Saturday, June 4, 2011


Is it even possible to have political beliefs without having them cause someone else to put a finger in your face?

K7RA weekly Solar Update, 3 June, 2011

Propagation Forecast Bulletin 22 ARLP022
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA June 3, 2011
To all radio amateurs

ARLP022 Propagation de K7RA

Sunspot activity is up sharply this week, with the average daily
sunspot number increasing over 55 points to 89.9. Average solar
flux rose nearly 20 points to 103.1.

The latest forecast shows solar flux at 115 on June 3, 110 on June
4-6, 105 on June 7-8, 100 on June 9-14, rising to 105 on June 15 and
110 on June 16-26. Planetary A index is predicted to be 12, 20, 15
and 10 on June 3-6, 5 on June 7-10, 8 on June 11-13 and 5 on June
14-21. The next period of high geomagnetic activity is projected
for Jun 22-27, at 12, 22, 18, 18, 15 and 8. Note that ARRL Field Day
for 2011 is June 25-26, which should be just after the predicted
peak in geomagnetic activity, currently predicted for June 23.

Geophysical Institute Prague sees unsettled to active conditions
June 3-4, unsettled June 5, quiet conditions June 6-7, and quiet to
unsettled June 8-9.

With the passing of May, we can look at some moving averages of
sunspot numbers.

74.4 was the average daily sunspot number for the latest 3-month
period, March through May, centered on April. The three month
moving averages centered on May 2010 through April 2011 were 16.4,
20.4, 23.2, 28.9, 33, 35.6, 31, 30.1, 35.3, 55.7, 72.3 and 74.4.

The average sunspot number for May was 61.5, down somewhat from
March and April. The monthly averages of daily sunspot numbers for
January through May 2011 were 32.3, 53.5, 81.1, 80.8 and 61.5.

Currently there are eight sunspot groups visible. You can see a
daily sunspot update at,

Check for
an article titled "Mysterious Origins of Dark Sunspots Explained."
The journal Science has an abstract for the article mentioned in the
Dark Sunspots piece at,
Often with an account at your local library you can log in and read
the full text of the article.

Another article similar to the "Dark Sunspots" article is on the

Don Tucker, W7WLL who lives in Yachats (pronounced YAH-HOTS) on the
Oregon coast, writes "The bands, particularly 20, have been so hot
that I worked WAC and probably could'a worked DXCC in one 24 hour
period if I'd tried!! Antennas, antennas, antennas. Can't hear 'em,
can't work 'em."

Check out Don's station and antennas at

Bob Elek, W3HKK of Johnstown, Ohio reminds us of the upcoming ARRL
June VHF QSO Party, which runs from 1800 UTC June 11 through 0259
UTC June 13. See for
details. Bob writes - concerning 6 meters - "My own observation
over 2010 and 2011 is that during last year's Es season there were
many more broad strong openings 1000 miles out, and therefore more
double/triple hop openings than I've heard this year. In 2011, I
often hear a handful of signals, often up and down into the noise,
and that's it. How much of this is based on antenna height, and very
low angle of radiation I have no idea. But it just seems like 6
meters has been a far tougher Es band this year."

Jon Jones, N0JK of Lawrence, Kansas writes: "On Sunday May 22, 6
meters opened via multi-hop Es to the Caribbean most of the day. I
worked FG5FR at 1928 UTC on 50.105 MHz. Franz was a solid 559 on my
dipole. Heard numerous KP4s, 9Y4D and P43A. FJ/OS1T was on earlier
and gave many a new country on 6M."

Later Jon wrote: "I heard K0ZN EM28 working K0SBV DM42 on May 29.
K0ZN is in DeSoto, about 15 miles from Lawrence."

Kent Doucy, N0IRM of Galena, Missouri had a nice 15 meter opening.
He writes, "At 0454 UTC on May 31, 2011 I found 5W1SA from Samoa
calling CQ on 21.020 with a great 579 signal. A little later at 0528
UTC I was also able to work Brad FO/N6JA on Marquesas Island on
21.018, he was a little harder copy with a 519 signal. Nothing else
was heard after that but it was a nice short lived late 15 meter
opening to the Midwest." See Kent's antennas at .

Rudy Hanau, K2EVY of Rye, New York had some interesting comments
regarding backscatter: "Most of us have run into HF backscatter at
one time or another. In my experience the other station and I find
ourselves pointing our beams at some common point out of line with
the direct path between us.

"However, this incident was a bit different. On May 29 the SFI was
101 and the A index was 36. Not your most common set of conditions
and, I suspect the geomagnetic activity associated with the high A
is involved. Twenty meters was very sparsely populated and K6ZA's S9
signal stood out. My QTH is Rye Brook, NY (FN31) and Barry is in
Walnut Grove, CA (CM87). His bearing should have been 280 degrees,
just a bit north of West for me, and indeed it was. He was just
finishing another QSO and I called him. He told me he had been
working KL7 and was looking North! I swung North and lost him. He
looked East and lost me. We were both S9 or better when our antennas
were about 90 degrees to one another. We scratched our heads and
looked every which way for another path but there was none.

"I signed after about 30 minutes and Barry went on to work another
station (more about that later). When working backscatter we usually
think of some far off reflecting area such as aurora over Alaska or
the pole. In mulling this contact over the only explanation I can
offer is that the reflecting area was very near Walnut Grove and was
omnidirectional, like a vertical. If it was 50 or 100 miles north
of Barry it would be indistinguishable from Barry's QTH for me
whereas Barry would have to point north to see it.

"Barry described his next contact as follows: 'After our QSO I was
called by a Laughlin, Nevada station SE of me, also same scenario.
He was seeing me at normal NW direction. He was strongest to the
North. Then, during the 30 min contact, I found I could move the
beam toward the east with no change in strength and then he began to
peak more toward him and less to the North. By the end, he was 40
over at SE, and no propagation to the north at all."'

There is a slightly revised solar cycle prediction from NASA at This month it says
"Three consecutive months with average daily sunspot numbers above
40 has raised the predicted maximum above the 64.2 for the Cycle 14
maximum in 1907." Last month it said "Two consecutive months with
average daily sunspot numbers in the 50s has raised the predicted
maximum above the 64.2 for the Cycle 14 maximum in 1907."

