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The ARRL Letter
November 4, 2010
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News

+ FCC News: US Attorney's Office Charges Glenn Baxter, K1MAN, with Failure to Pay Fine

On October 25, two US Attorneys filed a Complaint in the US District Court for Maine against Glenn Baxter, K1MAN, of Belgrade Lakes, Maine. The Complaint alleged Baxter had not responded appropriately to an order that he pay a $21,000 fine for violating several sections of Part 97. The civil action was brought under Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 1.80 of the FCC Rules and Regulations.

According to the Complaint, the fine was levied in 2005 "for [the] defendant's willful and repeated violations of Sections 97.101(d) [commencing transmissions on top of existing communications on 3.890 MHz] and 97.113(a)(3) [transmitting communications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest] of the Commission's Rules, and for the defendant's willful violation of Section 97.105(a) [exercising control over station] and 97.113(b) [broadcasting] of the Rules and for failure to file requested information pursuant to an Enforcement Bureau directive."

The Complaint seeks to force payment of the $21,000 fine, as well as a filing fee and "such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper."

+ FCC News: ARRL Responds in 2304 MHz Band Interference Debate

On October 28, the ARRL filed a Reply to a Wireless Services Opposition filing, the latest in an ongoing series of exchanges regarding the FCC's proposal to allow mobile broadband services, in addition to fixed services, to operate in parts of the 2.3 GHz band. The Amateur Radio Service has a secondary allocation at 2300-2310 MHz. Read more here.

Public Service: Storm Spotters on the Lookout for Tropical Storm Tomas

With Tropical Storm Tomas expected to move through the Caribbean over on Thursday and Friday, WX4NHC -- the Amateur Radio Station at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) -- will activate at 9 AM (EDT) on Saturday, November 6. Hurricane Warnings have been issued for Haiti, Guantanamo, Cuba, the Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Tropical Storm Warnings have also been issued Jamaica and the Cuban provinces of Santiago de Cuba and Holguin. Read more here.

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Public Service: Thai Hams Provide Pivotal Role During Monsoon

Heavy monsoon rains in Thailand have devastated parts of that country, with almost 60 dead and 100,000 homes in 32 provinces damaged or gone. According to the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST) -- that country's IARU Member-Society -- amateurs in the Nakhon Ratchasima and Chaiyaphum provinces have been helping authorities coordinate the rescue and relief efforts. Nakhon Ratchsima is Thailand's biggest province, with a population of 2.7 million in 32 districts with 3700 villages.

Under the guidance of National Disaster Warning Center Advisor Manas Songsaeng, HS1DE, the Nakhon Ratchasima Amateur Radio Association's (NRARA) club station HS3AN has been coordinating relief work with the help of other Amateur Radio communications centers based in Khao Yai, Phimai and Chaiyaphum that were also providing information to people traveling to and from Nakhon Ratchasima. Located at the provincial hall, the club has been working closely with government agencies, relaying details about the emergency situation to officials and relief workers. Read more here.

Public Service: Hams Help Provide Communication Support for Dual Disasters in Indonesia

Following two natural disasters, an earthquake triggered tsunami, and separately an erupting volcano, radio amateurs are providing their help as the enormous response effort continues. ORARI (Organisasi Amatir Radio Indonesia) International Affairs Coordinator Wisnu Widjaja, YB0AZ, provided initial information about the involvement of ham radio operators in the dual disasters -- a 7.7 earthquake and an exploding volcano -- that hit the Indonesian archipelago last week. Read more here.

+ ARRL Field Day: 2010 Results Are Now Online

If you can't wait to get your December issue of QST in the mail to see how you did in the 2010 ARRL Field Day, don't worry! The results -- including a copy of the QST article (with line scores) and a results database -- are now available on the ARRL Web site. Be sure to also check out the 193 comments in the Field Day Soapbox. It's not too soon to start making plans for next year -- the 2011 ARRL Field Day is scheduled for June 25-26, 2011.

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+ The December Issue of QST Is on Its Way to You!

The December issue of QST is jam-packed with all sorts of things that today's Amateur Radio operator needs. From product reviews to experiments to contesting -- including an expanded holiday advertising guide and the 2010 ARRL Field Day results -- the upcoming issue of QST has something for just about everyone.

If you put 100 hams in a room, you would have at least 100 ways to put up a stealth antenna. As Geoff Haines, N1GY, discovered, neighborhoods that might be averse to a stacked array of 6-element 20 meter Yagis usually don't have a problem with flagpoles. In his article "Constructing a Flagpole Antenna," Haines tells readers that due to restrictions in his neighborhood, he built a flagpole antenna. With this and 100 W, he is able to work most of the stations he hears on 80-10 meters.

If you are a new ham -- or you have one in your life -- a good handheld transceiver is usually the first go-to radio. But with so many out there on the market -- and all of them with tons of features -- how can a new ham -- or even an experienced one -- choose the best one for their purposes? Never fear! ARRL Technical Editor Joel Hallas, W1ZR, comes to the rescue with "Selecting Your First VHF Handheld Transceiver." Hallas takes into account single band vs multi-band modes, access codes, keypads, memory management, connectivity options and more. He reminds hams that any handheld transceiiver you select will provide all the basic communication needs, as well as features you want now and some that you may need in the future.

Be sure to check out this video describing the Yaesu FTDX5000D HF and 6 meter transceiver, featured in the December product review. Click here to go to the video.

