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Propagation Forecast Bulletin 8 Mar. 17, 2017/DX Bulletin 11 Mar. 16. 2017 

ARLP011 Propagation de K7RA
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 11  ARLP011
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA  March 17, 2017
To all radio amateurs
ARLP011 Propagation de K7RA
There haven't been any sunspots since March 3, other than March 5,
when one sunspot appeared for only one day.  Also, solar flux values
have recently dipped below 70, for the first time since the other
side of this solar cycle.
Solar flux appears at 70 over the past week:
But this is an approximation.  Resolved to 0.10, you can see that it
is dipping lower:
You want to look at the Observed Flux column.
Average daily sunspot number dropped from 14.1 to zero.  Average
daily solar flux went from 74.3 to 70.3.
Average daily planetary A Index quieted from 20.9 to 8.1, while
average mid-latitude A index went from 15 to 6.4.
Predicted solar flux is 71 on March 17, 72 on March 18 to 20, 73 on
March 21, 74 on March 22 and 23, 76 on March 24 and 25, 74 on March
26 to 29, 72 on March 30 through April 3, and 70 on April 4 to 9.
Predicted planetary A index is 10 and 8 on March 17 and 18, 5 on
March 19 and 20, then 8, 10, 8 and 8 on March 21 to 24, 5 on March
25 to 27, then 35, 30, 20, 18, 15, 20 and 15 on March 28 through
April 3, 12 on April 4 and 5, 10 and 5 on April 6 and 7, then 8 on
April 8 to 13, 12 and 10 on April 14 and 15, 5 on April 16 and 17,
then 10, 15 and 8 on April 18 to 20, and 5 on April 21 to 23.
F. K. Janda, OK1HH of the Czech Propagation Interest Group sent us
this geomagnetic activity forecast for the period March 17 to April
12, 2017.
"Geomagnetic field will be:
Quiet on March 26, April 6 and 7, 9 and 10
Mostly quiet on March 21, April 5, 11
Quiet to unsettled March 22, (27,) April 1 and 2, 4
Quiet to active on March 17 to 20, (23 to 25,) 28, 31, April (8, 12)
Active to disturbed on March 29 and 30, (April 3)
Amplifications of the solar wind from coronal holes are expected on
March (18 to 22,) 23 to 27, April (3 to 8,) 14 to ?
- Parenthesis means lower probability of activity enhancement and/or
lower reliability of prediction."
Jon, N0JK wrote on March 16:
"There was a 6 meter Es opening last Friday March 10.
It was open from Florida to W1, W2, and W3 between 1600 and 1800z.
The W3DOG/b was spotted in Florida.
W3DOG/B  17/03/10 1717Z  50071.1 fm28<>el87 woof woof   KD4ESV
W3DOG/B  17/03/10 1625Z  50071.0 FM28 589 IN FL EL87    WX4G
This is the second Es opening for the month of March, 2017."
Later, he wrote: "Potential for aurora March 28 and 29."
The National Science Foundation will abandon an historic solar
observatory in October, but New Mexico State University with take
charge and sustain it:
The vernal equinox is very close!  The days and weeks before and
after are always a good time for HF propagation, and it is on March
20, this coming Monday.
A study on sunspot number re-calibration:
Also, here is a piece on solar cycles suggesting that the next cycle
may be larger than the current solar cycle:
For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL
Technical Information Service at
numbers used in this bulletin, see
An archive of past propagation bulletins is at
information and tutorials on propagation are at http://k9la.us/.
Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve
overseas locations are at http://arrl.org/propagation.
Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL
bulletins are at http://arrl.org/bulletins.
Sunspot numbers for March 9 through 15, 2017 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,
and 0, with a mean of 0.  10.7 cm flux was 71.2, 71, 70, 70.1, 70.3,
69.6, and 69.8, with a mean of 70.3.  Estimated planetary A indices
were 15, 12, 6, 9, 3, 5, and 7, with a mean of 8.1.  Estimated
mid-latitude A indices were 10, 14, 4, 7, 2, 3, and 5, with a mean
of 6.4.
ARLD011 DX news
DX Bulletin 11  ARLD011
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  March 16, 2017
To all radio amateurs
ARLD011 DX news
This week's bulletin was made possible with information provided by
XE3N, QRZ DX, the OPDX Bulletin, 425 DX News, The Daily DX, DXNL,
Contest Corral from QST and the ARRL Contest Calendar and WA7BNM web
sites.  Thanks to all.
MAURITIUS, 3B8.  Nigel, G3TXF is QRV as 3B8/G3TXF until March 21.
