ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 27, No. 41
October 17, 2008
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* + City of Manassas Takes Over BPL System from Private Company 
* + Get Ready for the 51st Jamboree On The Air This Weekend 
* + Fourteen New Section Managers Meet in Newington 
* + Richard Garriott, W5KWQ, Gets Busy from Space 
* + ARRL General License Course on CD-ROM Now Available 
* + Contester/DXer Paulo Cortese, I2UIY (SK) 
*  Solar Update 
*  IN BRIEF: 
      This Weekend on the Radio 
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration 
    + ARRL On-Line Auction Begins Preview Week 
    + E-mails Asking for Personal Information Are Not from ARRL 
      Hams Can Help Scientists Study Shrikes 
      ARRL to Participate in Combined Federal Campaign 

+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>;
===========================================================

==> CITY OF MANASSAS TAKES OVER BPL SYSTEM FROM PRIVATE COMPANY 

Late last month, the Manassas, Virginia City Council voted 4-2 to assume
control of the Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) service from the private
company that serves approximately 675 residents. As a result of the
vote, the City of Manassas will now have to use monies from an
enterprise fund -- around $110,000, in addition to the approximately
$640,000 the city has already spent on BPL infrastructure -- to fund the
service and recoup the cost from the subscribers; monies in an
enterprise fund come from the utility's ratepayers. BPL technology uses
the electricity grid in a city and the wiring in individual homes to
provide direct "plug in" broadband access through electricity sockets,
rather than over phone or cable TV lines. Because BPL wiring is
physically large, often overhead and extends across entire communities,
these systems pose a significant interference potential to over-the-air
radio services, including Amateur Radio.

According to "BPL Today," "Manassas was the first city in the world to
have BPL deployed to all its residents and has been a demonstration
center for utilities, integrators/operators and government entities from
around the globe." It was in Manassas that then-FCC Chairman Michael
Powell and then-Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Pat
Wood announced completion of the FCC's BPL rules and FERC's support for
FCC jurisdiction over BPL before the October 2004 meeting at which the
BPL rules were finally adopted, prompting an ARRL complaint
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2004/10/13/1/>. "BPL Today" is a
weekly journal for the BPL industry.

The City of Manassas launched a field trial to test out BPL technology
in July 2002; 15 months later, they awarded a 10 year franchise to
Prospect Street Broadband. This company agreed to expand the field trial
and offer high speed Internet service to the entire Manassas community
via power lines. In April 2004, the city terminated its contract with
Prospect Street and puts the contract out for rebidding. At this point,
the City of Manassas had spent $140,000 in BPL equipment to serve 200
accounts.

In March of 2005, Manassas reported that it had signed up more than 200
customers for BPL services, with another 1300 on a waiting list.
Manassas officials said they "expect[ed] to spend [another] $500,000
enhancing its telecommunications and electrical infrastructure by the
time COMTek completes the installation [later that month]."

In October 2005, COMTek, based in Chantilly, Virginia, announced the
first city-wide BPL service in Manassas. According to COMTek, the City
of Manassas -- located 30 miles southwest of Washington, DC -- had the
potential for more than 12,000 residential and 2500 commercial
subscribers. In May 2006, Philadelphia-based GridPlex announced it would
acquire Manassas' BPL program from COMTek.

In May 2006, "BPL Today" reported that GridPlex had the goal of "growing
the deployment into a state-of-the-art smart grid including a wide range
of municipal applications such as electricity demand response, energy
and water conservation, security monitoring and many more." GridPlex
also announced plans to upgrade and modernize the network in Manassas,
including the provision of smart meters.

In July 2008, the Manassas City Council held a public hearing concerning
GridPlex's takeover of the BPL system. The Director of the City of
Manassas Utility Department, Mike Moon, told the council that the cost
for BPL services -- currently $28.95 per month -- could be lowered and
said GridPlex had plans to improve connection speeds. Moon did not give
a timetable for when the change would take place, but said subscribers
would be notified when it was to occur. No one at the hearing spoke in
favor or against the provider change.

