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ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter
October 28, 2010
John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, Editor
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+ Available on ARRL Audio News

+ Amateur Radio in Space: ARISSat-1 "Suits Up" for February 2011 Launch

ARISSat-1/RadioSkaf-V is a six-sided, cube-shaped satellite with solar panels on all six sides. A 70 cm quarter-wave whip will be mounted on the bottom and a 2 meter quarter wave whip on the top. All of the hardware and software will go inside, with the cameras on the outside. [Photo courtesy of the ARISSat Team]

Earlier this year, astronauts living on the International Space Station had to discard two surplus Orlan space suits. With the loss of the suits, those involved with AMSAT and Amateur Radio on the International Space Station were at a loss. One of these suits was to be used to house the electronics for the upcoming SuitSat-2 mission: the batteries were to be mounted inside the suit, solar panels attached to the extremities with the electronics, with video cameras and an antenna mounted on the helmet. But even though the removal of the space suits took away the "Suit" component of the deployment, AMSAT and ARISS forged ahead, changing the configuration of the satellite and Amateur Radio experiment and giving it a new name: ARISSat-1/RadioSkaf-V. Read more here.

+ On the Air: No "Maybes" About It -- ARRL Sweepstakes is Fun!

Yvette Cendes, KB3HTS, single op'd the 2009 ARRL Phone Sweepstakes from Case Western Reserve University's club station W8EDU. In only 20 hours on the air, she made 780 QSOs -- and a Clean Sweep! She said it was great to hear a lot of female ops on the air, as well as so many other school stations. [James Galm, W8WTS, Photo]

ARRL Sweepstakes has been part of Amateur Radio in the US and Canada for more than 75 years. In 2010, the tradition continues with the 77th running of the best domestic contest in all of Amateur Radio: CW will be the weekend of November 6, while the Phone portion of the contest runs the weekend of November 20. The 2010 ARRL November CW Sweepstakes runs from 2100 UTC Saturday, November 6 through 0300 UTC Monday, November 8. The SSB portion of Sweepstakes runs from 2100 UTC Saturday, November 20 through 0300 UTC Monday, November 22. Why not make plans now to join thousands of other radio amateurs across the continent and get in on this year's fun in the ARRL November Sweepstakes! Read more here.

+ Public Service: The 2010 Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference

The 2010 Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (GAREC) Conference was held October 10-12 in Curaçao (PJ2). At the time most conference attendees arrived in Curaçao, it was a part of the Netherlands Antilles along with Bonaire, St Maarten, Saba, and St Eustatius. By the time the attendees headed home, independence had been declared and Curaçao was its own nation within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Read more here.

In the Shack: Two New ARRL Kits Coming Soon

Two new ARRL kits are in the final throes of production. The first is a Morse code oscillator, produced for ARRL by MFJ Enterprises. The project is a good "beginners" electronics kit. We expect the kit will be popular with members, particularly newcomers, and with clubs, instructors and teachers seeking a classroom kit-building experience. A supplementary resource guide for students and educators will be made available by the ARRL Education and Technology Program. The guide helps cover the fundamentals of the working circuit and its components.

The ARRL Morse code oscillator kit -- produced by MFJ -- is a great way to introduce kit building and CW skills to hams.

A second kit is a PIC programming lab and project, produced for ARRL by Cana Kit (Canada). This more substantial kit is intended to be used with ARRL's PIC Programming for Beginners book (revised first edition). The kit includes all the necessary components, parts and boards, and follows the book's step-by-step exercises and tutorial. The kit also includes all the necessary parts to build a microprocessor-controlled CW keyer, which is the book's culminating project.

"We're excited about these new projects, which help emphasize kit construction, basic electronics, and the extraordinary potential of microcontrollers," said ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. "There's no better way to advance the radio art than by introducing more hams to project building and homebrewing." Order your ARRL Morse Code Oscillator and ARRL PIC Programming Kit today in the ARRL Online Store.

+ International Spotlight: ARRL Visits British Hams, RSGB at National Hamfest

The organizers of the National Hamfest posted this world map, inviting international visitors to place a pushpin in their home QTH. ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R -- who represented the ARRL at the event -- tagged ARRL Headquarters.

Earlier this month, ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, represented the League at the National Hamfest in the United Kingdom. Billed as the biggest convention in the UK, the National Hamfest "kicked off" Ham Week UK, October 1-10. Now in its second year, the hamfest is sponsored by both the Lincoln Short Wave Club and the Radio Society of Great Britain. Ham Week concluded with the RSGB Convention -- formerly the HF Convention -- held October 8-10. According to Inderbitzen, the RSGB Convention is a smaller event than the National Hamfest, and includes lectures and presentations for HF and VHF interests, but no exhibits. Read more here.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, October 28, 2010 from NASA's SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope. This MDI (Michelson Doppler Imager) image was taken in the continuum near the Ni I 6768 Angstrom line. The most prominent features are the sunspots. This is very much how the Sun looks in the visible range of the spectrum.

Tad "The rain exploded with a mighty crash as we fell into the Sun" Cook, K7RA, reports: Although this week saw a high daily sunspot number of 74 on October 26, the average sunspot number for the week dropped more than five points to 50.3. One new sunspot group, numbered 1119, emerged this week, but 1117 -- which has been visible since October 19 -- has become huge. On Wednesday, October 27, it measured 450 millionths of a solar hemisphere, larger than any single sunspot group this year. Look for more information -- including some information from Stu Phillips, K6TU, on how to calculate signal strengths for SSB and CW signals over the same paths shown in WSPR data -- on the ARRL Web site on Friday, October 29. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" is brought to you by Paul McCartney's Band on the Run.

+ DX News: ARRL DXCC Desk Approves Six 2010 Operations

ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, reports that six 2010 operations -- Afghanistan (T6MB), Bhutan (A51A) and Burundi (9U1RSI, 9U4T, 9U1KI and 9U1VO) have been approved for DXCC credit. "If you had cards that were recently rejected for this operation, please send an e-mail to the ARRL DXCC Desk," Moore said. "Results will appear in Logbook of The World (LoTW) accounts, as well as online on the daily listings."

This Week on the Radio

This week:

  • October 30-31 -- ARRL EME Contest; CQ Worldwide DX Contest (SSB); 10-10 International Fall Contest (Digital); 50 MHz Fall Sprint
  • November 2 -- ARS Spartan Sprint

Next week:

  • November 5 -- QRP Fox Hunt
  • November 6-7 -- Ukrainian DX Contest
  • November 6-8 -- ARRL CW Sweepstakes
  • November 7 -- High Speed Club CW Contest
  • November 10 -- QRP Fox Hunt
  • November 10-11 -- CWops Mini-CWT Test

All dates, unless otherwise stated, are UTC. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, the ARRL Contest Update and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar for more info. Looking for a Special Event station? Be sure to check out the ARRL Special Events Station Web page.

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The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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