*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 25, No. 09 March 3, 2006 *************** =========================================================== This weekend: The ARRL International DX Contest (SSB)! =========================================================== IN THIS EDITION: * +Ham Aid funds disaster communication "Gear Ready to Go" * +Federal post-Katrina reports favorable to Amateur Radio's role * +ISS commander continues his record-breaking streak of school QSOs * +ARRL National Emergency Response Planning Committee named * +ARRL "Hello" campaign to kick off in April * +Recovering mine tragedy survivor making progress * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio: THE ARRL INTERNATIONAL DX CONTEST (SSB)! ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration +Hams help following mud slide +W1AW 160-meter frequency change put on hold David A. Rosenthal, N6TST, wins February QST Cover Plaque Award Dayton 2006 Contest Dinner tickets now available Tim Chen, BV2A, SK DXCC Desk approves operations 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 =========================================================== ==>ARRL HAM AID "GEAR READY TO GO" AWAITS NEXT DISASTER When another disaster on the scale of Hurricane Katrina comes along, the League will be able to deploy "ham gear ready to go," thanks to manufacturers' donations of Amateur Radio gear, ARRL members' generous monetary contributions and a federal grant. The ARRL Ham Aid-sponsored "Go Kits" now being assembled at League Headquarters are the third leg of a program that's already reimbursed certain out-of-pocket expenses for ham radio hurricane zone volunteers and helped restore Amateur Radio backbone infrastructure along the US Gulf Coast. "To me, this is a first step in ramping up ARRL's ability to support Amateur Radio volunteers in the field before the next big disaster hits," says ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH. "It won't replace or supplant anything that's already on the ground and working well, but it will strengthen it and add flexibility to Amateur Radio's overall response capabilities." The equipment and cash donations, coupled with a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), will mean Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) field volunteers will never go without in terms of equipment. Hobart says $25,000 in Ham Aid funds have been set aside for the Go Kits. The Go Kits will enable the League to loan out needed equipment on a moment's notice. Emergency Communications Specialist Harry Abery, AB1ER, spends his days at ARRL Headquarters securely stowing various equipment complements in rugged, waterproof Pelican 1650 containers. "The idea is that this makes it easy to ship," explains Abery, "and since they're less than 50 pounds apiece, they'll be able to go by air if necessary." Flooding won't be an issue. "You can throw them in the water, and they'll float," he adds. So far, Abery says, there's an HF Kit, a VHF/UHF Kit, a Handheld Transceiver Kit and a Support Kit--seven of each, and more on the way. He and other League staffers consulted with volunteers who'd been in the field during Hurricane Katrina to find out what gear served them best or what they wished they'd had but didn't. The HF Kit contains a 100-W HF transceiver, a microphone and a power supply. The VHF/UHF Kit includes a dualband mobile transceiver, power supply, headset, 10 handheld transceivers and a supply of alkaline batteries. In the Handheld Transceiver Kit are eight dualband handheld transceivers and antennas plus a stock of extra batteries. The Support Kit includes a length of BuryFlex 213 coaxial cable, rope, 15-foot jumper cables with battery clamps at one end and an Anderson Powerpole on the other. The kit includes various fittings and adapters to connect to the power distribution unit and to make RF feed line connections. All kits contain any necessary manuals. Packed in a separate container, appropriate antennas and antenna accessories will accompany a given kit. More than two dozen members of the Amateur Radio industry and individual radio amateurs contributed equipment last year for use in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2005/09/09/105/>. Citing Amateur Radio's favorable treatment in recent US House Subcommittee and White House reports on the Hurricane Katrina response (see below), Hobart said it's imperative to sustain and enhance ham radio's emergency communication capabilities for the future. "Disasters happen to be one place Amateur Radio can shine," she pointed out. "We need to maintain a high level of readiness to do those things that are second nature to ARES members but that the public is just coming to recognize." Making the Go Kits available to ARES teams, Hobart says, will help to cement Amateur Radio's position as a community resource. "We want to be able to ensure