This includes being an entry in the Russian DX contest.  Activity is
on the HF bands, including the newer bands, using mostly CW.  QSL to
home call.
UGANDA, 5X.  Anton, ON6NL is QRV as 5X8C from Entebbe.  His length
of stay is unknown.  Activity is on various HF bands.  QSL to home
NEPAL, 9N.  Kazik, SP6AXW is QRV as 9N7XW until March 31.  Activity
is holiday style on the HF bands.  QSL to home call.  In addition, a
group of operators are QRV as 9N7EI until March 20.  Their activity
is on 80 to 10 meters.  QSL via M0OXO.
and Frank, DL7UFR are QRV as EA9/home calls from Melilla until March
22.  Activity is on 160 to 10 meters using CW, SSB, RTTY and PSK31
with two stations active simultaneously.  QSL via DL7DF.
NORTHERN IRELAND, GI.  Stations GB1SPD and GB5SPD are QRV until
March 18 to celebrate St Patrick's Day.  QSL via bureau.
JERSEY, GJ.  Kazu, M0CFW is QRV as MJ0CFW.  He will be active as
MJ5Z in the Russian DX contest.  QSL via operator's instructions.
NORWAY, LA.  Special event station LA1742K is QRV until the end of
2017 to commemorate the 275th anniversary of the city of
Kristiansund.  QSL via LA6K.
BULGARIA, LZ.  Special event station LZ139LO is QRV during March to
commemorate Bulgaria's liberation 139 years ago.  QSL via LZ1KCP.
SINT MAARTEN, PJ7.  Ed, WA1ZAM will be QRV as PJ7PL from March 18 to
April 3.  Activity will be on 30 to 10 meters using SSB and RTTY.
This includes being an entry in the upcoming CQ World Wide WPX SSB
contest.  QSL to home call.
BANGLADESH, S2.  A large group of operators are QRV as S21ZED and
S21ZEE until March 27.  Activity is on 160 to 10 meters using CW,
SSB and RTTY.  This includes being active in the Russian DX contest,
and as S21ZEE as a Multi Op entry in the upcoming CQ World Wide WPX
SSB contest.  QSL via operators' instructions.
TUVALU, T2.  Jacek, SP5EAQ and Marek, SP7DQR are QRV as T2AQ and
T2QR, respectively, until April 4.  Activity is on 80 to 10 meters
using SSB and CW, respectively.  QSL via SP7DQR.  In addition, Tim,
NL8F will be QRV as T2TT from March 23 to April 13.  Activity will
be on various HF bands using SSB and digital modes.  This includes
being an entry in the upcoming CQ World Wide WPX SSB contest.  QSL
via N7RO.
EUROPEAN RUSSIA, UA.  Special event station RY83HN is QRV until
April 2 in celebration of the 83rd International Festival of the
North from Murmanskaya Oblast.  QSL via operators' instructions.
ST. KITTS AND NEVIS, V4.  John, W5JON and Cathy, W5HAM are QRV as
V47JA and V47HAM, respectively, from Calypso Bay until April 5.
Activity is on 160 to 6 meters, including 60 meters, using SSB.
This includes an entry in the upcoming CQ World Wide WPX SSB
contest.  QSL via operators' instructions.
MICRONESIA, V6.  Kaku, JA6REX and Toshiya, JH6HZH will be QRV as
V633KS and V633ZH, respectively, from Chuuk Island, IOTA OC-011,
from March 19 to April 3.  Activity will be on 160 to 10 meters
using CW, SSB and RTTY with a focus on the low bands.  QSL to home
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS, VP5.  Clint, W9AV and Quent, W6RI will be
QRV as VP5/W9AV and VP5/W6RI, respectively, from Providenciales,
IOTA NA-002, from March 18 to 21.  Activity will be holiday style on
160 to 10 meters using CW and SSB.  QSL direct to home calls.
MEXICO, XE.  A group of operators will be QRV with special call
6E3MAYA from some Mayan archaeological sites from March 18 to 21
while commemorating the Spring Equinox.  Activity will be on 80 to 6
meters using CW, SSB, various digital modes, and various satellites.
QSL via XE3N.
CAYMAN ISLANDS, ZF.  Fred, K5QBX and Royce, KE5TC will be QRV as
ZF2FL and ZF2TC, respectively, from Grand Cayman, IOTA NA-016, from
March 21 to 26.  Activity will be holiday style on the HF bands
using CW, SSB and various digital modes.  QSL to home calls.
Contest, QRP 80-Meter CW Fox Hunt, NCCC RTTY Sprint, NCCC CW Sprint,
AGCW VHF/UHF CW Contest, Louisiana QSO Party, Virginia QSO Party,
Feld Hell Sprint and the UBA 80-Meter Spring SSB Contest are all on
tap for this weekend.
The Run for the Bacon QRP CW Contest and Bucharest 80 and 40 Meter
Contest are scheduled for March 20.
The CLARA Chatter Party and QRP 40-Meter CW Fox Hunt are scheduled
for March 21.
The Phone Fray and CWops Mini-CWT Test are scheduled for March 22.
Please see March QST, page 89, and the ARRL and WA7BNM contest web
sites for details.

