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The ARRL Letter
October 14, 2010
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+ Public Service: Amateur Radio Operators Provide Communications Support During Chilean Mine Rescue

Chilean president Sebastian Piñera (right) hugs Luis Urzua, the last miner out of the rescue hole at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile on October 13, 2010. [Photo courtesy of Hugo Infante/Government of Chile]

As the last of the 33 miners who were trapped 2300 feet deep inside the San José Mine -- located about 27 miles from the Chilean town of Copiapó in the Atacama Desert -- rose to the surface at 0055 UTC on October 14, the world cheered in unison. The miners, who were underground for 69 days -- the longest time ever for miners to be trapped and survive -- all emerged relatively healthy. Amateurs with the Radio Club Copiapó, CE1CPI, provided communication support between the authorities and emergency equipment operators inside the San Jose Mine complex, as well as with family of the trapped miners in the complex and authorities in Copiapó. Read more here.

+ DXCC News: Four New Entities Placed on DXCC List

With the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on October 10, two now-deleted DXCC entities are now four new DXCC entities, effective October 10, 2010. The island pair of Bonaire and Curaçao (PJ2 and PJ4, the Leeward Islands) and the three-island group of Sint Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius (PJ5, PJ6 and PJ7, the Windward Islands) have been deleted from the DXCC list of active entities and replaced with four new entities. Not since the aftermath of World War II -- with so many new European entities -- and the break-up of the French colonies in Africa in the early 1960s -- have so many new DXCC entities come into existence all at once.

On October 10, the US Department of State recognized the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, placing the new entities on its Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty List, saying that "Curaçao and Sint Maarten (the Dutch two-fifths of the island of Saint Martin) became autonomous territories of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Bonaire, Saba, and St Eustatius now fall under the direct administration of the Netherlands."

According to the DXCC rules, entities may be added or removed from the DXCC List as a result of political or geographic change. These new entities qualified to be listed on the DXCC List under Section 2, Rule 1(b) of the DXCC rules: "The entity contains a permanent population, is administered by a local government and is located at least 800 km from its parent. To satisfy the 'permanent population' and 'administered by a local government' criteria of this sub-section, an Entity must be listed on either (a) the US Department of State's list of 'Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty' as having a local 'Administrative Center,' or (b) the United Nations list of 'Non-Self-Governing Territories.'"

The PJ2T station, located at Signal Point, Curaçao. [Photo courtesy of the PJ2T Team]

With so many DXCC entities all coming into being at the same time, many amateurs made their way to Curaçao (PJ2T, PJ2/OH1VR, PJ2/PB2T, PJ2A and PJ2MI), Sint Maarten (PJ7E, PJ7MF), Bonaire (PJ4B, PJ4D, PJ4I, PJ4LS and PJ4W), Saba (PJ6A) and St Eustatius (PJ5/AA4NC, PJ5/AH6HY and PJ5/K1XM) to put these new ones on the air. Beginning at 0400 UTC on October 10, the airwaves were filled with those looking to snag these new entities; just days after the entities became "live," stations on the islands had made more than 15,000 QSOs on SSB and CW.

Per the ARRL DXCC Desk, no confirmations for these new entities will be accepted until after January 1, 2011; other administrative changes will be announced as they are finalized. Look for more information on the ARRL Web site, in upcoming editions of The ARRL Letter and in the December 2010 issue of QST.

+ International Spotlight: ARRL Marks 27th Year of Hosting USTTI Amateur Radio Administration Course

The USTTI ARAC course, led by ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX (left), brought six international students made their way to ARRL HQ for the four-day course. Executive Officer and Meeting Planner Lisa Kustosik, KA1UFZ (far right), coordinated the ARRL's participation with USTTI. [S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, Photo]

Students from the Philippines, Ethiopia, Ghana, Brazil and Nigeria attended the United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI) Amateur Radio Administration Course at ARRL Headquarters September 27-October 1. ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX, coordinated the session and led the course. ARRL Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer and Meeting Planner Lisa Kustosik, KA1UFZ, coordinated ARRL's participation with USTTI. Read more here.

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International Spotlight: Dr Hamadoun Touré, HB9EHT, Re-elected ITU Secretary-General

On October 7 during the morning session of the 18th ITU Plenipotentiary Conference -- held in Guadalajara, Mexico -- Member States of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) re-elected Dr Hamadoun Touré, HB9EHT, of Mali, as ITU Secretary-General. This will be his second four-year term. Dr Touré, who ran unopposed, won the position with 151 votes, with 157 countries present and voting.

The next day, François Rancy of France was elected as Director of the ITU's Radiocommunication Bureau (BR), capturing 90 of 157 votes. The BR plays a key role in global communications, managing the distribution of international frequency spectrum and the allocation of satellite orbits. According to the ITU, Rancy will face several challenges, including WRC-12. The conference will tackle issues that include a review of the international framework for radiocommunication (including Amateur Radio), the identification of appropriate mechanisms to address what the ITU called "the so-called digital dividend of radio spectrum" freed up by the switch to digital TV and the identification of spectrum resources for maritime, aeronautical, meteorological and climatology. Read more here.

+ ARRL VEC Links Up with South Pole to Administer Technician Exams

Six men and two women took and passed their Technician exam at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in via video link with the ARRL VEC In Newington. [Ernie Gray, W1MRQ, Photo]

While much of the United States was enjoying a beautiful autumn day on October 8, those who winter over at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station were experiencing a typical day for their clime, a day in the -70s (yes, you read that right -- 70 below 0 degrees Fahrenheit). But though the day was indeed frigid, six men and two women at Amundsen-Scott didn't feel the cold as they were too excited (and maybe just a touch nervous), knowing they were going to be part of the first Amateur Radio license exam session ever held at the South Pole. Read more here.

