*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 25, No. 08 February 24, 2006 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL wants FCC to order halt to BPL database access limits * +Regulation-by-bandwidth petition "a reasonable middle ground," League says * +Space station commander educates, inspires via ham radio * +SuitSat-1 now QRT * +New ARRL Section Managers start April 1 in four sections * +Revised ITU recommendation on ham radio in disasters in effect * +Lifetime licenses established for hams in Great Britain * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio: The North American QSO Party (RTTY)! ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration +3Y0X DXpedition logs more than 87,000 contacts Dayton Hamvention® announces theme for 2006 show Revised, corrected Element 2 question pool released DXCC Desk approves operation for DXCC credit Correction +Available on ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> =========================================================== ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): firstname.lastname@example.org ==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, email@example.com =========================================================== ==>LEAGUE TO FCC: ORDER AN END TO ARBITRARY ACCESS LIMITS TO BPL DATABASE The ARRL has demanded that the FCC order the United Telecom Council (UTC) to "cease its arbitrary limits" on access to the public BPL Interference Resolution Web site <http://www.bpldatabase.org/>. UTC administers the site, which FCC Part 15 rules require to be "publicly available." In a complaint <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/files/BPL-Database-Access-Complaint-0 2-06.pdf> filed February 23 with the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology, the FCC Enforcement Bureau and UTC, the League charged UTC with "arbitrarily and unlawfully" preventing some individuals and organizations--including ARRL--from utilizing the BPL database. "Quite simply, UTC's 'management' of this database has in a very short time proven a shambles," ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, wrote on the League's behalf. "The Commission has taken no action in response to any BPL interference complaints, but UTC's restricting access to the database is directly and overtly contrary to the specific language of both the Report and Order (R&O) and §15.615 of the Commission's rules." According to the complaint, ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, found himself locked out of the BPL database February 14 after attempting to search a particular ZIP code. An "error" message warned: "The System has determined that this line of searching constitues [sic] unauthorized use of the database. Cease operations immediately." "There was no unauthorized use of the database," Imlay said, adding that an ARRL staff member got the same message after trying to search two ZIP codes from an "arrl.org" domain address. "It was apparent thereafter that anyone using an 'arrl.org' domain name was unilaterally shut out of the database by UTC for an indeterminate amount of time," the complaint continued. Imlay also cited the experience of Gary Zabriskie, N7ARE, the secretary of the Dixie Amateur Radio Club in Utah. On February 15, he attempted a search covering several ZIP codes in his club's membership area to report any BPL trials or rollouts to members. After entering the third ZIP code, he received the same "error" message. The next week, Imlay noted, a member of the ARRL Laboratory staff conducted a series of searches to determine if previously noted discrepancies in the database had been corrected. After entering his seventh ZIP code search, he received a message indicating that he had exceeded his search limit, "though you may try again later," it added. A advisory on the BPL Interference Resolution Web Site page states: "Access via scripted or automated programs is prohibited. Each individual is allowed to search a limited number of times. Individuals are advised not to conduct random searches of the database, or their access to the database may be further restricted." "The limits placed unilaterally and apparently variably on searches of the database are each and all improper," the ARRL complaint asserted. "There is nothing in any Commission document that authorizes UTC to limit access to the database whatsoever. Worse, UTC has decided to limit public access arbitrarily by IP address or by domain name, and apparently as few as three ZIP code searches trigger the cutoff mechanism." The League said there is no technical reason to limit the search function. The League maintains that the design of the database and the restricted access are "clearly intended to frustrate the Commission's purpose" in requiring the database in the first place and "to inhibit complaints of interference" from BPL systems. As a result, the ARRL says, the FCC should immediately rescind UTC's appointment as the BPL database administrator or order UTC to end its arbitrary limits on access to the database. ==>REGULATION-BY-BANDWIDTH