ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 28, No. 22
June 5, 2009
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* + High Speed Telegraphy on the World Stage 
* + Changes to ARRL VHF/UHF Contest Rules Now in Place 
* + Jeff Beals, WA4AW, Appointed Southeastern Division Vice Director 
* + First 2009 ARRL Teachers Institute in the Books 
*   ARRL In Action: What Have We Been Up to Lately? 
* + President Obama to Renominate FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell for
New Term 
* + NASA Releases New Predictions for Solar Cycle 24 
*  Solar Update 
*  IN BRIEF: 
      This Week on the Radio 
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration 
    + Mal Eiselman, NC4L, Wins May QST Cover Plaque Award 
      Operation Approved for DXCC Credit 
      More 2009 Field Day T Shirts on the Way 

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

===========================================================
==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ
<http://www.arrl.org/members-only/faq.html#nodelivery>, then e-mail
<letter-dlvy@arrl.org>;
==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA
<k1sfa@arrl.org>;
===========================================================

==> HIGH SPEED TELEGRAPHY ON THE WORLD STAGE 

The October 1936 issue of QST reported on the first official "Amateur
Code Speed Contest" ever held. Eugene A. Hubbell, W9ERU, took home the
silver trophy with his wining speed of 52.2 words per minute. Held at
the ARRL Central Division Convention that year, the contest required
operators to decipher plain language text for two minute intervals that
ranged in speed from 25 to 52.7 words per minute. "Only bona-fide
amateurs, holding at least an amateur operator's license, were eligible"
to compete in the contest, the article stated
<http://p1k.arrl.org/cgi-bin/topdf.cgi?id=18072&pub=qst>.

Fast forward to 1995. Competitors from 15 countries on three continents
traveled to Siofok, Hungary to show off their CW operating skills in the
first IARU High Speed Telegraphy (HST) World Championship. According to
Barry Kutner, W2UP, HST has long been considered a sport in Europe,
especially Eastern Europe, similar to chess or an Olympic sport. Kutner
was the sole US representative at the 2005 HST World Championship in
Macedonia. In 2009, he is leading a team of seven this September to
Obzor, Bulgaria for the Ninth High Speed Telegraphy IARU World
Championship <http://www.hst2009.eu/>.

Kutner said that most of the participating IARU Member-Societies hold a
national competition in their country, seeking members to field and
sponsor a team to the World Championship. "In some of the eastern
European countries, where they take this very seriously, there are team
and/or individual coaches, too," he said. Competitors must be licensed
Amateur Radio operators, except entrants in the younger categories may
be SWLs. The IARU HST World Championships follow rules set forth by the
IARU Region 1 High Speed Telegraphy Working Group
<http://www.darc.de/referate/dx/archives/hstrules.pdf>.

In the US, Kutner said those who wish to participate in the World
Championship do so at their own expense. "In past years, there has
either been one -- myself in 2005 and Ilya Kleyman in 2007 -- or no US
participants," he told the ARRL. "This year, we have a team!"

The US team consists of shortwave listener Brana Kleyman (category A,
women 16 and younger); Kody Low, KB3RUP, and Cal Darula, K0DXC (category
B, men 16 and younger); Ilya Kleyman, KE7OPG, and Ken Low, NV1P
(category H, men age 40-49), and Gary Schmidt, W5ZL, and Kutner
(Category I, men 50 and older). "The 2 OM categories are full," Kutner
said. "But we are always looking for younger hams, especially young
ladies!" There are nine categories, and each country can only send two
competitors per category, for a maximum of 18 competitors.

There are three main competitive events at HST meets: Transmitting,
receiving and receiving Amateur Radio call signs via RUFZxp
<http://www.rufzxp.net/>; the sending and receiving portions of the
competition are referred to as the Radioamateur Practicing Tests (RPT).
There is also a pileup competition.

In the RPT, random letters and numbers are sent via Morse code -- five
characters at a time -- at a high speed. Separate competitions are held
for the reception of only the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, only the
10 Arabic numerals or a mixed content of letters, numbers and some
punctuation symbols. Competitors may choose to record the text by hand
on paper or by typing on a computer keyboard. The competition starts
with one minute of transmission sent at an initial speed defined for the
entry category (usually 50 letters per minute for juniors and 80 letters
per minute for the other age categories). After each test, the
competitors' copy is judged for errors. Subsequent tests are each
conducted at an increased speed until no competitor remains who can copy
the text without excessive error.

