*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 28, No. 29 July 24, 2009 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * + Board Discusses Inappropriate Use of Amateur Radio, Strategic Planning, Other Issues at Second 2009 Meeting * + FCC Continues BPL Debate * + Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD (SK) * + The Doctor Is IN the ARRL Letter * + Ham Radio Helps Out with Mountain Rescue * + Special Bonus Section Added to "ARRL Ham Radio Licensing Manual" * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This Week on the Radio ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration + "Passport to World Band Radio" in "Limbo" +Available on ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> =========================================================== ==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/faq.html#nodelivery>, then e-mail <email@example.com> ==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA <firstname.lastname@example.org> =========================================================== ==> BOARD DISCUSSES INAPPROPRIATE USE OF AMATEUR RADIO, STRATEGIC PLANNING, OTHER ISSUES AT SECOND 2009 MEETING The ARRL Board of Directors held its Second Meeting of 2009 July 17-18 in Windsor, Connecticut, under the chairmanship of President Joel Harrison, W5ZN. On Friday, the Board considered and acted on a number of recommendations from committees as well as motions by Directors. Saturday was devoted to reviewing and revising the ARRL Strategic Plan that was adopted in October 2006 <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/stratplan/ARRL_Strategic_Plan_October_ 2006.pdf>. Inappropriate Use of Amateur Radio: The Board authorized the President to appoint an ad hoc committee to prepare guidelines for use by the amateur community and others to identify inappropriate uses of Amateur Radio, while preserving our role of providing communications during times of disasters and for public service events. The Board asked the committee to present its findings to the Executive Committee within 30 days. Emergency Communications Advisory Committee: The Board considered, but ultimately declined to adopt a motion to establish an Emergency Communications Advisory Committee. Amateur Auxiliary/Official Observer Program: Programs and Services Committee Chairman Bruce Frahm, K0BJ, announced the creation of an ad hoc subcommittee to study the Amateur Auxiliary/Official Observer program and recommend any desirable changes to the Board. Emergency Liaison Station: The Board established a national-level appointment of Emergency Liaison Station to tie ARRL Headquarters to affected areas during disasters via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to HF or VHF linking. Narrowband Channel Spacing: The Board directed the President to appoint a study committee for the purpose of research and to consider developing a plan to move the US amateur community to narrowband channel spacing in the VHF/UHF bands. Volunteer Consulting Engineer Program: The Board extended the Volunteer Consulting Engineer program to registered professional engineers in addition to structural, civil and mechanical engineers. Annual Audit: Acting on the recommendation of the Administration and Finance Committee as presented by Chairman Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF, the Board formally accepted the financial statements, including the auditors' opinion letter, for the year ending December 31, 2008. ARRLWeb Redesign: A group from Fathom, a contractor based in Hartford, presented an update of the redesign of the ARRL's Web site. IARU: The Board voted to appoint Rod Stafford, W6ROD, as IARU Secretary effective October 1, 2009. Stafford is retiring from full-time employment as of that date and will be available to serve as a volunteer in this capacity. The Board also directed the ARRL Secretary to cast a vote in favor of IARU Proposal No 245, concerning the admission of Union des Radioamateurs du Congo (URAC) to IARU membership. Strategic Planning The Board devoted a full day to reviewing and updating the three year old ARRL Strategic Plan. Last year, the Board invited ARRL members to comment on the League's future direction <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/stratplan/>. These comments were read and considered by the Board. Before turning the comments over to the Executive Committee, they added some thoughts of their own. The Executive Committee started drafting ideas for the new Strategic Plan at its March 2009 meeting. The review process at the 2009 Second Meeting included breakout sessions to develop possible strategies to address each of six goals that will guide the ARRL for the next three to five years; the results of the breakout sessions were then reported back to the full Board. The complete output of the planning session will be reported back to the participants for e-mail discussion and then considered by the Executive Committee at its next meeting in October. The Executive Committee will refine the document. Awards The Board established the George Hart Distinguished Service Award to be given to an ARRL member whose service to the League's Field Organization is of the most exemplary nature. Selection criteria for this award may include an operating record with the National Traffic System (NTS), participation in ARES or station appointments and/or leadership positions held in the Field Organization. Nominations may be made by anyone, and the nominees should have a minimum of 15 years of service. Nominations will be considered by the Board at its Annual Meetings in January. The Board made some changes to the Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award, establishing separate categories for audio formats, visual formats and print/text formats and redirecting the cash awards from the winners to an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of the recipient's choice. Hiram Percy Maxim Award: The Board selected Jason Hatfield, KD8FDD, of Grafton, West Virginia, as the recipient of the 2008 Hiram Percy Maxim Award. Technical Excellence Award: For the second year in a row the Board chose John Stanley, K4ERO, Georgia, as the recipient of the 2008 Doug DeMaw, W1FB Technical Excellence Award. Technical Service Award: The 2009 ARRL Technical Service Award went to Geoffrey Haines, N1GY, of Bradenton, Florida for his prolific and clear writing. Technical Innovation Award: Dan Smith, KK7DS, of Hillsboro, Oregon received the 2009 ARRL Technical Innovation Award for his programming contributions to digital communications. Instructor of the Year Award: The Board selected Brian Short, KC0BS, of Olathe, Kansas, as the recipient of the 2009 Herb S. Brier Instructor of the Year Award. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award: The Board selected Nate Brightman, K6OSC, of Long Beach, California, as the winner of the 2009 Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award for excellence in public relations. Joe Knight Distinguished Service Award: The Board conferred ARRL Joe Knight Distinguished Service Awards on two long-time volunteers this year: former Western New York Section Manager Bill Thompson, W2MTA, of Newark Valley, New York, and Georgia Section Manager Susan Swiderski, AF4FO, of Norcross, Georgia. Guests International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, and Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) Vice President International Affairs Daniel Lamoureux, VE2KA, were guests of the Board. The complete Minutes of the 2009 Second Meeting of the ARRL Board of Directors will be available soon on the ARRLWeb. The next meeting of the ARRL Board of Directors is scheduled for January 15-16, 2010. ==> FCC CONTINUES BPL DEBATE On July 17, the FCC issued a "Request for Further Comment and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" ("FNPRM") <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-09-60A1.pdf>, addressing the issues remanded to them by the US Court of Appeals. In October 2007, the ARRL took the Commission to court concerning the Commission's Orders adopting rules governing broadband over power line (BPL) systems <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2007/10/25/102/?nc=1>. In April 2008, the Court agreed with the ARRL on two major points and remanded the rules to the Commission <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/04/25/10064/?nc=1>. Writing for the three-judge panel of Circuit Judges Rogers, Tatel and Kavanaugh, Judge Rogers summarized: "The Commission failed to satisfy the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act ('APA') by redacting studies on which it relied in promulgating the rule and failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its choice of the extrapolation factor for measuring Access BPL emissions." * New Information? The Court found, among other things, that the FCC not only withheld the internal studies until it was too late to comment, but had yet to release portions of studies that may not support its own conclusions regarding BPL. The FCC claimed that the studies were "internal communications" that it did not rely upon in reaching its decision to adopt the BPL rules. In its April 2008 ruling, the Court ordered the FCC to release the studies. In March 2009, when the FCC still had not released the redacted portions of the studies as ordered by the court, the ARRL filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the studies. Six weeks later, the FCC released the redacted portions of the studies <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/08/10811/?nc=1>. To contend with the Court's ruling, the Commission is now requesting comment on the information in those studies as it pertains the FCC's BPL decisions. The Commission is "also placing into the record certain additional materials that contain preliminary staff research and educational information" that was not previously made available. It is these records that concern ARRL Laboratory Manager and BPL expert Ed Hare, W1RFI. "At the same time the FCC released the new 'FNPRM,' it also released 800 MB of previously unseen FCC internal staff reports and video on BPL," Hare said <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/BPL_FOIA.html>. "Although the FCC tries to downplay the work of their own staff by saying that these reports are only the opinion of one FCC staffer, these conclusions about BPL from the FCC Lab were made by FCC technical people with strong experience in measurement techniques and interference assessment. This is generally good engineering, with a clear objective of providing the Commission with accurate technical information about BPL." According to Hare's preliminary review of the "FNPRM," the FCC's own technical findings clearly spell out that BPL operating at the FCC limits has a very strong potential to cause interference to licensed radio users: "These reports show that BPL causes interference to a number of licensed services for significant distances from BPL noise sources and that the noise from BPL at antennas that are about 100 feet from wires carrying BPL operating at the FCC limits will represent an increase in noise of about 30 dB in most cases." Hare said that other slides show that radiated noise from overhead