Thursday, August 4, 2016

The ARRL This Week 8/4/16

The ARRL Letter

August 4, 2016
Editor: Rick Lindquist, WW1ME

Good-Bye, Hara Arena! Dayton Hamvention Headed for Xenia in 2017
FCC Proposes Rule Changes in Response to ARRL's "Symbol Rate" Petition, Seeks Comment
The Doctor Will See You Now!
National Parks on the Air Update
FCC Levies Fines on Radio Amateurs for Deliberate Interference
ARRL Expresses Support for All Activities that Strengthen Emergency Communications Infrastructure
FCC Seeks Comments on Waiver Request from Expert Linears
MARS Sets Interoperability Communications Exercise for August 15
Skyler Fennell, KD0WHB, is 2016 Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, Memorial Young Ham of the Year
Danish Ham-Cyclist Soon to be in Europe and Heading Home
ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference Extends Call for Papers
Fox-1B (RadFxSat) Nears Completion
Chatham Marconi Maritime Center Acquires "Creed Machine" from Georgia Radio Amateur
The K7RA Solar Update
Just Ahead in Radiosport
Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
Good-Bye, Hara Arena! Dayton Hamvention Headed for Xenia in 2017
"X" marks the spot! After 52 years at Hara Arena and its entire 64-year history in the Greater Dayton area, Hamvention® announced on August 1 that it would relocate to the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio. The new venue is about 16 miles east of downtown Dayton off US Route 35 and north of Xenia. On June 29, the Amateur Radio community was stunned to learn that Hara Arena would shut down at the end of August, leaving Hamvention homeless -- at least until this week's big reveal.


Hamvention spokesperson Mike Kalter, W8CI, speaks at the August 1 announcement. [Courtesy of Jeff Davis, KE9V]

"We appreciate and value all the time and effort the many partners, in particular the Greene County Agricultural Society, the Greene County Board of Commissioners, and the Greene County Convention & Visitors Bureau, have put into helping Hamvention find the right venue to continue our long history here in the Miami Valley," Hamvention General Chair Ron Cramer, KD8ENJ, said on August 1. "We look forward to a long and mutually prosperous relationship."

Cramer has said that Hamvention spent "many hours over the last few years evaluating possible [new] locations," and he has assured visitors that their "current accommodations and outside events already planned for Hamvention 2017 should not be affected."

Hamvention chief spokesman and board member Mike Kalter, W8CI, made clear that the move to Xenia was not done in desperation. "Montgomery County didn't have anything for us," he told ARRL. "We looked exhaustively."

"The key thing is that we plan to have a 5-star event," he said of Hamvention 2017. "We'll put a lot of time and energy into it."

The move to Xenia could prove to be a huge economic bonanza for the city and for Greene County. Hamvention attracts some 25,000 visitors each May. Its annual economic impact has been estimated at between $15 and $17 million to the Dayton/Montgomery County area, and some -- if not most -- of that benefit now could migrate eastward down US 35.

Kalter conceded that the new venue in Greene County is a slightly longer drive from downtown Dayton -- where some Hamvention-related events traditionally occur -- than it was to Hara Arena, but he believes it will be worth the trip. James M. Cox International Airport in Dayton remains the closest for anyone flying in for the event, although the drive from the airport will be about twice as long for those deciding to stay in Xenia.

"We expect next year to be a big year," Kalter said. "We expect a lot of people to come to see what it's like." Read more. Also see this story. On his website, KE9V has offered some first-hand information regarding the new venue.

FCC Proposes Rule Changes in Response to ARRL's "Symbol Rate" Petition, Seeks Comment
The FCC has proposed to revise the Amateur Service Part 97 rules in response to the ARRL's so-called "Symbol Rate" Petition for Rule Making (RM-11708), filed in late 2013, and it has invited comments on its recommended changes. The Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in WT Docket 16-239, released on July 28, had been making the rounds at the FCC since May. ARRL had asked the FCC to change the Part 97 rules to delete the symbol rate limit in §97.307(f) and replace it with a maximum bandwidth for data emissions of 2.8 kHz on amateur frequencies below 29.7 MHz.

"[W]e believe that the public interest may be served by revising the Amateur Service rules to eliminate the current baud rate limitations for data emissions, consistent with ARRL's Petition, to allow Amateur Service licensees to use modern digital emissions, thereby furthering the purposes of the Amateur Service and enhancing the usefulness of the service," the FCC said in its NPRM. "We do not, however, propose a bandwidth limitation for data emissions in the MF and HF bands to replace the baud rate limitations, because the rules' current approach for limiting bandwidth use by amateur stations using one of the specified digital codes to encode the signal being transmitted appears sufficient to ensure that general access to the band by licensees in the Amateur Service does not become unduly impaired."

While tentatively concluding that a specific bandwidth limitation for RTTY and data was not necessary, the FCC nonetheless invited comments on whether it should set emission bandwidth standards for Amateur Service MF/HF RTTY and data emissions.

Under the current rules, "specified digital codes" in Part 97 may be used with a symbol rate that does not exceed 300 baud for frequencies below 28 MHz, with the exception of 60 meters, and 1200 baud in the 10 meter band. The baud rate limits were adopted in 1980, when the FCC amended Part 97 to specify ASCII as a permissible digital code.

Comments in the proceeding will be due 60 days after the date that the NPRM appears in the Federal Register.

The Doctor Will See You Now!
"Magnetic Loop Antennas" is the topic of the current episode of the "ARRL The Doctor is In" podcast. Listen...and learn!

Sponsored by DX Engineering, "ARRL The Doctor is In" is an informative discussion of all things technical. Listen on your computer, tablet, or smartphone -- whenever and wherever you like!

Every 2 weeks, your host, QST Editor in Chief Steve Ford, WB8IMY, and the Doctor himself, Joel Hallas, W1ZR, will discuss a broad range of technical topics. You can also e-mail your questions to doctor@arrl.org, and the Doctor may answer them in a future podcast.

Enjoy "ARRL The Doctor is In" on Apple iTunes, or by using your iPhone or iPad podcast app (just search for "ARRL The Doctor is In"). You can also listen online at Blubrry, or at Stitcher (free registration required, or browse the site as a guest) and through the free Stitcher app for iOS, Kindle, or Android devices.

If you've never listened to a podcast before, download our beginner's guide. Coming up next: "SWR."

National Parks on the Air Update
The ARRL National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) program now is in its 8th month, and more than 440 of the 484 eligible NPS units have been activated, with over 540,000 QSOs confirmed in Logbook of The World. Despite a rough summer for propagation, plenty of Activators have been on the air, and it's not too late for you to become a new Activator or Chaser.

The 100th birthday of the National Park System is August 25, and several parks will be active during the Centennial week. See the NPOTA Facebook group for a list of stations active during the actual Centennial week, or to register your own activation.

There are 31 activations scheduled for August 4-10, including two of the rarest units: President's Park in Washington, DC, and Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island. Do not miss out!

Details about these and other upcoming activations can be found on the NPOTA Activations calendar.

Keep up with the latest NPOTA news on Facebook. Follow NPOTA on Twitter (@ARRL_NPOTA).

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FCC Levies Fines on Radio Amateurs for Deliberate Interference
The FCC has imposed fines on radio amateurs in California and Georgia after concluding they broke FCC rules and the Communications Act. The FCC Enforcement Bureau imposed a $25,000 penalty on William F. Crowell, W6WBJ (ex-N6AYJ), of Diamond Spring, California, for intentionally interfering with the transmissions of other radio amateurs and transmitting prohibited communications, including music. The forfeiture represents the full amount proposed in a December 2015 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), and, the FCC said in a lengthy August 2 Forfeiture Order (FO), "is based on the full base forfeiture amount as well as an upward adjustment reflecting Mr Crowell's decision to continue his misconduct after being warned..."

"Mr Crowell does not deny that he made the transmissions that prompted the NAL in this proceeding, but argues, in large part, that those transmissions were protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution," the Forfeiture Order said. In mutiple responses to the NAL, Crowell not only argued that the enforcement action was directed at the content of his transmissions, which were protected by the Constitution, but were justified on the basis of other operators' actions. "Alternatively, Mr Crowell maintains that someone else caused the interference or transmitted the prohibited communications at issue in this proceeding," the FCC said.

"It is well-established that regulation of radio in general does not violate the First Amendment or [the Communications Act]," the Commission's Forfeiture Order said, "and courts have made clear that this conclusion applies to the Amateur Service as well."

Prompting the December 2015 NAL were complaints by members of the Western Amateur Radio Friendship Association (WARFA), which conducts nets three times a week on 75 meters. Crowell had argued that the WARFA Net monopolized the frequency and refused to let him check in.

The Enforcement Bureau recounted that its agents and the High Frequency Direction Finding Capability Center (HFDFC) monitored Crowell's transmissions on August 25 and 27, 2015, during the WARFA Net on 3908 kHz. They observed Crowell's Amateur Radio station "intentionally interfering with other amateur licensees by transmitting on top of other amateurs, and repeatedly interrupting amateurs using noises," the Forfeiture Order said.

The Enforcement Bureau concluded that Crowell "willfully and repeatedly" violated the Communications Act and FCC rules "by intentionally causing interference to other Amateur Radio operators and transmitting prohibited communications, including music." The Bureau said that after reviewing Crowell's arguments, it found no reason to cancel, withdraw, or reduce the penalty it had proposed last December. Read more.

In a Forfeiture Order released on July 29, the FCC fined David J. Tolassi, W4BHV, of Ringgold, Georgia, $1000 for failing to properly identify. The FCC had proposed the fine 1 year ago in a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), noting that Tolassi had been warned the previous summer about not following Part 97 ID rules. The FCC said at the time that Tolassi's "deliberate disregard" of the earlier warning warranted the proposed penalty that it reaffirmed this month.

The FCC said Tolassi did not deny transmitting on 14.313 MHz on the date in question, but he argued that his comments were within the 10-minute window mandated by the rules. The FCC disagreed, however, noting that Tolassi never identified during 15 minutes of transmissions that agents had monitored.

Tolassi had requested the FCC cancel the NAL and substitute a Warning Letter, asserting that the FCC has issued multiple warnings before imposing fines in similar cases. Tolassi was not being treated any differently than other licensees have been, the FCC countered. Read more.

ARRL Expresses Support for All Activities that Strengthen Emergency Communications Infrastructure
At its July 2016 meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors approved revisions concerning the management and governance of its National Traffic System™ (NTS) program. In response, some NTS™ participants have proposed to form a new organization with the stated purpose of engaging in current NTS activity, independent of ARRL. This action, in part, was a reaction to ARRL's announcement regarding the creation of an enhanced emergency communications plan, scheduled for implementation later this year. The ARRL plan will address the role of programs such as NTS, which can provide important capabilities to ARRL partner agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, and The Salvation Army.

In a statement issued August 3 by ARRL, the League said it believes that the existing ARRL NTS program will rise to meet these new, demanding requirements; NTS resources are already well-established networks and have a long history of reliable operation.

"We encourage all NTS participants to be involved in current National Traffic System activities by continuing their existing assignments and duties," the statement said. "However, if NTS members wish to explore alternative programs like the one recently proposed, we do not wish to discourage that exploration."

The statement went on to say that it is ARRL's mission to support all activities that advance the art, science, and enjoyment of Amateur Radio. The League "encourages any activity that strengthens the national emergency communications infrastructure, provides network redundancy, and refines and maintains the critical skills of radio amateurs who daily serve their communities with communication training activities and responses to local and regional emergencies," the statement concluded.

FCC Seeks Comments on Waiver Request from Expert Linears
The FCC is inviting comments on a June 11 request from Expert Linears America LLC to waive §97.317(a)(2) of the Amateur Service rules to permit it to import, market, and use its model 1.3K FA amplifier in the US. The Texas company is seeking the waiver pending resolution of its earlier Petition for Rule Making (RM-11767), which called on the Commission to eliminate the 15 dB gain limitation on Amateur Radio amplifiers altogether. Expert said the version of the model 1.3K FA amplifier it now imports has been modified to comply with current rules.

"Expert seeks a waiver in order to be able to import the unmodified version of the Model 1.3K FA, which is capable of considerably more than 15 dB amplification," the FCC explained in a July 29 Public Notice. "Expert argues that the public interest would be served by permitting use of a higher-powered amplifier, because it would improve the communications capabilities of amateurs using portable, low-power transmitters by enabling them to approach the maximum legal power output." Expert assured the FCC that its model 1.3K FA has proprietary software to prevent it from transmitting in the 26-28 MHz band, so it cannot be used in the Citizens Radio Service.

