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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
September 25, 2014
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News


List of "Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014" Co-Sponsors Swells Before Congressional Recess

An intense effort during the few days in September that Congress was in session has resulted in 47 co-sponsors for the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014 (H.R. 4969). Another half-dozen or so US House Members have indicated that they will sign on when Congress returns, something they can do only while Congress is in session. Congress went into recess on September 19. ARRL President Kay Craigie,

On Capitol Hill: Wind-tousled ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB. [Courtesy of Kay Craigie, N3KN]

N3KN, ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, Central Division Director Dick Isely, W9GIG, and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, visited dozens of congressional offices this month. Elsewhere, other ARRL elected and appointed officials and members from across the US met with members of Congress and with their staffers, wrote letters, and made phone calls to urge co-sponsorship.

"This all-member effort is how we went from 17 co-sponsors on August 1 to 47 co-sponsors on September 18," President Craigie said this week. When Congress reconvenes in November, League representatives plan to follow up with US House members who did not have time to make their co-sponsorship official before Congress left town.

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014, introduced in the US House of Representatives with bipartisan support in late June, calls on 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 limited PRB-1 pre-emption currently applies only to state and municipal land-use ordinances. The FCC has indicated its reluctance to provide the same legal protections from private land-use agreements -- often called covenants, conditions, and restrictions or CC&Rs -- without direction from Congress.

ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, with Rep Ed Perlmutter (CO-7), an H.R. 4969 co-sponsor. [Courtesy of Kay Craigie, N3KN]

President Craigie stressed this week that H.R. 4969 is still very much alive, and she urged League members to keep working to convince their representatives to co-sponsor the bill. "These efforts will not be in vain, whether or not the legislator eventually decides to sign onto the bill," she said. "Realistically, we won't get support for H.R. 4969 from every member of Congress who is contacted by amateurs," she said. At the same time, members of Congress who were contacted now know that Amateur Radio exists in their districts and that hams have interests that deserve notice.

ARRL Central Division Director Dick Isely, W9GIG (right), with US Rep Danny Davis (IL-7), an H.R. 4969 co-sponsor.

"A lot of politics is based on relationships. Contacts made with members of Congress about H.R. 4969 contribute to establishing relationships that can be maintained and enhanced in the future," President Craigie said. "Does your Congressman know how Amateur Radio makes your district a safer place to live if disasters occur? Does your Congressman know how radio amateurs in your district introduce young people to hands-on wireless communication, laying the foundation for careers? What we certainly can do is to build relationships that will serve our interests -- and the public interest -- if not right now, then in the future."

President Craigie encouraged League members whose representatives have become co-sponsors to thank their lawmakers, on the phone or in writing. "It's good manners and a good relationship-building strategy," she pointed out. "Members can also seek out opportunities during the current congressional recess to make a case for the bill at their representatives' district offices and at events. In short: Keep on!"

ARRL Presents Barry Goldwater, K7UGA, Achievement Award to Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI

The ARRL Board of Directors created the Barry Goldwater, K7UGA, Achievement Award last spring to recognize outstanding support of Amateur Radio by an elected federal official. The recipient must be an official who has, in a significant way, supported the well-being and continuity of the Amateur Service in the US. Earlier this month, the Board voted to confer the first such award upon US Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI, (OR-2), "in recognition of many years of exceptional contributions to the strength and vitality of the Amateur Radio Service in the United States."

ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN; Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, and General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, presented the award to Walden in Washington on September 18. In a letter accompanying the award plaque, President Craigie wrote, "Your understanding of the importance of Amateur Radio to the public interest and to the pursuit of scientific and technical knowledge has led you to act in the spirit of Sen Goldwater, whose exemplary support for Amateur Radio in Washington caused the ARRL Board to name this award in his honor."

ARRL President Craigie presents the Barry Goldwater, K7UGA, Achievement Award to US Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (OR-2). [Courtesy of Kay Craigie, N3KN]

President Craigie called Walden "a great friend to Amateur Radio over the last 12 years with regard to key issues including spectrum protection." Walden chairs the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, the panel to which "The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014" (H.R. 4969) was referred for consideration.

In 2002 Walden was an original co-sponsor of H.R. 4720, the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act, and sent a "Dear Colleague" letter seeking additional cosponsors. In 2003 he was a co-sponsor of H.R. 713, the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act. During a hearing on the bill at which then-ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, testified, Walden called for a halt to the "astonishing" erosion of Amateur Radio spectrum.