The transmission tests require competitors to send five character groups
in Morse code as fast as possible. Competitors send a printed message of
five character groups at a specific speed that is judged for its
accuracy by a panel of referees. Like the receiving tests, there are
separate competitions for sending five character groups of only letters,
only numbers or a mixed content of letters, numbers and some punctuation
symbols.

Kutner noted that 100 letters per minute is equivalent to 25 words per
minute and 100 numbers per minute is equal to 36 words per minute. The
mixed category of 100 letters, numbers and punctuation is equal to 29
words per minute.

The Amateur Radio Call Sign Receiving Test uses a software program
called RufzXP that generates a score for each competitor. Rufz is the
abbreviation of the German word Rufzeichen-Horen that means "listening
of call signs." In RufzXP, competitors listen to an Amateur Radio call
sign sent in Morse code and must enter that call sign with the computer
keyboard. If the competitor types in the call sign correctly, their
score improves, and the speed at which the program sends subsequent call
signs increases. If the competitor types in the call sign incorrectly,
the score is penalized and the speed decreases. Only one call sign is
sent at a time and the event continues for a fixed number of call signs
(usually 50). Competitors can choose the initial speed at which the
program sends the Morse code and the winner is the competitor with the
highest generated score.

There is also a Pileup Trainer Test that simulates a pileup situation on
the air -- numerous stations attempt to establish two-way contact with
one particular station at the same time. This competition uses a
software program called MorseRunner
<http://www.dxatlas.com/MorseRunner/>. In this test, more than one
amateur radio call sign is sent at a time via Morse code that is
generated at different audio frequencies and speeds, timed to overlap
each other. Competitors must record as many of the call signs as they
can during a fixed period of time. They may choose to do this either by
recording the call signs by hand on paper or by typing them in with a
computer keyboard. The winner is the competitor with the most correctly
recorded call signs.

Kutner said that each US team member practices on an individual basis,
using both on-the-air and computer generated CW. As the team gears up
for Bulgaria, "we are in frequent contact via e-mail, exchanging tips
and ideas," he said.

HST has definitely come a long way since 1936 when Hubbell dazzled the
crowds with 52.2 words per minute; competitors at the IARU HST World
Championships consistently have speeds of more than 500 characters per
minute -- 100 words per minute. While it's too late to join the 2009 US
team, it's not too early to think about upcoming events. If you are able
to copy and/or send CW at dizzying speeds, why not think about attending
the next IARU HST World Championship? For more information on HST
events, contact Kutner via e-mail <w2up@arrl.net>;.

==> CHANGES TO ARRL VHF/UHF CONTEST RULES NOW IN PLACE 

The League's Programs and Services Committee has approved
recommendations made by the ARRL's VHF-UHF Advisory Committee (VUAC)
<http://www.arrl.org/contests/vuac.html> to change two rules in the
ARRL's VHF/UHF contest program. These changes are in effect immediately,
and include the 2009 June VHF QSO Party, scheduled for June 13-15
<http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2009/june-vhf.html>.

The first change concerns the Limited Rover category. The ARRL Programs
and Services Committee accepted the VUAC's proposal that Limited Rovers
may now compete on only the four lowest frequency bands available for
any given contest. For the January, June and September VHF Contests,
this means 6 and 2 meters, as well as 222 and 432 MHz. For the August
UHF Contest, this means 222, 432 and 902 MHz and 1.2 GHz. QSOs on other
bands can be made by Limited Rovers, but they will not count toward the
Limited Rover's score and will be considered a checklog. "We have
already applied changes to the log-checking software that will adjust
the Limited Rover's QSOs above the lowest four bands to zero-point
QSOs," said ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X.

The second change concerns the ARRL UHF Contest
<http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2009/uhf.html>. For the first time,
Kutzko said, the ARRL Awards Committee voted to add Club Competition to
the UHF Contest, beginning in 2009. "This is something that the VHF/UHF
community has been asking for for quite some time," he explained. "The
VUAC made their recommendations and the Awards Committee agreed. We hope
to see VHF/UHF clubs across the country help increase participation and
get involved with this fun contest."

