*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 25, No. 22 June 2, 2006 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Ham radio provides emergency communication following earthquake * +Robert McDowell makes it a full house at the FCC * +Ham radio lets youngsters in Italy learn more about space travel * +Mobile T-hunters die in vehicle mishap * +Ham radio gears up for the hurricane season * +WA5TMC appointed Delta Division Vice Director * +SKYWARN volunteers are environmental heroes * +ISS astronaut honored for ham radio accomplishments * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration US Power Squadrons, ARRL join forces for W1AW operating event Ham-Com 2006 set for June 9-10 in Plano, Texas Staten Island ARES participates in storm rehearsal Radio amateurs take part in National Communications System training Revised DXCC awards fee schedule becomes effective July 1 +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 =========================================================== ==>AMATEUR RADIO VOLUNTEERS RESPOND FOLLOWING INDONESIAN EARTHQUAKE Amateur Radio operators in Indonesia are providing emergency communication for relief operations in the wake of a 6.3 magnitude earthquake May 27 affecting Yogyakarta and surrounding area. The quake has left more than 6200 people dead, injured more than 30,000 and leveled entire communities. Some 650,000 people are reported homeless. Indonesia's International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) member-society, the Organization of Amateur Radio for Indonesia (ORARI) has been coordinating an emergency communication network comprised of so-called "Zulu Stations" and individual volunteer radio amateurs. As is the practice in Indonesia, ORARI has designated several zulu-suffix emergency communication stations to handle disaster-related traffic on HF and VHF. "Beside several local emergency zulu stations and operators, there is an emergency zulu station portable from Jakarta, YC0ZRA, operated by Achmad Sanusi, YCOLJH, and Budi Sabara, YCOCSR," reports Wyn Purwinto, AB2QV. A native of Indonesia, Purwinto has been gathering information on the disaster response from his home in New York. He says the portable station also supports the Indonesian Offroad Federation (IOF) with its heavy-duty all wheel drive vehicles. IOF volunteers transported food and supplies following the 2004 tsunami. Purwinto reports that several radio amateurs and their families in the Yogyakarta area were among the thousands affected by the earthquake, hindering their ability to help with any emergency operations. "But more hams coming from other districts day by day," he said this week. Soejat Harto, YB6HB, a physician, has joined a ham radio emergency medical team in Yogyakarta. Purwinto notes that Dr Harto was among the Amateur Radio volunteers who helped in the tsunami disaster relief effort in Aceh and North Sumatra. Praharto, YB2BFZ, of the ORARI branch in Banyumas, 200 km west of Yogyakarta, has deployed his emergency radio communicator (ERC) team to Yogyakarta with generators. Several ERC teams from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, Bekasi and the W Java provincial capital of Bandung headed to Yogyakarta this week to offer additional support. Deta, YB2VTO, just back from Bantul to check on family and friends, reports that local emergency communication is taking place on two ORARI VHF repeaters that cover the whole disaster area. Zulu stations YC2ZEB in Bantul, YC2ZEJ in Yogyakarta and YC2ZES are handling whatever traffic there is. Zulu station YC2ZEB is on HF from Bantul, where local radio amateurs installed an 80-meter dipole. Purwinto is updating his "Emergency Communication in Yogyakarta" Web page <http://www.qsl.net/ab2qv/yogya.htm> with information he's compiled on the Indonesian ARES response to the earthquake. Relief volunteers still in Indonesia since the 2004 tsunami have shifted their efforts to aiding earthquake victims. The United Nations and various relief agencies, including the Red Cross and the Global Rescue Network, have begun transporting food, water and other basic supplies to the affected region. Electrical power and telecommunication services are said to be still erratic. ==>IT'S OFFICIALLY A FULL HOUSE AT THE FCC Robert M. McDowell has been sworn in as an FCC commissioner by FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin, returning the agency to its full five-member complement for the first time in more than a year. Earlier this week, after some delay due to political maneuvering, the US Senate confirmed the nomination of McDowell, of Virginia, to fill the seat vacated last December by Kathleen Q. Abernathy. His term will expire June 30, 2009. "I am honored and humbled to be joining such a distinguished group of commissioners as well as the fine career public servants at the FCC," McDowell said in a statement. "I am confident that our efforts will help bring