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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
September 14, 2023
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


Hurricane Lee: Amateur Radio Service in State of Readiness, Activations Planned

Hurricane Lee is expected to impact portions of New England in the Northeastern United States and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada.

Tropical Storm Force wind probability map for Hurricane Lee generated on September 14, 2023 [NOAA]

The storm has had the full attention of forecasters and the volunteer organizations that coordinate Amateur Radio response to hurricanes.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) groups are in an elevated state of readiness and alert ahead of the storm.

ARRL Sections in the areas forecast to be impacted are preparing for activation. Section Manager of the ARRL Maine Section Phil Duggan, N1EP, sent an email to members in the section on Thursday encouraging them to ready their stations and homes. "Because of all the rain we have been getting, the likelihood of trees toppling is increased and most likely power outages," he wrote. Duggan said the Washington County ARES group would be on the air starting Friday.

Portions of Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island have been dealing with flooding rain and tornadoes over the past week.

Flooding in Leominster, Massachusetts. [Michael Ford, WZ0C, photo]

Other areas of New England have had amateur radio activations throughout the week. Section Emergency Coordinator of the ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section Rob Macedo, KD1CY, who also serves as SKYWARN Coordinator for the National Weather Service Boston/Norton (MA) office and as Operations Manager for the Hurricane VoIP Net says formal activations are planned of the SKYWARN program. "We will support Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency efforts via the SKYWARN mission giving situational awareness and disaster intelligence information on storm damage, coastal flooding, any flooding from heavy rainfall and rain gauge reports," he said.

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) is in Alert Level 2 - Monitoring Mode. HWN Net Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, published an update on the groups website. "The National Hurricane Center is forecasting Hurricane Lee to slowly weaken over the next few days and make landfall Saturday evening in Nova Scotia, or perhaps New Brunswick Sunday morning, as a Tropical Storm or Post-Tropical Cyclone... Not knowing for sure "if" Hurricane Lee will weaken, and, not knowing for sure where landfall could occur, the Hurricane Watch Net remains at Alert Level 2 - Monitoring Mode," he wrote. The HWN tentatively plans to active Saturday morning at 8:00 am EST on 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz, depending on need.

The Hurricane VOiP Net is planning to activate on Saturday, according to the group's Public Information Officer, Lloyd Colston, KC5FM, "The will be activating Saturday on Echolink 7203 and IRLP 9219 for possible Hurricane Lee reports from New England and Canadian provinces...The net will also connect to the Kansas Sunflower System ( with connections to Allstar, Hamshack Hotline, TGIF DMR, Dstar, Fusion, M17, and P25," said Colston in an email.

Both groups funnel reports to the WX4NHC amateur radio station at the National Hurricane Center, if active.

As ARRL Field Organization leaders begin activating volunteers, radio amateurs are encouraged to prepare their stations with the ARES go kit checklist.

This story was last updated at 4:45 pm EST on Thursday, September 14. For the latest information on Amateur Radio Service activations for Hurricane Lee, check ARRL News.

2023 SET Exercise to Test Skills and Emergency Preparedness

The ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET) is scheduled for October 7 - 8, 2023.

The SET is ARRL's annual national emergency exercise designed to assess the skills and preparedness of Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) volunteers, as well as those affiliated with other organizations involved in emergency and disaster responses. The SET is open to all radio amateurs and partner organizations, in addition to national, state, and local officials. Besides ARES volunteers, those active in the National Traffic System (NTS), Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES), National Weather Service's SKYWARN® Storm Spotter program, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and a variety of other allied groups and public service-oriented radio amateurs are needed to fulfill important roles in this nationwide exercise.

During the exercise, volunteers can assess equipment, modes, and skills under simulated emergency conditions and scenarios. Individuals can use the time to update a go-kit for use during deployments and to ensure their home station's operational capability during an emergency or disaster.

To get involved, contact your local ARRL Emergency Coordinator or Net Manager.

SET guidelines and report forms can be found at:

ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET) Guidelines+

In addition to the ARRL SET exercise, as part of their communications interoperability outreach to the amateur radio community, the US Department of Defense (DOD) will be conducting a DOD COMEX 23-4 exercise. During the week of October 16, they'll conduct a series of high-power HF information transmissions on 60 meters and channel 1 (5330.5 kHz). This event will coincide with the ARRL SET.

Amateur Radio Serves in Large Utah Bike Race

On September 9, 2023, the Bridgerland Amateur Radio Club (BARC) in northern Utah provided amateur radio communications support during LoToJa, the longest 1-day USA Cycling (USAC)-sanctioned bicycle race in America. The LoToJa course consists of 200 miles of rough, mountainous terrain. BARC was prepared for the challenge and had been training and working on their communications plans for more than 3 decades.

