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Club News

ARRL Club News
April 19, 2022
Editor: Michael Walters, W8ZY


Spring Has Sprung

Spring is here and some of the COVID gathering restrictions are being eased. That means that we can expect to see more folks at hamfests and events. I am personally excited to be going to Dayton this year. I have been a ham for 45 years, growing up in West Virginia and hearing about Dayton all this time and this is my first ever trip there. I can't wait. I will be at the ARRL Clubs booth, and I invite everyone to stop by and say hello. We have a lot of things to talk about, including the new ARRL Foundation Club Grants Program that's launching at the end of April, the new Club Health Checkup, and a new column in QST that will allow us to spotlight clubs doing good work for the club and their community. Spring is a time of renewal and refresh. Let's all think about just how we can be the change that we want to see.

Stockton-Delta Amateur Radio Club Participates in Lincoln Unified School District "World of STEAM" Expo

The Stockton-Delta Amateur Radio Club (SDARC) was invited to participate in the 2022 World of STEAM Expo at Lincoln High School on Saturday March 26, 2022. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. "It's an acronym for the technical curriculums students use to explore the world around them," said STEAM organizer Brent Fuji. "The Stockton-Delta Amateur Radio Club has been a big supporter, and their demonstrations are a big hit with the students." This was the third STEAMFest that SDARC has been involved with. The first was held in 2019, then the 2022 event was cancelled and offered virtually in 2021. So, 2022 was the first year back in person since the start of the pandemic.

Club members, assisted by ARRL San Joaquin Valley Section Manager John Litz, NZ6Q, set up 4 separate tables for different opportunities to interact with students and explain amateur radio and its connection to STEAM and technical careers. Bob Schuldheisz, K6DGQ, demonstrated CW and Morse code with 8-year-old Collin (license coming soon). Well over 100 elementary and middle school students were able to learn their names in Morse Code and practiced on code oscillators that were made available by club members.

Dave Voit, WB6TOU; Paul Engelman, N6KZW; Joyce Marciel, K6QBQ, and others, launched a high-altitude balloon from the high school parking lot at the start of the event. The balloon carried a payload of both a 20-meter WSPR and 2-meter APRS transmitters to an altitude of 42,000 feet, sending back real-time location data that was then displayed on a large monitor at the demonstration table. Students could also watch a video documenting the balloon's construction and usefulness.

SDARC Club President Mark Cloud, W6SXA, demonstrated software-defined Receivers (SDRs) and the difference between indoor and outdoor antenna systems, while showing students the huge range of radio users across the HF, VHF, and UHF spectrums.

John Litz, NZ6Q and 13-year-old Shane Lewis, K5SML, demonstrated HF propagation and how fun it is to contact other hams. Using FT8 and a mobile antenna, it showcased how quickly one could connect with an amateur radio operator in countries around the world. Students also got to make contacts on the local W6SF and WB6ASU repeaters.

Throughout the 4-hour event, hundreds of students listened; got on the radio; asked questions; and entered the club's drawing for books, donated Field Day swag, and three SDR receivers students could connect to their own laptop or computer and explore the bands. Email addresses from the raffle tickets will be used in future to invite students to get their Technician-Class licenses.

Using Phonetics to Improve Communications

Doug Mansor, WA8UWV, PCARS

If you've been a ham for a few years, you are probably aware of the phonetic alphabet and have used it or at least have heard it being used on the air. As a new ham, you might have encountered the phonetic alphabet while studying for the test but stashed it away in the back of your mind for later study if needed.

The phonetic alphabet we useh as hams is sometimes referred to as the NATO phonetic alphabet, and is considered the standard for general use on the air. It consists of words that represent corresponding letters of the alphabet. It is important to use this standard to prevent being misunderstood on the air, such as when giving your call sign, location, or name to a rare DX station or any station under noisy conditions.

It may be fun to create a unique set of phonetics to represent your call sign, but that is not likely to improve communication. When the standard phonetics are used, you will eventually learn to associate that word with the corresponding letter. It's the same mechanism that is used to interpret Morse code. Instead of thinking of "dit dit dah dit" as the letter "F," you simply hear "F" when that code is presented. So, instead of hearing the word "bravo," you would actually hear the letter "B." If the other station uses nonstandard words to represent the letters in their call sign, you would have to take the time to think how each word is spelled and then what the first letter is. By the time you have accomplished all that, you will have missed the next two words (letters). For example, my call is WA8UWV. If I say, "Whiskey Alpha Eight Uniform Whiskey Victor," it would be readily understood. If I say, "We all ate ugly white vegetables," it would take a while to translate.

