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New US Submarine Forces Commander is Radio Amateur

08/13/2018

US Navy Vice Admiral Charles A. “Chas” Richard, W4HFZ, assumed command of US submarine forces during a change-of-command ceremony on August 4, held aboard the submarine USS Washington (SSN-787). He assumed command from Vice Admiral Joseph Tofalo. An ARRL Life Member, Richard, 58, is well-known in the AMSAT and APRS communities. He had been serving as the deputy commander of US Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

Vice Admiral Charles A. “Chas” Richard, W4HFZ

A radio amateur since 1974, Richard said on his qrz.com profile that he is active on 6 and 2 meters, as well as on HF when the VHF bands are closed. He also enjoys digital satellite operations. Richard has been on active US Navy duty since 1982

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LoTW Support for CQ Worked All Zones (WAZ) Award

04/02/2018


ARRL and CQ magazine have announced the launch, effective immediately, of Logbook of The World (LoTW) support for CQ’s Worked All Zones (WAZ) Award program. The goal of the project, under way since last year, has been to create the proper technical support system to enable radio amateurs to submit LoTW confirmations for WAZ credit, and that has been accomplished, CQ and ARRL said in a joint statement. LoTW already supports CQ’s WPX Award program.

“We are very pleased that participants in CQ’s WAZ award program will now be able to use their LoTW confirmations for award credit,” CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, said. “CQ WPX Award participants have found it very helpful, and we are sure it will be equally helpful for those pursuing WAZ and its many variations.”

ARRL First Vice President Greg Widin, K0GW, concurred. “Users of LoTW have been telling us for some time that they would like to use QSLs from LoTW to apply for the WAZ award,” he said. “They will now be able to select confirmations to be used for WAZ credit.”

Beta testing has been under way since mid-December 2017 to bring the WAZ Award program into LoTW, and the LoTW technical support team has addressed any problems in the implementation that testers uncovered. Documentation also was improved through feedback from beta testers.

At the same time, each LoTW user was given an additional WAZ account. Standard LoTW credit fees and separate CQ award fees will apply.

LoTW — ARRL’s electronic confirmation system for Amateur Radio contacts —provides contact confirmation when both stations upload their logs to the system, and a match between the logs is confirmed. LoTW has supported the CQ WPX Award program since 2012.

Source: ARRL Website

N1KL  Kevin

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“CQ Students” From Space Station

03/16/2018

The deadline is April 30 for US schools, museums, science centers, and community youth organizations (working individually or together) to submit proposals to host an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with an orbiting crew member on the International Space Station (ISS). Contacts would be scheduled between January 1 and June 30, 2019.

Each year, ARISS provides tens of thousands of students with opportunities to learn about space technologies and communications through Amateur Radio. The program provides learning opportunities by connecting students to astronauts aboard the ISS through a partnership between ARRL, AMSAT, and NASA, as well as other Amateur Radio organizations and worldwide space agencies. The program’s goal is to inspire students to pursue interests and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and Amateur Radio.

“Educators overwhelmingly report that student participation in the ARISS program stimulates interest in STEM subjects and in STEM careers,” ARISS said in announcing the contact opportunities. “As one educator wrote, ‘It exceeded our expectations — it created a great interest in both Amateur Radio and in space exploration. Our kids are completely inspired!’”

More than 90% of educators who have participated in the program have indicated that ARISS provided ideas for encouraging student exploration and participation. Some of them even become radio amateurs after experiencing a contact with an ISS crew member.

ARISS is looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed, exciting education plan. Students can learn about satellite communications, wireless technology, science research conducted on the ISS, radio science, and any related STEM subject. Students learn to use Amateur Radio to talk directly to an astronaut and ask their STEM-related questions. ARISS will help educational organizations locate Amateur Radio groups who can assist with equipment for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students.

Proposal webinars for guidance and getting questions answers will be offered on Thursday, March 29, at 7 PM EDT (0000 UTC on Friday, March 30) and on Monday, April 16, at 4 PM EDT (2100 UTC). Advance registration is required. More details, such as expectations, proposal guidelines, and the proposal form, are on the ARISS website. — Thanks to ARISS via Dave Jordan, AA4KN

Source: ARRL Ham Radio News

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More Z6 Operations are Just Ahead

02/21/2018

Z68M, a one-person DXpedition by Mome Dimovski, Z32ZM, will be on the air February 22 to March 6, on 160 – 10 meters, CW, SSB, RTTY, FT8, and JT65. Confirm contact using Club Log.