If you would like to make a comment or have a tip for our readers,
email the author at,

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL
Technical Information Service web page at For an explanation of the
numbers used in this bulletin, see An archive of past
propagation bulletins is at Find more good
information and tutorials on propagation at

Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve
overseas locations are at

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL
bulletins are at

Sunspot numbers for May 26 through June 1 were 40, 65, 91, 89, 105,
132, and 107, with a mean of 89.9. 10.7 cm flux was 82.7, 89.9, 101,
110.8, 111.9, 112, and 113.6, with a mean of 103.1. Estimated
planetary A indices were 7, 11, 40, 32, 9, 13, and 12, with a mean
of 17.7. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 4, 7, 32, 17, 7, 10,
and 9, with a mean of 12.3.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

ARRL DX News for 7 April, 2011

ARLD014 DX news

DX Bulletin 14 ARLD014
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT April 7, 2011
To all radio amateurs

ARLD014 DX news

This week's bulletin was made possible with information provided by
9A2JK, HA0HW, NC1L, QRZ DX, The Daily DX, the OPDX Bulletin, DXNL,
INDX, Contest Corral from QST and the ARRL Contest Calendar and
WA7BNM web sites. Thanks to all.

CROATIA, 9A. Operators HA5AUC, HA5BWW and HA7PC will be QRV as
9A/home calls from Rab Island, IOTA EU-136, from April 11 to 18.
Activity will be on 80 to 6 meters using mostly CW with some SSB.
QSL to home calls. In addition, special event station 9A11P is QRV
throughout 2011 in celebration of the city of Djurdjevac. Activity
is on all HF bands. QSL via bureau.

are active as 9L5MS until April 18. Activity is with three stations
on 160 to 6 meters using CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL direct via PA3AWW.

MOROCCO, CN. Special event station 5F6SIA is QRV until the end of
June during the 6th International Exhibition of Agriculture here.
QSL via G5XW.

URUGUAY, CX. Special event station CX1T is QRV until April 10 from
the historic Fort of Santa Teresa in celebration of the bicentennial
of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. Activity is on all bands and
modes. QSL via EA5KB.

REUNION ISLAND, FR. Olivier, F4FLF will be QRV as TO2Z from April 9
to 22. Activity is holiday style during his local evening hours on
all HF bands using SSB, RTTY and PSK. QSL to home call.

SVALBARD, JW. Frank, LA1RSA will be QRV as JW1RSA from the club
station in Longyearbyen from April 9 to 15. QSL to home call.

AMERICAN SAMOA, KH8. Rick, AI5P is QRV as AI5P/KH8 from Tutuila
Island, IOTA OC-045, until April 18. Activity is holiday style on
the HF bands. QSL direct to home call.

PUERTO RICO, KP4. Special event station N4S will be QRV on April 12
to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the flight into space of Yuri
Gagarin and the 30th anniversary of the maiden flight of the space
shuttle Columbia, both of which took place on April 12. Activity is
on 80 to 10 meters using SSB and PSK1000 on 145.950 MHz. QSL via

PAPUA NEW GUINEA, P2. Tim, KD5SSF is QRV as P29ZL from Ukarumpa for
the next two years while working as an aid worker. Activity is on
40, 20, 15 and 10 meters using mostly SSB with PSK31 during his
evenings and weekends. QSL via operator's instructions.

SEYCHELLES, S7. Operators F6AXX, F8DSI and F5HEW are QRV as S79UFT
from Mahe, IOTA AF-024, until April 15. Activity is on 80 to 10
meters using CW and PSK. QSL via F6AXX.

SUDAN, ST. Robert, S53R is QRV as ST2AR in Khartoum until the
Summer of 2012 while working with the World Food Program. Activity
is on 160 to 6 meters. QSL direct to home call.

MOUNT ATHOS, SV/A. Monk Apollo, SV2ASP/A has been active using RTTY
on 12 meters between 1400 and 1700z. QSL direct.

KAZAKHSTAN, UN. Special event stations R50YG and R50SK are QRV from
Baikonur until April 14 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of
the first flight of Yuri Gagarin. This includes an entry in the
Gagarin Cup contest. In addition, special call R50KEDR will be QRV
on April 12 from 0507 to 0655z to commemorate the 108 minutes of
Gagarin's first flight. QSL via operators' instructions.

VIET NAM, XV. Mal, VK6LC will be QRV as XV2LC from Ho Chi Minh city
from April 10 to 25. Afterwards, he will be QRV as XV4LC from the
Mekong Delta from April 20 to 25. Activity is on 20 meters using CW
and SSB. QSL direct to home call.

ASCENSION ISLAND, ZD8. Mike, M0PRL is QRV as ZD8PRL until April 9.
Activity is holiday style using SSB on 40 to 10 meters. QSL to home

THIS WEEKEND ON THE RADIO. The Japan International DX CW Contest,
NCCC Sprint, Montana QSO Party, PODXS 070 Club PSK 31 Flavors
Contest, New Mexico QSO Party, EU Spring CW Sprint, Georgia QSO
Party, Yuri Gagarin International DX CW Contest, SKCC Weekend CW
Sprint, UBA Spring SSB Contest, International Vintage HF Contest and
the Hungarian Straight Key CW Contest will certainly keep contesters
busy this upcoming weekend. The 144 MHz Spring Sprint is scheduled
for April 11. The RSGB 80-Meter Club SSB Championship, NAQCC-EU
Monthly CW Sprint, NAQCC Straight Key/Bug CW Sprint and CWops
Mini-CWT Test are scheduled for April 13. Please see April QST,
page 80 and the ARRL and WA7BNM contest web sites for details.

Friday, April 1, 2011

More than 4 months in the making.

I stepped on the scale this morning and was pleasantly surprised to see a new number show up - 295.8, solidly below the 300 level where I've been hovering since around Thanksgiving. That is a documented 35 lbs and possibly as much as 55 lbs, since I was too heavy for the 330 lb limit on the scale when I first started paying attention.

I think I'll go celebrate with a pizza for lunch!
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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The ARRL Letter, 31 March

+ Public Service: Hams Help When Phones Fail at Southern California Hospital
Public Service : Western Pennsylvania Hams Respond as Tornado Sweeps Through Area
+ Amateur Radio in Space: Two Astronauts Get Their Ham Ticket
+ NCVEC Deletes Question from Amateur Extra Question Pool
+ ARRL Nebraska Section Introduces "Elmer Squad"
+ New Mars Rover to Feature Morse Code
On the Air : NIST to Conduct Time and Frequency User Survey
Solar Update
+ Silent Key: Internet Pioneer Paul Baran, W3KAS (SK)
+ Silent Key: Owner of Industrial Communication Engineers Mike Koss, W9SU (SK)
This Week on the Radio
Upcoming ARRL Section, State and Division Conventions and Events
+ Available on ARRL Audio News

+ Public Service: Hams Help When Phones Fail at Southern California Hospital

When nurses and other caregivers picked up their phones at Children's Hospital of Orange County in California in the early morning on March 21, there was no dial tone. A power surge caused the central processor in the hospital's phone switch to fail. Following established procedures, the lead operator at the hospital switchboard immediately activated the Hospital Disaster Support Communications System, using an off-switch tie-line to reach April Moell, WA6OPS, head of this ARES® group that specializes in helping hospitals when their communications fail. Read more here.

