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The ARRL Letter Vol. 27, No. 16 April 25, 2008

Discussion in 'FCC Activity' started by AudioShockwav, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. AudioShockwav

    AudioShockwav Extraterrestrial Admin Staff Member

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    IN THIS EDITION:

    * + Court Finds FCC Violated Administrative Procedure Act in BPL
    Decision
    * + Counting Down to Dayton Hamvention
    * + ARRL Lab Test Engineer Leaves HQ Staff
    * + Antenna Expert L. B. Cebik, W4RNL (SK)
    * + What's Coming Up in the May/June Issue of QEX
    * + Get Ready for the 2008 Hurricane Season
    * Solar Update
    * IN BRIEF:
    This Weekend on the Radio
    ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration
    + Hamvention Traffic Update
    + New Section Manager Appointed in New Hampshire
    ARRL to Discontinue Web Classifieds

    +Available on ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/>

    ===========================================================
    ==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ
    <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/faq.html#nodelivery>, then e-mail
    <letter-dlvy@arrl.org>;
    ==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane,
    <k1sfa@arrl.org>;
    ===========================================================

    ==> COURT FINDS FCC VIOLATED ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE ACT IN BPL
    DECISION

    The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today
    released its decision
    <http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/common/opinions/200804/06-1343-1112979.p
    df> on the ARRL's Petition for Review of the FCC's Orders adopting rules
    governing broadband over power line (BPL) systems. The Court agreed with
    the ARRL on two major points and remanded the rules to the Commission.
    Writing for the three-judge panel of Circuit Judges Rogers, Tatel and
    Kavanaugh, Judge Rogers summarized: "The Commission failed to satisfy
    the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act
    ('APA') by redacting studies on which it relied in promulgating the rule
    and failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its choice of the
    extrapolation factor for measuring Access BPL emissions."

    The Court agreed with the ARRL that the FCC had failed to comply with
    the APA by not fully disclosing for public comment the staff studies on
    which it relied. The Court also agreed with the ARRL that the Commission
    erred in not providing a reasoned justification for its choice of an
    extrapolation factor of 40 dB per decade for Access BPL systems and in
    offering "no reasoned explanation for its dismissal of empirical data
    that was submitted at its invitation." The Court was not persuaded by
    the ARRL's arguments on two other points, on which it found that the
    Commission had acted within its discretion.

    The conclusion that the FCC violated the APA hinges on case law. "It
    would appear to be a fairly obvious proposition that studies upon which
    an agency relies in promulgating a rule must be made available during
    the rulemaking in order to afford interested persons meaningful notice
    and an opportunity for comment," the Court said, adding that "there is
    no APA precedent allowing an agency to cherry-pick a study on which it
    has chosen to rely in part."

    The Court continued, "The League has met its burden to demonstrate
    prejudice by showing that it 'ha something useful to say' regarding
    the unredacted studies [citation omitted] that may allow it to 'mount a
    credible challenge' if given the opportunity to comment." Information
    withheld by the Commission included material under the headings "New
    Information Arguing for Caution on HF BPL" and "BPL Spectrum Tradeoffs."
    The Court concluded that "no precedent sanctions such a 'hide and seek'
    application of the APA's notice and comment requirements."

    With regard to the extrapolation factor, the Court ordered: "On remand,
    the Commission shall either provide a reasoned justification for
    retaining an extrapolation factor of 40 dB per decade for Access BPL
    systems sufficient to indicate that it has grappled with the 2005
    studies, or adopt another factor and provide a reasoned explanation for
    it." The studies in question were conducted by the Office of
    Communications, the FCC's counterpart in the United Kingdom, and were
    submitted by the ARRL, along with the League's own analysis showing that
    an extrapolation factor closer to 20 dB per decade was more appropriate,
    as part of the record in its petition for reconsideration of the FCC's
    BPL Order. The Court said that the FCC "summarily dismissed" this data
    in a manner that "cannot substitute for a reasoned explanation." The
    Court also noted that the record in the FCC proceeding included a study
    by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that
    "itself casts doubt on the Commission's decision."