On May 26, ARRL told the FCC that it "strongly supports" Expert's petition seeking to eliminate the Amateur Service rule, spelled out in §97.317(a)(2), that amateur amplifiers not be able to boost the RF input signal by more than 15 dB.

Comments on Expert's waiver request are due by August 29, reply comments by September 13.

MARS Sets Interoperability Communications Exercise for August 15
US Department of Defense (DOD) Military Auxiliary Radio Service (MARS) operators in the US, Germany, and Japan, will take part in an interoperability communications exercise on Monday, August 15, from 1200 UTC to 2359 UTC. The focus of the exercise is "to train during a simulated communications-constrained environment using radio-only communication capabilities," MARS said.

Throughout the exercise, MARS operators will reach out to and attempt connect with Amateur Radio operators at the local and regional levels using HF, VHF, and UHF. For the purposes of this exercise, the use of the 60 meter interoperability channels -- dial frequencies 5330.5 and 5346.5 kHz -- are authorized and encouraged. Other bands will be coordinated by MARS members at the local/regional level with their ARES/RACES/club counterparts.

The exercise is tied in with a larger DOD exercise, which will include participation by active duty forces. -- Thanks to Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY

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Skyler Fennell, KD0WHB, is 2016 Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, Memorial Young Ham of the Year
Amateur Radio Newsline has announced that 17-year-old Skyler Fennell, KD0WHB, an ARRL member from Denver, Colorado, is the 2016 Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, Memorial Young Ham of the Year (YHOTY). The recent Denver School of the Arts honors graduate and Amateur Extra licensee was introduced to Amateur Radio when he was a high school freshman, but his interest in electronics began in 4th grade.


YHOTY winner Skyler Fennell, KD0WHB, with his bicycle mobile.

"After starting an Amateur Radio club at my high school, we all wanted to be part of a high-altitude balloon launch," he explained on his QRZ.com profile. "After fundraising, and a number of designs, we finally launched with the Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS)." He worked with the EOSS Amateur Radio-equipped balloon launches of the AB0BX STEM School Amateur Radio Club in nearby Littleton.

Skyler's interest in satellite communication resulted in a revival of the Colorado Amateur Satellite Net; he became a net control operator and created a website for the net. He also has gained extensive experience designing and working on repeater systems, and introduced the AllStar Link system for one of the Rocky Mountain Radio League's repeaters.

He became project manager for its 440 MHz repeater and helped put together an AllStar and EchoLink repeater for students. He was also involved in proposing and assisting in the construction of a VHF/UHF repeater at a remote mountaintop site and added an AllStar link to the system.

An Eagle Scout at 13, Skyler has combined his interests in cycling and Amateur Radio, assembling a bicycle mobile setup with VHF and UHF radios. He will be formally recognized as YHOTY during the Huntsville Hamfest on August 20. Read more. -- Thanks to CQ Communications

Danish Ham-Cyclist Soon to be in Europe and Heading Home
Danish Ham-Cyclist Thomas Andersen, OZ1AA, now is in North Africa and soon expects to be in Europe on the last leg of his "Cycling the Globe" bicycle journey. He anticipates being back home in Denmark within a few months.


Round-the-world cyclist Thomas Andersen, OZ1AA (right), took some time out in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to operate ET3AA.

"I'm currently in Morocco and ready to cross over to Spain," he told ARRL on August 2. "From there I will cycle through Spain, France, and Germany back to Denmark. It will take 2 months."

Andersen said that, while he had hoped to, he did not do much hamming while in Africa, but he did visit the ET3AA radio club in Addis Ababa, Ethiopa. "That was a great experience," he said. "It was a great time there, meeting the students and making a few QSOs."

Andersen typically can cover 60 miles in a day, but he's done as many as 100 miles. He began his cycling adventure in Copenhagen 6 years ago. While he does carry a VHF/UHF FM handheld, Andersen said he really has not used it that much. He told ARRL that he hopes to be on the air "from somewhere on my way up through Europe."

Andersen, who was in the US a year ago, said he purchased a new mountain bike "with fat tires" for the trip through Africa. "It was a good choice, since there have been a lot of rough dirt roads here," he told ARRL. "This bike is the third I've used on my trip around the world."

ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference Extends Call for Papers
Technical Papers are invited until August 12 for presentation at the 35th Annual ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC), to be held September 16-18 in St Petersburg, Florida. Papers will be published in the Conference Proceedings, and authors do not need to attend the conference to have their papers included.

The ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference is an international forum for technically minded radio amateurs to meet and present new ideas and techniques. Paper/presentation topic areas include -- but are not limited to -- software defined radio (SDR), digital voice, digital satellite communication, digital signal processing (DSP), HF digital modes, adapting IEEE 802.11 systems for Amateur Radio, Global Positioning System (GPS), Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS), Linux in Amateur Radio, AX.25 updates and Internet operability with Amateur Radio networks.

Submit papers to via e-mail or via post to Maty Weinberg, KB1EIB, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Papers will be published exactly as submitted, and authors will retain all rights.

Fox-1B (RadFxSat) Nears Completion
AMSAT-NA Vice President-Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, reports that the Fox-1B CubeSat (RadFxSat -- Radiation Effects Satellite) flight unit has been assembled and now is undergoing various stages of testing before it is put through environmental (shock, vibration, thermal) testing in August for completion by early September. Launch is scheduled for January 20.

Fox 1B is a joint mission by AMSAT and the Institute for Space and Defense Electronics at Vanderbilt University. It hosts a technology experiment by Vanderbilt University as well as an analog FM Amateur Radio payload.

During a recent test stop in Fox Labs, most of the testing was streamed live on YouTube (archived) to give enthusiasts an opportunity to look over Buxton's shoulder as he conducted tests on the flight unit along with other Fox Engineering Team members.

Fox-1B (RadFxSat) is expected to be back in Fox Labs around August 11 for another round of tests, and live streaming will be available during those tests as well.

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Chatham Marconi Maritime Center Acquires "Creed Machine" from Georgia Radio Amateur
ARRL member Gene Greneker, K4MOG, of Powder Springs, Georgia, recently fulfilled a dream for the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center museum -- formerly WCC on Cape Cod -- to add an important artifact to its collection. Greneker spotted a brief item in QST last year seeking a so-called "Creed machine" for the museum. While most ship-to-shore station traffic was conducted by skilled Morse operators at their keys, the Creed machine -- or keyer -- read a punched tape prepared in advance that generated one-way Morse code broadcasts to ships at sea.


The Creed keyer (left) with a Kleinschmidt punched-tape generator. [Chatham Marconi Maritime Center photo]

"We have searched continuously for roughly 10 years for this artifact, following leads with historians, other museums, archivists, ham radio operators, collectors, and any other possible leads," said Chatham Marconi Maritime Center Operations Manager Dorothy Bassett. The mention in QST, resulting from a visit to the museum by ARRL Lab staffer Mike Gruber, W1MG, did the trick. Greneker spotted it and let Bassett know he had what she was seeking.

"Our members and supporters raised the funds, and we were able to purchase the Creed machine, a custom table, and an entire exhibit to showcase this item and how it worked with our Kleinschmidt machine," Bassett recounted. The Kleinschmidt machine -- or "Klein" -- refers to the equipment used to create the punched "Wheatstone" tape, the narrow ribbon of heavy, perforated paper read by the Creed keyer.

Bassett said that once the exhibit is complete, the museum plans to install a button that visitors can push to start the machine, "so guests will get to hear the Creed working, see the tape move, and watch the pins and mechanics in action."

Greneker said the Creed machine is a rare find for a collector, and he obtained his when he and Fred Dorsey, WA4TDC, bought an entire lot of equipment that had been installed at WOE in Lantana, Florida. "Most of these stations only had one keyer to broadcast the traffic lists on the hour, and these were cut with the Wheatstone


A closer look at the Creed keyer.

perforator," Greneker told Bassett. "Given that there were not that many shore-to-ship stations, not many Creed keyers were ever manufactured." Greneker said the machines were assembled by hand and expensive to purchase. He speculated that the Creed machine he donated may once have been at WCC.

"RCA was famous for taking old equipment from the flagship station (WCC) and sending it to the smaller stations when they needed some item. The flagship station then got the new replacement equipment," he explained. Greneker explained that when shore station operators such as RCA closed those facilities, "the entire station was loaded up and carried to the dump, making the keyers almost impossible to find today."

"This piece is very special to us," Basset said, "and I can't thank the ARRL enough for running the ad that secured procurement."

The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Average daily sunspot numbers dropped from 19.3 last week to 10.7 for the current July 28-August 3 reporting week. Average daily solar flux declined from 82.5 to 72.1. Geomagnetic indices were more active this week, with average daily planetary A index increasing from 8.7 to 13, and mid-latitude A index rising from 8.9 to 11.9.

Sunspot numbers were low all week, and on Wednesday, August 3, the sunspot number dropped to zero.

The predicted solar flux is 75 on August 4; 80 on August 5-6; 85 on August 7; 90 on August 8-9; 95 on August 10-15; 90 on August 16-17; 85 and 80 on August 18-19; 75 on August 20-22; 70 on August 23-27; 72 on August 28-30; 75 on August 31; 85 on September 1; 90 on September 2-3, and 95 on September 4-11.

Predicted planetary A index is 15 on August 4-5; 10 on August 6-7; 20, 8, 12, 10, and 8 on August 8-12; 5 on August 13-14; 12 on August 15-16; 5 on August 17; 8 on August 18-19; 5 on August 20-23; 15 on August 24-25; 5 on August 26-27; 8 on August 28; 20 on August 29-30; 15 on August 31; 12 on September 1; 10 on September 2-3; 8 and 5 on September 4-5; 12 on September 6-7; 8 on September 8, and 5 on September 9-10.

Sunspot numbers for July 28 through August 3 were 13, 13, 13, 12, 13, 11, and 0, with a mean of 10.7. The 10.7 centimeter flux was 70.3, 70.5, 71, 71.5, 71.9, 74.9, and 74.8, with a mean of 72.1. Estimated planetary A indices were 15, 14, 6, 3, 3, 17, and 33, with a mean of 13. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 13, 16, 7, 2, 4, 17, and 24 with a mean of 11.9.

Send me your reports and observations.

Just Ahead in Radiosport
August 6 -- European HF Championship (CW, phone)

August 6 -- WAB 144 MHz Low Power Phone

August 6 -- TARA Grid Dip Shindig (digital)

August 6-7 -- 10-10 International Summer Contest (SSB)

August 6-7 -- North American QSO Party (CW)

August 6-7 -- August UHF Contest (CW, phone, digital

August 7 -- SARL HF Phone Contest

August 10 -- NAQCC CW Sprint (CW)

August 10 -- RSGB 80 Meter Club Sprint (CW)

See the ARRL Contest Calendar for more information. For in-depth reporting on Amateur Radio contesting, subscribe to The ARRL Contest Update via your ARRL member profile e-mail preferences.

Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
August 5-6 -- Texas State Convention, Austin, Texas

August 5-7 -- Pacific Northwest DX Convention, Portland, Oregon

August 12-14 -- New Mexico State Convention, Albuquerque, New Mexico

August 19-21 -- West Virginia State Convention, Weston, West Virginia

August 20-21 -- Southeastern Division Convention, Huntsville, Alabama

August 21 -- Kansas State Convention, Salina, Kansas

September 3-4 -- North Carolina State Convention, Shelby, North Carolina

September 9-11 -- New England Division Convention, Boxborough, Massachusetts

September 10 -- Kentucky State Convention, Shepherdsville, Kentucky

September 10 -- Virginia Section Convention, Virginia Beach, Virginia

September 16-17 -- W9DXCC Convention, Schaumburg, Illinois

September 16-18 -- ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference, St Petersburg, Florida

September 17-18 -- Illinois State Convention, Peoria, Illinois

September 23-24 -- W4DXCC Convention, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
September 24 -- San Joaquin Valley Section Convention, Modesto, California
September 24 -- North Dakota State Convention, West Fargo, North Dakota

September 24 -- Washington State Convention, Spokane Valley, Washington

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

The ARRL This Week 06/30/16

The ARRL Letter

June 30, 2016
Editor: Rick Lindquist, WW1ME

West Virginia ARES Units on Alert for Possible Activation in Wake of Flooding
FCC Transitions to New Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS)
ARRL to Sponsor 2016 Atlantic Season Hurricane Webinar
The Doctor Will See You Now!
National Parks on the Air Update
Initial ARRL Teachers Institute Session a Success
FCC's OET Clarifies Emissions Compliance Testing for RF LED Lighting Devices
The 13 Colonies Special Event Gets Under Way on July 1
Canada Day Contest is Friday, July 1 (UTC)
VLF Transmissions, Amateur Radio Activity Set for Alexanderson Day on July 3
"Scanning RF Seismograph" Monitors HF Propagation in Real Time
Yaesu Musen Signs on as Prime Sponsor of WRTC 2018
AMSAT Symposium 2016 Issues First Call for Papers
India Launches Amateur Radio Satellites
Yasme Foundation Announces Grants to Promote Youth Involvement in Amateur Radio
The K7RA Solar Update
This Week in Radiosport
Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
ARRL Headquarters Will Be Closed on Monday, July 4: ARRL Headquarters will be closed on Monday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. The office will reopen on Tuesday, July 5, at 8 AM ET. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday celebration!

