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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
July 21, 2011
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


+ Available on ARRL Audio News

+ ARRL Board of Directors Holds 2011 Second Meeting

The ARRL Board of Directors met July 15-16. Highlights of the meeting include:

  • After hearing a comprehensive progress report, the Board authorized the staff to continue planning to publish an electronic edition of QST as a benefit to ARRL members at no additional charge.
  • Committees were created to review the ARRL Band Plans for the amateur bands between 902-3500 MHz, to plan the program of activities for the ARRL's Centennial in 2014 and to seek input from youth and others to improve outreach to young Americans.
  • The Board welcomed the opportunity for ARRL involvement in the Seventh World Radiosport Team Championship, to be held in New England during the ARRL's Centennial Year.
  • The Board accepted a recommendation to change the name of the RTTY DXCC Award to Digital DXCC.

A more detailed report of the meeting will be distributed when the minutes are released. If you would like to receive a copy of the minutes via e-mail, please go to "Edit your Profile" on the ARRL website, click on "Edit Email Subscriptions" and check the box labeled "ARRL Board meeting agendas and minutes." The minutes will also be available for download from the website in the coming days.

+ Amateur Radio in Space: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Comes to an End

The space shuttle Atlantis lands for the final time at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Click here for a larger image. [Photo courtesy of NASA]

As Atlantis once again touched the Earth in Florida on Thursday, July 21, an era came to an end. This era saw dreams realized when men and women could go into space on a craft -- the space shuttle -- that could be used again and again. NASA's space shuttle fleet has set dreams aflight since its first launch on April 12, 1981, starting with Columbia and continuing with Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour. These crafts have carried people into orbit repeatedly, launched, recovered and repaired satellites, conducted cutting-edge research and transported materials to help build the largest structure in space, the International Space Station.

Barely 30 months after Columbia first lifted to the skies, radio amateurs around the world were excited about another first: a ham in space. It was 1983 -- the third year of the space shuttle program -- and Mission Specialist Owen Garriott, W5LFL, was on board Columbia for mission STS-9. NASA had given Garriott permission to attempt radio contact with Amateur Radio operators on Earth during his free time. Read more here.

+ Public Service: ARRL Soliciting Stations to Become Emergency Liaison Stations

During the 2008 hurricane season, ARRL Headquarters instituted a Command-Control-Coordination (C3) operation to support operations taking place in the affected ARRL Sections. One requirement was the need for Headquarters to establish radio links into the affected areas. In the summer -- the height of hurricane season -- 75 meters is noisy and doesn't propagate well during the day and hindered W1AW's reach into these areas. As such, the nets on 40, 75 and 80 meters -- while providing excellent coverage of several hundred miles in the impacted areas -- did not allow W1AW to monitor these frequencies, nor did it permit monitoring of developing conditions that would allow Headquarters staff to maintain a higher level of situational awareness and disaster intelligence necessary for support operations.

ARRL West Gulf Division Director David Woolweaver, K5RAV, offered his EchoLink system to ARRL during the 2008 hurricane season. Woolweaver -- who had good propagation into the impacted areas during the tropical events in the Gulf of Mexico area -- established a connection between his home HF equipment and EchoLink. By connecting in to this, W1AW was able to use a direct EchoLink connection to Woolweaver's home station, enabling W1AW to come up on these HF frequencies. With EchoLink, the ARRL was to maintain contact between the affected areas and with the National Hurricane Center and VoIP Hurricane Net operations.

The need to build out the capability to link HF stations to EchoLink was clear and Woolweaver began to enlist other stations in Texas to develop it. But according to ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, W5MPC, it has been an ad hoc effort with known stations with no official standing for emergency communications with the ARRL. Additionally, while a regional capability was developed in a part of Texas, the ARRL needed to have this capability throughout the rest of the country.

The concept of the Emergency Radio Internet Linking System (ERILS) was crafted to meet this need, with ERILS stations operating under the ARRL Emergency Preparedness Program. Stations would be designated Official ERILS Stations after meeting specific criteria that would enable them to blend the capabilities of radio and the Internet, permitting emergency communications and a W1AW presence to occur. Stations would be geographically diverse, providing redundant pathways into multiple areas of the United States. While EchoLink was used successfully in 2008, other current and future software platforms could be used with traditional RF capabilities to meet the mission needs.

"Individual stations are the key component of ERILS," Corey explained. "These stations require a particular designation for planning and response purposes, and as recognition of the station owner's resources and commitment. These stations are designated as an Emergency Liaison Station. An ELS is not an Official Emergency Station (OES) that is part of the ARES® program, but is a separate resource available to the Emergency Preparedness Manager, or designees, and the ARRL Leadership." To find out more, including information on your station can be part of the ELS program, click here.

+ One Ham Killed, Another Seriously Injured in Tower Accident

Hot Springs is located in the southwest corner of the state, about an hour's drive south from Rapid City.

