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Find Out What’s In Store at the 2012 ARRL National Convention


On October 12-14, the ARRL will welcome members and friends to the 2012 ARRL National Convention in Santa Clara, California. Hosted by Pacificon and sponsored by members of the Mount Diablo Amateur Radio Club, this three-day event is sure to be jam-packed with excitement, exhibits and, of course, the ever-popular ARRL EXPO. Use this handy guide to find ARRL-sponsored activities and exhibits throughout the event.


Special Guests

The ARRL welcomes NASA Astronaut Lee Morin, KF5DDB, to the 2012 ARRL National Convention. Morin served as a mission specialist on the space shuttle Atlantis in 2002. During this 13th shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station, Morin performed two spacewalks. You can meet and greet Morin in the ARRL EXPO. He has also been confirmed as a Pacificon forum presenter and Saturday night banquet speaker, where he will share his experiences about spaceflight and his interests in Amateur Radio with convention attendees.

At the invitation of the ARRL, FCC Special Counsel Laura Smith will present an update on the latest Amateur Radio and enforcement news from the FCC and field questions. Make sure to join this presentation on Saturday morning during the Convention.

License Examinations

ARRL-accredited Volunteer Examiners will offer Amateur Radio license exams from 8 AM-12 noon on Saturday and Sunday. All examination levels will be offered. The license exam fee is $15; convention registration is not required if you are only taking the tests. Candidates are required to bring a photo ID, and will need to include their Social Security Number on the application (including minors). If you are currently licensed, please bring your original and a copy of your current (or expired) FCC Amateur Radio license. Also, if you have one, bring the original and copy of any CSCE (Certificate of Successful Completion of Exam). For additional questions, please contact ARRL VE Team liaison George Tickner, K6NHY, via e-mail.

ARRL Store

Visit the huge ARRL bookstore to purchase popular ARRL publications, join or renew your ARRL membership and pick up official ARRL merchandise. When you join the ARRL or renew your membership, you will receive a free gift. If you join or renew for a three-year term, you will receive the ARRL Antenna Book as our way of saying thank you. And everyone who stops by will get a free 2012 ARRL National Convention button.

W1AW/6 Special Event Station

Plan to get on-the-air using the world’s most recognized call sign: W1AW/6 will be located in a large tent in the outdoor display/swap area, 100 yards from the convention’s main entrance. Operating frequencies are as follows (+/- QRM):

  • CW: 3.550 MHz, 7.050 MHz, 10.110 MHz, 14.050 MHz, 21.050 MHz and 28.050 MHz
  • SSB: 3.870 MHz, 7.270 MHz, 14.270 MHz, 21.370 MHz, 28.670 MHz
  • Simplex: 146.49 MHz

Please QSL via ARRL W1AW/6, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 (please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope). Special thanks to Steve Wagner, KA6SFT, and Lauren Styles, WA6CIE, for their help planning the W1AW/6 Special Event Station.

ARRL Wouff Hong Ceremony

Saturday 11:45 PM – Marriott Santa Clara (site of the convention)

All ARRL Members are invited to attend the traditional midnight ceremony of the Royal Order of the Wouff Hong, beginning at midnight. Gather at the Convention registration desk on Saturday night at 11:45 (no admittance after midnight). The ceremony -- steeped in mystery -- will begin at midnight--and lasts nearly one hour. Attendees receive a special keepsake. This is a fun activity for all ages. You must be an ARRL member to participate.

Radiosport and DXCC

  • DXCC Card Checking: Personnel from the ARRL DXCC Branch will be on hand to check applications for all ARRL award programs. All cards will be eligible for checking, including old cards, cards for deleted countries and cards for 160 meters. Applications will be limited to 101 cards, but more cards will be checked as time -- and volunteer Card Checkers -- are available. Click here for the latest program information and current forms. Use the new Online DXCC tool and save money on your application! If you use the Online DXCC, remember to bring a printout of your application, card list and your cards (in the order in which they are entered into the Online DXCC) with you to the Convention.
  • ARRL Contests and Awards: On-air competitions and award hunting are great Amateur Radio activities. These are effective ways to boost your technical knowledge and improve your radio operating skills -- helping make you a better radio amateur. Ask us about the ARRL Award Program and upcoming ARRL Contests. VHF/UHF Century club (VUCC) and Worked All States (WAS) award applications may also be checked at the convention.
  • QSL Bureau: ARRL members will be able to drop off their QSL cards to be sent through the ARRL Outgoing QSL Bureau. If you have QSL cards that you would like to send through the Bureau (your QSLs going to foreign stations -- no US-to-US QSLs, please), you can save the shipping cost to the ARRL by bringing them to the Convention! The ARRL will transport your cards to the Bureau in Newington. In order to take advantage of this benefit, all of the standard QSL Bureau rules must be followed: Cards must be sorted by DXCC country, they must go to countries where a bureau exists and you must be an ARRL member to use the Outgoing QSL Bureau. Cards do not have to be boxed, but should be wrapped with rubber bands.
  • Logbook of The World: Representatives from Logbook of The World (LoTW) will be giving demonstrations and answering your questions.

