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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 26, No. 40
October 5, 2007


* + Son of First Ham to Operate in Space to Follow in Father's Footsteps

* + ARRL/TAPR Celebrate 26th Annual Digital Communications Conference 
* + ARRL and MARS Team Up for Washington Demo 
* + Look for the November Issue of QST in Your Mailbox
* + Nominations Now Being Accepted for the 2007 ARRL International
Humanitarian Award 
* + NASA TV Shows Launch, Docking of Spacecraft, More 
*  Solar Update
      This Weekend on the Radio
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration
    + ARRL Executive Committee Upholds Ethics and Elections Committee's
    + James Michener, K9JM, Wins September QST Cover Plaque Award 
      Mark the "Play on PropNET" Weekend on Your Calendar 
      Notes from the ARRL DXCC Desk 
      ARRL Shipping New Books 
      Longtime ARRL Staffer Retires 
      Let Us Know What You Think 

+Available on ARRL Audio News <> 

==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ
<>, then e-mail
==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane,


Richard Garriott, KE5QNX, son of Owen Garriott, W5LFL, will be launching
into space and living aboard the International Space Station in October
2008 as a client of Space Adventures. Owen Garriott operated the world's
first Amateur Radio Station from space, W5LFL, as part of the Spacelab
mission on the space shuttle Columbia (STS-9) in 1983; he is on the
Astronaut Advisory Board of Space Adventures. Space Adventures is a
company that allows private citizens the chance for space travel on
Russian Soyuz spacecraft at an estimated cost of $30-55 million per
person. Richard, who is Space Adventures vice chairman, has applied for
his grandfather's call sign, W5KWQ. He plans on making Amateur Radio on
the International Space Station (ARISS) contacts when he is in space.

Richard will be the sixth private citizen to venture into space.
According to his Web site <>, his "main
objective for his mission is to encourage commercial participation. By
fostering the involvement of individuals, companies and organizations in
his spaceflight Richard hopes to demonstrate that there is commercial
potential in private space exploration, while furthering the
understanding of space. Richard plans to demonstrate this by taking on
various commercial projects, corporate sponsors for his mission
activities and by helping companies market their products though their
association with an actual space mission." 

A self-described experienced terrestrial explorer -- "I have traveled to
all seven continents on adventures that have included tracking mountain
gorillas in Rwanda, canoeing down the Amazon, diving in a submarine to
the Titanic and trekking Antarctica in search of meteorites" -- Richard
says on his Web site that he is excited about his trip into space.
"Journeying to space has been a dream of mine since I was young. So for
me, space exploration was tangible, it was part of my family's DNA. But
I was also acutely aware of the costs and complexity that kept it under
the purview of the government. There was no imaginable way I was going
to get a front-row seat like my father." Richard, 46, is the first
American second-generation astronaut. In Russia, Sergey Volkov, 34, a
pilot, is set to fly to the ISS as commander next spring. His father,
Aleksandr, rocketed into orbit in the 1980s and early 1990s. 

The first commercial research partner involved in Richard's space
mission is ExtremoZyme, Inc, a biotechnology company co-founded by his
father. According to his Web site, "Richard will operate an ExtremoZyme
protein crystallization experiment loaded with proteins, many of which
have important cellular functions and are often associated with common
human diseases. Having access to these superior crystals will enable
researchers to learn more about the molecular structure of these
proteins, which is essential for protein engineering and drug design." 

A well-known computer game developer, Richard, also known in the gaming
world as Lord British, was the owner of now-defunct Origin Systems. The
company is best known for gaming software such as the Ultima fantasy
computer role-playing game series, Wing Commander and Crusader. Richard
then founded Destination Games, which has since merged with NCsoft where
he is an executive producer; his new game, Tabula Rasa, is set to be
released by NCsoft later this month. 

Rosalie White, K1STO, ARRL ARISS Program Manager, said, "With Richard's
fame with the general public and Owen's fame in the science industry and
with ham radio operators, Richard's planned ARISS educational activities
should generate a great deal of interest for ham radio in all ages and
types of people. This will be good for Amateur Radio and ARISS. The
ARISS Team is really looking forward to supporting his ARISS school
goals; we were so pleased to hear that he's already earned his ham

Richard lives in Austin, Texas. His home, Britannia Manor, has been
featured on MTV. -- Thanks to Fred Maia, W5YI, for some information. 