Also in March, Gab Barison, HB9TSW, who is in the Swiss Air Force will be in Pristina, Kosovo, March 29 to April 19 as part of a NATO mission, will be active as Z68BG in his spare time, as especially evenings and Sunday. He’ll be running 100 W to a ground plane, CW on 80 – 17. He uses LoTW.

Later this year, Z68AA and Z68RBJ, helmed by Croatian Flora Fauna Radio Club members 9A6AA, 9A2MF, and 9A5RBJ (ON3RBJ), will take place in mid-May from Peja, 100 W, 80 – 10 meters, wire antennas, SSB, CW, and FT8. QSL Z68AA via 9A6AA, and Z68RBJ via 9A5RBJ. They will use LoTW.

The hugely popular Z60A celebratory operation from Pristina culminated on Kosovo’s 10th anniversary, February 18. The Z60A operating sites were left intact for a return over the weekend of the ARRL International DX Contest, March 3 – 5. The initial activation of Kosovo as a DXCC entity resulted in 81,478 contacts with 26,487 individual call signs. Europe dominated the tally with two-thirds of the contacts. North American stations accounted for 22% of stations worked. Delegates from 10 countries were part of the initial activity.

— Thanks to The Daily DX, OPDX, and Martti Laine, OH2BH

Source: ARRL News

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ARRL Elects Senior Officers

01/21/2018

Incumbent ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, has been re-elected by the League’s Board of Directors for a second term. The Board convened for its Annual Meeting January 19-20. President Roderick, the League’s 16th President, received 9 votes, while the only other nominee, New England Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, received 6 votes.

Current ARRL Chief Financial Officer Barry Shelley, N1VXY, was elected as Chief Executive Officer, to replace Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, who announced his retirement on January 18 after 2 years at ARRL Headquarters. Gallagher will step down on March 2. Shelley will serve until the Board selects a new CEO and is expected to serve in an advisory role to assist with the transition beyond that. The Board will create a CEO Search Committee. Shelley was unopposed as ARRL Board Secretary.

ARRL First Vice President Greg Widin, K0GW, was declared re-elected without opposition. Incumbent ARRL Second Vice President Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, did not stand for re-election, and Pacific Division Director Bob Vallio, W6RGG, was elected to succeed Mileshosky. Vallio received 8 votes to 7 votes for the only other candidate for Second Vice President, Northwestern Division Director Jim Pace. Vallio’s election means that incumbent Vice Director Jim Tiemstra, K6JAT, will succeed him as Pacific Division Director, creating a vacancy for Vice Director in that Division, which will be filled by appointment.

Source: ARRL Website

 

 

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ARRL CEO Gallagher, NY2RF, to Retire

01/18/2018

ARRL’s chief executive officer for the past 2 years, Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, announced his retirement as CEO, as the ARRL Board of Directors prepares to meet January 19-20. He will step down on March 2. Gallagher, who had earlier advised ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, of his intention to resign, expressed his gratitude to Roderick and the ARRL Board for giving him the opportunity to help guide the organization.

“It has been my great privilege to serve in this capacity for 2 years, and I am deeply grateful to the Board and President Rick Roderick, K5UR, for their support and encouragement,” Gallagher said.

President Roderick expressed appreciation for Gallagher’s contributions to ARRL. “The ARRL is in a transition to a new generation for Amateur Radio. Change doesn’t come easy,” Roderick said. “Tom helped us in taking that step forward, and for that we are very grateful for his service to the League and to Amateur Radio,” he said.

Gallagher, 69, cited recent changes included in the new federal tax law that made it unattractive for him to continue working in Connecticut, where ARRL is headquartered. The Board will evaluate and determine the next steps to take in a search for his replacement when it meets this week.

Among Gallagher’s chief accomplishments during his tenure as CEO were creating an enhanced level of professionalism and efficiency in the organization that represents more than 150,000 US Amateur Radio operators. Gallagher also oversaw a significant turnaround in the organization’s financial performance.

Licensed in Pennsylvania in 1966 as WA3GRF (later N4GRF in North Carolina), Gallagher is a member of the West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group. He has described himself as “an incurable HF DXer and inveterate tinkerer” and credits his first visit to the Franklin Institute’s Amateur Radio station W3TKQ in 1963 for inspiring his interest in ham radio.

Amateur Radio led to an early career in broadcasting. He was a cameraman and technician with WGBH-TV in Boston, the CBS Television Network, and Metromedia’s WIP Radio in Philadelphia.

