ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 27, No. 33
August 22, 2008
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* + ARRL Responds to Concerns Raised by California Repeater Owners
Affected by PAVE PAWS
* + ARRL Director and Vice Director Elections Set for November 
* + Hams Ready for Fay 
* + New Tower, Antenna Modifications for W1HQ 
* + Reunion Island, South Africa Connect on 2 Meters 
* + New Section Managers to Take Office October 1 
*  Solar Update 
*  IN BRIEF: 
      This Weekend on the Radio 
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration 
    + No ARRL Audio News August 29 
    + Amateur Radio Exams, Licensing Return to Bangladesh 

+Available on ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> 

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

==> ARRL RESPONDS TO CONCERNS RAISED BY CALIFORNIA REPEATER OWNERS
AFFECTED BY PAVE PAWS

Earlier this week, the ARRL responded to a series of concerns raised by
repeaters owners regarding the ongoing PAVE PAWS interference mitigation
project at Beale Air Force Base near Sacramento, California. In a
lengthy e-mail dated August 20, ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan
Henderson, N1ND, addressed a series of concerns raised by Tom Naso,
N6MVT, of Lafayette, California; Naso is owner or trustee to several
involved repeaters.

Naso's letter can be found here
<http://www.arrl.org/news/files/pavepaws_querry_2008aug20.pdf>.
Henderson's reply can be found here
<http://www.arrl.org/news/files/pavepaws_response_2008aug20.pdf>. 

"Tom raised a series of thoughtful, valid concerns," Henderson stated.
"The ARRL's response to his queries, though lengthy, attempts to address
them in detail. With Tom's permission, we are releasing both his
original e-mail and the ARRL's response in order to get the most
accurate and full information out to repeater owners and users as
possible. It also gives us the opportunity to make sure a couple of
other issues relating to the PAVE PAWS situation that have arisen are
brought to the public's attention."

Henderson said that the biggest challenge the ARRL -- and through them
the affected repeater owners -- continues to face is "the balance
between not being able to know full technical details of the
interference and the testing techniques and the desire/need to know
information. It's a tough challenge. And while there have been a few
errors in identifying call signs (because of errors in databases being
used by the Air Force), there were actual measurements made of signals
identified by the Air Force testing group."

Henderson pointed out that the ARRL continues to pursue valid concerns
that can be based on fact and backed up with solid data that are raised
by repeater owners. "We will continue to expect the FCC to perform its
responsibilities. If a permanent shut-down order comes from the FCC, we
expect that the licensee is given their full rights for due process."

==> ARRL DIRECTOR AND VICE DIRECTOR ELECTIONS SET FOR NOVEMBER 

Responding to solicitations in the July and August issues of QST, ARRL
members in the Atlantic, Dakota, Delta, Great Lakes and Midwest
Divisions have nominated 14 candidates for the ten positions of Director
and Vice Director of each of the five divisions. Seven incumbents have
been re-elected without opposition, while there will be balloting for
Director and Vice Director of the Delta Division and for Vice Director
of the Great Lakes Division. Those elected will serve three-year terms
beginning at noon on January 1, 2009. 

The ARRL Ethics and Elections Committee has reviewed and confirmed the
eligibility of all 14 candidates and has declared the following
re-elected: Atlantic Division Director Bill Edgar, N3LLR, and Vice
Director Tom Abernethy, W3TOM; Dakota Division Director Jay Bellows,
K0QB, and Vice Director Greg Widin, K0GW; Midwest Division Director
Bruce Frahm, K0BJ, and Vice Director Cliff Ahrens, K0CA; and Great Lakes
Division Director Jim Weaver, K8JE. The rules state that if a candidate
is running unopposed, he or she shall be declared the winner without
balloting. Members in the Great Lakes Division will elect a Vice
Director, while Delta Division members will elect a new Director and new
Vice Director. 

Delta Division Director Henry Leggette, WD4Q, decided not to seek
another term. Nominated to succeed him are current Vice Director Karl
Bullock, WA5TMC, and former Louisiana Section Manager Mickey Cox, K5MC.
Seeking the post of Vice Director are Ariel Elam, K4AAL, of Tennessee,
and Arkansas Section Manager David Norris, K5UZ. 

