Updated March, 2021
A new version of WSJT-X is now available. Version 2.3.0 was posted on February 2. It adds bug fixes, improvements and two new digital protocols (FST4 and FST4W.) Get the download and other details from the WSJT-X website (just search for WSJT-X—it’s the first hit.)
More regional ham radio festivals are being cancelled for 2021. The Greater Houston HamFest in Rosenberg, originally scheduled for March 5 & 6 has been cancelled. HamEXPO! in Belton (October) and Texoma Hamarama in Ardmore in late October—so far—are still on.
COVID immunizations are rolling out. My wife and I received our first shot last week through the Denton County Health Department. Denton County is doing a fantastic job at Texas Motor Speedway. I spoke with several members of Denton County Medical Reserve Corps. “Goliath,” Denton County’s infamous mobile command motor home is on site. There are loads of volunteers and it’s very well organized.
It’s going to be a while before it’s safe enough (and folks are comfortable enough) to meet for face-to-face QSOs. We will continue to meet virtually a while longer.
At the time of this writing, the polar vortex is approaching. Stay warm, stay safe, stay inside and fire up a ham radio. Communicate with someone—you’ll be glad you did!
73 David, K5GIL
Fun with the FCC
Ron Reeves, NN5R
Effective June 29, 2021, you must have a valid email address on file with the FCC. In my case, the FCC had a long defunct email address. You should check your personal information including your email address even if you are sure they have an email address. If the FCC sends you an email and it bounces back to them, they may revoke your license!
But wait! We’re dealing with the government, purveyors of 6000+ pages [This is probably an incredibly low estimate, but the exact number is known to be unknown. —Ed] of legislative documents, endless reform, and home of the Branch of Awkward Wording Branch, Department of Redundancy Department, Plurism Division (or is that the Pluralism Division?). Nothing could be simple!
When I tried to log in to ULS, I had to create an account in something called CORES (COmmission REgistration System). CORES is the FCC’s latest registration system. Next, I had to associate my FRN (the number) to my new CORES login and then I had to fill in a free-form text box explaining why that FRN should be associated with my CORES login (I think I simply said, “Because it’s my FRN”). I now have both a CORES and an FRN login which both get me to my FRN and my FCC-issued license. (Someone from the Department of Redundancy Department set this up.)
I later learned the FCC will eventually transition everything to CORES and eliminate the legacy registration system (confusingly called the FRN system or the legacy CORES system). So, don’t throw out the scrap of paper with your FRN and FRN password—you may still need it.
If you try to log in to FRN and are directed to create a CORES account, go with it. Do whatever the FCC website says. It can be confusing and frustrating, but you’ll eventually get the job done.
73 Ron NN5R
NASA astronaut Shannon Walker, KD5DXB left, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, KD5TVP, made a QSO with Hisagi Junior High School, 8N1ZH, in Zushi, Japan from the ISS on January 20, 2021. Credit: JAXA
Hamfests Fall Victim to COVID
As the pandemic rages on, hamfests around the country continue to be cancelled for 2021. Last month we sadly learned that Ham-Com has permanently closed. The largest hamfest in the country, Dayton Hamvention in Xenia, Ohio, has been cancelled this year. Event sponsors are looking forward to 2022.
Closer to home the Irving ARC Hamfest and the Cowtown Hamfest have been postponed until next year. The Temple Amateur Radio Club (TARC) has cancelled the Belton HamEXPO scheduled for March 20–21, 2021. TARC is hopeful the fall event in October will take place.
While we are disappointed, postponing these events is obviously a wise decision. Let’s hope 2022 brings us back together.