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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
July 17, 2014
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


NOTE: Because of the ARRL Centennial Convention, this week's edition of The ARRL Letter is being distributed earlier than usual and will not include The K7RA Solar Update (the propagation bulletin will be posted as usual on Friday, July 18). There will be no ARRL Audio News on Friday, July 18.

Centennial Convention Will Be an Event to Remember, ARRL President Says

ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, is eagerly anticipating the ARRL National Centennial Convention this week, but with a sense of history, awe, and honor. The Convention gets underway Thursday, July 17, at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Craigie said this week that to be President when the ARRL celebrates its centennial "is an extraordinary good fortune that I am sincerely grateful for."

ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN.

"Imagine standing at one end of a row of 15 people," Craigie said. "Now imagine that on the other end of the row is Hiram Percy Maxim, W1AW. Being the inheritor of 'The Old Man's' legacy is enough to daunt anybody who doesn't need ego-reduction surgery, even before you factor in the other 13 presidents -- all of them outstanding radio amateurs."

Among those attending the Convention will be all but one of the living past Presidents of the ARRL. They are Harry Dannals, W2HD (1972-1982); Larry Price, W4RA (1984-1992); Rod Stafford, W6ROD (1995-1999), and Joel Harrison, W5ZN (2006-2010). "I spoke with Jim Haynie, W5JBP, who regrets that he can't attend but sends his very best regards," Craigie recounted. Haynie served as ARRL President from 2000 until 2005.

Craigie will host a Presidents Breakfast on Saturday morning. "In addition, we will welcome Richard Crouch, N6RC, grandson of the third ARRL President, George Bailey W1KH/W2KH," she announced. Bailey served as the League's president from 1940 until 1952. Crouch, an ARRL Life Member, is from Campbell, California. "I am honored to be in the company of these people," she added.

League Co-Founder Hiram Percy Maxim, W1AW, dons the headphones of a shipboard station while on overseas travel.

The Convention features a full schedule of Thursday Training Track classes and Friday and Saturday forums. Craigie said she believes that League co-founder Hiram Percy Maxim would be "delighted" to see these on the Centennial Convention program. "Coming from a family of inventors, he was devoted to cutting-edge technology of the early 20th century, not only in radio but also other areas such as in cinema and automobiles," she said. "Technology has advanced so much in the years following his lifetime that he wouldn't know what most of our presenters are talking about, but he'd figure out that we are moving confidently straight ahead into the future."

That would please not only HPM but "the other visionary radio amateurs who began the history we're honoring this weekend," Craigie speculated. "He would also see that the ARRL is still the relentless advocate for Amateur Radio that it was in his day. I think that would put the biggest smile of all on the face of the original W1AW.

ARRL Chief Operating Officer and Convention Co-Chair Harold Kramer, WJ1B, will preside at the official Centennial Convention opening ceremony at 8:30 AM on Friday, in the Pre-Function Area in from of the ARRL Centennial Ballroom on Level 6. Kramer and President Craigie will welcome the anticipated 500 to 1000 attendees. CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, Convention Co-Chair and ARRL New England Division Vice Director Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, Convention Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, and ARRL New England Division Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, also will be present.

Introducing the Centennial Terrace

A special donor reception on Thursday, July 17, will precede the unveiling of the new Centennial Terrace at ARRL Headquarters. The invitation-only event gets underway at 6 PM. ARRL Development Director Mary Hobart, K1MMH, will serve as master of ceremonies.

"The Terrace includes three vertical granite pillars that bear the names of the campaign committee and donors who contributed or pledged at least $10,000 to the ARRL Second Century Campaign," Hobart explained. "The Terrace also has six granite benches, a bronze Second Century Campaign medallion, and more than 75 inscribed bricks placed by donors to the campaign."

Hobart said the Centennial Terrace will expand the physical space in front of the ARRL Headquarters building that also includes the Diamond Terrace.

"It is a pleasure to recognize the generosity of radio amateurs who honor their call signs and those of others who have had a significant impact on Amateur Radio," Hobart said.

ARRL Second Century Campaign Chairman David Brandenburg, K5QR, President Craigie, and CEO Sumner are expected to make brief remarks at the reception.

