*************** 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 <email@example.com> ==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, <firstname.lastname@example.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 <email@example.com> 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 <firstname.lastname@example.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" 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!): email@example.com ==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, firstname.lastname@example.org ==>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.) Then, click on "Submit modification" to make selections effective. (NOTE: HQ staff members cannot change your e-mail delivery address. You must do this yourself via the Members Only Web Site.) The ARRL Letter also is available to all, free of charge, from these sources: * ARRLWeb <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/>. (NOTE: The ARRL Letter will be posted each Friday when it is distributed via e-mail.) * The QTH.net listserver, thanks to volunteers from the Boston Amateur Radio Club: Visit Mailing Lists@QTH.Net <http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/letter-list>. 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