ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 27, No. 50
December 19, 2008
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* + Restrictive Local Zoning Ordinance Proposed as Court Date in
California Antenna Case Nears 
* + Hams Stand By to Help as New England Recovers from Ice Storm and
Prepares for More 
* + 75th Sweepstakes Mug, Pin Orders Accepted Through January 31, 2009 
* + ARISS Finalizes Plans for Silver Anniversary of Amateur Radio from
Space 
* + Frequency Change for Canadian Time Transmission Station CHU 
* + New Section Manager Appointed in Arkansas 
*  Solar Update 
*  IN BRIEF: 
      This Week on the Radio 
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration 
    + ARRL Headquarters Closed for Christmas, New Year's Holidays 
    + The January/February NCJ Hits the Streets 

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

REMINDER: There will be no ARRL Letter or ARRL Audio News on Friday
December 26, 2008 or January 2, 2009. Both the Letter and the Audio News
will return on Friday, January 9, 2009.

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

==> RESTRICTIVE LOCAL ZONING ORDINANCE PROPOSED AS COURT DATE IN
CALIFORNIA ANTENNA CASE NEARS

As his February 2009 court date approaches, Alec Zubarau, WB6X, of
Palmdale, California, gets ready to battle his town after being ordered
to dismantle his previously approved antenna system. The City of
Palmdale has widened its opposition to Amateur Radio antennas by
proposing an ordinance written to thwart the installation of antenna
support structures throughout the city
<http://www.arrl.org/news/files/Palmdale_Antenna_Ordinance_DRAFT.pdf>. 

In 2005, Zubarau applied for a building permit to erect an antenna
support structure on his property. The City approved his request, and
building permit in hand, Zubarau installed a 22 foot tall crank-up tower
(with an ultimate height of 55 feet), but did not place an antenna atop
the structure. He also installed a 23 foot tall mast on his house, for a
total mast height of 43 feet; he installed an inverted-V on the mast. In
January 2007, he placed a 4 element 20 meter SteppIR antenna on the
crank-up tower, and the neighbors started complaining to the City.

ARRL Southwestern Division Vice Director Marty Woll, N6VI, said that the
neighbors' assertions consisted of what he called "the typical
complaints: Aesthetic impact, diminution of property values and RF
interference. The RFI complaints were general in nature; no direct
evidence was shown of actual RFI, but the City's Planning Commission
staff took the position that based on anecdotal evidence presented by
the homeowners, the transmissions occurring from the antenna are causing
interference with electrical equipment in the surrounding neighborhood."

Woll said that after Zubarau installed the StepIR in 2007, the City of
Palmdale, acting on a petition signed by almost 70 of Zubarau's
neighbors, voted to revoke Zubarau's original building permit after he
had relied on it in putting up his tower. "In order to gain a
continuance, Zubarau told the Planning Commission he would remove the
SteppIR, in essence, reverting his antenna configuration back to the way
to it was before he installed the antenna" said Len Shaffer, WA6QHD,
Zubarau's attorney. "At the next hearing, he was ordered to remove not
only the antenna, but the support structure, as well."

The City's planning staff also pointed out that Zubarau's recently
erected horizontal array extends three feet into the required 10 foot
sideyard setback, and that the active array exceeds thirty feet in
height beyond the limit in the ordinance.

"Because Zubarau's permit referred to the support structure as 'an
antenna with cage (the base)' and the Planning Commission called it a
tower antenna, everyone assumed it was indeed an antenna," Shaffer
recalled. "When I pointed out to the Planning Commission that it was
nothing more than a support structure and did not radiate, they were
surprised. They asked if the support structure functioned as an antenna
without the horizontal element. I told them it did not. Judy Skousen,
Palmdale's Assistant City Attorney, told the Commission did not matter
-- the permit and application was for a tower antenna and that is what
it was. It did not matter if the nomenclature was added by city
employees rather than Zubarau."

"After exhausting his administrative remedies, Zubarau challenged the
action in the courts, aided by Shaffer," Woll said "The court date has
been set for early February 2009." Woll continued, saying that the
planning staff is placing the burden on Zubarau, saying that he has not
submitted a site-specific engineering study showing that the operation
or transmission from his house is not interfering with residential uses.
The staff also notes that the FCC has failed to resolve RFI complaints
in this matter, inferring that the City must act to solve them.

