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The ARRL Letter
July 5, 2012
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Due to the Fourth of July holiday, there will be no ARRL Audio News today.

Public Service: Colorado Hams Provide Disaster Communications During Wildfires

David Johnston, KD8BQN, of Fort Collins, Colorado, provides communications support during the High Park fire last month. [Photo courtesy of Jack Ciaccia, WM0G]

Thanks to an extremely dry season, portions of Colorado have been ravaged by wildfires. As of July 5, only a handful of the fires are considered extinguished or fully contained, with the majority considered still active. According to InciWeb, almost 170,000 acres are affected by 11 active fires. Since June 9 -- when the High Park Fire, the first of the wildfires began -- hams in Colorado have been assisting with disaster communications, providing communications support to the State and served agencies. Read more here.

On the Air: Logbook of the World Now Supports CQ's WPX Award

The wait is over! After weeks of beta testing, the ARRL launched the integration of Logbook of The World (LoTW) -- its electronic confirmation system -- with CQ Magazine's Worked All Prefixes (WPX) Award on Monday, July 2. The WPX Award is the first of the CQ-sponsored awards that LoTW will support. More than 51,000 radio amateurs worldwide use Logbook of The World, and there are currently almost 432 million QSOs in the LoTW system. Read more here.

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Amateur Radio in Space: Trio from ISS Lands Safely in Kazakhstan

Don Pettit, KD5MDT, Andre Kuipers, PI9ISS, and Oleg Kononenko, RN3DX, returned from the International Space Station on July 1. [Photos courtesy of NASA]

Three members of the Expedition 31 crew undocked from the International Space Station and returned safely to Earth Sunday, July 1, wrapping up a mission that lasted almost seven months. Russian Commander Oleg Kononenko, RN3DX, along with NASA Flight Engineer Don Pettit, KD5MDT, and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers, PI9ISS, landed their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 0514 UTC. The trio -- who arrived at the station December 23, 2011 -- spent a total of 193 days in space, 191 of which were aboard the ISS. Read more here.

On the Air: The IARU HF Championship Heats Up the Summer

Radiosport fans are gearing up for the summer's biggest HF competition: the IARU HF World Championship. This 24 hour long contest is the highlight of the summer HF contesting season, with plenty of opportunity to work DX from all around the globe on CW and SSB. Participants also get the chance to make QSOs with many IARU Member Society club stations and officials.

"The IARU HF Championship is one of radio sport's unique events," said ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. "It's the only major contest that uses International Telecommunication Union (ITU) zones as part of the exchange, and the only contest that gives special multiplier status for IARU Member-Society stations and their officials."

Hams can get in on the fun in a variety of ways. You may choose to enter as either a single operator, using either SSB only, CW only or a mixture of both modes. Single operator stations can choose from three power levels: High Power (greater than 150 W), Low Power (between 5 and 150 W) or QRP (5 W or less). You can also get some friends together at one station and participate as a Multioperator station with a single transceiver.

One of the fun things to do is see how many of the IARU special stations you can work during the event. "While most stations give their ITU zone as part of the contest exchange, IARU Member-Society stations give the abbreviation for their IARU society name, such as "ARRL" for W1AW," Kutzko explained. "In addition, IARU officials can give one of four unique exchanges: AC if they are on the IARU Administrative Council, or R1, R2 or R3 for the ITU Region that official serves. It is always special to see so many nations represented on the air by their national organization. It reinforces the global nature of Amateur Radio and the common bonds we all have as amateurs."

The IARU HF World Championship begins at 1200 UTC Saturday, July 14 and goes until 1200 UTC Sunday, July 15. Complete rules may be found online. Logs may be submitted via e-mail; paper logs should be mailed to IARU International Secretariat, Box 310905, Newington, CT 06111-0905 USA. All logs must be e-mailed or postmarked no later than 1200 UTC August 14, 2012.

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FCC News: California Ham Cited $17,000 for Operating Unlicensed Radio Station

On July 2, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order in the amount of $17,000, accusing Brian R. Ragan, KF6EGI, of Suisun City, California, of "apparently willfully and repeatedly violating" the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, by operating an unlicensed radio transmitter on frequency 104.9 MHz and failing to allow an inspection of his station by FCC personnel. The Commission said that Ragan, "as a licensed Amateur Radio operator for at least six years, [he] should be aware that any radio equipment at his station must be made available for inspection at any time when requested by the FCC, and also should be aware of the proper operation of his amateur station in accordance with the Rules." 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 June -- takes a look at the new 9 cm band plan and a proposed 23 cm band plan, education and resource grants to schools, nominations for Director and Vice Director in five ARRL Divisions, W1AW's spring antenna inspections, the ARRL VEC preparations for the new Amateur Extra class exam, reports from the Official Observer Desk and more. Read more here.

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Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, July 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 "A firework, a dancing flame" Cook, K7RA, reports: Solar activity jumped way up this week, with average daily sunspot numbers increasing by nearly 92 points to 118.1, while the average daily solar flux rose to 138.5 from 92.8 the week before. One new sunspot group appeared on June 29, another on July 1 and two more on July 4. Geomagnetic activity this week was concentrated on June 30-July 2, and the causes were the usual suspects: solar flares and solar wind spewing from coronal holes. One unusual aspect was that the mid-latitude A index, measured in Virginia, was actually higher on July 3-4 than the planetary A index, which is usually higher than mid-latitude numbers. The planetary A index is made up of an aggregate of data from multiple geomagnetic observatories. The outlook for the near term is for increasing activity over the next few days, with solar flux at 155 on July 5, 160 on July 6-7, 155 and 150 on July 8-9, 145 on July 10-11, then 140, 135, 130, 125 and 110 on July 12-16. Solar flux is expected to dip below 100 on July 19-22. The planetary A index is expected at 8 on July 5-8, 10 on July 9, 7 on July 10 and 5 on July 11-26, followed by another active period with planetary A index at 20 on July 27-28 and 15 on July 29-30. Look for more on the ARRL website on Friday, July 6. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" is brought to you by Katy Perry's Part of Me.

ARRL Recognizes: Dennis Johnson, KF0QR, Wins June QST Cover Plaque Award

The winner of the June QST Cover Plaque Award is Dennis Johnson, KF0QR, for his article "A 160 and 75/80 Meter Folded Dipole." Congratulations Dennis! 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 July issue today.

This Week in Radiosport

This week:

  • July 6 -- NCCC Sprint
  • July 7-8 -- Venezuelan Independence Day Contest; DL-DX RTTY Contest; Original QRP Contest; PODXS 070 Club 40 Meter Firecracker Sprint (local time)
  • July 8 -- SKCC Weekend Sprintathon; DARC 10 Meter Digital Contest; QRP ARCI Summer Homebrew Sprint
  • July 9 -- NAQCC-EU Monthly Sprint
  • July 11-12 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test

Next week:

  • July 14 -- FISTS Summer Sprint
  • July 14-15 -- IARU HF World Championship
  • July 15 -- CQC Great Colorado Gold Rush
  • July 19 -- 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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