*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 25, No. 03 January 20, 2006 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Joel Harrison, W5ZN, elected ARRL's 14th president * +Virginia BPL system shutdown "imperative," ARRL tells FCC * +North Carolina, Ohio kids enjoy ham radio chat with ISS commander * +Peter I Island DXpedition receives ARRL Colvin Award * +February 3 (UTC) is new "SuitSat" launch target date * +Injured miner Randy McCloy, KC8VKZ, improving * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio: ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes, NA QSO Party (SSB) ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration +Software Defined Transponder to fly on Phase 3-Express satellite +ARRL Membership Services Department announces personnel changes +CSVHFS issues call for papers for 40th anniversary conference Winlink 2000, APRS join forces with APRSLink Army MARS gets new chief Correction +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 =========================================================== ==>JOEL HARRISON, W5ZN, ELECTED ARRL'S 14TH PRESIDENT ARRL First Vice President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, of Judsonia, Arkansas, will be the League's president for the next two years. He'll succeed Jim Haynie, W5JBP, who chose not to run for a fourth term in the uncompensated, volunteer post. Gathering in Windsor, Connecticut, for its annual meeting, the Board voted 10 to 5 to choose Harrison over ARRL Central Division Director Dick Isely, W9GIG, the only other nominee. Harrison, 47, said he believes Amateur Radio is looking at a different society--and pool of potential licensees--in the 21st century than in the past. "One of the things we need to do over the next few years is realize that Main Street USA is not the Main Street USA it was years ago," Harrison commented after the vote. "We all remember those days when we became interested in radio and the magic that it provided to us. The magic is still there, but Main Street has changed." Harrison says this means focusing on doing a better job of attracting the average person on the new Main Street of today "into the magic of Amateur Radio." First licensed in 1972 as WN5IGF, Harrison says he's interested in virtually all aspects of Amateur Radio, from HF DXing and contesting to VHF/UHF/microwave and moonbounce. He's an ARRL Life Member. His wife, daughter and son all are Amateur Radio licensees. He'll become the League's 14th president since its founding in 1914. Harrison said the ARRL's initiative to create an improved entry-level license also will be among his top priorities as he assumes office. "It is imperative for the Amateur Radio Service that we have an entry-level license that provides a wide variety of privileges for an individual to get into radio and learn a little bit about all of it," Harrison said, adding that the League believes this approach will keep new licensees interested in ham radio. Saying that the Technician ticket "is not attracting or keeping newcomers in its present configuration," the ARRL has asked the FCC to consider modifying the Technician license to provide limited HF phone, data and CW privileges. Harrison also says he will promote the League's Petition for Rule Making (RM-11306) to have the FCC regulate Amateur Radio allocations by bandwidth. "Right now we do that by mode, and we're one of the few countries in the world that does that," he pointed out. "We need to change that and move forward with this initiative of regulation by bandwidth instead of mode." Related to that issue, the Board was expected to discuss the process of developing effective band plans to support the rule changes it's requesting in RM-11306. The Commission will accept public comments on the petition until February 6. Harrison said he will continue and build upon the League's emphasis on Amateur Radio's emergency communication role--especially in improving its response to catastrophic disasters like Hurricane Katrina--and on Haynie's "The Big Project" initiative to get ham radio into schools, known formally as the ARRL Education and Technology Program (ETP). "Whether or not it generates a large number of radio amateurs, it provides an introduction to Amateur Radio to kids," Harrison said of the ETP. "Having that awareness of Amateur Radio and what it provides is vital," because it imparts a broad-based knowledge of the service to tomorrow's citizens and policymakers. The ARRL Board also elected Vice President Kay Craigie, N3KN, as First Vice President, succeeding Harrison, and Delta Division Director Rick Roderick, K5UR, to Vice President, succeeding Craigie. Both were unopposed. ARRL Delta Division Vice Director Henry Leggette, WD4Q, will become Division Director. A new Delta Division Vice Director will be appointed. In addition, the Board re-elected ARRL CEO and Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, COO Harold Kramer, WJ1B, Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, Chief Financial Officer Barry Shelley, N1VXY, Treasurer Jim McCobb, K1LU, Chief Technology Officer Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, and International Affairs Vice President Rod Stafford, W6ROD. All those elected will officially begin their new terms when the Board of Directors adjourns its current session. The Board of Directors annual meeting was expected to conclude January 21. The Board will meet again in July. ==>SHUTDOWN "IMPERATIVE" IN FACE OF STILL-UNRESOLVED BPL INTERFERENCE, ARRL SAYS After the operator of the Manassas, Virginia, BPL system failed to meet its own commitment to resolve complaints of interference to local radio amateurs, the ARRL again demanded the system's immediate shutdown. Writing on the League's behalf, ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, told the FCC January 17 that Communications Technologies (COMTek), which operates the BPL system over the municipally owned electric power grid using Main.net equipment on frequencies between 4 MHz and 30 MHz, "has been given every opportunity" over the past 18 months to resolve interference complaints. COMTek "is now apparently unwilling to voluntarily comply with its regulatory obligation to shut the system down," Imlay said, following a meeting January 17 between company officials and local radio amateurs. An ARRL representative also attended. Imlay said the meeting's outcome dictates "the urgency of the Commission's obligation to finally take action to stop the unlawful operation of the Manassas BPL system." The League asserts that COMTek did not want to start the meeting with a local newspaper reporter present. Imlay said the company's "bizarre action" indicated that COMTek "was unwilling to subject itself to public scrutiny." COMTek Vice President Walter Adams acknowledged at this week's meeting that its BPL system was causing harmful interference on Amateur Radio frequencies, despite its pledge to permanently notch ham bands by January 15, the League said. Even so, Adams "specifically declined to take any further steps to mitigate the interference," Imlay continued, calling COMTek's stance "totally unacceptable to the aggrieved licensees in Manassas." In its letter, the League said it doesn't question COMTek's desire to eliminate the harmful interference. "However, the inescapable fact is that the Main.net hardware now in use in the city's BPL system is, and has been proven, incapable of being configured so as to function as intended without causing harmful interference to radio communication." The League addressed its latest correspondence in the Manassas situation to FCC Spectrum Enforcement Division Chief Joseph Casey and to Katherine Power, an attorney in the division. Copies went to local radio amateurs George Tarnovsky, K4GVT, Donald Blasdell, W4HJL, and William South, N3OH, as well as to Manassas Journal newspaper reporter Jaclyn Pitts, COMTek and its attorneys, and the City of Manassas. "Because COMTek has declined to do so voluntarily, it is imperative that the FCC order the system immediately to cease operation, in accordance with ß15.5(c) of the Commission's rules," Imlay's letter concluded, "and that operation not resume unless and until new hardware is installed that is capable of operating without causing harmful interference." Less than a month ago, the League called on the FCC to shut down the Manassas BPL system in another strongly worded letter. That communication was in response to a November 30 letter from Casey, who'd suggested further cooperation between the complaining radio amateurs and the city-owned BPL system. "These meetings have not produced any solution to the interference problem but have, instead, created the illusion that the problem is being addressed," Imlay charged in his reply. Ham radio complaints of interference from the BPL system date back to early 2004. A petition the League filed earlier last fall seeks to have the FCC modify the Part 15 BPL rules it adopted in 2004 to embrace more mature BPL technology with substantially less potential to interfere. Among BPL systems more likely to be involved in stubborn interference cases, the ARRL said, are those using DS2 or Main.net technology that lack fixed, permanent notches in the ham bands. Utilization of such BPL technology, the League maintains, has resulted in "substantial, extremely difficult-to-resolve incidents of interference" from BPL pilot programs and deployments to Amateur Radio. A copy of the League's January 17 letter is on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/filings/Manassas-Complaint-Final-Janu ary-2006.pdf> ==>ISS COMMANDER VISITS HOME VIA HAM RADIO, TALKS SPACE TRASH WITH OHIO KIDS It was a trip down memory lane for International Space Station Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, when