ARRL Amateur Radio News

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The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the national association for amateur radio, connecting hams around the U.S. with news, information and resources.
Updated: 25 min 21 sec ago

Solar Flares Spark Radio Blackouts, Auroral Displays Possible

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 09:45

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has issued a strong (G3) geomagnetic storm watch for September 7 through September 9. The SWPC said the watch for September 7 remains in effect due to the arrival of a coronal mass ejection (CME) and the effects of a CME on September 4.

“Additionally, a G3 watch is now in effect for the 8 and 9 September UTC days in anticipation of the arrival of ano...

More Professional and Citizen Research Suggests Eclipse Briefly Affected HF Propagation

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 13:37

Both professional and citizen scientists conducted formal and informal investigations into the effect of the August 21 solar eclipse on HF radio propagation. Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, of HamSCI, has said it will take some time to get a more scientific analysis of data compiled during the Solar Eclipse QSO Party. Frissell and others are investigating whether the sudden absence of sunlight durin...

New “Pre-Release” Version of WSJT-X Includes FT8 Changes

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:36

A new “pre-release” version of WSJT-X now is available. This is the Amateur Radio digital software suite developed by Joe Taylor, K1JT, that includes the new FT8 mode, which has been catching on like wildfire. The September 2 release, WSJT-X version 1.8.0-rc2, fixes a number of issues, provides better performance, and offers some new features.

“Implementation of FT8 and its auto-sequencing featu...

Space Weather Prediction Center Upgrades Geomagnetic Storm Watch to G3 (Strong)

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 09:19

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has upgraded its geomagnetic storm watch for today and tomorrow (September 6 and 7) to G3 (Strong).

“The G3 Watch is in anticipation of the expected arrival of a coronal mass ejection (CME) that took place in association with an M5 flare,” the SWPC said. The Center said its current analysis and forecasts indicate that the CME will arrive late on Sept...

Solar Flux Takes One Giant Step

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 08:29

On Labor Day, the solar flux took a huge leap, from 120 to 183 from a day earlier. At 1300 UTC today, the solar flux was 144, and the sunspot number was 122. This bodes well for operation on the higher bands, with transequatorial propagation (TEP) a possibility on 12 and 10 meters as well as improved nighttime conditions on 20, 17, and 15 meters.

“The ionosphere will start cooling later this mon...

Amateur Radio Preparations Ramp Up as Irma Strengthens to Category 5

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 08:08

Hurricane Irma, making its way through the Caribbean with the possibility of affecting South Florida by week’s end, has, in the words of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), become “an extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane.” The NHC urged that hurricane preparations be rushed to completion in areas now under hurricane warnings.

As of 1800 UTC, Hurricane Irma was some 180 miles east of Antigua...

Hurricane Watch Net to Activate for Hurricane Irma

Mon, 09/04/2017 - 17:47

[UPDATED: 2017-09-05 @ 1200 UTC] The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has announced plans to activate for the now-Category 4 Hurricane Irma on Tuesday, September 5, at 1800 UTC on 14.325 MHz. The net will remain in continuous operation until further notice, continuing on 20 meters for as long as propagation allows, then switching to 40 meters, 7.268 MHz. If propagation dictates, the HWN will operate o...

Some Amateur Radio Preparations Under Way for Hurricane Irma

Mon, 09/04/2017 - 11:34

Amateur Radio emergency communication interests in the Caribbean are getting ready to respond as Hurricane Irma threatens the region. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that it’s already begun preparations in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. On its current forecast track, Irma also could impact the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the British Virgin Islands, Cuba, the Bahama...

FCC’s Updated Rules Governing Personal Radio Services Become Effective on September 28

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 14:55

The FCC recently adopted a comprehensive reorganization of and update to the rules governing the Personal Radio Services (PRS). These include a wide variety of wireless devices used by the general public for personal communication, including hand-held Family Radio Service (FRS) transceivers, radio-controlled models, Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), medical implant devices, and others.

In additio...

NASA Invites CubeSat Launch Initiative Applications

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 14:45

NASA has invited accredited education institutions, nonprofit organizations, and NASA centers to submit applications for the agency’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI). Applicants must submit proposals by November 21. Educational CubeSats often carry Amateur Radio payloads.

“The CSLI provides CubeSat developers with a low-cost pathway to conduct research in space that advances NASA’s strategic go...

Estonia, Kenya Join 60-Meter Club

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 14:31

Radio amateurs in Kenya and Estonia now have access to a 60-meter band as of September 1.

In Estonia, class A and B licensees will be able to use 5,351.5-5,366.5 kHz at a maximum of 15 W PEP. They also have the possibility of using the segment 5,370 to 5,450 kHz with a maximum power of 100 W, but only with special permission and for emergency communication.

Following a request from the Radio Soci...

The K7RA Solar Update

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 08:11

A new video from Dr. Skov:

Average daily sunspot numbers and solar flux declined this week (August 24-30). Average daily sunspot number went from 39.9 to 33.3, while average daily solar flux declined to 81.2 from 84.6.

Average planetary A index declined from 23.1 to 7.1, and average mid-latitude A index went from 18.6 to 7.4.

The latest forecast shows planetary A index...

Maritime Mobile Operation on LF May be a First for Amateur Radio

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 15:05

What began as a “let’s-see-if-we-can-do-this” effort resulted in successful Amateur Radio contacts on 475 kHz in early August by two Canadian operators aboard the sailing vessel Hakuna Matata off the coast of British Columbia. The accomplishment may be an Amateur Radio first. Mark Mattila, VA7MM, and Toby Haynes, VE7CNF, equipped Mattila’s 31-foot offshore-equipped Beneteau sloop with the gear ...

FCC Technological Advisory Council Investigating Technical Regulations

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 12:03

The FCC Technological Advisory Council (TAC) is looking into FCC technical regulations to determine if reforms or changes might be in order. Greg Lapin, N9GL, represents ARRL on the TAC and chairs the ARRL RF Safety Committee. The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) announced the TAC public inquiry (ET Docket 17-215), which seeks comments by October 30 regarding technical regulations...