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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 28, No. 24
June 19, 2009


* + Pacific Division Vice Director Steps Down; Appointment Fills Vacancy

* + FCC Chairman Nominee Genachowski, Current Commissioner McDowell Face
Confirmation Hearings 
* + W1AW, WA6ZTY to Conduct Dual-Tone Frequency Measuring Test in July 
* + Check Out the July/August NCJ 
* + ARRL Teachers Institutes Continue through Summer 
* + WX4NHC Announces On-the-Air Station Test Results 
*  Solar Update 
      This Week on the Radio 
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration 
    + ARRL to Close in Observance of Fourth of July 
    + ARRL Contest Update Offers Valuable Information for All 
      Jim Tabor, KU5S (SK) 
      Longtime ARRL Staffer Robert L. Lincoln Passes Away 

+Available on ARRL Audio News <> 

REMINDER: Be sure to check out the ARRL Field Day Locator for a Field
Day site near you! You can find the Field Day Locator on the ARRL Web
site <>. 

==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ
<>, then e-mail

==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA


Citing family and business reasons, ARRL Pacific Division Vice Director
Andy Oppel, N6AJO, has submitted his resignation. President Joel
Harrison, W5ZN, has appointed Jim Tiemstra, K6JAT, of Oakland,
California, to serve the remainder of the current term through the end
of 2010.

Oppel had served as Vice Director since being appointed in 2003 to
complete the term of Bob Vallio, W6RGG, who became Director upon the
death of Jim Maxwell, W6CF. In a message posted to the East Bay Section
Web page, he commented: "I regret to inform you that family and work
issues have forced me to resign as your ARRL Pacific Division Vice
Director. I have enjoyed being able to serve you in that capacity for
the past 6+ years and as East Bay Section Manager for 3 years prior to
that. I very much appreciate the support and friendship offered by many
of you and I hope I still get a chance to see many of you from time to

First licensed in 1970 as WN9ELU, Tiemstra, an attorney, is an Amateur
Extra class licensee. He has also held the call signs WB9ELU and N6OIK.
"I'm thrilled at the opportunity to serve an organization that I have
been a member of for my entire Amateur Radio career," Tiemstra said. "I
have known of and supported Pacific Division Director Bob Vallio's
efforts at the League for many years, and look forward to the
opportunity of working with him in those endeavors. I am deeply honored
to be chosen to fill the vacancy left by Andy's resignation. Because
Amateur Radio certainly has enriched and added value to many aspects of
my life, I am elated to have the opportunity to contribute something
back to the hobby. The future of Amateur Radio is at a critical
crossroads that will involve our appeal to youth."

Tiemstra told the ARRL that his favorite Amateur Radio activities are
"contesting -- I seem to have more wallpaper than wall -- DXing with 300
confirmed entities and DXpeditions, a poor but adequate excuse for a
vacation. I have operated as 3D2TJ, PJ2/K6JAT and KH6/K6JAT and from
V26DX, but I have long been involved in the public service aspects of
Amateur Radio."

As a member of the Oakland ARES group, Tiemstra responded to the 1989
Loma Prieta earthquake and the 1991 Oakland Hills firestorm. He worked
with Oakland area hams and city officials to gain RACES recognition and
was instrumental in forging a formal Letter of Understanding
<>. In addition, he assisted
Oakland ARES/RACES in successfully championing a proposal to use
post-firestorm, bond Measure I funds to acquire and install Amateur
Radio equipment in the Oakland's Emergency Operations Center and each of
its 30 fire stations. This has been dubbed the Emergency Communication
Ham Operation (ECHO) system. Tiemstra also served as Oakland's RACES
Radio Officer for more than 14 years.

In 1998, Tiemstra acted as the incorporator of the Oakland Radio
Communication Association (ORCA) <>, an ARRL
affiliated club; he was a founding director and became its first
president. He is a member of ORCA's board of directors and trustee of
the club's call sign WW6OR. Tiemstra is a member of the Northern
California Contest Club (NCCC) <>, the Quarter
Century Wireless Association (QCWA) <> and 10-10
International <>. Tiemstra and his wife, Lilah,
KE6EHD, have twin boys, Robert and Matthew, KI6IHP.