 From The ARRL Letter for Mar. 16, 2017

Listen to ARRL Audio News, available every Friday.


ARRL Executive Committee to Meet this Month in Denver


The ARRL Executive Committee (EC) will meet on March 25 in Denver, Colorado, to tackle a wide-ranging agenda. ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, will chair the session.

The EC will hear a report on FCC and regulatory items. This includes a review of enforcement issues and concerns, as well as a status update on FCC-related items and filings and on open items that have not received any FCC action since the January Board of Directors meeting. One FCC-related matter that is likely to come up for discussion is the status of the ARRL Petition for Rule Making (RM 11759), to make changes in the 80/75-meter band. In addition, ARRL is still waiting for FCC to approve operational rules for the 2,200- and 630-meter bands or finalize the allocation of the 2,200-meter band.

The EC also is expected to receive an update on the ARRL's January 12 Petition for Rule Making to allocate a new, secondary amateur band in the vicinity of 5 MHz, while keeping four of the current five 60-meter channels and the 100 W power limit. The FCC designated the League's Petition as RM-11785; comments on the League's petition are due on March 20, and ARRL will file comments to bolster its assertions.

The report to the EC also will address noteworthy antenna and RF interference cases.

On the legislative front, the EC will get a status report on the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 (H.R. 555). The bill has passed the US House, with Senate action still pending. The EC also will discuss the Amateur Radio implications of H.R. 588, "Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act." Introduced by New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone Jr., this measure -- which already has received House approval -- would require the FCC to submit to Congress "a study on the public safety benefits, technical feasibility, and cost of providing the public with access to 9-1-1 services during times of emergency, when mobile service is unavailable" through open Wi-Fi access points and "other alternative means."

It would amend the Stafford Act to "expand the categories of essential service providers that may access a disaster site to restore and repair essential services in an emergency or major disaster without being denied or impeded by a federal agency."

The EC also will review the status of the Amateur Auxiliary Study Ad Hoc Committee. Meetings have been held with the FCC concerning more effective FCC use of the volunteer resources of the Amateur Auxiliary (Official Observers) program, the current FCC-ARRL Amateur Auxiliary Agreement, and the development of a new Memorandum of Understanding that better incorporates the Amateur Auxiliary program.

The Executive Committee is tasked by the ARRL Bylaws to address League matters between regular Board meetings.

ARRL Weighs In on New California "Driving While Wireless" Statute

ARRL is recommending that Amateur Radio be specifically excluded from a California statute prohibiting the use of "wireless communication devices" while driving. ARRL Southwestern Division Vice Director Marty Woll, N6VI, is taking point on the effort to revise the statute, known by its legislative bill number AB 1785. It was signed into law last September, and it took effect on January 1, amending §23123.5 of the state's Vehicle Code.

"ARRL has received a huge volume of inquiries and complaints about this statute in particular, since its enactment," ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, wrote in a letter to Woll to provide guidance in amending the California statute. "I would urge that you present this letter at any meetings you have with California State legislators on this topic, thus to bring the issues contained herein to their attention."

