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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
January 10, 2013
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News.

+ Logbook of The World Processing Speed Increases Thanks to New Hardware

The processing queue for Logbook of The World (LoTW) -- the ARRL's online log processing system -- has been shrinking steadily since Monday, January 7, when the system was brought back online after the completion of previously announced maintenance involving the installation of a new database server equipped with solid state drives (SSDs).

+ FCC News: Comment Deadline Set in WRC-07 Implementation Proceeding

As previously reported, the FCC has proposed to amend its rules to implement the allocation decisions of the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07) and to make certain other changes. Notice appeared in the December 27, 2012 issue of the Federal Register, which started the clock on a 60-day window for the submission of comments. Thus, comments are due no later than February 25, 2013, with reply comments due no later than March 27, 2013.

While most of the 130-page Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order does not directly affect the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite Services, two sections of the document are of particular interest to amateurs.

Specifically, the FCC proposes to upgrade the Amateur Service allocation in the upper half of the 160 meter band (1900-2000 kHz) from secondary to primary, while deleting the existing allocation to the Radiolocation Service. This is possible, because the re-accommodation of radiolocation stations displaced by the expansion of the AM broadcasting band to 1705 kHz has been completed and there are no non-federal radiolocation stations licensed to operate in the 1900-2000 kHz band.

The FCC also seeks comments on whether, and how, an amateur low frequency (LF) allocation might be able to co-exist with Power Line Carrier (PLC) systems that are used by electric utilities to monitor and control the power grid. The Commission notes that while PLC systems do not have the status of an allocation, they carry "communications important to the reliability and security of electric service to the public." WRC-07 created a new secondary allocation to the amateur service at 135.7-137.8 kHz that already has been implemented in a number of other countries.

The ARRL will be preparing comments supporting both of these allocations. Individuals wishing to comment directly to the FCC should carefully read paragraphs 13-24 of the NPRM and follow the instructions contained in paragraph 175.

+ FCC News: Senate Approves Second Term for FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn

Mignon Clyburn was confirmed by the US Senate on January 1 to serve a second term as FCC Commissioner.

In June 2012, President Barack Obama nominated Mignon Clyburn to serve a second term as FCC Commissioner. On January 1, 2013, the Senate confirmed her nomination, paving the way to Clyburn's first full term as one of five FCC Commissioners. "I am so pleased that the Senate has approved Commissioner Clyburn's re-nomination to the FCC," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in a written statement. "Commissioner Clyburn is an excellent and dedicated public servant and has been a strong advocate in seeking to extend the benefits of broadband to all Americans. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Commissioner Clyburn and congratulate her on her new term." Clyburn's five-year appointment is retroactive to July 1, 2012, when her first term expired. No date has yet been announced for her swearing-in ceremony.

FCC News: FCC Enforcement Actions for October-December 2012

Here's a summary of FCC enforcement actions during the past quarter (October-December 2012): Repeater-related cases: 1. General infractions (including unauthorized operation): 9. Powerline cases: 0. General infractions are listed below power line cases; be sure to scroll down the page to view them. Click here for details.

Amateur Radio in the Classroom: ARRL Executive Committee Approves Resource Grants for Five Schools

In December, the ARRL Executive Committee reviewed grant applications for the ARRL's Education & Technology Program (ETP), awarding equipment and resources valued at nearly $7000 to five schools. Two types of grants are awarded: ETP Grants and Progress Grants. ETP Grants for school radio stations are awarded to schools that provide a plan to use Amateur Radio as part of an enrichment program and/or as part of in classroom learning, while Progress Grants offer modest resource support to teachers who are currently using Amateur Radio as an instructional tool in their classrooms and who need additional resources for specific purposes. Read more here.

On the Air: ARRL January VHF Contest Offers Wintertime Fun

Stuart Turner, W0STU, of Monument, Colorado, participated in the 2011 ARRL January 2011 Sweepstakes -- his first contest ever -- operating portable from the top of Mount Herman near his home.[Photo courtesy of Stuart Turner, W0STU]

The 2013 ARRL January VHF Contest -- scheduled for the weekend of January 19-21 -- is sure to make the dreary winter days come to life with the sound of RF! "Don't let cold weather dissuade you from getting on the air," said ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. "Many a portable or rover operation has done just fine in January. Even so, the VHF bands can be tough, especially if there's no enhanced propagation; however, we had pleasant sporadic E openings on 6 meters in late December 2012, and last year's January VHF Contest also saw some sporadic E." Read more here.

