ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

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The ARRL Letter
Vol. 26, No. 39
September 28, 2007
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IN THIS EDITION:

* + New Vice Director Appointed in Dakota Division 
* + Spectrum Defense Fund Marks Eleventh Year 
* + Amateur Radio Goes To Washington 
* + Get Ready for JOTA 
* + Simulated Emergency Test Scheduled for October 
* + ARRL Welcomes USTTI Students 
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF: 
      This Weekend on the Radio
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration
    + Florida Hams Help Nab Burglary Suspects 
    + ARRL Again Participating in the Combined Federal Campaign 
      Pension Protection Act Streamlines Charitable Donations from IRAs 
      Diamond Terrace Still Shining Bright 
      Redeem Those Soon-to-Expire International Reply Coupons 
      New Name for Space Environment Center 
      Let Us Know What You Think 


+Available on ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> 

===========================================================
==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/faq.html#nodelivery>, 
     then e-mail <letter-dlvy@arrl.org>;
==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, <k1sfa@arrl.org>;
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==> NEW VICE DIRECTOR APPOINTED IN DAKOTA DIVISION

ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, has appointed Greg Widin, K0GW, of Stillwater, Minnesota, as Dakota Division Vice Director. Widin has been a licensed ham and ARRL member for more than 40 years. Originally licensed as WB2ZSH, he became K0GW in Minnesota in the late 1970s after obtaining his Amateur Extra class license. Currently Vice President and Training Director for the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association, Widin has also served as Assistant Section Manager and Technical Specialist in the Minnesota section; he is an ARRL Life Member.

Employed with 3M Company since 1982, Widin earned his AB in 1974 from Kenyon College in Ohio and his PhD in hearing science from the University of Minnesota in 1979. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at MIT's Research Laboratory of Electronics in 1982, followed by an MS in management of technology in 1992 from the University of Minnesota. Widin is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Phi Beta Kappa. He is also the holder of five US patents.

Widin belongs to the Twin Cities DX Association and Minnesota Wireless Association. Widen holds Worked All States (WAS) on HF, DXCC (294 entities confirmed) and is just shy of WAS on 6 meters. His main current operating interests are DX and casual contesting along with ARES and emergency communications; he also enjoys constructing electronic equipment. Widin also is a member and serves as treasurer of Boy Scout Troop 224 in West Lakeland and Woodbury, Minnesota.

==> SPECTRUM DEFENSE FUND MARKS ELEVENTH YEAR

First begun in 1996 to protect the 2 meter band from "Little LEOs" (low-earth orbiting satellites), the ARRL's Spectrum Defense Fund marks its eleventh annual appeal this year, urging members to take a stand to protect the Amateur Radio spectrum from broadband over power lines (BPL). The ARRL's concern is not whether BPL will ultimately succeed or fail, but whether the federal government will fulfill its obligation to ensure that BPL systems - if and when they are deployed - will not pollute the radio spectrum.

ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, calls protecting the radio spectrum against BPL interference "a good example of how the ARRL works on all fronts to protect Amateur Radio. We must be patient -- spectrum defense is a never-ending mission. We must be resolute, not discouraged by the occasional setback. We must be creative, seeking alternate paths to success. Above all, we must be accurate; credibility is a precious commodity that is too easily lost."

The ARRL first brought problems concerning BPL interference to light five years ago in the October 2002 issue of QST, calling it a potential source of "radio smog." In that time, the League has fought hard to protect our precious spectrum, including the fight for "stronger protection against BPL interference in the FCC's rules, and when the FCC failed to go far enough we took them to court -- a huge but necessary financial commitment. We have taken our case to Congress, seeking legislation directing the FCC to do a serious study of the interference issue. We have done our technical homework, verifying the inadequacy of the FCC's rules and documenting violations by irresponsible BPL companies," Sumner said.

He continued: "But we also have cooperated with reputable firms, helping them to understand the seriousness of the issue and the steps they need to take to avoid problems with radio amateurs. We've made some important gains on that front -- no thanks to the FCC, which (unlike many in the BPL industry) remains more interested in defending its early errors than in correcting them."