that we have the personnel and the equipment," she said. "With a disaster of this magnitude we need to be ready." ARRL continues to solicit Ham Aid donations to help maintain and sustain the League's ability to support Amateur Radio volunteers in the field. League members can contribute to Ham Aid via the secure ARRL Development Office donation Web site <https://www.arrl.org/forms/development/donations/basic/>. Simply click "Ham Aid" and complete the on-line form. ==>AMATEUR RADIO GETS FAVORABLE MENTIONS IN FEDERAL KATRINA REPORTS Ham radio received positive mentions in post-Katrina reports from the US House of Representatives and the White House. References to the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) and the HF digital e-mail system Winlink 2000 appear in "A Failure of Initiative"--the final report of the Select Bipartisan Committee to investigate the preparation for and response to Hurricane Katrina (see <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2006/02/17/2/>). "Like all levels of government," noted the 364-page report released February 15, "the National Communication System (NCS) "was not able to address all aspects of the damage to the communications infrastructure of the Gulf States." MARS was cited for its role as part of the Shared Resources High Frequency Radio Program (SHARES), a federal emergency communication system. The report says that "within days" of Katrina's landfall, NCS called upon more than 430 SHARES stations across the US to, among other things, assist first responders conducting search-and-rescue missions by relaying information to government agencies, by relaying logistical and operational information among FEMA EOCs in Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana, and by handling health-and-welfare messages between volunteer agencies in Georgia and the American Red Cross national headquarters. "Additionally, the NCS coordinated the frequencies used by the nearly 1000 Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers across the nation who served in the Katrina stricken area providing communications for government agencies, the Red Cross and The Salvation Army," the report continued. "Emergency communications were conducted not only by voice, but also by high-speed data transmissions using state-of-the art digital communications software known as Winlink." The report further noted, "In Mississippi, FEMA dispatched Amateur Radio operators to hospitals, evacuation centers, and county EOCs to send emergency messaging 24 hours per day. Cited were comments by Bay St Louis Mayor Eddie Favre that Amateur Radio volunteers "were especially helpful in maintaining situational awareness and relaying Red Cross messages to and from the Hancock County EOC." According to the report, radio amateurs at airports in Texas and Louisiana "tracked evacuees and notified families of their whereabouts," while the Red Cross "deployed Amateur Radio volunteers at its 250 shelters and feeding stations, principally in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida." The Salvation Army, the report pointed out, operates its own system of Amateur Radio volunteers known as SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network). "During the Hurricane Katrina response and recovery effort, SATERN joined forces with the SHARES program and received over 48,000 requests for emergency communications assistance utilizing federal frequencies made available via the SHARES program," the report noted. "A Failure of Initiative" asserted that the loss of power and the failure at various levels of government "to adequately prepare for the ensuing and inevitable loss of communications" hindered the hurricane response "by compromising situational awareness and command and control operations." "Despite the devastation left by Katrina, this needn't have been the case," the report stressed. "Catastrophic disasters may have some unpredictable consequences, but losing power and the dependent communications systems after a hurricane should not be one of them." The White House report, "The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned" <http://www.whitehouse.gov/reports/katrina-lessons-learned.pdf> released February 22 also cast Amateur Radio in a favorable light--in its Appendix B, "What Went Right." "Amateur Radio Operators from both the Amateur Radio Emergency Service and the American Radio Relay League monitored distress calls and rerouted emergency requests for assistance throughout the US until messages were received by emergency response personnel," the report said. "A distress call made from a cell phone on a rooftop in New Orleans to Baton Rouge was relayed, via ham radio, from Louisiana to Oregon, then Utah, and finally back to emergency personnel in Louisiana, who rescued the 15 stranded victims." The report also points out that Amateur Radio volunteers were on duty