Outgoing Buro Rates Rise

From the ARRL Letter 1/13/11:

Effective January 17, 2011, a new pricing structure will go into effect for the ARRL Outgoing QSL Service. With the new rate structure, amateurs will no longer need to count outgoing cards and then guess as to what to pay based upon a half-pound rate; a simple weighing of the cards is all that is necessary to determine what amount to send to the Bureau. This new structure also accommodates a small rate increase in response to recent postage, shipping and handling costs.

The last rate revision for the Outgoing QSL Service was in January 2007. Even though international shipping costs have remained flat over the last 4 years, domestic shipping costs have risen more than 16 percent since 2007, while material and handling costs continue to climb 1 to 2 percent each year.

The new rate will be:

  • $2 for 10 or fewer cards in one envelope.
  • $3 for 11-20 cards in one envelope, or
  • 75 cents per ounce, for packages with 21 or more cards. For example, a package containing 1.5 pounds — 24 ounces, or about 225 cards — of cards will cost $18.

If you have any questions concerning the ARRL Outgoing QSL Service or the rates to use the service, please send them via e-mail to buro@arrl.org.

ARRL’s “Five Pillars”

ARRL's Five Pillars

Shouldn't membership be the "first pillar"?

While we’re talking about the ARRL, here’s another thing that just occurred to me.

While I was on the Media Hits page (see previous post), I noticed a link to the ARRL Five Pillars. As shown, the five pillars are:

  • Public Service
  • Advocacy
  • Education
  • Technology
  • Membership

Now, I have no beef with these pillars, but shouldn’t membership be first? After all, without membership you really don’t have any of the other four. I’d really like to see the ARRL put the members first. It would make the organization stronger and allow it to do even more in the other areas.

Also, if you page through the slide show and get to the membership section, there’s no mention at all of club services. This is yet another indication about how the ARRL really feels about clubs. There’s always lots of talk about how clubs are the lifeblood of amateur radio, but where the rubber meets the road, there’s really very little in the way of club support.

Want to Know What the Media Think About Ham Radio?

If you’re interested in how the media views ham radio these days, then go to the ARRL’s Media Hits page. On this page, Allen, W1AGP, the ARRL Media & Public Relations Manager, is collecting information about media coverage of amateur radio, and where appropriate, links to the coverage. There are many more media hits on this page than there is space for in the Media Hits column in QST.

New Rules Governing Vanity, Club Station Call Signs Coming February 14

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB030
ARLB030 New Rules Governing Vanity, Club Station Call Signs to Take Effect February 14

ZCZC AG30
QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 30 ARLB030
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT December 16, 2010
To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB030
ARLB030 New Rules Governing Vanity, Club Station Call Signs to Take Effect February 14

On Wednesday, December 15, new rules affecting vanity and club station call signs within the Amateur Radio Service were published in the Federal Register. They can be found on the Web in PDF format. These new rules will go into effect on February 14, 2011.

Thirteen months ago, the FCC announced its intention of modifying Part 97 as it applies to the vanity call sign system and club station call signs, aligning the rules to prior Commission decisions. Last month, the Commission released a Report and Order (R&O), outlining its decision. Along with the changes to the call
sign rules, the FCC made “certain minor, non-substantive amendments” to portions of Part 97.
NNNN
/EX

W1AW Winter 2010 Sked in Chart Form

Thanks to Karl, W4KRL, for producing this chart. He posted it to one of the gazillion ham radio mailing lists to which I’m subscribed. He writes:

I hope to brush up on my code by listening to W1AW but I find the new schedule confusing. I prepared a chart organized by day, time, and mode. Hope you find it useful.

W1AW Winter 2010 Sked

download PDF file

ARRL Invites Nominations for 2010 International Humanitarian Award

When I teach ham classes, I try to stress all of the principles of amateur radio as expressed in Part 97, including,

(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur’s unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

As I was thinking about that the other day, it occurred to me that the ARRL should have an award recognizing hams who actually do “enhance international goodwill.” So, I searched the ARRL website and found that we actually do have one – the ARRL International Humanitarian Award.