In 2004, Walden wrote the FCC chairman seeking to have the Commission defer action on the BPL rulemaking until the release of an NTIA study and an opportunity for public comment. That same year, during a hearing on telecom convergence, Walden grilled a BPL industry representative about interference.

In 2010 Walden co-sponsored H.R. 2160, the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act. In May 2011, the ARRL was invited to testify before Walden's subcommittee on "Creating an Interoperable Public Safety Network," offering an opportunity to defend 420-440 MHz against reallocation.

As President Craigie handed the award plaque to Rep Walden, she added, "Senator Goldwater was a statesman for Amateur Radio, and so are you."

ARRL Deploying Ham Aid Kits to Hawaii to Assist in Possible Lava Flow Response

ARRL Headquarters is deploying Ham Aid kits to Hawaii as ARES volunteers stand ready to activate in the wake of the massive Puna volcanic lava flow that has been threatening some communities on the Big Island of Hawaii. The lava originated from new "vents" in the Earth as a result of the Mt Kilauea volcano, which began erupting more than 30 years ago. ARRL Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider, AH6J, said Tuesday that while he didn't believe an ARES activation was imminent, lava flows can be unpredictable, and things can change rapidly.

"Lava is a slow-motion disaster," he said. "It's not like a volcano, where the thing just blows up. It's like a pot of soup."

ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said the Ham Aid kits going out to Hawaii include HF gear as well as VHF and UHF equipment. "We're deploying an HF kit -- an IC-718 transceiver, a tuner, and a dipole -- and a VHF/UHF kit." The latter includes a mobile transceiver and power supply as well as several handheld transceivers that have been preprogrammed with local frequencies that may be needed. Corey said the Ham Aid kits are a resource available to ARRL section leadership to add capacity during a disaster or emergency response.

Schneider said that while there is no immediate need for the kits, "if they have it out there, and this thing changes, we'll be prepared. It's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it."

The Puna lava flow -- an aerial view. [Hawaii Volcano Observatory photo]

Hawaii Civil Defense said Kilauea continued to erupt at its summit as of Monday, although the more than 10-mile lava flow -- or "tube" -- under the greatest scrutiny halted its progress toward the sea on Tuesday -- at least for the time being. Authorities also are monitoring so-called "breakout" flows. No homes have been affected so far, although the molten rock is causing vegetation to burn in its path. The front of the Puna lava flow is estimated to be some 150 yards across at its widest point.

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie has issued a disaster declaration for the areas that are or may be affected by the lava flow. Schneider and ARES members and officials have been keeping an eye on the situation.

The Puna lava flow after dark. [Hawaii Volcano Observatory photo]

"We anticipate lava may cross the main Highway 130 near Pahoa on the Island of Hawaii in 1 to 3 weeks," Schneider announced on the Pacific Section website over the weekend. He said a "best guess" would be within 10 days. Schneider said Highway 130 is the primary commuter route for residents in several residential subdivisions that might be affected, including one that is home to some 20,000 people -- what he called, "a pretty good chunk of population" overall. The governor's proclamation has permitted authorities to open two alternative routes, in case Highway 130 has to be closed.

Hawaii Civil Defense authorities have deployed their remote emergency operations center in the affected region, and Schneider visited there a few days ago.

"The town of Pahoa is in kind of a slow panic," he reported. "If the lava comes down and goes right to the ocean, probably the only thing that won't be affected will be cell phones. Power and conventional telephone service will be out." In that case, should ARES be activated, Schneider said the volunteers' likely role would be to relay health-and-welfare traffic from affected communities.

FCC Turns Down Petition to Create a 4 Meter Band in the US

It doesn't look like US radio amateurs will be gaining a new band at 70 MHz anytime soon. The FCC has denied a Petition for Rule Making filed earlier this year by Glen E. Zook, K9STH, of Richardson, Texas, seeking to add a 4 meter band to Amateur Radio's inventory of VHF allocations. Zook had floated the proposal in 2010, and his petition was dated January 27, 2010, but the FCC said it did not receive it until last May. Zook asked the Commission to allocate 70.0 to 70.5 MHz to Amateur Radio because, Zook's Petition asserted, "the recent migration of broadcast television stations to primarily UHF frequencies basically eliminates any probable interference to television channels 4 or 5." VHF TV channel 4 occupies 66 to 72 MHz.

"Because the Zook Petition is based on a faulty premise -- that broadcasting use within the 70.0-70.5 MHz band will diminish or cease -- its argument that amateur band users could operate without causing harmful interference to any existing service lacks sufficient support to warrant our further consideration, The FCC said in a September 17 Order denying the Petition.