According to Kutzko, these changes come on the heels of the redesign of
the June VHF QSO Party Plaque Program. "In the past," he said, "plaques
in the June VHF QSO Party have been awarded for first through tenth
place in any category, regardless of location. As any VHFer will tell
you, there are radical differences in propagation from one part of the
country to another. We decided the plaque program needed to be based on
Division, just like every other plaque program that the ARRL offers, not
position in the standings."

Kutzko explained that the Programs and Services Committee agreed with
this recommendation and voted in favor of it: "This change in structure
recognizes the Division-level competition that takes place in the June
VHF QSO Party, sometimes under conditions of little to no propagation."

June VHF QSO Party plaque sponsorships are available for all entry
categories in all 15 ARRL Divisions, Canada, Mexico and DX. If you or
your club is interested in sponsoring a plaque ($75, including shipping
charges), contact ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, via
e-mail <kx9x@arrl.org>; and he will help you find a plaque that's right
for you or your club to sponsor.

==> JEFF BEALS, WA4AW, APPOINTED SOUTHEASTERN DIVISION VICE DIRECTOR

With the approval of the ARRL Ethics and Elections Committee, ARRL
President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, appointed Southern Florida Assistant
Section Manager Jeff Beals, WA4AW, as Vice Director in the Southeastern
Division, effective June 1. Beals replaces Sandy Donohue, W4RU, who
passed away last month
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/05/10805/?nc=1>. 

An Extra class licensee, Beals was first licensed in the early 1960s as
WN2OUK. Beals -- who splits his time between Royal Palm Beach, Florida
and Dothan, Alabama -- has served as Southern Florida Assistant Section
Manager since 2002. Beals has also held appointments as Section
Emergency Coordinator, Affiliated Club Coordinator, Technical
Coordinator, Technical Specialist and District Emergency Coordinator.

"I am deeply honored to be chosen by President Harrison to serve as Vice
Director of the Southeastern Division," Beals told the ARRL. "I am
looking forward to working with Division Director Greg Sarratt, W4OZK,
to provide quality service and representation to the members of the
Southeastern Division. I feel that my years of service in the ARRL Field
Organization provide me with a unique outlook on what our members expect
of our League. My ability to listen and learn from them will assist Greg
and myself to provide the representation they have come to expect from
the Southeastern Division."

Sarratt said that was "proud" that Beals was chosen to be the new
Southeastern Division Vice-Director: "Jeff has a heart for Amateur
Radio. He and I have worked together at many hamfests in the
Southeastern Division and I look forward to many more. Please join me in
welcoming Jeff as Southeastern Division Vice Director."

Beals said he would be "remiss if I didn't mention the many years of
friendship and tutelage given to me by former Southeastern Director
Frank Butler, W4RH, and Vice Director Sandy Donahue, W4RU (SK). Their
years of service to the League and to Amateur Radio are much appreciated
by me and the many members of the Division with whom they came in
contact."

Beals was a long-time friend of Donahue's. "I knew Sandy for more than
25 years," he told the ARRL upon Donahue's passing. "He was very, very
devoted to Amateur Radio, especially the public service side: Emergency
Communications, traffic handling and helping out wherever and whenever
he could. We had a lot in common."

Beals counts emergency communications support, liaison with served
agencies, radio club liaison and support, classic Amateur Radio
operation and restoration, and training of Section volunteers as just
some of his Amateur Radio activities. "I am always promoting Amateur
Radio and the ARRL at community events, and I attend many club meetings,
functions and hamfests throughout the Division," he said. "I am a
participant in a pilot project to provide membership support to members
of the ARRL Southern Florida Section; this project has since grown to
encompass the entire Southeastern Division." He also holds commendations
from the State of Florida for his communications support during
Hurricanes Andrew, Frances, Jean and Katrina.