Unfortunately, this award is not getting the attention it deserves, imho. The web page does not list any of the previous winners, and while I did find some calls for applications in back issues of the ARRL Letter posted on the website, the winners were rarely mentioned. One Letter mentioned the 1999 winner, another mentioned the 2003 winner, a third mentioned the 2008 winner. Perhaps those were the only years the award was given. I’m not sure.

Also, in each of the Letters that I viewed, there was a link to the page describing the award. Unfortunately, all of those links connected to the page on the old website and are now no longer good.

At any rate, here’s this year’s official call for nominations:

Nominations are open for the 2010 ARRL International Humanitarian Award. The award is conferred upon an amateur or amateurs who demonstrate devotion to human welfare, peace and international understanding through Amateur Radio. The League established the annual prize to recognize Amateur Radio operators who have used ham radio to provide extraordinary service to others in times of crisis or disaster.

A committee appointed by the League’s President recommends the award recipient(s) to the ARRL Board, which makes the final decision. The committee is now accepting nominations from Amateur Radio, governmental or other organizations that have benefited from extraordinary service rendered by an Amateur Radio operator or group.

Amateur Radio is one of the few telecommunication services that allow people throughout the world from all walks of life to meet and talk with each other, thereby spreading goodwill across political boundaries. The ARRL International Humanitarian Award recognizes Amateur Radio’s unique role in international communication and the assistance amateurs regularly provide to people in need.

Nominations should include a summary of the nominee’s actions that qualify the individual (or individuals) for this award, plus verifying statements from at least two people having first-hand knowledge of the events warranting the nomination. These statements may be from an official of a group (for example, the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, a local or state emergency management official) that benefited from the nominee’s particular Amateur Radio contribution. Nominations should include the names and addresses of all references.

All nominations and supporting materials for the 2010 ARRL International Humanitarian Award must be submitted in writing in English to ARRL International Humanitarian Award, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 USA. Nomination submissions are due by December 31, 2010. In the event that no nominations are received, the committee itself may determine a recipient or decide to make no award.

The winner of the ARRL International Humanitarian Award receives an engraved plaque and a profile in QST and other ARRL venues.

I’ll continue to work on getting the folks at HQ to get the links straightened out and the previous winners posted. Please feel free to e-mail your ARRL directors and have them ask HQ to do the same.

Spectrum Defense Matters

The latest ARRL Letter has a short bit on the new newsletter, Spectrum Defense Matters.  According to the Web page describing the new newsletter,

This first issue of Spectrum Defense Matters includes articles on how the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is opposing an amateur allocation on 500 kHz. ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX — as the United States spokesperson for Amateur Radio issues at the ITU — is working hard to effectively and fairly present the case for Amateur Radio over significant resistance by maritime interests both inside and outside the United States.

Other articles include how the ARRL is preparing to advocate for Amateur Radio at WRC-12, coming up in January 2012. WRC-12 will consider a number of items that could, in a worst case scenario, adversely impact Amateur Radio. WRC-12 will consider an allocation to the radiolocation service somewhere within 30-300 MHz, potentially affecting the Amateur Radio 50, 144, and 222 MHz bands. Also on the agenda are potential allocations to HF oceanographic radar between 3 and 50 MHz; these radars have operated on an ad hoc, experimental basis for a number of years, and while they are unquestionably useful, they are incompatible with Amateur Radio. Studies regarding these issues will also be finalized in November.

I’m all for spectrum defense, and support this ARRL initiative. BUT, neither the item in the ARRL Letter nor the Web page to which readers are sent for more information has a link to the page where they can actually find the newsletter itself.

In addition, when you finally get to the page where you can actually download the PDF version of the July 2010 issue of Spectrum Defense Matters, it says, “The newsletter will be posted on the web site 2-3 times a year and will cover both domestic and international topics.” It also says, “Important note: If you do not wish to receive the Spectrum Defense Matters newsletter electrnoically (sic), please send an email to the Development Office to mhobart@arrl.org with your full name and email address.”

This implies to me that ARRL members have been automatically subscribed to the newsletter and to opt-out, they need to contact Mary Hobart. Indeed, when you go to  your profile page that allows you manage your newsletter subscriptions, Spectrum Defense Matters doesn’t appear at all.

