*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 28, No. 23 June 12, 2009 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * + Fun, Fresh Air, Friends and Food: It Must Be Time for ARRL Field Day! * + Changes Coming for ARRL November Sweepstakes Contest Log Submissions * + Alabama Hams Assist During Statewide Emergency Drill * + Look for the July Issue of QST in Your Mailbox * Join the Fun in the ARRL VHF QSO Party This Weekend * + National Hurricane Center Predicts "Near-Normal" Hurricane Season * + QEX: The July/August 2009 Issue * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This Week on the Radio ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration + Two New Co-sponsors Pledge Support for HR 2160 + Don Tunstill, W4NO (SK) Central States VHF Society Seeks Presentations for Annual Conference From the DXCC Desk + 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA <email@example.com>.
==> FUN, FRESH AIR, FRIENDS AND FOOD: IT MUST BE TIME FOR ARRL FIELD DAY!
The 2009 ARRL Field Day will be here before you know it, so now is the time to grab your rig, grab your friends, grab some grub and get ready to get outside June 27-28 <http://www.arrl.org/fieldday>. If you haven't yet started planning for this year's Field Day, it's not too late -- Field Day packets are available for download from the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/contests/forms/fd-2009-packet.pdf>.
ARRL Field Day Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, reminds clubs and groups that the deadline to order exhibit kits and ham radio recruitment handouts is drawing near. "We need to have all orders for kits and brochures no later than Wednesday, June 17. If we have your order by then, we will be able to package your order and get it to you in time for Field Day. Any orders received after June 17 will be fulfilled and they might make it to recipients before Field Day," he explained. Exhibit kits can be ordered online at no cost; there is a small shipping and handling fee <http://www.arrl.org/brochures/>.
If you are looking for a Field Day site to attend, or are looking to publicize your Field Day site, be sure to check out the Field Day Site Locator <http://www.arrl.org/contests/announcements/fd/locator.php>. For more information on this service, please check out the Locator Site Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/06/03/10021/?nc=1>. "More than 1000 Field Day sites have been registered on the Locator, with more being added every day," Henderson said.
ARRL Field Day is the most popular on-the-air operating event in Amateur Radio. On the fourth full weekend in June, tens of thousands of Amateur Radio operators gather for a demonstration of our service. Field Day is part educational event, part operating event, part public relations event -- and all about fun!
"We all became hams for our own reasons," Henderson said. "Some of us were interested in public service and helping others in times of need. Many discovered the hobby as an outlet to their curiosity about electronics and communications. Still others joined our ranks because of the quest to meet new people and expand their own personal bank of knowledge. Whatever the reason you became an amateur, there is one compelling thread that brought us all together. It is as simple as can be: We became hams for the fun of the hobby!"
Henderson said that while Field Day serves a wide array of interests and purposes, "there is no greater 'fun-damental' goal for Field Day than to have fun! While it encompasses a broad range of Amateur Radio interests -- CW, Phone, Digital, emergency preparedness, public service, satellites, recruitment, antennas, new and vintage equipment and so many more -- Field Day is, above all else, a chance for us to have some fun with our hobby."
Henderson reminded hams that fun is where you find it: "Some will discover the fun by operating overnight, building up their club's total number of QSOs. Others will never make a single Field Day contact, but will derive their fun by helping set up antennas and generators. The joy of sharing your radio knowledge with a newcomer will be fun for many old-timers, while other old-timers will experience the 'Field Day high' when they make their very first QSO using a new digital mode or via one of the Amateur Radio satellites. The camaraderie of the annual club Field Day picnic or covered dish supper will be a fun highlight for many, while still others will find the joy in the hobby by simply being able to spend a couple of hours from home on an otherwise busy weekend, tuning the bands and making a few contacts."
