*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 24, No. 30 August 5, 2005 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Amateurs commenting heavily on FCC's Morse proposal * +Hams swing into action as convention forced to evacuate * +Astronauts install PCSat 2 on space station * +Radio amateurs cooperate in maritime rescue * +FCC questions applicant about identity discrepancies * +Amateur Radio volunteer dies installing antenna * +A "new" ham satellite is in the offing * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course registration +New IARU Region 2 Monitoring System Coordinator appointed Changes announced for ARRL International EME Competition Australian BPL-related submissions express concerns DXCC Desk approves operation for DXCC credit +Available on ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> =========================================================== ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): email@example.com ==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, firstname.lastname@example.org =========================================================== ==>HUNDREDS FILE COMMENTS ON FCC MORSE PROPOSAL Hundreds already have filed comments via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) on the Commission's recent proposal to eliminate the Morse code requirement for all license classes. Dozens more--most brief, some detailed--are showing up daily. A formal 60-day comment period starts once the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order (NPRM&O) in WT Docket 05-235 appears in the Federal Register, but the FCC will accept comments filed now. Issued in response to 18 petitions for rule making--including one from the ARRL--the FCC's July 19 NPRM&O dealt only with the Morse requirement and turned away all other proposed rule changes. A random sampling of the more than 360 comments filed as of August 2 suggested the tide is running firmly in favor of the FCC's stance. Some even praised the Commission. "The FCC has finally come through," commented Doug Durrett, KC7DJI, a Technician class licensee. "Hats off and thumbs up to the 05-235 proposal. Get it done ASAP." Others, such as Jesse T. Franklin, K9GO, were just as adamant that Morse code should remain a licensing requirement for those desiring HF access. "Morse code has been the foundation of the Amateur Radio Service since the very beginning," he asserted. "I feel doing away with the Morse code testing would only weaken the service." Many pro-Morse postings raised the specter of impending chaos on the ham bands if the requirement goes away, with some suggesting that eliminating Morse testing would be "the beginning of the end for Amateur Radio." As one commenter put it, dropping Element 1 would mean "continuing down the slippery slope of 'dumbing down' the Amateur Radio Service." Another contended that passing a Morse code examination contributes to better on-the-air discipline. Still others called Morse an "important tradition," a "universal language," a "vital tool" useful in emergencies and--in the words of Jan Smoller, KC2CT-- "the one sacred bastion left to preserve the history and continuance of the Amateur Radio Service." William R. Ogden, W2WO, suggested that Morse code creates a sense of community among radio amateurs. A relative handful of commenters appear to favor keeping the 5 WPM Morse examination for Amateur Extra applicants only. Others asked the FCC to revisit the notion of creating a new entry-level license class--something else the ARRL and others sought--as well as the recommendation to stop making question pools public. Several licensees who'd gone through the old three-tiered system of Morse examination elements indicated they'd like to see the requirement disappear. "I support the removal of the Morse code requirement, even though I had to pass the 5, 13 and 20 WPM," wrote Brent Crier, N9BC, whose comments were fairly typical of that group. "CW is not going to go away like some think. If new operators want to use that mode they will learn it." Robert A. Johnson, K3MQ, was among those characterizing Morse code as obsolete, even though he says he operates CW. "Requiring amateurs to learn a system which is antiquated meets no public service need," he remarked. "I personally use and enjoy Morse code but feel it should be an option for those interested--not a requirement." Advanced class operator Marvin B. Smith, WA5PSA, said it's "time for Morse code to stand or fall of its own accord as a mode." Many, like Thomas J. Miller, W2HVK, said eliminating the Morse requirement would breathe new life into the Amateur Service. "The US could certainly use more trained radio operators considering the post 9/11 world we live in," he said. "Additional roadblocks (like CW) to upgrading to HF make no sense today." Based on a random sample of 135 comments filed by August 