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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
September 15, 2011
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


+ Available on ARRL Audio News.

+ Public Service: Missouri Hams Help Out When 911 Service Goes Down

It doesn't take a major disaster for Amateur Radio to step in and save the day. Around 9 PM on September 5, a cable cut completely isolated the Johnson County 911 Center in Warrensburg, Missouri, impacting landline, Internet and cellular service. Johnson County -- home to Whiteman Air Force Base -- is located just east of the Kansas City metro area.

Johnson County's emergency plan called for the telephone company to transfer all 911 calls to the Henry County 911 facility in Clinton, Missouri; Henry County is the next county south of Johnson County. But an equipment problem at Henry County's center prevented the transfer from completing successfully. Calls were then routed to the Benton County 911 Center in Warsaw, Missouri; Benton County is the next county west of Henry County. This transfer was successful and calls started coming in to Warsaw. Unfortunately, Warsaw is more than 40 miles from Warrensburg, and the two centers were unable to establish communication using the county VHF radio facilities. It was then that radio amateurs were brought in to provide communications support. Read more here.

+ ARRL to Welcome USTTI Students Next Month

Next month -- October 3-7 -- the ARRL will welcome international students who want to learn how to administer and regulate Amateur Radio programs in their home countries. This course, offered by the United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI) for learners from developing countries, will help the participants create, administer and foster an Amateur Radio Service in their countries. This is the 27th year that the ARRL has participated in the USTTI program. Read more here.

+ ARRL Seeks Treasurer

Jim NcCobb, K1LU, is stepping down after 31 years as ARRL Treasurer.

After more than 31 years of distinguished service to the ARRL as its volunteer Treasurer, Jim McCobb, K1LU, has decided to step down when his current term expires in January 2012. The ARRL is seeking qualified candidates from among its membership. The Board of Directors elects the Treasurer and other officers at its Annual Meeting in even-numbered years.

The Treasurer is a non-voting member of the Board of Directors and must be a licensed radio amateur and a Full member of the ARRL for four continuous years prior to nomination. The ARRL By-laws define the role of the Treasurer as follows:

  • In consultation with and subject to the general supervision of the Administration and Finance Committee, provides for the investment and reinvestment of the surplus funds of the League in any bonds or stocks or other securities as would be selected by a trustee with the care of a prudent investor.
  • Reports to and attends all regular meetings of the Board of Directors.
  • Serves as a member of the Administration and Finance Committee.

The position is unpaid; however, necessary expenses including travel to meetings are reimbursable.

A Search Committee has been established to recommend one or more candidates for Treasurer to the Board. Additional information about the position is available here. Interested and qualified members are invited to submit a Statement of Interest and qualifications by November 14, 2011 to the Secretary, preferably by e-mail.

+ ARRL Facebook Page: 20,000 Fans Strong

With more than 20,000 fans on Facebook, the ARRL Facebook page is the number one spot for hams on the Internet's most popular social networking site. Not only is the ARRL page the most popular Amateur Radio page on Facebook, it is attracting many young -- and not-so-young -- hams to share their opinions and ham radio-related news with other hams. According to Facebook demographics, more than 460 people between the ages of 13-17 are fans of the ARRL's page, with 74 percent of users below the age of 55. Since September 2010, hundreds of users post their own comments on the page, make a comment on a post or "like" a comment each week. The ARRL has been active on Facebook since July 2010; since that time, the page has been viewed almost 14.5 million times by fans and non-fans alike. The ARRL also has a Logbook of the World Facebook page. Premiering in June 2011, this popular page has almost 1000 ham fans. Read more here.

+ Heathkit's Amateur Radio Plans Taking Shape

Heathkit Educational Systems hopes to reenter the Amateur Radio market by the end of 2011. Back in August, Heathkit announced its return to the kit business and actively solicited suggestions. The response from Amateur Radio operators convinced Heathkit to develop several Amateur Radio products.

"When we made the announcement on our web page about a month ago, we had no intention of entering the Amateur Radio kit market," Ernie Wake, Heathkit's Director of Sales and Marketing, told the ARRL. "The response was really overwhelming, exciting and scary. The scary part is that the brand name has so much loyalty that we don't want to disappoint the people who have such fond memories."

