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The ARRL Letter
February 7, 2013
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There will be no ARRL Audio News for Thursday, February 7. The Audio News will return next week on Thursday, February 14.

Field Day: 2013 Field Day Packet Now Available

It's that time of year again -- time to start gearing up for ARRL Field Day, June 22-23, 2013! ARRL's flagship operating event -- always held the fourth full weekend in June -- brings together new and experienced hams for 24 hours of operating fun.

Field Day packets are now available for download and include the complete rules, as well as other reference items such as forms, ARRL Section abbreviation list, entry submission instructions, a Frequently Asked Questions section, guidelines for getting bonus points, instructions for get-on-the-air stations and a kit for publicizing your event with the local press. New for 2013: Stations operating as Class A or B may begin setting up at 0000 UTC on Friday (which will be Thursday 8 PM EDT, 7 PM CDT, 6 PM MDT and 5 PM PDT). The groups may start and stop their set-up, resuming the set-up later, but may spend only a maximum of 24 hours cumulative time for setting up their sites.

An informational flier entitled "What Is Field Day?" has also been included in this year's Field Day packet. Amateur Radio clubs and individuals are encouraged to reproduce this flyer as a handout. Find it and more on the ARRL's Field Day web page.

On the Air: IARU Region 2 Seeks Input on HF Band Plan

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 2 conference will be held later this year in Mexico. The Region 2 conference -- held every three years -- is attended by delegations from the national Amateur Radio societies in the western hemisphere that are members of the IARU. The ARRL is the IARU Member Society for the US.

One of the topics on the conference agenda will be the Region 2 HF band plan. This band plan is "harmonized" with -- spectrum management-speak for "very similar to" -- the IARU Region 1 and Region 3 band plans. Many hams in the US may not know there is such a thing as a Region 2 band plan. Other American hams have heard of it but may not know how -- if at all -- this band plan affects them. Read more here.

On the Air: Ride the Wave in the 2013 ARRL International DX CW Contest

Eric Hall, K9GY, of Lansing, Illinois, headed down to Nicaragua for the 2008 running of the ARRL International DX CW Contest. [Photo courtesy of Eric Hall, K9GY]

CW DXing and contesting take center stage the weekend of February 16-17, as the 2013 ARRL International DX CW Contest takes to the airwaves. If you've never operated the CW contest, now is the time to start. "You can work a lot of DX with 100 W and a simple dipole or vertical antenna," explained ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. "Some stations -- with some perseverance -- have worked more than 100 DXCC entities during the contest period. And who knows? You just might achieve DXCC during the contest." 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 January -- takes a look at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the ARRL Board of Directors, how the ARRL is supporting Amateur Radio in the classroom, new publications, updates from the ARRL Development Office, reports from the Official Observer Desk and more. Read more here.

Amateur Radio in Space: Host a Real-Time Conversation with Crewmembers Aboard the ISS

Proposals are now being accepted 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, 2013 and May 1, 2014. To maximize these radio contact opportunities, US ARISS program partners -- the ARRL, AMSAT and NASA -- are looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed education plan. Proposals are due March 1, 2013. Read more here.

ITU Offering Free Download of 2012 International Radio Regulations

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is offering an electronic version of the 2012 International Radio Regulations at no charge. These regulations incorporate the decisions of the World Radiocommunication Conferences of 1995 (WRC-95), 1997 (WRC-97), 2000 (WRC-2000), 2003 (WRC-03), 2007 (WRC-07) and 2012 (WRC-12), including all Appendices, Resolutions, Recommendations and ITU-R Recommendations incorporated by reference.

While Article 25 of the International Radio Regulations defines the Amateur Radio Service, the regulations as a whole define the allocation of different frequency bands to different radio services, as well as the mandatory technical parameters to be observed by radio stations, procedures for the coordination and notification of frequency assignments made to radio stations by national governments and other procedures and operational provisions.

The free download -- as well as paper copies and a DVD -- are available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French and Russian. While the electronic version is available at no charge, the individual paper versions and the DVD containing versions in all six languages cost CHF 398 (approximately $438 USD). The free download is available through mid-2014.