at the National Hurricane Center, the Hurricane Watch Net, Waterway Net, SKYWARN and the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN). The report's Appendix B cites specific reports in the general news media about Amateur Radio activities following Hurricane Katrina and points to several news stories that appeared on the ARRL Web site. ==>SPACE QSOs A HIT IN DC, JAPAN Sixteen youngsters attending the Discover Engineering Family Day event February 18 in Washington, DC, had the rare opportunity of talking to International Space Station Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, via ham radio. Operating from the space station's NA1SS a few days later, McArthur also answered a series of questions from pupils at Itaki Elementary School in Japan. The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program arranged both events. During the Engineering Day contact, one participant wanted to know if the Expedition 12 crew had "learned anything really cool" during its science experiments. "One of the biggest experiments is just the crew members on board, just the human beings on board, so we learn how our bodies change in space," McArthur said, noting that ISS research centers on finding out what's needed for a journey to Mars. On other fronts, he's growing crystals in space, while crewmate Valeri Tokarev is growing seeds. As for the really cool stuff: "I think the coolest thing I've learned is that living in space is a very pleasant, very nice thing to do," McArthur added. For the Discover Engineering Family Day contact, Verizon donated a two-way teleconferencing link between the Sacred Hearts Academy WH6PN Earth station operated by Dick Flagg, AH6NM, in Honolulu, and the National Building Museum in Washington. Children and questions for the contact were solicited via the museum's Web site. McArthur told the Engineering Day participants that it's possible to get headaches in space, especially when the carbon dioxide level gets too high. Crew members sometimes sneeze, too, he said, and the result in microgravity can illustrate Newton's Third Law. "I think a good sneeze really feels good, and it feels really good in space!" McArthur enthused. "Of course, if you're not holding yourself securely when you sneeze, y'know, just that kind of violent motion can send you spinning off in a strange direction." The contact got some publicity in the Washington Post and on local TV stations. Some 7000 people turned out for Discover Engineering Family Day, and an AMSAT team supported an ARISS booth during the event. On February 20, youngsters at the Itaki Elementary School Fathers' Club took part in a direct VHF contact between NA1SS and 8J4I in Japan. McArthur told them that he became an astronaut because he's an aerospace engineer and a pilot, "and being an astronaut seemed to be the most interesting way of doing both things." He said his current stint as commander of ISS Expedition 12 marked his fourth--and by far his longest--trip into space. "To me, space represents the ultimate challenge for mankind, to show that we can grow and eventually leave our home planet," McArthur told another young questioner. Asked which star was the most beautiful, McArthur replied, "our sun." But, he went on to say, he thinks all the stars in the sky are beautiful. "They are no bigger for us than they are for you," he explained, "but we do not have clouds or dust in the air to look through, so they are very clear." At the 8J4I controls was Kei Fujimura, JJ4RJE. In all, 13 students participated in the event, and McArthur answered 19 of their questions before the ISS went over the horizon and signal was lost. The event attracted media coverage from TV and newspapers. An audience of about 100 people was on hand for the occasion. McArthur has completed 29 ARISS school contacts during his five months in space--far more than any previous ISS crew member. ARISS <http://www.rac.ca/ariss> is an international educational outreach, with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. ==>PRESIDENT HARRISON NAMES ARRL NATIONAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLANNING COMMITTEE ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, has appointed 13 individuals to serve on the ARRL National Emergency Response Planning Committee. The League's Board of Directors resolved to establish the panel during its annual meeting in January "to appropriately prepare for future large-scale disasters." The committee will develop a comprehensive recommendation for ARRL responses to regional, national and international disasters. "This group reflects a nationwide assembly of individuals with direct field experience in all aspects of emergency communications at various levels with disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, floods and terrorist activity to name a few," Harrison said. "There were many excellent recommendations