Amateur Radio History on Display

A fresh display of vintage Amateur Radio equipment and artifacts will greet Convention visitors who also take the opportunity to tour ARRL Headquarters and the Maxim Memorial Station W1AW in nearby Newington. The ARRL Board of Directors' Historical Committee is responsible for the exhibit, "The Progression of Amateur Radio History and Technology." Bob Allison, WB1GCM, of the ARRL Laboratory and Mike Marinaro, WN1M, are the exhibit curators.

Some of the vintage gear in "The Progression of Amateur Radio History and Technology" display. [Bob Allison, WB1GCM, photo]

The display concept is to illustrate the progress of Amateur Radio technology from the inception of radio to the present. The exhibit will use equipment items that are typical of each era to highlight some major milestones in that historical arc.

The exhibits in the ARRL lobby will be arranged in chronological order, displaying the development of Amateur radio in 11 stages. Some key pieces on display include a 1907 spark transmitter/crystal detector set, a Collins 4A crystal controlled transmitter from 1935, a Russian-made BC-348 receiver, a Cosmophone 35 SSB transceiver from 1959, a TEN-TEC Century 22 solid state CW transceiver from 1983, and a modern -- and working -- software defined transceiver. Guides will answer questions and provide additional information on each item displayed. The ARRL Laboratory, one of the stops on the ARRL Headquarters Tour, includes additional items of historical interest, as part of the Lab's permanent exhibit, "The Evolution of Amateur Radio Equipment"

Breakfast, Luncheon, Hors d'Oeuvres, and Banquet

An estimated 750 visitors will attend the opening-day luncheon in the Convention Center Ballroom -- the ARRL Centennial Ballroom on Level 6. It gets underway at noon, with ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Director Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, serving as master of ceremonies. ARRL First Vice President Rick Roderick, K5UR, will be the keynote speaker.

An International Guest Welcome Reception will begin at 5 PM (continuing until 7 PM) at the Convention Center Pre-Function Space on Level 6. Some 700 are expected at the event to socialize and enjoy hors d'oeuvres and beverages. ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, will be the master of ceremonies. Speakers will include ARRL international Affairs Vice President Jay Bellows, K0QB, and IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH.

Some 800 diners are expected at the Centennial Banquet, Friday, 6:30 until 9:30 PM. ARRL Centennial Convention Steering Committee Chair and Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, will be the master of ceremonies. The keynote speaker will be FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ. Other speakers and presentations will follow the banquet.

President Craigie will be at the head of the table as well as the keynote speaker for the Presidents Breakfast on Saturday, 7:30 until 9 AM, in the Centennial Ballroom on Level 6. ARRL Second Vice President Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF, will be the master of ceremonies. Craigie will introduce and honor the past presidents of the ARRL.

ARRL President Issues Call to Action to Gain Support for HR.4969, the Amateur Radio Parity Act!

In a video, ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, has issued an urgent call to action to all radio amateurs to get behind a grassroots campaign to promote co-sponsorship of HR.4969, "The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014." HR.4969 would require the FCC to extend PRB-1 coverage to restrictive covenants. It was introduced in the US House with bipartisan support on June 25 at the request of the ARRL, which worked with House staffers to draft the legislation. The measure would require the FCC to apply the "reasonable accommodation" three-part test of the PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy to private land-use restrictions regarding antennas. The bill's primary sponsor is Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). It had initial co-sponsorship from Rep Joe Courtney (D-CT).

President Craigie also exhorted all radio amateurs regarding support for HR.4969 in remarks appearing in the The ARRL Legislative Update Newsletter. Craigie stressed in the Newsletter that the legislation stands to benefit not just today's radio amateurs but those in the future.

"Chances are, those Americans of the future will grow up in communities having private land use restrictions," she said "That is the way the country is going, and it is very bad for Amateur Radio. How can Amateur Radio thrive, if more and more Americans cannot have reasonable antennas at home? You and I have to stand for the Amateurs of the second century."

