*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 25, No. 16 April 21, 2006 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * ARRL Documents Flaws in Manassas BPL Interference Report * Severe Weather Ravages Tennessee, Hams Heed the Call to Help * Fires and Local Events Keep New Mexico Hams Busy * Iowa Hams Support Tornado Recovery * New SM Named in Western Pennsylvania * Three-Time World Champions Not Participating in WRTC 2006 * Major Marconi Exhibit Opens April 24 in the UK * Boy Scout Special Event April 22 * ARRL Staffer Demos "Magic Trick" for Science Teachers * Honoring Excellence in Ham Radio PR: McGan Award Deadline Looms * Army, Air Force MARS Announce Leadership Changes * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration ARRL Headquarters hosts SKYWARN training session Austria verifies BPL complaints Paul Flaherty, N9FZX, SK YX0A operator reported SK, DXpedition adopts memorial call sign Transceiver designer Michael F. Elliott, W8KRR, SK David F. Mangels, AC6WO, SK Ralph Saroyan, W6JPU, SK =========================================================== ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): email@example.com ==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, firstname.lastname@example.org =========================================================== NOTE: Because of vacation schedules, there will be no edition of our Web/podcast ARRL Audio News today, Friday, April 21. ARRL Audio News will resume April 28. We apologize for any inconvenience. =========================================================== ==>ARRL DOCUMENTS FLAWS IN MANASSAS BPL INTERFERENCE REPORT In response to a report from BPL operator COMTek that claims its BPL system in Manassas, Virginia cannot be shown to be the cause of ongoing interference complaints by local amateurs, the ARRL has documented the report's shortcomings and again has demanded that the FCC shut down the system until the interference problems are solved. In an April 14, 2006 letter to two FCC officials, ARRL General Counsel Christopher D. Imlay, W3KD, concluded: "In light of the record of long-standing interference to licensed stations in Manassas, and the failure of COMTek and the City of Manassas to comply with Section 15.615(d), the Commission should require that the BPL system be shut down immediately, and not resume its operation until the facility is shown to be in full compliance with Commission rules regarding radiated emissions and the non-interference requirement of Section 15.5 of the Commission's rules." The 10 page letter, addressed to Joseph Casey, Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, and Katherine Power, of the Spectrum Enforcement Division, sets forth in detail the "tortured history of interference complaints involving the BPL system." COMTek's report was submitted to the FCC in response to a letter from Casey to the City of Manassas and COMTek requiring a "report of system compliance and your report of actions taken to address the alleged harmful interference." The report states, "COMTek believes that the current configuration of the Manassas BPL System is not the source of interference to amateur radio licensees." The ARRL response, citing ongoing interference complaints, called the study "fatally and obviously flawed." Appended to the ARRL letter to the FCC was a detailed analysis of the technical study prepared by ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI. The analysis concluded: "…the testing that was performed in no way is sufficient to reach any general conclusions about emissions levels." The analysis goes on to criticize the methodology and conclusions of the tests, which were performed by Product Safety Engineering, Inc. Hare's analysis found a number of deficiencies in the PSE report, including: The testing was not done in accordance with the FCC's recommended test guidelines; The test equipment used -- a spectrum analyzer and a passive loop antenna -- was not sufficient to measure notch depth nor to measure the ambient noise levels; PSE tested only one amateur band at a single location, which was insufficient to establish compliance or non-interference; and The testing does not follow good engineering practice and is not sufficient to have met the requirements set forth by the FCC for this testing. The ARRL letter to the FCC concluded: "…The Manassas and COMTek non-responses to the Commission's directive; their vague assurances to work with the Amateur Radio operators in the future; and their stonewalling on the cause of the harmful interference should not be tolerated by the Enforcement Bureau and will not be further tolerated by the Amateur Radio community in Manassas, or by ARRL." ==>SEVERE WEATHER RAVAGES TENNESSEE, HAMS HEED THE CALL TO HELP On Friday, April 7, Western Tennessee was ravaged by tornadoes, and once again, Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers were called on to help provide emergency communication. According to Tennessee Section Emergency Coordinator Jimmy Floyd, NQ4U, more than 70 counties experienced the heavy thunderstorms and tornadoes that swept the western part of the Volunteer State. In all, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued more than 130 weather watches