* Palmdale Proposes Rewrite of Amateur Radio Antenna Ordinance 

Shortly after issuing the permit revocation order, ARRL Southwestern
Director Dick Norton, N6AA, said that the City of Palmdale began
drafting an amended antenna ordinance that placed severe restrictions on
all Amateur Radio antennas. "The draft was released just before
Thanksgiving, and a hearing was scheduled for December 4," Norton said.
"Prior to that hearing and at the request of Vice Director Marty Woll,
N6VI -- who attended the Palmdale Planning Commission meeting along with
about a dozen local hams and supporters -- ARRL General Counsel Chris
Imlay, W3KD, wrote a lengthy letter to the City Attorney pointing out
numerous flaws in the proposed ordinance and explaining why many of its
provisions are void or unenforceable, being pre-empted by federal or
state law."

In his letter, Imlay explained to the City that it is without authority
to resolve RFI complaints; the jurisdiction is solely that of the FCC,
as stated in the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. "The Federal
Communications Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over radio
frequency interference (RFI) matters, and technical matters
specifically," he said.

Imlay pointed out that the "first specific concern in the draft
ordinance is the statement that 'an Amateur Radio antenna, the operation
of which causes unreasonable interference with electrical equipment in
the surrounding neighborhood, is not compatible with that
neighborhood.'"

This is "patently false," Imlay said, stating "there is no correlation
between the presence of an outdoor Amateur Radio antenna, its height,
configuration or placement and radio frequency interference (RFI) to
home electronic equipment. As a matter of technical fact, the higher an
antenna, the lower the electrical field in the horizontal plane of the
home electronic equipment, and the less the likelihood of RFI in that
equipment. Furthermore, the 'cause' of RFI is not the power of an
Amateur Radio station, or the presence of an antenna, but rather the
inability of home electronic equipment to reject unwanted signals. FCC
regulations clearly obligate most home electronic equipment to accept
any interference from licensed radio services as a condition of the
permitted marketing and operation of that equipment."

Furthermore, in a Conference Report from the 97th Congress in 1982,
Imlay explained that Congressional report "...is further intended to
clarify the reservation of exclusive jurisdiction to the Federal
Communications Commission over matters involving RFI. Such matters shall
not be regulated by local or state law, nor shall radio transmitting
apparatus be subject to local or state regulation as part of any effort
to resolve an RFI complaint. The Conferees believe that radio
transmitter operators should not be subject to fines, forfeitures or
other liability imposed by any local or state authority as a result of
interference appearing in home electronic equipment or systems. Rather,
the Conferees intend that regulation of RFI phenomena shall be imposed
only by the Commission."

Saying that the Conference Report went on to clarify "that the exclusive
jurisdiction over RFI incidents (including preemption of state and local
regulation of such phenomena) lies with the FCC," Imlay told the City of
Palmdale that "Obviously, state or local regulations based on
interference from one radio service to another would directly frustrate
the intention and goals of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended."

Imlay said that in 1985, the FCC said that the "federal power in the
area of radio frequency interference is exclusive; to the extent that
any state or local government attempts to regulate in this area, [its]
regulations are preempted." Imlay explained that the FCC concluded that
the Federal regulatory scheme is so pervasive that it is reasonable to
assume that Congress did not intend to permit states to supplement it.

According to Shaffer, the City of Palmdale does not think antenna
support structures are "compatible" with the town's image: "The Mayor
told the Council that while, if a house was built that was not
compatible with the neighborhood, they would not bulldoze it to the
ground, this is 'just an antenna,' and they can get rid of it if they
want to," Shaffer said.

* Going to Court 

Norton said that the ARRL's Amateur Radio Legal Defense and Assistance
Committee has voted to contribute $5000 toward the cost of Zubarau's
lawsuit against the City of Palmdale. "More than $1500 has already been
contributed by clubs and their members from throughout the Southwestern
Division, and this contribution from the League-managed Antenna Defense
Fund will further help defray the expenses of preparing for the February
2009 court date," Norton said. "Len Shaffer is performing the legal work
pro bono, but even just compiling the record to present in court can be
costly."

ARRL Defense Committee Chair Jay Bellows, K0QB, said that although the
case has not yet reached the appellate level, "The egregious nature of
Palmdale's actions -- including ordering removal of a previously
approved antenna tower -- the potential impact on a large number of
amateurs and the existence of substantial local financial support from
the ham community were significant factors in the Committee's decision
to provide support for this case."

