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The ARRL Letter
December 6, 2012
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News.

The last ARRL Letter and ARRL Audio News for 2012 will be published Thursday, December 13. The ARRL Letter and ARRL Audio News will resume on Thursday, January 10, 2013.

+ Amateur Radio in Space: NASA Now Accepting Applications for Hosting a Real-Time Conversation with ISS Crewmembers

NASA is now accepting proposals from US schools, museums, science centers and community youth organizations -- individually or working together -- to host an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact between May 1, 2013 and November 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. Radio contacts are approximately 10 minutes in length. ARISS contacts are supported by the program's US partners -- the ARRL and AMSAT -- and their member volunteers, as well as other international space agencies and Amateur Radio partners. Proposals are due January 28, 2013.

Interested parties can visit the ARRL website or the NASA Teaching From Space website for information about proposal requirements and how to submit a proposal, as well as links to audio and videos of archived contacts. Five information sessions are also available for groups who are considering submitting an ARISS proposal. Access to the Internet and a telephone line are required to connect to a session. Information on how to sign up for these sessions is available on the ARRL and NASA websites.

+ On the Air: Rookies Ride the Wave in the ARRL CW Rookie Roundup

Newly licensed CW buffs can get their copying skills in shape on Sunday, December 16 as the CW edition of the ARRL Rookie Roundup takes to the airwaves! The Rookie Roundup combines a competitive event with some on-the-air training, with the goal of bringing fun and Elmering into the 21st century. Who is a Rookie? Any amateur licensed for three years or less, regardless of license class. If you received your license in 2010, 2011 or 2012, you're eligible to compete as a Rookie; stations licensed before 2010 can only submit checklogs, but they will be recognized in the final results. Old Timers are encouraged to get on the air and work the Rookies. This is an immediate, hands-on way to teach good operating practices to those just getting started. The Rookie Roundup is also an excellent activity for clubs, offering a chance for club members to open their doors to those newer club members. Read more here.

+ FCC News: Kansas Ham Issued $10,000 Fine for Operation of Unlicensed Broadcast Station

On December 5, Glen Rubash, KC0GPV, of Dwight, Kansas, was issued a $10,000 fine for what the FCC called "willfully and Repeatedly" violating Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, by operating an unlicensed radio transmitter on the frequency 88.3 MHz in Manhattan, Kansas.

In response to a complaint, agents from the FCC's Kansas City office used direction finding equipment techniques to locate the source of radio frequency transmissions on the frequency 88.3 MHz. According to a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture issued on December 6, agents found an FM transmitting antenna mounted on a pole next to a residence in Manhattan, Kansas on September 26, 2012. The agents determined that the signals on 88.3 MHz exceeded the limits for operation under Part 15 and therefore required a license. The FCC noted that its records showed that no authorization was issued to Rubash or to anyone else for operation of an FM broadcast stations at or near this location. Read more here.

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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 November -- takes a look at the November elections for ARRL Director and Vice Director, the new QST app for Apple devices, bug fixes for ARRL's Logbook of The World, W1AW activities, , reports from the Official Observer Desk and more. Read more here.

+ On the Air: ARRL UHF/Microwave Band Plan Committee Seeks Input on 6 and 3 Centimeter Bands

Last year, in recognition of the need to update the published band plans for our UHF and microwave bands, the ARRL Board of Directors formed the UHF/Microwave Band Plan Committee to develop revised national plans for the amateur bands between 902 MHz and 3.5 GHz. After receiving extensive user input, the committee completed its task and the resulting band plans were approved by the Board in July 2012. The committee has now received an additional assignment to conduct a similar update to the 6 and 3 centimeter bands. In order to do this effectively, the committee needs to know how various segments of these bands are now being utilized around the country. You can help them by sharing what you know about local usage in your area and by asking other users -- both individuals and groups -- to do the same. Read more here.

ARRL Invites Nominations for 2012 International Humanitarian Award

In 2008, the ARRL Humanitarian Award was given to the Amateur Radio operators of the Sichuan Radio Sports Association, the Chinese Radio Sports Association ( CRSA ) -- that country's IARU Member-Society -- and the many Amateur Radio operators in China who assisted with communications support in the aftermath of the May 2008 earthquake in the Wenchuan area of China's Sichuan province . In conferring the award, the committee noted that the hams' "immediate actions and use of Amateur Radio rendered assistance to victims" of the earthquake and the "long-term relief operation mounted by these organizations exemplifies the highest level of dedication to public service."

Nominations for the 2012 ARRL International Humanitarian Award close December 31, 2012. This award is conferred upon an amateur or amateurs who demonstrate devotion to human welfare, peace and international understanding through Amateur Radio. The League established the annual prize to recognize those radio amateurs who have used ham radio to provide extraordinary service to others in times of crisis or disaster.

As one of the few telecommunication services that allow people throughout the world from all walks of life to meet and talk with each other, Amateur Radio spreads goodwill across political boundaries. The ARRL International Humanitarian Award recognizes the Amateur Radio Service's unique role in international communication and the assistance amateurs regularly provide to people in need. Read more here.

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Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, December 6, 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: Solar activity declined again this week, with the average daily sunspot numbers dropping 17.8 points, from 78.9 to 61.1, while the average daily solar flux declined 19.4 points, from 121 to 101.6. The latest prediction from NOAA/USAF has the solar flux at 105 and 110 on December 6-7, 115 on December 8-9, 120, 125 and 130 on December 10-12, 135 on December 13-17, then 130, 125 and 120 on December 18-20, 115 on December 21-23, and back down to 110 on December 24-27. The predicted planetary A index is 5 on December 6-13, 8 on December 14-15, 5 on December 16-28, and rising to 8 on December 29-30. Look for more on the ARRL website on Friday, December 7. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page.

+ ARRL Recognizes: Robert Bastone, WC3O, Wins November QST Cover Plaque Award

The winner of the November QST Cover Plaque award is Robert Bastone, WC3O, for his article "A Different Way to Assemble PL-259 Coax Plugs." Congratulations Robert! 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 December issue today.

+ RAC Announces New Incoming QSL Bureau Address

Effective immediately, Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) has instituted a new, centralized address for its Incoming QSL Bureau: RAC National Incoming QSL Bureau, Box 51, Saint John, NB E2L 3X1, Canada. RAC International Affairs Officer George Gorsline, VE3YV, told the ARRL that hams should no longer send any cards through the provincial QSL bureaus. Please direct any questions regarding this new policy to Gorsline via e-mail.

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+ 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:

Visit the QuickStats page and be sure to bookmark it in your browser. Results from this QuickStats poll will be published in the March 2013 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:

  • December 7 -- NCCC Sprint
  • December 8-9 -- ARRL 10 Meter Contest; International Naval Contest
  • December 9 -- SKCC Weekend Sprintathon; CQC Great Colorado Snowshoe Run
  • December 12 -- NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint; NAQCC-EU Monthly Sprint
  • December 12-13 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test

Next week:

  • December 14 -- NCCC Sprint; Russian 160 Meter Contest
  • December 15 -- OK DX RTTY Contest; Feld Hall Sprint
  • December 15-16 -- Croatian CW Contest
  • December 16 -- ARRL Rookie Roundup (CW); QRP ARCI Holiday Spirits Homebrew Sprint
  • December 17 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest

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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