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The ARRL Letter
December 16, 2010
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News

+ FCC News: New Rules Governing Vanity, Club Station Call Signs to Take Effect February 14, 2011

On Wednesday, December 15, new rules affecting vanity and club station call signs within the Amateur Radio Service were published in the Federal Register. These new rules will go into effect on February 14, 2011. Thirteen months ago, the FCC announced its intention to modify Part 97 as it applies to the vanity call sign system and club station call signs, aligning the rules to prior Commission decisions. Last month, the Commission released a Report and Order (R&O), outlining its decision. Along with the changes to the call sign rules, the FCC made "certain minor, non-substantive amendments" to portions of Part 97.

+ Spectrum Defense: What Role Can You Play to Defend Our Amateur Radio Spectrum?

The third edition of Spectrum Defense Matters -- a newsletter aimed at keeping ARRL members updated on issues related to the protection of Amateur Radio frequencies -- has just been released on the ARRL Web site. This newsletter covers both domestic and international topics related to the Amateur Radio spectrum. Your financial support is vital to continue the ARRL's work to protect your operating privileges. You can help protect these privileges by contributing generously to the 2010 ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund before December 31.

"The coming year will see the completion of preparations for the next World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12 ), to be held in Geneva in January and February 2012," said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. " We hope for favorable outcomes on the agenda items we care about -- but that will not be the end of it. This WRC will recommend an agenda for the next one, later in the decade. Will that agenda pose serious threats to amateur spectrum? Will it include the possibility of new or expanded amateur allocations? The answers will depend in part on work being done on your behalf today, in Geneva and within regional telecommunications organizations that cover the globe."

This edition of Spectrum Defense Matters includes articles on how the IARU works with the world's six regional telecommunications organizations, a look at how the FCC's National Broadband Plan could affect the Amateur Radio Service and a message from ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX, outlining many of the ways the ARRL advocates for the defense of your spectrum. Read more here.

+ Amateur Radio Fun: Be a Star! Enter the ARRL Video Contest

If you've ever wanted a way to show the world how exciting Amateur Radio can be, here's your chance: The ARRL is sponsoring its first-ever video contest! We are looking for ARRL members to shoot and submit videos that showcase how fun and electrifying our hobby is; extra points will be awarded for a video showing someone, young or old, licensed or not, making their first contact. Videos will be judged on overall quality and composition, and prizes will be awarded. The video author/producer must be an ARRL member; however, the people who appear in your video can be non-members. This contest is intended for amateur videographers. If you are a professional, please do not apply. Check out all the details -- including the fine print -- on the ARRL Video Contest Rules and Guidelines Web page.

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ARRL Publications: New Edition of ON4UN's Low-Band DXing Now Shipping

The fifth edition of ON4UN's Low-Band DXing: Antennas, Equipment and Techniques for DXcitement on 160, 80 and 40 Meters by John Devoldere, ON4UN, features new and updated material. This is a book -- with CD-ROM included -- that every fan of 40 meters through Top Band needs in the shack. It is loaded with everything you need to succeed on the low bands. It's been 25 years since Devoldere published the original Low Band DXing, sharing his knowledge of techniques for success on 160, 80 and 40 meters. Over the years, the book has evolved to keep pace with the growing knowledge of propagation, equipment, operating techniques and receiving and transmitting equipment for the low bands. This edition is no different, with significant new additions and updates throughout the book. Read more here.

+ On the Air: 2010 a Banner Year for DXCC, Incoming/Outgoing QSL Bureau

The Outgoing QSL Bureau at ARRL Headquarters. More than 1 million QSL cards passed through the Incoming and Outgoing QSL Bureaus in 2010. [S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, Photo]

With the coming of more sunspots, comes more DX. And when more amateurs are working DX, that means the ARRL's Membership and Volunteer Programs Department -- especially the DXCC desk and the ARRL Incoming and Outgoing QSL Bureaus -- goes into high gear.

"Compared to 2009, 2010 saw a dramatic increase in the number of cards we received from ARRL members that were sent to foreign QSL bureaus, as well as the number of cards we sent out to the bureaus," said DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L. "In addition, the number of DXCC applications -- including those for initial awards and endorsements -- also increased." Read more here.

+ Support ARRL: ARRL Receives $1 Million Gift to the ARRL Endowment

Dr Charles Mathias, W8KGD, and his wife Iona bequeathed $1 million to the ARRL.

In October 2010, the ARRL received word that that it is a beneficiary of the Charles and Iona Mathias Joint Trust. Dr Mathias, W8KGD, became a Silent Key in 2008 at the age of 93; Iona, his wife of 62 years, passed away in June 2010. The ARRL is one of five beneficiaries of the Trust that has an estimated value in excess of $8 million. Each beneficiary is scheduled to receive a 20 percent share of the residual after other distributions are completed. The ARRL first learned of the Trust upon Dr Mathias' passing.

