*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 28, No. 31 August 7, 2009 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * + The ARRL Teachers Institute Wraps Up Successful Summer Sessions * + Meredith Attwell Baker, Mignon Clyburn Sworn in as FCC Commissioners: Now There Are Five * + Look for the September Issue of QST in Your Mailbox * + ARRL In Action: What Have We Been Up to Lately? * + Scott Redd, K0DQ: The Biggest Gun of All * + FCC Issues Citation to Washington Company for Selling, Importing Unauthorized RF Devices * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This Week on the Radio ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration + MFJ Acquires Cushcraft + Robert Wilson, AL7KK/VE7ZKK, Wins July QST Cover Plaque Award Get Ready for the Perseids! +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> =========================================================== ==> THE ARRL TEACHERS INSTITUTE WRAPS UP SUCCESSFUL SUMMER SESSIONS In 2004, the ARRL held its first Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/tbp/ti.html>. That summer, nine teachers came from across the country to learn how to bring this exciting technology back to their classrooms. Six years later, 93 teachers from 29 states attended eight sessions of the ARRL Teachers Institute. "The ARRL Teachers Institute continues to be a resounding success," said ARRL Education Program Coordinator Mark Spencer, WA8SME. "These teachers, upon returning to their classrooms, will reach out to approximately 3000 students, using new approaches to instructing the science of radio through the many hands-on activities that they learned about during the Teachers Institute." This year, the eight sessions of the Teachers Institute were held at various venues in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, New Mexico and Ohio, with the last session taking place at ARRL Headquarters in Connecticut. "By holding the Teachers Institute sessions at various locations in the country, it gives them a national flavor," Spencer said. "This increased tempo of offerings was made possible with the addition of Miguel Enriquez, KD7RPP, and Nathan McCray, K9CPO, who joined me on the Teachers Institute instructor team." Spencer said that a typical Teachers Institute session includes about 12 participants, with about half of those licensed amateurs. "The final section at Newington this year was unusual in that eight of the 11 participants were hams before the session," Spencer recounted, "but the three non-ham teachers studied for and passed their Technician licenses exams during the session, rounding out the roster with 100 percent hams!" The ARRL VEC expedited their applications so three new hams received their call signs that day. "These teachers had the unique experience of making their first ham radio contacts with the headquarters station W1AW, with the appropriate pomp and circumstance for such a momentous experience in a ham's career," Spencer said. The ARRL Teachers Institutes provide a four-day, intensive in-service training opportunity for classroom teachers in basic electronics, the science of radio, bringing space technology into the classroom, microcontroller programming and basic robotics. For the first time, an advanced session of the Teachers Institute was added this summer. This session, made available to a few Teachers Institute graduates, included an expanded space in the classroom unit. This inaugural session, dubbed TI-II, focused on assembling and integrating the equipment and software required to setup a satellite Earth ground station, how to operate the ground stations to communicate with other hams via ham radio satellites, and finally how to intercept, copy, decode, interpret and use satellite telemetry in the classroom. The Teachers Institute program is one component of the grant offerings within the Education and Technology Program (ETP) http://www.arrl.org/FandES/tbp/ti.html>. This portfolio of resources is made available to schools and school teachers to advance the integration of wireless technology literacy and ham radio into school curricula. The ETP is possible only because of the generous donations from those who share in the passion of ham radio <https://www.arrl.org/forms/development/donations/education/2008/>. The Dayton, Ohio session of the Teachers Institute was supported by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) <http://www.w8bi.org/>. The cost of the equipment provided to the teachers during the TI-II was offset by the generous support of Yaesu <http://www.yaesu.com/>. The success of the Teachers Institute is best told by the participants themselves: * "I highly recommend this inspiring and practical course -- it covered everything from basic electronics to satellite