the most advanced and efficient communications systems in the world to all American consumers." Martin applauded McDowell's arrival, which gives him a Republican majority on the FCC for the first time in his tenure as chairman. Since Martin--an FCC member during Michael Powell's tenure as chairman--took over the chairmanship, the political balance on the Commission has been split evenly between two Republicans and two Democrats. Members of a president's political party hold a majority on the FCC. In addition to Martin, McDowell--a telecommunications attorney--will join fellow Republican Deborah T. Tate, who officially came aboard January 3. The Commission's two Democrats are Michael J. Copps, who is in his second term, and Jonathan Adelstein. McDowell brings to the FCC nearly 16 years of private-sector experience in the telecommunication industry. Prior to his FCC appointment, he served as senior vice president and assistant general counsel for the Competitive Telecommunications Association (COMPTEL). ==>ITALIAN PRIMARY SCHOOLERS GET FRONT ROW SEAT TO SPACE VIA HAM RADIO Youngsters attending the Virgilio Primary School in Mestre, near Venice, Italy, got to hear firsthand about life in space from US Astronaut Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ. The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program arranged the direct VHF contact May 22 between NA1SS in space and IW3GPO at the school in northern Italy. Control operator Paolo Rosin, IW3GPO, posed all questions, including one asking if language problems ever arose between crew members from different countries. Williams said the language barrier still exists aboard the ISS. "I've been studying Russian language for almost four years. Pavel [Vinogradov, the Expedition 13 commander] studies English--he has studied for several years as well," William explained, "but still it takes a long time to learn a foreign language, as you know. So there's always a little bit of a struggle with foreign languages." Unfortunately, the youngsters couldn't ask their own questions because the US does not have a third-party traffic agreement with Italy. During the approximately eight-minute contact--conducted entirely in English--Williams said he enjoys observing and photographing Earth, doing scientific experiments and even his two hours of mandatory daily exercise. But there are some tasks he doesn't much care for. "They're similar to jobs we don't like doing on the earth," Williams responded. "Cleaning things I don't like doing. Going into the equivalent of a closet to try to find things or collect things for a job--that sometimes is very tedious, and I don't like doing that very much. But, of course, we have to do jobs that we like, and we have to do jobs that we don't like." In several of his answers, Williams referred to the pending arrival of the space shuttle in July, when European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Reiter, DF4TR, of Germany will join ISS crews over a period of several months. The shuttle is the only vehicle capable of transporting the components remaining to complete the ISS, including the ESA's Columbus module. Williams noted that the shuttle will bring water to the ISS when it arrives this summer. He also said space walks are one of the hardest jobs astronauts and cosmonauts undertake, but it's not scary to work in space. On June 2, Williams and Vinogradov completed a 6-1/2 hour spacewalk to make repairs and retrieve experiments, among other tasks. "The most enjoyable thing that we do is do a spacewalk," Williams said, "because to be able to go outside and see the entire Earth--not through a window but through the visor of your helmet--it is fantastic!" In later remarks, Williams paid tribute to the beauty of Italy as seen from space. "I love your country," he said. "I've flown over Venice many times and I love to take pictures of the seashore and the cities, Mt Etna on Sicily--there are many, many beautiful things on the planet Earth to see from space." Virgilio Primary School has an enrollment of 210 pupils. A town of about 150,000, Mestre is connected to Venice some six miles away via a long bridge on the lagoon. Local radio amateurs Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF, Kira Collevati, IW3EXQ, Giorgio Pagan, IW3IBG, and Stefano Mannelli, IZ5ENH, assisted in the ARISS event. The technical team set up a satellite station as well as a vertical backup antenna. Reporters for two newspapers and four TV outlets were on hand to cover the ARISS event. Peter Kofler, IN3GHZ, served as the ARISS mentor for the QSO. ARISS is a nine-nation international educational outreach with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. ==>TWO RADIO AMATEURS DIE DURING MOBILE HIDDEN TRANSMITTER HUNT Two ARRL members from California are dead after the vehicle in which they were riding during a mobile hidden transmitter hunt May 27 went over a cliff in rugged terrain