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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
October 24, 2013
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
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Regulatory: FCC Readjusts Dates, Deadlines As Shutdown Ends

The FCC has extended or adjusted filing dates and deadlines in the wake of the partial government shutdown, during which Commission systems went dark. For radio amateurs, the biggest impact is for those with vanity call sign applications in the hopper. The Commission said in a October 17 Public Notice that because the Universal Licensing System (ULS) was unavailable for Amateur Service licensees to file vanity call sign applications, the Commission established October 22 as the receipt date for all vanity applications filed between October 1 and October 22.

"Ordinarily, vanity call sign applications are processed on a day-by-day basis, with a random selection procedure used to determine the processing order for applications filed on the same day," the FCC said. "In order to accommodate the orderly resumption of business, however, vanity call sign applications filed via ULS between October 17 and October 22 will all be processed as if they were filed on October 22, 2013. In addition, any vanity call sign applications that were filed by mail between October 1 and October 22 also will be treated as if they were filed on October 22, 2013."

The FCC went on to say, "All ULS applications and notifications filed in accordance with the Commission's rules...that were originally due on October 1, 2013, through and including November 4, 2013, are now due on November 4, 2013." With the ULS again available, the FCC was encouraging applicants and licensees to file any applications and notifications "as soon as practicable." Filings due between October 1 and October 6 were due on October 22, 2013, the FCC said. Filings due between October 7 and October 16 will be due 16 days after the original filing date, an extension equivalent to the period of the FCC closure.

This means, for example, that if a filing was due October 8, it now will be due October 24 -- an extension of 16 days. "To the extent the revised due dates for filings under this Public Notice fall on a weekend or other Commission holiday," the FCC continued, "they will be due on the next business day. [A]ny regulatory and enforcement filings that would otherwise be required to be filed between October 17 and November 4...will be due for filing on November 4, 2013 (the first business day following a 16-day period after the Commission's October 17 reopening)."

The FCC said it would not consider the Commission open for the filing of documents with statutory deadlines until Tuesday, October 22, 2013.

ARR: VEC staffers Amanda Grimaldi, KB1VUV (left), and China Chaney work through the stacks of exam session paperwork that had piled up during the shutdown. [Maria Somma, AB1FM, photo]

Because Amateur Radio testing was able to continue during the shutdown, exam session paperwork continued to flow into the ARRL VEC. Once the FCC was up and running again, it was not long before application processing resumed, and grants started showing up again, much to the delight of those who had been waiting for new licenses, upgrades, and vanity call sign grants.

"We had approximately 250 sessions and over 1500 forms in the queue," ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, said as the FCC reopened. By the end of the day, the VEC staff had dispatched its entire backlog to the FCC for processing.

Regulatory: FCC Turns Away Petition to Expand Technician 10 Meter Privileges

The FCC has dismissed a Petition for Rule Making that sought to expand Technician privileges in the 10 meter band. The Toledo Mobile Radio Association (TMRA) had asked the Commission last June to expand the spectrum available to Technician licensees on 10 meters to include operating privileges in the FM portion of the band, from 29.520 to 29.700 MHz. Novice and Technician licensees now may operate on 10 meters from 28.000 to 28.500 MHz.

"We conclude that TMRA has not presented grounds for the Commission to revisit the question of operating privileges for Technician class licensees," the FCC said October 17 in denying the petition. The FCC said that Technicians may transmit through repeaters licensed to a General class or higher licensee that have an output channel in the 29.5 to 29.7 MHz segment, as long as the repeater has a 2 meter or 70 centimeter input.

Further, the FCC pointed out that the current licensing structure was developed "with the expressed desire of the amateur community to provide an incentive, ie, additional frequency privileges, to motivate Amateur Radio operators to advance their communication and technical skills." The FCC noted that it increased Technician privileges in 2006 to include Novice and Technician Plus privileges. "A Technician class licensee can upgrade to a General class operator license and receive significantly more frequency privileges (including those at issue here) by answering correctly a minimum of twenty-six questions on a thirty-five question written examination," the FCC said. TMRA, the Commission concluded, had submitted no evidence that the FCC should depart from its "long-standing policy of providing additional frequency privileges as an incentive" for license advancement.

