*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 27, No. 35 September 5, 2008 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * + ARRL, Amateur Radio Gears Up for Hanna, Ike * + Amateur Radio Operators Were Ready for Hurricane Gustav * + ARRL Ham Aid Go Kits Support Amateur Radio Operations During Hurricane Gustav -- and Beyond * + Look for the October Issue of QST in Your Mailbox * + Membership Manager to Leave ARRL * IARU Region 2 EC: "Active Member-Societies Are Vital to Ensure Amateur Radio's Future" * + Pentagon Amateur Radio Club to Host Special Event Station Commemorating 9/11 * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This Weekend on the Radio ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration + ARRL Sets up E-mail Addresses for Use During Hurricanes, Tropical Storms + Steven Weber, KD1JV, Wins August QST Cover Plaque Award MARS Assists with Hurricane H&W Traffic for American Soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan +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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> ==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, <email@example.com> =========================================================== ==> ARRL, AMATEUR RADIO GEARS UP FOR HANNA, IKE As the ARRL Headquarters staff continues to support response and recovery efforts in Louisiana and the areas impacted by Hurricane Gustav, yet another storm begins to shift some of the focus eastward. Tropical Storm Hanna, currently forecast to impact the North and South Carolina coastline early Saturday morning, has begun to activate ARES preparations from Florida northward. Hanna is responsible for at least 137 deaths in Haiti. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a hurricane watch is in effect from north of Edisto Beach, South Carolina to Okracoke Inlet. A tropical storm watch remains in effect from Edisto Beach southward to Altamaha Sound, Georgia. A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Central and Northwestern Bahamas. A tropical storm watch means tropical storm conditions are possible within 36 hours. ARRL Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD, has begun to put protocols in place to support any of the ARRL Sections that may be impacted by Hanna. "We are beginning the coordination efforts with the individual Sections that could be on the receiving end of what is becoming an active storm season for the United States mainland. While Hanna currently remains a tropical storm, we must ensure that all Amateur Radio preparations are in place in case the storm turns into a hurricane." According to ARRL North Carolina Section Manager Tim Slay, N4IB, hams in his state are ready for Hanna. "The Amateur Radio Station at the State Emergency Operations Center is ready to go. We will begin operating from there on Friday at 8 PM and go until about mid-day on Saturday or for however long is needed." Slay also said the Tarheel Emergency Net, the North Carolina HF ARES Net that meets on 3.923 MHz, has been tested and is prepared for the incoming storms. Slay said that hams in his state have verified that the equipment is all in working order at the State Emergency Operations Center. The South Carolina Healthcare Emergency Amateur Radio Team (SCHEART) <http://www.scheart.us/> -- a system of strategically located repeaters linking 64 South Carolina hospitals by Amateur Radio, forming a statewide emergency communications network -- is also on alert. ARRL South Carolina Section Manager Jim Boehner, N2ZZ, said South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has called for a voluntary evacuation for those who live along that state's coastal areas. "It's incredibly important that we be prepared [for Hanna] and for people in areas that could be the most affected to be prudent," Governor Sanford said. "More than anything, this storm may serve as a reminder to everyone along the coast to be prepared for what could still come your way in this season. That means having a full tank of gas, a storm kit and an evacuation plan as these storms head our way." The Weather Channel's Tim Ballisty called Hanna an "ugly mess" since the storm is not acting like a typical storm: "Hanna has no markings of a classic-looking tropical cyclone. It is a highly disorganized tropical storm and will have a lot to do in a short period of time to organize and strengthen to a hurricane." Ballisty warned that people should not be fooled by Hanna's appearance. "It is important to note that one should not focus solely on [Hanna's] center of circulation," he said. "In fact, the worst of Hanna may not actually be found close to the center of circulation but rather away from it. Impacts such as tropical storm-force gusts, tropical downpours and very choppy surf will be felt hundreds of miles away from the center. That being said, the center of Hanna is projected to make landfall near the