Imlay pointed out that that the prior statute excluded Amateur Radio by definition. The new law, which completely replaced the earlier statute, never mentions Amateur Radio, but instead contains an open-ended definition of an "electronic wireless communications device," the operation of which while driving is prohibited. According to the statute, this "includes, but is not limited to, a broadband personal communication device, a specialized mobile radio device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile data access, a pager, or a two-way messaging device."

"Because of the 'not limited to' language, such a device is whatever a law enforcement officer thinks might be included, and an Amateur Radio operator is not at all protected," Imlay wrote. Such a broad definition could stymie "even the most diligent law enforcement officers," who might interpret the new Vehicle Code language more broadly than intended.

"Radio amateurs have regularly used mobile two-way radio systems for the past 70 years," Imlay said. "ARRL is aware of no evidence that such operation contributes to driver inattention," he stressed. "Quite the contrary: Radio amateurs are public service-minded individuals who utilize their radio-equipped motor vehicles to assist others, and they are focused on driving in the execution of that function."

Imlay also cited a 2009 letter to ARRL from the National Safety Council stating that there was no evidence using Amateur Radio while driving is a significant risk.

"Given the necessity of unrestricted mobile Amateur Radio communications in order for the benefits of Amateur Radio to the public to continue to be realized, ARRL urges California legislators to reconsider and amend AB 1785, to more narrowly define the class of devices included in the prohibition," or to include a specific exemption for Amateur Radio, Imlay wrote. Read more.

International Crystal Manufacturing Going Out of Business

International Crystal Manufacturing (ICM) of Oklahoma City has announced that it will be going out of business, probably at the end of May. Royden Freeland Jr., son of the company's founder, posted a letter this week on the ICM website.

"We will be honoring all orders that we have already taken and will be able to fill a limited amount of new orders, dependent upon raw materials available," Freeland said. "We would like to thank you for your past business. The success of ICM over the previous 66 years has been largely due to its amazing customer base."

International Crystal produces RF control devices -- quartz crystals, oscillators, QCM crystals, filters, TCXOs/VCTCXOs, and precision crystals.

Royden R. Freeland Sr. founded International Crystal in 1950, at first operating out of his garage. One of his first contracts was to produce crystals for Collins Radio. The elder Freeland and his wife died in a 1978 air crash, and his son took over the company, which expanded into the production of other electronics in the 1980s.

In the 1990s, though, it sold off some of its equipment and distribution business to concentrate on its core enterprise -- the manufacture of crystal and oscillator products.

The announcement caught some manufacturers off guard, and they are seeking to source the products they had been buying from ICM, one of the remaining US-based manufacturers of crystal products. Radio amateurs requiring crystals for projects or as replacement parts for older equipment also will have to look elsewhere. Read more.

ARISS Moves Closer to Launching New Radio System to Space Station

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) reports it has met a major milestone and now is "one giant step" closer to flying its new interoperable radio system to the International Space Station. Eventual plans call for installing a new JVC Kenwood TM-D710GA-based radio system on the station as part of an overall approach that will allow greater interoperability between the Columbus module and the Russian Service Module.

Lou McFadin, W5DID, and Kerry Banke, N6IZW, travelled to NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston in mid-February for preliminary testing of Banke's "breadboard" version of the ARISS multi-voltage power supply that's essential to the upgrade. They worked with JSC engineers and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Lab personnel to put the specially built power supply through its paces, checking against US and Russian space specifications for preliminary power quality and EMC tests.

With positive test results in hand, ARISS now can move on to the next step -- fabrication of prototype and flight units. The JSC engineers said the ARISS breadboard power supply was the first hardware to have passed all of the space agency's tests and complimented the ARISS Team on its professional-level hardware development and design.

"I was looking to come away with what we needed to move forward," said Banke. "We achieved that." Banke also said he was impressed with the support he and McFadin received from the testing group. Key players on those teams, who are also radio amateurs, told him and McFadin that they find equipment supported by hams earns particularly good marks.

ARISS-International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, thanked Banke and McFadin for spending several days putting the unit through the rigorous battery of NASA and Russian preliminary electrical tests. McFadin credited the level of cooperation and experience within the ARISS Team with the multi-voltage power supply's high marks.

