Rhode Island February Activity Report

This report will be a little shorter than normal, not a great deal of news to report in mid-winter.

This is surely not the best time to do antenna work in Rhode Island.  Yet, some are out there trying new designs and digging through snow to run radials, feedlines, etc. Hams do these things routinely. A very old belief in ham circles says that “any antenna that one builds in a blizzard will always outperform one built on an afternoon in June.”

CAPE-3 satellite satellite was launched on January 17. A 1-U CubeSat, CAPE-3 includes a “digipeater and experimental UHF adaptive radio.” More details may be found at <http://www.arrl.org/news/cape-3-cubesat-launched>.

Field Day 2021 rules will see some changes. Class D stations may work all other Field Day stations, including other Class D stations, for points. This year, however, Class D and Class E stations will be limited to 150 W PEP output. Full details may be found at <http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-to-extend-field-day-rule-waivers-from-2020-add-class-d-and-e-power-limit>. An aggregate score will be published as it was last year. An aggregate score will be a sum of all individual entries that attributed their score to that of a specific club. Once again, we shall operate Field Day from our comfortable home shacks, complete with A/C, comfortable chair, all the comforts of home. Aren’t you anxious to return to the hot musty tent with flies and mosquitoes, no facilities? I surely am. Maybe in 2022.

The very well-loved hamfest in Friedrichshafen, Germany known simply as “Ham Radio” is scheduled for June 25 to 27. The 2020 event had to be cancelled but officials are optimistic that they will be able to stage the event this year. Much of the technical material from the 2020 event may be accessed on line at <https://www.hamradio-friedrichshafen.com/news/2020/ham-radionline>.

The pandemic continues to ruin our lives as we all know it. Old timers like me are struggling to schedule a vaccine using the municipal distribution system put into place. I finally scheduled my appointment after more than an hour of dialing a number. Both of my children have gotten their shots in Massachusetts. One day soon, we’ll be able to go to a restaurant, pub or send our kids back to school. Just be safe in the meanwhile and please follow the guidance offered by our health care authorities. They know far more than we do. Please do not follow the guidance of talk shows, neighbors, social media, etc. I have heard a great deal of bad advice being given, especially on radio talk shows.

HF band conditions are not great but 20, 17 and 15 are open most days, with an appearance by 12 meters on occasion. North America is easily workable during the daytime hours. Europe and Africa are workable on 20 and 17 just about every day. Solar Flux is still in the mid 70s and the K & A indexes are not very good either. 40 meters during hours of darkness provide 2-3,000 mile or more paths. 80 meters is also open during the dark hours. The have been occasional opens on 6 meters but nothing to get excited over. We’ll have to wait for spring and summer sporadic E openings for DX openings on that band.

The new $35 fee announced by FCC for new license processing has stirred up some benevolent feelings at ARRL. The ARRL Board, at its January meeting, considered a motion to offer a new service that would pay the new but not-yet-implemented $35 FCC application fee for a limited number of new radio amateurs younger than age 18 who, at the time of testing, belonged to an ARRL Affiliated 501(c)(3) charitable organization and passed their tests through an ARRL VEC-sponsored exam session. The proposal called for reducing the VEC fee for these candidates to $5 (from $15). More details at <http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-board-considers-plan-to-cover-new-35-fcc-fee-for-some-young-applicants>. This proposed fee reduction is not for all, only those 18 years of age and under. It also illustrates the value of a club having 501(c)(3) status. Of course, it presents a tax deduction for ARRL, in this case, the donor. In RI, Newport Co. Radio Club and Providence Radio Association are 501(c)(3) registered.

The pandemic provides a good deal of time for study toward upgrading your license. The problem is finding a scheduled testing session that isn’t postponed. VE teams are resourceful folks. They can usually work out some arrangement for taking a test. Just contact them and ask. If anything can be worked out, they will do it. If all fails, contact me at w1yrc@arrl.org. I’ll find you something.  See you on the air in the meanwhile.  73 for now,


ARRL Rhode Island Section

Section Manager: Robert G Beaudet, W1YRC