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The ARRL Letter
May 6, 2010
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Hamvention®: Get Involved at Hamvention!

As an 18-wheeler pulls away from the ARRL warehouse loading dock, destined for the Dayton Hamvention® -- only a week away -- ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, looks on with a sense of relief: "There go all of the supplies for our huge exhibit area -- ARRL EXPO." In 2005, Inderbitzen helped introduce ARRL EXPO to Hamvention where it has become a centerpiece of the event.

"ARRL EXPO is the place to meet ARRL program representatives and explore the very best of our Amateur Radio Service," he said. "I am excited about this year's planning that includes 20 exhibits and a team of 140 volunteers, officials and staff. Our rallying message for all radio amateurs is 'Get Involved.' Get involved in emergency communications. Get involved in radiosport and contesting. Get involved with a local school. And get involved with a radio club. If there's one thing we know about radio amateurs, we know that the most active hams are involved and connected." The booths throughout the ARRL EXPO will help underscore the "Get Involved" message. Read more here.

Hamvention®: JARL to Accept Applications for IARU Region 3 Award at Dayton Hamvention®

Representatives of JARL will be accepting applications at the Dayton Hamvention on behalf of NZART for the IARU Region 3 Award.

Representatives from the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) will be accepting applications for the IARU Region 3 Operating Award at the Dayton Hamvention. JARL will forward the applications to the New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters (NZART), the award administrator. NZART will then send applicants their award certificate with any endorsements after Hamvention. There are 35 available entities for the IARU Region 3 Award. Hams who present seven QSOs will be awarded the Basic Award. Hams who present 15 QSOs will be achieve the Silver Endorsement, while those who present 20 QSOs will receive the Gold Endorsement. The award fee is US $4 or four IRCs. Read more here.

IARU News: Amateur Radio Exhibition Reflects Unity in Europe: European Radio Societies Exhibit in European Parliament

The IARU Region 1 EUROCOM Working Group organized exhibition in the European Parliament, focusing on emergency communications, education and space, with the aim to raise awareness of the Amateur Radio Service among European politicians. Pictured are (left to right) Panayot Danev, LZ1US; Claude Van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, ON7TK; MEP Birgit Sippel; Thilo Kootz, DL9KCE; European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Gerogieva, and IARU Region 1 President Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T. ON7TK is the President of the Union Royale Belge des Amateurs-Emetteurs/Koninklijke Unie van de Belgische Zendamateurs/Königliche Union der Belgischen Funkamateure (UBA), Belgium's IARU Member-Society. Commissioner Gerogieva praised radio amateurs in her blog, calling them "heroes."

Last week, representatives from various European Amateur Radio societies came to the Espace Léopold -- the European Parliament building located in Brussels, Belgium -- to provide information about the Amateur Radio Service to members of the European Parliament. Using the motto European Amateur Radio Benefiting Society, the event was sponsored by the IARU Region 1 EUROCOM Working Group and European Parliament Member (MEP) Birgit Sippel, who supports the goals and the socio-political importance of Amateur Radio. Before the event, she said it was her hope that the exhibition will offer the possibility for her colleagues to become informed about the Service: "I am very much looking forward to sharing information on this Amateur Radio Service with my colleagues, their assistants and anyone else who is interested." The European Parliament is the legislative body of the European Union (EU). Read more here.

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Focus on Clubs: Many Radio Clubs Could Lose Tax-Exempt Status in 2010

Changes made three years ago to the federal tax laws could cause many radio clubs to lose their tax-exempt status this year. Clubs that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code must file the required IRS annual returns or reports before the deadline, which is May 15 for those with calendar years.

"Many clubs have, at some time in the past, applied for tax-exempt status as charitable organizations under Section 501(c)(3), as civic leagues under Section 501(c)(4) or as recreational clubs using Section 501(c)(7)," said ARRL Southwestern Division Director Marty Woll, N6VI. "Years ago, any club with gross receipts averaging less than $25,000 per year was not required to file annual returns with the IRS; however, after 2006, such clubs had to file a Form 990-N, a simple 'electronic postcard' with minimal information, by the 15th day of the fifth month after the close of each fiscal year. Some clubs may not have been aware of this new requirement or didn't bother to comply. Even those that filed in a prior year may have neglected to keep up with the required filings as officers changed from year to year." Read more here.

Coming Up in QST: Take a Look at the June Issue!

The June issue of QST -- our annual Field Day issue -- is jam-packed with all sorts of things today's Amateur Radio operator needs. From product reviews to experiments to contesting -- including a look at one of the ARRL Homebrew Challenge winners and an abundance of articles relating to Field Day, Amateur Radio's number one operating event -- the upcoming issue of QST has something for just about everyone.