The ARRL and TAPR held their 26th Annual Digital Communications
Conference this past weekend, September 28-30, in Hartford, Connecticut.
The DCC is an international forum for radio amateurs to meet, publish
their work and present new ideas and techniques. Presenters and
attendees had the opportunity to exchange ideas and learn about recent
hardware and software advances, theories, experimental results and
practical applications.

With more than 150 in attendance during the three-day event, ARRL Chief
Operating Officer Harold Kramer, WJ1B, said, "It was exciting to see and
hear about the latest developments in Amateur Radio digital technology.
The depth of knowledge, commitment and enthusiasm were very impressive
and bode well for the future of Amateur Radio."

According to QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, many of Friday's seminars
were devoted to the Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS). Bob
Bruninga, WB4APR, gave the first session of the conference, "The APRS
Local Voice Repeater Initiative." Bruninga is the developer of APRS. 

Other seminars at the conference included "The Flex 5000 and Software
Defined Radio Software," "HPSDR Update," "AMSAT's Phase IV," "A Method
for Automatic Image Balancing in IQ Mixer Based Software Defined
Receivers" and "Suit-Sat 2 Update." Ford also gave a standing-room-only
seminar on an introduction to HF digital.

Ford said one of the highlights at the DCC was the NUE-PSK device. This
gizmo makes it possible to do PSK31 without a PC. There is no word yet
on when kits will be available for this item. "The latest Flexradio
software-defined transceiver also drew a great deal of attention," Ford
said. RPC Electronics debuted their all-in-one APRS tracker (2 meter
transmitter, packet TNC and GPS receiver in one compact package). The
company said it would be available for sale in December, just in time
for holiday giving. 

A popular feature of the DCC was the Demonstration Room. This was a
place for participants to set up their projects for everyone to see, as
well as a place for vendors to demonstrate their equipment. 

ARRL New England Division Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, spoke to
conference participants Saturday morning, welcoming them to the DCC.
TAPR held their annual meeting later that day.

The 2008 Digital Communications Conference will be in Chicago, but no
date has been set. Check out the TAPR Web site <> for
more information. 


The ARRL and Virginia radio amateurs associated with the Army Military
Affiliate Radio System (MARS) put their emergency communications skills
to the test on October 3, demonstrating to members of Congress and other
Federal agencies how ham radio continues to work when other means of
communications are disabled during hurricanes or other natural or
man-made disasters. The demonstration took place in a compact portable
communications center erected on the Capitol grounds near the Rayburn
House Office. More than 50 MARS operators from Virginia, Maryland, West
Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and other states participated in the

According to the scenario issued by exercise planners, the event assumed
a Category 3 hurricane named Quincy that deposited heavy rains over a
multi-state area on October 2 and made landfall in the Delaware,
Maryland and Virginia region later that day. The "storm" moved north
into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, turned counterclockwise and traveled
southward before returning to the Atlantic through the Carolinas and
Georgia on October 5. 

During the exercise, MARS operators also monitored other Amateur Radio
emergency frequencies and coordinated the exchange of messages across
their networks as well, honing their ability to work with other radio
emergency providers such as the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). 

ARRL Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD;
ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, and ARRL Media and
Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, made the trek down to
Washington. "As the unusually hot October sun fried us, despite the lack
of sunspots," Pitts said, "representatives of ARRL, MARS and the
Southern Baptist Disaster Response organizations fought poor propagation
to make contacts through the day primarily on VHF, 20 and 40 meters.
Dennis Dura worked the ARRL's HF rig most of the day as W1AW/3. Arkansas
Congressman Mike Ross, WD5DVR -- one of only two Amateur Radio operators
in Congress -- also made contacts from the site." 

Pitts said that the ARRL team used the "When All Else Fails Banner" at
the site. "We hoisted the banner in front of the Capitol dome. It
attracted many vacationing hams in the area who stopped by to see what
was happening, and some even were able to be brief 'guest operators.'
But the day was mostly spent showing Amateur Radio capabilities to the
Congressional staffers and others who work behind the scenes to make the
wheels of government go. Janet Worthington, KB3PDS, of Chwat & Co -- the
ARRL's lobbying firm -- was able to use the demonstration as a topic and
drop off ARRL materials about HR 462
<> and Amateur Radio
in every congressional office." 