If you want to be one of the best-dressed hams at your Field Day event, be sure to pick up the 2009 ARRL Field Day T shirt, hat and pin <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?category=&words=field+day&SearchWords.x=0&SearchWords.y=0>. Featuring a woodsy, outdoor scene, these items are a great way to recognize your involvement in the excitement and fun of this annual operating event. ARRL is also offering Get On The Air (GOTA) pins <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=8911>. It's a great idea to have your GOTA station operators wear these attractive pins. Pins from previous Field Days are also available -- make your collection complete with this year's pin. According to ARRL Sales and Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, a new shipment of 2009 Field Day T shirts has just arrived, so be sure to order yours today.
==> CHANGES COMING FOR ARRL NOVEMBER SWEEPSTAKES CONTEST LOG SUBMISSIONS
ARRL Sweepstakes Contest Manager Ken Adams, K5KA, said he and the ARRL Contest Branch intend to "dramatically reduce the timeframe for producing results that are available to all ARRL Sweepstakes participants." According to Adams, the contesting community has requested that results be made available more quickly. Currently, Sweepstakes results are published six months after the contest has taken place.
"To facilitate this request, we would like to make the 2009 ARRL Sweepstakes final results available on the Web in 60 days in the form of a PDF file," he said. "If this effort proves successful, we plan to shorten this window to 30 days in 2010. This PDF would simply be the scores in each category -- full write-ups and detailed analysis of the Sweepstakes contest would still appear in QST and on the Web at a later time."
To meet this aggressive schedule, Adams said that the log submission deadline will be reduced from 30 days to 15 days. For the 2009 Sweepstakes, the deadline for CW Sweepstakes logs will be 0300 UTC on Monday, November 23, 2009. The deadline for the Phone Sweepstakes will be 0300 UTC on Monday, December 7, 2009.
"The number of non-Cabrillo logs received at ARRL HQ must be reduced," Adams explained. "By receiving logs 15 days earlier, we can begin the log checking process that much faster, but we will we need your help on the paper log issue. In 2008, the ARRL Contest Branch received more than 300 paper logs for the Sweepstakes contests. These paper logs were converted to Cabrillo format by a dedicated, yet small, group of volunteers. This took several hundred person-hours of time."
Adams said that there are plans to contact as many paper log submitters as possible and point out resources they can use to generate Cabrillo logs: "I am asking that every club have a special project and meeting this year to insure that 100 percent of their members submit Cabrillo logs for Sweepstakes. If you have club members who don't have computers, please form your own volunteer teams to convert their logs after the contest. This would be a great excuse for a big post-Sweepstakes club pizza party, combining data entry with club camaraderie."
While the ARRL will never turn away a paper log, Adams said that the advantages of electronic log submission are critical to the success of the accelerated presentation of the Sweepstakes results. "Numerous software contest loggers exist for Windows and DOS, including the free packages CT <http://www.k1ea.com/> and N1MM <http://pages.cthome.net/n1mm/>," he said. Entrants are also able to manually convert their own paper logs to a Cabrillo log at the WA7BNM Cabrillo Web site" <http://www.b4h.net/cabforms/arrlsscw_cab.php>.
"You, the members of the contesting community, have requested faster turnaround of contest results for some time," Adams said. "With every contester's help, we can achieve this goal of dramatically reducing the time between contest and results. We have identified several other areas we hope to improve in the future, such as simplified Web access for Sweepstakes information, historical log search capability, easy access to FAQs, records and the like. We will continue to work on those goals. Thank you for your continued participation and help with the ARRL November Sweepstakes, the greatest domestic contest out there."
==> ALABAMA HAMS ASSIST DURING STATEWIDE EMERGENCY DRILL
During the week of May 4-8, emergency responders and support personnel gathered in Robertsdale, Alabama for a communications interoperability training and full-scale exercise, sponsored by the Alabama Department of Homeland Security (ADHS) <http://www.homelandsecurity.alabama.gov/>. Gathering in a field near the Baldwin County Emergency Operations Center, responders came together to test the quality and effectiveness of communications between various State agencies and support personnel. The exercise simulated a Category 5 hurricane that entered Mobile Bay, causing damage throughout the state.