West Virginia ARES Units on Alert for Possible Activation in Wake of Flooding
All Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) districts and counties in West Virginia are on alert for possible activation in the aftermath of severe flooding, which has claimed 23 lives, destroyed hundreds of homes, and damaged countless others. More than 30,000 were without electrical power at one point, but that number was less than 8000 by midweek. President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in the state.

"Currently there are no ARES/RACES activations in progress in West Virginia," Section Emergency Coordinator Jim Stephenson, WV8JS, told ARRL. "The flood damage was extensive in many parts of the state; however, the wired telephone and cell phone systems have remained mostly operational." As of June 29, 12 West Virginia counties remained under states of emergency. Although the emergency in West Virginia is grave, Stephenson said a communication emergency never developed. "It is amazing that the wired telephone and cell phone systems have stood up against this severe flooding," he added.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a federal disaster declaration for Pocahontas, Webster, Kanawha, Greenbrier, Nicholas, Fayette, Clay, Roane, Summers, and Monroe counties.

West Virginia Gov Earl Ray Tomblin said the National Guard and local emergency responders have been dealing with the effects of the flooding. FEMA officials toured the most heavily affected areas last weekend.


The flooding washed out the Greenbrier Classic PGA Tour event.

Stephenson said that he and Kanawha County Emergency Coordinator Jason Means, W8KTM, spent June 27 at West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) headquarters in Charleston, helping to install an Amateur Radio station in the joint operations center. He said the station will have HF and VHF capabilities. "The WVNG has about 700 troops on the ground working and FEMA is in the state assessing damage," he said. "West Virginia Section Manager Phil Groves, N8SFO, has been distributing food and water in the Richwood, Nicholas County, area."

The flooding washed out the Greenbrier Classic PGA Tour event, which had been scheduled for mid-July at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs. The resort has been providing accommodations for some flood victims.

FCC Transitions to New Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS)
The FCC transitioned to a new Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) with a "hard launch" on Monday, June 20. The FCC said its legacy system no longer is available, but all documents and files remain accessible in the new system, and saved links (bookmarks or favorites) to documents and proceedings should not need to be adjusted. The modernization project is expected to significantly improve the resiliency and performance of ECFS, the FCC said.

"This system contains the entire history of docketed proceedings from 1992 to the present," the FCC said. "New submissions will be added to the public record. We will continue to refine this system in response to user feedback."

The ECFS has become the most popular way to gather public comments on Amateur Radio-related proceedings. The FCC said the public can use the ECFS to retrieve any document in the system, including selected pre-1992 documents that have been scanned into the system. The system also lets users browse popular proceedings.

It's also possible to submit a filing via the ECFS, using Word, PDF, or Excel files, and the system lets filers check the status of their submissions and to see if a filing now is available online.

ARRL to Sponsor 2016 Atlantic Season Hurricane Webinar
ARRL will sponsor a 2016 Atlantic Season Hurricane Webinar on Thursday, July 21, at 8 PM ET (0000 UTC on Friday, July 22, UTC). The approximately 90-minute session will address the role of Amateur Radio during the 2016 Hurricane Season. Anyone interested in hurricane preparedness and response is invited to attend this online presentation.

Topics will include a meteorological overview of the upcoming season; Amateur Radio station WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center: Who We Are and What We Do; ARRL Media and Public Relations; the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN); the VoIP Hurricane Net, and ARRL coordination and interface.

The program will include presentations by representatives of the National Hurricane Center and WX4NHC, the VoIP Hurricane Net, the HWN, the Canadian Hurricane Centre, and the ARRL. Webinar registration is open to all, but should be of particular interest to radio amateurs in hurricane-prone areas. The webinar will conclude with a Q&A session.

For additional information, contact ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U.

The Doctor Will See You Now!
"Are Linear Amplifiers Really Worthwhile?" That's the topic of the current (June 30) episode of the "ARRL The Doctor is In" podcast. Listen...and learn!

Sponsored by DX Engineering, "ARRL The Doctor is In" is an informative discussion of all things technical. Listen on your computer, tablet, or smartphone -- whenever and wherever you like!

Every 2 weeks, your host, QST Editor in Chief Steve Ford, WB8IMY, and the Doctor himself, Joel Hallas, W1ZR, will discuss a broad range of technical topics. You can also e-mail your questions to doctor@arrl.org, and the Doctor may answer them in a future podcast.

Enjoy "ARRL The Doctor is In" on Apple iTunes, or by using your iPhone or iPad podcast app (just search for "ARRL The Doctor is In"). You can also listen online at Blubrry, or at Stitcher (free registration required, or browse the site as a guest) and through the free Stitcher app for iOS, Kindle, or Android devices.

If you've never listened to a podcast before, download our beginner's guide. Just ahead: "HF Propagation" on July 14.

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National Parks on the Air Update
On June 24, President Barack Obama designated the area around the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City, as the 412th unit of the National Park Service. The Stonewall National Monument is the first site of the National Park Service dedicated to the struggle for civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. As it is now an official unit of NPS, Stonewall National Monument qualifies for the ARRL National Parks on the Air program, and has been designated as MN83 for NPOTA.

The new Stonewall National Monument encompasses nearly 8 acres of the Greenwich Village neighborhood and includes Christopher Park and the historic Stonewall Inn.

For June 30-July 6, 44 Activations are on tap, including First State National Historical Park (HP12) in Delaware, and Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Montana.

Details about these and other upcoming activations can be found on the NPOTA Activations calendar.

Keep up with the latest NPOTA news on Facebook. Follow NPOTA on Twitter (@ARRL_NPOTA).

Initial ARRL Teachers Institute Session a Success
The first ARRL Teachers Institute of 2016 wrapped up on June 10 in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The bonus, donor-sponsored introductory (TI-1) session was hosted by the Douglas County STEM School and Academy for teachers along the Denver Front Range. These educational opportunities are offered by the ARRL Education & Technology Program (ETP).


TI participant Josh Leckman, a physics teacher, solders components to a project board.

"Because we had a surplus of very qualified applicants for our regular sessions, we were able to fit a few of those applicants into this Colorado session, along with nine local teachers," ARRL Education Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ, explained. ETP Instructor Larry Kendall, K6NDL, taught the Colorado class -- the first-ever 5-day TI session.

Already on the 2016 schedule are two introductory Teachers Institute sessions and one advanced session. The Introduction to Wireless Technology course (TI-1) wrapped up last week (June 20-24) at Parallax Inc in Rocklin, California; a second is set for July 25-29 at ARRL Headquarters in Connecticut. The advanced Remote Sensing and Data Gathering course (TI-2) will be offered July 18-21 at the Dayton Amateur Radio Association in Dayton, Ohio. The TI-1 course is a prerequisite to TI-2.

Kendall said the Colorado Teachers Institute was organized by Paul Veal, N0AH, a former TI participant and STEM parent and supporter. His daughter Anna, W0ANT, spoke to the TI attendees about her involvement in the school's balloon-borne research projects. Complementing the Colorado educators were teachers from Georgia, North Dakota, and Illinois.

Kendall said participants took advantage of the additional class time at the Colorado session to discuss classroom implementation, demonstrations of classroom activities, and to absorb the concepts covered during the week.


A hidden-transmitter hunt was part of the program. From left to right, Mica Storie, Ed Watterson, and Morgan Schwab.

The class got high marks from participants. "Although I teach some basics in communications technology and modern manufacturing processes, I have struggled to bring hands-on, practical applications to my students," said Lance Newman, a high school teacher from Illinois. TI-1 was just what I needed!" He's planning to get his Amateur Radio license.

Fifth grade teacher Chris Laster, KM4KPJ, of Georgia, said the TI-1 session was "hands-down" the best one he'd ever attended. "I left with tons of ideas to implement and a much deeper understanding of radio science and electronics that will make me both a better ham and a better teacher," he said. "It was an incredibly productive week!"

Donations to support the ARRL's efforts to promote Amateur Radio in schools and to provide professional development to educators is welcome. Read more.

FCC's OET Clarifies Emissions Compliance Testing for RF LED Lighting Devices
The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) has clarified that all RF LED lighting devices falling under Part 15 rules as "unintentional radiators" must meet conducted and radiated emissions limits set forth in those rules.

"Operation of Part 15 unintentional radiators is subject to the condition that no harmful interference is caused," the OET reminded, in a knowledge database paper released on June 17. "Manufacturers and users should therefore note that lighting devices are required to cease operation, if harmful interference occurs."


The FCC's OET said emissions from RF LED lighting devices are non-periodic, broadband in nature, and are produced as a byproduct of the internal driver circuitry within the RF LED lighting device. [Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, photo]

The OET said radiated emissions measurements must be performed at least from 30 MHz to 1000 MHz to adequately demonstrate compliance with Part 15 (§15.109). Its guidance, the OET continued, applies to RF LED lighting devices that, in the past, have been considered to operate on frequencies below 1.705 MHz. Previously, devices operating between 9 kHz and 1705 kHz had to be tested only for radiated emissions up to 30 MHz, where no specified radiated emissions limits exist, and were exempt from testing from 30 MHz to 1000 MHz. The OET said it recognizes that routine radiated emissions measurements are needed under Part 15, based on the highest frequency generated or used in the device.

"[W]e have found that emissions from RF LED lighting devices are non-periodic, broadband in nature, and are produced as a byproduct of the internal driver circuitry within the RF LED lighting device," the OET "knowledge data base" paper said. "These types of emissions have adequate energy and potential to generate radiated emissions well above 30 MHz."

The ARRL Lab's Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineer Mike Gruber, W1MG, said he was pleased to see the FCC's OET clarify the test measurement requirements. He said ARRL is generally hearing more RFI complaints stemming from RF LED bulbs.

"Not only are the emissions limits higher for Part 15 LED bulbs -- as opposed to Part 18 fluorescent and CFL bulbs -- they seem to be winning out in terms of consumer popularity," Gruber said. "Higher limits and more bulbs probably make for more complaints." Gruber said the Lab has seen LED lighting devices causing problems in the 2 meter band. "Since conducted emissions limits do not apply above 30 MHz, radiated emissions limits can be the first line of defense against RFI at these higher frequencies."

Gruber pointed out that noise generated by street and traffic lighting can be widespread. In such instances, he suggested that Part 15b limits for residential areas should apply. "These limits are lower than Part 15a limits, which are intended only for commercial and industrial environments," he explained. "This is especially critical in cases where a pole transformer connected to the lighting device also feeds a home or residence. The 240 V split-phase secondary system can conduct RF into a residence through the service entrance panel." He suggested that the lower limits may benefit mobile users. Read more.

The 13 Colonies Special Event Gets Under Way on July 1
The eighth annual 13 Colonies Special Event takes place from 1300 UTC on July 1 until 0400 UTC on July 7. Stations working the special event station in at least one of the original 13 states -- or all 15 participating stations -- will be eligible for a certificate. A Liberty Bell endorsement will be attached for stations contacting sister special event station WM3PEN, in Philadelphia, where independence was declared. Returning this year is a second sister station, GB13COL in Durham, England.

Stations will be on the air from each of the original 13 colonies: Connecticut (K2D), Delaware (K2E), Georgia (K2G), Massachusetts (K2H), Maryland (K2F), North Carolina (K2J), New Hampshire (K2K), New Jersey (K2I), New York (K2A), Pennsylvania (K2M), Rhode Island (K2C), South Carolina (K2L), and Virginia (K2B).