2, approximately 60 percent favored the elimination of the Morse code requirement for all license classes, while approximately 30 percent asked the FCC to retain the requirement. Another 10 percent endorsed keeping the Morse code as a requirement to obtain an Amateur Extra class license. The ARRL random sampling was not scientific. By week's end, the number of comments filed had nearly doubled, with comments supporting removal of the Morse requirement continuing to predominate. The comment period extends for many more weeks; an official comment deadline has not yet been established. The FCC then will consider all comments in developing a Report and Order (R&O) that spells out whatever new rules the FCC finally adopts and set an effective date. That's not expected to happen before year's end at the earliest. A copy of the NPRM&O is on the FCC Web site <http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_docume nt=6518023930> To file on-line comments in this proceeding, WT Docket 05-235, or to view others' comments, visit the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) site <http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/> and click on "Submit a Filing" or "Search for Filed Comments." In either case, type "05-235" in the "Proceeding" field. Be sure to include the hyphen--but not the quotation marks. Directions for filing comments, which can be in the form of an attached document, are on the ECFS site. Click on "Getting Started" to learn more. ==>HAMS BECOME "FIRST RESPONDERS" AS CONVENTIONEERS FORCED TO EVACUATE Radio amateurs attending the ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Convention July 30 in Bryce Canyon, Utah, were among the first to respond when release of a noxious substance felled more than 50 people. Utah ARRL Section Manager Mel Parkes, AC7CP, and other hams swung into action to assist after conventioneers and other guests near an inside pool adjacent to the convention area at Ruby's Inn lodge began complaining of nausea, headaches and difficulty breathing sometime around 11 AM. Parkes himself later suffered the effects of the substance--now believed to be pepper spray--and was among those treated at the scene before being taken to a hospital. "It was fantastic to see people go into emergency mode," said ARRL Sales and Marketing Manager Dennis Motschenbacher, K7BV, who was representing the League at the convention. "The calmest people there were the hams." Convention attendees helped to evacuate victims and direct traffic as emergency crews arrived on the scene. Among those helping to coordinate activities was Utah Section Emergency Coordinator Jerry Wellman, W7SAR. Motschenbacher said several Amateur Radio Emergency Service members grabbed their "jump kits" and rendered assistance to those suffering from the fumes. Ironically, the incident occurred as Wellman's forum, "Emergencies: What If?" was under way. When notified that he had to clear the room because of an emergency, Wellman says his first reaction was that someone was playing a joke. "Then the fellow said, 'This is the real thing, you have to evacuate,' so we ended the seminar quickly." At first, neither the substance nor its source were known. It was later determined that someone had apparently smeared pepper spray on the wall of a room in the lodge, and the fumes got into the inn's ventilation system. "As the gas began to migrate out of the initial release area into the hamfest area, more and more people began to be affected," Motschenbacher recalled. "By this time a mass evacuation was in process. Eventually the entire central complex was evacuated and roped off." In all, some 300 guests were relocated into other facilities at the inn complex. The incident "totally disrupted the convention," Motschenbacher said, but as things began to calm down that afternoon, some presenters conducted their forums outdoors. An evening banquet was also held outside and away from the affected area. After several hours, Parkes and others returned to the inn, but because authorities had confiscated their clothing for analysis, they were attired in garb donated by a local charity. "Everybody just pulled together," said Motschenbacher, who reported suffering a sore throat but did not require medical treatment. "All the authorities were very complimentary about Amateur Radio." ==>PCSAT2 INSTALLED ON ISS DURING SPACE WALK The PCSat2 <http://web.usna.navy.mil/~bruninga/pcsat2.html> Amateur Radio package has been installed on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS) as Materials International Space Station Experiment 5 (MISSE5). Astronaut Soichi Noguchi, KD5TVP, unfolded the suitcase-like Passive Experiment Container (PEC) holding PCSat2 and other experiments mounted atop the ISS P6 truss structure August 3 during a space walk with Astronaut Steve Robinson. Noguchi deployed the "tape measure" antennas