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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
November 1, 2012
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


+ Available on ARRL Audio News.

+ Public Service: As Hurricane Sandy Wreaks Havoc on East Coast, Hams Heed the Call to Help

This image from NASA shows Hurricane Sandy as it moves toward the East Coast on October 29.

Even though Hurricane Sandy was declared a post-tropical cyclone by the time it made its final landfall -- just 5 miles southwest of Atlantic City, New Jersey at about 8 PM EDT on Monday, October 29 -- the storm still had winds in excess of 80 miles per hour. Hams across the region, from the Carolinas to Maine, responded to requests for assistance and activated local nets, supported the Hurricane Watch Net's and the VoIP Hurricane Net's operations, assisted their local and state Emergency Operations Centers and provided assistance at shelters and wherever needed. Read more here.

+ Public Service: Hawaii Hams Activate for Tsunami Warning

This image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows the far-reaching effects of the 7.7 magnitude earthquake that struck British Columbia on October 28. The earthquake triggered a tsunami warning in Hawaii.

On Saturday, October 27, radio amateurs in Hawaii responded to a tsunami warning, providing valuable and timely information to emergency management officials. The tsunami was triggered by a magnitude 7.7 earthquake which struck at struck at 5:04 PM HST (0304 UTC on Sunday, October 28) in the Queen Charlotte Islands, located off the coast of British Columbia, Canada.

At 7:14 PM HST, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center sent out a tsunami warning and said that the tsunami had an estimated wave arrival time of 10:28 PM. After being notified, Hawaii State Civil Defense RACES Coordinator Ron Hashiro, AH6RH, began notifying Oahu leaders via cell phone while ARRL Hawaii Section Emergency Coordinator Kevin Bogan, AH6QO, began activating the ARES Emergency Coordinators on each island. Read more here.

+ Robin Walbridge, KD4OHZ, Missing at Sea after Sinking of Tall Ship Bounty; Ship's Electrician Doug Faunt, N6TQS, Rescued

Every DXer knows the story of the HMS Bounty and Pitcairn Island, VP6: In 1789, the HMS Bounty -- a small three-masted sailing vessel sent by Britain's Royal Navy to the Pacific on a supply expedition -- was roiled by tension between its crew and its captain, William Bligh. After landing in Tahiti and taking on a cargo of breadfruit, the Bounty set sail for the West Indies; it never reached that destination. Instead, Master's Mate Fletcher Christian led the men in a mutiny, eventually allowing Bligh and his loyalists to sail off in a longboat. After an arduous journey, they reached safety at the Dutch-owned port of Kupang. Christian and his followers ended up on Pitcairn Island where they burned the Bounty and settled on the island. Passing ships did not discover the enclave until after the turn of the century.

Bounty Captain Robin Walbridge, KD4OHZ, is presumed lost at sea.

On Monday, October 29, a replica of the Bounty -- built in 1960 for a remake of the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty -- sank off the coast of North Carolina as Hurricane Sandy made its way toward New Jersey. Of its 16 crew members, 14 were rescued by the US Coast Guard. Bounty Captain Robin Walbridge, KD4OHZ, never made it to one of the two deployed life rafts and is presumed dead. Claudene Christian, who claimed to be a direct descendent of Fletcher Christian, was unresponsive and passed away at a North Carolina hospital on Monday evening.

Doug Faunt, N6TQS, of Oakland, California, was one of the 14 who was rescued by the Coast Guard; Faunt served as a deckhand and was also the ship's electrician. A noted DXer and ARRL Life Member, he was part of the FO0AAA DXpedition crew in 2000 to Clipperton Island. He was also a member of the VP6DIA DXpedition to Ducie Island, and in 2007, he was part of the DXpedition to Lakshadweep. According to Spud Roscoe, VE1BC, Faunt had satellite communications equipment and Winlink capabilities on board the Bounty, but he was not the ship's radio officer. "Sailing on replica ships was a hobby of Doug's," Roscoe told the ARRL. "He had previously sailed across the Great Australian Bight on a replica of the HMB Endeavour, Captain Cook's ship. He was an able seaman of the watch." Roscoe was the radio officer on the replica Bounty for its original voyage to France in 1962.

Doug Fount, N6TQS, served as a deckhand and electrician on the Bounty. He, along with 13 others, was rescued by the US Coast Guard.

Faunt told the ARRL that the Bounty crew tried various methods, including a satellite phone, to call for help, "but we got nothing when tried calling out on HF. We tried calling the Maritime Mobile Net, but nothing was out there. We had Winlink on the ship that we used for e-mail and accessing the Internet to post to blogs and to Facebook, and we finally found an e-mail address for the Coast Guard. As a last-ditch effort, we used Winlink to e-mail the Coast Guard for help. Within an hour, we heard a C-130 plane, and later, a helicopter overhead." According to Faunt, it was Walbridge, as master of the ship, who sent out the distress messages.

"I don't know how I made it off the ship," Faunt recalled. "I had finished serving a long watch, and then we started going down. I was exhausted. I had to swim to get to the life raft. The water was full of rigging, and here I am, in my Gumby suit, trying to swim. It was so difficult. While swimming to the raft, I came up for air and a spar was coming at me. I finally found a raft and tried to climb into it, but I almost didn't make it, tired as I was. Through the help of my shipmates who were already aboard the raft, I got on." The two life rafts were out about 100 miles from shore when they were rescued.

