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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
September 16, 2010
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News

+ Public Service: Get Ready for the 2010 Simulated Emergency Test

The 2010 ARRL Simulated Emergency Test is just around the corner and ARRL Field Organization leaders are planning an event that will actively involve members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service ®, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, the ARRL National Traffic System and many other related groups that prepare for and respond to emergencies. Public service and emergency response agencies and organizations in your community, ARRL Section Leaders and/or local and state officials will also be invited to participate. You, too, are invited to be a part of this annual tune-up for emergency response. Read more here.

+ Amateur Radio in the Classroom: QST Article Sparks New University Program

Court Sullivan, KF5HYE, James Boshart and Jake Rhodes, KF5HYD, complete the calibration process on three radio-telescope units in preparation for an interferometry research project in which the three units will be interconnected to simulate a much larger dish. [Larry D. Barr, K5WLF, Photo]

It all started with the June 2009 issue of QST. Larry Barr, K5WLF -- Planetarium Manager at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas -- was reading QST when he came across an article about exploring the basics of radio astronomy through a homebrew, easy-to-construct radio telescope. The article -- written by ARRL Education and Technology Program Coordinator Mark Spencer, WA8SME -- showed how to turn an everyday satellite TV dish antenna into an instrument that can be used to not only broaden horizons and expand the understanding of our universe, but to marry the magic of Amateur Radio and astronomy.

Barr quickly got to thinking. He showed the article to his supervisor, Dr Shaukat Goderya, the Director of the Astronomy Education and Research Program at TSU. Barr and Goderya began brainstorming on how they could do something like that in the department. And thus began the latest research program in radio astronomy for the Tarleton Observatory. Read more here.

+ Regulatory: New York Judge Declares Amateur Radio Is Not a Cell Phone

In many states and localities, it is illegal to talk on a cell phone (without a hands-free device) while behind the wheel. Doing so can result in a ticket and possibly a large fine. But on May 30, 2010, when a New York ham was talking on his mobile rig, he didn't think he was doing anything wrong. He wasn't, of course, but the New York State Police officer who pulled him over and cited him with a $100 fine didn't quite see it that way. Steve Bozak, WB2IQU, of Clifton Park, told the ARRL that when he was pulled over while driving to Troy -- about 16 miles away -- he assured the officer that he was not speaking on a cell phone, but on his Amateur Radio handheld transceiver. According to Bozak, the officer said "it was all the same to him." So Bozak -- with the assistance of his attorney, ARRL Volunteer Counsel (VC) Jeremy Rase, KC2JRD -- decided to fight the ticket in court. Read more here.

On the Air: Sponsor a Plaque for ARRL Sweepstakes

When your dentist says you have plaque, that's bad. But when the ARRL November Sweepstakes contest results say you have a plaque, that's a cause for celebration! Plaques for Division and overall contest winners are an important part of the Sweepstakes tradition -- both for the winners and the plaque sponsors. The ARRL Sweepstakes depends on the generosity of plaque sponsors who honor both the winners and their sponsoring organizations. Read more here.

+ On the Air: USA to Host 2014 World Radiosport Team Championship

In 1986, Ted Turner -- in reaction to the political troubles surrounding the Olympic Games of the 1980s -- created an international sports competition that he called the Goodwill Games. The first Games were held in Moscow with more than 3000 athletes from 79 countries competing. Four years later, the Games moved to Seattle, Washington and it was at those Games that the first-ever World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) took place.

Besides athletics, the Goodwill Games focused on areas of cultural exchange, arts and other unique subjects, one of these being Amateur Radio -- and WRTC was born. Radio amateurs from around the world gathered in Seattle for an Olympic-style event, joining in competition and camaraderie. In 1996, WRTC moved to San Francisco, then Slovenia in 2000, Finland in 2002, Brazil in 2006 and Russia in 2010. Now 18 years later, WRTC returns to the USA. Read more here.

On the Web: Interact with Other ARRL Members -- Add Your Profile to the Web Site

Do you want to find an old ham buddy or Elmer? Is the Jim Smith you knew as a kid the one in Kansas or the one in Oregon? How about interacting with other ARRL members who share your ham radio interests? Or maybe you're just looking for someone to connect with who is also just getting into the digital modes.