More ARRL Exhibits

  • ARRL Laboratory: Does your handheld transceiver meet FCC Emission Standards? Meet an ARRL Test Engineer who will measure its spurious emissions, using a state-of-the-art spectrum analyzer. Does your handheld transceiver have the potential to interfere with other radio services? Find out here! The ARRL Lab is known for serving the Amateur Radio community with technical information services, trusted product-review testing, spectrum-protection engineering and its RFI/EMC program.
  • Introducing the Digital Edition of QST: In May, all ARRL members were introduced to the new digital edition of QST -- the ARRL’s popular membership journal. This new online format offers several advantages, including enhanced content, convenient access and a more interactive experience. Drop by this exhibit to see a demonstration.
  • ARRL Development and The ARRL Foundation: Learn how you can help strengthen the ARRL’s work on behalf of Amateur Radio. Find out about giving opportunities by participating in the Diamond Club, earning your way to the prestigious ARRL Maxim Society, and by contributing to such funds as the Spectrum Defense Fund, the Education & Technology Fund, the W1AW Endowment and the Historic Preservation Fund. You can also include the ARRL in your estate plans by joining the Legacy Circle. Information will be available about The ARRL Foundation and its more than 75 annual scholarships and grants for Amateur Radio groups working to promote Amateur Radio and involve young people in Amateur Radio activities.
  • Disaster Communications & Public Service: Meet with program representatives for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) and the National Traffic System (NTS). Learn about opportunities to volunteer and explore resources and training. This is your chance to network with other public service volunteers.
  • ARRL Education Services: See displays of ARRL Education & Technology Program kits, projects and other resources available to schools and teachers. Obtain information about the Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) and Amateur Radio licensing instruction.
  • ARRL Pacific Division: Visit with ARRL Pacific Division leadership, Section Managers and volunteers from the East Bay, Nevada, Pacific, Sacramento Valley, San Francisco, San Joaquin Valley and Santa Clara Valley Sections. Find out how you can support the extensive ARRL Field Organization.
  • ARRL-Sponsored Insurance Program: The ARRL has been providing opportunities for equipment insurance to its members for more than 25 years. A representative from Hays Affinity Group will be available to answer questions about the ARRL-sponsored Equipment Insurance and Club Liability Insurance plans.
  • ARRL Visa® Card (US Bank): Apply for the ARRL Visa card and earn a free gift. Earn benefits that keep you on the air!

ARRL-Sponsored Forums

The following ARRL-sponsored presentations are hosted by Pacificon. Click here for a complete listing of forums, times and locations. [Schedule revised September 11, 2012.]

