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The ARRL Letter
July 22, 2010
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News

+ Public Service: FCC Modifies Rules to Allow Limited Employee Participation in Disaster and Emergency Drills

In a Report and Order (R&O) released Wednesday, July 14, the FCC amended Part 97.113 to allow amateurs to participate without an FCC waiver in government-sponsored disaster preparedness drills on behalf of their employers participating in the exercise. The FCC also has amended the rules to allow employees to participate in non-government drills and exercises up to one hour per week and up to two 72 hour periods during the year. The effective date of the R&O is to be determined and will be 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register. Read more here.

+ ARRL Board of Directors Holds Second 2010 Meeting

Kay Craigie, N3KN, calls her first Board meeting to order as ARRL President last week in Windsor, Connecticut. [Steve Ford, WB8IMY, Photo]

The ARRL Board of Directors held its Second Meeting of 2010 July 16-17 in Windsor, Connecticut, under the chairmanship of President Kay Craigie, N3KN. The Board considered and acted on a number of organizational, regulatory and operating issues, including the following: Approved a campaign to celebrate the 75th anniversary of ARES® that is designed to promote and increase awareness of this valuable program; allowed candidates for Division Director and Division Vice Director to submit petitions via e-mail or facsimile; clarified the VHF rules to allow monochromatic sources (such as laser or LED) to count for contest credit, as long as the laser power is less than 5 mW; voted in favor of allowing the Montenegrin Amateur Radio Pool (MARP) to join the IARU as that country's Member-Society, and acknowledged those ARRL staff members who also serve as Volunteer Examiners. The Board also received reports from committees and individuals on a wide range of subjects, and conferred several awards on deserving nominees. A more in-depth report on the Board's actions, including the official Meeting Minutes, will be posted in the coming days.

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ARRL CEO Presented with "BPL Spoils" Award

ARRL Chief Executive Officer Dave Sumner, K1ZZ (left), receives the AMRAD "BPL Spoils" award from ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX, at the July 2010 ARRL Board meeting. [Steve Ford, WB8IMY, Photo]

During the Friday morning portion of the July 2010 ARRL Board meeting, ARRL Chief Executive Officer Dave Sumner, K1ZZ, received a surprise plaque from the Amateur Radio Research and Development Corporation (AMRAD). Titled "BPL Spoils," the plaque featured a discarded BPL modem that was rescued from surplus equipment belonging to a manufacturer that had decided to exit the BPL business. ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX, presented the plaque to Sumner in recognition of his and the ARRL staff's tireless work against radio interference generated by BPL systems.

+ FCC: Vanity Call Sign Fees to Decrease August 17

On July 19, the FCC announced via the Federal Register that the cost of a 10 year Amateur Radio vanity call sign will decrease 10 cents, from $13.40 to $13.30. The new fees take effect 30 days after publication, making August 17, 2010, the first day the new fee is in effect. In FY2010, the FCC anticipates granting 14,800 vanity call signs, bringing in $196,840 from the vanity call sign program. Earlier this year, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order (NPRM), seeking to lower the fee for Amateur Radio vanity call signs. The notice in the July 19, 2010 edition of the Federal Register -- entitled "Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2010; Final Rule" -- includes all FCC regulatory fees; these fees are expected to recover a total of $336,712,213 during FY2010, encompassing all the Services the FCC regulates. 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 10 year term.

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+ Spotlight on Scouting: Connect with the National Scout Jamboree via Amateur Radio

The National Scout Jamboree takes place July 26-August 4 at Fort AP Hill, Caroline County, Virginia. A myriad of exhibits and activities await the close to 40,000 Scouts, leaders and staff. Coming from all 50 states -- and even territories and foreign countries -- they will have the opportunity to live, work and play together in an atmosphere of Scouting fellowship. And just like the National Scout Jamborees in 1973, 1981, 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2005, the 2010 event will feature Amateur Radio.

An eagle-eye view of the K2BSA site and antennas. Click here for a larger image. [Map courtesy of Bob Bruninga, WB4APR]

A team of 17 Scouters and two Scouts will activate K2BSA as a demonstration station at the Jamboree. According to K2BSA Staff Member Larry Wolfgang, WR1B, they will be demonstrating various operating modes to the visiting Scouts, with activity primarily on HF, around the published Scout frequencies. Wolfgang is the ARRL Liaison to the National Scout Jamboree. Another group of 17 Scouters and one Scout will assist other Scouts in earning the Radio merit badge, while seven Scouters will be offering classes and will help administer Amateur Radio licensing exams. Read more here.

2010 Marks Ninth Year for ARRL Participation in Combined Federal Campaign

For the ninth year running, the US Office of Personnel Management has designated the ARRL to participate in the 2010 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). In the past, this campaign for federal government civilian employees, US Postal Service workers and members of the military has generated almost $140,000 for ARRL programs since it first became an option for giving by federal employees to the League. The CFC provides an easy way to support ARRL's effort to represent its members and all radio amateurs. Read more here.

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+ QuickStats to Debut on Web and QST

Member polls have returned to the ARRL Web, but with a twist. Rather than a single weekly poll, the new QuickStats page at http://www.arrl.org/quickstats offers several polls at once with new questions every 30 days. The results will be published in QST beginning with the October issue. Start by visiting the QuickStats page now. Be sure to bookmark it in your browser! Watch for poll results in the special QST QuickStats page in the rear advertising section of the magazine. Along with monthly poll results, QST QuickStats offers colorful charts and graphs that highlight interesting Amateur Radio statistics.

+ Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, July 22, 2010 from NASA's SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope. This MDI (Michelson Doppler Imager) image was taken in the continuum near the Ni I 6768 Angstrom line. The most prominent features are the sunspots. This is very much how the Sun looks in the visible range of the spectrum.

Tad "The moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding-places" Cook, K7RA, reports: Increasing sunspot activity has dominated the past few days. Sunspot group 1087 has been visible for 13 days, but the size has gradually decreased. Over the past seven days, in millionths of a solar hemisphere, it was 60, 50, 20, 10, 10, 10 and 10. On July 19, new sunspot group 1089 appeared quite strongly over the eastern horizon, with an expanding relative size of 130, 150 and 310 for July 19-21. The predicted solar flux is 90 on each day from July 22-28, which is quite strong, considering that the average daily solar flux for each of the past four weeks was 73.9, 72.8, 79.2 and 80.6. There is a slight predicted rise in geomagnetic activity, with a predicted planetary A index of 8, 10, 10, 8, 8, 10 and 10 from July 22-28. Look for more information -- including updated predictions, 6 and 10 meter news and an item from NASA about the collapsing thermosphere during this extended solar minimum -- on the ARRL Web site on Friday, July 23. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" -- in honor of the 41st anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing -- is brought to you by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Chapter 4).

This Week on the Radio

This week, there is a running of the NCCC Sprint Ladder on July 23. The RSGB Islands on the Air (IOTA) Contest is July 24-25 and the SKCC Sprint July 28. Next week, there is another running of the NCCC Sprint Ladder on July 30. The SARL HF Phone Contest is August 1. The ARS Spartan Sprint is August 3 and the QRP Fox Hunt is August 4. 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 Events Station Web page.

ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration

Registration remains open through Sunday, July 25, 2010, for this online course session beginning on Friday, August 6, 2010: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 1. To learn more, visit the CEP Course Listing page or contact the Continuing Education Program Coordinator.

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