Greetings ARRL members and friends,
Please accept my sincere wishes for a healthy, happy and DX filled New Year. Hopefully, we shall avoid the latest medical issue, called the tripledemic. From what my doctor tells me, it’s very serious and makes those afflicted quite miserable. So, please remain extra vigilant and practice good health hygiene. We all want to avoid this one.
Band conditions are improving just as we were told they would. Earlier this week, the SFI hit 212 and 245. That’s the first time it has gone above 200 in years. We should see some very good band conditions now on 20 through 6 meters. Together with longer daylight periods every day, long distance openings may last well into evening hours and eventually 24 hours, even on 10 meters. Enjoy the DXing. We’ve all waited for these band conditions, so get on the air and enjoy.
For stateside operating, the Volunteers on The Air or VOTA program is off and running. It started on New Year’s Day and ends twelve months from now on New Year’s Eve, 2023. I’ve worked several stations so far who were calling CQ VOTA. Each of them earn 175 points per band for contacting a Section Manager. Full details of the VOTA program may be reviewed at https://vota.arrl.org/ . VOTA encourages stations to get on the air and make contacts. I hope you see fit to do so. I’d love to work you on any band or mode.
A long time friend, Fred Laun, K3ZO became a Silent Key on January 3rd. Fred was the driving force that facilitated getting Viet Nam back on the air in 1971. The XV5AC call was put into several thousand logs after folks from around the world contacted that station at the Saigon US Embassy. At the time, the country had not been legally active for many years. I served as their QSL Manager. After filling out over 25,000 QSL cards, the station was shut down in 1975 after the north took over Saigon.
Winter Field Day is scheduled for January 28-29. I recall what a local said to me when I was working in Texas. He observed that whoever created Field Day didn’t live in Texas. Late June in Texas is very hot and Winter Field Day serves as his reply to the June Field Day. End of January in Texas is usually like our September in Rhode Island, very pleasant. But here in RI, we might be wearing woolen caps, heavy coats and gloves, even plowing through the snow. Operating a code key of any kind while wearing gloves can be a challenge. This winter has been very mild so far, so maybe we’ll be lucky.
While we’re thinking about Field Day, it’s not too early to be planning for the traditional Field Day in June. Lining up operators and schedules for each station can be developed now, using the Winter FD to show conflicts, mutual interference and other technical issues. Good luck and above all, please be sure that you remember to have fun.
The DXers in RI are aware but the rest you may not know that a dozen world class operators are enroute to Bouvet Island as of the time I am writing this report. The team should reach the island by February 1st. If sea conditions will allow, they should set up and be on the air soon after. Bouvet is the second most wanted DX entity in the world, second only to North Korea. Pile-ups will be colossal. Operator skill will largely determine whether you work them and get into their log. They will be on all bands and modes using the call 3Y0J. Good luck to all.
ARRL Rhode Island Section
Section Manager: Robert G Beaudet, W1YRC