*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 27, No. 43 October 31, 2008 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * + SKYWARN Recognition Day Set for December 6 * + Ohio Hams Discover, Fix "Ditters" on 40 Meters * + The ARRL VEC: More than Just Amateur Radio Exams * + ARRL Invites Nominations for 2008 International Humanitarian Award * + Ask Perry: Why Is the ARRL in Connecticut? * + ARRL Membership Newsletters, Bulletins and Notifications * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This Weekend on the Radio ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration + 2008 Field Day Results Posted New ARRL Satellite Book Available + Spanish Hams Receive New Frequency Privileges + 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> =========================================================== ==> SKYWARN RECOGNITION DAY SET FOR DECEMBER 6 The 10th Annual SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD) Special Event will take place Saturday, December 6, 2008 <http://hamradio.noaa.gov/>. SRD is co-sponsored by the ARRL and the National Weather Service (NWS) as a way to recognize the commitment made by Amateur Radio operators in helping to keep their communities safe. According to SRD Coordinator David Floyd, N5DBZ, Amateur Radio operators can visit their local participating NWS office <http://www.crh.noaa.gov/hamradio/participating_offices.php>, working as a team to contact other hams across the world throughout the 24 hour event. The idea for the first SRD took shape in the summer of 1999. Meteorologist-in-Charge of the Goodland, Kansas NWS office Scott Mentzer, N0QE, tried to find a way to recognize the valuable contributions storm spotters make to the National Weather Service. "Since many of those storm spotters were also hams," Floyd said, "it seemed like a natural fit for the recognition to be centered on Amateur Radio." With the approval of NWS headquarters and a commitment to participate from many local NWS offices across the country, the first National Weather Service Special Event took place on November 27, 1999. "At the end of the event, an amazing 15,888 QSOs were logged, with contacts made to all 50 states and 63 countries," Floyd recounted. "The Des Moines forecast office took the honor of making the most contacts of any office that first year with 761 QSOs, and went on to lead the pack until 2003 by logging between 1300-1500 contacts each year!" Floyd said that feedback from that first event was "overwhelmingly positive" from both the NWS staff and the local ham clubs: "Suddenly there was incentive for more NWS staffers to either obtain a license or upgrade so that more people could work ham radio during severe events. In addition, many club members had never visited an NWS office before. When they came for the special event, they learned the value of their reports and how they were used in conjunction with existing technology." And so began an annual tradition. The following year, 85 of the 122 NWS offices -- almost 70 percent -- participated in the event, making nearly 24,000 QSOs. "Perhaps the most unusual contact occurred in 2000 with an airliner 39,000 feet above Utah," Floyd said. "The pilot ended the QSO with a request for a 'spot weather forecast' for his arrival at Salt Lake City airport." In 2001, the name of the event was changed to SKYWARN Recognition Day, a name Floyd said better relayed what the day was all about: "Each year since the inception of SRD, the number of NWS offices and local ham clubs participating has increased, until now more than 100 offices sign up each year to take part. The most contacts made during any SRD occurred in 2006 when -- thanks to the staff and local hams in the Grand Junction, Colorado area -- 1640 QSOs were logged!" Station call signs have also changed over the years. Floyd said that some NWS offices and clubs apply for a special event call sign, "such as W3B in Brownsville or N0Y in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Other call signs hint at office location, including WX9GRB in Green Bay and WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center. Still others represent more of the big picture, as in KC0SKY in Pleasant Hill, Missouri." Floyd said that as SKYWARN Recognition Day has grown throughout the years and is mainly an SSB event, he has seen a greater use of digital communications in addition to CW, RTTY and packet radio: "Each year, more and more contacts are being made using EchoLink and Winlink." 