If the measure passes the 113th Congress, it would require the FCC to amend the Part 97 Amateur Service rules to apply PRB-1 coverage to include homeowners' association regulations and deed restrictions, often referred to as "covenants, conditions, and restrictions" (CC&Rs). At present, PRB-1 only applies to state and local zoning laws and ordinances.

An HR.4969 page now is open on the ARRL website. It contains information and resources for clubs and individuals wishing to support efforts to gain co-sponsors for the measure by contacting their members of Congress.

ARRL Board of Directors to Meet July 21-22 in Hartford

The ARRL Board of Directors will meet Monday and Tuesday, July 21-22, in Hartford, Connecticut, The slightly altered scheduling of the July meeting takes advantage of the fact that most Board members will already be in town for the ARRL National Centennial Convention July 17-19.

International guests at the gathering will include IARU Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR, and Radio Amateurs of Canada President Geoff Bawden, VE4BAW.

The Board will hear reports from ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, and from other League officers. This will be the final Board meeting that ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, will attend in her official capacity. Hobart has announced her retirement, effective July 31. She has served the League for 13 years and was behind the creation of The Diamond Club, The Diamond Terrace, The Maxim Society, and the Second Century Campaign, among other initiatives.

"During Hurricane Katrina, she virtually single handedly created the Ham Aid Program that provides new gear to amateurs who have lost their equipment in disasters," ARRL Chief Operating Officer Harold Kramer, WJ1B, said in the August issue of QST. "Because of her efforts and those of her staff, she has raised millions of dollars for the ARRL and, ultimately, for the benefit of Amateur Radio."

ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH.

Kramer pointed out that Hobart also was one of the founders of the successful Teachers Institutes for Wireless Technology. Funded by voluntary contributions, the annual summer workshops help to better acquaint classroom teachers and educators with wireless technology and the science behind it.

At its meeting, the Board will receive reports from ARRL officers as well as committee and coordinator reports. The agenda also calls for proposals for amendments to the Articles of Association and Bylaws.

Individual ARRL Directors will also have an opportunity to speak and to submit motions.

Board committees will be meeting on Sunday, July 20, and that the full Board will consider their recommendations over the course of its meeting.

It's Official: N6MJ and KL9A Take WRTC-2014 Gold, Slovak and German Teams Win Silver and Bronze

After considerable deliberation over which team placed third in the 2014 World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC-2014), it's now official. At the awards ceremony July 14 concluding the international Amateur Radio contesting competition, the US team of Dan Craig,

The WRTC-2014 Top three (L-R): Rastislav Hrnko, OM3BH, and Jozef Lang, OM3GI (silver); Dan Craig, N6MJ, and Chris Hurlbut, KL9A (gold); Stefan von Baltz, DL1IAO, and Manfred Wolf, DJ5MW (bronze). [WRTC-2014 photo by Bob Wilson, N6TV]

N6MJ, and Chris Hurlbut, KL9A, operating as K1A, took home the gold for their winning team effort. There was little suspense about the top spot; Craig and Hurlbut had led the international pack of 59 competing teams literally from the start. Craig, 33, of Rancho Cucamonga, California, comes from a ham radio family and got his license when he was just 8 years old. He had competed in the last three WRTCs, finishing fourth in 2002, second in 2006 (with N2NL), and third in 2010 with KL9A. Hurlbut, 31, of Bozeman, Montana, became a ham when he was 10 and began contesting 4 years later.

Walking away with the silver was the Slovak team of Rastislav Hrnko, OM3BH, and Jozef Lang, OM3GI, who operated as W1L. Hrnko, 46, got into ham radio when he was about 10. He took part in WRTC-2000 and WRTC-2010. Lang, who's 54, was licensed at 15. He also

The WRTC-2014 "Parade of Nations" prior to the competition. [Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, photo]

competed at WRTC-2000 and WRTC-2010. Both have been active members of the OM8A contest team.

Determining who landed in third place was not so simple, but in the final analysis, the W1P team of Manfred Wolf, DJ5MW, and Stefan von Baltz, DL1IAO, won the bronze medal. The duo had ranked fifth in the "raw, unchecked claimed scores."

