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The ARRL Letter
March 28, 2013
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News.

+ FCC News: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell to Step Down

FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski and FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell both announced last week that they would be leaving the Commission. McDowell announced his resignation during the FCC's open meeting on March 20, while Genachowski made his announcement in remarks to FCC staff on March 22.

Both FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (left) and FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell announced last week that they will soon be leaving the FCC.

Genachowski was nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the Commission in June 2009. McDowell was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2006 and re-appointed by President Obama in 2009. While Genachowski's term is up later this year, McDowell's term expires in 2014. Neither Genachowski nor McDowell has announced their post-Commission plans.

The departure of Genachowski (a Democrat) and McDowell (a Republican), leaves Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel as the FCC's Democrats, and Ajit Pai as its sole Republican, giving Democrats a 2 to 1 voting advantage. Only three commissioners at a time may be members of the same political party. With two seats open on the FCC, the Obama Administration could advance a Republican and a Democratic nominee simultaneously, as it did with Pai and Rosenworcel in 2012. Read more.

+ FCC News: FCC Grants ARRL's Request for Temporary Waiver for TDMA Systems

Acting upon a request by the ARRL, the FCC issued an Order (WT Docket No, 12-283) on March 25, granting a temporary waiver to transmit communications on amateur service channels above 30 MHz using single time-slot Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) systems. The temporary waiver was granted pending the resolution of a related rulemaking proceeding (RM-11625).

In granting the temporary waiver, the FCC agreed with the ARRL, noting that the digital systems that radio amateurs have recently implemented are "compatible with existing amateur repeater channelization plans." The FCC also noted that allowing FXE and F7E as phone emissions and emission type FXD as a data emission "is unlikely to result in inharmonious emission types being used in the same segments of the frequency bands. We also conclude that allowing amateur stations to transmit these emission types is consistent with the basis and purpose of the amateur service, specifically to continue to contribute to the advancement of the radio art." Read more.

Support ARRL: ARRL Announces a Campaign for Its Second Century

As the ARRL draws closer to celebrating its Centennial in 2014, its Board of Directors has launched an unprecedented $10 million fundraising initiative to build the ARRL Endowment and strengthen the organization's financial future. Led by the ARRL Board and an eight-member Second Century Campaign Committee -- headed by David W. Brandenburg, K5RQ -- the campaign has already raised cash and commitments of more than $4 million toward this goal. Plans are to reach that goal by the end of ARRL's centennial year in 2014.

"The vision of the ARRL Second Century Campaign is to secure significant financial resources that will open a path to passionate involvement in Amateur Radio for new generations," explained ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH. "In this, it will provide opportunities for educational enrichment, community service and personal achievement through the exploration and use of the magic of radio communication." Read more.

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+ Silent Key: National Traffic System Developer George Hart, W1NJM (SK)

George Hart, W1NJM -- the chief developer of the National Traffic System -- passed away Sunday, March 24. He was 99. An ARRL Charter Life Member, Hart spent more than four decades as a member of the ARRL Headquarters staff and continued to be an active amateur and regular participant in Field Day. In 1984, the ARRL Board of Directors named Hart as an ARRL Honorary Vice President.

Former ARRL Communications Manager and NTS developer George Hart, W1NJM, passed away on March 24 at the age of 99.

First licensed in 1929 as W3AMR in Pennsylvania, Hart began his ARRL career in August 1938 as a second operator at the W1AW Maxim Memorial Station, which was new at the time. He took over as Acting Communications Manager in 1942 when then-Acting Communications Manager John Huntoon, W1LVQ, left the ARRL for active duty in the US Coast Guard during World War II. Beginning with the December 1942 issue, Hart contributed almost 1000 articles to QST, with topics ranging from public service to simulated emergency tests to traffic handling pointers; he also penned the monthly columns "Operating News" and "Amateur Radio Public Service." Hart served in the Army Air Force from 1944-1946, returning to his job as a Communications Assistant at ARRL Headquarters under Ed Handy, W1BDI, after the war. During his tenure at the League, Hart served as Communications Assistant, National Emergency Coordinator and ultimately as Communications Manager from 1967 until his retirement in 1978. Read more.

Amateur Radio in Space: Two Hams Scheduled to Head to ISS This Week

Expedition 35 on board the ISS will begin on Thursday, March 28 with the arrival of Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR, and Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov, RV3BS, and Alexander Misurkin. Front row, from left: Vinogradov and Chris Hadfield, VA3OOG/KC5RNJ. Back row, from left: Misurkin, Cassidy, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and Tom Marshburn, KE5HOC. [Photo courtesy of NASA]

NASA will televise the launch and docking of its next mission to the International Space Station (ISS) beginning at 3:30 PM EDT on Thursday, March 28 (1930 UTC). NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR, and Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov, RV3BS, and Alexander Misurkin are scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:43 PM EDT (2043 UTC). They will join Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, VA3OOG/KC5RNJ, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, KE5HOC, and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko -- already aboard the ISS -- for Expedition 35. Read more.