I certainly hope that the ARRL will allow people to subscribe electronically. If they don’t, I doubt that the circulation will be very wide, and spectrum defense really does matter.

Finally, I also think they have gone a little overboard on soliciting donations for the Spectrum Defense Fund. The sentence, “Your financial support is vital to support ARRL’s work to protect your operating privileges by contributing generously to the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund,” appears in the first paragraph of the item in the ARRL Letter. This makes me wonder if the purpose of the newsletter is really to inform members of spectrum defense issues or just to get them to donate more money.

UPDATE 8/16/10
I swapped some e-mail with Mary Hobart, K1MMH, this morning, who clarified how subscriptions to this newsletter are to be handled. She said, “With regard to the opt out message on the page, I placed it there since I was unable to arrange for such an option on the web sites Email Subscription page in your member profile.  Once I have that option added, I will remove the note from the Spectrum Defense Matters Page.”  Apparently, this is yet another problem with the new website.

I was still somewhat confused about how one subscribes to this newsletter by e-mail, so I e-mailed her again. This time, she said, “We are sending the newsletter to ARRL members who have selected “special offers” on their subscription page.”

So, for now, if you want to make sure that you get this newsletter, log in to your account on arrl.org, click on “Edit your profile,” and check the “Publication Announcements and Special offers” box there.

W1AW Offers Code Practice, Bulletins via EchoLink

From today’s ARRL Letter:

Audio from W1AW’s CW code practices and CW/digital bulletins is now available using EchoLink via the W1AW Conference Server “W1AWBDCT.” The 9:45 PM ET phone bulletin is currently unavailable via W1AWBDCT. The audio is sent in real-time and runs concurrently with W1AW’s regular transmission schedule. According to W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, this server is currently at an experimental stage: “Since the server is located at ARRL — and uses the ARRL’s Internet connection — there may be an issue as to how many users can connect to W1AWBDCT via EchoLink. The current number of connections is set to 350. If the current system can properly handle these connections without adversely affecting the performance of the conference server, this number will be bumped up higher.” All users who connect to the conference server are muted. Please note that any questions or comments should not be sent via the “Text” window in EchoLink. Please send any questions or comments via e-mail.

I like this idea. It will bring code practice to those Techs who still don’t have an HF radio.

Field Day Packets Available

From the ARRL website:

Attention All Amateurs…
ARRL Flag2010 Field Day Packets Now Available (Feb 2, 2010) — It’s that time of year again — time to start gearing up for ARRL Field Day, June 26-27, 2010! ARRL’s flagship operating event — always held the fourth full weekend in June — brings together new and experienced hams for 24 hours of operating fun. Field Day packets are now available for download and include the complete rules (including changes for 2010), as well as other reference items such as forms, ARRL Section abbreviation list, entry submission instructions, a Frequently Asked Questions section, guidelines for getting bonus points, instructions for GOTA stations, a kit to publicize your event with the local press and more.

International Amateur Radio Union E-Letter, January 2010

In this issue:

  • A Message From IARU President Tim Ellam
  • Haiti Earthquake Report

—————————————-

A Message From Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA

Secretary Stafford requested that I provide an update on IARU activities for the IARU E-Letter. I am pleased to do so.

Some recent activities:

