*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 23, No. 33 August 20, 2004 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL goes to bat for Arizona hams * +Ham radio makes a difference in Charley's aftermath * +Astronaut craves fried chicken in space * +Northern California ARES teams muster for fire duty * +More time to comment on "omnibus" Part 97 rule making * +FCC taps radio amateur for key Wireless Bureau post * +FCC formalizes emergency communications declaration policy * +Southwestern Division Convention to invoke Goldwater spirit * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration Hams assist hospital after telephone outage IEEE honors Tony England, W0ORE California State Fair special event set New Zealand-Fiji LF/HF contact reported First YA-North America 6-meter contact reported +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>ARRL GOES TO BAT FOR ARIZONA AMATEURS, SEEKS BPL FIELD TRIAL SHUTDOWN The ARRL has asked the FCC to immediately shut down a broadband over power line (BPL) field trial in the Cottonwood, Arizona, area because it's causing "severe interference" to Amateur Radio communication. Electric Broadband LLC and utility APS have been operating the BPL experiment at two Yavapai County sites since June under a Special Temporary Authorization (STA) the FCC granted Electric Broadband in March. Michael Kinney, KU7W, filed the first Amateur Radio complaint in June. It cited testing by the Verde Valley Amateur Radio Association (VVARA) <http://www.vvara.org/> in the 1.8-30 MHz range to show that BPL interference made attempts at ham radio communication useless. "The interference on typical Amateur Radio equipment shows received undesired signal levels in excess of 60 dB over S9 on the receiver's signal strength meter," ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, told FCC officials on the League's behalf. "The utility and Electric Broadband were contacted, and no response was received." The ARRL asserted that both companies are aware that the BPL field trial has been causing harmful interference and "neither has taken any steps to either resolve it or terminate the test." The League said VVARA and ARRL testing indicates "extremely high" levels of radiated RF energy on amateur HF allocations--well in excess of the FCC Part 15 levels with which Electric Broadband told the FCC it would comply. VVARA testing revealed "actual harmful interference" from the BPL system to mobile stations in the vicinity and to a fixed station. The League's shutdown request went out August 16 to FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief David Solomon and Deputy Office of Engineering and Technology Chief Bruce Franca. ARRL called on the FCC to instruct Electric Broadband and APS to shut down the BPL trial immediately and not resume operation until it can demonstrate that all interference issues have been resolved. It also insisted that the FCC immediately revoke any STAs granted for the Cottonwood or nearby operations, and that it institute forfeiture proceedings against the two companies for knowingly causing harmful interference. VVARA submitted a lengthy and comprehensive report to the two companies and to the Commission in late July detailing the interference issues. The club took baseline measurements in January, before the BPL trial began, and it's continued taking measurements since the system's startup. ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, conducted independent tests of the Cottonwood BPL system in July, and the League attached a summary of his findings to its letter. The VVARA and ARRL measurements, the League said, indicate widespread interference to Amateur Radio communication in an area within a mile of the BPL field trial, and radiated emissions from BPL modems at levels "several orders of magnitude higher" than the FCC Part 15 limits. One ARRL measurement cited was more than 32 dB higher than Part 15 allows. The League further accused Electric Broadband of misrepresenting facts to the Commission by saying it would comply with §15.109 of the FCC's rules. The ARRL said continued operation of the system while violating the conditions under which the STA was granted constitutes "willful and repeated interference," and both the utility and the BPL provider should be subject to fines as a result. "ARRL requests that this test station be shut down immediately and that the appropriate monetary forfeitures be imposed against both Electric Broadband and APS," the League concluded. ==>HAM RADIO "ONLY RELIABLE COMMUNICATION" AT HURRICANE CHARLEY GROUND ZERO Once again, Amateur Radio has proven its value in an emergency. With conventional telecommunication systems unreliable and power still out after the Category 4 Hurricane Charley blasted across the Florida Peninsula August 13, Amateur Radio has proven to be a communication mainstay. "The only reliable communication we have here is Amateur Radio," ARRL West Central Florida Section Manager