near Lake Isabella in Kern County. They were identified as Michael G. Obermeier, K6SNE, of Anaheim, and David A. Gordon-Ross, N6IDF, of Yucaipa. Obermeier, an ARRL Official Observer in Orange County, was 46. Gordon-Ross was 35. "Mike and Dave were some of the best T-hunters in the biz," said Scott Press, N6SAP, calling both "true assets to this hobby." In his role as an OO, Obermeier reportedly had participated in the infamous Jack Gerritsen radio jamming case in the Los Angeles area. According to media accounts, a Kern County Sheriff's Department search-and-rescue team located the victims early Monday, May 29. Obermeier was driving the 1991 4-wheel-drive Jeep Cherokee that apparently went out of control on Cook Peak Road while the pair was proceeding to the next hidden transmitter site. After caroming off a rock wall, the vehicle crossed the road and plunged down a 900-foot cliff. They were reported missing after failing to check in with T-hunt organizers. Greg Pitta, KF6DBJ, reports Obermeier and Gordon-Ross were on a half-day multiple-transmitter T-hunt. "Both K6SNE and N6IDF were expert transmitter hunters, each with hundreds of hunts completed, ranking with top scores in most," he said. ARRL Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, knew both men. He notes that Obermeier had suffered a sports-related spinal cord injury that left him a paraplegic. "He did all the adaptive work on his vehicles, of which he had quite a few that he used over time for RDF," Moell said. Despite his physical limitations, Obermeier also enjoyed foxhunting from his wheel chair. Moell says Gordon-Ross had been a proficient mobile T-hunter for many years. He took a brief hiatus after his first child was born in April 2005 (his wife, Melanie, is KF6GWV), but he recently became active again. According to Moell, the mobile transmitter hunts take place on the fourth Saturday of each month on 2-meter FM simplex, starting out from a hilltop in Rancho Palos Verdes. He says it's not uncommon for the main hidden transmitter to be hundreds of miles away--175 highway miles in this instance. The 147.435 Amateur Radio Repeater System is collecting donations to help Melanie Gordon-Ross, a stay-at-home mom. It also will donate all proceeds from its 16th annual 435 Chili Cook-off June 10. Visit the 147.435 Web site <http://www.435online.com/> for additional information. ==>2006 NORTH ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON OFFICIALLY UNDER WAY Scientists within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predict an 80-percent chance of an above-normal 2006 north Atlantic hurricane/tropical storm season, which runs from June 1 through November 30. A repeat performance of the devastating 2005 season is unlikely, however. Weather experts at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, National Hurricane Center and Climate Prediction Center produced this year's outlook <http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/outlooks/hurricane.shtml>. "For the 2006 north Atlantic hurricane season NOAA is predicting 13 to 16 named storms, with eight to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which four to six could become 'major' hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher," says NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher. The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) <http://www.hwn.org/> activates on 14.325 MHz when major tropical storms threaten the US. It works in concert with WX4NHC <http://www.wx4nhc.org/> at the National Hurricane Center to relay real-time ground-level weather data to forecasters. On average, the north Atlantic hurricane season produces 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes, including two major hurricanes. In 2005, the Atlantic hurricane season experienced a record 28 storms, including 15 hurricanes. Seven were "major," and a record four hurricanes hit the US. While NOAA is not forecasting a rerun of last year's season, the potential for hurricanes to strike the US is "high," Lautenbacher said. The first named storm of the 2006 season will be "Alberto." The name "Katrina" has been removed from the list of storm names. ==>KARL BULLOCK, WA5TMC, APPOINTED DELTA DIVISION VICE DIRECTOR ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, has appointed Karl W. Bullock, WA5TMC, to be Delta Division Vice Director. Bullock, of Ripley, Mississippi, will complete the term of Henry Leggette, WD4Q, who took over as Delta Division Director in January after the ARRL Board of Directors elevated past Director Rick Roderick, K5UR, to be an ARRL Vice President. "I'm honored to have been chosen by President Harrison," Bullock said, "and I look forward to serving the fine folks in the Delta Division and representing Amateur Radio in general." First licensed at age 14 as WN5TMC in 1967, Bullock, 53, has remained an active radio amateur ever since. He now holds an Amateur Extra