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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
July 8, 2010
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News

+ Available on ARRL Audio News

+ Can I Have Amateur Radio for $1000, Alex?: Young Amateur Makes Her Mark on Jeopardy!

Thirteen year old Andrea Salt, KE7OPV, of Gilbert, Arizona, was a contestant on the highly popular television game show Jeopardy! earlier this week. [Screenshot from Sony Pictures]

For hams who are fans of the television quiz show Jeopardy! -- where contestants have to answer in the form of a question -- the July 6 show was a real treat: Andrea Salt, KE7OPV, of Gilbert, Arizona, was a contestant. But what makes Andrea's time on Jeopardy even more special is that she is only 13. All this week, Jeopardy! is hosting their annual Kids' Week. To be eligible to participate in Kids' Week, all contestants must be between the ages of 10-13 and pass an online test consisting of 30 questions. The questions cover a variety of categories and the kids must answer each question within 20 seconds. And yes, spelling does count! Read more here.

+ On the Air: ARRL's 500 kHz Experiment Shows Slight Growth

Locations and status of the 500 kHz experimental stations in the United States. Click here for a larger image.

In the quarterly report for the ARRL's 500 kHz Experimental Station for the period ending May 2010, Experiment Coordinator Fritz Raab, W1FR, reported that since the experiment began in late 2006, 20 of the 32 participating stations are currently active. The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology granted the WD2XSH experimental license to the ARRL in September of that year. "Our present license grant expires on August 1," Raab said. "We are planning to do an 'as-is' renewal this month." Raab said that during the quarter, one additional QSO was made, bringing the total number of WD2XSH contacts to 405. The WD2XSH Web site has received 511 reports since the end of February, bringing the total number of reports to 11,234 since the beginning of the issuance of the experimental license. Raab said more than 60,000 hours of activity has been logged on the Web site since September 2006. Stations do not have to be members of the experimental team to post reception reports. Read more here.

+ ARRL Now on Facebook!

With more than 400 million active users, Facebook is the most popular social network site on the Internet. And since radio amateurs are generally a social bunch, many hams are active on Facebook. Thanks to Herman May, KE5HYW, the ARRL has its own Facebook page. Check out the page to see a lot of features you won't find anywhere else, such as pictures from ARRL events and interactive status updates. We invite hams to "like" the ARRL Facebook page and leave productive comments. Joining Facebook is free, and you just might be surprised at who you'll find on the site.

+ Coming Up in QST : Check out the August Issue of QST

The August issue of QST is jam-packed with all sorts of things today's Amateur Radio operator needs. From product reviews to experiments to contesting -- including April's EME event from the Arecibo Observatory at the National Astronomical and Ionospheric Center in Puerto Rico -- the upcoming issue of QST has something for just about everyone.

One of the joys of Amateur Radio is building your own equipment; there's nothing like putting something on the air that you've built with your own two hands -- and a little solder and sweat. Not only is it fun, it's a good way to not spend a lot of money. In his article "Build a Two Finger Key," Burt VanderClute, N4ERM, explains how he put together an effective dual-lever paddle at practically no cost using only common household tools. In the television series Star Trek, Captain Kirk was always asking Scotty for more power (and Scotty usually replied that he was utilizing all the power available). Many hams like using power, too, but what if we got rid of some of that power? Phil Salas, AD5X, finds that sometimes throwing away power is better than trying to reduce it in his article "Simplify Transceiver to Amplifier Interfacing with an In-Line Attenuator."

Proving that you don't have to be a big gun with big antennas on a big lot to work top band, Greg Crossman, WE0D, shows it can be done. In his article "Earning 160 Meters WAS in 117 Days," Crossman relates how he was able to work all 50 US states on topband from a lot with limited space in a community with antenna restrictions. QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, takes a look at how to make connections for your iPhone, iTouch, iPod and iPad in his monthly column "Eclectic Technology." This month, he builds on his April 2010 column that discussed Amateur Radio apps for these devices. Now he explains how to make the proper connections between your "iDevice" and your transceiver.

Click here to go to the QST multimedia page. Scroll down to the Product Review video and watch a preview of what's coming up in the August issue of QST.