operations to robotics in ways that are directly applicable to many grade levels and subject areas. What a fantastic way to integrate knowledge and get students inspired to learn!" * "It made me realize that if we can get students interested in radio and electronics technology, there are no limits to what they can achieve and develop. The TI was an eye opener, even for a long time teacher like me. It made me excited to learn again." * "This program is perfect for a teacher who wants to learn basic electronics and wireless technology. This is a great workshop to put on your resume and a great investment in you and your students." * "I thought that I knew the Parallax BOE-BOT before the TI, but I learned more than I previously knew during the TI. Before the session, I would not have gotten my Technician class license; I did so only because of the encouragement of the instructor and my fellow TI participants." * "This was a great program and very productive use of time. The pace was good for varying levels. I found exciting new ideas for use in the classroom. The most important thing for classrooms: Having Fun!" * "I can't wait to implement the ideas in my classroom that were presented during the TI." * "ARRL: Keep up the good work!" Information on the 2010 sessions of the ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology will be available in February. ==> MEREDITH ATTWELL BAKER, MIGNON CLYBURN SWORN IN AS FCC COMMISSIONERS: NOW THERE ARE FIVE The Federal Communications Commission now has its full complement of five Commissioners. On Friday, July 31, Meredith Attwell Baker joined Chairman Julius Genachowski, Robert McDowell and Michael Copps. On Monday, August 3, Mignon Clyburn came on board. Baker was sworn in on July 31 by Chairman Genachowski in a private ceremony in the Chairman's office. "I am grateful to President Barack Obama for nominating me -- and the United States Senate for confirming me -- to this important position and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working on policies and programs that will help build a 21st century communications infrastructure that can provide sustained economic growth, opportunity and prosperity for the nation, and for all telecommunications users," Baker said. "The FCC staff is well known for their expertise, professionalism and dedication, and I look forward to working together on these important issues. I am excited to be joining Chairman Julius Genachowski, and Commissioners Michael Copps, Robert McDowell, and Mignon Clyburn to ensure that our communications networks and technologies serve the nation's needs and improve the lives of all Americans" <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-292494A1.pdf>. Clyburn was sworn into office at 11 AM on August 3 by Senior District Judge Matthew J. Perry Jr in her home state of South Carolina. "I am deeply honored that President Obama and the United States Senate have entrusted me with the privilege of serving as a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission," she said. "I look forward to working with the Administration, Congress, Chairman Genachowski, my fellow Commissioners and the incredibly talented FCC staff, to ensure that all Americans enjoy the tremendous benefits offered by modern communications. This is an exciting and challenging time in our nation's history. I am eager to hear from and work with all stakeholders to carry out, along with my colleagues, communications policies that protect consumers and encourage robust competition and innovation" <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-292513A1.pdf>. Pointing out Baker's "broad and deep experience" and Clyburn's "years of state-level and private-sector experience," Chairman Genachowski welcomed both women to the FCC. "At this critical moment in history, I look forward to collaborating with my fellow Commissioners on ways that the agency can improve the lives of all Americans through communications." Baker fills the unexpired term of fellow Republican and former Chairman Kevin J. Martin who resigned in January 2009; her term will expire June 30, 2011. Clyburn fills the unexpired term of Republican Deborah Taylor Tate, whose tenure as a Commissioner came to a close on January 3, 2009 when the Senate failed to confirm her nomination; Clyburn's term will expire June 30, 2012. Baker will join Robert McDowell as a Republican on the Commission. Chairman Julius Genachowski and Michael Copps are Democrats, as is Clyburn. Only three sitting Commissioners may be members of the same political party. ==> LOOK FOR THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE OF QST IN YOUR MAILBOX The September issue of QST -- our annual Emergency Communications issue -- is jam-packed with all sorts of things that today's Amateur Radio operator needs, with a special focus on Public Service. From product reviews to experiments to contesting, the upcoming issue of QST has something for just about everyone. Have you ever thought about becoming involved with Amateur Radio in your Section? ARRL Chief Operating Officer Harold Kramer, WJ1B, demystifies the ARRL Field Organization in his article "Your Place in the ARRL Field Organization." Mike Bryce, WB8VGE, knows that as hams, we need to be ready to go on a moment's notice. In his article "A Gel Cell Battery Charger for the Low Power Station," he tells how you can keep those batteries charged for the next time you get called into action. Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, has a proposal that builds on the groundwork of sending text messages via Amateur Radio in his article "Universal Ham Radio Text Messaging Initiative." QST Product Review Editor Mark Wilson, K1RO, reviews SPE's expert 1K-FA linear amplifier. According to Wilson, "With the SPE Expert 1K-FA, you can add power on 160 through 6 meters to your home or portable station. The built-in antenna tuner allows operation with a variety of antennas." QST Contributing Editor Phil Salas, AD5X, also takes a look at some antenna accessories from Array Solutions. If you have been participating in phone contests for a while and are looking for a new challenge, CW contesting may be what you're looking for. But how does one new to CW -- or the owner of a rusty fist -- get started? ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, takes a look at that very question in "This Month in Contesting." The results of the 2009 ARRL International DX Phone Contest 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 all the columns and features you know and love in September QST: Hints & Kinks, The Doctor Is IN, How's DX, Vintage Radio, ARRL VEC Honor Roll, Hamspeak and more. Look for your September 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>. ==> ARRL IN ACTION: WHAT HAVE WE BEEN UP TO LATELY? This feature -- including convenient Web links to useful information -- is a concise monthly update of some of the things ARRL is doing on behalf of its members. This installment covers the month of July. The ARRL Board of Directors held its 2009 Second Meeting July 17-18 in Windsor, Connecticut <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/07/24/10980/?nc=1>. The Board devoted the second day 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>. The Administration and Finance Committee and the Programs and Services Committee -- two standing committees of the ARRL Board of Directors -- met prior to the 2009 Second Meeting <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/07/10/10958/?nc=1>. Three newly appointed Vice Directors -- Pacific Division Vice Director Jim Tiemstra, K6JAT, Southeastern Division Vice Director Jeff Beals, WA4AW, and West Gulf Division Vice Director John Thomason, WB5SYT -- attended an orientation session at ARRL HQ just before the Board meeting <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/07/16/10968/?nc=1>. The 2008 ARRL Annual Report reviews the major events of the year, documenting the renewed growth of the ARRL and the activities of the Amateur Radio Service. It is available online <http://www.arrl.org/announce/annualreport/> and in print. HR 2160, The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009, gained 11 new Congressional co-sponsors <http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bill s&docid=f:h2160ih.txt.pdf>. QST Technical Editor Joel Hallas, W1ZR, prepared an expanded look at new products -- including new VHF and antenna-related equipment, as well as many categories of accessories -- introduced at the 2009 Dayton Hamvention <http://www.arrl.org/files/qst-binaries/QS0709NewatDayton.pdf>. ARRL Technical Relations Manager Brennan Price, N4QX, attended the United States ITU Association (USITUA) and the US Working Party 5B (maritime, aeronautical and radiolocation) meetings. ARRL Technical Relations Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, attended meetings of US Study Group 1 (regulatory) and Working Party 7D (propagation). W1AW/KL7 and NU1AW/KH6 represented the ARRL and IARU, joining more than 85 IARU HQ stations in the IARU HF World Championships <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/07/06/10947/?nc=1>. Frank Piper, KI8GW, of Pickerington, was appointed Section Manager of the ARRL Ohio Section <http://www.arrl.org/?artid=9056>. A special bonus section to help new amateurs choose a radio was added to the "ARRL Ham Radio License Manual" and made available for download to ARRL members <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/07/22/10975/?nc=1>. W1AW, the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station, in conjunction with WA6ZTY on the West Coast, conducted a summer Frequency Measuring Test <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/06/15/10884/?nc=1>. ARRL Field and Regulatory Correspondent Chuck Skolaut, K0BOG, received reports of inappropriate language on 20 and 80 meters, a possible jamming signal on 20 meters, unlicensed hunters using 2 meters, as well as a continuous carrier on 2 meters. ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, and Lab Engineer Mike Gruber, W1MG, held a telephone conference with Laura Smith and the FCC's Kansas City Field Office regarding a powerline noise case in that state. ARRL Regulatory Information Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, together with Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, compiled an information packet for Division Legislative Action Chairs, Legislative Action Chairs and Legislative Action Assistants to use when speaking with Congressional members about Amateur Radio and HR 2160. ARRL ARISS Program Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, attended the ARISS annual meeting in the Netherlands <http://www.rac.ca/ariss/oindex.htm>. The ARRL Executive Committee approved eight Education and Technology Program grants. ==> SCOTT REDD, K0DQ: THE BIGGEST GUN OF ALL Vice Admiral John Scott Redd, K0DQ (US Navy, retired) has, throughout his 36 year military career, helped to make the world a safer place. From postings in Uruguay to Iraq to serving as Commander of the Navy's Fifth Fleet as a naval officer, to becoming Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Redd has served his country with distinction. Earlier this year, President George W. Bush presented him with the National Security Medal in a White House ceremony <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/01/27/10594/> for "his more than 40 years of exceptional service to the Nation, strengthening its intelligence capabilities and improving national security." President Bush called Redd "an innovator, a strategic thinker, an inspirational leader and a dedicated servant to the Nation, respected for his vision, courage and integrity." But intermingled in his Navy career was Amateur Radio. This year, Redd, an active DXer and contester, became the first person ever to win all six of the major HF contests: The ARRL International DX Contests (SSB and CW), the CQ World Wide Contests (SSB and CW) and the CQ Worked All Prefix (WPX) Contests (SSB and CW). "Ham radio was my 'Internet' in the 1950s," he told the ARRL. "Growing up in a very small town (Sydney, Iowa, population 1000), ham radio was my window on the world that generated an interest in far-away places and a vision to do something beyond my home town. That turned out to be the US Navy, via the US Naval Academy. That changed my life. The Navy is a technological service and virtually everything in the military has a technical dimension. Electricity, electronics and especially, the electromagnetic spectrum, were key aspects of most of my seagoing tours and, indeed, even my later policy assignments. Being comfortable with technology -- having built kits, antennas and the like -- and being zapped with 110 ac more than a few times -- gave me a leg up." Redd started out in 1954 as a DXer as K(N)0DQI; he had earned DXCC by the time he turned 13, "which I audaciously proclaimed on my QSL cards as the youngest in the world (no one ever objected!)," he quipped. "Climbing the DXCC Honor Roll died as a dream when I went to the Naval Academy in 1962, so the logical thing was to turn to DX contesting. I operated contests as a multi-operator from W3ADO for four years then, as CX2CO in 1967 CQWW in Uruguay as a Fulbright Scholar. That was my first World Championship, competing in the M/S [multi-operator/single transmitter] category; that was also my last multi-operator experience." In the early 1970s, Redd was on assignment at the Mexican Naval Academy. While there, he was "contesting consistently as XE1IIJ (with a number of aliases, including 6D1AA, 4C5AA and 6J9AA). In the 1971/2 contest season, I managed to win four of the five major contests: Both modes of ARRL DX, CQWW Phone and WPX SSB (there was no WPX CW in those days). I placed third in the world in CQWW CW. That set me on a personal quest to win all five (later six) of the major DX contests." Redd pointed out that one of his many contesting highlights was working 10,000 QSOs in the 1973 ARRL International DX Phone Contest: "This was before 5BDXCC and 10 meter Novice phone and it was the first time that had been done -- it was also the last time I did a phone contest to any useful effect. I think that stands as the all time two weekend ARRL DX phone record (it's sort of like Roger Maris