Saturday October 13, 2012

  • Communications Law and 2012 Regulatory Update for Interested Lawyers and the Radio Amateur
    • 8:30 AM-12:00 PM -- Sequoia Room
    • Presenters: ARRL Volunteer Counsel and San Francisco Section Government Liaison Bart Lee, K6VK, (ex-KV6LEE), and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD
    • This legal seminar is designed for both Amateur Radio operators facing zoning and other restrictions or interference issues, and for practicing attorneys, especially those who serve as ARRL Volunteer Counsel (VC). Members of the general public may also attend. The cost is $99 for attorneys seeking Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) credit. Register via e-mail.
  • FCC Update
    • 8:15-9:15 AM -- Newport Beach Room
    • Presenter: FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Enforcement Laura Smith
    • FCC Special Counsel for the Spectrum Enforcement Division Laura Smith will present an update on the latest Amateur Radio and enforcement news from the FCC and field questions.
  • ARRL Emergency Preparedness Forum: Rethinking Emergency Communications
    • 9:30-10:30 AM -- Newport Beach Room
    • Moderator: ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U
    • Emergency communications, public service, disaster communications: So what is it we really do? This forum will present a way of putting the role of the Amateur Radio operator who is interested in serving their community in perspective.
  • ARRL Wireless Technology Literacy in the Classroom
    • 10:45-11:45 AM – Newport Beach Room
    • Moderator: Nathan McCray, K9CPO, ARRL Instruction and Resource Coordinator
    • The ARRL Education & Technology Program (ETP) supports resources to help integrate wireless technology into school curricula. The program uses a multi-technology approach that includes Amateur Radio, other wireless technologies and robotics. ARRL Instruction and Resource Coordinator Nathan McCray, K9CPO, will share his experiences of integrating wireless technology education into the classroom curriculum. His approach helps inspire students to pursue careers in high-tech industries and beyond. Learn about the annual ARRL Teachers Institute workshops.
  • ARRL Arduino Programming Workshop
    • 1-2 PM -- Newport Beach Room
    • Moderator: Leigh L. Klotz Jr, WA5ZNU, author of ARRL’s upcoming publication The ARRL Arduino Ham Radio Cookbook
    • Have you heard about the Arduino microcontroller, but were unsure how to get started using it for ham radio projects? Bring an Arduino, a laptop and maybe a friend to this hands-on workshop, and walk away an hour later able to write and use your own programs in the shack. Limited to 28 one or two-person groups.
  • ARRL Presents: NASA Astronaut Lee M. Morin, KF5DDB
    • 2:15-3:15 PM – Sedona Ballroom [time and location subject to change -- watch for announcements during the Convention]
    • ARRL welcomes NASA Astronaut, Lee M. Morin, KF5DDB to the 2012 ARRL National Convention at Pacificon. He will share his experiences about spaceflight and his interests in Amateur Radio with convention attendees.
  • ARRL Radiosport: Budget Pileups: Being Rare DX Without Breaking the Bank
    • 2:15-3:15 PM -- Newport Beach Room
    • Moderator: ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X
    • You don’t need to go on a big DXpedition to work some great pileups. ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, will talk about participating in contests, awards programs and other operating events that will get you on the other side of the pileup -- without needing to take out a second mortgage.
  • Getting Started in PIC Microcontroller Programming
    • 3:30-4:30 PM -- Newport Beach Room
    • Moderator: ARRL Education and Technology Program Director Mark Spencer, WA8SME -- author of ARRL’s PIC Programming for Beginners
    • There has been an explosion if the number of articles highlighting the use of microcontrollers in ham radio and other DIY (do-it-yourself) electronic hobby projects. This forum will give you some ideas about how microcontroller devices can enhance your operating experience. A few different approaches will be presented, helping you to get involved in this important and evolving aspect of our hobby from someone who has been there, done that -- and continues to learn more and more each day.

Sunday October 14, 2012

  • Impedance Matching 101
    • 8:15-9:15 AM -- Newport Beach Room
    • Presenter: Ward Silver, N0AX
    • An overview of impedance matching at HF through UHF. Learn what impedance matching is, why it is used and common techniques for circuits and antennas.
  • Exploring Our World through Remote Sensing and Ham Radio
    • 9:30-10:30 AM -- Newport Beach Room
    • Moderator: ARRL Education and Technology Program Director Mark Spencer, WA8SME
    • Remote sensing -- whether carried on high altitude balloons aloft, satellites in space or afloat on water borne buoys -- is an evolving and fascinating facet of our hobby. Hurricane warnings, tsunami alerts, predicting global climate change or day-to-day weather observations for air traffic operations all have one thing in common: remote sensing from seaborne, air or space-borne buoys. But how does that work? During this forum, the discussion will center on how you can learn more about remote sensing, how you can do your own projects to study our environment, what others are doing and the pivotal role that ham radio plays in connecting the users to the remote sensing platforms, aloft or in the water. This will be of particular interest for school teachers and those interested in supporting STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in our schools. Spencer uses his experience in engineering remote sensor systems for US Department of Defense programs to support school-STEM education efforts.
  • ARRL Radio Clubs and Mentoring
    • 10:45-11:45 AM -- Newport Beach Room
    • Moderator: ARRL Membership & Volunteer Programs Assistant Manager Norm Fusaro, W3IZ
    • With all the new and exciting things going on in Amateur Radio, your local radio club should be the go-to place for mentoring. Learn some of the things that are working for other clubs and be prepared to share your success stories from your radio club.
  • ARRL Member Forum and Pacificon Awards, Prizes and Drawings
    • 1-2 PM -- Sedona Ballroom
    • Moderator: ARRL Pacific Division Director Bob Vallio, W6RGG
    • Hear from local and national ARRL officials on key areas of membership interest. Find out how ARRL supports dozens of ways to get involved and get on the air. Members and prospective members are all welcome!

The ARRL expresses its gratitude to the 2012 Pacificon committee, members of the Mount Diablo Amateur Radio Club and volunteers!