TMRA had asserted that amending §97.301(e) of Part 97 would extend Technician voice privileges on 10 meters to "coincide with today's technical advancement of the Amateur Radio Service."

Radiosport: Teams Are Set for WRTC-2014 Competition

World Radiosport Team Championship 2014 (WRTC-2014) has announced the 55 two-operator teams that will be invited to compete next July in New England. Team leaders, selected earlier from each qualifying region based on 3 years of qualifying scores, can pick any operator as a teammate. Three-time WRTC gold medalist Dan Street, K1TO, managed and completed the selection process.

"We are very pleased with the quality of operators selected as teammates," he said. "Although team leaders could select a partner from anywhere in the world, very few opted to choose outside their own selection area." Street predicted the field will be "very competitive." They will include the top four teams from WRTC-2010 in Russia.

WRTC-2014 will take place July 8-14, 2014, in New England.

WRTC-2014 Chairman Doug Grant, K1DG, said the sponsors were pleased to see a mix of WRTC veterans and first-time participants. The Teams represent more than 30 countries and represent a wide range of personal backgrounds. "While the focus will be on the competition, we are looking forward to hosting the teams as they share and spread the international goodwill of the ham radio community in the Team Village during WRTC Week," Grant said.

Some interesting stories are hidden within the team pairings. Two teams are made up of family members. VY2ZM/K1ZM chose his son, KK6ZM, and KU1CW chose his cousin EA5GTQ. This WRTC will have a female team, with DL1QQ selecting DL8DYL as her partner. E77DX declined his spot as team leader to become OE3DIA's teammate, enabling 9A5K to gain entry as a team leader. The teams of ES5TV and ES2RR and 5B4WN and 5B4AFM will be operating together in their third consecutive WRTC. Four sponsored teams are yet to be announced. A team sponsor donation earns the right to select a team.

Direct questions regarding WRTC-2014 team selection by e-mail to Read more (includes list of teams).

Public Service: Colorado Radio Amateurs Recognized for Fires, Floods Response

ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Director Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, earlier this month presented the radio amateurs of Colorado with a plaque in appreciation of their assistance in the aftermath of the wildfires and flash floods that struck that state earlier this year.

(L-R) ARRL Colorado Section Manager Jack Ciaccia, WMØG; ARRL Rocky Mountain Director Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, and ARRL Colorado SEC Robert Wareham, NØESQ. [Kay Craigie, N3KN, photo]

"Director Mileshosky and other members of the ARRL Executive Committee, which was meeting in Aurora, Colorado, invited Colorado Section Manager Jack Ciaccia, WMØG, and SEC Robert Wareham, NØESQ, to join us for dinner, so we could thank the amateurs in Colorado, through them, for all their work during the fires and floods," explained ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN.

The inscription on the plaque reads, "Presented to the leaders, members and volunteers of Colorado ARES and the entire Colorado Section field organization. In appreciation for your service and dedication during and following the wildfires and flooding of 2013." It was signed by Rocky Mountain Director Mileshosky and Vice Director Dwayne Allen, WY7FD.

Public Service: Australia's WICEN Activates to Support Bushfires Emergency

Australian Amateur Radio volunteers, operating under the WICEN banner, were activated to support communication in the aftermath of bushfires in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. WICEN is Australia's equivalent of ARES/RACES. The incident controller has since asked WICEN volunteers to remain on standby until further notice.

"Thank you to the many WICEN members who have responded to the activation," said WICEN NSW President Compton Allen, VK2HRX. The official activation was to support the declared state of emergency in the Lithgow area, west of Sydney, leading to mandatory evacuations.

Some 200 homes have been lost have been lost in the dozens of fires, which have caused smoke to overspread the City of Sydney. The NSW Rural Fire Services had feared that up to four separate blazes could come together to form a huge fire front, but by midweek the crisis had eased, and evacuees were being allowed to return to their homes. New South Wales has been badly hit by bushfires after the hottest September on record, and officials predict conditions will worsen this week.