coastal South Carolina/North Carolina border, or perhaps just east of there, very early on Saturday morning." After landfall, Hanna is expected to spread rain and breezy conditions up the mid-Atlantic and Northeast coast on Saturday, impacting several major cities. Due its rapid forward speed, the storm will not linger. Hanna will be exiting off the New England coast by as early as mid-morning Sunday. Rainfall totals are not expected to come anywhere close to what was seen with Hurricanes Fay or Gustav. "If nothing else, [Hanna is] a good dress rehearsal for Ike if Ike were to come," said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Fast on Hanna's heels, Ike is the third major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season; it is not yet threatening any land. A Category 4 hurricane on Thursday, Ike was downgraded to Category 3 early Friday morning. For now, Ike is of no threat to land, but could threaten the Bahamas by Sunday and into early next week. Residents of the Bahamas should monitor Ike carefully the next several days. Ballisty said that as of now, it is too early to tell if Ike would have any impact on the United States. "The entire Southeast coast should pay close attention to the progress and forecast track of Ike," he said. Josephine, a tropical storm in the eastern Atlantic remains fairly weak. It continues to struggle with maximum sustained winds now near 50 MPH; this storm is currently no threat to land; however, the storm continues to feel the effects of wind shear and dry air, and this may keep any additional strengthening in check. Josephine will continue to move west-northwest over the next several days and will not be a threat to land in the near future. ==> AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS WERE READY FOR HURRICANE GUSTAV After several days of harrowing watching and waiting for Hurricane Gustav to make landfall, the storm slammed into southeast Louisiana Monday afternoon, leaving flooding, wind damage and power outages in its wake and evacuees eager to go home. As Amateur Radio operators across the area moved from an emergency response stance to clean-up, evaluation and repair, the need for some changes to operations and equipment became clear, as well as the vastly improved response as compared to Hurricane Katrina. As the storm made its way inland, ARRL Division, Section and public information volunteers in and around the area impacted by the Category 2 hurricane, reported that they were preparing to deploy themselves and other volunteers to strategic locations once conditions allow. Throughout the week, staff at ARRL headquarters coordinated conference calls between key emergency communications volunteers, Division and Section leadership officials and ARRL HQ in order to facilitate communications among the participants and to respond to any requests for assistance. Dennis Dura, K2DCD, ARRL Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager, commented: "Based on what we hear and what we receive in the daily situation reports, it will really dictate what kind of response we're going to have. In the beginning of a storm event, we don't have a clear idea of what the needs are. Once those on the scene tell us what they need, we will support them. Requests for emergency communications personnel will come from Section Managers or their designees, and we as an organization will meet those requests. Gustav is different from Katrina in a lot of ways. For one thing, people are much better prepared down there." On Monday, September 1, Louisiana Section Manager Gary Stratton, K5GLS, told conference call participants that he was expecting to head to the Baton Rouge Red Cross Marshalling Center the next day. He reported that credentialing for ham volunteers who will be sent to locations requesting Amateur Radio support was being handled, and emergency nets were activated. Louisiana Section Emergency Coordinator Jim Coleman, AI5B, expected to head to Baton Rouge Tuesday as well. Assistant South Texas SM Mike Schwartz, KG5TL, of Muldoon, reported that 4500 New Orleans-area evacuees were relocated to shelters in surrounding counties. He reported that about 20 ham radio operators were ready to travel to where they are needed. "When we find out, we're ready to deploy," he said. Mississippi SM Malcolm Keown, W5XX, of Vicksburg, expressed concern about the impending effects from Gustav. He said up to 20 inches of rain could fall in central Mississippi, and tornado warnings have been issued. Southeastern Division Vice Director Sandy Donahue, W4RU, mentioned that numerous Red Cross shelters have been set up in Georgia to handle the needs of evacuees. Northern Florida Section Manager Paul Eakin, KJ4G, offered the services of four Winlink stations to forward messages from the states more directly affected, as needed. ARRL Directors Henry Leggette, WD4Q, of the Delta