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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 26, No. 50
December 21, 2007


*   DXCC Desk Announces New Entity 
*   ARRL Headquarters Closed for Christmas, New Year's Holidays 
*   What's Coming Up in the January/February Issue of QEX 
*   The January/February Issue of NCJ Now Available 
*   Upcoming Operating Events 
*  Solar Update
      This Weekend on the Radio
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration
      ARRL's Logbook of the World Counts More Than 150 Million Confirmed
      Incorrect Date Listed for Frostfest 2008 
      AMSAT's Straight Key Night Scheduled for January 1
      Help Scientists Save the Shrikes 

There will be no ARRL Letter on December 28, 2007 or January 4, 2008.
There will be no ARRL Audio News today (December 21), December 28 or
January 4, 2008.

==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ
<>, then e-mail
==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane,


The ARRL DXCC Desk is pleased to announce the addition of St Barthelemy
(FJ) to the DXCC List, making the island entity number 338 with an
effective date of December 14, 2007. Cards with contacts dated December
14, 2007 or after will be accepted for DXCC credit. New card submissions
for St Barthelemy will not be accepted until January 1, 2008 in order to
allow time for administrative adjustments. 

On February 21, 2007 the French Ministry issued a decree making St
Barthelemy an Overseas Collective, where its status is now equal to that
of Guadeloupe, Martinique and other French territories currently on the
DXCC List. On November 8, 2007 the President of Association Des Radio
Amateurs De St Barthelemy, Philippe Delcroix, FJ5DX, contacted the DXCC
Desk, requesting that St Barthelemy be considered a new DXCC entity. 

The "event date" that caused St Barthelemy to be added to the DXCC list
was December 14, 2007, the date the US State Department added St
Barthelemy to the "List of Dependencies and Areas of Special
Sovereignty" with its Administrative Center in Gustavia, qualifying it
under DXCC rules in Section II - 1 Political Entities (c): "The Entity
contains a permanent population, is administered by a local government,
and is located at least 800 km from its parent. To satisfy the
'permanent population' and 'administered by a local government' criteria
of this sub-section, an Entity must be listed on either (a) the U.S.
Department of State's list of 'Dependencies and Areas of Special
Sovereignty' as having a local 'Administrative Center,' or (b) the
United Nations list of 'Non-Self-Governing Territories.'" 

French St Martin (FS), while also added to the List of Dependencies and
Areas of Special Sovereignty, will remain on the DXCC List, but it is
now considered a Point 1 Political Entity under the same classification
as that of St Barthelemy.

Please direct any questions you may have about St Barthelemy, St Martin
or the DXCC program to the ARRL DXCC Desk <>;.


ARRL Headquarters will be closed Monday, December 24 and Tuesday,
December 25 in observance of Christmas, and on Monday, December 31, 2007
and Tuesday, January 1, 2008 in observance of New Year's. 

There will be no W1AW bulletins or code practice transmissions those
days. There will be no ARRL Letter on Friday, December 28 or January 4;
there will also be no ARRL Audio News on Friday, December 21, Friday
December 28 or Friday, January 4. 

Headquarters will reopen Wednesday, December 26 at 8 AM Eastern Standard
Time after Christmas, and Wednesday, January 2 at 8 AM Eastern Standard
Time after New Year's. We wish everyone a safe and joyful holiday season
and a prosperous 2008. 


The January/February issue of QEX is out, and it is full of theoretical
and practical technical articles that you don't want to miss. 

In this issue, Jack Smith, K8ZOA, presents "The Z100 CW (and RTTY)
Tuning Aid." Thomas Baier, DG8SAQ, follows up his DDS-based VNA with "A
Low-Cost, Flexible USB Interface" for those with computers that don't
include a parallel printer port, and Jim Kocsis, WA9PYH, describes "A
2256 MHz PLL Local Oscillator."

Maynard Wright, W6PAP, explores ways to model transmission lines using
lumped resistive, capacitive and inductive circuit elements in "More
Octave for Transmission Lines." J. R. Laughlin, KE5KSC, built "A Squelch
Amplifier" to use his HP 8590A spectrum analyzer as a receiver, while
Contributing Editor L.B. Cebik, W4RNL, looks at some larger choices for
horizontally polarized omnidirectional antennas in "Antenna Options."

QEX is edited by Larry Wolfgang, WR1B <>;, and is
published six times a year. The subscription rate for ARRL members in
the US is $24. For First Class US delivery, it's $37; elsewhere by
surface mail (4-8 week delivery) it's $31. In Canada by airmail it's
$40; elsewhere by airmail it's $59. Nonmembers add $12 to these rates.
Subscribe to QEX today <>. 