by pulling up a couple of Mylar strips that allowed the antennas to pop out. PCSat2 is not yet available to users. Built by US Naval Academy students under the guidance of APRS guru Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, PCSat2 will operate in cooperation with the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program <http://www.rac.ca/ariss>. It will provide a 10-meter PSK31 multi-user transponder, an FM voice repeater for possible use with ISS crew members and an AX.25 packet system for use as a UI digipeater and for telemetry, command, control. Bruninga says the PSK31 transponder will not be turned on for general use until ground controllers have a better understanding of its thermal and power load. But it was enabled on August 5 over the US for a test, and the FM downlink (435.275 MHz) displayed the signal of a station transmitting on 29.402 MHz. The NA1SS/RS0ISS ARISS equipment was powered down during the PCSat2 installation, but it was back up August 4, when STS-114 crew member Andy Thomas, KD5CHF/VK5MIR, made some terrestrial contacts while the ISS and Discovery were passing over his native Australia. Bruninga says PCSat2 may be ready for use within a few days, but he asks that stations not attempt to use the system until it's been checked out and an announcement made. In the meantime, Bruninga has invited well-equipped ground stations to help capture early telemetry on the alternate downlink of 437.975 MHz. By week's end, some Earth stations were already reporting telemetry from PCSat2. Telemetry is at 1200 and 9600 baud. E-mail telemetry files to email@example.com. Bruninga says the UHF downlink is only 1 W and will require a gain antenna to copy. Bruninga also has asked 1200 baud IGates or SATgates to monitor 437.975 MHz and feed the global APRS system live telemetry page <http://www.pcsat2.info/PCSat2Web/RealTime.jsp>. PCSat2's primary downlink frequency is 435.275 MHz; the packet digipeater up and downlink frequency is 145.825 MHz. More information is on the USNA Web site <http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/pec/pc2ops.html>. ==>RADIO AMATEURS AID IN PACIFIC MARITIME RESCUE "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday! This is the sailboat Enamorado. Mayday, Mayday!" That's what Wisconsin radio amateurs Ed Toal, N9MW, and Ralph Henes, W9CAR, heard during a casual Sunday morning net July 24 on 14.238 MHz that also involved Dick Mannheimer, K6LAE, in Los Angeles. Toal and Henes were able to contact the operator, Ken Saijo, KC6ORF--a California retiree--who confirmed the 35-foot sailing vessel was in trouble and needed help. "All social chatter immediately stopped, and we declared an emergency in progress on frequency," Henes said. Then, while Toal gathered information from the operator aboard the Enamorado, Mannheimer and Henes both called the US Coast Guard to relay the boat's situation and position, which turned out to be in Mexican waters. Henes said the Coast Guard relayed their information to the Mexican Navy. Henes and Toal were able to copy KC6ORF well, although Mannheimer could not, and they maintained contact with the disabled boat. The Wisconsin hams learned that that Saijo was accompanying the boat's skipper, Ken Scheibe, on a trip from California to Costa Rica when they ran into a storm. As a result, the vessel lost its engine and steering and both men were injured, neither seriously. Before putting out distress calls on 20 meters, Saijo had tried without success to raise help via the vessel's VHF marine radio. Mannheimer noted that Art Rowe, K7HA, in Washington, and Tom Miller, K4IC, in Arlington, Virginia, initially kept the frequency clear. They were subsequently joined by a host of other stations in the US and Canada, some of whom were able to copy KC6ORF and help relay as needed. Toal had to leave after a couple of hours, but Henes and Mannheimer remained on frequency. About three hours into the incident, Henes again called the US Coast Guard to see if it had heard back from the Mexican Navy. It had not, so he called the Mexican Navy himself and, after what he described as "a few tense language-barrier moments," he was connected with someone who spoke English and Spanish and told that a rescue boat and helicopter were on the way. Henes also got the Mexican Navy vessel to come up on 20 meters. "Within minutes, they were on the frequency calling the stranded boat," he said. Unfortunately, neither Saijo nor Scheibe spoke Spanish fluently enough to understand the communicator on the Mexican Navy vessel. Enter Jorge Lira, XE1JP, who volunteered to serve as translator. He was able to relay the foundering sailboat's coordinates to Mexican authorities. "He saved the day," said Henes, who reports he was able to hear the rescue helicopter in the background on Saijo's transmission. Saijo and Scheibe were plucked to safety from