According to ARRL Alabama Section Manager Jay Isbell, KA4KUN, the Alabama DHS has come to recognize the role that Amateur Radio operators play in emergencies and natural disasters; based on this, the Alabama DHS chose to include Amateur Radio in the exercise. "During Hurricane Katrina, Amateur Radio volunteers played a key part in making sure that communications between agency personnel continued uninterrupted and the public received the help and the timely response needed in this type of catastrophic event," Isbell explained. ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) operators from SEMA Region 1 and other regions throughout Alabama were on site to support communications.
The Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the Alabama National Guard, the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Region IV of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) <http://www.fema.org/>, Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, Virtual Alabama, Alabama Civil Air Patrol, local sheriffs' office, as well as eight Alabama Regional Communication vehicles also participated in the exercise.
ARRL Southeastern Division Director Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, together with Alabama Region 1 District Emergency Coordinator Patti Link, KI4JEO, worked diligently with both amateur volunteers and professional partner agencies to coordinate and facilitate the role of Amateur Radio during the exercise. According to Isbell, Sarratt was the liaison at the Incident Command Point, while Link -- working in the Baldwin County EOC -- coordinated amateurs throughout the area, dispatching them with Alabama DHS Regional Communication vehicles and to other locations in the nine-county affected area. Isbell was dispatched to a mock reception center site 60 miles north of the incident, and Section Emergency Coordinator Les Rayburn, N1LF, manned the radio at the State Emergency Operations Center.
"Since the major hurricanes of recent years, the State of Alabama and the Southeast Region of FEMA have really accepted Amateur Radio as a prime player in any major disaster," Isbell told the ARRL. "SEC Les Rayburn has grown Alabama ARES from several independent groups into a well-organized first responder team. Amateur Radio is being accepted as a critical tool during times that the daily manpower and technical resources are stretched beyond their design."
Sarratt said that the Amateur Radio participants learned a lot during the week-long exercise: "This was a good test of the ARES processes and improvements in a full-scale exercise with other agencies since Katrina. Everyone shared and learned about each other's communications capabilities. The relationships built and lessons learned here are invaluable to the Amateur Radio Service."
==> LOOK FOR THE JULY ISSUE OF QST IN YOUR MAILBOX
The July issue of QST is jam-packed with the news and information today's Amateur Radio operator needs. From product reviews to experiments to contesting, the upcoming issue of QST has something for just about everyone.
Al Yerger, WA2EHI, shows you how to take advantage of the multiple leads on a parallel port to control all of your remote operations in his article "A Parallel Port Interface for Your Shack." Follow Richard Kriss, AA6VU, as he solves a pesky TVI problem at his home in Texas. ARRL News Editor S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, along with QST Technical Editor Joel Hallas, W1ZR, give their take on the sights, sounds and smells -- as well as the new radio gear -- of the 2009 Dayton Hamvention in "Dayton DREAM Believer: The 2009 ARRL National Convention and Dayton Hamvention."
ARRL Technical Relations Manager Brennan Price, N4QX, reviews Yaesu's VX-8R handheld transceiver. According to Price, "Yaesu incorporates GPS and APRS capabilities into its new top-of-the-line, feature-packed handheld." ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, reviews Array Solution's QSK-MASTER external QSK TR switch for HF amplifiers. Sumner said that the QSK-MASTER "offers owners of older RF power amplifiers a way to add flawless full break-in (QSK) operation without equipment modification."
If it's July, it must be time for the IARU HF World Championships <http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2009/iaru.html>. This is a great opportunity to contact many stations all over the world, especially the headquarters station of IARU Member Societies, including W1AW. ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, takes a look multipliers -- what are they, why are they important and how do they work -- in "This Month in Contesting." The results of the 2008 ARRL 10 Meter Contest, the 2009 ARRL RTTY Roundup and the 2009 ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes are in. Did you top your score from last year? How did your closest rival do? Also, find out about upcoming contests in Contest Corral.