PETITION "A REASONABLE MIDDLE GROUND," LEAGUE SAYS The ARRL says its Petition for Rule Making (RM-11306) to regulate the amateur bands by necessary bandwidth rather than by mode represents "a reasonable middle ground in a difficult regulatory area." In reply comments filed with the FCC February 21, the League said it was gratified to see more than 900 commenters responded to the admittedly "controversial" petition and noted that many "show the investment of a good deal of thought about the proposal." ARRL said it would have been concerned if the amateur community had not responded with a loud voice on all facets of the League's regulation-by-bandwidth proposal. "ARRL continues to believe that its petition is a measured response to progress in digital telecommunications technology and successfully balances the interests of all, regardless of which of the polarized opinions in this proceeding, if any, constitutes a 'majority' view," the League's reply comments said. "To the extent that the success of this philosophy necessitates the participation and cooperation of all amateurs in the development of, and increased reliance on, modernized voluntary band plans, ARRL is optimistic that such participation and cooperation will be available" as it has in past "transitional phases" in Amateur Radio's history. The ARRL is asking the FCC to replace the table at §97.305(c) with a new one that segments bands by necessary bandwidths ranging from 200 Hz to 100 kHz. Unaffected by the ARRL's recommendations, if they're adopted, would be 160 and 60 meters. Other bands below 29 MHz would be segmented into subbands allowing maximum emission bandwidths of 200 Hz, 500 Hz or 3.5 kHz, with an exception for AM phone. The ARRL says the changes it's proposing constitute a balance "between the need to encourage wider bandwidth, faster digital communications and the need to reasonably accommodate all users in crowded bands." The League's reply comments countered criticism that its petition represents "overregulation wrapped in a different cloak," that increased reliance--and confidence--in the ability of voluntary band plans to substitute for subband regulation by emission mode is misplaced, or that the ARRL's proposal caters to a small minority of digital enthusiasts and experimenters. Many of those who commented expressed a desire to leave things as they are, some because they feel the advent of digital technology may threaten their favorite mode. "They are comfortable with the status quo, because the current regulations are not encouraging toward digital modes and, therefore, the current regulatory scheme, they feel, 'protects' them," the League said. "The comfort level with the status quo is high for these licensees, and they have not hesitated to tell the Commission so." The League emphasized, "All should be accommodated by the regulatory structure of amateur subbands, and technology changes demand regulatory changes in this instance." Its plan, the League said, "attempts to segment emission modes of similar bandwidths in a manner that accommodates the varied needs and interests of all, while insuring compatibility by grouping like-bandwidth emissions together." Citing repeated efforts to gather input from the Amateur Radio community at large and from its members since its regulation-by-bandwidth concept was first aired in 2002, the League called the petition "the most thoroughly vetted regulatory proposal" it's ever developed. "The ARRL petition does not favor one mode at the expense of another," the League reiterated in concluding its reply comments. "It merely allows expansion of the repertoire of options that amateurs may pursue compatibly." The ARRL petition is available on the FCC Web site <http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_docume nt=6518181567>. The League's reply comments are on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/bandwidth/Bandwidth-Petition-Reply- Comments-2-6.pdf>. ==>NO LOLLIES ON SPACE STATION, COMMANDER TELLS YOUNGSTERS IN SPACE QSO International Space Station Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, this month educated and inspired youngsters in Florida and the Australian outback during separate Amateur Radio contacts. McArthur spoke from NA1SS with youngsters attending Collier County, Florida, public schools on February 8, and at the Charleville Cosmos Centre in Queensland on February 17. The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program arranged both events. Students at Florida's Pine Ridge and Immokalee middle schools posed several questions on the subject of robotics aboard the ISS, and McArthur discussed use of the space station's robotic arm, Canadarm 2. "We use the robotic arm only occasionally onboard the ISS," McArthur explained. "It's used to either relocate people or equipment on the outside, which happens only occasionally. Also, we will sometimes use the cameras installed on the robotic arm to do video surveys of the exterior of the station." McArthur told the students that it took extensive training to learn how to properly