he spoke from NA1SS January 9 with students at Peterson Elementary School in his home town of Red Springs, North Carolina. A couple of days later, McArthur took to the air again to answer questions put to him by youngsters at St Albert the Great School in Royalton, Ohio. "Nice to talk to you today," McArthur greeted the Peterson students. "I hope everyone's doing well in Red Springs. Of course, you know that's my home town," he added proudly. Responding to one youngster's question, McArthur enthused that living in microgravity--commonly called Zero G--"is just the coolest thing." Germs aren't a real problem in space. "Germs do live in space, but we don't, like, catch colds up here because we don't have people who bring fresh germs up, so we stay pretty healthy," he said. McArthur also told the Peterson pupils that he considers himself a learner too. "To become an astronaut, you never stop studying," he explained, noting that, from kindergarten through graduate school he spent 17 years in classrooms in addition to a few years of astronaut training for his mission. "I think the most important thing I've learned," McArthur said later, speaking of his time aboard the ISS, "is that human beings can live, be healthy and work very well for long times in space--long enough to go to other planets." Amateur Radio on the International Space Station veteran Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI, served as the Earth station control operator for the contact with Peterson Elementary--a culturally diverse school in rural Robeson County. An MCI teleconference bridge provided two-way audio from Australia to the US. On January 11, members of the NASA Glenn Amateur Radio Club (NGARC) made it possible for youngsters at St Albert the Great School to talk with McArthur. NGARC President Nancy Hall, KC4IYD, a NASA engineer, served as the control operator at NA8SA for the contact with NA1SS. She had help from several local hams and NGARC members in setting up the gear. Asked how the ISS crew intended to clean up human-generated debris orbiting Earth, McArthur conceded that he and crewmate Valery Tokarev would be doing just the opposite--but he didn't consider that to be a problem. "I need to confess, not only are we not going to clean up the space junk, we've even added to it," he said. "We discarded a small electrical component in a space walk in November, and in a space walk next month, we're going to throw away a whole space suit." That surplus Russian Orlan space suit won't initially be trash, however. It will become "SuitSat-1," an unusual transmit-only satellite with an FM downlink on 145.990 MHz (see "'SUITSAT' TARGET DATE NOW FEBRUARY 3" below). Using the call sign RS0RS, it will beam to Earth voice messages, telemetry and an SSTV image on a nine-minute cycle as it orbits the planet. "But the good news is that in low-Earth orbit, everything deorbits on its own," McArthur continued. "Nature takes over. There's a little bit of drag. Everything slows down and eventually goes back into the atmosphere all by itself." Seventeen of the 18 students participating were able to ask their questions during the approximately 10-minute pass, while more than 800 students and some 400 faculty members, parents and friends filled St Albert Church for the event. A local TV news crew turned out and produced a report on the contact for the station's 6 PM news. The St Albert ARISS school group contact had been in the queue for a few years. Past NASA employee and NGARC member Art Anzic, K8BVI (SK), had helped the school apply in 2002. The school's principal, Tom Brownfield, dedicated the contact to Anzic's memory. ARISS <http://www.rac.ca/ariss> is an international educational outreach with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. ==>3Y0X DXPEDITION RECEIVES ARRL COLVIN AWARD GRANT The 2006 Peter I Island 3Y0X DXpedition has received a $7500 ARRL Colvin Award to help finance the trip to the small island off Antarctica in the Bellinghausen Sea. A team of 22 operators hope to activate Peter I for approximately two weeks in early February, weather and sea conditions permitting. "This is a prestigious award and is important to our overall DXpedition financing," Peter I DXpedition co-leaders Bob Allphin, K4UEE, and Ralph Fedor, K0IR, said of the ARRL Colvin Award. "Our special thanks to the Awards Committee." The Northern California DX Foundation (NCDXF) is a premier contributor to this major undertaking. The Colvin Award was established in 1994 with the proceeds of a life insurance policy purchased by Lloyd Colvin, W6KG, that named the ARRL as beneficiary. The award is conferred in the form of grants in support of Amateur Radio projects that promote international goodwill in the field of DX. From the 1960s into the early 1990s, Lloyd Colvin and his wife Iris, W6QL, activated more than 100 DXCC entities. Lloyd Colvin