Sumner does explain that BPL interference issues are not all that the Spectrum Defense Fund is allocated for. He says that next year, the ARRL will begin its preparation for the 2011 World Radiocommunication Conference; agenda items for WRC-11 will be discussed this year in Geneva at WRC-07. "We will continue to defend our spectrum access against reallocation as well as against the insidious threats posed by unlicensed devices and systems," he said.

All ARRL members are an essential part of the team that will ensure that we win the fight over spectrum encroachment. With a successful Spectrum Defense Fund campaign, "the ARRL is able to stand up for Amateur Radio -- just as the League has done since its founding nearly a century ago," Sumner said.

He pointed out that the proceeds to the Spectrum Defense Fund are restricted to being used only for that purpose - spectrum defense: "When you make your contribution, you can be sure that your contribution is spent on these, and only these activities. If you've checked the ARRL audited financial statements that we post on the ARRL Web site each year, you know that the expenses attached to protecting our frequencies are never fully funded by the Spectrum Defense Fund. Membership dues and other revenues cover the rest. In fact, every penny of income the ARRL receives is devoted to the protection, promotion and advancement of Amateur Radio. It's why the League was created in 1914 and why it exists today."

For more information on how you can support the ARRL's efforts to protect the Amateur Radio spectrum, please see the Spectrum Defense Fund page on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/defense>.

==> AMATEUR RADIO GOES TO WASHINGTON

Army MARS Chief Stuart S. Carter, AAA9A, has invited the ARRL and Amateur Radio representatives to join a Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) demonstration outside the Capitol building in Washington, DC on October 3. Hams around the country are asked to aid in the demonstration by making HF contacts during the day. With help from Laura Abshire, Legislative Aide to Representative Mike Ross, WD5DVR (D-AR), Tricia Russell, Legislative Aide to Representative Steve Israel (D-NY), and coordination of the myriad details by "Pudge" Forrester, W4LTX, Systems Administrator for Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), the "show" is set for next Wednesday, and hams around the country can help.

ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, said, "Thanks to a MARS invitation to join in a demonstration, and excellent coordination work by Forrester, the October 3 demonstration of Amateur Radio and MARS emergency communications will be front and center in the open space between the Capitol building and the Botanic Garden in Washington, DC." Pitts went on to say that the regional MARS organization is planning to conduct an exercise demonstrating emergency communications at the Capitol, as well.

The exercise assumes a Category 3 hurricane, Hurricane Quincy, will make landfall on October 2 over the coastal areas of Delaware, Maryland, DC and Virginia. Quincy will progress northward to New Jersey and Pennsylvania and then travel inland to the south, returning to the Atlantic Ocean on October 5 via the Carolinas and Georgia. During this time, MARS resources will be challenged by ongoing events in every part of the country, including ice storms, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and earthquakes.

There will be a communication trailer, tent type shelter, four HF transceivers -- voice, PSK, and Winlink -- and VHF equipment at the site. The local Voice of America (VOA) organization and MARS have local repeaters and digipeaters available. Power will come from solar panels and generators with battery backup. The emergency communications trailer, owned by the Blue Ridge Association, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, part of the Southern Baptist North American Missions Disaster Relief Ministries, will also be on hand.

Representatives from ARRL headquarters, including Pitts, will be there. They will have ARRL public relations materials as well as video that shows the negative impact of BPL if current FCC rules are not modified. In addition, there are special materials for Members of Congress and their staff advocating Amateur Radio's positions on several legislative issues, including information to solicit co-sponsorship of H.R. 462 and H.R. 2743.

While MARS will be conducting their drill on their frequencies, Amateur Radio operations are scheduled from 1400-2100 UTC. While there may be last minute changes, plans are to try to center HF voice contacts around 14.250 and 7.250 MHz, and on PSK at 14.070 MHz. "By showing Members of Congress our nationwide capabilities and potentials, we advance the Service in many ways," Pitts said.

Representatives Ross and Bartlett plan to stop by. Army MARS is sending their Chief of Operations Grant Hays from Arizona. Mike Barrett, K3MMB, of the Transportation Security Administration's Office of Security Operations is aiding with the operations and logistics.

==> GET READY FOR JOTA

Jamboree on the Air will celebrate its 50th year this year when it gets on the air October 19-21. Normally a 48 hour event, this year's JOTA will be 50 hours long in recognition of the anniversary. The fun begins at 2200 (local time) October 19 and ends at midnight (local time) October 21.