power lines increases significantly above the noise at ground level. "Based on these internal FCC technical analyses, the present rules and test methods -- when coupled with inappropriate distance extrapolation -- simply do not protect licensed users from interference," he said. "The Commission was well aware of the content of these presentations when it issued a BPL "Report and Order" that discounted ARRL when the League made many of the same technical points in its filings." * Extrapolation Factor: FCC Looking for Compromise? One of the major points of difference between ARRL and the FCC has been the measurement extrapolation factor below 30 MHz that is applied to measurements made at distances from power lines or other radiating sources to determine what the value of that measurement would be at a distance of 30 meters. This is the distance in the FCC rules for which maximum permitted emission are specified. The FCC believes that this factor should be 40 dB/distance decade. Hare explained why this is incorrect: "The FCC's test method measures BPL emissions at ground level, using a loop antenna located 1 meter off the ground. Amateurs know that a low horizontal antenna radiates more energy upward than it does toward the horizon, and that a measurement made of a radiating power line at 1 meter off the ground is not a good indicator of the noise levels that will be present at angles upward from that same power line, where HF antennas are most apt to be located. The 40 dB extrapolation factor and the lack of any correction for height result in a BPL system that will significantly exceed the FCC emission limits at the very point where most Amateur HF antennas are located." In response to its remand of a portion of BPL measurement procedure, the FCC is "also providing an explanation of our reasons for selecting 40 dB per decade as the extrapolation factor for frequencies below 30 MHz. We further explain why we believe the studies and technical proposal submitted earlier by the ARRL do not provide convincing information that we should use an extrapolation factor that is different from that which we adopted," noting the existence of "more recent studies" that prove their point. In the "FNPRM," the FCC states that they are "re-examining the current extrapolation factor in light of the recently issued technical studies addressing the attenuation of BPL emissions with distance and efforts by the IEEE to develop BPL measurement standards." Using these studies and older ones, the FCC said that "there can be considerable variability in the attenuation of emissions from BPL systems across individual measurement sites that is not captured in the fixed 40 dB per decade standard." Based upon this "considerable variability," the FCC has opened a 30 day comment period, asking if they should change their rules to "adjust the extrapolation factor downward to 30 dB or some other fixed value and, as an alternative, also allow use of a special procedure for determining site-specific BPL extrapolation values using in situ measurements." Hare notes that the "FNRPM" is creating a complex way to look for a simple solution to a complex problem. "It's ironic that the FNPRM discusses the 'considerable variability' in attenuation at BPL sites, then proposes that a measurement of a mere four points within that variability can determine the supposedly actual extrapolation. The NTIA Phase II study that is the 'newer study' that the FCC is relying on for part of its justification for 40 dB/decade shows an environment extremely more complicated than that. Trying to apply any measurement of extrapolation to this complex environment is a recipe for failure -- and possible 'cherrypicking' of results that will allow those making measurements of BPL systems to provide any value of extrapolation they want, in either direction. I serve on the IEEE committee that developed the draft for this extrapolation-measurement method and I did not stand alone in not supporting the approach that the P1775 Working Group has sent to ballot. At this point, the working group is in the process of resolving and rebutting the numerous comments received in the still-unresolved IEEE ballot." Even though the FCC is inviting comments, they state that they "do not believe that the studies and technical proposal submitted earlier by the ARRL provide convincing information that we should use an extrapolation factor that is different from (and, specifically, less than) 40 dB. We believe that [other] studies [we have relied on] further validate the use of 40 dB as the extrapolation factor. In addition, the sufficiency of our rules for ensuring compliance is further validated by the fact that we have not had any new complaints of interference for more than two years." Hare has worked extensively with the BPL industry to help it address interference. "If the FCC thinks that the falling off in BPL complaints is due to the sufficiency of its rules, it is mistaken," he said. "In response to ARRL's input and offers of help, the industry has essentially stopped using the amateur bands in US deployments. The FCC's own video documentation of interference from BPL that is operating under the rules the FCC put forward should be more than sufficient to show that the rules as written are not good ones. The industry has reduced the interference from BPL by doing more than the rules require. By not using the amateur bands and by improving the filtering of BPL systems well beyond the inadequate requirements of the present rules, the industry and ARRL have shown that it is possible to operate BPL systems without widespread interference