The FCC pointed out that three full-power TV stations, 110 low-power TV stations and translators, and six Class A TV stations now occupy channel 4 in the US. In addition, the Commission, through an "ongoing incentive auction proceeding," is attempting to "repurpose" a portion of television broadcast spectrum for broadband operations and "repack the remaining TV stations into a smaller frequency range." Under certain scenarios, the FCC said, channel 4 could become even more heavily populated by broadcast users in the future.

"Given the complexity of the of the incentive auction proceeding, we also conclude that it would not serve the public interest to further complicate that unique undertaking by proposing to introduce a new service into the broadcasting frequencies at this time," the FCC said. The Order noted that fixed and mobile services will continue to operate in the frequencies between channels 4 and 5 (76 to 82 MHz).

As Zook noted in his petition, a 4 meter band has been authorized for Amateur Radio use in the UK and in a number of other European and African countries. The FCC said that since it wasn't planning to grant Zook's petition, it declined to evaluate his claims "regarding the benefits that amateurs would derive from use of the band." Read more.

Wisconsin Ham Dies in Fall from Tower

A Wisconsin radio amateur lost his life on September 16 as he was performing maintenance on the 100 foot tower of a fellow ham. Killed in the fall was 59-year-old James G. Linstedt, W9ZUC, of Eau Claire, who succumbed to injuries sustained after he fell 95 feet from a tower owned by Ronald Anderson, W9RMA, in Eagle Point, just outside of Chippewa Falls, on the shores of Lake Wissota. Linstedt was said to have been an experienced climber. Although he had been wearing an over-the-shoulder safety harness, he apparently had failed to secure himself to the tower before the mishap occurred. Anderson, a former Chippewa County Sheriff, called authorities promptly.

James Linstedt, W9ZUC.

Chippewa County Sheriff James Kowalczyk told the Leader-Telegram newspaper that Linstedt was wearing safety equipment, but did not use it. "When we use it for years, we get a little lax...," the newspaper quoted Kowalczyk as saying. "If he had used it, we wouldn't be investigating an accidental death."

Kowalczyk said Linstedt had been strapped in before moving 10 feet up the tower, apparently without securing himself.

An active radio amateur, Linstedt was a member of the Chippewa Valley Amateur Radio Club and once served as the club's president. -- Thanks to John Bigley, N7UR/Nevada Amateur Radio Newswire; media accounts

W1AW Centennial Operations Going North to Alaska, West to California, and East to DC

The ARRL Centennial W1AW portable operations taking place throughout 2014 from each of the 50 states are now in New Mexico and Idaho. They will transition starting at 0000 UTC on Wednesday, October 1 (the evening of September 30 in US time zones), to Alaska (W1AW/KL7), California (W1AW/6), and the District of Columbia (W1AW/3). W1AW has visited each of the 50 states for at least 1 week so far during 2014, and by year's end W1AW will have been on the air from every state at least twice.

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.

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. Participants must work W1AW/1 in Connecticut.) A W1AW WAS certificate and plaque will be available.

An ARRL Centennial QSO Party leader board shows participants 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.

ARRL Invites Nominations for 2014 International Humanitarian Award

The ARRL is inviting nominations for its 2014 ARRL International Humanitarian Award, 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 Amateur Radio operators who have used ham radio to provide extraordinary service to others in times of crisis or disaster.

A committee appointed by the League's President recommends the award recipient(s) to the ARRL Board, which makes the final decision. The committee is now accepting nominations from Amateur Radio, governmental, or other organizations that have benefited from extraordinary service rendered by an Amateur Radio operator or group. The ARRL International Humanitarian Award recognizes Amateur Radio's unique role in international communication and goodwill, and the assistance radio amateurs regularly provide to people in need.

Nominations should include a summary of the nominee's qualifying actions and statements from at least two people having first-hand knowledge of the events warranting the nomination. These verifying statements may be from an official of a group (for example, the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, or emergency management agency) that benefited from the nominee's particular Amateur Radio contribution. Nominations should include the names and addresses of all references.

All nominations and supporting materials for the 2014 ARRL International Humanitarian Award must be submitted in writing in English to ARRL International Humanitarian Award, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 USA. Nomination submissions are due by December 31, 2014. In the event that no nominations are received, the committee itself may determine a recipient or decide to make no award.