Now that testing of the breadboard unit has been completed, McFadin can purchase the necessary -- and pricey -- space-certified parts, to fabricate the final prototype and flight power supplies. He and Banke expressed confidence that the prototype and flight units will pass the even more rigorous final testing with flying colors.

The ARISS radio gear on board the ISS is aging. A February supply vehicle carried a new Ericsson 2-meter handheld radio to replace one that failed a few months ago, disrupting ARISS activities. The VHF radio in the Columbus module was used for school group contacts and for Amateur Radio packet, temporarily shifted to UHF after the VHF radio failure. The newly arrived Ericsson radio will replace the Ericsson UHF radio supporting APRS packet and some school contacts, but Bauer made it clear last month that the new Ericsson transceiver is an interim measure.

To help support final fabrication and flight tests of the ARISS interoperable radio system, visit the ARISS website. Contributions are tax deductible. Those contributing at least $100 will receive an ARISS Challenge Coin.

New ARRL Repeater Directory is Biggest Ever!

With a whopping 31,000+ listings, the new ARRL Repeater Directory® is the most complete printed directory of on-the-air repeaters ever! The 2017-2018 edition (46th edition) has 10,000 more listings than the previous edition, covering repeater systems throughout the US and Canada. Repeater systems are listed by state/province, city, and operating mode. Analog and digital repeater systems are included: FM, FUSION, D-STAR, DMR, NXDN, and P25 systems.

ARRL partner RFinder, the creator of a web and app-based directory of Amateur Radio repeaters worldwide, supplied all data for the 2017-2018 ARRL Repeater Directory. RFinder uses "crowdsourcing" technology to aggregate timely and accurate information for its online directory. Crowdsourcing is a means of using data gathered from public resources. Although RFinder's data is primarily supplied by users and repeater owners (listings are reviewed for accuracy), ARRL invited volunteer frequency coordinators to contribute their coordination data to RFinder. Every coordinator that supplied repeater data to RFinder has its listings credited as coordinated repeaters in The Repeater Directory. RFinder provides support for contributing information for new repeaters, and changes to current listings. RFinder also collects reports on instances of repeater jamming -- data that is made available to repeater owners and frequency coordinators upon request.

The new ARRL Repeater Directory is available in one size -- 6 × 9 inches -- with a convenient lay-flat spiral binding. Pages of supplemental information include VHF/UHF and microwave band plans, as well as repeater operating practices.

For decades, The ARRL Repeater Directory has been an invaluable source for locating repeater frequencies while traveling. New hams often use the Directory to find local activity after purchasing a new handheld radio. And, public service volunteers keep a copy nearby or in their emergency "go kit."

The 2017-2018 ARRL Repeater Directory begins shipping in early April. Order from the ARRL Store, or find an ARRL publication dealer; ARRL Item No. 0697, ISBN: 978-1-62595-069-7, $19.95 retail; ARRL member price $17.95. For additional questions or ordering, call 860-594-0355 (toll-free in the US, 888-277-5289).

Boy Scouts Announce 2017 JOTA-JOTI Theme

Scouting's World Jamboree on the Air/Jamboree on the Internet (JOTA-JOTI) Team has announced the theme for this fall's JOTA-JOTI event: "60 Years Connecting Scouts." The 2017 theme recognizes the event's beginnings in 1957 and commemorates its growth in participation and in the expanding communication channels activated this coming October. In addition to Amateur Radio, those channels include internet-based channels and other internet-based options, including social media, ScoutLink, IRC chat services, Skype, and more.

"It also recognizes the goal of the event -- connecting Scouts so that they can engage in conversations with other Scouts across town and around the world," said JOTA Coordinator Jim Wilson, K5ND. "This allows them to discover geographic and cultural differences and similarities. Plus, they are exposed to the technology that makes all this happen."

