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The ARRL Letter
August 12, 2010
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News

+ ARRL in Action: Oklahoma Town Agrees RFI Ordinance Does Not Apply to Hams

Acting on behalf of an ARRL member in Midwest City, Oklahoma -- who had been sent a notice by the town asserting that he was in violation of a town ordinance regarding radio frequency interference -- the ARRL notified Midwest City officials that only the FCC is empowered to regulate such matters. On August 4 -- two weeks after ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, sent the letter to town officials -- Midwest City Assistant City Attorney Randal D. Homburg sent an e-mail to the ham to let him know "the previously delivered notice is hereby rescinded. There will be no citations issued and thus, the issue is moot." Midwest City is in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. Read more here.

Spectrum Defense Matters -- to Everyone

In July 2010, the ARRL launched a newsletter called Spectrum Defense Matters to keep its members informed on issues related to the protection of Amateur Radio frequencies. This newsletter -- published on the ARRL Web site a few times each year -- will cover both domestic and international topics. Your financial support is vital to support ARRL's work to protect your operating privileges by contributing generously to the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund.

Saying that ARRL volunteers and staff work tirelessly every day to protect our spectrum access, ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, notes that the ARRL is in partnership "with radio amateurs throughout the world, coordinating our efforts through the International Amateur Radio Union. In future issues of this newsletter we plan to report to you on the status of those efforts as we prepare for the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference and as we meet other challenges."

"You can take an important step right now to support ARRL's commitment to defending the Amateur Radio Spectrum," Sumner explained. "Please make a generous contribution to the Spectrum Defense Fund by mail, on the Web or by phone. Perhaps you'll consider a very easy way to contribute by pledging $10 or $20 or $100 a month. Your financial commitment, over and above your annual dues, will ensure that ARRL has the resources to represent you and protect your operating frequencies." Read more here.

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+ FCC: ARRL Files Petition with FCC to Deny Applications with ReconRobotics

The Recon Scout -- manufactured and marketed by ReconRobotics -- is a remote-controlled, maneuverable surveillance robot designed for use in areas that may be too hazardous for human entry. In February 2010, the FCC granted ReconRobotics a waiver for the device to operate between 430-448 MHz.

On August 4, 2010, the ARRL filed a Petition to Deny Applications with the FCC to deny 68 pending Public Safety Pool license applications associated with the ReconRobotics Video and Audio Surveillance System. Each license application is accompanied by a waiver request to permit operation of the devices in the 433-445 MHz band. The applications were coordinated by APCO International Inc Licensing Services -- the frequency coordinator for the public safety land mobile radio services -- and would allow the use of the Recon Scout product currently being marketed by ReconRobotics pursuant to an FCC waiver. Read more here.

+ FCC: ARRL Comments on FCC 5 MHz Proposals

On July 13, the ARRL filed its comments in response to the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in ET Docket No. 10-98. The NPRM was issued in response to an ARRL Petition for Rule Making -- RM-11353 -- filed in October 2006. In its 2006 Petition, the ARRL had sought modest improvements in operating privileges in the so-called "60 meter" band, which presently consists of five channels on which General, Advanced and Amateur Extra class licensees may use upper sideband (USB) emission and no more than 50 W effective radiated power (ERP) relative to a dipole antenna. Amateur use of these five channels is on a secondary basis and must not cause harmful interference to authorized stations in the mobile and fixed services. US amateurs were first authorized to operate on 60 meters in 2003-- thanks to agreement by the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration -- that with such limits, amateur use would be compatible with federal government requirements. Read more here.

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+ FCC: FCC Denies Petitions on Call Sign Usage, Expanded Privileges

On August 9, the FCC denied two Petitions for Rule Making: one to prohibit what the petitioner called "the false or unauthorized use of an Amateur Radio call sign," and one to expand privileges on the 15 meter phone band for General and Amateur Extra class licensees. Read more here.