Gallagher joined ARRL following 3 decades as an international investment banker and financial services executive. His career has included senior leadership positions with JP Morgan Chase & Co and CIBC Oppenheimer & Co in New York, and with Wachovia Capital Markets in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and as CEO of the Secondary School Admission Test Board in Princeton, New Jersey. He has served on boards, both public and non-profit, including two NYSE companies; the NPR affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina; the Executive Board of The PENN Fund at the University of Pennsylvania, and The International Center of Photography.

Source:  ARRL Website

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Strong Ties Bind Amateurs and Broadcasters

By James Careless

Many people who work in broadcast radio got their start as amateur radio operators — hams — and remain active in the hobby.
At iHeartMedia alone, “we have 157 people on our ham radio list,” said Charles Wooten, director of engineering and IT at iHeartMedia Panama City, Fla. An amateur radio operator himself since the age of 12 (call sign NF4A), Wooten maintains that list. “Ninety percent of them are engineers, but we also have DJs, program directors and operations directors.” At least four of the company’s regional engineering VPs are hams.

The fact that so many of iHeart’s hams are engineers makes sense. Many of the skills that a ham learns to get on air are the same needed by a technical broadcast professional.  “Ohm’s Law is Ohm’s Law, whether you are using it to work on a home-built amateur radio transmitter or to keep a major-market radio station on air,” said Walter Palmer, W4ALT and director of broadcast operations, engineering and programming at Newsradio WGMD 92.7 FM in Rehoboth Beach, Del.  “So it makes sense that someone who loved ham as a teenager would be drawn to radio engineering as a career. It was certainly true for me.”

ONE LOVE DROVE ANOTHER

There’s a good reason so many professional radio engineers started as ham radio operators: They were exposed to the hobby long before needing to find a job. This was the case for Wooten.
“When I was 11, I was curious as to what was causing the TV interference to my Saturday morning cartoons,” he recalled. “Once I figured out that it was a neighbor’s ham radio rig and got to see his shack for myself, I caught the bug right there and studied to get my ham license.”
In turn, the RF propagation and electrical knowledge Wooten gained as a teenaged ham — often building his own equipment for very little money — gave him the insight and interest to seek out radio engineering as a career.

The same is true for Brad Humphries, AE4VJ and market director of engineering for the Beasley Media Group in Charlotte, N.C.
“I’ve been an electronic nerd most of my life, and a ham since I was 14,” said Humphries. “A summer job at a local amusement park led me into fixing up their handheld radio system using my ham knowledge, which eventually led me into broadcasting.”

Steve Dove, W3EEE and minister of algorithms for Wheatstone, said via email, “I got my license, G3YDV, as soon as it was legally possible at 14; for a brief while, I think I was the youngest ham in the [UK].” His entry into broadcasting? “I was a young, restless and somewhat rebellious anti-establishment teenager. The ’60s ship-borne pirate radio station era (Radio London, Radio Caroline) was drawing to a close, and hordes of little land-based pirates filled the gap; including me.”

As part of that merry band, Dove and his fellow pirates built home-brew tube transmitters up to 100 watts, and then the consoles to produce programming.

“In order to pay the subsequent fine when we were caught, we started a mobile disco using the studio gear and an equally home-brew PA, and the console drew the attention of a ‘proper’ console manufacturer, Alice,” Dove said. “Commercial broadcasting started late in the UK [early ’70s] and the timing was perfect; of the first 40 stations, we had consoles in 19 of them.” He subsequently did console work while touring with AC/DC, Jethro Tull and Yes in his pre-Wheatstone days.

On the flip side, Nautel Regional Sales Manager Asia/Pacific Chuck Kelly, VE1MDO, got into amateur radio while working as a radio engineer.

“My father and grandfather were hams, so you could say that I grew up with the hobby,” Kelly said. “But it wasn’t until I was working in radio that I saw how having an amateur radio license and equipment could help my job; especially during emergencies where regular communications were down.”

In the 1970s, Scott Westerman, W9WSW, was working in broadcast radio at Michigan State University, where he is now associate vice president for alumni relations. That was when he learned how useful ham radio operators could be during emergencies, providing lifeline communications for first responders and the public alike.

“Today, I am a licensed ham who belongs to the SKYWARN tornado spotter’s network,” Westerman said. “We keep an eye out for signs of pre-tornado swirling clouds from various locations, and radio that information into the National Weather Service during severe weather.”

MACGYVERISH GIFT TO RADIO ENGINEERS

There is no doubt that ham radio has inspired many of its youngest practitioners with a love of radio transmission and technology, a love that guided them to professional careers in radio broadcasting. The industry is better off for it.
But amateur radio has done more for radio than provide it with a pool of talented, motivated employees. It has also given these people an intellectual grounding in the basics of radio engineering, combined with a MacGyverish ability to make things work; no matter what.

