ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 27, No. 11
March 20, 2008
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

*   Hams on Hand as Tornados Sweep through Georgia, Downtown Atlanta 
*   Station Locator Service New for Field Day 2008 
*   "The Doctor Is IN" the ARRL Letter 
*   ARRL Membership Newsletters, Bulletins and Notifications 
*   National Hurricane Conference Set for April 
*   EMCOMMWEST Coming to Reno in May 
*   Emmett Freitas, AE6Z (SK) 
*   Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF: 
     This Weekend on the Radio
     ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration

Reminder: The ARRL Letter is posting one day early, Thursday, March 20,
due to the ARRL closing in observance of Good Friday. There will be no
ARRL Audio News on Friday, March 21. 

===========================================================
==>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>;
===========================================================

==> HAMS ON HAND AS TORNADOS SWEEP THROUGH GEORGIA, DOWNTOWN ATLANTA 

When tornados swept through Georgia this past weekend, Amateur Radio
operators were on hand to assist where needed. On Friday, March 14, an
EF-2 tornado touched down in downtown Atlanta at 9:38 PM (local time).
The National Weather Service said the twister was 6 miles long and 200
yards wide. Downtown Atlanta was a busy place that evening; not only was
there a professional basketball game, college basketball fans were in
town for the Southeast Conference tournament at the Georgia Dome. Due to
the tornados, the final college game of the day was postponed until the
next day. According to reports, the tornado blew off portions of the
roof of the Georgia Dome.

An EF-2 tornado has wind speeds from 111-135 MPH. In such a tornado,
roofs are torn off well-constructed houses, foundations of frame homes
are shifted, mobile homes can be completely destroyed, large trees are
snapped or uprooted, light-object missiles are generated and cars can be
lifted off the ground.

ARRL Georgia Section Manager Susan Swiderski, AF4FO, said "William
Chandler, KG4JTK, went from house to house in the wind and the rain
checking for any injuries in the homes that had sustained damage by
falling trees and debris. At the same time, he issued reports via radio
to Barry Kanne, W4TGA, the Emergency Coordinator for neighboring DeKalb
County, regarding fallen trees, billboards, power lines and other
threats to public safety. Barry relayed this information to the Atlanta
911 center and to the Grady Hospital Emergency Operations Center."
DeKalb County is directly to the east of Fulton County; Atlanta is the
county seat of Fulton County.

The City of Atlanta Web site reported that "[e]xtensive damage has been
reported to a number of landmark buildings in downtown, including the
Omni Hotel, Georgia World Congress Center, CNN Building, the Georgia
Dome and Phillips Arena and homes and businesses in nearby
neighborhoods." The Red Cross opened a shelter at Central Recreation
Center. There was "no external damage" to Hartsfield International
Airport.

Eyewitness accounts said that "huge hunks of metal and broken glass were
everywhere [in Atlanta], as well as overturned cars and benches in the
road. Olympic Centennial Park is a mess." The high winds caused major
damage to several other landmarks including the Georgia World Congress
Center. Many hotels and office buildings had their windows blown out.
Grady Memorial Hospital, the major trauma center for the Atlanta metro
area, had its 100 foot tall communications tower blown off the hospital
roof, disabling communications with emergency medical personnel.

ARRL Georgia Section Traffic Manager Charles Pennington, K4GK, served as
Net Manager during the storms: "After several hours of recovery and
damage assessment, it became obvious that while Atlanta had received
major damage to downtown area, there were no fatalities reported and
amazingly only 21 persons were treated for injuries." Two fatalities
were reported in northwest Georgia.

In Effingham County, near Savannah on Georgia's coastline, Swiderski
said a tornado "took down six power towers during the annual St
Patrick's Day celebrations," thrusting the community into "total
blackout conditions."

"A local 2 meter SKYWARN net, with Greg Tillman, N4VAD, serving as NCS,
provided a vital link with the staff at Memorial University Medical
Center in Savannah. Dr Ra Meguiar, N4RVM, a physician and senior
hospital administrator, later sent a letter of appreciation in
recognition of the local hams 'for staying with us through the weather
and the power outage.' He said that this was his first experience in
participating in a severe weather net and the 'support was invaluable,'"
Swiderski said.

According to Swiderski, reports came mostly through the linked repeater
system, "usually from a liaison from one of the many local nets that
were going on in county after county, but there were also reports from
stand-alone hams who had the misfortune of being in an affected area.
There were reports of wall clouds, funnel clouds and hailstones -- large
hailstones, sometimes as large as baseballs."