One of the features on the new ARRL Web site is Member Profile. You can post a list of your favorite Amateur Radio activities, as well as a description of how you got involved with Amateur Radio here. How your profile appears is under your control -- you can make your full profile available to all other ARRL members, or you can choose to hide certain information.

Adding your profile to the Member Directory allows your fellow ARRL members to connect with you outside of the ham bands. For example, you can then search for others who share your passion for DXing, contesting or EmComm.

Adding your profile is simple: Log in to the ARRL Web site, click on "Edit your Profile" link and select the "Edit Profile" screen.

You'll find the Permissions area just below the Profile Information section. You'll need to opt-in in order for your profile to be seen on the Web site.

+ Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, September 16, 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 "Spread their wild hues to the sultry Sun" Cook, K7RA, reports: The average daily sunspot numbers this week dropped nearly 23 points to 15.6, and geomagnetic indices were quiet. The average daily solar flux was 78.1, but the latest prediction from US Air Force and NOAA calls for rising solar flux values. The September 16-22 projection has solar flux values at 83, 85, 86, 86, 87, 88 and 88, which is well above last week's average. Solar flux hasn't been to 88 or higher since August 7 (90.5), and before that July 21 (89.1). The same forecast shows the planetary A index for the same period at 8, 8, 7, 5, 5, 15 and 15, indicating rising geomagnetic activity along with the increased solar activity. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet to unsettled conditions September 17, quiet September 18-19, quiet to unsettled September 20 and unsettled conditions September 21-23. The autumnal equinox occurs Wednesday, September 22 at 11:09 PM EDT (0309 UTC on September 23). With the northern and southern hemispheres bathed in equal amounts of light, expect better worldwide HF propagation, although solar activity continues at a low level which does not support an MUF into the higher frequencies over most paths. Look for more information on the ARRL Web site on Friday, September 17. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" is brought to you by John Clare's June.

+ Silent Key: ARRL Honorary Vice President Hugh Turnbull, W3ABC (SK)

ARRL Honorary Vice President Hugh Turnbull, W3ABC (SK)

ARRL Honorary Vice President Hugh Turnbull, W3ABC, of Silver Spring, Maryland, died September 14 at age 93. Turnbull served the League as Atlantic Division Vice Director (1980-1982) and Director (1982-1996). The ARRL Board named him Vice President in 1996 and Honorary Vice President in 2000. Upon hearing of his death, ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN -- who served as Atlantic Division Vice Director during Turnbull's tenure as Director -- said: "Hugh's life was devoted to serving his country and Amateur Radio. Many times I heard him say that each of us should 'give something back' to ham radio. He was my first mentor in ARRL leadership, and it was my good fortune to have his example to learn from." Read more here.

Support ARRL: ARRL to Again Participate in Combined Federal Campaign

For the ninth year running, the US Office of Personnel Management has designated the ARRL to participate in the 2010 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). This campaign for federal government civilian employees, US Postal Service workers and members of the military has generated almost $140,000 for ARRL programs since it first became an option for giving by federal employees to the League. The CFC provides an easy way to support ARRL's effort to represent its members and all radio amateurs. Read more here.

This Week on the Radio

This week:

  • September 17 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • September 18 -- Connecticut QSO Party; Feld Hell Sprint
  • September 18-19 -- ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest (local time); South Carolina QSO Party; Washington State Salmon Run; QCWA Fall QSO Party; QRP Afield; Scandinavian Activity Contest (CW); SRT HF Contest (SSB)
  • September 19 -- North American Sprint (SSB); BARTG Sprint 75
  • September 20 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest; 144 MHz Fall Sprint (local time)
  • September 22 -- SKCC Sprint

Next week:

  • September 24 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • September 25-26 -- CQ Worldwide DX Contest (RTTY); Texas QSO Party
  • September 25 -- AGCW VHF/UHF Contest
  • September 27 -- QRP Homebrewer Sprint
  • September 28 -- 222 MHz Fall Sprint (local time)

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 Events Station Web page.

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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.

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