Letter 3/2017

Congratulations to Washington State Hams: (from WWA SM Monte Simpson)
During the first week of January 2017, an ARRL member in Clark County,
Stephen Aberle, WA7PTM, brought to the attention of myself and Eastern
Washington Section Manager Mark Tharp, KB7HDX, Senate Bill 5289. Within
the next few days Mark would learn from the bill’s author Senator Ann
Rivers that the bill had no impact on the Amateur Radio Service. As the
next week passed we learned that not only did Senate Bill 5289 impact
the Amateur Radio Service so did House Bill 1371. Mark, our Section
Government Liaison Lee Chambers, KI7SS and me began researching the
bills. We found that both bills were nearly identical. The House Bill
Digest had included the exclusion. They were going to repeal Revised
Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.667 and .668. The current law, RCW
46.61.667, had an exclusion for the Amateur Radio Service and the
operation of two-way or citizens band radio. The two bills had not
replaced those exclusions.

In the following week ARRL membership was informed of the two bills and
the impact they had without the exclusion. As the WWA Section Manager I
sent nearly 60 emails to my lawmakers as well as those who were
sponsoring the bill(s) and on the House and Senate Transportation
Committees. On February 7th, Lee Chambers, KI7SS, and I appeared before
the Senate House Committee to testify on behalf of an exclusion for the
Amateur Radio Service as currently provided for in RCW 46.61.667. The
chair’s response was we’ll share your comments with the bill’s
author. On February 9th, Lee and I appeared before the House
Transportation Committee. While waiting for the committee meeting I was
contacted by a Washington Traffic Safety Commission staff member who
said that Senator Rivers had contacted her about adding amateur radio
to the exclusions of the bill. During our testimony before the House
Transportation Committee the chair told us that the bill’s author
Representative Jessyn Farrell was taking steps to provide an exclusion
for amateur radio. After the hearing on HB 1371 Representative Farrell
sought us out in the hallway to thank us for our efforts in seeking an
amendment to the bill.

I am very pleased by the involvement of the ARRL membership in
addressing this issue that could have severely impacted how the Amateur
Radio Service meets the FCC mandate of licenses being issued at the
public’s convenience, necessity and interest. We wouldn’t have been
able to perform many of our public service events like bike rides and
our involvement in Search and Rescue would be impacted. Many members
went above and beyond by helping me to get the word out to other hams
who may have not received email from the section manager. A member in
Snohomish County, Steve Burling, KJ7YL, researched which members of the
legislature are hams and provided me that information. Steve also,
looked for hams in QRZ with email addresses and contacted them to make
sure they were aware of the situation. Thank you to our membership for
getting the word out to nonmembers so they could be actively engaged in
the process. It is my hope that more hams will join the ARRL to help us
be more proactive and engaged with matters that impact how we provide
service to the people of Washington state.

Distracted driving is a serious problem, I urge every ham operator to
exercise due care and diligence while driving. Just because you may
have an exemption, you can be cited for distractive driving, if
operating your Ham Radio, causes you to drive improperly!

HAVE SOME FUN; TRY SLOW SCAN TV: Slow-scan television (SSTV)
transmissions are planned from the International Space Station (ISS) on
February 13-14.

The SSTV images will be transmitted on 145.800 MHz FM as part of the
MAI-75 Experiment, using the Kenwood TM-D710 transceiver located in
the ISS Russian Service Module. It's anticipated the transmissions
will be in PD-180 SSTV format.

The MAI-75 activities have been scheduled for the Russian crew on
February 13 from 0925 until 1800 UTC and on February 14 from 1125
until 1630 UTC. Transmissions on 145.800 MHz FM use 5-kHz deviation.
The ISS Fan Club website will show when the space station is in
range. The website URL is, http://www.issfanclub.com/ .

More information on ISS SSTV is on the AMSAT-UK website at,
https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/iss-sstv/ . Visit the gallery of
ARISS SSTV images at,
http://www.spaceflightsoftware.com/ARISS_SSTV/index.php .

DIGITAL AWARDS PROGRAM IN TRANSITION: Over the last 16 years, the Troy
Amateur Radio Association (N2TY) has sponsored the All Seasons Contest
and Awards Program. Low participation in the contest portion of the
program has lead the club to end it and turn their efforts toward new
ventures. Based on its digital mode focus, participants within the
awards program felt that it still represented a great value to amateur
radio operators and have rebranded this effort as the Grid and Prefix
Award Program or GAPA. Awards offered by GAPA fall into two major
categories based on call sign prefixes and grid square locations.

Popular digital modes such as JT, RTTY and PSK can be used to earn
individual awards and as award endorsements. The program also
encourages the use of other modes like Throb, SSTV and Hell. Contacts
can be confirmed through use of LOTW, eQSL, QRZ or direct QSLs. Awards
are based on operator contacts, not an operator’s location.

The Prefix Award is earned by working digital mode stations with
different prefixes from around the world. A basic award begins with
submission of 50 to 400 unique prefixes based on the mode used.
Additional endorsements then can be added for different bands, modes
and continents worked.