Wolf, 42, was competing at his second WRTC. He took part in WRTC-2000 in Slovenia. Von Baltz, 38, was a competitor at WRTC-96 and WRTC-2000.They edged out fourth-place finishers Kevin Stockton, N5DX, and Steve London, N2IC, who operated as W1Z.

Chief Judge David Sumner, K1ZZ, who was master of ceremonies for the awards presentations, said there was "a lot of pressure" on the judges to get it right, and they had to carefully scrutinize the logs of those placing the third, fourth, and fifth in the claimed scores.

"Because the skills of the operators were so high, the judges had a very, very difficult time resolving the position for number 3," Sumner told the gathering. "We went to extraordinary lengths, given the time that we had available, checking logs. As a matter of fact, had we not checked to the depth that we did, the error rate at W1P would actually have been a bit lower."

"In the end," Sumner said, "there were 8000 points separating number 4 from number 3. That's six-tenths of a multiplier."

Wolf and von Baltz edged out fourth-place finishers Kevin Stockton, N5DX, and Steve London, N2IC, who operated as W1Z.

Sumner said this week that given the high skill level of the operators and the equivalent locations of the stations, it was "inevitable that some scores would differ by less than the precision that log-checking can achieve." He said the judging team had a database of 3400 IARU HF Championship participants' logs and was able to cross-check 60 percent of the contacts.

"The difference in the final scores of W1P and W1Z is very small and the N5DX/N2IC result is every bit as exceptional as that of the bronze medal recipients, but in the end, one number was ever so slightly larger than the other," he said.

WRTC-2014 has posted the final results on its website. Video of the closing ceremony also is available. Read more.

HAARP Closing Delayed, But Facility Being Dismantled Piecemeal

The US Air Force has given the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility in Gakona, Alaska, a death row reprieve of sorts. The Secretary of the Air Force told Alaska Sen Lisa Murkowski July 2 that it is "willing to slow the closure process and defer irreversible dismantling of the transmitter site" until May 2015. Those pushing for HAARP to remain open as a scientific research facility include several radio amateurs. HAARP proponents claim, however, that despite the delay, the Air Force has been picking the plant apart piece by piece, and that critical research instruments already have been taken off site.

The HAARP antenna field, looking down a row of transmitter shelters. [Chris Fallen, KL3WX, photo]

University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Professor Chris Fallen, KL3WX, who has conducted research at HAARP, told ARRL that it was his "unofficial understanding" that the Air Force has already rendered HAARP reversibly inoperable through the removal or relocation of critical diagnostic instruments, instrument shelters, office furniture, and even tubes for the multiple transmitters. HAARP's transmitters are capable of generating more than 3 gigawatts of RF in the HF spectrum, which its 180 antennas can direct upward to the ionosphere.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James told Murkowski that the Air Force "will proceed with removal of government property not essential to operations and will seek to reduce maintenance costs through additional storage of equipment and winterization; however, we will retain critical hardware to maximize the potential to reactivate the site, should it be transferred to another federal government agency or a private entity next year."

In May Murkowski raised questions in Congress about the impending HAARP closure, and she took some credit for the shutdown delay. Murkowski had questioned why the Pentagon was planning to demolish HAARP, "asking whether it was fiscally sound to destroy an approximately $300 million facility when it costs less than one percent of that amount to operate it each year," a news release from her office said. She said she supports handing control of HAARP over to the University of Alaska or another research entity to "keep the world-class facility open and running."

HAARP Control Room [HAARP photo]

"The [news release] states that the Air Force is in the process of removing 'non-critical' equipment, which essentially means anything not bolted to the floor such as generators, amplifiers, antennae, and control systems," Fallen asserted. "While I would consider the diagnostic instruments as 'critical' to an ionosphere modification observatory, this apparently is not a universal interpretation." He said HAARP's diagnostic instruments, including the riometer and ionosonde, have not been available since June 2013 and are in immediate danger of being removed. Hams in Alaska have used data from both instruments in conducting their own ionospheric investigations.

UAF has been engaged in discussions with the Air Force with an eye toward taking over HAARP, although it's not clear that these have gained any serious traction. Read more.