died in 1993 and Iris Colvin in 1998. The 3Y0X DXpedition team plans to travel to Peter I via the South Shetland Islands. "Our sea container containing all of our equipment, and most of the team's personal gear is aboard the vessel DAP Mares which is now in the South Shetland Islands," a DXpedition announcement said January 10. "Our foodstuffs are also aboard after being purchased in Punta Arenas, Chile. The team will be reunited with their equipment and gear on or about February 2 to begin the four-day voyage to Peter I." The 3Y0X team emphasizes that no dates are firm at this point. The team has been assigned the Chilean Antarctic call sign of XR9A for use en route to and from Peter I. DXpedition members hope to be on the air from Punta Arenas for a few days and then maritime mobile to and from Peter I. There is also a possibility that the team will be active from the South Shetlands for a few days after the Peter I DXpedition is complete. This is the second attempt at a successful Peter I Island DXpedition by a team headed by Allphin and Fedor. An anticipated Peter I 3Y0X DXpedition in early 2005 had to be called off at the eleventh hour after its charter vessel was delayed, and the DXpedition simply ran out of time. Allphin and Fedor recommend checking the 3Y0DX Web site <http://18.104.22.168/peterone/main.htm> regularly for news and announcements. "The Web site should be considered the best source of updated and correct DXpedition news direct from the DXpedition leaders," their announcement says. The site will provide twice-daily updating of the 3Y0X logs through the generosity of satellite telephone provider Iridium Satellite LLC. A "souvenir" QSL card is in the design stages. QSL 3Y0X via Robert Schenck, N2OO, PO Box 345, Tuckerton, NJ 08087. The ambitious DXpedition is also an expensive undertaking, so the team continues to seek financial support via its Web site. ==>"SUITSAT" TARGET DATE NOW FEBRUARY 3 Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) has announced another change in the "SuitSat" deployment date, which has been a bit of a moving target. The latest target date is late Friday, February 3 (UTC). That's when the International Space Station crew is set to perform its next space walk. According to informed sources, the crew is scheduled to open the hatch for its excursion around 2200 UTC, and SuitSat should be put into orbit within the first hour. Possibly the most unusual Earth satellite ever, SuitSat consists of a surplus Russian Orlan space suit converted into a transmit-only satellite with an FM downlink frequency of 145.990 MHz. Using the call sign RS0RS, it will transmit voice messages, telemetry and an SSTV image on a nine-minute cycle as it orbits Earth. The batteries powering the satellite are expected to last about a week after deployment, and SuitSat's free-floating, decaying orbit should cause it to re-enter Earth's atmosphere after some six weeks in space. The SuitSat signal should be strong enough to hear using a VHF transceiver or scanner and a simple antenna--thus making it an ideal project for students to monitor and track. SuitSat's payload also includes a CD containing hundreds of school pictures, artwork, poems, and student signatures. For more information, see article "This is SuitSat-1 RS0RS" by Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, on the AMSAT Web site <http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/articles/BauerSuitsat/index.php>. ==>MINING DISASTER SURVIVOR RANDY MCCLOY, KC8VKZ, REPORTED IMPROVING There's encouraging news this week on the medical condition of Randy McCloy, KC8VKZ, the sole survivor of the January 2 Sago mining disaster in West Virginia. Rick Robinson, W8ZT, reports he spoke with McCloy's brother-in-law, Rick McGee January 18, and received an upbeat report on the 26-year-old miner's progress. "He was sitting up in bed and eating ice chips," he said. "His dialysis treatments have been reduced to every other day as his kidney function [is returning]." Other reports say McCloy's heart and liver functions have improved, his muscle deterioration has abated, his neurological condition is stable and he's been breathing on his own. His doctors say McCloy exhibits "purposeful movements" and appears to be responding to his family. Robinson says McGee told him that McCloy's wife, Anna, expressed appreciation from the outpouring of good wishes from the Amateur Radio community and elsewhere. "His family wants to thank everyone for the cards and letters that arrive daily in the large plastic postal bins," he said. "The mail keeps his wife occupied and gives her consolation that so many think of her and her husband and family." Randy and Anna McCloy live in Simpson, West Virginia, and have two young children. A Technician class licensee, McCloy is a relatively new radio amateur, according to Robinson. Well-wishers have been sending cards