*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 26, No. 50 December 21, 2007 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * DXCC Desk Announces New Entity * ARRL Headquarters Closed for Christmas, New Year's Holidays * What's Coming Up in the January/February Issue of QEX * The January/February Issue of NCJ Now Available * Upcoming Operating Events * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This Weekend on the Radio ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration ARRL's Logbook of the World Counts More Than 150 Million Confirmed Contacts Incorrect Date Listed for Frostfest 2008 AMSAT's Straight Key Night Scheduled for January 1 Help Scientists Save the Shrikes There will be no ARRL Letter on December 28, 2007 or January 4, 2008. There will be no ARRL Audio News today (December 21), December 28 or January 4, 2008. =========================================================== ==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/faq.html#nodelivery>, then e-mail <email@example.com> ==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, <firstname.lastname@example.org> =========================================================== ==> DXCC DESK ANNOUNCES NEW ENTITY The ARRL DXCC Desk is pleased to announce the addition of St Barthelemy (FJ) to the DXCC List, making the island entity number 338 with an effective date of December 14, 2007. Cards with contacts dated December 14, 2007 or after will be accepted for DXCC credit. New card submissions for St Barthelemy will not be accepted until January 1, 2008 in order to allow time for administrative adjustments. On February 21, 2007 the French Ministry issued a decree making St Barthelemy an Overseas Collective, where its status is now equal to that of Guadeloupe, Martinique and other French territories currently on the DXCC List. On November 8, 2007 the President of Association Des Radio Amateurs De St Barthelemy, Philippe Delcroix, FJ5DX, contacted the DXCC Desk, requesting that St Barthelemy be considered a new DXCC entity. The "event date" that caused St Barthelemy to be added to the DXCC list was December 14, 2007, the date the US State Department added St Barthelemy to the "List of Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty" with its Administrative Center in Gustavia, qualifying it under DXCC rules in Section II - 1 Political Entities (c): "The Entity contains a permanent population, is administered by a local government, and is located at least 800 km from its parent. To satisfy the 'permanent population' and 'administered by a local government' criteria of this sub-section, an Entity must be listed on either (a) the U.S. Department of State's list of 'Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty' as having a local 'Administrative Center,' or (b) the United Nations list of 'Non-Self-Governing Territories.'" French St Martin (FS), while also added to the List of Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty, will remain on the DXCC List, but it is now considered a Point 1 Political Entity under the same classification as that of St Barthelemy. Please direct any questions you may have about St Barthelemy, St Martin or the DXCC program to the ARRL DXCC Desk <email@example.com>. ==> ARRL HEADQUARTERS CLOSED FOR CHRISTMAS, NEW YEAR'S HOLIDAYS ARRL Headquarters will be closed Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25 in observance of Christmas, and on Monday, December 31, 2007 and Tuesday, January 1, 2008 in observance of New Year's. There will be no W1AW bulletins or code practice transmissions those days. There will be no ARRL Letter on Friday, December 28 or January 4; there will also be no ARRL Audio News on Friday, December 21, Friday December 28 or Friday, January 4. Headquarters will reopen Wednesday, December 26 at 8 AM Eastern Standard Time after Christmas, and Wednesday, January 2 at 8 AM Eastern Standard Time after New Year's. We wish everyone a safe and joyful holiday season and a prosperous 2008. ==> WHAT'S COMING UP IN THE JANUARY/FEBRUARY ISSUE OF QEX The January/February issue of QEX is out, and it is full of theoretical and practical technical articles that you don't want to miss. In this issue, Jack Smith, K8ZOA, presents "The Z100 CW (and RTTY) Tuning Aid." Thomas Baier, DG8SAQ, follows up his DDS-based VNA with "A Low-Cost, Flexible USB Interface" for those with computers that don't include a parallel printer port, and Jim Kocsis, WA9PYH, describes "A 2256 MHz PLL Local Oscillator." Maynard Wright, W6PAP, explores ways to model transmission lines using lumped resistive, capacitive and inductive circuit elements in "More