Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Updated CQ Contest Policy Relating to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

 PLEASE NOTE: This updates and supersedes the policy discussion in the editorial of the September 2022 issue of CQ.

 Sometimes, deadlines are your friends; sometimes not. This was a “not.” The deadline for the September issue of CQ arrived while spirited discussions were still taking place regarding possible updates to CQ’s policy regarding stations from Russia and Belarus competing in CQ contests. Since no agreement had been reached, it was decided to retain the policy as it had been since last spring. However, discussions continued and we have now agreed on several minor changes to the policy that will broaden participation in our contests while still joining with sporting federations around the world to condemn the invasion of Ukraine. The updated policy follows, which supersedes that published in the September issue of CQ. – The editors

 1) Effective with the upcoming CQ WW RTTY DX contest on September 24-25, 2022, and all CQ contests going forward, we will resume accepting Russian/Belorussian log entries as regular logs, publish their scores and credit QSOs/points/multipliers in all related logs.

 2) However, plaques will not be awarded to otherwise-eligible Russian/Belorussian stations. In the event that one of these stations has the top score in a given category, the plaque will be awarded to the top-scoring non-Russian/Belorussian entry in that category.

 3) Online certificates will not be awarded to any Russian/Belorussian entry, either as a participant award or based on ranking.

 4) CQ will identify partners with which to initiate a humanitarian program to support the people of Ukraine. This effort will occur either in collaboration with current activities or be entirely new. Details of this program will be announced as they develop.

 5) Specifics of this policy are subject to future review as developments may warrant.


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Hams Help Red Cross in Kentucky Flood Response

Amateur radio operators from Kentucky ARES® (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) helped Red Cross disaster teams in the aftermath of historic flooding in eastern Kentucky in late July. 

The ARRL Letter reports that ARES members provided communication support for Red Cross damage assessment teams that made their way through flooded areas, noting that communication needs were complicated by the rural region’s mountainous terrain. ARES groups in Ohio and Virginia were placed on standby in case additional help was needed.

NOAA: Above-Average Hurricane Season Still Expected

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided an updated forecast for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season in early August, sticking with its initial prediction of an above-normal number of storms, but scaling it back slightly. According to the agency, forecasters now suggest a 60% chance of an above-normal season (vs. 65% in its initial outlook), along with a 30% chance of an average season and only a 10% chance of a below-average season. The updated forecast predicts 14-20 named storms, of which 6-10 are expected to become hurricanes, including 3-5 major hurricanes.

While there had been only three named storms (and no hurricanes) in the Atlantic as of August 15, NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad noted in the August 1 update that “we’re just getting into the peak months of August through October for hurricane development, and we anticipate that more storms are on the way.” The official hurricane season runs through November 30, although recent years have seen several “out of season” tropical storms and hurricanes.

Hams on SOTA Activation Help Spot Forest Fire

Members of South Dakota’s Black Hills AmateurRadio Club are credited with bringing a quick response to a small forest fire that officials were then able to keep from spreading. According to the ARRL Letter, a dozen club members were taking part in a Summits on the Air (SOTA) activation when two members of the group spotted smoke from their perch atop Cicero Peak in the Black Hills. They asked a local ham on a VHF simplex frequency if there had been any fires reported to the Forest Service, who then relayed the request on a local repeater. An off-duty forest ranger was monitoring the repeater and called in the alert, prompting a response by a fire crew and helicopter. They were able to quickly contain the fire and keep it from spreading.

W2NAF Gets NSF Grant to Study Grayline and Solar Eclipses

HamSCI founder and University of Scranton professor Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, has been awarded a nearly $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study changes in the ionosphere at dawn and dusk (a period we hams know as “grayline”) and during solar eclipses. According to the university, Frissell will work with students there and at Case Western Reserve University, as well as amateurs around the country, to gather data using so-called “Grape” receivers designed using another NSF grant for the HamSCI Personal Space Weather Station project.

Grape receiver circuit board (from
Frissell says there will be an annular solar eclipse visible in the continental U.S. next year, as well as a total eclipse in 2024, noting that these will be the last solar eclipses to traverse the country until 2044. The grant will fund an additional 30 Grape receivers that will be provided to HamSCI volunteers across North America. The stations will run continuously at least through 2025, the end of the project period, monitoring WWV and CHU to collect data daily at sunrise and sunset as well as during the two solar eclipses.

In a post to the HamSCI e-mail group, Frissell says the project will have five main areas of study:

  1. How do dawn and dusk ionospheric variability as observed by HF Doppler shift measurements vary with local time, season, latitude, longitude, frequency, distance, and direction from the transmitter?
  2. Is eclipse ionospheric response symmetric with regard to onset and recovery timing?
  3. How similar is the eclipse to daily dawn and dusk terminator passage?
  4. Do we observe multipath HF mode-splitting in the post-eclipse interval that is similar to dawn events?
  5. How is the response different for the southward annular eclipse in 2023 compared to the northward total eclipse of 2024?

According to Frissell, the grant will also provide support for a Ph.D. student at Case Western and a masters candidate at Scranton.