manipulate the Canadarm 2, used mostly to move equipment and cargo that's too large for the astronauts to handle during space walks. Twice during the contact, McArthur offered some words of inspiration and encouragement to those contemplating careers as astronauts. "Do not be afraid to follow your dreams," he advised. "Reach high, because even if you fall a little bit short you will have accomplished so much more than if you're afraid to even try." Members of the Amateur Radio Association of Southwest Florida (ARASWF) set up and operated the equipment necessary for the direct VHF contact between NA1SS and K4YHB at Pine Ridge Middle School, a NASA Explorer School. Coordinating Teacher Sharon Lea, who once met McArthur, took a moment at the end of the QSO to express gratitude on behalf of the schools for making the contact possible. "This was a wonderful experience for us all," she said. Some 150 school officials, teachers, parents and students were on hand, and two TV stations, a local radio station and the Naples Daily News reported on the space contact. Nine days later, youngsters attending the Charleville School of Distance Education gathered at the Cosmos Centre in the Australian outback to hook up with McArthur via ham radio and a Verizon Conferencing teleconferencing link from WH6PN at Sacred Hearts Academy in Honolulu to the Queensland facility. McArthur told the students that he's been an astronaut for 15 years, and his duty tour aboard the ISS marked his fourth flight into space. "Prior to this, my longest mission was 14 days--two weeks," McArthur responded to one question, noting that he enjoyed being in space very much. "This one will be a little more than a half-year, and, to me, it's the difference between visiting a wonderful place and living there." Looking ahead to longer-duration space flights, one student wanted to know how long it would take to get to Mars. "It would take somewhere between six and nine months depending on the technology used and also depending on how the planets are aligned," McArthur replied. "Do you eat chocolate bars and lollies?" another student wanted to know. "Well, we have no lollies," McArthur answered, "but that's only because Valeri [Tokarev] and I didn't ask for them. Yes, we do have chocolate bars, chocolate candy, other candy, and if a crew wanted lollies they could ask for them, and they would have them up here." Beyond that, McArthur said, the cuisine aboard the ISS largely consisted of foods familiar on Earth, although all meals come already prepared and usually dehydrated. The school waited nearly two years for its contact to be scheduled, and just 12 hours before the event a thunderstorm knocked out telephone service throughout the town. Earth station operator and ARISS veteran Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI, said a repair crew managed to get the telephone system back up with only two hours to spare. National TV and radio and local media joined the audience on hand to report on the contact. The Charleville Cosmos Center is an observatory in outback Queensland some 800 km west of Brisbane. ARISS <http://www.rac.ca/ariss> is an international educational outreach with US participation from ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. ==>ARISS MAKES IT OFFICIAL: "TREMENDOUSLY SUCCESSFUL" SUITSAT-1 IS SK SuitSat-1 is now a confirmed "Silent Key." So says its sponsor, the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. In operation for more than two weeks, SuitSat-1--designated AO-54--easily outlasted initial predictions that it would transmit for about one week. ARISS International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, says the mission captured imaginations around the world, despite a much-lower-than-expected signal strength. "The outreach, press requests and visibility of SuitSat were absolutely amazing and appear to be unprecedented for a ham radio event," Bauer said. "While the press requests are just now starting to wane, we expect that you will continue to see SuitSat status reports and pictures in magazines, Web sites and other literature over the next few months." The more than nine million hits at the SuitSat Web site attest to the level of interest in the SuitSat-1 experiment, Bauer noted, calling the tally "quite impressive indeed!" Bob King, VE6BLD, in Alberta posted the last confirmed reception of SuitSat-1's voice audio, Saturday, February 18, at 0332 UTC. Richard Crow, N2SPI, in New York received the last confirmed telemetry, which indicated the battery voltage dropping precipitously to a low of 18.3 V before the novel satellite ceased to transmit. Hearing SuitSat-1's puny signal strength generally required gain antennas, but Bauer says he heard SuitSat with a 3-element Arrow antenna and a handheld radio. Bauer's daughter Michelle recorded the English-language voice identification. Another challenge to signal reception, he said, was the very deep fading due to the suit's rotation in orbit. "One great positive that came from these issues is that it challenged the ham radio community