The JOTA-JOTI logo contest is about to start. Plans for 2017 include a simplified registration system. According to the World JOTA-JOTI Report 2016, more than 1 million Scouters in 156 countries and at 33,000+ locations took part in JOTA-JOTI last fall. The numbers for US participants were 10,700 for JOTA and 560 for JOTI. Wilson said there was a problem integrating those statistics into the final report

Girl Scouts and Guides Get Thinking about Ham Radio

Skip Youngberg, K1NKR; Bill Machia, WM3N, and Dudley Allen, KD0NMD, were among those sponsoring World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides' "Thinking Day on the Air" (TDOTA) events in February that enjoyed enthusiastic participation. "Thinking Day," officially February 22, commemorates the birthday of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scout and Guide movements, as well as that of his wife, Olave, who was the first World Chief Guide.

"Talk about excitement!" In Raymond, New Hampshire, Girl Scouts Kacilynn (left) and Caroline talk to the world, with supervision from Bruce Blain, K1BG. [KD1SM photo]

"Talk about excitement, exhilaration, and satisfaction!" said Youngberg, an ARRL Life Member who got involved in TDOTA through his daughter Jill Galus, KB1SWV. She enlisted his club, the Nashoba Valley Amateur Radio Club (NVARC), to conduct an event in New Hampshire 3 years ago. This year, the NVARC set up in Shirley, Massachusetts, and in Raymond, New Hampshire.

TDOTA traces its heritage to Radio Scouter Les Mitchell, G3BHK (SK), who originated Jamboree on The Air (JOTA) in 1957 and initiated TDOTA about 25 years ago, Youngberg said.

On February 18 in Shirley, Youngberg and his NVARC compatriots introduced 41 Scouts and 15 leaders to world time, phonetics, Morse code, and -- perhaps most important -- getting on the air. The next day, the NVARC crew packed up and did the same for a similar group in Raymond, where 26 Scouts and 10 leaders "honed their communications experience," Youngberg said.

Youngberg said the Shirley gathering snagged 25 contacts, including eight DX stations. The New Hampshire demonstrations managed 42 contacts, 23 of them "CW DX demonstration" contacts made during the ARRL International DX Contest.

Youngberg credited the Girl Scout organizers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire with "bravely treading into the unknown," and said they're already talking about TDOTA 2018.

In Maryland, Bill Machia, WM3N, got to thinking about getting Girl Scouts involved in ham radio. He wondered if the Amateur Radio community was missing out on an opportunity.

"I agreed to give a presentation to the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland on Girl Scout Thinking Day," Machia told ARRL, who focused on generating excitement and interest in ham radio. "As I researched my presentation, I found ARRL had a patch for Girl Scouts, Radio & Wireless Technology. This meant they could go home with an accomplishment patch."

Bill Machia, WM3N, in Maryland, never expected this turnout for his first TDOTA.

Machia said he never expected the level of interest that developed. When the head count reached 75, Scout leaders decided to make that the limit. "We are probably going to need a second presentation," he said.

Machia reached out to Maryland-DC Section Manager Marty Pittinger, KB3MXM, to help, and when the day came, Machia said he found himself before "the most respectful group of young people I had ever met. They even laughed at my bad jokes."

"The presentation covered the necessary points needed for their patch," Machia recounted. He and his team presented some electrical and magnetic theory experiments. A local repeater demonstration followed, and they even set up an HF station with its antenna supported on a pole in the auditorium. "The 3 hours flew by," he said, adding that he is now trying to recruit mentors from area clubs to expand interest in Amateur Radio.

Boy Scout Troop 231 Assistant Scoutmaster Dudley Allen, KD0NMD, also believes girls need to be given the opportunity to get more involved in ham radio. TDOTA provided one, and members of the Mid-America Council's Radio Scouting Club (KN0BSA) hosted a TDOTA event for Girl Scouts in Bellevue, Nebraska, on February 18.

At the February 18 TDOTA event for Girl Scouts in Bellevue, Nebraska, Jim Taylor, AJ0R, helps Brownie Tegan talk with other girls in London via EchoLink. [Photo courtesy of Dudley Allen, KD0NMD]

"This was the first event of this kind hosted for the Girl Scout troops in the area," Allen said. "Seven girls took time out of their Girl Scout cookie sales schedule to stop by the 'shack' and see what it was all about." He had help from other Scout leaders.