WICEN operates as a specialist support squad under the NSW State Disaster Plan. -- Jim Linton, VK3PC, chairman of the IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee; BBC

Public Service: Ham Radio Volunteers in India, Philippines Wrap Up Disaster Responses

India's National Coordinator for Disaster Communication Jayu Bhide, VU2JAU, has expressed appreciation to the Amateur Radio community for keeping 7145 kHz clear so that ham radio volunteers could pass emergency traffic in the wake of a cyclone. Teams of radio amateurs responded October 13 to assist in the aftermath of powerful Cyclone Phailin, which came ashore at Odisha and Andhra Pradesh in the Bay of Bengal. The storm generated gusting winds and heavy rain, forcing the advance evacuation of some 500,000 residents.

Jayu Bhide, VU2JAU

"The main effect of the wind was seen in coastal areas, which were evacuated before the cyclone," Bhide said. "In spite of wind speed, all the telephone lines and mobile towers were working, and communication was not affected as we thought earlier." Bhide had asked that 7145 kHz be kept clear, as Dilip, VU2DPI; Mithilesh, VU3BHI, and Sameer, VU2AOR worked around the clock, passing essential messages and doing what they could to help.

The latest cyclone revived memories of a monster storm that hit the same region 14 years ago, killing 10,000 people. Better preparation and early evacuations kept the death toll to 21 this time. Thousands took shelter in public buildings ahead of the cyclone. Many mud homes and farms were destroyed, and uprooted trees blocked roads. Agricultural activity was expected to take a long time to recover.

Power remained out this week in the Ganjam District of Odisha, where the entire power system reportedly was blown away. The power outage has caused an acute water shortage.

Two days later in the Philippines a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the islands of Bohol and Cebu, causing casualties and severe infrastructure damage. Philippine Amateur Radio Association volunteers responded. Ramon Anquilan, DU1UGZ, said the earthquake occurred just as work crews were about to clean up the debris left by Typhoon Santi. He asked that 7095 kHz be kept clear for emergency traffic.

According to messages via HF, on 2 meters and via EchoLink, many buildings were damaged, bridges collapsed, power knocked out and schools closed. Hams also passed reports on weather conditions and aftershocks. The earthquake hit on a national holiday in the Philippines, at the beginning of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. Media accounts reported landslides in some areas, with more than 8500 homes destroyed. The death toll topped 180 by week's end. -- Jim Linton, VK3PC, IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee chair; media reports

Your League: ARRL On-Line Auction Now Underway!

Let the bidding begin! The 8th annual ARRL On-Line Auction is now underway. The 2013 Auction will run through October 31.

This year's auction offers 229 items, including transceivers, amplifiers, antenna tuners, test gear, hand-held transceivers, and QST "Product Review" equipment. A number of items were donated by many of our business partners. The selection also includes some vintage ham gear as well as several rare books.

Proceeds from the yearly On-Line Auction benefit ARRL education programs including activities to license new hams, strengthen Amateur Radio's emergency service training, offer continuing technical and operating education, and create instructional materials.

Bidders need to register. If you have participated in a past ARRL On-Line Auction, you will be able to retrieve your auction user ID and password. If you are new to the ARRL On-Line Auction, you will need to follow the simple registration process.

In order to fully enjoy the ARRL On-Line Auction, bidders should read the auction policies.

Your League: ARRL Board Rectifies Award Miscue

At its July 2013 meeting the ARRL Board of Directors gave the wrong award to the right person. Brian D. Justin, WA1ZMS/4, was recommended by the Programs and Services Committee to receive the 2013 ARRL Technical Innovation Award, but a drafting error crept in that changed the name of the award used in the motion during the board meeting. The error has been corrected by unanimous e-mail vote of the 15 directors.

The Technical Innovation Award honors accomplishments and contributions "of the most exemplary nature within the framework of technical research, development and application of new ideas and future systems in the context of Amateur Radio activities." Justin earned the award through "a distinguished lifelong Amateur Radio career" during which he has orchestrated expeditions that garnered the first VUCC on 47 GHz, 76 GHz, 122 GHz, 145 GHz, and 241 GHz.

The Board also recognized Justin's accomplishments in building several homebrew millimeter-wave equipped stations, for continuing to operate a transatlantic, high-power 2 meter CW beacon, and for operating repeaters from 146 to 1200 MHz. Justin, an ARRL Life Member, was the recipient of the 2003 Microwave Development Award.