As a group of South Dakota hams were dismantling a 110 foot tower outside of Hot Springs on Saturday, July 16, a gust of wind toppled the final section, trapping two local hams underneath. Tim Anderson, K0OR, 54, and Tom Embree, NC0K, were transported to Rapid City Regional Hospital via helicopter, where Anderson died of his injuries. Embree underwent surgery on Sunday and Wednesday; he remains in serious condition. Both are members of the Hot Springs Amateur Radio Club; Anderson was the club's president. Hot Springs is located about 57 miles south of Rapid City. Read more here.

+ Newly Licensed Hams Help with Search for Missing California Man

Derrick Rush Rush vanished when he fell off his inner tube in the Kern River about 50 miles northeast of Bakersfield.

After Derrick Rush -- a 28 year old state corrections officer from Arroyo Grande, California - disappeared on July 9, several state agencies and volunteers began searching for him. According to reports, Rush vanished when he fell off his inner tube in the Kern River about 50 miles northeast of Bakersfield. Clayton Cullen, KJ6PYC, and his son CJ Cullen, KJ6PYD, of Paso Robles, joined the search efforts on July 13. Three days later, CJ spotted Rush's lifeless body floating by in the river and used his handheld transceiver to report it. His father was able to secure the body farther down the river. Read more here.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, July 21, 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 "I want to be the one to walk in the Sun" Cook, K7RA, reports: The average daily sunspot numbers for the week rose nearly 27 points to 92.4, while average daily solar flux increased more than 9 points to 98.2. The latest prediction has solar flux values at 100 for July 21-23, 98 on July 24-28, 90 on July 29-August 2, 95 on August 3-7, 98 on August 8, and then back to 100 on August 9-16. The planetary A index for July 21-23 is predicted at 15, 12 and 8, then 5 on July 24-28, 8 on July 29-31, then 10, 8, 5 and 8 on August 1-4, 12 on August 5-7, and back to 8 on August 8-10. Look for more information -- including more about astrophysicist Douglas Biesecker's analysis and critique of predictions for a grand solar minima -- on the ARRL website on Friday, July 22. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" is brought to you by Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want to Have Fun.

+ Social Media: ARRL Launches Online Forums

To assist League members in communicating with one another and with ARRL staff on topics of common interest, the ARRL has established three forums -- Contesting, Awards and Technology -- on the ARRL website. Visit to chat with fellow hams about these topics. Additional forums are planned once we have gained some experience with these three. ARRL members, guest users and others can view the threads, but in order to participate in the conversations or ask questions, you must be logged in as an ARRL member. All users should read the forum rules before participating.

+ Social Media: Connect with ARRL and Amateur Radio via Social Media

ARRL participates on many of the popular social networking sites to share news, photos, events and videos. Check out these sites for communities of ARRL members who share your interests in Amateur Radio. We'll share everything with you -- and you can share with us, too!

Find Us on Facebook

  • -- With almost 20,000 fans, the ARRL's Facebook page is the largest Amateur Radio site in social media.
  • -- A nifty way to follow the latest LoTW news. LoTW is an exciting way for radio amateurs to confirm two-way contacts they have made and use the confirmations as credit toward various ARRL awards.

Follow Us on Twitter

  • arrl -- Find all of the latest information in the Amateur Radio community with this Amateur Radio newsfeed.
  • ARRL_EMCOMM -- Interested in Emergency Communications? Then be sure to follow all the latest EmComm and ARES® happenings.
  • ARRL_PR -- Geared toward the ARRL Public Information Coordinators and Pubic Information Officers in the League's Field Organization, this Twitter feed focuses on public relations and media issues involving Amateur Radio.
  • ARRL_DXCC -- The Twitter home of the ARRL's DXCC awards program.
  • ARRL_Youth -- For the young and young-at-heart, this Twitter feed delves into how youth can have fun with Amateur Radio.

Watch Us on YouTube

  • -- Catch the latest videos from the ARRL - including monthly Product Reviews and event highlights -- on the League's YouTube channel.

Listen to Us on iTunes

This Week on the Radio

Go behind the scenes and meet a member of the ARRL HQ staff! This week we feature ARRL Field Organization Supervisor Steve Ewald, WV1X. Click here and scroll down the page to the "Meet the Staff" video box to meet Steve.

This week:

  • July 22 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • July 24 -- WAB 144 MHz QRO Phone
  • July 27 -- SKCC Sprint
  • July 27-28 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test

Next week:

  • July 29 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • July 30-31 -- RSGB IOTA Contest; US Counties QSO Party
  • July 31 -- ARS Flight of the Bumblebees
  • August 2 -- ARS Spartan Sprint

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.

ARRL -- Your One-Stop Resource for Amateur Radio News and Information

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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.

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.

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