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The ARRL Letter
November 10, 2011
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News.

+ USA Brings Home Gold at 2011 High Speed Telegraphy World Championships

Kody Low, K3ODY, Kennan Low, KE3X, and Barry Kutner, W2UP, represented the US at the Ninth High Speed Telegraphy IARU World Championship last month in Bielefeld, Germany. Kutner also took the first-ever gold medal won by a non-European in the pileup competition. [Photo courtesy of Barry Kutner, W2UP]

Back in September 1936, Eugene A. Hubbell, W9ERU, took home the silver trophy at what the October 1936 issue of QST called the first official "Amateur Code Speed Contest." Only making one error, Hubbell won first prize with his winning speed of receiving 52.2 words per minute. Held at the ARRL Central Division Convention that year, the contest required operators to decipher plain language text at two minute intervals that ranged in speed from 25 to 52.7 words per minute. But things have changed since Hubbell made history. Today, individuals all over the world compete in High Speed Telegraphy (HST) events where they are challenged to correctly receive and copy Morse code transmissions sent at very high speeds, upwards of 300 characters a minute.

According to Barry Kutner, W2UP, HST has long been considered a sport in Europe, especially Eastern Europe, similar to chess or an Olympic sport. This year, Team USA -- consisting of Kutner, Kennan Low, KE3X, and Kody Low, K3ODY - placed 10th at the Ninth High Speed Telegraphy IARU World Championship in Bielefeld, Germany this past October. Kutner won a gold medal -- the first in HST history to a non-European -- in the pileup competition, and a bronze medal in the RUFZ competition. Read more here.

+ Record Number of Freshmen Take Tech Exam at California University

Almost 120 Cal Poly-SLO freshmen electrical engineering students sat for the Technician exam; 96 students passed the test. [Marcel Stieber, AI6MS]

When 114 freshmen electrical engineering students at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, gathered on Friday, November 4 to take their Technician exam, they made history. Not only was the session one of the largest exam sessions ever, it was the largest exam session sponsored by a college Amateur Radio club and the largest exam session ever held in San Luis Obispo County. After all the exams were graded, 96 of the 114 students were brand new licensed amateurs, joining the next generation of radio amateurs in the US. Hosted by the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club, this exam session broke its previous record of 62 new licensees, set earlier this year in October. These 96 new Amateur Radio operators will join more than 700,000 other hams in the US in providing volunteer and emergency communications support for everything from local bike rides and parades to global disaster relief. Read more here.

+ Kirk Pickering, K4RO, Named 14th Editor of NCJ

Kirk Pickering, K4RO, of Pegram, Tennessee, has been named Editor of the National Contest Journal (NCJ), beginning with the January/February 2012 issue. Pickering takes over from Al Dewey, K0AD, of Plymouth, Minnesota, who has served as NCJ Editor since 2008. Pickering, who has been licensed since 1976, began writing the "Contesting 101" column in NCJ in 2008. "I've been chasing DX since 1986, and in 1994, I began entering contests. My current interests are mostly contesting and DXing. I tend to enjoy CW contesting the most, but I do RTTY and phone contests, too. I also like to tinker in the workshop and learn about how this magic medium of radio works." Read more here.

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+ Get Ready for the December Issue of QST

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 2011 ARRL Field Day results -- the upcoming issue of QST has something for just about everyone.

If you are looking for something new to try during the cold winter months, why not rise to the challenge of QRP CW operating? In his article "A 2 W Logic Chip Transmitter," Lew Smith, N7KSB, presents an easy-to-duplicate transmitter that you can put together in no time at all. Once you have your transmitter ready to go, you'll need to hook it up to an antenna. But what kind of antenna? ARRL Technical Editor Joel Hallas, W1ZR, takes a look at some HF beam options in his article "How About an HF Beam Under Your Holiday Tree?"

With the ARRL turning 100 in just a little more than two years, many here at ARRL Headquarters have been looking to the past as we make plans for for the future. An organization rich in history, the ARRL has been looking for ways to keep that history alive for years to come. One of the ways we are doing so is by archiving the many photos and documents we have, many going back to the very early days of radio. Join ARRL Volunteer Archivist Michael Marinaro, WN1M, as he explains how the ARRL is preserving our history in his article "Ham History SOS."