Public Service : Western Pennsylvania Hams Respond as Tornado Sweeps Through Area

This tornado -- as seen just outside of Pittsburgh -- swept through Western Pennsylvania on March 23, destroying at least 30 homes and damaging another 90. [Photo courtesy of Rebecca Mink and Rabe Marsh, W3TNU]

At approximately 4:30 on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 23, severe thunderstorms started to roll into Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, producing golf ball-sized hail and heavy winds. Members of the Westmoreland County Public Service/ARES® group began to meet on the W3CRC repeater in Derry, Pennsylvania, which serves as the main ARES®/SKYWARN repeater in Westmoreland County. Soon after, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the area and the Public Service Net was opened formally at 5 PM. Walter Bashaw, W3ZEH, began taking check-ins and reports of severe weather, relaying them to the NWS in Pittsburgh. Read more here.

+ Amateur Radio in Space: Two Astronauts Get Their Ham Ticket

Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR (left), and Luca Parmatano, KF5KDP, will journey to the International Space Station in 2013.

Even though they aren't scheduled to go to the International Space Station until 2013, two astronauts -- Chris Cassidy and Luca Parmitano -- are now licensed amateurs. Cassidy, who received the call sign KF5KDR, is scheduled to head to the ISS in March 2013 as part of Expedition 35. Parmitano -- an Italian from the European Space Agency -- is KF5KDP; he goes to the ISS three months later in May, as part of Expedition 36.

"Our aim is to have at least one crew member licensed and trained in on-air protocol, who is somewhat excited about ham radio and the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program, per expedition," explained ARRL ARISS Program Manager Rosalie White, K1STO. NASA ISS Ham Radio Project Engineer Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO, told the ARRL that both Cassidy and Parmitano are "excited and interested in the educational aspects of Amateur Radio on board the ISS." Read more here.

+ NCVEC Deletes Question from Amateur Extra Question Pool

Due to the FCC revising the rules concerning Spread Spectrum, the Question Pool Committee of the National Council of Volunteer Examiner Coordinator ( NCVEC) has decided to delete a question from the Amateur Extra class question pool. According to QPC Chairman Rol Anders, K3RA, as of April 29 when the new Spread Spectrum rule change goes into effect, the answer to question E1F13 in the Amateur Extra class question pool will no longer be correct . Read more here.

+ ARRL Nebraska Section Introduces "Elmer Squad"
The Nebraska Elmer Squad made its first official appearance earlier this month at the ARRL Nebraska State Convention in Lincoln. Darwin Piatt, W9HZC, and Darrel Swenson, K0AWB, were on hand to answer questions about the Squad's mission and plans. According to ARRL Nebraska Section Manager Art Zygielbaum, K0AIZ, the Squad is gathering a list of volunteer Elmers throughout the state who are willing to assist not only new Amateur Radio operators, but current operators who need some technical assistance.
Darwin Piatt, W9HZC (left) and Darrel Swenson, K0AWB, discuss the ARRL Nebraska Section's "Elmer Squad" with ARRL Field Organization Supervisor Steve Ewald, WV1X (standing) at the ARRL Nebraska State Convention earlier this month. [Barry Buelow, W0IY, Photo]

"Mentoring of new or prospective hams will be an ongoing part of the mission," Zygielbaum told the ARRL. "The intent is to have Elmers participate in their local area radio clubs and give presentations on various subjects relating to Amateur Radio." Nearly a dozen hams signed up at the State Convention to be a part of the Elmer Squad.

Piatt and Swenson said that they believe that people should remember that Amateur Radio is a hobby -- and it should be fun. Both men are QRP operators and builders; part of their enjoyment comes from passing on the fun of building to others.

The Elmer Squad will be traveling around Nebraska this summer and fall, giving presentations and signing up more Elmers. In addition, Piatt and Swenson are working on a Nebraska Elmer Squad website. Zygielbaum said that this will provide a central contact point to match Elmers with those who would like assistance. Once the site is up and running, the URL will be posted on the ARRL Nebraska Section website.

"Our motto is 'Hey, this is a hobby -- it is supposed to be fun!'" Zygielbaum explained. "We're looking for good people to help us keep it that way."

+ New Mars Rover to Feature Morse Code
As the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) builds the next Mars rover -- this one is named Curiosity -- to deploy to the red planet in the fall of 2011, they're having a little fun with it. Back in 2007 when the Curiosity team was putting together the rover, its wheel cleats had a raised pattern with the letters "JPL," leaving a little stamp of the rover's birthplace everywhere it rolled. "At the time, I asked whether the real rover would have those wheels, and they said, no, they weren't going to get to advertise JPL with each turn of each of the rover's six wheels; the real rover would have some other pattern," said Emily Lakdawalla of The Planetary Society in her blog. Lakdawalla is the organization's Science and Technology Coordinator.
JPL's Mars Science Laboratory Lead Engineer Jaime Waydo with Curiosity -- and the rover's old wheels. [Emily Lakdawalla, Photo]

Lakdawalla said that there is nothing special about the shapes of the markers in Opportunity's wheels; they are just square holes through the wheels through which the wheels were bolted to the lander during cruise and landing." Opportunity is the name of the rover that went to Mars back in 2003. "But Curiosity didn't need holes in its wheels for attaching to any lander -- there isn't one. So the engineers got to make the markers in any shape they wanted to."

But in March 2011, she saw a video of the rover as it is today: "I had to chuckle at those 'visual odometry markers' [on its tires]. Before I explain why, I'll point out that they really are useful things to have in rover wheels. The repeating pattern of the 'visual odometry markers'...makes it fairly easy for both the rover and human operators to determine visually how far the rover has roved using rear-view imagery."
The tires on the new Mars rover -- set to launch in November or December 2011 -- will display the letters JPL in Morse code. [Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL]

So what pattern did JPL choose to put on Curiosity's wheels? One that Lakdawalla called "very amusing. The holes are in a pattern of short squares and longer rectangles -- almost like dots and dashes. Morse code." And what does it spell out in Morse code? JPL.

According to JPL, Curiosity is about the size of a small SUV -- 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide and 7 feet tall -- or about the height of a basketball player -- and weighs 2000 pounds. It features a geology lab, rocker-bogie suspension, a rock-vaporizing laser and lots of cameras. Curiosity will search areas of Mars for past or present conditions favorable for life and for conditions capable of preserving a record of life. It is set to launch between November 25-December 18, 2011 from Cape Canaveral, Florida and will arrive on Mars between August 6-20, 2012. The prime mission will last one Mars year, or about 23 Earth months

On the Air : NIST to Conduct Time and Frequency User Survey

The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Time and Frequency Division is conducting a survey to learn more about its users, seeking to determine how the agency can make its services more useful in the future. NIST services include WWV, WWVH and WWVB, which provide reference time and frequency signals via radio. The NIST also provides the Internet Time Service -- which provides accurate time synchronization to computer systems -- and several other services to offer accurate time information via telephone or web pages. Radio amateurs are encouraged to complete the survey. Read more here.

