*************** 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 <email@example.com> ==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, <firstname.lastname@example.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 <email@example.com> 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 <firstname.lastname@example.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 <email@example.com>; 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!): 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.)
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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