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.