Solar Update

The Sun, as seen on Thursday, March 31, 2011 from NASA's SOHO Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope. This image was taken at 304 Angstrom; the bright material is at 60,000 to 80,000 Kelvin.

Tad "The Sun is shining, it's a lovely day" Cook, K7RA, reports: The activity we could see recently on our Sun's far side -- thanks to the STEREO mission -- has been rotating into view, producing some nice sunspot activity, resulting in improved upper-HF propagation. Compared to the previous week (March 17-23), the past week (March 24-30) showed average daily sunspot numbers up more than 61 points to 102.1, while the average daily solar flux was up nearly 20 points to 114.7. Geomagnetic conditions were quieter as well, and reports from readers show greatly improved propagation on 20, 15 and 10 meters. This table shows a new sunspot group on March 23, two more groups appeared March 24, two more on March 25 and another two more on March 27. The latest prediction from USAF/NOAA sees improving conditions, with the projected solar flux for March 31-April 1 at 125 and 130, then 135 on April 2-7. The predicted planetary A index is 10 and 8 on March 31 and April 1, followed by 5 on April 2-7 and 8 on April 8. Conditions should be very good for the next week, especially when compared to this time last year. Look for more information on the ARRL website -- including an updated forecast and reports from readers, as well as the latest 3-month moving average of sunspot numbers -- on Friday, April 1. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page. This week's "Tad Cookism" is brought to you by the song Avenue Q Theme from the musical Avenue Q.

+ Silent Key: Internet Pioneer Paul Baran, W3KAS (SK)

Paul Baran, W3KAS (SK)

Paul Baran, W3KAS -- an engineer who helped create the technical underpinnings for the ARPANET, the government-sponsored precursor to today's Internet -- died March 27 at his home in Palo Alto, California. He was 84. According to his son David, the cause of death was related to complications from lung cancer. Baran was one of the three inventors of packet-switched networks.

In the early 1960s, Baran was working on a "survivable" communications system when he thought up one of its core concepts: Breaking up a single message into smaller pieces, having them travel different, unpredictable paths to their destination and only then putting them back together. It's called packet switching and it's how everything still gets to your e-mail inbox. Read more here.

+ Silent Key: Owner of Industrial Communication Engineers Mike Koss, W9SU (SK)

Mike Koss, W9SU (left), receives the IRCC Technical Excellence Award in 2005 from Jack Parker, W8ISH. [Photo courtesy of the ARRL Indiana Section]

Mike Koss, W9SU, of Indianapolis, Indiana, passed away Monday, March 28. He was 57. According to his friend Brian Smith, W9IND, Koss was found on his workshop floor and paramedics were unable to revive him. Industrial Communications Engineers (ICE) is well known in the amateur community for surge protectors, line filters, RF switches and more.

On March 31, ICE released the following statement concerning the company: "Industrial Communication Engineers (ICE), Ltd, its employees and the Indianapolis Amateur Radio community mourn the passing of company founder Mike Koss, W9SU, on March 28, 2011. Due to Mike's sudden and unexpected death, ICE has temporarily suspended accepting new orders. We are in the process of reorganizing the company, as well as identifying and fulfilling current open orders and products returned for repair. Read more here.

This Week on the Radio
This week:

April 2-3 -- Missouri QSO Party; QCWA Spring QSO Party; ARCI Spring QSO Party; SP DX Contest; EA RTTY Contest
April 5 -- ARS Spartan Sprint

Just as in this Gil cartoon from the March 1965 issue of QST, we, too, must show some patience for sunspots. The way Solar Cycle 24 is coming along, we are sure to be in for some exciting times on the higher bands!

Next week:

April 9 -- PODXS 070 Club PSK 31 Flavors Contest (local time); EU Spring Sprint (CW)
April 9-10 -- Montana QSO Party; New Mexico QSO Party; Georgia QSO Party; JIDX CW Contest
April 10 -- SKCC Weekend Sprint; UBA Spring Contest (SSB)
April 11 -- 144 MHz Spring Sprint (local time)
April 13 -- NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint
April 13-14 -- 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 Event Stations Web page.

Upcoming ARRL Section, State and Division Conventions and Events
April 2-3 -- ARRL New Jersey State Convention, Ewing, New Jersey
April 22-24 -- ARRL Idaho State Convention, Boise, Idaho
April 23 -- ARRL Louisiana State Convention, Monroe, Louisiana; ARRL North Carolina State Convention, Raleigh, North Carolina
May 7 -- ARRL South Carolina State Convention, Spartanburg, South Carolina
June 3-5 -- ARRL Northwestern Division Convention (SeaPac), Seaside, Oregon; ARRL Wyoming State Convention, Cheyenne, Wyoming
June 4 -- ARRL Atlantic Division Convention, Rochester, New York; ARRL East Bay Section Convention, Berkeley, California; ARRL Georgia State Convention, Marietta, Georgia
June 10-11 -- ARRL National Convention, Plano, Texas
June 11 -- ARRL Tennessee State Convention, Knoxville, Tennessee
To find a convention or hamfest near you, click here.

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ARRL DX News for 31 March

ARLD013 DX news

QST de W1AW 
DX Bulletin 13  ARLD013
From ARRL Headquarters 
Newington CT  March 31, 2011
To all radio amateurs  

ARLD013 DX news

This week's bulletin was made possible with information provided by
NC1L, QRZ DX, The Daily DX, the OPDX Bulletin, DXNL, INDX, Contest
Corral from QST and the ARRL Contest Calendar and WA7BNM web sites.
Thanks to all.

UGANDA, 5X.  Sergei, UV5EVJ is QRV as 5X1VJ from Entebbe until June
8.  Activity is on all HF bands using CW and SSB.  QSL to home call.

plan to be QRV as 9L5MS from April 2 to April 18.  Activity will be
with three stations on 160 to 6 meters using CW, SSB and RTTY.  QSL
direct via PA3AWW.

LIBERIA, EL.  A group of operators are QRV as 5M2TT until April 13.
Activity is on 80 to 6 meters using CW, SSB and RTTY with three
stations active simultaneously.  QSL direct via I2YSB.

TAJIKISTAN, EY.  Rakkim, EY7AD has been active on 17 meters using
SSB around 1400z.  QSL direct.

SCOTLAND, GM.  A group of operators will be QRV as GS4MWS from Arran
Island, IOTA EU-123, from April 2 to 7.  QSL via M0PAI.

