Thursday, March 17, 2022

CQ to Limit Contest Participation by Stations in Russia, Belarus and Donbas Region of Ukraine


          (Northport, NY 17 March, 2022) – CQ Communications, Inc., publishers of CQ Amateur Radio magazine and sponsor of the CQ World Wide DX and WPX Contests, announced today that in light of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and Belarus, it will not accept competitive entries in any of its sponsored contests by amateur radio stations in Russia, Belarus or the separatist Donbas region of Ukraine (unofficial D1 prefix). Logs submitted by these stations will be accepted only as checklogs. In addition, contacts with these stations by other participants will have zero point value and will not count as multipliers.

This is in line with a similar action taken by the Radio Society of Great Britain, following the lead of other international sports federations around the world.

"We regret the need to take this action," said CQ Publisher Richard Ross, K2MGA, "and recognize that the vast majority of our fellow amateurs who are affected by it are innocent bystanders who had no role in their government's decision to invade another sovereign country. However, in light of the great suffering being inflicted without cause on the people of Ukraine by Russia's leaders, we cannot in good conscience stand by and do nothing."

The CQ policy will take effect with the 2022 CQ WPX SSB Contest on March 26 and 27. Future events will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on the situation at that time.


Friday, March 4, 2022

BBC Brings Back Shortwave for Ukraine

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is reviving its European shortwave service in order to provide news and information to listeners in Ukraine who may be cut off from internet service but have access to portable shortwave receivers. 

According to the New York Times, the BBC decided to reinstate its shortwave broadcasts to Europe following Russia's attack on Kyiv's main radio and TV transmission tower. "In a conflict where disinformation and propaganda is rife," BBC Director-General Tim Davie said in a statement, "there is a clear need for factual and independent news people can trust." The BBC had ended its European shortwave service in 2008.

The Huffington Post reports that the BBC will broadcast World Service News in English for four hours each day on 5875 and 15735 kHz, frequencies that can be received easily in both Ukraine and Russia. The BBC reports that Russia has limited internet access to several international broadcasters, including the BBC, Radio Liberty and Deutsche Welle.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

DX Summit Blocking Cluster Spots From Warring European Nations/Regions

DX Summit has announced that it is blocking posts from all countries and regions involved in the current war in Ukraine, partially at the request of the Ukrainian government and partially of its own accord. The following statement was released today:

A message from the operators of the DX Summit

A state of emergency was declared in Ukraine just prior to the Russian military invasion. Among other things, the February 24 decree from President Volodymyr Zelensky will remain in effect for at least 30 days and may be extended. The state of emergency includes “a ban of amateur radio transmissions”.

As per Ukrainian presidential office request, we will be removing the Ukrainian callsigns from the DX Summit.

DX Summit wants to avoid being an advertising medium for war and war related messages of any kind. As a result, we see it reasonable to block out all cluster posted messages related to this unfortunate event.

In addition, as of this moment, we are also blocking callsigns and messages posted by hams from the invading countries and regions such as Russia, Belarus and Donetsk (D1).

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Ham Radio in Ukraine Shut Down in Face of Russian Invasion

An emergency declaration by the government of Ukraine enacted as Russian forces began their invasion in late February included "a ban on the operation of amateur radio transmitters for personal and collective use," according to the ARRL Letter

The initial emergency order was issued for a 30-day period on February 24 and could be extended as circumstances require. Nonetheless, CQ has heard reports of amateurs sending out information via Echolink and of Polish hams sending messages to relatives on behalf of Ukrainian refugees who sought shelter in Poland.

ARRL Seeks Ham Exemption from New Forest Service Fees

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing a $1400 annual "communication facility fee" to be collected from any individual or entity maintaining a communication facility on Forest Service lands. 

The ARRL has filed comments requesting that amateur radio facilities be exempted from the fees, which it says are being proposed in response to a 2018 law requiring it to collect fees for issuing communications use authorizations "based on the cost to the agency for processing the applications, maintenance and other related activities." This fee would be on top of rental fees already collected. 

The League asked that amateur radio facilities be exempted on the basis of the service's statutory non-commercial status, the fact that amateurs maintain their own facilities and the public service provided by amateur radio during fires, search-and-rescue operations and other critical activities on Forest Service lands. The comment period extends through March 31.

3Y0J Bouvet DXpedition Shaping Up for Next January

The organizers of the much-anticipated 3Y0J DXpedition to Bouvet Island have set January 6, 2023, as the date on which they will set sail for the second-most-wanted DX entity. According to the ARRL Letter, the trip will last 44 days, including 22 on Bouvet itself. The port of departure is still undecided. 

The group is planning to operate up to 12 stations simultaneously, eight on CW and/or SSB, and four dedicated to FT8. Interested DXers may keep track of progress on the expedition's Facebook page, and donations are being accepted via PayPal on the group's support page at <>.

Plans Firming Up for Solo DXpedition to Crozet

Thierry Mazel, F6CUK, says he expects to arrive on Crozet Island for his one-man DXpedition around Christmas, after making stops at other rare islands, including Tromelin. The ARRL Letter entity, which was last activated on the ham bands in 2009. No call sign has yet been announced for the operation, and the Letter says it won't be announced publicly until just prior to the operation in order to minimize potential problems with pirates. More information is available at <>.