Bellows said he has participated in nearly 100 tower and antenna
matters, from working with local hams and municipalities on tower
ordinances to individual tower issues including litigation at the local
and appellate level over the past 20 years. "If I've learned anything,"
he said, "I learned that a simple, clear explanation of who we are, what
we do and why the antenna is needed are essential. Even if those steps
are perfectly executed, the local authority (in this case, the City of
Palmdale) has to be convinced that: 1. Federal law trumps the local
zoning interests either generally or in the particular case; 2. The
amateur is going to be politely persistent despite opposition from the
locality; 3. The cost to the locality in time and treasure will exceed
any political benefit in 'protecting its citizens from the scourge and
despoliation of ugly Amateur Radio antennas.' Still, the single most
important factor is that the amateur should always be the guy in the
'white hat,' no matter how reprehensible or offensive the actions of the
locality or the opposing neighbors."

Norton went on to say that Woll has met with Palmdale hams and the
management of the Palmdale Public Safety Department, who he described as
"supportive of hams." Woll and Keith Hoyt, K6GXO, will meet with
Palmdale's Planning Department and Assistant City Attorney in early
January. "The proposed ordinance has been the subject of considerable
discussion in Amateur Radio circles," Norton said. "Local hams, [as well
as] Division and National League representatives are devoting
considerable time and effort toward resolving the issue."

==> HAMS STAND BY TO HELP AS NEW ENGLAND RECOVERS FROM ICE STORM AND
PREPARES FOR MORE

The major ice storm that hit New England December 11 has pretty much
gone away <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/12/15/10506/?nc=1>, but
with forecasters calling for more winter weather in the next few days,
hams are still on the job. During the storm, Amateur Radio operators
from all over the area responded to calls for assistance from various
served agencies, and local leadership does not expect the need for the
hams to lessen anytime soon.

According to Eastern Massachusetts Section Emergency Coordinator Rob
Macedo, KD1CY, almost 400,000 customers in Massachusetts lost power at
the height of the storm. Phone service, particularly landline service,
was disrupted in some areas. Crews have been working hard to restore
power to residents, Macedo said: "As of late Sunday evening, almost
140,000 were without power in Massachusetts with over double that number
in New Hampshire. On Wednesday, the number of homes without power had
dropped to 45,000-50,000 in both states." Southern New England received
2-4 inches of rainfall; isolated higher amounts caused river, stream and
urban flooding. Strong winds in the region resulted in tree and wire
damage, as well as coastal flooding along the shoreline.

In Western Massachusetts, Section Emergency Coordinator John Ruggerio,
N2YHK, reported that ARES units in his Section responded to calls for
assistance from local EOCs. "EOC operations in Worcester were secured on
Monday evening, as the shelters were closed and power was restored to
most areas at that time," Ruggerio said.

"Amateur Radio operators from the North and South Shore of Eastern
Massachusetts assisted with operations in Western Massachusetts,
fulfilling needs from Saturday night into Monday morning," Ruggerio
recounted. "ARES units in the Western Massachusetts Section provided
support during the day on Monday for the town of Gardner in Franklin
County. An additional team from Eastern Massachusetts -- including one
ham from the Rhode Island/Massachusetts border -- came in on Monday
evening. That team helped out in Gardner until 12:30 Tuesday afternoon
when the shelters and communications for the local hospital were no
longer required, as power was restored to much of the area."

Ruggerio said that the local hospital in Gardner lost phone service for
much of the day starting Monday morning. "They got service back later
that evening, but until then, Amateur Radio was the only means of
two-way communications between the hospital and EOC." Message traffic on
prescription fills and other priority, but non-emergency traffic, were
fulfilled during that timeframe, he said.

"The Gardner operation was the largest Amateur Radio Emergency Services
Mutual Aid Team (ARESMAT) that Eastern Massachusetts ARES has supplied
since the September 11 terrorist attacks," Macedo said. "Including the
one amateur provided for the Worcester EOC, a total of 16 hams assisted
for all the ARESMAT needs in Western Massachusetts."

Macedo said the ARES unit in Franklin County completed its support in
the town of Heath on early Monday Morning: "Many of the Franklin County
ARES team also assisted with Gardner, providing an additional seven hams
to the operation. More than 200 man-hours were logged just in the
Gardner ARESMAT alone -- this does not include State Emergency
Operations Center operations or the National Weather Service response
phase operations."

