Microwave Ham Radio (3-33 cm): This Century’s New “Shortwave Radio”

contributed by Nancy Austin, KC1NEK, Newport County (RI) Radio Club

Examples of short 12 cm microwave antennas: a Yagi and an omni-directional vertical

How short is short???

Last century, the HF bands from 10 meters to 200 meters were considered “shortwave radio.”  Paul Fredette, K1YBE, is on a mission to pitch the Super High Frequency (SHF) microwave ham bands (3 cm to 33 cm) as this century’s new “shortwave radio”, ripe for experimentation.  So, how short is the new short? A football fan offered the comparison that 10 meters is roughly 10 yards, or the length of the first down line on a football field. And for comparison, 3 cm is roughly 1 inch, or the width of the white stripe on a football. To get a sense of relative antenna size, I just looked out the window at my HF antenna zigzagging for 100+ feet across my backyard, and compared that to the microwave antennas pictured above for scale, showing inches on a ruler. The new short is a different magnitude of short, with opportunities and new challenges for the ham to tackle.

To promote STEM learning and workforce development opportunities around this shift, Rhode Island’s Paul, K1YBE, is enthusiastically promoting the notion of an Amateur Radio Training Experiment Network (ARTEN) that uses mesh networking educational projects to make this accessible to a broad audience. The “new” shortwave bands from 3 cm/10 GHz to 30 cm/1 GHz can be a catalyst as we reach out to invite in a new generation of hams. ARRL-affiliated club microwave experiments underway include the Newport County Radio Club’s pilot mesh networking project placing carbon dioxide sensors in a local farm, with the collected data set available to schools. Examples of welcome community outreach include holding our radio hands-on building/experimenting workshops at a local maker-space, FabNewport, during their after-school programming. Kids stop by our table, curious and full of questions. In this way, STEM learning is not bolted on but part of the ongoing mentoring and experiential learning that defines the ham community and helps home-grown innovators flourish.

The ARRL mission includes encouraging “radio experimentation and, through its members, advances radio technology and education.” As Wikipedia reminds us: “Throughout its history, amateur radio enthusiasts have made significant contributions to science, engineering, industry, and social services. Research by amateur radio operators has founded new industries, built economies, empowered nations, and saved lives in times of emergency.” More than a century ago, the pivotal Radio Act of 1912 assigned licensed amateurs to the shortwaves under 200 meters. In 2023 it’s remarkable to look back and forge ahead in the frontier of microwave “shortwave” bands open to hams, from 3 centimeters to 33 centimeters. What’s possible?  

Paul Fredette, K1YBE, will be speaking on ARTEN – New England Mesh Networking at Microwave Update 2023 on Saturday April 16th. This is an international conference focused on amateur radio on the microwave bands. Meanwhile, Paul, K1YBE, will be presenting a talk on ARTEN at the Newport County Radio Club’s upcoming monthly meeting; this talk will be posted to YouTube shortly after. If you are curious to learn more or would like Paul to speak to your club, please reach out to him directly at Paul Fredette, K1YBE, k1ybe@yahoo.com.  

Curious to learn more about microwave experimenting at the Newport County (RI) Radio Club?
Newport County Radio Club Experimental Microwave Group (August 31, 2022)
https://nediv.arrl.org/2022/08/31/newport-county-radio-club-experimental-microwave-gro up-meets/
ARTEN – VNA Assembly (January 10, 2023) edited clip, You-Tube [5min] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ma2FKaBZ3k
Ham Radio is a Gateway to Technology (February 17, 2023)

Screenshot from upcoming ARTEN talk by K1YBE
Screenshot from an upcoming talk, ARTEN – New England Mesh Networking, by Paul Fredette K1YBE at the Amateur Radio on the Microwave Bands Conference near Hartford, April 15-16, 2023 


Western MA Train & Test Group Amateur Extra Class Begins March 28, 2023

Amateur radio "action" photos for Western MA Train & Test GroupThe Western MA Train & Test Group invites you to a FREE on-line course so that you, too, can upgrade to the Amateur Extra class license.

The free on-line Zoom classes will start Tuesday, March 28, 2023. Classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:00 PM.

QR code for Western MA Train & Test Amateur Extra CourseSign up at: https://forms.gle/6KT2PCGFnibQdDDF7

Questions? Contact Ray Lajoie via email at ray.aa1se@gmail.com.

Talk to the World with your Upgrade to Amateur Extra Class HF Operating Privileges

Ask Us How!

ARRL Division Cabinet Meeting, March 11, 2023 from 10 AM-12:30 PM

If you are a club president or section cabinet member and failed to receive an email with Zoom information about this meeting, please contact Phil Temples, K9HI, at k9hi@arrl.org.


ARRL logoTo: All Section Managers, section cabinets, club presidents or designees:

Subject: 1st Cabinet Meeting for 2023

Please join us for the first of four scheduled New England Division Cabinet Meetings, on March 11, 2023 from 10:00 AM-12:30 PM.