On June 16, Julius Genachowski -- the man President Barack Obama picked
to head the Federal Communications Commission -- and current FCC
Commissioner Robert McDowell appeared before the Senate's Commerce,
Science and Transportation Committee for their confirmation hearing. The
Committee voted 24-1 to approve Genachowski's nomination and unanimously
approved McDowell for his first full term as a Commissioner, sending
their names to the full Senate to be confirmed. 

President Obama nominated Genachowski to lead the Commission on March 3,
2009 <>; the
president renominated McDowell to his post on June 2
<>. Genachowski is a
Democratic nominee, while McDowell is a Republican. Only three
Commissioners may be members of the same political party.

At his confirmation hearing, the Chairman of the Commerce, Science and
Transportation Committee Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) told
Genachowski that he wants "an FCC that is transparent, that inspires
confidence and that makes our digital infrastructure a model for the
world. Tragically, this has not been the case for some time. Let me be
very clear about the challenge before you. Fix this agency or we will
fix it for you."

Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) praised Genachowski for having the "perfect
background" to run the FCC. He then added, "It seems to me that you will
lead a rather unhealthy agency. We've been through a period of
substantial secrecy."

Senator Rockefeller noted that during former Chairman Kevin J. Martin's
tenure, the FCC was under congressional investigation for mismanagement
<> and the focus of
criticism by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for its lack of
transparency and potential misuse of data. Late last year, the House
Committee on Energy and Commerce -- the congressional committee that
oversees the FCC -- released its majority staff report "on the
bipartisan investigation of the FCC's regulatory processes and
management practices." The report -- "Deception and Distrust: The
Federal Communications Commission under Chairman Kevin J. Martin" --
stated that the investigation was prompted "by allegations to the effect
that [FCC] Chairman Kevin J. Martin has abused FCC procedures by
manipulating or suppressing reports, data and information"

Genachowski assured the Committee that his career "inside and outside
government has convinced [him] that the FCC can be a model for
excellence in government, fighting for consumers and families, fostering
investment and innovation, through open, fair, and data-driven processes
-- a 21st century agency for the information age. The FCC should consult
closely with Congress, and work effectively and efficiently for the
American people."

In his testimony, McDowell said the Commission should focus on
attracting capital investment to the communications sector, adding that
the wireless sector is becoming increasingly important. "I will work to
support policies that will promote vigorous growth in the broadband
markets to ensure that all Americans have access to the promise of
high-speed Internet services and that the Internet remains robust, open
and safe," he told the Committee. 

Sources on Capitol Hill have said that Genachowski should be confirmed
by the time the Senate recesses for the July 4 holiday.

For a video stream of the confirmation hearings, please visit the Web
site of the Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee


The Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station, W1AW, and WA6ZTY on the West
Coast will conduct a summer Frequency Measuring Test (FMT) on July 1 at
9:45 PM EDT (0145 UTC on July 2) <>.
According to FMT Coordinator H. Ward Silver, N0AX, the format will be a
"do-over" of the dual-tone test conducted in November 2008: "The timing
glitches that occurred during the November test have been ironed out, so
the format will be repeated to give everyone another opportunity to make

Silver said that both stations will transmit on a carrier frequency of
3597.5 and 7095 kHz; these are the W1AW digital bulletin frequencies.
Two audio tones between 2000 and 2500 Hz will be transmitted in an
alternating sequence, with a shift between 100 and 500 Hz. This is
similar to what is used for RTTY communication. Beginning on 80 meters,
Tone 1 will be transmitted for 10 seconds, followed by Tone 2 for 10
seconds. The tones will then alternate until each tone has been
transmitted six times, for a total transmission of 120 seconds. The
transmitting station will then change to 40 meters -- after identifying
in Morse code -- and repeat the two-tone sequence.

All transmissions for announcing the test, identification and band
changes will be in CW at 15 WPM (18 WPM character speed). CW
transmissions will be on the carrier frequency, with each lasting more
than one minute.

Time Sequence for W1AW (begins at 9:45 PM EDT [0145 UTC July 2, 2009]):
* QST and test announcement on 80 meters.
* Repeat six times: 10 seconds of T1 followed by 10 seconds of T2. This
is a total of 120 seconds of transmission.
* ID and notice of QSY to 40 meters.
* QST and test announcement on 40 meters.
* Repeat six times: 10 seconds of T1 followed by 10 seconds of T2. This
is a total of 120 seconds of transmission.
* Announce conclusion of W1AW transmission and ID.