An on-the-air operating event sponsored by the World Scout Bureau, JOTA was founded in 1958 by Les Mitchell, G3BHK. It has grown to become the largest international Scout event. More than half a million Scouts and Guides in more than 100 countries participate in JOTA, involving as many as 10,000 Amateur Radio stations.

The event relies on the Amateur Radio community and local hams for its success. Getting Boy and Girl Scouts (including Cubs and Brownies) on the air to talk with other Scouts around the world provides a great opportunity to expose youth to Amateur Radio. Some troops and clubs team up to make a big splash with lots of activities, radios and antennas, offering a variety of modes to experience. For others, JOTA provides an opportunity to coach a smaller group of Scouts and to just have fun talking on the radio. Scouts usually enjoy communicating by speaking into a microphone, but some radio amateurs are able to provide other modes, such as slow-scan TV or amateur TV, satellites, packet radio, RTTY or even EME!

For more information on the 2007 Jamboree on the Air, please visit the ARRL JOTA Web site <http://www.arrl.org/scouts/jota> where you can find general rules, suggested exchanges and recommended frequencies. There will also be a place on the ARRL Web site to tell your JOTA stories at <http://www.arrl.org/scouts/jota/Stories/>.

==> SIMULATED EMERGENCY TEST SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER

America was abruptly reminded of the critical role of Amateur Radio in 2005 as Amateur Radio operators came from all over the country to provide emergency communications when other systems failed during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2007, Amateur Radio operators continued to provide lifesaving services in many floods and wildfires around the country. Because of the complexity of today's normal communications systems, they are often overwhelmed in a disaster. These painful lessons are being tested again on October 6 and 7 as Amateur Radio operators around the country conduct their annual Simulated Emergency Test.

This year, Amateur Radio operators will be replicating many scenarios that have crippled normal communications in the recent past. These include flooding, wildfires, bombings, ice storms, hurricanes and earthquakes. Something new for this year are plans for responses in case of pandemic flu and the probability that large populations will need to shelter at home and not be able to go out.

Using emergency powered radios and working with local agencies, hams will establish radio communications networks that can be used should there be a failure or overload of normal services.

While the ARRL has scheduled the Simulated Emergency Test for October 6-7, some ARRL Sections have scheduled their SET for different dates. Please check with your Section Manager or Section Emergency Coordinator for the date of the SET in your Section.

==> ARRL WELCOMES USTTI STUDENTS

Next month, the ARRL will welcome six students from various countries from all over the world who want to learn how to administer and regulate Amateur Radio programs in their home countries. This course, offered by the United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI), will help participants create, administer and foster an Amateur Radio Service in their countries.

Designed for those in developing countries who regulate and manage their country's Amateur Radio Service, this course will help participants learn just who are radio amateurs. ARRL staff instructors will help course participants discover the ever-expanding universe of Amateur Radio communication. They will explain why Amateur Radio operators, upwards of three million individuals in virtually every country of the world, have earned licenses to operate stations in these services and why they are recognized, both by their governments and internationally, as a valuable voluntary telecommunications resource. Course participants will also discover how a telecommunications administration can bring the benefits of a healthy Amateur Service to its nation.