class license as well as an FCC commercial license. He's active on all bands and modes from 160 meters through 70 cm. His ham radio career has included starting up the Mississippi Training and Traffic net--later the Mississippi Slow Net. He's also a member of the Brass Pounder's League, the recipient of several public service awards, a past officer of the Northeast Mississippi Amateur Radio Club and, most recently, ARRL District Emergency Coordinator for North Mississippi as well as Emergency Coordinator for Tippah County. He's a Life Member of the ARRL, a charter member of the Tippah Amateur Radio Association and a control operator for a local 2-meter repeater. He also enjoys telling others about his Christian faith and about Amateur Radio. On the professional side, Bullock has operated his own telecommunications consulting company, Bullock & Associates, since 2001 and is involved in a startup dedicated to residential fiber connectivity. His consulting activity focuses on competitive local exchange carriers--CLECs. His wife Amy is N5TBB, the ARRL Public Information Coordinator for the Mississippi Section and current president of the Tippah Amateur Radio Association. "We both love DX, contests, and going to hamfests," Bullock says. "Amy fell in love with hamfests after the first one I carried her to, and soon afterward passed her exam. We still like to make the Dayton trip whenever we can." Bullock's current term as Vice Director will end January 1, 2009. ==>SKYWARN VOLUNTEERS RECEIVE NOAA ENVIRONMENTAL HERO AWARD South Florida SKYWARN Coordinator Don Morris, KG4JHH, of Miami, and his South Florida SKYWARN team have received a 2006 NOAA Environmental Hero Award for outstanding volunteer service during the 2005 hurricane season. Morris and his SKYWARN team volunteered more than 100 hours to staff Amateur Radio station WX4MIA, located at the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office in Miami. The volunteers gathered real-time hurricane damage and weather reports, disseminated NWS information and warnings and verified NWS warnings with on-the-spot information. "The intent of the award is to recognize all of us who have worked on SKYWARN and/or WX4MIA," said Morris, who accepted the plaque during a May 22 presentation. "Local Amateur Radio is the main infrastructure we depend on for SKYWARN. It is way cool to be part of it." Morris also credited those who filed reports by telephone, Internet or fax or who have "just been ready if needed." Along with other SKYWARN volunteers and even family members, Morris kept the WX4MIA severe weather net in constant operation as Hurricane Katrina moved ashore near Hallandale Beach and then southwest across Miami-Dade County. He did the same thing for Hurricane Wilma, staying all night right through landfall around 6 AM in Collier County and through noon when Wilma finally moved off the Palm Beach County coastline near Jupiter. Over the years, NOAA said, Morris has volunteered hundreds of hours as "the voice" of WX4MIA, soliciting storm reports and disseminating the latest warnings and statements for hurricanes and severe storms. Established in 1995 and given annually in conjunction with Earth Day, the Environmental Hero Award is presented to individuals and organizations volunteering their time and energy to help NOAA carry out its mission.--NOAA; Evelyn Gauzens, W4WYR ==>ISS ASTRONAUT HONORED FOR WORKING ALL STATES, INSPIRING OTHERS FROM SPACE International Space Station Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, has been honored as the first astronaut to work all states from space and for inspiring others through his ham radio activities from NA1SS. McArthur, who returned to Earth in April, received an ARRL Worked All States (WAS) plaque during a May 25 ceremony at Johnson Space Center in Houston. During his six-month duty tour, McArthur became the most active radio amateur ever to serve aboard the ISS. His track record from NA1SS is impressive: In addition to WAS, he handled a record 37 Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contacts, worked all continents, including Antarctica, on both VHF and UHF--and racked up QSOs with some 130 DXCC entities. "The Amateur Radio on the ISS program was developed to inspire students--our next generation of explorers--through Amateur Radio communications with the ISS crew," remarked ARISS International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, who presented the WAS plaque to McArthur. "Using Amateur Radio, the Expedition 12 crew took the worldwide community of radio amateurs, the school students and the general public to unprecedented heights." The last QSL McArthur needed to confirm WAS--from Wyoming--arrived at ARRL Headquarters not long before the end of his ISS duty tour. McArthur also logged a phenomenal number of casual contacts with earthbound radio amateurs--more than 1800 in all. Bauer noted that McArthur "was very approachable" with