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Canada Day Contest is Friday, July 1 (UTC)
Each year on July 1 -- the anniversary of Canada's Confederation -- Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) sponsors the Canada Day Contest. Amateurs everywhere are welcome to join Canada's birthday party on the air. The event gets under way at 0000 UTC on Friday, July 1 (Thursday evening in US time zones), and concludes at 2359 UTC. Available bands include 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, and 2 meters, on CW and phone. There are nine possible entry categories. You may work any station once on each mode on each of the eight available bands.

Suggested frequencies: CW, 25 kHz up from the band edge; SSB, 1.850, 3.775, 7.075, 7.225, 14.175, 21.250, and 28.500 MHz. Check for CW activity on the half-hour. Canadian stations sent signal report and province/territory. VE0s and stations outside Canada send a signal report and serial number. Contacts with stations in Canada or VE0s are worth 10 points. Contacts with stations outside Canada are worth 2 points. Contacts with RAC official stations (with RAC suffixes) are worth 20 points.

VLF Transmissions, Amateur Radio Activity Set for Alexanderson Day on July 3
VLF enthusiasts, take note: The SAQ Alexanderson alternator will be on the air for "Alexanderson Day," Sunday, July 3, for a full-day event that includes both VLF transmissions and Amateur Radio HF activity from SK6SAQ, the ham station at the Grimeton heritage site in Sweden. The Alexanderson alternator -- an electromechanical radio transmitter -- is named after the Swedish engineer Ernst F.W. Alexanderson, who emigrated to the US in 1902 and spent many years working at General Electric and RCA.


The SAQ antenna supports.

On Alexanderson Day, there will be two separate, but identical, 17.2 kHz transmissions, at 0900 UTC and at 1200 UTC. The Alexanderson alternator will be started 30 minutes before transmissions begin. The only functioning Alexanderson alternator transmitter in the world is used on special occasions throughout the year to transmit short CW messages on 17.2 kHz, and is easily heard in Europe. The transmitter is preserved as a historical remnant of early (1920s era) radio technology.

In addition, Amateur Radio station SK6SAQ will be active on 7035, 14,035, or 21,035 kHz for CW, and on 3755 kHz for SSB. Two stations will be on the air most of the time.

Reception reports may be submitted via e-mail. QSLs for SK6SAQ are invited via the bureau or direct. -- Thanks to Lars Kalland, SM6NM

"Scanning RF Seismograph" Monitors HF Propagation in Real Time
A "Scanning RF Seismograph," a real-time HF propagation-monitoring tool developed by the MDSR Team and Alex Schwarz, VE7DXW, a member of the North Shore Amateur Radio Club (NSARC), has been established in Western Canada. The site is in Lynn Valley (CN89li), North Vancouver, British Columbia, at 500 feet ASL.

A Yaesu FT-950 transceiver connected to an omnidirectional multiband antenna monitors JT-65 frequencies on six HF bands (for 8 seconds each, repeating the scan every 52 seconds). Recorders monitor the background noise of the band and display the result in six color-differentiated (one color per band), long-duration graphs displaying a total 6 hours of scans.

When signals are present on a band, its graph trace starts to resemble a series of vertical bars. The small, irregular jiggling of the graph traces is caused by changes in noise level, and by the reflection of noise off the D Layer of the ionosphere. The web link is updated every 10 minutes.

For more information, contact Alex Schwarz, VE7DXW.

Yaesu Musen Signs on as Prime Sponsor of WRTC 2018
Yaesu Musen has announced that it will support World Radiosport Team Championship 2018 (WRTC 2018) in Germany as the event's prime sponsor. Yaesu Director Masao Mori, JA1COW, and WRTC 2018 President Christian Janssen, DL1MGB, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on June 25 at Ham Radio 2016 in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Yaesu, which marks its 60th anniversary this year, will donate all rotators for the WRTC stations' antennas.

"Yaesu is happy to get into such close contact with the WRTC 2018 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary," Mori said. "We are looking forward to providing our long-standing experience in the cooperation with the great events of Amateur Radio."

Janssen called Yaesu's support "a great step forward" toward meeting WRTC 2018's sponsorship targets. Also signing the agreement were Martti Laine, OH2BH, and Volkmar Junge, DF2SS. Laine, one of the organizers of WRTC 2002 in Finland, contributed his support to the negotiations. WRTC 2018 organizers expressed their gratitude to Yaesu for "its most generous support as a token of worldwide cooperation in Amateur Radio" and to Laine and Junge "for their consulting and support."

WRTC 2018 will take place in mid-July in the Jessen/Wittenberg area near Berlin.

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AMSAT Symposium 2016 Issues First Call for Papers
AMSAT has issued its first call for papers for the 2016 AMSAT-NA Annual Meeting and Space Symposium, November 10-14. Proposals for papers, symposium presentations, and poster presentations are invited on any topic of interest to the Amateur Satellite community. AMSAT requests a tentative paper or presentation title as soon as


The 2016 AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual Meeting take place at sea.

possible, but no later than September 15. Final versions are due by October 15 for inclusion in the printed proceedings. Send abstracts and papers to Dan Schultz, N8FGV.

The 2016 AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual Meeting will be held aboard the cruise ship Carnival Liberty, departing from the port of Galveston, Texas, on November 10 and returning to port on November 14. The cruise includes 2 full days at sea and 1 day in port at Cozumel, Mexico.

Symposium presentations and meetings will be conducted during the days at sea, to allow time during the stop in Cozumel. The AMSAT Board of Directors meeting will take place in Galveston prior to the Symposium. -- Thanks to AMSAT News Service

India Launches Amateur Radio Satellites
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully launched several satellites carrying Amateur Radio payloads. Satellites put into orbit include Swayam-1, a 1U CubeSat that carries a digital store-and-forward messaging system for use by the Amateur Radio community.

"We are eagerly waiting for your reception report of the CW beacon at 437.025 MHz. You can also get the decoded beacon data by entering 'beacon' in Swayam beacon signal decoder available on our website," said Rupesh Lad, VU2LRD/VU2COE of the College of Engineering Pune CSAT team.

Swayam is in a low-Earth polar orbit. It operates on 437.025 MHz with a power output of 1 W. Other satellites on the launch that carried Amateur Radio payloads include BEESAT-4 (435.950-4800 bps GMSK, CW); BIROS (437.525-4800 bps GMSK; Max Valier (145.860 MHz down, 145.960 MHz CW beacon), and Sathyabamasat (145.980-2400 bps BPSK).

Yasme Foundation Announces Grants to Promote Youth Involvement in Amateur Radio
The Yasme Foundation has announced three grants in furtherance of its goal of encouraging youth participation in Amateur Radio and in operating activities. The Yasme Foundation encourages amateurs to support activities that promote Amateur Radio and result in new licensees around the world. The Yasme Foundation grants will make it possible for some young radio amateurs, who otherwise might be unable to do so, to attend the sixth Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) conference this July in Austria. More than 100 young hams from all three IARU regions will gather to participate in a series of programs and workshops about Amateur Radio, and to get acquainted with one another.

"Gatherings such as YOTA exemplify the ability of amateurs to work together across national borders and ethnicities in the best 'ham spirit' of friendship," the Yasme Foundation announcement said.

A Yasme grant will enable two young radio amateurs from Kosovo to attend the YOTA conference -- the first time these young people will travel outside their home country.

Two young operators from the Ethiopian Amateur Radio Society (EARS) also will attend the YOTA conference, thanks to a Yasme Foundation grant.

Three young US radio amateurs will also attend the YOTA meeting as invited members of IARU Region 2, with the assistance of a Yasme grant and a similar grant from the Northern California DX Foundation (NCDXF). The boards of both foundations expressed the hope that they will return with ideas for extending the successes of YOTA to young North American amateurs. Read more.

The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: We've just experienced a solid week with zero sunspots. The average daily sunspot number was down 33.6 points to zero over the reporting period (June 23-29) compared to 33.6 on the previous 7 days. Average daily solar flux during the same 2 weeks dropped from 83.8 to 75.6, the average daily planetary A index increased from 7 to 9, and the mid-latitude A index rose from 6.9 to 9.1.

Earlier in this month we saw 4 days with a blank sun, June 3-6. There were no sunspots throughout Field Day weekend. Even so, conditions were good for Field Day; there were no sunspots but no massive solar eruptions or geomagnetic storms either.

The last time we saw a blank sun was on July 17, 2014 -- for just 1 day. Prior to that, 2 days in 2011 -- January 27 and on August 14 -- were spot-less. Going back farther, 2010 saw 51 days with a blank sun, with the longest period lasting 13 days.

These recent periods of no sunspot activity were a surprise to me, even though we are in a declining half of the solar cycle. I didn't expect that extended periods of no sunspot activity would begin so early following the peak of Solar Cycle 24.

The latest prediction has solar flux at 75 on June 30; 80 on July 1-7; 82 on July 8-10; 80 on July 11; 82 on July 12-13; 80 on July 14-17; 78 on July 18-23; 77 on July 24, and 80 on July 25-31. Following this, the prediction shows solar flux rising by 2 points for the first week of August.

Predicted planetary A index is 15, 10, 30, 25, and 10 on June 30-July 4; 5 on July 5-6; 8, 10, 10, and 8 on July 7-10; 20, 12, and 5 on July 11-13; 8 on July 14-15; 5 on July 16-18; 15, 12, and 10 on July 19-21, and 5 on July 22-26.

Sunspot numbers for June 23 through 29 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 0. The 10.7 centimeter flux was 77.5, 75.7, 77.1, 76.6, 75.4, 73.1, and 73.6, with a mean of 75.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 12, 12, 7, 11, 10, 7, and 4, with a mean of 9. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 10, 10, 7, 11, 16, 6, and 4 with a mean of 9.1.

Send me your reports and observations.

This Week in Radiosport
July 1 -- RAC Canada Day Contest (CW, phone)

July 2 -- FISTS Summer Slow Speed Sprint (CW)

July 2-3 -- Venezuelan Independence Day Contest (CW, phone, digital)

July 2-3 -- DL-DX RTTY Contest

July 2-3 -- Marconi Memorial HF Contest (CW)

July 2-3 -- Original QRP Contest (CW)

July 2-3 -- PODXS Ø7Ø 40 Meter Firecracker Sprint (digital)

July 3 -- DARC 10-Meter Digital Contest

July 4 -- 10-10 International Spirit of 76 QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

July 4 -- RSGB 80 Meter Club Championship (CW)

July 5 -- ARS Spartan Sprint (CW)

July 7 -- NRAU 10 Meter Activity Contest (CW, phone, digital)

See the ARRL Contest Calendar for more information. For in-depth reporting on Amateur Radio contesting, subscribe to The ARRL Contest Update via your ARRL member profile e-mail preferences.

Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
July 2 -- Eastern Pennsylvania Section Convention, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

July 8-9 -- Northern Florida Section Convention, Milton, Florida

July 8-9 -- Utah State Convention, Sandy, Utah

July 15-17 -- Montana State Convention, East Glacier, Montana

July 22-23 -- Oklahoma Section Convention, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

July 29-31 -- Central States VHF Conference, Rochester, Minnesota

August 5-6 -- Texas State Convention, Austin, Texas

August 5-7 -- Pacific Northwest DX Convention, Portland, Oregon

August 12-14 -- New Mexico State Convention, Albuquerque, New Mexico

August 19-21 -- West Virginia State Convention, Weston, West Virginia

August 20-21 -- Southeastern Division Convention, Huntsville, Alabama

August 21 -- Kansas State Convention, Salina, Kansas

September 3-4 -- North Carolina State Convention, Shelby, North Carolina

September 9-11 -- New England Division Convention, Boxborough, Massachusetts

September 10 -- Kentucky State Convention, Shepherdsville, Kentucky

September 10 -- Virginia Section Convention, Virginia Beach, Virginia

September 16-17 -- W9DXCC Convention, Schaumburg, Illinois

September 16-18 -- ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference, St Petersburg, Florida

September 17-18 -- Illinois State Convention, Peoria, Illinois

September 24 -- North Dakota State Convention, West Fargo, North Dakota

September 24 -- Washington State Convention, Spokane Valley, Washington

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The ARRL This Week 06/16/16

The ARRL Letter

June 16, 2016
Editor: Rick Lindquist, WW1ME

ARRL Now Offering New "Radio and Wireless Technology" Patch Program for Girl Scouts
FCC Turns Away Petition to Permit Experimental Operation on Amateur Bands
Polish DXer 3Z9DX Reported Ready to Return to North Korea on a Moment's Notice
Three Radio Amateurs on the ISS Head Home on June 18
National Parks on the Air Update
The Doctor Will See You Now!
Gear Up for ARRL Field Day with Official Merchandise
Kids Day is Saturday, June 18
"The Magic Band" Lives Up to its Name in ARRL June VHF Contest
White House Honors Limor Fried, AC2SN, Among "Champions of Change for Making"
Well-Known DXer, DXpeditioner Milt Jensen, N5IA, Dies in Fall from Tower
Nepal Radio Amateur Describes Earthquake Response Effort at West Coast Gathering
Europe's "Dayton" -- Ham Radio 2016 (Friedrichshafen) -- Takes Place June 24-26
The K7RA Solar Update
This Week in Radiosport
Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
ARRL Now Offering New "Radio and Wireless Technology" Patch Program for Girl Scouts
The ARRL has begun offering a new Girl Scouts "Radio and Wireless Technology" patch program that offers opportunities for participants to learn about wireless technology, including Amateur Radio. Scout leaders and Amateur Radio volunteers associated with the Greater Atlanta Girl Scout Council and Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains developed the program to incorporate information and exploratory activities that provide a backdrop for understanding radio communication. The program will encourage Girl Scouts to take on activities to gain knowledge and skills, as well as kindle an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects and careers.