The vessel left Connecticut on Thursday, October 25 with a crew of 11 men and five women, ranging in age from 20-66. After being treated at a hospital in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Faunt arrived back home in California on Wednesday, October 31. "I'm looking for a new boat to sail and a DXpedition to go on," Faunt told the ARRL. "Ham radio got me into my position on the Bounty, and ham radio got me out alive!"

Nominations Now Open for the George Hart Distinguished Service Award

Each year at its Annual Meeting in January, the ARRL Board of Directors bestows the George Hart Distinguished Service Award to a League member whose service to the ARRL's Field Organization is of the most exemplary nature. This award is named in honor of George Hart, W1NJM, long-time Communications Manager at ARRL Headquarters and chief developer of the National Traffic System.

Selection criteria for the George Hart Distinguished Service Award include:

  • Operating record with the National Traffic System, or
  • Participation within the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), or
  • Station appointments and/or leadership positions held within the Field Organization.

Nominations for the George Hart Distinguished Service Award shall be accepted from anyone and shall be submitted to the Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager at ARRL Headquarters by November 1. Nominations should document as thoroughly as possible the nominee's lifetime activities and achievements within the ARRL Field Organization. It is expected that nominated candidates will have 15 or more years of distinguished service. The Programs and Services Committee will serve as the Review Committee, with the Board of Directors making the final determination at its Annual Meeting in January. Recipients will be given an engraved plaque and cover letter, and will be profiled in QST.

Nominations for the 2013 George Hart Distinguished Service Award, including any related supporting material and letters of recommendation, may be e-mailed to ARRL Headquarters to the attention of ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager Dave Patton, NN1N, or to ARRL Field and Public Service Team Supervisor Steve Ewald, WV1X. Nominations and supporting materials must be received no later than November 1, 2012 to be considered.

ARRL Invites Nominations for 2012 International Humanitarian Award

Nominations are open for the 2012 ARRL International Humanitarian Award. This award is conferred upon an amateur or amateurs who demonstrate devotion to human welfare, peace and international understanding through Amateur Radio. The League established the annual prize to recognize those radio amateurs who have used ham radio to provide extraordinary service to others in times of crisis or disaster. As one of the few telecommunication services that allow people throughout the world from all walks of life to meet and talk with each other, Amateur Radio spreads goodwill across political boundaries. The ARRL International Humanitarian Award recognizes the Amateur Radio Service's unique role in international communication and the assistance amateurs regularly provide to people in need. Read more here.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, November 1, 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 Cook, K7RA, reports: Solar activity quieted this week, with the average daily sunspot numbers down nearly 37 points to 58.4 and the average daily solar flux declining 27 points to 116.9. The predicted solar flux values are 105 and 100 for November 1-2, 95 on November 3-4, 100 on November 5-6, 105 on November 7, 120 on November 8-11, 125 on November 12-13, 130 on November 14 and peaking at 135 on November 15-20. It then drops to a minimum of 100 on November 29-December 1, then back to a high of 135 by mid-December. The predicted planetary A index is 20, 10 and 8 on November 1-3, 5 on November 4-5, 7 on November 6-7, then 10, 20 and 15 on November 8-10, back down to 5 on November 11-December 4, and 10, 20 and 15 again on December 5-7. A coronal mass ejection (CMA) hit the Earth's magnetic field at 1530 UTC on October 31. This contributes to the prediction of a planetary A index of 20 on November 1. Look for more on the ARRL website on Friday, November 2. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page.

+ ARRL Recognizes: James Klitzing, W6PQL, Wins October QST Cover Plaque Award

The winner of the October QST Cover Plaque award is James Klitzing, W6PQL, for his article "Solid State 1 kW Linear Amplifier for 2 Meters." Congratulations James! The QST Cover Plaque Award -- given to the author or authors of the best article in each issue -- is determined by a vote of ARRL members on the QST Cover Plaque Poll web page. Cast a ballot for your favorite article in the November issue today.

+ 2012 ARRL Field Day Results Now Online

If you can't wait for your December issue of QST to arrive in the mail to see how you did in the 2012 ARRL Field Day, don't worry! The results -- including a copy of the QST article (with line scores) and a results database -- are now available on the ARRL website. Be sure to also check out the 101 comments in the Field Day Soapbox. It's not too soon to start making plans for next year -- the 2013 ARRL Field Day is scheduled for June 22-23, 2013.

This Week in Radiosport

This week:

  • November 2 -- NCCC Sprint
  • November 3 -- IPARC Contest (CW)
  • November 3-4 -- ARRL EME Contest; Ukrainian DX Contest
  • November 3-5 -- ARRL November Sweepstakes (CW)
  • November 4 -- IPARC Contest (SSB); High Speed Club CW Contest; DARC 10 Meter Digital Contest
  • November 6 -- ARS Spartan Sprint

Next week:

  • November 9 -- NCCC Sprint
  • November 10-11 -- Kentucky QSO Party; WAE DX Contest (RTTY); 10-10 International Fall Contest (Digital); JIDX Phone Contest; OK/OM DX Contest (CW)
  • November 10-11 -- CQ-WE Contest
  • November 11 -- SKCC Weekend Sprintathon
  • November 12 -- NAQCC-EU Monthly Sprint
  • November 14-15 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test
  • November 15 -- NAQCC Straight Key/Bug 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.

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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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