and warnings and reported at least 26 tornadoes. Nearly two dozen counties suffered property damage and loss of life. Twelve people died, and more than 160 others were injured as a result of the severe weather. By 1 PM local time, the Middle Tennessee Emergency Amateur Radio Society (MTEARS) repeater system carried numerous reports of severe weather and damage to many areas of the state. According to Floyd, the MTEARS UHF system spans most of Tennessee, with Nashville as its hub. Both the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) monitor the system. Local television stations monitor ARES and SKYWARN traffic, as well, he said. The first tornado watches began in the early afternoon, and by 4:15 PM local time, the Tennessee Section ARES was placed on Alert condition "Charlie." Within 20 minutes, the entire state activated, and hams were monitoring HF and local repeaters, remaining on the air to assist in any way until almost midnight. During the storms, the NWS in Old Hickory lost power as well as telephone service. NOAA Weather Radio and radar also were unavailable for a time. Amateur Radio volunteers stepped up to the plate, and--thanks to their emergency/disaster training--were able to relay needed information. Wilson County Emergency Coordinator Pete Navarra, K4IWX, works for the county's emergency management agency. He said that because of information relayed via Amateur Radio, his county was able to dispatch three ambulances, two rescue trucks, one fire engine and a host of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) search-and-rescue responders and their mobile command post to hard-hit Sumner County. Amateur Radio also helped to dramatically decrease emergency personnel response times, Navarra said. "It was interesting to hear several calls from the Metro Nashville Office of Emergency Management, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and other local agencies trying to communicate," he recounted. "Conventional methods of communication did not work--even cell phone service in Wilson County had gone out. Amateur Radio is needed and it works!" Floyd agreed. "This has been a big test of the ARES system in Tennessee, but rest assured, we will be ready to go when needed." ==>FIRES AND LOCAL EVENTS KEEP NEW MEXICO HAMS BUSY With a dry spring underway, fire season is in full swing in New Mexico, and Amateur Radio operators have been on the front lines. What started out as a small 150 acre fire near Mora on April 12, roared into a 10,000 acre blaze overnight. ARES personnel in Santa Fe, Taos, Los Alamos and Sandoval Counties were place on alert in the afternoon of April 13. Mora County was in danger, as well, but does not have an ARES support group. Winds were gusting to more than 35 miles per hour and the humidity hovering under 10%. The fire spread rapidly and evacuations were ordered for Ojo Feliz, Los Hueros, Ocate and numerous ranches in northern New Mexico for what is now called the Ojo Feliz Fire. Investigators believe the fire was human-caused. Once Gov Bill Richardson signed an Emergency Declaration Order for the affected area, local hams jumped into action. Mike Scales, K5SCA, Gary Surad, K5BIQ, Andrew Parker, KC5ZYF, Jay Miller, WA5WHN, and Don Scott, N5UJT, all from the Sandoval County ARES, went to assist Mora County Rd Cross shelters and the New Mexico State Police Mobile Command Center. All traffic was handled via voice through the 147.30 MHz Elk Mountain Repeater, allowing direct communications with Santa Fe and Rio Rancho, or VHF simplex. By noon on Friday, April 14, the shelters had closed and Amateur Radio operations were suspended, but once again, ARES groups were placed on alert for yet another fire that began near Vaughn, New Mexico (Guadalupe County). Fortunately, fire crews were able to jump on that fire and get it under control quickly. In addition to the fire, ARES groups from Taos and Los Alamos assisted with safety communications for the annual Pilgrimage to Chimayo. Starting in the darkness before Good Friday (April 14), pilgrims line the highways north of Santa Fe carrying crosses and glow sticks. By Easter Sunday, 65,000 worshipers pass through the doors of El Santuario de Chimayo, a little chapel built almost 200 years ago on a site that is sacred to many Pueblo Indians and descendants of Spanish settlers. Many walked more than 100 miles on the pilgrimage carrying crosses and other religious items. ARES volunteers monitored the pilgrims along the journey that traditionally follows US highway 84/285. Due to construction, the pedestrians had to be detoured through Village of Tesuque. Grants County Amateur Radio operators were involved in a Search and Rescue mission on April 14, and Sandoval County ARES was involved the week before in a Hazmat spill in Cuba, New Mexico. -- Charlie Christmann, K5CEC, ARRL PIO, New Mexico Section ==>IOWA HAMS SUPPORT TORNADO RECOVERY Multiple tornadoes struck Iowa City on April 13, and local Amateur Radio operators put their emergency and disaster training to use. Hams from the Iowa City Amateur Radio Club's HamRad group provided communications between the Johnson County Emergency Management Agency (JCEMA) Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Red