ARRL Executive Committee Updated on Entry-Level License, Amateur Auxiliary Revision

The ARRL Executive Committee reviewed plans to implement recommendations of the Entry Level License Committee, when it met on October 14 in Hartford, Connecticut. At its July meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors called for work to go forward on a plan to pursue additional HF digital and phone privileges for Technician licensees. The Executive Committee was told that New England Director and Entry-Level License Committee Chair Tom Frenaye, K1KI, will work with ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, and International Affairs Vice President Jay Bellows, K0QB, to develop the specifics of a proposal to the FCC requesting expanded frequency and mode privileges for Technicians. This will be completed in time for review by the full Board of Directors at its January meeting.

Frenaye explained this week that enhancing the Technician license would be “an immediate step that can take place with little FCC impact, since the question pool would not need to be changed.” He pointed out, however, that this approach “does not rule out longer-term consideration of a new entry-level license.” The Entry-Level License Committee had recommended both steps in its July report to the Board.

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The K7RA Solar Update

Average daily sunspot number increased from 13.4 to 17.7 for the October 26 to November 1 period, compared to the previous seven days. The main reason for the difference was that the previous seven days started out with two days with no sunspots, and the latter period ended with one day of zero sunspots, on November 1.

Predicted solar flux is 74 on November 3-4, 73 on November 5-9, 71 on November 10, 70 on November 11-13, 71 on November 14, 72 on November 15-16, 73 and 74 on November 17-18, 75 on November 19-28, 72 on November 29-30, 70 on December 1-10, 71 on December 11, 72 on December 12-13, then 73 and 74 on December 14-15 and 75 on December 16-17.

Predicted planetary A index is 8 on November 3, 5 on November 4-5, then 8, 16, 25, 30, 28, 25 and 8 on November 6-12, then 5 on November 13-14, then 12, 10 and 8 on November 15-17, 5 on November 18-19, then 20 on November 20-22, 5 on November 23-27, 8 on November 28, 15 on November 29-30, then 10, 8, 5, 25 and 28 on December 1-5, then 35, 25, 20 and 8 on December 6-9, 5 on December 10-11, then 12, 10 and 8 on December 12-14, then 5 on December 15-16 and 18 on December 17.

Continue reading The K7RA Solar Update

Section Manager’s Report

Hello Everyone!

I’m back from my travels. Shirley’s foot is almost completely healed from the surgery and she is getting around very well. No more Doctor’s visits for the foot!

This month’s ARES Training is one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting training events we will have. Most of you have heard of the Art Walk that is held in downtown Abilene each month. Well, this month the event is featuring Emergency Operations. Ham radio will play a very important part in the event. In the spirit of Halloween the theme is Zombie’s with folks attending dressing up as Zombies. They will be infected with a rare virus that can only be cured at the POD (point of distribution) which will be organized and run by the Sweetwater ham club. Gary Armstrong, the Sweetwater ARC President and ARES District Emergency Coordinator for District 3 will be the Incident Commander of the ham radio operators. The Emergency Coordinators for Taylor and Callahan County will be assisting him as will be many other ARES members. In essence this will be our area Simulated Emergency Test (SET).

At this months training, we will be doing a dry run of the SET. Attendees will assume positions that they may be assigned at the SET and we will conduct communication drills using assigned tactical call signs. All attendees will have an opportunity to learn first hand how a real Incident is organized and managed.

Please bring your Handi-talkies and microphone and earphones if you have them. Also bring your emergency vest if you have one. A limited number of vests will be available at the event, but it would be better if we used our own.

The class will again be held at the Abilene Public Library at the Abilene Mall. Training starts at 10 a.m. and should be completed before 2 p.m.

This is a great opportunity for everyone attending the training to get some hands on experience in working within a SET. RACES members and interested hams not ARES or RACES members are welcome to participate. Tell your friends! If I missed anyone, please let me know and I’ll add them to the email list and ensure that they get a copy of this email.

A good time will be had by all!

I look forward to seeing you all there Saturday!


WTX Section Manager

David Trachtenberg, N4WWL, Confirmed as Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy

The US Senate today confirmed ARRL member David Trachtenberg, N4WWL, of Burke, Virginia, as the next Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Trachtenberg, 60, is the president and CEO of Shortwaver Consulting LLC, a national security consultancy. He is National Planning Coordinator and Northeast Division Director for USAF MARS, and is active in the Pentagon Amateur Radio Club (PARC).

Trachtenberg has prior service in several Department of Defense posts, most recently as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy. In that role, he was responsible for issues relating to NATO, Europe, Russia, and Eurasia; technology security; counter-proliferation; missile defense; nuclear forces; and arms control. Trachtenberg also was a professional staff member with the House Armed Services Committee.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University. — Thanks to Gary Sessums, KC5QCN

“Force of 50” Volunteers’ Puerto Rico Hurricane Recovery Mission Ends

The 22 “Force of 50” radio amateurs who deployed to Puerto Rico earlier this month as American Red Cross volunteers have ended their mission and will be back on the US mainland by week’s end. They had been in Puerto Rico for about 3 weeks.