students during the ARISS school contacts. "He inspired them with his vision, quick wit and sense of humor." Bauer said McArthur motivated hams and non-hams alike through his on-the-air activity. He told of hearing from a teacher in Orlando who said one of his students added Advanced Placement Physics to her course schedule after participating in an ARISS school contact. In another inspirational instance: When a prospective licensee learned he could speak to the ISS via ham radio, he studied and passed his Amateur Radio examination and made a contact with McArthur at NA1SS in March, Bauer said. "Throughout this expedition, Bill McArthur's enthusiasm for the ham radio hobby kept bubbling to the surface," Bauer said, calling McArthur's ham radio accomplishments from NA1SS "a testament of success." "All who have been touched by your efforts will remember their special ISS connection for the rest of their lives," Bauer concluded. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Ra the Sun god Tad "I Saw the Sun" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar activity continues to be low as we head toward the bottom of the sunspot cycle. With fewer sunspots, the higher frequencies aren't as useful. There is a direct correlation between the maximum usable frequency (MUF) and the number of sunspots. That's why 10 meters is much more usable at the peak of a solar cycle than at the bottom. We received several e-mails this week about sporadic E (Es) propagation. For the next few days, it looks like solar wind from coronal holes could be mildly disruptive. The planetary A index forecast for June 2-3 is 20, then settling down to quiet conditions a couple of days later. Average daily sunspot numbers were up this week over last and are expected to rise slightly over the next few days. Sunspot numbers for May 25 through 31 were 33, 51, 69, 78, 54, 51 and 44, with a mean of 54.3. 10.7 cm flux was 83.7, 81.6, 83, 84.7, 81.1, 80, and 78.4, with a mean of 81.8. Estimated planetary A indices were 5, 5, 3, 7, 3, 9 and 6, with a mean of 5.4. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 4, 1, 1, 5, 1, 7 and 4, with a mean of 3.3. For more information concerning propagation and an explanation of the numbers used in this bulletin see the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html>. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The SEANET Contest, RSGB National Field Day, IARU Region 1 Field Day (CW) and the QRP TAC Sprint are the weekend of June 3-4. The RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (Data) is June 5, the ARS Spartan Sprint is June 6, and the Thursday NCCC Sprint Ladder is Jun 9. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL June VHF QSO Party, the ANARTS World Wide RTTY Contest, the Portugal Day Contest, the Asia-Pacific Sprint (SSB), the GACW WWSA CW DX Contest and the REF DDFM 6-Meter Contest are the weekend of June 10-11. The NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint and the RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (CW) are June 14. The Thursday NCCC Sprint Ladder and SARL Youth Day are June 16. 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, June 25, for these ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (CCE). Program on-line courses: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 1 (EC-001), Radio Frequency Interference (EC-006), Antenna Design and Construction (EC-009), Analog Electronics (EC-012) and Digital Electronics (EC-013). Classes begin Friday, July 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>. * US Power Squadrons, ARRL join forces for W1AW operating event: Representatives of the United States Power Squadrons (USPS) <http://www.usps.org/> are joining ARRL Headquarters staffers this weekend for a special W1AW operating event to mark National Safe Boating Week. Operation commenced Friday and will continue Saturday, June 3, starting at 1200 UTC. Look for W1AW on HF plus 6 meters as well as on satellites and digital modes. A special QSL card will be available. All contacts will be uploaded to Logbook of the World (LoTW) <http://www.arrl.org/lotw> after the event. At a W1AW reception prior to the on-air activities. ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, presented Don Stark, N3HOW of the USPS with a welcoming letter from ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN. * Ham-Com 2006 set for June 9-10 in Plano, Texas: ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, will address the ARRL West Gulf Division forum during Ham-Com 2006 <http://www.hamcom.org/>, Friday and Saturday, June 9-10, at the Plano Centre in Plano, Texas. In addition, ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, will discuss the importance of the League's development activities to Amateur Radio, while HQ Staffer Chuck Skolaut, K0BOG, will talk about ARRL Headquarters' response to Hurricane Katrina. The doors will be open from 7 AM until 6 PM both days. Talk-in is on the 147.18 MHz repeater (CTCSS 107.2 Hz), and parking is free. In conjunction with Ham-Com 2006, the Lone Star DX Association will host W5DXCC 2006, which features a banquet Friday, June 9, at the Southfork Hotel. Featured speaker will be Bob Allphin, K4UEE, co-leader of the recent 3Y0X DXpedition to Peter I Island. Complete details are in the "Ham-Com Flyer" <http://www.hamcom.org/ccp51/media/PDFs/HamComFlyer2006.pdf>.