Support for the Massachusetts State Emergency Operations Center also
continues, Macedo said. "Massachusetts State RACES Radio Officer Tom
Kinahan, N1CPE, told us that support was required at least through
Wednesday evening for the aftermath of the storm. We will continue to
provide support for as long as requested to support the State EOC."
Eastern Massachusetts ARES supplied three Amateur Radio operators to
support the state EOC during the storm.

Throughout the storm, Section leadership from across the region met in
twice-daily conference calls with ARRL Emergency Preparedness and
Response Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD. In a call on Tuesday, New Hampshire
Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator David Colter, WA1ZCN, told Dura
he had just got his power back early that morning. "I spoke to the ECs
for Hillsborough and West Rockingham Counties last night," Colter said,
"and they continue to staff two shelters and EOCs. Apparently, neither
site has an available landline. There is cell service in the area, but
it's spotty. The Milford animal shelter folks have been using ham radio
for coordination in a limited way for several days as they retrieve
chilly animals. The temporary animal shelter is co-located at the
Milford people shelter."

According to American Red Cross Communications Volunteer Tom Carrigan,
NE1R, the Disaster Operations Center (DOC) at the Central Massachusetts
Chapter of the American Red Cross is a "beehive of activity trying to
cover all the demands for services from the many towns still operating
shelters and for mobile feeding operations throughout the affected area.
We are still sending cots and blankets, as well as water, heater meals
and snacks to New Braintree, and other towns. Nearly every Worcester
County town north of Worcester and west of the Wachusett Reservoir has
received services from the ARC. Mobile feeding has continued in
Worcester, Paxton, Rutland, Gardner, Leominster and many other
communities where utility workers and public safety workers have been
working long hours outdoors. Several shelters have been supported by Red
Cross volunteers during the over-nights, as well as days, and Red Cross
volunteers from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey
have joined the effort."

Carrigan said that as "thousands of people remain without electric power
as the weather turns colder and messier, we expect that some who have
been toughing it out at home may give in and come to a shelter."

Macedo noted that the bad weather is just beginning for New England, as
the active storm pattern shows no signs of abating: "Another major
winter storm is expected on Friday that could dump a significant amount
of snowfall on the region. Another major storm is also possible Sunday
night into Monday. We have been advised that the State EOC could be back
in operation on Friday and we are preparing staffing for those needs. We
will leave ARES on standby status through Monday, pending the impact of
these storms on our region, as well as the weakened infrastructure that
remains from the impact of the ice storm."

==> 75TH SWEEPSTAKES MUG, PIN ORDERS ACCEPTED THROUGH JANUARY 31, 2009 

The dust has settled from the 2008 ARRL November Sweepstakes and the log
submission deadline has passed. How did you do? If you submitted a log
with more than 100 QSOs, you qualify for a Sweepstakes Participation
pin! If you submitted a log with a Clean Sweep -- working all 80
ARRL/RAC sections -- you qualify for a Clean Sweep coffee mug!

According to ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, pins and
mugs have a long-standing tradition as trophies in the November
Sweepstakes. "This year's participation pin will feature the colorful
75th year logo," he said. "They are stamped with either CW or SSB, so be
sure to tell us what mode you want in your order. The Clean Sweep mugs
this year are quite special indeed; for the 75th running, this year's
mugs are fine etched glass and will really stand out on your shelf or
operating desk. We won't be offering etched glass mugs again anytime
soon, so these are truly collector's items."

If you would like to order a Sweepstakes pin or mug, you can either send
a copy of your Sweepstakes summary sheet (if you filed a paper log) or a
copy of the first page of your Cabrillo file (if you submitted an
electronic log via e-mail) with your check for the correct amount by
January 31, 2009. You can also call Kutzko at 860-594-0232 and he can
take your credit card information over the phone. Sweepstakes
Participation pins are $6; Clean Sweep mugs this year are $16. All costs
include shipping charges.


Kutzko advises that these items are not in stock. "We will make our
order to our supplier once we know how many requests we have," he
explained. "Mugs and pins will likely be shipped in late March. The 75th
running of the November Sweepstakes was a great event, with lots of
participation and fun! Be sure to commemorate your effort with a pin or
mug this year. All orders for Sweepstakes mugs and pins must be received
by January 31, 2009."

