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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
June 30, 2011
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News

+ Texas Hams Injured at Field Day Site

On the morning of June 26, two Texas radio amateurs -- Danny Caldwell, AD5IP, of Kamay, and Mike Byrne, AE5CO, of Iowa Park -- received electric shocks as they took down an inverted V antenna. According to Wichita County Emergency Coordinator Larry Ballard, KE5KNV, the two were taking part in Field Day as part of the Wichita Amateur Radio Society (WARS).

"The Wichita Amateur Radio Society decided to terminate the participation in the exercise at 10 AM on Sunday, due to extreme heat and gusty wind conditions," Ballard told the ARRL. "Danny and Mike were injured while lowering the center pole of the inverted V dipole antenna to the ground. They were knocked to the ground when a guy wire, or the antenna lead-in, was hit with very high wind gust that blew it into a high [power] line wire." According to reports from witnesses, winds were gusting up to 40 miles per hour.

Ballard said 911 was called immediately and a rescue van arrived in a matter of minutes. The Fire Rescue Team determined that the two men were stable and they were transported to United Regional Hospital in Wichita Falls. Caldwell received CPR at the scene and was air lifted to Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Byrne was transported to Parkland later by ambulance.

"This was the second year that the Wichita Amateur Radio Society had set up at Oscar Park in the City of Iowa Park for Field Day event," Ballard explained. "The antennas were located in the same location as the prior year, using the same safety practice of locating the antennas a safe distance from power lines and structures. The inverted V dipole antenna had yellow caution tape, marking guy wires and antenna end locations."

Ballard said that Byrne was released from the hospital on Monday, June 27 and was resting at home. Caldwell, who suffered more serious injuries, was released a day later.

+ ARRL Field Day: There's Still More to Do for Field Day!

The radios, antennas and the food might be put away after ARRL Field Day 2011, but there is still plenty of work to do to close the books on this annual operating extravaganza. According to ARRL Field Day Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, the fun may be over, but many details need to be completed. "Thousands of Field Day entries will be received at ARRL headquarters over the next 30 days," he explained. "The focus now is doing what is necessary to make sure the individual and group Field Day summaries and submissions are handled accurately and efficiently." Read more here.

+ On the Air: The IARU HF World Championship -- Coming to a Radio Near You

Radiosport fans are gearing up for the summer's biggest HF competition: the IARU HF World Championship. This 24 hour long contest is the highlight of the summer HF contesting season, affording plenty of opportunities to work DX from all around the globe on CW and SSB, as well as make QSOs with many IARU officials and Member-Society club stations. "The IARU HF World Championship is one of Radiosport's unique events," explained ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. "It's the only major contest that uses International Telecommunication Union (ITU) zones as part of the exchange, and the only contest that gives special multiplier status for IARU Member-Society stations and IARU officials." The IARU HF World Championship runs from 1200 UTC Saturday, July 9 through 1200 UTC Sunday, July 10. Read more here.

+ Amateur Radio in Space: ISS Survives Near Miss of Space Junk

On Monday, June 27, the ISS narrowly missed getting slammed by space junk.

Just after 8 AM (EDT) on Tuesday, June 29, the six residents of the International Space Station (ISS) climbed into two Soyuz space capsules as an unidentified object hurtled past them at a speed of 29,000 miles per hour, missing the space station by only 1100 feet. This was only the second time in the 10 year history of people living on the space station that the crew needed to take such precautions. If the station had been hit, the crew could have quickly undocked from the ISS and returned to Earth via the space capsules. Currently, there are four hams on board the ISS: Ron Garan, KF5GPO (NASA), Mike Fossum, KF5AQG (NASA), Sergei Volkov, RU3DIS (RKA), and Satoshi Furukawa, KE5DAW (JAXA). The other two cosmonauts -- Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev -- are not licensed. Read more here.

