CQ Newsroom

Past ARRL / IARU President Larry Price, W4RA, SK

The ARRL reports that Larry Price, W4RA, President Emeritus of both the ARRL and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) has become a Silent Key at age 85.

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Price spent most of his career teaching economics and finance at Georgia Southern University. After retirement, the school named him Professor Emeritus and emeritus head of the Department of Finance and Law.

In amateur radio, Price first joined the ARRL board of directors in 1973 as Southeastern Division Vice Director. He then became director, vice president and first vice president before being elected president in 1984. He held the post until 1992, serving simultaneously in the last three years as secretary of the IARU. Price was eleced IARU president in 1999 and served in that post for 10 years. Following his retirement in 2009, Larry was named IARU President Emeritus. The ARRL followed suit two years later. In 2014, Price was honored by the Dayton Hamvention as its Amateur of the Year.

Price was pre-deceased by his wife, Barbara Ann, and is survived by their three children and several grandchildren.

FCC Proposes Phasing Out Paper Applications

The FCC has proposed requiring electronic submissions for all filings to the Universal Licensing System (ULS), including amateur radio license applications, modifications, etc. 

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in early September is part of a broader plan to eliminate paper filings and correspondence of all types that involve ULS, according to the ARRL. Many types of filings are already required to be done electroni- cally, but hams have been exempted until now. 

The FCC says it currently receives some 5000 manually-filed ULS applications each year out of a total of approximately 425,000 (1.2%). The Commission said it doubted that anyone still lacks access to a computer or the internet, and was seeking comments on its proposal to mandate all-electronic filing.

France Backs Down on 2-Meter Proposal

When the World Radiocommuni- cation Conference (WRC-19) convenes in Egypt in late October, France's proposal to study additional spectrum space for the Aeronautical Mobile Service will not include 144-146 MHz. The 2-meter amateur band segment had been part of the original French proposal, but it was removed under intense pressure from the International Amateur Radio Union and national amateur radio societies around the world, according to the ARRL. In addition, the 47-47.2 GHz amateur band has been removed from a study proposal for additional spectrum needs for 5G wireless.
WRC-19 will consider a proposal to permit amateurs in Europe, Africa and the Middle East to operate on 50-52 MHz on a secondary basis.

Hamvention to Stay in Xenia for at Least 5 More Years

The Dayton Amateur Radio Association says it has signed an agreement to keep the Dayton Hamvention® at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center for at least the next five years. 
Hamvention General Chairman Jack Gerbs, WB8SCT, said the agreement will allow DARA and the Expo Center to "move forward with additional enhancements to the facilities." That would most likely include a new building to replace the two large tents that continue to house several commercial exhibitors. The timetable for constructing that new building was reportedly a sticking point in the negotiations, according to CQ sources. 
Hamvention moved to the Greene County Fairgrounds three years ago, after the closure of its longtime home at Hara Arena.

FlexRadio and Raytheon Team Up for Air Force HF Project

FlexRadio Systems and Raytheon are working jointly on a project to bring software-defined HF radio to the U.S. Air Force. The $36 million project will use the architecture of the Flex-6000 Smart SDR software to develop SDRs for use in airborne HF communications platforms.

In a joint news release, FlexRadio CEO Gerald Youngblood, K5SDR, said, “Our partnership brings together the vast resources and experience of Raytheon in airborne tactical communications systems with FlexRadio’s commercial off-the-shelf high frequency Software Defined Radios to deliver a modular, extensible, and flexible communications platform for the warfighter."
Youngblood also predicted that the company's amateur products would benefit from its work with Raytheon and the Air Force. "Throughout FlexRadio's history," he said, "commercial amateur products have been leveraged into defense products, which in turn, have been leveraged back into commercial products. We are certain that these efforts will cycle back again."
The FlexRadio/Raytheon team is one of two groups participating in the development project. After approximately two years, one of the groups will be selected to produce the new Air Force radios.

Homebrew Heroes Award

Three co-hosts of the iCQ podcast have started a program to recognize excellence in homebrew building among hams. Frank Howell, K4FMH; Martin Butler, M1MRB; and Colin Butler, M6BOY, have created the Homebrew Heroes Award to "identify and highlight those whose technical creativity has made a clear impact on the hobby." There are no applications for the award; recipients will be selected by an anonymous selection committee based on their impact on amateur radio.

Howell said the group had noticed that many homebrewers are working with antiquated equipment. Therefore, they sought out sponsors who are willing to donate modern test and construction equipment to the winners. As of presstime, sponsors include Diligent, Inc., Siglent Technologies, MFJ Enterprises and Heil Sound.
An announcement of the first Homebrew Hero is expected in October.

Former Cushcraft President Glen Whitehouse, K1GW, SK

Glen Whitehouse, K1GW.
(Photo courtesy Dave Mackey, K1KA)Glen Whitehouse, K1GW, former president of Cushcraft Antennas, became a Silent Key in September at age 76 after a long battle with cancer.

A ham for more than 60 years, Whitehouse brought several very successful lines of antennas to Cushcraft, including the Boomer line of VHF/UHF Yagis and the Skywalker X7 and X9 HF antennas. On the air, Glen was a CW enthusiast and avid contester on both HF and VHF. An early member of the Yankee Clipper Contest Club, he became active in the Raleigh Amateur Radio Society (RARS) after retiring to North Carolina from his previous home in Amherst, New Hampshire.

