*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 25, No. 27 July 7, 2006 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Space station hosting five radio amateurs * +Flood duty winds down for ham radio volunteers * +Number of "Big Project" schools tops 170 * +Students in Kuwait mark first Mideast ham contact with ISS * +Volunteer intruder watchers spot out-of-place signals * WRTC-2006 hourly scoreboard available on Web * +ARRL releases new Technician study materials * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio: IARU HF World Championship/WRTC-2006!! ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration +RSGB seeks 60-meter extension in Great Britain Tom Sowden, K0GKD, wins June QST Cover Plaque Award +Microwave Update set for October in Dayton AMSAT-NA introduces online ride-sharing system for Symposium travelers +Available on ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> =========================================================== ==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/faq.html#nodelivery>, then e-mail <email@example.com> ==>Editorial questions or comments only: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, <firstname.lastname@example.org> =========================================================== ==>FIVE RADIO AMATEURS NOW ABOARD THE SPACE STATION Five cosmonaut or astronaut-hams now are aboard the International Space Station, and one of them -- European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter, DF4TR -- has officially joined the Expedition 13 crew for the remainder of its duty tour and for about half of Expedition 14's tour -- six months in all, according to NASA. His arrival marks the first time since May 2003 that the ISS has had a three-member crew. Reiter and six other astronauts -- two of them also hams -- arrived July 6 aboard shuttle Discovery. A veteran of the Russian Mir space station, he's the first ESA astronaut to become part of a long-term ISS crew. He told reporters July 7 that it feels good to be back in space after 11 years. "The body somehow remembers the feeling of weightlessness, how to move, how to work in space," Reiter remarked. "It's a huge station. There is a lot of space inside here." There to greet the newcomers when they came aboard the ISS were Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov, RV3BS, and Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ. The shuttle and ISS crews will spend the next week conducting joint operations, including two spacewalks and transferring cargo from and to Discovery. Reiter said he's looking forward to his spacewalk with Williams in early August. "I think everyone can imagine when you are up in space for a long time, it's really great to go outside at least once," he said. Discovery shot into space from Cape Kennedy July 4 -- the first Independence Day shuttle launch ever and only the second since the Columbia disaster in 2003. Relieved mission control personnel reacted with hoots, handshakes and hugs after the twice-postponed Discovery mission STS-121 reached preliminary orbit without a hitch. Weather worries kept Discovery on the launch pad July 1 and 2. NASA managers also were concerned about a crack discovered in foam insulation near a bracket holding the liquid oxygen feed line in place on the external fuel tank. Some insulation also broke free during launch. The STS-121 crew includes Commander Steve Lindsey; Pilot Mark Kelly; and mission specialists Stephanie Wilson, KD5DZE, Lisa Nowak, KC5ZTB; Mike Fossum and Piers Sellers. To be on the safe side, prior to docking, Lindsey piloted Discovery through a back-flip maneuver to allow Vinogradov and Williams to eyeball and capture imagery of the orbiter's heat shield for any signs of damage. NASA is pinning its hopes on a successful Discovery mission, since the space shuttle is the only vehicle capable of transporting the components remaining to complete the ISS, including the ESA's Columbus module, which has been outfitted to accommodate Amateur Radio. NASA astronauts Michael Lopez-Alegria, KE5GTK, and Sunita Williams, KD5PLB, and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, RZ3FT, have been named as the 14th ISS crew. Expedition 14 is scheduled to begin this fall. ==>HAM RADIO POST-FLOOD SUPPORT IN EASTERN US WINDS DOWN ARES/RACES members in Bucks County, Pennsylvania - just north of Philadelphia - remained active this week supporting Red Cross operations following major flooding in several communities along the Delaware River. BCARES volunteers continued to provide communication for shelters and local emergency operations centers (EOCs) through the end of the week, according to Bucks County Emergency Coordinator Harris Stein, NY3H. "Thanks to all who have volunteered so much to handle this emergency," Stein said. "Bucks County can be proud of your effort and professionalism." Stein reports that nearly four dozen ham radio volunteers had participated in the activation as of July 4, staffing six EOCs, two shelters and three additional command sites. Three "rover" units handled such tasks as reporting on river levels. Ham radio volunteers also assisted the Red Cross with damage assessment. Elsewhere, 18 volunteers from the Pocono Amateur Radio Klub and Eastern Pennsylvania Amateur Radio Association supported emergency communication between the Monroe County Office of Emergency Services and several Red Cross-sponsored shelters. In Columbia County, where the Susquehanna River crested at 28.6 feet - nearly 10 feet above flood stage, ARES/RACES activated an emergency net, and Amateur