Time Sequence for WA6ZTY (begins at 10 PM EDT [0200 UTC July 2, 2009]) 
* QST and test announcement on 80 meters.
* Repeat six times: 10 seconds of T1 followed by 10 seconds of T2. This
is a total of 120 seconds of transmission.
* ID and notice of QSY to 40 meters.
* There will be a pause of five minutes while WA6ZTY reconfigures for 40
* QST and test announcement on 40 meters.
* Repeat six times: 10 seconds of T1 followed by 10 seconds of T2. This
is a total of 120 seconds of transmission.
* Announce conclusion of WA6ZTY transmission and CW ID.

According to Silver, the FMT has been run in the past where a modulated
carrier or audio tones are held steady for a very long time. "This
'classic' carrier frequency FMT format will return in November," he
said. "The new format addresses the growing importance of digital modes.
The challenge of this format is to make quick, accurate measurements of
the characteristics of a digital signal where the tones do not stay
steady for a long period of time. It's not expected that the level of
accuracy demonstrated for a long-tone test will be achieved for these
short tone transmissions -- that's not the point."

Silver said that he predicts there will be a future FMT that will
conduct a true-FSK test. "In this future test, there would be four
variables: Carrier frequency, Audio Tone 1, Audio Tone 2 and Shift," he
said. "Given the value of any one of the variables in advance, two of
the remaining variables would be measured and the final variable
calculated or measured. The symbol rate (the number of transitions per
second) would be representative of actual digital signals. For example,
a 60 WPM RTTY signal."

Silver said that this can present some challenges to FMT participants:
"One of the reasons we conduct the FMTs goes back to FCC Part 97.1(c):
'...advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of
the [radio] art.' We look forward to seeing the creativity and
innovation of the measurement community applied to this new format"

Participants should send their FMT reports -- indicating their values of
Tone 1, Tone 2 and Shift (the difference between the tones) -- via the
Web data collection form <> by July
8. The published results will evaluate error in Tone 1, Tone 2 and
Shift. "Be sure to include the details of how you made the measurements,
obstacles you faced and how you overcame them," Silver said. "It will
make great reading and sharing in the best traditions of Amateur Radio.
If you have pictures or diagrams, please send them <>; so
that they can be posted on the FMT Web page"


The July/August issue of NCJ, The National Contest Journal, is filled
with the latest news from the contesting world. Whether you are new to
contesting or are a seasoned pro -- or somewhere in the middle -- you
will find something in NCJ just for you <>. 

If you're in the market for a new rig, you will want to check out
"Choosing an HF Radio for Serious Contesting and DXing" by R. Scott
Wright, K0MD. In the first of a multi-part article, John Barcroft, K6AM,
takes a look at "A 3 Element Reversible Wire Yagi for 80 Meters." One
year after the introduction of CW Skimmer, Pete Smith, N4ZR, gives his
perspective in "CW Skimmer One Year Later."

This issue also features "NCJ Profiles" and "NCJ Club Spotlight": Tom
Menas, K3WT, introduces us to Dave Mueller, N2NL, of Key West, Florida,
while Bob Nash, VE3KZ, takes us inside the Contest Club Ontario.

If you've been waiting to see how you did in the January and February
contests, you definitely don't want to miss this issue! Shelby
Summerville, K4WW, give readers the rundown on the February 2009 NAQP
RTTY Contest. Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, looks at the results of the January
2009 NAQP CW and SSB Contests. Jim Stevens, K4MA, gives his take on the
February 2009 North American Phone Sprint and members of the Boring
Amateur Radio Club ponder the February 2009 North American CW Sprint.

Of course, there are all the regular columns and features you expect
from NCJ: "Workshop Chronicles," by Don Daso, K4ZA; "Contest Tips,
Tricks & Techniques," by Gary Sutcliffe, W9XT; "VHF-UHF Contesting," by
Jon Jones, N0JK; "DX Contest Activity Announcements," by Bill Feidt,
NG3K; "RTTY Contesting," by Don Hill, AA5AU, and "Contesting 101," by
Kirk Pickering, K4RO.

