Information Net for June 3

LoTW: Logbook of The World Reaches 500 Million QSOs

Read by: RANDY KJ4TFU

On May 21 at approximately 9:40 PM EDT (0140 UTC on May 22), Logbook of The World (LoTW) — the ARRL’s online QSO confirmation system – reached a new record: 500 million QSOs. This milestone was reached as Gabor Horvath, VE7JH, of Crofton, British Columbia, uploaded a log from 2011 for VC7M, the Canadian Multi/Multi Team in the 2011 CQ WPX CW Contest.

Since LoTW was first introduced in September 2003, almost 58,000 hams around the world have registered to use the system to confirm two-way contacts they have made. The confirmations are credited toward various ARRL operating awards, such as Worked All States and DXCC. By using digitally signed certificates with QSO date ranges and station locations for geographic information, LoTW is able to accommodate clubs, previously held call signs, QSL managers, DXpeditions, mobile and rover operators just as easily as it handles the individual user with one call sign and one location,
LoTW: Release of TQSL 1.14 for LoTW Delayed

Last week, the ARRL announced that the introduction of the new (Trusted)QSL 1.14 software for Logbook of The World (LoTW) would be available on May 20. Upon further testing, three defects — now corrected — were reported after that announcement. Before publicly releasing a corrected version of TQSL 1.14, the software must be thoroughly retested by the Trusted QSL Software Development Team. LoTW users should expect a public release of TQSL 1.14 by the end of the month.

ARRL Field Day and Learning CW

Read by: MARTHA KJ4RIQ

ARRL Field Day — the largest operating event of the year — is coming up this month. The objective is simple: To make as many contacts as possible. But there’s a catch — you get bonus points for operating with portable power, as well as for making the event as public as possible. Field Day is one of the most fun events of the year; it’s like a big radio campout at the public park. Chances are that there is an ARRL Field Day station in your area. Find one via the Field Day Locator Service.

This year, I’ll be participating with the Sandia National Labs Amateur Radio Club, W5MPZ, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We’ll escape the city’s heat and radio noise and head to a mountain outside of the city. We plan to operate a modest station on battery power on as many bands as possible. For the first time, I’m going to give Morse code a try.

I’ve been drilling hard on Morse code (or CW for short) for a few weeks now. Ever since getting my General ticket, I have wanted to become proficient at code. In my December 2011 column, I mentioned a few computer-based and online CW trainers that use the Koch method — sending letters at full speed, but keeping a lot of room in between them so the brain has time to decipher the quick burst.

Read by: ED KE4JWS

So far so good — my sending skills are really improving! I used to have to write down or read off CW as I was sending. But now I can send with an iambic paddle at almost 20 words per minute; however, I tend to trip over characters when trying to receive and decode CW in my head. I get caught up on the longer characters, like “L” and “Q” as I try to count the dits and dahs, and then I miss the next few. This is a very common issue.

The best way to fix that is to forget about trying to think through the dits and dahs and listen to the letters as a single sound. “L” isn’t “dit-dah-dit-dit,” it’s “diDAHdidit.” Think about it as fast as you can voice it. And when you simply forget the character, drop it. Chances are you’ll be able to make out the word with a few missing characters:

T-E WE-TH-- IS -ARM AND S--N-. M- ANTE--A IS A -I-O-E. I AM U-IN- 100 -ATTS.

Did you get it? I bet you did up until “-I-O-E.” Seeing that “ANTE–A” must be “antenna,” and some kinds of antennas are beams, verticals or dipoles, you can start to chip away at the possibilities. Or just send “QRS,” which means “send more slowly.” Hams will be more than willing to slow down to help you improve your skills.

ARLB013 FCC Seeks Small Vanity Call Sign Fee Increase

Read by: LARRY KC4ZOA

The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on May 23, seeking to raise the fee for Amateur Radio vanity call signs by 20 cents. Currently, a vanity call sign costs $15 and is good for 10 years. The new fee, if approved, will go up to $15.20 for 10 years. The FCC is authorized by the Communications Act of 1934, as amended to collect vanity call sign fees to recover the costs associated with that program. The NPRM can be found in PDF format at, http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2013/db0523/FCC-13-74A1.pdf

The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 15 years of the current program — from a low of $11.70 in 2007 to a high of $70 (as first proposed in the FCC’s 1994 Report and Order). The FCC said it anticipates some 14,300 Amateur Radio vanity call sign “payment units,” or applications, during the next fiscal year, collecting
$217,360 in fees from the program.

Read by: NICKI KF4DHK

The vanity call sign regulatory fee is payable not only when applying for a new vanity call sign, but also upon renewing a vanity call sign. Those holding vanity call signs issued prior to 1993 are exempt from having to pay the vanity call sign regulatory fee at renewal, as Congress did not authorize the FCC to collect regulatory fees until 1996. Such “heritage” vanity call sign holders do not appear as vanity licensees in the FCC Amateur Radio database.

Amateur Radio licensees may file for renewal only within 90 days of their license expiration date. All radio amateurs must have an FCC Registration Number (FRN) before filing any application with the Commission. Applicants can obtain an FRN by going to the Universal Licensing System (ULS) and clicking on the “New Users: Register”
link. You must supply your Social Security Number to obtain an FRN.

Read by: JERRY KE4ETY

The ARRL VEC will process license renewals for vanity call sign holders for a modest fee. The service is available to ARRL members and nonmembers, although League members pay less. Routine, non-vanity renewals continue to be free of charge for ARRL members. Trustees of club stations with vanity call signs may renew either
via the ULS or through a Club Station Call Sign Administrator, such as the ARRL VEC.

Visit the “Call Sign Renewals or Changes” web page at http://www.arrl.org/call-sign-renewals-or-changes for complete instructions on how to have the ARRL renew your license for you or for how to do it yourself.

License application and renewal information and links to the required forms are available on the FCC License Renewals web page at http://www.arrl.org/renewals. The FCC’s forms page at http://www.fcc.gov/forms also offers the required forms.

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