Thursday, July 15, 2021

A Message to our Print Subscribers

July 15, 2021

To our loyal readers,

While CQ's digital editions are distributed like clockwork – the first of each month – the print editions are lagging far behind. The general business slowdown due to the pandemic over these past many months has ultimately resulted in an income pinch delaying the printing of these issues. While the world is opening up for business again and our business is getting back to a new normal we find ourselves too far behind to simply catch up. Tough times bring tough choices – and so, as a means of bringing CQ's print edition distribution back in sync we have decided to make CQ's June and July issue digital only issues. The August issue will be CQ's next print edition.

For our readers: We are extending current print subscriptions for two issues and will continue to email PDFs of these issues to all current print subscribers on requested. We have added individual issue links from the CQ homepage – - so that the June and July issues can be viewed immediately at no charge (links are at the bottom of the homepage).

Thank you for your patience and support.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Solar Cycle 25: More Good News

Another sign of increased solar activity is being reported by - a decrease in stratospheric cosmic ray levels that appear to be inversely proportional to solar activity. Nearly every week for the past six years, staff at the website, working with students from Earth to Sky Calculus, have been sending weather balloons equipped with radiation sensors into the upper stratosphere to measure cosmic ray levels. Those levels peaked at the solar minimum in late 2019 and have been decreasing ever since. 

Spaceweather's Dr. Tony Phillips explains that the radiation comes from deep space and has to fight its way through the sun's magnetic field in order to reach the Earth. That field weakens during the declining years of each solar cycle and strengthens as solar activity increases. The stronger the sun's magnetic field, the fewer cosmic ray particles are able to break through. A graph of the cosmic ray measurements is available on the website.

YOTA Camp Under Way in Ohio

Sam Rose, KC2LRC, getteing campers ready for
a foxhunting event at the 2021 YOTA camp
in Ohio. (KD8RTT photo via Twitter)
The first-ever Youth on the Air (YOTA) Camp in the Americas is under way as this is written. The camp was originally scheduled to be held in 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid pandemic. 

Hosted by the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting outside Cincinnati, Ohio, the camp brought together some 30 young amateur radio operators (ages 15-25) from around the United States. Continuing Covid-related travel restrictions did not permit young hams from other countries in North, Central and South America to attend this year.

Highlights of the week-long program included a scheduled contact with an astronaut in orbit through the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, program, as well as a weeklong operation of special event station W8Y. Updates and additional information are available on the YOTA website at <>.

Friedrichshafen "Ham Radio" Show Held Online

Once again prevented by the Covid pandemic from being held in person, the 2021 "Ham Radio" show in Fried- richshafen, Germany, was held entirely online in late June, dubbed "Virtual Ham Radio World." According to the organizers of Europe's largest hamfest, there were two dozen commercial exhibitors at this year's event, as well as 28 associations, 70 lectures and 600 parallel connections. While the organizers were very pleased with the turnout and reception, they made it clear that "a digital event cannot completely replace a trade fair held in person," according to Project Manager Petra Rathgeber. They are very much looking forward to returning to an in-person event in 2022.

Ukraine Declares "Russian Woodpecker" Antenna Site a Cultural Monument

The Duga-1 radar antenna array near Chernobyl.

(Photo by Ingmar Runge via Wikimedia Commons,
CC BY 3.0, <

The government of Ukraine has declared the massive Duga-1 antenna array near Chernobyl – the source of the infamous "Russian Woodpecker" over-the-horizon radar signals in the 1970s and 80s – as a protected cultural monument. According to the Vice online newsletter, the designation is part of an effort by Ukraine to get the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and surrounding buildings all declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition, the Association of Chernobyl Tour Operators reported that vandals were removing pieces of the huge structure and that added protection was needed.

For those too young to remember, the "woodpecker" was a Soviet-era early warning radar system built to detect incoming nuclear missiles from the United States. Its tapping signals caused havoc on the HF ham bands as they swept through the shortwave spectrum. Chernobyl, of course, is the site of the world's worst nuclear power disaster in 1986 and the Duga-1 array is within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. It is speculated by some that the Chernobyl power plant was built primarily to provide electricity to the Duga radar.


Milestones: Changes at IARU and in Amateur Industry

New IARU Secretary Joel Harrison, W5ZN
(ARRL photo)
Former ARRL CEO Dave Sumner, K1ZZ, who stayed on as Secretary of the International Amateur Radio Union after his retirement from the League, has now stepped down from that position as well. The new IARU Secretary (traditionally a U.S. amateur associated with the ARRL) is former ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN. Harrison took over the position on July 1.