Division, Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, of the Southeastern Division and Coy Day, N5OK, of the West Gulf Division also took part in the September 1 conference call, as did West Gulf Vice Director Dr David Woolweaver, K5RAV, and Delta Vice Director Karl Bullock, WA5TMC. At Poplarville, Missisippi -- county seat of Pearl River County -- Emergency Operations Center Communications Officer David Moore, N5ELI, said, "We have some stuff to do, but it's not bad." He noted a defective antenna that was discovered during operations for Gustav, as well as a few operational details that need to be worked out before future events. But, noted ARRL Mississippi Section Public Information Coordinator Larry Wagoner, N5WLW, who manned the Emergency Operations Center in Picayune, Mississippi, essential services were provided in spite of the problems, as contact was maintained with the shelters in the area as well as other individuals and agencies needing assistance. Harrison County Emergency Coordinator and District Emergency Coordinator for the Gulf Coast District Tom Hammack, W4WLF, echoed that reaction, noting the heavier damage to his coastal community: "The harbors are torn up," he observed, saying that a small tornado had been sighted near the port, which reportedly damaged a few buildings in the area and knocked out power for a time. "We had communications with the Coast Guard representatives, on 2 meters, as well as marine VHF," Hammack said. "We had hams at other locations as well." He noted that Ed Byrd, KA5VFU, had the radio links to the area hospitals working, too. "In general it went pretty fair," he said. "This was a cakewalk for us compared to Katrina," Hammack noted, adding, "But the farther west went you go, it wasn't any cakewalk at all. Hancock County (located due west of Harrison County) got hit pretty hard." North of the coast, Tim Purvis, N5UDK, Emergency Coordinator for Stone County and Assistant Emergency Coordinator for the Gulf Coast District noted that one mobile home was destroyed in the storm. "All in all, it went real well," he said. Like the other officials in the area, he said the storm was a learning exercise for the Amateur Radio community. "We need to get our repeater to a higher location and we need to get more people with emergency Yagis." He said in some cases, hams in outlying areas of the county had a hard time making it into the repeater during the storm. "These are people who may have lost or taken down their antennas," he said, "and they were trying to operate on a mag mount on top of a refrigerator from 20 miles away." One problem noted by several officials in the area was the signal propagation from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MSEMA) office near Jackson. "A new antenna up there would help," said one. "We had a real hard time copying the signal from MSEMA," said another. Local hams were not the only ones learning lessons from the storm. Purvis noted that while the MSEMA official at the Stone County Emergency operations Center was familiar with Amateur Radio, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representative did not know anything about ham radio and the service that hams provide before the storm. By the end of operations Tuesday, she had quite an education, Purvis said, noting that she was not only very impressed with what hams can do, but now wants to become licensed as an Amateur Radio operator herself and is very interested in SKYWARN operations. "We have a feather in our cap on that one," Purvis said. SKYWARN operations went well across the region, as hams from all over the southern Mississippi area called in to report sightings of severe weather and damage from the storm. "Like you (in Pearl River County), we were inundated by warnings and reports," Purvis said, adding, "I just wish we could get all those people to sign in on a regular basis." Local officials said the area fared much better in Gustav than in 2005's Hurricane Katrina. "Compared to Katrina, we didn't lose any local communications, phone or Internet. In Katrina, they lost everything," said Purvis. "Our major function was communications with the shelters, storm spotting and being on standby for other services," he added. Stone County had one shelter open, which closed early Tuesday. Those requiring longer stays were transferred to shelters in Picayune and Hattiesburg. The Stone County shelter housed about 50 people at one point. The shelter in Picayune had about 130 people maximum -- mostly from Louisiana, where nearby New Orleans and St Tammany Parishes remained closed Tuesday. By Tuesday morning, crews were out evaluating damage to local power lines, cable TV, phone lines and trees, and hams were getting ready for the next time they are called to serve, keeping a close eye on Hurricane Hanna and Hurricane Ike. ==> ARRL HAM AID GO KITS SUPPORT AMATEUR RADIO OPERATIONS DURING HURRICANE GUSTAV -- AND BEYOND As Amateur Radio