SAUDI ARABIA, HZ.  Peter, HZ1PS has been active using RTTY on 15
meters between 1700 and 1800z.  QSL via IZ8CLM.

SVALBARD, JW.  Francois, F8DVD is QRV as JW/F8DVD from the
Longyearbyen radio club on Spitsbergen, IOTA EU-026, from April 1 to
8.  Activity is on all HF bands using CW and SSB.  QSL via bureau.

MARIANA ISLANDS, KH0.  Kirk, WE8A is QRV as WE8A/KH0 until April 2.
Activity is on 80 to 10 meters, with an emphasis on the newer bands,
using CW and SSB.  QSL direct.

BULGARIA, LZ.  Some members of the Bulgarian Federation of Radio
Amateurs are QRV as LZ85R until December 31 to celebrate the 85th
anniversary of the first radio club of Bulgaria.  QSL via LZ1BJ.

GREENLAND, OX.  Michael, DB5MH is QRV as OX/DB5MH until April 7.  He
is using QRP power on 20 meters SSB around 2000 to 2200z.  QSL to
home call.

ARUBA, P4.  Dee, W1HEO will be QRV as P4/W1HEO from April 3 to 16.
Activity will be on 160 to 10 meters using CW and SSB with an
emphasis on 30 to 10 meters.  QSL to home call.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, TL.  Christian, TL0A is QRV from Bakouma
for the next five weeks.  QSL direct.

MACQUARIE ISLAND, VK0.  Kevin, VK0KEV is usually QRV in his spare
time between 0530 to 0645z and again from 0745 to 0845z.  QSL via

BERMUDA, VP9.  Operators Wade, AA8LL and Liz, K8LIZ are QRV as
VP9/homecalls from Hamilton Parish until April 4.  Activity is
holiday style on most HF bands using CW, SSB and RTTY.  QSL to home

VIET NAM, XV.  Retu, OH4MDY will be QRV as XV2RZ from April 4 to 17.
Activity will be on 80 to 6 meters using CW and SSB.  QSL direct via

ALBANIA, ZA.  Franck, F4DTO will be QRV as ZA/F4DTO from Elbasan
from April 2 to 16.  Activity will be on 40 to 10 meters using
mostly SSB.  QSL to home call.

active on 20 meters using SSB around 1700z.  QSL via ZS1A.

Memorial CW Bash, LZ Open 40-Meter CW Sprint Contest, ARCI Spring CW
QSO Party, SP DX Contest, EA RTTY Contest, Missouri QSO Party and
the RSGB RoPoCo SSB are all on tap for this weekend.  RSGB 80-Meter
Club CW Championship is scheduled for April 4.  The ARS Spartan CW
Sprint is scheduled for April 5.  Please see April QST, page 80 and
the ARRL and WA7BNM contest web sites for details.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Space Shuttle Discovery lands Wednesday, Sun Becoming More Active

Ten meters was open yesterday afternoon, maybe this is the reason. Gonna start checking 10 and 6 more often!
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

K7RA weekly Solar Update

Courtesy of the ARRL, here is Tad Cook, K7RA's weekly solar propagation column:

Solar activity is rising again, but the average sunspot numbers and solar flux are down, compared with last week. This week, the average daily sunspot number declined more than 14 points to 50.9, and the average daily solar flux was off 7 points to 96.8. The average daily planetary A index rose from 6.1 to 9, and the average mid-latitude A index was about the same, declining from 5.4 to 5.1. Sunspot numbers for February 24-March 2 were 23, 31, 49, 44, 54, 72 and 83, with a mean of 50.9. The 10.7 cm flux was 88.9, 88.2, 90.2, 90.4, 95.8, 110.5 and 113.4, with a mean of 96.8. The estimated planetary A indices were 3, 3, 4, 2, 3, 31 and 17, with a mean of 9. The estimated mid-latitude A indices were 0, 1, 2, 1, 2, 18 and 12, with a mean of 5.1.
You can see daily sunspot and solar flux numbers, updated after 0230 here. Geomagnetic indices are updated 8 times per day here. Our weekly data reports in this bulletin run Thursday through Wednesday, so at the above links you can see that yesterday (Thursday, March 3), the planetary A index dropped from 17 to 12, and the daily sunspot number went from 83 to 71. The most active day for geomagnetic indexes was March 1, with a planetary A index of 31; the planetary K index rose as high as 6 on that day. Polar propagation paths were disturbed, with the College A index (measured near Fairbanks, Alaska) for March 1-3 at 53, 43 and 23.
NOAA and USAF predict solar flux of 120 on March 4-11, 110 on March 12-15, 105 on March 16-17 and 100 on March 18-21. The planetary A index is forecast at 12 on March 4-5, 5 on March 6-13, 7 on March 14-15 and 5 on March 16-21. You can get the daily NOAA/USAF prediction for solar flux and planetary A index here. The forecast is usually updated by 2130 daily. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts unsettled geomagnetic activity March 4-5, quiet to unsettled March 6, quiet March 7, quiet to unsettled March 8-9 and quiet again on March 10.
It looks like good conditions for the ARRL International SSB DX Contest this weekend, or at least much more interesting than the past few years, due to increased solar activity. Along with this comes the greater risk of geomagnetic disruption from solar flares, coronal mass ejections and gusts of solar wind. I received some comments from 80 and 160 meter DXers during the recent minimum, noting that they loved the absence of solar activity because everything was so quiet and stable.
For this year’s DX contest, we are seeing sunspot numbers in the range of 20-100, but for the first 10 days of March 2010, the average sunspot number was 20.1. For 2009 it was 2.4, 2008 it was 3.7, 2007 it was 14.9 and in 2006, it was 14.1.
The monthly average of sunspot numbers for December 2010-February 2011 was 22, 32.2 and 53.5, reflecting the rise in solar activity. The three-month moving average of sunspot numbers centered on January -- an average of all daily sunspot numbers for December 2010 through February 2011 -- was 35.3. The three-month moving average of daily sunspot numbers centered on each month of 2010 was 22.4, 25.7, 22.3, 18.5, 16.4, 20.4, 23.2, 28.9, 33, 35.6, 31 and 30.1. The average centered on January 2011 is back up to the level it was in November 2010, 35.6.
The big news this week was about the solar model explaining the deep solar minimum we’ve just experienced. Thanks to all the readers who sent emails about this. See the story hereherehere and here.
Jonathon Ballard, KI4UKF, lives in Stokes County, North Carolina, less than 10 miles south of the Virginia state line. On Wednesday, March 2 at 1655 (just before noon local time), he heard Claudio Costa, LW2ECC (Argentina), calling CQ on 2 meter FM, on 144.48 MHz. KI4UKF was using a Moxon wire antenna tacked to a wall, and said the signal was steady for several minutes at about S6, then faded away. He e-mailed Claudio, who confirmed the transmission. Claudio was using three 5/8 wave verticals and 160 W.
John Shew, N4QQ, of Silver Spring, Maryland was in Curacao for the ARRL DX CW Contest and operated at PJ2T. He had some interesting observations about trans-equatorial propagation on 6 meters into South America: “Thursday evening around 8 PM (0000 February 19), W9VA and I decided to check 6 meters, looking south for TE propagation. The equipment at PJ2T is a Yaesu FT-2000 and a M2 5-element at 70 feet with a clear shot over water to South America. Much to our joy, the band was full of LU beacons at S9 strength. At 0015, we tuned up to 50.110 and I called CQ using the call PJ2/N4QQ. Over the next 15 minutes, I worked 16 stations in 14 grid squares. Signal strengths were S7-S9 plus. “We kinda worked the band empty after 15 minutes but it was still open, but there were no more stations calling us so we moved back over to the HF bands.
“It was a great thrill for me to experience TE propagation for the first time after reading about it many times in the ARRL VHF column over the last 50 years. Signals sounded slightly hollow, but were quite strong with no obvious fading. The band appeared to open to all areas at once, with no obvious flashlight effect, experienced during E-skip. I plotted the grid squares I worked, and they fall in a band about 600 miles deep between 2700 and 3300 miles to the south, crossing the entire South American continent. The plotted skip zone appears to slightly skew from southwest to northeast, with stations to the west farther south than those to the east.
“As I have no experience with TE, I don’t know if this propagation is common for this time of year, or if it occurs throughout the year or if it is enhanced by recent solar events. Solar flux peaked somewhere between 115-125 during our time in PJ2. With our attention focused on the DX contest, we didn’t have a lot of time to check 6 meters, but the few days we did check it appeared open to the south from 0000 to at least 0200.
“It was my impression that TE is a very reliable mode of communication to the south from the southern Caribbean this time of year in the early evening. I have been checking 6 meter spots for the last week, and the Brazilians and Argentineans have been having a field day beaming north in the late afternoon and early evening, with numerous contacts with KP4, TI, FM, YV, P40 and the like. PY5XX and others have also worked Spain and Portugal in Southern Europe and the Canary Islands in Africa. In fact, I think now I understand one reason why 6 meters is so popular with the Southern Brazilians and Argentineans. From PJ2, it appears there are only five countries we can work on TE -- Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile. I worked all but one in less than 15 minutes. Maybe four or five more countries can be worked from PJ2 via TE, if one counts islands with DXpeditions like Juan Fernandez or Trinidad. On the other hand, Brazilians and Argentineans see in their regular TE skip zone maybe 25 countries with active 6 meter populations; the countries include the northern coastal South American countries, much of Central America, the Yucatan and most of the Caribbean from Puerto Rico south.”
Thanks, John for a fascinating report!