Octave for Transmission Lines." J. R. Laughlin, KE5KSC, built "A Squelch Amplifier" to use his HP 8590A spectrum analyzer as a receiver, while Contributing Editor L.B. Cebik, W4RNL, looks at some larger choices for horizontally polarized omnidirectional antennas in "Antenna Options." QEX is edited by Larry Wolfgang, WR1B <firstname.lastname@example.org>, and is published six times a year. The subscription rate for ARRL members in the US is $24. For First Class US delivery, it's $37; elsewhere by surface mail (4-8 week delivery) it's $31. In Canada by airmail it's $40; elsewhere by airmail it's $59. Nonmembers add $12 to these rates. Subscribe to QEX today <http://www.arrl.org/qex>. ==> THE JANUARY/FEBRUARY ISSUE OF NCJ NOW AVAILABLE NCJ, The National Contest Journal is what everyone interested in radiosport needs to have in their shack. Filled with the latest news from the contesting world, this is a definite must-have. Whether you are new to contesting or are a seasoned pro (or somewhere in the middle), you will find something in NCJ just for you. New NCJ Editor Alan Dewey, K0AD, takes over the reins from Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, with the January/February issue; Luetzelschwab's last issue was November/December, and he will continue to write NCJ's "Propagation" column. Dewey said, "I'd like to say what an honor it is to serve as editor of 'National Contest Journal.' I have been reading NCJ for more than 20 years, and it is by far my favorite Amateur Radio publication. I truly have a love for contesting, and I hope that will show through to you, our readers. Carl has done a great job over the last five years, and he continues to be a big help during the transition. I don't have any major changes in mind at this time. I'll talk a little more about that subject in the next issue. In the meantime, I really would like to hear from you, our readers, as to what you would like NCJ to be. If you have suggestions for articles or features, please let me know. Even with all the contesting resources and discussion on the Internet, I believe there's a vital role for a printed publication dedicated to contesting. I look forward to hearing your ideas. Just drop a 'letter to the editor,' at <email@example.com>." Dewey is also the Dakota Division representative to the ARRL Contest Advisory Committee (CAC). In the January/February issue, Steve Root, K0SR, discusses "Design and Construction of a Quad That Will Last." Ed Muns, W0YK, ruminates on "The NCCC Sprint: A Mid-Week Contest 'Fix.'" Greg Fields, K0OB, fondly remembers a fellow ham in "Dave Ranney, KT0R (SK)," and Scott Robbins, W4PA, profiles Hal Kennedy, N4GG, in this issue's "NCJ Profiles." Bob Neece, K0KR, takes readers on a "virtual tour" of the CAC in his article, "Update: The ARRL Contest Advisory Committee -- Part 1." If you've been waiting to see how you did in the fall sprints and North American QSO Parties, you definitely don't want to miss this issue! Check out the results for the following contests: August 2007 NAQP SSB, August 2007 NAQP CW, September 2007 North American Sprint CW and September 2007 North American Sprint SSB. The rules for the North American Sprint CW/SSB Contest and the North American QSO Party (NAQP) CW/SSB/RTTY Contests are in this issue. You might also want to brush up on the rules for these events and make note of any changes for the coming year. Of course, there are all the regular columns and features you expect from NCJ: "Software for Contesters" by Pete Smith, N4ZR; "Workshop Chronicles," by Don Daso, K4ZA; "Contest Tips, Tricks & Techniques," by Gary Sutcliffe, W9XT; "Propagation," by Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA; "VHF-UHF Contesting," by Jon Jones, N0JK; "Contesting on a Budget," by Paul Schaffenberger, K5AF; "DX Contest Activity Announcements," by Bill Feidt, NG3K; "RTTY Contesting," by Don Hill, AA5AU, and "Contest Calendar," by Bruce Horn, WA7BNM. All this and more in the January/February issue of NCJ. NCJ is published six times a year by the ARRL; it is edited by Al Dewey, K0AD. Subscribe at <http://www.arrl.org/ncj/>. ==> UPCOMING OPERATING EVENTS Are you getting a new rig this holiday season? Maybe you are perfectly happy with the one you have now. Does it really matter as long as you get on the air? Put your rig to good use and join in these operating events and contests that are coming up the first week of 2008. The ARRL Straight Key Night fast approaching! Dust off that old J-38 and enjoy CW as it used to be. This on-air operating event is designed to encourage all Amateur Radio operators to enjoy sending Morse code the