and QSLs to McCloy at PO Box 223, Philippi, WV 26435. The Charleston Gazette reported January 19 that McCloy was out of intensive care and likely will be able to leave West Virginia University's Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown within a week or two for a rehabilitation facility. His physicians say it's difficult to predict how fully McCloy will recover over the long haul, however, because his case is unusual. McCoy was the only miner among 13 men trapped for more than 40 hours in an Upshur County coal mine that filled with deadly carbon monoxide following a January 2 explosion. McCloy reportedly is eligible for immediate medical and wage-replacement benefits as well as for workers compensation benefits based on the extent of his injuries. In addition, a fund has been set up to accept donations for his benefit: the Randal McCloy Jr Fund, c/o Clear Mountain Bank, 1889 Earl Core Rd, Morgantown, WV 26505. According to "The Checkout" column <http://blog.washingtonpost.com/thecheckout/> of The Washington Post, federal and state authorities have warned consumers about a bogus e-mail seeking donations to aid McCloy. "The Checkout" reports that e-mails claiming to be from Dr Lawrence Roberts, McCloy's primary physician, describe the young miner's condition and seek monetary donations for his treatment. "The Checkout" editor Caroline Mayer advises those who have received such e-mails to consider contacting the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) <http://www.ic3.gov/>. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar sage Tad "Good Day Sunshine" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: As we cruise into the low part of Solar Cycle 23, the sun has been very quiet, save for some coronal holes providing solar wind streams. This week average daily sunspot numbers were up nearly 10 points compared to last. The geomagnetic field has been mostly quiet, although a little more active than the previous week. Over the next week expect solar flux to stay around 90, with geomagnetic conditions quiet, except for some unsettled to active conditions around January 23-24. Geophysical Institute Prague expects quiet conditions January 21, quiet to unsettled January 20 and 22, unsettled January 25 and 26, unsettled to active January 23, and active conditions (higher A and K index) on January 24. Sunspot numbers for January 12 through 18 were 12, 0, 0, 32, 42, 36 and 50, with a mean of 24.6. The 10.7 cm flux was 76.5, 76.5, 77.4, 80.9, 83.8, 82.5, and 85.6, with a mean of 80.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 3, 2, 3, 4, 14, 8 and 5, with a mean of 5.6. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 2, 4, 2, 4, 8, 10 and 9, with a mean of 5.6. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes, the North American QSO Party (SSB), the LZ Open Contest, the UK DX Contest (RTTY) and the Hungarian DX Contest are the weekend of January 21-22. JUST AHEAD: The CQ 160-Meter Contest (CW). the REF Contest (CW), SARL Youth Day, the BARTG RTTY Sprint and the UBA DX Contest (SSB) are the weekend of January 28-29. 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. 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 remains open through Sunday, February 5, for these ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (CCE) Program on-line courses: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 2 (EC-002), Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 3 (EC-003), Antenna Modeling (EC-004), HF Digital Communications (EC-005), VHF/UHF Beyond the Repeater (EC-008) and Radio Frequency Propagation (EC-011). Classes begin Friday, February 17. To learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page <http://www.arrl.org/cce> or contact the CCE Department <email@example.com>. * Software Defined Transponder to fly on Phase 3-Express satellite: The Board of Directors of AMSAT-DL (Germany) plans to fly a Software Defined Transponder (SDX) on its Phase 3-Express (P3E) spacecraft <http://www.amsat-dl.org/p3e/index.htm>. "This is outstanding news," said AMSAT-NA President Rick Hambly, W2GPS. "The opportunity to fly SDX on P3-Express will provide an early opportunity to demonstrate the potential of SDX in orbit and gives AMSAT-NA the benefit of in-orbit testing before placement on the Eagle-class satellites." Putting the SDX on P3E also will provide a test platform to evaluate its weak-signal processing capabilities that could prove valuable for the Phase 5-A deep space mission that AMSAT-DL is evaluating. Along with improved receiver performance, SDX offers the ability to program configuration changes while in orbit and the integration of uplink and downlink bands via digital connections. AMSAT-UK's Howard Long, G6LVB, will head development of SDX software for P3E and Eagle. AMSAT-NA's Lyle Johnson, KK7P, and Chuck Green, N0ADI, will build the flight hardware, while Bob McGwier, N4HY, and Frank Brickle, AB2KT, will handle integration with the transmitter hardware. "This announcement and the follow on work reinforce the close cooperation between AMSAT-NA, AMSAT-DL and AMSAT-UK as we develop the next generation of high earth orbit amateur radio satellites," Hambly commented. P3E will be placed into a highly elliptical Earth orbit and may launch as early as this year.