Moon said that if GridPlex acquired COMTek, this would permit city
residents to utilize GridPlex's smart grid technology, allowing them to
tap into "cost effective, conservation encouraging technology."
Residents could keep track and control their consumption of water and
electricity on a daily basis. "We are in discussions with [GridPlex] on
using those services, but we're not to the point of making that final
decision," he said. "That's a $4-5 million project for us, so we have to
make sure it's the right company, the right business plan for the city."

At the Council meeting in September, Moon explained that GridPlex's
takeover of Manassas' BPL system -- scheduled for early August 2008 and
postponed many times -- would not occur. According to the meeting
minutes, "The inability of GridPlex to take over the COMTek franchise
has made it necessary for [Manassas] to assume the operation of the BPL
system and the current customer base, which consists of approximately
675 residents. The City must now purchase all assets owned by COMTek and
will then exercise a short-term service agreement to service existing
accounts." Speaking for Moon, Manassas' Utilities Deputy Director
(Electric) Gary Paulson told the ARRL that the cost of the assets
totaled approximately $110,000. "This includes all the hardware,
software and licenses needed to operate the BPL system," Paulson said.

Four members of the six member Council voted to take over the BPL
service. According to Kipp Hanley, a reporter for the "News and
Messenger" daily newspaper in Manassas, this means the city will have to
use a small percentage of its electric department reserve fund to pay
for the service for the next six months. After six months, Hanley told
the ARRL, it will be up to the Council if they want to include it in the
city budget.

One reason to keep the BPL technology, he said, is Advanced Metering
Infrastructure (AMI) via the smart grid, something that the Manassas
utility department has advocated. Moon said that his office is also
looking at other ways to carry AMI, such as wireless. This was put out
to bid in September 2008.

Manassas Vice Mayor Andy Harrover was one of the four who voted to take
over the service from COMTek. Harrover told the "News and Messenger" he
voted in the affirmative as a "common courtesy for those who use the
service and for the future of the AMI system," but said he has a
"fundamental problem" with the city providing Internet services. "The
philosophical question is should the city be in the Internet business
and the answer is no."

Councilman Jonathan Way was one of two members who voted against taking
over COMTek's services. "If we really feel compelled to compete, we
should do so with modern, fast and reliable technology," he told the
"News and Messenger." "The current operator of the BPL system cannot
make a go of it and wants out. There should be a lesson hiding somewhere
in that fact."

==> GET READY FOR THE 51ST JAMBOREE ON THE AIR THIS WEEKEND 

When Scouts want to meet young people from another country, they usually
think of attending a World Jamboree. But each year, many Scouts and
Guides "get together" over the airwaves for the annual
Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA) <http://www.arrl.org/scouts/jota/>. This
year, JOTA celebrates its 51st anniversary. JOTA follows a 48 hour
schedule beginning at 0000 (local time) on Saturday, October 18,
continuing through 2400 local time on Sunday, October 19.

JOTA is an annual event in which Boy and Girl Scouts and Guides from all
over the world speak to each other by means of Amateur Radio. Since the
first Jamboree-on-the-Air was held in 1958, millions of Scouts have met
one another through this event. Many contacts made during JOTA have
resulted in pen pals and links between Scout troops that have lasted
many years. With no restrictions on age or on the number of
participants, JOTA allows Scouts to contact each other via ham radio.
Many Scouts and leaders hold licenses and have their own stations, but
the most participate in JOTA through stations operated by local radio
clubs and individual radio amateurs.

There are many resources available on the ARRL's JOTA Web site for
Scouts to use as they prepare for JOTA
<http://www.arrl.org/scouts/jota-resources/>. Scout leaders can also
access the ARRL's Scouting Web pages that list resources to help teach
the Radio Merit Badge, conduct a foxhunt, build an antenna or provide
other activities to explore the excitement of Amateur Radio
<http://www.arrl.org/scouts>. 

Last year, the ARRL introduced a JOTA feature that proved to be such a
success that the League is bringing it back for this year's event. The
JOTA Storyboard is a place where Scouts from all over the world can post
stories and pictures on how they participated in their JOTA activities.
Let other Scouts read your stories and catch the excitement of Amateur
Radio and Scouting <http://www.arrl.org/scouts/jota/Stories>. 

