Letter 10/2016

YOU ARE INVITED TO A BIRTHDAY PARTY: The Radio Club of Tacoma will
celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the club, on October
16 beginning at 2:00 PM. The celebration will be held at the Scottish
Rites Temple 817 S Vassault St, Tacoma, WA 98465, For additional
information call: 253-820-0890 or email: Dave@W7UUU.net . RTC was
formed in 1916 and affiliated with the ARRL in 1920.

Come and help celebrate this great accomplishment, as the club station,
W7DK, will also be doing a sort-of special event using the W7DK/100
identifier the weekend before and the Saturday immediately before the
event.

AMATEUR RADIO PARITY ACT HAS PASSED THE HOUSE: The Amateur Radio Parity
Act, has passed the House of Representatives, with no objection on the
floor. In fact, the Congressmen/women who spoke on the subject, gave
Ham Radio excellent praises for their work in many disasters such as
Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina. Our legislative efforts scored a major
victory in our campaign. The legislation now moves to the Senate, where
we need every Senator to approve the bill.

You are one of over 730,000 licensed Amateur Radio Operators living in
the United States. Many of you already live in deed-restricted
communities, and that number grows daily. NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL
MEMBERS TO GET INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS!
• If you want to have effective outdoor antennas but are not
currently allowed to do so by your Home Owner’s Association, SEND
THESE EMAILS TODAY!!
• If you already have outdoor antennas, but want to support your
fellow hams, SEND THESE EMAILS TODAY!!
• If you want to preserve your ability to install effective outdoor
antennas on property that you own, SEND THESE EMAILS TODAY!!

To help us in the effort, please go to this linked website and follow
the prompts:
https://arrl.rallycongress.net/ctas/urge-senate-to-support-amateur-radio...

The process is quick and easy. When you enter your zip code, you will
see a letter addressed to your two Senators. Fill in your information
and follow the submission directions. As of this morning, just over
30,000 letters have been submitted by ARRL members, the Northwestern
Division has emailed over 2,300 letters to their Senators.

It is not certain when the vote in the Senate will take place, however
it is expected soon. So if you haven’t sent your letter, please do.

LUNAR-ORBITING HAM RADIO SATELLITE IN THE FUTURE? A NASA Cube Quest
Challenge (CQC) team partnered with AMSAT-NA is among the five CQC
teams to receive $20,000 each from the space agency as part of a
competition that could lead to a lunar-orbiting Amateur Radio
satellite. The Ragnarok Industries Nano-Satellite Company team,
comprised of former NASA Goddard Space Flight Center PhD engineering
interns, is designing the 6-unit (6U) Heimdallr CubeSat to test
advanced propulsion and communication technologies for lunar and
deep-space missions. AMSAT would develop the 5 GHz uplink/10 GHz
downlink — the so-called “five and dime” paradigm — Phase 5
Amateur Radio transponder for the spacecraft, and AMSAT’s Ground
Terminal initiative is supporting the effort. The five teams announced
on September 9 scored highest in the first of four “ground
tournaments” making up the initial phase of the $5 million CQC. The
three teams with the highest total cumulative scores will be offered
rides as secondary payloads on the first Space Launch System (SLS)
mission, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) in 2018.

“Cube Quest is an opportunity for non-government CubeSat developers
and builders to compete in lunar orbit and deep space for
accomplishments in communications, navigation and longevity,” said
CQC Competition Manager Jim Cockrell of NASA’s Ames Research Center.

The August tournament winnowed the competition from 13 teams that
presented initial spacecraft designs, and it did not involve any
hardware. Cockrell likened it to a “mission concept review.”

The project’s Howie DeFelice, AB2S, said that at the end of the SLS
mission, AMSAT would take control of the satellite and operate it in
lunar orbit. Watch www.arrl.org and QST for further developments.

UPCOMING HAMFESTS AND EVENTS:

SPOKANE HAMFEST: ARRL Washington State Convention September 24, 2016
=University High School 12420 E 32nd Ave, Spokane Valley, WA 99216

22nd ANNUAL PACIFIC NORTHWEST VHF-UHF-MICROWAVE CONFERENCE: Oct 7-8,
2016 in Bend, Oregon at Shilo Inn Hotel 3105 O.B. Riley Road, Bend, OR
97703

GeekGirlCom: October 8-9, takes place at The Conference Center,
located at 8th and Pike in downtown Seattle, WA, right across the
street from the Washington State Convention Center. Local Lady Hams
will be staffing a display and participating in the events. For more
information, go to: www.geekgirlcon.com

NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH: September is National Preparedness Month!
As the month runs quickly to its end, ask yourself the question; am I
prepared? Remember, You are Your Own First Responder.

GOOD NEWS ABOUT SUN SPOTS (OR MAYBE SUN SPECKS): - from ARRL eLetter -
Propagation guru Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, says that, while conditions
on 12 and 10 meters will pick up as they always do in the fall, F2
propagation on those bands will decline thereafter, with only sporadic
E during the summer months as a possible saving grace. On the other
hand, the lower bands — 160, 80, and 40 meters — should be good
going forward, and 20 and 17 meters will be the mainstays of daylight
HF propagation.

Luetzelschwab made these observations during an August 23 World Wide
Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF)-sponsored webinar “Solar Topics
— Where We’re Headed.” He said data suggest that Cycle 24, the
current solar cycle, will bottom out in 2020, and advised that radio
amateurs may need to lower their expectations on the higher bands (and
6 meters) looking beyond that.

“I think the only conclusion we can make with some confidence is that
we are headed for some small cycles,” he told his audience. He cited
various evidence related to the Sun’s polar fields — which appear
to be decreasing in strength, A index trends, and cosmic ray data to
support his assertion. Luetzelschwab cautioned, however, that past
performance does not necessarily predict future performance.

“There seems to be a good correlation between how long a solar
minimum is and the next solar cycle,” said Luetzelschwab. “The
longer you spend at solar minimum, the smaller the next cycle.”

He observed that hams active since the 1950s and 1960s have experienced
short inter-cycle solar minimums of approximately 2 years, until the one
between Cycle 23 and Cycle 24, which lasted about 4 years. He also
allowed that the science is not fully understood, and that some things
appearing to be patterns may just be coincidences.

On the other hand, he said, it looks like the downward trend of
disappearing sunspots has leveled off, suggesting that Cycle 25 may see
a lower smoothed sunspot number as opposed to zero or near-zero
sunspots.

Counting those sunspots can be a subjective business. “That’s a
tough job,” he said of the task, noting that it appears observer bias
also has been a factor over the years, affecting historical sunspot
data. “We now have new corrected data that are believed to be more
accurate.”
Luetzelschwab’s article “The New Sunspot Numbers,” appearing in
the October issue of QST, will discuss the new sunspot numbers.

Luetzelschwab cited historical sunspot cycle data going back centuries
— including the “Maunder Minimum” of zero and near-zero sunspots
between the years 1645 and 1715 and a later, less-drastic “Dalton
Minimum.” He pointed out that over the last 11,000 years, 19 notable
grand maximums — including Cycle 19 and the cycles around it — and
27 notable grand minimums were recorded. “We’re likely to have more
of both grand maximums and grand minimums in the future,” he
predicted. The current system of numbering sunspot cycles begins with
Cycle 1 in the mid-18th century.

“We don’t fully understand the process inside the Sun that makes
solar cycles,” Luetzelschwab said. “Thus, you should exercise
caution with statements seen in the news.”

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ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: James D Pace, K7CEX
k7cex@arrl.org

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