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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
July 6, 2023
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


Techs: Now is the Time to Upgrade to General!

A new question pool took effect on July 1, 2023, for General-class license exams. ARRL has released new editions of its popular study resources including the 10th edition of The ARRL General Class License Manual and the 7th edition of ARRL's General Q&A.

The ARRL General Class License Manual has been updated for the new question pool.

ARRL has also updated its free online review and practice resource, ARRL Exam Review for Ham Radio™.

"ARRL Volunteer Examiners (VEs) are already administering the new General-class exams," said ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM. Somma suggests that candidates first take a practice test using ARRL Exam Review. "If you're already passing online practice exams, then you're ready to search for an in-person exam session team, or you can take the exam online via a remote video-supervised session." Visit the exam session search page on the ARRL website.

The new General-class question pool is valid for examinations taken between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2027. "Upgrading from a Technician-class license to General-class significantly opens more operating privileges on HF bands," added Somma.

Dual Championship Weekend Ahead on HF

The IARU HF World Championships begin at 1200 UTC on Saturday, July 8, 2023, and run through 1159 UTC on Sunday, July 9.

Antenna teams set up for WRTC 2022. The 2022 event is being held in 2023 due to a COVID-19 delay. [Photo courtesy WRTC 2022 on Facebook]

A station operating as IARU Headquarters will be operated from ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio® in the US, from Newington, Connecticut. ARRL is the IARU International Secretariat, having served as the "headquarters" of the IARU since its founding. The IARU HQ call sign is NU1AW, and the contest exchange will include "IARU." Operators will include volunteers from the ARRL staff.

Stations operating for ARRL Headquarters will be operated by member-volunteers from the Hawaiian Islands. W1AW/KH6 will be the ARRL HQ call sign, and it will operate on SSB from KH6YY on Oahu (, and on CW from KH6LC on Hawaii ( The exchange will include "ARRL." KH6YY is the station of Alex Benton, KH6YY, who sponsors the Pupukea Contest Station on a high ridge above Waimea Valley on the north shore of Oahu. KH6LC is the station of Lloyd Cabral, KH6LC, a competitive multi-operator contest station located on the Big Island.

In addition, stations operated by members of the IARU Administrative Council, the three IARU Regional Executive committees, and IARU member-society HQs will be on the air. HQ stations will send their member-society abbreviations. See for a list of IARU member-societies.

The World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) 2022 (rescheduled to 2023) is running in parallel with this event -- see for more information.

IARU Administrative Council Met in Germany

The 58th meeting of the IARU Administrative Council (AC) was held in person at the SEEhotel in Friedrichshafen, Germany, on Sunday, June 25, and Monday, June 26, 2023.

In matters related to World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23), the AC received reports on the Conference Preparatory Meeting, ITU-R Working Party 5A, and the latest updates regarding agenda items 1.2, 1.12, and the current status of agenda item 9.1b, which is about the radionavigation-satellite service (RNSS) and the 23-centimeter band.

On the subject of strategic planning, preliminary results from the work of the Relationship Working Group, Legal Working Group, and Finance Working Group were approved. Their work will continue to address a planned restructuring of IARU. An initial report will be presented at the Region 1 Conference in Zlatibor, Serbia, in November.

The AC received a report on the completion of the IARU officer consultative process regarding nominating candidates for the offices of President and Vice President for the 2024 - 2029 term. The nominees will be formally submitted to member-societies for ratification later this year.

Reports were received from IARU Beacon Project International Coordinator Peter Jennings, AB6WM/VE3SUN; Electromagnetic Compatibility Coordinator Martin Sach, G8KDF; Satellite Advisor Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T, and Emergency Communications Special Advisor Rod Stafford, W6ROD.

The AC appointed Rick Palm, K1CE, Editor for the ARRL ARES Letter, as the IARU Special Advisor on Emergency Communications to assume the responsibilities of Rod Stafford, W6ROD, in representing IARU in the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector.

Gaspar Miró, EA6AMM, presented a report on the IARU Monitoring System and submitted a proposed revision to the current terms of reference (TOR). The AC will continue to review the proposal to consider a resolution to update the TOR.

A report was received on the successful 2023 World Amateur Radio Day that supported the United Nations initiative to promote Human Security for All (HS4A).

Preliminary thoughts on how to celebrate the 100th anniversary of IARU, founded in Paris in 1925, were exchanged.

Nominations for the IARU Michael J. Owen, VK3KI, Award and the IARU Diamond Award were received.

Members attending the meeting were IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA; IARU Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR; IARU Secretary and ARRL Past President Joel Harrison, W5ZN; IARU Region 1 President Sylvain Azarian, F4GKR; IARU Region 2 President George Gorsline, VE3YV, and IARU Region 2 Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD; IARU Region 3 Co-Chairmen Ken Yamamoto, JA1CJP, and Yudi Hasbi, YD1PRY, also attended the meeting along with retired ARRL Chief Executive Officer and current IARU Assistant Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ. IARU Region 1 Secretary Mats Espling, SM6EAN, sent his regrets for being unable to attend.

