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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 28, No. 35
September 4, 2009


* + Get Set for the 2009 Simulated Emergency Test 
* + ARES Awaits Activation for LA-area Wildfires, Tropical Storms 
* + The Doctor Is IN the ARRL Letter 
    ARRL in Action: What Have We Been Up to Lately? 
* + Get Ready for the Upcoming ARRL September VHF QSO Party 
* + Happy Birthday, Hiram! 
* + September Is National Preparedness Month 
*  Solar Update 
      This Week on the Radio 
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration 
    + ARRL to Close in Observance of Labor Day 
    + Allen Baker, KG4JJH, Wins August QST Cover Plaque Award 
      W1AW Earns TPA #306 
      Manufacturer of Texas Bug Catcher Antenna to Cease Operations 
      Den Connors, KD2S (SK) 

+Available on ARRL Audio News <> 

==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ
<>, then e-mail

==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA


It's time to get ready for the 2009 ARRL Simulated Emergency Test! ARRL
Field Organization leaders are planning an event that will actively
involve members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), the Radio
Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES), the ARRL National Traffic
System (NTS) and many other related groups that prepare for and respond
to emergencies. Public service agencies and organizations in your
community, ARRL Section or state will also be invited to participate.
You, too, are invited to be a part of this ARRL sponsored nationwide
exercise on October 3-4, 2009, or whenever it is held in your area.

Although October 3-4 is the focal point weekend, ARRL Sections, ARES
teams and nets may conduct their exercises anytime -- and especially
during September through December. If you don't know who to contact,
please touch base with your ARRL Section Manager and/or Section
Emergency Coordinator or Section Traffic Manager for assistance. See
page 16 of QST for Section Manager contact information or check the ARRL
Web site <>. From there, you'll find links
to ARRL section pages with appropriate contact information. There can be
a role for you no matter what your level of experience. After all, it is
a training opportunity to try out something new under simulated
emergency conditions, learn or practice useful skills in traffic
handling and net operation, and observe emergency communications
protocols and management.

ARRL Field Organization officials in your area and Section are planning
the simulated emergency scenarios that will be used during the SET
event. These scenarios are designed to help you gain valuable operating
experience, or to practice what you have learned previously or to put
your Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course training into action.
In any emergency -- real or simulated -- a number of public service or
public safety agencies and organizations are often also involved in the

ARRL Section Leaders and local or district-level leaders are encouraged
to work closely with these served agencies, and the SET is a great
chance to demonstrate the capabilities of Amateur Radio in the community
and beyond. For more information on whom the ARRL maintains a National
Memoranda of Understanding with, check this page
<>. Guidelines and specific SET
reporting forms for ARRL Section and Field Leaders will be posted online
<>. Please report your SET
activities to your Section Leaders and to HQ.


Even as the Station fire threatens Los Angeles' communications
infrastructure atop Mt Wilson and Tropical Storm Erika and Hurricane
Jimena die down in the tropics, amateurs -- including ARES groups --
await being called to help.

Mt Wilson houses many antennas for television and  FM radio stations in
the Los Angeles area, as well as antennas for pagers, cell phones and
even Amateur Radio repeater systems. But even as the fire encroaches on
these vital communications links, the infrastructure is still in place
and working.

"We have established coordination with Dennis Smith, KA6GSE, the Section
Emergency Coordinator for the Los Angeles Section," said ARRL Emergency
Preparedness and Response Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD. "As of the
afternoon of Thursday, September 3, no ARES missions have been
established. Of course, if the communications infrastructure at Mt
Wilson is compromised in any way, area ARES groups will be ready to do
whatever is needed to provide communications support."

As of Friday afternoon, what was once Tropical Storm Erika has weakened
and is now classified as a remnant over the northeastern Caribbean.

Angel Santana-Diaz, WP3GW, an ARRL Public Information Officer in Puerto
Rico, told the League that "at 8:10 AM [on Thursday, September 3], I
made contact with Lionel Ellis, J69KZ, on St Lucia on 7.169 MHz, where
he does a regular net. I asked him how were they doing, and he told me
that there are thunderstorms and copious rain, but nothing serious at
the moment. I am monitoring the band if something comes up. Over here in
Puerto Rico, the government is finishing the preparations to be ready
when Erika passes by, which is expected to be tomorrow, possibly as a
tropical depression." The NWS said that unsettled weather will spread
across the US and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico later Thursday,
continuing through Friday. It would then spread across Dominican
Republic and Haiti this weekend and possibly into the Bahamas early next

Pacific Hurricane Jimena -- a Category 1 storm -- made landfall near the
southern Baja near San Buenaventura, Mexico on Wednesday, September 2.
According to the NWS, there have been reports of damage to poorly
constructed buildings, major beach erosion over the southern Baja and
flash flooding; resorts along the southern tip of Baja California did
not experience any major damage. Jimena has now weakened over land and
has been downgraded to a tropical storm over the central Baja, with
maximum sustained winds decreasing to 45 miles.