Dave Armbrust, AE4MR, told ARRL earlier this week. He was one of the three dozen ARES volunteers at the Charlotte County command post. "We're out in the field trying to handle so many different things that it's almost overwhelming," he said five days into the activation. By week's end, the need for additional ARES volunteers in the Hurricane Charley relief and recovery effort had stabilized. Communications and Warning Officer John Fleming, WD4FFX, of the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) told ARRL that ham radio volunteers already on duty in the five most severely affected counties were holding their own in maintaining necessary emergency communication. But he advised Amateur Radio volunteers to remain at the ready, just in case, and recommended that ARES teams, clubs and individuals work through their ARES Section Emergency Coordinator. The FDEM says Hurricane Charley caused two dozen deaths and nearly 4000 injuries, and almost a quarter-million residents were still without power at week's end. Other reports indicate that as many as 10,000 homes were badly damaged or destroyed. The most severely stricken communities are in largely rural areas of western and central Florida made up of smaller towns. Among other storm relief duties, hams have been part of an effort to check on residents and determine what they need and to "make sure everyone's okay," Armbrust said. Amateur Radio operators have been handling emergency traffic and assisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in setting up HF communication to the state emergency operations center in the capital of Tallahassee. ARES also has provided communication for search-and-rescue teams and supported American Red Cross and The Salvation Army humanitarian relief efforts. In addition, ARES operators handled outgoing health-and-welfare traffic from storm victims now taking refuge in shelters, provided or supplemented public safety communication and even took on some dispatching duties. Amateur Radio volunteers also deployed to hospitals, some of which have experienced spotty communication. Several VHF and UHF repeaters have been buzzing with emergency traffic all week. Armbrust emphasized that Hurricane Charley cut a broad swath across Florida, and the devastation was widespread. "This looks like a war zone," he remarked. Hot, humid weather has aggravated the relief effort, especially for emergency medical service personnel who not only are dealing with storm-related health issues but with those resulting from the heat. ARES teams from Florida Miami-Dade, Martin, St Lucie, Broward, Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties deployed to relieve or assist the amateur operators on duty in the affected communities. In Sarasota County, Ron Wetjen, WD4AHZ, has been working at the county EOC and assigning volunteers to assist in neighboring Charlotte County, where Armbrust has been holding down the fort. "We've had offers of help from guys in Montana, Ohio, and New York!" Wetjen said August 19. "We have a couple from Tennessee here now, with two more on the way for the weekend." The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) on 14.265 MHz spent nearly five days in continuous operation. It's also used Amateur Radio for its logistical communications. The Salvation Army has been providing meals, household necessities and other assistance to residents displaced by the storm and has been relying on its own Amateur Radio resources. SATERN also has taken on responsibility for health-and-welfare inquiries, both via Amateur Radio and through its Web site <http://www.satern.net/>. In advance of the storm, SKYWARN teams were active the Hurricane Watch Net and WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center cooperated to gather ground-level weather data and damage reports. "It seems as if the Amateur Radio world is listening and waiting to help when an event such as this occurs," observed SATERN National Director Pat McPherson, WW9E, "and it's edifying to realize the positive impact of their dedication to the task of helping others." ==>ASTRONAUT TELLS YOUNGSTERS HE'S CRAVING FRIED CHICKEN Now four months into a six-month tour of duty aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, says he's developed a craving for fried chicken. Fincke spoke August 16 via Amateur Radio with youngsters gathered at the Challenger Learning Center at Prairie Aviation Museum in Bloomington, Illinois. The direct 2-meter contact between W9AML on Earth and NA1SS in space was arranged by the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. Fincke told the students that although he misses his family--he has a baby daughter whom he has not yet seen--and his home, there are some foods that he misses as well. "Lately I've really been missing some fried chicken, and I don't know why, because I don't eat it very often on the planet," Fincke said. "But, boy, what I wouldn't give for a nice box of fried chicken at this