If April showers bring mayflowers, and Mayflowers bring pilgrims, what does June bring? Why, ARRL Field Day of course! The June issue of QST is chock-full of articles all about Field Day. Gary Gordon, K6KV, tells readers how to put three transceivers on one antenna using a decoupling network in conjunction with bandpass filters in his article "HF Yagi Triplexer Especially for ARRL Field Day." Find out how Geoff Haines, N1GY, found a way to quickly install a portable mast for your Field Day antenna in "A Vehicle-Mounted Mast for Field Operating." ARRL Field Day means many different things to different hams, but no matter what, the day is your day to promote Amateur Radio. Warren L. Rothberg, W4WR, explains just how to do this in "Will the Real Field Day Please Stand Up?" And as much fun as hams have on Field Day, safety is always important. ARRL Field Day Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, explains how you can be safe and still have loads of fun in "A Safe Field Day is a Fun Field Day." Jim Riley, KB9CYL, a long-time Field Day chairman shows how you, too, can have a successful Field Day in his article, "On 15 Years as a Field Day Chairman."

For only $28.36, Donald W. Huff, W6JL, built a 40 meter band 50 W linear amplifier for his QRP rig, taking the prize for the lowest cost entry in the ARRL's Homebrew Challenge II. Find out how to build this nifty amp in his article "Homebrew Challenge II Winner #1 -- The Lowest Cost Entry." QST Technical Editor Joel Hallas, W1ZR, understands that with today's technology, today's hams are not as concerned with receiver sensitivity as they once were, but sometimes too much of a good thing can be detrimental. Discover how to get top performance from your rig with his tips in "Receiver Sensitivity -- Can You Have Too Much?" Read a never-before-told account of how General George S. Patton and the Allied Forces used top-level wireless intelligence messages -- codenamed ULTRA -- during World War II in Geoffrey Pidgeon's article "General Patton and His Use of ULTRA."

ARRL Contributing Editor Rick Palm, K1CE, takes a look at the Yaesu FT-250R and FT-270R handheld 2 meter FM transceivers in this month's Product Review. "The FT-250R and the FT-270R are well built and rugged, with plenty of audio for noisy environments," he reports. "The FT-270R has a larger display and keypad buttons and more features, but the FT-250R includes a desktop charger and sells for a bit less. Either of these radios would be a fine addition to your equipment belt." ARRL Technical Advisor Bruce Prior, N7RR, finishes his review of mass-produced dual-lever keyer paddles. This month, he takes a look at four paddles, two heavy keys of classic design and two low volume keys from newer companies: the Vibroplex Iambic Standard, the MFJ 564B Deluxe Iambic Paddle, the Vibroplex Code Warrior Junior, the Elecraft HexKey, the K8RA P-2 Key and the W5JH Black Widow Kit.

Of course, there are the usual columns you know and expect in the June QST: Hints & Kinks, The Doctor Is IN, How's DX, Vintage Radio, Hamspeak and more -- including a special ARRL Field Day advertising pull-out. Look for your June issue of QST 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.

ARRL Field Day Merchandise Now Available

Be sure to get all your ARRL Field Day items at the ARRL Field Day store!

How can you be the best-dressed ham at your Field Day site this year? When you wear the official 2010 ARRL Field Day shirt -- accompanied by the 2010 ARRL Field Day hat -- of course! Field Day -- Amateur Radio's largest on-the-air operating event -- is just a little more than six weeks away, so be sure to get your shirts, hats and pins, as well as the new ARRL Field Day Handbook for Radio Amateurs and coffee mugs before they run out. Field Day shirts are offered in sizes Small-4XL and are royal blue with the 2010 Field Day logo on the left chest; the back of the shirt says "Amateur Radio -- Goodwill • Service • Fun!" with www.arrl.org underneath. Fulfill all your Field Day apparel needs at the Field Day Supplies section of the ARRL Web site.

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The Last Tech-Plus license to Expire in June

In February 1991, the FCC dropped the 5 WPM Morse code requirement for new Technician licensees, and in 1994, it created a new class of Amateur Radio license: the Technician-Plus, also called Tech-Plus. This new license differed from the Technician license in that Tech-Plus licensees had passed the code test and had more operating privileges on HF. Patricia Phillips, N3IGI, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received her Technician licensee on June 12, 1990. On March 21, 2000, she upgraded her license to Tech-Plus, and, at the same time, renewed her license, now set to expire June 12, 2010. This makes Phillips the last Tech-Plus in the FCC database. If she renews her Amateur Radio license, she will be a Technician. Read more here.

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, including filing comments and replies with the FCC on a number of matters pertaining to Amateur Radio, launching our new Web site, organizing new operating events, preparing for WRC-12, offering more on-the-air options from W1AW and more. This installment covers the month of April. Read more here.