"During my tenure as the Southern Florida Section SEC, President
Harrison appointed me to serve on the National Emergency Response
Planning Committee. One of the challenges facing many of our SFL Section
members -- as well as the rest of our nation -- is the ability to
construct an effective antenna system in communities governed by
covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs)
<http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/local/ccr.html>," Beals
explained. "I am -- and always have been -- a staunch supporter of any
bill in Congress, such as HR 2160
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/04/30/10792/?nc=1>, to effect
such change in these most restrictive regulations that prevent hams from
providing needed public service communications, as well as their
enjoyment of Amateur Radio.

Beals is a Life Member of the ARRL, Quarter Century Wireless Association
and the Antique Wireless Association; he is a Senior Grade member of the
Radio Club of America and the ARRL A-1 Operator Club
<http://www.arrl.org/awards/a1-op/>. He is Past President of the Fort
Myers and West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Clubs and current member of the
Palms West ARC, North Florida ARS, Wiregrass ARC, OOTC, the Florida and
Alabama Contest Groups and the Florida East Coast DX Club.

==> FIRST 2009 ARRL TEACHERS INSTITUTE IN THE BOOKS 

The week of May 25 saw the completion of the first 2009 Teachers
Institute on Wireless Technology
<http://www.arrl.org/FandES/tbp/ti.html>. According to Education and
Technology Program Coordinator Mark Spencer, WA8SME, about half of the
participants came from the host institution, the New Mexico Military
Institute (NMMI) in Roswell <http://www.nmmi.edu/>. "The NMMI was an
exceptional venue for the Teachers Institute and the school's chaplain,
Major Dan Musgrave, WD8RMG, proved to be a gracious host, as well as one
of the NMMI faculty participants," Spencer recounted.

Spencer said that the Teachers Institute curriculum -- four days of
intensive in-service training in basic electronics, the science of
radio, bringing space technology into the classroom, microcontroller
programming and basic robotics -- continues to be refined. "One
participant, a Colonel, commented that the Teachers Institute far
exceeded her expectations, and that she could not even imagine the
amount of material that was covered during the course," Spencer said.
Another participant -- a Lieutenant Colonel who is the NMMI choir and
band director -- quickly made connections between the operation of the
musical instruments he instructs (and his cadet students use) and the
five building blocks of radio that are presented in the Science of Radio
unit.

"This connection between content areas -- in this case music and
electronics -- is an example of what the program and the Teachers
Institutes are all about," Spencer said. "This instructor will now be in
a better position to help his students to make their own connections
between the subjects they are studying in school. These connections make
learning relevant."

The next two Teachers Institutes -- in Rocklin, California and in
Tucson, Arizona -- are scheduled for this coming week, marking the first
time that two Teachers Institutes have been held at the same time.
Spencer and Teachers Institute Instructor Miguel Enriquez, KD7RPP, plan
to connect the two sessions by making a satellite contact using AO27.
"This will demonstrate to participants how amateurs connect with each
other via satellites," Spencer explained, "making a practical
demonstration of the Space in the Classroom unit."

==> ARRL IN ACTION: WHAT HAVE WE BEEN UP TO LATELY?

This feature -- including convenient Web links to useful information --
is a concise monthly update of some of the things ARRL is doing on
behalf of its members. This installment covers the month of May.

The ARRL solicited support for HR 2160, the Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Enhancement Act of 2009
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/12/10818>. 

An ARRL Freedom of Information Act request forced the FCC to release the
redacted portions of the studies on which they relied with regard to
their Broadband over Powerline (BPL) rulemaking in 2004
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/08/10811/?nc=1>.

The ARRL hosted their 2009 National Convention at the Dayton Hamvention
on May 15-17 <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/16/10823/?nc=1>.

The ARRL honored those who donated more than $1000 to the League in 2008
with a reception just prior to the 2009 ARRL National Convention and
Dayton Hamvention. Three new members of the ARRL's Maxim Society
<http://www.arrl.org/development/maxim.html> were introduced at the
reception <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/27/10839/?nc=1>.

The ARRL's Programs and Services Committee approved two changes to ARRL
VHF and UHF contests
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/29/10847/?nc=1>.

The first of seven ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology took
place in Roswell, New Mexico
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/06/02/10852/ >.

