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:

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 <>; ARDC’s website is <>.

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 <>.

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 <>.

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 <>; POTA info may be found at <>.

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.