    The briefs for the ARRL were prepared by a team of attorneys at
    WilmerHale, a firm with extensive appellate experience, with assistance
    from ARRL General Counsel Christopher D. Imlay, W3KD. Oral argument for
    the ARRL was conducted by Jonathan J. Frankel of WilmerHale. Oral
    argument was heard on October 23, 2007; the Court's decision was
    released more than six months later.

    After reading the decision, General Counsel Imlay observed, "The
    decision of the Court of Appeals, though long in coming, was well worth
    the wait. It is obvious that the FCC was overzealous in its advocacy of
    BPL, and that resulted in a rather blatant cover-up of the technical
    facts surrounding its interference potential. Both BPL and Amateur Radio
    would be better off had the FCC dealt with the interference potential in
    an honest and forthright manner at the outset. Now there is an
    opportunity to finally establish some rules that will allow BPL to
    proceed, if it can in configurations that don't expose licensed radio
    services to preclusive interference in the HF bands."

    ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, added: "We are
    gratified that the Court decided to hold the FCC's feet to the fire on
    such a technical issue as the 40 dB per decade extrapolation factor. It
    is also gratifying to read the Court's strong support for the principles
    underlying the Administrative Procedure Act. Now that the Commission has
    been ordered to do what it should have done in the first place, we look
    forward to participating in the proceedings on remand, and to helping to
    craft rules that will provide licensed radio services with the
    interference protection they are entitled to under law."

    ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, concluded: "I am very pleased that
    the Court saw through the FCC's smoke screen and its withholding of
    valid engineering data that may contradict their position that the
    interference potential of BPL to Amateur Radio and public safety
    communications is minimal. The remand back to the FCC regarding their
    use of an inappropriate extrapolation factor validates the technical
    competence of Amateur Radio operators and especially of the ARRL Lab
    under the direction of Ed Hare, W1RFI. We are grateful for the work of
    our legal team and especially for the unflagging support of the ARRL
    membership as we fought the odds in pursuing this appeal."

    ==> COUNTING DOWN TO DAYTON HAMVENTION

    With less than one month to go, everyone wants to know what's new in the
    ARRL EXPO <http://www.arrl.org/expo> at the 2008 Dayton Hamvention
    <http://www.hamvention.org/>. Who's going to be there? What's happening
    and when? We here at HQ are gearing up for an exciting time in the ARRL
    EXPO in Ballarena Hall at Dayton's Hara Arena, and mixing up a bit of
    the old and the new.

    ARRL Membership Manager and ARRL EXPO Coordinator Katie Breen, W1KRB,
    said, "We have many new publications and apparel items that we are proud
    to introduce. A highlight is always in the annual release of the
    '2008/2009 ARRL Repeater Directory' -- new to this year's edition are
    the handy indexing tabs on the cover so you can quickly find the
    listings you're looking for. The Directory has new easier-to-read
    listings because the pocket-sized book is one-half inch bigger."

    If you are interested in learning about more tools with which to enjoy
    Amateur Radio, then the new "VHF Digital Handbook" or "HF Digital
    Handbook" by QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, should go home with you! If
    you'd like a terrific resource of materials spanning a variety of
    topics, then "Hands-On Radio Experiments" by H. Ward Silver, N0AX, is
    right up your alley. "We here at ARRL are very proud of Ward's selection
    as Hamvention's Amateur of the Year," Breen said. "Come meet him and
    have him autograph your new book."

    Breen said that new ARRL mugs and clothing items will be introduced at
    Dayton this year: "Demonstrate your pride as a radio amateur in your
    office or your shack. While you're at it, show off being a ham in our
    new 'HAM' logoed apparel or 2008 Field Day apparel. And to top it all
    off, it will all go home with you in our new environmentally friendly,
    reusable bag." All those who purchase $10 or more in the ARRL EXPO will
    receive a complimentary reusable eco-friendly bag that you can take home
    and use when grocery shopping and more. All new and renewing ARRL
    members will also receive this new bag, Breen said.