+ Authorities Believe Gary Haas, N5VGH, and Wife Killed by Escaped Convicts

Gary, N5VGH, and his wife Linda. Authorities believe they were killed by three convicts who escaped last month from an Arizona prison and an accomplice who is the cousin and fiancee of one of the escapees. [Photo courtesy of the Haas Family]

The remains of Gary Haas, N5VGH, and his wife Linda of Tecumseh, Oklahoma, were found in a charred camper on a remote ranch in eastern New Mexico on the morning of Wednesday, August 4. Authorities believe they were killed by convicts, along with an accomplice, who had escaped from an Arizona prison on July 30. Authorities said that the Haas' bodies and camper were found by a rancher on his property, not far from Santa Rosa, one of the New Mexico cities that the couple frequented; their truck was found in Albuquerque, 100 miles away. Read more here.

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On the Air: Rookies to Raid the Airwaves for Second SSB Rookie Roundup

Anna "Sparks" Veal, W0ANT, of Littleton, Colorado, had a blast in April's SSB Rookie Roundup. [Photo courtesy of the Veal Family]

With the rip-roaring success of the first-ever ARRL Rookie Roundup this past April -- modeled on the popular Novice Roundups from a decade or two ago -- the ARRL is pleased to announce that a second Rookie Roundup is coming this Sunday, August 15 from 1800-2359 UTC. You don't have to be a rookie to participate. For the purpose of the Rookie Roundup, a "rookie" is defined as someone who has been licensed for three years or less, regardless of license class. If you received your license in 2008, 2009 or 2010, you are eligible to compete as a rookie. Non-rookies are encouraged to work the rookies and be an Elmer to those just starting out. It is an immediate, hands-on way to teach good operating practices to those just getting started. Read more here.

On the Air: "Dark Time" Is the Right Time for the Perseids

Looking northeast around midnight on August 12-13. The red dot is the Perseid radiant. Although Perseid meteors can appear in any part of the sky, all of their tails will point back to the radiant. Click here for a larger image. [Image courtesy of NASA]

The last time the annual Perseids meteor shower happened during a run of moonless nights -- known by astronomers as "dark time" -- was in 2007; there was a new moon on August 10, so this is a prime time to view a spectacular sky show. 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. Read more here.

+ On the Air: International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend 2010

Almost 300 lighthouses in more than 40 countries and territories -- from Argentina to Wales -- will be on the air for 2010 International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend (ILLW), organized by Scotland's Ayr Amateur Radio Group (AARG). The event, held for the 12th year in a row, takes place Saturday, August 21 0001 UTC through Sunday, August 22 2359 UTC. While not a contest, the ILLW is more of a QSO Party and Amateur Radio demonstration. The ILLW aims to raise public awareness of lighthouses and lightships and the need for their preservation and restoration, promote Amateur Radio and foster international goodwill. Stations at more than 40 US lights are expected to be on the air for the event, and several stations will identify with special event call signs. Participating lighthouse/lightship stations do not have to be inside the structure or on the vessel itself; a Field Day-type setup at or adjacent to the light is sufficient. More information about the event, including a registration form and list of all lights scheduled to be on the air, is available on the ILLW Web site. The ILLW also has a Facebook page.

+ Dayton Hamvention® Committee Announces 2011 Theme

When the Dayton Hamvention® opens May 20, 2011 for its 60th consecutive year, its theme -- Global Friendship -- will reflect an important part of ham radio, said 2011 Hamvention General Chairman Michael Kalter, W8CI: "The theme emphasizes how the technology continues to bond Amateur Radio operators from all over the world." The 2011 Dayton Hamvention runs May 20, 21 and 22 at Hara Arena, just outside Dayton in Trotwood, Ohio.

This Week on the Radio

Click here to go to the QST multimedia page. Scroll down to the Product Review video and watch a preview of what's coming up in the September issue of QST.

This week:

  • August 20 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • August 14 -- Feld Hell Sprint
  • August 14-15 -- Maryland/DC QSO Party; WAE DX Contest (CW)
  • August 15 -- ARRL Rookie Roundup (SSB)
  • August 16 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest
  • August 18 -- QRP Fox Hunt

Next week:

  • August 20 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • August 21-22 (local time) -- ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest
  • August 21-22 -- SARTG WW RTTY Contest; North American QSO Party (SSB)
  • August 21-23 -- New Jersey QSO Party
  • August 25 -- SKCC Sprint; QRP Fox Hunt

All dates, unless otherwise specified, are UTC. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, the ARRL Contest Update and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar for more information. Looking for a Special Event station? Be sure to check out the ARRL Special Events Station Web page.

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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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