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The ARRL Letter
April 5, 2012
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News.

+ On the Air: FCC Seeks Public Comments on Emergency Communications by Amateur Radio and Impediments to Amateur Radio Communications

In response to the Congressional directive to prepare a study to assess Amateur Radio's role in emergency and disaster communications and the impact of private land use regulations on the Amateur community's ability to provide such communications, the FCC issued DA 12-523 soliciting comments from the public. The period for public comment runs until May 17, 2012.

"As part of the study contained in Public Law No. 112-96, the Commission has opened a 45 day period for comments to be filed on the issue," said ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND. "Because of the short deadline for the study to be completed and presented to Congress -- before the end of August -- the ARRL and the amateur community must quickly mobilize their response." Read more here.

On the Air: ARRL Seeks Comments on Proposed 33 cm Band Plan

A few months ago, the ARRL UHF/Microwave Band Plan Committee asked the Amateur Radio community about current, planned and projected uses of the amateur bands between 902 MHz-3.5 GHz. The response was beyond our expectations, with hundreds of comments and suggestions received. After reading the feedback, the Committee began working on the band plans, and the draft plan for 33 cm (902-928 MHz) is now ready for review. Read more here.

+ ARRL Field Day: Be Ready for Field Day in Official Field Day Gear from the ARRL

You've spent all year preparing for ARRL Field Day, but there are still a few things you're missing: The official 2012 Field Day shirt, hat, pin and logbook! ARRL Field Day -- Amateur Radio's largest on-the-air operating event -- is just a little more than two months away, so be sure to get your gear before supplies run out. This year's ARRL Field Day shirt is a khaki T-shirt that sports the 2012 Field Day logo atop a pocket, with the ARRL diamond logo and "Ham Radio" on the back. Shirts are available in sizes Small-4XL. The hat -- which has "Field Day" emblazoned on its front -- is Texas Orange and is color-coordinated with this year's logo. New for 2012 is the ARRL Field Day Logbook. This nifty logbook is set up in the Field Day reporting format and includes dupe sheets and other forms that you need to have to ensure a successful Field Day. Clubs, order early! Collect orders from members and place a single order -- pay only $12.50 shipping for orders over $50 (while supplies last). ARRL Field Day is June 23-24, 2012. Fulfill all your Field Day apparel needs at the Field Day Supplies section of the ARRL website.

+ ARRL Field Day: ARRL PR Committee to Host Field Day Webinar

The ARRL Public Relations Committee will be holding a free webinar entitled Field Day Press Release on Thursday, April 12 at 9 PM (EDT). This webinar is geared for those who want to learn the easiest -- and most effective -- ways to write up a media release for Field Day and actually get it noticed by the media in your home region. Learn the "tricks of the trade" from the people who actually work in radio, television and print media. ARRL Public Relations Committee Chairman Steven Polunsky, W5SMP, will host the event; Polunsky is also the Public Information Coordinator for the ARRL's South Texas Section. Joining Polunsky are Bill Husted, KQ4YA (print), Mark Kraham, W8CMK (TV) and Don Carlson, KQ6FM (radio). Space is limited -- reserve your spot today.

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+ Google Declares "Morse Code Is Perfect" with New Gmail Tap Mail Program

On April 1 (yes, April Fools' Day), Google announced that it has unveiled a new way to use its popular Gmail e-mail system. Called Gmail Tap, it uses dots and dashes to form letters, a system of communicating that should be very familiar to radio amateurs. "Morse code is perfect," said Gmail Tap Engineer Mitch Fedenko. "It's just a dot and a dash. What's simpler than that?" Read more here.

+ Stephen Klinefelter Takes Over As New Army MARS Chief

On April 2, US Army Colonel (retired) Stephen G. Klinefelter -- a senior staff officer who oversees Army MARS operations for the US Army Network Enterprise Technology Command -- announced that he was assuming the post of Chief of Army MARS, effective immediately. Klinefelter, 61, took the leading role last December in untangling a Pentagon decision to "phase out" the Army MARS Winlink 2000 messaging system, used by numerous state and municipal emergency management organizations; an investigation showed it lacked required certification for safety from hostile incursions. He successfully argued that the resources of Amateur Radio -- not just MARS or Winlink -- far outweighed any risk from enemy hackers. Lieutenant General Susan Lawrence, the Army's Chief Information Officer, ordered an exemption from this policy for Army MARS, which officials said would extend to the Air Force and Navy-Marine Corps MARS programs, too. Read more here.

+ Silent Key: Fred Maia, W5YI (SK)

Fred Maia, W5YI (SK)

The holder of one of the best-known US Amateur Radio call signs, Frederick "Fred" Maia, W5YI, of Arlington, Texas, died of cancer on March 28. He was 76. Maia was a leading Amateur Radio journalist for nearly 35 years and a pioneer of the Volunteer Examiner program adopted by the FCC in 1984, and was the first Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) appointed by the FCC. Maia subsequently founded The W5YI Group in 1986 to develop, publish and sell amateur and commercial radio license study materials. In the realm of FCC commercial radio licensing, Fred formed National Radio Examiners to provide examination services. Read more here.

+ On the Air: W1AW Claims 5BDXCC

Nearly four decades after the introduction of the Five Band DXCC Award (5BDXCC), W1AW, the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station has achieved this milestone. "As with most stations, we found that 80 meters was our stumbling block," W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, explained. "One by one, we picked off the needed entities, and W1AW now holds 5BDXCC #7307. W1AW's 5BDXCC plaque will hang in a place of honor at the station."