the distressed vessel, which the Mexican Navy towed to safety. Henes said he later received an e-mail from Scheibe thanking him and the other radio amateurs for helping. Toal said later, "To me, we were just paying our dues for the right to be hams." A TV station and a newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin, were among the news media reporting the incident and Amateur Radio's role in coming to the rescue. ==>FCC ASKS OHIO APPLICANT TO EXPLAIN IDENTITY "DISCREPANCIES" "Apparent discrepancies" regarding the identity of an Ohio man has prompted the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) to set aside two applications it had granted. The WTB referred the matter of Joseph W. Hartmann Jr of Youngstown to the Enforcement Bureau, FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth said in a June 21 letter to Hartmann. In one instance, the WTB indicated, Hartmann filed in October 2000 to associate his FCC Registration Number (FRN) with amateur call sign K3GUX, issued to Joseph V. Hartmann Sr. The FCC's Universal Licensing Service shows a Delaware mailing address for the senior Hartmann. Hollingsworth said FCC records indicate that Joseph V. Hartmann Sr's birth date is in 1919, while the younger Hartmann indicated on his application that he was born in 1969. Hollingsworth asked the younger Hartmann to provide justification for obtaining an FRN in the name of Joseph V. Hartmann Sr. The FCC said Joseph W. Hartmann Jr subsequently filed applications to change the licensee name and address for K3GUX. Hollingsworth asked Joseph W. Hartmann Jr to justify filing applications requesting the FCC to change Joseph V. Hartman Sr's name to Joseph W. Hartmann Jr, and the senior Hartman's address to that of the younger Hartmann. Hollingsworth said Joseph W. Hartmann Jr told him that he was trying to correct errors in his licensee record in the FCC's database. In another matter, the FCC Enforcement Bureau notified Wayne Spindler of Encino, California, on June 21 that the WTB had set aside his Technician license grant, KG6ZBU, on its own motion on May 13. That call sign no longer appears in the FCC database. "That action was based upon complaints about unlicensed operation of your station prior to filing an application," Hollingsworth told Spindler. "In view of the action by the Wireless Bureau, your application reverts to a pending status, and you have no authority to operate." The FCC had granted Spindler's application April 21. Hollingsworth told Spindler that the FCC would contact him for additional information "we may need in order to make a determination as to what action to take in this matter." ==>RADIO AMATEUR LOSES LIFE INSTALLING EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS ANTENNA An Ohio radio amateur died July 30 while attempting to perform a public service for his county's RACES/ARES program. Preble County RACES Radio Officer Robert W. "Bob" French II, N8EHA, of Eaton was on a tower at the New Paris fire station installing an antenna for the RACES/ARES program when an element came into contact with a power line. The shock knocked French from the tower, and he reportedly fell some 40 feet to the ground. French's son Aaron, KA8VUS, Al Stone, KB8RPO, and other members of the work party administered CPR to no avail. "Bob started back up the tower, pulling the antenna up by the feed line as he climbed," Stone recounted in a message shared with ARRL by Ohio Section Manager Joe Phillips, K8QOE. "At one point Bob thrust his hand upward to grab another rung of the tower, with the feed line in his hand. The antenna began swinging, and when he went for that last rung, the antenna came in contact with [the] power line." Stone said the ham volunteers were installing two antennas on the New Paris fire station's tower as part of a project to equip every firehouse in the county with an antenna and ham radio for emergency backup communication. French, 51, belonged to the ARRL. He was a founding member of the Preble Amateur Radio Association and very active in the club. "He was one of the biggest advocates for Amateur Radio I have known," said Gary Hollenbaugh, NJ8BB, who eulogized his friend at an August 3 service. "His leadership, organizational skills, knowledge and enthusiasm cannot be easily replaced." Hollenbaugh says French was wearing a safety belt but not a fall restraint harness. "He was still climbing the tower and not able to secure off," he said, conceding that his friend did not follow several safety rules. He also questioned why the tower was sited so close to power lines. ARES District 3 Emergency Coordinator Ron Moorefield, W8ILC, represented the ARRL at French's service. Survivors include his wife Cathy, KA8RWX, and their daughter and son. The family invites memorial contributions to the Preble Amateur Radio Association, 7810 US Hwy 35 E, W Alexandria, OH 