MARS operators used a variety of modes to move messages from the
originator to the final recipient, depending on the operating conditions
in place at the time. Operators used voice, CW and WinLink2000 to move
messages. WinLink uses an e-mail-type interface, making it simpler for
served agencies to send and receive their emergency traffic. 

MARS volunteers are required to complete a variety of training courses
to be a part of the program. They use personal radio equipment and are
capable of operating on emergency power when conditions dictate. Many
members are former servicemen and women who first learned radio
communication skills while serving in the Army. MARS is a Department of
Defense sponsored organization of Amateur Radio operators trained and
equipped to provide emergency communications for military and government
agencies when normal links are interrupted by accident, natural calamity
or hostile action. W1AW recently received a MARS call sign - AAN1ARL.
For additional information about Army MARS, visit their Web site at
<>. -- Some information provided by Jeff
Slusher, KE5APC/AAT3PD, Public Relations Manager for Virginia Army MARS.


The November issue of QST is jam-packed with all sorts of things today's
Amateur Radio operator needs. From product reviews to experiments to
contesting, the upcoming issue of QST has something for just about

This issue features an article by ARRL News Editor S. Khrystyne Keane,
K1SFA, on the National Football League's Game Day Frequency Coordinator
Program in her article "Football: Fumbles, Field Goals and Frequencies."
Game Day Frequency Coordinators, many of whom are hams, are responsible
for coordinating more than 300 frequencies for broadcast, referees,
coaches and quarterbacks, as well as parking and security frequencies
and more at each NFL game. 

Did you miss the 2007 ARRL National Convention in Huntsville, Alabama?
Catch up on all the activities with the ARRL Convention coverage in
November's QST. The convention, held in conjunction with the Huntsville
Hamfest and the Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
Conference, drew more than 5000 people. 

If you're in the market for a dual-band mobile transceiver, this is an
issue you don't want to miss. Both the Kenwood TM-V71A Dual Band Mobile
Radio and the ICOM IC-2820H Dual Band FM Transceiver are featured in
November's Product Review. 

ARRL Regulatory Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, explains how the
FCC's recent actions affect you in his article, "The New Road Map to the
FCC Rules."

Rich Roznoy, K1OF, wants to make sure you have the right kind of antenna
for your car. You'll want to read his article, "A Comparison of HF
Mobile Antenna Designs." If you need an easy-to-make Yagi antenna for
your handheld transceiver, be sure to check out the article by Tom Hart,

Get out your calendars and make sure you're on the air for the ARRL 160
Meter Contest, November 30-December 2, and the ARRL 10 Meter Contest,
December 8-9. November QST has the official contest announcements and
indicates just what you need to do to participate in these great
operating events. 

Look for your November issue of QST in your mailbox. QST is the official
journal of ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio. QST is just
one of the many benefits of ARRL membership. To join or renew your ARRL
membership, please see the ARRL Web page <>. 


Nominations are open for the 2007 ARRL International Humanitarian Award
<>. The award
is conferred upon an amateur or amateurs who demonstrate devotion to
human welfare, peace and international understanding through Amateur
Radio. The League established the annual prize to recognize Amateur
Radio operators who have used ham radio to provide extraordinary service
to others in times of crisis or disaster. 

The awards committee is now accepting nominations from Amateur Radio,
governmental or other organizations that have benefited from
extraordinary service rendered by an Amateur Radio operator or group.
Nominations should include a summary of the nominee's actions that
qualify the individual (or individuals) for this award, plus verifying
statements from at least two people having first-hand knowledge of the
events warranting the nomination. These statements may be from an
official of a group (for example, the American Red Cross, The Salvation
Army, a local or state emergency management official) that benefited
from the nominee's particular Amateur Radio contribution. Nominations
should include the names and addresses of all references. 

All nominations and supporting materials for the 2007 ARRL International
Humanitarian Award must be submitted in writing in English to ARRL
International Humanitarian Award, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 USA.
Nomination submissions are due by December 31, 2007. In the event that
no nominations are received, the committee itself may determine a
recipient or decide to make no award. The winner of the ARRL
International Humanitarian Award receives an engraved plaque and a
profile in QST and other ARRL venues.


If you have ever wanted to see what goes on when a spacecraft launches
into space or docks with the International Space Station (ISS), be sure
to check out NASA TV <> on your computer. You can
watch live coverage of preparations for the launch, the launch and even
the docking and hatch openings and closings as spacecraft arrive and
leave the ISS.