    A new area within the ARRL EXPO this year is the interactive "Doctor Is
    IN" booth. "You've read the column in QST for years and everyone always
    wants to know who is behind the costume. Here's your chance to stop by
    the booth, ask your question and have some one-on-one time with ARRL's
    Technical Experts. You might even be able to submit a stumper and get it
    published in QST," Breen added.

    This year's Docs On Call will be QST Contributing Editor Ward Silver,
    N0AX; QEX Editor Larry Wolfgang, WR1B; ARRL Senior Technical Editor Joel
    Hallas, W1ZR; QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, and ARRL RF Engineer Mike
    Gruber, W1MG. On Saturday, automotive experts Mark Steffka, WW8MS, and
    Don Hibbard, W8DBH, will be on hand to answer your questions. They will
    be at the Doctor Booth, as well as providing an interactive session in
    the ARRL Movie Room about mobile Amateur Radio and ignition systems.

    Breen said that the Movie Room, a new feature of this year's ARRL EXPO,
    will host a presentation on "40 Years of the Worked All Europe Contest"
    presented by Jorg Jahrig, DJ3HW, and Dennis M. Haertig, DL7RBI, of
    Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC), the German equivalent of ARRL. The
    movie room will also host a variety of DXpedition videos, Breen said.
    "The highlight of the video presentations will be with Bob Allphin,
    K4UEE. Bob will host an interactive session during the viewing of the
    video of the Peter I DXpedition to the Antarctic. Sit back, relax and
    enjoy in the new ARRL Movie Room."

    The 2008 Dayton Hamvention is May 16, 17 and 18 at the Hara Arena in
    Dayton, Ohio. Find out about activities within and in conjunction with
    Hamvention at the Dayton Hamvention's Web site
    <http://www.hamvention.org/>.

    ==> ARRL LAB TEST ENGINEER LEAVES HQ STAFF

    After more than 17 years at ARRL, Laboratory Test Engineer Mike Tracy,
    KC1SX, is leaving the HQ Family and moving to New Jersey to take on a
    position with Synergy Microwave <http://www.synergymwave.com/>, a
    company owned by Dr Ulrich Rohde, N1UL.

    Tracy came to the League in 1991 as the night/weekend operator for W1AW.
    It wasn't long before the W1AW Chief Operator recognized his talent for
    more technical applications; when a position in the ARRL Lab opened up
    in 1993, he recommended that Tracy apply. "I did, and was quickly
    accepted as the new Technical Information Services Coordinator where I
    handled many of the technical questions of members and referred others
    to those more knowledgeable on particular subjects. I also developed
    some databases and other resources to help in the process of answering
    members' questions," Tracy said. In 1997 when the Lab Test Engineer Mike
    Gruber, W1MG, stepped down, Tracy switched seats yet again, testing
    Product Review equipment.

    ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, said, "When Mike came to the ARRL Lab,
    he was our Technical Information Coordinator where he helped maintain
    the TIS Web pages <http://www.arrl.org/tis/>, as well as helping to
    field technical questions for members. Over the years, Mike, as Lab Test
    Engineer, helped modernize the test process through new test equipment,
    new test software and new test methods. In between all that, he always
    found the time somehow to write articles, watch over the technical
    content of ARRL's advertising and help other staff more often than his
    job may have required.

    "One of the most pleasant parts of any manager's job is to hear good
    things about his or her staff. When Mike was in the Lab, my job was
    pleasant, as staff often told me about how he had helped them above and
    beyond the call of duty," Hare said.

    "Mike's shoes will be hard to fill," Hare said, "but we have hired Bob
    Allison, WB1GCM, to do just that." Allison, a ham for almost 35 years,
    most recently worked for a Hartford television station, WVIT, NBC 30,
    for the past 28 years. Over those years, he has done a lot of things at
    the station, from testing the television transmitter to day-to-day
    maintenance of the studio facilities; this, said Hare, "has prepared him
    to take over this important job in the Lab."