The winner of the ARRL International Humanitarian Award receives an engraved plaque and a profile in QST and other ARRL venues.

Amateur Radio is "Communications Superpower," IARU Region 1 Delegates are Told

European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva told delegates to the International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU Region 1) General Conference on September 22 that Amateur Radio is a reliable information tool that can save lives in disasters. In a statement read to

Kristalina Georgieva. [Courtesy of the European Commission]

the conference attendees on her behalf by the EC's Encho Gospidinov, Georgieva laid out a scenario in which all modern telecommunications and electrical power are knocked out, and no one can help the victims, because no one knows what has happened.

"Luckily, there is a last resort: The radio amateurs, the people who are the eyes and the ears of the world in time when all other information channels are silent," she said. "In short, you are the last technical miracle, which is an independent, reliable information channel, which can transmit an important piece of news from any place in the world, anytime, by anyone who knows how to operate this wonderful creature, called radio."

Georgieva said Amateur Radio's advantage is that it is independent of the conventional communications infrastructure. "A well-trained radioman with good equipment and ever-charged batteries can be a fantastic link between two villages, two countries or two continents," she said. "When organized in a Union, you are a communication superpower in times of total electronic darkness."

The 24th IARU Region 1 General Conference, being held in Albena, Bulgaria, officially concludes September 26. Delegates have elected Don Beattie, G3BJ, as the next IARU Region 1 President, succeeding Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T. Elected as Vice President was Faisal Al-Ajmi, 9K2RR. Read more.

Dayton Hamvention Seeks 2015 Award Nominations

Dayton Hamvention® is seeking nominations for its 2015 awards for Amateur of the Year, Special Achievement, Technical Excellence, and Club of the Year. Completed nomination forms and supporting documentation are due by January 16, 2015. All Amateur Radio operators (and clubs) are eligible. Winners will be recognized at the 2015 Hamvention®, which takes place May 15-17.

The Amateur of the Year Award goes to an individual who has made a long-term, outstanding commitment to the advancement of Amateur Radio. The Technical Excellence Award is given to an individual who has made an outstanding technical advancement in the field of Amateur Radio. The Special Achievement Award honors someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of Amateur Radio, typically by spearheading a significant project. The Club of the Year award is presented to a club that has made a significant contribution to the advancement of Amateur Radio.

The Hamvention® Awards Committee makes its decisions on all awards based upon the information it receives and not on the number of nominations submitted.

Documentation that informs the Awards Committee of a nominee's accomplishments may include magazine articles, newsletters, newspaper clippings, and even videos. These materials become the property of Hamvention® and will not be returned.

This year, two radio amateurs with close ARRL ties were among the Hamvention award winners. Named Amateur of the Year was Larry E. Price, W4RA, a President Emeritus of the ARRL and of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, received the Special Achievement Award. Nearly 25,000 people attended the 2014 Dayton Hamvention.

Additional detail and a nomination form are available on the Dayton Hamvention® website. Submit nominations via e-mail or mail them to Dayton Hamvention Awards, PO Box 1446, Dayton, OH 45401-1446. -- Thanks to Dayton Hamvention

Space Symposium October 10-12 to Mark AMSAT's 45th Anniversary

AMSAT reports that preparations for its Space Symposium in Baltimore October 10-12 are moving into high gear. The deadline to submit AMSAT Symposium papers has been extended until September 30. Papers and presentations on any subject of interest to the amateur satellite community are welcome. This year's Space Symposium will, in part, celebrate AMSAT's 45th anniversary. Registration remains open.

The AMSAT Space Symposium's keynote speaker with be Jan King, W3GEY, a founding member of AMSAT and a former member of the Board of Directors and vice president of engineering. He'll deliver his talk, "Never, Never, Never Give Up!" during the Symposium banquet on Saturday, October 11.

One of the original Tuskegee Airmen, Col Charles E. McGee, will attend on Friday, October 10, and will talk about his experiences.

Jan King, W3GEY, will be the keynote speaker at the 2014 AMSAT Space Symposium. [Courtesy of AMSAT]

An evening reception Friday, October 10, will include a "space auction. "All proceeds will support AMSAT's two major initiatives -- the development and launch of the Fox satellite series and the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. AMSAT is seeking donations of "specialty items" with a minimum value of $100. Contact Frank Bauer, KA3HDO.

The ARISS Operations Team will meet Sunday, October 12, from 9-noon. A number of ARISS team leaders and mentors will be on hand to discuss the program. The team also plans to talk about improvements, changes, and strategies to enhance ARISS operations.