Stations that participate in JOTA should call "CQ Jamboree," or answer
stations doing so. Any authorized frequency may be used. The World Scout
Bureau recommends that stations use the agreed World Scout Frequencies: 
* 80 meters -- 3.690 and 3.940 MHz (SSB), 3.570 MHz (CW)
* 40 meters -- 7.090 and 7.190 MHz (SSB), 7.030 MHz (CW) 
* 20 meters -- 14.290 MHz (SSB), 14.060 MHz (CW) 
* 17 meters -- 18.140 MHz (SSB), 18.080 MHz (CW) 
* 15 meters -- 21.360 MHz (SSB), 21.140 MHz (CW) 
* 12 meters -- 24.960 MHz (SSB), 24.910 MHz (CW) 
* 10 meters -- 28.390 MHz (SSB), 28.180 MHz (CW) 
* 6 meters -- 50.160 MHz (SSB), 50.160 MHz (CW) 

In addition to local Scouts getting on the air for JOTA, national
Scouting associations around the world fire up their rigs for the event,
too. National organizations that have participated in JOTA in recent
years include: 
* HB9S -- World Scout Bureau, Geneva Switzerland 
* K2BSA -- Boy Scouts of America National Office, Dallas, Texas 
* JA1YSS -- Boy Scouts of Nippon National Office, Tokyo, Japan 
* PA6JAM -- Scouting Nederland National Station, Sassenheim, Netherlands

* 5Z4KSA -- The Kenya Scouts Association, Paxtu Station, Nyeri, Kenya 
* VK1BP -- The Scout Association of Australia National Station,
Canberra, Australia 
* GB2GP -- The Scout Association, Gilwell Park, London, United Kingdom 
* XE1ASM -- Boy Scouts of Mexico 
* DX1BSP -- Boy Scouts of the Philippines 
* TF3JAM -- Scouts of Iceland 

JOTA is not a contest; the idea is not to contact as many stations as
possible during the weekend. Radio operators run their stations in
accordance with their national licensing regulations. Check the ARRL Web
site for a review of control operator rules
<http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/fd-control.html>. 

All groups participating in JOTA are asked to send a report of their
activities to their National JOTA Organizer (NJO) and to the ARRL JOTA
Desk <jota@arrl.org>; after the event (find the name and e-mail address
of your NJO at <http://home.hetnet.nl/%7Ekava04un/Jota/njolist.PDF>).
NJOs then forward their national JOTA reports to the World Scout Bureau
for the "World JOTA Report," published by the World Scout Bureau
<http://home.hetnet.nl/%7Ekava04un/Jota/library.htm>. 

Although the worldwide JOTA is organized in October, Scouts can meet on
the air at other times during the year. Regular Scout nets (a
pre-arranged time and frequency when operators meet) are organized
nationally or regionally. An updated list of these nets can always be
found in the latest "World JOTA Report." 

AMSAT-NA has announced that they are again supporting JOTA by dedicating
AO-51 operation to the event <http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/echo/>.
According to AMSAT Vice President for Operations Drew Glasbrenner,
KO4MA, the satellite will be configured as a single channel V/U
repeater. He asks that users limit QSOs to those between or involving at
least one JOTA station during this weekend. The frequencies used for
this weekend will be 145.880 FM uplink, and 435.300 FM downlink, no PL
tone required. The mode change should occur at around 0000 UTC on the
18th (Friday evening in the US) and run for approximately 48 hours.