breaking Babe Ruth's home run record -- it gets an asterisk)." As his naval career progressed, he didn't have the chance to contest as much as he had before, "other than occasional contests from Lenny Chertok's W3GRF (now a Silent Key), QTH. Most were Top 10 finishes, but I only won the US once -- the ARRL DX CW in 1986. My next contesting opportunity was A92Q in 1995 when I was the Fifth Fleet Commander, homeported in Bahrain. By that time, there was a CW WPX and that contest was my first contest in almost a decade (and the first one using a computer to log)." Six years later, after Redd retired, Jim Neiger, N6TJ, introduced him to Jacky Oduber, P43P, and "goaded me into going down to Aruba," he told the ARRL. "My first contest from Aruba was CQWW CW in 2001 as P40Q. I would classify this as a 're-learning experience,' but it resulted in a #5 finish in SOABHP [single operator, all band, high power]. Seven months later, I went back to Jacky's for WPX CW and won the World SOABHP as P41P. So I had now won the World in the SOAB category in five out of six of the majors, but I was still missing a CQWW CW win for the Grand Slam." Calling the 2002 CQWW CW the "Year of Aruba" -- the three top scores in the contest came from there -- Scott placed second. "In 2003, I was going back into government and preparing to go to Iraq, so there was no contesting," he recounted. "In 2004, I headed back to Aruba for the CQWW CW, but I came up short as #3 WW in SOABHP. In spring of 2005 -- just after having been nominated by President Bush to be Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) <http://www.nctc.gov/> -- I went back to Aruba and won CQ WPX CW in the Low Power category; I barely missed the SOAB LP all-time record. In the process, I found out I enjoyed the LP category. The next three years were completely driven by work at NCTC. I finally got back to contesting almost four years later when P40A's QTH was available for CQWW CW 2008. There were no amplifiers, so I entered SOABLP [single operator, all band, low power]: That resulted in the final piece of the puzzle falling into place." Jeff Briggs, K1ZM, invited Redd to operate VY2ZM on Prince Edward Island for the ARRL DX CW Contest in February this year. "That was clearly right place (great low band antennas and near Europe) at right time (sunspot minimum), resulting in #1 W/VE, as well as top worldwide SOABHP," he told the ARRL. "The 'bookends' for ARRL DX are almost four decades apart: The Mexican operations (winning the world on phone and CW in '72 and phone in '73) and, interestingly, winning W/VE from VY2ZM in this year's ARRL DX CW," he said. "That also turns out to have been the top worldwide score. In between, I've probably operated a dozen ARRL DX contests as W3GRF or, more recently, W4RX (or K0DQ from W4RX's station), all near Washington, DC and at great disadvantage to the New Englanders. Most were Top 10, but the only one I won before this year was the 1986 one from W3GRF." In 2008, Redd was inducted into the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/05/16/10100/>. The CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame honors those individuals, whether licensed hams or not, who have made significant contributions to Amateur Radio, and those amateurs who have made significant contributions either to Amateur Radio, to their professional careers or to some other aspect of life on our planet. Redd calls Amateur Radio "a magical hobby, even for me at 64. Although I would certainly have liked to have been more active over the years, absence did make the heart grow fonder and I still get a blast out of contesting, even though I feel like I'm always relearning old lessons which have receded in my subconscious." ==> FCC ISSUES CITATION TO WASHINGTON COMPANY FOR SELLING, IMPORTING UNAUTHORIZED RF DEVICES On July 28, the FCC issued a Citation to The Spy Store <http://www.thespystore.com/> for marketing unauthorized radio frequency devices <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-1697A1.pdf>. According to the Commission, these devices were in violation of the Communications Act of 1934, As Amended and the Commission's Rules, as well as United States Customs and Border Patrol regulations. On February 13, the Spectrum Enforcement Division of the Commission's Enforcement Bureau sent Spy Store a Letter of Inquiry, initiating an investigation. The FCC wanted to know if the Washington State company was marketing an unauthorized radio frequency device, specifically, the GPS-JM2 GPS Jammer. According to the Citation, the FCC observed that the device was marketed on the retailer's Web site on September 4, 2008. The device jams signals emitted by a GPS transmitter, disabling a receiver from finding the location. Spy Store responded