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The ARRL Letter
April 21, 2011
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News

+ FCC News: ARRL Scores Partial Victory in ReconRobotics Proceeding

The FCC has given radio amateurs a partial victory in response to the ARRL's challenge, in a Petition for Reconsideration, of a rules waiver that permits the certification and licensing of the Recon Scout -- a remote-controlled, maneuverable surveillance robot operating in the 430-448 MHz band. The device is marketed to public safety agencies and certain security personnel by ReconRobotics Inc.

In an Order on Reconsideration released on April 15, the FCC granted the ARRL's request for changes in the labeling and instruction manual requirements to ensure that users of the device are aware of its limitations, with regard to interference. Noting that no applications for individual licenses to operate the Recon Scout had been granted, the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and the Office of Engineering and Technology deferred to the Commission's Enforcement Bureau with regard to complaints that ReconRobotics has been marketing uncertified devices and that the devices have been operating without authorization. Read more here.

+ California Supreme Court Declines to Hear Antenna Zoning Case

The California Supreme Court refused to hear the antenna zoning case brought forth by Alex Zubarau, WB6X, of Palmdale, California -- with the assistance of his ARRL Volunteer Counsel Len Shaffer, WA6QHD -- after receiving a mixed decision by the California Court of Appeals earlier this year. The Supreme Court -- California's highest court -- handed down their decision on April 20. Read more here.

Spectrum Defense: "Eternal Vigilance" Is the Price We Pay for Our Spectrum

The first edition for 2011 of Spectrum Defense Matters -- a newsletter aimed at keeping ARRL members updated on issues related to the protection of Amateur Radio frequencies -- was recently released on the ARRL website. This newsletter covers both domestic and international topics related to the Amateur Radio spectrum. As ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, said in a recent ARRL Legislative Update newsletter, "Eternal vigilance is the price of spectrum." Sometimes the threats are minimal; sometimes their impact can be devastating if not addressed. Regardless of the degree of severity, any threat to our Amateur Radio spectrum must be a top priority of the ARRL. Read more here.

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+ On the Air: Find an ARRL Field Day Station Near You

First introduced in 2008, the ARRL's Field Day Station Locator Service has proved a popular addition to the Field Day toolbox. This service -- an interactive map that helps amateurs or those interested in Amateur Radio find a Field Day site near them -- is free to clubs or individuals who will be operating public Field Day stations. Stations can also be listed by state or province. So far, hams in all 50 states and Puerto Rico have listed Field Day sites on the Field Day Locator. If your group would like to be a part of the Station Locator Service, it's easy to get started -- just go to the Field Day Station Locator website and follow the instructions. ARRL Field Day is the most popular on-the-air operating event in Amateur Radio. On June 25-26, join tens of thousands of Amateur Radio operators as they gather for a public demonstration of the Amateur Radio Service.

On the Air: Transatlantic Amateur Radio Balloon Launch

The Project Blue Horizon 5 high-altitude transatlantic balloon is scheduled for launch, weather permitting, on Wednesday, April 27, from Oswego, New York. The Project Blue Horizon team is attempting to break current Amateur Radio high-altitude balloon records for distance (3361.81 miles) and duration (49 hours, 45 minutes). The payload will be carried beneath a 54,000 cubic foot capacity helium-filled balloon cruising between 85,000 and 100,000 feet. Read more here.

+ ARRL West Gulf Division to Host Webinar on Antenna Zoning

Periodically, ARRL Divisions will host a "webinar" -- an interactive Web-based seminar, designed to facilitate communication between a small number of presenters and a large remote audience using the Internet -- for interested amateurs. On Wednesday, April 27 at 9 PM (EDT), ARRL West Gulf Division Director David Woolweaver, K5RAV -- along with ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, and noted antenna zoning lawyer Fred Hopengarten, K1VR -- will present Antenna Ordinances, You and the ARRL. Read more here.

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+ HQ News: ARRL HQ to Close in Observance of Good Friday

ARRL Headquarters will be closed in observance of Good Friday on Friday, April 22. There will be no W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions that day. ARRL Headquarters will reopen Monday, April 25 at 8 AM Eastern Daylight Time. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

+ Postage Price Increase Now in Effect

On Sunday, April 17, the US Postal Service increased the price to mail certain items within the US and abroad, affecting the price of sending a QSL card within the US. While the cost to mail a 1 ounce piece of first class mail within the US stays at 44 cents, the cost of mailing a postcard increased one penny, from 28 cents to 29 cents. Click here for more information on all the postal increases.

