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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 27, No. 9
March 7, 2008


* + ARRL "Antenna Expert" to Retire 
* + ARRL Announces Colvin Award Recipients 
* + ARRL Soliciting Nominations for 2007 Hiram Percy Maxim Award 
* + April QST on the Way to your Mailbox 
* + New Edition of "ARRL Instructor's Manual" Now Available 
* + FCC Enforcement Actions 
*  Solar Update
      This Weekend on the Radio
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration
    + Larry Scheff, W4QEJ, Wins February QST Cover Plaque Award 
    + ARRL to Close in Observance of Good Friday 
      Nominations Invited for 2008 Young Ham of the Year Award 
      ARRL DXCC Desk Approves 3C7Y Operation 
      Daylight Saving Time Begins this Weekend 

+Available on ARRL Audio News <> 

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


R. Dean Straw, N6BV, best known to Amateur Radio operators as the "ARRL
antenna expert," has announced his retirement, effective March 31.
Straw's main responsibility at ARRL has been shepherding and shaping
"The ARRL Antenna Book" since he took over as editor in 1993 from Jerry
Hall, K1TD.

"Jerry was one of my Elmers in Hawaii back in the early 1960s. He had
been the editor of "The Antenna Book" for many years, and when he
decided to retire he suggested I put my name in for the position of
editor," Straw said. "At that time, I had been in the marine electronics
industry for more than 20 years and I wanted to 'give something back' to
this great hobby we call Amateur Radio. Now, looking back, it's been a
gratifying 15 years that I've been privileged to work at ARRL."

While at ARRL, Straw specialized in antennas, transmission lines and
propagation. "I have been able to utilize my training as an electronics
engineer in other areas where I could help out. I've enjoyed being
associated with some remarkable people at ARRL -- folks who are truly
dedicated not only to preserving the legacy of Amateur Radio, but to
taking Amateur Radio forward in the 21st century."

In his 15 year tenure at ARRL, Straw served as Senior Assistant
Technical Editor in the Publications Group. He was Editor of "The ARRL
Antenna Book" for five Editions (17th-21st Editions), Editor of "The
ARRL Antenna Compendium" series (Volumes 4-7), as well as several
editions of "The ARRL Handbook." He was co-author of "Simple and Fun
Antennas for Hams" with Chuck Hutchinson, K8CH.

A frequent contributor to QST (he most recently served as the handling
editor for the "Hints & Kinks" column) and NCJ, Straw has also been
Editor of numerous ARRL books: "ON4UN's Low-Band DXing" (4th Edition),
"Low-Profile Amateur Radio," "The ARRL DXCC Handbook," "DXing on the
Edge," "Amateur Radio on the Move," "Antenna Zoning for the Radio
Amateur" and the ARRL Continuing Education "Antenna Modeling" course.

ARRL Publications Manager and QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, said, "Back
when I first joined the HQ staff, Dean Straw was the man who introduced
me to the wonders of ladder line. Before I encountered Dean, I had never
heard of ladder line, and I had no idea that this strange-looking
feedline could be used with an antenna tuner, giving multiband HF
operation with one ordinary wire dipole. Needless to say, it worked --
Dean has been my antenna Elmer ever since. Through all his books and QST
articles over the years, Dean has fulfilled the same Elmer role for
many. He will be greatly missed."

Straw said, "The Lord has been good to me -- how many people can truly
say that their vocation has been their beloved avocation too? My wife
has consistently maintained over the years: 'You're having entirely too
much fun in this job!'"


The ARRL has granted Colvin Awards to three 2008 DXpeditions: The
recently completed VP6DX Ducie Island DXpedition
<> and the upcoming operations from
the TX5C DXpedition to Clipperton Island
<> and the 9X0R DXpedition to Rwanda
<>. These three DXCC entities appear high-up on the
most-wanted lists.