2008 SKYWARN Recognition Day will be held on December 6 from 0000 UTC-2400 UTC. Last year, contacts were made in all 50 states and 40 countries during the 24 hour event. If you haven't joined in the fun, make 2008 your year to do so! ==> OHIO HAMS DISCOVER, FIX "DITTERS" ON 40 METERS Silent since the summer of 2000, "ditters" have been heard once again <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2000/07/28/2/> on 40 meters by hams in North Carolina. According to ARRL Field and Regulatory Correspondent Chuck Skolaut, K0BOG, hams in that state contacted him on October 22 complaining of hearing a continuous string of "dits" on 7.0574 MHz. "We informed the FCC HFDFing station of the situation and asked if they could locate the approximate area of the 'dits' so we could get this resolved as soon as possible," Skolaut said. "They responded promptly and said it was coming from Westerville, a town just north of Columbus, Ohio." Once the general location had been pinpointed, Skolaut called on ARRL Ohio Section Official Observer Coordinator Rick Swain, KK8O for assistance. Swain immediately alerted his team of Official Observers (OO) to check out the situation. "Neither I nor the OOs could hear the transmitter," Swain said in his report. "In a telephone conversation with one of the OOs near the target area, he suddenly stated that he could hear it, but that the signal was at the noise level, about S2 to S3. At just about the same time, I could hear it as well at my location [about 50 miles from the target area] -- just above the noise level -- for about five or ten seconds, then it disappeared." Swain also placed a call to Assistant Section Manager Bill Carpenter, AA8EY. "Bill lives within the target area. I briefed him on the situation and he went right to his station," Swain said. "Bill checked the frequency and told me he was hearing [the 'dits'] at about S9. He said he thought he might know who it could be and that would make some calls." Around 7:30 AM on October 23, Swain checked the frequency and found no signal. "I assumed that either Bill had found the transmitter or the owner came home, found it transmitting and turned it off," he said. "Later that morning, Bill sent me an e-mail saying that the signal was back on and about S7. I called Bill's house and left a message telling him I was on my way to Westerville to track down the signal. If he wanted to ride along with me while I looked for it, he was more than welcome to come." Skolaut said the signal was also heard in Newington that day. When Swain arrived in Westerville, he had a list of the names and addresses of 172 licensees in the area, as well as a general idea of where the signal should be, based on the data from the FCC's HFDFing station. He also had his HF radio, an all-band screwdriver antenna, a GPS receiver and a VHF radio for information and directions. "I drove around the area checking the signal and noted that it was about S9 and climbing," Swain said. He and Carpenter met up and continued the search together. About 15 minutes later -- with Swain driving and Carpenter giving directions -- "we noted that the signal was 30 over S9 and Bill had me make a left turn at the next street, saying that there was an address on the list we should check out. We stopped at that address, but no luck." Swain said he then injected 30 dB of attenuation and continued to drive in the same direction: "The signal was now reading 20 dB over S9 with the attenuator still on. We turned down the next street and the signal rose another 20 dB. I pulled into a parking lot and made a 360-degree turn as to determine the signal's direction. The turn indicated that we should proceed to a newly constructed housing area adjacent to the parking lot." Swain and Carpenter then made their way over to the housing development and found that signal peaked. "Bill checked the list and found a ham lived on the street we were on, so we stopped and knocked on the door, but no one answered," Swain said. "We checked out the backyard and saw a 4-band trapped vertical antenna. We went next door and spoke to the neighbor and told him who we were and what we were trying to do." With help from the neighbor, Swain contacted the ham at work and explained the situation. The ham told the neighbor how to get in the house and where they would find the transmitter. "We went in, found the transmitter in operation and turned it off," Swain said. "I noticed the ham had a large cat lounging near the transmitter and assumed the cat could have leaned up against the keyer paddle and started the transmitter. No other explanation could be possible without the owner hearing the transmit relay clicking." When Swain and Carpenter left the house, they listened to the receiver and discovered the signal had disappeared. "This was a great example of coordinated cooperation by the FCC and OOs to resolve a problem in a timely fashion," Skolaut said. "The DFing station told us that hopefully the OOs could handle it as the FCC District Office was unable to work on the case at this time." Calling this a "splendid example of cooperation," ARRL Great Lakes Division Director Jim Weaver, K8JE, echoed Skolaut's praise: "I believe the response to the situation was as fine an example of symbiotic relationship between member-staff-FCC-staff-field organization as one might find. Extremely well done by all hands." ==> THE ARRL VEC: MORE THAN JUST AMATEUR RADIO EXAMS When you think of ARRL's Volunteer Examiner Coordinator Department (VEC) <http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/>, Amateur Radio licensing exams are probably what come to mind. Questions regarding exam requirements, exam accommodations, exam test locations, exam question pools and Volunteer Examiner support are handled by the League's VEC department. According to ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, the ARRL VEC has been busy meeting the needs of the Amateur Radio community since 1984. "Helping a person become a radio amateur or upgrade their existing license is what we do best, but that's not all we do," Somma said. "We provide instruction and support for everyone who wants to get an Amateur Radio license, as well as licensing assistance and procedures for those amateurs seeking upgrades to their current license, regardless of where in the US they may live; some sessions are also provided overseas," Somma explained. "Volunteer Examiners are accredited by the ARRL/VEC; they obtain their training -- and receive ongoing guidance -- from our office by phone or e-mail. They can also access our online VE Manual." Somma said that the ARRL's VEC Department is also a primary provider for club license questions and applications (club call signs) and vanity call signs. "We only serve in an advisory capacity in this activity, as application must be made (with their appropriate fee) directly to the FCC," she said. "We also handle the 1x1 Special Event call signs, International Amateur Radio Permits (IARP) and ARRL member (or non-member with accompanying fee) FCC license updates and renewals <http://www.arrl.org/fcc/forms.html>." Since the VE program began in 1984, the ARRL VEC has accredited more than 50,000 Volunteer Examiners. "These VEs have conducted more than 90,000 test sessions," Somma said. "At these sessions, more than 850,000 individuals have taken examinations to earn a license or to upgrade their license privileges. And out of those, 400,000 have had their successful applications submitted to the FCC for new and higher class licenses. Today, the ARRL VEC is the largest of the USA's 14 VECs <http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/amateur/licensing/vecs.html>, representing nearly 70 percent of all exams given." Somma credits her "skilled, knowledgeable and friendly staff" with the success of the League's VEC department: Assistant VEC Manager Perry Green, WY1O; Pete Warner, K1HJW; Ann Brinius; Lisa Riendeau; Amanda Grimaldi, and China Chaney. "The ARRL VEC has more than 20 years of service to radio amateurs, operating as a knowledgeable information source for a wide-range of licensing issues," Somma said. "Look beyond the exams -- we're here to help!" ==> ARRL INVITES NOMINATIONS FOR 2008 INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN AWARD Nominations are open for the 2008 ARRL International Humanitarian Award <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/awards/humanitarian.html>. The award is conferred upon an amateur or amateurs who demonstrate devotion to human welfare, peace and international understanding through Amateur Radio. The League established the annual prize to recognize Amateur Radio operators who have used ham radio to provide extraordinary service to others in times of crisis or disaster. A committee appointed by the League's President recommends the award recipient(s) to the ARRL Board, which makes the final decision. The committee is now accepting nominations from Amateur Radio, governmental or other organizations that have benefited from extraordinary service rendered by an Amateur Radio operator or group. Amateur Radio is one of the few telecommunication services that allow people throughout the world from all walks of life to meet and talk with each other, thereby spreading goodwill across political boundaries. The ARRL International Humanitarian Award recognizes Amateur Radio's unique role in international communication and the assistance amateurs regularly provide to people in need. Nominations should include a summary of the nominee's actions that qualify the individual (or individuals) for this award, plus verifying statements from at least two people having first-hand knowledge of the events warranting the nomination. These statements may be from an official of a group (for example, the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army or a local or state emergency management official) that benefited from the nominee's particular Amateur Radio contribution. Nominations should include the names and addresses of all references. All nominations and supporting materials for the 2008 ARRL International Humanitarian Award must be submitted in writing in English to ARRL International Humanitarian Award, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 USA. Nomination submissions are due by December 31, 2008. In the event that no nominations are received, the committee itself may determine a recipient or decide to make no award. The winner of the ARRL International Humanitarian Award receives an engraved plaque and a profile in QST and other ARRL venues. ==> ASK PERRY: WHY IS THE ARRL IN CONNECTICUT? Every once in a while, ARRL Archivist Perry Williams, W1UED -- a rich source of information about the early days of the League -- runs across a question that really needs an answer. Earlier this month, someone posed this question to Perry: Why was Connecticut chosen as the site for ARRL? "To answer that question," Perry explained, "consider a parable: Why did the tree choose to grow in this