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The ARRL Letter
October 25, 2012
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There will be no ARRL Audio News on Thursday, October 25. The Audio News will return on Thursday, November 1.

FCC News: FCC Seeks Comments on Proposed Changes to Amateur Licensing Rules, Emission Types

Earlier this month, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) -- WT Docket No. 12-283 -- proposing to amend the Part 97 rules governing the Amateur Radio Service. On October 24, a summary of the NPRM was published in the Federal Register and the FCC is seeking comments on it.

Specifically, the Commission is proposing to modify the Amateur Radio Service rules to grant examination credit for expired and beyond-the-grace-period-for-renewal Amateur Radio operator licenses; to shorten the grace period during which an expired amateur license may be renewed; to revise the time a call sign is not available to the vanity call sign system correspondingly, and to reduce the number of volunteer examiners needed to administer an amateur license examination. The NPRM also asks for comment on amending the rules to permit remote test administration, and proposes to amend the Amateur Radio Service rules to allow amateur stations to transmit certain additional emission types.

Comments must be filed on or before December 24, 2012 (60 days after publication in the Federal Register); reply comments must be filed on or before January 22, 2013 (90 days after publication in the Federal Register). Instructions on how to file comments are listed beginning on page 12 of the NPRM.

Public Service: Hurricane Sandy Now a Category 2 Storm

As Hurricane Sandy -- now a Category 2 storm -- heads toward the Bahamas, both the Hurricane Watch Net and the VoIP Hurricane Net are supporting WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center. As of 8 AM (EDT) on Thursday, October 25, Sandy was moving toward the north between the northeast coast of Cuba and the Central Bahamas (about 130 miles south of the Bahamas and 75 miles northeast of Cuba) with maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour. Read more here.

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Get Ready for the 7th Annual ARRL On-Line Auction

The Seventh Annual ARRL On-Line Auction is now open for bidding! According to ARRL On-Line Auction Coordinator Lisa Tardette, KB1MOI, there is a large assortment of ARRL Product Review items, including an Elecraft KPA500 HF/6 meter power amplifier, an ICOM IC-7410 HF/6 meter transceiver, a Yaesu FT-450D HF 6 meter transceiver, a Kenwood TM-281A 2 meter FM transceiver and an MFJ-998 RT and MFJ-994BRT remote auto antenna tuner.

The ARRL On-Line Auction also features a wide assortment of books, including ARRL Handbooks from the 1920s and 1930s -- most notably, a first edition of the 1926 Radio Amateur's Handbook -- and a set of three first-day-of-issue covers of the 1964 5-cent stamp highlighting Amateur Radio (see an image of a stamp here).

"Once again this year, bidders will find a large variety of product review equipment, vintage books, novelty items and a number of very special items that have been donated by the crew of the ABC Television's Last Man Standing, starring Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, KA0XTT," Tardette explained. "In order to place a bid, you must register on the ARRL On-Line Auction website. You may browse the website and scope out those 'must-have' items without being a registered bidder, and you can register at any time during the auction. If you are interested in some great bargains -- and some great fun -- you really need to check out the ARRL On-Line Auction." The 2012 ARRL On-Line Auction runs through 11:45 PM EDT on October 31 (0345 UTC November 1). Contact Tardette via e-mail with any questions concerning the ARRL On-Line Auction.

On the Air: Fun and Excitement Fill the Airwaves for the 2012 ARRL November CW Sweepstakes

Steeped in tradition and still as exciting as ever, the 79th Annual ARRL Sweepstakes offers US and Canadian operators a fun-filled contest opportunity again this fall. First up is CW Sweepstakes during the weekend of November 3-5. "You don't have to have a huge station with large antennas to have fun in Sweepstakes," explained ARRL Sweepstakes Manager Larry Hammel, K5OT. "Maybe you have 100 W and a backyard dipole or vertical. Or perhaps the challenge of a 5 W QRP effort hits your hot button this year. You will be amazed at the number of stations you can work as you trade exchanges all over the continent."

This year, with four new Canadian Sections, the November Sweepstakes will be a bit different: In August, the RAC split its Ontario Section into four new Sections: Ontario East (ONE), Ontario North (ONN), Ontario South (ONS) and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Contesters now need to work 83 sections to earn the coveted Clean Sweep. Read more here.