Bernie McClenny, W3UR, of "The Daily DX" <http://www.dailydx.com/>,
reports that the following DX stations will be on the air for JOTA:
* The Tunisian Scout Amateur Association (CAST) will be on the air with
the following stations on October 17-19: 3V8SM (Djerba Island AF-083);
3V8CB; 3V8SQ, Monastir, and 3V8ST, Tunis. QSL via the bureau. Do not
send dollars or other money.
* David Hutchinson, GI4FUM/EI4DJ, is expected to begin in Swaziland as
3DA0DJ on October 17, with activity until the October 27. He will use
3DA0SS (Swazi Scouts) during JOTA. He will be operating from a station
in Hawane.
* The Yongsan US Military Garrison, HL9BSA, in South Korea, will be on
from Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea during JOTA. McClenny
said they will be on 10-40 meters on CW, SSB and limited satellite
operations (and possibly RTTY). Both American and Korean hams plan to
operate. Send QSLs via Harry Rudolph, WX8C
<http://www.qrz.com/detail/WX8C>, or direct.
* In Egypt, hams will be using special call SU8JOTA at the Cairo
International Scout Centre. Activity will be on the HF bands on CW and
SSB, including 160 meters and their VHF network to EchoLink. Send QSLs
via Said Kamel, SU1SK <http://www.qrz.com/detail/SU1SK>. 

US Boy and Girl Scouts who participate in JOTA may purchase a JOTA patch
to wear on their uniforms. These patches are available from the
respective Scouting organizations, not the ARRL. Information on
purchasing the patches can, however, be found on the ARRL's JOTA Web
page.

==> FOURTEEN NEW SECTION MANAGERS MEET IN NEWINGTON 

The 16th annual New Section Manager Workshop October 10-12 afforded 14
new SMs a chance to visit ARRL Headquarters and gain some perspective on
their new leadership positions. During the weekend gathering,
participants not only got to meet many HQ staffers but learned some of
the ins and outs of how to become effective section leaders and
administrators.

The workshop also provided an opportunity for those taking part to chat
among themselves or within the group, sharing their own views on various
issues and exchanging ideas. Through training and orientation sessions
conducted by ARRL staff members and by meeting with other Section
Managers, participants were able to explore what works as well as what
does not and to bring home some fresh ideas, plus some encouragement.

On Friday, October 12, Field Organization Supervisor Steve Ewald, WV1X,
led the Section Managers on a tour of Headquarters where they met staff
and visited W1AW, the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station. The visiting
Section Managers enjoyed the chance to operate from W1AW in their spare
time during the weekend.

ARRL Membership and Volunteer Services Department hosted the event.
Several HQ staff members led training sessions during the weekend
workshop, giving the new Section Managers an opportunity to learn more
about the League's Field Organization, as well as discuss the variety of
ARRL programs and support available from Headquarters with staff
experts.

Western Washington Section Manager Jim Pace, K7CEX, said he has attended
many conferences throughout his career and found that "some are not so
good, some are sort of good and some are just a waste of time; however,
the Section Manager Workshop was beyond what I thought it was going to
be. The information, quality of presenters and the ability to converse,
argue and resolve issues with other Section Managers made it a great
event."

Louisiana Section Manager Gary Stratton, K5GLS, agreed: "I had a great
time in Newington, as well! It was a pleasure to meet all of the other
Section Managers and interact with them during the meetings. I think
that Steve and the rest of the Headquarters staff did a great job
organizing the sessions."

Those providing workshop presentations included Ewald, ARRL Emergency
and Preparedness Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD; ARRL Marketing and Sales
Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R; ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary
Hobart, K1MMH; ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X; ARRL Media
and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP; ARRL Education Services
Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ; ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI. ARRL
Field and Regulatory Correspondent Chuck Skolaut, K0BOG, spoke about the
Amateur Auxiliary and issues concerning regulatory matters. ARRL News
Editor Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, discussed writing and editing for the
ARRL Web site, QST and other League publications.

Workshop attendees were Jay Isbell, KA4KUN, Alabama; Jim Larsen, AL7FS,
Alaska; Jim Latham, AF6AQ, East Bay; Ed Stuckey, AI7H, Idaho; Gary
Stratton, K5GLS, Louisiana; Don Wood, W5FHA, New Mexico; Joe Giraudo,
N7JEH, Nevada; Lynn Nelson, W0CQ, North Dakota; Paul Eakin, KJ4G,
Northern Florida; Rich Krohn, N2SMV, Northern New Jersey; Steve Early,
AD6VI, San Diego; Glen Clayton, W4BDB, Tennessee; Jim Pace, K7CEX,
Western Washington, and LeeAnne Allen, WY7DTW, Wyoming.