+ SATERN Gets New Director

After serving as Director of the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) for more than 23 years, Major Patrick E. McPherson, WW9E, is stepping down. Major Rick Shirran VE3NUZ, of Toronto, Ontario, has been appointed as the new Director. McPherson -- an ARRL member -- founded SATERN in June 1988. Shirran, who received his Amateur Radio license in 1975, served 12 years as a member of the Royal Canadian Navy as a Radio Operator and Communications Technician. He is a Commissioned Officer/Pastor in The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory. Prior to his appointment, Shirran served as the Emergency Disaster Services Director and SATERN Director for The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda Territory. Read more here.

Support ARRL: Meet the ARRL Second Century Campaign Committee

At the end of April, David W. Brandenburg, K5RQ, of Osprey, Florida, agreed to chair the ARRL Second Century Campaign. This multi-million dollar campaign will focus on building the ARRL Endowment to further secure resources to fund the League's commitment to the future. One important focus of the campaign includes the development of a robust national program geared at young people, enabling them to experience and develop skills in scientific and technological discovery through Amateur Radio. Read more here.

At the Workbench: Homebrew Challenge Reminder

The ARRL has sponsored two Homebrew Challenges in the past, designed to test our members' design and construction skills by making useful amateur gear at low cost -- and sharing their results with our members. Our first ARRL Homebrew Challenge, announced in QST for August 2006, required the construction of a 40 meter, 5 W voice and CW transceiver built for less than $50 of new parts. The Second Homebrew Challenge, announced in February 2009, resulted in a number of creative designs of low cost 50 W linear amplifiers to follow the transceiver -- two for about $30, as well as a multiband amplifier with many features for somewhat more.

For 2011, the ARRL has issued a challenge to build a transceiver in celebration of the (slow) return of sunspots. This challenge will be in two parts and hams can enter either or both options:

  • Option 1: A single band 25 W SSB and CW transceiver for 10 or 6 meters, with a prize of $200.
  • Option 2: A 25 W SSB and CW transceiver that can be switched between 10 and 6 meters, using one or two switches, with a prize of $300.

Instead of challenging entrants to make the transceiver at the lowest cost, the ARRL will instead challenge builders to provide the highest quality, best performance and most features within the cost target of $150 for Option 1 and $200 for Option 2. In addition to the cash prize, the winners of these challenges will have articles describing their designs in QST and will receive the usual page rate for the published articles. Additional entrants who meet the minimum requirements -- and have interesting design features -- may also be considered for QST or ARRL Web articles.

Entries for either option must be received at ARRL Headquarters no later than November 1, 2011. To be considered, each entrant must submit a working transceiver that is suitable for testing in the ARRL Lab and for on-the-air judging by the ARRL staff judges. Documentation required includes a priced parts list indicating the source and purchase price of each part, an article draft including a design description, construction hints, alignment instruction, block diagrams and schematic diagrams. Photographs may be provided, but final magazine photos will be taken by ARRL staff.

For more information, including specific requirements and evaluation criteria, please visit the ARRL Homebrew Challenge web page.

+ Space Weather Prediction Center to Continue Broadcasts on WWV and WWVH

In April 2011, the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) informed the public that as of September 6, 2011, it would no longer broadcast its geophysical alert message on WWV and WWVH. The ARRL has now learned that the SWPC has changed its mind and will keep broadcasting these messages that inform listeners of the solar flux, the mid-latitude A and K indices and space weather storms, both current and predicted. Due to listener feedback, the SWPC is considering updating the broadcast; in addition to providing the current daily solar flux at 2800 MHz, the SWPC is evaluating adding more frequent observations at 2695 MHz. According to the SWPC website, other improvements to the message content will also be evaluated.