to the Letter of Inquiry on March 2, telling the FCC that they began selling the GPS-JM2 GPS Jammer on or about July 31, 2007; they have sold 69 units. In its reply, the company told the FCC that they began importing the devices beginning in 2007, with subsequent deliveries continuing into 2008, for a total of 90 units delivered. Spy Store told the FCC that "the importation of GPS-JM2 was discontinued once [they] became aware that the units were unlawful in the USA." Even though Spy Store imported GPS-JM2 GPS Jammers on five different occasions, they did not file any FCC Form 740s for the imported units; before radio frequency devices may be imported to the United States, an FCC Form 740 (or the electronic equivalent) must be filed with the United States Customs and Border Patrol. The company admitted to the Commission that the device was not certified in accordance with FCC Rules, but stated that the Chinese supplier advised them that "it was lawful to offer this unit for sale and as such, took no further efforts to determine if the device complied with the Rules." The FCC noted that Spy Store explained that they "would not have offered, marketed or sold the GPS-JM2 GPS Jammer had [they] known it was an unlawful device." Spy Store also told the Commission that they no longer offer or market any other jamming devices and have ceased all marketing and sales of the GPS-JM2 GPS Jammer and have disposed all of the remaining units. The FCC said "it appears that Spy Store violated Section 302(b) of the Act and Sections 2.803 and 15.205(a) of the Rules by marketing in the United States a radio frequency device not eligible for certification. It also appears that Spy Store violated Section 2.1203 of the Rules by importing the GPS-JM2 GPS Jammer without making the required import declaration." Spy Store was warned that "if, after receipt of this citation, you violate the Communications Act or the Commission's Rules in any manner described herein, the Commission may impose monetary forfeitures not to exceed $16,000 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation." The company was given 30 days to respond to the Citation either through a personal interview at the Commission's Field Office nearest to their place of business or a written statement. Spy Store was advised that any response should specify the actions that they are taking to ensure that they do not violate the Commission's Rules governing the marketing of radio frequency jamming devices in the future. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Tad "Bring back the friendship of the Sun" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: We had some nice sunspot activity from July 3-10 -- and we were hoping for a return 27-28 days later -- but it never happened. Varying by latitude, the Sun rotates relative to Earth about every 27.5 days. If that same region was still active or the activity renewed, we might have seen something July 30-August 7, which is today. Instead, the quiet continues. Sunspot numbers for July 30-August 5 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0 with a mean of 0. The 10.7 cm flux was 68, 68.7, 68.1, 68.1, 67.4, 65.8 and 66.2 with a mean of 67.5. The estimated planetary A indices were 3, 5, 4, 3, 10, 4 and 6 with a mean of 5. The estimated mid-latitude A indices were 2, 4, 3, 2, 7, 4 and 5 with a mean of 3.9. The predicted planetary A index for August 7-11 is 5, 5, 7, 5 and 5. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html>. To read this week's Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW Propagation Bulletin page <http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/prop/>. This week's "Tad Cookism" brought to you by William Allingham's "Song" <http://www.potw.org/archive/potw363.html>. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This Week on the Radio: This week, there is an NCCC Sprint Ladder on August 7. The WAE DX Contest (CW) and the Maryland-DC QSO Party are August 8-9. The SKCC Weekend Sprint is August 9. The MMMonVHF/DUBUS 144 MHz Meteorscatter Sprint Contest and the NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint are August 12. Next week is the NCCC Sprint on August 14. The ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest, the North American QSO Party (SSB) and the SARTG WW RTTY Contest are August 15-16. On August 15, look for another NCCC Sprint, as well as the Feld Hell Sprint. The New Jersey QSO Party is August 15-17 and the Run for the Bacon QRP Contest is August 17. 