An example of the letter that will be generated.

The Honorable Brad Miller
United States House of Representatives
1127 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

March 5, 2011

Dear Representative Miller:

As a voter in your district and as one of the nearly 700,000 federally licensed
Amateur Radio operators across the nation, I ask that you oppose H.R. 607, the
"Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011" in its current form. H.R. 607 was
introduced by Congressman Peter King (R-NY) and referred to the House Committee
on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 607 proposes to allocate the "D-Block" of frequencies (frequencies previously
occupied by analog television) to be developed into an interoperable Public Safety
wireless network. Earlier, it had been expected that the D-Block would be auctioned
by the FCC for commercial use, but there is now substantial support for the allocation
of the D-Block to Public Safety. H.R. 607 also provides for the reallocation of other
spectrum for auction to commercial users, in order to offset the loss of revenue
anticipated by the auction of the D-Block.

While I strongly support the work of the Public Safety officials who put their lives
on the line for our safety, my opposition to the bill stems from the inclusion of the
420-440 MHz spectrum (the UHF 70-cm band) as part of a frequency swap and auction.
Very little of this spectrum is allocated to Public Safety, and only in very limited
areas. Rather, it is allocated to government radiolocation services on a primary basis,
with Amateur Radio allocated on a secondary basis. The Federal government uses this
band for critical defense purposes, including Pave Paws radars for detecting
surface-launched missiles aimed at the United States, and for airborne radars used
for drug interdiction. The Amateur Service carefully coordinates its uses of this band
to insure compatibility. The two services have a very good record of sharing this
spectrum successfully, putting it to good use for both military and civilian purposes
in the national interest.

Amateur radio emergency communications rely heavily on our limited frequency
allocations in the VHF and UHF radio bands. The loss of access to the 420-440 MHz
spectrum would make it very difficult for us to maintain this capability and would
mean we could no longer use numerous systems that have been constructed on our own
time and at personal expense to provide this important communications support.

Amateur Radio operators across the country repeatedly demonstrate our commitment to
public service and emergency communications. Through our work with FEMA and other
Homeland Security activities, state and local Emergency Management offices, and
numerous charitable relief agencies, volunteer Amateur Radio operators assist the first
responders, doing so at no cost to the agencies we support. The role of the Amateur
Radio Service as a partner to Public Safety in providing supporting public service and
emergency communications necessitates our retention of full access to the entire
70-cm band.

We understand and support that Public Safety officials must have the spectrum they need
to do their jobs. However, it is not necessary to do so in the ill-conceived manner
proposed in this bill. Other pending legislation provides for this important goal
to be realized without the proposed reallocation of non-Public Safety spectrum for
commercial auction that is included in H.R. 607. I urge you to oppose H.R. 607
in its current form. Thank you for your consideration.


Your Name
Your Address
Your city and zip

Attention all Amateur Radio Operators - your action is needed!

HR-607 has been introduced into Congress which will take away a majority of the Amateur Radio 420 - 450 MHz band.  Here's an explanation from the ARRL of the proposed legislation, and examples of how some amateurs have been incorrectly responding to the situation.  Today I received this email from the Flex Radio reflector which contains more detail, and a link to a website which will allow a ham to easily prepare a response to this issue, and also determines who your House Representative is.  Here's the text of that email:
A FLASH message from the West Gulf Division Director, David Woolweaver,

Your assistance to defend one of our amateur bands is urgently
requested.  Please read and follow through on the requested action
described below.  This is an important issue for every Amateur Radio
Operator in the nation.

You may have already heard that our 440 MHz band is being threatened by
a bill introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives.  In its
current form, HR 607 provides for the creation and maintenance of a
nationwide Public Safety broadband network.  As a part of that network,
the bill proposes to allocate the so-called D-Block of frequencies
in the 700 MHz range.  The D-Block consists of two, 5 MHz wide
segments of spectrum (758-763 MHz and 788-793 MHz) that became
available when the FCC ended analog television broadcasts in June 2009.
It was initially expected that the D-Block would be auctioned for
commercial use.