forest? Because that is where the seed fell on fertile ground. The seed that became ARRL fell on Hartford, Connecticut in 1914. When it sprouted, it was cultivated initially by two men: Hiram Percy Maxim, 1WH (he became W1AW after World War I), and Clarence D. Tuska, 1WD, who was still in his teens when the League began. "Maxim was an inventor in a family of inventors, an industrialist. He was founder of the Maxim Silencer Company, making devices to keep firearms and engines quiet, as well as a principal in a company involved first in making bicycles and then autos. He was also a writer with an early interest in motion pictures (he was also founder of the Amateur Cinematographic League) and on and on. Most of these activities were in or near Hartford, where he lived with his family. "Tuska manned the hoe and trowel around the ARRL seedling. Soon after the ARRL's founding, Maxim settled in as President, an office he held until his death in 1936. In those early days, Tuska served as Secretary. Together, Maxim and Tuska founded the magazine QST as a private venture in 1915 out of their own pockets; Tuska was its Editor until the United States got into WWI and amateurs were taken off the air. Tuska closed down the 'offices' of ARRL and QST -- they were in his mother's kitchen -- and joined the Army." Williams said that the story doesn't end here -- to find out more, please see "Two Hundred Meters and Down," by Clinton B DeSoto, W1CBD (SK) <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=0011>. Williams continued: "By the time the Tree had grown to the point to merit relocation elsewhere (this issue has been examined many times by the ARRL's elected, unpaid Board), transplanting it never came out as feasible: The Hartford-area roots were too deep." ==> ARRL MEMBERSHIP NEWSLETTERS, BULLETINS AND NOTIFICATIONS Did you know the ARRL offers more newsletters than just The ARRL Letter? One of the many ARRL membership benefits includes other newsletters, such as the ARRL Contest Update (a bi-weekly contest newsletter), the ARES E-Letter (sent monthly, containing public service and emergency communications news), the ARRL Club News, the ARRL Instructor/Teacher E-Letter and the VE Newsletter, just to name a few. You can also elect to receive news and information from your Division Director and Section Manager (keep in mind that not all Divisions/Sections send notices), as well as W1AW bulletins that relate to DX, propagation, satellites and Keplerian reports. The ARRL also offers a free notification service to members, letting them know when their membership and license are due to expire. Sign up for these newsletters, bulletins and notifications on the Member Data page of the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/memdata.html>. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Tad "But give me your Sun from yonder skies!" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: Solar Cycle 24 is slowly building momentum. We saw sunspots for eight days in a row -- October 10-17 -- then 12 days of no spots. Another sunspot -- number 1007 -- appeared on October 30 from Solar Cycle 24. It is a high latitude sunspot and may provide some fun for this weekend's 75th running of the ARRL CW Sweepstakes. Sunspot numbers for October 23-29 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0 with a mean of 0. The 10.7 cm flux was 67.2, 67.5, 67.5, 66.9, 67, 67.1 and 66.7 with a mean of 67.1. The estimated planetary A indices were 3, 2, 1, 4, 1, 4 and 11 with a mean of 3.7. The estimated mid-latitude A indices were 3, 0, 1, 3, 1, 5 and 16 with a mean of 4.1. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts "Relative sunspot number in the range 0-25" for October 31-November 6. They forecast unsettled geomagnetic conditions for today, October 31, quiet to unsettled November 1, quiet conditions November 2-5 and quiet to unsettled November 6. It is possible that around November 4 we may see a return of sunspot number 1005. 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 Robert Browning's "The Patriot" <http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-patriot/>. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This Weekend on the Radio: This week, look for the 75th running of the ARRL Sweepstakes Contest (CW) on November 1-3. The NCCC Sprint is October 31 and the IPARC Contest (CW) is November 1. The Ukrainian DX Contest is November 1-2. The IPARC Contest (SSB), the High Speed Club CW Contest and the DARC 10 Meter Digital Contest are all November 2. Next week is the NCCC Sprint on November 7. The WAE DX Contest (RTTY), the JIDX Phone Contest, the OK/OM DX Contest (CW), the Kentucky QSO Party and the CQ-WE Contest are all November 8-9. The SKCC Weekend Sprintathon is November 9 and the RSGB 80 Meter Club Sprint (SSB) is November 13. 