for this committee, which is quite encouraging in itself and speaks highly of Amateur Radio's productive involvement in emergency communications." ARRL First Vice President Kay Craigie, N3KN, will chair the ad hoc committee. Appointed to serve on the committee were: Delta Division Director Henry Leggette, WD4Q, (Programs and Services Committee liaison); Pacific Division Vice Director Andy Oppel, N6AJO; Atlantic Division Vice Director Tom Abernethy, W3TOM; Alabama Section Manager Greg Sarratt, W4OZK; Western Washington Section Manager Ed Bruette, N7NVP; South Texas Section Emergency Coordinator Jerry Reimer, KK5CA; Southern Florida Section Emergency Coordinator Jeff Beals, WA4AW; NYC-Long Island Section Emergency Coordinator Tom Carrubba, KA2D; Mississippi Section District Emergency Coordinator Karl Bullock, WA5TMC; Colorado Net Manager/State Government Liaison Gene McGahey, AL7GQ; IARU Region II Emergency Coordinator Rick Palm, K1CE, (IARU liaison) and ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Dave Patton, NN1N (ARRL staff liaison). Harrison said the committee will begin its work immediately under Craigie's direction. Among other things, the National Emergency Response Planning Committee will thoroughly evaluate the responses and actions of ARRL and the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) during Hurricane Katrina as well as lessons learned. The Board's resolution establishing the committee noted that the emergency communications resources and organization needed for national and international disasters "are markedly different" from what's required at the regional and local levels. Given the unprecedented scope and devastation of the 2005 hurricane season in general and of Hurricane Katrina in particular, ARRL Headquarters was placed into a leadership coordination role through national-level requests for help from served agencies such as the American Red Cross. The ARRL Board will consider the committee's recommendations at its 2007 annual meeting next January. ==>"HELLO" CAMPAIGN TO PUT FRIENDLY, INVITING FACE ON AMATEUR RADIO A new ARRL public relations campaign set to launch this April will cast Amateur Radio in the light of the 21st century and focus on its universal appeal, even in today's already technology-rich society. At the same time, the "Hello" campaign will note the 100th anniversary of what many historians consider the first voice radio broadcast in 1906 by Reginald Fessenden. "It is quite simply the largest PR campaign that ham radio has ever attempted," says ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP. Built around the word "Hello," the coordinated campaign will set "a positive, upbeat tone that highlights the international capabilities of Amateur Radio," he explained. One aim of the "Hello" campaign will be to reframe Amateur Radio within a contemporary context. "ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, was correct in stating that the Main Street of today is not the same as the Main Street of yesteryear," Pitts went on to say. "To reach out today, the very first requirement is that Amateur Radio operators be perceived as friendly and trustworthy. That's a true public relations goal and the prime focus of the campaign." Pitts says it's not helpful to lament the time in decades past when Amateur Radio grew pretty much on its own, without too much effort on the part of clubs and individuals. "Only our combined, effective action will do that today," Pitts says. "This campaign will give hams the tools they need to reach out in their communities to non-hams and influence their perception of Amateur Radio." The national "Hello" campaign can bring curious people into contact with ham radio groups, but it will be up to local radio amateurs to make them truly welcome, Pitts maintains. The "Hello" campaign is designed to gain momentum as the year progresses. Components will include the release of public service announcements for use by radio and TV broadcasters and a video for meetings, presentations and even broadcast. Other highlights will include a "Hello" campaign Web site and special operating events. The high point of the "Hello" campaign will come in December on the centennial of Fessenden's first radio broadcast. History recalls that the Canadian-born and educated Fessenden, using an early alternator, transmitted the first audio radio broadcast from his laboratory in Brant Rock, Massachusetts. Radio operators aboard ships at sea--tipped off in advance to be listening for something special--were astounded to hear Fessenden's broadcast that included the scientist and inventor playing "O Holy Night" on the violin and reading a Bible passage. The campaign will show that despite the Internet and other technologies, the possibility of being able to talk with everyday people around the world and sometimes in exotic locales--coupled with the surprise, art