W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q (left) and ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, with W1AW's Five Band DXCC Award. Sumner is the W1AW trustee. [Cory Sickles, WA3UVV, Photo]

Prior to achieving 5BDXCC, W1AW held DXCC on 40-10 meters for many years, but was always searching for the last few remaining entities on 80 meters. Carcia said that at least 90 percent of the confirmations were made via Logbook of The World, (LoTW), but the last contacts #99 and #100 on 80 meters were confirmed via traditional QSL cards.

W1AW currently holds Five Band Worked All Continents Award (5BWAC), Five Band Worked All States Award (5BWAS), Worked All Continents Award (WAC) on CW, RTTY and Phone, Mixed DXCC (with 250 entities confirmed) and DXCC for Digital, CW and Phone.

"Now that W1AW has 5BDXCC, we are gunning for DXCC Honor Roll," Carcia said. "Like with 5BDXCC, there are just a few more entities to go before W1AW can claim this award."

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On the Air: ARRL Rookie Roundup's Third Year Includes New Categories

With the Rookie Roundup beginning its third year of competition, 2012 brings some new changes in the event -- including new entry categories. The first Rookie Roundup of 2012 will use SSB (phone) and will be held on Sunday, April 15 from 1800-2359 UTC. All amateurs are welcome to participate, especially those in DX locations.

The focus of the RR remains those who are newly licensed -- hams who received their very first license during the current year or the two previous calendar years (2012, 2011 or 2010). Those licensed before 2010 are encouraged to get on and work the Rookies. Or consider acting as an Elmer and coaching Rookies in their contest efforts without actually making QSOs -- or performing logging or any other station functions. Read more here.

Two New Books and Digital Software Library -- Now Shipping!

The ARRL has just released two new books and a digital software library that you are going to want to have in your shack: Hints & Kinks for the Radio Amateur (18th edition) and Short Antennas for 160 Meter Radio by Grant Bingeman, KM5KG. The newest version of Software Library for Hams is also available as an immediate download or on CD-ROM. Read more here.

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 March -- takes a look at upcoming ARRL member benefits, new privileges for radio amateurs on 60 meters, forthcoming ARRL publications, happenings at W1AW, reports from the Official Observer Desk and more. Read more here.

ARRL HQ: Two Positions Open at ARRL HQ

The League is currently looking to fill two open positions at ARRL Headquarters in Newington. One position is in the Membership and Volunteer Programs Department and the other is in the Education Services Department. To apply, please send your cover letter and resume via e-mail, or complete the application, print it out and mail it with your resume and cover letter to Monique Levesque, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. You can also fax your application, cover letter and resume to 860-594-0298. Please include your salary history and salary requirements. The ARRL is an equal opportunity employer. Read more here.

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Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, April 5, 2012 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 "I remember April when the Sun was in the sky" Cook, K7RA, reports: Over the past week, the average daily sunspot number and solar flux values rose slightly, even though as the week progressed, each day had a lower number than the day before. The daily sunspot number began the week at a high of 100, but ended at 60. Likewise, the daily solar flux started at 111.5, ending with 102.1. The mild geomagnetic conditions made for a quiet week, with the only unsettled conditions on April 1-2 in very high latitude regions, with Alaska's College A index at 11 and 17. From the April 4 USAF forecast, they see solar flux for April 5 at 105, April 6-7 at 110, 115 on April 8-10, followed by 110 on April 11, and then 100 on April 12-22. The next predicted short-term peak for solar flux is 130 on May 2-5. Look for more information on the ARRL website on Thursday, April 5. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" is brought to you by David Cassidy's Daydreamer.

+ ARRL to Close in Observance of Good Friday

ARRL Headquarters will be closed in observance of Good Friday on Friday, April 6. There will be no W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions that day. ARRL Headquarters will reopen Monday, April 9 at 8 AM Eastern Daylight Time. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

+ ARRL Recognizes: Eric P. Nichols, KL7AJ, Wins March QST Cover Plaque Award

The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for March is Eric P. Nichols, KL7AJ, for his article "Three Wrong Assumptions about the Ionosphere." Congratulations Eric! 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 April issue today.

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:

  • How many times have you attended the Dayton Hamvention®?
  • Have you used your new 60 meter CW or digital privileges?
  • Do you use software to control your transceiver?
  • When was the last time you inspected your antenna feed lines?

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

This week:

  • April 6 -- NCCC RTTY Sprint
  • April 7 -- LZ Open 40 Meter Sprint Contest; PODXS 070 Club PSK 31 Flavors Contest (local time)
  • April 7-8 -- QRP ARCI Spring QSO Party; SP DX Contest
  • April 11 -- NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint
  • April 11-12 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test

Next week:

  • April 13 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder 0230Z-0300Z, Apr 13
  • April 14 -- EU Spring Sprint (CW)
  • April 14-15 -- Georgia QSO Party; Montana QSO Party; New Mexico QSO Party; QCWA Spring QSO Party; JIDX CW Contest; Yuri Gagarin International DX Contest
  • April 15 -- ARRL Rookie Roundup (SSB); International Vintage Contest HF Contest; Hungarian Straight Key Contest
  • April 17 -- 222 MHz Spring Sprint (local time)

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.

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

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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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