    Allison, an ARRL member, has served as a volunteer tour guide at ARRL
    <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2006/08/07/2/>, offering members a
    friendly and informative tour of HQ that they will remember for a long
    time to come. "Although he is new at being an HQ employee, we all feel
    that he has been part of the family for a while," said Hare. Allison and
    his wife, Logbook of The World Specialist Kathy, KA1RWY, reside in
    Coventry, Connecticut. Allison also enjoys sailing and working on Model
    A Fords.



    Allison said, "I have been active on the air since I was first licensed
    as WN1TDN in 1974, where I enjoy operating, experimenting and meeting
    people from around the world. I can't say what ham band I like best,
    except all of them. While I enjoy restoring old radios, I very much
    enjoy the new ones and digital modes such as PSK-31. I am honored and
    humbled to be part of the ARRL Laboratory Staff and I'm looking forward
    to serving our members and testing some really cool, new radios!"

    Tracy, whose last day at ARRL is today, said, "The various
    responsibilities I have held over 17 years at ARRL have taught me
    volumes about the League's membership, Amateur Radio in general and
    many, many different technical topics related to the Service. The
    support I received from other HQ staff was invaluable, and I will long
    remember my time here."

    ==> ANTENNA EXPERT L. B. CEBIK, W4RNL (SK)

    L. B. Cebik, W4RNL, ARRL Technical Advisor and antenna authority, passed
    away last week of natural causes. He was 68. An ARRL Life Member, Cebik
    was known to many hams for the numerous articles he wrote on antennas
    and antenna modeling. He had articles published in most of the US ham
    journals, including QST, QEX, NCJ, CQ, Communications Quarterly, Ham
    Radio, 73, QRP Quarterly, Radio-Electronics and QRPp. Larry Wolfgang,
    WR1B, QEX Editor, called Cebik "probably the most widely published and
    often read author of Amateur Radio antenna articles ever to write on the
    subject."

    Cebik lived in Knoxville, Tennessee and wrote more than a dozen books on
    antennas for both the beginner and the advanced student. Among his books
    are a basic tutorial in the use of NEC antenna modeling software and
    compilations of his many shorter pieces. A teacher for more than 30
    years, Cebik was retired, but served as Professor Emeritus of philosophy
    at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Cebik served his country in
    the US Air Force from 1957-1961, specializing in air traffic control.

    One of Cebik's last articles for QST, "A New Spin on the Big Wheel,"
    appeared in the March 2008 issue. The article, co-written with Bob
    Cerreto, WA1FXT, looked at a three dipole array for 2 meters. This was a
    follow-up to their article in the January/February issue of QEX that
    featured omnidirectional horizontally polarized antennas. Cebik authored
    the "Antenna Options" column for QEX.

    Former ARRL Senior Assistant Technical Editor Dean Straw, N6BV, and
    editor of "The ARRL Antenna Book," said: "LB will be greatly missed by
    the thousands of hams he's helped through his incredibly prolific -- and
    invariably proficient -- writing about antennas. LB helped me personally
    in numerous ways while I worked on antenna matters at the League, always
    communicating with a gentle, scholarly attitude and a real eye for
    detail. I'm in shock at the news of LB's passing. May his soul rest in
    peace."

    Licensed since 1954, Cebik served as Technical Editor for "antenneX
    Magazine" <http://www.antennex.com/>. According to Jack L. Stone,
    publisher of antenneX, he had not heard from Cebik for a few days and
    became worried: "I called the Sheriff in Knoxville to go check on him
    since I hadn't heard from him in over 5 days, either e-mail or phone,
    which is highly unusual. The Sheriff [went to Cebik's house to check on
    him and] called back to tell me the sad, devastating news. As his
    publisher of books, monthly columns, feature articles and
    software/models for more than 10 years, we communicated almost daily
    during that span of time. Not hearing from him for that long was
    unusual, causing my concern. He was like family to me and was loved and
    respected by so many."