old-fashioned way. While the event is called Straight Key Night for a reason, the main point is to encourage the use of CW in a relaxed, no-pressure atmosphere. Bugs and iambic paddles are allowed, but we encourage all participants to use a straight key if possible. Enjoy a good ragchew and cast your vote for the "best fist" you hear. Be sure to tell us about your most memorable contact. The ARRL Straight Key Night is from 0000 UTC-2400 UTC on January 1, 2008. You can find complete details on page 98 of the December 2007 QST. The first weekend of 2008 provides an opportunity to enjoy some healthy competition. The ARRL RTTY Roundup has quickly become one of the best contests using the digital modes. RTTY, PSK31, and several other digital modes are used to communicate with other amateurs all around the world. If you've wanted to try your hand at digital operating, this contest is an exciting way to get your feet wet. The ARRL RTTY Roundup is from 0000 January 5, 2008-2400 UTC January 6, 2008. Complete rules can be found on page 97 of the December QST. Are you looking for a fun way to share Amateur Radio with your kids? Kids Day, created by the Boring Amateur Radio Club of Oregon, takes place on Sunday, January 6, 2008. Kids get behind the microphone and make actual on-the-air contacts with other kids across the United States and Canada. Kids exchange their name, age, location and their favorite color in a contest-style event. Custom certificates are available for free download for each child that participates! Kids Day is a great way to show your family just how much fun you can have with Amateur Radio. You can find more information on page 39 of the December 2007 QST. Make it your New Year's resolution to get on the air more. Be it CW, digital modes such as RTTY or PSK31, SSTV or simply using your microphone, there is something magical about radio. Make 2008 the year you rediscover what the magic is all about. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Tad "The Sun had Clos'd the Winter Day" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: Sunspot 978 faded this week, with Tuesday, December 18 its last day visible. The average daily sunspot number dropped nearly 13 points from last week to 24.1, and the average daily solar flux (the amount of energy we receive from the Sun at a wavelength of 10.7 cm or 2800 MHz) was down over three points to 83.9. Geomagnetic indicators were up, with average daily planetary A index up three points to 7.4 and mid-latitude A index was up two points to 5.4. Unfortunately, sunspot 978 held no indication for the next sunspot cycle, because the magnetic polarity was the same as spots from cycle 23, which is now ending. It was also at mid-latitude and spots from a new cycle tend to be high latitude. But there was quite an interest this week in a high-latitude area of reverse magnetic polarity. So far this has not turned into an actual sunspot, so we wait. Sunspot numbers for December 13 through 19 were 39, 35, 39, 28, 14, 14 and 0 with a mean of 24.1. The 10.7 cm flux was 93.8, 91.9, 88.9, 81.7, 79.5, 76.8 and 74.5 with a mean of 83.9. Estimated planetary A indices were 4, 2, 1, 2, 17, 18 and 8 with a mean of 7.4. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 3, 2, 2, 1, 12, 11 and 7, with a mean of 5.4. The predicted planetary A index for December 21-23 is 15, 10 and 8, then dropping to 5 for December 24-January 5. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts unsettled conditions December 21-22, quiet to unsettled December 23 and quiet December 24-27. 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, look for the SKCC Weekend Sprintathon on December 23. The DARC Christmas Contest is December 26 and the RAC Winter Contest is December 29. The Original QRP Contest and Stew Perry Topband Challenge are both December 29-30. The ARRL Straight Key Night begins December 31. Mark your calendars now for the following 2008 events: the SARTG New Year RTTY Contest and AGCW Happy New Year Contest are both scheduled for January 1. Don't forget the ARRL RTTY Roundup and the EUCW 160 Meter Contest on January 5-6, the ARS Spartan Sprint on January 8 and the Midwinter Contest (CW) on January 12. January 12-13 plays host to the Hunting Lions in the Air Contest and the North American QSO Party (CW). On January 13, you won't want to miss the NRAU-Baltic Contest (CW), Midwinter Contest (Phone), NRAU-Baltic Contest (SSB) and the DARC 10 Meter Contest. 