  • IARU Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD and IARU Coordinator for Emergency Communications, Hans Zimmermann, F5VKP/HB9AQS have attended meetings of the ITU Development Sector and are preparing for the World Telecommunications Development Conference to be held in Hyderābād, India in May.
  • IARU Vice President Ole Garpestad,LA2RR and I presented our credentials to ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré, HB9EHT. We were fortunate to have a lengthy discussion with Dr. Touré where we outlined the goals for IARU within ITU. Dr. Touré expressed his appreciation of the activities of the IARU and the Amateur Service in general.
  • Prepare for the upcoming ITU Plenipotentiary Conference to be held in Veracruz, Mexico in October. Items on the agenda for this important meeting include the election of ITU officials and the consideration of changes to the ITU Convention and Constitution that may impact the role of observers such as the IARU. Region 2 Secretary Ramon Santoyo V, XE1KK is working with the Mexican society, FMRE, to arrange an amateur station for this event.
  • Vice President Garpestad and I attended meetings of ITU-Working Party 5A. In particular, we took part in Working Group 1 headed, for the first time, by new Chairman Ken Pulfer VE3PU. This gave us a chance to meet in person with a number of the members of the WRC-12 team. Both Ole and I were very pleased with the efforts that are being made in Working Group 1 and Working Party 5.
  • At our recent meeting in Christchurch, the AC established a common position with respect to the WRC-12 agenda items that are of interest to the Amateur Services.
  • Amateur Radio Administrative Courses (ARACs) are in the process of being planned in both Laos and Oman for later this year.
  • Developed a plan to have the IARU better represented before some Regional Telecommunication Organizations.
  • Put in place a proposal to have more than one AC meeting a year with the additional meeting to be held on a “virtual” basis either through radio conferencing or teleconferencing.
  • Communication amongst the AC members and the team preparing for WRC-12 has been assisted by the establishment of two email reflectors. This, I think, went a long way in enhancing our discussions during the AC meeting which was held in Christchurch, New Zealand last October.

I am very pleased with the cooperative approach of the AC members and our WRC-12 team and I think it bodes well for our future activities.

When I was first elected to this position, I provided the AC members with my view of our goals for 2009-2014. It is my hope that we should strive to make the IARU the global voice of the Amateur Radio Services and the world’s leading organization of Amateur Radio Member Societies. I believe we are well along in that process.

One of our other goals is to provide more effective communication to Regions and Member Societies. Hopefully we are improving in that respect through some of the mechanisms we now have in place, such as this E-Letter. We also wanted interact with our Member Societies more frequently than we have in the past. Ole, Rod and I have been able to do that in the past few months by our attendance at various Hamfests or in meeting with Societies directly. We both plan to have similar meetings throughout 2010.

Finally, I would like thank each of you for your continued support of the IARU and its activities. Our work together will continue to enhance the position of the Amateur Radio Services.

Please feel free to contact me or any member of the officer team if you have any questions or issues that you would like to raise. I can be reached by email at ve6sh@iaru.org.

—————————————-

Haiti Earthquake
Note: The following account of the activities related to the response to the earthquake in Haiti that took place on January 12, 2010 is taken from the ARRL web site and provides information that is available as of January 14, 2010.

On Tuesday, January 12 at 4:53 PM Haiti time (2153 UTC), a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit 10 miles (15 kilometers) west of Port-au-Prince, the island nation’s capital. Communications in and out of Haiti have been disrupted. The ARRL encourages US amateurs to be aware of the emergency operations on the following frequencies: 7.045 and 3.720 MHz (IARU Region 2 nets), 14.265, 7.265 and 3.977 MHz (SATERN nets), and 14.300 MHz (Intercontinental Assistance and Traffic Net); the International Radio Emergency Support Coalition (IRESC) is also active on EchoLink node 278173.

There was no firm estimate on how many people were killed by Tuesday’s quake. Haitian President Rene Preval said the toll could be in the thousands: “Let’s say that it’s too early to give a number.”

Tuesday’s quake was felt in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, and in Eastern Cuba, but no major damage was reported in either place. The January 13 edition of The Daily DX reported that the Rev John Henault, HH6JH, made contact late Wednesday morning with the Intercontinental Assistance and Traffic Net (IATN) on 14.300 MHz; this is the IARU Global Center of Activity frequency for emergency communications. He said that he was safe, but had no power and no phone service. He was operating on battery power and hoping to get a generator running later in the day. The edition also noted that Pierre Petry, HH2/HB9AMO — who was in Cap Haitien (about 140 km north of Port-au-Prince) is safe; Petry is in Haiti working for the United Nations World Food Program.

On Wednesday afternoon, Fred Moore, W3ZU, assisted Jean-Robert Gaillard, HH2JR, with a phone patch to his friend Ariel in Miami. “It’s bad, it literally is bad,” Gaillard told Ariel. “We don’t know how many people are dead. We do not know what to expect. It’s chaos, I’m telling you — it’s real chaos. We are really in a disaster area. It’s really a war zone. Many, many buildings in the downtown area are stripped from the ground with many people buried underneath them – you name it, it’s bad.” Gaillard, who lives in Port-au-Prince, was using his neighbor’s generator to make the contact. “It’s really chaotic. I’ve never been in a war, but this is what a war zone would be like. Dead bodies all over the place, dead bodies buried. All I can tell you is that I’m okay, my house is okay. We’ve had 30 aftershocks, the main one yesterday. We are expecting some more shocks, so I’m a bit nervous to be inside the house.”

