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The ARRL Letter
November 3, 2011
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There will be no ARRL Audio News this week. The ARRL Audio News will return on Thursday, November 10, 2011.

Don't forget! The ARRL November CW Sweepstakes is this weekend. Click here for more information.

Public Service: Amateurs Assist with Communications in Aftermath of Rare October Nor'easter

A rare nor'easter brought historic snowfall and widespread damage and power outages from the Mid-Atlantic into the Northeast United States on the last weekend of October. Up and down the Atlantic seaboard, radio amateurs provided various critical services to the National Weather Service through the SKYWARN weather spotter program, and provided communications support to local, state and federal emergency management and non-governmental organizations.

Carl Aveni, N1FY, works at the WX1BOX desk at the National Weather Service office in Taunton, Massachusetts. [Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Photo]

"Amateur Radio operations at the National Weather Service office in Taunton, Massachusetts were active on WX1BOX, the office's Amateur Radio station," Rob Macedo, KD1CY, told the ARRL. Macedo serves as the Eastern Massachusetts ARES® Section Emergency Coordinator and SKYWARN Coordinator for the NWS Taunton office. "Hams in Taunton were active for 21 hours supporting meteorological and damage data that was shared not only with the NWS, but also with the media and local, state and federal emergency management. This brought critical situational awareness and disaster intelligence information in near-real time with many agencies."

In the ARRL Connecticut Section, Section leaders were conducting their Simulated Emergency Test (SET) when the storm hit. "Because of the storm, we truncated the SET operational period and braced for the unseasonable October snow," explained ARRL Connecticut Section Emergency Coordinator Wayne Gronland, N1CLV. "The planned hurricane/earthquake SET scenario was quickly displaced by a real nor'easter! SKYWARN operators across the Section were activated on Saturday afternoon, and nets went late into the evening gathering snow, rain and wind data for the National Weather Service." Read more here.

FCC News: President Obama Names Two Nominees for FCC Commissioner

President Barack Obama has nominated two new FCC Commissioners: Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Varadaraj Pai. Rosenworcel has been nominated to replace retiring Commissioner Michael Copps. President Obama selected Pai to fill the seat vacated by Meredith Attwell Baker, who left the FCC in June 2010. If Rosenworcel and Pai are confirmed by the Senate, the FCC would be at its full complement of five Commissioners.

The FCC has been down one commissioner since Baker's departure, and Copps' departure at the end of the year would leave the agency with only three commissioners: two Democrats and one Republican. Only three sitting Commissioners may be members of the same political party. At present, Chairman Julius Genachowski, Copps and Mignon Clyburn are Democrats. If confirmed, Pai will join Commissioner Robert McDowell as one of the two Republicans on the Commission. Read more here.

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FCC News: FCC Terminates Proceedings Affecting the Amateur Radio Service

The FCC issued an Order on November 1 that terminated hundreds of proceedings, including six proceedings that members of the public, including the ARRL, had asked not to be terminated. Two of these six proceedings involved the Amateur Radio Service. This follows a June 2011 Public Notice that sought comments on whether or not it should terminate approximately 800 docketed proceedings.

On July 20, 2011, the ARRL filed comments with the FCC on this matter, explaining that it had no objection to the termination of the proceedings in the Public Notice, save for one item: The ARRL's Petition for Rulemaking (RM-10165) Amendment of Parts 2 and 97 of the Commission's Rules Regarding the 2300-2305 MHz Band. In this Petition, the ARRL requested that the FCC change the Amateur Radio Service's allocation in that band from Secondary to Primary. This Petition was one of the six items to be terminated. Read more here.

Mark Your Calendars: It's Time for the November FMT

The Frequency Measuring Test (FMT) returns to the airwaves on Wednesday, November 9. As in April, the format will simulate a roundtable QSO in which all of the stations are close to the same frequency, but not exactly on the same frequency. This time, there will be more time -- about five minutes -- between the transmissions from each station. There will be three test signal stations: Connie Marshall, K5CM, in Oklahoma, Charles Collins, W6OQI, in California, and members of the Midwest VHF/UHF Society, W8KSE, in Ohio. If you have not participated in an FMT before, it doesn't take a room full of test equipment to have fun and make surprisingly accurate measurements. You can read all of the QST articles about the exercises on the ARRL FMT web page. Read more here.