and uncertainty of DXing--remains a major attraction for Amateur Radio. The "Hello" campaign also will take advantage of likely FCC action this year to drop the Morse code requirement at least for General class applicants. "We all say we want to make a change for the better for Amateur Radio and get others interested," Pitts said. "This is the time, this is the chance. Stay tuned! More to come!" ==>INJURED MINER RANDY MCCLOY, KC8VKZ, TALKING, JOKING Randy McCloy, KC8VKZ--the lone survivor of the January 2 Sago Mine disaster in Upshur County, West Virginia--is continuing to recover. Speaking on The Early Show on CBS TV March 2, McCloy's wife Anna told co-anchor Hannah Storm that her husband is talking again and even telling jokes. "He'll listen to jokes and understand," Anna McCloy told Storm. "He'll talk to me and the kids--just regular conversation." She also said McCloy has told her he remembers "bits and pieces" of the mining disaster that left 12 of his co-workers dead of carbon monoxide poisoning. McCloy, 26, who's been in a rehabilitation facility since January 26, also answers questions appropriately, recognizes his family and can "move quite well," Anna McCloy said. She has remained at her husband's side since his rescue. McCloy eats with assistance and has expressed distaste for institutional cuisine, instead preferring the restaurant and fast food fare his wife supplies. Anna McCloy says she's "not quite sure" if her husband realizes he was the only survivor of the mine mishap. "I don't question him about it. When he wants to talk about it, I listen to him, but I don't push him, and I don't question him," she said. One of Randal McCloy's physicians, Dr Julian Bailes, told Storm that McCloy has "improved beyond our expectations" during rehabilitation. "I think we see his old personality coming back." Well-wishers have been sending cards and QSLs to McCloy at PO Box 223, Philippi, WV 26435. A fund has been set up to accept donations for McCloy's benefit: The Randal McCloy Jr Fund, c/o Clear Mountain Bank, 1889 Earl Core Rd, Morgantown, WV 26505. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar sage Tad "Fall Out Boy" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Low activity continues with another string of zero-sunspot days. Average daily sunspot numbers for this week were down by 4 points from the prior week to 3.1. Average solar flux declined by 1 point to 76.4. Average sunspot numbers plummeted in February--far below any other month in the second half of Cycle 23. This weekend is the ARRL INTERNATIONAL DX CONTEST (SSB) <http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2006/intldx.html>. Although solar activity is low, geomagnetic conditions should remain quiet, which is good. Sunday, March 5, could see some unsettled activity. The predicted planetary A index for March 3-7 is 8, 5, 12, 5 and 5. Sunspot and solar flux levels should remain very low. Sunspot numbers for February 23 through March 1 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 11, 11 and 0, with a mean of 3.1. 10.7 cm flux was 75.1, 76, 76, 76.5, 77, 77.1, and 77, with a mean of 76.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 3, 6, 1, 5, 3, 5 and 7, with a mean of 4.3. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 4, 4, 1, 3, 2, 2 and 5, with a mean of 3. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: 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. JUST AHEAD: The North American Sprint (RTTY), the RSGB Commonwealth Contest, the Idaho, Oklahoma and Wisconsin QSO parties, the AGCW QRP Contest, the UBA Spring Contest (CW) and the NSARA Contest are the weekend of March 11-12. 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 19, for these ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (CCE). Program on-line courses: Amateur Radio Emergency Communication Level 1 (EC-001), Radio Frequency Interference (EC-006), Antenna Design and Construction (EC-009), Technician Licensing (EC-010), Analog Electronics (EC-012) and Digital Electronics (EC-013). Classes begin Friday, April 7. To learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html> or contact the CCE Department <email@example.com>. * Hams help following mud slide: The RSGB reports that radio amateurs helped coordinate rescue operations after a devastating mud slide on the Philippine island of Leyte buried an entire village February 17. More than 1800 people are believed to have died when the village of Guinsaugon was engulfed by mud following a week of torrential rain and a small earthquake. The International Radio Emergency Support Coalition (IRESC) <http://www.iresc.org/> supported the relief effort by providing communication links between the disaster scene and the International Red Cross. The IRESC specializes in connecting traditional ham radio systems--HF transceivers and VHF/UHF