Thanks to IARU Secretary Joel Harrison, W5ZN, for this report.

W1VCM Receives Grant for the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum

The amateur radio club of the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut, W1VCM, has received a grant to design and implement new antennas that cover frequency ranges available to US radio amateurs and add Earth-space capabilities to their shack.

"These new capabilities will allow club members to show the full range of technologies that make amateur radio the unique lifetime hobby it is," said club President Bob Allison, WB1GCM. "Over the years, these demonstrations have encouraged more than a few visitors to pursue their amateur radio licenses. These improvements will allow our visitors to better engage with technologies that impact their everyday lives," he added.

The museum is run by volunteers and it opened in September 1990. It is dedicated to the preservation of old-time communications equipment and to educating the public about communication systems of the past.

The new functionality will include computer-controlled tracking, a high-gain antenna system, and a new satellite transceiver that allows communications to the International Space Station and several low-Earth orbit amateur satellites.

Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut Director John Ellsworth emphasized the importance of the amateur radio club as part of the story of communications, stating, "During our docent-led tours, we discuss the history and development of radio and television. Having a working radio station available reinforces many of the topics discussed."

The grant was awarded by Amateur Radio Digital Communications.

Amateur Radio in the News

ARRL Public Information Officers, Coordinators, and many other member-volunteers help keep amateur radio and ARRL in the news.

"Kingsport Amateur Radio Club hosts summer field days at Warriors Path" / WJHL-TV (Tennessee) June 25, 2023 -- The Kingsport Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

"ROARS Amateur Radio Field Day lonely but rewarding for solo operator." / Ramona Sentinel (California) June 28, 2023 -- The Ramona Outback Amateur Radio Society is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

"Amateur Radio Association meets for a Field Day between Caledonia and Eitzen." / The Caledonia Argus (Minnesota) June 30, 2023 -- The Mississippi Valley Amateur Radio Association is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

"In the age of smartphones, what keeps Durango Amateur Radio Club going strong?" / The Durango Herard (Colorado) July 2, 2023 -- The Durango Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

"Making connections: Ashe County Amateur Radio Club makes over 340 contacts in 24 hours" / Mountain (North Carolina) July 2, 2023 -- The Ashe County Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.

ARRL Podcasts

On the Air
Sponsored by

For the June 2023 episode of the On the Air podcast, ARRL Radiosport & Regulatory Information Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, and ARRL Contest Program Manager Paul Bourque, N1SFE, join us to talk about a popular Field Day fixture known as the GOTA (Get On the Air) Station, a beginner-friendly station that get licensees - and even the ham -curious public - on the air with knowledgeable licensee literally standing by.

ARRL Audio News
Listen to ARRL Audio News, available every Friday. ARRL Audio News is a summary of the week's top news stories in the world of amateur radio and ARRL, along with interviews and other features.

The On the Air podcast is available on iTunes (iOS) and Stitcher (Android). The On the Air podcast and ARRL Audio News are also on blubrry -- On the Air | ARRL Audio News.


Full ARRL members in the Atlantic, Dakota, Delta, Great Lakes, and Midwest Divisions have the opportunity to choose a Director and a Vice Director to represent them for a 3-year term beginning January 1, 2024. ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio® is governed by its Board of Directors. A voting Director is chosen by ballot by the full (licensed) ARRL members in each of its 15 Divisions. Vice Directors, who serve in the absence of the Director at a Board meeting and succeed to the position of Director should a vacancy occur, are chosen at the same time. Elections are held in five Divisions per year. It takes only 10 full members in a Division to nominate a candidate for either office. Learn more about the process in the Call for Nominations on the ARRL website.

NASA has announced the earliest targeted launch date of Tuesday, August 15, for their seventh rotational mission of sending a SpaceX Dragon crew spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station. The launch of Dragon, named Endurance, will take place from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and will carry NASA astronaut and mission commander Jasmin Moghbeli, KI5WSL, and European Space Agency astronaut and pilot Andreas Mogensen, KG5GCZ. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov will also be on-board as mission specialists. This is the first spaceflight for Moghbeli and Borisov, and it is Mogensen and Furukawa's second flight. Following a handover period, crew members from NASA's SpaceX Crew-6 mission are scheduled to return to Earth aboard their SpaceX Dragon spacecraft named Endeavour. For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit .

In Brief...

Morse Code is still thriving in amateur radio, 24 years after its last commercial use. On July 12, 1999, the original dot/dash system, invented by Samuel F. B. Morse in 1837, gave way to the rapid development of analog and digital communications. The final message sent in Morse code for commercial use was the same one that Morse hammered out on his telegraph key 155 years earlier in 1844, which was, "What hath God wrought?" But this time the message was followed by SK, meaning silent key, or deceased. The International Maritime Organization replaced Morse code with the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System -- an automated ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship system that use satellites and/or terrestrial radio systems with digital selective calling technology. Morse Code is also still used in aviation. Pilots listen to a Morse code identifier to verify that their navigation receivers are tuned to the correct radio aid, such as a VHF Omni-Directional Range (VOR) or Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach guidance system. Railroads stopped using Morse code in the mid-1970s. While Morse code is no longer used commercially, it is still an integral part of amateur radio. Amateur radio operators are no longer required to learn Morse code to obtain their license, but many learn the code on their own or by using study guides and taking classes. Every day, amateurs around the world use Morse code to communicate with each other, test their radio equipment, or pass along friendly information. Morse code is essential in helping people communicate during disasters and emergencies because of its signal ability to penetrate adverse weather issues and propagation disturbance. ARRL offers a variety of resources for those interested in learning Morse code. Visit for more information.

ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio® is on Threads, the new social media platform from Meta. Connect with your association via our handle @arrlhq. Find all of our social channels and ways to connect at

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week's ARRL Propagation Bulletin, ARLP027:

According to, the average daily sunspot number for June 2023 was 163, which is the highest it's been in 21 years.

From a July 3 email alert from

Solar disk image taken July 6 , 2023, courtesy of NASA SDO/HMI

"The average sunspot number in June 2023 hit a 21-year high. Solar Cycle 25 has shot past its predecessor, Solar Cycle 24, and may be on pace to rival some of the stronger cycles of the 20th century."

Could we see another Solar Cycle 19, the biggest in recorded history, that stretches back before the birth of radio?

From my own records, average daily sunspot numbers for April through June 2023 had a nice upward trend at 93.7, 125.8, and 143.9.

There was one new sunspot region on June 30, three more on July 1, one more on July 2, another on July 4, and one more on July 5.

Sunspot and solar flux data this week did not track with each other again. The average daily sunspot number declined from 170 to 126.1, while the average daily solar flux rose slightly from 160.3 to 164.5.

Geomagnetic indicators were lower, with the average daily planetary A index declining from 10.7 to 7.3 and middle latitude averages declining from 9.9 to 8.

Predicted solar flux is 155 and 150 on July 6 - 7; 145 on July 8 - 11; 150 and 155 on July 12 - 13; 175 on July 14 - 18; 170 on July 19 - 21; 160 on July 22 - 23; 155 on July 24 - 25; 160 on July 26 - 27; 165 on July 28 - 29; 170, 170, and 165 on July 30 through August 1, and 155 on August 2 - 6.

Predicted planetary A index is 5 on July 6 - 7; 12 and 8 on July 8 - 9; 5 on July 10 - 11; 20 and 30 on July 12 - 13; 8 on July 14 - 22; 5 on July 23 - 30; 8 on July 31 through August 1, and 5 on August 2 - 4.

Check out Tamitha Skov's, WX6SWW, YouTube video from July 1 at

Read about a radio blackout at

Sunspot numbers for June 29 through July 5, 2023, were 112, 187, 119, 126, 117, 121, and 101, with a mean of 126.1. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 162.2, 158.6, 165.5, 170.2, 173.2, 167.2, and 154.6, with a mean of 164.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 17, 8, 5, 5, 5, 4, and 7, with a mean of 7.3. Middle latitude A index was 13, 8, 6, 8, 7, 5, and 9, with a mean of 8.

Send your tips, questions, or comments to

A comprehensive K7RA Solar Update is posted Fridays on the ARRL website. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service, read "What the Numbers Mean...," and check out the Propagation Page of Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA.

A propagation bulletin archive is available. For customizable propagation charts, visit the VOACAP Online for Ham Radio website.

Share your reports and observations.

A weekly, full report is posted on ARRL News.

Just Ahead in Radiosport

Yearlong -- ARRL Volunteers On the Air (VOTA). See the State Activations Schedule for weekly W1AW Portable Operations, including:

  • July 5 - July 13 -- Hawaii W1AW/KH6

  • July 12 - July 18 - Wisconsin W1AW/9

  • July 12 - July 18 - Utah W1AW/7

  • July 12 - July 18 -- American Samoa W1AW/KH8

Upcoming Contests:

  • July 6 - 7 -- Walk for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)

  • July 6 -- NRAU 10m Activity Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • July 6 -- SKCC Sprint Europe (CW)

  • July 7 -- NCCC RTTY Sprint (digital)

  • July 7 -- NCCC Sprint (CW)

  • July 8 - 9 -- IARU HF World Championship (CW, phone)

  • July 8 - 9 -- SKCC Weekend Sprintathon (CW)

  • July 8 - 9 -- PODXS 070 Club 40m Firecracker Sprint (digital)

  • July 9 -- QRP ARCI Summer Homebrew Sprint (CW)

  • July 10 -- 4 States QRP Group 2nd Sunday Sprint (CW, phone)

  • July 12 -- 432 VHF-UHF FT8 (FT8)

  • July 12 -- RSGB 80m Club Champ, SSB (phone)

Visit the ARRL Contest Calendar for more events and information.

Upcoming Section, State, and Division Conventions

Search the ARRL Hamfest and Convention Database to find events in your area.

Have News for ARRL?

Submissions for the ARRL Letter and ARRL News can be sent to -- John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, ARRL News Editor

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  • Listen to ARRL Audio News, available every Friday.

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The ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

Much of the ARRL Letter content is also available in audio form in ARRL Audio News.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

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