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The ARRL Letter
April 15, 2010
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Come Explore the New ARRL Web Site!

We'd like to welcome you to come and delve into the new ARRL Web site. After more than two years of work, the staff, officers and Board of Directors are excited to show you what's in store.

As you peruse the site, you'll notice it's set up a bit differently than the previous site. With the new site, we chose to focus on how you use Amateur Radio, instead of by departments here at HQ. For instance, in the "On the Air" section, you'll find information on contesting, awards, Logbook of The World, international operating, special events, the QSL Bureau (both Incoming and Outgoing) and more. And in the "Public Service" section, you will find information on emergency communication, as well as served agencies and involvement opportunities. We are aware that some parts of the site are not yet available. We ask that you be patient while we try to bring everything over to the new site.

Click here to visit the new ARRL Web site.

So go ahead -- take a look around! Make yourself at home on the Web site. We invite you to go ahead and set up your member profile while you're here. Once you log in, click on "Edit Your Profile" -- it's located right under the log-in area. Let us know what Amateur Radio activities you enjoy (and once you do, you'll see information about your chosen activities on our home page, personalized just for you). This is also the place where members can sign up to receive The ARRL Letter and other e-newsletters, W1AW bulletins, license renewal notices, messages from your Section Manager and Director and more. You can join groups, add friends and even add a picture of yourself!

If you ever need help finding anything or if you encounter any problems, look for the "Having Trouble?" link at the bottom of each page. Click it and report your problem; you will be contacted shortly with a solution. We hope you will enjoy this new Web site as much as we do here at ARRL Headquarters. Remember -- this is your Web site. Have some fun with it!

Mike Corey, W5MPC, Joins ARRL Staff as Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager

ARRL Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Mike Corey, W5MPC [S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, Photo]

The ARRL is pleased to welcome Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Mike Corey, W5MPC, to the Headquarters staff in Newington. Corey's major responsibilities include addressing the development and implementation of an organizational disaster response plan as well as an operational continuity plan, complete with supporting procedures and training. Corey also will play an integral part in the management of ARES®, and in future negotiations with served agencies with whom ARRL shares or creates Memoranda of Understanding. An Extra class licensee and an ARRL Life Member, Corey comes to the ARRL with almost 20 years of experience with emergency communications. Licensed since 1988, he has been involved with SKYWARN since 1991 and has attended basic and advanced SKYWARN training. He is the co-author of the ARRL Storm Spotter's Handbook, which is due out next month. Read more here.

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FCC News: FCC Looks to Lower Fees for Vanity Call Signs

The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order (NPRM) on April 13 seeking to lower the fee for Amateur Radio vanity call signs. Currently, a vanity call sign costs $13.40 and is good for 10 years; the new fee, if the FCC plan goes through, will go down to $13.30 for 10 years, an decrease of 10 cents. The FCC is authorized by the Communications Act of 1934 (as amended) to collect vanity call sign fees to recover the costs associated with that program. The vanity call sign regulatory fee is payable not only when applying for a new vanity call sign, but also upon renewing a vanity call sign for a new term. The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 13 years of the current program -- from a low of $11.70 in 2007 to a high of $70 (as first proposed in the FCC's 1994 Report and Order). In 2007, the Commission lowered the fee from $20.80 to $11.70. The FCC said it anticipates some 14,800 Amateur Radio vanity call sign "payment units" or applications during the next fiscal year, collecting $196,840 in fees from the program. Read more here.

Section News: Nominations Open for Knight Distinguished Service Award

Each year, the ARRL offers an award to recognize someone who has served admirably as an ARRL Section Manager. The Knight Distinguished Service Award recognizes exceptionally notable contributions by a Section Manager to the health and vitality of the League. The first such award was presented to Joe T. Knight, W5PDY (now SK) in 2003 -- for whom the award was named -- in recognition of his exemplary service not only as the ARRL Section New Mexico Section Manager for more than a quarter century, but also for his willingness to share his knowledge and skills. For information on selection criteria and how to nominate a deserving Section Manager, click here.

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W1AW News: Help Keep the W1AW Dream Alive

W1AW. It is the most famous call sign in the century-long history of Amateur Radio. To hundreds of thousands of radio amateurs, W1AW is synonymous with Hiram Percy Maxim -- the visionary who first recognized a need for a national network of Amateur Radio operators in North America, and who just a few years later saw a similar need for the worldwide federation that we now know as the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). Amateur Radio without Hiram Percy Maxim would be like automobiles without Henry Ford or electricity without Thomas Edison. Without Mr Maxim, Amateur Radio probably would not exist today -- and if it did, it would be a pale shadow of the enriching endeavor we now enjoy.