The VP6DX DXpedition was on the air from February 11-27. Carsten Esch,
DL6LAU, and Eric Scace, K3NA, led the 13-member team to the small island
540 kilometers east of Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific. This
DXpedition made 183,686 contacts, the largest number of contacts made by
any radio DXpedition. The previous record had been held since February
2001 by the Five Star DX Association's DXpedition to the Comoros Island,
D68C. Ducie Island was ranked as #25 on the DXCC list of most-wanted

The VP6DX DXpedition broke many other records, including:
* The largest number of RTTY contacts, previously held by the Swains
Island N8S DXpedition in April 2007.
* The largest number of SSB (voice) contacts, previously held by the
Comoros Island D68C DXpedition.
* The largest number of contacts on 40 meters, previously held by the
Libya 5A7A DXpedition in November 2006.
* The largest number of contacts on 30 meters, previously held by the St
Brandon Island 3B7C DXpedition in September 2007.
* The largest number of contacts on 17 meters, previously held by the
Swains Island N8S DXpedition.
* The largest number of contacts with North America, previously held by
the Comoros Island D68C DXpedition.
* The largest number of contacts with South America, previously held by
the Peter I Island 3Y0X DXpedition in February 2006.
* The largest number of contacts with Africa, previously held by the
Rodrigues Island 3B9C DXpedition in March-April 2004.

An overseas possession of France, Clipperton Island is a coral atoll in
the North Pacific. About nine square kilometers, it lies southwest of
Mexico and west of Costa Rica and has no permanent inhabitants. Bob
Grimmick, N6OX, will lead an international team of 21 amateurs to the
atoll for a DXpedition set to begin March 7 for 10 days. Clipperton
currently ranks as #21 on the DXCC list of most-wanted entities. Logs
will be uploaded to Logbook of the World <>
once TX5C's official log has been certified.

TX5C plans to operate on 6-160 meters: "We will nearly always be working
split and will regularly announce our listening frequencies. Our goal is
to make over 100,000 QSOs and will pay special attention to working some
of the more difficult areas like Europe and the Middle East." The TX5C
bandplan is available at

An important goal of the TX5C DXpedition is furthering the knowledge of
Clipperton and its ecosystem. As part of the application for the landing
permit, the TX5C team agreed that certain scientific studies would be
performed during their stay on the atoll, such as setting up a weather
station, recording tide times and observation of native bird species.
These studies will be conducted under the auspices of Christian Jost,
director of the Geographical Research Center of Paul Verlaine University
in Metz.

Antonio Gonzalez, EA5RM, will lead a 13-member team to Rwanda, a small
landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of east-central Africa. The
9X0R team plans to be on the air from March 16-27. They will operate on
10-160 meters on CW, SSB and digital modes. Rwanda has not been on the
air since late 1997 and currently ranks as #45 on the DXCC list of
most-wanted entities. The 9X0R bandplan is available at

Gonzalez said the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) is trying to
establish rules regarding Amateur Radio in Rwanda: "Right now there is
not an easy way to get an Amateur Radio license here, but in a few
months things should be different and ham radio activities will start to
be more usual from this country."

According to Gonzalez, a group of Rwandan amateurs, with the help of
RURA, are trying to establish the Rwanda Amateur Radio Union (RARU) as
the national Amateur Radio society in that country. He said that the
RARU will be applying for membership in the International Amateur Radio
Union (IARU) soon.

The Colvin Award was established in 1994 with the proceeds of a life
insurance policy purchased by renowned DXer Lloyd Colvin, W6KG (SK),
naming the League as beneficiary. The award is conferred in the form of
grants in support of Amateur Radio projects that promote international
goodwill in the field of DX. The awards guidelines favor multi-national
teams with strong ethics and good QSLing policies including the use of
Logbook of the World. From the 1960s into the early 1990s, Lloyd Colvin
and his wife Iris, W6QL, activated more than 100 DXCC entities. Lloyd
Colvin died in 1993 and Iris Colvin in 1998.