Now in its 25th year, USTTI is a nonprofit venture involving leading US-based communications and information technology corporations and leaders of the federal government cooperating to provide tuition-free management, policy and technical training for talented professionals from the developing world.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Tad "Ain't No Sun(spots) When She's Gone" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: Last week's report stated the possibility that zero-sunspot days were about to end, but no such luck. Instead we've seen no sunspots for three weeks straight, since September 7. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts unsettled conditions for September 28, unsettled to active September 29, unsettled September 30, quiet October 1, unsettled October 2-3 and quiet to unsettled October 4. Sunspot numbers for September 20 through 26 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0 with a mean of 0. The 10.7 cm flux was 66.8, 66.9, 66.7, 66.3, 66.1, 66.2 and 66.5 with a mean of 66.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 10, 9, 11, 15, 10, 6 and 3 with a mean of 9.1. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 6, 7, 10, 11, 7, 5 and 2 with a mean of 6.9. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html>. To read this week's Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW Propagation Bulletin page <http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/prop/>.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This Weekend on the Radio: This weekend, the ARRL EME Competition is on September 29-30. The NCCC Sprint (CW) is September 28. On September 29-30, the CQ Worldwide DX Contest (RTTY), CQIR - Ireland Calling, the Texas QSO Party, FISTS Coast to Coast Contest and the UBA ON Contest (CW) are on the air. The ARS Spartan Sprint is October 2. The YLRL Anniversary Party (CW) is October 2-4, the German Telegraphy Contest and the 432 MHz Fall Sprint are October 3. The SARL 80 Meter QSO Party is October 4. Next week, look for the NCCC Sprint (CW) on October 5. On October 6, be sure to check out the TARA PSK Rumble Contest, the NCCC Sprint (CW), the International HELL-Contest (80 meters) and the EU Autumn Sprint (SSB). The Oceania DX Contest (SSB), the California QSO Party and the PRO CW Contest are October 6-7. Tune in for the International HELL-Contest (40 meters), the UBA ON Contest (6 meters) and the RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest on October 7. The YLRL Anniversary Party (SSB) is October 9-11 and the 10-10 International 10-10 Day Sprint and NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint are both October 10. See the ARRL Contest Branch page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/>, the ARRL Contester's Rate Sheet <http://www.arrl.org/contests/rate-sheet/> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for more info.

* ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains open through Sunday, October 7, 2007 for these online courses beginning on Friday October 19, 2007: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 2 (EC-002); Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 3 (EC-003R2); Antenna Modeling (EC-004); HF Digital Communications (EC-005); VHF/UHF - Life Beyond the Repeater (EC-008), and Radio Frequency Propagation (EC-011). To learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html> or contact the Continuing Education Program Coordinator <cce@arrl.org>;.

* Florida Hams Help Nab Burglary Suspects: Some hams in Florida got an earful when they heard what turned out to be teenagers planning various robberies over the Jupiter Farms 444.400 MHz CERT repeater. On September 8, Al Moreschi, AG4BV, of Jupiter, and John Levey, KI4HTL, a retired police officer, of Palm Beach Gardens, overheard, according to Moreschi, "what sounded like men talking about committing a burglary and we were monitoring them on one of the local ham repeaters." Moreschi said he and his fellow hams notified local law enforcement agencies of the break-in, but the alleged thieves "didn't describe the house well enough to get the exact address." The amateurs kept listening for the vandals to show up again on the repeater. On September 21, they were in luck. This time the hams were ready and had set up recording devices to capture the break-in as it transpired. Moreschi said he and his fellow hams recognized the voices and started recording; they also called the police. The last transmission heard over the air by the suspects was, "Code Red, Code Red, Code Red. There are cops everywhere, dude!" Three suspects were captured and arrested: one at the scene, one who was walking down a nearby road and one at a local grocery store. An official with the local sheriff's office said that the suspects were charged with burglary for the two break-ins; the three are suspects in other local robberies, as well. The tapes made by the hams are in the custody of the sheriff. Moreschi said that the suspects might also be facing charges from the Federal Communications Commission for operating without an amateur license. "We don't know how these kids got hold of the ham radios. Their transmissions came right over the CERT repeater, and that has a special tone and you have to have a special tone to key it up," Moreschi said.

* ARRL Again Participating in the Combined Federal Campaign: For the sixth year running, the US Office of Personnel Management has designated the ARRL to participate in the 2006 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). In the past, this campaign for federal government civilian employees, US Postal Service workers and members of the military has generated more than $100,000 for ARRL programs. The CFC provides an easy way to support ARRL's effort to represent its members and all radio amateurs. Similar to the United Way, the CFC encourages individuals to pledge by payroll deduction to non-profit organizations of their choice. The ARRL encourages eligible radio amateurs to consider the League when designating campaign recipients. Those wishing to select the ARRL to receive all or part of their payroll deductions should designate organization 10099 when completing their CFC donor forms. Donations to ARRL can be designated for Diamond Club contributions, the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund or the ARRL Education & Technology Program. Or, donors may make unrestricted contributions to the League. One important note: Since the CFC does not provide the ARRL with the names of individual donors, the ARRL Development Office would appreciate a copy of the donor form to ensure that each contribution is applied according to the donor's wishes and that the contribution or pledge can be properly acknowledged. The 2007 CFC ends December 15

