ARRL President Issues Call for Members to Reach Out to their Senators to Support S. 1534

ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, is calling on League members to urge their US Senators to support the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017, S. 1534. ARRL has opened a RallyCongress page to simplify the task.


“[W]e are at a crossroad in our efforts to obtain passage of The Amateur Radio Parity Act,” Roderick said. He said the campaign to secure passage of the bill scored a major victory earlier this year when H.R. 555 passed unanimously in the US House of Representatives. Obtaining passage of the companion Senate bill, S. 1534, is the final legislative hurdle.

Now is the time for all hams to get involved in the process!” Roderick said. “Many of you already live in deed-restricted communities, and that number grows daily.”

Continue reading ARRL President Issues Call for Members to Reach Out to their Senators to Support S. 1534

The Doctor Will See You Now!

“Power Supplies” is the topic of the current (July 20) episode of the “ARRL The Doctor is In” podcast. Listen…and learn!

Sponsored by DX Engineering, “ARRL The Doctor is In” is an informative discussion of all things technical. Listen on your computer, tablet, or smartphone — whenever and wherever you like!

Every 2 weeks, your host, QST Editor-in-Chief Steve Ford, WB8IMY, and the Doctor himself, Joel Hallas, W1ZR, will discuss a broad range of technical topics. You can also e-mail your questions to doctor@arrl.org, and the Doctor may answer them in a future podcast.

Enjoy “ARRL The Doctor is In” on Apple iTunes, or by using your iPhone or iPad podcast app (just search for “ARRL The Doctor is In”). You can also listen online at Blubrry, or at Stitcher (free registration required, or browse the site as a guest) and through the free Stitcher app for iOS, Kindle, or Android devices. If you’ve never listened to a podcast before, download our beginner’s guide.

ARISS Reports ISS Packet System is Down

The aging Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) packet system on 145.825 MHz appears to have stopped functioning altogether, after experiencing some recent problems, and restoring it to operation could take months. ARISS International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said the packet system, located in the Columbus module, started to act up late last week, sending only a beacon.

“The ARISS team requested a power recycle by the crew, and with that power recycle, the packet system appears to have stopped functioning completely,” Bauer said in a news release. “Note that this unit has been on orbit for 17 years. It was launched on the STS-106 Space Shuttle Atlantis mission in September 2000 and was built, tested and certified for flight about 20 years ago.”

Bauer said the ARISS team has had extensive discussions on how to resolve the problem, starting with some additional troubleshooting with the existing packet module. He said it would take weeks just to develop the required troubleshooting procedures and have NASA approve them, before conducting tests with the ISS crew. This would include an additional power cycle, he said.

“The turnaround time is much longer than usual, because a new crew will soon be arriving on ISS,” Bauer explained. “The current crew is focused on the new crew arrival, and there will be about a 1- to 2-week transition after the new crew arrives. On the positive side, one aspect of our troubleshooting — a second power cycle — will occur automatically, because ARISS is shut down during crew docking and turned on afterwards.” Bauer said troubleshooting would extend beyond this reboot, however.

Continue reading ARISS Reports ISS Packet System is Down

The K7RA Solar Update

All the indicators we track at the bottom of this bulletin fell last week.

Because there were no sunspots in six of the seven days (July 20-26) last week, average daily sunspot number dropped from 26.6 to 1.7. Average daily solar flux declined from 85.9 to 69.7.

Average daily planetary A index declined from 13 to 11.9, while the mid-latitude A index went the opposite direction, from 10.9 to 12.9.

The latest predicted solar flux (as of July 27) shows 68 on July 28-29, 72 and 76 on July 30-31, 80 on August 1-3, 82 on August 4-11, 80 and 75 on August 12-13, 70 on August 14-25, 80 on August 26, 82 on August 27 through September 1, 80 on September 2-4, 82 on September 5-7, and 80, 75 and 70 on September 8-10.

Predicted planetary A index is 7, 5, 6, 12, 10 and 8 on July 29 through August 2, 5 on August 3-5, 25 and 10 on August 6-7, 5 on August 8-15, 15 on August 17-18, then 12 and 8 on August 19-20, 5 on August 21-31, then 25, 10 and 8 on September 1-3, and 5 on September 4-10.

F.K. Janda, OK1HH of the Czech Propagation Interest Group sent this geomagnetic activity forecast for the period July 28-August 22, 2017.

Geomagnetic field will be:
Quiet on August 4, 9
Mostly quiet on July 30, August 2, 8, 10, 14-15
Quiet to unsettled July 28-29, August 1, 3, 16
Quiet to active on July 31, August 5, 7, 11, 13, 17-22
Active to disturbed on August 6, 12

Continue reading The K7RA Solar Update

A New QST QuickStats Poll Has Been Posted

A new 
QST QuickStats survey is now available for your viewing and voting pleasure. Check the QuickStats page at http://www.arrl.org/quickstats and enjoy…

● Do you plan to compete in either the CW or Phone November Sweepstakes contests?

● How long has it been since you’ve attended a hamfest?

● Do you use software to program your handheld transceiver?

● Do you monitor DX Clusters with a smartphone app?

Visit the QuickStats page and be sure to bookmark it in your browser.


ARRL Contest Rule Changes, Clarifications Reflect “Best Practices” in Radiosport

Just ahead of the 2017-2018 contest season, ARRL has announced rule changes and clarifications to League-sponsored contests. These include an improved process for submitting logs and reporting scores. Unless otherwise noted, these changes become effective starting with the September VHF Contest.