The ARRL invites nominations for the 2007 Hiram Percy Maxim (HPM)
Memorial Award <>. The
League's premier youth recognition, the HPM Memorial Award goes annually
to a radio amateur under age 21 in recognition of the recipient's
accomplishments and contributions "of the most exemplary nature" to both
the Amateur Radio community and the local community during the previous
calendar year -- 2007 in this instance.

Nomination criteria may include:

 * Participation or leadership in organizational affairs at the local or
national level (for example, local radio club, ARES, net control,
participation in civic groups). 
* Technical achievement (building radios, putting up an antenna and
* Operating record (for example, nets, disaster drills, contests, ARRL
November Sweepstakes, etc). 
* Recruitment and training of new amateurs (for example, helped teach a
license class, JOTA, etc).
* Public relations activities (for example, create a ham radio Web

To nominate a deserving candidate, submit a completed nomination form
<> to your ARRL Section
Manager (SM), along with any supporting information and endorsements of
ARRL-affiliated clubs and elected or appointed League officials. SMs
make the formal nominations. There is no limit to the number of
nominations an individual or club may submit to an SM, and SMs may
nominate more than one individual. SMs need to have all information in
sufficient time to submit a formal nomination to ARRL Headquarters by
March 31. A list of SMs is available on page 16 of any issue of QST or
on the ARRL Web site <>.

Nomination forms and supporting information should document as
thoroughly as possible the Amateur Radio achievements and contributions
of the nominee during the previous calendar year. ARRL must receive all
supporting documentation by April 15. An award panel reviews the
nominations and selects the winner.

HPM Memorial Award winners receive a cash award of $1500 and an engraved
plaque. For more information, contact Steve Ewald, WV1X <>;,
tel 860-594-0265.


The April issue of QST is jam-packed with all sorts of things today's
Amateur Radio operator needs. From product reviews to experiments to
contesting, the upcoming issue of QST has something for just about

Larry Scheff, W4QEJ, discusses what you need to do to protect your house
-- and your shack -- from a lightning strike in "Lightning: Understand
it or Suffer the Consequences -- Part 2." ARRL News Editor S. Khrystyne
Keane, K1SFA, takes a look at the first 2008 meeting of the ARRL Board
of Directors in her article "ARRL Board Authorizes New Section
Positions, Adopts Budget, More, at 2008 Annual Meeting." Paul
Pescitelli, K4UJ, and Tom Harwell, N4XP, take readers to a coral reef in
the South China Sea in their cover article, "The 2007 DXpedition to
Scarborough Reef."

In his monthly column "This Month in Contesting," ARRL Contest Branch
Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, talks about how those new to radiosport can
get their feet wet. He gives his picks for the best contests for those
wanting to try out contesting for the first time, especially those new
to the digital modes. Read about the results of the 2007 ARRL
International EME Competition and go ahead and start planning for the
2008 IARU HF Championship, scheduled for July 12-13. Find out about
other upcoming contests in this month's Contest Corral. 

ARRL Technical Advisor Bruce Prior, N7RR, reviews the Elecraft K3 HF/6
Meter Transceiver. According to the ARRL Lab test results, "Elecraft's
K3/10 modular kit is easy and enjoyable to assemble. Once built, you're
rewarded with a feature-laden transceiver with receiver performance
rivaling the best available at any price. You can customize your radio
with a wide range of options at any time as your interests and needs
change." ARRL Product Contributing Editor Howard Robins, W1HSR, reviews
the Kenwood TH-D7A(G) Dual Band Handheld, saying this radio "is a
full-featured dual band handheld that works well, is easy to use and
expands on the original model's APRS capabilities." 

Of course, there are the usual columns you know and love in the April
QST: Hints & Kinks, The Doctor Is IN, How's DX, Old Radio, Hamspeak and
more. Look for your April issue of QST in your mailbox. QST is the
official journal of ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio.
QST is just one of the many benefits of ARRL membership. To join or
renew your ARRL membership, please see the ARRL Web page


The fourth edition of the "ARRL Instructor's Manual"
<> is designed to coordinate
classroom instruction with the current ARRL student manuals for
Technician and General Class licensing, "The ARRL Ham Radio License
Manual" and "The ARRL General Class License Manual." 