time." The astronauts' diet consists primarily of reconstituted freeze-dried foods, Fincke explained in another answer, and Fincke said he's especially fond of the vegetables. Responding to a question about experiments under way aboard the ISS, Fincke mentioned that one involved how to use a soldering iron in space. Although Fincke did not elaborate in his answer during the ARISS contact, the Science@NASA Web site this week reported a fascinating soldering phenomenon that Fincke encountered: As the temperature increased, a droplet of rosin clinging to the outside of a molten blob of solder began to spin around--seemingly orbiting the solder globule. (The Science@NASA site includes a video of the phenomenon <http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/16aug_solder.htm?list795001>.) Fincke's experiment was part of NASA's In-Space Soldering Investigation, which aims to discover how solder behaves in a weightless environment--important information should astronauts need to repair electronic gear on a long space journey. Fincke also mentioned ongoing ultrasound experiments to help determine the effects of long-term stays in space on the human body. Another youngster wanted Fincke to explain the importance of the ISS. "What we're really doing is working really hard to explore the future, not just for you kids but so you and your kids and your kids' kids can all have a better future," he said. Fincke described humans as "a race of explorers" and noted that he and ISS Commander Gennady Padalka, RN3DT, were "the only two human beings not on the planet right now." Near the contact's conclusion, the Challenger Center's Director Janet Moore took the microphone to thank Fincke for giving the students at the museum the opportunity to speak with him. "You are truly an inspiration for all of us," she said. Fincke exhorted the students to "be a good person, always do the right thing if you can." He also told the youngsters to study hard and not give up on their dreams. "I never gave up on my dreams," he said, "and now every day I'm flying aboard the space station and I couldn't be happier." Members of the Central Illinois Radio Club set up the equipment for the VHF contact, and the club loaned its call sign for the occasion. Fourteen-year-old Roxie Able, KC9CSV, was at the W9AML microphone for the contact. She had assistance from Grant Zehr, AA9LC, who served as the control operator. ARISS is an international educational outreach with US support from ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. ==>SACRAMENTO VALLEY ARES UNITS GO ON HIGH ALERT FOR FIRE DUTY Amateur Radio Emergency Service units in the ARRL Sacramento Valley Section of Northern California went on high alert this past week as firefighters continued efforts to contain and control the French Fire. Located 15 miles northwest of Redding, the French Fire, which broke out August 14, at one point resulted in the evacuation of French Gulch. As of August 20, the fire had destroyed 22 homes, caused a dozen injuries and consumed nearly 13,000 acres of forest lands and vegetation. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) was estimating that the fire would be 90 percent contained by week's end. Sacramento Valley Section Emergency Coordinator David Thorne, K6SOJ, said he expected ARES to remain active at least through the August 21-22 weekend and possibly into the following week. "If it runs into next week, I may be requesting assistance from the Northern Nevada District, Nevada Section," Thorne said August 20. The San Francisco Section--Humboldt County--already was scheduled to send ARES resources for the August 21-22 weekend. Mutual assistance was in effect during the week to relieve exhausted operators, with ARES teams from Butte, Siskiyou, Placer and Nevada counties deployed to assist Shasta County ARES. District Emergency Coordinator Richard Cloyd, WO6P is the ARES incident coordinator. Some 300 area residents evacuated because of the French Fire were allowed to return August 17. Amateur Radio provided necessary communication at the shelter for CDF and American Red Cross as well as for local authorities. At one point, a packet system was set up between French Gulch and the shelter, located at Shasta College, to provide for more secure communications. One ARES member noted that CDF "was really relying on Amateur Radio" because the agency's own repeaters couldn't reach the fire zone. The French Fire was one of three that ARES teams in Northern California have had to confront this month. The Bear Fire, which burned over some 10,500 acres, now is considered fully contained and controlled. It destroyed 80 homes and 30 other structures in Jones Valley. ARES supported Red Cross Disaster Services with damage assessment and health-and-welfare support in that incident. Earlier in the month, ARES units assisted in the now-contained Oregon Fire in Butte County. The French Fire has led authorities to close Highway 299 between Redding and