Greetings ARRL members and friends,

It’s early spring and Daylight Savings Time has just kicked in. HF
bands are open longer. The polar path to the Far East is open more often
and we’re starting to climb the slope of Sunspot Cycle 25. We think
that we can see the end to this terrible pandemic. These are good signs,
don’t you think? It is in my book. 

A very important news item this month concerns the Providence Radio
Association or PRA as most of us know them. They are one of the oldest
clubs in the country and the first incorporated Amateur Radio Club. This
year, they will celebrate their 100th year as an Affiliated ARRL Club.
Congratulations PRA! I know that you are rightfully very proud. As you
start your next hundred years, I also know that your members are
prepared for the challenges in store for you. Best wishes, PRA and carry
on for a hundred more. 

Judging from the news being reported, the country seems to be slowly
relaxing restrictions placed on restaurants, shopping, meetings, etc.
Personally, it seems too soon, but we shall see. Maybe some outdoor work
can be done at Field Day. Most folks who I have contact with are anxious
to see the hamfests reopen. Many want our “Boxboro” convention, held
in Marlborough, MA on September 10, 11, 12 to
be able to open. 

 am not a fan at all of virtual hamfests and conventions that Covid
restrictions have forced upon us. They lack the most essential
ingredient, social contact with other hams. I love the DX Convention in
Visalia, CA held in April. There’s no chance of that event happening
in person next month, but hopefully it will resume in 2022. It is being
planned as a virtual event. Another of my favorites in which I took part
was Ham-Com in Dallas. It has closed its doors permanently due to the
many problems brought on by Covid-19. 

Internationally, one of the largest and most popular hamfest is the one
held in Germany in June on Field Day weekend. Ham Radio in
Friedrichshafen, Germany, was canceled last year because of the
pandemic. Organizers for Europe’s International Amateur Radio
Exhibition expressed optimism that the 45th Ham Radio, sponsored by the
Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC), will be able to take place June 25
– 27. Dayton has already been called off, so Friedrichshafen stands
alone in the spring. Tokyo Ham Fair in October and November is the
world’s largest hamfest with more than 40,000 taking part in 2019.
Organizers have not yet announced plans for 2021 but they are hopeful. 

The fall out from this pandemic has not yet been fully realized of
course, but it’s possible that large hamfests as we have known in the
past as well as many medium size ones may not be something that will be
possible or practical in the future. The added costs and restrictions
being imposed are making them very difficult to manage. One convention
leader suggested that registration ticket prices might need to rise to
prohibitive levels in order to balance the cost against the revenue
necessary. Would you pay $100 to attend a hamfest? It’s far too early
to worry about that just yet. We shall see. 

HF band conditions are, dare I say, improving a little. 10 and 12 meters
have opened a few times to mostly So America and the Caribbean, but they
were open. Now with longer periods of daylight, conditions should
improve more. 40 meters at dawn has been exciting at times with openings
to JA, YB and VK. Our eagle scout, Jim N1NK has been pulling out some
great dawn contacts on 17 meters as well. Jim is on the hunt to complete
WAZ on all bands which is a mighty tough goal. But if anyone I know can
do it, it would be Jim. 

A few of the locals near me have become strong QRP enthusiasts. One of
them, Mike K1ETA, recently worked several Europeans and closed the day
with a contact with Japan. This was all on 20 meter CW running 4 watts.
He recently learned CW in a class which I had run I my kitchen. I was
very proud of my student! During this winter, Mike regularly sets up on
weekends at some quiet spot on the beach between Narragansett and
Misquamicut. Of course, he runs 5 watts or less. What he logs is

Another local near me, Byron K1CYQ loves to run less than one watt.
It’s remarkable what contacts he has made. Of course, both of these
ops are highly skilled and have lots of patience. Doing this during the
pandemic has provided the distraction many folks needed. There are
plenty of QRP kits on the market for very little money, one of the one
watt transmitter kits cost $4 including shipping. Amazing!

During the recent long period of being shut in and pinned down, ham
radio has been a terrific friend. Those of us with a good HF station can
spend every day making contacts all over the world. We certainly
aren’t isolated or lonely. However, many folks, especially the elderly
are leading a pretty poor existence. If you have older folks who live
alone near you, please check in on them. They might like to chat. Bring
them some cookies or something else that they might enjoy. 

 have reported this before but it needs repeating. The pandemic and all
of its restrictions has caused just about all Volunteer Examiner
sessions to be postponed. Gatherings of the resulting number of folks is
greater than what is currently permitted. Someone looking to find a site
to give him or her an exam is very difficult. The website can
provide sessions that are scheduled but may need to be cancelled. There
are phone numbers of examination coordinators to call for checking.
There are on-line options as well, detailed on the website above. If you
have questions or need further information, please let me know and I
shall get you an answer. My e mail is . Most VEs feel
that we’ll be able to return to in person exam sessions soon. 

The ARRL has notified me that since once again, no one has filed
nomination papers to run for Section Manager in Rhode Island, I have
been named to serve for two more years as your SM. Thank you for your
faith and trust. This will be my tenth term. That’s twenty years!
It’s not fair that I have all the fun. But seriously, I am humbled and
grateful to you for the years of support you have given me. Thank you
most sincerely. 
I’ll do my best for you. 

ARRL Rhode Island Section
Section Manager: Robert G Beaudet, W1YRC

ARRL Rhode Island Section
Section Manager: Robert G Beaudet, W1YRC