    Cebik maintained a Web site <http://www.cebik.com/>, a virtual treasure
    trove to anyone interested in antennas. Besides a few notes on the
    history of radio work and other bits that Cebik called "semi-technical
    oddities," the collection contains information of interest to radio
    amateurs and professionals interested in antennas, antenna modeling and
    related subjects, such as antenna tuners and impedance matching. Cebik
    said that his notes were "geared to helping other radio amateurs and
    antenna enthusiasts discover what I have managed to uncover over the
    years -- and then to go well beyond."

    His Web site also contains information on antenna modeling. His book,
    "Basic Antenna Modeling: A Hands-On Tutorial" for Nittany-Scientific's
    NEC-Win Plus NEC-2 antenna modeling software, contains models in .NEC
    format for over 150 exercises. "Since the principles in the book apply
    to any modeling software," Cebik said, "I have also created the same
    exercise models in the EZNEC format. For more advanced modelers using
    either NEC-2 or NEC-4, I have prepared an additional volume,
    "Intermediate Antenna Modeling: A Hands-On Tutorial," based on
    Nittany-Scientific's NEC-Win Pro and GNEC. The volume includes hundreds
    of antenna models used in the text to demonstrate virtually the complete
    command set (along with similarities and differences) used by both
    cores."

    ARRL Contributing Editor H. Ward Silver, N0AX, said, "LB typified
    generosity. He was always developing material that was published widely.
    Furthermore, the quality of the articles and concepts was always high,
    but the writing was such that an audience with a wide range of technical
    backgrounds could understand it. His Web site is a Solomon's Treasure of
    solid antenna information -- available to all."

    Wolfgang remembered Cebik, saying, "L. B. was an ARRL Technical Advisor,
    with expertise in antenna modeling and design. I learned that I could
    count on L. B. to offer clear, concise comments on any submitted article
    dealing with antennas. He was always a friendly voice on the other end
    of my phone line when I needed to talk to an expert, and I came to
    expect a quick e-mailed response to any antenna questions that I sent
    him. L. B. was so much more than an antenna author, though. He was one
    of the first ARRL Educational Advisors I ever had the pleasure of
    working with when I became editor of the ARRL study materials. He played
    a key role in helping develop the concept of online courses when ARRL
    began to study the idea of the Continuing Education program
    <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html>; his Antenna Modeling course has
    been one of the most popular offerings in the program. L. B. leaves a
    legacy of friendly advice and Amateur Radio wisdom. I will miss him as a
    friend and as an advisor."

    Cebik's niece, Gina Robeson, also of Knoxville, told the ARRL that her
    uncle "was amazing to me in a different way than hams viewed him. But he
    was a legend to me and to the thousands of amateurs whose lives he
    touched with his work. To me he was my uncle, teacher, friend and
    confidant. He was a wonderful man, but his family did not really know
    about the ham side of him."

    Robeson said her family spent each Christmas with Cebik and his wife
    Jean; Jean passed away in 2002 from cancer. "It was always the greatest
    fun with all the food and family getting together. It did not matter if
    we were getting together as a group or if it was just me and Uncle Roy,
    he always had the time to listen and offer advice. He will be sorely
    missed."

    A memorial service for Cebik will be held Sunday, April 27 at 1 PM at
    Mynatt Funeral Home, 2829 Rennoc Road in Knoxville. Cebik will be
    cremated and his ashes scattered in his garden, the same place his
    wife's ashes were scattered. "They will once more be together," Robeson
    said.

    ==> WHAT'S COMING UP IN THE MAY/JUNE ISSUE OF QEX

    The May/June issue of QEX is out, and it is full of theoretical and
    practical technical articles that you don't want to miss.

