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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 27, No. 34
August 29, 2008


* Gulf Coast Prepares for Gustav
* The September/October QEX Is Here 
* Check Out the September/October NCJ 
* "The Doctor Is IN" the ARRL Letter 
* Solar Update 
    This Weekend on the Radio 
    ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration 
    ARRL HQ to Close for Labor Day September 1
    No ARRL Audio News August 29
    ARRL Emergency Communications Level 3 Online Course to be Revised
    New HF Digital Protocol to Debut at September Conference
    FCC Vanity Call Sign Fees to Increase September 25
    Hobby radio author Tom Kneitel, W4XAA, SK
    ARRL and Citizen Corps Assist Schools with NOAA Emergency Radios
    ARRL Applies for Expansion of 500-kHz Experimental License

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


As of Friday, although Tropical Storm Gustav is still several days away
from landfall on the US mainland, disaster preparations are being rolled
out along the Gulf Coast. ARRL Leadership Officials, with the support of
the ARRL Headquarters staff, are taking measures that will facilitate
emergency communications among ham volunteers, among hams and served
agencies such as the Red Cross, and among Leadership Officials during
the expected emergency and in its aftermath. ARRL Section Managers in
the Gulf Coast states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and
Texas are marshaling resources and setting up procedures that will take
effect as the storm approaches the mainland. 

Support from the ARRL Headquarters staff includes referrals from local
and national media, shipment of Amateur Radio equipment via the Ham Aid
program, Section Manager liaison and referral of inquiries from Amateur
Radio operators. Two special Web sites are available for Amateur Radio
operators looking for information and volunteer opportunities:
<> and <>.
In addition, news will be updated on the ARRL Web site over the weekend
and early next week, as Gustav moves toward the Gulf Coast. 

On Thursday, as Gustav was slamming into Haiti and heading toward
Jamaica, WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane
Center in Miami, activated at 12 PM EDT (1600Z). The NHC requested all
land based stations as well as ships at sea in the areas affected to
send them weather data (measured or estimated) and damage reports.

A post to their Web site stated: "If you are in the affected area and
normally monitor on a local Net on VHF, 40 or 80 meters, we would
appreciate your checking into the HWN NET or EchoLink/IRLP Net once per
hour to receive the latest Hurricane Advisories and to report your local
conditions. Please do not venture outside during the hurricane to gather
weather data."

In addition, the VoIP Hurricane Net activated Thursday at 11 AM EDT
(1500Z), according to a post by Jim Palmer, KB1KQW, VoIP-WX Net

Also on Thursday, FEMA posted a news release that said, in part: "The
Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) is coordinating plans and preparatory activities of numerous
federal agencies in close communication with state, tribal and local
officials as Tropical Storm Gustav threatens to return to hurricane
strength prior to impacting Gulf Coast states. All residents in the
region are encouraged to make personal preparations. Information is
available at on how families and individuals can best
prepare before the storm.

"FEMA and its federal partners are in close communications with states
along its potential path in order to review plans, pre-station assets
and personnel, and respond to any request for assistance. FEMA's work
with states using a Gap Analysis tool to determine in advance of storms
where federal assistance is most likely to be needed has helped federal
and state agencies to develop pre-scripted mission assignments and other
contingency plans to help improve response and recovery efforts."

The news release also provides details on preparations now underway by
several other agencies, including the American Red Cross and the Army
Corps of Engineers.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency for his
state on Wednesday, and he activated 3000 National Guard troops, with
more on call. The state of Mississippi declared a state of emergency on
Thursday. Governor Haley Barbour stated, in part: "I urge all
Mississippians to please take this storm seriously. One of the most
important lessons we learned after Hurricane Katrina was that there is
no substitute for awareness and self-help, especially in the days before
the hurricane is predicted to hit." 


The September/October 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, Mark Spencer, WA8SME, describes a VLF receiver system
that automatically logs received signal data so we can learn about some
propagation conditions such as sudden ionospheric disturbances during
Solar Cycle 24 in "SID: Study Cycle 24, Don't Just Use It." Phil
Anderson, W0XI, gives us a detailed analysis of crystal set receiver
circuitry in "A Great Teacher: The Crystal Set." Bertrand Zauhar,
VE2ZAZ, brings us another great project that goes well beyond a simple
battery charger with his "Rechargeable Battery Cycler." 