Weaverville from time to time. When it's open, a pilot car is leading traffic through the area. The ARES response in Northern California drew words of praise from former Sacramento Section Manager and Section Emergency Coordinator Jerry Boyd, KW7J (ex-K6BZ). "I continue to be impressed with how smoothly this whole complex operation is going," he told Thorne in an e-mail. "Please convey to all the admiration of the former SEC and SM." Boyd now directs the Baker County 911 Dispatch Center in Oregon. ==>STILL TIME TO COMMENT IN "OMNIBUS" PART 97 RULE MAKING Because the complete text of the FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order (NPRM&O) in WT Docket 04-140 failed to make it into the Federal Register until August 17, interested parties now will have until September 15 to comment. Released in April, the so-called "omnibus NPRM" seeks comments on a wide range of proposed Amateur Service (Part 97) rules changes as well as certain changes to Parts 1 and 2 of the FCC's rules. It does not deal with Amateur Radio license restructuring or the Morse code examination requirement for HF privileges. Among other things, the NPRM&O recommends adoption of the ARRL's "Novice refarming" plan and proposes eliminating FCC rules prohibiting manufacture or marketing of Amateur Radio Service power amplifiers capable of operating between 24 and 35 MHz. Interested parties may comment on the NPRM via the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). Click on "Submit a filing." To view filed comments, click on "Search for filed comments." In both cases, enter "04-140" (without the quotation marks) in the "Proceeding" field. ==>ARRL MEMBER NAMED TO KEY FCC WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU POST The FCC has named Michael J. Wilhelm, WS6BR, of Washington, DC, as chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau's Public Safety and Critical Infrastructure Division. The division deals with Amateur Radio Service issues, and the appointment makes Wilhelm--a League member--the first amateur licensee in several years to hold such a position within the FCC. Wilhelm replaces D'wana Terry, whom WTB Chief John Muleta named to be his chief of staff and associate bureau chief. Terry headed the Public Safety and Critical Infrastructure Division and its predecessor, the Public Safety and Private Wireless Division, for six years. Wilhelm most recently served as the division's deputy chief (legal). In his new post, he will oversee all policy, regulatory and licensing matters related to public safety entities, critical infrastructure industries and private wireless radio services. Among Wilhelm's staffers is Bill Cross, W3TN, an ARRL member and FCC figure well-known within the amateur community. Wilhelm holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Detroit, a master's from the University of Michigan and a juris doctor degree with high honors from the University of Florida Law School.--FCC ==>FCC EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS DECLARATION POLICY PREFERS VHF-UHF The FCC has formalized its policy for issuing an emergency communications declaration (ECD) on Amateur Radio Service frequencies. The policy, which became effective August 2, states that ECDs will be issued for VHF or UHF repeaters--if the licensee consents--or on simplex channels in the 60-meter band. The FCC will not entertain requests to specifically sequester frequencies in other HF bands for emergency traffic only. Past emergency communications declarations--typically issued during weather-related emergencies--have put frequencies on 75 and 40 meters off limits to general use in an affected region. "ECDs may only be issued after a disaster disrupts normal communication systems in a geographic area subject to FCC regulation," the FCC said, citing §97.401(b). Under its provisions, when a disaster disrupts normal telecommunications systems in a given area, the FCC may declare a temporary communication emergency that sets forth any special conditions and special rules stations must observe while it's in effect. The policy clarifies that the FCC has authority to issue ECDs only for communication emergencies and not on the basis of anticipated emergencies. It also tightens up the requirements to request an ECD. The policy calls for VHF and UHF Amateur Service channels to receive preference for ECDs. Requests may indicate a specific repeater system, subject to permission from the repeater's licensee or trustee. On HF, the FCC says, an ECD may authorize the use of one or two 60-meter channels, centered on 5332, 5348, 5368, 5373 and 5405 kHz, subject to §97.303(s). See ARRL's Frequently Asked Questions regarding 60-meter operation <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/faq-60.html> for details. The FCC said frequencies in other amateur bands--where emergency nets already have been established--may be used during emergencies under the provisions of §97.101(c). That rule section stipulates that