In the Great Lakes Division, incumbent Vice Director Gary Johnston,
KI4LA, is being challenged by former Kentucky Section Manager John
Meyers, NB4K, and Michigan Section Affiliated Club Coordinator Daniel
Romanchik, KB6NU. 

The policies of the League are established by 15 Directors who are
elected to the Board on a geographical basis to represent their
divisions and constituents. These 15 Directors serve three year terms,
with five standing for election each year. Vice Directors, who succeed
the Director in the event of a mid-term vacancy and serve as Director at
any Board meeting the Director is unable to attend, are elected at the
same time. 

Full members of the ARRL in the Delta and Great Lakes Divisions will be
mailed ballots in late September. To receive a ballot you must be a
member as of September 10. To be counted, ballots must be returned so as
to be received at ARRL HQ no later than noon Eastern Standard Time on
Friday, November 21. The count will be conducted on that date under the
supervision of three tellers and a certified public accountant. 

Absentee ballots are available to those ARRL full members licensed by
the FCC but temporarily residing outside of the US. Members overseas who
arrange to be listed as full members in an appropriate Division prior to
September 10, 2008, will be able to vote this year where elections are
being held. Even within the US, full members temporarily living outside
the ARRL Division they consider home may have voting privileges by
notifying the ARRL Secretary prior to September 10, 2008, giving their
current QST address and the reason another Division is considered home. 

==> HAMS READY FOR FAY 

While Tropical Storm Fay made landfall over Key West, Florida at 3 PM
EDT on August 18, Amateur Radio operators throughout Florida were
prepared "just in case." As Fay crossed Key West, Florida Emergency
Management officials noted that while "Fay is no Hurricane Charley," it
is following the same general path as 2004's Charley, a Category 4
hurricane and one of the most destructive hurricanes in recent history
for the area; at least 13 people were killed in that storm. 

All three of Florida's ARRL Section Managers are working cooperatively
as Fay tracks through the state. After sweeping through the Keys, Fay
next made landfall in Cape Romano at approximately 4:45 AM on Tuesday,
August 19. Landfall on Florida's mainland was initially expected to hit
more to the north..

Fay is edging west-northwestward and is about to make its third landfall
at Flagler Beach, Florida and then will continue to migrate
west-northwestward across northern Florida. The National Weather Service
reports that Fay continues to produce torrential downpours and states
flooding is the major concern now. Locations on Florida's eastern coast
from Cocoa Beach to Melbourne to Fort Pierce have picked up 8 to 26
inches of rain as of August 21; a report of 26.2 inches of rain has been
received near Melbourne, resulting in numerous reports of flooding
around the area.

According to Julio Ripoll, WD4R, of WX4NHC <http://www.wx4nhc.org/>, the
Amateur Radio Station at the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Fay came
close to reaching hurricane strength "several times in her track through
Cuba and Florida. The surface reports collected via ham radio continue
to be very important, no matter how high or low the wind speed. They
fill in gaps between governmental weather stations and give the
hurricane forecasters a better idea of the wind field range and local
flooding."

Plans are in place for several shelters to be opened and responses ready
for issues relating to the flooding. ARRL HQ staff are following events
closely and are in contact with members and ARES leaders in the affected
areas.

==> NEW TOWER, ANTENNA MODIFICATIONS FOR W1HQ 

On August 13, XX Towers installed a new 40 foot tower on top of the ARRL
Headquarters building for use at W1HQ, the Laird Campbell Memorial HQ
Operators Club. This new tower supports the 3 element SteppIR 20-6 meter
Yagi antenna that was moved from the old tower; the antenna was placed
on the old tower in November 2007. The antenna also received
modifications, allowing operations on 30 and 40 meters. Both the antenna
and the 30-40 meter modification kit were donated by Mike Mertel, K7IR,
of SteppIR.

According to ARRL Test Engineer Bob Allison, WB1GCM, XX Towers visits
the League twice a year to inspect both the W1AW and W1HQ antenna
systems: "This past May, XX Towers inspected the tower and found it was
approaching poor condition due to its age and harsh environment. The new
tower supports our 3 element SteppIR Yagi with a newly installed 40-30
meter Dipole Kit, recently donated by SteppIR Antenna Systems. HQ staff
can now enjoy these additional bands and have peace of mind with the new
tower."

ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, president of the W1HQ
club, said, "I am pleased to report that the W1HQ tower replacement and
installation of the 40-30 meter dipole element on the SteppIR antenna
was successful. HQ hams may now enjoy a rotating dipole for these bands
at the push of a button on the SteppIR controller. The crew from XX
Towers did a fine job; thanks to his regular inspections, we were able
to avoid a more costly removal of the 50 foot, 35 year old tower. ARRL
Building Manager Greg Kwasowski, W1GJK, assisted with and arranged for
the roofing company to remove part of the roof for the tower base and
replacement after tower installation. ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI,
saved the day with the needed metric hardware. Many thanks to all
involved for the successful replacement of the tower. Having a rotatable
dipole on 30 and 40 meters is a very welcome addition to the station."

W1HQ provides ARRL employees who do not have an amateur station of their
own a place to get on the air. "I'm thrilled to have this station here,"
said Kutzko. "I live in an apartment and can't put up antennas outside
at home. W1HQ gives me a way to chase DX and be active in contests on
both HF and VHF."

W1HQ boasts an IC-756PROIII for HF work and an IC-746PRO for 6 and 2
meters, recently donated by ICOM. Bob Heil, K9EID, of Heil Sound donated
two new Pro Set 4 mic/headsets, a PR781 Proline microphone and a topless
boom to the station. Nemal Electronics Inc and Times Microwave Systems
jointly donated two 500 foot rolls of LMR-400.

==> REUNION ISLAND, SOUTH AFRICA CONNECT ON 2 METERS 

On Thursday, August 14, Phil Mondon, FR5DN, on Reunion Island had a
successful QSO with Glen Kraut, ZS2GK, in South Africa on 2 meters
<http://www.astrorun.com/%7Efr5dn/radio/tropo/14aout2008/zs2gk_14august2
008.html>. According to Dave Pedersen, N7BHC, this contact is "very
likely the longest 2 meter QSO via tropospheric propagation for either
country."

The 2008 ARRL Handbook <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=1018> defines
tropospheric propagation as "radio waves [that] are refracted by natural
gradients in the index of refraction of air with altitude, due to
changes in temperature, humidity and pressure. Refraction under standard
atmospheric conditions extends the radio horizon somewhat beyond the
visual line of sight. Favorable weather conditions further enhance
normal tropospheric refraction, lengthening the useful VHF and UHF range
by several hundred kilometers and increasing signal strength. Higher
frequencies are more sensitive to refraction, so its effects may be
observed in the microwave bands before they are apparent at lower
frequencies." 

"Ducting takes place when refraction is so great that radio waves are
bent back to the surface of the Earth. When tropospheric ducting
conditions exist over a wide geographic area, signals may remain very
strong over distances of 1500 km (930 miles) or more. Ducting results
from the gradient created by a sharp increase in temperature with
altitude, quite the opposite of normal atmospheric conditions. A
simultaneous drop in humidity contributes to increased refractivity.
Useful temperature inversions form between 250 and 2000 meters (800-6500
feet) above ground. The elevated inversion and the Earth's surface act
something like the boundaries of a natural open-ended waveguide. Radio
waves of the right frequency range caught inside the duct will be
propagated for long distances with relatively low losses. Several common
weather conditions can create temperature inversions."

Kraut said that on the evening of August 13, he "went to bed at about
08:30 UTC leaving the rig on and antennas pointing toward Reunion. I
woke up at 00:15 UTC and heard the beacon from my shack. I went over and
saw that signals were low, even with the Masthead pre-amp on. I was
running CWGeT to confirm hard copy of the signal, but it was not
decoding. I switched off the pre-amp and returned to bed. About an hour
later, I heard the beacon again but much stronger, so I went to the
shack and saw the signal at almost 1 on the S-meter. Perfect hard copy
from CWGeT. I contacted Phil on his cell phone, switched the linear and
pre-amp on and we logged an SSB QSO and FM QSO on 144.200 and 144.400 at
01:39 UTC on August 14 with signal reports of 5/6 both ways."