QST Technical Editor Joel Hallas, W1ZR, takes a look at accessories for the Elecraft K3 HF/VHF modular transceiver in this month's Product Review. "The K144XV internal 2 meter transverter, KDVR3 voice recorder and KAT3 internal automatic antenna tuner integrate seamlessly and add even more functionality to the versatile K3," he reports. Hallas also checked out a pair of Mirage 2 meter amplifiers for use with the K3. "Either the Mirage B-310-G or the slightly larger B-2518-G can follow the K3 with its internal transverter and deliver 75 W PEP SSB with reasonable distortion," he said. "The smaller unit can also provide 100 W on CW or FM. The latter can do better with a transverter that can put out a bit more power, such as the external Elecraft XV144, delivering up to 110 W PEP on SSB and 160 W on CW or FM. The preamps will only help with the K3 if you have considerable line loss between amplifier and radio."

The results from February's ARRL DX CW Contest are also in the August issue. There were a few upsets, as well as some new records set in this ever-popular contest. Speaking of contests, you will also find official announcements for the 2010 ARRL International EME Competition, the ARRL August Rookie Roundup, the ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest and the 2010 ARRL September VHF QSO Party. You will also find the results from the 2010 ARRL Photo Contest spread out over three pages in the August QST.

Of course, there are the usual columns you know and expect in the August QST: Happenings, Hints & Kinks, The Doctor Is IN, How's DX, Vintage Radio, Hamspeak and more. Look for your August 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.

+ Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, July 8, 2010 from NASA's SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope. This image was taken at 304 Angstrom; the bright material is at 60,000 to 80,000 Kelvin.

Tad "Till the broad Sun withdraws his lessening ray" Cook, K7RA, reports: The average daily sunspot numbers for this week rose from 11.7 to 16, back to the level that we saw two weeks ago. The geomagnetic indices have quieted down, with average mid-latitude A index dropping more than five points from the previous week. The latest NOAA/USAF forecast shows a rising solar flux for July 8-10 of 74, 75 and 76 and then 78 for July 11. This is accompanied by a low planetary A index of 5 on July 8, 8 on July 9, followed by 5 for July 10-13 and then 8, 15, 8 and 5 for July 14-17. Look for more information, including some 6 meter double-hop sporadic-E reports, on the ARRL Web site on Friday, July 9. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" brought to you by George Gordon, Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (Canto II, Verse XX).

+ Silent Key: Former ARRL Staffer Mike Kaczynski, W1OD (SK)

Former ARRL staffer Mike Kaczynski, W1OD, delighted in amateur astronomy.

Michael B. Kaczynski, W1OD, of Bristol Connecticut, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at Bristol Hospital. He was 51. An ARRL Life Member, Kaczynski worked at ARRL Headquarters from 1979-1987 starting off at the DXCC Desk, then becoming a Communications Assistant, Technical Information Specialist, Lab Technician and eventually an Assistant Technical Editor and Contest Manager; at the time of his death, he was employed at ESPN. While at the ARRL, he authored almost 50 articles in QST, including contest results and product reviews. He was also President of the Newington Amateur Radio League (NARL) from 1991-1992 and a member of the ARRL's A-1 Operator Club. Kaczynski enjoyed and was a member of many organizations related to bowling, sport shooting, model airplanes, astronomy and geocaching. He also held a private pilot's license. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, July 10 at 10:30 AM at Funk Funeral Home in Bristol, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St Stanislaus Church. Relatives and friends may call at the funeral home on Friday between 4-8 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Kaczynski Scholarship Fund, c/o St Stanislaus Church, 510 West St, Bristol, CT 06010 or to Special Olympics, 2666 State St, Suite 1, Hamden, CT 06517-2232. Kaczynski's family has set up a memorial Web site where friends may leave condolences.

This Week on the Radio

This week, the FISTS Summer Sprint is July 10 and the IARU HF World Championship is July 10-11. Next week, North American QSO Party (RTTY), the DMC RTTY Contest and the CQ Worldwide VHF Contest are July 17-18. The Run for the Bacon QRP Contest is July 19. 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, July 25, 2010, for these online course sessions beginning on Friday, August 6, 2010: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 1. To learn more, visit the CEP Course Listing page or contact the Continuing Education Program Coordinator.



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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.

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