--Barry Goldblatt, WA5KXX * Staten Island ARES participates in storm rehearsal: Lessons learned during last year's devastating hurricanes on the US Gulf Coast have not been lost on the New York City emergency response community. In preparation for the upcoming storm season, Staten Island and New York County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) members participated May 21 in an American Red Cross drill dubbed "The Staten Island Storm Rehearsal." The exercise was designed to prepare volunteers by providing a hands-on experience in emergency shelter operations. "ARES is relied upon by our clients, like the Red Cross, to be able to quickly, adequately and professionally set up and run a portable communications system to help those affected by a disaster," said ARRL New York City District Emergency Coordinator Mike Lisenco, N2YBB. "ARES members participate in drills such as this to hone our skills." ARES participants served as primary communicators for most of the drill, for which the scenario included outages of both cell phone service and electrical power. During the "blackout" scenario, ham radio volunteers were able to provide a seamless transition to battery power to maintain critical communication with the Red Cross EOC in Manhattan. Ten ARES volunteers took part in the exercise. ARRL Staten Island Emergency Coordinator Joe Nieves, N2TEE, said, "We need to be prepared at all times should we be called upon to support our community." * Radio amateurs take part in National Communications System training: ARRL members Gary Sessums, KC5QCN, Dale Stauffer, W4DS, and Jim La Follette, WB4WBL, last week demonstrated digital and voice capabilities of a Shared Resources (SHARES) Transportable Auxiliary Radio Station (STAR) at a National Communications Systems (NCS) training session. The week-long Emergency Support Function 2 (ESF-2) training session at Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida was developed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It was specifically designed to prepare ESF-2 responders at the federal level to function effectively when called into action to support the National Response Plan. SHARES stations are NCS assets that deploy with "fly-away" HF radio packages to disaster scenes to provide communication support to the federal government. Sessums, Stauffer and La Follette are SHARES stations through their involvement with the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) and the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). They set up portable HF SHARES stations operating on generator power, erected near-vertical incidence skywave (NVIS) wire antennas and made voice and digital HF radio contacts around the US as part of the program. Sessums and La Follette are members of the Hillsborough County, Florida, ARES/RACES team that deployed to Hancock County, Mississippi, last August to support Hurricane Katrina recovery operations. Sessums is Hillborough County ARRL Emergency Coordinator. * Revised DXCC awards fee schedule becomes effective July 1: The ARRL DXCC Desk has announced DXCC program fees will rise slightly when a new awards fee schedule <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2006/05/23/3/fees-06Jul.html> goes into effect July 1. The fee for a basic DXCC application (including certificate and pin for initial applications only, 120 QSO maximum) and for first endorsement applications within a year will increase to $12 for ARRL members and to $22 for foreign nonmembers. Second and subsequent endorsements (120 QSO maximum) within a year will be $22 for ARRL members and $32 for foreign nonmembers. The $10 fee for a basic DXCC application (120-credit maximum) was established in 1990, and the current overall fee schedule has been in effect since 1998. "It costs us to provide this service," explains ARRL Membership Services Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG. "We don't make any money from DXCC." The cost of other DXCC-related items such as plaques and pins also will go up July 1. Mills advised that DXCC fees will increase further in the years ahead--possibly at two-year intervals--at least to catch up with the Consumer Price Index, which has risen 49 percent since 1990. He estimates the active population of DXCC members at between 15,000 and 18,000. =========================================================== 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. 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