Mondon added: "At 0135 UTC on August 14, Glenn is calling me on my cell
phone. That means the beacon is heard strong enough to allow a QSO. It's
0535 local time here; I speak low and run into the shack, switch off the
beacon and call on 144.200 to see Glenn's signal at 55/56 with the
preamp. We decide to try FM and I have clear copy on him. Time goes fast
-- we stop the QSO some 20 or 30 minutes later, but the band was still
nicely open! The signal was crystal clear, almost no fading, if any on
my side. Whooaaaa! The first bridge is now there between South Africa
and Reunion Island."

Pedersen said that trans-oceanic ducting has long been suspected around
South Africa: "While operating there as ZR2BI in the late 1970s, I heard
an unidentified South American station on 2 meters. Since then, having
moved to the US, I was not able to pursue it any further. This last
January, I started e-mailing a lot of people in Southern Africa and St
Helena, but found little activity pursuing the potential tropo.
Resorting to my old ways of using FM broadcast stations as beacons, I
asked John Turner on St Helena Island to listen for African stations.
Within days, he reported stations from Angola, then Namibia and
eventually as far south as Cape Town. One February day, he logged 25
South African FM broadcasters in 30 minutes. And that was with his car
radio."

Pedersen said that Ian Coverdale, ZD8I, on Ascension reported that he
can occasionally hear Cape Town Harbor radio on 156 MHz, 2770 miles
away; Sted Stroud, ZD8S, reported that it is fairly commonplace for
Ascension Islanders to listen to Brazilian FM stations. "All those
reports led to Phil Mondon putting up the beacon," Pedersen said.

According to VHF guru and conductor of QST's "World Above 50 MHz" column
Gene Zimmerman, W3ZZ, VHF amateurs have long been aware of long distance
tropospheric ducting across stable ocean waters. "The best known such
duct is the Hawaiian duct which links the West Coast of the US,
especially California with the Big Island of Hawaii. But we have also
known that other such ducts exist in different places around the world,
although the ham populations in these areas are often so low that we
hardly ever experience two way communications. The Indian Ocean is one
such place. This outstanding contact between Phil Mondon, FR5DN, on
Reunion Island and Glen Kraut, ZS2GK, in South Africa confirms the
existence of a path between the mainland and islands in the Indian
Ocean. It follows the detection of FM broadcast stations on similar
paths in the South Atlantic Ocean between the island of St Helena and
Angola, Namibia and Cape Town on the mainland, and reports of reception
of Brazilian FM stations on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic."

Pedersen agreed: "Now that the path is proven, many South African hams
are gearing up to increase the distance over the coming southern
summer."

==> NEW SECTION MANAGERS TO TAKE OFFICE OCTOBER 1 

On August 19, members of the ARRL's Membership and Volunteer Programs
Department counted ballots for contested Section Manager races in Idaho
and Western New York. Section Managers serve two year terms.

In Idaho, Edward Stuckey, AI7H, of Post Falls, was elected Section
Manager of Idaho with 155 votes; Chuck Robertson, KX7ID, of Nampa,
received 150 votes. Stuckey will be stepping into the office that has
been held by Doug Rich, W7DVR, of Boise, since the fall of 2003; Rich
decided not to run for another term of office. Stuckey, licensed since
1957, is a member of ARES/RACES organizations. He is currently active in
the Kootenai Amateur Radio Society in Coeur d'Alene of which he is a
past president.

In Western New York, current Section Manager Scott Bauer, W2LC, of
Baldwinsville, was re-elected with 639 votes; challenger Kevin Romer,
KC2MLC, of Trumansburg, received 273 votes. Bauer has served as Western
New York Section Manager since 2000. He is active in many areas of
Amateur Radio including the National Traffic System, ARES and SKYWARN,
and serves as a volunteer examiner.

The ARRL North Dakota Section will also get a new Section Manager come
October 1. Lynn Nelson, W0CQ, of Minot, will be taking over from Kent
Olson, KA0LDG. Olson, who has served as Section Manager since 2001, did
not run for another term of office.

The following incumbent ARRL Section Managers did not face opposition
and were declared elected for the next two year terms of office
beginning October 1, 2008: Betsey Doane, K1EIC (Connecticut); Skip
Jackson, KS0J (Minnesota); Joe Phillips, K8QOE (Ohio); John Thomason,
WB5SYT (Oklahoma); Roberto Jimenez, KP4AC (Puerto Rico); Sherri Brower,
W4STB (Southern Florida), and John Ellis, NP2B (Virgin Islands).