When checking into a net, the Net Control Station (NCS) is often required to report the call signs of stations reporting in. If a letter of the reporting station's call is misinterpreted, the NCS report will be incorrect. In regard to the Platinum Coast Amateur Radio Society (PCARS) net, where ten check-ins for each week in a row will entitle you to a certificate, an error in reporting your call might cause a disqualification.

How easy is it for a letter to be misunderstood? I have often mistaken similar sounding letters.

As an example, the following groups of letters tend to sound similar.


This group of letters tend to have unique sounds and are less likely to be mistaken.

Unique Sounding: FHLMNOR

As you can see, more letters have the potential to be mistaken than not. The results are highly dependent on the enunciation practiced by the speaker and radio conditions.

Nashua Area Radio Society Online Ham Bootcamp

The Nashua Area Radio Society (NARS) will be holding an online Ham Bootcamp on Saturday, May 14, 2022. The program will be held via Zoom video conferencing, and is available to new hams across the country. The NARS Ham Bootcamp was created to help new, inactive, or prospective hams learn the skills needed to build their first station and get on the air. Experienced hams who are looking to enhance their club's mentoring programs are also welcome to attend.

Spring 2022 Ham Bootcamp will be held on Saturday, May 14, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM Eastern Time. The morning session will focus on Technician-level activities, and the afternoon session will focus on HF activities for General-class or higher licensees. New this year, will be a breakout session where attendees will have a choice between three different sessions.

Here is the agenda:

Repeaters and VHF/UHF Session Activities

  • Putting Together a Station for Repeaters - How to pick an HT or Mobile Radio and an Antenna
  • Making Contacts and Joining a Repeater Net
  • Radio Programming Tutorial
  • Getting Started with Amateur Radio Satellites
  • Getting Started with FoxHunting

 Jamey Explains HF Station BuildingHF Session Activities

  • Putting Together an HF Station for SSB, CW, and Digital
  • Picking and Putting up an HF Antenna, Feedlines, and Grounds
  • Operating on the HF Bands Using SSB Voice
  • Getting Started with WSJT-X and FT8 Digital

Breakout Session

The final session of the day will be a breakout session where attendees will choose to attend one of the following three sessions:

  • Learning CW
  • Finding DX, Logging Contacts, and QSL'ing - Getting them Logged/Confirmed
  • Portable Operating

Registration is now open for the May 14th session. You can get more information about Ham Bootcamp at

Contact Anita Kemmerer, AB1QB, at with any Ham Bootcamp questions.

New License Fee Information

The new application fee structure for amateur radio licenses goes into effect on April 19, 2022. ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, has addressed what this means and explained the new programs in an ARRL news article, at

The FCC has clarified that the fees will not apply to license upgrades. You can find more information on this at

I was happy to see that local VE teams will not be collecting this new fee, and that the FCC will handle that entirely.

Stay tuned for more information on the ARRL Youth Licensing Grant Program. Under this program, ARRL will cover a one-time $35 application fee for license candidates younger than 18 years old to cover tests administered under the auspices of the ARRL VEC. Qualified candidates would also pay a reduced exam session fee of $5 to the ARRL VEC. ARRL is finalizing details for administering the program.

ARRL Benefits Include Answers to Your Questions

The ARRL Technical Information Service (TIS) and ARRL Lab complete some of the most important support for ARRL members, as well as for the benefit of all radio amateurs. The TIS is a member's resource for technical problems, understanding the fine points, and getting tips for your projects.

Watch this introduction to the ARRL Lab and summary of services, featuring ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI. Watch Video Now

Ed and his team do amazing work for ARRL members every day and are available if you need help. For more information, check out the TIS web page. If you are not an ARRL member and would like to learn more about membership benefits, click here.

Submitting Information for this Newsletter

ARRL Club News is for radio clubs to show how they are working in the ham community to advance amateur radio. If your club builds a project, supports an event, completes an EmComm activation, or activates a park, we want to hear about it. You can submit your newsletter article to us at We prefer to receive text or Word files. If you have pictures, please submit them with caption information, as well as the name and call sign of the photographer.

We want to highlight the good work being done by clubs to show others in the community. Think of this as a chance to show off your club and your programs. You will find the ARRL Author Guide, as well as answers to many of your questions, at

How to Plan and Apply for an ARRL Hamfest or Convention

If your amateur radio club is planning to host a convention, hamfest, tailgate, or swapfest, please consider applying for ARRL-sanctioned status for your event. To learn what it means to be an ARRL sanctioned event, and to get some ideas on how to prepare for and conduct a hamfest or convention, visit

To apply for ARRL-sanctioned status for your event, log on to

The ARRL Hamfests and Conventions Calendar can be found online at In addition, the Convention and Hamfest Calendar that runs in QST each month also presents information about upcoming events.

Important Links

ARRL Home:

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Find a License Class in your area:

Find a License Exam in your area:

Find a Hamfest or Convention:

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