The W1AW Endowment was established to provide a reliable source of funds for the operation and maintenance of the Maxim Memorial Station. "When we begin the budget cycle every year, it is a relief to know that some portion of the expenses related to W1AW will not have to compete for scarce budget dollars with other important ARRL programs," said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. "Thanks to generous members and supporters, the W1AW Endowment and the income it generates have grown." To help ensure that Hiram Percy Maxim's memory lives on to inspire future generations of radio amateurs, please consider making a donation to the W1AW Endowment. By doing so, you will help build a solid financial future for W1AW so that it can continue to fulfill its mission as Amateur Radio's flagship station. "When you visit ARRL and tour W1AW, you will see your generosity at work," Sumner said. "And every time you hear 'Whiskey-One-Alfa-Whiskey' on the air, you'll know that you had a part in keeping the dream alive." For information on how you can help keep the W1AW dream alive, click here.

ARRL Field Day : ARRL Public Relations Committee to Host Field Day Webinar

The ARRL Public Relations Committee -- in conjunction with the ARRL's Atlantic Division -- will host a "webinar" -- an interactive Web-based seminar, designed to facilitate communication between a small number of presenters and a large remote audience using the Internet. On Thursday, April 22 at 9 PM EDT, join ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, along with ARRL Field Day Manager and members of the League's Public Relations Committee as they explain how to use ARRL Field Day to bring attention to Amateur Radio in your area. Learn how to set up a Field Day publicity calendar, invite elected officials and dignitaries, get proclamations issued, post your Field Day event on local media outlets and community bulletin boards, get audio and video PSAs on local radio and TV stations, how to use newer social networks like Facebook and Twitter and more to draw people to your Field Day event. Click here to register for this informative, interactive Internet meeting.

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On the Air: Moonbounce for Everyone -- Courtesy of the Arecibo Radio Telescope!

Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will be the site of some major moonbounce activity later this month. [Photo courtesy of the NAIC-Arecibo Observatory, a facility of the National Science Foundation]

Sending Amateur Radio signals to the Moon and back has never been easy. After roundtrip journeys of nearly half a million miles, even the most powerful signals generated by hams are exquisitely weak on arrival. Because of the equipment and expertise necessary for successful "moonbounce" operating, this facet of Amateur Radio generally has been confined to a small audience. But this coming weekend, even hams with very modest stations will have the opportunity to experience the thrill of moonbounce, thanks to the giant radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Read more here.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, April 15, 2010 from NASA's SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope. This image was taken at 304 Angstrom; the bright material is at 60,000 to 80,000 Kelvin.

Tad "Though the Earth was cold and wet, the sky was clear and the Sun rose bright, placid and beautiful" Cook, K7RA, reports: Weakened sunspots faded away this week and we were buffeted with more geomagnetic instability, but without the dramatic geomagnetic storms of the previous week. The average daily sunspot numbers fell more than 20 points to 12.1, and the average solar flux dropped nearly three points to 75.1. April 11 saw no sunspots -- with group 1061 appearing April 5-10 -- and sunspot group 1062 showing April 12-14. By today, group 1062 should be gone and we may still see more days without sunspots. The predicted solar flux for April 15-18 is 75, 77, 78 and 79, then hitting 80 on April 19-24. The predicted planetary A index for April 15-19 is 5, 5, 12, 8 and 5. Look for more information on the ARRL Web site on Friday, April 16. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" brought to you by Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities (Chapter 3).

This Week on the Radio

This week, the ARRL Rookie Roundup (SSB) is April 18. The TARA Skirmish Digital Prefix Contest, the Holyland DX Contest and the EU Spring Sprint are April 17. The Michigan QSO Party, the Ontario QSO Party and the YU DX Contest are April 17-18. The Run for the Bacon QRP Contest is April 19. Next week, the 10-10 International Spring Contest, the SP DX RTTY Contest, QRP to the Field, the Florida QSO Party and the Nebraska QSO Party are April 24-25. 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, April 25, 2010, for these online course sessions beginning on Friday, May 7, 2010: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 1; Antenna Modeling; Radio Frequency Interference; Antenna Design and Construction; Propagation; Analog Electronics, and Digital Electronics. To learn more, visit the CEP Course Listing page or contact the Continuing Education Program Coordinator.

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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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