Tillman said that two mobile homes were completely destroyed and one was
"tossed like a rag doll, rolling over numerous times 100 feet from its
foundation where the anchors were pulled up from the ground." Nearly a
dozen other homes and automobiles were damaged; five people from
Effingham were transported to the local hospital for treatment and
evaluation, he said.

"In some of the counties, this event was a true 'baptism under fire' for
brand new Emergency Coordinators," Swiderski said. "I'm pleased to say
that they all conducted themselves and all of the challenges admirably."

==> STATION LOCATOR SERVICE NEW FOR FIELD DAY 2008 

This year, for the first time, the ARRL has put together a Station
Locator to help amateurs or those interested in Amateur Radio find a
Field Day site near them. According to ARRL Field Day Manager Dan
Henderson, N1ND, many amateurs have been asking for something like this
for many years.

If your group would like to be a part of the Station Locator Service,
it's easy to get started. Just go to the Field Day Station Locator Web
site <http://www.arrl.org/contests/announcements/fd/locator.php> and
follow the instructions.

To help you out, Henderson has prepared a FAQ for the Field Day Station
Locator.

Q) How does our Field Day site get listed on the map?
A) A club official or Field Day Chairman needs to go to the Web site.
Once there, click on the link for "Add a Station" and follow the
instructions.

Q) I put in the name of the park where we will be holding Field Day but
got the message that the program can't find it. What do I do?
A) You should use a street address for the location. Unfortunately, the
mapping program doesn't have a 100 percent complete database of park
names and public site names. You may use a latitude/longitude -- enter
the values separated by a comma (e.g. 42.345N, 85.445W) and set the city
to NONE). 

Q) I put in a street address but the map locator put me it in a wrong
location on the street. What do I do?
A) While in the data input or edit screen, use your cursor to move the
red "pin" to the correct location on the map.

Q) What if I put in the wrong information or something about our Field
Day operation changes?
A) The person who input the data will be able to edit the entry. Simply
follow the "Add a Station" link and then select "Edit this entry" next
to the one to correct.

Q). I tried to enter my club's information, but I was denied access.
What do I do? 
A) To help ensure that only one person is managing a club's entry, you
must be logged onto the site with your ARRL member ID and password. If
you are not an ARRL member, ask a member of the club who is to be
responsible for adding the club's information to the site.

Q) I am looking for a Field Day operation to attend. How do I use the
site?
A) Begin by typing in the city and state where you would like to search,
something like "Brooklyn, New York" or "Anaheim, California." Depending
on the geographic location, the map will take you to the area you list.
If a Field Day operation has been registered for that general area, a
red "pin" will show on the map. If you click on the red pin, the details
for that site will appear in the box on the right hand side of the
screen. If you don't see a red pin, scroll out a level to find one near
the location you listed. It is also possible to drag the map to other
areas by holding down the left button on your mouse and then moving the
map around. You can also scroll in and out using the +/- buttons on the
left side of the map. You may also zoom in and center by double-clicking
with the mouse near the red pin.

Q) I found a red pin near where I will be. Where do I find the
information on that site? 
A) Each entry has a contact person with either an e-mail address or
phone number who should be able to help you. It will appear on the right
side of the box when you click on the red pin for an entry.

Q) I found an entry with wrong information. What should I do?
A) Please contact the person whose name appears as the contact person
for that site. ARRL HQ does not have detailed information on the site.

Q) I want to check on our club's information. What should I do?
A) Type in the call sign that will be used and you will be taken to the
location and club information.

ARRL Field Day will be held June 28-29. For more information, please
visit the Field Day Web page <http://www.arrl.org/fieldday>. 

==> "THE DOCTOR IS IN" THE ARRL LETTER 

This week, ARRL Letter readers are in luck! The ARRL's very own Doctor,
author of the popular QST column "The Doctor Is IN," answers a question
from his mailbag:

Question -- Jeff Otto, WA1QYW, of Framingham, Massachusetts, asks: I
have a new SSB transceiver, and I noticed something peculiar. When I
tune to an empty frequency, say on 20 meters, with absolutely no signals
and only noise, and I switch the mode between USB and LSB, the received
"tone" of the background noise changes. On one position, it sounds like
it consists of more high frequency components, and on the other position
it sounds like more low frequency components. I would have thought that
white noise would sound the same, regardless of which sideband is being
received. In normal SSB operation, this effect is not really noticed.
I'm wondering if there is some sort of a misalignment in the radio.