==> RICHARD GARRIOTT, W5KWQ, GETS BUSY FROM SPACE 

Richard Garriott, W5KWQ, took off for the International Space Station
(ISS) on Sunday, October 12, becoming the sixth private citizen to fly
with the Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA) for a short-term mission on
the ISS. Not two hours after he arrived on the ISS on October 14,
Garriott was making ham radio contacts, just as his father, Owen
Garriott, W5LFL -- the first ham to make QSOs from space -- did in 1983.
Richard is scheduled to return to Earth on Thursday, October 23.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) International
Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said that not only did Richard start
making QSOs almost immediately after docking to the ISS, he also started
SSTV operations. "We have had a number of image uploads on the [ARISS
Web] site by hams from all around the world. A volunteer ARISS team is
working 24/7 during Richard's flight to review these images, to
understand how the SSTV operations are progressing and to include some
of these images on the Gallery pages [on the ARISS Web site]
<http://www.amsat.com/ARISS_SSTV/>. All uploaded images have been
archived and are being reviewed." Bauer asked hams to continue to upload
these images, as they help the ARISS team analyze and redirect the SSTV
operations. He also said that a blog providing the latest ARISS
information for Richard's expedition is available
<http://www.ariss-sstv.blogspot.com/>.

"Richard is really not supporting SSTV uplinks during his short duration
mission," Bauer said. "The downlink is on the normal ARISS VHF downlink,
145.80 kHz." For general voice contacts, Bauer recommends the regular
general voice frequencies: 145.80 for the downlink and 144.49 in Region
2 (Americas) and 145.20 for Region 1 (Europe, Africa, Middle East) and
Region 3 (Australia, Asia) for the uplink. "Richard and Mike Fincke,
KE5AIT, have been on the air on voice since shortly after docking [on
Tuesday]," Bauer said.

"Richard is great!" said ARRL ARISS Program Manager Rosalie White,
K1STO. "First he wanted to do a QSO with the mayor of his hometown --
Austin, Texas -- then he asked us to sponsor an Austin school QSO. He
got the mayor to bring kids into the mayor's office for the QSO! Last I
heard, several busloads of kids were being brought to the mayor's digs.
And right after that QSO, he thrills hams with more QSOs. We've gotten
several notes from hams who talked to Richard saying they had talked to
his dad years ago, too. Pretty cool!"

Richard also chose the Budbrooke Primary School in Warwick is England to
make QSOs with. "The QSO will enhance their technology and ham radio
studies. ARISS Vice Chairman Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, in Belgium is
mentoring this school," White said.

Richard has also scheduled a QSO with two groups who are in the ARISS
queue: Pinehurst Elementary School in Ashland, Oregon, and the National
Planetarium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The teacher at the Oregon school
is leading the ham radio presentations and space-related lessons; John
Spasojevich, AG9D, of Indiana is mentoring this school. The planetarium
QSO will be coordinated by ARISS volunteer Sangat Singh, 9M2SS, using
the planetarium's club call sign 9M2SS. Part of the planetarium's Space
Challenge educational activities, the QSO is scheduled on the day
Richard is required to pack his belongings for his return to Earth. If
he becomes too occupied with packing and other required duties, Mike
Fincke, KE5AIT, the commander of Expedition 18, could assist with the
QSO.

Because Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) takes place on while Richard is on
the ISS, he hopes to hook up on the air with Scouts. "Past experience
shows that scouts love talking to hams in space," White said. "The ARISS
Team feels the most important aspect of Richard's mission is to pique
students' interest in science and technology through the ARISS QSOs."

Bauer explained that Richard Garriott's flight on the ISS is "a part of
history. Some of you have asked why Richard is using his call sign for
some QSOs and SSTV contacts, instead of the ISS station call signs.
There is a long and proud history that is attached to the Garriotts.
This includes ham radio in space and their personal call signs.
Twenty-five years ago, Richard's father, Owen Garriott, W5LFL, initiated
the first ham radio contacts from space on the STS-9 SAREX mission.
Richard, W5KWQ, is following in his father's footsteps, using the ARISS
ham radio system extensively on his first flight. Richard's call sign is
actually his grandfather's original call sign. So you can see that this
mission touches three generations of ham radio and two generations of
ham radio in space!"