He served on many ARRL advisory committees, including the early no-code licensing advisory committee. In recent years, Glen taught himself software programming and homebrewed several software defined radios (SDRs). 
-Tnx Dave Mackey, K1KA

Mike Baxter's Office Makeover

Mike Baxter, KA0XTT's, new office on the "Last Man Standing"
TV show. Note the prominently displayed Worked All Zones
certificate! (Photos courtesy John Amodeo, AA6JA/"Last Man Standing")If you're a fan of the "Last Man Standing" TV show – whose lead character, Mike Baxter, is portrayed as a ham– you may notice that his office has gotten a makeover when the program begins it eighth season in January. That's because, as Producer John Amodeo, AA6JA, explains, Mike will become head of the "Outdoor Man" chain of stores this season, and John felt his office needed to have a more business-like look.

Don't worry, the ham station is still there and still prominent, but the QSL cards have been replaced by additional certificates testifying to the on-air prowess of KA0XTT, a fictional call sign. If you aren't familiar with the show, Baxter is played by Tim Allen, who has a ham license in real life (KK6OTD). Cast member Jet Jurgensmeyer, who plays Mike's grandson, Boyd, holds a ham license as well (KE0UWZ), as do several members of the show's production staff. "Last Man Standing" airs on Thursday nights at 8 PM eastern on Fox.

STEVE Puts on a Labor Day Show Over Canada

Have you met STEVE? Steve isn't a person, but rather a mysterious light in the sky that sometimes
The violet streamer in this photo is a STEVE (Strong Thermal
Emission Velocity Enhancement) seen over Canada on
September5. The green streamer is an auroral display.The two are
different even though they sometimes occur in tandem.
. (Photo by Chris Lahoda, via Spacewather.com)accompanies aurora, but isn't an auroral display itself. STEVE stands for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement and, according to Spaceweather.com, "(t)he phenomenon is caused by hot (3000°C) ribbons of gas flowing through Earth's magnetosphere at speeds exceeding 6 km/s (13,000 mph). These ribbons appear during some geomagnetic storms, revealing themselves by their soft purple glow." The source, it says may be "(m)agnetic explosions called 'substorms' more than 22,000 km above Earth's surface (that) hurl streams of hot plasma toward Earth. When the material reaches an altitude ~250 km above Earth's surface, it begins to emit a mauve light."
Several STEVE sightings were reported and photographed in Canada over Labor Day weekend during an auroral event linked to a geomagnetic storm.

ARRL Seeks New Limits on HF Digital Communications

After an unsuccessful attempt to find common ground among proponents and opponents of more liberalized rules for automatically controlled digital stations (ACDS) on the HF ham bands, the ARRL board of directors instructed its Washington Counsel to request specific rule changes from the FCC. According to the ARRL Letter, these would include:
    - Removing the current 300-baud rate limitation, subject to certain conditions, but limit the bandwidth of all digital mode signals below 29 MHz to 2.8 kHz, the approximate bandwidth of an SSB voice signal;    - Permitting ACDS operation only in designated subbands; and requiring all digital-mode signals with bandwidths greater than 500 Hz to operate in these subbands as well; and     - Making clear that the ARRL favors the continued prohibition against encrypting amateur signals "for the purpose of obscuring their meaning."
In a related action, ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, reactivated the board's dorman HF Band Planning Committee in order "to more effectively address HF digital technology issues." The six-member committee is chaired by ARRL First Vice President Greg Widins, K0GW.

ARRL Updates Online Emergency Communication Courses

The ARRL has introduced a revised and updated version of its online "Introduction to Emergency Communications" course (EC-001). The course may now be taken with or without a mentor, and is available at no cost to any member of ARES, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service. Also updated is EC-016 for EmComm leaders, "Public Service and Emergency Communications Management for Radio Amateurs."

League Rescinds Censure and Bans Robot Contacts

Among other actions at its July meeting, the ARRL board of directors rescinded a 2017 censure of Southwestern Division Director Dick Norton, N6AA. Norton had been accused of violating the League's so-called "code of conduct" for directors by allegedly criticizing the board's decision to adopt the code, which has now itself been rescinded.
The board also approved a motion to require that all contacts claimed for credit in ARRL contests and the DXCC program must have a human operator at both ends to initiate the contact. This means that contacts by or with fully automated stations will not count for ARRL contest or DXCC credit.

Stranded Hams Use Satellite to Call for Help

When Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, and his father, Jack, AC5DI, headed out on a griDXpedition in the Texas desert, they didn't realize the hams listening for them would also help get them resuced. According to Newsline and the AMSAT News Service, Clayton and Jack were crossing the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend National Park, en route to activate rare grid DL88jx in late August when their pickup truck got stuck in mud. Temperatures in the remote area often go above 110 degrees Fahrenheit and there is no cell phone service. 

Park rangers respond to help get W5PFG and AC5DI's
truck out of the mud in a remote area of Big Bend
National Park in Texas. (W5PFG photo via AMSAT.org)Clayton used a pass by the AO-92 satellite to call for help, relaying specifics - including their exact location - to Kevin Zari, KK4YEL, in Florida. Several monitoring hams called park headquarters and within two hours, rangers arrived to rescue Clayton, Jack and their truck. There were no injuries or damage. (For more on operating from Big Bend National Park, see this month's the October 2019 VHF-Plus column. - ed.)

More Ham Involvement Urged in Animal Evacuations

A California civil grand jury has recommended greater use of amateur radio in animal evacuation efforts during wildfires and other emergencies. 

According to an account in the Lake County Record-Bee, the panel generally applauded the Lake Evacuation and Animal Protection (LEAP) program, but called for more phone lines to the county's animal control department, a Facebook page that would let animal owners coordinate ad-hoc animal transports and that "amateur radio operators who volunteer with LEAP already be utilized for their powerful radios."
Civil grand juries in California and several other states provide judicial oversight of local government operations. According to the Lake County government web page, "the goal of the Civil Grand Jury is to … review the work of the county, cities, schools …  and other local agencies to determine whether they can be made more efficient, effective and responsive to the needs of our community."