NASA's Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson, Soyuz Commander, Flight
Engineer Yuri Malenchenko, RK3DUP, and Malaysian spaceflight participant
Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, 9W2MUS, are set to launch October 10 at 1321
UTC from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Their Soyuz TMA-11 craft
is planned to dock to the station on October 12 at 1427 UTC. Coverage
for this event begins October 10 at 1230 UTC. Coverage of the Soyuz
docking with the ISS, opening of Soyuz's hatch door and the post-docking
news conference from Moscow begins October 12 at 1400 UTC. 

NASA Flight Engineer Clay Anderson, KD5PLA, who has been on the station
since June, will remain with Whitson and Malenchenko until the arrival
of space shuttle Discovery on the STS-120 mission. NASA astronaut Dan
Tani, KD5TXE, will arrive on that mission to replace Anderson, who will
journey home on Discovery.

Expedition 15 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, RN3FI, Soyuz Commander and
Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov and Shukor will return to Earth October 21 at
1032 UTC in their Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft now docked to the ISS.
Yurchikhin and Kotov have been aboard the station since April. Coverage
for this event begins October 21 at 0345 UTC. 


Tad "Eleven Angels of Mercy Sighin' Over That Black Hole in the Sun"
Cook, K7RA, this week reports: After 21 days of no sunspots, a sunspot
reappeared, but only briefly. In fact, it was one sunspot, number 971,
that emerged on September 28 for just a few days. Now we are back into a
zero-sunspot period of indeterminate length, just four days so far.
Solar wind provided geomagnetic disturbances, with September 29 being
the most disturbed day. There was another rise in activity centered on
October 3. Currently, the Air Force predicts a moderate rise in
geomagnetic activity peaking October 20 with a planetary A index of 15,
and a much larger rise to planetary A index of 25 on October 26. But reports another solar wind stream to arrive on or
around October 11. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet
conditions October 5-7, unsettled October 8, quiet to unsettled October
9, quiet October 10 and quiet to unsettled October 11. Sunspot numbers
for September 27 through October 3 were 0, 15, 16, 17, 12, 0 and 0 with
a mean of 8.6. The 10.7 cm flux was 67.1, 67.2, 67.6, 65, 67.7, 66.4,
and 67.3 with a mean of 66.9. Estimated planetary A indices were 19, 21,
26, 12, 8, 9 and 18 with a mean of 16.1. Estimated mid-latitude A
indices were 10, 15, 24, 11, 7, 5 and 9 with a mean of 11.6. . For more
information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical
Information Service Propagation page
<>. To read this week's
Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW Propagation Bulletin
page <>. 



* This Weekend on the Radio: This weekend, 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.
Next week, the ARRL School Club Roundup is October 15-19. The NCCC
Sprint (CW) is October 12. The Microwave Fall Sprint, EU Autumn Sprint
(CW) and FISTS Fall Sprint are October 13. The Makrothen RTTY Contest,
Oceania DX Contest (CW) and Pennsylvania QSO Party are October 13-14.
The North American Sprint (RTTY) and UBA ON Contest (SSB) are October
14. See the ARRL Contest Branch page <>,
the ARRL Contester's Rate Sheet
<> and the WA7BNM Contest
Calendar <> for more

* ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains
open through Sunday, October 21 for these online courses beginning on
Friday, November 2: Technician License Course (EC-010); Amateur Radio
Emergency Communications Level 1 (EC-001); Radio Frequency Interference
(EC-006); Antenna Design and Construction (EC-009); Analog Electronics
(EC-012), and Digital Electronics (EC-013). To learn more, visit the CCE
Course Listing page <> or contact
the Continuing Education Program Coordinator <>;.

* ARRL Executive Committee Upholds Ethics and Elections Committee's
Decision: The ARRL Executive Committee has completed its consideration
of the appeal filed by Carl Gardenias, WU6D, of the decision of the ARRL
Ethics and Elections Committee disqualifying him as a candidate for
Director of the Southwestern Division. Based on its own independent
review, the Executive Committee voted unanimously by teleconference to
affirm the decision. This decision was communicated to Mr Gardenias on
October 1, along with detailed findings of fact and conclusions of the
committee. The Executive Committee is meeting this weekend and will
release additional information after the meeting. 