"The initiative for the program came about through my conversations with hams who wanted to work with Girl Scouts as well as Boy Scouts and wanted a patch program that would introduce ham radio, as the 'Radio' merit badge does in the Boy Scouts," said ARRL Education Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ. "I was introduced to a group of leaders with the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta who wanted to work in developing a new, fun patch program for radio that would fit with the Girl Scout Leadership Experience structure. This group was joined by Jill Galus, KB1SWV, of the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains in New Hampshire. We collaborated on this over the course of several years." Galus's father, "Skip" Youngberg, K1NKR, and a team from the Nashoba Valley Radio Club helped test-drive the new patch program with Girl Scouts in New Hampshire, during "Thinking Day on the Air" this past February.

The program defines the requirements for Girl Scouts to earn the patch at the Brownie, Junior, Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador levels. Girl Scouts can learn the fundamentals of radio communication and wireless technology, from broadcasting to smartphones, and apply what they learn to connect people, enhance safety, and explore related careers. In addition to acquiring the fundamentals, participants can explore radio science through hands-on learning with Amateur Radio, and use radio to talk around the world and for public service. They also can learn about the role of wireless technology in everyday life and in careers. Read more.

FCC Turns Away Petition to Permit Experimental Operation on Amateur Bands
The FCC has denied the 2015 petition of a Missouri radio amateur seeking to have the Commission authorize low-power experimental activity on Amateur Radio frequencies. James Edwin Whedbee, N0ECN, of Gladstone, sought to amend FCC Part 97 Amateur Service rules to let radio amateurs conduct experiments on all Amateur Radio bands, subject to certain limits on duration, power, and bandwidth. The FCC declined to put his petition on public notice and invite comments.

"[T]he Commission's rules contain numerous provisions for experimentation and development of new radio equipment and techniques," the FCC said in a June 9 letter to Whedbee. "The Experimental Radio Service (ERS) rules contained in Part 5 permit a broad range of experiments, including in the Amateur Service, and prescribe the manner in which the radio spectrum may be made available to experiment with new radio technologies, equipment designs, characteristics of radio wave propagation, or service concepts related to the use of the radio spectrum."

The letter pointed out that the FCC "recently revised and streamlined" its Part 5 rules "to provide additional flexibility to innovators" and noted that Whedbee did not discuss in his petition whether those rule changes might address his concerns.

In the same stroke of the pen, the FCC denied a 2016 petition from Whedbee seeking to delegate to the chiefs of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) and the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) the authority to dispose of certain requests for exemptions, waivers, and rulemaking regarding new technologies or new application of existing technologies.

"The Commission has already delegated to WTB and OET authority to act on applications, waiver requests, petitions, and even some rulemaking matters, so long as they do not raise novel questions of law or policy which cannot be resolved under outstanding Commission precedents and guidelines," the FCC told Whedbee.

"[W]e conclude that [both] petitions present no evidence of an existing problem or other evidence meriting a rule change, and we dismiss the petitions," the FCC concluded.

Whedbee is no stranger to the FCC petition process. Earlier this year he petitioned the FCC to designate Morse (radiotelegraphy) Amateur Radio band segments as "symbol communication" subbands, and the FCC invited public comment on that request (RM-11769). In 2012, the FCC turned down Whedbee's request that the FCC declare homeowners associations' covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) unenforceable.

Polish DXer 3Z9DX Reported Ready to Return to North Korea on a Moment's Notice
In the wake of a surprise "demonstration" operation from North Korea -- officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) -- in December, Polish DXer Dom Grzyb, 3Z9DX, is eagerly awaiting the call that will allow him to return to the most-wanted DXCC entity for another brief activation. Just when that will come could be anytime, however. DX-World and The Daily DX report that Grzyb has received confirmation that North Korea will authorize a 5-day operation, and he is ready to roll as soon as he gets word, which will be on short notice -- just enough time for him to book his flight, grab his gear, and head off. DX World reported that no notice would be given prior to the P5/3Z9DX activation itself.


Dom Grzyb, 3Z9DX, during an earlier visit to North Korea.

There are other conditions: He may only operate on SSB and on one band, 20, 15, or 10 meters. No decisions will be made until Grzyb gets to the DPRK, however.

Over the course of his unanticipated December 20-21, 2015, activation -- the first in more than a decade -- P5/3Z9DX made nearly 785 SSB contacts, most of them on 15 meters. Nearly 600 of the contacts were with stations in Asia; P5/3Z9DX worked just 26 stations in North America. He has posted his log on ClubLog. The ARRL DXCC Department subsequently approved the P5/3Z9DX operation for DXCC. -- Thanks to The Daily DX and DX-World

Three Radio Amateurs on the ISS Head Home on June 18
Three radio amateurs on board the International Space Station (ISS) will depart the orbiting outpost at the end of the week. Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra, KE5UDN; Flight Engineer Tim Peake, KG5BVI/GB1SS, and Yuri Malenchenko, RK3DUP, will undock from the space station early on Saturday morning, June 18 (the evening of Friday, June 17, in US time zones) in a Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft commanded by Malenchenko, after having spent 186 days in space since their December launch. NASA Television will provide coverage starting on June 17.


Seated in front, L-R: ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Timothy Peake, KG5BVI; NASA astronaut Timothy Kopra, KE5UDN, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, RK3DUP, are set to depart the International Space Station and return to Earth on June 18. Behind them (L-R) are Oleg Skripochka, RN3FU, Alexey Ovchinin, both of Roscosmos, and Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ. [NASA photo]

When the Soyuz undocks, ISS Expedition 48 will begin under the command of Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ. Williams and crewmates Oleg Skripochka, RN3FU, and Alexey Ovchinin will operate the station for 3 weeks until the arrival of the next crew increment. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, KG5FYJ; Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, and Takuya Onishi, KF5LKS, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are scheduled to launch on July 6 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

During their stay, Kopra and Peake scored some milestones for the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. On March 10, Kopra conducted the 1000th ARISS school group contact with students in North Dakota. The first contact occurred in December of 2000. Peake made use of Amateur Radio in his "Principia Mission" outreach, which aimed to directly engage students with communication technologies, inspiring them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

During his stay in space, Peake hosted 10 ARISS school group contacts, including the first to take advantage of the HamTV digital Amateur Radio television (DATV) system when he spoke with students in England on February 11. The DATV system in the Columbus module of the ISS allowed students at Royal Masonic School, home of GB1RSM, to see as well as to listen, as Peake, operating as GB1SS, answered their questions about life in space. Read more.

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National Parks on the Air Update
One of the rarest locations in the National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) program will be activated on Saturday, June 18. The HacDX Amateur Radio Club, W3HAC, has secured permission to operate from the White House Visitor Center (DZ10), during ARRL Kids Day. Announced frequencies are 14,270, 7270, 14,042, and 7042 kHz from 1800 to 2300 UTC.

The group, which has secured the call sign W3H for this activity, plans other NPOTA Activations on August 25 -- the actual date of the National Park Service's 100th anniversary -- and in October for Scouting's Jamboree On the Air (JOTA).

There are 55 NPOTA activations on the calendar for June 16-22, including Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, and the James Garfield National Historic Site in Ohio. Details about these and other upcoming activations can be found on the NPOTA Activations calendar.

Keep up with the latest NPOTA news on Facebook. Follow NPOTA on Twitter (@ARRL_NPOTA).

The Doctor Will See You Now!
"Grounding" is the topic of the latest (June 16) episode of the "ARRL The Doctor is In" podcast. Listen...and learn!

Sponsored by DX Engineering, "ARRL The Doctor is In" is an informative discussion of all things technical. Listen on your computer, tablet, or smartphone -- whenever and wherever you like!

Every 2 weeks, your host, QST Editor in Chief Steve Ford, WB8IMY, and the Doctor himself, Joel Hallas, W1ZR, will discuss a broad range of technical topics. You can also e-mail your questions to doctor@arrl.org, and the Doctor may answer them in a future podcast.

Enjoy "ARRL The Doctor is In" on Apple iTunes, or by using your iPhone or iPad podcast app (just search for "ARRL The Doctor is In"). You can also listen online at Blubrry, or at Stitcher (free registration required, or browse the site as a guest) and through the free Stitcher app for iOS, Kindle, or Android devices.

If you've never listened to a podcast before, download our beginner's guide. Just ahead: "Are Linear Amplifiers Really Worthwhile?"

Gear Up for ARRL Field Day with Official Merchandise
ARRL Field Day -- the most popular operating event of all -- is June 25-26. There's still time to show your support for ARRL Field Day with official merchandise. Shirts hats, pins, patches, and coffee mugs are a great way to acknowledge -- and commemorate -- your participation in this annual event. Encourage family, friends, and fellow hams to take part in ARRL Field Day with recruitment posters and attractive "Get on the Air" (GOTA) pins for newcomers. Get out...get on the air...and leave nothing but footprints!

Order your 2016 ARRL Field Day merchandise from the ARRL online store or call (888) 277-5289 in the US, Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM Eastern Time. Outside the US, call (860) 594-0355). While supplies last.

Kids Day is Saturday, June 18
Kids Day is Saturday, June 18, from 1800 to 2400 UTC. The twice-yearly (January and June) event, sponsored by the ARRL and The Boring (Oregon) Amateur Radio Club, is an excellent opportunity to showcase Amateur Radio to youngsters and even to hand over the keys, so they can get some hands-on hamming experience. Share the excitement with your own children or grandkids, or with youngsters in the neighborhood! For youngsters, their positive ham radio experience may foster an interest that may lead them to become radio amateurs. For veterans, it's a chance to share their stations and affection for Amateur Radio with the next generation.


Brian Szewczyk, NJ1F (left), mentors new radio amateur Lukas Rieben, KE8EIC, at the Discover the HF Experience demonstration at Hamvention® 2016. Lukas passed his Technician exam at the show. [Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, photo]

To solicit contacts, call "CQ Kids Day." The suggested exchange is name, age, location, and favorite color. There is no limit on operating time, and stations may work each other more than once if the operator has changed. Repeater contacts (with permission of the repeater's sponsor) are okay too, and satellite contacts may provide a real thrill. Observe third-party traffic restrictions when making DX contacts.

All participants are encouraged to post stories and photos to the Kids Day Soapbox page and are eligible for a colorful certificate. You can download the free certificate, customized with the youngsters' names, after filling out the Kids Day Survey found on the same page as the certificate generator. Alternatively, you can send a 9 × 12 SASE to Kids Day Certificate Request, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.

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"The Magic Band" Lives Up to its Name in ARRL June VHF Contest
Six meters sounded more like an HF band during the ARRL June VHF Contest over the June 11-12 weekend, as sustained sporadic E (also known as E-skip or Es) openings greeted participants. Some found 6 meter contacts so bountiful that they tended to neglect the other VHF/UHF bands, where conditions were more typical.

"As for why the contest weekend was so good, all I can say is that June can be good for E-skip," said Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, the former "Propagation" editor for National Contest Journal (NCJ). "I think the term 'sporadic' in its name is well suited. We just don't understand the detailed processes of 6 meter Es."


The well-appointed VHF-UHF tower at K2DRH.

