*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 27, No. 19 May 16, 2008 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * ARRL Introduces "Fifth Pillar" at Dayton Hamvention * Hams Called to Action in Aftermath of China Quake * Tornadoes Sweep Across Midwest, Southeast US * Dayton Update * "The Doctor Is IN" the ARRL Letter * Ronald A. Parise, WA4SIR (SK) * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This Weekend on the Radio ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration No ARRL Audio News on Friday, May 16 W1HQ Snake Gets Name, Call Sign 2008 ARRL Photo Contest Deadline Approaching NWS Establishes Web Site to Report outages of NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards Transmitters =========================================================== ==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/faq.html#nodelivery>, then e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> ==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, <email@example.com> =========================================================== ==> ARRL INTRODUCES "FIFTH PILLAR" AT DAYTON HAMVENTION On Saturday, May 17 at the Dayton Hamvention, ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, plans to announce that the League will expand its identity program to include greater emphasis on technology. Harrison explained that "Ham radio operators, and particularly ARRL members, closely identify with current and emerging radio technology. Today, we are naming 'technology' as ARRL's new fifth pillar." ARRL's other four pillars, the underpinnings of the organization, are Public Service, Advocacy, Education and Membership. "For hams, expanding the four pillars to include technology will reinforce one of the organization's guiding principles -- that ham radio is state-of-the-art, innovative and relevant," he said. "Radio amateurs have entered a new era. More than a dozen Amateur Radio satellites are presently in orbit with more to come. Software is expanding the capabilities of their radio hardware and communication by digital voice and data is expanding rapidly among hams," Harrison said. In addition to the new fifth pillar, the ARRL has launched a year-long ham radio recruitment campaign emphasizing the Amateur Radio Service as a scientific national resource. The campaign invites newcomers to discover ham radio in the 21st Century -- where hams are using science, technology and experimentation to explore the radio spectrum. "For more than 90 years, the ARRL has been at the forefront of technology, encouraging experimentation and education through its license training resources, publications and periodicals. ARRL provides its members with top-notch technical information services, trusted product reviews and radio spectrum advocacy," Harrison said. "The ARRL Laboratory is a centerpiece of ham radio technology, contributing to radio electronics experimentation, spectrum development and advocacy, and radio frequency engineering." Harrison also noted that many hams attribute their affinity to "Amateur" Radio as launching their professional careers in radio engineering, satellite communications, computer science and wireless communications. "This is less about defining a new course for Amateur Radio, but simply recognizing a course that has always been a precept of radio amateurs and the ARRL," he said. Referring to the federal rules and regulations for Amateur Radio, Harrison explained that one of the defining principles of the Service's very creation by the government is the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art. Harrison remarked, "Today's technology is nothing new to ham radio!" ==> HAMS CALLED TO ACTION IN AFTERMATH OF CHINA QUAKE On Monday, May 12 at 0628 UTC, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Sichuan, China. According to the Chinese Radio Sports Association <http://www.crsa.org.cn/english.php>, the Chinese IARU Member-Society, has designated the following frequencies for emergency services involved in the rescue: 14.270, 7.050 and 7.060 MHz. The ARRL encourages US amateurs to be aware of the emergency operations on those three frequencies. The CRSA Web site reports the following: "On the afternoon of May 12, 2008, Wenchuan Area of China's Sichuan province was struck by an earthquake. Communications in some of the surrounding areas are currently cut off, and communications in some other areas are experiencing network congestion because of drastically increased traffic. "Chinese Radio Sports Association therefore calls on its members to take actions to ensure their amateur radio stations to operate properly, and to the extent possible stand by on often used short-wave frequencies. If any radio signal is heard from the disaster area, please do your best to understand what is most needed by people in that area and report it to the local government authority. If people in the surrounding areas need to pass messages to their loved ones over the radio, please help them to get in touch and get the messages across as soon as possible. "Amateur radio stations in the disaster area and surrounding areas if in working conditions should be used unconditionally to assist the local earthquake disaster relief authorities, and subject to permission by the said authorities, to provide communications services to them. For emergency communications purposes, amateur radio stations may also be used to pass messages for local residents on a temporary basis until local telecommunications services resume. Amateur radio stations of all regions should give way to and stand by for emergency communications." At 1757 UTC on Monday, May 12, Liu Hu, BG8AAS, of Chengdu, a town in the province of Sichuan, reported that a local UHF repeater survived the disaster. "It keeps functioning from the first minute