The NWS said that Jimena will likely become a depression late Thursday
and then drift slowly west and southwest as a remnant low on Friday.
Heavy rains and flooding will be the primary impacts over the central
Baja and adjacent portions of the western coast of Mexico. Some gusts to
tropical storm strength are still possible.

Dura said that WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the National
Hurricane Center <>, has also been monitoring
Erika and Jimena, but did not activate for the storms. "There really
aren't that many amateurs in the affected areas, which makes reporting
conditions quite difficult," he said. "We here at ARRL HQ are keeping a
close eye on everything."


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:

Jim Walker, KN6TC, of Wiggins, Mississippi, asks: My repeater's PC
controller to radio interface provider requires a "COS (Carrier Operated
Signal) from the radio." The manufacturer states that this "greatly
reduces drop out and falsing" that are sometimes experienced while using
VOX receive/transmit control. It seems to be an alternate for VOX, but I
have failed to receive an answer as to what it is in terms I can
understand. Neither radio nor interface providers have responded to my
e-mail questions.

The Doctor answers: Early repeaters were generally switched to transmit
by a carrier operated relay, or COR. The relay would be actuated if the
repeater receiver detected a carrier on frequency, as indicated by the
opening of the squelch. This was a much more reliable switching
mechanism than if the repeater transmit switching responded to detected
speech (VOX), since VOX could toggle back and forth due to gaps in

In the early days of repeaters, the equipment was constructed around
vacuum tube and relay technology. Current technology is based on solid
state devices -- including transistor switching -- that is more reliable
than the earlier electromechanical relays. Thus, the more general term
"COS" for Carrier Operated Signal, Carrier Operated Squelch or Carrier
Operated Switch is often used instead of COR. For more information,
check out this Web site

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.


This feature -- including convenient Web links to useful information --
is a concise monthly update of some of the things ARRL is doing on
behalf of its members. This installment covers the month of August.

The Central and Roanoke Divisions will hold elections for Vice Director
on November 20. The incumbent Directors in the Central, Hudson, New
England, Northwestern and Roanoke Divisions faced no opposition and were
declared elected

The ARRL responded to the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rule Making, ET
Docket 09-36, concerning implanted medical devices that operate on
413-457 MHz (70 cm)

ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, wrote a letter to the National
Safety Council, highlighting issues regarding the use of Amateur Radio
emergency communications devices in vehicles

The DXCC Desk approved the 2000 DXpedition to Yemen, 7O1YGF, for DXCC
credit. Amateurs may also apply for DXCC credit for 7O1YGF via Logbook
of The World <>.

ARRL Technical Relations Manager Brennan Price, N4QX, attended meetings
of United States Working Party 5A (the Land Mobile Service excluding
IMT, plus the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite Services). He also worked on
a proposal for the 500 kHz agenda item for WRC-12. ARRL Technical
Relations Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, attended meetings of US
Study Group 1 (regulatory). He is preparing for ITU-R meetings,
scheduled for later this month in Geneva.

Come October 1, there will be new Section Managers in the Los Angeles,
South Texas and Georgia Sections

The ARRL announced that it will honor the 140th birthday of co-founder
Hiram Percy Maxim by authorizing eligible amateurs to add /140 to their
call signs from September 2-9

All 2009 Field Day logs that have been received have been posted to the
Claimed Scores page on the ARRL Web site

The ARRL Executive Committee reviewed grant applications for the ARRL's
Education & Technology Program (ETP), awarding nearly $9000 to eight
schools <>.

The ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology wrapped up. During
2009, 93 teachers from 29 states attended eight sessions -- including
two at ARRL HQ -- and a new TI-2 for previous TI graduates

W1AW, the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station, changed over to new
digital modes <>.

The October issue of QST, the September/October issues of QEX and NCJ
and the 2010 edition of The ARRL Handbook were released to the printer.

The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for August is Allen Baker,
KG4JJH, for his article "A 10 Meter Moxon Beam"

Staff Travel: Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, and Membership
and Volunteer Programs Manager Dave Patton, NN1N, traveled to Tokyo for
Ham-Fair and GAREC 2009; Field and Regulatory Correspondent Chuck
Skolaut, K0BOG, represented the ARRL at the Kansas State Convention;
Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, traveled to the
New Mexico State Convention; Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, attended the
West Virginia State Convention and the IEEE Electromagnetics
Compatibility Society EMC Symposium in Texas; Field and Public Service
Team Supervisor Steve Ewald, WV1X, represented the League at the
National Conference on Community Preparedness, and Emergency
Preparedness and Response Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD, went to the Texas
State Convention.