All this and more in the July/August issue of NCJ. NCJ is published six
times a year by the ARRL; it is edited by Al Dewey, K0AD. NCJ is what
every contester needs in their shack -- subscribe today


The second and third sessions of the ARRL's Teachers Institute on
Wireless Technology of 2009 have wrapped up in Rocklin, California and
Tucson, Arizona <>. These two TIs
mark the first time that the ARRL has offered simultaneous sessions of
the popular summer program for teachers. According to Education and
Technology Program Coordinator Mark Spencer, WA8SME, the addition of two
new TI instructors made it possible to hold two sessions at the same
time. "With Miguel Enriquez, KD7RPP, and Nathan McCray, K9CPO, on
board," Spencer said, "we are able to hold more sessions, and in turn,
involve more teachers into learning how to bring wireless technology
into their classrooms."

In Tucson, Enriquez led a group of local teachers through the four day
curriculum that includes basic electronics, the science of radio, space
in the classroom, microcontroller programming and basic robotics. "The
Tucson Teachers Institute went wonderfully," he told the ARRL. "I saw
lots of smiles, heads nodding in understanding and teachers espousing
intended commitment to provide a return on investment."

Spencer led the other session group at the Parallax facility in Northern
California. "This group was more geographically diverse," he said, "with
teachers from nine states from coast to coast." McCray will lead a
session in Michigan that begins on June 29.

Each Teachers Institute session includes 12 teachers. According to
Spencer, the curriculum is information packed and intensive. "This
year," Spencer said, "we tried to connect the teachers in the Tucson
session with the teachers in the California session via an AO-27
contact; satellites are part of the space in the classroom unit.
Unfortunately, this was not successful due to unforeseen complications
with accessing the satellite; however, a later attempt to demonstrate
ham radio space technology was successful."

The final day of the Teachers Institute is dedicated to basic robotics;
this unit ties together all of the other content areas taught during the
Teachers Institute. There are five more Teachers Institutes scheduled
over the next two months. Spencer said that "the aggressive schedule and
increased number of teachers participating this year -- 84 -- is
testament to the success of this ARRL Educational and Technology program
that is supported by the generous League donors who share a passion for


WX4NHC <>, the Amateur Radio station at the
National Hurricane Center <>, conducted its
annual On-The-Air Station Test on Saturday, May 30, 2009
<>. According to
Assistant WX4NHC Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R, the station conducted
the test to promote awareness of the 2009 hurricane season
<> and to verify
station equipment performance on the many frequencies and modes that are
used to communicate with other stations in affected areas during
hurricanes. WX4NHC has been at the NHC for 29 years.

Ripoll said that WX4NHC station was on the air for nine hours, making
154 contacts with stations in the US, the Caribbean, Central America,
Canada, Australia, Europe and Africa. "Most contacts made on HF were
done using phone (SSB) and on the Hurricane Watch Net
<> frequency of 14.325 MHz, as well as 7.268 MHz in
cooperation with the Waterway Net <>," he
said. "We also made contacts using HF and VHF APRS
<>, and local VHF and UHF
repeaters in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties."

Ripoll said that the VoIP Hurricane Net <>
conducted a two hour simulated Hurricane Net on EchoLink (WX_TALK
conference) and IRLP (node 9219) using the same methods of collecting
and forwarding data to WX4NHC during hurricanes with great success: "We
extend special thanks to Rob Macedo, KD1CY, and the VoIP Hurricane Net
Controls for their dedication and continued support of WX4NHC."

On behalf of the WX4NHC Coordinators and operators, Ripoll thanked all
the Amateur Radio operators who participated in the WX4NHC Annual
Station Test: "We look forward to your continued support during the
hurricane season." For a QSL card from the test, please send a
self-addressed, stamped envelope to Julio Ripoll, WD4R, 14855 SW 67 Ln,
Miami, FL 33193-2027.


Tad "Spread their wild hues to the sultry Sun" Cook, K7RA, this week
reports: I bet you have this memorized: "Solar activity was very low
throughout the reporting period, and geomagnetic field activity was at
quiet levels during most of the reporting period." Enough said? The
first sunspot region of Solar Cycle 24 occurred on January 4, 2008.
Since then, though, Solar Cycle 24 spots have been few and far between.
A good summary of this solar minimum can be made in two statements. The
first statement is that the duration of this solar minimum is unusual
compared to the other solar minimums in our lifetime. That's because
from the minimum between Solar Cycle 17 and 18 onward, solar minimums
have been roughly two years. Thus we've only been exposed to "short"
solar minimum periods. A look at all history shows a different story and
brings us to the second statement. This solar minimum, which is going on
three years now, is pretty much average in duration compared to all
history. What this all says is the Sun has been highly variable
throughout recorded history. Sunspot numbers for June 11-17 were 0, 12,
0, 0, 0 and 11 with a mean of 3.3. The 10.7 cm flux was 69.3, 69, 68.2,
68.1, 67.4, 68.3 and 67.8 with a mean of 68.3. The estimated planetary A
indices were 3, 2, 4, 6, 4, 3 and 3 with a mean of 3.6. The estimated
mid-latitude A indices were 2, 1, 3, 4, 4, 4 and 1 with a mean of 2.7.
For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL
Technical Information Service Propagation page
<>. To read this week's
Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW Propagation Bulletin
page <>. This week's "Tad Cookism" brought
to you by John Clare's "June"