"The generosity of Dr and Mrs. Mathias is a shining example of how individuals can make a continuing impact on the organizations that influenced their lives," said ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH. "The Mathias' generosity to the ARRL during their lifetime -- and through the Charles and Iona Mathias Joint Trust -- is an example of commitment to the work of the ARRL, even after their passing." Read more here.

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Support ARRL: ARRL Thanks Donors with Publication Gift Certificates

The end of 2010 is fast approaching and ARRL is poised to close the books on December 31! Many members wait to make contributions at the end of the year -- these contributions are important to the ARRL funds that are not supported by member dues.

But wait! There's more! When you make a contribution of $30 or more before December 31, you'll receive a complimentary $10 gift certificate* on your next publication sales purchase with the ARRL. You can make your gift on our secure Web site, by mail or by phone at 860-594-0397 and we'll send your $10 gift certificate right away.

You may designate your contribution to one or more of the following funds:

You may decide to make a monthly credit card contribution of $10 or more on the ARRL Web site to support one of the areas listed above. For more information, contact ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, via e-mail or by phone at 860-594-0397. Your year-end contribution is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. ARRL is an IRS designated 501(c)(3) organization holding tax identification number 06-6000004.

* About ARRL Gift Certificates: After making your contribution of $30 or more, your $10 ARRL Gift Certificate will be promptly mailed to you. Certificates must be redeemed by April 30, 2011. It is easy to redeem your certificate online, by mail or phone. This offer is valid on all sale and regular-priced ARRL publications.

+ ARRL Headquarters Closed for Christmas, New Year's Holidays

ARRL Headquarters will be closed Friday, December 24 and Friday, December 31 in observance of Christmas and New Year's Day. There will be no W1AW bulletins or code practice transmissions those days. There will be no ARRL Letter or ARRL Audio News on Thursday, December 23 and 30; both the Letter and Audio News will return on January 6, 2011. We wish everyone a safe and joyful holiday season and a prosperous 2011.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, December 16, 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 "The windows are illuminated by the evening Sun" Cook, K7RA, reports: The average daily sunspot numbers for this week declined more than 7 points from the previous week to 27.6. The solar flux stayed about the same, up less than a point. The predicted planetary A index for the next five days -- December 16-20 -- is 8, 5, 8, 8 and 5. The solar flux for the same days is predicted at 87, 86, 84, 86 and 86. Flux values are expected to meander between 86 and 88 until the end of the month, when they are expected to hit 90 around December 29-January 1. Look for more information -- including information on JHelioviewer, a free visualization program for examining the millions of images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory -- on the ARRL Web site on Friday, December 17. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" is brought to you by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's Our House.

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+ New QuickStats Poll Now Available on ARRL Web Site

Four new poll questions have just been published on the QuickStats page on the ARRL Web site. Let your voice be heard!

Questions in this month's QuickStats poll include:

  • Do you use CW on a regular basis?
  • If your out-of-warranty transceiver failed, what would you do?
  • Do you own a tablet computer?
  • Does your ARES® group use the ARRL Public Service Activity Report form to document SKYWARN activity?

Visit the QuickStats page and be sure to bookmark it in your browser. Results from this QuickStats poll will be published in the March 2011 issue of QST on the QuickStats page, located 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.

This Week on the Radio

This week:

  • December 17 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder; Russian 160 Meter Contest; AGB-Party Contest
  • December 18 -- OK DX RTTY Contest; RAC Winter Contest
  • December 18-January 2 -- Lighthouse Christmas Lights QSO Party
  • December 18-19 -- Stew Perry Topband Challenge; Croatian CW Contest
  • December 19 -- ARRL Rookie Roundup (CW); ARCI Holiday Spirits Homebrew Sprint
  • December 20 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest
  • December 22 -- SKCC Sprint

Next week and beyond:

  • January 1 -- ARRL Straight Key Night; SARTG New Year RTTY Contest; AGCW Happy New Year Contest; AGCW VHF/UHF Contest
  • January 1-2 -- Original QRP Contest
  • January 4 -- ARS Spartan Sprint
  • January 7 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • January 8 -- Midwinter Contest (CW)
  • January 8-9 -- ARRL RTTY Roundup; North American QSO Party (CW); Michigan QRP January (CW); Contest Hunting Lions in the Air Contest; EUCW 160 Meter Contest; WW PMC Contest
  • January 9 -- NRAU-Baltic Contest (CW); Midwinter Contest (Phone); NRAU-Baltic Contest (SSB)
  • January 12-13 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test

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 Stations Web page.

Upcoming ARRL Section, State and Division Conventions and Events

To find a convention or hamfest near you, click here.

ARRL -- Your One-Stop Resource for Amateur Radio News and Information

  • Join or Renew Today! ARRL membership includes QST , Amateur Radio's most popular and informative journal, delivered to your mailbox each month.
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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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