NCJ, The National Contest Journal is what everyone interested in
radiosport needs to have in their shack. Filled with the latest news
from the contesting world, this is a definite must-have. Whether you are
new to contesting or are a seasoned pro (or somewhere in the middle),
you will find something in NCJ just for you.

New NCJ Editor Alan Dewey, K0AD, takes over the reins from Carl
Luetzelschwab, K9LA, with the January/February issue; Luetzelschwab's
last issue was November/December, and he will continue to write NCJ's
"Propagation" column. 

Dewey said, "I'd like to say what an honor it is to serve as editor of
'National Contest Journal.' I have been reading NCJ for more than 20
years, and it is by far my favorite Amateur Radio publication. I truly
have a love for contesting, and I hope that will show through to you,
our readers. Carl has done a great job over the last five years, and he
continues to be a big help during the transition. I don't have any major
changes in mind at this time. I'll talk a little more about that subject
in the next issue. In the meantime, I really would like to hear from
you, our readers, as to what you would like NCJ to be. If you have
suggestions for articles or features, please let me know. Even with all
the contesting resources and discussion on the Internet, I believe
there's a vital role for a printed publication dedicated to contesting.
I look forward to hearing your ideas. Just drop a 'letter to the
editor,' at <>;." Dewey is also the Dakota Division
representative to the ARRL Contest Advisory Committee (CAC). 

In the January/February issue, Steve Root, K0SR, discusses "Design and
Construction of a Quad That Will Last." Ed Muns, W0YK, ruminates on "The
NCCC Sprint: A Mid-Week Contest 'Fix.'" Greg Fields, K0OB, fondly
remembers a fellow ham in "Dave Ranney, KT0R (SK)," and Scott Robbins,
W4PA, profiles Hal Kennedy, N4GG, in this issue's "NCJ Profiles." Bob
Neece, K0KR, takes readers on a "virtual tour" of the CAC in his
article, "Update: The ARRL Contest Advisory Committee -- Part 1."

If you've been waiting to see how you did in the fall sprints and North
American QSO Parties, you definitely don't want to miss this issue!
Check out the results for the following contests: August 2007 NAQP SSB,
August 2007 NAQP CW, September 2007 North American Sprint CW and
September 2007 North American Sprint SSB. The rules for the North
American Sprint CW/SSB Contest and the North American QSO Party (NAQP)
CW/SSB/RTTY Contests are in this issue. You might also want to brush up
on the rules for these events and make note of any changes for the
coming year.

Of course, there are all the regular columns and features you expect
from NCJ: "Software for Contesters" by Pete Smith, N4ZR; "Workshop
Chronicles," by Don Daso, K4ZA; "Contest Tips, Tricks & Techniques," by
Gary Sutcliffe, W9XT; "Propagation," by Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA;
"VHF-UHF Contesting," by Jon Jones, N0JK; "Contesting on a Budget," by
Paul Schaffenberger, K5AF; "DX Contest Activity Announcements," by Bill
Feidt, NG3K; "RTTY Contesting," by Don Hill, AA5AU, and "Contest
Calendar," by Bruce Horn, WA7BNM.

All this and more in the January/February issue of NCJ. NCJ is published
six times a year by the ARRL; it is edited by Al Dewey, K0AD. Subscribe
at <>. 


Are you getting a new rig this holiday season? Maybe you are perfectly
happy with the one you have now. Does it really matter as long as you
get on the air? Put your rig to good use and join in these operating
events and contests that are coming up the first week of 2008.

The ARRL Straight Key Night fast approaching! Dust off that old J-38 and
enjoy CW as it used to be. This on-air operating event is designed to
encourage all Amateur Radio operators to enjoy sending Morse code the
old-fashioned way. While the event is called Straight Key Night for a
reason, the main point is to encourage the use of CW in a relaxed,
no-pressure atmosphere. Bugs and iambic paddles are allowed, but we
encourage all participants to use a straight key if possible. Enjoy a
good ragchew and cast your vote for the "best fist" you hear. Be sure to
tell us about your most memorable contact. The ARRL Straight Key Night
is from 0000 UTC-2400 UTC on January 1, 2008. You can find complete
details on page 98 of the December 2007 QST.

The first weekend of 2008 provides an opportunity to enjoy some healthy
competition. The ARRL RTTY Roundup has quickly become one of the best
contests using the digital modes. RTTY, PSK31, and several other digital
modes are used to communicate with other amateurs all around the world.
If you've wanted to try your hand at digital operating, this contest is
an exciting way to get your feet wet. The ARRL RTTY Roundup is from 0000
January 5, 2008-2400 UTC January 6, 2008. Complete rules can be found on
page 97 of the December QST.