operators prepared for Hurricane Gustav, the ARRL deployed complete radio stations comprised of industry-donated Amateur Radio equipment, thanks to the generous contributions of ARRL members to the Ham Aid Fund. Created in 2005 to assist with the response to Hurricane Katrina, the Ham Aid Fund is designated to finance Amateur Radio equipment needed for disaster response. In preparation for Hurricane Gustav, ARRL received requests for radio equipment from Louisiana and Texas. The shipping costs for this equipment were covered by the Ham Aid Fund. According to Assistant Manager of the ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Department Norm Fusaro, W3IZ, several kits were shipped to Louisiana; Fusaro is handling Ham Aid requests during Hurricane Gustav. "We sent three HF kits, 3 VHF/UHF kits and a combination kit complete with HF, VHF and handheld transceivers to the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) facility in Baton Rouge, as well as four VHF/UHF base antennas and a support box that included coax, rope, wire antennas and connectors." Fusaro also said that a 600 W amplifier was sent to Jim Coleman, AI5B, in Bogalusa, Louisiana to be used at the Emergency Operations Center there, and an HF radio was sent to Joel Colman, NO5FD, of New Orleans, replacing his rig that was damaged during set up at the firehouse. "To me, these Go-Kits ramp up ARRL's ability to support Amateur Radio volunteers in the field when the next big disaster hits," said ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH. "They won't replace or supplant anything that's already on the ground and working well, but the kits will strengthen it and add flexibility to Amateur Radio's overall response capabilities." In setting up these Go Kits, League staffers consulted with volunteers who were in the field during Hurricane Katrina to find out what gear served them best or what they wished they'd had but didn't. The Go Kits, stowed in rugged, waterproof Pelican 1650 containers, enable the League to loan out needed equipment on a moment's notice. "The idea is that this makes it easy to ship," explains Fusaro, "and since they're less than 50 pounds apiece, they can be shipped by air." The HF Kit contains a 100 W HF transceiver, a tuner and antenna, a microphone and a power supply. The VHF/UHF Kit includes a dualband mobile transceiver, power supply, headset, 10 handheld transceivers and a supply of alkaline batteries. In the Handheld Transceiver Kit are eight dualband handheld transceivers and antennas, plus a stock of extra batteries. The Support Kit includes a length of BuryFlex RG-213 coaxial cable, rope, 15 foot jumper cables with battery clamps at one end and an Anderson Powerpole on the other. The kit includes various fittings and adapters to connect to the power distribution unit and to make RF feed line connections. All kits contain any necessary manuals. Hobart said it's imperative to sustain and enhance ham radio's emergency communication capabilities for the future: "Disasters happen to be one place Amateur Radio can shine," she pointed out. "We need to maintain a high level of readiness to do those things that are second nature to ARES members, but that the public is just coming to recognize." Making the Go Kits available to ARES teams, Hobart said, will help to cement Amateur Radio's position as a community resource. "We want to be able to ensure that we have the personnel and the equipment," she said. "With a disaster of any magnitude, we need to be ready." Since the arrival of Hurricane Gustav, Hobart said that the Ham Aid fund has been depleted. "With more storms on the horizon, the ARRL is seeking member contributions to rebuild the Ham Aid Fund. This vital lifeline of resources to support the ARRL Field Organization and Amateur Radio Volunteers will benefit from the renewed generosity of radio amateurs." Contributions in any amount can be made online <https://www.arrl.org/forms/development/donations/basic/>. ==> LOOK FOR THE OCTOBER ISSUE OF QST IN YOUR MAILBOX The October issue of QST -- our first-ever Radiosport issue -- is jam-packed with all sorts of things today's Amateur Radio operator needs, with a special focus on Amateur Radio contesting. From product reviews to experiments to public service, the upcoming issue of QST has something for just about everyone. Steve Clifford, K4GUN, offer his views "On Becoming a Rove Warrior." In this article, Clifford expounds on the joys of roving -- mobile operating in VHF+ contests -- and offers some lessons and tips gleaned from his first roving operation. Gil McElroy, VE1PKD, gives readers "A History of Radiosport." Did you know that CQ CONTEST could be heard on the bands as far back as the early 1920s? Discover the origins of how contesting began as McElroy takes us on a contesting history journey. In addition to the articles featuring contesting, ARRL Contributing Editor H. Ward Silver, N0AX, has put together an 8 page radiosport insert -- you can easily find this section, thanks to the bright yellow page edges! This section will feature such articles as how to interpret your Log Checking Report, guidelines for the upcoming contest season and a list of resources that no contester should be without, as well as a listing of major contests throughout the year. ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, announces how 2009 is the Year of the State QSO Party. Be sure to check out October QST to find out more about this exciting new event. Of course, no issue of QST would be complete without "Contest Corral" and "This Month in Contesting." ARRL News Editor S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, describes the events and decisions from the July ARRL Board of Directors meeting, as well as announces the six winners who were bestowed awards for 2007-2008. If you're in the market for a new rig, be sure to check out October's Product Review: NCJ Managing Editor Rick Lindquist, WW3DE, gives his take on the ICOM IC-7700 HF and 6 meter transceiver. In his review, Lindquist says "The IC-7700's attributes seemed shaped more toward the serious contester and DXer, but it's a superior performer with features enough to attract any active HF or 6 meter enthusiast. The price will put the radio out of reach for some, but this piece of radio gear more than fills the average ham's desires, not to mention the operating desk." Of course, there are the usual columns you know and love in October QST: "Hints & Kinks," "The Doctor Is IN," "How's DX," "Eclectic Technology," "World Above 50 MHz," "Hamspeak" and more. Look for your October issue to arrive soon. QST is the official journal of ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio. QST is just one of the many benefits of ARRL membership. To join or renew your ARRL membership, please visit the ARRL Web page <http://www.arrl.org/join>. ==> MEMBERSHIP MANAGER TO LEAVE ARRL On Friday, October 3, the ARRL HQ family will say goodbye to Membership Manager Katie Breen, W1KRB, as she moves away from her native Connecticut. In her short time here, Breen quickly became popular as she traveled to hamfests and conventions around the country -- as well as making videos that have been posted online -- promoting the League to members and non-members alike; she headed up the ARRL team at the 2008 Dayton Hamvention this past May <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/05/17/10103/?nc=1>. "This job was much more than a job to me," Breen said. "Amateur Radio became part of my life. When I started, I honestly didn't think I'd ever really understand the technical side of things, never mind actually build anything. Since coming to the ARRL, I've built my own antennas and a small transceiver; I couldn't have done any of this without my Elmers. Because of this experience, I've become a strong proponent of mentoring -- you don't have to be a ham for 50 years to become an Elmer." Breen said that talking to hams around the country and then meeting them at hamfests, as well as connecting with new friends all over the world, has been an "amazing experience. I've loved going to Amateur Radio events and working with countless volunteers that give of their time, energy, experience and funds to continue to promote the Amateur Radio Service. I've had the unique opportunity to spend a lot of time with our field volunteers and I have seen personally the dedication and passion these folks have -- I think they are some of the biggest unsung heroes in ham radio. I don't know of any other hobby or service that has such dedication and passion. I am proud to have had the opportunity to make the personal connection, to bring a piece of ARRL Headquarters to our members and to help develop a sense of belonging for our members." Breen's supervisor, ARRL Sales and Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, said that she will be missed "a great deal. Members -- and particularly new members -- appreciate her enthusiasm as an advocate for ham radio and ARRL. We've all enjoyed Katie's willingness to share her own stories as a new radio amateur." Inderbitzen said the search to find a qualified candidate for ARRL Membership Manager is underway. Interested individuals should have a background in membership marketing and experience developing membership recruitment and retention strategies. An understanding of the Amateur Radio Service is desired. The complete job posting and instructions for applying can be found online on the ARRL's Job Announcement Web page <http://www.arrl.org/announce/jobs/>. ==> IARU REGION 2 EC: "ACTIVE MEMBER-SOCIETIES ARE VITAL TO ENSURE AMATEUR RADIO'S FUTURE" Late last month in Panama, the Executive Committee of IARU Region 2 <http://www.iaru-r2.org/> held its annual meeting. According to IARU Region 2 President Reinaldo Leandro, YV5AMH, the importance of having active