Attendance at Friedrichshafen "Ham Radio" 2014 Tops Last Year's

Attendance at Germany's annual international "Ham Radio" exhibition on June 27-29 -- the Continent's biggest Amateur Radio event -- was 17,100 this year, up from 15,300 visitors last year. This year's Ham Radio teamed with the Maker World create-it-yourself event. The gathering attracted some 200 exhibitors from 34 countries plus 300 flea marketers. Ham Radio 2014 placed an emphasis on youth-oriented themes and activities and also honored one of 2013's major DXpedtions. "Creative Amateur Radio -- Build It Yourself" was the theme for this year's show.

Alex Banbury, KE7WUD, and Gerrit Herzig, DH8GHH. [Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, photo]

The third International Youth Meeting took place at Friedrichshafen on June 28, sponsored by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 1 and the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC), Germany's national Amateur Radio society. The gathering included presentations from many young radio amateurs and adult leaders. Among the presenters was 16-year-old ARRL member Alex Banbury, KE7WUD, and Gerrit Herzig, DH8GHH. Herzig, who organizes activities for youth in Braunschweig, Germany, spoke about ways to interest young people in Amateur Radio, particularly students interested in science and technology. Herzig was also involved with a team of students and youth leaders who launched a tropospheric balloon from the convention grounds on the convention's second day. The balloon carried student-built ham radio payloads including an APRS beacon and telemetry transmitter, video camera, and numerous scientific sensors.

Some 300 flea market vendors turned out for Ham Radio 2014. [Ham Radio photo]

Banbury told one forum how he started a radio club at his high school on Washington's Mercer Island. He explained that promoting the public service aspect of Amateur Radio has been particularly successful for recruiting other students -- and because the island's infrastructure is uniquely susceptible to natural or man-made disaster. Banbury, who earned his ham radio ticket at age 10, spends summers in Germany with his family. He attended the convention in Friedrichshafen with his father, ARRL Life Member John Banbury, AG7N.

ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, said the convention included many youth-organized exhibits. "A ham youth camp had participation from 100 young people up to the age of 27," he said. "The young hams spent 3 nights meeting with one another and having fun." Their activities included building various projects and getting on the air from different stations. A hidden transmitter "fox hunt" was held on Sunday morning in a forest near the fairgrounds. Read more.

W1AW Centennial Operations Head to South Carolina

The ARRL Centennial W1AW WAS operations taking place throughout 2014 from each of the 50 states and now on hiatus will resume at 0000 UTC on Wednesday, July 16 (the evening of July 15 in US time zones), from South Carolina (W1AW/4). There will be only one state this week. During 2014 W1AW will be on the air from every state (at least twice) and most US territories, and it will be easy to work all states solely by contacting W1AW portable operations.

The ARRL Centennial QSO Party kicked off January 1 for a year-long operating event in which participants can accumulate points and win awards. The event is open to all, although only ARRL members and appointees, elected officials, HQ staff and W1AW are worth ARRL Centennial QSO Party points.

Working W1AW/x from each state is worth 5 points per mode/contact, even when working the same state during its second week of activity. If you worked any of the 59 WRTC-2014 competitor stations with 1 x 1 call signs this past weekend, those contacts also are worth 5 points apiece.

To earn the "Worked all States with W1AW Award," work W1AW operating portable from all 50 states. (Working W1AW or W100AW in Connecticut does not count for Connecticut, however. For award credit, participants must work W1AW/1 in Connecticut.) A W1AW WAS certificate and plaque will be available.

The ARRL has posted an ARRL Centennial QSO Party leader board that participants can use to determine how many points they have accumulated in the Centennial QSO Party and in the W1AW WAS operations. Log in using your Logbook of The World (LoTW) user name and password, and your position will appear at the top of the leader boards. Results are updated daily, based on contacts entered into LoTW.

New Ham Radio Regulations in Place in Thailand, Germany Gets 4 Meters Briefly

Thailand's 247,000 radio amateurs have new Amateur Radio regulations that provide significant new privileges The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST) has reported that the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has been working on the new regulations for nearly 3 years. They will permit operation on 6 meters, will expand the 2 meter band by 500 kHz (to 146.5 MHz), and will activate the Advanced class with privileges permitting running up to 1 kW. Restrictions on HF radios that include 6 meters will be removed and type-approval restrictions eased, so that Thai radio amateurs will be able to purchase transceiver models. Additional spectrum is being authorized for 160 and 80 meters too.