    In this issue, James Ahlstrom, N2ADR, describes his software defined
    radio (SDR) transmitter in "An All-Digital SSB Exciter for HF." Juan
    Jose de Onate, M0MWA, and Xavier R. Junque de Fortuny present a useful
    accessory for software defined radios and analog receivers, with "A
    Software Controlled Radio Preselector." Cornell Drentea, KW7CD,
    concludes the series on his high performance "Star-10 Transceiver --
    Part 3." After presenting schematic diagrams of the rest of the main
    sub-assemblies, KW7CD describes the outstanding test-lab performance of
    his radio.

    James D. Hagerty, WA1FFL, updates his January 2002 QST project with "An
    Advanced Direct-Digital VFO." Contributing Editor L. B. Cebik, W4RNL
    (SK), looks at the physical operation of various antenna "reflectors" in
    "Antenna Options," and Contributing Editor Raymond Mack, W5IFS, tells
    about a new source for UHF and microwave semiconductors, unusual local
    sources for meter fuses and magnet wire, and describes some new Atmel
    microcontroller design tools in "Out of the Box."

    Would you like to write for QEX? It pays $50 per printed page. Be sure
    to check out the Author's Guide <http://www.arrl.org/qex/#aguide> for
    more information. If you prefer postal mail, please send a business-size
    self-addressed, stamped envelope to QEX Author's Guide, c/o Maty
    Weinberg, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111-1494.

    QEX is edited by Larry Wolfgang, WR1B, and is published six times a
    year. The subscription rate for ARRL members in the US is $24. For First
    Class US delivery, the rate is $37 for members, $49 for nonmembers. For
    international delivery via air mail, including Canada, the subscription
    rate is $31 for members, $43 for nonmembers. Subscribe to QEX today
    <http://www.arrl.org/qex>.

    ==> GET READY FOR THE 2008 HURRICANE SEASON

    It's that time of year when preparation for the hurricane season
    ratchets up -- earlier this month, Orlando, Florida hosted the 30th
    annual National Hurricane Conference, and state and county Emergency
    Management Agencies are currently checking plans and assets for the
    upcoming season. Rick Palm, K1CE, editor of the ARRL's ARES E-Letter,
    said, "Now is the time for ARES members to assess their portfolio of
    communications equipment and disaster response knowledge." Hurricane
    season runs June 1-November 30.

    Palm gives several tips for amateurs involved with hurricane operations:

    * Monitor major HF hurricane networks during events this season. The
    Hurricane Watch Net on 14.325 MHz, is one of several key players. It
    serves either the Atlantic or Pacific during a watch or warning period
    and coordinates with the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami.
    Frequent, detailed information is issued on nets when storms pose a
    threat to the US mainland. In addition to hurricane spotting, local
    communicators may announce that residents have evacuated from low-lying
    flood areas. Other amateurs across the country can help by relaying
    information, keeping the net frequency clear and by listening. See the
    Hurricane Watch Net's Web site <http://www.hwn.org/> for more
    information. The net works closely with the hams at the NHC's Amateur
    Radio station WX4NHC <http://www.wx4nhc.com/>

    * The SATERN Net (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network) provides
    emergency communication support to the Salvation Army and populations at
    large. They also handle health-and-welfare traffic. SATERN holds high
    profile nets on 20 meters (14.265 MHz) during major hurricanes and has a
    long history of excellence, discipline and service. Refer to the SATERN
    Web site <http://www.satern.org/> for more information.

    * The Maritime Mobile Service Net (MMSN) meets on 14.300 MHz and is
    composed of hams who serve and assist those in need of communications on
    the high seas. According to its Web site <http://www.mmsn.org/>, the
    primary purpose of the net is for handling traffic from maritime mobile
    stations. The network is recognized by the United States Coast Guard and
    has an excellent working relationship with that agency. The MMSN has
    handled hundreds of incidents involving vessels in distress and medical
    emergencies in remote locations, as well as passing health and welfare
    traffic in and out of affected areas. They also work closely with the
    NWS and NHC by relaying weather reports from maritime stations.