+ Amateur Radio at the National Association of Broadcasters Convention

The ARRL will be promoting Amateur Radio at the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters -- NAB Show -- scheduled for April 6-11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Members of the Las Vegas Radio Amateurs Club will staff the ARRL booth at NAB, providing attendees with information about Amateur Radio. The booth also serves as a meeting place for radio amateurs attending the convention where they can talk with local leaders, as well as ARRL Pacific Division Director Bob Vallio, W6RGG. Arrangements for the ARRL booth are being provided by NAB Science & Technology Vice President John Marino, KR1O. Read more.

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+ On the Air: ARRL UHF/Microwave Band Plan Committee Seeks Comments on Draft 5 and 10 GHz National Band Plans

Last year, the ARRL UHF/Microwave Band Plan Committee prepared -- and the ARRL Board of Directors approved -- updated national band plans for the amateur bands between 902 MHz and 3.5 GHz after receiving extensive and helpful input from the user community. Last year, after the ARRL Executive Committee extended the Committee's charter to include the 5 and 10 GHz bands, it solicited additional input concerning usage on those two bands. The Committee has prepared draft band plans for 5 centimeters (5.650-5.925 GHz) and 3 centimeters (10-10.500 GHz). Read more.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, March 28, 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: Solar activity was down this week, with the average daily sunspot number at 49.6, less than half last week's figure. The average daily solar flux dropped 22 points to 97, and geomagnetic activity was quiet also. Sunspot numbers for March 21-27 were 60, 54, 56, 45, 56, 41 and 35, with a mean of 49.6. The 10.7 centimeter flux was 106.1, 100.9, 98.2, 96, 92.6, 92.4 and 93, with a mean of 97. The estimated planetary A indices were 12, 4, 11, 5, 4, 3 and 14, with a mean of 7.6. The estimated mid-latitude A indices were 11, 2, 10, 6, 3, 2 and 9, with a mean of 6.1. Look for more information on the ARRL website on Friday, March 29. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page.

+ Silent Key: Former ARRL Northwestern Division Director Mary Lewis, W7QGP (SK)

Mary Lewis, W7QGP (SK)

Mary Lewis, W7QGP, of Seattle, Washington, passed away March 12. She was 85. An ARRL Life Member, Lewis served as ARRL Northwestern Division Director from 1981-1987 and 1991-1995. She also served as ARRL Section Communications Manager for Washington and ARRL Section Manager for Western Washington, as well as ARRL Assistant Section Manager and ARRL Affiliated Club Coordinator for the Western Washington Section. Read more.

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+ Silent Key: Former ARRL Pacific Division Vice Director Robert Smithwick, W6CS (ex-W6JZU) (SK)

Robert Smithwick, W6CS (ex-W6JZU) (SK)

Robert "Smitty" Smithwick, W6CS (ex-W6JZU), of Los Altos Hills, California, passed away March 22. He was 92. An ARRL Life Member, Smithwick served as ARRL Pacific Division Vice Director from 1978-1981. A pediatric dentist by trade, Smithwick was one of the founders of Foothill College, a two-year community college in Los Altos Hills, and served as the first president of the college's Board of Trustees; Smithwick Theatre on campus is named in his honor. Read more.

Silent Key: Noted Contester and DXer Luis Chartarifsky, XE1L (SK)

Luis Chartarifsky, XE1L, on the recent TX5K DXpedition to Clipperton Island. [Dave Farnsworth, WJ2O, photo]

Noted DXer Luis Chartarifsky, XE1L, of Mexico City, passed away Monday, March 18 after a heart attack. An ARRL Life Member, Chartarifsky held Top of Honor Roll (Phone and Mixed), with all 340 current entities confirmed. He also held DXCC for Mixed, Phone, CW and RTTY, as well as 5-Band DXCC, and had a total of 354 entities, including deleted. Chartarifsky was a member of the following major DXpeditions: TX5K (Clipperton Island), Peter I (3Y0PI), Spratly (9M0M), Nepal (9N7MD), Western Sahara (S07L), Mali (TZ6RM), Revillagigedo (XF4L), Easter Island (XR0Y), Juan Fernandez (XR0Z) and Myanmar (XZ0A). He also operated in contests from various parts of Mexico, the US (including the Dry Tortugas) and Venezuela. Chartarifsky, who loved to travel, also operated from Ascension Island, Barbados, Jamaica, the Russian Polar Station, Aruba and Israel, just to name a few. Read more.

+ ARRL to Close in Observance of Good Friday

ARRL Headquarters will be closed in observance of Good Friday on Friday, March 29. There will be no W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions that day. ARRL Headquarters will reopen Monday, April 1 at 8 AM Eastern Daylight Time. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

This Week in Radiosport

This week:

  • March 29 -- NCCC Sprint
  • March 30-31 -- CQ WPX Contest (SSB)

Next week:

  • April 5 -- NCCC Sprint
  • April 6 -- LZ Open 40 Meter Sprint Contest; PODXS 070 Club PSK 31 Flavors Contest (local time)
  • April 6-7 -- SP DX Contest; EA RTTY Contest
  • April 7 -- Missouri QSO Party
  • April 10 -- NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint
  • April 10-11 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test

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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