and more than 200 local radio hams are now on that repeater. A group of hams from Chengdu has headed for Wenchuan, the center of the quake, trying to set up emergency communication services there," he said. Michael Chen, BD5RV/4, said that Yue Shu, BA8AB, also from Chengdu, Sichuan, was reported to be active on the 40 meter emergency frequency on Monday. "Up to now, there has been no further information available from the center zone of the quake. There are a few radio amateurs there, but all of the communications have been cut out, including Amateur Radio," Chen said. At 1858 UTC, Liu reported that the local UHF repeater in Chengdu "keeps busy running after the quake. It helps to direct social vehicles to transport the wounded from Dujiangyan, Beichuan and other regions. Another UHF repeater also started working in Mianyan, supported by generators, but they are going to face a shortage of gas." Chen said that damage in Chengdu remains in the lowest level, but the situation is "very very bad in the counties around. A few towns are said to be destroyed completely. More than 7000 died in the town of Beichuan. Casualties in several other towns are still unknown and not counted in the published numbers. It is a long and sad day." At 0831 UTC on Tuesday, May 13, Chen said that a group of radio amateurs is now transmitting from Wenchuan, the center of quake: "Its signal is reported to be very weak. They tried to keep communication with BY8AA, the Sichuan Radio Orienteering Association in Chengdu, seeking for all resources needed. During a contact finished a few minutes ago, they were asking for raincoats, water, tents and outdoor living facilities." -- Information provided by Michael Ye, BD4AAQ, and Michael Chen, BD5RV/4 ==> TORNADOES SWEEP ACROSS MIDWEST, SOUTHEAST US On May 9 and 10, a series of tornadoes swept across the Midwest and Southeast United States. Throughout the storms, Amateur Radio operators who had received the call for assistance responded promptly. An EF2 tornado blew through Stafford County, Virginia on May 9, causing damage to more than 140 homes. On May 10, Picher, a town in the upper northeast corner of Oklahoma, received the brunt of another storm system: an EF4 tornado zoomed through the town, killing six Picher residents. National Weather Service (NWS) officials said the Picher tornado was 1 mile wide at its widest point with wind speeds of 165 to 175 miles per hour. The damage from the Picher storm system extended into Missouri and Georgia, and 22 fatalities are blamed on that storm, 15 in Missouri alone; the Picher storm spawned five twisters in Oklahoma and two in neighboring Arkansas. An EF2 tornado cut a 4-mile swath through Stafford County on Thursday, May 8. According to Stafford County Emergency Coordinator Curt "Bart" Bartholomew, N3GQ, ARES members handled more than 100 traffic messages during the surge. The American Red Cross, the Stafford Sheriff's Office, the Stafford Sheriff's Office 911 Center and the Stafford Emergency Management Division all received communications support from ARES, and ARES members set up a SKYWARN net 9 PM, May 8 to 1 AM, May 9. Spotsylvania County Emergency Coordinator Tom Lauzon, KI4AFE, reported that the Rappahannock Area Chapter of the American Red Cross requested ARES support for communications between their headquarters in Massaponax (in the Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania area) and nearby Gayle Middle School in South Stafford County. "The radio room at the Red Cross, K4TS, was staffed from 7:30 AM-6 PM on Friday, May 9," Lauzon said. At least 160 houses were damaged in a Stafford County neighborhood, said County Administrator Anthony Romanello, including 30 that have been declared a total loss. Stafford County Fire Chief Bob Brown estimated the damage at more than $15 million. Residents said the tornado blasted in at about 10:30 PM Thursday amid a "lurid red-and-green sky laced with lightning that sent many rushing into their basements, " Romanello said. The Stafford County tornado was one of two that struck Virginia as thunderstorms rolled northeast across the state Thursday night and Friday morning. The NWS confirmed that a smaller tornado, producing 86 to 110 MPH winds, struck Henry and Franklin Counties south of Roanoke about 8 PM Thursday. In addition, straight winds of about 100 MPH damaged several buildings along a mile-long path in Spotsylvania County and Fredericksburg, the weather service said. In central Virginia, the storms flooded some roads and toppled trees. The storms dropped an estimated 1 to 5 inches of rain in central Virginia, and possibly more in places. In Oklahoma, ARRL Oklahoma Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator Mark Conklin, N7XYO, said served agencies were contacted and ARES groups in the area were placed on standby status: "Amateur Radio SKYWARN spotters were very busy and were of great help to the National Weather Service office in Tulsa during the storm events." Ottawa County Emergency Management said that homes, businesses and vehicles were destroyed in a 20-square-block area at the south end of Picher. In some cases, only a home's concrete slab remains. The storm also downed power lines, utility poles and trees. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports about 6300 homes and businesses are without electric service due to the storms. The American Red Cross opened a shelter at the First Christian Church in Miami. Once a boom town of about 20,000, Picher's population had dwindled to about 800 after waste from lead and zinc mines turned the area into an environmental disaster and Superfund site. Oklahoma Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is unlikely to grant assistance to homeowners to rebuild in the town. Jeff Reeves, 43, who has followed his grandfather and father as Picher's fire chief, has lived in Picher all his life and has watched it slowly decline. He told reporters, "With everything else that's going on here, I'm not sure there is a recovery." ==> DAYTON UPDATE Crowds have been enthusiastic on this, the opening day of the Dayton Hamvention. Thursday evening featured the ARRL Donor Recognition Reception that honored those who have made a significant financial contribution to the ARRL. If you didn't make it to Dayton this year (or even if you did), you can follow the action on the ARRL blog <http://www.arrl.org/blog/Dayton%20and%20ARRL%20Expo>. An update will also be posted to the ARRL Web site during the weekend, and a comprehensive article will appear in the July issue of QST. ==> "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 -- Mel, Snyder, K8MIW, of West Olive, Michigan, asks: I have a question about feeding a folded dipole, spaced about 5 inches between wires. What would be the difference between feeding it with the usual 300 ohm twin lead and using the popular 450 ohm window line as a feed line? I operate mostly on 75 meters. Years ago I used a folded dipole and found it to be an effective and wide band antenna. I have heavy duty window line on hand, but would have to buy the twin lead and the only line I can find is light duty line. Would the mismatch with the 450 ohm line cause any problems? The Doctor answers -- The most significant difference would be the level of mismatch at the transmitter end. If you are using an antenna tuner, I doubt that you will notice any difference at all. There will actually be slightly less loss with the 450 ohm (usually closer to 400 ohm in my experience) line. Let's see, if the antenna is about a quarter-wavelength high, the actual feed impedance will be closer to 200 ohms than to the free space value of 300 ohms. With 300 ohm line that results a 1.5:1 SWR at resonance, or 2:1 with 400 ohm line. I would go ahead and use the window line. It should be less bothered by rain and will probably last longer. If your tuner has a problem at any frequency you operate at, try changing the feed line length by 20 feet or so and see what happens -- you are likely to find a length that works across the band. Just don't roll up any excess. In my cellar shack, I usually put any excess window line between the overhead floor joists, away from other wires and secured with TV standoff insulators. That should be a great antenna! You may even be able to tune it on other bands, if you have a wide range tuner -- especially 30 meters. On that band, the window line will make even more of an improvement. ==> RONALD A. PARISE, WA4SIR (SK) Dr Ronald A. Parise, PhD, WA4SIR, passed away Friday May 9, 2008 after a very long and courageous battle with cancer. He was 57. Parise flew as a payload specialist on two space shuttle missions: STS-35 on Columbia in December 1990 and STS-67 on the Endeavour in March 1995. These two missions, ASTRO-1 and ASTRO-2, respectively, carried out ultraviolet and x-ray astronomical observations, logging more than 614 hours and 10.6 million miles in space. Parise was one of the first astronomers to operate a telescope from space, making hundreds of observations during the mission. Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Chairman Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO, said Parise's personal contributions to these two missions provided scientists with "an unprecedented view of our universe, expanding our understanding of the birth, life and death of stars and galaxies." Information on ARISS can be found on the ARISS Web site <http://www.rac.ca/ariss/oindex.htm>. First licensed when he was 11, Parise kept Amateur Radio at the forefront of everything he did, including his operations from space. During his two shuttle flights, he spoke with hundreds of hams on the ground. He was instrumental in guiding the development of a simple ham radio system that could be used in multiple configurations on the space shuttle; as a result, his first flight on Columbia ushered in what Bauer called the "frequent flyer era" of the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) payload <http://www.arrl.org/ARISS/sarex-past.html>. He was the first ham in space to operate packet radio. "His flight pioneered the telebridge ground station concept to enable more schools to talk to shuttle crew members despite time and orbit constraints," Bauer said. "In his two shuttle flights, he inspired countless students to seek technical careers and he created memories at the schools and communities that will never be forgotten. Ron was also the ultimate ham radio operator -- in space and on the ground." Bauer said that Parise's love for Amateur Radio and his love of inspiring students continued well beyond his two shuttle flights: "During the formation of the ARISS program, Ron was a tremendous resource to the newly forming international team. I know of many instances where Ron's wisdom and sage advice was instrumental in helping our international team resolve issues when we reached critical technical or political roadblocks. He was a key volunteer in the development of the ham radio hardware systems that are now on-board ISS. The ARISS team is deeply indebted to WA4SIR for his leadership, technical advice and tremendous vision." Parise worked hand-in-hand with the students at the US Naval Academy and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on the development of their student satellites. He helped develop Radio Jove, a student educational project to listen to the radio signals emanating from Jupiter <http://radiojove.gsfc.nasa.gov/>. Parise spoke at numerous schools over the years, inspiring students to pursue careers in science, math and technology. "Ron Parise was--and continues to be--an inspiration to countless