IARU Region 1, covering Europe, Africa and the Middle East, lost its vice president to Covid-19 in early July. Faisal Al-Ajmi, 9K2RR, became a Silent Key after a long hospitalization. According to Newsline, Al-Ajmi had held the region's number-two spot since 2014. He was an accomplished contester and advocate for amateur radio in the Arab world.

Chris Fox, NI4L, is the new owner of the EZ-Hang antenna launcher company. He has merged the line of specially-designed slingshots into his NI4L Antennas and Electronics company (, which currently markets wire antennas, baluns and related products.

FCC Finalizes Fine Against Drone Maker

The FCC has reaffirmed its previous decision to fine drone maker HobbyKing $2.8 million for marketing non-compliant RF equipment and for failing to respond to FCC orders in the course of its investigation, which was instigated by the ARRL. According to the ARRL Letter, the League filed a complaint with the FCC in 2017 when its lab confirmed that the company's unmanned aircraft were not FCC-certified and operated on a variety of frequencies allocated to other services, including the 1300-MHz ham band, as well as GPS and air-traffic-control frequencies.

According to the Letter, HobbyKing first denied selling its transmitters to U.S. customers, then said it was never informed of the FCC's authorization requirements and that replying to the Commission's enforcement inquiries would violate its Fifth Amendment rights. In a Memorandum Opinion and Order issued on June 17, the FCC didn't buy any of it, denying the company's Petition for Reconsideration because it "fail(ed) to present new information warranting reconsideration."

R0FK/POLE Polar DXpedition

R0FK's special QSL card for his North Pole
expedition (from RF0K page)
Talk about social distancing … Fedor Konyukhov, R0FK, set sail with a Russian research team in mid-July for the North Pole. In addition to studying ice melt patterns and drift routes, Newsline reports that he will set up a shack on an ice floe and operate R0FK/POLE on 20 meters. 

In addition to being a scientist and a ham, Konyukhov is also a writer and an artist. He hopes to combine all four of these passions during the expedition.

Listen to Recordings of your QSOs

The free QSO Recorder Indexing Service allows hams who record contest and DXpeditions to share those recordings and for those who make contact with them to search for and listen to their contacts from the other end. The ARRL Letter says interested hams may upload their recordings to, which allows you to store up to 2 GB (approximately 12,000 short QSOs) for free, with additional space available for purchase. The QSO Recorder Indexing Service then allows users to search the site, based on call sign, and retrieve recordings of their contacts. For information, visit <>.

Shining a Light on the New Solar Cycle

Sun science "forever" stamps from the U.S.
Postal Service (USPS photo)

The U.S. Postal Service is highlighting the new sunspot cycle with the release of a set of stamps featuring photos of the sun taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, an orbiting telescope that has been gathering data about the sun since 2010. According to Newsline, the stamps feature 10 images, including plasma blasts solar flares, coronal holes, coronal loops and, of course, sunspots! Look for them at your local post office.

Putting Pluto Back on the Air

W7P special event certificate (courtesy NADXA)
Speaking of space… 

The Northern Arizona DX Association'sW7P special event last February honoring the discovery of Pluto was so popular that the group is putting on a repeat perform- ance in early August. Newsline reports that W7P will be back on the air from August 6-8 and will once again feature the opportunity to work Doug Tombaugh, N3PDT, nephew of astronomer Clyde Tombaugh – who discovered the mini-planet in 1930 at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Doug Tombaugh will be operating as W7P/0. The special event will continue annually through the centennial of Pluto's discovery in 2030.

Satellite Roundup

 Still speaking of space… we have several satellite news items for you …

MO-112 Satellite overlaid on
image of SpaceX Cargo Dragon
launch in early June.
( image)
The first amateur satellite from Mauritius is in orbit and operating. MIR-SAT 1 was launched from the International Space Station on June 22 and has now been renamed MIRSAT-OSCAR 112. According to the AMSAT News Service, it carries a digipeater and a camera experiment. Details are available from <>.

Two satellites operating on amateur frequencies were launched June 30 as part of a multi-satellite launch aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9. One, from Kuwait, appears to be commercially-built, according to the AMSAT News Service, and the other was built by the University of the Mexican Army and Air Force.

Artist's conception of WISA
Woodsat satellite in orbit.
(European Space Agency image)
 Finally, a wooden cubesat called WISA Woodsat made a successful test flight into the stratosphere in June. The ARRL Letter reports that the plywood satellite, built by a Finnish wood company, was lifted 19 miles by a weather balloon, took selfie videos and parachuted back to Earth. An actual launch into orbit is planned, with the goal of collecting data on the behavior and durability of plywood in the space environment.