. “Since that time,” said the announcement, “we have been searching the surrounding area for a new location. However, recent extreme increases in rent and non-business friendly policies by the state, county and city governments have made locating and affording a viable location all but impossible.” The San Diego store will close permanently on February 25.

Winter Field Day Heats Up the Airwaves

Another Winter Field Day is in the books, the 16th annual running of the event held on the last weekend in January. The purpose of the activity, according to Newsline, is similar to that of ARRL Field Day in June, but with the added challenge of practicing portable emergency communication skills in generally less-friendly winter weather. New for this year were a mobile/stationary mobile entry category and a 100-watt power limit for all participants. In 2022, more than 2500 logs were submitted (including those from home stations contacting portable or mobile stations). As of a week and a half after the 2023 event, more than 1900 logs had been submitted from over 1100 locations, with additional logs being accepted through March 1. For more information, visit the WFD website at <www.winterfieldday.com>.


Youth DX Adventure Heading to Curacao Again

Moving ahead to summer, the Dave Kalter Memorial Youth DX Adventure program will again activate call sign PJ2Y from the Curacao QTH of Geoff Howard, PJ2T, this coming July. Participation is open to licensed hams between the ages of 12 and 17; a parent or guardian must also attend. Most trip-related expenses for participants are paid through donations to the YDXA program. The application deadline is May 1. Additional information and application forms are available at <http://qsl.net/n6jrl>.

Friday, February 10, 2023

DXpedition Boot Camp

Keep your ears open in the second half of March for activity from VK9/Norfolk Island, site of the upcoming DXpedition Boot Camp. According to Newsline, budding DXpeditioners will get the opportunity to learn from and operate with more experienced ops from an exotic locale between March 17 and 31. The camp, coordinated by Chris Chapman, VK3QB, plans to have stations on the air from 160 through 6 meters, operating CW, SSB and FT8. There will also be an opportunity for a SOTA (Summits on the Air) activation from nearby Mt. Bates. The camp itself is free, but participants have to pay their own travel and lodging expenses. At press time, there was no word on the call sign(s) to be used. For more information as the time grows closer, visit <http://dxpeditionbootcamp.net>.

POTA Posts Big Activity Increase in 2022

The Parks on the Air program keeps growing by leaps and bounds. Newsline reports that the POTA organization tallied a total of 141,477 activations in 2022, a 195% increase over 2021, covering 14,818 parks in 72 DX entities, operated by 7,187 amateurs. The combined total of POTA QSOs in 2022 was more than 6.26 million, more than double the number in 2021. The POTA program encourages operations from national or state/provincial parks and preserves. For more information, visit <https://parksontheair.com/>.