For many, it was a 6-meters-only event, with the best conditions in several years and much of the action on CW. "This was the consummate 50 MHz festival, with wide-open bands throughout most of the contest," Bill Schwantes, W7QQ, in New Mexico, posted in his soapbox comments on the 3830 website. "For the first time in my memory I felt like a rate junkie, often reaching 200 per hour. What fun on 6, while ignoring long-haul, weak signal contacts on 144, 222, and 432."

Bob Striegl, K2DRH, who boasts some serious VHF-UHF antennas in upstate Illinois, said the band "was going crazy" in the evening from the East Coast to Europe, and to Japan from the Midwest and South. "In a lull I tuned up JA7QVI, who was the strongest, and worked him on CW with low power!"

Mike Smith, VE9AA, in New Brunswick called it, "A VHF (6 meter) contest I can write home about." He was one station's first 6 meter contact, and "was tickled to do that."

Top-tier HF contester Dan Street, K1TO, in Florida, made his first 6 meter contact with Japan during ARRL VHF, only the third time he's operated in the event. "Conditions were amazingly different for all of us," Street said in his soapbox post. "I watched in awe as the W1s seemed to have a contest-long opening to somewhere. EA8DBM's skimmer made an incredible number of US spots, and he worked stations out to the West Coast. Yet here in Florida, I never heard him once, nor even one European."

Eric Gruff, NC6K, in California also didn't get in on the excitement. "Another frustrating VHF contest from DM13," he posted. "[T]he majority of the time, I spent listening to the same local stations calling CQ incessantly, while the rest of the country was enjoying a huge opening."

Charlie Panek, KX7L, in Washington, summed things up this way: "Every few years the planets line up right, and we get a good Es opening during the contest," he said. "This was one of those years!" Read more.

White House Honors Limor Fried, AC2SN, Among "Champions of Change for Making"
The White House will honor Adafruit founder Limor "Ladyada" Fried, AC2SN, on June 17 as one of 10 "Champions of Change for Making." According to the announcement, while an engineering student at MIT, Fried became determined to create a company that focused on supporting the learning of electronics for makers of all ages and skill levels.


Limor Fried, AC2SN.

"These individuals were selected by the White House for their personal passion and tireless efforts to make advances in technology and platforms, educational opportunities, or spaces that empower even more Americans to become tinkerers, inventors, and entrepreneurs," the announcement said.

Fried founded Adafruit in 2005, and it has grown to now employ more than 100 individuals in a 50,000 square foot factory in New York City. As the company's sole owner, she has committed to building both innovation and community, and is known for creating resources for learning.

"When Limor Fried looks at a circuit board, she sees it as a series of aesthetic choices -- a vehicle for self-expression, rather than simply the product of rational optimization," Nicola Twilley wrote in the March 3 edition of The New Yorker magazine. Twilley quoted Fried as saying, "I want to show people that engineering isn't something cold and calculated. Thinking like an engineer is a beautiful and fascinating way to see the world, too."

Fried was the first female engineer on the cover of WIRED magazine, and she was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 by Entrepreneur magazine. She also served on the NYC Industrial Business Advisory Council.

Adafruit has expanded its offerings to include tools, equipment, and electronics, which Fried personally selects, tests, and approves before they go into the Adafruit store.

The White House will live stream the recognition ceremony on Friday, June 17, at 1700 UTC. Read more.

Well-Known DXer, DXpeditioner Milt Jensen, N5IA, Dies in Fall from Tower
Well-known DXer and DXpeditioner Milt Jensen, N5IA, of Virden, New Mexico, died on June 10 after falling from an Amateur Radio tower. An ARRL Life Member, he was 73. According to the Pima County Sheriff's Department, Jensen was working on a tower on Arizona's Mount Lemmon when he fell. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The mishap is still under investigation.


Milt Jensen, N5IA, during the Ducie Island DXpedition in 2008.

"Milt was on one of his many tower climbing adventures, and, by no choice of his, it became his last," his oldest son, Jason, wrote in a QRZ.com post.

Licensed in 1960, Jensen had lived in Virden for his entire life. Especially well known for his 160 meter activity, he spent several years constructing an "8-circle array" of full-sized 160 meter verticals -- each 125-foot towers -- at his station site south of Safford, Arizona, near the New Mexico border, Lee Finkel, KY7M, wrote in an article set to appear in the July/August issue of NCJ. Jensen operated his "dream station" remotely from his home, often using the call sign N7GP in contests. In addition to his Top Band operation, Jensen was heavily involved in designing, installing, and maintaining VHF and UHF mountaintop repeaters, remotely controlled base stations, and linking systems. As a contester, he often landed in the Top 10 standings.

Jensen participated in three DXpeditions. He and his wife Rulene, KB5VTM, were part of the 1998 XZ1N team in Myanmar. In 2000, he returned to Myanmar as part of the XZ0A multinational team. In 2008, he was part of the Ducie Island VP6DX DXpedition team. Read more.

Nepal Radio Amateur Describes Earthquake Response Effort at West Coast Gathering
Amateur Radio's "vital role" in the 2015 Nepal earthquake response was the topic on June 2 as the City of Santa Clara, California, hosted Sanjeeb Panday, 9N1SP, of Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu Nepal. Given that the Silicon Valley and the Kathmandu Valley share the common geography of multiple, nearby earthquake fault lines, the subject was relevant. The Santa Clara Fire Department sponsored the presentation, with an eye toward applying the lessons learned in the wake of the Nepal earthquake to better prepare for a similar disaster in the Silicon Valley.


Sanjeeb Panday, 9N1SP, spoke in Santa Clara, California, on June 2.

"The Nepali people have gone through a tremendous ordeal," Panday told the audience. "If our experience can help others in different parts of the world [to] better prepare for disasters, then this can be regarded as a positive outcome."

Nearly 100 spectators attended Panday's presentation, including firefighters, emergency response officials, City of Santa Clara ARES/RACES members, Bay-Net participants, and members of the Nepali-American Community. Scout leader Richard Silkebakken, KM6CPH, and members of Cub Scout Pack 32 (Monterey Bay Council) presented Panday with two handheld transceivers for delivery to Scouts in Nepal. Also during the event, the office of US Rep Mike Honda presented the Global Nepali Professional Network (GNPN or CAN-USA) with a "Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition." Through its Radio Mala program, GNPN funded and helped to construct the only two Amateur Radio repeaters available in Nepal during the earthquake.

Panday was in the US to attend the International Microwave Symposium (IMS), where he addressed a panel on Amateur Radio in post-secondary education. On June 1, he also spoke to the US Geological Survey.

Second-generation Nepali-American Suresh Ojha, W6KTM, said he was gratified that the academic community and US jurisdictions are looking at Nepal's earthquake experience with an eye to applying the lessons learned to the challenges faced in the US. Read more.

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Europe's "Dayton" -- Ham Radio 2016 (Friedrichshafen) -- Takes Place June 24-26
ARRL will be well represented this month at Europe's premier Amateur Radio gathering -- Ham Radio 2016. The 3-day event, in Friedrichshafen, Germany, on the shores of Lake Constance, gets under way on June 24. ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, will head the League's contingent to Friedrichshafen, which also will include International Affairs Vice President Jay Bellows, K0QB; CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF; Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R; Assistant Field Services and Radiosport Manager Norm Fusaro, W3IZ, and retired CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ. The annual show attracts upward of 15,000 visitors from around the globe. The co-sponsoring Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC) has set a theme of "Amateur Radio -- On land, on water, and in the air" for this summer's event. Some 200 exhibitors from 34 countries will be on hand for this 41st "Friedrichshafen."


The indoor flea market at Friedrichshafen always draws a crowd.

"There are as many different ways to operate Amateur Radio as there are places from which you can send radio transmissions: On land, on water, and in the air," DARC spokesperson Stephanie Heine, DO7PR, said.

This year's program includes a "foxhunt" in woods near the fairgrounds, a youth camp, and the Ham Rally, where the next generation of radio amateurs can explore the world of technology and wireless. It's open to young people between the ages of 8 and 18.

A Contest University (CTU) sponsored by the DARC will take place for radiosport beginners on Friday, June 24, and experienced contesters on Saturday, June 25, with sessions aimed at how to improve contesting performance.

IARU Region 1 will host a meeting of those interested in emergency communication on Friday, June 24. The session will include an open forum for national coordinators to report on activities in their respective countries. Also up for discussion will be GlobalSet and changes to the IARU emergency message procedure.

International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, will head the IARU team to Friedrichshafen, along with IARU Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR, and IARU Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD, a past ARRL president.

Next year's big show in Friedrichshafen will take place July 14-16, owing to a scheduling conflict. Read more.

The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: It was a little scary to see the daily sunspot number at zero for 4 days -- June 3-6 -- but conditions seem to have recovered nicely. The average daily sunspot number for our June 9-15 reporting week was 29.1, up from 7.7 the previous week.

Due to the way sunspots are counted, the minimum non-zero sunspot number is 11. A sunspot number of 11 means there is one sunspot (counting as one point) in one sunspot group (adding 10 points). A second sunspot raises the sunspot number to 12, unless that spot is on its own and not clustered with the other spot, in which case the sunspot number would be 22. So, that average daily sunspot number of 7.7 from the previous week is due to the fact that 4 out of the 7 days had sunspot numbers of zero; you would never see a day with an actual sunspot number of 7.7.

Average daily solar flux this week was 88.3, up from 80.7. Predicted solar flux for the next month is pretty flat, at 85 on June 16-30; 80 on July 1-5; 85 on July 6-9; 92 on July 10-11; 95 on July 12-18; 92 and 90 on July 19-20, and 85 on July 21-27.

Predicted planetary A index is 18, 12, and 8 on June 16-18; 5 on June 19-21; 8, 10, 12, and 8 on June 22-25; 1 on June 26-27; 5 on June 28-July 1; then 25, 20, and 8 on July 2-4; 5 on July 5-6; 8 and 10 on July 7-8; 8 on July 9-10; 5, 8, 12, and 8 on July 11-14; 5 on July 15-19; 10, 12, and 8 on July 20-22; 1 on July 23-24, and 5 on July 25-28.

Sunspot numbers for June 9 through 15 were 22, 28, 40, 39, 27, 26, and 22, with a mean of 29.1. The 10.7 centimeter flux was 85.2, 84.9, 88.2, 94.1, 91, 87.6, and 87.3, with a mean of 88.3. Estimated planetary A indices were 4, 9, 11, 10, 9, 21, and 14, with a mean of 11.1. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 5, 9, 11, 9, 10, 15, and 15 with a mean of 10.6.

In Friday's bulletin look for reader reports on recent 6 meter propagation.

Send me your reports and observations at k7ra@arrl.net.

This Week in Radiosport
June 18 -- Kids Day

June 18 -- Feld Hell Sprint

June 18 -- AGCW VHF/UHF Contest (CW)

June 18-19 -- SMIRK Contest (CW, phone)

June 18-19 -- All Asian DX Contest (CW)

June 18-19 -- Ukrainian DX Classic (RTTY)

June 18-19 -- IARU Region 1 50 MHz Contest (CW, phone)

June 18-19 -- Stew Perry Topband Challenge (CW)

June 18-19 -- West Virginia QSO Party (CW, phone, digital)

June 19 -- WAB 50 MHz Phone

June 20 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)

June 22 -- SKCC Sprint (CW)

June 23 -- NAQCC CW Sprint

June 23 -- RSGB 80 Meter Club Championship (SSB)

See the ARRL Contest Calendar for more information. For in-depth reporting on Amateur Radio contesting, subscribe to The ARRL Contest Update via your ARRL member profile e-mail preferences.

Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions
June 18 -- Tennessee State Convention, Knoxville, Tennessee

July 2 -- Eastern Pennsylvania Section Convention, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

July 8-9 -- Northern Florida Section Convention, Milton, Florida

July 8-9 -- Utah State Convention, Sandy, Utah

July 15-17 -- Montana State Convention, East Glacier, Montana

July 22-23 -- Oklahoma Section Convention, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

July 29-31 -- Central States VHF Conference, Rochester, Minnesota

August 5-6 -- Texas State Convention, Austin, Texas

August 5-7 -- Pacific Northwest DX Convention, Portland, Oregon

August 12-14 -- New Mexico State Convention, Albuquerque, New Mexico

August 19-21 -- West Virginia State Convention, Weston, West Virginia

August 20-21 -- Southeastern Division Convention, Huntsville, Alabama

August 21 -- Kansas State Convention, Salina, Kansas

September 3-4 -- North Carolina State Convention, Shelby, North Carolina

September 9-11 -- New England Division Convention, Boxborough, Massachusetts

September 10 -- Kentucky State Convention, Shepherdsville, Kentucky

September 10 -- Virginia Section Convention, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

The ARRL This Week 07/16/15

The ARRL Letter

July 16, 2015
Editor: Rick Lindquist, WW1ME

ARRL Board of Directors to Meet July 17-18
The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015: Politicians Do Listen, ARRL President Says
IARU Member-Societies Conducting Second Kosovo Vote; Burundi Admitted
ARISS Initiates Fundraising Effort, Offers "Challenge Coin" Keepsake
SSTV Images from Space Will Commemorate 40th Apollo-Soyuz Mission Anniversary
Inexpensively Made Satellite Closing in on 2 Years in Orbit and Still Ticking
Remotely Controlled VY1AAA Puts Northern Territories on the Air for Field Day, Canada Day
New Horizons Phones Home
In Brief...
The K7RA Solar Update
Just Ahead in Radiosport
Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions and Events
ARRL Board of Directors to Meet July 17-18
The ARRL Board of Directors will hold its second meeting of 2015 Friday and Saturday, July 17-18, in Windsor, Connecticut. Much of the League's governance work is done by committees between Board meetings. At this meeting, as usual, the Board will receive reports and consider recommendations from its committees.

Among these, the Board will hear the recommendations of the HF Band Planning Committee, based on more than 1000 responses to a web survey and additional comments from members earlier this year. The ARRL had asked members to give their opinions on possible changes to the League's HF Band Plans suggested by the committee. The survey was part of the committee's efforts to tweak the band plans for the RTTY/data/CW portions of 80 through 10 meters -- excepting 60 meters.

The committee developed its suggested revisions to the voluntary band plans after reviewing some 400 member comments solicited last year, seeking suggestions for using the spectrum more efficiently so that data modes may coexist compatibly.

In addition, the Board's Strategic Planning Working Group will present an interim report as it develops a strategic plan to propose for adoption next year.

The Board will also consider a proposal for a 2016 ARRL National Convention.

IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, and Radio Amateurs of Canada President Geoff Bawden, VE4BAW, are expected to attend the July meeting as guests of the Board.

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015: Politicians Do Listen, ARRL President Says
ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, said in the July ARRL Legislative Update Newsletter that Washington politicians are paying attention to League members who have contacted lawmakers to urge their cosponsorship of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015. Essentially identical bills have been introduced in both the US House (H.R. 1301) and Senate (S. 1685). Both measures would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions.


ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN.

"Many visits have been made to the offices of Senators and Congressmen on behalf of H.R. 1301 and S. 1685 by members of the ARRL Board and ARRL Headquarters staff," President Craigie said. "ARRL Section Managers have encouraged members to speak out. ARRL members around the country have talked with your elected officials in their home-district offices and town hall meetings. This is a full-team advocacy effort." To date, H.R. 1301 has attracted 86 cosponsors; the just-introduced Senate bill, S. 1685, has one original cosponsor.

President Craigie said The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 is aimed at helping to ensure the future of Amateur Radio, as more and more neighborhoods impose deed restrictions that prohibit Amateur Radio antennas and keep today's youngsters from becoming active radio amateurs.

"What if their parents have bought houses in neighborhoods with deed restrictions prohibiting antennas?" she speculated. "Those kids' interest in ham radio gained from school, Scouts, or family friends will have no way to blossom into the life-changing experience of being radio amateurs."

ARRL members, she continued, "are working together so that both today's amateurs and the kids who will be amateurs in the future have the chance to operate from their homes." Letters from members urging support of the bills are what make the difference between being ignored and being heard on Capitol Hill.

"Earlier this year, I visited a North Carolina Congressman's office and got a friendly reception -- but no cosponsorship," President Craigie recounted. "More recently, another ARRL person followed up at the same office, with the same staff member, but with about 40 letters in hand. The Congressman became a cosponsor."

The newsletter suggested several ways ARRL members can get involved in the Amateur Radio Parity Act grassroots effort. One idea is to have a "letter party" at your next club meeting.

Take pre-addressed copies of letters to all three of your lawmakers -- one in the House, two in the Senate -- and have club members add their names, addresses, and signatures to letters for each Member of Congress. Have enough copies, so that each individual can sign his or her own letter. In some cases, club members in a given area may reside in more than one Congressional district.

Names and addresses of US House and Senate members are available on the ARRL website. Mail the collected letters to the ARRL (c/o The Amateur Radio Parity Act, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111), which will collate them for hand delivery on Capitol Hill.

Members also may e-mail their lawmakers, post comments on their US House or Senate member's website, or call their lawmakers on the telephone. Be courteous, make your points, and be brief. In all cases, thank lawmakers for considering your point of view.

"Grassroots politics is about you -- the individual -- making your voice heard," the July Legislative Update pointed out. "It requires a good deal of preparation and effort to achieve the end results."

The League now has a combined web page to accommodate activities on behalf of both the House and Senate bills. The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 is H.R. 1301 in the US House of Representatives and S. 1685 in the US Senate. The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 page provides a clearing house for all information on these identical pieces of legislation.

IARU Member-Societies Conducting Second Kosovo Vote; Burundi Admitted
International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) member-societies are taking a second vote on whether to admit Kosovo's national Amateur Radio association, Shoqata e Radio Amatoreve te Kosoves (SHRAK) to IARU membership.

"Many of you will recall that Kosovo was proposed for IARU membership in IARU Proposal 251 in 2014," IARU Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD, explained in an e-mail to members. "Fifty-one affirmative votes were required for approval; 49 affirmative votes were received prior to the close of voting, so the proposal failed."

Stafford pointed out, however, that two more affirmative votes arrived "very shortly after the close of voting" but could not be counted under IARU rules. "Under the circumstances, IARU Region 1 requested the International Secretariat conduct a revote for the admission of Kosovo," Stafford said. He urged member-societies to return their ballots as soon as possible.

Amateur Radio was revived in Kosovo in 2012, and a training and licensing program has been established there.

Stafford also announced that a vote on IARU Proposal 253 resulted in an affirmative vote on the membership application of the Association Burundaise des Amateurs Radio et Télévision (ABART). Sixty-seven votes were received in favor of admitting Burundi. "It is a pleasure to welcome a new member to the IARU," Stafford said. -- Thanks to Rod Stafford, W6ROD, Secretary, IARU

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ARISS Initiates Fundraising Effort, Offers "Challenge Coin" Keepsake
The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program has kicked off a fundraising program, and it's offering an ARISS Challenge Coin as a token of appreciation to those who contribute at a certain level. ARISS relies on resource support from NASA, ARRL, AMSAT, and individual donors and volunteers to ensure day-to-day operation of its programs and to pay for spaceflight equipment certification. In light of budget cutbacks at NASA over the past 2 years, the funding needed to cover operational expenses down the road has become more uncertain, however, and ARISS leadership initiated the fundraising effort with the goal of securing greater financial stability.


An artist's rendering of the obverse and reverse sides of the ARISS Challenge Coin.

"To assure the future of the program, we are looking to individuals and corporate sponsors to provide the resources we will need to sustain operations and to acquire needed equipment upgrades," said ARISS International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO.

Plans are under way to develop a new, higher-power Amateur Radio station for the ISS Columbus module. The current radio is a lower-power unit that sometimes results in weak signals during ISS-to-Earth educational contacts. A new radio system will improve communication capability for students scheduled to participate in ARISS educational contacts and related activities. The new system also would allow greater interoperability between the Columbus module and the Russian Service Module. ARISS said that integration of the equipment into the ISS infrastructure and the necessary testing and certification require hours of engineering resources that it cannot afford.

"Each ARISS contact offers the opportunity to inspire young people through ARISS's unique window into space exploration activities, opening the horizon of possibilities of a career in a STEM field," said ARRL Education Services Manager, Debra Johnson, K1DMJ. "Each contact also introduces students and their communities to Amateur Radio. The program needs your help to secure these opportunities for the future."

Individuals may donate to ARISS online via the AMSAT website (select the "ARISS Donate" button). AMSAT is contributing the necessary personnel resources to handle gifts to ARISS. Individuals contributing $100 or more will receive the new ARISS Challenge Coin. Corporate donors should contact Frank Bauer. -- Thanks to AMSAT News Service, ARISS, and Debra Johnson, K1DMJ

SSTV Images from Space Will Commemorate 40th Apollo-Soyuz Mission Anniversary
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo-Soyuz mission, the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) team will transmit a series of 12 Slow Scan Television (SSTV) images. The SSTV transmissions 145.80 MHz will begin on the morning of Saturday, July 18, and continue through Sunday July 19, subject to change. Apollo-Soyuz represented the first joint US-USSR mission, and it set the stage for later US-Russia collaboration on the space shuttle, Mir Space Station, and the International Space Station.


A NASA artist's rendering of the Apollo-Soyuz linkup in 1975.

"The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project would send NASA astronauts Tom Stafford, Deke Slayton, and Vance Brand in an Apollo Command and Service Module to meet Russian cosmonauts Aleksey Leonov and Valeriy Kubasov in a Soyuz capsule," NASA has recounted. "A jointly designed, US-built docking module fulfilled the main technical goal of the mission, demonstrating that two dissimilar craft could dock in orbit. But the human side of the mission went far beyond that."

The Soyuz and Apollo vehicles were docked from July 17-19, 1975. During that time, the three astronauts and two cosmonauts carried out experiments and other activities. Apollo-Soyuz was the final mission of the Apollo program and the last US human spaceflight mission prior to the inaugural space shuttle mission in 1981.

Submit SSTV images to the ARISS SSTV image gallery, which will post the best SSTV images received from this event.

The ISS cosmonauts will take time out from the SSTV transmissions on July 18 to conduct an ARISS contact (starting at approximately 1655 UTC) with students attending the Moon Day/Frontiers of Flight Museum event in Dallas, Texas. Streaming audio will be available.

ARISS International has expressed thanks ARISS-Russia's Sergey Samburov, RV3DR, for his leadership on this historic commemoration. -- Thanks to AMSAT News Service via Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, ARISS International Chair, and NASA

Inexpensively Made Satellite Closing in on 2 Years in Orbit and Still Ticking
At just a few months shy of turning 2 years old, the $50SAT Amateur Radio "PocketQube" microsatellite -- also known as Eagle 2 (MO-76) -- is still operating, although it's not entirely well either. The satellite, which transmits on 437.505 MHz at a power of 100 mW, may be heard using a handheld transceiver, but it does not include a transponder. Launched in late 2013 from Russia, $50SAT is a collaborative education project of Prof Bob Twiggs, KE6QMD, of Kentucky's Morehead State University, and three other radio amateurs -- Howie DeFelice, AB2S; Michael Kirkhart, KD8QBA, and Stuart Robinson, GW7HPW.

Formerly of Stanford University, Twiggs and Jordi Puig-Suari of Cal Poly are the co-inventors of the CubeSat model. $50SAT's stated purpose was to evaluate if the PocketQube form factor offered a cost-effective means for engineering and science students to use in developing real-world skills. The "$50" is a bit of a misnomer. The tiny satellite actually was constructed from about $250 worth of parts. Kirkhart recently offered an update on $50SAT, which measures just 5 × 5 × 7.5 cm and weights 210 grams.

"The good news is [that] it is still operating. The bad news is the power situation has been degrading, with an apparent step change on or near May 12, 2015, followed by another on June 23, 2015," he recently posted.

Kirkhart, who lives in Michigan, said his last full telemetry capture was on May 27, and the last time he heard $50SAT was on June 6. "I continued to attempt to listen for it for another week or so, and heard nothing," he said. $50SAT transmissions repeat about every 75 seconds, starting with an FM slow Morse code call sign beacon, data at 60 WPM Morse, and FSK RTTY data and digital data telemetry.


Michael Kirkhart, KD8QBA, demonstrates reception of MO-76 at Dayton Hamvention 2015. [Patrick Stoddard, WD9EWK, video image]

Since then, Kirkhart has been monitoring the satellite via the WebSDR site of Anton Janovsky, ZR6AIC, as $50SAT makes daytime passes over South Africa. "During these passes, where it has already spent a significant amount of time in sunlight, the battery voltage is below 3400 mV," he said.