“These changes reflect current ‘best practices’ in the contest community and help us improve the quality of the competition and reporting of results,” ARRL Contest Branch Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, said. “For example, getting the log data into log checking more quickly will allow us to post preliminary results online for nearly all contests.”

Log Submission

Log submission in the “General Rules for All Contests” has been simplified and revised. Individual contest rules will no longer include a log-submission section (with exceptions noted in the contest’s overview section). Here are the most important points.

  • Online log submission: Except for the EME and 10 GHz and Up contests, electronic logs should be submitted through the web app. E-mail log-handling “robots” will continue to operate until they can no longer properly handle the logs without revision. They will then be deactivated and submitters redirected to the web app.
  • Log submission deadline: Effective immediately, except for the 222 MHz and Up Distance Contest (2 weeks) and the EME and 10 GHz and Up Contests (30 days), the log submission deadline for ARRL HF contests will be 5 days from the end of the contest (this includes the IARU HF Championship). For ARRL VHF contests, the log submission deadline will be 10 days from the end of the contest. To accommodate any issues, an extension may be requested, explaining the necessity to the ARRL Contest Branch Manager any time before the submission deadline.
  • Logged frequency: HF contest entries competing for awards as category leaders are encouraged to specify frequency with a 1-kHz resolution. This is standard practice for other top contests, and it assists with log checking.
  • Public logs: The log used for log checking will be posted online for public inspection.
  • Paper logs: These will continue to be accepted, but are only eligible for awards at the discretion of the Contest Branch Manager.
  • Log withdrawal: Logs may be withdrawn up to 10 days following the log submission deadline.

Continue reading ARRL Contest Rule Changes, Clarifications Reflect “Best Practices” in Radiosport

ARRL Foundation Announces Two New Scholarships


Starting in 2018, the ARRL Foundation will offer two new scholarships for radio amateurs pursuing post-secondary education. They have been established by the Medical Amateur Radio Council (MARCO) and by the Shenandoah Valley Amateur Radio Club (SVARC).

The MARCO scholarship will provide financial assistance for the educational expenses of a radio amateur pursuing higher education in the healing arts and who is performing at a high academic level (grade point average of at least 3.0).

The applicant’s field of study may include, but is not necessarily limited to, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, nursing, pharmacology, emergency medicine (EMT), or radiology. Preference will go to undergraduates and to those in certificate programs, but graduate students also may apply.

Applicants should provide details regarding their involvement in Amateur Radio-related volunteer and/or and public service activities. If possible, they should demonstrate a desire to encourage others in the healing arts to become Amateur Radio licensees.

The scholarship award of $500 annually is to cover the costs of tuition, books, fees, and other educational expenses.

Continue reading ARRL Foundation Announces Two New Scholarships

Boy Scouts’ Jamboree on the Air Announces Theme for 60th Annual Event

“60 Years Connecting Scouts” is the theme for the Boy Scouts’ 2017 Jamboree on the Air (JOTA), set for October 20-22. JOTA Coordinator Jim Wilson, K5ND, said the theme “recognizes the start of the event in 1957 and commemorates its growth in participation and in the expanding communication channels that are activated on the third weekend in October.” The official JOTA patch will be available by July 19. The JOTA-JOTI (Jamboree on the Internet) patch is available now.

Wilson said JOTA’s “communication channels” now include Amateur Radio on the air and via Internet-based channels, as well as many other Internet-based options including social media, ScoutLink and IRC chat services, Skype, and more.

“It also recognizes the goal of the event — connecting Scouts so that they can engage in conversations with other Scouts across town and around the world,” Wilson said. “This allows them to discover geographic and cultural differences and similarities. Plus, they are exposed to the technology that makes all this happen.”

The World JOTA-JOTI Team said it would announce “a number of weekend activities supporting the 2017 theme.”

President Names FCC General Counsel Brendan Carr to Fill Vacant Republican Seat

President Donald Trump has announced plans to nominate FCC General Counsel Brendan Carr, a Republican, to fill one of the two vacancies on the Commission. One FCC vacancy, to be filled by a Democratic candidate, remains in order for the Commission to be back to its full five-member complement. The president on June 14 named former Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, to fill one vacancy. No more than three members of the FCC may be of the same political party. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released a congratulatory statement.

“Brendan has a distinguished record of public service, having worked at the agency for over five years, including most recently as the FCC’s General Counsel,” Pai said. “In particular, Brendan’s expertise on wireless policy and public safety will be a tremendous asset to the Commission. I look forward to working with him in his new role and wish him all the best during the confirmation process.”

Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said Carr would be “a great asset to the Commission, calling him “well respected on both sides of the aisle” and saying that he’s “demonstrated a deep knowledge of the legal and policy issues facing the communications sector.”

As part of the Chairman’s staff, Carr is expected to support Pai’s efforts to reverse controversial “net neutrality” rules passed by the FCC’s then-Democratic majority that would subject broadband providers to the sort of oversight that conventional telecommunication carriers have faced.

Observers believe that both Rosenworcel and Carr will be confirmed by the US Senate.

A New QST QuickStats Poll Has Been Posted

A new QST QuickStats survey is now available for your viewing and voting pleasure. Check the QuickStats page at http://www.arrl.org/quickstats and enjoy…

● Do you plan to participate in the 2017 Scouting Jamboree On The Air, October 20-22?

● Will you be on the air for the ARRL EME (Moonbounce) Contest, October 7-8?

● Have you ever tried one of the inexpensive “dongle” style software-defined receivers?

● Does your station computer use a touch screen monitor?