According to IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Chairman Jim Linton, VK3PC, members of the Radio Club Dominicano (RCD) — the Dominican Republic’s IARU Member-Society — and Union Dominicana de Radio Aficionados (UDRA) are preparing to go to Port au Prince on the morning of Friday, January 15, where they will install HI8RCD/HH, an emergency radio communications station and a mobile station.

FEMA (U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency) Administrator Craig Fugate advised that US assets should not self-deploy to affected areas. “Initial reports from Haiti in the wake of yesterday’s earthquake are concerning and troubling,” he said. “During times like these, the emergency response community always stands ready to assist those in need. The United States Department of State has the lead for foreign disaster assistance, and US assets should deploy only if tasked to do so by the State Department. The most urgent need that the response community can fulfill at this time is supporting ongoing disaster relief fund-raising efforts.”

On Thursday, January 14th, planes carrying teams from China and France, Spain and the United States landed at Port-au-Prince’s airport with searchers and tons of water, food, medicine and other supplies — with more promised from around the globe. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that “tens of thousands, we fear, are dead” and said United States and the world must do everything possible to help Haiti surmount its “cycle of hope and despair.” The US Army said a detachment of more than 100 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division was heading out from Fort Bragg in North Carolina, looking for locations to set up tents and other essentials in preparation for the arrival of another 800 personnel on Friday. That’s in addition to some 2200 Marines to be sent, as the military prepares to help with security, search and rescue missions and the delivery of humanitarian supplies. More than a half-dozen US military ships also are expected to help, with the largest, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, arriving later Thursday.

Calls to emergency services weren’t getting through because systems that connect different phone networks were still not working, said officials from a telecommunications provider in Haiti. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is deploying 40 satellite terminals and 60 units with broadband facility to re-establish basic communication links, along with experts to operate them. The ITU will also set up “a reliable, responsive and complete cellular system designed to enable vital wireless communications aimed at strengthening response and recovery mechanisms in a disaster zone,” said ITU Emergency Communications Division Chief Cosmas Zavazava. The ITU has allocated a budget of more than $1 million US dollars to strengthen the disaster response effort in Haiti.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré, HB9EHT, expressed his solidarity with the people of Haiti and offered his condolences to the bereaved victims of the disaster. “The whole world is in shock following the devastation and untold misery caused by the earthquake in Haiti,” Dr Touré said. “ITU will do everything possible to provide assistance to the people of Haiti by re-establishing telecommunication links which will be vital in the rescue and rehabilitation efforts in the days ahead.”

“The scope of the disaster clearly shows that the response to this is going to be a long term effort,” said ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP. “The ARRL has been in contact with communications leaders of the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, as well as other key Amateur Radio operators throughout the region. As teams from the hundreds of responding agencies worldwide are formed for deployment, many will have Amateur Radio components. ARRL is committed to providing communications aid to our served agencies and working with the international community in this time of crisis. At this time there are no known requests from agencies for amateurs to travel to Haiti, but this can change. If it develops that there are ARES® assignments for a deployment in Haiti, these will be vetted and processed through each Section’s Section Emergency Coordinators.”

The situation in Haiti is still chaotic. More information will be posted on the ARRL web site (www.arrl.org) as soon as possible. Information is being validated and shared between many amateur groups and news sources as it unfolds.

—————————————-

If you have any information that would be appropriate to publish in this electronic newsletter, please contact me at w6rod@iaru.org.

Rod Stafford W6ROD
IARU Secretary

—————————————-

The IARU E-Letter is published on behalf on the Administrative Council of the International Amateur Radio Union by the IARU International Secretariat. Editor: David Sumner, K1ZZ, IARU Secretary.

Material from The IARU E-Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The IARU E-Letter and The International Amateur Radio Union.