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 <email@example.com>. * 2008 Field Day Results Posted: The results from this year's Field Day are now available online <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/contests/results/2008/FD/>. "The addition of the online ARRL Field Day Locator site was a huge success, as more than 1500 sites were listed in this first year of use," said ARRL Field Day Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND. "When you scan the Online Soapbox <http://www.arrl.org/contests/soapbox>, Field Day continues to be the most popular on-the-air event in Amateur Radio." You can find the results in the Members Only section of the ARRL Web site. * New ARRL Satellite Book Available: "The ARRL Satellite Handbook" by QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, brings the thrill of satellite communications within your reach <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=9857>. Filled with understandable descriptions and illustrations, this book includes all the tools you need to participate in this exciting field. This very readable guide was designed to give a broad introduction to the subject of satellite communications, while providing the practical fundamentals you need to explore, track and operate ham radio satellites on your own. Since the pioneering days of satellite communications, ham radio operators have been along for the ride -- building, launching, and operating satellites. You can experience this technology firsthand using today's fleet of Earth-orbiting ham radio satellites. Including content by satellite expert Martin Davidoff, PhD, K2UBC, this book is sure to be a hit with both new and experienced satellite enthusiasts. Be sure to get your copy of "The ARRL Satellite Handbook" today! * Spanish Hams Receive New Frequency Privileges: The Union de Radioaficionados Espanoles (URE) <http://www.ure.es/>, Spain's IARU Member-Society, reported that as of October 24, 2008, that country's Secretaria de Estado de Telecomunicaciones y para la Sociedad de la Informacion (SETSI) approved an expansion on 160 meters during certain events, such as international Amateur Radio contests <http://www.arrl.org/news/files/Resolucin1800y70MHz.doc>. The new allocation, 1.810-1.830 MHz, as well as 1.850-2.000 MHz, will be available for the 2009 ARRL 160 Meter Contest, the 2009 King of Spain Contests (both SSB and CW) and the 2009 CQ 160 Meter Contest (both SSB and CW); it was also allowed for the CQ Worldwide DX Contest (SSB) earlier this month. In addition, Spanish hams were also granted privileges on the experimental portion of the 4 meter band -- 70.150-70.200 MHz running 10 W ERP -- until April 25, 2009. -- Thanks to "The Daily DX" for the information =========================================================== The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League: ARRL--the national association for Amateur Radio, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; <http://www.arrl.org/>. Joel Harrison, W5ZN, President. The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential and general news of interest to active radio amateurs. Visit the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> for the latest Amateur Radio news and news updates. The ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> also offers informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> is a weekly "ham radio newscast" compiled and edited from The ARRL Letter. It's also available as a podcast from our Web site. Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter/American Radio Relay League. ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): firstname.lastname@example.org ==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, email@example.com ==>ARRL News on the Web: <http://www.arrl.org/> ==>ARRL Audio News: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call 860-594-0384 ==>How to Get The ARRL Letter The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from ARRL HQ. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for e-mail delivery: ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site <http://www.arrl.org/members/>. You'll have an opportunity during registration to sign up for e-mail delivery of The ARRL Letter, W1AW bulletins, and other material. To change these selections--including delivery of The ARRL Letter--registered members should click on the "Member Data Page" link (in the Members Only box). Click on "Modify membership data," check or uncheck the appropriate boxes and/or change your e-mail address if necessary. (Check "Temporarily disable all automatically sent email" to temporarily stop all e-mail deliveries.) Then, click on "Submit modification" to make selections effective. (NOTE: HQ staff members cannot change your e-mail delivery address. You must do this yourself via the Members Only Web Site.) The ARRL Letter also is available to all, free of charge, from these sources: * ARRLWeb <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/>. (NOTE: The ARRL Letter will be posted each Friday when it is distributed via e-mail.) * The QTH.net listserver, thanks to volunteers from the Boston Amateur Radio Club: Visit Mailing Lists@QTH.Net <http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/letter-list>. (NOTE: The ARRL cannot assist subscribers who receive The ARRL Letter via this listserver.) Copyright 2008 American Radio Relay League, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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