HR 607 provides for the reallocation of other spectrum for auction to
commercial users in order to offset the loss of revenue that will occur
as the result of the allocation of the D-Block to Public Safety
instead of commercial auction.  Among the bands to be reallocated for
commercial auction within ten years of passage of HR 607 are the paired
bands of 420-440 MHz and 450-470 MHz.

The concept for this proposed network has merit.  Everyone wants first
responders to have the radio systems they need in order to protect
themselves and us.  However, there is absolutely no need to reallocate
for auction the 440 MHz band to make it happen.  We must let our U.S.
Representatives know we oppose the current wording of HR 607.

What can I do?  A web site to automatically prepare a letter opposing
HR 607 has been created to assist you.  Go to

Insert your call sign where indicated and follow the simple
instructions. The name and address of your U.S. Representative will
automatically be inserted into the letter along with your name and
address.  The letter will then be displayed ready to be printed and

IMPORTANT: Please be certain to observe the following once you have
printed your letter:

- Be sure to sign it.  Letters without a handwritten signature are not

- Signed letters can be sent by fax or postal mail to -

John Chwat
Chwat & Co.,
Suite 103, 625 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314
Fax number: (703) 684-7594

- The letter can also be signed and scanned into .pdf format and then
E-Mailed as a file attachment to:  Chwat and
Co. is the ARRL s legislative relations firm in Washington, D.C.

- Do not send this letter or any letter about HR 607 to your U.S.
Senators at this time. The bill has only been filed in the U.S. House
of Representatives.  .

-WHY should the letter be mailed to John Chwat and NOT your
Representative?  There are two reasons.  First, all postal mail
addressed to members of the U.S. Congress is delayed 6 to 8 weeks to
search for the inclusion of hazardous materials.  Remember the Anthrax
incident?  Second, Mr. Chwat will increase the value of your individual
letter by combining it with others.  He will then hand carry the stack
of letters directly to your Representative's office. This manner of
delivery makes a particular impact on members of Congress.

Share the web site information with your amateur radio friends.  It is
not necessary to be an ARRL member to use the site.
  The more
letters sent to Representatives the better.

This is your opportunity to make a stand against this legislation.
Help save the 70cm band by completing and mailing the opposition letter
as requested.

The highlighting of that sentence above is mine.  You do not have to
be a League member to act to protect our precious spectrum.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

35 minutes on the exercise bike

I'm soaking wet with sweat, but the burn is feeling good.

Courtesy the ARRL, the K7RA weekly propagation report.

A dramatic surge in solar activity is underway, with a level of
sunspot numbers and solar flux not seen since 2005-2006.  Tuesday's
sunspot number of 100 has not been equaled or exceeded since April
6, 2006 when it was 105.  On Wednesday the solar flux was 114.1, and
the last time it was that high or higher was September 15, 2005 at

Average daily sunspot numbers rose this week by more than 25 points
to 69.9, and average daily solar flux was up 20 points to 103.5.

NOAA/USAF predicts solar flux at 110 on February 18-19, 105 on
February 20, 100 on February 21, and 105 on February 22-24.
Planetary A index is predicted at 25 and 12 on February 18-19, and 5
on February 20-28, then rising to 7, 10, 10 and 7 on March 1-4.

Geophysical Institute Prague predicts active conditions on February
18, unsettled to active February 19, unsettled February 20, quiet to
unsettled February 21, and quiet conditions February 22-24.

This weekend is the ARRL International DX CW Contest, and Bob
Marston, K6TW notes that a geomagnetic storm is predicted for
Friday, just before the start of the contest.  This is due to two
coronal mass ejections, one on February 13 at 1735z, and the other
on February 15 at 0156z.  A CME hit Earth's magnetic field at 0100z
today, February 18, but was not as strong as expected.  It is
possible we may be spared major geo-storms.  However, there is a new
alert from Solar Storm Watch of an expected CME direct hit at 0900z
on February 18.  The planetary K index on February 18 at 0300, 0600
and 0900z was 3, 4 and 5.

Most of the activity this week has been from large sunspot group
1158, which will soon rotate out of view over the Sun's western
limb.  More centrally positioned is sunspot 1161, and there seems to
be a new sunspot emerging above it.  It is probably significant that
USAF/NOAA revised the solar flux estimate upward for the near term
between Wednesday's and Thursday's prediction.

K6TW introduced us to a resource for updates on solar activity,, and specifically a Twitter resource,
which you can read without a Twitter account at

Fred Honnold, KH7Y of Ocean View, Hawaii (south part of the big
island of Hawaii) has a report of some 10 meter longpath to Europe
propagation on February 14.

"I wanted to let you know about some excellent long path QSO last
night from 0923 till 1055.  The bands were still alive but it was
1AM here and I just quit.  Signal levels on 15 meters from the KW
stations were S8 or so on 12 meters the signals were still strong so
after working about 100 stations on 12 meters I moved to 10 meters.
I worked many European stations with signals S1 to S5.  The best
signals were from EA1DR S9+ and S57S very loud."

You can see the spots by going to DX Sherlock at  Just select 28 MHz, February 14 from
1000z to 1059z, containing the callsign KH7Y, set maximum number of
returned QSOs at 100, then Submit Query.

An article on the ARRL web site about sunspot 1158 and this week's
activity mentions that "According to NASA, the Sun will reach its
next maximum this year, give or take one year."

I don't think this is true, as the latest prediction for the next
solar maximum is in 2013.  If you check a recent Preliminary Report
and Forecast at,
look on page 10 and note that the highest smoothed sunspot number in
the near future is 90, predicted for February through July 2013.

If you would like to make a comment or have a tip for our readers,
email the author at,

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL
Technical Information Service web page at For an explanation of the
numbers used in this bulletin, see An archive of past
propagation bulletins is at  Find more good
information and tutorials on propagation at

Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve
overseas locations are at

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL
bulletins are at

Sunspot numbers for February 10 through 16 were 38, 54, 63, 84, 90,
100, and 60, with a mean of 69.9. 10.7 cm flux was 91.4, 91.2, 95.6,
106.8, 112.6, 112.8 and 114.1 with a mean of 103.5. Estimated
planetary A indices were 3, 4, 4, 2, 10, 5 and 2 with a mean of 4.3.
Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 4, 3, 2, 1, 6, 4 and 1 with a
mean of 3.

I hate that I'm missing the nice weather

It's 75 degrees outside, and a beautiful day.  Yet here I am sitting in my cube, slaving away, doing desktop support at my office.  In a perfect world, I might be on the lake with a fishing pole in my hand.  In a perfect world, I might be sitting on my deck with a tasty adult beverage on the table next to me.  In a perfect world, I might be taking my dogs for a walk. But this is not a perfect world, there are bills to be paid, groceries to be bought, heating and cooling to be paid for.  So I'm sitting in my cube, slaving away, doing desktop support at my office.