==> ARISS FINALIZES PLANS FOR SILVER ANNIVERSARY OF AMATEUR RADIO FROM
SPACE 

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)
<http://www.rac.ca/ariss/oindex.htm> team is currently celebrating the
silver anniversary -- 25 years -- of Amateur Radio operations from
space. According to ARISS International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO,
the crew on the International Space Station (ISS) has configured the
radio to support cross-band repeater operations. They have also
supported some SSTV downlinks and participated in a special test of 9600
baud packet radio operations on the simplex frequency of 145.825 MHz.
After December 19, Bauer said he expects the ISS ham radio system to be
on the 145.825 MHz frequency supporting 1200 baud packet. If PCSAT is
configured during the week, he said double hop APRS is possible.

"During the week of December 21-26, we plan to support the cross-band
repeater mode with a twist," Bauer said. "Our intent is to configure the
radio for 145.99 MHz uplink -- including CTCSS tone of 67.0 and 437.80
MHz down. This will be performed in low power mode. We should also note
that an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) is planned for that week --
Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, and Flight Engineer Yury
Lonchakov, RA3DT, plan to perform a spacewalk on December 22. As per
standard procedure, the ISS ham radio system will be turned off for the
EVA."

Bauer said that from December 28-January 3, the cross-band repeater will
be reconfigured for what he called "a special experiment. This will be a
test of our L-Band uplink capability, which, to date, has not been
proven out. Plan for an uplink of 1269.65 MHz and a downlink on the
standard frequency of 145.80 MHz, using low power," he said. "Given the
substantial cable losses of the L-band system, we hope some 'big guns'
are able to penetrate through, keep up with Doppler and make the
connection."

A special certificate is being developed for those who communicate with
the ISS from November 30, 2008 to January 15, 2009. This certificate
will be awarded to those who have had two-way communications with the
ISS on voice, packet (APRS) or through the voice repeater. Those who
hear the ISS from space in any of the ARISS operations modes -- voice,
SSTV, school contact, voice repeater or digital - will also be eligible
to receive a certificate.

To receive the certificate, Bauer said to note the ARISS mode of
operation (such as SSTV, voice or school) on your QSL and whether the
contact was one-way (receive only) or two-way. "You should send your
self-addressed, stamped envelope to the normal ARISS QSL volunteer
distributor in your area of the world," he explained. "On the outside of
the QSL envelope, please include the words '25th Anniversary
Certificate.' Make sure your envelope is big enough to accept an 8.5 x
11 inch certificate and includes the proper postage." If you do not know
where to send your QSL, check the ARISS Web site
<http://www.rac.ca/ariss/oindex.htm#ARISS_Update--25th_Anniversary_of_Ha
m_Radio_in_Space> to find the one that serves your part of the world.

"We will be sending your certificate to the volunteer distributors in
bulk after the event is over," Bauer said. "This saves workload and
money. So do not expect to see it until 1-2 months after the event
closes on January 15."

Bauer reminded hams that due to ISS flight requirements related to
spacewalks and vehicle activity, the radio onboard the ISS may be off
for some portion of this schedule. School contacts and general QSO
opportunities by the crew will also preempt this schedule for short
periods of time. "But remember that if you hear these," he said, "you
still qualify for a commemorative certificate. Enjoy the ARISS ops on
ISS!"

==> FREQUENCY CHANGE FOR CANADIAN TIME TRANSMISSION STATION CHU 

After 70 years of broadcasting Canada's official time, the National
Research Council's shortwave station CHU
<http://inms-ienm.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/time_services/shortwave_broadcasts_e.ht
ml> will move the transmission frequency for the 7335 kHz transmitter to
7850 kHz. The change goes into effect at 0000 UTC on January 1, 2009.

Broadcasting 24 hours a day, CHU is a part of NRC's system for
disseminating official time throughout Canada. Listeners hear tones to
mark the seconds, a voice to announce the time in French and English and
digital data to set computers. The atomic clocks at CHU are part of the
ensemble of clocks in the time and frequency research laboratories at
the National Research Council Canada in Ottawa. The NRC clocks are used
in conjunction with clocks in the time laboratories of other countries
to construct the internationally accepted scale of time, UTC
(Coordinated Universal Time). Time transmissions on 3330 and 14670 kHz
are not affected and will continue as before.