Grid square awards begin with a basic award that requires 50 to 300
unique grid square locators depending on the mode used. Additional
endorsement can be added for band, mode and continent worked.

A separate portion of the GAPA Program is based on confirming a
specified number of unique grid square locators within a specific
political entity or subdivision that are used to earn a certificate
bar. These bars can be for individual countries or specific US States
or Provinces and Districts within Canada, New Zealand, Australia and
Japan. There are many 'one-grid-countries', such as Heard Island,
Aruba, or Guam; however, many larger and more populated countries
require multiple grids such as 20 grids for Brazil or 10 grids for
Poland. The GAPA Program provides attractive collector sheets where the
bars can be affixed.

Amateurs that collect all the bars associated with a collector’s
sheet qualify for GAPA’s top achievement, our series of Pinnacle
Awards. Some of the awards include working 100 countries (DXCC), all US
States, all Provinces of Canada and Districts of Japan. Amateurs that
complete a Pinnacle Award are also recognized online with the GAPA
OnLine Digital Award Record (OLAR).

We invite you take to a look at the GAPA Program’s Certificate Family
Tree page to examine
the certificates offered and see some examples of certificates with
their band and continent endorsement stickers. For further information
contact Ernie Mills WM2U or Rich Kennedy K3VAT. Email addresses for
both are found on the gapawards.com or qrz.com websites.

AMATEUR RADIO PARITY ACT UPDATE: The Bill passed the House of
Representatives early in January and appeared to be on a ‘fast
track’ to the Senate. However, like many Bills, ours has stalled in
the Senate due to some other activity that seems to be taking up most
the Senate’s time. As soon as we see further progress, we will let
you know.

MYSTERIOUS FOGHORN – IS CHINESE OVER THE HORIZON BURST RADAR: The
International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU-R1) Monitoring System
(IARUMS) newsletter reports a mysterious “foghorn” — a Chinese
over-the-horizon (OTH) burst radar — is operating in Amateur Radio
bands.

“We observed the mysterious foghorn on 7, 10, and 14 MHz,” the
newsletter recounted. “This is a Chinese OTH radar, which is often
jumping, and sounding like a foghorn.” The signal is frequency
modulation on pulse (FMOP) with 66.66 sweeps-per-second bursts.

Other intruders reported by the IARUMS include a Russian
frequency-shift- keying (FSK) signal from Kaliningrad on 7,193 kHz, and
a Russian FSK signal on 7,193 kHz (50 baud, 200 Hz shift). German
telecommunications authorities have filed another complaint.

The latest IARUMS newsletter also reports strong splatter from Radio
France International (RFI) on 7,205 kHz down to 7,186 kHz. The French
REF has informed RFI and French telecommunications authorities.
Intruders still reported and the subjects of further complaints from
German authorities include Radio Hargeysa in Somaliland on 7,120.0 kHz;
Radio Eritrea with Ethiopian interference on 7,175.0 kHz; Radio Taiwan
and a Chinese jammer on 7,200.0 kHz, and a Radio Tajik harmonic (from
4765 kHz) on 14,295.0 kHz.

ANTARCTICA ON THE AIR: KC4AAA at the US Amundsen-Scott South Pole
Station has been heard recently on 40 meters (SSB) at around 0650 UTC.
QSL Manager Larry Skilton, K1IED, reports that QSL cards for recent
activity (December 2016 through January 2017) should go out in March.
KC4AAA plans to be on LoTW with logs from 2013 to the present. Skilton
reports that KC4AAA was not on the air very often during 2016.
The KC4USV station at McMurdo Station has been off the air for 2 years,
and the antennas are down. KC4USV is on LoTW.

Mikhail “Mike” Fokin, RI1AND, at Novolazarevskaya Base, Antarctica,
has been showing up on PSK31 on 40 and 20 meters, working into the US.

Oleg Neruchev, ZS1OIN/UA3HK, will be active as RI1ANN from the Russian
Progress station until February 22 (QSL via ZS1OIN). The Russian
Antarctic Bases Award is available for contacts or SWL reports with
stations at the Russian Antarctic bases and stations. — Thanks to The
Daily DX

CONGRATULATIONS TO VICE DIRECTOR BONNIE ALTUS, AB7ZQ: At the January
2017 ARRL Board meeting in Hartford, Bonnie was appointed to the
Program and Services Committee. This appointment is in addition to her
serving on The New License Investigating Committee and the Education
Subcommittee.

Director Pace, K7CEX, continues to serve as Chairman of the
Administration and Finance Committee and serves on the Public Service
Program Working Group, the Ethics and Elections Committee and was
recently elected as Vice President of the ARRL Foundation – the group
that oversees ARRL Scholarships and Grants.

Certainly a busy year for Bonnie and Jim, but the Northwestern
Division is well represented in ARRL Policy making.

HAMFESTS AND CONVENTIONS: The Northwestern Division has many Hamfests
and Conventions this year, so large and some small, but all great times
to find the special radio or part, meet new friends or reacquaint
yourself with longtime friends that share this great hobby. For more
information on Hamfest/Convention Schedules check www.n7cfo.com

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ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: James D Pace, K7CEX
k7cex@arrl.org

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