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Default The ARRL Letter, Vol 26, No 39 (Friday, September 28, 2007)

The ARRL Letter
Vol. 26, No. 39
September 28, 2007


* + New Vice Director Appointed in Dakota Division
* + Spectrum Defense Fund Marks Eleventh Year
* + Amateur Radio Goes To Washington
* + Get Ready for JOTA
* + Simulated Emergency Test Scheduled for October
* + ARRL Welcomes USTTI Students
* Solar Update
This Weekend on the Radio
ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration
+ Florida Hams Help Nab Burglary Suspects
+ ARRL Again Participating in the Combined Federal Campaign
Pension Protection Act Streamlines Charitable Donations from IRAs
Diamond Terrace Still Shining Bright
Redeem Those Soon-to-Expire International Reply Coupons
New Name for Space Environment Center
Let Us Know What You Think

+Available on ARRL Audio News

================================================== =========
==Delivery problems: First see FAQ, then e-mail
==Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane,
================================================== =========


ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, has appointed Greg Widin, KGW, of
Stillwater, Minnesota, as Dakota Division Vice Director. Widin has been a
licensed ham and ARRL member for more than 40 years. Originally licensed as
WB2ZSH, he became KGW in Minnesota in the late 1970s after obtaining his
Amateur Extra class license. Currently Vice President and Training Director
for the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association, Widin has also served as
Assistant Section Manager and Technical Specialist in the Minnesota section;
he is an ARRL Life Member.

Employed with 3M Company since 1982, Widin earned his AB in 1974 from Kenyon
College in Ohio and his PhD in hearing science from the University of
Minnesota in 1979. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at MIT's Research
Laboratory of Electronics in 1982, followed by an MS in management of
technology in 1992 from the University of Minnesota. Widin is a member of the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Phi Beta Kappa. He is
also the holder of five US patents.

Widin belongs to the Twin Cities DX Association and Minnesota Wireless
Association. Widen holds Worked All States (WAS) on HF, DXCC (294 entities
confirmed) and is just shy of WAS on 6 meters. His main current operating
interests are DX and casual contesting along with ARES and emergency
communications; he also enjoys constructing electronic equipment. Widin also
is a member and serves as treasurer of Boy Scout Troop 224 in West Lakeland
and Woodbury, Minnesota.


First begun in 1996 to protect the 2 meter band from "Little LEOs" (low-earth
orbiting satellites), the ARRL's Spectrum Defense Fund marks its eleventh
annual appeal this year, urging members to take a stand to protect the
Amateur Radio spectrum from broadband over power lines (BPL). The ARRL's
concern is not whether BPL will ultimately succeed or fail, but whether the
federal government will fulfill its obligation to ensure that BPL systems -
if and when they are deployed - will not pollute the radio spectrum.

ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, calls protecting the radio
spectrum against BPL interference "a good example of how the ARRL works on
all fronts to protect Amateur Radio. We must be patient -- spectrum defense
is a never-ending mission. We must be resolute, not discouraged by the
occasional setback. We must be creative, seeking alternate paths to success.
Above all, we must be accurate; credibility is a precious commodity that is
too easily lost."

The ARRL first brought problems concerning BPL interference to light five
years ago in the October 2002 issue of QST, calling it a potential source of
"radio smog." In that time, the League has fought hard to protect our
precious spectrum, including the fight for "stronger protection against BPL
interference in the FCC's rules, and when the FCC failed to go far enough we
took them to court -- a huge but necessary financial commitment. We have
taken our case to Congress, seeking legislation directing the FCC to do a
serious study of the interference issue. We have done our technical homework,
verifying the inadequacy of the FCC's rules and documenting violations by
irresponsible BPL companies," Sumner said.

He continued: "But we also have cooperated with reputable firms, helping them
to understand the seriousness of the issue and the steps they need to take to
avoid problems with radio amateurs. We've made some important gains on that
front -- no thanks to the FCC, which (unlike many in the BPL industry)
remains more interested in defending its early errors than in correcting

Sumner does explain that BPL interference issues are not all that the
Spectrum Defense Fund is allocated for. He says that next year, the ARRL will
begin its preparation for the 2011 World Radiocommunication Conference;
agenda items for WRC-11 will be discussed this year in Geneva at WRC-07. "We
will continue to defend our spectrum access against reallocation as well as
against the insidious threats posed by unlicensed devices and systems," he

All ARRL members are an essential part of the team that will ensure that we
win the fight over spectrum encroachment. With a successful Spectrum Defense
Fund campaign, "the ARRL is able to stand up for Amateur Radio -- just as the
League has done since its founding nearly a century ago," Sumner said.