Jim Kocsis, WA9PYH, presents "Press-n-Peel Circuit Boards," a simple,
reliable way to make your own circuit boards using Techniks, Inc
Press-n-Peel Blue etch-resist material. Henry J. Rech offers some
thoughts about, "Receiver Performance Measurement and Front End
Selectivity," and Frank Witt, AI1H, describes "Optimum Lossy Broadband
Matching Networks for Resonant Antennas," in this reprint of an April
1990 "RF Design" article. 

Would you like to write for QEX? It pays $50 per printed page. Be sure
to check out the Authors Guide <> for
more information. If you prefer postal mail, please send a business-size
self-addressed, stamped envelope to QEX Authors Guide, c/o Maty
Weinberg, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111-1494. 

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, the rate is $37 for members, $49 for nonmembers. For
international delivery via air mail, including Canada, the subscription
rate is $31 for members, $43 for nonmembers. 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, NCJ is the voice of radiosport. 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. 

In the September/October issue, Stan Stockton, K5GO and Bob Wilson,
N6TV, provide a dialogue on "CW Skimmer: Point/Counterpoint." To go
along with this article, Pete Smith, N4ZR, talks about "So You Want to
Skim? Practical Issues in Deploying CW Skimmer in a Contesting
Environment." Eric Scace, K3NA, writes about "Distributing Receiving
Antennas" in the first of a multi-part article. If you're a top-bander,
you don't want to miss "A Simple 2-Element Vertical Array for 160
Meters" by John Barcroft, K6AM. 

Dennis McAlpine, K2SX, takes a look at "The Wacky World of State QSO
Parties," while Jon Platt, W0ZQ/m gives his take on "One Rover's View on
Propagation during the 2008 Minnesota QSO Party." Bill Santelmann, N1AU,
remembers his son in "A Tribute to my Son, Stuart, KC1F." Stu, a
founding member and past president of the Yankee Clipper Contest Club,
became a Silent Key in May of this year. ARRL News Editor S. Khrystyne
Keane, K1SFA, lets NCJ readers take a sneak peak at the October issue of
QST in "October is Radiosport Month in QST."

Of course, there are all the regular columns and features you expect
from NCJ: "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; "Contesting 101," by Kirk Pickering, K4RO, and "Contest
Calendar," by Bruce Horn, WA7BNM. 

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


This week, ARRL Letter readers are in luck! The ARRL's very own Doctor,
author of the popular QST column "The Doctor Is IN," answers a question
from his mailbag:

Question -- John Hoffman, KJ4GER, of Woodstock, Georgia, asks: I am
reading the "ARRL General Class License Manual"
<>. In a few places, it mentions
the 75 meter band. On my ARRL-provided "US Amateur Radio Bands" chart,
it shows an 80 meter band and a 60 meter band, but no 75 meter band.
What is the 75 meter band, and why does it not show up on the official
band chart?

The Doctor Answers -- John, 75 meters is an designation for the 3.6-4.0
MHz phone band, a portion of the 3.5-4.0 MHz 80 meter allocation. If you
convert 4.0 MHz to wavelength (300/4) you will find that the top end of
the band has a wavelength of 75 meters. 

Historically, 75 meters refers to the voice portion of the "official" 80
meter band. The term 80 meters is often used to refer to the entire
band. Most HF radios have a bandswitch position for 80 meters that
covers the entire band, not one for 75 meters. Unlike any other band,
you will rarely hear anyone refer to "80 meter phone." I cannot offer
any logical explanation for the anomaly -- perhaps someone will fill us
in on how this came to be.

If you know the answer to this question, send an e-mail to the Doctor
<>;. Do you have a question or a problem? Send your
questions via e-mail <>; or to "The Doctor," ARRL, 225
Main St, Newington, CT 06111 (no phone calls, please). Look for "The
Doctor Is IN" every month in QST, the official journal of the ARRL.

Tad "Heat and haze of crimson sunsets" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: 
Our Sun is still very quiet, but last week's bulletin mentioned a new
sunspot emerging on August 21-22. showed the sunspot
number on those days as 11, which is the smallest non-zero sunspot
number. If we don't see any sunspots this weekend, Sunday will mark 42
consecutive days with no sunspots. This will also bring the 3-month
moving average for daily sunspot numbers (that we present monthly) clear
down to 1.76, the lowest on this side of cycle 23. This would be the
three month average centered on July.

