Letter 5/2017

WASHINGTON STATE HAM PLATES: It has come to our attention that some
folks attempting to renew their auto license Ham Plate have been having
problems. While I must admit I had no problem with mine, I’m told
that others have. EWA SM Mark Tharp, KB7HDX, has had a conversation
with DOL and obtained the following suggestions:

1. The best and possibly easiest way to reach us to update the FCC
license is to call the Customer Care Center at 360-902-3770. They will
forward an action request to the Special Plates Unit (that’s us!) and
we can look up the license to update for the customer.
2. The customer can email the Customer Care Center and request
assistance at this email address: CustomerCare@dol.wa.gov
3. The customer can take a copy of their updated FCC license to their
local licensing office to have the date updated. (ed. she did say the
sub agents may charge extra for this?)
4. The customer can send a copy of their updated FCC license with a
note asking to be updated to: CustomerCare@dol.wa.gov DOL does say
that the problem was a glitch in the migration of software, but will
eventually be corrected.

RUMORS, RUMORS AND MORE RUMORS: It always amazes me how rumors get
started, but moreover, how they get spread. Oh well, it seems that’s
the way of some humans.

The ARRL is reviewing three of its legacy programs, to see what can be
done to modernize them, so they are relevant considering today’s
communication needs; ARES, OO and NTS. At the moment, no decisions
have been made – in fact no recommendations have been brought forward
to the Board of Directors, that would alter any of the programs. Each
program has had a subcommittee assigned to do the research and make
suggestions. As soon as there are any changes, updates or
recommendations, We will let you know. In the meantime, all 3 programs
are still functioning – and quite well in the NW Division.

WASHINGTON DISTRACTED DRIVING BILL: As of this writing, the Bill has
passed out of the House and the Senate, with an exemption for Amateur
Radio, and is now on the Governor’s desk to be signed. Once signed,
the law will become effecting January of 2019.

I would like to thank SMs Mark Tharp and Monte Simpson, for spurring on
a real grass roots effort to preserve our privilege to operate our
mobile radios while in a moving vehicle. Be aware, though, we can
still be cited for distracted driving if we improperly operate our
vehicle while using our radios. Many thanks to your leaders and all
those who helped.

IN SPACE: NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) says a minor
(G1) geomagnetic storm watch remains in effect for April 24-26, due to
the continued influence of a large, recurrent, negative-polarity
coronal hole high-speed stream (CH HSS). A coronal hole is an area of
the Sun where the magnetic field folds back, and solar wind escapes.
This follows on the heels of an unexpected coronal mass ejection (CME)
impact on April 22.

Conditions on HF are no better than fair, with conditions on the higher
bands (17 through 10 meters) deemed poor. A G1 warning had been in
effect until 1500 UTC today.

The odds of a G1 storm are 50-50. The upside is that the CH HSS
increases the chances of auroral displays at lower-than-typical
latitudes. NOAA says migratory animals are affected at the G1 and
higher levels, and aurora is commonly visible at high latitudes
(northern Michigan and Maine).

A G1 storm can cause weak power grid fluctuations and possibly impact
satellite operations. According to NOAA, during storms, the currents in
the ionosphere, as well as the energetic particles that precipitate into
the ionosphere, add energy in the form of heat. This can increase the
density and distribution of density in the upper atmosphere, causing
extra drag on satellites in low-Earth orbit.

The local heating also creates strong horizontal variations in the
ionospheric density, which can modify the path of radio signals and
cause GPS errors. Geomagnetic storms can generate harmful geomagnetic
induced currents (GICs) in the power grid and in pipelines.

YOUNG HAM OF THE YEAR: Nominations for the 2017 Bill Pasternak/Amateur
Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year (YHOTY) will be accepted until May

Candidates for the award must be 18 or younger and reside in the US (or
its possessions) or Canada. Nominees must hold a valid Amateur Radio
license issued by the US or Canada.
A candidate needs to have accomplished something outstanding as an
Amateur Radio operator, whether by recruiting new hams, engaging in a
community service project, or helping to benefit Amateur Radio in other

The award presentation will be held at the Huntsville Hamfest on August
19, 2017. The Young Ham of the Year Award was created by Amateur Radio
Newsline founder Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF (SK). The 2016 YHOTY was Skyler
Fennell, KD0WHB, of Denver

NEW ENTRY LEVEL LICENSE? No, not really! However, the ARRL Board of
Directors has established an ad hoc committee to review the past 15
years, under the current licensing structure. Our own Vice Director,
Bonnie Altus – AB7ZQ, is a member of the committee.

A recent survey was taken of our membership, yielding over 8,000
responses – some positive and some not so positive. The committee is
reviewing the responses one-by-one and may bring some recommendations to
the July Board meeting.

Is there a chance for a new license class? Well, that is truly hard to
predict. Even if the Ham Community felt a new entry level license was
needed, the ultimate decision is of course, the FCC. Stay tuned for
more info.

Convention is almost here. ARRL Chief Executive Officer Tom Gallagher,
NY2RF (what a great call sign) will be in attendance. Tom is passionate
for Ham Radio and the future of the ARRL. Come visit him at the ARRL
booth, in Seaside.

PLACES TO GO: We are in the beginnings of the Ham Fest season, with
some big ones in the Northwestern Division coming up. Of course, the
Division Convention at Seaside, DX Convention in Spokane, Washington
State Convention in Spokane, APRS/Digital Summer Gathering, PNW VHF
Society Conference in Moses Lake and many more. For additional
information on these and others go to: www.n7cfo.com Where Lynn keeps
a great updated list of activities.

DON’T FORGET FIELD DAY: Did you know that the ARRL sponsors the
largest emergency test activity in the world? Indeed, it does!

Field Day is ham radio's open house. Every June, more than 40,000 hams
throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in
public places to demonstrate ham radio's science, skill and service to
our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency
preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single
event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the
most popular event in ham radio.

We welcome the public to come learn more about ham radio! Use our Field
Day Locator to search for a Field Day site near you.

Follow Field Day on Facebook and Twitter! ARRL has created a Field Day
event on Facebook, and you can also join the conversation by using the
hash tag #ARRLFD. Share your plans, tips and tricks to a successful
Field Day!

Don’t forget to list your Field Day site on the ARRL Field Day Site
Locator: http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator

73 and good Hamming

ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: James D Pace, K7CEX

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