  • ARRL Update:  Fred, AB1OC, and Phil, K9HI
    • VOTA Event Update
    • Field Day Rules Adjustments
    • Annual Board Meeting Highlights
    • ARRL Director and Vice Director Projects
    • Assistant Director Updates
    • Our Division Report/Goals for 2023
    • Club Programs—Grants, Membership Commissions
  • Break
  • Club Webinar Series—Mike Walters, W8ZY
  • Section Manager Updates (5 min. each)
  • Open Mic

General License Class to be held Online – March 18th and 19th

Successful License Class Student

The Nashua Area Radio Society will be holding a General License Class on March 18th and 19th.

The class will be held online via Zoom web conferencing.

We will hold an online exam at the end of the class so successful students will earn their General Upgrade by the end of the weekend class.

There is pre-study required for the class so make sure you register soon.  

For more information on the class, visit our class information page.

To register, visit our registration form page.

We will also be giving an Extra License Class on April 21st, 22nd, and 23rd.  See our class information page for more information.

Maine State Convention and Hamfest

From the Maine Telegraph, March 2023:

It is that time of year again… the Maine State Hamfest and Convention [in Lewiston] Friday, March 24th and Saturday March 25th. Talks on Friday night will be 7:00 and 8:00 PM. Vendor sales and talks will be from 8:00 AM until Noon on Saturday.

Admission for the Hamfest is $10.00 per person.

The Grand Prize will be a $200.00 gift certificate from Ham Radio Outlet.

There will be an additional $200.00 cash prize being offered for people wishing to participate in offering their contact information for Hamfest and Androscoggin Club communication. There are several talks already planned, with more to be featured. The talk schedule will be updated as speakers are confirmed.

Please go to http://www.w1npp.org/convention to keep apprised on any hamfest updates.

There will be a VE Test Session at 12:30 in the Classroom.

Project Big E 2023 is Ramping Up

Project Big E logoLarry Krainson, W1AST, writes:

Project “Big E” is back again and plans are underway to staff an amateur radio display booth this year. Changes will be made to how the booth will be arranged and presented to the public.

 This year, the dates are Friday, September 15 thru Sunday, October 1. We will be applying for another grant and if we get one, we will be able to provide admission tickets and parking reimbursement again this year.

Last year was a lot of fun for everyone and we hope you will join again for another Big E.

Stay tuned for updates at https://nediv.arrl.org/project-big-e/ as we get closer.

The volunteer registration form is at: <https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1YdW57tREYSlDdPp8YSKBYUqNkl6OVrAbpcVCclvT4Hw/>.

New England Division Town Hall Recap, February 23, 2023

UPDATE: Town Hall video recording added

The first of three 2023 New England Division Town Hall meetings was held on February 23. Registrations for the Town Hall meeting set an all-time record with 204 registrants. 

Director Kemmerer reviewed the accomplishments from the January, 2023 ARRL Board of Directors meeting, and discussed his committee work as did Vice Director Temples. Three of the division’s assistant directors recapped their recent activities and accomplishments.

In addition, Kemmerer fielded questions on a variety of topics, including: possible HOA bylaw wording from ARRL favoring Amateur Radio antennas; malicious interference on 75 meters; help with Logbook of The World certificates; moving toward radiogram support for ICS-213 format; bandwidth versus baud rate, and so forth.

Powerpoint slides (in PDF format) can be viewed, below. The video presentation will be posted soon.

Image of Town Hall PP presentation 2/23/2023




ARRL New England Division Town Hall 2023-02-23 video recording

“Tune In: The WWV Frequency Celebration”

WW0WWV logoDuring March 2023, Tune In: The WWV Frequency Celebration will be held in Fort Collins, Colorado to commemorate 100 years of standard frequency broadcasts from Radio Station WWV.

“So, why’s that important?”

Back in 1923, the Radio Broadcasting industry was in its infancy. More and more stations were crowding into a limited space as the popularity of the new technology grew. The commercial stations (and hams) needed a standard to keep their equipment tuned to their assigned place on the dial (frequency). WWV started these standard broadcasts on March 6, 1923, and that service continues today, along with the better-known atomic time standard and other services.

As stated in the October 1924 QST Article The Standard-Frequency Set at WWV :

Probably no radio station has ever rendered the American radio world so great a service as WWV in transmitting the standard wave signals. Before these signals began both broadcast and amateur waves were uncertain and often wavemeters disagreed violently. Since the signals began those in the East have been able to make precision calibration on their own wavemeters and pass the information on to the west.

The WWV Amateur Radio Club, along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (FCMoD), and the HamSCI organization, are hosting Tune In: The WWV Frequency Celebration on March 2-4 at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, 408 Mason Ct, Fort Collins, Colorado, and throughout the month of March on air.

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