September is here, and according to ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean
Kutzko, KX9X, that means the VHF bands are getting a workout. "If you've
never experienced the fun of VHF+ operating, the ARRL September VHF QSO
Party <> is a great
place to start. 

"With many HF radios now offering at least 6 meter SSB/CW capabilities
-- and some offering 2 meters and 70 cm as well -- any amateur with a
Technician class license or higher can experience long-haul
communication on the VHF bands," he said. "Getting on the VHF bands is
simple," he said. "If you have a radio that can transmit on both CW and
SSB, that's great, but you can operate on either mode." When operating
on VHF, Kutzko explained that your Maidenhead grid square is the common
geographical information exchanged

While there will be some contest activity on FM simplex (especially near
large population centers), Kutzko said that most long-distance VHF+ QSOs
are conducted on CW or SSB; that means horizontally polarized antennas:
"A dipole for 6 meters is only 9 feet, 4 inches long and is an easy
construction project," he explained. "Try to get the dipole in the air
as high as possible, but even 15 feet off the ground will make some
QSOs. If you have an antenna tuner that can handle 6 meters, you can try
loading up another of your antennas on 6 meters with reasonable success.
For 2 meters and 70 cm, a horizontal loop will work nicely for SSB and
CW contacts." You can find plans for simple VHF antennas at the
Technical Information Service area of the ARRL Web site
<>, in the Antennas chapter of
The ARRL Handbook <>, or in
the VHF and UHF Antenna Systems chapter of The ARRL Antenna Book

Kutzko advises that there are a few things to know about operating on 6
meters: In the US and Canada, there is a "calling frequency" on 50.125
MHz USB. Most SSB activity will take place between 50.125 MHz and 50.250
MHz. If conditions are exceptional, Kutzko said you may hear signals
above 50.250: "CW signals can be found from 50.100 MHz to 50.080 or so.
The frequencies between 50.100 and 50.125 MHz are a 'DX Window,' meaning
it is reserved for QSOs between W/VE and DX stations. Please do not make
stateside-to-stateside QSOs in the DX Window."

Because VHF+ antennas are relatively small, Kutzko said that many
amateurs operate from portable locations, such as a hilltop or a
campground. Others operate the contest as a "rover," operating from
their car or truck while transmitting from multiple grid squares over
the contest period. "Tracking rovers during the contest is almost as
much fun as the contest itself," he said.

The ARRL September VHF QSO Party runs from 1800 UTC Saturday, September
12 through 0300 UTC Monday, September 14. Be sure to use those extra
bands on your transceiver and get in on the fun you've been missing on 6
meters and up! <>


On Tuesday, September 2, the League celebrated the 140th anniversary of
the birth of ARRL's co-founder and first President, Hiram Percy Maxim,
W1AW. Maxim -- born in 1869 -- decided a national organization for
Amateur Radio was in order after he needed a "relay" station in Agawam,
Massachusetts to pass a message he was sending from Hartford to
Springfield, Massachusetts. In honor of The Old Man's (TOM) birthday,
the ARRL is holding a week-long Special Event, where eligible amateurs
may add /140 to their call signs. A complete list of who may add /140
can be found on page 20 of the September 2009 issue of QST. Hams who
work at least 25 /140 stations can earn an attractive certificate; this
certificate can be endorsed in increments of 25 QSOs, up to 100

Maxim was no stranger to technology. He entered the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (Class of 1886) and graduated at the tender age
of 16. Through the activities of his son Hiram Hamilton Maxim, TOM
became interested in Amateur Radio. In 1908, he filed for a patent for a
firearms silencer <>;
the patent was granted the following year. Maxim used this technology to
make silencers for guns, motor exhausts, safety valves and air releases.
In all, Maxim received 59 patents, most of them in the field of
mechanical engineering.

In 1928, Maxim, along with other dignitaries of the day -- including
Thomas Edison -- attended a party at the home of George Eastman, the
founder of Kodak. TOM was an avid film buff and was even involved in the
early days of motion pictures. Check out this video (available on
YouTube) of a dapper Maxim at Eastman's party

"I hope everyone enjoys our Special Event honoring Hiram Percy Maxim,"
said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. "I know if TOM was
alive today, he would be on the air, having a ball!" Maxim, together
with Clarence Tuska, founded the ARRL in 1914. Maxim served as President
of the ARRL from its inception until his death from complications
stemming from a throat infection in 1936.  -- Thanks to Howie Lash,
AE0KU, for bringing the YouTube clip to our attention


Once again this year, ARRL is a coalition member of the National
Preparedness Month. This event is an annual nationwide effort held each
September to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for
emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools. 