Cross shelters set up in the area. HamRad is organized to work with Johnson County in emergencies. Over 25 hams were in action as weather spotters, managed by Rich Bingham, WW0Q, and Jeff Dodd, KI0JP. Regis Johanns, KB0VDO, and Jim Meade, NO0B, established a net control station at the EOC, sending two communications teams to shelters, with Robert Seemuth, KC0TIK, and Dodd leading these teams. Once the tornadoes had passed through the area, HamRad teams stayed on the job until the next day, when National Guard units could take over responsibility, ensuring that shelter management and the EOC could keep in touch and serve those in need. ==>NEW SECTION MANAGER NAMED IN WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA Larry O'Toole, K3LBP, has been appointed as the new ARRL Section Manager of Western Pennsylvania effective April 20. Larry takes over the Section Manager reins from Rich Beaver, N3SRJ, who recently stepped down because of increasing work demands and personal reasons. Rich will continue to remain active as a District Emergency Coordinator. O'Toole, who lives in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, was appointed by ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Dave Patton, NN1N. His background has been in public service and emergency communications where is presently the ARRL Emergency Coordinator for Westmoreland County and has served as a District Emergency Coordinator. Larry also holds the Official Relay Station and Official Emergency Station appointments. For May QST's Public Service column, O'Toole was the author of the article describing Amateur Radio's role in last summer's large-scale emergency exercise in Western Pennsylvania. ==>THREE-TIME WORLD CHAMPIONS NOT PARTICIPATING IN WRTC 2006 The sponsors of World Radiosport Team Championship 2006 (WRTC 2006) in Brazil this week announced team pairings <http://www.wrtc2006.com/release42.html> for the event this summer. Last held in Finland in July 2002, the WRTC is a competition among two-person teams drawn from among the world's top Amateur Radio contest operators. Among the missing for this year's running, however, will be the team that topped the field in the last three WRTCs--Dan Street, K1TO, and Jeff Steinman, N5TJ. "We have prior work commitments," Street told ARRL. "We certainly wish them well and hope that the WRTC continues on successfully both this time and well beyond." Street and Steinman took home the WRTC gold for the third time at the 2002 event in Finland. They also placed first among some 50 teams in WRTC 2000 in Slovenia as well as at WRTC 96 in the San Francisco Bay area. The team pairings in the six WRTC 2006 categories contain many familiar call signs. This year's world competition will take place July 8-9 in the vicinity of Florianopolis, capital of the state of Santa Catarina in southern Brazil. The on-the-air portion of the event is held in conjunction with the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) HF World Championship, although WRTC rules differ in some respects from those of the IARU event, and scoring is separate. The event brings competitors together in a single geographical area. The guiding concept is to minimize the variables associated with radio contesting and instead emphasize each team's operating skills. Among other changes, WRTC 2006 also has created a new "Multi-National Multi-Single" category as well as three positions for younger operators. Brazil's IARU member-society LABRE (Liga de Amadores Brasileiros de Radio Emissão) and the Araucária DX Group are coordinating WRTC 2006 all with support from DX groups and contesters. Atilano de Oms, PY5EG, heads the WRTC 2006 Steering Committee. For more information, visit the WRTC 2006 Web site <http://www.wrtc2006.com/>. ==>MAJOR MARCONI EXHIBIT OPENS APRIL 24 IN THE UK Guglielmo Marconi's grandson Guglielmo and his daughter Princess Elettra will attend the opening of a major new Marconi exhibition at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford, England on April 24. The exhibition -- called "Wireless World: Marconi and the Making of Radio" -- covers the history of radio from Marconi's early demonstrations in the 1880s to the beginning of regular public broadcasts in the 1920s. It will be open until October 1, 2006. ==>BOY SCOUT SPECIAL EVENT APRIL 22 The Sierra Amateur Radio Club (SARC) in Ridgecrest, California, will be offering an Amateur Radio demonstration at the Kern Area Boy Scout Camporall on Saturday, April 22. They will be using call sign K2BSA/6. SARC plans to set up a solar-powered low power HF station with a multi-band antenna. They will be using the 40 and 20 meter bands, and if conditions permit, the 17 meter band, along with the SO-50 and VO-52 satellites. Boys ages 11-18 will be participating, as well as adults, and for many of them this will be their fist exposure to ham radio. With your help and participation, this is a great way to get the younger generation involved in Amateur Radio. QSLs can be sent via WA6ARA. -- Mike Herr, WA6ARA ==>ARRL STAFFER DEMOS "MAGIC TRICK" FOR SCIENCE TEACHERS ARRL Education and Technology Program ("The Big Project") <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/tbp/> Coordinator Mark Spencer, WA8SME (left), shone the spotlight on Amateur Radio and the ARRL during the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) 54th national conference April 6-8 in Anaheim, California. Spencer reports some 15,000 teachers stopped by the ARRL booth, and most picked up a brochure. "I talked with probably 300 educators specifically about ARRL-related programs such as the Teachers Institutes, 'The Big Project' and Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)," he said. After he'd demonstrated what happens when you drop a magnet through a length of non-ferrous metal pipe, one teacher returned the next day with his wife "so I could show her the 'magic trick,'" said Spencer. The magic trick demonstrates two fundamentals Spencer uses when teaching electronics and electricity: (1) Moving magnetic fields cause electrons to move, and (2) Moving electrons create magnetic fields. "When the magnet falls through a non-ferrous metal pipe, the moving magnetic field causes the electrons in the conductor to move," Spencer explains. "Those moving electrons in turn create an opposing magnetic field that prevents the magnet from falling right through, giving it a 'slow motion' effect." Spencer says the magnet moves more slowly in a copper pipe than in an aluminum pipe because copper is a better conductor. It falls straight through a PVC pipe because PVC is an insulator. "All of electronics and radio boils down to how we manipulate these two fundamental principles," he concluded. ==>HONORING EXCELLENCE IN HAM RADIO PR: McGAN AWARD DEADLINE LOOMS The ARRL is encouraging nominations for the 2006 Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award. The annual honor goes to a radio amateur who has demonstrated excellence in Amateur Radio public relations (PR). The deadline to submit nominations is Monday, May 22. The McGan Award recognizes an individual who best exemplifies the volunteer spirit of its namesake, Phil McGan, WA2MBQ (SK). As the first chairman of the ARRL Public Relations Committee, he helped to reinvigorate the League's commitment to public relations. "Our entire PR program, including the "Hello" campaign, is based on the work of the hundreds of ARRL volunteer public information officers, who invest so much time, effort and creativity to advance Amateur Radio for everyone," says ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP. "There's only one McGan Award, however, and it's reserved for the person determined to be the best of the very best. It's a major recognition to be nominated. It's a great honor to be named." Pitts is careful to point out the distinction between public relations--essentially getting Amateur Radio's message to the public--and public service, which is Amateur Radio activity on behalf of the public, such as supporting emergency communication. The McGan Award honors achievement in public relations. Public relations activities the McGan Award recognizes include efforts specifically directed at bringing Amateur Radio to the public's attention--and most often to the news media's--in a positive light. These may include such traditional methods as news releases or less-traditional methods as hosting a radio show or being an active public speaker. Unfortunately, McGan never got to see how well his own PR efforts paid off. In his honor, his friends in the New Hampshire Amateur Radio Association joined with the ARRL Board of Directors to pay a lasting tribute to the important contributions he made on behalf of Amateur Radio by establishing this annual award. The individual chosen to receive the McGan Award must be a full ARRL member in good standing and may not be regularly compensated for public relations work involving Amateur Radio--including payment for articles. A committee of volunteers knowledgeable about Amateur Radio public relations will pick the winner from among the nominees, subject to approval by the ARRL Board of Directors at its July meeting. Pitts says recognizing someone's public relations achievements by nominating him or her for the McGan Award is "the perfect way to say 'thank you.'" Nominations must be received at ARRL Headquarters in by 5 PM Eastern Time on Monday, May 22, 2006. The committee will not consider nominations that arrive after the deadline or without an entry form. Complete details on McGan Award eligibility and how to nominate someone, plus a link to the official nomination form, are on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/pio/mcgan/>. Return the completed entry forms and supporting materials to Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award, c/o Allen Pitts, W1AGP, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. ==>ARMY, AIR FORCE MARS ANNOUNCE LEADERSHIP CHANGES Past Army MARS Eastern Area Director Kathy Harrison has been appointed to take the reins of the Army Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) program. She succeeds Bob Sutton, N7UZY, who is recuperating from an illness. Lt Col Gregory Harris had been named in January to fill in during Sutton's absence; now it appears that Sutton will not be returning. "While I will be getting up to speed on the MARS program over the next few weeks, I am hitting the ground running," Harrison said in an