In April 2007, the ITU reallocated the 7300-7350 kHz band from the fixed
service to the broadcasting service. Since then, the NRC said there has
been a lot of interference on the 7335 kHz frequency from many
information broadcasters around the world. "CHU listeners in Canada and
around the world who have for so long considered the 7335 kHz frequency
exclusively for time signals, are very vocal about this interference,"
said Raymond Pelletier, Technical Officer at the NRC-Institute for
National Measurement Standards, who oversees the CHU facility. "We have
heard from Amateur Radio operators, watchmakers, astronomers and
navigators who use the tones and voice signals. We also received
comments from those who use the carrier as a calibration source at a
distance for their equipment."

Pelletier noted that a leap second
<http://inms-ienm.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/faq_time_e.html> will be added at the
end of December 2008; this will be indicated in the digital code until
the time of the leap second. DUT1 will go from -0.6 to +0.4 seconds and
will be indicated by double tones near the start of the minute and in
the broadcast code
<http://inms-ienm.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/time_services/chu_e.html>. 

==> NEW SECTION MANAGER APPOINTED IN ARKANSAS 

J.M. Rowe, N5XFW, of Hot Springs, has been appointed as the new ARRL
Arkansas Section Manager with a term to begin on December 22, 2008. Rowe
is taking over the Section Manager reins from David Norris, K5UZ, who
was elected Vice Director of the ARRL Delta Division in November; Norris
assumes his office on January 1, 2009. 

When Norris announced that he was stepping down from the Section Manager
post he has held since April 2005, he recommended Arkansas Section
Emergency Coordinator Rowe for the position. Rowe was already scheduled
to become Arkansas Section Manager on April 1, 2009, since he was the
only nominee for the next term of office when the petition deadline
passed on December 5. 

According to the Rules and Regulations of the Field Organization, when a
vacancy in the office of Section Manager occurs between elections, the
position is filled by appointment by the Membership and Volunteer
Programs Manager, in consultation with the Director. MVP Manager Dave
Patton, NN1N, consulted with outgoing Delta Division Director Henry
Leggette, WD4Q, and with Mickey Cox, K5MC, the incoming Delta Division
Director; Cox, like Norris, will begin his term January 1, 2009. 

Rowe has been Arkansas Section Emergency Coordinator for nearly four
years. He was first appointed Emergency Coordinator in 2000 and was
promoted to District Emergency Coordinator in 2001, a position he
continues to hold. Rowe also served as an Assistant Section Manager from
2002-2005. Rowe's term of office as Section Manager continues through
March 31, 2011.

==>SOLAR UPDATE 

Tad "We twa hae paidl'd in the burn frae morning sun till dine" Cook,
K7RA, this week reports: Last week's sunspot group was only visible for
three days, December 10-12. The average daily sunspot number for all of
2007 was 12.8; if we see no sunspots for the rest of 2008, the average
for this year will be 4.7. By comparison, the yearly averages of daily
sunspot numbers during the last solar minimum (1995-1997) were 28.7,
13.2 and 30.7. This solar minimum is much lower than the one about 12
years ago. Sunspot numbers for December 11-17 were 12, 14, 0, 0, 0, 0
and 0 with a mean of 3.7. The 10.7 cm flux was 70.2, 71, 69.7, 68.8,
68.9, 69.4 and 68.8 with a mean of 69.5. The estimated planetary A
indices were 3, 2, 1, 0, 1, 4 and 5 with a mean of 2.3. The estimated
mid-latitude A indices were 4, 2, 1, 1, 1, 4 and 3 with a mean of 2.3.
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 Burns' "Auld Lang Syne"
<http://www.rabbie-burns.com/the_poems/auldlangsyne.cfm.html>. 