He pointed out that the proceeds to the Spectrum Defense Fund are restricted
to being used only for that purpose - spectrum defense: "When you make your
contribution, you can be sure that your contribution is spent on these, and
only these activities. If you've checked the ARRL audited financial
statements that we post on the ARRL Web site each year, you know that the
expenses attached to protecting our frequencies are never fully funded by the
Spectrum Defense Fund. Membership dues and other revenues cover the rest. In
fact, every penny of income the ARRL receives is devoted to the protection,
promotion and advancement of Amateur Radio. It's why the League was created
in 1914 and why it exists today."

For more information on how you can support the ARRL's efforts to protect the
Amateur Radio spectrum, please see the Spectrum Defense Fund page on the ARRL
Web site


Army MARS Chief Stuart S. Carter, AAA9A, has invited the ARRL and Amateur
Radio representatives to join a Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS)
demonstration outside the Capitol building in Washington, DC on October 3.
Hams around the country are asked to aid in the demonstration by making HF
contacts during the day. With help from Laura Abshire, Legislative Aide to
Representative Mike Ross, WD5DVR (D-AR), Tricia Russell, Legislative Aide to
Representative Steve Israel (D-NY), and coordination of the myriad details by
"Pudge" Forrester, W4LTX, Systems Administrator for Representative Roscoe
Bartlett (R-MD), the "show" is set for next Wednesday, and hams around the
country can help.

ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, said, "Thanks to
a MARS invitation to join in a demonstration, and excellent coordination work
by Forrester, the October 3 demonstration of Amateur Radio and MARS emergency
communications will be front and center in the open space between the Capitol
building and the Botanic Garden in Washington, DC." Pitts went on to say that
the regional MARS organization is planning to conduct an exercise
demonstrating emergency communications at the Capitol, as well.

The exercise assumes a Category 3 hurricane, Hurricane Quincy, will make
landfall on October 2 over the coastal areas of Delaware, Maryland, DC and
Virginia. Quincy will progress northward to New Jersey and Pennsylvania and
then travel inland to the south, returning to the Atlantic Ocean on October 5
via the Carolinas and Georgia. During this time, MARS resources will be
challenged by ongoing events in every part of the country, including ice
storms, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and earthquakes.

There will be a communication trailer, tent type shelter, four HF
transceivers -- voice, PSK, and Winlink -- and VHF equipment at the site. The
local Voice of America (VOA) organization and MARS have local repeaters and
digipeaters available. Power will come from solar panels and generators with
battery backup. The emergency communications trailer, owned by the Blue Ridge
Association, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, part of the Southern
Baptist North American Missions Disaster Relief Ministries, will also be on

Representatives from ARRL headquarters, including Pitts, will be there. They
will have ARRL public relations materials as well as video that shows the
negative impact of BPL if current FCC rules are not modified. In addition,
there are special materials for Members of Congress and their staff
advocating Amateur Radio's positions on several legislative issues, including
information to solicit co-sponsorship of H.R. 462 and H.R. 2743.

While MARS will be conducting their drill on their frequencies, Amateur Radio
operations are scheduled from 1400-2100 UTC. While there may be last minute
changes, plans are to try to center HF voice contacts around 14.250 and 7.250
MHz, and on PSK at 14.070 MHz. "By showing Members of Congress our nationwide
capabilities and potentials, we advance the Service in many ways," Pitts

Representatives Ross and Bartlett plan to stop by. Army MARS is sending their
Chief of Operations Grant Hays from Arizona. Mike Barrett, K3MMB, of the
Transportation Security Administration's Office of Security Operations is
aiding with the operations and logistics.


Jamboree on the Air will celebrate its 50th year this year when it gets on
the air October 19-21. Normally a 48 hour event, this year's JOTA will be 50
hours long in recognition of the anniversary. The fun begins at 2200 (local
time) October 19 and ends at midnight (local time) October 21.

An on-the-air operating event sponsored by the World Scout Bureau, JOTA was
founded in 1958 by Les Mitchell, G3BHK. It has grown to become the largest
international Scout event. More than half a million Scouts and Guides in more
than 100 countries participate in JOTA, involving as many as 10,000 Amateur
Radio stations.