National Preparedness Month 2009 is sponsored by the US Department of
Homeland Security. The goal is to increase public awareness about the
importance of preparing for emergencies and to encourage individuals to
take action. Throughout September and the months surrounding it,
Homeland Security will work together with a wide variety of
organizations, including local, state and federal government agencies
and the private sector, to highlight the importance of family and
business emergency preparedness, as well as to promote individual
involvement through events and activities across the nation. 

More information can be found online <>. You are
encouraged to consider this year's ARRL Simulated Emergency Test and all
preparations as well as post exercise evaluations as a demonstration of
your readiness and Amateur Radio's readiness. Be an active participant
in SET, and join others nationwide in National Preparedness Month.


Tad "The Sun burns crimson bright" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: This
week we saw another one of those fast-disappearing sunspots -- it lasted
just two days, over the last day of August and the first of September.
No other sunspots were observed during the month of August. Sunspot
numbers for August 27-September 2 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 12, 12 and 0 with a
mean of 3.4. The 10.7 cm flux was 67.7, 67.9, 68, 67.2, 68.3, 69.1 and
68.2 with a mean of 68.1. The estimated planetary A indices were 5, 2,
2, 19, 5, 4 and 3 with a mean of 5.7. The estimated mid-latitude A
indices were 4, 2, 2, 12, 5, 2 and 2 with a mean of 4.1. 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 Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends"



* This Week on the Radio: This week, the All Asia Contest and Colorado
QSO Party are on September 5-6. The Tennessee QSO Party is September
6-7. Next week is the ARRL September VHF QSO Party September 12-14.
There are two NCCC Sprints this week -- one on September 11 and another
on September 12. The WAE DX Contest (SSB), the Arkansas QSO Party and
the FISTS Get Your Feet Wet Weekend are September 12-13. The North
American Sprint (CW) and the SKCC Weekend Sprint are both September 13.
The NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint is September 17. 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 20, 2009, for these online course
sessions beginning on Friday, October 2, 2009: Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Level 1; Antenna Modeling; Radio Frequency Interference;
Antenna Design and Construction; Ham Radio (Technician) License Course;
Propagation; Analog Electronics, and Digital Electronics. 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 to Close in Observance of Labor Day: ARRL Headquarters will be
closed in observance of Labor Day on Monday, September 7. There will be
no W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions that day. ARRL
Headquarters will reopen Tuesday, September 8 at 8 AM Eastern Daylight
Time. We wish everyone a safe and festive holiday weekend. 

* Allen Baker, KG4JJH, Wins August QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of
the QST Cover Plaque Award for August is Allen Baker, KG4JJH, for his
article "A 10 Meter Moxon Beam." Congratulations, Allen! 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 September issue by Wednesday, September 30. 

* W1AW Earns TPA #306: On September 1 -- after W1AW Station Manager Joe
Carcia, NJ1Q, made contact #149 (CW) and #150 (RTTY) with Mark Stull,
AB8WV, of Parkersburg, West Virginia -- W1AW received Triple Play Award
#306 on September 2. "Finally, after eight months, W1AW can now boast
the ARRL's newest award, the TPA," Carcia said. "What makes this so very
cool is that we received this award on Hiram Percy Maxim's 140th
birthday." The Triple Play Award is earned by hams who, after January 1,
2009, achieve Worked All States on three modes -- CW, SSB and Digital --
and upload their logs via Logbook of The World. Find out more about the
Triple Play Award on the ARRL Web site

* Manufacturer of Texas Bug Catcher Antenna to Cease Operations: After
October 31, 2009, GLA Systems -- the manufacturer of the Texas Bug
Catcher antennas <> -- will cease taking
orders for new antennas; according to their Web site, all orders
received before that date will be filled. "Effective November 1, only
orders for items that are in stock at the time will be accepted.
Effective December 31, 2009, the toll free line, 1-800-588-2841, will be
discontinued." No reason was given for the closure, but on GLA's Web
site, owner Henry Allen, K5BUG, said. "It has been a fun 30 years, but
it is time to hang it up. I would like to thank everyone who has made
this experience possible."

* Den Connors, KD2S (SK): The first president of Tucson Amateur Packet
Radio (TAPR) <> Den Connors, KD2S, of Pepperell,
Massachusetts, passed away September 3 from lymphoma. He was 58.
Connors, an ARRL Life Member, conducted the first amateur packet radio
contact with all-American hardware and software, using the Tucson
Amateur Packet Radio Terminal Node Controller (TNC) with Lyle Johnson,
WA7GXD (now KK7P), at 9:12 PM (PST) on June 25, 1982. The tests were
conducted at 146.55 MHz, with both stations sending plain-text ASCII
messages. "Den was instrumental in the early PACSAT work, and as TAPR's
first president, led that organization from a local club he co-founded
into an international organization," Johnson said in an e-mail. "His was
a very cheerful, positive, can-do influence."

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 2009 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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Editorial questions or comments: John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, at


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