May 2021 Rhode Island Activity Report

Greetings ARRL members and friends,

This Covid-19 pandemic started nearly a year and a half ago. It’s hard to remember what normal life was before Covid, but we’re slowlyreturning to it. Of course, return will not happen any too soon for any of us. Let’s hope and pray that we never have to go through this again. It wasn’t just the inconvenience that we all lived with. Our country lost 581 thousand people to it and the world lost 3.3 million. Some places like India and South America are still in significant trouble. It may destroy the economy of some countries.

I’ve said from the start that we’re so fortunate to be hams. Our activity conforms perfectly with rules we are asked to follow. On the air, we’re socially distant and if confined to home, our ham shack is a great place to be restricted to. It’s impossible to infect anyone with our signal, even if we run a KW to a monster Yagi antenna. 

A few months ago, our New England Vice Director created a New England division website. You may access it by going to Our RI Activity report which you receive by e mail every month from ARRL is copied for the rest of New England to read. Reading material on this website is valuable to learn what the rest of New England is doing. You may keep track of plans for the New England Convention which is scheduled for September 10-12 in Marlborough, MA. It’s being scheduled as an in-person event, not via Zoom. Many of us can hardly wait to see our friends once again. Be sure that you are fully vaccinated before the event. Surely, that will be required.

A new ruling from FCC, called Report and Order FCC 19-126, became effective on May 3rd. It concerns RF exposure and the potential danger caused by it to anyone near an antenna. You must be in compliance with the new rules. Even if you checked out OK with the previous formula and calculations, you must do it again. There are several on line calculators to help you comply with this ruling. Watch this video for information that will help you. Go to and take notes. The video is an hour long, so watch it when you have some time. The calculator URLs are in the video, so have paper and pencil/pen ready.

Of course, Field Day is around the corner. It will take place on June 26 and 27 but preparations have taken place steadily for months. In accordance with Field Day rules however, Field Day teams in classes A and B may not begin set-up until 24 hours before the start of Field Day operating. Folks who have been asked by their clubs to take a leadership role in Field Day planning and administration should familiarize themselves with the Field Day rules, listed in full at .
The rules concerning set-up are copied here: 

     3.1. Class A and B (see below) stations that do not begin setting up until 1800 UTC on Saturday may operate the entire 27-hour Field Day period.
     3.2. Stations who begin setting up before 1800 UTC Saturday may work only 24 consecutive hours, commencing when on-the-air operations begin.
     3.3. No class A or B station may begin its set-up earlier than 0000 UTC on the Friday (Thursday afternoon or evening local time) preceding the Field Day period. Cumulative set-up time shall not exceed a total of 24 hours.

ARRL does not institute this rule to be negative or to hold you back. This is simply a way to assure a level and fair playing field for everyone, whether a big gun or a little pistol. I know of a few groups that erect antennas long before Field Day weekend, some as early as April. You know the rules and we want to be fair. I’ve been in contact over the years with FD participants who have their own definition of what “set-up” means. One group actually believes that until a radio is connected to the antenna and a generator or battery is connected to the radio, set-up has not started. They feel that putting up antennas, stringing power cable, putting up tents, moving in cooking equipment and other related things like sleeping quarters is not setting up. We’re supposed to have fun, so let’s all have fun!

Spring time is when many people buy new cars. If you wish to have your call letters for your registration plate number, you must file this form . Instructions state that you must mail this application with a copy of your Amateur license to the Cranston office. A call letter plate IS NOT A VANITY PLATE. DO NOT PAY THE VANITY PLATE PREMIUM. We are covered by our own law, § 31-3-39. Amateur radio operator plates. I would suggest keeping a copy of the law in case you need to show someone that you should not pay a vanity charge. The law may be found at . It was passed in 1958. I was one of the first RI residents to sport my call on my car. The law specifically states that “upon the payment of the regular registration fee”, the call letter plate will be issued. Emphasis is on “regular”. You may also need to submit the regular registration form, RI DMV TR-1 Registration form.pdf .

Of course, any Rhode Island Amateur may obtain registration plates bearing his or her call sign for the present vehicle as well as for a new one. You will need to pay the regular transfer fee, but no extra charge.

The ARRL home page offers a reminder of the 1964 Alaska earthquake, also known as the Great Alaskan earthquake. It struck on March 27th, Good Friday. It is the most powerful earthquake ever to hit North America and devastated the area around Anchorage. The effects were felt as far away as California and 131 people died. A compelling video may be seen at . This URL is an informational site to promote the ARRL Diamond Club, a very worthy cause. I have been a member for many years.

I hope that you’re working on your HF antennas to be ready for fall and winter when band conditions should be improved. There’s plenty of talk about sporadic E openings in June on 6 meters. Do you have an antenna for 6? When it’s open, I understand that it’s a very exciting band. I have never operated 6 meters but am ready this time. It’s on my “to do” list to earn DXCC on that band. I hope to see you there as well.

Effective May 20, all applications for an Amateur license must contain an FRN number. An instructional video for obtaining an FRN may be seen at . Most everyone reading this report has a license and therefore, an FRN number. This is for new prospective Amateurs. Effective June 29, applicants for new license or modifications to a license must include an e mail address which will be shielded from public access. These new requirements make me think that all new applicants for a ham license must have Internet access and an e mail address or be prevented from ever becoming a ham. Everyone does not use Internet mail and have an e mail address, even though it may seem so, especially to Millennials. Assuming that everyone does says that those who do not use e mail cannot become an Amateur since the FCC will not accept their application. The average age of Amateurs and most likely ARRL members is probably well above Millennials’ age. It’s very reasonable to think that many of them do not use e mail or Internet very much. The RI Covid registration for shots showed that to RI officials rather clearly. To reach the seniors, the state had to resort to telephone access and going to them in person in assisted living homes and Senior Centers. I’ve mentioned my concern to higher ups before now that the new rules discriminate against those who do not use computers. Let’s see what solution comes forward.   

According to what I hear in the news, return to normal, whatever that is, is within sight. Unless we experience a serious reversal of our trends, ball parks, restaurants, churches, schools, libraries, concerts and movies will be reopened for business, probably very soon. It seems like it’s been a very long time to get to this point. We’ll be able to hold club meetings, visit friends and maybe take a trip to ARRL this fall. Travel by air, rail and sea will possibly have some greater problems to deal with, but they will almost certainly return to normal also. Let’s all just show some patience.

I must offer a hearty tip of my cap to the Newport County Radio Club. They have found ways to reach out during this pandemic event to offer classes aimed at the Technician and General licenses. They have found ways to offer exams and conduct business effectively. Of course, the credit belongs to its leaders who weren’t dissuaded by the pandemic. NCRC found ways to get the job done. Your club leadership is successful because you and they have made it that way despite obvious difficulties. Congratulations and best wishes to all your members.

Some of our clubs throughout the country do not spend much effort or time finding ways to reach out into their communities in the ways that Newport and other clubs do. Of course, all clubs can set their own course, but I believe that none of us, even as individual hams, should remain self-serving. We should find ways to help others in our community. It isn’t very hard. It’s simply an attitude that you maintain. Try to think of why you are here and what have you done to make this a better place. That’s one reason why I became a VE and accepted this post as your Section Manager. It surely wasn’t to do myself any good, but it did permit me to help many others. That’s what it’s about. See you in the pile-ups.


ARRL Rhode Island Section
Section Manager: Robert G Beaudet, W1YRC