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This Week on the Radio: This week, the AGB-Party Contest and the
Russian 160 Meter Contest are on December 19. The OK DX RTTY Contest and
the Feld Hell Sprint are December 20. On December 20-21, look for the
International Naval Contest and the Croatian CW Contest to be on the
air. The Lighthouse Christmas Lights QSO Party starts December 20 and
goes through January 4. The ARCI Holiday Spirits Homebrew Sprint is
December 21, the Run for the Bacon QRP Contest is December 22 and the
SKCC Sprint is December 24. Next week, the DARC Christmas Contest is
December 25 and the RAC Winter Contest are December 26. On December
27-28, look for the Stew Perry Topband Challenge and the Original QRP
Contest to be on the air. The RAEM Contest is December 28. The SARTG New
Year RTTY Contest and the AGCW Happy New Year Contest are both on
January 1. Looking ahead, the ARRL RTTY Roundup and the EUCW 160 Meter
Contest are on January 3-4. The Midwinter Contest (CW) is January 10 and
the Hunting Lions in the Air Contest, the MI QRP January CW Contest and
the North American QSO Party (CW) are all on January 10-11. The SKCC
Weekend Sprintathon, the NRAU-Baltic Contest (CW), Midwinter Contest
(Phone), the NRAU-Baltic Contest (SSB) and the DARC 10 Meter Contest are
scheduled for January 11. 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, December 21, 2008, for these online course sessions
beginning on Friday, January 2, 2009: Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Level 1, Radio Frequency Interference, Antenna Design and
Construction, Technician License Course, Analog Electronics and Digital
Electronics. 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 Headquarters Closed for Christmas, New Year's Holidays: ARRL
Headquarters will be closed Thursday, December 25 and Thursday, January
1 in observance of Christmas and New Year's Day. There will be no W1AW
bulletins or code practice transmissions those days. There will be no
ARRL Letter or ARRL Audio News on Friday, December 26 or January 2.
Headquarters will be open during regular business hours on Friday,
December 26 and Friday, January 2. We wish everyone a safe and joyful
holiday season and a prosperous 2009. 

* The January/February NCJ Hits the Streets: The current issue of NCJ is
loaded with everything today's contester needs. After you check out a
solution for a vertical array for your next DXpeditions, take a peek
inside the files of the N3HBHX antenna case in Maryland. Discover why
nylon rope can be a contester's best friend and how an inexpensive gain
antenna can help. We're all getting older -- how is your age affecting
your score? When will propagation allow US amateurs to get to Europe on
10 meters? All this and more in the January/February issue of NCJ. NCJ
is published by the ARRL and is a bi-monthly publication; it is edited
by Al Dewey, K0AD. Subscribe at <http://www.arrl.org/ncj/>. 

=========================================================== 
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
<http://www.arrl.org/members/>. You'll have an opportunity during
registration to sign up for e-mail delivery of The ARRL Letter, W1AW
bulletins, and other material. To change these selections--including
delivery of The ARRL Letter--registered members should click on the
"Member Data Page" link (in the Members Only box). Click on "Modify
membership data," check or uncheck the appropriate boxes and/or change
your e-mail address if necessary. (Check "Temporarily disable all
automatically sent email" to temporarily stop all e-mail deliveries.)
Then, click on "Submit modification" to make selections effective.
(NOTE: HQ staff members cannot change your e-mail delivery address. You
must do this yourself via the Members Only Web Site.)

The ARRL Letter also is available to all, free of charge, from these
sources:

* ARRLWeb <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/>. (NOTE: The ARRL Letter will
be posted each Friday when it is distributed via e-mail.)

* The QTH.net listserver, thanks to volunteers from the Boston Amateur
Radio Club: Visit Mailing Lists@QTH.Net
<http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/letter-list>. (NOTE: The ARRL
cannot assist subscribers who receive The ARRL Letter via this
listserver.) 

Copyright 2008 American Radio Relay League, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

 

The ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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.

Plain-Text

The ARRL E-Letter e-mail is also available in plain-text version:

Outlook Express

1. From the Inbox view, select the Tools menu and the Options selection.

2. Click the Read tab

3. Check the Read All Messages In Plain Text box.  When you open the e-mail, it will be in plain text without images. Other e-mail programs may be able to make a Mail Rule for e-mail received from the address memberlist@www.arrl.org so that the plain-text-only display is selected automatically.

Outlook 2007

Use the same procedure as for Outlook Express, although the global option is under "Tools/Trust Center/E-mail Security".

Thunderbird

Use the menu item "View/Message Body As/Plain Text" or "View/Message Source" options.

OS X Mail (Mac)

Use the "View/Message/Plain Text Alternative" menu item.

GMail

Use the "Message text garbled?" link in the drop-down menu at the upper right of the displayed message block. pine, alpine Set "prefer-plain-text" in your ~/.pinerc configuration file: feature-list=..., prefer-plain-text, ...