ARRL in Action: ARRL in Action: What Have We Been Up to Lately?

This feature is a concise monthly update of some of the things that the ARRL is doing on behalf of its members. This installment -- which covers the month of December -- takes a look at the ARRL's Petition for Rulemaking that asks the FCC create a domestic Amateur Radio allocation at 472-479 kHz, the new Evolution of Amateur Radio exhibit at League Headquarters, updates from the ARRL Development Office, reports from the Official Observer Desk and more. Read more here.

Dayton Hamvention®: Hamvention Awards Nomination Deadline Is January 15

There is still time to nominate a radio amateur for the 2013 Dayton Hamvention® Awards: Amateur of the Year, Club of the Year, the Special Achievement Award and the Technical Excellence Award. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, January 15. Anyone may nominate a person or club for these awards, and all Amateur Radio operators are eligible to receive these awards. The winners will be recognized at the 2013 Dayton Hamvention, which runs May 17-19. Read more here.

+ New York City Ham Wins Appeal, Can Keep His Tower

In September 2010, Paul Isaacs, W2JGQ, of New York City, obtained a building permit for his Amateur Radio antenna support structure, comprised of a 40 foot tower topped by a Yagi antenna. Isaacs installed his antenna system on the roof of his four story brownstone -- 58 feet above ground -- in lower Manhattan.

The ribbon encircling the lower half of the seal says "Sigillum Civitatis Novi Eboraci," meaning "The Seal of the City of New York."

Almost four months after the erection of the system, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) declared its intention to revoke Isaacs' properly attained building permit, claiming that his Amateur Radio antenna system was not, in the Department's opinion, "an accessory use." Isaacs appealed the decision through the Department's bureaucracy, and when that didn't reverse the decision, he had a series of hearings before the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals.

In November 2012, the Board ruled that though perhaps uncommon, an Amateur Radio antenna system is indeed an accessory use under New York City's zoning ordinance and the building permit was properly granted. "The Board agrees with DCP [Department of City Planning] that the size of a use can be relevant to whether it is 'incidental to' and 'customarily found in connection with' a principal use," the Board wrote in its decision. "However, it finds that in the case of Amateur Radio towers, unlike cellular [towers] and certain other uses, there is no articulated standard to guide DOB in determining at what height a particular radio tower becomes a non-accessory."

The full decision may be found here under "Application of Paul K. Isaacs." Isaacs was represented by attorneys Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, Stuart Klein and Chris Slowik.

New Book on Handheld Transceivers, 2012 Periodicals DVD Now Available

Ring in the new year with new publications from the ARRL! Radios to Go! Getting the Most from Your Handheld Transceiver by QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, and the 2012 Periodicals DVD are now available and ready for shipping.

If you recently received a handheld transceiver -- or are contemplating purchasing one -- Radios to Go! Getting the Most from Your Handheld Transceiver is a must-have book for your Amateur Radio library. A handheld transceiver, or "HT," is often the first radio that a new ham purchases, paving the way to a lifetime of radio enjoyment. While it won't replace the radio's user's manual, Radios to Go! will open your eyes to many of the "hidden" features that can be found in a handheld transceiver. Veteran amateurs will also find a great deal of new knowledge, including how to communicate via EchoLink or IRLP, or how to use these radios as packet radio data transceivers.

The 2012 ARRL Periodicals DVD is now available and includes the complete, fully searchable collection of three ARRL journals -- QST, QEX, and the National Contest Journal (NCJ). In addition, this DVD includes source code for software projects and PC board patterns, Section News, as well as the ever-popular Contest Soapbox and Contest Results. Search the full text of every article by entering titles, call signs or names. See every word, photo, drawing and table in technical and general-interest features, columns and product reviews, plus all advertisements. Print what you see, or copy it into other applications. System requirements: Microsoft Windows and Macintosh systems, using Adobe Acrobat Reader software.