The lesson plans and instructional PowerPoint presentations in the new
edition of the Instructor's Manual have been developed by ARRL Education
& Technology Program Manager Mark Spencer, WA8SME, and are intended to
provide an outline for instruction. Instructors can customize these
lesson plans and materials to fit their course format, addressing the
needs of a particular audience. 

ARRL Education Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ, said, "We
encourage instructors to think of the provided PowerPoint presentations,
along with our instruction materials, as teaching aids -- one tool among
many in your instructional toolbox." Get your copy today at the ARRL
Online Store <>. 


Special Counsel in the FCC Spectrum Enforcement Division Riley
Hollingsworth sent a Warning Notice to Amanda F. Spenlinhauer, KB1CQX,
of Wells, Maine, reminding her that "the trustees of the N1KMA, N1VAR,
KQ1L and the repeaters operating under the WA1ARN call sign have
requested in writing that you refrain from use of the repeater." These
requests, the Commission, noted, were due to Spenlinhauer's "failure to
follow operational rules set forth by the licensee/control operators of
the repeater system for its users and FCC rules." Spenlinhauer had been
issued verbal requests to refrain from using the repeaters in the past,
but she has, according to the Warning Notices, "apparently ignored both
verbal and written requests."

Warned that the FCC would initiate enforcement action against her
license -- which can include revocation, monetary forfeiture or a
"modification proceeding to restrict the frequencies on which [she] may
operate KB1CQX" -- Spenlinhauer was informed by the Commission that she
was "expect[ed] to abide by the request to stay off the repeater systems
and any other such request by a repeater licensee, control operator or
trustee." Fines normally range from $7500-$10,000.

Hollingsworth also pointed out that Spenlinhauer's Amateur Radio license
was set to expire on April 7, 2008. "Please be advised," Hollingsworth
said, "that your license will not be routinely renewed unless this
matter is resolved."

Hollingsworth also sent a an inquiry into interference from a Part 15
device to a licensee in Holmen, Wisconsin, and a Warning Notice
concerning interference on 10 meters from an unlicensed station in
Harmony, North Carolina. Two cases were opened by the Commission
regarding unlicensed transmissions on non-amateur frequencies by amateur
licensees in Zebulon and Pikeville, North Carolina. The Appalachian
Power Company in Charleston, West Virginia also received a letter from
the FCC regarding radio frequency interference from power line hardware
to an Amateur Radio licensee.

Direct all questions concerning the Amateur Radio Service Enforcement
Actions Web postings via e-mail only to Riley Hollingsworth
<>; in the FCC Spectrum Enforcement Division