students, ham radio operators, and friends the world over. His accomplishments were many, including space explorer, pioneer, astrophysicist, pilot, ham radio operator, avionics and software expert, inspirational speaker and motivator, student satellite mentor, husband, father and friend. While he certainly did some truly extraordinary things in his lifetime, Ron Parise is best known and cherished for keeping family and friends first, and for this, we will miss him most," Bauer said. In an effort to continue Parise's work to inspire the next generation, his family has set up a scholarship fund in Parise's honor for students pursuing technical degrees at Youngstown State University, Parise's alma mater. In lieu of flowers, those interested are welcome to send donations to the Dr Ronald A. Parise Scholarship Fund, Youngstown State University, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555. -- Information provided by Goddard Amateur Radio Club, WA3NAN ==>SOLAR UPDATE Tad "Bright as ever shines the Sun" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: We've had another week with no sunspots. Our reporting week for this bulletin runs from Thursday through Wednesday, and this is the fifth bulletin of the year reporting zero sunspots for the week. Geomagnetic indices were quiet. But next Tuesday, May 20 should be quite active. Predicted planetary A index for May 16-22 is 5, 5, 5, 12, 30, 15 and 8. Geophysical Institute Prague expects quiet conditions May 16-18, quiet to unsettled May 19, active geomagnetic conditions May 20, unsettled May 21, and quiet to unsettled May 22. Sunspot numbers for May 8 through 14 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0 with a mean of 0. 10.7 cm flux was 66.4, 67.3, 67.4, 68, 68, 68.3, and 69 with a mean of 67.8. Estimated planetary A indices were 4, 3, 5, 3, 4, 4 and 3 with a mean of 3.7. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 3, 3, 4, 3, 3, 3 and 1, with a mean of 2.9. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html>. To read this week's Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW Propagation Bulletin page <http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/prop/>. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This Weekend on the Radio: This weekend, look for another running of the NCCC Sprint Ladder on May 16. The Feld Hell Sprint is May 17. On May 17-18, be sure to make room in your schedule for the EU PSK DX Contest, His Majesty King of Spain Contest (CW), the Manchester Mineira All America CW Contest and the Baltic Contest. The Run for the Bacon QRP Contest is on May 19. The RSGB 80m Club Championship (CW) and the NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint is on May 22. Next weekend is VK/Trans-Tasman 80m Contest (CW) on May 24. The CQ WW WPX Contest (CW) is May 24-25. The MI QRP Memorial Day CW Sprint is May 27. The MI QRP Memorial Day CW Sprint is May 26-27. The ARCI Hootowl Sprint is May 27 (local time) and the SKCC Sprint is May 28. All dates, unless otherwise stated, are UTC. 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, May 25, 2008, for these online course sessions beginning on Friday, June 6, 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>. * No ARRL Audio News on Friday, May 16: There will be no ARRL Audio News on Friday, May 16. ARRL Audio News will return on Friday, May 23. * W1HQ Snake Gets Name, Call Sign: With more than 400 votes tallied, the W1HQ snake finally has a name <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/02/21/100/>. Sean Kutzko, KX9X, president of The Laird Campbell Memorial HQ Operators Club W1HQ, announced that the snake not only has a name, but a call sign, as well: "Members of the club met over lunch to discuss and vote on all the names that were sent in. The winning entry came from Charlie Liberto, W4MEC, of Hendersonville, North Carolina. He, along with former ARRL staffer R. Dean Straw, N6BV, submitted the name Hamaconda. Paul Trotter, AA4ZZ, of Charlotte, North Carolina, submitted H1SS as a name. We liked the idea of the snake having a call sign, so the club decided, out of all the great names and call signs sent in, that Charlie's and Paul's submissions fit our mascot perfectly." Both Liberto and Trotter will receive a copy of "The ARRL Antenna Book." Kutzko, the ARRL Contest Branch Manager, was voted in as president of the HQ club at the meeting. ARRL Membership Manager Katie Breen, W1KRB, was selected as vice-president. ARRL Lab Manager and W1HQ Trustee Ed Hare, W1RFI, was selected as the club's technical officer, and ARRL MVP Associate/Production Assistant Carol Michaud, KB1QAW, was selected as club secretary. * 2008 ARRL Photo Contest Deadline Approaching: Photos submitted for the 2008 ARRL Photo Contest will be accepted through Saturday, May 31. Send your photo (one per entrant) as an e-mail attachment to email@example.com with the subject line "2008 ARRL Photo Contest." Digital photos should be high-resolution. Prints can be mailed to 2008 ARRL Photo Contest, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. * The National Weather Service has announced a Web page for hams and others to report outages of the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards Transmitters (NWR). The Web page <http://www.weather.gov/nwr/outages.html> explains how to report a transmitter that may be off air in a listener's area. -- Joe Lachacz =========================================================== 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.) 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>. (NOTE: The ARRL cannot assist subscribers who receive The ARRL Letter via this listserver.) Copyright 2008 American Radio Relay League, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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