The event relies on the Amateur Radio community and local hams for its
success. Getting Boy and Girl Scouts (including Cubs and Brownies) on the air
to talk with other Scouts around the world provides a great opportunity to
expose youth to Amateur Radio. Some troops and clubs team up to make a big
splash with lots of activities, radios and antennas, offering a variety of
modes to experience. For others, JOTA provides an opportunity to coach a
smaller group of Scouts and to just have fun talking on the radio. Scouts
usually enjoy communicating by speaking into a microphone, but some radio
amateurs are able to provide other modes, such as slow-scan TV or amateur TV,
satellites, packet radio, RTTY or even EME!
For more information on the 2007 Jamboree on the Air, please visit the ARRL
JOTA Web site where you can find general
rules, suggested exchanges and recommended frequencies. There will also be a
place on the ARRL Web site to tell your JOTA stories at


America was abruptly reminded of the critical role of Amateur Radio in 2005
as Amateur Radio operators came from all over the country to provide
emergency communications when other systems failed during Hurricanes Katrina
and Rita. In 2007, Amateur Radio operators continued to provide lifesaving
services in many floods and wildfires around the country. Because of the
complexity of today's normal communications systems, they are often
overwhelmed in a disaster. These painful lessons are being tested again on
October 6 and 7 as Amateur Radio operators around the country conduct their
annual Simulated Emergency Test.

This year, Amateur Radio operators will be replicating many scenarios that
have crippled normal communications in the recent past. These include
flooding, wildfires, bombings, ice storms, hurricanes and earthquakes.
Something new for this year are plans for responses in case of pandemic flu
and the probability that large populations will need to shelter at home and
not be able to go out.

Using emergency powered radios and working with local agencies, hams will
establish radio communications networks that can be used should there be a
failure or overload of normal services.

While the ARRL has scheduled the Simulated Emergency Test for October 6-7,
some ARRL Sections have scheduled their SET for different dates. Please check
with your Section Manager or Section Emergency Coordinator for the date of
the SET in your Section.


Next month, the ARRL will welcome six students from various countries from
all over the world who want to learn how to administer and regulate Amateur
Radio programs in their home countries. This course, offered by the United
States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI), will help participants
create, administer and foster an Amateur Radio Service in their countries.

Designed for those in developing countries who regulate and manage their
country's Amateur Radio Service, this course will help participants learn
just who are radio amateurs. ARRL staff instructors will help course
participants discover the ever-expanding universe of Amateur Radio
communication. They will explain why Amateur Radio operators, upwards of
three million individuals in virtually every country of the world, have
earned licenses to operate stations in these services and why they are
recognized, both by their governments and internationally, as a valuable
voluntary telecommunications resource. Course participants will also discover
how a telecommunications administration can bring the benefits of a healthy
Amateur Service to its nation.

Now in its 25th year, USTTI is a nonprofit venture involving leading US-based
communications and information technology corporations and leaders of the
federal government cooperating to provide tuition-free management, policy and
technical training for talented professionals from the developing world.


Tad "Ain't No Sun(spots) When She's Gone" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: Last
week's report stated the possibility that zero-sunspot days were about to
end, but no such luck. Instead we've seen no sunspots for three weeks
straight, since September 7. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts unsettled
conditions for September 28, unsettled to active September 29, unsettled
September 30, quiet October 1, unsettled October 2-3 and quiet to unsettled
October 4. Sunspot numbers for September 20 through 26 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
and 0 with a mean of 0. The 10.7 cm flux was 66.8, 66.9, 66.7, 66.3, 66.1,
66.2 and 66.5 with a mean of 66.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 10, 9,
11, 15, 10, 6 and 3 with a mean of 9.1. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were
6, 7, 10, 11, 7, 5 and 2 with a mean of 6.9. For more information concerning
radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation
page To read this week's
Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW Propagation Bulletin page



* This Weekend on the Radio: This weekend, the ARRL EME Competition is on
September 29-30. The NCCC Sprint (CW) is September 28. On September 29-30,
the CQ Worldwide DX Contest (RTTY), CQIR - Ireland Calling, the Texas QSO
Party, FISTS Coast to Coast Contest and the UBA ON Contest (CW) are on the
air. The ARS Spartan Sprint is October 2. The YLRL Anniversary Party (CW) is
October 2-4, the German Telegraphy Contest and the 432 MHz Fall Sprint are
October 3. The SARL 80 Meter QSO Party is October 4. Next week, look for the
NCCC Sprint (CW) on October 5. On October 6, be sure to check out the TARA
PSK Rumble Contest, the NCCC Sprint (CW), the International HELL-Contest (80
meters) and the EU Autumn Sprint (SSB). The Oceania DX Contest (SSB), the
California QSO Party and the PRO CW Contest are October 6-7. Tune in for the
International HELL-Contest (40 meters), the UBA ON Contest (6 meters) and the
RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest on October 7. The YLRL Anniversary Party (SSB) is
October 9-11 and the 10-10 International 10-10 Day Sprint and NAQCC Straight
Key/Bug Sprint are both October 10. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, the ARRL Contester's Rate Sheet and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar for more info.

* ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains open
through Sunday, October 7, 2007 for these online courses beginning on Friday
October 19, 2007: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 2 (EC-002);
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 3 (EC-003R2); Antenna Modeling
(EC-004); HF Digital Communications (EC-005); VHF/UHF - Life Beyond the
Repeater (EC-008), and Radio Frequency Propagation (EC-011). To learn more,
visit the CCE Course Listing page or
contact the Continuing Education Program Coordinator .

* Florida Hams Help Nab Burglary Suspects: Some hams in Florida got an earful
when they heard what turned out to be teenagers planning various robberies
over the Jupiter Farms 444.400 MHz CERT repeater. On September 8, Al
Moreschi, AG4BV, of Jupiter, and John Levey, KI4HTL, a retired police
officer, of Palm Beach Gardens, overheard, according to Moreschi, "what
sounded like men talking about committing a burglary and we were monitoring
them on one of the local ham repeaters." Moreschi said he and his fellow hams
notified local law enforcement agencies of the break-in, but the alleged
thieves "didn't describe the house well enough to get the exact address." The
amateurs kept listening for the vandals to show up again on the repeater. On
September 21, they were in luck. This time the hams were ready and had set up
recording devices to capture the break-in as it transpired. Moreschi said he
and his fellow hams recognized the voices and started recording; they also
called the police. The last transmission heard over the air by the suspects
was, "Code Red, Code Red, Code Red. There are cops everywhere, dude!" Three
suspects were captured and arrested: one at the scene, one who was walking
down a nearby road and one at a local grocery store. An official with the
local sheriff's office said that the suspects were charged with burglary for
the two break-ins; the three are suspects in other local robberies, as well.
The tapes made by the hams are in the custody of the sheriff. Moreschi said
that the suspects might also be facing charges from the Federal
Communications Commission for operating without an amateur license. "We don't
know how these kids got hold of the ham radios. Their transmissions came
right over the CERT repeater, and that has a special tone and you have to
have a special tone to key it up," Moreschi said.

* ARRL Again Participating in the Combined Federal Campaign: For the sixth
year running, the US Office of Personnel Management has designated the ARRL
to participate in the 2006 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). In the past, this
campaign for federal government civilian employees, US Postal Service workers
and members of the military has generated more than $100,000 for ARRL
programs. The CFC provides an easy way to support ARRL's effort to represent
its members and all radio amateurs. Similar to the United Way, the CFC
encourages individuals to pledge by payroll deduction to non-profit
organizations of their choice. The ARRL encourages eligible radio amateurs to
consider the League when designating campaign recipients. Those wishing to
select the ARRL to receive all or part of their payroll deductions should
designate organization 10099 when completing their CFC donor forms. Donations
to ARRL can be designated for Diamond Club contributions, the ARRL Spectrum
Defense Fund orthe ARRL Education & Technology Program. Or, donors may make
unrestricted contributions to the League. One important note: Since the CFC
does not provide the ARRL with the names of individual donors, the ARRL
Development Office would appreciate a copy of the donor form to ensure that
each contribution is applied according to the donor's wishes and that the
contribution or pledge can be properly acknowledged. The 2007 CFC ends
December 15

* Pension Protection Act Streamlines Charitable Donations from IRAs: The ARRL
Development Office notes that a provision of the Pension Protection Act (PPA)
of 2006 offers an opportunity for certain IRA holders to give something back
to Amateur Radio by donating to the Spectrum Defense Fund, to the ARRL
Education and Technology Fund or for the ARRL Diamond Club -- which provides
flexible funding for a variety of programs not supported by member dues.
"Individuals who are at least 70-1/2 and support nonprofits of their choice
may use IRA or Roth IRA assets as a convenient, tax-efficient source to make
contributions while conserving non-IRA assets," ARRL Chief Development
Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, points out. "Contributions must be made directly
from the IRA to the organization, not to a donor-advised fund, gift annuity
or trust." Hobart says contributions of up to $100,000 may be made by
December 31, 2007: "A direct contribution from an IRA to a qualified
organization is excluded from income," she emphasizes. "We have received
significant support through this program. I hope you are considering a
year-end gift to the ARRL." This two-year program expires December 31, 2007.
Hobart urges prospective donors to consult with a financial advisor before
taking advantage of this opportunity. Contact Hobart for
more information or call 860-594-0397. You can also visit the ARRL's PPA Web
site for more information.