Voting Now Open for May QST Cover Plaque Award

Now that you've thumbed through and read the May 2011 issue of QST cover-to-cover, we're sure that an article -- or three -- sticks in your mind. So go ahead and cast your vote for your favorite article in the issue. The article with the most votes will receive the QST Cover Plaque Award.

  • Supporting Portable Antennas Without Guy Wires by Dave Fisher, KG0D/7
  • A Transmitter for Fox Hunting by Mark Spencer, WA8SME
  • An Emergency Backup Solar Power System by Jim Talens, N3JT
  • A Junk Box Power Line Frequency Monitor by Arthur Glazar, W2NN
  • 3B8EME -- Moonbounce from the Indian Ocean by Eltje Veen, PA3CEE, Johan Meezen, PE9DX, and Rene Hasper, PE1L
  • Youth DX Adventure #1 by Don DuBon, N6JRL, and Dave Kalter, KB8OCP

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. Headquarters staff members who write articles are not eligible to receive votes.

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Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, April 21, 2011 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 Sun came out today" Cook, K7RA, reports: Both the average daily sunspot numbers and solar flux were both higher for the week, with sunspot numbers up more than three points to 93.1 and the solar flux up by 8 points to 117.2. Geomagnetic activity was a bit lower -- with April 20 being the most active day -- after a coronal hole on the Sun spewed a solar wind at high speed. Currently, there are four sunspot groups visible, and we could see a geo-magnetic disturbance today from a slow-moving coronal mass ejection. Look for more information on the ARRL website on Friday, April 22. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" is brought to you by John Fogerty's Centerfield.

ARRL Seeks Book Editor

The ARRL is seeking a Book Editor to manage the production of ARRL books and other publications, ensuring that they meet ARRL standards. The successful applicant will be responsible for managing the progress of all book materials through the production process, tracking current book inventory and scheduling reprints or new editions as needed, authoring new books and other materials, and editing and formatting manuscript materials provided by authors to ensure correct grammar, punctuation and style. Applicants must hold an Amateur Radio license, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Journalism or equivalent, and 5 to 10 years of experience as a professional newspaper, book or magazine editor, or corporate technical writer. For more information, including a complete job description and application details, please see the Employment Opportunities page on the ARRL website.

+ Silent Key: World Radio Labs Founder Leo Meyerson, W0GFQ (SK)

Leo Meyerson (SK)

Leo Meyerson, W0GFQ, of Omaha, Nebraska, passed away on April 13. He was 100. In 1935, Meyerson, an ARRL Life Member, founded Wholesale Radio Laboratories -- the forerunner to World Radio Labs -- in Council Bluffs, Iowa. For his contributions to Amateur Radio, Meyerson was named the 1997 Ham of the Year at the Dayton Hamvention. Read more here.

On the Air: DXCC Approves Two Tristan Da Cunha and Gough Operations

ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, reports that two operations on Tristan Da Cunha and Gough -- the 2010 ZD9AH operation and the 2010-2011 ZD9T operation -- have been approved for DXCC credit. "If you had these operations rejected in a recent application, please send an e-mail to the ARRL DXCC Desk," Moore said. "Please note that due to heavy e-mail volume, you may not receive a reply. Results will appear in Logbook of The World (LoTW) accounts, as well as online on the daily listings."

This Week on the Radio

This week:

  • April 22 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder 0230Z-0300Z, Apr 22
  • April 23-24 -- South Dakota QSO Party; 10-10 International Spring Contest (Digital); SP DX RTTY Contest; Helvetia Contest
  • April 25 -- Low Power Spring Sprint
  • April 27 -- SKCC Sprint; 432 MHz Spring Sprint (local time)
  • April 27-28 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test

Next week:

  • April 29 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • April 30 -- BARTG Sprint 75
  • April 30 May 1 -- Nebraska QSO Party; Florida QSO Party; SBMS 2 GHz and Up WW Club Contest (local time); QRP to the Field
  • May 1 -- AGCW QRP/QRP Party
  • May 3 -- ARS Spartan Sprint
  • May 4-5 -- MIE 33 Contest

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.

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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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