From Our Director

Jim Weaver, K8JE, regularly sends out an e-mail to ARRL members in the Great Lakes Division (MI, OH, KY).  Here are a few nuggets from the latest one:

+++ Homebrew Challenge Issued +++
The art of homebrewing amateur equipment is not dead. To help keep it strong, ARRL sponsors homebrewing contests annually. The following information relates to the 2011 contest.

“The ARRL has sponsored two Homebrew Challenges in the past, designed to test our members’ design and construction skills by making useful amateur gear at low cost — and sharing their results with our members. Our first ARRL Homebrew Challenge, announced in QST for August 2006, required the construction of a 40 meter, 5 W voice and CW transceiver built for less than $50 of new parts. The Second Homebrew Challenge, announced in February 2009, resulted in a number of creative designs of low cost 50 W linear amplifiers to follow the transceiver — two for about $30, as well as a multiband amplifier with many features for somewhat more.

“For 2011, the ARRL has issued a challenge to build a transceiver in celebration of the (slow) return of sunspots. This challenge will be in two parts and hams can enter either or both options:

“Option 1: A single band 25 W SSB and CW transceiver for 10 or 6 meters, with a prize of $200. Option 2: A 25 W SSB and CW transceiver that can be switched between 10 and 6 meters, using one or two switches, with a prize of $300.

“Instead of challenging entrants to make the transceiver at the lowest cost, the ARRL will instead challenge builders to provide the highest quality, best performance and most features within the cost target of $150 for Option 1 and $200 for Option 2. In addition to the cash prize, the winners of these challenges will have articles describing their designs in QST and will receive the usual page rate for the published articles. Additional entrants who meet the minimum requirements — and have interesting design features — may also be considered for QST or ARRL Web articles.

“Entries for either option must be received at ARRL Headquarters no later than November 1, 2011. To be considered, each entrant must submit a working transceiver that is suitable for testing in the ARRL Lab and for on-the-air judging by the ARRL staff judges. Documentation required includes a priced parts list indicating the source and purchase price of each part, an article draft including a design description, construction hints, alignment instruction, block diagrams and schematic diagrams. Photographs may be provided, but final magazine photos will be taken by ARRL staff.

“For more information, including specific requirements and evaluation criteria, please visit the ARRL Homebrew Challenge web page.”

+++ Amateur Radio Comic Books Available +++
Writing in The Ham Radio Promoter, Dee Logan, W1HEO, reminds that several Amateur Radio comic books are available for use with youngsters. These are available online from ICOM. The comics may be read online, downloaded and printed, or copies may be requested from ICOM.

By the way, the Ham Radio Project newsletters are available online and contain some good information on promoting ham radio in general……Dan

+++ The Status of HR 607 +++
HR 607 is titled the Broadband for First Responders bill. Unfortunately, one of the bill’s clauses would take the amateur 420-440 MHz frequencies in achieving its otherwise excellent objective.

Upon being introduced into the House, the bill was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. To date, the subcommittee has taken no action. In addition, in a meeting with a group of amateur constituents the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Peter King of New York, has stated he no longer favors taking the amateur frequencies. Finally, alternative bills having the same objective as HR 607, but that do not involve amateur frequencies, have been introduced into the House as well as the US Senate.

Considering the above facts, one can easily speculate that the present threat to 420-440 MHz may be over. Using only the letter generating utility developed by Rick Haltermon, KD4PYR, amateurs are known to have generated over 13,000 letters in opposition to the potential frequency grab. What a great response to the call for action!

As tempting as it is to speculate on victory, it is more important that amateurs keep an eye on HR 607 and other bills that could impact our frequencies. This is precisely what is being done by legislation watchers at ARRL.

For now, it is appropriate to sheathe our pens, but to keep them primed and handy to use if the need arises.

+++ Division Convention Coming +++
September 11, the day of the Great Lakes Division Convention at the Findlay Hamfest will be on us soon. In particular, the time for submitting nominations for Division Awards is approaching rapidly. Nominations must be received by August 1. There are five Award open for nomination. These are:

  • the George S. Wilson III (W4OYI, SK) Lifetime Achievement Award
  • the Amateur of the Year Award
  • the Technical Achievement Award
  • the DX Achievement Award
  • the Young Radio Amateur of the Year Award

Also to be presented is the Joseph J. Phillips (K8QOE, SK) Newsletter Award. This award is selected from the newsletters that have been judged, previously, to be the best in each Section in the Division.

For additional information about the awards and how to nominate people for them, please go to the Great Lakes Division web site and click on the AWARDS icon at the left of the opening screen. Nominations may be made as hard copy or using the online form on the web site.

The Great Lakes Division Convention is being held on the grounds of the Findlay Hamfest. Admission to the hamfest provides admission to the convention. An interesting series of forums will begin at 9 AM. The convention will end with presentation of the awards at an informal luncheon near the hamfest grounds.

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