The Doctor Answers -- Jeff, I agree with your diagnosis. Switching
between USB and LSB switches the "BFO" or injected carrier frequency
from one side of the SSB filter bandwidth to the other. There are a few
exceptions, notably the early RL Drake tube transceivers that kept the
same BFO frequency but switched the filters. Switching the BFO frequency
is generally cheaper than having two filters.

There are two possibilities: One, that the shape of the filter passband
is not flat. If it's higher on one side than the other, that will
translate to stronger high frequency response on one sideband and
stronger low on the other.

The other, and I would say more likely, possibility is that the BFO
oscillators are not spaced the same distance from the edge of filter
bandwidth. In one case you might have (with a 2.1 kHz filter, for
example) with 200 Hz offset, an audio response from 200 to 2300 Hz,
while the other sideband if spaced 400 Hz will have a response from 400
Hz to 2500 Hz. The usual design response is from 300 Hz to 300 + the
filter bandwidth. 

You can test this by using a good low-level audio generator in the
microphone input (set to the same level as the mic audio), and checking
the response at the audio monitor jack, if your radio has one. You could
also check with another receiver, but unless it is very wideband, you
would really be measuring the combination of offsets and filters in both
radios.

If your transceiver has a PASSBAND TUNING or IF SHIFT control, you can
move it to make the receive audio sound the same on either sideband, but
that won't help on the transmit side. If it's not very different, and if
you get good audio reports on both sidebands, you could also just
pretend you hadn't noticed!

==> ARRL MEMBERSHIP NEWSLETTERS, BULLETINS AND NOTIFICATIONS

Did you know the ARRL offers more newsletters than just The ARRL Letter?
One of the many ARRL membership benefits includes other newsletters,
such as the ARRL Contest Rate Sheet (a bi-weekly contest newsletter),
the ARES E-Letter (sent monthly, containing public service and emergency
communications news), the ARRL Club News, the ARRL Instructor/Teacher
E-Letter and the IARU E-Letter. 

You can also elect to receive news and information from your Division
Director and Section Manager (keep in mind that not all
Divisions/Sections send notices), as well as W1AW bulletins that relate
to DX, propagation, satellites and Keplerian reports. The ARRL also
offers a free notification service to members, letting them know when
their membership and license are due to expire. 

Sign up for these newsletters, bulletins and notifications on the Member
Data page of the ARRL Web site
<http://www.arrl.org/members-only/memdata.html>.

==> NATIONAL HURRICANE CONFERENCE SET FOR APRIL 

The 30th Annual National Hurricane Conference
<http://www.hurricanemeeting.com/> begins on March 31, running through
April 4 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida. This annual event
brings together many disciplines in the Emergency Management field to
address tropical events that impact the United States. 

Once again, Amateur Radio is being highlighted on Tuesday, April 1 in a
4.5 hour training session. ARRL Emergency Preparedness and Response
Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD, is the Chairman of the Amateur Radio
Committee of the NHC, and has put together what he calls "a worthwhile
learning experience for the attendees." 

Leading off the afternoon will be a presentation on Amateur Radio and
the National Hurricane Center (NHC) Station WX4NHC
<http://www.fiu.edu/orgs/w4ehw> by John McHugh, K4AG, and Julio Ripoll,
WD4R, the Amateur Radio Coordinators at the NHC
<http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/>. The VoIP Hurricane Net
<http://www.voipwx.net/> will then be highlighted in a presentation by
Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Director of Operations. 

The final formal presentation of the afternoon will be the subject of
Macedo's and Dura's "Emergency Management's use of Amateur Radio for
Situational Awareness and Disaster Intelligence." This discussion is
focused on the Emergency Managers and their staff to give them clear
concepts to include Amateur Radio in their operational plans beyond the
more traditional uses of emergency traffic handling. As time permits,
the afternoon will conclude with an open forum on current issues in
Amateur Radio's response to tropical events.

==> EMCOMMWEST COMING TO RENO IN MAY 

EMCOMMWEST 2008 -- an ARRL specialty convention devoted entirely to
emergency communications -- is coming to the Circus Circus Hotel Resort
in Reno, Nevada May 2-4. 