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ARRL HQ: W1AW Receives Semi-Annual Antenna Inspection, New Antenna for 160 Meters

Andrew Toth (foreground) installs W1AW's new 160 meter dipole, while Matt Strelow, KC1XX, repairs the 80 meter cage insulator on the satellite tower during the semi-annual W1AW antenna inspection on October 24. [S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, photo]

On October 24, Matt Strelow, KC1XX, and Andrew Toth of XX Towers came to Newington to inspect the antennas and towers at W1AW, the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station, and W1HQ, the Laird Campbell Memorial HQ Operators Club. In addition to the annual autumn inspections, they also repaired some of the W1AW antennas.Strelow and Toth replaced the 160 meter dipole located atop the Rohn 65 (120 foot) tower. The antenna -- used for both station broadcasts and visitor operations -- was damaged in a windstorm a few weeks ago. "I'm happy that we now have a new 160 meter dipole," said W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q. "I missed W1AW being active on 160 meters, as did other radio amateurs. The station's 1300 W 160 meter signal now has someplace to go." Read more here.

Nominations Now Open for the George Hart Distinguished Service Award

Each year at its Annual Meeting in January, the ARRL Board of Directors bestows the George Hart Distinguished Service Award to a League member whose service to the ARRL's Field Organization is of the most exemplary nature. This award is named in honor of George Hart, W1NJM, long-time Communications Manager at ARRL Headquarters and chief developer of the National Traffic System.

Selection criteria for the George Hart Distinguished Service Award include:

  • Operating record with the National Traffic System, or
  • Participation within the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), or
  • Station appointments and/or leadership positions held within the Field Organization.

Nominations for the George Hart Distinguished Service Award shall be accepted from anyone and shall be submitted to the Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager at ARRL Headquarters by November 1. Nominations should document as thoroughly as possible the nominee's lifetime activities and achievements within the ARRL Field Organization. It is expected that nominated candidates will have 15 or more years of distinguished service. The Programs and Services Committee will serve as the Review Committee, with the Board of Directors making the final determination at its Annual Meeting in January. Recipients will be given an engraved plaque and cover letter, and will be profiled in QST.

Nominations for the 2013 George Hart Distinguished Service Award, including any related supporting material and letters of recommendation, may be e-mailed to ARRL Headquarters to the attention of ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager Dave Patton, NN1N, or to ARRL Field and Public Service Team Supervisor Steve Ewald, WV1X. Nominations and supporting materials must be received no later than November 1, 2012 to be considered.

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Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, October 25, 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 Cook, K7RA, reports: The average daily sunspot numbers for October 18-24 were down 1.7 points from the previous seven days, to 95.3, while the average daily solar flux rose 14.7 points to 143.9. Geomagnetic activity was quieter, with all daily planetary A index measures in the single digits. As of October 24, NOAA and the US Air Force are predicting the solar flux to be at 135 on October 25-26, 130 on October 27-29, 125 on October 30-November 1, 100 on November 2-3, then 105 and 110 on October 4-5, 115 on October 6-7, 120 on November 8-11, 125 on November 12-13, then peaking at 145 on November 18 and dropping back to 100 on November 29-30. The predicted planetary A index is 5 on October 25-November 7, then 10, 20 and 15 on November 8-10, 5 on November 11-17, 10 on November 18-19, and back down to 5 on November 20-December 4. On October 23, sunspot 1598 emitted an X-1 class solar flare. This region is still rotating into the most geoeffective position toward the center of the solar disc, relative to Earth. There is a chance of more solar flares in the next couple of days. Look for more on the ARRL website on Friday, October 26. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page.

This Week in Radiosport

This week:

  • October 26 -- NCCC Sprint
  • October 27-28 -- CQ WW DX Contest (SSB)

Next week:

  • November 2 -- NCCC Sprint
  • November 3 -- IPARC Contest (CW)
  • November 3-4 -- ARRL EME Contest; Ukrainian DX Contest
  • November 3-5 -- ARRL November Sweepstakes (CW)
  • November 4 -- IPARC Contest (SSB); High Speed Club CW Contest; DARC 10 Meter Digital Contest
  • November 6 -- ARS Spartan 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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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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