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The ARRL Letter
March 1, 2012
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News.

+ On the Air: ARRL Publishes New Guidelines for 60 Meters

Thanks to the FCC's Report and Order issued November 18, 2011, radio amateurs will enjoy a number of new privileges on the 60 meter band, beginning at midnight (EST) March 5. These new privileges include a boost in effective radiated power from 50 to 100 W, as well as the ability to use CW and certain digital modes.

Late last year, the ARRL HF Band Planning Committee surveyed 60 meter operators to gather opinions about how to best use the new privileges. On the subject of creating a specific band plan, the survey results indicated little consensus beyond the fact that 5403.5 kHz should retain its status as a de facto "DX channel." On the other hand, survey respondents made a number of suggestions for general operating practices.

Based on the survey results and subsequent research, the committee declined to propose a specific band plan for 60 meters at this time. Instead, the committee created a "Recommended Practices" document (click here for the document). The 60 meter pages on the ARRL website have been updated to reflect the changes brought about by the Report and Order.

The April issue of QST will also include an article by ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, offering a detailed discussion of the new 60 meter privileges and recommended operating practices.

+ W1AW: W1AW Video Tour Available on ARRL Website

In case you missed the live web tour of W1AW, the Hiram Percy Maxim Station at ARRL Headquarters, you can now watch the 18 minute video on the ARRL website. On February 12, W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, led Emmy Award-winning meteorologist Geoff Fox, K1GF, on a tour of the famed station. Al Petrunti, KA1TCH, of the New Day Group followed Carcia as he led Fox and viewers through the station, recording it for viewers to watch.

W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q (left), guides Geoff Fox, K1GF, through the station during the video tour.

"We wanted viewers of this live Internet tour to feel as if they are actually at W1AW," Carcia explained. "If you came to W1AW in person, you would see the same things that we showed on the virtual tour: The three operating stations, the transmitter racks that we use to send out our bulletins and use for the code practice transmission, the control console and 'Old Betsy,' Hiram Percy Maxim's personal spark gap transmitter."

You can view the video of the tour on the ARRL website (scroll to the bottom of the page).

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+ DXCC News: Malyj Vysotskij Island Added to DXCC Deleted Entities List

According to the Finnish Ministry of Transportation and Communication, the Saimaa Canal Treaty between Finland and Russia has been finalized by relevant Finnish and Russian authorities through ratification. Malyj Vysotskij Island (MVI), R1M, is no longer included in the Treaty. Thus, MVI was deleted from the DXCC List as of February 17, 2012, and added to the DXCC Deleted Entities List. Read more here.

+ARRL Annual Awards: Nominations for ARRL Awards Now Open

Each year, the ARRL Board of Directors has the opportunity to select recipients for a number of awards in various categories that honor Amateur Radio operators. The nomination period is now open for the ARRL awards that are designed to recognize educational and technological pursuits in Amateur Radio, as well as an award to honor a young Amateur Radio operator. ARRL members can nominate hams for the Herb S. Brier Instructor of the Year Award, the Hiram Percy Maxim Award, the ARRL Microwave Development Award, the ARRL Technical Service Award, the ARRL Technical Innovation Award and the Knight Distinguished Service Award. 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 February -- takes a look the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference, a new law that has a provision for an Amateur Radio study, new rules for 60 meters, happenings at W1AW, a new movie that features Amateur Radio, reports from the Official Observer Desk and more. Read more here.

+ W1AW: March Qualifying Runs

The W1AW and West Coast Qualifying Runs were inadvertently left out of the March 2012 issue of QST. Here is the missing information:

W1AW Qualifying Runs are 10 PM EST Friday, March 9 (0300 UTC March 10) (10-40 WPM) and 7 PM EDT (2300 UTC) Tuesday, March 20. The West Coast Qualifying Run will be transmitted by station K6KPH on 3581.5, 7047.5, 14047.5, 18097.5 and 21067.5 kHz at 2 PM PDT (2200 UTC) Saturday, March 17. Unless indicated otherwise, speeds are from 10-35 WPM. You can find the upcoming schedule here.

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Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, March 1, 2012 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 dawn of the great black Sun that shines on me" Cook, K7RA, reports: In tomorrow's K7RA Solar Update, we'll have a review of recent sunspot number averages. The average daily sunspot number for the month of February 2012 was 50.1, the lowest since January 2011, when it was 32.2. The average daily sunspot number for the three months ending on February 29, 2012 was 83.3, the lowest since the three months ending in September 2011, when it was 79.6. This is a three month moving average, so there is a figure for every month that includes data from the two previous months. Look for more information on the ARRL website on Friday, March 2. 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 Alarm's Black Sun.

This Week in Radiosport

This week:

Next week:

  • March 10 -- AGCW QRP Contest
  • March 10-11 -- Idaho QSO Party; EA PSK63 Contest
  • March 11 -- North American Sprint (RTTY); SKCC Weekend Sprint
  • March 11-12 -- Wisconsin QSO Party
  • March 14-15 -- 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.

+ Silent Key: Former RAC President Earle Smith, VE6NM (SK)

Former RAC President Earle Smith, VE6NM (SK)

Earle Smith, VE6NM, of Grand Prairie, Alberta -- who served as President of the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) from 2004-2007 -- passed away Friday, February 24. He was 81. An active radio amateur since 1948, first licensed as VE1SA, Smith enjoyed meeting amateurs from all over Canada and the world. "Earle was well respected by Amateur Radio operators both within Canada and internationally," said current RAC President Geoff Bawden, VE4BAW. "He was a gentleman and friend to all hams and a strong advocate for Amateur Radio and for the Radio Amateurs of Canada. All who knew Earle respected him as a leader, a friend and a force for good in the Amateur Radio community. We will miss him." Read more here.

+ ARRL Recognizes: Phil Salas, AD5X , Wins February QST Cover Plaque Award

The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for February is Phil Salas, AD5X , for his article "A Relay-Based Full Break-In TR Switch for Your Vintage System. " Congratulations Phil! 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 March issue today.

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 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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