Wooten’s engineering vehicle in Biloxi, Miss., the day after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf 
Photo courtesy Charles Wooten

“I don’t think that there is anyone who understands radio science and technology at such as profound a level as hams,” said Chuck Kelly. “They’ve got such a deep grasp of radio that they can dive into and fix equipment problems at the most basic level; down to individual resistors, capacitors and diodes.”

This profound knowledge and know-how is a function of equipment-buying poverty; particularly among older hams when they were teenagers.
“When I was starting out as a kid in amateur radio, I didn’t have a lot of money, so I learned to make do with what I had at hand,” said Wooten. “This teaches you creative engineering and trouble-shooting skills that really pay off at a radio station when things go wrong; especially during an emergency when spare parts aren’t readily available.”
A case in point: During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Wooten used his ham radio skills to keep the Clear Channel cluster of five radio stations in Biloxi, Miss., on the air.

“Without the ability to improvise and work with what we had, we would have gone dark when people most needed us,” he said. Using his ham skills, Wooten and his team nursed a generator with a water leak along for a few days, keeping the five stations on air until a new one could be brought it. They also used a portable satellite dish to create a two-way satellite link.

“We were the only stations in the Biloxi area with telephone service,” Wooten recalled. “The satellite channel provided T-1 [1.544 Mpbs] bandwidth, part of which was used for a couple of Cisco IP phones connected back to the corporate offices in Texas. The staff could call anywhere on these phones.”
All told, it was a fix MacGyver would have been proud of.

“Ham radio is all about using what you’ve got laying around, when you have to do something,” said Brad Humphries. “That is a good skill to have, because in the middle of the night when you have a problem at the radio station, you’re just going to have what you’ve got at hand to do something with.”

A SOURCE OF NEW BLOOD FOR RADIO?

iHeartMedia’s Charles Wooten, NF4A, left, and Tad Williamson Jr., WF4W, are shown at C82DX, a 2013 amateur radio event in Xai Xai, Mozambique.
Photo courtesy Charles Wooten

It is widely held in the radio industry that engineering talent is scarce and becoming scarcer as engineers retire. At the same time, the upcoming generation of technically-minded youth is attracted to information technology rather than RF transmission and radio broadcasting. This begs a question: Could young people who are signing up as hams serve as an engineering talent pool for the radio broadcasting industry?

After all, “A repeater used for AM broadcasting is identical to one used by amateur radio operators,” said Dana Puopolo, a licensed ham (K1PUW) for 43 years and chief engineer of WGLS(FM)/Rowan University Radio in Glassboro, N.J.
“My ham walkie-talkie was type-accepted to work both for amateur and commercial radio usage, while the antennas used by AM radio and the 160 meter ham band are basically identical, except for their configurations. So yes, there is enough crossover between ham radio and commercial radio to justify training hams as professional engineers.”

This said, attracting young hams to radio broadcasting would require some changes in the radio industry.
“iHeartMedia pays our engineers well and treats them fairly, but there are many stations that don’t,” said Wooten. “Without better working conditions, talented young hams are likely to go into other fields of engineering; even though they love radio and we could use them here.”
Whatever happens, one thing is clear: The strong bonds between amateur radio and commercial radio continue to benefit the broadcasting industry, and inspire a love of the medium not found in many technical industries.

Source: Radio World News

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Winter Field Day

01/12/2018
Maxim Memorial Station W1AW will host a group that will take part in Winter Field Day later this month. Sponsored by the Winter Field Day Association (WFDA), Winter Field Day will take place over the January 27-28 weekend, and it can be an opportune time to prep for ARRL Field Day in June.

“Assuming the weather holds out, a group of hams will be here the last weekend of January to operate W1AW in the Winter Field Day,” W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, said this week. Headed by Frank Gitto, KA5VVI, the group will consist of members of the Warren County Amateur Radio Club (W2WCR) in New York. Gitto said the club is hoping to have an even dozen members at W1AW, operating in shifts of six. Carcia said the Warren County ARC operators will avoid the harsh elements and operate from indoors at W1AW, in the “home” station category.

According to the WFDA website, the Winter Field Day Association “is a dedicated group of Amateur Radio operators who believe that emergency communication in a winter environment is just as important as the preparations and practice that is done each summer, but with some additional unique operational concerns.” The WFDA said it believes that maintaining operational skills “should not be limited to fair-weather scenarios.”

For the hardier within the Amateur Radio ranks, Winter Field Day is an excuse to get out of the house and enjoy the great outdoors, and — let’s face it — it’s not cold and snowy everywhere during the winter. Gitto said that some Warren County ARC members will be operating WFD from Indian Lake, New York, using special event call sign W2C.

