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Amateur Radio Sessions Set for 2019 National Hurricane Conference
National Hurricane Center (NHC) Director Ken Graham, WX4KEG, will kick off the opening session, discussing the importance of Amateur Radio surface conditions reporting. Bob Robichaud, VE1MBR, of the Canadian Hurricane Centre will talk on hurricane meteorology and offer a brief overview of the Centre. A presentation by ARRL Virgin Islands Section Manager Fred Kleber, K9VV, will focus on the response and recovery of the US Virgin Islands in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria.
In the second session, NHC Assistant Amateur Radio Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R, will discuss operations of NHCs WX4NHC. Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, will be on hand to explain how the HWN functions in hurricane response situations. Hell also talk about personal weather stations and backup power. ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY, will talk about the VoIP Hurricane Net and best practices in SKYWARN for tropical systems.
National Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) Liaison Bill Feist, WB8BZH, will describe SATERN and its health-and-welfare role in hurricanes.Plans call for recording and live-streaming all presentations via YouTube. Visit www.nsradio.org/stream or or the VoIP WX Net website for more details.
Solar Cycle 25 Peak Predicted to be Similar to Cycle 24, But Experts Predict A Long, Deep Solar Minimum
"We expect Solar Cycle 25 will be very similar to cycle 24: Another fairly weak cycle, preceded by a long, deep minimum," said panel co-chair Lisa Upton, a solar physicist with Space Systems Research Corp. "The expectation that Cycle 25 will be comparable in size to Cycle 24 means that the steady decline in solar cycle amplitude, seen from cycles 21 - 24, has come to an end and that there is no indication that we are currently approaching a Maunder-type minimum in solar activity."
The solar cycle prediction gives a rough idea of the frequency of space weather storms of all types, from radio blackouts to geomagnetic storms and solar radiation storms. In addition to its effects on Amateur Radio signal propagation, space weather can affect power grids; critical military, airline, and shipping communications; satellites and GPS signals, and can even threaten astronauts through exposure to harmful radiation.
Solar Cycle 24 reached its maximum in April 2014, with a peak average of 82 sunspots. The sun's northern hemisphere led the sunspot cycle, peaking more than 2 years ahead of the southern hemisphere sunspot peak. Given that the sun takes 11 years to complete one solar cycle, this is only the fourth time that US scientists have issued a solar cycle prediction. The first panel convened in 1989 for cycle 22.
For Solar Cycle 25, the panel hopes for the first time to predict the presence, amplitude, and timing of any differences between the northern and southern hemispheres on the sun, known as hemispheric asymmetry. Later this year, the panel will release an official sunspot number curve showing the predicted number of sunspots during any given year and any expected asymmetry. The panel will also look into the possibility of providing a solar flare probability forecast.
"While we are not predicting a particularly active Solar Cycle 25, violent eruptions from the sun can occur at any time," said Doug Biesecker, panel co-chair and a solar physicist at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC).
ARRL and FCC Sign Memorandum to Implement New Volunteer Monitor Program
We are excited by the opportunity to codify our partnership with the FCC and to work together to achieve our mutual interests of protecting the integrity of our Amateur Radio bands, said ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR. This Memorandum of Understanding will serve as the foundation for a new level of partnership on this very important issue.
ARRL has contracted with retired FCC special counsel and former Atlantic Division Vice Director Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, to oversee the ARRLs role in the development and implementation of the Volunteer Monitor program.
Approved by the ARRL Board of Directors at its July 2018 meeting, the new Volunteer Monitor program is a formal agreement between the FCC and ARRL in which volunteers trained and vetted by the ARRL will monitor the airwaves and collect evidence that can be used both to correct misconduct or recognize exemplary on-air operation. Cases of flagrant violations will be referred to the FCC by the ARRL for action in accordance with FCC guidelines.
The intent of this program is to re-energize enforcement efforts in the Amateur Radio bands. It was proposed by the FCC in the wake of several FCC regional office closures and a reduction in field staff.
Under this program, the FCC will give enforcement priority to cases developed by the Volunteer Monitor program, without the delay of ARRL having to refer cases through the FCC online complaint process, Hollingsworth said. Hollingsworth has identified three phases to the program: Development, Solicitation and Training, and Implementation.
The Development phase will
include drafting a mission statement, clearly defining the ARRLs
and FCCs requirements and needs as part of the program, writing
a job description for volunteer monitors, and developing a training
manual for volunteers.
ARRL officials estimate that within 6 to 9 months the first Volunteer Monitors will be in place and ready to begin their duties.
Now We Wait.....
Technician Enhancement Proposal
"This action will enhance the available license operating privileges in what has become the principal entry-level license class in the Amateur Service," ARRL said in its Petition. "It will attract more newcomers to Amateur Radio, it will result in increased retention of licensees who hold Technician Class licenses, and it will provide an improved incentive for entry-level licensees to increase technical self-training and pursue higher license class achievement and development of communications skills."
Specifically, ARRL proposes to provide present and future Technician licensees:
- Phone privileges at 3.900 to 4.000 MHz, 7.225 to 7.300 MHz, and 21.350 to 21.450 MHz
- RTTY and digital privileges in current Technician allocations on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters.
Under the ARRL plan, the maximum HF power level for Technician operators would remain at 200 W PEP. ARRL's petition points to the need for compelling incentives not only to become a radio amateur in the first place, but then to upgrade and further develop skills.
The ARRL Board's ad hoc Entry-Level License Committee, which recommended the proposals, received significant input from ARRL members via more than 8,000 survey responses.
Now numbering some 384,500 licensees, Technicians comprise more than half of the US Amateur Radio population. ARRL stressed in its petition the urgency of making the license more attractive to newcomers, in part to improve upon science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, "that inescapably accompanies a healthy, growing Amateur Radio Service."
ARRL said its proposal is critical to develop improved operating skills, increasing emergency preparedness participation, improving technical self-training, and boosting overall growth in the Amateur Service, which has remained nearly inert at about 1% per year.
History: A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL
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