amateur operators give priority to stations providing emergency communications "at all times and on all frequencies." The FCC policy, Emergency Communications Declarations in the Amateur Radio Service, is available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/emcom-declarations.html>. ==>ARRL SOUTHWESTERN DIVISION CONVENTION TO FEATURE GOLDWATER THEME The ARRL Southwestern Division Convention this year will invoke the spirit of Arizona native son and US Senator Barry Goldwater, K7UGA. The convention takes place Friday through Sunday, August 27-29, at the Wild Horse Pass Resort near Phoenix. "One of Amateur Radio's most successful periods of congressional action was during the term of the late Sen Barry Goldwater, K7UGA," says ARRL Southwestern Division Director Art Goddard, W6XD. "Because all hams have benefited from Goldwater's legislative support, Convention Chairman Bob Davies, K7BHM, has scheduled a series of events to recapture the spirit of K7UGA." Goldwater, who was the 1964 Republican Party presidential candidate, died in 1998. He was a life member of the convention's host, the Central Arizona DX Association (CADXA), which has held his well-known K7UGA call sign since late 2000. Those attending will have the opportunity to operate a K7UGA special event station equipped with Goldwater's personal Collins S-Line station. Not only that, but convention visitors may have the chance to shake Goldwater's hand and have their pictures taken with him--in a manner of speaking, that is. Playwright, actor and Goldwater family friend Ben Tyler will be on the convention floor as Barry Goldwater to greet convention attendees. "And perhaps 'Barry' will have some advice for us on how to deal with the challenges of Broadband over Power Line," Goddard quipped. During the convention, ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, will present a BPL update. Conventioneers also will be invited to share Goldwater memories or anecdotes as part of a K7UGA oral history project. ARRL Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, will present a four-hour Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course seminar during the convention. The seminar will not include the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course itself. Convention registrants should contact Miller <firstname.lastname@example.org>;(860-594-0340) to register for the free seminar and for more information. In addition to dozens of programs covering nearly every aspect of ham radio, door prizes, a banquet and a Sunday breakfast, convention highlights include: * Presentation of the ARRL Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award to Jay Thompson, W6JAY, by ARRL CEO Sumner. * Discussion of Amateur Radio license restructuring by ARRL International Affairs Vice President Rod Stafford, W6ROD. * An ARRL Forum. * A free swapmeet (Saturday, 6 AM until noon). * A Wouff Hong ceremony. Complete convention information is on the Southwestern Division Convention Web site <http://www.hamradio2004.com/swdc2004/>. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sun gazer Tad "That Lucky Ol' Sun" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar flux and sunspot numbers rose this week, with August 13 and 14 being peak days for both. With low, stable geomagnetic indices, HF conditions were good, and there were no days with notable geomagnetic upsets. Sunspot 649 has rotated off the western limb of the sun, and on August 18 it emitted a large coronal mass ejection. Since it is facing away from Earth, we are not likely to be affected. Geomagnetic indices are expected to rise, then decline again over the next few days. Expected planetary A index for August 20-23 is 15, 12, 10 and 12. Expected solar flux for the same days is 115, 110, 105 and 100. Sunspot numbers for August 12 through 18 were 140, 160, 111, 98, 68, 63 and 53, with a mean of 99. The 10.7 cm flux was 147.2, 148.6, 149.2, 138.8, 133.6, 135 and 139.9, with a mean of 141.8. Estimated planetary A indices were 9, 9, 9, 7, 8, 11 and 13, with a mean of 9.4. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 6, 5, 6, 3, 5, 9 and 10, with a mean of 6.3. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: North American QSO Party (SSB), the ARRL 10 GHZ and Up Contest, International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend (see below), the SARTG WW RTTY Contest, the Keyman's Club of Japan Contest, the SEANET Contest, New Jersey QSO Party and the CQC Summer VHF/UHF QSO Party are the weekend of August 21-22. JUST AHEAD: The Ohio and Hawaii QSO parties, the ALARA Contest, the TOEC WW Grid Contest (CW), YO DX HF Contest, the SCC RTTY Championship and the SARL HF CW Contest are the weekend of August 28-29. See the ARRL Contest Branch page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/> for more info. * ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration: Registration for the ARRL HF Digital Communication (EC-005) and VHF/UHF--Beyond