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The ARRL Letter
November 15, 2012
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News.

+ QST -- There's an App for That!

ARRL members who use Apple iOS mobile devices -- iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch -- can now download a new dedicated app to access and browse all issues of the digital edition of QST. This app allows ARRL members to read QST online or download individual issues of the journal for offline reading. This free app is available to ARRL members in the Apple App Store.

Using the New QST App:

  • From your iOS device, go to the Apple App Store to search for and install the free QST app. Or simply click here to download the app now.
  • Verify your Apple ID password.
  • Open the app and go to the "QST Catalog" to browse available digital issues.
  • Tap on the cover of an issue and select "Read" or "Download."
  • Log in with your ARRL website username and password. If you do not have an ARRL website username and password, please register here.
  • Each time you download an issue in the app, it is added to the "My QST Library" to view offline. Note: Before viewing issues offline, you must first initialize each issue online using your ARRL website login.
  • To stream embedded video and audio, you must be connected to the Internet.
  • This app may send anonymous usage statistics to ARRL and our service providers to help us improve QST and to better meet the needs of our members. To disable sending usage information, turn ON the "Disable Tracking" feature for the QST app in your iOS device settings. For more information, visit the Digital QST FAQ page and the ARRL Online Privacy Policy.

Using an Android or Windows Mobile Device?

At this time, a native app is only available for Apple iOS devices. Users with Android or Windows devices can access the digital edition of QST from a web browser. The web version runs in an Internet browser on nearly any device, including desktop or laptop computers, smartphones, tablets and e-book readers.

+ FCC Denies ARRL Petition to Deny ReconRobotics Licenses, But Limits Devices to 100 kHz Bandwidth

On November 14, the FCC issued an Order on Reconsideration dismissing a March 2010 Petition for Reconsideration filed by the ARRL that asked the Commission to deny pending Public Safety Pool license applications associated with the ReconRobotics Video and Audio Surveillance System; however, in doing so, the FCC made it clear that the devices may not exceed 100 kHz of bandwidth. The Recon Scout -- manufactured by ReconRobotics -- is a remote-controlled, maneuverable surveillance robot that transmits real-time video surveillance data that operates by FCC waiver in the 70 centimeter band. Read more here.

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IARU: Ho Chi Minh City Hosts IARU Region 3 Conference

Officials from 16 IARU Member Societies in Region 3 attended the IARU Region 3 15th Triennial Conference. Hosted by the Vietnam Amateur Radio Club, the conference took place November 5-9 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The delegates elected a new Region 3 leadership team, appointed regional coordinators and formed two working groups to focus on policy matters and operational and technical matters. These two groups acted on more than 60 documents and recommendations during the conference. Read more here.

+ Check Out the December Issue of QST

Between tiny tots with their eyes all aglow and Jack Frost nipping at your nose, it's good to escape from all the holiday hullabaloo and open up the latest issue of QST. Whether you're looking for a project that takes you to your workbench, fantasizing of journeys to far-away DX or even dreaming about all the new radio gear that you hope to find under the tree, the December issue of QST has it all. So relax, get out your QST, put your feet up and enjoy all that the holiday season -- and Amateur Radio -- have to offer.

Jack Morgan, KF6T, knows a thing or two about Amateur Radio contests -- especially how tired and sore your voice can be after a 48-hour SSB contest! In his article "Super Simple Digital Voice Keyer," Morgan explains how you can save your voice by using your PC's sound card, a potentiometer and an audio transformer. If you can only have one HF antenna, how do you choose the best one? QST Technical Editor Joel R. Hallas, W1ZR, attempts to demystify the age-old conundrum in his article "Vertical or Horizontal Antennas -- What's Best for You?"

In January 2009, Laura Smith was sworn in as Special Counsel at the FCC, replacing Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, who had retired a few months earlier after overseeing Amateur Radio enforcement actions for several years. ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, sat down and talked with Smith in "An Interview with FCC Special Counsel Laura Smith" and found out where we stand with Amateur Radio enforcement today.

Many hams spend all year gearing up for ARRL Field Day, the most popular on-the-air operating event in all of Amateur Radio. For those hardcore Field Day aficionados, the December issue of QST is one of the most anticipated issues all year -- this is the issue with the Field Day results! This year, join ARRL Field Day Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, as he travels through the funny pages to bring readers the annual Field Day results article. You'll also find announcements for upcoming radiosport events, such as the 2012 Straight Key Night, the 2013 RTTY Roundup and the 2013 ARRL International DX Contest (both CW and SSB).

QST Technical Editor Joel R. Hallas, W1ZR, takes a look at the Elecraft KX3 HF and 6 meter QRP transceiver in this month's Product Review. He says this radio "offers a large measure of performance and features in a compact but workable enclosure. While it's a wonderful addition to a campsite or picnic table, the KX3 can also form the basis of a competent home or mobile station with the addition of appropriate accessories."