Among other changes, more club stations and contest call signs will be issued, those not holding a ham ticket may operate under supervision at a club station, an 8 WPM Morse code receiving test will remain as a component of the Intermediate and Advanced class examination, and the entry-level Basic (Novice) license now may run 60 W on 144 MHz and 100 W on 28 MHz. The NBTC has posted a new allocation table.

Meanwhile, German telecommunications authorities have approved the use of 70.000 to 70.030 MHz by Class A radio amateurs from July 2 until August 31, 2014. The DARC report the restrictions are similar to those for the 50 MHz band: 25 W EIRP, all modes, maximum bandwidth 12 kHz, horizontal antenna polarization. This band has not been available to radio amateurs in Germany since 1957. The UK also has access to 4 meters. The DARC has said it is working toward permanent access to 4 meters. -- Thanks to Southgate ARC

ICE Spacecraft Recovery Effort Appears at an Impasse

According to a July 10 National Public Radio (NPR) "Morning Edition" report, the effort to recover the venerable International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 spacecraft (ISEE-3) -- later repurposed, redirected, and renamed the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) -- has run into problems and may have reached a dead end. The ISEE-3 Reboot Project has been trying since July 8 to fire the engines of the 36-year-old space traveler without apparent success. The spacecraft is some 2.65 million miles from Earth. The team, which includes several Amateur Radio operators, has been transmitting control signals from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and listening for spacecraft telemetry at the Bochum Observatory in Germany. The pessimistic NPR report featured team member Keith Cowing, a former NASA engineer.

"Our first series of burns, we thought went okay," Cowing told reporter Nell Greenfieldboyce. "And then when we went to the second set, pretty much nothing happened. And we tried it again, and nothing happened." The group has conjectured that the nitrogen tanks needed to pressurize the hydrazine fuel on the spacecraft may be empty, meaning that the engines are dead, and the team will not be able to redirect ICE into an orbit that is closer to Earth, instead of letting it fly past the planet.

"At this point, we're sort of scratching our heads," Cowing said. "We may take one last run at the spacecraft, but this may be it for an attempt to bring it back to Earth." ICE has been in a solar orbit for most of its life, following its 1978 launch.

In late May, Dennis Wingo, KD4ETA, a project team member and the CEO of California-based Skycorp Incorporated, reported that the team was able to command one of the spacecraft's transponders on 2.042 GHz by radio.

The group has been hoping to place ICE into a gravitationally stable spot some 930,000 miles from Earth -- essentially its original orbit -- where it could again study the effects of solar weather on Earth's magnetosphere (the project's slogan is "Make me do science again!"). The private group had to obtain NASA's approval to communicate with the satellite.

Cowing said in a July 15 update that the team's next window of opportunity would be July 16 at Arecibo. "During that opportunity we intend to attempt a deep space plumbing repair on board ISEE-3 and then fire its engines," he said. "Based on the number of thruster firings we achieve during that plumbing repair session we'll need to do some additional firings -- possibly over the course of several days -- all of which will constitute the [trajectory correction maneuver].

"We have most certainly not given up on this spacecraft yet," Cowing said July 10.

Astronauts Andy Thomas, VK5MIR, and Dave Leestma, N5QWC, Retire from NASA

Astronauts Andy Thomas, VK5MIR/ex-KD5CHF, and Dave Leestma, N5WQC, have announced their retirements from NASA. Both operated on ham radio from space, and Thomas, as the last US astronaut to complete a duty tour onboard the Russian Mir space station, conducted several contacts with students on Earth as part of the SAREX program, the predecessor of ARISS.

Andy Thomas, VK5MIR. [NASA photo]

A native of Australia, Thomas, 62, became an astronaut in 1993. He leaves the space agency after 22 years of service. His most recent work with NASA involved leading design teams for projects that include a return visit to the moon and a Mars mission. Thomas's spaceflight experience includes a 1996 mission on the shuttle Endeavour, about 6 months onboard Mir, and a 1998 trip on the shuttle Discovery, to deliver the Expedition 2 International Space Station crew, and the 2005 Discovery "Return to Flight" mission following the Columbia disaster to continue construction of the ISS.