problems to Amateur Radio." Hare said that what is needed now "are good rules and industry standards that reflect this successful model. That is not seen in this FNPRM. Rules that reflect the industry practice of not using the amateur bands and that specify state-of-the-art filtering could protect the Amateur Radio Service and support this still-nascent BPL industry." ==> WALTER CRONKITE, KB2GSD (SK) Legendary CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD, who held the title of "Most Trusted Man in America," passed away Friday, July 17 after a long illness. He was 92. The avuncular Cronkite anchored the CBS Evening News for 19 years until 1981 when he retired. During that time, he reported on such subjects as the Kennedy assassinations, the Civil Rights movement, the Apollo 11 lunar landing, Vietnam and the Vietnam-era protests, the Arab-Israeli Six Day War, Watergate and the Begin-Sadat peace accords. Cronkite, an ARRL member, narrated the 6 minute video "Amateur Radio Today" <http://www.arrl.org/ARToday/>. Produced by the ARRL in 2003, the video tells Amateur Radio's public service story to non-hams, focusing on ham radio's part in helping various agencies respond to wildfires in the Western US during 2002, ham radio in space and the role Amateur Radio plays in emergency communications. "Dozens of radio amateurs helped the police and fire departments and other emergency services maintain communications in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC," narrator Cronkite intoned in reference to ham radio's response on September 11, 2001. "Their country asked, and they responded without reservation." In 1963, it was Cronkite who broke into the soap opera "As the World Turns" to announce that the president had been shot -- and later to declare that he had been killed. CBS called it a "defining moment for Cronkite, and for the country. His presence -- in shirtsleeves, slowly removing his glasses to check the time and blink back tears -- captured both the sense of shock, and the struggle for composure, that would consume America and the world over the next four days." Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML, was Cronkite's radio engineer at CBS for many years. "I had many chances to discuss my favorite hobby, ham radio, with 'the world's most trusted anchor man,'" he told the ARRL. "Gradually, his interest increased, but on finding that he had to pass a Morse code test, he balked, saying it was too hard for him; however, he told me he had purchased a receiver and listened to the Novice bands every night for a few minutes. At the CBS Radio Network, Walter would arrive 10 minutes before we went on the air to read his script aloud, make corrections for his style of grammar and just 'get in the mood' to do the show. In those days Rich Moseson, W2VU, was the producer of a show called "In the News," a 3 minute television show for children voiced by CBS Correspondent Christopher Glenn. On this day, Rich was at the Broadcast Center to record Chris' voice for his show and had dropped by my control room to discuss some upcoming ARRL issues." At the time, Mendelsohn was the ARRL Hudson Division Director. "When Walter walked into the studio, I started to set the show up at the behest of our director, Dick Muller, WA2DOS," Mendelsohn recalled. "In setting up the tape recorders, I had to send tone to them and make sure they were all at proper level. Having some time, I grabbed "The New York Times" and started sending code with the tone key on the audio console. For 10 minutes I sent code and noticed Walter had turned his script over and was copying it. We went to air, as we did every day, at 4:50 PM and after we were off, Walter brought his script into the control room. Neatly printed on the back was the text I had sent with the tone key. Rich and I looked at the copy, he nodded, and I told Walter that he had just passed the code test. He laughed and asked when the formal test was, but I reminded him that it took two General class licensees to validate the test and he had just passed the code. Several weeks later he passed the written test and the FCC issued him KB2GSD." Mendelsohn helped Cronkite make his first Amateur Radio contact: "Having passed the licensing test, Walter was now ready to get on the air. His first QSO was on 10 meters about 28.390 MHz. He was nervous and I called him on the phone to talk him through his first experience. As we talked on the air, a ham from the Midwest come on and called me. Acknowledging him, I asked the usual questions about where he was from, wanting to give Walter a bit of flavor of what the hobby was about. I turned it over to Walter, and following his introduction, the gentleman in the Midwest said, 'That's the worst Walter Cronkite imitation I've ever heard!' I suggested that maybe it was Walter and the man replied, 'Walter Cronkite is not even a ham, and if he was, he certainly wouldn't be here on 10 meters.' Walter and I laughed for weeks at that one." In 2007, ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, presented Cronkite with the ARRL President's Award. This award, created in 2003 by the ARRL Board of Directors, recognizes an ARRL member or members who "have shown long-term dedication to the goals and objectives of ARRL and Amateur Radio" and who have gone the extra mile to support individual League programs and goals. Cronkite was selected to receive the award in April 2005 in recognition of his outstanding support of the ARRL and Amateur Radio by narrating the videos "Amateur Radio Today" and "The ARRL Goes to Washington" <http://www.arrl.org/pio/VTS-video.wmv>. "It was quite a thrill