Of course, there are the usual columns you know and have come to expect in the December QST: Amateur Radio World, Happenings, Hints & Kinks, The Doctor is In, Short Takes, Vintage Radio, How's DX? and more, including lots of new books and products, just in time for the holidays. Look for your December issue in your mailbox. QST is the official journal of the ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio. QST is just one of the many benefits of ARRL membership. To join, or to renew your ARRL membership, please see the ARRL web page.

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+ Dayton Hamvention Announces DX Theme for 2013

Throughout its 62 years, the Dayton Hamvention® has showcased the best that Amateur Radio has to offer. Each year, a specific theme -- such as Amateur Radio clubs, global friendship or the advent of digital modes -- spotlights one of the many facets of the Amateur Radio Service. And when Hamvention opens on May 17, 2013, at Hara Arena, the 2013 theme DX Hamvention will reflect an important part of ham radio: the distant contact. "Hamvention is often an important DX destination for amateurs from all over the globe," Hamvention General Chairman Charles Kaiser, KD8JZR, explained. "Working DX is often a mix of magic, conditions and the diligent application of radio theory."

ARRL's large exhibit area at Hamvention, ARRL EXPO, has always included significant attention for on-air DX activities and the participation of many international visitors. "In addition to our many activities at ARRL EXPO -- such as hands-on kit building, forums and membership services -- we are proud to support DXers from all over the world," said ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. "We know hams appreciate our on-site QSL card checking services and enjoy being able to drop off their cards for the ARRL Outgoing QSL Bureau. In recent years, the ARRL exhibit area has included representatives from the International Amateur Radio Union and from our partner radio societies in the UK, Germany, Japan and Qatar." Read more here.

+ Be a Star! Enter the Third Annual ARRL Video Contest

The high altitude balloon video by Erin King, AK4JG, was the first place winner in 2012. Watch it here.

If you've ever wanted a way to show the world how exciting Amateur Radio can be, here's your chance: The ARRL is sponsoring its Third Annual Video Contest! Here's a chance to put that video camera to use: Shoot a ham radio-related video and send it our way. If your video takes first, second or third place, we'll post it on the ARRL website for everyone to see. We're looking for a few good videos (but only one per ARRL member, please) on any tasteful subject relating to Amateur Radio. Videos will be judged on overall quality and composition, and prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place. Read more here.

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W1AW Announces 2012-2013 Winter Operating Schedule

With the switch from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time earlier this month, W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, has updated the W1AW operating schedule to reflect the change the W1AW operating schedule. The standard times have not changed, but the UTC times have. Read more here.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, November 15, 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: There is an exciting and dramatic rise in sunspot activity this week. The daily sunspot number was 188 on Monday, November 12 -- higher than it has been in more than a year. The last time the daily sunspot number was as high was on November 9, 2011, when it was 208. Prior to last November, we have to go back nine years -- November 26, 2003 -- into the previous solar cycle to find a number as high. On that date the sunspot number was 209. A coronal mass ejection (CME) on November 13 caused a geomagnetic storm on November 13-14, driving the planetary A index to 33 on November 14. Aurora was visible across Northern United States. The NOAA/USAF prediction on Wednesday, November 14 shows the solar flux at 145 on November 15-18, 140 on November 19-20, down to 135 and 125 on November 21-22, 105 on November 23-24, 100 on November 25-26, and then dropping below 100 until December 3. The predicted planetary A index is 12 on November 15, 10 on November 16-17, 8 on November 18, 5 on November 19 through December 4, and rising to 10 on December 5-8. Look for more on the ARRL website on Friday, November 16. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page.

+ ARRL Headquarters to Close for Thanksgiving Holidays

ARRL Headquarters will be closed November 22 and 23 in observance of Thanksgiving. There will be no W1AW bulletins or code practice transmissions those days. The ARRL Letter will be published a day early on Wednesday, November 21, but there will be no ARRL Audio News on Thursday, November 22. ARRL Headquarters will reopen Monday, November 26 at 8 AM Eastern Standard Time. We wish everyone a safe and bountiful Thanksgiving holiday.

This Week in Radiosport

This week:

  • November 16 -- NCCC Sprint; YO International PSK31 Contest
  • November 17 -- CQ SA SSB Contest; Feld Hell Sprint
  • November 17-18 -- LZ DX Contest; All Austrian 160 Meter Contest; RSGB 2nd 1.8 MHz Contest (CW)
  • November 17-19 -- ARRL Sweepstakes Contest (SSB); North American Collegiate ARC Championship (SSB)
  • November 18 -- EPC PSK63 QSO Party; Homebrew and Old Time Equipment Party
  • November 19 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest

Next week:

  • November 23 -- NCCC Sprint
  • November 24-25 -- CQ WW DX Contest (CW)
  • November 28 -- SKCC Sprint
  • November 28-29 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test
  • November 29 -- QRP ARCI Top Band 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.

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.

Much of the ARRL Letter content is also available in audio form in ARRL Audio News.

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