Of course, there are the usual columns you know and expect in July QST: Hints & Kinks, The Doctor Is IN, How's DX, Vintage Radio, Field Organization Reports, Hamspeak and more. Look for your July issue in your mailbox. QST is the official journal of ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio. QST is just one of the many benefits of ARRL membership. To join or renew your ARRL membership, please see the ARRL Web page <http://www.arrl.org/join>.
==> JOIN THE FUN IN THE ARRL VHF QSO PARTY THIS WEEKEND
VHF enthusiasts will be generating lots of RF on 6 meters and up this weekend (June 13-15 UTC) during the 2009 ARRL VHF QSO Party <http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2009/june-vhf.html>. While many amateurs think of the VHF+ bands as a "local" band used primarily for public service, emergency communications or fun on FM repeaters, weak-signal VHF+ enthusiasts know better. According to ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, even hams who have a modest station can work hundreds -- or even thousands -- of miles on the VHF bands during a good opening.
Kutzko is a big VHF enthusiast: "In my more than 25 years of Amateur Radio, weak-signal work on 6 and 2 meters remains the most fun and intriguing activity I do. There is nothing like a good VHF opening; with interesting propagation characteristics like sporadic-E, tropospheric ducting, aurora and even meteor scatter and moonbounce, VHF offers QSO opportunities that HF can never satisfy."
Kutzko said this weekend is a great time to try 6 or 2 meters. "The June VHF QSO Party occurs at the beginning of the summer sporadic-E season, and can produce strong openings on 6 meters and in some cases up to 2 meters," he said. There have been moderate openings on 6 meters in some part of the United States almost nightly for the last two weeks, and southern California enjoyed a brief sporadic-E opening on 2 meters into Texas this past Tuesday evening, over an average path of 1100 miles. "That's fun any way you slice it," Kutzko said. "Because of the contest, many stations will be on. This, coupled with the interesting propagation possibilities, makes for a great weekend."
Getting on the VHF bands is easy, he said. While there will be some contest activity on FM simplex (especially near large population centers), most long-distance VHF+ QSOs are conducted on CW or SSB; that means horizontally polarized antennas. You will also need a radio that can transmit in those modes. Most of the newer HF transceivers have 6 meters built in, and several come with 2 meters and 70 cm, too. "A dipole on 6 meters will work quite well during a decent opening," Kutzko said. "They're easy to make and less than 10 feet long. Throw it up in a tree as high as you can and you'll be in business. For 2 meters and 70 cm, a horizontal loop will work nicely for SSB and CW contacts." You can find plans for simple VHF antennas at the Technical Information Service area of the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/other-v.html>, in the Antennas chapter of the ARRL Handbook, or in the VHF and UHF Antenna Systems chapter of the ARRL Antenna Book.
Because VHF antennas are generally smaller than their HF counterparts, portable operation is easy. "You can operate from your favorite hilltop, camp site or any location with high terrain and make many QSOs," Kutzko said. All you need to know is the Maidenhead grid square of your operating location; this is the contest exchange. Find your Maidenhead grid square here <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/grid.html>.
For SSB QSOs on 6 meters, tune between 50.100-50.200 MHz; 50.125 is the W/VE calling frequency, so listen there for band openings. If the band starts to open up, move off the calling frequency and start working folks! Keep in mind that 50.100-50.125 is reserved for intercontinental QSOs, so don't transmit there unless you are trying to work DX. For the CW operators, you will find CW between 50.080-50.100 MHz. Activity on 2 meters will center around the calling frequency of 144.200. Again, monitor the calling frequency for band openings, but move off when activity starts to pick up. Kutzko advises that most activity on 2 meter SSB/CW will be found between 144.170-144.230 MHz, while 70 cm activity will center around 432.100 MHz.