"Jim Taylor, AJ0R, put girls in contact with Girl Guides in London, England, using EchoLink," Allen said, and he, Ray McNally, N5SEZ, and Terry Gampper, N0BXQ, helped the young ladies contact Georgia and Texas on HF. Derek Winterstien, W0DBW, got on 2 meters so the girls could chat with some of the locals. Overall, Allen said, it was a lot of fun, and Radio Scouting is growing throughout the midwest.

Youngberg says that few non-hams understand what Amateur Radio has to offer. "Fortunately, Thinking Day on the Air is what you might call a self-defining special event," he said. "Point the troop to available TDOTA materials, offer support, and engage in a conversation that binds the event to something you and the Girl Scouts can reasonably and successfully accomplish."

In Brief...

Combined National, IARU Region 2 ARDF Championships Set for this Summer in Ohio: The combined USA National ARDF Championships and the IARU Region 2 ARDF Championships will take place from July 31 to August 6 near Cincinnati, Ohio. These will be the 17th USA Championships and the 9th for IARU Region 2. The OH-KY-IN Amateur Radio Club is organizing the event. Radio orienteers from near and far will participate in foxoring, sprint, 2-meter, and 80-meter competitions. Individuals of any age are invited to participate; no Amateur Radio license is required. Practice sessions will take place the first 3 days, followed by the competitive events. Winners of the 2017 events will be considered for inclusion on ARDF Team USA and may have the opportunity to travel to the ARDF World Championships in Korea in September 2018. -- Thanks to The ARRL Contest Update

You have DXing Questions? Dr. DX has Answers! The Southern California DX Club (SCDXC) has announced that "Dr. DX" is on call and ready to answer questions via e-mail from fledgling DXers. A team of experienced DXers will offer helpful replies to any and all DXing-related questions. The club has also distributed a brochure to southern California Amateur Radio clubs to entice hams who are not yet DXers into that area of the hobby. Ham clubs outside of Southern California may request a PDF. The SCDXC says its efforts to promote DXing in general are not limited to southern California, and Dr. DX will take questions from anywhere. Through the Dr. DX program, new DXers may ask about equipment, operating techniques, antennas, QSLing, and related topics, and SCDXC Dr. DX team members will respond to every question. -- Thanks to SCDXC

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: There have been no sunspots since March 3, except for the one that appeared on March 5. Also, solar flux values have recently dipped below 70 for the first time since the other side of this solar cycle. Solar flux appears at 70 over the past week, but this is an approximation.

The average daily sunspot number dropped from 14.1 last week to zero. Average daily solar flux went from 74.3 to 70.3. Average daily planetary A Index quieted from 20.9 to 8.1, while the average mid-latitude A index went from 15 to 6.4.

Predicted solar flux is 70 and 71 on March 16-17; 72 on March 18-20; 74 on March 21-23; 76 on March 24-25; 74 on March 26-29; 72 on March 30-April 3, and 70 on April 4-9.

The predicted planetary A index is 5, 10, and 8 on March 16-18; 5 on March 19-20; 8, 10, 8, and 8 on March 21-24; 5 on March 25-27; 35, 30, 20, 18, 15, 20, and 15 on March 28-April 3, and 12 on April 4-5.

Sunspot numbers for March 9 through 15, 2017 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 0. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 71.2, 71, 70, 70.1, 70.3, 69.6, and 69.8, with a mean of 70.3. Estimated planetary A indices were 15, 12, 6, 9, 3, 5, and 7, with a mean of 8.1. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 10, 14, 4, 7, 2, 3, and 5, with a mean of 6.4.

Send me your reports or observations.

Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • March 18 -- AGCW VHF/UHF Contest (CW)

  • March 18 -- Feld Hell Sprint

  • March 18-19 --Russian DX Contest (CW, phone)

  • March 18-19 -- Louisiana QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

  • March 18-19 -- All Virginia QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

  • March 18-20 -- BARTG HF RTTY Contest

  • March 19 -- UBA Spring Contest (SSB)

  • March 20 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)

  • March 20 -- Bucharest Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • March 21-26 -- CLARA Chatter Party (CW, phone)

  • March 22 -- SKCC Sprint (CW)

  • March 23 -- RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (SSB)

See the ARRL Contest Calendar for more information. For in-depth reporting on Amateur Radio contesting, subscribe to The ARRL Contest Update via your ARRL member profile e-mail preferences.

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