into the voice of the Association,
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THE SUN IS DIMMING: December 15th at Cape Canaveral, SpaceX launched a new sensor to the International Space Station named TSIS-1. Its mission: to measure the dimming of the sun. As the sunspot cycle plunges toward its 11-year minimum, NASA satellites are tracking a decline in total solar irradiance (TSI). Across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, the sun's output has dropped nearly 0.1% compared to the Solar Maximum of 2012-2014. This plot shows the TSI since 1978 as observed from nine previous satellites:
The rise and fall of the sun's luminosity is a natural part of the solar cycle. A change of 0.1% may not sound like much, but the sun deposits a lot of energy on the Earth, approximately 1,361 watts per square meter. Summed over the globe, a 0.1% variation in this quantity exceeds all of our planet's other energy sources (such as natural radioactivity in Earth's core) combined. A 2013 report issued by the National Research Council (NRC), "The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth's Climate," spells out some of the ways the cyclic change in TSI can affect the chemistry of Earth's upper atmosphere and possibly alter regional weather patterns, especially in the Pacific.
NASA's current flagship satellite for measuring TSI, the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE), is now more than six years beyond its prime-mission lifetime. TSIS-1 will take over for SORCE, extending the record of TSI measurements with unprecedented precision. It's five-year mission will overlap a deep Solar Minimum expected in 2019-2020. TSIS-1 will therefore be able to observe the continued decline in the sun's luminosity followed by a rebound as the next solar cycle picks up steam. Installing and checking out TSIS-1 will take some time; the first science data are expected in Feb. 2018. Stay tuned.
Status Report: The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017
While it may appear that time is short, S. 1534 does not need to pass the Senate by year's end. The bill remains in play until the current session of Congress adjourns, which doesn't happen until December 31, 2018. Once the bill has been passed by both chambers, the FCC would still have to implement its essence in the Part 97 Amateur Service rules.
Introduced on July 12, S. 1534 marked another step forward for the landmark legislation. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sponsored the bill in the Senate. The US House version of the legislation, HR 555, passed the House of Representatives by unanimous consent last January.-ARRL Letter
Major New Edition of The ARRL Handbook is Now Available!
"For new hams, you will be amazed at how quickly you become familiar, not only with the theory, but also with the practical aspects of radio -- from long waves to microwaves," he said. "For experienced hams, you're in for a surprise and delight when you see the extent of the latest revisions. This edition is the most comprehensive revision since the 2014 edition."
Readers can download a fully searchable, digital edition of the Handbook, plus expanded supplemental content, software, PC board templates, and other support files.
The Handbook is not just for radio amateurs. For years now, it's proved to be a valuable resource for professionals and students in radio and communication technology, electrical engineering, data communication, physics, and geophysics.
New projects in the 2018 edition include VHF/UHF/Microwave Filters and Transmission Lines; Software-Controlled and Manual Preselectors for 1.8-30 MHz; Digital Mode Audio-Based VOX/PTT Interface; PICAXE-Based Timer; 6-Meter Halo Antenna; Big Wheel VHF/UHF Mobile Antenna, and an Off-Center End-Fed Portable 40-6 Meter Antenna.
Readers of the 2018 edition of The Handbook will also find new and updated information on software-defined radio (SDR) and digital signal processing (DSP), grounding and bonding, Solar Cycle 24-25, tower safety, and remote-control station building.
The ARRL Handbook is available in hardcover and softcover editions from the ARRL Store
History: A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL
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