Informal tours will be available for Symposium participants on Sunday, October 12, of Baltimore Inner Harbor, including the Aquarium, the B&O Railroad Museum, the Edgar Allan Poe House, or the National Electronics Museum, which is opening exclusively for AMSAT on Sunday, 1-3 PM. Contact Dan Schultz, N8FGV.

A tour of the Udvar Hazy National Air and Space Museum is planned for Monday, October 13. -- Thanks to the AMSAT Symposium Committee via AMSAT News Service

Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio Payload Launched to International Space Station

When the commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 resupply vehicle lifted off from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station on September 21, it also carried the SpinSat satellite, which includes an Amateur Radio payload. The satellite will be stowed aboard the ISS until deployment later this fall from the airlock of the Japanese Experiment Module.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 resupply vehicle goes aloft September 21 from Cape Canaveral [Courtesy of SpaceX]

Developed by the Naval Research Laboratory, the 125-pound SpinSat is a 22- inch diameter sphere that carries a 2 W 9600 bps AX.25 packet radio store-and-forward system on 437.230 MHz. The satellite's primary mission is to demonstrate a new micro-thruster technology, from which SpinSat derives its name; its 12 electronically controlled solid-propellant thrusters will be fired in pairs to spin the spacecraft.

While in space, SpinSat will be used in a test to calibrate the Space Surveillance Network. Lasers will be aimed at the spacecraft from Earth, and the reflected light measured to determine the where the satellite is passing overhead. SpinSat also will model the density of the atmosphere.

Equipped only with primary batteries and just 4.8 grams of fuel, the satellite's working phase is expected to last up to 6 months. -- Thanks to AMSAT News Service via Trevor, M5AKA; NASA, and SpaceX

ARDF Team USA Takes Home a Silver Medal from World Championships

A member of Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) Team USA medaled in the 17th ARDF World Championships earlier this month in Kazakhstan. Vadim Afonkin, KB1RLI, of Boston, Massachusetts, took home a silver medal in the men's age 40-49 category in the 2 meter competition on September 8, the first day of competition. The Kazakhstan Federation of Radiosport and Radioamateur (KFRR) hosted the championships, which included formal competitions on 2 meters and 80 meters, plus sprints and foxoring. Afonkin placed fourth in the 80 meter sprint competition on September 11, with a time just 4 seconds greater than the bronze medalist from Lithuania. He also finished among the top seven in the sprint and foxoring competitions. This year's World Championships attracted 277 competitors from 25 nations, and it was the first time the competition was held in Kazakhstan.

"Every 2 years, hams from around the world gather to see who is best at on-foot hidden-transmitter hunting," said ARRL ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV. "USA has been represented at every one of these ARDF World Championships since 1988." Moell said Team USA has taken home at least one medal since 2006.

Moell said there were separate events on separate days for each competitor on 80 meters and 2 meters, each involving up to five hidden transmitters scattered in a forest of 1000 acres or more.

Team USA silver medalist Vadim Afonkin, KB1RLI (left), shakes hands with gold medal winner Mikhail Kirgetov. [Ken Harker, WM5R, photo]

In addition to Afonkin, Team USA 2014 included Ruth Bromer, WB4QZG, of Raleigh, North Carolina; Jennifer Harker, W5JEN, of Austin, Texas; Ken Harker, WM5R, of Austin, Texas; Joseph Huberman, K5JGH, of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Leszek Lechowicz, NI1L, of Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Veteran ADRFer Marvin Johnston, KE6HTS, served as a member of the international jury overseeing the competition. About 150 onlookers enjoyed the competition.

Each country may have up to three people per age/gender category on its team. Team USA positions were filled based on performance in the 2013 and 2014 USA ARDF Championships. Preparations now are underway for the 2015 national championships in Colorado. Winners at that competition may be eligible for a place on Team USA 2016 for the next World Championships in Bulgaria.

Results of all competitions are available on the German ARDF site. More information about Amateur Radio Direction Finding is on the Homing In website. -- Thanks to ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV

A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL

In February 1973, the FCC proposed a new Amateur Radio license class that would not require Morse code testing, and invited comments. At the time, the ARRL opposed the proposal.

From 1965 to 1985, the FCC, ARRL, and US hams took note of what was called the "JA Phenomenon." The number of Japanese hams grew from 70,000 in 1965 to 499,000 in 1975, and then to more than 1 million by 1985! A new Japanese codeless license class helped spur that growth.