announcement to the MARS community. "I have been working with LTC Harris on MARS issues for the past few weeks and have not forgotten everything I learned during my tenure as eastern area director." Harrison said MARS faces "many new challenges" over the next year in meeting its mission on a reduced budget, but she said she believes the organization is up to the task. Harrison inherits the AAA9A MARS call sign. Her appointment was effective March 21. Army MARS is headquartered at Ft Huachuca in Arizona. Sutton retired from federal service April 3. His long career as a US Air Force communicator and his subsequent employment as a Department of the Army civilian employee spanned 46 years. Sutton was chief of Army MARS for 16 years. He says he plans to remain active in the program. Meanwhile, Air Force Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) Chief Ray Collins, AGA3C, announced his retirement from federal service effective March 31 and said he'd be stepping down as chief of Air Force MARS. According to Collins's announcement, the chief's position will remain vacant for a while. In the interim, Collins said, regional MARS directors will take over issuing and signing MARS licenses for new and renewing members as well as many other duties. The Air Force MARS office is located at the Headquarters of the Air Force Communications Agency (AFCA), Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Astral aficionado Tad "Sunshine Superman" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Geomagnetic activity was higher over the past week, with the average daily planetary A index rising over six points to 18. The most active days were Friday and Saturday, April 14 and 15, when the planetary A index was 58 and 29. Otherwise, geomagnetic activity has been low and should stay that way. Sunspot numbers and solar flux should rise gradually, reaching a peak around April 29 through May 3. Predicted planetary A index for April 21-25 is 8, 8, 10, 8 and 8. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet to unsettled conditions for April 21, unsettled conditions April 22-23, quiet to unsettled April 24-25, and quiet conditions April 26-27. Sunspot numbers for April 13 through 19 were 69, 62, 45, 45, 48, 46 and 38 with a mean of 50.4. 10.7 cm flux was 80, 78.9, 78.4, 76.5, 77.9, 75.1, and 75.8, with a mean of 77.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 13, 58, 29, 10, 6, 6 and 4 with a mean of 18. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 9, 32, 18, 8, 4, 5 and 2, with a mean of 11.1. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The DX Colombia International Contest, the SP DX RTTY Contest, and the Florida and Nebraska QSO parties are the weekend of April 22-23. The Thursday NCCC Sprint Ladder is April 28 (UTC). JUST AHEAD: The North America High Speed Meteor Scatter Spring Rally is April 29 until May 7. The SBMS 2 GHz and Up World Wide Club Contest, the Helvetia Contest and the Alabama QSO Party are the weekend of April 29-30. 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, May 7, 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--Life Beyond the Repeater (EC-008), and Radio Frequency Propagation (EC-011). Classes begin Friday, May 19. To learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html> or contact the CCE Department <email@example.com>. * ARRL Headquarters hosts SKYWARN training session: More than a dozen League staffers completed SKYWARN <http://www.skywarn.org/> weather-spotter training April 7 at ARRL Headquarters. National Weather Service (NWS) <http://www.nws.noaa.gov/> Warning Coordination Meteorologist Glenn Field, KB1GHX, and SKYWARN Program Leader Bill Babcock--both of the NWS office in Taunton, Massachusetts--led the four-hour class. The ARRL and NWS have a longstanding memorandum of understanding, and the training session was just one example of their mutual cooperation. Coordinating the training session with ARRL were Roger Jeanfaivre, K1PAI, Hartford-Tolland County (CT) SKYWARN coordinator, and Rob Macedo, KD1CY, ARES SKYWARN Coordinator for NWS Taunton and ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section Emergency Coordinator. Training session topics included severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, winter storms and hurricanes. Jeanfaivre also briefed attendees on SKYWARN nets in Hartford-Tolland county region, pointing out that SKYWARN activates on a moment's notice to support the NWS. Macedo discussed how volunteers--many of them radio amateurs--serve a critical role as the eyes and ears of the NWS SKYWARN program. Around 90 percent of the reports NWS-Taunton receives come from Amateur Radio operators. The NWS offers SKYWARN training through many of its offices. * Austria verifies BPL complaints: Austria's Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) has verified the interference complaints of HF users in Linz, where a BPL (PLC, or power line communication) system is being operated on a commercial basis. In a report prepared for the February 21-22 meeting of the CENELEC/ETSI Joint Working Group on EMC of Conducted Transmission Networks, the ministry said the measured emission of PLC installations in the Linz region is approximately 42 dB higher than