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Be a Star! The QST Video Contest Deadline is March 1

Grab your cameras -- you only have until March 1 to send your entry for the 2013 QST Video Contest. Shoot a video on any tasteful subject relating to Amateur Radio 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. (Only one per ARRL member, please.)

Your video can be up to 5 minutes in length and the topic can be anything that illustrates the excitement of Amateur Radio. Videos will be judged on overall quality and composition. The first place winner will receive $500; the second place prize is $250 and the third place prize is $100 (winners of the 2012 competition are ineligible). The winning videos will be displayed on the ARRL website and the ARRL's YouTube channel. Read more here.

New International Reply Coupon Introduced

The new Doha model IRC will be available for purchase on July 1, 2013; it is valid until December 31, 2017. Although the US Postal Service no longer sells IRCs, they are still available in other countries and post offices in the US are mandated to redeem them.

The Universal Postal Union has introduced the newest model of the International Reply Coupon (IRC): The Doha model -- so named for the 25th Universal Postal Congress that took place in Doha, Qatar in October 2012 -- will replace the current model, known as the Nairobi model. Although the US Postal Service no longer sells IRCs, they are still available in other countries and post offices in the US are mandated to redeem them. The Doha model IRC will be available for purchase on July 1, 2013. It is valid for exchange until the end of 2017. The Nairobi model remains valid until December 31, 2013. Read more here.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, February 7, 2013 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 hardly changed from last week and the week prior, but the average daily solar flux bounced back to about the level it was from two weeks ago: The average daily sunspot numbers were down 5 points to 50.7, while the average daily solar flux was up 7.7 points to 106.4. The predicted solar flux values are 105 on February 7-9, 110 and 105 on February 10-11, 100 on February 12-14, 115 on February 15-16, 110 on February 17, 115 on February 18-19, 110 on February 20-21, 105 on February 22, 115 on February 23-24, then 110, 105 and 100 on February 25-27, and back down 95 on February 28 through March 2. The predicted planetary A index is 5, 8, 18 and 10 on February 7-10, 5 on February 11-18, 8 on February 19, 5 on February 20-21, then 15, 10 and 8 on February 22-24, 5 on February 25-28, then rising to 10 and 8 on March 1-2. Look for more on the ARRL website on Friday, February 8. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page.

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ARRL Recognizes: Robert Nickels, W9RAN, Wins January QST Cover Plaque Award

The winner of the January QST Cover Plaque award is Robert Nickels, W9RAN, for his article "Cheap and Easy SDR." 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 February issue today.

Correction: Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic Does Not Hold Personal Call Sign

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic

In a news item posted on the ARRL website on August 1, 2012 and published in the October 2012 issue of QST, it was reported that Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic held the call sign YU1YU. The ARRL has learned that although Prime Minister Dacic was a radio club member and passed the examination for an Amateur Radio operator license, and while YU1YU was suggested to him as a call sign for which he could apply, he has never applied for a personal call sign.

This Week in Radiosport

This week:

  • February 8 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • February 8-10 -- YLRL YL-OM Contest
  • February 9 -- Asia-Pacific Spring Sprint (CW); FISTS Winter Sprint
  • February 9-10 -- New Hampshire QSO Party; Louisiana QSO Party; CQ WW RTTY WPX Contest; YL-ISSB QSO Party (CW); KCJ Topband Contest; Dutch PACC Contest; OMISS QSO Party; RSGB First 1.8 MHz Contest; AWA Amplitude Modulation QSO Party
  • February 10-11 -- Classic Exchange (Phone)
  • February 11-15 -- ARRL School Club Roundup
  • February 13 -- NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint
  • February 13-14 - CWops Mini-CWT Test

Next week:

  • February 15 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • February 16 -- Feld Hell Sprint
  • February 16-17 -- ARRL International DX Contest (CW)
  • February 17-18 -- Russian PSK Worldwide Contest
  • February 20 -- AGCW Semi-Automatic Key Evening

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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