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, join ARRL Field Day Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, as he travels through literature 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 2011 ARRL June VHF QSO Party are also in the December issue.

ARRL Contributing Editor H. Ward Silver, N0AX, takes a look at the FlexRadio Systems FLEX-1500 software defined HF+6 meter QRP transceiver in this month's Product Review. He says this rig "provides excellent performance at an entry level price, assuming you have a satisfactory PC to host it. The Flexers, an active community of SDR enthusiasts, will become your best friends. If you want a portable or mobile radio or don't like to use computer interface devices, I'd recommend staying with a traditional stand-alone rig; however, if you want to experiment and jump into SDR, the FLEX 1500 makes for an easy route."

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

+ LoTW Processing Update

Logbook of The World (LoTW) has been managing to hold its own against the current high volume of incoming logs. An approximate 60 hour processing delay has been maintained for about a week. As of November 9, there are approximately 2.8 million QSOs in the LoTW queue. Many logs are still coming in from the CQ WW and the ARRL Sweepstakes Contests that were held the last two weekends. If you have already uploaded a log, there is no need to upload it again. By doing so, you will only add to the lengthy queue. Also, please do not send entire logs that contain previously uploaded QSOs. Please use the date range option when signing logs. This will allow you to select QSOs from your log within a specific date range. By following these guidelines, this will allow LoTW to process the backlog at a faster pace. The ARRL IT staff has been working diligently to speed up the LoTW processing time and eliminate the backlog. Thanks again for your patience.

The Sixth Annual ARRL On-Line Auction Comes to a Close

After a week of frenzied bidding, the Sixth Annual ARRL On-Line Auction ended with a bang on October 26. The 2011 running of the auction featured almost 200 items, ranging from high-end Product Review equipment to a great assortment of antique books. In addition to bidders from the US, the auction saw winning bids from Canada, Italy, Japan, China and Brazil. According to Auction Coordinator Deb Jahnke, K1DAJ, bidding was fierce for the Yaesu FT-DX 5000D HF/6 meter transceiver that ultimately went to a bidder in China who placed a winning bid of $4925. This rig was featured in the December 2010 issue of QST as a Product Review item. Read more here.

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ARRL Says "Thank You" to Veterans

On Friday, November 11, here in the US and abroad, we will celebrate Veterans Day, also called Remembrance Day or Armistice Day. Originally a holiday that marked the end of World War I -- the "War to End All Wars" -- this day has been set aside to honor all who have served their country. It was on November 11, 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, that Germany signed the Armistice, formally ending the hostilities that had been ongoing since 1914.

The ARRL would like to take this opportunity to thank our service veterans. Whether they served on active duty or reserve, during peace time or time of conflict, they served their county with honor. We also would be remiss if we did not remember the families of those veterans who kept the homefires burning bright; without their love and support, our veterans would have indeed been alone.

ARRL Headquarters has its share of service veterans: Contributing Editor Al Brogdon, W1AB (Army); Publications Sales Associate Mark Dzamba, KB1FMY (Air Force); Assistant VEC Manager Perry Green, WY1O (Army); Technical Editor Joel Hallas, W1ZR (Army); News Editor S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA (Coast Guard); DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L (Army); Reprints Specialist Tony Nesta, AA1RZ (Navy); Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager Dave Patton, NN1N (Navy); Technical Relations Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA (Army); Field and Regulatory Correspondent Chuck Skolaut, K0BOG (Air Force), and Education & Technology Program Coordinator Mark Spencer, WA8SME (Air Force).

Thank you for your service -- your sacrifice and the sacrifice of your fellow service members is not forgotten.

ARRL Committee Seeks Microwave Band Plan Input

Attention microwavers! An ARRL Ad Hoc Committee has been tasked by the Board of Directors with recommending updates to the ARRL band plans for the amateur bands between 902 MHz and 3.5 GHz. If you are now active on any of these bands or are developing plans to do so, the committee would like to hear from you.

The band plans for these bands may be found here:

  • 902-928 MHz
  • 1240-1300 MHz
  • 2300-2310 and 2390-2450 MHz
  • 3300-3500 MHz

You can find additional background and a form for submitting information here. Please respond by December 15, 2011.