On June 16, 1983, the second attempt to launch a Phase III Amateur Radio satellite (AMSAT-OSCAR 10) was successful. Articles in QST kept hams up to date on its progress. OSCAR 10 was, by far, the most capable amateur satellite to date.

Then-future ARRL President Vic Clark, W4KFC, at the 1950 PVRC Field Day site in Fort Meade, Maryland. [Photo courtesy of PVRC]

Also in 1983, Amateur Radio in the US reached a new level of formal governmental recognition of Amateur Radio's emergency communication capabilities, when ARRL President Vic Clark, W4KFC, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with National Communication System Deputy Manager John Grimes.

Articles began appearing in QST during 1983 explaining what personal computers could do and how they might be put to use in the ham shack.

In October 1983, the US military invaded Grenada. Mark Barettella, KA2ORK (now N2MD), then a medical student at St George's University School of Medicine on Grenada, became the only non-military source of information from the island, as he relayed messages between other Americans on Grenada and their families in the US. This resulted in excellent media coverage for Amateur Radio.

Astronaut Owen Garriott, W5LFL, was the first to use Amateur Radio from the space shuttle. [NASA photo]

Amateurs throughout the world were saddened to learn of the unexpected death of ARRL President Vic Clark, W4KFC, in November 1983. A well-known ham as early as his teenage years, Clark won the first Hiram Percy Maxim Award in 1936. He also served the ARRL in various roles and offices and was considered a first-rate operator. He was truly one of the giants of Amateur Radio.

In November 1983, Owen Garriott, W5LFL, became the first ham to make contacts from aboard the Shuttle Columbia. His first contact was with WA1JXN. W5LFL operated his 2 meter FM transceiver during his non-duty hours during the mission's 10 days in orbit.

In September 1984, phone privileges on 75, 15, and 10 meters were expanded. In addition, US stations in Alaska and in the Pacific had their 40 meter phone privileges expanded, so they could avoid the high-power international broadcast stations. -- Al Brogdon, W1AB

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar activity was down this week (September 18-24), as compared to the week previous, but solar flux is on a rising trend.

Average daily sunspot numbers dropped from 124.9 (for September 11-17) to 80.9, and average daily solar flux slipped from 139.8 to 128.3.

The latest predicted solar flux and planetary A index has flux values at 150, 155, 160, and 165 on September 25-28, 170 on September 29 through October 2, 155 on October 3-4, 150 on October 5-7, 145 on October 8-9, 140 on October 10-11, then 135 and 130 on October 12-13, 125 on October 14-15, and 120 on October 16-18. Flux values are then expected to rise to 155 for October 30-31.

The predicted planetary A index is 18 on September 25, 12 on September 26-27, 15 on September 28-29, 10 on September 30, 8 on October 1-2, 5 on October 3-14, then 8, 15, and 8 on October 15-17, 5 on October 18-19, 8 on October 20-21, 12 on October 22, and 15 on October 23-24.

Earth's geomagnetic field has been unsettled over the past couple of days, with the planetary A index at 25 on September 24 and College A index (high latitude) at 57. reported that this was not due to a CME or solar flare but to a crack in Earth's magnetosphere, opening a spot for the solar wind to pour in.

This weekly "Solar Update" in The ARRL Letter is a preview of the "Propagation Bulletin" issued each Friday. The latest bulletin and an archive of past propagation bulletins is on the ARRL website. In Friday's bulletin look for an updated forecast and reports from readers.

Send me your reports and observations.

Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • September 27 -- Texas QSO Party

  • September 27-28 -- CQ WW RTTY Contest

  • September 27-28 -- Maine QSO Party

  • September 28 -- Peanut Power Sprint

  • September 30 -- 222 MHz Fall VHF Sprint

  • October 1 -- CWOps Weekly Mini-CWT Tests

  • October 3 -- NS Weekly Sprint

  • October 3-5 -- DX/NA YLRL Anniversary Party

  • October 4 -- TARA PSK Rumble

  • October 4-5 -- Oceania DX Phone Contest

  • October 4-5 -- Russian World Wide Digital Contest

  • October 4-5 -- Worked All Britain HF Contest

  • October 4 -- New Jersey QSO Party

  • October 4-5 -- California QSO Party

  • October 5 -- RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest

  • October 6 -- EU Autumn Phone Sprint

  • October 6 -- OK1WC Memorial Contest

  • October 7 -- ARS Spartan Sprint

  • October 8 -- 432 MHz Fall VHF Sprint

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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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.

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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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