Dave Leestma, N5WQC. [NASA photo]

Thomas was active on the air during his stint aboard Mir and from NA1SS during his brief 2005 ISS stay. Thomas and his wife, Shannon Walker, KD5DXB, will live on the couple's 40 acre ranch in central Texas. Walker, who's still active with NASA, is hoping for at least one more spaceflight. Thomas's US Amateur Radio license has expired.

Leestma, 65, is a veteran of three shuttle missions. He leaves NASA after more than 44 years of government service. Leestma was selected to join the astronaut corps in 1980. After flying in space, Leestma held multiple technical and leadership assignments at NASA, including director of Flight Crew Operations. He is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School. In 1992 he completed the Worked All Continents (WAC) award from space by working Antarctica.

A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL

This week, we'll look at the 1950s. Danny Weil, VP2VB, began his well-known series of Yasme DXpeditions around the world in 1955, putting some rare countries on the air. That series lasted until 1963, and it gave thousands of DXers the opportunity to work some new ones.

In the mid-1950s, The FCC ran out of 1 × 3 call signs with W and K prefixes and began reissuing lapsed W and K call signs. When those ran out, they went on to 2 × 3 call signs with WA (and, later, WB) prefixes.

The log periodic antenna -- a new and very useful concept -- was introduced to hams in the late 1950s. It had been developed by D.E. Isbell at the University of Illinois.

Late in 1958, hams lost the shared use of 11 meters, which then became the Class D Citizens Band.

A CONELRAD information poster from the 1950s, advising citizens where to tune "for official information."

During the late 1950s, amateurs continued to push the limits of VHF and higher bands. W6NLZ and KH6UK ran regular schedules on VHF and succeeded in making two-way contact on 144 MHz in 1957, and on 220 MHz in 1959.

Another Amateur Radio first took place in 1960, when the first EME (moonbounce) contact was made on 1296 MHz between W6HB in California and W1BU in Massachusetts.

During the 1950s and 1960s, The USSR and the US were in the midst of the so-called "Cold War." Fearing that Soviet bombers could home in on radio signals to find their targets, the CONELRAD (CONtrol of ELectromagnetic RADiation) system went into effect from 1957 to 1962. For their part hams were required to (1) monitor an AM broadcast station at least every 10 minutes to be sure it was still on the air; and (2) shut down, if broadcast stations went off the air. In the event of such an emergency, key 50 kW AM stations would move to either 640 or 1240 kHz to broadcast emergency information. The stations on each of those frequencies would go on and off the air in a continually varying sequence, while all carried the same audio to provide continuous information to the public. -- Al Brogdon, W1AB

Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • July 17 -- NAQCC Monthly QRP Sprint (CW)

  • July 19 -- Feld-Hell High Road Sprint

  • July 19-20 -- 144 MHz Digital EME Championship

  • July 19-20 -- DMC RTTY Contest

  • July 19-20 -- CQ World Wide VHF Contest

  • July 19-20 -- North American QSO Party RTTY

  • July 20 -- RSBG Low Power Contest (CW)

  • July 21 -- Run For the Bacon

See the ARRL Contest Calendar for more information.

Upcoming ARRL Section, State and Division Conventions and Events

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.

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3. Check the Read All Messages In Plain Text box.  When you open the e-mail, it will be in plain text without images. Other e-mail programs may be able to make a Mail Rule for e-mail received from the address so that the plain-text-only display is selected automatically.

Outlook 2007

Use the same procedure as for Outlook Express, although the global option is under "Tools/Trust Center/E-mail Security".


Use the menu item "View/Message Body As/Plain Text" or "View/Message Source" options.

OS X Mail (Mac)

Use the "View/Message/Plain Text Alternative" menu item.


Use the "Message text garbled?" link in the drop-down menu at the upper right of the displayed message block. pine, alpine Set "prefer-plain-text" in your ~/.pinerc configuration file: feature-list=..., prefer-plain-text, ...


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