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Serving Amateur Radio since 1960

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Huntsville Hamfest
Huntsville, AL
August 18

Shelby Hamfest
Shelby, NC
Aug 31-Sept 2

Stone Mountain Hamfest
Lawrenceville, GA
November 3-4



ARRL Board Adopts Volunteer Monitoring Program; Official Observer Program to be Retired

The ARRL Board of Directors has adopted the recommendations of the Official Observer Program Study Committee, which would retire the venerable Official Observer (OO) Program and institute the Volunteer Monitoring (VM) Program. The Board took the action at its July 20 - 21 meeting in Windsor, Connecticut, instructing that the transition "be implemented as soon as practicable." Under the terms of the new program, current Official Observers will be invited to apply for appointment as Volunteer Monitors. The Board expressed its appreciation for the OOs and their dedicated volunteer service over the years.

The Board said the action is expected to re-energize enforcement efforts in the Amateur Radio bands and was undertaken at the request of the FCC in the wake of several FCC regional office closures and a reduction in field staff. Coordination of cases and evidence gathering would become the responsibility of ARRL Headquarters staff, while the FCC will retain the responsibility for final decisions regarding action in specific cases.

The study committee report spelled out the additional steps necessary to launch the Volunteer Monitoring Program. Among them would be the appointment of a dedicated Headquarters staff member or an independent contractor working under the direction of ARRL Headquarters to administer the new program and interface with its participants. The Volunteer Monitoring Program administrator would, among other duties, create a vetting and accreditation process for prospective Volunteer Monitors. The authority to accredit, appoint, and dismiss Volunteer Monitors would be assigned to ARRL Headquarters staff. Section Managers will continue to be a part of the vetting process for VMs, although they will not have appointment or dismissal authority.

Volunteer Monitor accreditation would be limited to a 3-year term, renewable by satisfying requirements necessary to ensure competency. A new Volunteer Monitoring Training Manual is in the final stages of development.

The administrator will create a target for the number of geographically distributed Volunteer Monitors. Preliminary plans would include up to five Volunteer Monitors per ARRL Section and up to 250 Volunteer Monitors overall.

-ARRL Letter



ARRL 2017 Annual Report Focuses on Hurricane Response

The ARRL 2017 Annual Report, which highlights the organization's efforts and activities throughout 2017, is now available. Starting with the cover photo, Amateur Radio's response to the Atlantic hurricane season figures prominently in the report. Amateur Radio has repeatedly been the only means of communication into or out of an area affected by a natural disaster. Puerto Rico was especially hard hit by Hurricane Maria, and the cover depicts an October 4 message from Mayor Carlos Mendez of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, calling for an Amateur Radio operator to support communication between his town and the capital city of San Juan.

In his message to ARRL members, President Rick Roderick, K5UR, suggested that a paradigm shift is under way within Amateur Radio.

"The wants and needs of the new-generation hams are very different from those of 'traditional' hams -- of which I consider myself one," Roderick wrote. "[W]e've got to embrace and meet the challenges of new technological developments and the operating trends of the next generation. It's a different landscape than when I started. ARRL is there to support and promote these new things as outlined in our mission statement -- to advance the art, science, and enjoyment of Amateur Radio -- and to fight for our spectrum allocations, but the organization does not 'own' Amateur Radio. That ownership rests with hams." Roderick said seeds for change planted in 2017 are starting to sprout, as ARRL also adapts to a changing Amateur Radio environment.

In his report, CEO Barry Shelley, N1VXY, looked back on what he called "a remarkable year" for ARRL -- one that first and foremost was defined by change.

"Much of the change could be considered internal to the organization, and not always visible," Shelley wrote. "But the changes that occurred helped create new ways to face and deal with some of the challenges presented throughout the year," adding that one of the biggest challenges ARRL faced in 2017 -- and one of the most public -- was the response to the devastating hurricanes in the Caribbean and southeastern part of the United States."

The Emergency Preparedness Department reported an upward trend in Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) activity. "An increase in reported activity was noted during the months of August through November, due to Amateur Radio response activity for hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria; wildfires in the western US, and the total solar eclipse that occurred on August 21," the report recounted. The narrative tells how additional Ham Aid program equipment was on its way to Puerto Rico by September 9 in response to Hurricane Irma. After Hurricane Maria, more Ham Aid packages were dispatched to Puerto Rico with 22 Red Cross/ARRL volunteers.

"During the 2017 hurricane season, particularly after the damage hurricane Maria caused in Puerto Rico, ARRL experienced a significant increase in awareness of Amateur Radio and the service that ham radio operators can offer in times of emergency," the report noted.

The ARRL VEC Department summary pointed out, "Interest in Amateur Radio took an upturn in the second half of the year, due to a heightened awareness of Amateur Radio's potential role during natural disasters."

-ARRL Letter



The Sunspot Cycle Is More Intricate Than Previously Thought
The sun's dark spots cycle every 11 years—as well as every 88, 200, and 2,400 years

The sun's pockmarked surface is always shifting. Sunspots and solar flares rise and fall every 11 years, a cycle associated with regular reversal of the star's magnetic field. Huge quantities of plasma—known as coronal mass ejections—fly into space, which can disrupt satellites and other electronic signals if they reach Earth. More solar activity during the cycle also amplifies auroras and warms Earth's temperatures slightly. Yet careful study has shown that longer periodicities exist, too. The Gleissberg cycle, first identified in 1862, strengthens and weakens the 11-year cycle over the course of a century (shown in yellow). One paper posits that the Gleissberg pattern is caused by a slow swaying of the sun's magnetic pole. The Suess-DeVries cycle (green) lasts about 200 years, whereas the Hallstatt cycle (blue) runs on the order of 2,400 years. Still, the sun can also be erratic, making it tricky for physicists to predict future sunspots, says Alexei Pevtsov, an astronomer at the National Solar Observatory in Boulder, Colo.: “There's an element of randomness.”

Credit: Katie Peek; Sources: SILSO data, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels; “Solar Activity Nine Millennia: A Consistent Multi-Proxy Reconstruction,” by Chi Ju Wu et al., in Astronomy & Astrophysics; April 4, 2018; Daguerreotype image of sun by Louis Fizeau (1845 image); Carnegie Institution of Washington (1947 image); Sunspot drawing from John of Worcester's chronicle of England (1128 image)

-Scientific American


WB4QZK Bama Rowan, SK, 1926-2018


Radio History: A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL

Look at this "history" of ham radio through the eyes of the ARRL, an interesting read!


Check into our sister net, the Georgia Traffic and Emergency Net
nightly at 7:15 PM Eastern on 3982.5 mHz

Georgia Cracker Radio Club
Meets on 3995 mornings at 7


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