The ARRL Public Relations Committee honored three Public Information
Officers for going above and beyond in ensuring that the role of Amateur
Radio is explained to media and the public, especially in unanticipated
situations in the field
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/14/10813/?nc=1>. The Committee
also introduced the new PR-101 course
<http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=0133> at the 2009 ARRL National
Convention at the Dayton Hamvention
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/15/10817/?nc=1>.

ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, presented former ARISS International
Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, with the ARRL President's Award at Dayton
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/27/10838/?nc=1>.

W1AW and W1HQ received some new antennas during their semi-annual tower
inspection <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/20/10827/?nc=1>.

At month's end, the ARRL had awarded 269 Triple Play Awards
<http://www.arrl.org/awards/#tripleplay> since the award's inception
January 1, 2009
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/28/10843/?nc=1>.

The ARRL participated in the 2009 Maker's Faire in San Mateo, California
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/26/10835/?nc=1>.

Mel Parkes, NM7P, of Layton, was re-elected as the Utah Section Manager.
Dan Pruitt, AE6SX, is the new Section Manager in the San Joaquin Valley
Section. The Rhode Island, Maryland-DC, West Texas, Nevada, Northern New
Jersey and New Hampshire Sections will keep their incumbent Section
Managers <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/21/10829/?nc=1>.

The current 7Z1CQ operation in Saudi Arabia has been approved for DXCC
credit <http://www.arrl.org/?artid=8964>.

==> PRESIDENT OBAMA TO RENOMINATE FCC COMMISSIONER ROBERT MCDOWELL FOR
NEW TERM

On Tuesday, June 2, President Barack Obama announced that he will
renominate current FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell for another term
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/President-Obama-Announces-Hi
s-Intent-to-Nominate-Robert-McDowell-for-Another-Term-at-the-FCC/>.
McDowell, a Republican, was first nominated by President George W. Bush
and sworn into office in June 2006, filling the unexpired term of
Republican Kathleen Q. Abernathy. McDowell, whose present term expires
June 30, 2009, would need to be confirmed by the Senate. Commissioners'
terms are five years long.

According to the White House, McDowell has collaborated with his fellow
Commissioners to develop and establish American communications policy
covering the wireless, media and Internet industries, as well as
international policy matters. He has worked to create rules governing
wireless auctions, establish a framework for unlicensed use of TV "white
spaces" spectrum, develop incentives to encourage the development of new
broadband technologies, review public interest benefits as part of the
approval process of proposed corporate mergers and adjudicate
enforcement proceedings.

McDowell brings to the FCC approximately 16 years of private sector
experience in the communications industry. Immediately prior to joining
the Commission, McDowell was a senior executive for a trade association
representing competitive facilities-based telecommunications service
providers. He has served on the North American Numbering Council (NANC)
<http://www.fcc.gov/wcb/cpd/Nanc/> and on the Board of Directors of
North American Numbering Plan Billing and Collection (NBANC)
<http://www.fcc.gov/wcb/cpd/numbering/nbc.html>.

Acting Chairman Michael Copps congratulated McDowell on his
renomination, saying he was "truly delighted that he will continue on as
a fellow Commissioner. Since becoming Acting Chairman several months
ago, I appreciate more than ever Rob's collegiality, his openness, his
creative intellect, and the deep sense of purpose he brings to his work.
I especially want to thank him for all the talent and energy he has
brought to our work on next week's DTV transition. He has traveled near
and far to help consumers prepare and he has done an outstanding job in
helping us deploy an extensive DTV Call Center operation. I look forward
to our continuing work together as we tackle the many tough
communications issues confronting the Commission and the country."

McDowell was graduated cum laude from Duke University in 1985. After
serving as chief legislative aide to a member of the Virginia House of
Delegates, he attended the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College
of William and Mary. Upon his graduation from law school, McDowell
joined the Washington, DC office of Arter & Hadden, a national law firm,
now closed, that was based in Cleveland. McDowell is admitted to
practice law before the courts of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the US
District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the US Courts of
Appeals for the District of Columbia, First, Fourth and Fifth Circuits,
as well as the US Supreme Court. He lives in Fairfax County, Virginia on
his family's farm with his wife Jennifer and their three children.