ARRL Survey Underway

The ARRL has asked an independent research company specializing in survey research to conduct a survey of Amateur Radio operators. Readex Research -- headquartered in Stillwater, Minnesota -- has conducted similar studies for ARRL in the past, including QST readership studies and large national surveys. This most recent survey is being conducted by mail and e-mail, and includes representative populations of Amateur Radio operators from among US and international ARRL members, as well as non-member FCC licensees. While not every member will receive a survey, participation from those individuals who are selected is critical for the success of this project. Responses will be kept confidential and only used in tabulation with others; no data about survey participants -- including contact information -- will be shared with anyone. Please contact ARRL if you have any questions about the survey.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, June 30, 2011 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 "Until the Sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard" Cook, K7RA, reports: The predicted Field Day geomagnetic storm never appeared, although conditions were unsettled leading up to last weekend. The planetary A index was 7 on Saturday and Sunday, while the mid-latitude A index numbers were 5 and 6. The average daily sunspot numbers for the week were down 13 points compared to the previous week, and average daily solar flux was off by more than 7 points. The predicted solar flux for the near term is quite a bit lower than recent numbers; the forecast shows solar flux at 87 for June 30-July 4, then 85 on July 5-7, 88 on July 8-9, 92 and 96 on July 10-11, and 100 on July 12-15. The expected planetary A index is 5, 8, 10, 12 and 8 on June 30-July 4, 5 on July 5-7, 7 on July 8-9, and 5 again on July 10-18. Look for more information on the ARRL website on Friday, July 1. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" is brought to you by Sheryl Crow's All I Wanna Do (Is Have Some Fun).

+ Amateur Radio Amour: Do We Get Bonus Points for This?

Wearing their ARRL Field Day shirts, Debra Hubbard, N1FQ (second from left) and Kevin Shissler, K1FQ (center), got married during Field Day at their Field Day site! Joining the happy couple were Lydia Beal (left), best man Lee Shissler (second from right) and Jan Watson (far right). [Phil Duggan, N1EP, Photo]

When you think about ARRL Field Day, a few things come to mind: food, radios, food, antennas, food and friends. And food. But one couple took things a little bit further when they got married at their Field Day site. Kevin Shissler, K1FQ, and Debra Hubbard, N1FQ, both of Cherryfield, Maine, love Field Day so much that they decided it was the perfect place to share their love for each other -- and for Amateur Radio. Wearing their 2011 ARRL Field Day shirts, they tied the knot on June 25 in Deblois, Maine at the shared Field Day site of the Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association (EAWA) and Narraguagus Bay Amateur Radio Club. In April 2010, Hubbard donated 60 percent of her liver to co-worker Jan Watson, and now Watson had her chance to return the favor -- she officiated the wedding.

+ ARRL to Close in Observance of Fourth of July

ARRL Headquarters will be closed in observance of Independence Day on Monday, July 4. There will be no W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions that day. League Headquarters will reopen Tuesday, July 5 at 8 AM Eastern Daylight Time. We wish everyone a safe and festive holiday weekend.

This Week on the Radio

This week:

  • July 1 -- RAC Canada Day Contest
  • July 2-3 -- Venezuelan Independence Day Contest; DL-DX RTTY Contest; PODXS 070 Club 40 Meter Firecracker Sprint (local time)
  • July 3 -- DARC 10 Meter Digital Contest
  • July 4-5 -- Michigan QRP July 4th CW Sprint
  • July 4-10 -- 10-10 International Spirit of 76 QSO Party
  • July 5 -- ARS Spartan Sprint

Next week:

  • July 8 -- QRP Fox Hunt
  • July 9 -- FISTS Summer Sprint
  • July 9-10 -- IARU HF World Championship
  • July 10 -- SKCC Weekend Sprint; ARCI Summer Homebrew Sprint
  • July 13-14 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test

All dates, unless otherwise stated, are UTC. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, the ARRL Contest Update and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar for more information. Looking for a Special Event station? Be sure to check out the ARRL Special Event Stations Web page.

Upcoming ARRL Section, State and Division Conventions and Events

To find a convention or hamfest near you, click here.

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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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