Paging Arnold Schwarzenegger…

Photo: Scott McIntosh via Twitter @swmcintosh
"The Terminator" has arrived on the Sun, giving another notch in the belt to the two solar scientists who have been predicting that Cycle 25 "could have a magnitude that rivals the top few since record-keeping began." reports that Drs. Scott McIntosh and Bob Leamon say that the "termination event" they have been predicting has occurred, marking the complete end of Cycle 24 and allowing Cycle 25 to move ahead without interference from remnants of the old cycle. "Solar Cycle 24 was cramping Solar Cycle 25's style," Leamon told Spaceweather. 

According to McIntosh and Leamon, the termination event occurred in December 2021, two years after the start of Cycle 25 but more importantly, just a little less than 11 years after the previous terminator event in February 2011. The researchers say these events range in time from 10 to 15 years, and that shorter durations, such as this one, indicate that the new sunspot cycle will be stronger than average. The "official" forecast for Cycle 25 predicts a relatively weak cycle, similar to the just-concluded Cycle 24. McIntosh and Leamon think it will be much stronger and early activity suggests that the sunspot numbers are tracking closer to their predictions than to the "official" one.


Having a Blast on the Sun!

This photo by the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter
spacecraft on February 15, 2022, is the largest
solar prominence eruption ever observed in a
single image together with the full disc of the sun.
(European Space Agency photo)

A huge solar flare extending millions of miles into space was photographed by the NASA/European Space Agency (ESA) Solar Orbiter spacecraft on February 15. According to ESA, the photo represents the largest solar flare ever observed in a single image together with the full disc of the sun. A flare consists of a dense concentration of solar plasma that is released into space by the breakdown of a "solar prominence," which ESA describes as a large structure "made of tangled magnetic field lines that keep dense concentrations of solar plasma suspended above the Sun’s surface and often take the form of arching loops."

If directed toward Earth, the plasma blast can disrupt radio communications and – if strong enough – damage satellites and even damage electrical grids on the surface. (A flare can also result in stronger than usual auroras, a boon to weak-signal VHF enthusiasts.) This flare, fortunately, was directed away from the Earth, but the rising sunspot cycle is likely to result in more flares as solar activity "heats up" over the next few years.


Milestones: Heil Sound Sold to Employees

Bob Heil, K9EID, and his wife, Sarah, have sold the company they founded, Heil Sound, to two longtime employees, Ash Levitt and Steve Warford. Levitt was already serving as the company's Chief Executive Officer and Warford was Director of Operations. 

Best-known to amateurs for manufacturing high-quality microphones, Heil Sound also serves the performance music industry with a variety of microphones and other gear. An announcement from the company says that Sarah Heil is retiring but that Bob will remain on board as CEO Emeritus and will continue doing product design and public outreach in the ham radio sector. The only change evident so far is that the company's line of ham radio microphones now has its own distinct website, <>.

Milestones: WB4APR and K6SSS Are Silent Keys

Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) developer Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, became a Silent Key in February at age 73. According to the ARRL Letter, Bruninga succumbed to a combination of cancer and Covid-19. In addition to being a pioneer in packet radio, Bruninga had a long-standing interest in alternative power sources and was a retired senior research engineer at the U.S. Naval Academy.

CQ Contest Hall of Famer and longtime CQWW DX Contest recordkeeper Fred Capossela, K6SSS, passed away in late December. Lifelong friend and fellow DXer and contester Joe Reisert, W1JR, recalled riding his bike to Fred's home in New York in the 1950s, operating with him from Navassa Island in 1957 and contesting with him at one of the first contest superstations, K2GL in upstate New York. Fred was a professor of marketing and advertising at Cal Poly University in California for30 years before retiring in 2007, the same year in which he was inducted into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame. Fred was 84.

ARRL Board Elects New Treasurer, Re-Elects Other Officers

The top leadership team at ARRL will remain pretty much the same in 2022 as it was in 2021, with all officers being re-elected except for longtime Treasurer Rick Niswander, K7GM, who had previously announced that he would not seek another term. The board elected John R. Sager, WJ7S, to succeed Niswander. 

The directors also re-elected President Rick Roderick, K5UR; First Vice President Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF; Second VP Bob Vallio, W6RGG; International Affairs VP Rod Stafford, W6ROD, CEO David Minster,NA2AA, and Chief Financial Officer Diane Middleton, W2DLM.

Supply Chain Issues Prompt Amateur Satellite Delay

AMSAT has withdrawn its GOLF-TEE (Greater Orbit, Larger Footprint-Technology Exploration Environment) satellite from the manifest for NASA's ELaNa-46 educational satellite launch mission, citing Covid-related restrictions and supply chain disruptions. 

GOLF-TEE had been selected to participate in NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative program, according to the ARRL Letter, for a launch scheduled for sometime this year. The GOLF program is a key part of AMSAT's plans to high-altitude, elliptical-orbit, satellites that cover greater distances and are "in view" for longer periods than the current generation of low-Earth orbit (LEO) "easysats."

Ham Charged With Reporting False Emergencies, Making On-Air Threats

A ham from Erie, Pennsylvania, has been accused of reporting false weather emergencies and making bomb threats. Newsline reports that Richard Wagner, N3BWG, was charged in a criminal complaint with making false reports of weather emergencies and threatening local hams who told him to stop. Wagner allegedly also used the radio to threaten to bomb public buildings in Erie.