The forecast for the next week is a planetary A index of 5 on every day,
indicating more of the same quiet and stable geomagnetic conditions. The
prediction for September 5 is a planetary A index of 18, probably from a
recurring coronal hole and associated solar wind.

Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet conditions August 29 to
September 3, and quiet to unsettled September 4.

Sunspot numbers for August 21 through 27 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0
with a mean of 0. 10.7 cm flux was 67.1, 67.6, 67.9, 67.1, 66.6, 66.9,
and 66.6 with a mean of 67.1. Estimated planetary A indices were 4, 4,
2, 4, 2, 3 and 3 with a mean of 3.1. Estimated mid-latitude A indices
were 4, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1 and 2 with a mean of 2.

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 week's "Tad Cookism" brought
to you by Elizabeth Maua Taylor's "August."



* This Weekend on the Radio: This weekend, the NCCC Sprint on August 29.
The ALARA Contest, the SCC RTTY Championship and the YO DX HF Contest
are all August 30-31. The SARL HF CW Contest is August 31 and the MI QRP
Labor Day CW Sprint is September 1-2. Next weekend is the International
G3ZQS Memorial Straight Key Contest on September 5-7. On September 6, be
sure to look for the Russian RTTY WW Contest, the NCCC Sprint, the
Wake-Up! QRP Sprint and the AGCW Straight Key Party. The All Asian DX
Contest (Phone), the RSGB SSB Field Day and the IARU Region 1 Field Day
(SSB) are September 6-7. The North American Sprint (CW) and the DARC 10
Meter Digital Contest are September 7. The Tennessee QSO Party is
September 7-8. All dates, unless otherwise stated, are UTC. See the ARRL
Contest Branch page <>, the ARRL Contest
Update <> and the WA7BNM Contest
Calendar <> for more
info. Looking for a Special Event station? Be sure to check out the ARRL
Special Event Station Web page <>.

* ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains
open through Sunday, September 7, 2008 for these online course sessions
beginning on Friday, September 19, 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 <>;.

* ARRL HQ to Close for Labor Day September 1: ARRL Headquarters will be
closed Monday, September 1. Headquarters will reopen at 8 AM Tuesday,
September 2. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend. 

* No ARRL Audio News August 29: There will be no ARRL Audio News today,
Friday, August 29; ARRL Audio News will resume production on Friday,
September 5. 

* ARRL Emergency Communications Level 3 Online Course to be Revised: New
enrollments in the online Level 3 course will be suspended effective
October 1 to allow us to update the course curricula. We expect the
updated course to be available in the first quarter of 2009.

* New HF Digital Protocol to Debut at September Conference: WINMOR, an
HF digital protocol designed for use with the Winlink 2000 network, will
be unveiled at the upcoming ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference
in Chicago September 26-28. 

* FCC Vanity Call Sign Fees to Increase September 25: The FCC will
increase the vanity call sign fee from $11.70 to $12.30, effective
September 25, 2008. 

* Hobby radio author Tom Kneitel, W4XAA, SK: Tom Kneitel, W4XAA
(ex-K2AES), died August 22 at age 75. He was a prolific author of
articles and books on monitoring, CB radio and building electronics

* ARRL and Citizen Corps Assist Schools with NOAA Emergency Radios: ARRL
and Citizen Corps are teaming up to offer assistance to local school
districts in setting up and registering their NOAA Weather All Hazard
Public Alert Radio.

* ARRL Applies for Expansion of 500-kHz Experimental License: On August
22, the ARRL applied to the FCC for expansion of the 500-kHz
experimental license WD2XSH. If approved, this application will raise
the total number of stations from 20 to 40. This will provide greater
geographic coverage, including Alaska and Hawaii, and will provide more
opportunities for ground-wave testing. Also included are requests for an
expanded frequency band (495-510 kHz) and portable operation within 50
km. The current four modulation modes (CW, PSK-31, FSK-31, and MSK-31)
are included. -- Fritz Raab, W1FR

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
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ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site
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The ARRL Letter also is available to all, free of charge, from these

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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.

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

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2. Click the Read tab

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Outlook 2007

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OS X Mail (Mac)

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