worldwide to improve their station receive capabilities so that they could pull every bit of signal from SuitSat," Bauer remarked. Bauer says reports that SuitSat-1 was non-operational and that the battery was frozen shortly after deployment are false. "This never occurred," he stressed. "As the telemetry has shown, temperatures within the suit were a somewhat comfortable 12-16 degrees C during the entire mission." So, he adds, is the tale of SuitSat-1's early demise and resurrection. "It was alive and operated flawlessly, except the signal strength issue, from the time the crew flipped the switches until the battery power was used up," he said. Bauer says he's also not ready to buy into an AMSAT calculation that the transmitter may have been putting out between 1 and 10 mW. "It is entirely possible that the radio output could have been at 500 mW, and the feed line, connector or the antenna caused the problem," he said, adding that the SuitSat team has only just begun studying what might have caused the weak signal. The AMSAT/ARISS team already is looking forward to a SuitSat-2. "Correcting the signal strength issue would be a top priority for this flight," Bauer said. "So would be a longer-term power generation device, like solar arrays." Although no longer transmitting, SuitSat-1 could continue orbiting Earth for another 70 to 120 days, depending on atmospheric drag, Bauer said. More information on the SuitSat-1 project, including QSL information, is available on the AMSAT Web site <http://www.amsat.org/> and on the SuitSat Web site <http://www.suitsat.org/>. ==>VIRGINIA MEMBERS ELECT NEW SECTION MANAGER IN CONTESTED RACE In the only contested Section Manager race this winter, Glen Sage, W4GHS, outpolled incumbent Virginia SM Carl Clements, W4CAC, 720 to 656. Ballots were counted February 21 at ARRL Headquarters. Clements has served as Virginia's SM since May 2001. Sage, who lives in Hillsville, has been licensed since 1976 and has a strong interest in--and commitment to--emergency communication, teaching licensing classes and serving as a volunteer examiner. Three other ARRL sections are getting new SMs. In North Carolina, Tim Slay, N4IB, of Mooresville, was the only candidate to succeed John Covington, W4CC, who decided not to run for another term after serving for six years. Bob Schneider, AH6J, of Keaau, Hawaii, will return to the Pacific SM post when he takes over the reins from Kevin Bogan, AH6QO, who did not seek a new term. Schneider has served three separate, earlier terms as Pacific SM, beginning in 1992. Tuck Miller, NZ6T, will once again become San Diego SM, a post he'd held previously for nearly two terms. Incumbent Pat Bunsold, WA6MHZ, decided not to run again. Four incumbent ARRL SMs faced no opposition and were declared re-elected. They are Pete Cecere, N2YJZ, Eastern New York; Eric Olena, WB3FPL, Eastern Pennsylvania; Mickey Cox, K5MC, Louisiana, and Richard Beebe, N0PV, South Dakota. New two-year terms for all successful candidates begin April 1. ==>REVISED ITU RECOMMENDATION ON USE OF AMATEUR RADIO IN DISASTERS IN EFFECT A revised International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) Recommendation is now in force to promote "effective utilization of the amateur services in disaster mitigation and relief operations." Initially developed in 2001, the document, known as Recommendation ITU-D 13, was brought up to date last year through the efforts of an ITU-D study group and circulated to administrations around the globe for adoption. "This is an updated version of a Recommendation that administrations include the amateur services in their national disaster plans, reduce barriers to effective use of the amateur services for disaster communications, and develop memoranda of understanding with amateur and disaster relief organizations," explained ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ. ITU-D 13 further advises cooperation among all parties in making available model agreements and "best practices" in disaster telecommunications. The revised Recommendation takes into account changes adopted at World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) to Article 25 of the international Radio Regulations. One change provides that Amateur Radio stations may be used to transmit international communications on behalf of third parties in case of emergencies or for disaster relief. Another encourages administrations "to take the necessary steps to allow amateur stations to prepare for and meet communication needs in support of disaster relief." The FCC recently adopted changes to its Part 97 Amateur Service rules to reflect these and other WRC-03 actions. The revised Recommendation ITU-D 13 recognizes that effective Amateur Radio disaster communication depends "largely on the availability of amateur operators located throughout a country," and that post-disaster international humanitarian assistance "often includes the provision of amateur operators and of equipment from an assisting country." It further acknowledges that barriers in terms of gaining permission to operate