"This weekend promises to be a tremendous amount of fun on the VHF and UHF bands so don't miss out!" Kutzko said. "All amateurs -- from Technicians to Extras, experienced VHF operators to the first-time VHF dabblers -- are welcome to participate." The ARRL June VHF QSO Party runs this weekend from 1800 UTC Saturday until 0300 UTC Monday (Saturday afternoon to Sunday evening for most of the US and Canada). Complete rules and entry forms may be found here. All logs must be e-mailed <JuneVHF@arrl.org> or postmarked no later than 0300 UTC Wednesday, July 15. If you have any questions about the ARRL June VHF QSO Party or any other ARRL contest, please contact the Contest Branch via e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
==> NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER PREDICTS "NEAR-NORMAL" HURRICANE SEASON
Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center (NHC) are calling for a "near-normal" Atlantic hurricane season this year. In its initial outlook for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season -- which runs from June 1-November 30 -- the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) <http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/> is calling for a 50 percent probability of a near-normal season, a 25 percent probability of an above-normal season and a 25 percent probability of a below-normal season. According to the CPC, global weather patterns are imposing a greater uncertainty in the 2009 hurricane season outlook than in recent years.
Forecasters say there is a 70 percent chance of having nine to 14 named storms, of which four to seven could become hurricanes, including one to three major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5). Tropical systems acquire a name -- the first for 2009 will be Ana -- upon reaching tropical storm strength with sustained winds of at least 39 MPH. Tropical storms become hurricanes when winds reach 74 MPH and become major hurricanes when winds increase to 111 MPH. An average season has 11 named storms, including six hurricanes with two becoming major hurricanes.
"This outlook is a guide to the overall expected seasonal activity. However, the outlook is not just about the numbers, it's also about taking action," said Dr Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the CPC. "Prepare for each and every season regardless of the seasonal outlook. Even a near- or below-normal season can produce landfalling hurricanes, and it only takes one landfalling storm to make it a bad season."
Rick Palm, K1CE, editor of the ARRL's ARES E-Letter <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/ares-el/>, warns that now is the time for ARES members to assess their portfolio of communications equipment and disaster response knowledge. Palm gives several tips for amateurs involved with hurricane operations:
Monitor major HF hurricane networks during events this season. The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) on 14.325 MHz is one of several key players <http://www.hwn.org/>. It serves either the Atlantic or Pacific during a watch or warning period and coordinates with the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami <http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/>. Frequent, detailed information is issued on nets when storms pose a threat to the US mainland. In addition to hurricane spotting, local communicators may announce that residents have evacuated from low-lying flood areas. Other amateurs across the country can help by relaying information, keeping the net frequency clear and by listening. See the HWN's Web site for more information. The net works closely with the hams at the NHC's Amateur Radio station WX4NHC <http://www.wx4nhc.com/>.
The SATERN Net (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network) <http://www.satern.org/> provides emergency communication support to the Salvation Army and populations at large. They also handle health-and-welfare traffic. SATERN holds high profile nets on 20 meters (14.265 MHz) during major hurricanes and has a long history of excellence, discipline and service. Refer to the SATERN Web site for more information.
The Maritime Mobile Service Net (MMSN) <http://www.mmsn.org/> meets on 14.300 MHz and is composed of hams who serve and assist those in need of communications on the high seas. According to its Web site, the primary purpose of the net is for handling traffic from maritime mobile stations. The network is recognized by the United States Coast Guard and has an excellent working relationship with that agency. The MMSN has handled hundreds of incidents involving vessels in distress and medical emergencies in remote locations, as well as passing health and welfare traffic in and out of affected areas. They also work closely with the NWS and NHC by relaying weather reports from maritime stations.
The VoIP SKYWARN and Hurricane Net <http://www.voipwx.net/> operates by combining both the EchoLink and IRLP linked repeater networks, while handling critical wide area communications during major severe weather and tropical events. These operations have gained national stature in recent years, making the Net a critical partner with WX4NHC. Whenever tropical weather is posing a threat to the US mainland and certain other areas of interest, the VoIP WX net will be fully operational. See the VoIP SKYWARN and Hurricane Net Web site for more information.