to make this presentation to Cronkite," Fallon said. "He has long been recognized as the 'most trusted man in America,' so lining our causes to his face, name and voice has been a great help." A private memorial service was held July 23 in New York City. Cronkite will be cremated and his remains buried in Missouri next to his wife Betsy, who passed away in 2005. A public memorial service will be held within the next month at Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Walter and Betsy Cronkite Foundation through the Austin Community Foundation <http://www.austincommunityfoundation.org/>, which will distribute contributions to various charities the couple supported. ==> THE DOCTOR IS IN THE ARRL LETTER This week, ARRL Letter readers are in luck! The ARRL's very own Doctor, author of the popular QST column "The Doctor Is IN," answers a question from his mailbag: Question -- Jeff Freedman, K7JF, of Gig Harbor, Washington, asks: I am setting up my beam antenna for the first time. I understand there is a true north and a magnetic north (or south for the Southern Hemisphere). What is the difference between true and magnetic? For which of the two should my beam be initially calibrated? If magnetic north, how do I know where to set the beam? The Doctor Answers -- Magnetic north is the direction a compass needle points to, while true north is the direction to the Earth's northerly rotational axis point. They are indeed different in most places, and the difference is different for each spot on Earth. It also changes over time. The difference is referred to as magnetic variation on nautical charts and as magnetic declination in some other venues. NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center provides information on the nature of this phenomenon as well as maps showing the correction <http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/declination.shtml>. For example, at my station location in Connecticut, in 1981 the magnetic variation was 13 degrees west with an annual increase of 4 minutes. That means in 2009, it should be a bit less than 16 degrees. If you look at the US map on the above Web site you will see that they have it near the -15 degrees line. In addition to the Web site, you can find your variation on any nautical chart of a location near your station, on any coast and geodetic survey map or call your town engineer. To convert magnetic north readings from your compass to true north, subtract if the variation is westerly (negative on the NOAA map), add if easterly. Conceptually, either a true or magnetic reference could be used, as long as you keep track and convert everything to the same basis. All propagation programs that I am aware of give bearings with respect to true north, so I would suggest using true bearings on your rotator controller. Do you have a question or a problem? Send your questions via e-mail <email@example.com>; or to "The Doctor," ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 (no phone calls, please). Look for "The Doctor Is IN" every month in QST, the official journal of the ARRL. ==> HAM RADIO HELPS OUT WITH MOUNTAIN RESCUE It was a quiet afternoon on July 11 and Rich Lippucci, KI6RRQ, of Vista, California, was monitoring the Catalina Amateur Radio Association (CARA) repeater on his base station. "I heard someone come over the repeater, calling, 'Is there anybody listening?' I responded and the caller said he was on his handheld transceiver hiking around the Mt Baldy area. He was about 2.5 miles off road and resting at the wilderness San Antonio Ski Hut <http://angeles.sierraclub.org/lodges/sanantonioskihut.html>. A few hikers had arrived from farther in the backcountry -- one of their friends had broken an ankle and was a mile or more up the trail and they needed help." Mt Baldy is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains and the highest point in Los Angeles County. Lippucci asked the caller for his call sign and name. "He told me he was Kirk Gustafson, KE6MTF," he told the ARRL. "I asked Kirk if he had a cell phone, but he told me there was no cell service where they were. I told him I would coordinate emergency services over my landline and asked for his exact location. He did an excellent job; he had a good idea of where he was and wasn't sure which county he was in, but he did have GPS coordinates." Using his landline, Lippucci called 911 and was transferred three times until he was connected to Chelsea in the San Bernardino County Sheriff's dispatch center. "Chelsea coordinated the rescue with the San Bernardino Fire Department who sent a foot patrol to the area," he said. "The Sherriff's office dispatched a helicopter to meet someone at the ski hut to take them to where the hiker was down. It took a little less than an hour for emergency services to get above the location in a helicopter, but they were not able to land the helicopter due to the rocky terrain at the ski lift." Lippucci said that while the foot patrol and helicopter were on their way, the group of hikers had brought the injured woman down the trail to the ski hut, stabilized her leg and determined it was probably not broken. They still did not feel they could carry her out as the trail down from the wilderness ski lift was so steep." The ski hut can only be reached via a steep three mile hike and 2200 feet elevation gain. The dispatcher told Lippucci that the helicopter would perform a skid rescue where a crew member suspends a bed basket from the helicopter; the victim is secured and pulled back up to the helicopter. The dispatchers asked Lippucci to relay back to Gustafson, asking if the group needed