* Pension Protection Act Streamlines Charitable Donations from IRAs: The ARRL Development Office notes that a provision of the Pension Protection Act (PPA) of 2006 offers an opportunity for certain IRA holders to give something back to Amateur Radio by donating to the Spectrum Defense Fund, to the ARRL Education and Technology Fund or for the ARRL Diamond Club -- which provides flexible funding for a variety of programs not supported by member dues. "Individuals who are at least 70-1/2 and support nonprofits of their choice may use IRA or Roth IRA assets as a convenient, tax-efficient source to make contributions while conserving non-IRA assets," ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, points out. "Contributions must be made directly from the IRA to the organization, not to a donor-advised fund, gift annuity or trust." Hobart says contributions of up to $100,000 may be made by December 31, 2007: "A direct contribution from an IRA to a qualified organization is excluded from income," she emphasizes. "We have received significant support through this program. I hope you are considering a year-end gift to the ARRL." This two-year program expires December 31, 2007. Hobart urges prospective donors to consult with a financial advisor before taking advantage of this opportunity. Contact Hobart <mhobart@arrl.org>; for more information or call 860-594-0397. You can also visit the ARRL's PPA Web site <http://www.arrl.org/development/ppa.html#top> for more information.

* Diamond Terrace Still Shining Bright: While there is still plenty of room in the Diamond Terrace for those who wish to honor their own call sign or that of a family member or friend, the seasons are changing and soon there will be snow in Connecticut. The final brick installation of 2007 will be taking place in the next month or so before the ground freezes. Now is a good time to go ahead and make a contribution to the Diamond Club and have your brick placed in the Terrace before the end of the year. Don't forget to request a Lucite replica of the brick -- this makes a great addition to your shack, or you can give it to the family of a Silent Key or your Elmer. Please visit the ARRL's Diamond Terrace Web site for more information <https://www.arrl.org/forms/development/donations/diamondclub/terrace.html>.

* Redeem Those Soon-to-Expire International Reply Coupons: If you have old US-issued International Reply Coupons (IRCs), they can still be redeemed, but you need to do it very soon. IRCs issued prior to 2002 (the old small ones) can be redeemed for one penny less than the issue (stamped) price, and must be redeemed by October 10. IRCs with an expiration date of December 31, 2006 can also be redeemed for one penny less than the issue price; these must be submitted to the post office by September 1, 2008. All non-US stamped IRCs issued prior to December 31, 2006 are non-redeemable. For more information, please refer to pages 28 and 57 in US Postal Bulletin 22215 <http://www.usps.com/cpim/ftp/bulletin/2007/pb22215.pdf>, dated September 13, 2007. Thanks to "The Daily DX" for this information.

* New Name for Space Environment Center: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will rename the Space Environment Center (SEC) effective Monday, October 1, 2007. The new name will be the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). The center is one of the nine National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) within NOAA's National Weather Service. The center provides real-time monitoring and forecasting of solar and geophysical events, conducts research in solar-terrestrial physics and develops techniques for forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances. According to the SEC Web site, "The new name aligns the space weather center with the other NCEP centers and more clearly conveys its operational nature." The SEC Forecast Center is jointly operated by NOAA and the US Air Force. For more information, please visit the SEC Web site <http://sec.noaa.gov/>.

* Let Us Know What You Think: What's your favorite part of The ARRL Letter? What kind of stories would you like to see in the Letter? Would you prefer the Letter in an HTML format? This is your Letter and your chance to let your voice be heard. Please send your suggestions to ARRL News Editor S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, at k1sfa@arrl.org, with the subject line "ARRL Letter Suggestions." All messages will be read and discussed, and we look forward to implementing positive suggestions into the ARRL Letter.

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The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League: ARRL--the National Association for Amateur Radio, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; <http://www.arrl.org/>. Joel Harrison, W5ZN, President.

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential and general news of interest to active radio amateurs. Visit the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> for the latest Amateur Radio news and news updates. The ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> also offers informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> is a weekly "ham radio newscast" compiled and edited from The ARRL Letter. It's also available as a podcast from our Web site.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter/American Radio Relay League.

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The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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