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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
September 21, 2023
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


Celebrating 50 Years of the ARRL Foundation

Thursday, September 21, 2023, marks 50 years since the ARRL Foundation was formed. As a partner with ARRL, the ARRL Foundation stewards philanthropic support for amateur radio through scholarships, club grants, and other programs to ensure a strong and vibrant future for the amateur radio avocation.

The total assets of the nonprofit entity measured nearly $8M at its most recent annual audit, but it grew from humble beginnings. In September 1973, several members of the ARRL Board of Directors worked to establish the charity. Larry Shima, W0PAN, was the Director of the ARRL Dakota Division at the time and did a lot of work to get the Foundation started. Shima is very pleased with the Foundation's success, stating, "We started off with $1,000, and just look at it now!"

Shima says the original intent was to support future generations of radio amateurs. At the time, space and satellite communications were cutting-edge, and they were the focus of ARRL Foundation activities, though scholarships were also high on the list. "I was thrilled when I got the recent issue of QST that had the photos of the scholarship recipients in it. That is exactly what it was intended to do; we wanted to provide scholarships for young people," he said.

Gifts from generous donors support The ARRL Foundation, but it also works to help other charitable groups extend their reach. In an address to donors delivered over the summer, ARRL Foundation President David Norris, K5UZ, highlighted a recent grant the Foundation received. "The recent support the Foundation has received from Amateur Radio Digital Communications, or ARDC, has been transformational. We have been able to dramatically increase the funding of scholarships through their generosity and are working through a program of club grants, where more than $500,000 was distributed to clubs looking to take on new projects or sustain their organizations - and to share their learning with others," he told the crowd.

Shima was just 35 when the ARRL Foundation was formed. He is the only surviving founding member of the Foundation Board. Fifty years later, he believes that hams who have done well in life have an obligation to support amateur radio by giving generously to ARRL and the ARRL Foundation. Ongoing financial support enables ARRL to promote and protect amateur radio while the Foundation supports the future generations of hams.

That generous support will have a tangible reach. More than 100 scholarships, ranging from $500 to $25,000, will be awarded in 2024. Thank you to the many donors for making this work possible, and congratulations to the numerous scholarship recipients who have benefited from their generosity.

To learn more about the ARRL Foundation, please visit the Foundation website at To learn how to make amateur radio a part of your charitable giving, contact the ARRL Development Office at

Anna Gomez Confirmed as FCC Commissioner

The US Senate confirmed Anna Gomez as the fifth commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission on September 7, 2023.

Anna M. Gomez [National Telecommunications and Information Administration, photo]

Gomez thanked President Biden for the nomination and the Senate for her confirmation.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to serve," she said in a statement on her LinkedIn page.

Gomez is an attorney with decades of experience in domestic and international communications law and policy. She served for 12 years in various positions at the FCC, including Deputy Chief of the International Bureau and Senior Legal Advisor. She most recently served as a Senior Advisor for International Information and Communications Policy in the State Department's Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, where she has been leading US preparations for the month-long World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23) that will commence on November 20 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Steve Lang will replace Gomez as head of the US delegation to WRC-2023. Lang is a longtime state department official serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Information and Communications Policy. Lang has been working closely with Gomez on US WRC-2023 delegation preparations.

ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio® has represented the interests of US radio amateurs in preparation for the conference, and ARRL Technical Relations Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, has been appointed to the US delegation for WRC-23. ARRL also actively supports the work of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), which, as a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radiocommunication Sector, participates in conference preparatory work and whose representatives will also attend WRC-23 by invitation as observers in an advisory capacity.

Fair Season Puts Ham Radio on Exhibition

It is autumn across the United States, and with the season draws changing colors, pumpkin spice everything, and agricultural fairs. Many amateur radio clubs and groups use the fairs as an opportunity to get ham radio in front of new and curious audiences. In New England, The Big E is a multi-state fair in West Springfield, Massachusetts, from September 15 to October 1, 2023.

Greg Bonaguide, WA1VUG (left), Christy Bonaguide, KF4UXP (middle), with Ray Lajoie, AA1SE (right), Section Manager of the ARRL Western Massachusetts Section. [Section Manager of the ARRL Rhode Island Section, Nancy Austin, KC1NEK, photo.]

Order this radio communications banner for your club from the ARRL Store.

Located inside the Better Living Center is "Project Big E". It was conceived in 2021 by Larry Krainson, W1AST, and other members of the Hampden County Radio Association (HCRA), who envisioned a booth that would demonstrate the many aspects of modern ham radio and provide an avenue to sign up for information and courses in their local area.

This year's event includes an EmComm display; D-STAR and other digital mobile mode demonstrations; digital HF modes on a big screen; SSB, CW, and other digital modes, and demonstrations of portable stations for field operations like Parks on the Air and Summits on the Air. The exhibit will also highlight youth in ham radio.

The Project Big E booth (#103) is staffed 12 hours each day by 10 clubs and over 80 individuals from across New England. At the booth table there are two hand-made telegraph keys. Visitors are shown how to print and send their name in Morse code.