+ Dave Kaplan, WA1OUI, Takes Over Administration of ARRL A-1 Operator Club

The ARRL relies on a number of volunteers who give their time to help make the organization run smoothly. From Division Directors to Section Managers to Emergency Coordinators to tour guides at Headquarters and everyone in between, volunteers play an important part in carrying out the ARRL's mission: To promote and advance the art, science and enjoyment of Amateur Radio. Dave Kaplan, WA1OUI, is one of the volunteer tour guides at ARRL Headquarters. Recently, he agreed to take on the role of administrator for the ARRL A-1 Operator Club. First organized in May 1933, the ARRL A-1 Operator Club has a proud history and occupies an important place in Amateur Radio tradition. Read more here.

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+ W1AW Announces Winter Operating Schedule

With the switch from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time, W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, has updated the W1AW operating schedule to reflect the change. The standard times have not changed, but the UTC times have. Read more here.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, November 10, 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 "We're out there having fun in the warm California Sun" Cook, K7RA, reports: Another sunspot number record for Solar Cycle 24 was shattered: On Wednesday, November 9, the daily sunspot number reached 220, the highest it has been in more than eight years. The last time the sunspot number was higher than 220 was November 1, 2003 when the number was 277. Two days before it reached 277 in 2003, the sunspot number was 330, a harder record to beat. The average daily sunspot numbers this week rose more than 53 points compared to last week, to 153.4, while the average daily solar flux rose nearly 39 points to 173.7. The latest prediction from NOAA/USAF has solar flux at 180 on November 10-11, 175 on November 12-13, 170 on November 14-16, and 165, 155, 155, 145, 140, 135, 135 and 140 on November 17-24. The planetary A index is predicted at 5, 10, 18 and 10 on November 10-13, then 5 on November 14-25. The A index of 18 on November 12 seems to reflect a warning from IPS Radio and Space Services (in Australia) at 2330 UTC on November 9. It announced expected increased geomagnetic activity November 10-12, with quiet conditions on November 10, unsettled to active with isolated minor storm levels on November 11 and quiet to unsettled with isolated active levels on November 12. Geophysical Institute Prague says look for quiet to unsettled conditions November 11, unsettled to active November 12, quiet to unsettled again on November 13 and quiet November 14-17. Look for more information on the ARRL website on Friday, November 11. 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 Rivieras' California Sun.

JARL Welcomes New President

JARL President Shozo Hara, JA1AN (left, seated) and ARRL Membership and Programs Assistant Manager Norm Fusaro, W3IZ (right, seated) operate 8J1A at the Tokyo Ham Fair in August 2007. [Photo courtesy of Norm Fusaro, W3IZ]

The Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) named a new President and two new Vice Presidents, effective November 1, 2011. Akira Inage, JA5MG, will take over the presidency from Shozo Hara, JA1AN. Hara has served as JARL President for more than 35 years. "Mr Hara led the JARL with great distinction for more than 35 years, including a period of phenomenal growth," remarked ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. "It has been a great privilege to collaborate with him in protecting and promoting Amateur Radio worldwide." Kazuo Niwa, JA1AYO, and Norimasa Nemoto, JH1UBU, will serve as the new JARL Vice Presidents.

New QuickStats Poll Now Available on ARRL Website

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

Questions in this month's QuickStats poll:

  • Do you still keep a station log on paper?
  • Have you ever performed an RF Safety evaluation for your home station?
  • How familiar are you with Software Defined Radio (SDR)?
  • Now that propagation is improving, are you operating more often on 15, 12 and 10 meters?

Visit the QuickStats page and be sure to bookmark it in your browser. Results from this QuickStats poll will be published in the February 2012 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:

  • 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

Next week:

  • November 18 -- YO International PSK31 Contest
  • November 19 -- Feld Hell Sprint
  • November 19-20 -- ARRL EME Contest; LZ DX Contest
  • November 19-21 -- ARRL Sweepstakes Contest (SSB); North America Collegiate ARC Championship (SSB)
  • November 21 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest
  • November 23 -- SKCC Sprint
  • November 23-24 -- 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 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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