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

This feature is a concise monthly update of some of the things that the ARRL is doing on behalf of its members. This installment -- which covers the month of October -- takes a look the ARRL's reaction to the FCC's new BPL regulations, how the ARRL is preparing for WRC-12, ARISS activities, new publications, the upswing in the number of licensed amateurs in the US, reports from the Official Observer Desk and more. Read more here.

Enforcement News: FCC Issues Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order to Florida Man for Using Unauthorized Equipment

Michael Perry, of Cross City, Florida, was issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture on November 1 in the amount of $10,000 for operating a radio transmitter without the requisite FCC authorization. The FCC found that Perry "willfully violated section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended and Sections 95.409 and 95.411 of the Commission's rules."

In response to a complaint of interference, agents from the Enforcement Bureau's Tampa Office used direction-finding techniques on March 31, 2011 to locate the source of the interference to a signal on Citizens Band channel 28 (27.2850 MHz) that was coming from Perry's residence. The same day, agents from the Tampa Office inspected Perry's CB station, which he admitted to using earlier that day. The agents observed a non-certificated CB transmitter and three linear amplifiers as part of Perry's CB station. Perry admitted to the agents that two of the three linear amplifiers were capable of generating a power output of 200 W and 1500 W respectively, and that he had never tested the third. The agents observed that the transmitter and two of the amplifiers were warm to the touch, indicating that the devices had been recently operated. Read more here.

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Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, November 3, 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 "Good day sunshine" Cook, K7RA, reports: We have more good solar cycle news in this week's bulletin, with NASA revising the estimated smoothed sunspot number for the peak of Solar Cycle 24 for the third consecutive month. The estimated value has risen nearly 30 percent since September. In addition, the monthly average of daily sunspot numbers has risen 87 percent in the past two months. The latest prediction for the near term has solar flux at 160 on November 3, 165 on November 4-9, 155 on November 10, 150 on November 11-15, and peaking again at 165 on November 17-18. For November 3-7, the predicted planetary A index is 8, 10, 12, 10 and 8, then 5 on November 8-10, 8 on November 11-13, and 5 again on November 14-23. Look for more information on the ARRL website on Friday, November 4. 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 Beatles' Good Day Sunshine.

On the Air: Logbook of The World Experiencing Delays

Due to a large number of radio amateurs uploading their logs to Logbook of The World (LoTW) after last weekend's CQ Worldwide SSB Contest, the ARRL's online QSL verification service is experiencing delays. According to ARRL IT Manager Michael Keane, K1MK, there is about a 60 hour wait for the more than 10,000 logs in the queue to be processed. "Logs are processed in the order in which they were received," he explained. "If you have uploaded your log to LoTW, your log is currently queued for processing. It has not been lost in the system. Uploading your log multiple times will only further delay your log and those of others to be processed."

ARRL Congratulates: Joe Ostrowski, KI5FJ , Wins October QST Cover Plaque Award

The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for October is Joe Ostrowski, KI5FJ , for his article "A Simple Remote Impedance Matching Network. " Congratulations Joe! 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 5-6 -- Ukrainian DX Contest
  • November 5-7 -- ARRL Sweepstakes Contest (CW)
  • November 6 -- High Speed Club CW Contest; DARC 10 Meter Digital Contest
  • November 9-10 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test

Next week:

  • November 12-13 -- Kentucky QSO Party; WAE DX Contest (RTTY); 10-10 International Fall Contest (Digital); JIDX Phone Contest; OK/OM DX Contest (CW); CWops Mini-CWT Test
  • November 12-14 -- CQ-WE Contest
  • November 13 -- SKCC Weekend Sprint
  • November 14 -- NAQCC-EU Monthly Sprint
  • November 17 -- 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 information. 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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