ARRL Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD,
will host an Emergency Communications forum and deliver the keynote
address. Gordon West, WB6NOA, will be the special guest for the Saturday
night banquet; West will also bring his mobile communication unit and
present an "Introduction to Emergency Communications" forum on Saturday.
Special Counsel of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau Riley Hollingsworth had
been scheduled to make an in-person appearance, but instead will attend
EMCOMMWEST via a special video presentation.

The Reno Spring Hamswap will be held on Saturday, May 3 starting at 6
AM, adjacent to the hotel (corner of Sixth and Sierra). Everyone is
invited to swap and sell. Unlike last year, there are no charges for
buyers or sellers. Bring your own tables or swap out of the back of your
vehicle. 

There are four tracks of programs currently scheduled for EMCOMMWEST:
General/Technical EmComm (covering public relations, hazmat awareness,
recruiting EmComm teams and more), EmComm 101 (including an introduction
to Emergency Communications, Net Control Station training, message
handling training, EmComm go-kits and a message handling competition),
EmComm Served Agencies (including a weather spotter class, emergency
operation centers, search and rescue, Salvation Army, MARS and CERT),
and Education and Recruiting (including a Technician "Ham Cram" and VE
sessions). The Ham Cram is for anyone interested in obtaining their
Technician class license without suffering through a classroom
environment.

There will be a special event station, N7Z, on HF, UHF and VHF. A
special QSL card will be available. 

Registration is now available online via the EMCOMMWEST Website
<http://www.emcommwest.org/>. Special room rates are available from
Circus Circus <http://www.circuscircusreno.com/>. Please visit the
EMCOMMWEST Web site or e-mail <info@emcommwest.org>; for more information

==> EMMETT FREITAS, AE6Z (SK) 

Emmett Freitas, AE6Z (ex-W6OIA), known as "Shorty" to his friends,
passed away February 23. An ARRL Life Member, Freitas was on the
Volunteer Examiner team that administered the first Amateur Radio
license test session on August 31, 1984. He went on to participate in a
total of 548 test sessions. Freitas, a US Navy veteran in WWII, served
as a Chief Petty Officer (Radioman) on the USS Parakeet, as well as
other duties in and around the Panama Canal Zone, the Galapagos Islands,
Ecuador and Lakehurst, New Jersey. A memorial service was held in his
home city of San Jose, California on March 7.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Tad "But by the Sun-spark on the sea" Cook, K7RA, this week reports:
ARRL Headquarters is closed for Good Friday on March 21, so this
bulletin is coming out a day early, and on the vernal equinox. We had a
few more days with visible sunspots over the past week. Sunspot numbers
on March 15-17 were 12, 12 and 11. Over the past month, we seem to have
a single sunspot appear for a few days, then fade away or rotate out of
view, then another pop up after four or five days. Projection for the
near term is planetary A index of 5 for March 20-24, then 10, 20, 25, 20
and 8 for March 25-29. There are similar returns to planetary A index of
25 predicted for April 5, April 23 and May 2, but otherwise quiet.
Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet to unsettled conditions for
March 21, quiet March 22-24, unsettled March 25 and active March 26-27.
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 ARLHS Annual
Spring Lites QSO Party from March 21-30. The NCCC Sprint is March 21.
The BARTG Spring RTTY Contest is March 22-24. The UBA Spring Contest (2
Meters) is March 23 and the SKCC Sprint is March 26. Next weekend is
another running of the NCCC Sprint on March 28. The CQ WW WPX Contest
(SSB) is March 29-30. 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, March 23, 2008, for these online course sessions
beginning on Friday, April 4, 2008: 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). Each online
course has been developed in segments -- learning units with objectives,
informative text, student activities and quizzes. Courses are
interactive, and some include direct communications with a
Mentor/Instructor. Students register for a particular session that may
be 8, 12 or 16 weeks (depending on the course) and they may access the
course at any time of day during the course period, completing lessons
and activities at times convenient for their personal schedule. Mentors
assist students by answering questions, reviewing assignments and
activities, as well as providing helpful feedback. Interaction with
mentors is conducted through e-mail; there is no appointed time the
student must be present -- allowing complete flexibility for the student
to work when and where it is convenient. 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>;.

=========================================================== 
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"
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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!):
letter-dlvy@arrl.org
==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA,
k1sfa@arrl.org
==>ARRL News on the Web: <http://www.arrl.org/>
==>ARRL Audio News: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call
860-594-0384

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Copyright 2008 American Radio Relay League, Inc.
All Rights Reserved


 

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.

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