the Repeater (EC-008) courses remains open through Sunday, August 22. Classes begin Friday September 3. Students participating in VHF/UHF--Beyond the Repeater will explore some of the less well known and more intriguing aspects of VHF/UHF operation. HF Digital Communication students will learn to use a variety of HF digital modes. As of September, the starting day for all C-CE classes, including Amateur Radio Emergency Communication courses, will move from Tuesday to Friday. To learn more, visit the C-CE Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce> or contact the ARRL CCE Department <email@example.com>. * Hams assist hospital after telephone outage: Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) volunteers in Maryland helped bridge a communication gap August 16 after Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly--the county's largest--experienced a near-total telephone outage at around midday. The Prince George's County Office of Emergency Management called on ARES-RACES volunteers, under the direction of Prince George's County Emergency Coordinator and RACES Officer Jim Cross, WI3N, to supplement the hospital's back-up telecommunications system. The radio amateurs had support from The Green Mountain Repeater Association's 146.610 and 146.880 MHz repeaters. ARES-RACES volunteers deployed to the hospital as well as to the county emergency operations center and to two other area hospitals--Laurel Regional and Bowie Health Center--to provide coordination and support. "Our people showed a level of dedication to be proud of," Cross said. WRC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Washington, DC, reported the ARES-RACES activation and said the outage may have been due to a computer system malfunction. The hospital's telephone service was out for about 10 hours.--Murray Green, K3BEQ; NBC4; Chauncy Bowers, N3XOR * IEEE honors Tony England, W0ORE: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has honored former NASA astronaut Tony England, W0ORE, with its 2004 IEEE Judith A. Resnik Award. The IEEE recognized England for "significant contributions to the development and application of spaceborne microwave radiometry to remote sensing." The award was named in memory of IEEE member Judith Resnik, an engineer and a NASA mission specialist who died in the 1986 shuttle Challenger disaster. England was the second astronaut to operate ham radio from space (the first was Owen Garriott, W5LFL), when he was a mission specialist aboard the Challenger in 1985. England promoted using the acronym SAREX for the Shuttle (later Space) Amateur Radio EXperiment program and using SAREX to interest youngsters in science and Amateur Radio. (SAREX now is the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station--or ARISS--program.) England and Garriott were co-winners of the 2002 Dayton Hamvention Special Achievement Award.--ARISS * California State Fair special event set: Special event station N6S will be on the air Friday, August 27, in front of the Pavilion at the California State Fair in Sacramento. A group calling itself the Amateur Radio Emergency Communication Volunteers is sponsoring the event. Operation will be 40 and 20-meter SSB (on or about 7.250 and 14.250 MHz) as well as VHF FM simplex (146.52 and 147.555 MHz) and FM repeaters on 147.195 MHz (123.0 Hz) and 145.250 MHz (162.2 Hz). Visitors are welcome. N6S will QSL all contacts.--Patrick Schamun, N6ARO * New Zealand-Fiji LF/HF contact reported: Overnight on June 26, ZM2E, a special call sign being used by the Quartz Hill Radio Club of New Zealand, completed a crossband 137 kHz CW/7 MHz SSB contact with 3D2KL on Fiji. The Fiji station was operated by Laurence Howell, KL1X, and ZM2E by Andrew Corney, ZL2BBJ; Mike McAlevey, ZL4OL, and Bob Vernall, ZL2CA. The path between Fiji and the station located near Wellington on New Zealand's North Island is around 2500 km (1550 miles). * First YA-North America 6-meter contact reported: Well-known EME enthusiast Lance Collister, W7GJ, of Frenchtown, Montana, recently worked Bob Sutton, YA1RS, in Kabul, Afghanistan. It marked the first 6-meter contact between North America and YA. The two stations used JT65A mode via EME. For Collister, it was DXCC entity number 88 on "The Magic Band." Sutton logged the first-ever EME contact between North America and Afghanistan in December when he worked Dave Blaschke, W5UN, on 2-meters. =========================================================== The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; <http://www.arrl.org/>. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President. The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of interest to active amateurs. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise, and readable. Visit ARRLWeb <http://www.arrl.org/> for the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> offers access to news, informative features and columns. 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