--AMSAT-NA/AMSAT-DL * ARRL Membership Services Department announces personnel changes: ARRL Membership Services Department (MSD) Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG, has named veteran ARRL HQ staff member Sharon Taratula as Assistant Department Manager and Supervisor of a new MSD branch that will perform high-volume data processing for all MSD awards. In addition, she will continue to manage the QSL Service and provide support to the department manager. Bill Moore, NC1L, will continue to oversee all other awards-based activities related to DXCC, WAS and other MSD-administered awards. The department also welcomes Frank Perez as a new ARRL staff member. He joins the data processing group Taratula supervises. Perez had worked as a temporary employee in the DXCC Branch for the past five months. * CSVHFS issues call for papers for 40th anniversary conference: The Central States VHF Society (CSVHFS) is soliciting papers, presentations and poster displays for its 40th anniversary conference this summer. The conference takes place Thursday through Saturday, July 27-29, at the Thunderbird Hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota--across from the Mall of America. Topics may include all aspects of weak-signal VHF, UHF and microwave Amateur Radio, and you do not have to attend the conference or present your paper to have it published in the Proceedings. Possible presentation topics include, but are not limited to, antennas (modeling, design, arrays, control), equipment construction, propagation, test gear, regulatory issues, operating, digital signal processing and software-defined radio. The submission deadline for inclusion in the Proceedings is May 1. Presentations for delivery at the conference are due July 3. Bring posters for display with you to the conference. For more information, visit the CSVHFS 2006 conference Web page <http://www.csvhfs.org/CSVHFS2006.html> or contact Technical Program Chairman Jon Platt, W0ZQ <firstname.lastname@example.org>, or Proceedings Chairman Donn Baker WA2VOI/0 <WA2VOI@OurTownUSA.net>. * Winlink 2000, APRS join forces with APRSLink: Following the Amateur Radio response to some recent disasters, Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, proposed using the Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS) to enable mobile and remote APRS users to access their Winlink 2000 e-mail accounts under emergency or unusual conditions. In response, the Winlink 2000 development team came up with APRSLink. APRSLink monitors all APRS traffic gated to the Internet and watches for special commands that allow APRS users to read or send short e-mail messages to and from other Winlink 2000 users, perform e-mail maintenance, receive notices of pending Winlink 2000 e-mail via APRS and query the APRSLink server for information on the closest Telpac gateway or Winlink participating station. Details are on the APRSLink Web page <http://www.winlink.org/aprslink.htm>. * Army MARS gets new chief: Maj Gregory Harris has assumed the reins of the Army Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) <http://www.asc.army.mil/mars/> program from Bob Sutton, N7UZY, who is recuperating from an illness. Harris, who inherits the AAA9A MARS call sign, has been assistant chief of Army Mars and executive agent of the MARS program. "I want to take this opportunity to thank Mr Sutton for his long service as Chief, Army MARS," Harris said January 10 in an announcement to all Army MARS members and stations. "At this point it is more important that his health take precedence for a speedy recovery." Harris also expressed his gratitude to "all the dedicated volunteers" who make the Army MARS program a success. "I look forward to continuing in this proud tradition and working with as many of you as possible over the coming year as Army MARS continues to be 'proud, professional and ready,'" he said. Harris said he will "continue to fill in" upon Sutton's return and to "begin reconstructing the MARS program that will better support our members." Army MARS is headquartered at Ft Huachuca in Arizona. Correction: The story "US, Thai and Brazilian Youngsters Learn about Life in Space via Ham Radio," in The ARRL Letter, Vol 25, No 02, contained an incorrect call sign. E25AJ Earth-station control operator Nui Apornrum is E20YZC. =========================================================== 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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