Study Shows 80% of Americans Think Most Statistics are Wrong

Including this headline.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More information on the Valentine's Day Flare

Experts expect minimal impact other than the possibility of Auroral activity.

You can clearly see the shock wave as the flare event occurs.

The story on the NASA website.

Radio communications may be problematic through this Saturday

The sun, which has been extremely quiet over the last few years, has come to life and is starting to generate CMEs in the direction of earth.  Link to story on AccuWeather   Hopefully tomorrow's Late Night Radio session on 3675KHz at 0200Z won't be adversely affected.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sunspot 1158 Unleashes A Strong Solar Flare

Remnants of the CME are expected to reach the earth's magnetic field sometime today. Expect reports of increased auroral activity, and a potential increase in the MUF at least for awhile. The story on

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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Government's Case against Baseball's Home Run King is going, going ...

... gone?

With Trial Looming, Feds Streamline Charges Against Bonds

Fans loved to hate Bonds.  Sports Writers used to hate Bonds.  Now it may be the Government's turn.  Time, reluctant witnesses, and the fact that public simply doesn't care any more has made the urgency and ability to prosecute him dubious.  The Feds have dropped the number of charges against Bonds from 11 to 5.  And after all, how do you prove he perjured himself, when your most damaging witness has said that he would go to jail before he would testify against Bonds?  It may be time to stick an asterisk in this one.

Fuel Injection Coming to NASCAR in 2012

Link to article: NASCAR names fuel injection official partners

This move makes the NASCAR racing cars more like the street cars that the various sponsor corporations use, but I have to wonder what they'll do at the traditional restrictor plate tracks like Daytona and Talladega.  Will all the teams get the same chip to go into their engine's ECU?  With all the engines making exactly the same horsepower, drafting and teamwork are going to become even more important than they are now, and even more races will be won on pit strategy. Combine that with a re-worked points strategy, next season could be very interesting indeed.

Ham Radio Not a Viable Option for Egypt?

Despite the obvious value of Amateur Radio in emergency situations as experienced in the Haiti earthquake recently, experts disagree on whether or not it would or would not have been of value in the recent unrest in #Egypt where the government shut down conventional means of communications.  Link to article.  I'm on the side of the argument that says Ham Radio is invaluable in these sorts of situations, especially when the health and welfare of friends and family is unknown.

Weekly Propagation Forecast from the ARRL

The K7RA Solar Update

The weekly Solar Weather update from Todd Cook, K7RA.  There's always some interesting news about amateur radio propagation.  This week auroral propagation is in the news.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The very definition of stupidity

It was recently announced that Farmers Insurance of California has purchased the naming rights to the downtown LA football stadium for $700 million. (story) The only problem is that not only is there no football stadium in downtown LA, there's no NFL football team there either. Heck, there may not even be NFL football at all next season.

There are seven teams which may be in the market to move because of stadium leases, the Chargers, Jaguars, Vikings, 49'ers, Rams, Bills, and Raiders. Al Davis can't decide where the Raiders play anyway so maybe they're the prime suspect.

But there's no stadium and no team, so somewhere in LA there's going to be a vacant lot named Farmers Field.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thought provoking article

Noam Chomsky blogs about changes in the Arab world.  Whether or not you agree, it's interesting reading.


Seriously, does the Mubarak regime think it can keep the world from finding out what it's doing by strong-arm bullying international news teams in Cairo?  He's not making any friends in the Arab World by harassing Al Jazeera reporters, either.
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Fool on the Hill

I'm not sure why it was that I did nothing about my situation for 10 years.  It wasn't that I was hoping in my heart of hearts that there might be a reconciliation, that train had left the station long before I made my decision.  It wasn't because I hadn't had plenty of encouragement from others, because most of my friends were incredulous that I hadn't made the move, and one very special friend was downright angry about it.  Can't say I blame her.

No, there were really two things that kept me from following through on the inevitable.  First was an over-developed sense of responsibility for the care and well-being of someone who had health needs that couldn't be easily addressed outside of a traditional, institutional health care plan.  I had been asked when our engagement was announced by her father, "Why get married?"  My answer at that time was, "So she can get health care."  She needed it then, and still does to this day.  That had always been there as a reason to do nothing.  Second, and most importantly, was fear.  Fear of the 'what-ifs'.  What if I lose everything?  What will people think of me?  Fear of the process itself.  I knew nothing of these things.  In the past, it had been the other party who had initiated the proceedings, and I had let them proceed.

But, it had been too long with my life in limbo.  I had been carrying around a part of my life that had no meaning for me any more, and which was coming between me, and the person I was trying to become.  So I decided to move forward.

Once I made the decision to proceed, everything seemed to fall into place.  The process itself was relatively painless.  The 'what-ifs' were trivial.  If I lost everything, I still had my friends and family.  The people about whose opinion I was concerned were probably glad that I was finally making the move.  There were avenues for her to continue to receive health care for a period of time, to act as a bridge to when she could get it on her own.  And I had a counselor who understood why I was proceeding, who was with me all the way, and who believed that I was doing the right thing.  She laid everything out in steps, and once each step was completed, I was one more step closer to the goal.

I'm not quite there yet, but the goal is in sight.  The best part is that there's a door at the goal line that opens up to the rest of my life.

Winter weather

I don't know about you, but I'm grateful that we're not going to be hit by the "Big Weather" this time around.
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Droid Blogging?

From the what will they think of next category is blogging from your mobile device. Only time will tell if I think this will be worth keeping up, but for now, here it is.
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jets and Bears to play in Super Bowl XLV after all

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
In a surprise move Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the Chicago Bears and New York Jets would meet in the second half of Super Bowl XLV. "The Bears and Jets were clearly the winners of the second halves of their respective Conference Championships, outscoring their opponents by a combined 30 to 7," Goodell said. "It's only fair to their fans in Chicago and New York that they represent the NFL in the second half of the Super Bowl."

Goodell went on to say that the overall winner in the Super Bowl would be determined by whichever teams won their halves, and the over/under between the two halves. In case of a tie, the winner will be determined by a coin toss. Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith called the move "bold", and congratulated the commissioner for recognizing the inherent inequity of the NFL Playoff system.

During the first half, the two second-half teams will be watching the game in a VIP Lounge at Cowboys stadium. Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan expressed concern that there might not be enough pretzels, chips, and beer to last through the end of the halftime entertainment, but Commissioner Goodell assured him that the NFL has a clause in the contract with Stadium management that guarantees sufficient provisions for all four teams.