Greetings ARRL members and friends,
Most active Amateurs that I know are wondering when they are going to see improvement in HF band conditions. We have passed the bottom of the sunspot cycle curve and are heading toward the upside portion of the Cycle 25 curve, but have seen nearly no sunspots at all. Without sunspots, we don’t have open bands on 6, 10, 12 meters. The experts assure us that they will come, however. So be prepared. New hams find it hard to believe old timers who talk about working the world on 10 meters and able to earn DXCC in a weekend. But, it’s possible and hopefully, it will happen soon. Some rather cynical folks are predicting that the 11 year sunspot cycle is going to skip the next peak or that the peak will be a very small one. I don’t know of any way to predict that, but as a DXer, I surely hope those folks are wrong.
The Providence Radio Association, popularly called the PRA, celebrated its centennial in being affiliated with the ARRL. They held a wonderful dinner on Dec 7th. Attending along with the members were NE Director, K1VR, Vice President K1TWF, major contester Frank W3LPL who was a PRA member as a boy. Members traveled to ARRL HQ on Dec 9th and had a photo taken with CEO, Dave Minster NA2AA and the entire group of PRA visitors. The photo from 1921 showing club president receiving the certificate of affiliation from the “old man” himself, FE Handy made the trip from the club’s wall in Providence and was included in the photo with NA2AA. The club was kind enough to invited your Section Manager to join the group for the dinner and the trip to HQ. Congratulations PRA. You stand among very few clubs who have been ARRL affiliated for a century.
The Marconi Radio Club of Newfoundland (MRCN) and the Poldhu Amateur Radio Club in England conducted a modern-day re-enactment of Marconi’s 1901 first transatlantic radio experiment. Their event took place on Dec 12th. More details may be found at http://www.arrl.org/news/clubs-in-newfoundland-and-england-to-re-enact-marconi-s-1901-experiment. December 2021 QST, pages 85-89, contains a reprint of the story published in December, 1921. A re-enactment of that historic event took place on 160 meters between a station in Connecticut and one in Scotland on December 12, 2021. Details at http://1bcg.org/1BCG/.
Mary Hobart, K1MMH, sadly became a Silent Key on December 12. Mary served for 13 years until her retirement as ARRL’s Chief Development Officer. She was key in the establishment of the Diamond Club and Diamond Patio, The Maxim Society, The Second Century Campaign and many other initiatives. Mary was highly regarded and the most successful Chief Development Officer that the League has had. I was privileged to know her quite well. She recruited me into the Diamond Club and Maxim Society when these programs were being formed. More details may be viewed at http://www.arrl.org/news/past-arrl-chief-development-officer-mary-hobart-k1mmh-sk.
I recently visited ARRL HQ on Dec 9th and can report that although one may visit HQ now, visitors must remain in the lobby and the receptionist must call the person you need to see and have them come to the lobby. Face masks are required when visiting HQ or W1AW. One may operate the station as usual.
Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut received an affirmative reply from FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel when he asked her to commit to providing his office “an update on the steps that the FCC is taking to support amateur radio operators.” The Senator posed the written question as part of Rosenworcel’s renomination hearing conducted by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. It’s great for hams to receive support from high ranking leaders.
December is YOTA Month, celebrating and encouraging Youth On the Air. Amateur radio operators who are 25 years old and younger will be on the air as special event stations around the world throughout December in celebration of youth in amateur radio. YOTA Month stations will be on all bands and modes at various times. Details may be found at http://www.arrl.org/news/yota-month-continues-to-expand-into-the-americas.
Be sure to check New England division news at https://nediv.arrl.org/ as well as follow activities in other sections of the district.
World Radio TV Handbook (WRTH) will cease with the current 76th edition. Many hams have used this directory over the years to find DX broadcasts. Details are at http://www.arrl.org/news/world-radio-tv-handbook-to-cease-publication.
On January 9th, I shall complete my 20th year of serving you as RI Section Manager. Where did the years go? Being Section Manager is something that as a new Novice in 1953, I saw as far above an attainable goal. Thank you very sincerely for the privilege you have given me. Marc W1MCX, our RI Ass’t SM is prepared to take over if necessary but I expect that transition to take place far in the future.
I was able to chat recently with RI native and old friend, Frank Donovan W3LPL, formerly K1LPL, about band conditions and the future of Sunspot Cycle 25. Frank is concerned over the total absence of sunspots and cannot see any meaningful improvement in HF band conditions until/unless the sunspot count starts climbing. Frank writes a detailed propagation report for W3UR’s Daily and Weekly DX publications.
In person hamfests appear to be making a comeback. The ARRL National Convention is being held in conjunction with the Orlando HamCation on February 10-13, 2022. Details may be found at https://www.hamcation.com/. Early bird rates are in force until December 31. Taking part in a hamfest in Orlando is a nice way to spend a weekend in February. The huge Dayton Hamvention is planned for May 20-22, 2022. More info may be found at https://hamvention.org/. These are the two large conventions scheduled in the first half of next year. Thousands of Amateurs will attend these hamfests. There are dozens of smaller local conventions being planned around the country. Details about them may be found at http://www.arrl.org/hamfests-and-conventions-calendar.
Obviously, the Covid pandemic along with the related mutations is being seen in some parts of the country and will play a part in dictating how we will be asked to conduct ourselves and possibly even control whether events take place.
In closing this final report for 2021, I want to wish you and your family best wishes for a most happy and merry Christmas and for those who celebrated Chanukah a short while ago, I hope you enjoyed a pleasant and rewarding celebration. To all, I strongly wish and pray that we all have a happy and DX filled New Year. Thank you for your support over these last 20 years and I hope I’ll be able to serve you for another 20.
ARRL Rhode Island Section
Section Manager: Robert G Beaudet, W1YRC