* James Michener, K9JM, Wins September QST Cover Plaque Award: The
winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for September is James Michener,
K9JM, for his article "Maximum Gain Portable HF Yagi." Congratulations,
James! The winner of the QST Cover Plaque award -- given to the author
or authors of the best article in each issue -- is determined by a vote
of ARRL members on the QST Cover Plaque Poll
<> Web page. Cast a ballot
for your favorite article in the October issue by Wednesday, October 31.

* Mark the "Play on PropNET" Weekend on Your Calendar: Play on PropNET
is a two-day, worldwide event designed to promote PSK31 and propagation
study on the 30 meter band. This event, scheduled for 0000 UTC October
6-2359 October 7, will be on 10.1395 MHz. Simply download PropNetPSK
<>, a free PropNET software program, configure it
for your station and activate for the weekend. PropNetPSK software will
place the PSK stream at +1500 Hz (10.1410 MHz true). In normal
operation, the software will cause your station to automatically ID at
regular intervals (several times per hour) throughout the weekend. If
your licensing authority requires that an operator be present whenever
transmitting, switch to "Lurker" mode when you are away. This will allow
your station to monitor and report anything that is heard, even if it
isn't transmitting. PropNET uses the Internet as a reporting tool.
Participants who are connected to the Internet (even using intermittent
dial-up connections) will have their reports sent to a mapping system
that will graphically display everything that is "caught" (a PropNET
term for received). Transmitting stations will have their call signs
shown on the map. Receive-only stations (Lurkers) will display using
their 6-cipher grid-locator rather than call sign. Don't worry if you
don't have an Internet connection at your station, as others will hear
your transmission and report it to the Internet. As an added benefit,
all stations that report activity will have their activity added to an
animated GIF file at the end of each UTC day. All worldwide activity
will be captured to that animation and will be able to be played back at
a later time. All amateur and SWL stations worldwide are encouraged to
participate for this first event of its kind. Thanks to the 30 Meter
Digital Group for suggesting this activity and to the PropNET community
of experimenters for supporting it. -- Ev Tupis, W2EV 

* Notes from the ARRL DXCC Desk: ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L,
wants you to know that there is a feature on the DXCC Web site
<> that lets you verify that your DXCC
application has been received, and when. Near the middle of the Web
page, Moore says, is a link titled "List of DXCC Applications Received."
Click on this link, and you will see applicants' call signs (listed
alpha-numerically) and date the applications were logged into the DXCC
computer. Note: this is not the date received from the post office -- it
is the date the application was logged into the DXCC system. At the top
of the page is a date. This date is always the Friday of the current
estimated period DXCC is mailing applications. Due to the sheer volume
of applications that pass through DXCC, applications before and even
after this period may already be in progress. From this information, you
can estimate the turnaround time of your application. Using today's
date, look at the mailing date on the Web site. The difference between
these two dates is the approximate turn-around time - if today's date is
September 10, 2007 and the date shown on the Web page is June 29, 2007,
the estimated turn-around time can be determined to be approximately
three months. 

* ARRL Shipping New Books: The ARRL is shipping three new ARRL
publication editions: "The 2008 ARRL Handbook," "ARRL's HF Digital
Handbook" and "ARRL's Low Power Communication." An early bird bonus CD
is guaranteed for members and customers who place orders for The ARRL
Handbook by October 31. You can find ordering details and more
information at ARRL Online Product Catalog <>.
These books are also available from ARRL publication dealers. Find the
dealer nearest you by going to the ARRL Dealer Locator Web page

* Longtime ARRL Staffer Retires: Eileen Sapko, ARRL Awards Manager,
retired September 28 after 23 years at League HQ. We wish her the best!
If you have any questions concerning any of the ARRL awards programs,
please direct them to Bill Moore, NC1L <>;. 

* 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, 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.

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; <>. 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
<> for the latest Amateur Radio news and news
updates. The ARRL Web site <> also offers
informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News
<> 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.

==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):
==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA,
==>ARRL News on the Web: <>
==>ARRL Audio News: <> or call

==>How to Get The ARRL Letter

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The ARRL Letter

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.

Much of the ARRL Letter content is also available in audio form in ARRL Audio News.

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 and The American Radio Relay League.

Back issues published since 2000 are available on this page. If you wish to subscribe via e-mail, simply log on to the ARRL Web site, click on Edit Your Profile at the top, then click on Edit Email Subscriptions. Check the box next to The ARRL email newsletter, the ARRL Letter and you will receive each weekly issue in HTML format. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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