==> NASA, NOAA RELEASES NEW PREDICTIONS FOR SOLAR CYCLE 24 

An international panel of experts -- led by the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and sponsored by NASA -- has released
a new prediction for the next solar cycle: Solar Cycle 24 will peak in
May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots
<http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/29may_noaaprediction.htm?list13
00638>. "If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak
sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar
Cycle 16 peaked at 78," said panel chairman Doug Biesecker of NOAA's
Space Weather Prediction Center. This report clarifies a NOAA report
from May 2009 that stated that Solar Cycle 24 would bring "90 sunspots
per day on average"
<http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090508_solarstorm.html>. 

The latest forecast revises a prediction issued in 2007
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/01/07/100/>. At that time, a
sharply divided panel believed solar minimum would come in March 2008
followed by either a strong solar maximum in 2011, or a weak solar
maximum in 2012. "It turns out that none of our models were totally
correct," said Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center and
NASA's lead representative on the panel. "The Sun is behaving in an
unexpected and very interesting way."

In 2007, experts varied in their predictions on when the solar cycle
would peak and how strong it would be. In April of that year, NOAA, in
coordination with an international panel of solar experts, predicted
that the next 11-year cycle of solar storms "would start in March 2008,
plus or minus six months, and peak in late 2011 or mid-2012"
<http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/>. In the cycle forecast issued in
April 2007, half of the panel predicted a "moderately strong cycle of
140 sunspots, plus or minus 20, expected to peak in October 2011. The
other half predicted a moderately weak cycle of 90 sunspots, plus or
minus 10, peaking in August 2012. An average solar cycle ranges from 75
to 155 sunspots. The late decline of Cycle 23 has helped shift the panel
away from its earlier leaning toward a strong Cycle 24. The group is
evenly split between a strong and a weak cycle."

At a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco in
December 2007, David Hathaway of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center,
along with colleague Robert Wilson, said that Solar Cycle 24 "looks like
it's going to be one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping
began almost 400 years ago." They said they believe the next solar
maximum should peak around 2010 with a sunspot number of 160, plus or
minus 25. "This would make it one of the strongest solar cycles of the
past 50 years -- which is to say, one of the strongest in recorded
history." Four of the five biggest cycles on record have come in the
past 50 years. "Cycle 24 should fit right into that pattern," Hathaway
said.

Right now -- June 2009 -- the solar cycle is in a valley, the deepest of
the past century. In 2008 and 2009, the Sun showed some of the lowest
sunspot counts on record, as well as weak solar winds and a low solar
irradiance, going more than two years without a significant solar flare.
"In our professional careers, we've never seen anything quite like it,"
Pesnell said. "Solar minimum has lasted far beyond the date we predicted
in 2007."

In recent months, however, Pesnell said that the Sun has begun to show
some small signs of life: Small sunspots and "proto-sunspots" are
popping up with increasing frequency. Enormous currents of plasma on the
Sun's surface are gaining strength and slowly drifting toward its
equator. Radio astronomers have detected a tiny but significant uptick
in solar radio emissions. All these things are precursors of an
awakening Solar Cycle 24 and form the basis for the panel's new, almost
unanimous forecast.

Pesnell cautioned optimism, telling the ARRL that there is an "error bar
of +/- 20." This means Solar Cycle 24's sunspot number could be as high
as 110, or as low as 70. "Based upon my own personal research, I don't
think we'll see 90 [sunspots in Solar Cycle 24]," he said.

When asked if such a low number foretold the beginnings of a Maunder
Minimum <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunder_minimum>, Pesnell said
that a Maunder Minimum takes several cycles to appear: "Sunspots [in
solar cycles] leading up to the Maunder Minimum took several cycles to
disappear. I really can't predict what will happen in Solar Cycle 25.
What we're seeing now is something that looks like a sunspot, but it
looks as if someone has come along and 'stomped' on it, creating a
multitude of little things. We don't have a name for this and we've
never seen anything like it before."