Are you looking for a fun way to share Amateur Radio with your kids?
Kids Day, created by the Boring Amateur Radio Club of Oregon, takes
place on Sunday, January 6, 2008. Kids get behind the microphone and
make actual on-the-air contacts with other kids across the United States
and Canada. Kids exchange their name, age, location and their favorite
color in a contest-style event. Custom certificates are available for
free download for each child that participates! Kids Day is a great way
to show your family just how much fun you can have with Amateur Radio.
You can find more information on page 39 of the December 2007 QST.

Make it your New Year's resolution to get on the air more. Be it CW,
digital modes such as RTTY or PSK31, SSTV or simply using your
microphone, there is something magical about radio. Make 2008 the year
you rediscover what the magic is all about.


Tad "The Sun had Clos'd the Winter Day" Cook, K7RA, this week reports:
Sunspot 978 faded this week, with Tuesday, December 18 its last day
visible. The average daily sunspot number dropped nearly 13 points from
last week to 24.1, and the average daily solar flux (the amount of
energy we receive from the Sun at a wavelength of 10.7 cm or 2800 MHz)
was down over three points to 83.9. Geomagnetic indicators were up, with
average daily planetary A index up three points to 7.4 and mid-latitude
A index was up two points to 5.4. Unfortunately, sunspot 978 held no
indication for the next sunspot cycle, because the magnetic polarity was
the same as spots from cycle 23, which is now ending. It was also at
mid-latitude and spots from a new cycle tend to be high latitude. But
there was quite an interest this week in a high-latitude area of reverse
magnetic polarity. So far this has not turned into an actual sunspot, so
we wait. Sunspot numbers for December 13 through 19 were 39, 35, 39, 28,
14, 14 and 0 with a mean of 24.1. The 10.7 cm flux was 93.8, 91.9, 88.9,
81.7, 79.5, 76.8 and 74.5 with a mean of 83.9. Estimated planetary A
indices were 4, 2, 1, 2, 17, 18 and 8 with a mean of 7.4. Estimated
mid-latitude A indices were 3, 2, 2, 1, 12, 11 and 7, with a mean of
5.4. The predicted planetary A index for December 21-23 is 15, 10 and 8,
then dropping to 5 for December 24-January 5. Geophysical Institute
Prague predicts unsettled conditions December 21-22, quiet to unsettled
December 23 and quiet December 24-27. For more information concerning
radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service
Propagation page <>. To
read this week's Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW
Propagation Bulletin page <>. 



* This weekend on the Radio: This weekend, look for the SKCC Weekend
Sprintathon on December 23. The DARC Christmas Contest is December 26
and the RAC Winter Contest is December 29. The Original QRP Contest and
Stew Perry Topband Challenge are both December 29-30. The ARRL Straight
Key Night begins December 31. Mark your calendars now for the following
2008 events: the SARTG New Year RTTY Contest and AGCW Happy New Year
Contest are both scheduled for January 1. Don't forget the ARRL RTTY
Roundup and the EUCW 160 Meter Contest on January 5-6, the ARS Spartan
Sprint on January 8 and the Midwinter Contest (CW) on January 12.
January 12-13 plays host to the Hunting Lions in the Air Contest and the
North American QSO Party (CW). On January 13, you won't want to miss the
NRAU-Baltic Contest (CW), Midwinter Contest (Phone), NRAU-Baltic Contest
(SSB) and the DARC 10 Meter Contest. See the ARRL Contest Branch page
<>, the ARRL Contester's Rate Sheet
<> and the WA7BNM Contest
Calendar <> for more

* ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains
open through Sunday, January 6, 2008 for these online courses beginning
on Friday, January 18, 2008: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
Level 2 (EC-002); Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 3
(EC-003R2); Antenna Modeling (EC-004); HF Digital Communications
(EC-005); VHF/UHF -- Life Beyond the Repeater (EC-008), and Radio
Frequency Propagation (EC-011). To learn more, visit the CCE Course
Listing page <> or contact the
Continuing Education Program Coordinator <>;.

* ARRL's Logbook of the World Counts More Than 150 Million Contacts:
ARRL's Logbook of the World (LoTW) -- a repository of log records
submitted by users from around the world -- passed its latest milestone
Wednesday, December 19 as the QSO counter clicked past 150 million
contacts entered into the system, with more added since. When both
participants in a contact submit matching QSO records to LoTW, the
result is a QSL that can be used for ARRL award credit, such as DXCC.
ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager Dave Patton, NN1N, said,
"These 150 million QSOs represent a doubling of the total since July
2005 when ARRL Contributing Editor H. Ward Silver, N0AX, wrote an
article for QST, 'Logbook of the World -- 75 Million QSOs Can't Be
Wrong!' <>. Thanks for using LoTW. We
are planning to improve usability and add support for new awards in
2008." Check out Logbook of the World at <>. 