Search Function Capability Optimized on New Web Site

After a few adjustments, the search function on the new ARRL Web site -- powered by Google, the number one search engine in the world -- is fully operational. When you put a search term into the "Website Search" box, you have the option of searching by category -- News, Exam Sessions, Clubs, Hamfests, Contests, Licensing Classes, Special Events or Member Directory -- or just performing a general search. Results will show the topic and its summary. In the case of news articles or features, you will see the title and its first sentence or two. We are continually updating and tweaking features on the Web site. If you would like to recommend something, or if you encounter problems on the site, please click on the "Having Trouble?" link, found at the bottom of each page on the Web site. Fill out the form fields; make sure that the Department Contact shows "Website Support." Someone will respond to you shortly.

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Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, May 6, 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 "Beyond the fixed stars and variable suns and telescopic planets, astronomical waifs and strays" Cook, K7RA, reports: Sunspot activity made a strong return this week. Last Friday, April 30, sunspot group 1064 appeared and then faded after the third day. On Sunday, groups 1065, 1066 and 1067 appeared, and the next day group 1063 made reappearance, along with new group 1068. Group 1069 arose on May 4 and group 1070 on May 5. Group 1069 grew quickly and the sunspot number rose from 61 to 70, and then 77 on Wednesday. Wednesday's sunspot number is the highest it has been for Solar Cycle 24; in fact, it has not been to this level in nearly four years. The last time it was this high was back on May 28, 2006 when it was 78. Sunspot group 1069 has grown so much that it is 17 times the size of each of the other five sunspot groups. This level of activity should continue for the next few days. Along with increased sunspots, we saw rising geomagnetic activity. The peak days were Sunday and Monday, when the planetary A index was 39 and 27, and the K index went as high as 6 over several three hour periods. Look for more information on the ARRL Web site on Friday, May 7. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" brought to you by James Joyce's Ulysses (Chapter 17).

Silent Key: Noted DXer Vince Thompson, K5VT

Vince Thompson, K5VT (SK)

Dr Vinson Thompson, K5VT, passed away on April 26 from acute myeloid leukemia, diagnosed only four weeks before his death. He was 67. An ARRL Life Member and former Chairman of the ARRL DX Advisory Committee (DXAC), Thompson was famous in DX and contesting circles and held radio licenses from more than 60 countries. One of the founding members of the VooDoo Contest Group, he traveled extensively throughout Africa, as well as the rest of the world, and has operated from many African nations while practicing in-country as a surgeon with the World Health Organization (WHO). Read more here.

Silent Key: Former Hudson Division Director Linda Ferdinand, N2YL

Linda Ferdinand, N2YL, passed away May 4 due to complications from chronic heart failure. She was 63. Ferdinand served as Hudson Division Vice Director from 1980-1982, and as Division Director from 1985-1987. She was an extremely proficient Morse code operator and was active in the ARRL National Traffic System at the local, section, region and area levels, as well as serving in the Transcontinental Corps. An ARRL Life Member, Ferdinand received an advanced degree in computer science and worked for IBM, transitioning their mainframe computers to large computers based on small microprocessors running in parallel. She was also a member of the ARRL A-1 Operator Club, FISTS and the Six Meter International Radio Club (SMIRK). Ferdinand was an avid quilter and lover of cats. She is survived by her husband Gary, W2CS, and son Brian, N2EKS, daughter Lauren and two grandchildren. Services are scheduled for 1 PM on Friday, May 7 at Medway Congregational Christian Church in Climax, New York. The family requests that contributions be made in Ferdinand's memory to AnimalLovers (The Animal Welfare League of the Greater Capital District).

This Week on the Radio

Click here to go to the QST Multimedia page. Scroll down to the Product Review video section and watch a sneak preview of what is coming up in the June QST.

This week, the FISTS Spring Sprint is May 8.The CQ-M International DX Contest and the VOLTA WW RTTY Contest are May 8-9. Next week, the His Majesty King of Spain Contest (CW) and the Manchester Mineira All America CW Contest are May 15-16. The Run for the Bacon QRP Contest is May 17. 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.

Show Your Support for W1AW

To date, 872 donors have contributed $56,432 to the W1AW Endowment Campaign. This biannual fund is nearing its 2010 goal of $65,000. "Every contribution ensures the future of W1AW and the memory of Hiram Percy Maxim," said ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH. "Not only is W1AW one of the most recognized call signs in the world, it represents the history and traditions of Amateur Radio. Our members have been very generous so far and I'm confident that we will meet -- and surpass -- the goal." To donate to the W1AW Endowment Campaign, please visit the W1AW Endowment page on the ARRL Web site. You may also send in your donation via mail to W1AW Endowment, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Contact ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, via e-mail or by phone at 860-594-0397 for more information or with any questions you may have.

ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration

Registration remains open through Sunday, May 23, 2010, for these online course sessions beginning on Friday, June 4, 2010: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 1; 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

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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