FT-817 Satellite Interface Now Available as a Kit

The satellite computer-aided tuning interface described in the October 2012 issue of QST (pages 40-43) for use with SatPC32 software and the Yaesu FT-817 transceiver is now available for purchase from the ARRL Education & Technology Program (ETP). The interface was created by Mark Spencer, WA8SME, as part of resource development for the ARRL ETP. You can order the board and the programmed PIC at a cost of $20; the complete kit is priced at $35. Earnings from the sales of these kits will be used to cover development costs, plus a donation to AMSAT. Read more here.

+ New Section Manager Appointed in New York City-Long Island

As of January 1, 2013, Jim Mezey, W2KFV, of Carle Place, New York, is the new ARRL New York City-Long Island Section Manager. ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager Dave Patton, NN1N, appointed Mezey after consulting with current ARRL New York City-Long Island Section Manager Mike Lisenco, N2YBB. Lisenco stepped down as Section Manager on being elected as ARRL Hudson Division Director. Read more here.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, January 10, 2013 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: After last week's somewhat downbeat look at sunspot cycles, we have great activity to report this week: The average daily sunspot numbers more than doubled in the past week, rising nearly 93 points to 163.3, while the average daily solar flux was up more than 37 points to 147.7. On top of that, the geomagnetic conditions were very quiet, which is a wonderful combination, and not often seen in more active solar cycles. Currently, the NOAA and USAF predict solar flux values of 175 on January 10-12, 170 on January 13-14, 165, 150 and 125 on January 15-17, 105 on January 18-19, 110 and 120 on January 20-21, 125 on January 22-24, 130 on January 25-28, 135 on January 29, and rising to 140 on January 30-February 1. The predicted planetary A index is 5 on January 10-11, 7 and 8 on January 12-13, 5 on January 14-19, 8 on January 20-21, 5 in January 22-25, 10 on January 26, 5 on January 27-February 2, and rising to 8 on February 3-5. Look for more on the ARRL website on Friday, January 11. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page.

+ Silent Key: Former QST Technical Editor Stu Cohen, N1SC (SK)

Former QST Technical Editor Stu Cohen, N1SC (SK).

Former QST Technical Editor Stu Cohen, N1SC, of Colbert, Washington, passed away January 3 after a long battle with cancer. He was 70. An ARRL member, Cohen came to Headquarters in 2002 after an active career in television broadcasting. From 1974-1993, he was the Engineering Supervisor at ABC-TV in Los Angeles. During his tenure there, Cohen was awarded an Emmy®. After leaving the ARRL in 2005, he continued his relationship with the League, becoming a Technical Advisor. Read more here.

+ ARRL Recognizes: James K. Boomer, W9UJ, Wins December QST Cover Plaque Award

The winner of the December QST Cover Plaque award is James K. Boomer, W9UJ, for his article "Delta Loop Collinear Antennas." 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 today for your favorite article from the January issue.

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:

  • How do you feel about the frequent use of macros during keyboard-to-keyboard digital contacts?
  • Did your college have an Amateur Radio club?
  • If you were applying for a job, would you mention your Amateur Radio experience on your resume?
  • Are you comfortable working around high voltage?

Visit the QuickStats page and be sure to bookmark it in your browser. Results from this QuickStats poll will be published in the April 2013 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 in Radiosport

This week:

  • January 11 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • January 12-13 -- North American QSO Party (CW); WW PMC Contest; UK DX Contest (RTTY); Michigan QRP January CW Contest
  • January 13 -- SKCC Weekend Sprintathon; NRAU-Baltic Contest; DARC 10 Meter Contest; Midwinter Contest
  • January 14 -- NAQCC-EU Monthly Sprint
  • January 16-17 -- AWA Linc Cundall Memorial CW Contest
  • January 17 -- NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint

Next week:

  • January 18 -- NCCC Sprint Ladder
  • January 19 -- Feld Hell Sprint; LZ Open Contest
  • January 19-20 -- North American QSO Party (SSB); Hungarian DX Contest; YL-ISSB QSO Party (SSB); AWA Linc Cundall Memorial CW Contest
  • January 19-21 -- ARRL January VHF Contest
  • January 21 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest
  • January 23 -- SKCC Sprint
  • January 23-24 -- 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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