At the same time the Board recognized James Klitzing, W6PQL, as the recipient of the 2012 Doug DeMaw, W1FB, Technical Excellence Award for his October 2012 QST article "Solid State 1 kW Linear Amplifier for 2 Meters." The Technical Excellence Award was established in 1975 and was renamed in 1997 to honor the late Doug DeMaw, W1FB, a former ARRL Headquarters technical editor and well-known Amateur Radio author.

Your League: Southeastern Division Election in Progress

Attention ARRL full members in the Southeastern Division (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands): An election is underway for Director and Vice Director of your division for the 3 year term beginning January 1, 2014.

The candidates for Director are Doug Rehman, K4AC, and Greg Sarratt, W4OZK. The candidates for Vice Director are George Hawrysko, K4AWA, and Jim Millsap, WB4NWS.

If you were an ARRL member as of September 10 and your ARRL membership record includes a valid e-mail address, on October 1 you were sent an invitation to vote electronically. Otherwise, you should have received a paper ballot in the mail. If you received a paper ballot you also have the option of voting electronically, as explained in the mailing. As a Southeastern Division member, if you are logged into the ARRL website you will see a link to "Election News" below the "Your Favorites" window. That is your path leading to the candidates' statements and electronic ballot.

If you have difficulty contact Lisa Kustosik, KA1UFZ, at ARRL Headquarters. The deadline for receipt of ballots is noon Eastern Time Friday, November 15, 2013. -- David Sumner, K1ZZ, Secretary

Your League: New Free QST App Available for Android Devices!

ARRL members using Android tablets and phones now can download a dedicated app to access the digital edition of QST. The app gives ARRL members access to read QST online or choose to download individual issues of the journal for offline reading. The QST app is free in the Google Play Store (search for "QST").

The digital edition of QST includes every article, every column, every ad, everything in the printed magazine and more! After you've tried it, tell us what you think and share your feedback.

Members now have three great ways to access the current digital edition of QST and archives:

  1. Web edition (laptops, desktop computers, and many mobile devices)

  2. Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch), available free from Apple's App Store

  3. Android devices (tablets, phones, and more), available free from the Google Play Store

Members must have a valid ARRL website login to access digital editions of QST. Need help? Visit the digital edition help page for frequently asked questions. Need more help? Contact Member Services by telephone (860) 594-0200 or (888) 277-5289 (US only) or e-mail.

Milestones: Former Western Washington SM Harry Lewis, W7JWJ, SK

Former ARRL Western Washington Section Manager Harry Lewis, W7JWJ, of Seattle, died October 19. He was 90. Lewis served as WWA Section Manager from 1991 until 2003.

Harry Lewis, W7JWJ (left), receives the Mentor/Instructor Award from then-ARRL Northwestern Division Director Greg Milnes, W7OZ (SK) in 2005.

"Harry was very active in ARRL for many years and held many positions in the organization," said current Western Washington SM Monte Simpson, K2MLS.

His late wife, former Northwestern Division Director and Western Washington SM Mary Lewis, W7QGP, died last March. Survivors include a daughter, Diana, K7ETY, and a son, Gary, WA7BBJ. In addition to Section Manager, Lewis served as an ARRL Technical Coordinator, Official Emergency Station, Official Bulletin Station, and ARRL Registered Instructor who mentored hundreds of prospective and new hams. In 2005 Lewis and Connecticut Section Manager Betsey Doane, K1EIC, were honored as the co-recipients of the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Mentor/Instructor of the Year Award.

Born in British Columbia, Canada, and first licensed in 1941, Lewis was a Life Member of ARRL and QCWA. He was a broadcast engineer and, earlier, a Morse telegrapher. Lewis was a crack high-speed CW operator who could copy code in excess of 75 WPM. Services will be announced.

Milestones: Small Wonder Labs Closes

Small Wonder Labs, a stalwart in the QRP arena since the mid-1990s, is closing its doors.

"There comes a time in everyone's career when they've 'had enough!' I've reached that point," SWL founder Dave Benson, K1SWL, announced October 10 on his website. "Effective immediately, I am closing Small Wonder Labs. I have discontinued sales of the RockMite and will ship out the last several dozen orders shortly."

Dave Benson, K1SWL, enjoying life in New Hampshire.