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, August 23, 2009, for these online course sessions beginning on Friday, September 4, 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>. * MFJ Acquires Cushcraft: On August 7, MFJ Enterprises <http://www.mfjenterprises.com/> announced they had purchased the Cushcraft Amateur Radio antennas product line from Missouri-based Laird Technologies <http://www.lairdtech.com/> effective July 31. According to MFJ, Cushcraft -- makers of HF/VHF/UHF vertical, beam and Yagi antennas for the Amateur Radio community -- will continue to be manufactured in Manchester, New Hampshire. "We are excited to have the Cushcraft Amateur Radio Antennas product line alongside our other five companies," said Martin F. Jue, President and founder of MFJ Enterprises, Inc. "This product line increases our ability to offer our customers a wide range of antenna options at different prices. Customers will be able to choose from Cushcraft Amateur Radio antennas, Hy-gain and MFJ antennas through one source." MFJ purchased Hy-gain in 2000 the company also owns Ameritron, Mirage and Vectronics. Jue said that the Cushcraft line will bring more than 50 new products to MFJ's Amateur Radio product line. "We will add more new products to this antenna line and will continue the Cushcraft Amateur Radio antennas name long into the future. Cushcraft Amateur Radio antenna product customers will appreciate the continued and expected top-quality manufacturing of this product in New Hampshire and the MFJ commitment to superb after-the-sale service and tech support in Mississippi," said Jue. The 120 page 2010 MFJ catalog will include the entire Cushcraft Amateur Radio antennas product line. MFJ has set up a special customer support line -- 662-323-5803 -- to handle Cushcraft antenna product technical support, parts requests and customer services. * Robert Wilson, AL7KK/VE7ZKK, Wins July QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for July is Robert Wilson, AL7KK/VE7ZKK, for his article "A High Gain Single Wire Beam." Congratulations, Robert! The winner of the QST Cover Plaque award -- given to the author or authors of the best article in each issue -- is determined by a vote of ARRL members on the QST Cover Plaque Poll Web page <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/QSTvote.html>. Cast a ballot for your favorite article in the August issue by Monday, August 31. * Get Ready for the Perseids!: On the night of August 11 and well into the next day, Earth will make its annual passage through the bulk of the debris shed by a comet known as Swift-Tuttle <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/109P/Swift-Tuttle>. Much of the debris is composed of dust-sized grains, but when these fragments come plunging into our atmosphere they can create a dazzling meteor display. Not only are the meteors fascinating to watch, they also leave short-lived streams of ionized gas in their wake. As hams have known for years, these meteor trails are excellent reflectors of radio waves. The Swift-Tuttle meteor showers are known as the Perseids <http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/31jul_perseids2009.htm> because they appear to come from a point in the sky that lies within the constellation Perseus. This year's shower is forecast to be especially active because we're about to pass through a somewhat thicker filament of dust that boiled off Swift-Tuttle in 1862. If you own a 6 or 2 meter SSB/CW transceiver, you can get in on the action, bouncing your signals off Perseid meteor trails and making quick meteor scatter contacts over hundreds of miles, and possibly even as much as 1200 miles <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_scatter>. Meteor scatter operation is particularly easy on 6 meters where 100 W and an omnidirectional antenna will do the job. On 2 meters a directional antenna (such as a multielement Yagi) usually yields better results. Some meteor scatter operators prefer to use SSB, making rapid exchanges of signal reports and grid squares. In recent years digital meteor scatter has been increasing in popularity. With the free sound-card-based WSJT software suite by Joe Taylor, K1JT, it is possible to make digital meteor scatter contacts almost any time of the day or night, not just during annual showers <http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/>. Most WSJT scatter operators use a mode known as FSK441 and center their activities on calling frequencies at 50.260 and 144.140 MHz. They also announce their availability by using Web sites just as N0UK's Ping Jockey Central <http://www.pingjockey.net/cgi-bin/pingtalk>. So turn on your radio late Tuesday night and start listening. As the shower intensifies, you'll begin hearing bursts of signals. That's the time to grab the microphone (or keyboard) and get on the air! =========================================================== 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. 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