The club's involvement with LoToJa began in 1991, when the race had 200 riders and 14 amateur radio operators. This year's event had 1,700 riders and 120 amateur radio operators, including 35 cars with amateur radio operators along for the ride. Amateur radio was engaged in every aspect of the race from start to finish thanks to assistance of operators from Ogden, Davis County, and Salt Lake City, as well as Idaho, Wyoming, and Maryland.

Section Manager of the ARRL Utah Section Pat Malan, N7PAT, said that BARC members evaluate their operating skills and equipment, which is the best form of preparation for emergency communications. "It's a tremendous effort and dedication from everyone," Malan said.

Youth Coordinator for the ARRL Utah Section and former BARC President Kevin Reeve, N7RXE, said the teams deployed two mountaintop portable repeaters (using batteries and solar power), three portable digipeaters, and a portable IGate throughout the racecourse, in addition to setting up four command and net control centers. Reeve explained, "This provided continuous audio and an Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) for the 35 cars covering the entire event."

Reeve went on to say that this year, a family needed to contact one of the riders because of an emergency. He stated, "There was no cell phone coverage, but we were able to locate the cyclist in about 5 minutes, then reunite them with their family in 15 minutes."

BARC also provided emergency communications for at least two other large-scale cycling events this year, including the Little Red Riding Hood event that had 3,500 women cyclists and 70 ham radio operators, and the Cache Gran Fondo event that had 1,500 cyclists.

BARC was founded in 1976 by Jeff Jacobsen, WA7MBL; Bob Wood, WA7MXZ, and Bill Neville, WA7KMF (SK), and it exists for the training and fellowship of amateur radio operators. The club currently has 227 members.

Changes in the ARRL Louisiana Section

Section Manager of the ARRL Louisiana Section John Mark Robertson, K5JMR, has stepped down. He has held this role since April 1, 2018. Robertson has been active in the Section and in Louisiana ARES. He held the Emergency Coordinator and both District and Section Emergency Coordinator positions before he assumed the role of Section Manager.

Matt Anderson, KD5KNZ, has been appointed to fill the remaining term, effective September 1, 2023. Anderson has also held several previous positions in leadership, including Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator and Assistant Section Manager of the Louisiana Section.

Amateur Radio in the News

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

"Focused on Mississippi: Amateur radio operators" / WJTV (Mississippi) September 11, 2023 - The Jackson Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

"Ham radio operators from throughout state gather in Ridgeland Saturday. See why." / The Clarion- Ledger (Mississippi) September 11, 2023 - The Jackson Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

"ECN training specializes in keeping up communication when it's critical​​​​​" / Minnesota Department of Public Safety, September 7, 2023 -- Emergency Communication Networks.

any amateur radio media hits you spot with us.

ARRL Podcasts

On the Air
Sponsored by

The cover story of On the Air's September/October 2023 issue, "Foxhunting Basics," doesn't have anything to do with chasing down a woodland creature. Foxhunting is a radio direction-finding activity that you can enjoy with a radio club or group, or even with just one other friend -- and they don't even have to be a ham! Rob Zielfelder, N1NUG, explains how to get started with a couple of handheld radios and a directional antenna that you can make from inexpensive hardware store materials. One player hides somewhere with a radio, and sends intermittent transmissions, while the other player tracks them with the help of the radio's signal meter and a map. Listen to this month's episode for more information on how to join the fun.

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.


ARRL has announced that certificates are now available for new club-level awards. These awards are for clubs and individual members and recognize hams for their personal achievements. The new First Contact Award commemorates a ham's first contact. The new Mentor Award recognizes amateurs who have helped newly licensed club members to get on the air. Both certificates are available as PDF documents, and they can be downloaded and printed as necessary. ARRL Field Services Manager Mike Walters, W8ZY, said "More certificates are coming, and we want to give the clubs and individuals a way to have fun with new hams and maybe create some fun for the many of us that are not so new."

An email to the U.S. delegation announced that Steve Lang will become head of the U.S. delegation to the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-2023). He replaces Anna Gomez, who last week was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a seat on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Lang is a longtime State Department official currently serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary-International Information and Communications Policy. Lang has been working closely with Gomez on U.S. WRC-23 Delegation preparations. A biography of Lang may be seen on the State Department website. WRC-2023 will convene in Dubai on November 20. Of particular concern to radio amateurs in the upcoming conference agenda is continued Amateur access to the 1.2 GHz band. More information here:

In Brief...