    * The VoIP SKYWARN and Hurricane Net operates by combining both the
    EchoLink and IRLP linked repeater networks, while handling critical wide
    area communications during major severe weather and tropical events.
    These operations have gained national stature in recent years and
    provide excellent service. Whenever tropical weather is imposing a
    threat to the US mainland and certain other areas of interest, the VoIP
    WX-NET will be fully operational. See the VoIP SKYWARN and Hurricane Net
    Web site <http://www.voipwx.net/> for more information.

    Palm said that during hurricane events, there are usually two or three
    regional nets (usually on 40 or 20 meters) that spring to prominence as
    major key assets to the disaster response on an ad hoc basis. "Watch for
    these nets, as well as the nationally recognized networks described
    above, this season. Don't transmit on their frequencies unless you are
    absolutely sure you have something substantive to add, and then only
    under the direction of the net control station," Palm advised.

    If you are interested in Emergency Communications, please be sure to
    check out the monthly ARES E-Letter. You can elect to receive this
    newsletter via e-mail by going to the Member Data Page
    <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/memdata.html> on the ARRL Web site.

    ==>SOLAR UPDATE

    Tad "Great is the Sun, and wide he goes" Cook, K7RA, this week reports:
    This week we had a couple of brief sunspot appearances -- 991 and 992 --
    but they were both from Solar Cycle 23 and their emergence was fleeting.
    On Wednesday, April 23, the planetary A index rose to 32 due to a solar
    wind and south-pointing Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF). Expect
    geomagnetic conditions to stabilize this weekend, but to again become
    active on May 2. Sunspot numbers for April 17-23 were 0, 0, 13, 12, 0,
    13 and 13 with a mean of 7.3. The 10.7 cm flux was 69.2, 70.2, 71, 70.8,
    70.9, 71.3 and 70.7 with a mean of 70.6. Estimated planetary A indices
    were 8, 6, 5, 4, 4, 5 and 32 with a mean of 9.1. Estimated mid-latitude
    A indices were 7, 5, 6, 1, 3, 4 and 17, with a mean of 6.1. For more
    information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical
    Information Service Propagation page
    <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html>. To read this week's
    Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW Propagation Bulletin
    page <http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/prop/>.

    __________________________________

    ==>IN BRIEF:

    * This Weekend on the Radio: This weekend, the SP DX RTTY Contest, the
    Helvetia Contest, the QRP to the Field contest, the Nebraska QSO Party
    and the Florida QSO Party are all scheduled for April 26-27. The AGCW
    QRP/QRP Party and the QRP Minimal Art Session are both May 1. Next
    weekend is the NCCC Sprint Ladder on May 2. On May 3-4, be on the
    lookout for the MARAC SSB QSO Party, the MARAC CW QSO Party, the 10-10
    International Spring Contest (CW), the Microwave Spring Sprint, the 7th
    Call Area QSO Party, the Portuguese Navy Day Contest, the Indiana QSO
    Party, the ARI International DX Contest and the New England QSO Party.
    The RSGB 80 Meter Club Championship (SSB) is May 5. All times listed are
    UTC. See the ARRL Contest Branch page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/>,
    the ARRL Contester's Rate Sheet
    <http://www.arrl.org/contests/rate-sheet/> and the WA7BNM Contest
    Calendar <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for more
    info.

    * ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains
    open through Sunday, May 4, 2008, for these online course sessions
    beginning on Friday, May 16, 2008: Amateur Radio Emergency
    Communications Level 2 (EC-002), Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
    Level 3 (EC-003R2), Antenna Modeling (EC-004), HF Digital Communications
    (EC-005), VHF/UHF -- Life Beyond the Repeater (EC-008), and Radio
    Frequency Propagation (EC-011). Each online course has been developed in
    segments -- learning units with objectives, informative text, student
    activities and quizzes. Courses are interactive, and some include direct
    communications with a Mentor/Instructor. Students register for a
    particular session that may be 8, 12 or 16 weeks (depending on the
    course) and they may access the course at any time of day during the
    course period, completing lessons and activities at times convenient for
    their personal schedule. Mentors assist students by answering questions,
    reviewing assignments and activities, as well as providing helpful
    feedback. Interaction with mentors is conducted through e-mail; there is
    no appointed time the student must be present -- allowing complete
    flexibility for the student to work when and where it is convenient. To
    learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page
    <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html> or contact the Continuing
    Education Program Coordinator <cce@arrl.org>;.

    * Hamvention Traffic Updates: With less than 20 days before the 2008
    Dayton Hamvention, there is one small hitch, according to Hamvention
    organizers: road construction, and lots of it. "One of the main surface
    streets used by attendees of Hamvention every year is Needmore Road
    since it is almost a straight shot from I-75 (exit 58) to Hara Arena,"
    said Hamvention Talk-In Chairman Rob Lunsford, KB8UEY. "Unfortunately, a
    rebuild project has begun on this roadway right in the travel path to
    Hara; it will be down to one lane each way for during Hamvention." There
    is also construction at the north end of the Downtown Dayton area (about
    the 53 to 56 mile markers on Interstate 75), Lunsford said. "In this
    area, the Ohio Department of Transportation has started a multi-year,
    multi-phase reconstruction of I-75 in which there are lane restrictions,
    bridge replacements and various other adjacent projects. These projects
    are much overdue and will, in the long run, drastically improve travel
    in the area. Unfortunately, for now we are faced with these projects in
    high volume areas that are already prone to trouble from even the
    slightest traffic issue. To assist everyone involved we are asking that
    those attending Hamvention please try to avoid these areas if possible.
    Our hope is that if we minimize our traffic in the area, and a problem
    does occur, we do not make it worse with our increased traffic flow."
    Lunsford said that individuals traveling on I-70 will not need to make
    any changes from years past. For more information or if you have
    questions feel free to contact Lunsford via e-mail
    <talkin@hamvention.org>;. Once in the Dayton area and you find you need
    assistance, Lunsford advises tuning to 146.940- for further assistance.
    Directions to Hara Arena can be found on the Dayton Hamvention Web site
    <http://www.hamvention.org/hv2008/accommodations/directions08.htm>.

    * New Section Manager Appointed in New Hampshire: Al Shuman, K1AKS, of
    New Boston, New Hampshire, has been appointed Section Manager of the New
    Hampshire Section, effective April 21. ARRL Membership and Volunteer
    Programs Manager Dave Patton, NN1N, in consultation with New England
    Division Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, announced the appointment after
    Sterling Eanes, AK1K, of Hollis, Section Manager since July 2005,
    decided to step down due to mounting work responsibilities and other
    commitments. Shuman served as New Hampshire Section Manager for two
    previous terms: December 1992-June 1999 and October 2000-June 2005. His
    term of office continues through June 30, 2009.

    * ARRL to Discontinue Web Classifieds: As of April 30, ARRL will cease
    listing classified ads in Radios On-Line, the classified ad section on
    the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/RadiosOnline/>. According to ARRL
    Chief Operating Officer Harold Kramer, WJ1B, the ARRL has experienced an
    increased number of complaints by members and users regarding postings
    and practices that do not conform to the Radios On-Line Web site's
    original intent: "Despite our efforts to monitor the site regularly,
    these problems persist. These have included postings for guns and
    'personal' ads. Our staff that administers this service has deleted
    items and notified the 'poster,' only to find the ad back two days
    later, placed in every category. We are spending a disproportionate
    amount of staff time dealing with this matter; it is no longer worth the
    cost of maintaining the service when other online services have been
    established to handle the specific need for online person-to-person
    sales."

    ===========================================================
    The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the
    American Radio Relay League: ARRL--the National Association for Amateur
    Radio, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax
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    The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential and general
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