==> ARRL GENERAL LICENSE COURSE ON CD-ROM NOW AVAILABLE 

Now there is even more help for upgrading to a General class Amateur
Radio license -- the new "ARRL General Class License Course"
<http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=1387>. The course includes the
popular "ARRL General Class License Manual" with an all new
instructional CD-ROM. This package has everything you need to upgrade.

The CD-ROM includes topics divided into "bite-sized" sessions, allowing
you to learn at your own pace. The visual animations, along with
colorful illustrations and audio, make your learning experience exciting
and fun. The CD-ROM also includes quizzes and practice exams based on
official exam questions to help reinforce your learning. The complete
"General Class License Manual" is on the CD, giving you the freedom to
have the entire book at your fingertips.

There are many reasons to upgrade your license, including:
* More frequencies -- The General class licensee has access to more
bands. 
* More communications options -- As you access the General frequencies,
you now have many more ways to make contacts on new modes and with new
groups of hams. Your new skills are also valuable to your emergency team
or club.
* New technical opportunities -- With your new General class privileges,
you now have many more ways of assembling and operating a station. The
effects of the ionosphere and solar conditions will become second
nature. Your improved technical understanding of how radio works will
make you a more knowledgeable and skilled operator.
* More fun -- The traditional activities of ragchewing, DXing and
contesting continue to attract hams as they have for decades. You'll
find that even familiar activities take on new and interesting aspects
on the HF bands.

Not only does upgrading your license grant you more privileges, but your
experiences will be much broader. You'll enjoy Amateur Radio in ways
that hams have pioneered and fostered for generations. These new
privileges are well worth the effort.

By earning your General class license, you will gain access to nearly
all amateur frequencies. Remember: There are no bands on which a General
class licensee can't transmit! As a more experienced ham, your wider
knowledge will allow you to experiment with, modify and build equipment
and antennas to improve your communications abilities. 

The "ARRL General Class License Course" with CD-ROM is available from
the ARRL for only $74.95 <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=1387>. This
course is valid for exams given until June 30, 2011.

Minimum System Requirements for CD-ROM -- Microsoft Windows
Vista/XP/2000/NT/98/95 or Apple OS X; 200 MHz processor; 32 MB RAM;
sound card and speakers; 4-speed CD-ROM drive or higher. Requires Web
browser -- Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0, Mozilla Firefox 2.0, Apple
Safari 3.0 or later versions. Some documents require Adobe Reader.

==> CONTESTER/DXER PAULO CORTESE, I2UIY (SK) 

Well-known contester, DXer, and QST and NCJ author Paolo Cortese, I2UIY,
passed away from a brain aneurysm the weekend of October 11. He was 48.
According to fellow contester Doug Grant, K1DG, Cortese was the "most
popular competitor" at the first WRTC in Seattle in 1990
<http://www.ncjweb.com/w2gd_a.pdf>. 

"His big laugh and constant kidding around really made everyone smile,"
remembered Grant. "Everyone will tell you that he was a big man with a
big heart, a big appetite for life (both literally and figuratively) and
one of the biggest and most enthusiastic cheerleaders for ham radio in
general -- and contesting specifically -- anywhere in the world."

Cortese served as log-checker for many contests, including the European
Sprints, CQ WPX RTTY and CQWW RTTY, and was an active DX advisor to the
CQ World Wide Contest Committee, translating the rules into Italian.
Grant said that as manager of the Associazione Radioamatori Italiani
(ARI, the Italian IARU Member-Society <http://www.ari.it/>) QSL bureau,
"every QSL card into or out of Italy via the bureau passed through
Paolo's hands."

Cortese was inducted into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame in 2008. "Paolo
has been a tremendous contributor behind the scenes to contesting and
ham radio," said fellow inductee Randy Thompson, K5ZD. "It was an honor
to be inducted into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame with him this year."