* Diamond Terrace Still Shining Bright: While there is still plenty of room
in the Diamond Terrace for those who wish to honor their own call sign or
that of a family member or friend, the seasons are changing and soon there
will be snow in Connecticut. The final brick installation of 2007 will be
taking place in the next month or so before the ground freezes. Now is a good
time to go ahead and make a contribution to the Diamond Club and have your
brick placed in the Terrace before the end of the year. Don't forget to
request a Lucite replica of the brick -- this makes a great addition to your
shack, or you can give it to the family of a Silent Key or your Elmer. Please
visit the ARRL's Diamond Terrace Web site for more information

* Redeem Those Soon-to-Expire International Reply Coupons: If you have old
US-issued International Reply Coupons (IRCs), they can still be redeemed, but
you need to do it very soon. IRCs issued prior to 2002 (the old small ones)
can be redeemed for one penny less than the issue (stamped) price, and must
be redeemed by October 10. IRCs with an expiration date of December 31, 2006
can also be redeemed for one penny less than the issue price; these must be
submitted to the post office by September 1, 2008. All non-US stamped IRCs
issued prior to December 31, 2006 are non-redeemable. For more information,
please refer to pages 28 and 57 in US Postal Bulletin 22215, dated September 13,
2007. Thanks to "The Daily DX" for this information.

* New Name for Space Environment Center: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) will rename the Space Environment Center (SEC)
effective Monday, October 1, 2007. The new name will be the Space Weather
Prediction Center (SWPC). The center is one of the nine National Centers for
Environmental Prediction (NCEP) within NOAA's National Weather Service. The
center provides real-time monitoring and forecasting of solar and geophysical
events, conducts research in solar-terrestrial physics and develops
techniques for forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances. According to
the SEC Web site, "The new name aligns the space weather center with the
other NCEP centers and more clearly conveys its operational nature." The SEC
Forecast Center is jointly operated by NOAA and the US Air Force. For more
information, please visit the SEC Web site

* Let Us Know What You Think: What's your favorite part of The ARRL Letter?
What kind of stories would you like to see in the Letter? Would you prefer
the Letter in an HTML format? This is your Letter and your chance to let your
voice be heard. Please send your suggestions to ARRL News Editor S. Khrystyne
Keane, K1SFA, at , with the subject line "ARRL Letter
Suggestions." All messages will be read and discussed, and we look forward to
implementing positive suggestions into the ARRL Letter.

================================================== =========
The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American
Radio Relay League: ARRL--the National Association for Amateur Radio, 225
Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; Joel Harrison, W5ZN, President.

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential and general news
of interest to active radio amateurs. Visit the ARRL Web site for the latest Amateur Radio news and news updates. The
ARRL Web site also offers informative features and
columns. ARRL Audio News is a weekly
"ham radio newscast" compiled and edited from The ARRL Letter. It's also
available as a podcast from our Web site.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in
part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The
ARRL Letter/American Radio Relay League.

==Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):

==Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA,

==ARRL News on the Web:
==ARRL Audio News: or call 860-594-0384

==How to Get The ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from
ARRL HQ. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for e-mail
ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site You'll have an opportunity during
registration to sign up for e-mail delivery of The ARRL Letter, W1AW
bulletins, and other material. To change these selections--including delivery
of The ARRL Letter--registered members should click on the "Member Data Page"
link (in the Members Only box). Click on "Modify membership data," check or
uncheck the appropriate boxes and/or change your e-mail address if necessary.
(Check "Temporarily disable all automatically sent email" to temporarily stop
all e-mail deliveries.) Then, click on "Submit modification" to make
selections effective. (NOTE: HQ staff members cannot change your e-mail
delivery address. You must do this yourself via the Members Only Web Site.)

The ARRL Letter also is available to all, free of charge, from these sources:

* ARRLWeb (NOTE: The ARRL Letter will be
posted each Friday when it is distributed via e-mail.)

* The listserver, thanks to volunteers from the Boston Amateur Radio
Club: Visit Mailing (NOTE: The ARRL cannot
assist subscribers who receive The ARRL Letter via this listserver.)

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