and to move equipment and operators into a disaster zone "in many cases hindered the full use of telecommunications capabilities available from outside an affected country." "The Tampere Convention on the Provision of Telecommunications Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations," adopted in 1998 by the Intergovernmental Conference on Emergency Telecommunications in Tampere, Finland, established a framework for the reduction and/or removal of such barriers. Revised in 2003, ITU-Radiocommunication Sector Recommendation M.1042-2, "Disaster Communications in the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite Services," encouraged "the development of such services and of making such networks robust, flexible and independent of other telecommunication services and capable of operating from emergency power." The revised Recommendation ITU-D 13 is expected to be available soon--in several languages and in MS-Word and PDF formats--from the ITU Web site <http://www.itu.int/>. ==>GREAT BRITAIN TO INSTITUTE LIFETIME AMATEUR RADIO LICENSES Telecommunications regulator Ofcom has unveiled plans to reform Amateur Radio licensing in Great Britain. The main change is that Amateur Radio licenses will be issued for life, although licensees will have to confirm their license details every five years. The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) says it welcomes the Amateur Radio licensing reforms. "The RSGB are reasonably comfortable with Ofcom's recent announcement," RSGB General Manager Peter Kirby, G0TWW, told ARRL. "We never had an argument with electronic delivery. We had a big argument with regards to a 'lifetime' license with no checks and balances. Our concerns have been satisfied inasmuch as it is a lifetime license that has to be effectively renewed every five years or it lapses." Paper licenses are going away too, for all intents and purposes, and Ofcom instead will provide an on-line service to issue electronic licenses. Hard-copy licenses will remain available for those lacking Internet access, but there will be an administrative charge. Starting October 1, Ofcom will take over from the Royal Mail the role of issuing, renewing and amending Amateur Radio licenses. The RSGB's Kirby notes that while Ofcom announced it was deregulating the Amateur Radio license, the RSGB is quick to point out that the changes to the licensing system "do not add up to deregulation" of ham radio. "Ofcom continue to shoot themselves in the foot with the liberal use of the word 'deregulate'," Kirby said. "Every time it appears they get deluged with letters from angry hams and Members of Parliament, and even our Patron, the Duke of Edinburgh, has taken them to task in recent months." The RSGB last year went on record as being "strongly opposed" to any steps by Ofcom to deregulate Amateur Radio in Great Britain, fearing that it could lead to the elimination of amateur licensing altogether. "There is no doubt that the RSGB's robust stand last year influenced Ofcom's change of mind in a number of areas," Kirby said. "However, these are early days yet, and I have serious doubts that they will be able to provide the electronic option in the time scale they have laid down." Ofcom said its new approach to Amateur Radio licensing will "reduce unnecessary bureaucracy." Additional details are on the Ofcom Web site <http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/aradio/statement/>. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sol Man Tad "Who Let the Spots Out?" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: More zeroes! A string of zero-sunspot days reappeared this week--a pattern we'll likely see repeated over the next year, but for longer periods. Average daily sunspot numbers compared to last week dropped by nearly two points to 7.1. On February 20 and 21 a gust of solar wind hit Earth, causing a moderate rise in geomagnetic indices and visible aurora way up north. A small coronal hole on our sun's equator was the source. Over the next week don't expect sunspot numbers to rise. A solar wind from a coronal hole is expected to cause unsettled conditions for Friday and Saturday, February 24-25. Geophysical Institute Prague expects unsettled conditions for February 24, quiet to unsettled on February 25, quiet February 26-27, and quiet to unsettled on February 28-March 2. Sunspot numbers for February 16 through 22 were 27, 23, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0, with a mean of 7.1. 10.7 cm flux was 79.2, 79.2, 78.5, 76.5, 76.2, 75.9, and 76, with a mean of 77.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 8, 4, 2, 6, 20, 17 and 12, with a mean of 9.9. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 7, 2, 2, 5, 9, 15 and 11, with a mean of 7.3. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The North American QSO Party (RTTY), the CQ 160-Meter Contest (SSB), the Russian PSK Worldwide Contest, the REF Contest (SSB), the UBA DX Contest (CW), the Mississippi and North Carolina QSO parties, the CZEBRIS Contest, the High Speed Club CW Contest and the CQC Winter QSO Party are the weekend of February 25-26. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL International DX Contest (SSB), the Wake-Up! QRP Sprint, the Open Ukraine RTTY Championship, the DARC 10-Meter Digital Contest are the weekend of March 4-5. The ARS Spartan Sprint and the AGCW YL-CW Party are March 7. 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. JUST AHEAD: 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, March 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, March 17. To learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html> or contact the CCE Department <firstname.lastname@example.org>. * 3Y0X DXpedition logs more than 87,000 contacts: This month's 3Y0X DXpedition to Peter I Island managed to put 87,034 contacts into its logbook during two weeks of operation before it shut down February 19 at 1813 UTC. The lucky last contact was with K8LTG. The 3Y0X DXpedition surpassed the 82,000 QSOs achieved by A52A (Bhutan), but it fell a bit short of the 96,000 contacts logged by K1B (Baker Island). The 22-member 3Y0X team, headed by led by Ralph Fedor, K0IR, and Bob Allphin, K4UEE, now is safely aboard its ship, the DAP Mares and plans a stop in the South Shetlands on the way home. Because of its remote location in the Bellinghausen Sea near Antarctica and the severe weather conditions, Peter I has been activated but rarely and remains one of the most-wanted DXCC entities. For additional information, visit the Peter I DXpedition Web site <http://www.peterone.com/>. * Dayton Hamvention® announces theme for 2006 show: "Ham Radio is Public Service" is the theme for Dayton Hamvention 2006--reflecting the renewed awareness by the public of the service Amateur Radio operators provided after the Gulf Coast hurricanes and other disasters. In announcing the theme, Hamvention 2006 General Chairman Jim Nies, WX8F, said that it serves to remind the public and the ham radio community that one of the reasons ham radio exists is to provide communication in emergencies when all else fails. Several forum sessions are expected to deal with emergency communication-related topics, including how Amateur Radio performed after the hurricanes wiped out communications in a wide segment of the south. For more information, visit the Dayton Hamvention Web site <http://www.hamvention.org/>. More than 25,000 visitors are expected to attend the three-day event Friday through Sunday, May 19-21. The ARRL has announced that it will present ARRL EXPO 2006 during Hamvention <http://www.arrl.org/announce/nc/2006/>. * Revised, corrected Element 2 question pool released: The Question Pool Committee (QPC) of the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) has announced the release of a revised and corrected Element 2 (Technician) question pool. The new Element 2 question pool becomes effective for all Technician-class Amateur Radio examinations administered on or after July 1, 2006. Changes from the initial Element 2 question pool include elimination of some questions (T5D06, T6B09 and T7A08) and rewording of others to increase clarity. "We thank those users who reported the errors and made other suggestions for ways to improve the product," the committee said. "The QPC reviewed all submissions and incorporated the changes that were appropriate." The QPC warned that only the Element 2 question pool dated February 6, 2006, is valid. The new Element 2 database is available for download from the NCVEC Web site as a PDF, MS-Word, Rich Text Format (RTF) or ASCII text file <http://www.ncvec.org/ama_news_article.php?id=82>. The QPC says subsequent changes will be handled by deletion of the affected question. The QPC invites additional input via e-mail <email@example.com>. * DXCC Desk approves operation for DXCC credit: The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved this operation for DXCC credit: K3LP/KP5 and N3KS/KP5, Desecheo Island, December 16-17, 2005. 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/>. * Correction: The story "Onboard Fires, Safe Grounding Question Topics for NA1SS School Contacts" in The ARRL Letter, Vol 25, No 04 (January 27, 2006) incorrectly identified Aquebogue Elementary School in Riverhead, New York. =========================================================== 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/>. Joel Harrison, W5ZN, 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. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League. ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): firstname.lastname@example.org ==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, email@example.com ==>ARRL News on the Web: <http://www.arrl.org/> ==>ARRL Audio News: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call 860-594-0384 ==>How to Get The ARRL Letter The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from ARRL HQ. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for e-mail delivery: ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site <http://www.arrl.org/members/>. 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