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, January 6, 2008 for these online courses beginning on Friday, January 18, 2008: 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>. * ARRL's Logbook of the World Counts More Than 150 Million Contacts: ARRL's Logbook of the World (LoTW) -- a repository of log records submitted by users from around the world -- passed its latest milestone Wednesday, December 19 as the QSO counter clicked past 150 million contacts entered into the system, with more added since. When both participants in a contact submit matching QSO records to LoTW, the result is a QSL that can be used for ARRL award credit, such as DXCC. ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager Dave Patton, NN1N, said, "These 150 million QSOs represent a doubling of the total since July 2005 when ARRL Contributing Editor H. Ward Silver, N0AX, wrote an article for QST, 'Logbook of the World -- 75 Million QSOs Can't Be Wrong!' <http://www.arrl.org/lotw/silver.pdf>. Thanks for using LoTW. We are planning to improve usability and add support for new awards in 2008." Check out Logbook of the World at <http://www.arrl.org/lotw/>. * Incorrect Date Listed for Frostfest 2008: The December issue of QST (page 106) and last week's ARRL Letter listed the incorrect date for Frostfest 2008. The correct date is Saturday, February 2. Frostfest 2008 will host the Virginia ARRL State Convention. * AMSAT's Straight Key Night Scheduled for January 1: AMSAT, The Amateur Radio Satellite Corporation, invites you to participate in Straight Key Night on OSCAR 2008. Participating in OSCAR Straight Key Night is fun and simple - there is no scoring and no need to send in a log. Just operate CW through any OSCAR -- using a straight hand key -- at any time between 0000 and 2400 UTC on January 1, 2008. In keeping with the friendly nature of this event, all participants are encouraged to nominate someone they worked for "Best Fist." Your nominee need not have the best fist you heard, just the best of those you worked. Please send your nomination to W2RS <email@example.com>. Those nominated will be recognized in an AMSAT News Service bulletin, and in "The AMSAT Journal." This year's event will be held in memory of Haruo (Harry) Yoneda, ex-JA1ANG, a past AMSAT Director and co-founder of JAMSAT. Harry was also a keen CW operator and a past member of the First Class CW Operators Club (FOC). - Thanks Bruce Paige, KK5DO * Help Scientists Save the Shrikes: If you live in an eastern state and can tune away from the ham bands for a few minutes a day, you could help scientists study an endangered bird species. Every year, Eastern Loggerhead Shrikes <http://www.shrike.ca/> leave their nesting grounds in Ontario, Canada, but fewer and fewer are returning in the spring. Researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario have placed radio tags on 16 young shrikes. They are asking for assistance from hams and monitoring enthusiasts to find out if the tagged birds end up in Florida as expected, or somewhere else. You can help by tuning in regularly to the tag frequencies, which are between 172-173 MHz. The primary target area is Tennessee, North Carolina and states to the south. The complete frequency list is published <http://www.homingin.com/>, along with articles to help you distinguish the pulsed tags from other signals you may hear there. Please listen now, because these Loggerhead Shrike transmitters are slowly decreasing in power output and will begin to fail in mid-February 2008. -- Joe Moell K0OV, ARRL ARDF Coordinator =========================================================== 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. ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): firstname.lastname@example.org ==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, email@example.com ==>ARRL News on the Web: <http://www.arrl.org/> ==>ARRL Audio News: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call 860-594-0384 ==>How to Get The ARRL Letter The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from ARRL HQ. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for e-mail delivery: ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site <http://www.arrl.org/members/>. You'll have an opportunity during registration to sign up for e-mail delivery of The ARRL Letter, W1AW bulletins, and other material. To change these selections--including delivery of The ARRL Letter--registered members should click on the "Member Data Page" link (in the Members Only box). Click on "Modify membership data," check or uncheck the appropriate boxes and/or change your e-mail address if necessary. (Check "Temporarily disable all automatically sent email" to temporarily stop all e-mail deliveries.) 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