Kirkhart speculated that while loss of battery capacity is likely, "it appears the low battery voltage is due to low solar power output." He said this could be a result of solar cell damage; since there was no protective covering on the solar cells, the impact of high-energy particles could have damaged the solar cells, resulting in a drop in output. He also said the solar cells could have been damaged through thermal cycling. A short circuit is another possibility, but, Kirkhart said that, because of the limited amount of telemetry gathered, "it may not be possible to determine the exact cause."

He said that if the solar output continues to drop, the battery voltage may never get above the 3300 mV threshold needed to enable the transmitter, "at which point we will lose the ability to monitor its status."

"Even if this does happen," Kirkhart continued, "we never really thought it would last this long. We would have been happy if it just worked, and really happy if it lasted a month or two." -- Thanks to AMSAT News Service and Southgate ARC

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Remotely Controlled VY1AAA Puts Northern Territories on the Air for Field Day, Canada Day
If you worked VY1AAA in Yukon Territory (Northern Territories or NT Section) during Field Day 2015 or Canada Day, the operator was actually in the US. VY1AAA is a Canadian club station call sign for the station of J Allen, VY1JA, near Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Gerry Hull, W1VE, was among those operating VY1AAA remotely from the K1B Field Day site of the Contoocook Valley Radio Club (CVRC) in New Hampshire. The operation was part of a project to provide remote control capability for VY1JA, and Hull said the point of the VY1AAA call sign was not to burden Allen with QSL chores. He said he's been using Logbook of The World (LoTW) but will have some QSL cards printed too. He added that he's already received "a ton" of QSL requests as a result of the Field Day and Canada Day operations.


Gerry Hull, W1VE, operates VY1AAA remotely from the New Hampshire K1B ARRL Field Day site. [Jim Idelson, K1IR, video image]

"We are up and running with the Ten-Tec Omni VII," Hull told ARRL. "The antennas are still something in the works. He currently has two ground planes mounted on power poles. We use the 40 meter antenna on 40, 15, and 10 and the 80 meter vertical on 20 via a high-power tuner. This gives us 80-10 meter coverage." The project is looking into additional equipment.

Hull, who worked at ARRL HQ as a technical editor in the early 1980s under Doug DeMaw, W1FB (SK), said Allen hopes to install a new antenna -- possibly a V beam or a rhombic -- using recycled utility poles for supports. "J also has a 105 foot tower and a quad to get back up," he added.

Allen, who has worked for an electric utility for years, will be retiring and will have more time for station development, Hull said.

Meanwhile, Andy McLellan, VE9DX, has been working on getting WSJT, PSK31, and RTTY modes up and running. Hull said he doesn't think there's been much digital mode activity from Yukon Territory for some time now.

"We are working out kinks, but, so far, so good," Hull concluded. A video of the CVRC Field Day operation includes some VY1AAA contacts. Read more.

New Horizons Phones Home
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft made its historic rendezvous with Pluto this week. While there is no direct Amateur Radio involvement in the Pluto flyby, many amateurs are curious about how NASA communicates with New Horizons at a distance of nearly 3 billion miles.

At that vast distance, New Horzions' radio signal is extremely weak -- so weak that only the Deep Space Network's largest 70 meter parabolic dish antennas and receivers are capable of detecting it. New Horizons downlink transmissions take place on an X-Band frequency of approximately 7 GHz. In terms of raw RF output, the traveling wave tube amplifiers (TWTAs) aboard the spacecraft supply only 12 W to its 2.1-meter high-gain antenna.


New Horizons approaches Pluto. [NASA artist's rendering]

There are two TWTAs aboard New Horizons. Each is connected to a separate radiating element at the antenna. One element is configured for left-hand circular polarization and the other for right-hand circular polarization. The original intent for using two TWTA was for redundancy.

As the spacecraft was on its way to Pluto, however, engineers discovered that they could use this cross-polarized configuration to transmit two signals simultaneously. At the Deep Space Network they designed a system to detect the separately polarized signals and combine them for substantially greater gain.

A stronger signal means New Horizons can transmit at a higher data rate -- about 1.9 times the rate than with a single TWTA. Unfortunately, New Horizon's nuclear-powered generator has decayed during its 10-year flight, and there is no longer enough power to run two TWTAs at the same time, unless the team shuts down another onboard system.

This is why it will take considerable time to download the treasure trove of images and other information that New Horizons carries in its memory. At present, New Horizons is transmitting data at just 1 kByte per second. A typical image produced by LORRI, the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, is about 2.5 Mbytes, even when compressed. At such a low transmitting data rate, it takes about 42 minutes for New Horizons to transmit a single image to Earth -- and then there is the 4.5-hour trip at the speed of light! This is why mission scientists are warning an impatient public that it will be well into 2016 before all of the data arrives at Earth.

A footnote: In 2005, NASA invited individuals to sign on to the "first mission to the last planet." Their names -- and sometimes Amateur Radio call signs -- burned onto a compact disc went into deep space on the New Horizons spacecraft. Participants, such as ARRL member Angel Santana, WP3GW, received a certificate of appreciation from NASA. He wondered how many other hams were among the more than 430,000 who took NASA up on its invitation to, "Come with us as we complete the reconnaissance of the solar system and unlock the secrets of Pluto, its moon Charon, and the Kuiper Belt."

For more details about the New Horizons RF communication system, see "The RF Telecommunications System for the New Horizons Mission to Pluto" from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. -- Thanks to Steve Ford, WB8IMY; Angel Santana, WP4GW

In Brief...
ARRL 2015 Hurricane Season Webinar Set for Monday, July 20: A reminder: The ARRL will host a 2015 Hurricane Season webinar on Monday, July 20. The session will get under way at 8 PM EDT (0000 on July 21). The approximately 90-minute session will address the role of Amateur Radio during the 2015 Hurricane Season, which runs through November. All who are interested in hurricane preparedness and response are invited to register for this online presentation. The program will include presentations by representatives of the National Hurricane Center and WX4NHC, the VoIP Hurricane Net, the HWN, the Canadian Hurricane Centre, and the ARRL. Webinar registration is open to all, but should be of particular interest to radio amateurs in hurricane-prone areas. The webinar will conclude with a Q&A session. Register online. -- Thanks to Mike Corey, KI1U, ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager


Dayton Hamvention Reports 2015 Attendance Up Slightly Over 2014: The official attendance at the 2015 Dayton Hamvention® was 25,621. That's an increase from the official count of 24,873 visitors last year -- or an additional 748 attendees. The 2013 attendance was 24,542. Hamvention attendance peaked in 1993 at 33,669, before the 1996 change in date from April to May. While attendance has fluctuated over the years, Dayton Hamvention has grown to international proportions, attracting members of the worldwide Amateur Radio community each spring. The sponsoring Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) already has begun counting down the days to the next Hamvention, which will take place May 20-22, 2016. -- Thanks to Henry Ruminski, W8HJR

DeorbitSail CubeSat Put into Orbit, Heard in US: The DeorbitSail CubeSat, built by researchers and radio amateurs at the Surrey Space Centre in Guildford, England, was launched into orbit on July 10. It carries a 1200 bps BPSK beacon transmitting on 145.975 MHz. The first DeorbitSail packet reports to the Surrey Space Centre came from Ken Swaggart, W7KKE, in Oregon. Nitin Muttin, VU3TYG, reported receiving signals as the CubeSat passed over India. The DeorbitSail project is a collaboration to build a 3U CubeSat with a deployable sail that will demonstrate rapid deorbiting from low-Earth orbit, taking advantage of the increased aerodynamic drag from a large deployed sail. The satellite will return to the Earth and burn up in the atmosphere over time, as its altitude reduces. The project has expressed its gratitude to the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Chris Bridges, 2E0OBC, is accepting all available telemetry files via e-mail. Tracking and other information is available on the AMSAT-UK website. Follow the Surrey Space Center on Twitter.

Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR Named to Head NASA Astronaut Office: Ham-Astronaut Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR, has been appointed chief of NASA's Astronaut Office. Cassidy, who conducted several Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contacts as part of the Expedition 35/36 crew onboard the ISS in 2013, is a US Navy Captain and a former Navy SEAL. NASA officials announced his appointment on July 9. During his career as an astronaut, Cassidy, 45, spent 182 days in space and carried out six spacewalks. In addition to time on the ISS, Cassidy was part of a Shuttle Endeavour crew. He replaces US Air Force Col Robert Behnken, KE5GGX. In his new role, Cassidy will manage the operations and safety programs of NASA's Astronaut Office. He'll also help to develop astronaut flight crew operational concepts as well as crew assignments for future space missions.

Two Radio Amateurs Set to Launch to ISS: Three new International Space Station (ISS) crew members will launch July 23 (UTC) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Kjell Lindgren, KO5MOS; Oleg Kononenko, RN3DX, and Kimiya Yui will travel into space in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft that will rendezvous with the ISS and dock after four orbits of Earth. NASA TV will cover the activities. Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka, RN3DT, and Flight Engineers Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, RN3BF, will be on hand to greet the newcomers. Lindgren, Kononenko, and Yui will remain on station until late December. Kelly and Kornienko, who have been onboard the ISS since March, will return to Earth next March at the end of their 1-year mission. Padalka, who also has been aboard since March, will return to Earth in September.

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The K7RA Solar Update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Average daily sunspot numbers dropped from 109.1 on July 2-8 to 73.7 in the past week, July 9-15. Average daily solar flux dropped from 123.2 to 114.8 over the same two periods. Geomagnetic indices were more active, with average daily planetary A index increasing from 10 to 13.7, and average mid-latitude A index going from 8.9 to 12.3.

The geomagnetic field was active on July 11 when the mid-latitude A index, the high latitude college A index, and planetary A index were 20, 44 and 23. Activity was greater on July 13, when the three indices were 22, 45, and 32.

The July 11 activity was the result of a G1 class geomagnetic storm caused by a high-speed solar wind stream; similar events caused the July 13 activity. There is very little chance at present of solar flares or geomagnetic storms over the next few days.

Predicted planetary A index is 5 on July 16-30; 18 on July 31; 25 on August 1, and 12 on August 2. On August 3-5 the planetary A index is predicted at 5; then 20 and 25 on August 6-7, and 8 on August 8-10. For August 11 and beyond, the planetary A index prediction is 5.

Predicted solar flux is 100 on July 16-18; 105 on July 19-20; 100 on July 21-22; 105 on July 23; 110 on July 24-25; 115 on July 26; 120 on July 27-31, and 115 on August 1-4. Solar flux is expected to rise to 120 again after August 22.

Recently there have been only a few new sunspot groups -- one each on July 7, 8, 10, and 12.

In Friday's bulletin look for reports from readers and updated forecasts. Send me your reports and observations.

Just Ahead in Radiosport
July 18 -- Trans-Tasman Low-Bands Challenge (CW, digital)

July 18 -- Feld Hell Sprint

July 18-19 -- North American QSO Party RTTY

July 18-19 -- CQ Worldwide VHF Contest (CW, phone, digital)

July 18-19 -- DMC RTTY Contest

July 19 -- RSGB Low Power Contest (CW)

July 20 -- Run for the Bacon QRP Contest (CW)

July 22 -- SKCC Sprint (CW)

July 22-23 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test (CW)

July 23 -- RSGB 80 Meter Club Championship (Digital)

Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions and Events
July 17-19 -- Montana State Convention, East Glacier, Montana

July 23-26 -- Central States VHF Society Conference, Westminster, Colorado

July 24-25 -- Oklahoma Section Convention, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

July 31-August 2 -- Rocky Mountain Division Convention, Bryce Canyon, Utah

August 1 -- Great Lakes Division Convention, Columbus, Ohio

August 7-8 -- South Texas Section Convention, Austin, Texas

August 7-9 -- New Mexico State Convention, Albuquerque, New Mexico

August 7-9 -- Pacific Northwest DX Convention, Everett, Washington

August 15-16 -- Alabama State Convention, Huntsville, Alabama

August 16 -- Kansas State Convention, Salina, Kansas

August 21-23 -- New England Division Convention, Boxborough, Massachusetts

August 22 -- West Virginia State Convention, Weston, West Virginia

August 30 -- Western Pennsylvania Section Convention, New Kensington, Pennsylvania

September 5-6 -- Roanoke Division Convention, Shelby, North Carolina

September 11-12 -- W9DXCC, Schaumburg, Illinois

September 11-13 -- Southwestern Division Convention, Torrance, California

September 12 -- Virginia Section Convention, Virginia Beach, Virginia

September 26 -- Washington State Convention, Spokane Valley, Washington

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.

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