* Incorrect Date Listed for Frostfest 2008: The December issue of QST
(page 106) and last week's ARRL Letter listed the incorrect date for
Frostfest 2008. The correct date is Saturday, February 2. Frostfest 2008
will host the Virginia ARRL State Convention. 

* AMSAT's Straight Key Night Scheduled for January 1: AMSAT, The Amateur
Radio Satellite Corporation, invites you to participate in Straight Key
Night on OSCAR 2008. Participating in OSCAR Straight Key Night is fun
and simple - there is no scoring and no need to send in a log. Just
operate CW through any OSCAR -- using a straight hand key -- at any time
between 0000 and 2400 UTC on January 1, 2008. In keeping with the
friendly nature of this event, all participants are encouraged to
nominate someone they worked for "Best Fist." Your nominee need not have
the best fist you heard, just the best of those you worked. Please send
your nomination to W2RS <>;. Those nominated will be
recognized in an AMSAT News Service bulletin, and in "The AMSAT
Journal." This year's event will be held in memory of Haruo (Harry)
Yoneda, ex-JA1ANG, a past AMSAT Director and co-founder of JAMSAT. Harry
was also a keen CW operator and a past member of the First Class CW
Operators Club (FOC).  - Thanks Bruce Paige, KK5DO

* Help Scientists Save the Shrikes: If you live in an eastern state and
can tune away from the ham bands for a few minutes a day, you could help
scientists study an endangered bird species. Every year, Eastern
Loggerhead Shrikes <> leave their nesting grounds in
Ontario, Canada, but fewer and fewer are returning in the spring.
Researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario have placed radio
tags on 16 young shrikes. They are asking for assistance from hams and
monitoring enthusiasts to find out if the tagged birds end up in Florida
as expected, or somewhere else. You can help by tuning in regularly to
the tag frequencies, which are between 172-173 MHz. The primary target
area is Tennessee, North Carolina and states to the south. The complete
frequency list is published <>, along with
articles to help you distinguish the pulsed tags from other signals you
may hear there. Please listen now, because these Loggerhead Shrike
transmitters are slowly decreasing in power output and will begin to
fail in mid-February 2008.  -- Joe Moell K0OV, ARRL ARDF Coordinator

The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the
American Radio Relay League: ARRL--the National Association for Amateur
Radio, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax
860-594-0259; <>. Joel Harrison, W5ZN, President.

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential and general
news of interest to active radio amateurs. Visit the ARRL Web site
<> for the latest Amateur Radio news and news
updates. The ARRL Web site <> also offers
informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News
<> is a weekly "ham radio newscast"
compiled and edited from The ARRL Letter. It's also available as a
podcast from our Web site.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole
or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be
given to The ARRL Letter/American Radio Relay League.

==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):
==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA,
==>ARRL News on the Web: <>
==>ARRL Audio News: <> or call

==>How to Get The ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly
from ARRL HQ. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for
e-mail delivery: 
ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site
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registration to sign up for e-mail delivery of The ARRL Letter, W1AW
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The ARRL Letter also is available to all, free of charge, from these

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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.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

Back issues published since 2000 are available on this page. If you wish to subscribe via e-mail, simply log on to the ARRL Web site, click on Edit Your Profile at the top, then click on Edit Email Subscriptions. Check the box next to The ARRL email newsletter, the ARRL Letter and you will receive each weekly issue in HTML format. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):

Editorial questions or comments: John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, at


The ARRL E-Letter e-mail is also available in plain-text version:

Outlook Express

1. From the Inbox view, select the Tools menu and the Options selection.

2. Click the Read tab

3. Check the Read All Messages In Plain Text box.  When you open the e-mail, it will be in plain text without images. Other e-mail programs may be able to make a Mail Rule for e-mail received from the address so that the plain-text-only display is selected automatically.

Outlook 2007

Use the same procedure as for Outlook Express, although the global option is under "Tools/Trust Center/E-mail Security".


Use the menu item "View/Message Body As/Plain Text" or "View/Message Source" options.

OS X Mail (Mac)

Use the "View/Message/Plain Text Alternative" menu item.


Use the "Message text garbled?" link in the drop-down menu at the upper right of the displayed message block. pine, alpine Set "prefer-plain-text" in your ~/.pinerc configuration file: feature-list=..., prefer-plain-text, ...


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