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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
September 20, 2012
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


+ Available on ARRL Audio News.

+ ARRL National Convention: Find Out What's In Store at the 2012 ARRL National Convention

On October 12-14, the ARRL will welcome members and friends to the 2012 ARRL National Convention in Santa Clara, California. Hosted by Pacificon and sponsored by members of the Mount Diablo Amateur Radio Club, this three-day event is sure to be jam-packed with excitement, exhibits and, of course, the ever-popular ARRL EXPO. Use this handy guide to find ARRL-sponsored activities and exhibits throughout the event. Read more here.

+ Looking Ahead to WRC-15

From an Amateur Radio perspective, the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) was very successful. According to IARU Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD, the IARU Administrative Council will meet in the next 45 days and will address the agenda items for the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) with an eye to building the best strategy for dealing with those items in a way that is most favorable to the Amateur Radio Service. While the IARU will be watching all agenda items in 2015, there is one agenda item that focuses on the Amateur Radio Service, and another four that may have an effect the Amateur Radio Service. Read more here.

+ Silent Key: Sean Smith, KG4WSS, Killed in Consulate Attack

Sean Smith, KG4WSS -- shown here in his Facebook photo -- was killed on September 11 in an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Sean P. Smith, KG4WSS, of Falls Church, Virginia, was killed when the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked on September 11. He was 34. Smith was one of four Americans, including Chris Stevens -- the US Ambassador to Libya -- who was killed in the attack. Smith, a native of San Diego, enlisted in the Air Force in 1995 at age 17. He served six years as a ground radio maintenance specialist, including a deployment to Oman, before leaving the service in 2002 as a staff sergeant. He was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal. Smith, who had worked at the State Department for 10 years, was in Libya on a temporary assignment when he was killed. Prior to his temporary assignment to Benghazi, Smith served for the State Department in Brussels, Baghdad, Pretoria, Montreal and The Hague. Read more here.

+ ARDF Update: A Baker's Dozen of Medals for ARDF Team USA

By ARRL Amateur Radio Direction Finding Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV

As they packed their suitcases in preparation for the World Championships of Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF), the members of Team USA were eager, but they had no idea that they would return home with 13 medals. Team USA has participated in these biennial championships since 1998, and the most medals they had won any time so far had been two, with no golds. This year, however, would be different; their practice sessions and training camps would make them better prepared than ever.

The sport of ARDF -- also called foxtailing, foxhunting and radio-orienteering -- has undergone many changes since the first World Championships in 1980, but the basics remain unchanged. A championship course has five transmitters in a mapped area of rural and wooded terrain, typically 1000 acres or more. When Fox #1 comes on the air, contestants set out from the start as and try to be the fastest to "punch in" at all required transmitters and then make it to the finish line in another part of the forest. Read more here.

Federal Employees Can Help Support ARRL through the 2012 Combined Federal Campaign

For the past 11 years, the US Office of Personnel Management has designated the ARRL as a participant in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). This campaign for federal government civilian employees, US Postal Service workers and members of the military has generated almost $192,000 for ARRL programs since it first became an option for federal employees to donate to the League. The CFC provides an easy way to support the ARRL's effort to represent its members and all radio amateurs. Read more here.

+ On the Air: Last Man Standing Plans Special Event Station

The crew of the hit ABC comedy Last Man Standing is planning a radio event on Sunday, October 28 to kick off the show's second season. Last Man Standing features Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, KA0XTT. According to Last Man Standing Producer John Amodeo, NN6JA, Mike's station is back this year with even more gear. In addition, all the antennas that were in the catwalk last year have been relocated to the studio's roof.

Using special event call sign K6T, the show's crew will operate on HF, VHF, UHF, D-STAR, EchoLink and IRLP to communicate with fans of the show; 12 members of the Last Man Standing crew are licensed amateurs. Members of the Los Angeles-based PAPA System will assist the crew with running the event. The crew will use several PAPA System repeaters to run analog VHF, UHF and D-STAR communications. They will also be monitoring the Disney Amateur Radio Interconnect repeater system, which has repeaters in New York City (W2ABC), Florida (WD4WDW and WD4WDW-B/D-STAR) and California (KB6AJE), as well as EchoLink capability. A list of frequencies and an operating schedule will be posted on the KA0XTT Facebook page and on Amodeo's Twitter feed in the next few weeks. A special QSL card will be sent to all hams who contact K6T; hams do not need to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope, nor do they need to send postage or "green stamps."

Last Man Standing begins its second season on Friday, November 2 at 8/7 Central.

Solar Update

he Sun, as seen on Thursday, September 20, 2012 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 "The summer Sun knows me by name" Cook, K7RA, reports: The average daily sunspot numbers dropped this week, from 83.1 to 56, while the average daily solar flux declined from 118.9 to 101.4. The latest forecast shows the predicted solar flux at 115 on September 20-22, 120 on September 23-25, then 125 and 130 on September 26-27, and rising to 140 on September 28-October 1. On October 2, it drops to 135, 130 on October 3-5, and back down to 125 on October 6-7. The flux values then dip below 100 on October 14-16, and peak again around 140 on October 25-28. The predicted planetary A index is 10 on September 20, 12 on September 21-22, 10 on September 23 and 5 on September 24-28, 10 again on September 29, and 5 on September 30-October 2. Look for more on the ARRL website on Friday, September 21. 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 Brady Bunch's It's a Sunshine Day.

+ DXCC News: ARRL DXCC Desk Approves 11 Operations for DXCC Credit

On September 19, the ARRL DXCC Desk approved the following 2012 operations for DXCC credit: 3B8/IW5ELA (Mauritius); E40VB (Palestine); JY8VB (Jordan); 9A8VB (Croatia); E7/UA4WHX (Bosnia-Herzegovina); 4O7VB (Montenegro); Z38VB (Macedonia); ZA/UA4WHX (Albania); YU9VB (Serbia); EY8/UA4WHX (Tajikistan), and UN/UA4WHX (Kazakhstan).

This Week in Radiosport

This week:

  • September 21 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • September 22 -- FOC QSO Party; AGCW VHF/UHF Contest
  • September 23 -- BARTG Sprint 75
  • September 24 -- QRP Homebrewer Sprint
  • September 25 -- 222 MHz Fall Sprint (local time)
  • September 26 -- SKCC Sprint
  • September 26-27 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test

Next week:

  • September 29 -- Microwave Fall Sprint (local time)
  • September 29-30 -- Texas QSO Party; CQ WW RTTY Contest
  • October 2 -- ARS Spartan Sprint
  • October 3 -- German Telegraphy Contest
  • October 3 -- 432 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 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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