Tad "When the flush of a new-born Sun fell first on Eden's green and
gold" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: Following five days of no sunspots,
we saw one (number 984) on March 5 and 6, but it is fading off the west
limb of the Earth-facing portion of the Sun. Solar activity is still
very low. Sunspot numbers for February 28-March 5 were 12, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
and 13 with a mean of 3.6. The 10.7 cm flux was 70, 69.8, 68.6, 69.2,
68.4, 68.3 and 69.3 with a mean of 69.1. Estimated planetary A indices
were 22, 27, 19, 8, 5, 4 and 8 with a mean of 13.3. Estimated
mid-latitude A indices were 17, 18, 13, 8, 4, 3 and 7, with a mean of
10. For next week, NOAA and the US Air Force predict planetary A index
of 5, 15, 15, 10, 10, 15 and 10 for March 7-13. Geophysical Institute
Prague predicts unsettled to active conditions March 7, active
geomagnetic conditions March 8 and unsettled conditions March 9-13. 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, the NCCC Sprint is March 7.
The AGCW QRP Contest and SOC Marathon Sprint are March 8. The RSGB
Commonwealth Contest, the Oklahoma QSO Party, the EA PSK31 Contest and
the Idaho QSO Party are March 8-9. The North American Sprint (RTTY), the
SKCC Weekend Sprintathon, the UBA Spring Contest (CW) and the NSARA
Contest are March 9. The Wisconsin QSO Party is March 9-10 and the CLARA
and Family HF Contest is March 11-12. The RSGB 80 Meter Club
Championship (CW) is March 12. Next weekend, the NCCC Sprint is March
14. The AGCW VHF/UHF Contest, Feld Hell Sprint and the 10-10
International Mobile Contest are on March 15. The Russian DX Contest is
March 15-16 and the Virginia QSO Party is March 15-17. The UBA Spring
Contest (6 meters) and the 9K 15 Meter Contest are both March 16. On
March 17, look for the Run for the Bacon QRP Contest and the Bucharest
Contest. The NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint and the RSGB 80 Meter Club
Championship (SSB) are scheduled for March 20. 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, March, 9, 2008, for these online course sessions
beginning on Friday, March, 21, 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). Each online course has been developed in
segments -- learning units with objectives, informative text, student
activities and quizzes. Courses are interactive, and some include direct
communications with a Mentor/Instructor. Students register for a
particular session that may be 8, 12 or 16 weeks (depending on the
course) and they may access the course at any time of day during the
course period, completing lessons and activities at times convenient for
their personal schedule. Mentors assist students by answering questions,
reviewing assignments and activities, as well as providing helpful
feedback. Interaction with mentors is conducted through e-mail; there is
no appointed time the student must be present -- allowing complete
flexibility for the student to work when and where it is convenient. To
learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page
<> or contact the Continuing
Education Program Coordinator <>;.

* Larry Scheff, W4QEJ, Wins February QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner
of the QST Cover Plaque Award for February is Larry Scheff, W4QEJ, for
his article "Lightning: Understand It or Suffer the Consequences -- Part
1." Congratulations, Larry! The winner of 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 March issue by Monday, March 31.

* ARRL to Close in Observance of Good Friday: ARRL Headquarters will be
closed in observance of Good Friday on Friday, March 21. There will be
no W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions that day. "The ARRL
Letter" will be posted a day early on Thursday, March 20; there will be
no "ARRL Audio News" that week. ARRL Headquarters will reopen Monday,
March 24 at 8 AM Eastern Daylight Time. We wish everyone a safe and
enjoyable holiday weekend.

* Nominations Invited for 2008 Young Ham of the Year Award: Nominations
are now being accepted for the 2008 Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of
the Year (YHOTY) Award. The award honors a licensee 18 years old or
younger who has used ham radio to significantly contribute to the
benefit of the Amateur Radio Service, to the state of the communications
art, to the community or the nation. This year, nominations are being
accepted for Amateur Radio operators living in the US, Puerto Rico and
the 10 Canadian provinces. Nominations and supporting materials must be
submitted before May 30, 2008, on an official application. To obtain a
nomination form, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to 2006 Young
Ham of the Year Award, c/o Newsline, 28197 Robin Ave, Santa Clarita, CA
91350, or download the form from the Internet
<>. Nominations
may electronically submitted using a Web form
<>, but supporting materials
must be submitted separately. Presentation of the 2008 YHOTY Award will
take place in August at the Huntsville Hamfest in Alabama. There's more
information on the YHOTY Web site <>.

* ARRL DXCC Desk Approves 3C7Y Operation: ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore,
NC1L, reports that the 2007 3C7Y DXpedition to Equatorial Guinea has
been approved for DXCC credit. "If you had cards rejected for this
operation, please send an e-mail <>; to the ARRL DXCC Desk
to have your DXCC record updated," Moore said.

* Daylight Saving Time Begins this Weekend: Don't forget to set your
clocks ahead one hour -- daylight saving time begins Sunday, March 9 at
2 AM local time.

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
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Copyright 2008 American Radio Relay League, Inc.
All Rights Reserved


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.

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