His article, "A DXpedition to Niger" appeared in the May 2002 issue of
QST. 

==>SOLAR UPDATE 

Tad "Warms in the Sun, refreshes in the breeze" Cook, K7RA, this week
reports: Finally, we are seeing Solar Cycle 24 sunspots that don't
emerge on one day, only to evaporate the next. That's right -- sunspots,
as in two or more. On Friday, October 10, sunspot 1005 emerged at high
latitude over our Sun's eastern limb; that day's sunspot number was 12.
On the following day, the sunspot number rose to 16 and a solar wind
emerging from a coronal hole caused a geomagnetic storm. The planetary A
index rose from a quiet 3 on Friday to 37, and the mid-latitude A index
was 20. The 3-hour planetary K index reached a maximum of 7 that day, a
high value for that scale. Conditions have quieted again since then. On
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday -- as the spot progressed toward the
center-north of the solar disk -- sunspot numbers were 16, 15 and 14 as
the dark spot began to fade. On Wednesday, the sunspot number faded
another point to 13, but on Thursday, October 16, sunspot 1006 emerged,
but this time in the southwest corner, about to rotate out of view. The
sunspot number for Thursday jumped to 24. Sunspot numbers for October
9-15 were 0, 12, 16, 16, 15, 14 and 13 with a mean of 12.3. The 10.7 cm
flux was 68.7, 68.9, 70.8, 70.1, 70.9, 70.4 and 70.9 with a mean of
70.1. The Estimated planetary A indices were 2, 3, 37, 13, 9, 4 and 8
with a mean of 10.9. The Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 1, 2, 20,
10, 7, 3 and 7 with a mean of 7.1. 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 Alexander Pope's "Essay on Man"
<http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2428>. 

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This Weekend on the Radio: This week is the ARRL EME International
Competition on October 18-19 and the ARRL School Club Roundup from
October 20-24. The NCCC Sprint is October 17 and the Feld Hell Sprint is
October 18. Look for the JARTS WW RTTY Contest, the ARCI Fall QSO Party,
the Worked All Germany Contest, the Stew Perry Topband Challenge, the
W/VE Islands QSO Party, the PODXS 070 Club 160 Meter Great Pumpkin
Sprint and the 50 MHz Fall Sprint to be on the air October 18-19. The
Asia-Pacific Fall Sprint (CW) and the UBA ON Contest (2 Meters) are
October 19. The Illinois QSO Party is October 19-20 and the Run for the
Bacon QRP Contest is October 20. The SKCC Sprint and the RSGB 80 Meters
Club Sprint (SSB) are October 22. The NCCC Sprint is October 24. Next
week is the 
NCCC Sprint on October 24. The Microwave Fall Sprint is October 25
(local time). The CQ Worldwide DX Contest (SSB) and the 10-10
International Fall Contest are October 25-26. 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, November 9, 2008, for these online course sessions
beginning on Friday, November 21, 2008: Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Level 2 (EC-002); Antenna Modeling (EC-004); HF Digital
Communications (EC-005); VHF/UHF -- Life Beyond the Repeater (EC-008),
and Radio Frequency Propagation (EC-011). 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/cep/student> or contact the Continuing Education
Program Coordinator <cep@arrl.org>;.

* ARRL On-Line Auction Begins Preview Week: The Third Annual ARRL
On-Line Auction began its preview week on Thursday, October 16
<http://www.arrl.org/auction>. With more than 160 items up for bid --
with more being added every day -- this event promises to have something
for just about everyone. The auction will kick off October 23 and runs
until October 31 on the ARRL Web site. This year's auction will again
include many transceivers and other items that have appeared in the QST
Product Review column and have thus been thoroughly tested by the ARRL
Lab. According to ARRL Chief Operating Officer Harold Kramer, WJ1B,
"Last year's online auction -- our second -- proved to be a successful
and enjoyable event for both hams and ARRL staff members alike. When the
bidding ended, we realized that we had sold 162 items and sold just over
$50,000 worth of merchandise." Proceeds from the auction benefit ARRL
education programs including activities to license new hams, strengthen
Amateur Radio's emergency service training, offer continuing technical
and operating education, as well as create instructional materials.