Palm said that during hurricane events, there are usually two or three regional nets (usually on 40 or 20 meters) that spring to prominence as major key assets to the disaster response on an ad hoc basis. "Watch for these nets, as well as the nationally recognized networks described above, this season. Don't transmit on their frequencies unless you are absolutely sure you have something substantive to add, and then only under the direction of the net control station," Palm advised.
ARRL Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD, added that when ARES activates in response to any tropical event, it is crucial that information flows up through the Section and is reported to Headquarters. "These reports allow us to develop the situational awareness and disaster intelligence that is required for us as an organization to support the Sections that are impacted" he explained. "In this way, we are able to respond to relevant requests from the media and finally to coordinate with the governmental and non-governmental organizations. This information also allows us to make the decision at Headquarters on whether to stand up our Incident Management Team to support and coordinate the operations."
If you are interested in Emergency Communications, please be sure to check out the monthly ARES E-Letter <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/ares-el/>. You can elect to receive this newsletter free of charge via e-mail by going to the Member Data Page on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/memdata.html>.
==> QEX: THE JULY/AUGUST 2009 ISSUE
The July/August issue of QEX is coming soon, and it is full of theoretical and practical technical articles and columns that you won't want to miss <http://www.arrl.org/qex>.
In this issue, Gary Steinbaugh, AF8L, presents Part 3 of "A Cybernetic Sinusoidal Synthesizer." This installment describes some limitations of proportional control systems and explains the advantages of adding integration and differentiation steps to proportional controllers. Steinbaugh also describes the construction of the RF power meter circuit used in the project
John Magliacane, KD2BD, and Bill Walker, W5GFE, describe "SPLAT!: An RF Signal Propagation and Terrain Analysis Tool." In addition to VHF/UHF line-of-sight paths, this program includes the Longley-Rice propagation model to predict path loss across irregular terrain. A Web interface provides a convenient way to use the extensive geographic terrain database in the calculations. Rudy Severns, N6LF, presents more of his research in "Experimental Determination of Ground System Performance for HF Verticals." Part 5 focuses on the effects of different numbers of radials on received signal strength for 160 meter vertical antennas.
Tom Warnagiris, K3GSY, introduces the Tapered Area Small Helix (TASH) antenna in "The Chicken Wire Wonder." Chances are, this unique broadband vertical antenna does not look like any antenna you have ever seen! An 80 meter version is 14 feet high and covers an area of about 4 × 5 feet on the ground. Maynard Wright, W6PAP, provides information on several "Alternatives to Octave" for various electronics calculations. ARRL Technical Advisor Robert J. Zavrel Jr, W7SX, presents the case for "Maximizing Radiation Resistance in Vertical Antennas" to increase the efficiency of our antennas.
John S. (Jack) Belrose, VE2CV, another ARRL Technical Advisor, presents a brief discussion "On Elevated Radials" after reading earlier installments of Rudy Severns' series about his experiments with HF vertical antenna radial systems. Ray Mack, W5IFS, continues his software defined radio column. In this installment of "SDR: Simplified," he builds an SDR that will tune a single AM broadcast band station.
Would you like to write for QEX? It pays $50/printed page. Get more information and an Author's Guide <http://www.arrl.org/qex/#aguide>. If you prefer postal mail, send a business-size self-addressed, stamped envelope to QEX Author's Guide, c/o Maty Weinberg, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111-1494. QEX is edited by Larry Wolfgang, WR1B <email@example.com>, and is published bimonthly. The subscription rate (6 issues) for ARRL members in the US is $24. For First Class US delivery, it's $37; in Canada and internationally by airmail it's $31. Nonmembers add $12 to these rates. Subscribe to QEX today.