45381. ==>AMATEURS TO GET "NEW" SATELLITE PO-28 (POSAT-1)--Portugal's first satellite, launched 12 years ago--will be turned over to Amateur Radio use in the very near future. That was the word July 30 from AMSAT-UK Secretary Jim Heck, G3WGM, during the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Guildford, England. Launched September 25, 1993, the satellite operated as a packet store-and-forward BBS (9600 baud FM FSK) on Amateur Radio frequencies for several weeks in early 1994. Over the years, PO-28's primary usage has been commercial, although plans have called for eventually shifting its operation to ham radio use. G3WGM reports that following lengthy negotiations it has been agreed that the satellite can be switched permanently to amateur frequencies. The changeover is expected to take a couple of weeks. The Portuguese satellite was built at the University of Surrey as part of a collaborative satellite technology program that involved industry and academe. Uplink frequencies will be 145.925 and 145.975 MHz. Downlink frequencies will be 435.075 and 435.275 MHz. More information on PO-28 is on the AMSAT Web site <http://www.amsat.org/amsat/sats/n7hpr/po28.html>. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Ra the Sun god Tad "Let the Sunshine In" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average daily sunspot numbers rose by more than 68 points this week to 83.7 compared to last week's numbers. This is four weeks after the recent large number of sunspots around the beginning of July, which corresponds to the rotation of the sun relative to Earth. That area of the sun is now back in view, but with sunspots diminished. The reporting week began July 28 with heightened geomagnetic activity, but it quieted down. Prediction for the next few days is for solar flux to remain above 100, which is expected until August 10. Current geomagnetic conditions are slightly unsettled, but after August 10 are predicted to be quiet. Barring an unexpected solar flare, expect good conditions--at least relative to recent HF propagation at this lower spot on the solar cycle. The overall trend for the remainder of this sunspot cycle will be down, and it becomes more obvious when we average the numbers over a long period. Currently we are looking to reach solar minimum around the end of 2006. Sunspot numbers for July 28 through August 3 were 29, 69, 62, 110, 102, 112 and 102 with a mean of 83.7. 10.7 cm flux was 95.8, 103.7, 105, 109.7, 111.2, 110.2 and 108.9, with a mean of 106.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 28, 19, 16, 9, 16, 12 and 11 with a mean of 15.9. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 18, 14, 11, 10, 18, 9 and 6, with a mean of 12.3. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The North America QSO Party, (CW), the ARRL UHF Contest, the TARA Grid Dip Shindig, the 10-10 International Summer Contest (SSB), the National Lighthouse Weekend QSO Contest, the European HF Championship, the RSGB RoPoCo 2 and the SARL HF Phone Contest are the weekend of August 6-7. JUST AHEAD: the NAQCC 80/40 Straight Key/Bug Sprint is August 10; the NCCC Thursday Sprint is August 12 (UTC). The WAE DX Contest (CW) and the Maryland-DC QSO Party are the weekend of August 13-14. The NCCC Thursday Sprint is August 19 (UTC). See the ARRL Contest Branch page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for more info. * ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration: Registration for the Technician Licensing course (EC-010) remains open through Sunday, August 7. Classes begin Friday, August 19. With the assistance of a mentor, EC-010 students learn everything they need to know to pass the FCC Technician class license examination. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/> or contact the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program Department <firstname.lastname@example.org>. * Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course registration: Registration for the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level II (EC-002) on-line course opens Monday, August 8, at 1201 AM EDT and will remain open until all available seats have been filled or through the August 13-14 weekend--whichever comes first. Class begins Friday, August 26. Thanks to the United Technologies Corporation (UTC), the $45 registration fee paid upon enrollment will be reimbursed to students who complete the course requirements and are upgraded by their mentor to "Passed" within the 8-week course period. During this registration period, seats are being offered to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce>. For more information, contact Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, <email@example.com>; 860-594-0340. * New IARU Region 2 Monitoring System Coordinator appointed: Bill Zellers, WA4FKI, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, has