Benson says he'll continue to support existing customers' requests for replacement or missing RockMite parts "over the short term." Benson said he is coordinating with another QRP vendor to assume production and sales of the RockMite. "I'll keep the Small Wonder Labs website active for a year, and it'll maintain documentation for my earlier products," he added, noting that he does not keep parts inventory for long-discontinued products and that he does not have "just one more board" for any of his discontinued kits. "Please don't ask!" he stressed, directing customers to the Kits and Parts dot Com site.

SWL is also known for Benson's SW and DSW-II series of transceivers and his PSK Warblers, among others. Now ensconced in the woods of New Hampshire, Benson said his home is finished and "it's time for me to move on to other interests." An electrical engineer from Connecticut, Benson started SWL in 1996, although he's stepped back from his Amateur Radio activities in recent years. "I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who's purchased my kits over the years," he said. You've been great, and it was fun!"

DX: Wake Island K9W DXpedition Attempting to Reschedule

The sponsors for the Wake Island K9W commemorative DXpedition that was derailed as a result of the partial government shutdown say they are continuing to work with the US Air Force to reschedule the operation.

The US Air Force manages Wake Island, and access is restricted.

"Once we have the new dates, we will post them here and through the normal Amateur Radio communication media," the group announced October 22. "Thank you for your patience and understanding."

The K9W postponement was attributed to a paperwork delay resulting from the October 1 partial government shutdown. Team member Craig Thompson, K9CT, told Bloomberg News early this month that all the paperwork was in place, except for final travel orders that needed one last Pentagon signature. The K9W team was to board a military flight to Wake Island October 4 but put its plans on hold after determining that it would not get final approval for the flight, which occurs every two weeks.

DX: Operation Approved for DXCC Credit

The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved the 2013 operation of T6JR -- Afghanistan for DX Century Club credit. If a request for DXCC credit for this operation has been rejected in a prior application, contact ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, to be placed on the list for an update to your record. Please note the submission date and/or reference number of your application in order to expedite the search for any rejected contacts.

DXCC is Amateur Radio's premier award that hams can earn by confirming on-the-air contacts with 100 DXCC "entities," most of which are countries in the traditional sense. You can begin with the basic DXCC award and work your way up to the DXCC Honor Roll. Learn more. -- ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L

Getting It Right!

The article "The ARRL Centennial QSO Party Starts January 1, 2014!" in The ARRL Letter, October 17, 2013, inadvertently omitted 20 meters from the list of qualifying bands.

Solar Update

Solar Sage Tad "House of the Rising Sunspot" Cook, K7RA, reports from Seattle: Solar activity, including sunspots, increased this week, suggesting that we are now in the midst of a second peak in cycle 24.

Sunspot numbers this week ran up all the way to 228, a level not seen since October 27 through November 1, 2003, when the daily sunspot numbers were 238, 230, 330, 293, 266, and 277. Prior to that, on January 11, 2003, the daily sunspot number was 238.

Average daily sunspot numbers increased more than 35 points to 162 (when compared to the previous 7 day period, October 10-16).

Average daily solar flux increased more than 13 points to 139.6. Geomagnetic indices indicate a quiet geomagnetic field.

Predicted solar flux this week:

  • 160, 165, 160, 155, and 150 on October 24-28

  • 145 on October 29-30

  • 135, 105, and 115 on October 31-November 2

  • 120 on November 3-5

  • 125 on November 6-10

  • 130 on November 11

  • 135 on November 12-13

Predicted planetary A index:

  • 15, 25, 15 and 12 on October 24-27

  • 8 on October 28-30

  • 5 on October 31 through November 9

In Friday's bulletin look for an updated forecast as well as reader reports.

This Week in Radiosport
  • Oct 26-27 -- CQ World Wide SSB Contest

  • Nov 1 -- NS Weekly Sprint, CW

  • Nov 2-3-- Ukranian DX Contest, SSB+CW

  • Nov 2-3 -- Himalayan Contest, SSB+CW

  • Nov 2-3 -- Radio Club of America QSO Party, SSB

  • Nov 2-4 -- ARRL November Sweepstakes, CW

  • Nov 2-4 -- Collegiate ARC Championship, CW

  • Nov 3 -- DARC 10-Meter Digital "Corona"

  • Nov 4 -- OK1WC Memorial Contest, SSB+CW

  • Nov 5 -- ARS Spartan Sprint, CW

Upcoming ARRL Section, State and Division Conventions and Events

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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.

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