Amateur Radio in the News

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

"Cambridge amateur radio club off the air after equipment stolen, damaged" / CBC News (Canada) September 13, 2023 -- The Cambridge Amateur Radio Club.

"Caribou group wants to install the 1st ham radio tower between Caribou and St. John Valley" / Bangor Daily News (Maine) September 16, 2023 -- Caribou Emergency Amateur Radio Service.

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 Audio News (AAN) will now be aired on CS5LART, operated by the League of Amateur Radio Transmissions in Samouco, Portugal. The transmissions will air every Saturday at 12:15 PM local time on the league's system of repeaters and simplex stations. Thanks to Paulo Lobo, CT2GNH, and Paulo Pires, CT2GKS for sharing this information. AAN is now broadcast on more than 90 amateur radio repeaters, simplex stations, and low-power broadcast stations across the United States, Canada, and Italy. Also, the Colorado based SkyHubLink Repeater Linking System will be airing AAN Sunday afternoons at 12:00 MST beginning September 24, 2023, and possibly at other times during the week. Check the schedule at their website for additional air times. Thanks to Jack E. Roland, KE0VH, for the update.

In Brief...

ARRL was represented at the 2023 National Championship Air Races and Air Show for the "Final Flag at Reno."

Terry Griffin, NL7BI (left) visits with Steve Thompson, N7TX, at the ARRL booth at the final Reno Air Races. [Bob Miller, WA6MTY, photo.]

The Reno Air Races have been a tradition in Nevada since 1963 but will have a new home (location to be determined) in the future. Terry Griffin, NL7BI, and Bob Miller, WA6MTY, had a booth at the Reno-Stead Airport to greet race fans with a message about amateur radio. Steve Thompson, N7TX, a pilot and STOL Drag official, stopped in between races for a photo. STOL Drag combines a short takeoff and landing competition with a drag race. It has become increasingly popular in recent years as backcountry aviation rises in popularity, similar to the rise in outdoor operating seen in amateur radio through programs such as Parks on the Air.

Hal Stockman, foreground in the white Rans S-7 "Lawn Mower III", races Harry Beaupre in the yellow Kitfox in a STOL Drag race at the 2023 National Championship Air Races and Air Show.

Click here to see the full resolution image. [Karen Hansen, photo.]

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, reports for this week's ARRL Propagation Bulletin, ARLP038:

Nine new sunspot groups appeared this week, but the average daily

Solar disk image taken September 21, 2023. [Photo courtesy of NASA SDO/HMI]

sunspot numbers were lower.

A new sunspot group appeared every day on September 15 - 17; four more appeared on September 18, and one appeared each day on September 19 - 20, 2023.

The average daily sunspot numbers declined from 138.1 to 118.4, while the average daily solar flux declined from 159.9 to 149.3.

The autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is Friday, September 22, 2023. The change in seasons has been evident with improving conditions on 10 and 12 meters.

A fast-moving coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth on September 18, sparking dramatic displays of aurora across the northern tier of North America, and in Europe as far south as France.

Alaska's college A index was 49 and 61 on September 18 - 19, while the planetary A index was 30 and 49.

Predicted solar flux is 155, 152, 153, and 155 on September 21 - 24; 160 on September 25 - 27; 135 on September 28 - 30;130, 135, 130, and 135 on October 1 - 4; 140 on October 5 - 6; 135 on October 7 - 8; 140, 145, and 145 on October 9 - 11, 150, 150, 155, and 150 on October 12 - 15, and 155, 150, 145, and 145 on October 16 - 19.

Predicted planetary A index is 8 and 15 on September 21 - 22; 12 on September 23 - 26; 5, 8, 12, and 8 on September 27 - 30; 5 on October 1 - 11; 8 on October 12, and 5 on October 13 - 19.

Sunspot numbers for September 14 - 20, 2023, were 110, 96, 88, 94, 139, 143, and 159, with a mean of 118.4. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 145.2, 139.1, 140.4, 144.6, 154.5, 166.1, and 155.5, with a mean of 149.3. Estimated planetary A indices were 18, 7, 7, 16, 30, 49, and 16, with a mean of 20.4. Middle latitude A index was 13, 7, 5, 14, 21, 38, and 15, with a mean of 18.1.

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 20 - 26 -- Texas W1AW/5

  • September 20 - 26 -- Pennsylvania W1AW/3

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

  • September 27 - October 3 -- North Carolina W1AW/4

  • September 27 - October 3 -- Connecticut W1AW/1

  • September 27 - October 3 -- Nevada W1AW/7

Upcoming Contests:
  • September 23 - 24 -- CQ Worldwide DX Contest, RTTY (digital)

  • September 23 - 24 -- Maine QSO Party (CW, phone)

  • September 23 -- AGCW VHF/UHF Contest (CW)

  • September 23 -- Masonic Lodges on the Air (phone)

  • September 24 -- UBA ON Contest, 6m CW (phone)

  • September 26 - 222 MHz Fall Sprint (CW, phone, digital)

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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