been appointed as the new IARU Region 2 Monitoring System Coordinator. He succeeds Martin Potter, VE3OAT, who stepped down in 2004. IARU Region 2 President Rod Stafford, W6ROD, announced the appointment this week. "Bill is excited about taking on the duties and responsibilities as Monitoring System Coordinator for Region 2 and assisting in the effort to keep the Amateur Radio bands free of intruding signals," Stafford said. "Join me in congratulating Bill on his appointment and wish him luck in his efforts in his new position." The IARU Monitoring System (IARUMS) is a worldwide service that works primarily to identify and initiate the necessary steps to remove from the Amateur Radio bands any non-Amateur Radio signals that are causing harmful interference through improper use. IARUMS also conducts surveys of amateur band occupancy, among other tasks. Potter says Zellers is eager to become fully engaged in his new post, supporting and coordinating the various national intruder watch programs in IARU Region 2 and working together with the IARUMS Coordinators in Regions 1 and 3. * Changes announced for ARRL International EME Competition: The ARRL Program and Services Committee has approved the addition of a Single Operator Assisted (SOA) category for single-band and multiband ARRL International EME Competition entries. Under SOA, one person performs all operating and logging as well as equipment and antenna adjustment and alignment. The use of spotting assistance or nets (operating arrangements involving other individuals, DX-alerting nets, packet, etc) is permitted. The new category will be in play for the upcoming 2005 contest season, although it was not approved in time to make the contest announcement in August QST. This change means that single-op single-band and multiband EME event participants now may compete as unassisted or assisted. Certificates will be awarded for the new category. The EME competition cover three 48-hour weekend periods (0000 UTC Saturday through 2359 UTC Sunday). Dates and designated bands for 2005 are September 24-25: 2304 MHz and Up, and October 22-23 and November 12-13 50: MHz through 1296 MHz. For more information contact ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, firstname.lastname@example.org. * Australian BPL-related submissions express concerns: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) says the majority of the 275 submissions to its BPL Discussion Paper <http://www.acma.gov.au/ACMAINTER.2163012:STANDARD::pc=PC_9240> show a high level of concern regarding BPL interference and its management. More than 220 of the comments came from radio amateurs. Others were from telecommunications companies, broadcasters and government agencies. One commenter, telecoms provider Optus, recommended a "cautious approach" and expressed concern over potential BPL interference to its cable services as well as over the issue of regulatory and competition certainty. Broadband cable and DSL provider Telstra worried about interference to its broadband and HF radio services saying its calculations indicate "ubiquitous BPL could have serious consequences for cable modem networks" and could lead to "significant degradation of VDSL in cases where power and telecommunications lines are in close proximity." Commenting through their industry association--the Personal Emergency Response Services Association (PERSA), medical alarm providers concluded that electromagnetic interference from BPL to PERS is potentially severe, continuous and widespread. "BPL interference could prevent a call for assistance in a life-threatening situation, resulting in death or injury," PERSA asserted. Not surprisingly, submissions from the BPL industry recommend less-onerous management techniques, although power company Bytecan did acknowledge interference to various services and devices during its tests. Others commenting included CB radio, model aircraft enthusiasts, outback radio users and equipment suppliers.--Phil Wait, VK2DKN/Wireless Institute of Australia * DXCC Desk approves operation for DXCC credit: The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved this operation for DXCC credit: T6EE, Afghanistan, from September 19 until October 16, 2004. For more information, visit the DXCC Web page <http://www.arrl.org/awards/dxcc/>. "DXCC Frequently Asked Questions" can answer most questions about the DXCC program. ARRL DX bulletins are available on the W1AW DX Bulletins page <http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/dx/>. =========================================================== 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. ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> is a weekly "ham radio newscast" compiled from The ARRL Letter. Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. 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