Wake said that Heathkit is presently working on developing a few Amateur Radio kits. "Initially, the kit line will include a few 'accessories,' like kits for a Dual Watt Meter, Antenna Tuners and the Cantenna," he explained. "Once we are a little more 'settled,' I think we will develop a QRP receiver. We won't rush to market just to get there. We want to develop a line of kits in the tradition of Heathkit. I'm hoping to have one or two kits by the end-of-the-year."

QEX -- the September/October 2011 Issue

The September/October issue of QEX is already out, and it is full of theoretical and practical technical articles that you won't want to miss. QEX is the ARRL's "Forum for Communications Experimenters." Published bimonthly, it features technical articles, columns and other items of interest to radio amateurs and communications professionals. The mission of QEX is threefold: To provide a medium for the exchange of ideas and information among Amateur Radio experimenters; to document advanced technical work in the Amateur Radio field, and to support efforts to advance the state of the Amateur Radio art. Read more here.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, September 15, 2011 from NASA's SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope. This MDI (Michelson Doppler Imager) image was taken in the continuum near the Ni I 6768 Angstrom line. The most prominent features are the sunspots. This is very much how the Sun looks in the visible range of the spectrum.

Tad "When the Sun is setting" Cook, K7RA, reports: Although the average daily sunspot numbers are lower -- down nearly 13 points to 91.7 -- the average daily solar flux is higher by 6.7 points, rising to 122.2. Yes, solar activity is rising rapidly. You could see it coming earlier this week by glancing at the STEREO mission when you looked at the back side of the Sun. There was lots of activity, and you can still see quite a bit more (those white patches) just over the eastern horizon, which is on the left side of the image beyond -90 degrees. The image of the daily Sun shows a disc peppered with sunspots, a welcome sight after watching the current solar cycle seem to stall. Numerous CME events disturbed the Earth's magnetic field. The planetary A index record shows September 9, 10 and 12 were the most active days, with the index at 36, 33 and 27. The autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere is just a week away: September 23 at 0905 UTC, which is 5:05 AM EDT or 02:05 AM PDT. Luckily, the increased sunspot activity should continue. The predicted solar flux is 145 on September 15-17, 150 September 18-22, 110 on September 23-24, and 115 on September 25-29. The predicted planetary A index is 5 on September 15-18, 7 on September 19, 5 on September 20-23, 7 on September 24-25, 5 on September 26-29, and 15 on September 30. Look for more information on the ARRL website on Friday, September 16. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" is brought to you by The Go-Go's Beneath the Blue Sky.

+ New QuickStats Poll Now Available on ARRL Website

Four new poll questions have just been published on the QuickStats page on the ARRL website. Let your voice be heard!

Questions in this month's QuickStats poll:

  • What is the longest time you've ever spent at your radio (including brief breaks)?
  • Do you analyze your antenna designs with modeling software before you build the antennas?
  • Have you monitored signals from the new ARISSat-1 satellite?
  • How far are you willing to drive for a hamfest?

Visit the QuickStats page and be sure to bookmark it in your browser. Results from this QuickStats poll will be published in the December 2011 issue of QST on the QuickStats page, located in the rear advertising section of the magazine. Along with monthly poll results, QST QuickStats offers colorful charts and graphs that highlight interesting Amateur Radio statistics.

This Week on the Radio

This week:

  • September 16 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder; AGB NEMIGA Contest
  • September 17 -- Connecticut QSO Party; Feld Hell Sprint
  • September 17-18 -- ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest (local time); South Carolina QSO Party; Washington State Salmon Run; CIS DX QPSK63 Contest; Scandinavian Activity Contest (CW); SRT HF Contest (SSB); QRP Afield
  • September 18 -- North American Sprint (SSB); WAB 144 MHz QRP Phone Contest; BARTG Sprint 75
  • September 19 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest; 144 MHz Fall Sprint (local time)
  • September 22 -- NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint

Next week:

  • September 23 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • September 24 -- AGCW VHF/UHF Contest
  • September 24-25 -- ARRL EME Contest; Texas QSO Party; CQ Worldwide DX Contest (RTTY)
  • September 25 -- UBA ON 6 Meter Contest
  • September 26 -- QRP Homebrewer Sprint
  • September 27 -- 222 MHz Fall Sprint (local time)
  • September 28 -- SKCC Sprint
  • September 28-29 -- 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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