Fifth Annual ARRL On-Line Auction Begins Next Week

The Fifth Annual ARRL On-Line Auction will be open for preview beginning at 10:15 AM (EDT) on Friday, October 15, and will open for bidding at 10 AM (EDT) on Wednesday, October 20. According to Business Services Manager and Auction Coordinator Deb Jahnke, K1DAJ, there is a large assortment of ARRL Product Review items, donated new and vintage equipment, rare books, one-of-a-kind items and more. "If readers are interested in some great bargains and some great fun, you really need to check this out," she said. Jahnke also encouraged visitors to visit the site to preregister and scope out those "must-have" items. She expressed gratitude to the ARRL Business Partners and individual donors who have contributed items to this event. The 2010 ARRL On-Line Auction runs through 11:59 PM (EDT) October 25, 2010.

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+ On the Air: Jamboree on the Air

The 53rd Annual Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) will once agian provide an opportunity for Scouts to get on the air and get a taste of the fun and magic of radio. JOTA is an international scouting event organized by the World Scouting Bureau. While JOTA officially starts at 12 midnight local time Friday night/Saturday morning and goes until midnight Sunday local time, there will be plenty of stations on the air Friday evening. The official Scouting frequencies will be the center of operations. A listing of those frequencies, information about third party traffic restrictions and other details can be found on the ARRL Web site or on the World Scouting site. Each JOTA event provides an opportunity for a local club or Scout troop to get something started that can result in the beginning of a tradition of fun-filled activities. JOTA takes place starting Saturday at midnight local time, Saturday, October 16 and goes to 11.59 PM local time on Sunday, October 17. Some activity continues over from Friday to Monday to take advantage of long distance (DX) time differences Read more here.

+ On the Air: ARRL's Logbook of The World: 300 Million QSOs -- And Counting!

Congratulations to Victor Morozov, RD3PQ, for submitting QSO number 300 million to the ARRL Logbook of The World (LoTW)! His QSO with Ivan Gombos, SV2/OM3CGN, on October 5, 2010 did the trick. To date, Morozov has submitted nearly 6300 contacts to LoTW and will receive free DXCC and Worked All States awards for his well-placed log.

"We're very pleased with the high level of use and acceptance of LoTW from operators around the world," said ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager Dave Patton, NN1N. "January 2011 marks the 10 year anniversary of the ARRL's announcement of the LoTW system. While it has taken longer than anyone expected to return to building-out the system, progress is being made. ARRL's programmers are working hard to improve usability and to add support for the VUCC award, and we have received valuable assistance from volunteers in the development of the system and software." Read more here.

+ Club News: IRS Offers Tools for Small Organizations in Danger of Losing Tax Exempt Status

Back in May, we told you that the IRS could revoke the non-profit status of small organizations -- including Amateur Radio clubs -- that have failed to file annual returns or reports for three years. According to ARRL Southwestern Division Director Marty Woll, N6VI, 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): "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." Now the IRS is making several tools available to these organizations to help them maintain their tax-exempt status. Check out this page on the IRS Web site for links to a series of resources that clubs may find useful.

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+ Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, October 14, 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 "For tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the Sun" Cook, K7RA, reports: Solar activity was down this week, although it is now gradually strengthening. The average daily sunspot numbers dropped nearly 16 points to 11.7, and the average daily solar flux declined more than 5 points to 75.8. Over the next two weeks, the solar flux is expected to gradually increase to 80 on October 14-16, 82 on October 17-21, 80 on October 22-25 and 85 on October 26-29. The increase is expected from sunspot group 1112 -- emerging on October 9 -- and group 1113 that appeared on October 13, rotating over the Sun's eastern limb. The STEREO mission shows a series of magnetically active areas on our Sun's far side, which should rotate into view. Geomagnetic activity is expected to be stable, with the planetary A index moving between 5 and 8. The predicted planetary A index is 5 on October 14-15, 8 on October 16-17, 5 on October 18-20, 8 on October 21-22, 5 on October 23, 8 on October 24-25 and 5 on October 26-29. Over the past week, the geomagnetically active day was Monday, October 11, when the planetary A index was 20 and the planetary K index went as high as 5. Alaska's College A index was 49, based on a College K index as high as 7. This activity was pushed by a strong solar wind. Look for more information -- including a look at some methods for taking these numbers and predicting propagation for yourself from your location to any other worldwide location of interest, on any day or band -- on the ARRL Web site on Friday, October 15. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" is brought to you by Paul McCartney's I'll Follow the Sun.

This Week on the Radio

This week:

  • October 16 -- Iowa QSO Party; Feld Hell Sprint; Microwave Fall Sprint (local time)
  • October 16-17 -- New York QSO Party; JARTS WW RTTY Contest; ARCI Fall QSO Party; Worked All Germany Contest; PODXS 070 Club 160 Meter Great Pumpkin Sprint (local time)
  • October 17 -- Asia-Pacific Fall Sprint (CW)
  • October 17-18 -- Illinois QSO Party; Run for the Bacon QRP Contest

Next week:

  • October 23 -- FOC QSO Party
  • October 23-24 -- Stew Perry Topband Challenge; 10-10 International Fall Contest (CW); W/VE Islands QSO Party; Araucaria VHF Contest; SYLRA Contest
  • October 27 -- SKCC Sprint

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.

Upcoming ARRL Division Conventions and Events

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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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