Tad "Rejoicing in the Sun" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: Sunspot numbers from May 31-June 5 ranged from 13 to 23, then the Sun was blank for two days, followed by sunspot numbers of 12 for both June 8 and 9. This fleeting sunspot was number 1020, and like last week's spot, 1020 had the magnetic signature of a new Solar Cycle 24 spot. Alas, it was another of the frequent sunspots we've seen lately that appear briefly, and then vanish. The last Solar Cycle 23 spot was number 1016 that appeared April 29-30. Sunspot numbers for June 4-10 were 17, 13, 0, 0, 12, 12 and 0 with a mean of 7.7. The 10.7 cm flux was 71, 70.1, 69, 68.9, 69, 69.1 and 69.2 with a mean of 69.5. The estimated planetary A indices were 6, 6, 5, 6, 4, 3 and 5 with a mean of 5. The estimated mid-latitude A indices were 5, 5, 2, 3, 2, 2 and 2 with a mean of 3. For this week, geomagnetic conditions should remain very quiet. Solar flux is estimated to be about 68, rising above 70 June 24-July 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 Christina Rossetti's "A Summer Wish" <http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/15719/>.
* This Week on the Radio: This 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. Next week, look for the ARRL Kids Day Contest on June 20. The NCCC Sprint Ladder and the Digital Pentathlon are June 19. The Feld Hell Sprint and the AGCW VHF/UHF Contest are June 20. One June 20-21, look for the West Virginia QSO Party and the All Asian DX Contest (CW). The Run for the Bacon QRP Contest is June 22 and the SKCC Sprint is June 24. 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
* Two New Co-sponsors Pledge Support for HR 2160: Earlier this week, HR 2160 -- The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009 -- gained two new Congressional co-sponsors: Republican Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6) and Democrat Bart Gordon (TN-6). Originally sponsored by Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee, a Democrat representing Texas' 18th District, HR 2160 is also sponsored by Madeleine Bordallo (Guam), Brett Guthrie (KY-02), Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15), Zoe Lofgren (CA-16), Blaine Luetkemeyer, (MO-9) and Bennie Thompson (MS-02). Click here <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/12/10818> for information on how to encourage your Congressional representative to sponsor HR 2160 <http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h2160ih.txt.pdf>.
* Don Tunstill, W4NO (SK): Don Tunstill, W4NO, founder of the Central America VEC, passed away at his home in Huntsville, Alabama on Monday, June 9. He was 69. Tunstill, an ARRL Life Member, was a charter member of Huntsville Amateur Radio Club and served as president of Huntsville Hamfest <http://www.hamfest.org/> for more than 30 years. With the FCC, Tunstill assisted with the formulation and implementation of the Volunteer Examiner Coordinator program and the vanity call sign system. He founded the Central America VEC, one of the first VE programs in the state of Alabama. A memorial service is planned for 10 AM on June 13 at Berryhill Funeral Home in Huntsville.
* Central States VHF Society Seeks Presentations for Annual Conference: The Central States VHF Society (CSVHFS) <http://www.csvhfs.org/> is soliciting presentations and poster displays for their 43rd Annual Conference this summer -- July 23-26 -- at the Holiday Inn in Elk Grove Village, Illinois <http://www.csvhfs.org/conference/index.html>. Possible presentation topics on all aspects of weak-signal VHF and above include, but are not limited to, antennas (modeling, design, arrays and control), equipment construction, propagation, test gear, regulatory issues, operating, digital signal processing and software-defined radio. The submission deadline for presentations and poster displays is June 29; bring posters for display with you to the conference. For more information, visit the CSVHFS 2009 conference Web page <http://www.csvhfs.org/conference/index.html> or contact Kermit Carlson, W9XA <email@example.com>.
* From the DXCC Desk: According to ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, questions have been coming into DXCC regarding the status of 5N/LZ1QK in Nigeria. "DXCC is currently working with his QSL manager to resolve the status of this operation," Moore said. "At this time, DXCC accreditation is on hold pending the outcome of the review."
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