anything, such as food or water. Gustafson relayed back that they didn't need anything. "After about 15 minutes from arriving on site, the helicopter and its crew got the victim airlifted out successfully without further complications," Lippucci said. Gustafson took a video of the rescue with his cell phone <http://marlene.zimage.com/ke6mtf/hike/rescue/iPhone/IMG_0408.MOV>. Gustafson and Lippucci -- both ARRL members -- have been in contact since that Saturday afternoon. "Since the incident, Kirk informed me that the injured lady was around 40 years old and that there were up to 15 hikers hanging around the ski hut, some of which were search and rescue volunteers on vacation," he told the ARRL. "They had some kind of radios with them, but their batteries where dead. Kirk said when he got out of his car to start his hike, he grabbed his handheld transceiver radio and GPS. His friends told him 'That's just extra weight -- you won't need that.' He told them, 'I go nowhere without my radio. If I need to call for help, the only way I would be able to let them know where I am is with GPS. I'm bringing them.' I don't think they will say that next time! Kirk said that one of them decided they need to look into getting a ticket and radio and that the search and rescue folks said they were going to look into getting ham radio licenses." Lippucci said that ham radio saved the day: "A handheld radio, hitting a local wide-area repeater, was what was needed when cell and landline phones were not available. Many thanks to the CARA club for their awesome reach in Southern California on 2 meters. Thanks also to those on the air that where very gracious to respect the traffic and keep communications open during the rescue. This is such an excellent example of the benefits of ham radio. If people had to hike out of the wilderness, get to their cars and find a cell signal, they might have been pushing up against the loss of daylight hours. Any rescue would have been significantly more difficult in the dark." Lippucci told the ARRL that 911 and the Sherriff's office in San Bernardino accepted the ham radio call without hesitation. "They used a ham radio operator to relay questions to Kirk through me, to gain all the information they wanted and needed to put assets on the emergency," he said. "It was as if I was calling about something in my own backyard, even though the problem was several counties away in the mountains, with people I didn't know. I am proud to have had the opportunity to use my license in service of an emergency situation. As a CERT member <http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/>, this was the very reason I got my ham radio license in the first place!" -- Information provided by Rich Lippucci, KI6RRQ ==> SPECIAL BONUS SECTION ADDED TO "ARRL HAM RADIO LICENSING MANUAL" The most common question asked by new radio amateurs is "Now that I have my license, what kind of radio should I get?" The ARRL, in an attempt to help newcomers to Amateur Radio answer that very question, has added a bonus supplement to the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=9639>. "Choosing a Ham Radio: Your Guide to Selecting the Right Equipment" is aimed at the new Technician licensee ready to acquire a first radio, a licensee recently upgraded to General class and wanting to explore HF or someone getting back into Amateur Radio after a period of inactivity. The guide features two main sections -- one covering gear for the VHF and UHF bands, and one for HF band equipment, including a VHF/UHF and an HF glossary of terms you will encounter. The guide also urges you to discover just what you want to do with Amateur Radio and where you want to do it from. Do you want to be a "big gun" HF contester? Do you want to ragchew on your local repeater system? Maybe you want to join your local ARES unit and help provide communications support in times of emergency. This guide will help you select the right rig for what you want to do. "Choosing a Ham Radio: Your Guide to Selecting the Right Equipment" isn't a traditional "buyer's guide" with feature lists and prices for many radios. Manufacturer's Web sites and catalogs from radio stores have plenty of information on the latest models and features. As such, you won't find operating instructions or technical specifications here, but many manufacturers' Web sites will let you download brochures and manuals directly. Second only to "What kind of radio should I get?" "What kind of antenna do I need?" is the most common question asked by the new amateur. Don't worry! "Choosing a Ham Radio: Your Guide to Selecting the Right Equipment" talks about all kinds of antennas -- from "rubber duckies" to verticals to dipoles to Yagis; it even explains rotators and antenna gain. An explanation of power, filters and digital signal processing (DSP), as well as special features commonly found on VHF/UHF and HF radios are also included in the guide. ARRL members who are logged on to the ARRL Web site can view the guide online <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/choosingaradio/>. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Tad "The Sun himself has sent me like a ray" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: No new sunspots yet, but a big surprise this week with aurora and a geomagnetic storm: Sunspot activity peaked around 0300-0900 UTC on Wednesday July 22, with K index as high as 6. The planetary A index for the day was 24. One nice result was aurora propagation on 6 meters. A week ago there wasn't any indicator of increased activity. There is a new sunspot trying to emerge today (July 24), but it looks to be from Solar Cycle 23. Sunspot numbers for July 16-22 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0 with a mean of 0. The 10.7 cm flux was 66.7, 66.2, 67, 67.6, 68.2, 67.7 and 67.8 with a mean of 67.3. The estimated planetary A indices were 4, 2, 3, 2, 6, 4 and 24 with a mean of 6.4. The estimated mid-latitude A indices were 2, 0, 1, 1, 3, 3 and 18 with a mean of 4. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet geomagnetic conditions July 24-25, quiet to unsettled July 26 and back to quiet for July 27-30. The US Air Force and NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center calls for planetary A index of 5 for July 24-25, 8 on July 26, 7 on July 27 and back to 5 though the end of the month. They predict solar flux on July 24-26 at 68, 69 and 70, remaining at 70 through August 7. 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 George Gordon, Lord Byron's "Don Juan" <http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Don_Juan_(Byron)>. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This Week on the Radio: This week, look for an NCCC Sprint Ladder on July 24. The RSGB IOTA Contest is July 25-26. Next week, the ARRL UHF Contest, the 10-10 Summer QSO Party and the North American QSO Party (CW) are August 1-2. 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 remains open through Sunday, July 26, 2009, for these online course sessions beginning on Friday, August 7, 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>. * "Passport to World Band Radio" in "Limbo": The publisher of "Passport to World Band Radio" <http://www.passband.com/> told readers that the future of the seminal SWL guide is in "limbo." Acknowledging on the Passport's Web site <http://www.passband.com/passport-to-world-band-radio%C2%AE-in-limbo/> that "solid content" is essential to the success of a publication, publisher Larry Magne cited "other considerations" as the impetus behind the decision to possibly cease publication. While Magne gave no exact reason for the decision, it reflects the decline in popularity of shortwave listening, as well as the availability of shortwave schedules on the Internet. Magne said that "Passport to World Band Radio," which just released its 25th edition this year, will continue "to maintain the WorldScan database and uphold all proprietary material. Among other things, this should help allow for an orderly return to production...should conditions allow. For Passport readers and our small team alike, this is a seminal moment. After all, 'Passport to World Band Radio' goes back a quarter century and has had something like a million readers worldwide. But the future has its own rhythm that confounds prognostication. There may yet be more chapters to this story. Stay tuned." "Passport to World Band Radio" is available from the ARRL Online Store <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=0339>. =========================================================== The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League: ARRL--the national association for Amateur Radio, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; <http://www.arrl.org/>. Joel Harrison, W5ZN, President. The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential and general news of interest to active radio amateurs. Visit the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> for the latest Amateur Radio news and news updates. The ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> also offers informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> is a weekly "ham radio newscast" compiled and edited from The ARRL Letter. It's also available as a podcast from our Web site. Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter/American Radio Relay League. ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): email@example.com ==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, firstname.lastname@example.org ==>ARRL News on the Web: <http://www.arrl.org/> ==>ARRL Audio News: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call 860-594-0384 ==>How to Get The ARRL Letter The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from ARRL HQ. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for e-mail delivery: ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site <http://www.arrl.org/members/>. You'll have an opportunity during registration to sign up for e-mail delivery of The ARRL Letter, W1AW bulletins, and other material. To change these selections--including delivery of The ARRL Letter--registered members should click on the "Member Data Page" link (in the Members Only box). Click on "Modify membership data," check or uncheck the appropriate boxes and/or change your e-mail address if necessary. (Check "Temporarily disable all automatically sent email" to temporarily stop all e-mail deliveries.) Then, click on "Submit modification" to make selections effective. (NOTE: HQ staff members cannot change your e-mail delivery address. You must do this yourself via the Members Only Web Site.) The ARRL Letter also is available to all, free of charge, from these sources: * ARRLWeb <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/>. (NOTE: The ARRL Letter will be posted each Friday when it is distributed via e-mail.) * The QTH.net listserver, thanks to volunteers from the Boston Amateur Radio Club: Visit Mailing Lists@QTH.Net <http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/letter-list>. (NOTE: The ARRL cannot assist subscribers who receive The ARRL Letter via this listserver.) Copyright 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.
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