repeaters--with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology via EchoLink. The EchoLink net set up for the Leyte disaster reportedly went on the air within hours of the mudslide, and Philippine amateurs used it to pass lists of missing people and survivors. Other messages included requests for food, water, mats, clothing, stretchers, medical kits and digging tools. * W1AW 160-meter frequency change put on hold: QRX on that W1AW QSY! W1AW has rescinded plans to change its 160-meter CW frequency and will remain on 1817.5 kHz for the time being. An announced change to 1807.5 kHz was aimed at reducing the possibility of interfering with DX stations that have begun showing up in the vicinity of 1817.5 kHz. "Lately we have received more complaints about W1AW interfering with weak DX signals," said ARRL CEO and W1AW Trustee David Sumner, K1ZZ. "After what we thought was due diligence we decided that it made sense to shift below 1810 kHz, since that is the lower band edge in Region 1 and would pretty much eliminate the conflict with DXers." Monitoring showed that 1807.5 appeared to be generally clear. "Unfortunately," Sumner continued, "we failed to pick up the fact that PSK31 operators appear to have adopted 1807 kHz as their 160-meter frequency, and we don't want to conflict with any established activity centers." Under a tight deadline to announce the W1AW operating schedule 30 days in advance, the League has called off the frequency shift for now. The question will be revisited over the summer. * David A. Rosenthal, N6TST, wins February QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for February is David A. Rosenthal, N6TST, for his article "Polar Bear Portable." Congratulations, David! The winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author or authors of the best article in each issue--is determined by a vote of ARRL members on the QST Cover Plaque Poll Web page <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/QSTvote.html>. Cast a ballot for your favorite article in the March issue by Friday, March 31. * Dayton 2006 Contest Dinner tickets now available: The North Coast Contesters have announced that tickets now are on sale for the 14th annual Dayton Contest Dinner. DX Engineering is sponsoring the tickets. The dinner will take place Saturday, May 20, 6:30 PM, in the Van Cleve Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Fifth and Jefferson streets, next to the Convention Center in downtown Dayton. John Dorr, K1AR, will emcee the event, which will feature the 2006 CQ Contest Hall of Fame inductions. Tickets are $34. To obtain Contest Dinner tickets, contact Craig Clark, K1QX <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Radioware and Radio Bookstore, PO Box 209, Rindge, NH 03461; call weekdays, 10 AM until 6 PM Eastern, 800-457-7373; 603-899-6957; fax (24/7) 603-899-6826. Credit card orders are welcome. Include name and call sign. Tickets will be mailed no later than May 10. No tickets will be available at the door.--Tim Duffy, K3LR * Tim Chen, BV2A, SK: Taiwan's first radio amateur, Tim Chen, BV2A, founder and first president of the Chinese Taipei Amateur Radio League (CTARL), died February 22. He was 92. ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, said Chen's passing was sad news. "Tim was always kind, friendly and willing to allow you to operate BV," said Harrison, who became acquainted with Chen when traveling frequently to Taiwan in the late 1980s and early 1990s. "I'll never forget our first meeting on a dark, rainy night in Taipei. Tim didn't know who I was, other than a fellow radio amateur, but he came out to meet me at the BV2B station." ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Dave Patton, NN1N, said Chen--for years the only radio amateur on the air from Taiwan--was more famous than he knew. "He was the first BV QSO for most DXers who got their start between 1970 and about 1990 and was a guy you could count on to call in during contests--BV2A on CW and BV2B on phone," he observed. A memorial service was held February 28 in Taipei. Chen was a long-time ARRL member. E-mail condolence messages to Chen's family via CTARL <email@example.com>. * DXCC Desk approves operations for DXCC credit: The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved these operations for DXCC credit: TS3A, Tunisia, March 24-28, 2005; T6X, Afghanistan, current operation effective March 8, 2005; TT8PK, Chad, December 27, 2005 through February 11, 2006; XW1A, XW1LLR5, XW1X and XW1M, Laos, current operation effective October 29, 2005; D2DX, Angola, current operation effective December 15, 2004 (a previous announcement accredited the D2DX operation effective December 15, 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/>. =========================================================== 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. 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