Lee Anne Allen, WY7DTW, of Devils Tower, has been appointed Section
Manager of the Wyoming Section to complete the term of office that has
been held by Chris Pritchard, WX7B, of Green River. Pritchard is moving
out of the Section to take a new job. The present term of office
continues through March 31, 2009. Dave Patton, NN1N, Manager of the
Membership and Volunteer Programs Department, made the Section Manager
appointment effective August 15 in consultation with Rocky Mountain
Division Director Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT. Allen has been the Assistant
Section Manager for Wyoming since the first of the year; she also serves
as a local ARRL Emergency Coordinator. Allen served as the Wyoming
Public Information Coordinator (PIC) for almost three years until
earlier this year.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Tad "I carry the Sun in a golden cup" Cook, K7RA, this week reports:
Another week of quiet Sun, but on Wednesday and Thursday -- August 20-21
-- a new spot seemed to be emerging, but there is no sign that it is
anything other than an old Solar Cycle 23 spot. Sunspot numbers for
August 14-20 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0 with a mean of 0. The 10.7 cm
flux was 65.9, 65.3, 66.2, 66.5, 66.2, 67.3 and 65.9 with a mean of
66.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 5, 4, 5, 7, 23, 8 and 6 with a
mean of 8.3. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 4, 3, 4, 5, 15, 7 and
5 with a mean of 6.1. 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/>. This week's "Tad Cookism" brought
to you by William Butler Yeats' "Those Dancing Days Are Gone."

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This Weekend on the Radio: This weekend, the NCCC Sprint is August 22.
The Hawaii QSO Party and Ohio QSO Party are August 23-24. The SKCC
Sprint is August 27. Next weekend is the NCCC Sprint on August 29. The
ALARA Contest, the SCC RTTY Championship and the YO DX HF Contest are
all August 30-31. The SARL HF CW Contest is August 31 and the MI QRP
Labor Day CW Sprint is September 1-2. All dates, unless otherwise
stated, are UTC. See the ARRL Contest Branch page
<http://www.arrl.org/contests/>, the ARRL Contest Update
<http://www.arrl.org/contests/update/> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for more info. Looking
for a Special Event station? Be sure to check out the ARRL Special Event
Station Web page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/spev.html>. 

* ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains
open through Sunday, August 24, 2008 for these online course sessions
beginning on Friday, September 5, 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>;.

* No ARRL Audio News August 29: There will be no ARRL Audio News on
Friday, August 29; ARRL Audio News will resume production on Friday,
September 5. The ARRL Letter will be distributed as usual.

* Amateur Radio Exams, Licensing Return to Bangladesh: Since 2004,
Amateur Radio operators in Bangladesh have not been able to get an
Amateur Radio license or sit for an examination. But thanks to the
efforts of the Bangladesh Amateur Radio League (BARL)
<http://www.barl.org/> -- that country's IARU Member-Society -- the
Bangladeshi government will once again issue ham licenses; exams will
also be given on a monthly basis beginning August 13, 2008. On July 21,
representatives from BARL -- Belayet Robin, S21RB; Zahid Shipon, S21VA,
and Saiful Huda, S21SH -- met with members of the Bangladesh
Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) in what Robin called "a
very fruitful meeting <http://www.btrc.gov.bd/>. BARL had finally been
able to make the concerned authorities understand the significance of
ham operators in a country with frequent natural disasters like floods
and cyclones." The Bangladeshi government has only allowed ham radio
operations since 1991, though amateurs have received special permission
on a case-by-case basis to set up Emergency Communications
infrastructures during natural disasters such as cyclones, tidal waves
and flooding. BARL was formed in 1979 as a way to promote Amateur Radio,
but on-air operations were banned due to the political climate of the
region. BARL will offer a class to prepare for the exam. Exams will be
computer based with 35 multiple choice questions. In order to receive an
Amateur Radio license, examinees must achieve 18 correct answers.
Examinees are given one hour to complete the test.

=========================================================== 
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
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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.

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==>How to Get The ARRL Letter

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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.

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

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