and inclusive IARU Member-Societies is the "only way to ensure the future of Amateur Radio." Leandro said this theme was "underlined" throughout the meeting. The United States is a member of Region 2. At the meeting, the Executive Committee called on the Region 2 Area Directors to establish links at the area and country level to work with an Emergency Communications and Monitoring System. Once those links are established, the Area Directors will work with recently designated Coordinators in the Region <http://www.iaru-r2.org/coordinators/>. The Committee heard reports regarding the IARU's participation in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). The CTU is aware of the importance of radio amateurs in emergency situations and has requested the IARU's support to have active Member-Societies in its region. CTU countries include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Turks and Caicos, and Trinidad and Tobago; the IARU is an Associate Member of CTU. Other actions by the Executive Committee included: * The Executive Committee initiated preparations to participate in Telecom Americas 2010, to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in March 2010 <http://www.itu.int/americas2010/>. * The Committee requested the support of the Region 2 Member-Societies in order get more countries in the region to sign on to the International Amateur Radio Permit (IARP) <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/io/>. Countries that currently accept the IARP are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela. * The Committee announced that an introductory study guide for all those interested in becoming new radio amateurs will be made available in Spanish within the next few months. This guide will be published in a digital format, allowing for easy distribution. * Emergency Communications Coordinator Cesar Pio Santos, HR2P, advised the Executive Committee that he is compiling an inventory of emergency networks in Region 2. The Committee decided that the listing should be completed "as soon as possible" and underlined its importance to the region. The next Region 2 Executive Committee meeting will be in September 2009 in Lima, Peru. The meeting was attended by President Reinaldo Leandro, YV5AMH; Vice President Dario Jurado, HP1DJ; Secretary Ramon Santoyo V., XE1KK; Treasurer and Area E Director Noel E. Donawa, 9Y4NED; Area A Director Daniel A. Lamoureux, VE2KA; Area B Director Rod Stafford, W6ROD; Area C Director Pedro Rodriguez, CO2RP; Area D Director Marco Tulio Gudiel, TG9AGD, and Area G Director Reinaldo Szama, LU2AH. IARU President Larry Price, W4RA was also present, representing the IARU International Secretariat. ==> PENTAGON AMATEUR RADIO CLUB TO HOST SPECIAL EVENT STATION COMMEMORATING 9/11 On Thursday, September 11, the Pentagon Amateur Radio Club (PARC) will operate a Special Event station commemorating the 7th anniversary of the attacks that occurred on the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and over Pennsylvania in 2001 <http://www.k4af.org/>. This special event will be held in conjunction with President Bush's visit to the Pentagon to dedicate the new Pentagon Memorial <http://www.defenselink.mil/home/features/2008/0708_memorial/index.html> , honoring the 184 people, both at the Pentagon and on American Airlines flight 77, who lost their lives in the attacks. Operators will be on 10, 15, 20, 40 and 80 meters -- both phone and CW -- with plans to operate on a 12 hour basis (1200-2400 UTC). There will be a special QSL card available for stations that work K4AF. For more information, please contact Gary Sessums, KC5QCN <firstname.lastname@example.org>. QSL via PARC, PO Box 2322, Arlington, VA 22202. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Tad "Happy we who can bask in this warm September Sun" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: We're still looking at a quiet sun, but currently a solar wind is disturbing the Earth's magnetic field. Six meter operators -- after enjoying a fine season of sporadic E propagation this summer -- may see some added excitement from auroral propagation. The planetary A index was 33 on Thursday, September 4, the highest daily number in over a year. I don't know when it was last that high, but the closest recent numbers were 32 on April 23, and 31 on March 27. Planetary A index for September 5-10 is predicted to be 20, 15, 8, 5, 5 and 5. It is expected to rise to 20 on September 14. Sunspot numbers for August 28-September 3 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0 with a mean of 0. The 10.7 cm flux was 66.1, 66.8, 67.1, 66.7, 65.8, 66 and 66.2 with a mean of 66.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 3 and 7 with a mean of 3.6. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 and 7 with a mean of 2.7. There has been some news about the current solar minimum regarding continuous days without spots. August was the first calendar month with no sunspots since 1913. Of course, there have been periods longer than 30 days, but generally over a two calendar-month period in which there were some sunspots in each month. As of Thursday, September 4, there have been 46 continuous days with no spots. That is the seventh longest period of no spots, looking back over 150 years to the mid-19th century. If there are no sunspots through this Sunday, at 49 days this will be the fourth longest spot-free period. 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 Henry David Thoreau's "A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers." __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This Weekend on the Radio: The International G3ZQS Memorial Straight Key Contest is September 5-7. On September 6, be sure to look for the Russian RTTY WW Contest, the NCCC Sprint, the Wake-Up! QRP Sprint and the AGCW Straight Key Party. The All Asian DX Contest (Phone), the RSGB SSB Field Day and the IARU Region 1 Field Day (SSB) are September 6-7. The North American Sprint (CW) and the DARC 10 Meter Digital Contest are September 7. The Tennessee QSO Party is September 7-8. Next weekend, look for the ARRL September VHF QSO Party on September 13-15. The NCCC Sprint is September 12 and the PODXS 070 Club 80 Meter Autumn Sprint is September 12-13. The FISTS Get Your Feet Wet Weekend is September 12-14. The Swiss HTC QRP Sprint is September 13. The WAE DX Contest (SSB) and the Arkansas QSO Party are both September 13-14. The North American Sprint (SSB), the SKCC Weekend Sprintathon and the ARCI End of Summer Digital Sprint are September 14. The NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint is September 18. 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, September 21, 2008 for these online course sessions beginning on Friday, October 3, 2008: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 1 (EC-001); Radio Frequency Interference (EC-006); Antenna Design and Construction (EC-009); Technician License Course (EC-010); 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 <email@example.com>. * ARRL Sets up E-mail Addresses for Use During Hurricanes, Tropical Storms: In an effort to streamline hurricane support operations at ARRL Headquarters, the League has set up two e-mail addresses for hams to pose questions or relay information to HQ Staff relating to hurricane or named tropical storm events. If you need to communicate with ARRL HQ regarding these storms, please use <firstname.lastname@example.org> or <email@example.com>. These e-mail addresses will be monitored during each storm's descent on the US, as well as throughout the hurricane season. * Steven Weber, KD1JV, Wins August QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for August is Steven Weber, KD1JV, for his article "A 40 Meter CW/SSB Transceiver for the Homebrew Challenge." Congratulations, Steven! The winner of the QST Cover Plaque award -- given to the author or authors of the best article in each issue -- is determined by a vote of ARRL members on the QST Cover Plaque Poll Web page <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/QSTvote.html>. Cast a ballot for your favorite article in the September issue by Tuesday, September 30. * MARS Assists with Hurricane H&W Traffic for American Soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan: Army Captain Jeff Hammer, N9NIC, who represents the Army Military Affiliate Radio System (Army MARS) <http://www.netcom.army.mil/mars/> in Iraq, has appealed to the families of troops deployed overseas that have been affected by the recent tropical storms and hurricanes to let their loved ones know all is well at home. "There are a lot of soldiers from the Gulf States here in Iraq," Hammer said, "and their families may be impacted by the hurricanes and not have a way to communicate with their soldier to let them know their status in the coming week(s). If you are unable to deliver hurricane-related Health and Welfare messages from a family member to a service member in Iraq due to lack of communication assets or insufficient address information, send them directly through an Amateur Radio operator or Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) operator <AEN5NAA@winlink.org>. MARS operators currently deployed in Iraq will do their best to get all messages delivered immediately." Hammer said that Army MARS also can handle messages to service members in Afghanistan, but delivery may be delayed. Direct entry of MARSgrams is available via the MARSgram Web site <http://www.mymars.org/>. The site provides full instructions and a message form that will be transmitted automatically via the Army MARS system. =========================================================== 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.
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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