“The Force of 50 volunteers demonstrated an extraordinary range of skills possessed by this accomplished team,” said ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF. “There was no task that they wouldn’t tackle. It also demonstrated the generosity of these volunteers, who not only performed their roles as communicators, but also engaged the population with their many acts of personal kindness.”

Val Hotzfeld, NV9L, who filed situation reports documenting the team’s activities, said the volunteers accomplished everything they went to Puerto Rico to do, “and then some.” She said that the Red Cross felt they had exceeded all expectations.

Continue reading “Force of 50” Volunteers’ Puerto Rico Hurricane Recovery Mission Ends

The Doctor Will See You Now!

Dirty Transmitters” is the topic of the current 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, 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.

Chinese CAS-4A and CAS-4B Amateur Radio Satellite Transponders Activated

The Amateur Radio linear (SSB/CW) inverting transponders on the CAS-4A and CAS-4B satellites were activated on October 18. CAMSAT’s Amateur Radio payloads piggybacked on the optical remote-sensing micro-satellites OVS-1A (CAS-4A) and OVS-1B (CAS-4B), launched on June 15.

CAS-4A (call sign BJ1SK) has a CW telemetry beacon on 145.855 MHz, and 4.8 kB GMSK telemetry on 145.835 MHz. The uplink is 435.220 MHz, the downlink is 145.870 MHz (20-kHz passband).

CAS-4B (call sign BJ1SL) has a CW telemetry beacon on 145.910 MHz, and 4.8 kB GMSK telemetry at 145.890 MHz. The uplink is 435.280 MHz, the downlink is 145.925 MHz (20-kHz passband). — Thanks to Southgate Amateur Radio News via AMSAT-UK

Bidding is Now Open for the 12th Annual ARRL On-Line Auction!

The 12th Annual ARRL On-Line Auction is on, with more than 250 items up for bid this year. The list includes QST Product Review gear — already ARRL Lab tested — as well as vintage books, previously owned gear, and one-of-a-kinds. The ARRL Lab team also has contributed four of the very popular “mystery boxes.”

Some of the premier Product Review items up for bid include the FlexRadio Systems FLEX-6500 SDR transceiver and updated SmartSDR software for Windows, Elecraft KX2 HF QRP transceiver, Kenwood TH-D74A analog and D-STAR VHF/UHF transceiver, and the Yaesu FT-891 HF and 6-meter transceiver.

Among the book offerings this year are The World of Ham Radio 1901-1950, a special 1942 defense edition of The Radio Amateur’s Handbook, and Fundamental of SSB by Collins.

Proceeds from the yearly On-Line Auction benefit ARRL education programs. These include activities to license new hams, strengthen Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) training, offer continuing technical and operating education, and create instructional materials.

All bidders must register. Your user ID and password will not work on the auction site. If you have registered for past auctions, you may use the same log-in information. If you have forgotten, simply click the “Help” tab, and you’ll find instructions as to how to retrieve your password or user ID. At the same time, take the opportunity to make sure that you update address and other information if you plan to bid. The auction site only accepts Visa and MasterCard credit cards.

California Fire Situation Improves

San Francisco Section District Emergency Coordinator Len Gwinn, WA6KLK, in the Redwood Valley told ARRL this week that Amateur Radio volunteers in Mendocino and Lake counties have stood down, and things are “kind of back to normal, in that no emergency stations are being operated.” Gwinn, who spent more than 3 decades with Cal Fire and a few more years as a volunteer, said the sound of the wildfire in the Redwood Valley was remarkable.

“Never, ever had I heard a fire like this,” he told ARRL. “[T]he roar of the fire was something else from 2 miles away the first night,” he recounted. “Transformers and propane tanks going off like a war zone. Some shook my house!”

Gwinn said this week that skies are still smoky but clearing. Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman told him that hams were a saving grace in keeping hospitals and some other organizations linked when there was no other communication.

Continue reading California Fire Situation Improves

New Ham Bands Spring to Life; Veteran LF Experimenter Denied Amateur Access to 2200 Meters

Amateur Radio’s two newest bands came to life on Friday the 13th. Both 630 meters (472-479 kHz) and 2200 meters (135.7-137.8 kHz) now are available to radio amateurs who have notified the Utilities Technology Council (UTC) of their intention to operate and did not hear anything back during the ensuing 30 days.

“Many of us filed notices with the Utilities Technology Council on September 15, the day the notification procedure was announced,” said Fritz Raab, W1FR, who coordinated the ARRL WD2XSH 630-Meter Experiment. “We did not expect to hear from the UTC unless they were objecting to amateur operation. Much to our surprise, on Friday, October 13, a number of operators received ‘okay’ notices. So, the first amateur operations commenced that night.”

Some Denied Access to 2200 Meters

UTC e-mails went out to an undermined number of US radio amateurs who had notified the Council, but not everyone got the thumbs up. One of those thwarted in his hopes of operating under his Amateur Radio license on 2200 meters was John Andrews, W1TAG, a long-wave veteran with thousands of hours on the band over the past 15 years or so under his FCC Part 5 Experimental license.

Continue reading New Ham Bands Spring to Life; Veteran LF Experimenter Denied Amateur Access to 2200 Meters