NCJ Managing Editor Rick Lindquist, WW3DE, takes a look at the Yaesu FTdx5000D HF and 6 meter transceiver in this month's Product Review. He calls it "an extraordinary transceiver for the discerning contester or DXer. This one will become the gold standard for operators seeking the best receive performance and best value in its class. Yaesu is to be commended for combining top tier receiver performance and a Class A transmitter with the features and functions users expect, all in a competitively priced package."

Many hams spend all year gearing up for ARRL Field Day, the most popular on-the-air operating event in all of Amateur Radio. For those hard-core Field Day aficionados, the December issue of QST is one of the most anticipated issues all year -- this is the issue with the Field Day results! This year, ARRL Field Day Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, channels his inner-Jimmy Buffett to bring readers the annual Field Day results article. You will also find official announcements for upcoming contests and operating events: the ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes, the ARRL International DX Contest (both SSB and CW), the ARRL Rookie Roundup (CW), Kids Day, the ARRL RTTY Roundup and the ARRL Straight Key Night. The results from the 2010 ARRL June VHF QSO Party are also in the December issue.

Of course, there are the usual columns you know and expect in the December QST: Happenings, Hints & Kinks, The Doctor Is IN, How's DX, Vintage Radio, Hamspeak and more. Look for your December 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.

+ International Spotlight: ARRL President Makes Final QSO with Australia's WIA Centenary Station

ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, made the final QSO to VK100WIA , the special event station call sign that celebrated the Wireless Institute of Australia's centenary. WIA President Michael Owen, VK3KI, was at the other end of the mic. [Carter Craigie, N3AO, Photo]

The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) marked the conclusion of their VK100WIA centennial special event operation on October 31 with a QSO between WIA President Michael Owen, VK3KI, and ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN. Logged at 1255 UTC -- five minutes before midnight in Australia -- the QSO between N3KN and VK100WIA, with VK3KI at the microphone, was the last contact recorded in the Australian special event's log.

The contact was made using EchoLink, with VK100WIA using the VK3ANT node in Melbourne, Victoria. Craigie used the K4IJ 440 MHz repeater in Roanoke, Virginia to access the EchoLink node of the linked North Carolina Hospital Emergency Amateur Radio System repeaters (NCHEARS); the NCHEARS system was also linked to the South Carolina Healthcare Emergency Amateur Radio Team repeaters. Repeater users across three states were able to hear the historic conversation between two continents. Read more here.

ARRL in Action: What Have We Been Up to Lately?

Compiled by ARRL News Editor S. Khrystyne Keane K1SFA

This feature is a concise monthly update of some of the things ARRL is doing on behalf of its members. This installment -- which covers the month of October -- includes seeking protection of amateur frequencies with the FCC; representing the ARRL at the local, regional, national and international level; encouraging hams to build their own equipment; administering ARRL awards programs, and more. Read more here.

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+ MARS: US Air Force MARS Gets New Leadership

Richard Jenson -- a Program Manager at the Air Force Network Integration Center at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois -- has been selected as the new Chief of Air Force MARS (USAF MARS). Jensen replaces Technical Sergeant Jason E. Sandifer, who served as Interim Chief since May when USAF MARS Chief Allen Eiermann, K3LSR, retired. "I am honored to have been selected to lead this organization of dedicated volunteer radio communicators and am enthusiastic about my new responsibilities," Jenson said. "The members of Air Force MARS can be rightly proud of their service to the nation, and I am eager to work with all of them as we enhance our ability to serve those who serve us." Read more here.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, November 4, 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 "They watched the hazy Sun sinking in the sea" Cook, K7RA, reports: The average daily sunspot numbers declined again this week, this time by nearly 25 points to 25.7, about half what it was last week. Look for good conditions this weekend in the ARRL CW Sweepstakes. The predicted planetary A index for November 4-7 is 7, 5, 8 and 8, and then 5 for the foreseeable future on November 8 and beyond. Predicted solar flux is 82 for each of the next 10 days. The latest three-month moving average of daily sunspot numbers shows a steady rise, with the trailing three-month average at the end of June through October at 16.2, 20.4, 23.2, 28.9 and 33. The average daily sunspot number for the month of October was 35, slightly higher than the trailing three-month average, which is a good sign. Look for more information on the ARRL Web site on Friday, November 5. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" is brought to you by The Eagles' The Last Resort.

+ ARRL Recognizes: David W. Cripe, NM0S, Wins October QST Cover Plaque Award

The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for October is David W. Cripe, NM0S, for his article "Homebrew Challenge II Co-Winner -- The Lowest Cost Entry." Congratulations David! The QST Cover Plaque award -- given to the author or authors of the best article in each issue -- is determined by a vote of ARRL members on the QST Cover Plaque Poll Web page. Cast a ballot for your favorite article in the November issue today.

This Week on the Radio

This week:

  • November 5 -- QRP Fox Hunt
  • November 6-7 -- Ukrainian DX Contest
  • November 6-8 -- ARRL CW Sweepstakes
  • November 7 -- High Speed Club CW Contest
  • November 10 -- QRP Fox Hunt
  • November 10-11 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test

Next week:

  • November 13-14 -- Kentucky QSO Party; WAE DX Contest (RTTY); OK/OM DX Contest (CW)
  • November 13-15 -- CQ-WE Contest
  • November 14 -- SKCC Weekend Sprint
  • November 17 -- QRP Fox Hunt
  • November 18 -- NAQCC Straight Key/Bug 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 Section, State and Division Conventions and Events

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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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