* This Week on the Radio: This 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. On
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. Next week ARRL Field Day is on June 27-28 -- look for
a Field Day site near you
<>. The NCCC
Sprint and the Digital Pentathlon are on June 26. On June 27-28, check
out the His Majesty King of Spain Contest (SSB), the Ukrainian DX DIGI
Contest, the Marconi Memorial HF Contest and the ARCI Milliwatt Field
Day. The SARL Digital Contest is June 28 and the RAC Canada Day Contest
is July 1. All dates, unless otherwise stated, are UTC. See the ARRL
Contest Branch page <>, the ARRL Contest
Update <> and the WA7BNM Contest
Calendar <> for more
info. Looking for a Special Event station? Be sure to check out the ARRL
Special Event Station Web page <>.

* 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 <> or contact the
Continuing Education Program Coordinator <>;.

* ARRL to Close in Observance of Fourth of July: ARRL Headquarters will
be closed in observance of Independence Day on Friday, July 3. There
will be no ARRL Audio News, W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions
that day. The ARRL Letter will be posted a day early on Thursday, July
2. League Headquarters will reopen Monday, July 6 at 8 AM Eastern
Daylight Time. We wish everyone a safe and festive holiday weekend. 

* ARRL Contest Update Offers Valuable Information for All: Every two
weeks, H. Ward Silver, N0AX, produces the ARRL Contest Update. Each
issue is jam-packed with information for all operators -- be they
involved in radiosport or not -- operating and technical tips,
propagation information and a focus on a technical Web site each issue.
Of course, everything you need to know about upcoming contests is right
there at your fingertips. Since the ARRL Contest Update is available in
HTML, there is a link to the rules for each individual contest listed,
as well as pictures. ARRL members can subscribe the ARRL Contest Update
on the ARRL Web site

* Jim Tabor, KU5S (SK): Jim Tabor, KU5S, passed away at his home in
Greenwood, Arkansas on May 27; he was 54. A longtime ARRL member, Tabor
was head of Kangaroo Tabor Software <>, which
published various programs for radio amateurs, such as the WinCAP
propagation prediction software, GeoAlert-Extreme Wizard, Beacon-Time
Wizard and ID Wizard. Dean Straw, N6BV, who edited several recent
editions of The ARRL Antenna Book
<>, remembered Tabor fondly: "Over
the course of about a dozen years, Jim provided ARRL with some of his
most innovative propagation programs, and allowed us to include them on
the CD-ROM accompanying The ARRL Antenna Book. I worked closely with Jim
on several such projects, and he was always thorough and analytic in his
approach to such collaborations. But more than that, Jim was simply a
great guy to work with. I shall miss his unfailingly polite and
down-home, gentle demeanor. Jim will remain in my memory a soft-spoken,
gentle and talented man, a true gentleman." 

* Longtime ARRL Staffer Robert L. Lincoln Passes Away: Robert Lincoln,
94, of Westbrook, Connecticut, passed away at his home on June 13. After
his retirement at age 65 from Addressograph Multigraph, Lincoln came to
work at ARRL to run the League's in-house printing press. He retired
from the ARRL in January 2007 at age 92 after 27 years of service
<>. Around the ARRL HQ building, he was
affectionately known as "Mr Lincoln," carrying out his various printing
tasks largely out of the public spotlight. A memorial service is planned
for June 18 at Swan Funeral Home in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. 

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; <>. 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
<> for the latest Amateur Radio news and news
updates. The ARRL Web site <> also offers
informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News
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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!):
==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA,
==>ARRL News on the Web: <>
==>ARRL Audio News: <> or call

==>How to Get The ARRL Letter

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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.

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.

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