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The ARRL Letter
April 26, 2012
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News.

+ Dayton Hamvention: ARRL EXPO -- Where the DX Comes to You!

ARRL Midwest Division Director Cliff Ahrens, K0CA, goes over a DXCC application at the ARRL EXPO. [S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, Photo]

As part of the ARRL EXPO -- part of the 2012 Dayton Hamvention® -- the ARRL is pleased to present a plethora of DX activities. Visitors to the ARRL EXPO will see a lot of DX activities, including DXCC card checking and a chance to drop off QSL cards for the ARRL Outgoing QSL Bureau, as well as representatives from the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) and IARU Member-Societies. The Dayton Hamvention will take place May 18-20 at Hara Arena, located near Dayton, Ohio. Read more here.

+ On the Air: WPX Awards via LoTW Enters Beta Testing

Earlier this year, the ARRL and CQ Communications announced that the ARRL will provide support for CQ-sponsored operating awards by the ARRL's Logbook of the World (LoTW) electronic confirmation system. The WPX Award is the first of the CQ-sponsored awards that LoTW will support. "We had originally planned to introduce this new program in early April, but due to the introduction of the new DXCC fee structure and our new Online DXCC application, we had to push the date back," explained ARRL Chief Operating Officer Harold Kramer, WJ1B. "We are now beta testing the program with a select group of hams and are looking forward to launching to LoTW-WPX partnership in the first part of May." Read more here.

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+ ARRL Thanks Radio Amateurs Who Filed Comments

In April, the FCC put out a Public Notice, requesting comments regarding a Congress-mandated 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 ARRL asked that the amateur community forward comments directly to the ARRL so that it could use them to develop its comments -- more than 1200 radio amateurs responded! These comments will be reviewed in the next few weeks and used to help bolster the ARRL's formal response by the FCC's May 17 deadline. Thanks to everyone who took the time to send their comments!

+ Amateur Radio in the Classroom: Apply to Host a Real-Time Conversation with ISS Crewmembers

NASA is now accepting proposals from US schools, museums, science centers and community youth organizations to host an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact between November 1, 2012 and May 1, 2013. To maximize these radio contact opportunities, NASA is looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed education plan. Proposals are due July 2, 2012.

Using Amateur Radio, students can ask astronauts questions about life in space and other space-related topics. Students fully engage in the ARISS contact by helping set up an Amateur Radio ground station at the school and then using that station to talk directly with a crew member on the International Space Station for approximately 10 minutes. ARISS has a network of mentors to help organizations obtain the technology required to host this exciting opportunity for your students.

Interested parties should contact NASA's Teaching From Space office via e-mail to obtain complete information, the proposal/application form. You can find more information here.

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+ Field Day: Register Your ARRL Field Day Site on the Field Day Locator

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 49 states, Puerto Rico and eight Canadian provinces, as well as a station located just outside Bogotá, Colombia, 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 23-24, join tens of thousands of radio amateurs as they gather for a public demonstration of the Amateur Service.

Support ARRL: Attention Federal Employees: ARRL Approved for 2012 Combined Federal Campaign!

For the past 11 years, the US Office of Personnel Management has designated the ARRL to participate in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the annual giving campaign for federal employees. In that time, this campaign for federal government civilian employees, US Postal Service workers and members of the military has generated almost $192,000 for ARRL programs. The CFC provides an easy way to support the ARRL's effort to represent its members and all radio amateurs. Similar to the United Way, the CFC encourages individuals employed in all branches of the federal government to pledge by payroll deduction to non-profit organizations of their choice. The ARRL encourages eligible radio amateurs to consider the League when designating campaign recipients. Payroll deduction through the CFC is an easy way for participants to support ARRL over and above their annual membership. Such contributions support programs that are not funded by member dues, enriching ARRL's ability to serve its members and all of Amateur Radio. Read more here.

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+ International News: ITU Telecom World 2012 Conference Seeking Participants for Young Innovators Program

As part of ITU Telecom World 2012 -- scheduled for October 14-18 in Dubai -- the conference will present the Young Innovators Program. With its theme of Youth Innovation for Development, the Young Innovators Competition is a chance for the next generation of young visionaries to demonstrate their ideas and innovations on this global stage and show how their fresh digital thinking can change the world for the better. The program seeks to attract dynamic, engaged young people and identify projects with a genuine potential to succeed. The goal of the program is to build a cohesive international community of highly talented of social entrepreneurs from age 18-25 who are working on ICT-based initiatives from the conceptual stage through to projects in areas of critical relevance to the burning issues facing the world today. Read more here.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, April 26, 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 "When the Sun gives way to April showers" Cook, K7RA, reports: Solar activity revived over the past week, with a big increase in sunspot numbers. On Friday, April 20, the daily sunspot number reached 162; four days later on April 24, the number reached 169. This level of activity has not been seen since last fall, when the daily sunspot number reached 173 on September 16, 184 on October 21 and 208 on November 9. The average daily sunspot numbers more than doubled over the previous week's average, rising 73 points to 144.7, while the average daily solar flux was 133.9, an increase of nearly 29 points. Associated with all this was a rise in geomagnetic activity, peaking with a planetary A index of 35 on Tuesday, April 24. The geomagnetic activity increase was due to several solar flares launched from new sunspots. The latest forecast shows the solar flux at 125 on April 26, 120 on April 27-29, 115 on April 30, 110 on May 1-2, 105 on May 3-4, 110 on May 5-6, 115 on May 7-8, 120 on May 9, 130 on May 10-12, 135 on May 13, 140 on May 14-17, and down to 135 on May 18-21. Predictions for the planetary A index are 25, 15, 6, 5, 5, 8 and 6 on April 26-May 2, 5 on May 3-7, rising to 8, 12, 15 and 10 on May 8-11, and back down to 5 on May 12-19. Look for more on the ARRL website on Friday, April 27. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" is brought to you by Al Jolson's April Showers.

+ ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference Set for Atlanta

The dates have been set -- September 21-23 -- for the 31st Annual ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC) in Atlanta at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel. The DCC schedule includes forums, demonstrations, a Saturday evening banquet and an in-depth Sunday seminar. This conference is for everyone with an interest in digital communications -- from beginner to expert. Technical papers are also being solicited for the conference proceedings. You do not have to attend the conference to have your paper included. The submission deadline is July 31. Please send papers to Maty Weinberg, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111, or you can make your submission via e-mail. Papers will be published exactly as submitted and authors will retain all rights. For more information, please see the DCC website or call TAPR at 972-671-8277.

This Week in Radiosport

This week:

  • April 27 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • April 28-29 -- Florida QSO Party; Nebraska QSO Party; 10-10 International Spring Contest (Digital); SP DX RTTY Contest; Helvetia Contest; QRP to the Field
  • April 29 -- BARTG Sprint 75
  • May 1 -- AGCW QRP/QRP Party

Next week:

  • May 4 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • May 5 -- Microwave Spring Sprint (local time)
  • May 5-6 -- New England QSO Party; Indiana QSO Party; 7th Call Area QSO Party; 10-10 International Spring Contest (CW); ARI International DX Contest; Araucaria VHF Contest
  • May 8 -- ARS Spartan Sprint
  • May 9-10 -- 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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