The 2023 Route 66 On the Air Special Event began on Saturday, September 9, and will run through Sunday, September 17. Twenty-one special event stations are operating along the route from Santa Monica, California, to Chicago, Illinois. This is the 24th year of the event, which was started by the Northern Arizona DX Association (NADXA) to celebrate the history of the road. Nicknamed the Mother Road for how it served as refuge for those displaced by the Great Depression, US Highway 66 was established in 1926, and was the first major improvement to link the west coast and the Midwest. Now, the event is coordinated by the Citrus Belt Amateur Radio Club (CBARC) in San Bernardino, California. Additional information is available on CBARC's website and Facebook page.

The Nantucket Amateur Radio Association participated in the International Lighthouse-Lightship Weekend on August 19 - 20, 2023. The club shared a video of members setting up for the event despite constant wind speeds of 30. Watch the video at:

Planning is underway for a birthday party and special event to celebrate ARRL member Oscar Norris, W4OXH, as he turns 106 on September 25, 2023. Licensed since 1949, Norris is the oldest living amateur radio operator in North Carolina, according to Gaston County Amateur Radio Society President Tony Jones, N4ATJ. There will be a "Ham of the Century" special event station on the air to honor Norris, beginning at 0000 UTC on September 20 and running through 2359 UTC on October 1. The net will be random throughout the day on any band and mode. A QSL card will be available for all contacts.

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week's ARRL Propagation Bulletin, ARLP037:

Like last week, eight new sunspot groups emerged this reporting week, September 7 - 13, 2023.

One appeared on September 7, another on September 9, four more on

Solar disk image taken September 14, 2023. [Photo courtesy of NASA SDO/HMI]

September 10, another on September 11, and one more on September 12.

Solar activity made a nice comeback, with average daily sunspot numbers rising from 95.4 to 138.1, and solar flux increasing from 137.6 to 159.9.

The most active geomagnetic day was September 12, when the planetary A index was 25. A "stealth CME" with an aurora visible as far south as Missouri was reported on

The average daily planetary A index decreased from 15.4 to 10.4, and middle latitude numbers decreased from 16.3 to 11.3.

The autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is on September 22 -- just a week away.

It seems that the next sustained short-term peak in solar flux is a few weeks off, with values between 150 and 155 on October 12 - 17, although it's expected to reach 150 on September 23 - 24.

The forecast shows the solar flux at 145, 145, 148, 145, and 145 on September 14 - 18; 148 on September 19 - 20; 145 on September 21 - 22; 150 on September 23 - 24; 145 on September 25; 140 on September 26 - 27; 135 on September 28 - 30; 130, 135, 130, and 135 on October 1 - 4; 140 on October 5 - 6, and 135 on October 7 - 8.

Predicted planetary A index is 12 and 15 on September 14 - 15; 8 on September 16 - 17; 5, 5, and 10 on September 18 - 20; 5, 5, and 12 on September 21 - 23; 5 on September 24 - 27; 8, 12, and 8 on September 28 - 30, and 5 on October 1 - 8.

Sunspot numbers for September 7 - 13, 2023, were 135, 123, 119, 167, 173, 141, and 109, with a mean of 138.1. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 160.8, 160.9, 161.4, 163.9, 176.4, 153.5, and 142.6, with a mean of 159.9. Estimated planetary A indices were 6, 6, 8, 4, 7, 25, and 17, with a mean of 10.4. The middle latitude A index was 11, 8, 12, 6, 8, 17, and 17, with a mean of 11.3.

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:

  • September 13 - 19 -- Tennessee W1AW/4

  • September 13 - 19 -- Colorado W1AW/0

  • September 20 - 26 -- Texas W1AW/5

  • September 20 - 26 -- Pennsylvania W1AW/3

  • September 20 - 26 -- New Hampshire W1AW/1

Upcoming Contests:
  • September 15 -- AGB NEMIGA Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • September 16 - 17 -- SARL VHF/UHF Digital Contest (digital)

  • September 16 - 17 -- ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest (CW, phone)

  • September 16 - 17 -- Scandinavian Activity Contest, CW (CW)

  • September 16 - 17 -- Iowa QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

  • September 16 - 17 -- Texas QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

  • September 16 -- Wisconsin Parks on the Air (CW, phone, digital)

  • September 16 - 17 -- New Jersey QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

  • September 16 - 17 -- New Hampshire QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

  • September 16 - 17 -- Washington State Salmon Run (CW, phone)

  • September 17 -- North American Sprint, RTTY (digital)

  • September 17 -- BARTG Sprint PSK63 Contest (PSK63)

  • September 18 -- RSGB FT4 Contest (FT4)

  • September 18 -- 144 MHz Fall Sprint (CW, phone, digital)

  • September 21 -- NAQCC CW Sprint (CW)

  • September 21 -- NTC QSO Party (CW)

Visit the ARRL Contest Calendar for more events and information.

Upcoming Section, State, and Division Conventions

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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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.

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