the relevant limit according to CEPT ECC Recommendation (05)04, "Criteria for the Assessment of Radio Interferences Caused by Radiated Disturbances from Wire-Line Telecommunication Networks" [ECC/REC(05)04]. The report says ECC/REC(05)04 "reflects the state of the art in Austria." The limit used by the ministry for the 1-30 MHz range, measured 3 meters from the source, is 40 dBuV/m peak at 1 MHz, decreasing to 27 dBuV/m at 30 MHz. This is roughly comparable to the FCC Part 15 BPL emission limit lowered by 40 dB and applying the 40 dB-per-decade distance factor FCC measurements call for. Other major differences between the Austrian regulations and Part 15 include distance between source and antenna, use of a peak detector and a logarithmic factor in the limit. The report is intended to inform the Joint Working Group about measurements of PLC systems and harmful interference they can cause in the HF bands, and to trigger a discussion to adopt ECC/REC/(05)04 as the document describing the state-of-the-art for wireline telecommunication networks such as PLC networks within Europe. The BMVIT report is available on the Internet <http://www.bmvit.at/telekommunikation/plt/download/etsijwg16td09.pdf>. * Paul Flaherty, N9FZX, SK: Paul A. Flaherty, N9FZX, of Belmont, California, died unexpectedly March 16. He had turned 42 just two days earlier. A co-inventor of the Alta Vista search engine, Flaherty, who was born in Milwaukee, developed his lifelong interest in computers and radio after his family moved to Minnesota. A summa cum laude graduate of Marquette University with degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics, Flaherty went on to earn master's and doctoral degrees at Stanford. In 1995, while working as a research scientist for Digital Equipment Corp, Flaherty was part of the team that developed the Alta Vista search engine, which became the most popular of the early Internet indexing utilities. (Its Babel Fish translation site remains popular.) In addition to Amateur Radio, Flaherty had an abiding interest in railfanning--train chasing--and had earned a reputation as a railroad photographer.--some information from the San Francisco Chronicle * YX0A operator reported SK, DXpedition adopts memorial call sign: YX0A Aves Island DXpedition team member José "Joe" Manuel Valdés Rodriguez, YV5LIX, reportedly died on the tiny Caribbean island April 21. He was 57. A radio amateur since 1987, Valdés was well known around the world as a DXer and contester on HF and VHF. Esteban Romagni, W4DTA/YV5DTA, reports in an e-mail shared with ARRL that his longtime friend suffered a heart attack, and the two physicians with the DXpedition team were unable to resuscitate him. Valdés' death, at around 0400 UTC, occurred shortly after the YX0A DXpedition got under way. The Aves Island DXpedition reportedly has obtained permission to use the memorial call sign YX0LIX until the DXpedition ends on or about May 1. Members of the Association of Radioamateurs of Venezuela and the Grupo DX Caracas are sponsoring the Aves Island (Isla de Aves) DXpedition. Valdés was the DXpedition's digital modes coordinator and reportedly was planning to concentrate on digital modes during the last few days of operation. * Transceiver designer Michael F. Elliott, W8KRR, SK: The man behind the development of the Heathkit SB-104 and Drake TR-7 transceivers, Michael Elliott, W8KRR, 66, of Centerville, Ohio, died April 14. The Heathkit SB-104, released in 1974, was the first transceiver to incorporate solid-state design, come with a digital frequency readout and be priced for the mass market. The SB-104 was a mainstay until 1982, when radios that covered the new WARC bands superseded it. It was one of the last Amateur Radio kits that Heathkit developed. Elliott was also influential in the design of the Drake TR-7, the standard for competition-grade transceivers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. * David F. Mangels, AC6WO, SK: Author and Amateur Radio instructor Dave Mangels, AC6WO, of Temple City, California, died March 24. He was 63. An ARRL member, instructor and volunteer examiner, Mangels taught Amateur Radio licensing classes for a fee at the Technician, General and Amateur Extra levels. In 2001, CQ Communications published his book The Mobile DXer--Your Practical Guide to Successful Mobile DXing. Mangels had 302 DXCC entities confirmed on SSB, no doubt many of them worked while he was operating mobile or portable. Survivors include his wife, Fran, AD6DC, and a son, Gary, AD6CD. * Ralph Saroyan, W6JPU, SK: Former ARRL Section Communications Manager Ralph Saroyan, W6JPU, of Fresno, died April 5. He was 88. Saroyan served as San Joaquin Valley SCM (now called Section Manager) from 1955 until 1976. An ARRL Life Member, Saroyan was first licensed in 1934. During World War II, he served in the US Navy as an electronics technician. San Joaquin Valley SM Charles McConnell, W6DPD, says Saroyan was an Amateur Radio pioneer who promoted the adoption of single sideband and established the first repeater in the valley. =========================================================== 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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