The event, which got its start in 2007, is not restricted to North America. All Amateur Radio operators around the world are invited to participate, and there are three entry categories — indoor, outdoor, and home. The rules are similar to those for ARRL Field Day. Operation will take place on all HF bands except 12, 17, 30, and 60 meters, as well as on VHF, UHF, and satellite. The event runs 24 hours. US and Canadian stations exchange call sign, operating category, and ARRL or RAC section.

Source: ARRL Website and WFD Website

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Dayton Hamvention Fair Grounds Expanding

News Release December 20, 2017

We are pleased to announce The Greene County Commissioners and the Greene County Fair Board have approved the construction of a new building at the Fairground/Expo Center.Greene County officials have decided to move forward with construction of a new building as it will continue to expand their presence in the region as a world class Exposition Center!


Hamvention certainly benefits from the decision to expand the Expo Center footprint. Construction is planned to be complete ahead of Hamvention 2018 and will be used for the event.
Additionally, another building on the property previously known as Fairgrounds Furniture, is being vacated and will be available for use by Hamvention 2018.

More details regarding the building sizes will be forthcoming but Hamvention is told the floor space added will cover an area larger than the tents Hamvention used in 2017.
Although this decision was made to expand opportunities at the Expo Center, Hamvention is grateful for the support Greene County, Xenia Township, and the city of Xenia.

Ron Cramer, General Chair, Hamvention
Jack Gerbs, Asst. Gen. Chair, Hamvention

From the Administrator: For those who attended the first year at Xenia in 2017, I am sure you will all agree the added building space will be much better than the overflow of tents with vendors.    Let’s see if we can get a group of GERATOLers to convene at Xenia (Dayton HamVention) in 2018 !!!  See you all there !!

Source:  QRZNOW.COM

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Amateur Radio Volunteers Active in Latest Round of California Wildfires

The massive and barely contained Thomas Fire in Southern California has consumed more than 230,500 acres, and the emergency has caused residents in fire-threatened areas to evacuate. Amateur Radio volunteers remain active supporting communication for American Red Cross shelters in Ventura County. More evacuations are likely, although the need for Amateur Radio assistance remains dynamic. Cal Fire said today (December 11) that evacuation operations will occur ahead of westward fire growth, speeded by low humidity and gusty Santa Ana winds, which will push the fire further into Santa Barbara, County. One of several fires that have broken out across Southern California, the Thomas Fire is far and away the largest.

Ventura County Auxiliary Communication Service (ACS)/ARES activated a week ago to support Red Cross shelters there, providing communications between shelters. Radio amateurs also have deployed to the Ventura County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). ACS/ARES expects to be deployed while shelters are open. According to ARRL Ventura County District Emergency Coordinator Rob Hanson, W6RH, the ACS/ARES volunteers are staffing four evacuation centers, in addition to the EOC.

Santa Barbara Section Manager Jim Fortney, K6IYK, told ARRL, an Amateur Radio digital network (ARDN) MESH video network has been live streaming images from several sites, as long as the network remains up.

“Loss of primary power has required using the solar power backup capabilities, but, unfortunately, the heavy smoke has made that backup less than fully reliable,” he said. In addition some sites are down because of power outages, and at least one hilltop site was overrun by fire.

“The Santa Barbara District ARES organization works closely with Santa Barbara County OEM [and] is prepared to support any requests as the Thomas Fire continues to burn into Santa Barbara County,” Fortney said.

Rich Beisigl, N6NKJ, reported that the Fallbrook Amateur Radio Group and other groups in the North County (San Diego) are providing communication at some evacuation centers, and the Red Cross has activated its Amateur Radio group. He said a group in Carlsbad also was providing shelter communication support.

In addition to power loss to repeater sites, solar panels charging off-grid batteries have been affected by the huge plumes of smoke blocking the sun.

ARRL Los Angeles Section Manager Diana Feinberg, AI6DF, said little official use of Amateur Radio was made during the fires in her Section. “All city and county governmental radio systems, commercial cellphone networks, and landline phone systems operated normally throughout the three fires in Los Angeles County, with just a few minor power outages of short duration.” At one point, the ARES-LAX Northwest District was very briefly in standby mode when it was thought that power might become intermittent at a hospital in the Santa Clarita area.

Feinberg said the City of Los Angeles Fire Department ACS opened a net for any traffic resulting from the small Skirball Fire, which claimed a half-dozen expensive homes and shut down a major freeway during the morning commute.

Source:   ARRL NEWS

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