* E-mails Asking for Personal Information Are Not from ARRL: We have
received several reports from ARRL members with arrl.net e-mail accounts
who have recently been contacted via e-mail asking for personal
information, such as user names and passwords. Please be assured that
these e-mails are fraudulent attempts at "phishing"
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing> and did not originate from ARRL.
According to ARRL Information Technology Manager Don Durand, "This is a
very crude attempt at phishing, using an easily determined spoof of the
originating/return address. There is never a time when we would ask via
mass e-mail for user names and passwords of arrl.net users. There is
simply no need to ever do so." If you receive an e-mail asking for
personal information and it looks like it originated from ARRL, please
do not respond, just delete it.

* Hams Can Help Scientists Study Shrikes: For the second year,
scientists are asking ham radio operators and VHF monitoring enthusiasts
to assist in scientific studies of Eastern Loggerhead Shrikes
<http://www.shrike.ca/index.html>. If you live in an eastern state and
can tune away from the ham bands for a few minutes a day, you could help
scientists study this endangered bird species. Every year, these birds
leave their captive breeding program in Ontario, Canada, but fewer and
fewer are returning in the spring. Researchers at the University of
Guelph in Ontario have placed radio tags on 20 young shrikes. Although
the primary purpose of the tags is to determine dispersal patterns --
the movements the birds make immediately after leaving their nests --
scientists also hope that more may be learned about the birds' fall
migration journey. Scientists think the birds will fly south to Florida,
but they might also overwinter in Tennessee, North Carolina and states
just south of there. You can help by tuning in regularly to the tag
frequencies, which are between 172-173 MHz. The complete frequency list
is published here <http://www.homingin.com/>, along with articles to
help you distinguish the pulsed tags from other signals you may hear.
Please listen now, as migration is under way; the radio tag batteries
will only function until the end of November.  -- Joe Moell, K0OV, ARRL
ARDF Coordinator 

* ARRL to Participate in Combined Federal Campaign: For the seventh year
running, the US Office of Personnel Management has designated the ARRL
to participate in the 2008 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)
<http://www.opm.gov/cfc/>. In the past, this campaign for federal
government civilian employees, US Postal Service workers and members of
the military has generated more than $120,000 for ARRL programs; in 2008
alone, ARRL has received $37,475 in pledges from CFC participants and
direct contributions of $21,316. The CFC provides an easy way to support
ARRL's effort to represent its members and all radio amateurs. Similar
to the United Way, the CFC encourages individuals to pledge by payroll
deduction to non-profit organizations of their choice. The ARRL
encourages eligible radio amateurs to consider the League when
designating campaign recipients. Payroll deduction through the CFC is an
easy way for participants to support ARRL over and above their annual
membership. Such contributions support programs that are not funded by
member dues, enriching ARRL's ability to serve its members and all of
Amateur Radio. Those wishing to select the ARRL to receive all or part
of their payroll deductions should designate organization 10099 when
completing their CFC donor forms. Donations to ARRL can be designated
for Diamond Club contributions, the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund or the
ARRL Education & Technology Program. Donors may also make unrestricted
contributions to the League. One important note: Since the CFC does not
provide the ARRL with the names of individual donors, the ARRL
Development Office <k1mmh@arrl.org>;; would appreciate a copy of the
donor form to ensure that each contribution is applied according to the
donor's wishes and the contribution or pledge can be properly
acknowledged. The 2008 CFC ends December 15. 

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

==>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
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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
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cannot assist subscribers who receive The ARRL Letter via this
listserver.) 

 

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.

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 and The American Radio Relay League.

Back issues published since 2000 are available on this page. If you wish to subscribe via e-mail, simply log on to the ARRL Web site, click on Edit Your Profile at the top, then click on Edit Email Subscriptions. Check the box next to The ARRL email newsletter, the ARRL Letter and you will receive each weekly issue in HTML format. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): letter-dlvy@arrl.org

Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, at ww1me@arrl.org.

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