There could be more surprises, panelists acknowledge -- and more
revisions to the forecast. "Go ahead and mark your calendar for May
2013," Pesnell said. "But use a pencil."  -- Some information from NASA

==>SOLAR UPDATE 

Tad "In the Sun he sang with cheerful heart" Cook, K7RA, this week
reports: It is so great to see some real Solar Cycle 24 sunspot activity
this week. Instead of a phantom that pops into view one day and is gone
the next, we have sunspot 1019, which has persisted for five days so
far. Emerging on Sunday, May 31, the resulting daily sunspot numbers
through June 4 are 15, 23, 19, 17 and 17. This is a Solar Cycle 24 spot,
and at high latitude too -- an indication of a new cycle spot.
Meanwhile, the low solar wind and quiet geomagnetic conditions continue.
Currently, spot 1019 is about to fade, although it is still a few days
away from crossing the eastern limb to the far side. NOAA and the US Air
Force expect geomagnetic conditions to continue to be quiet, and a
planetary A index around 5 is predicted until June 29. Predicted solar
flux values are 72 for June 5-6, then 74 on June 7-13. Geophysical
Institute Prague predicts quiet geomagnetic conditions June 5-8, quiet
to unsettled June 9-10 and quiet again June 11. Sunspot numbers for May
28-June 3 were 0, 0, 0, 15, 23, 19 and 17 with a mean of 10.6. The 10.7
cm flux was 67.7, 68.2, 68.5, 68.5, 72.5, 71.9 and 72.5 with a mean of
70. The estimated planetary A indices were 7, 5, 3, 3, 3, 2 and 4 with a
mean of 3.9. The estimated mid-latitude A indices were 5, 4, 2, 3, 2, 2
and 4 with a mean of 3.1. 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 William Allingham's "A Singer"
<http://www.sonnets.org/allinghm.htm#005>. 

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This Week on the Radio: This week, the SEANET Contest, IARU Region 1
Field Day and the Alabama QSO Party are all June 6-7. Next week is the
ARRL June VHF QSO Party on June 13-15. The Asia-Pacific Sprint is June
13. The GACW WWSA CW DX Contest and the ANARTS WW RTTY Contest are June
13-14. 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, June 28, 2009, for these online course sessions
beginning on Friday, July 10, 2009: Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Level 1; Antenna Modeling; Radio Frequency Interference;
Antenna Design and Construction; Ham Radio (Technician) License Course;
Propagation; 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 <cce@arrl.org>;.

* Mal Eiselman, NC4L, Wins May QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the
QST Cover Plaque Award for May is Mal Eiselman, NC4L, for his article
"Troubleshooting Radios." Congratulations, Mal! The winner of the QST
Cover Plaque award -- given to the author or authors of the best article
in each issue -- is determined by a vote of ARRL members on the QST
Cover Plaque Poll Web page
<http://www.arrl.org/members-only/QSTvote.html>. Cast a ballot for your
favorite article in the June issue by Tuesday, June 30.

* Operation Approved for DXCC Credit: ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore,
NC1L, reports that the HZ1EA operation in Saudi Arabia has been approved
for DXCC credit. "If you had cards that were recently rejected for this
operation, please send an e-mail to the ARRL DXCC Desk <dxcc@arrl.org >
and you will be placed on the list for update," Moore said. "Once
completed, if you have an account in Logbook of the World (LoTW), the
update will be posted to your account" <http://www.arrl.org/lotw >. 

* More 2009 Field Day T Shirts on the Way: The 2009 ARRL Field Day T
shirts are a huge hit <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=NO-0515 >,
topping demand from previous years. "While the current supply of Field
Day shirts has stocked out, we expect to be re-supplied before the end
of next week -- in time to fulfill all orders to clubs and individuals,"
said ARRL Sales and Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. "We
appreciate everyone's patience and apologize for shipping delays." This
year's logo captures the spirit of Field Day in camp-like fashion. The
artwork depicts a woodland outdoor scene on a green-colored shirt. The
logo was designed by ARRL Graphic Arts Supervisor Sue Fagan, KB1OKW, and
Senior Technical Illustrator David Pingree, N1NAS. "We've received some
really nice compliments about the design -- and a couple of funny
remarks asking why we left out the grizzly bear," Inderbitzen said. 2009
ARRL Field Day is June 27-28 <http://www.arrl.org/fieldday >.

=========================================================== 
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
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Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole
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==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):
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Copyright 2009 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.

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