Radio volunteers assisted with river level readings at 15 locations. The net remained operational for 27 hours. ARES/RACES members also aided with bridge and road closure announcements. Several bridges and roadways remained closed this week. Amateur Radio volunteers also supported communication to two Red Cross shelters in Columbia County and helped to distribute drinking water after the local water company had to shut down due to flooding. "The long cleanup and recovery process continues for the many resident of Columbia and other nearby counties affected," said Columbia County ARES RACES Radio Officer Randy Kishbaugh, N3JPV. ARRL Eastern Pennsylvania Section Manager Eric Olena, WB3FPL, said Amateur Radio volunteers activated in Berks, Bradford, Bucks, Carbon, Columbia, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Schuykill and Wyoming counties. Meanwhile, ARES/RACES operations in response to flooding in two New Jersey counties have ended. "We are back to normal," Mercer County Emergency Coordinator Kip Burnett, KB2EGI, told ARRL earlier this week. The county EOC remains active to assist in cleanup operations, although Amateur Radio support is no longer necessary. Located along the Delaware River, Mercer County includes the state capital of Trenton. To the north, Sussex County Deputy Communications Officer Dan Murphy, W2GZB, reports that ARES/RACES responded to support flood relief operations on June 28 and 29. Murphy says county emergency managers requested ARES/RACES operators at EOCs in Newton and Montague and, during a power outage, to the 911 center in Newton. Ham radio volunteers provided communication support at a shelter and at the flood zone in Montague. "All operations went well," Murphy reported. ARRL Eastern New York Section Emergency Coordinator Frank Stone, KB2YUR, reports ARES activity in support of the Greater New York American Red Cross wound down July 5. "During the operations we provided communications for the Red Cross to shelters, their command vehicle, the temporary headquarters and between emergency response vehicles (ERVs) and other Red Cross vehicles," Stone told ARRL. "We operated from 7 or 8 AM until the last feeding, done as late as 11 PM." Amateur Radio volunteers traveled with mass care vehicles, food drop units and disaster assessment teams. ARES volunteers from two states and seven counties assisted in the flood response operation, Stone said. ==>ARRL'S "THE BIG PROJECT" TOPS 170 SCHOOLS With the addition of four new schools, the ARRL Education and Technology Program (ETP -- also known as "The Big Project") now has 171 schools across the US onboard. The newest ETP project grant schools are Denison Middle School, Winter Haven, Florida; Hitchcock High School, Hitchcock, Texas; Jefferson School, St Louis, Missouri, and Mesa Linda Middle School, Apple Valley, California. ETP Coordinator Mark Spencer, WA8SME, notified the four schools in June. "I am honored to announce that your school has been awarded an Education and Technology Program grant to help you further your school's educational goals," Spencer said in letters to the four schools. "This grant award recognizes the importance of wireless technology in our society and your innovative program that uses the concepts of wireless technology in education." Program grants to the four schools will total $9000. In addition to the four new schools, the ETP awarded progress grants to two schools that already are a part of the program. They are Powell GT Magnet School, Raleigh, North Carolina and South Sevier High School, Monroe, Utah. Progress grants to the two schools will come to $1000. The ARRL Executive Committee approved allocating $10,000 in program and progress grants during its May meeting. Spencer now is awaiting equipment "wish lists" from the schools to put the items out for bid. Program schools have a choice of three turnkey Amateur Radio station configurations, depending upon what the school hopes to accomplish. For more information, visit the ARRL Education and Technology Program Web page <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/tbp/> or contact ETP Coordinator Mark Spencer, WA8SME, <email@example.com>. ==>SPACEWALK IS "ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE," ASTRONAUT TELLS KUWAITI STUDENTS Students at the Scientific Center of Kuwait spoke June 28 via teleconference link and Amateur Radio with astronaut Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ, at NA1SS aboard the ISS. The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program arranged the event, which marked the first such QSO with a school in the Middle East. Responding to one question, Williams told the youngsters what it's like to perform a spacewalk. "Spacewalking is the ultimate experience up here," Williams said. "To go outside and literally be a spacecraft yourself and to be just hanging on the outside and seeing the entire Earth in one view is absolutely incredible." Another youngster wanted to know why and how Williams became an astronaut. "Early in my career I was a pilot, and I've always wanted to be an explorer," he replied. "I love flight, and this is the ultimate way to fly, and I became an astronaut by setting goals early in life when I was in school and working very hard to meet those goals." Williams said his favorite leisure-time activity is taking photographs of Earth "and looking at all those wondrous sights below." The astronaut also told the students at the Scientific Center that there's "continuous noise" aboard the ISS. "It's not very loud, but there's a lot of fans aboard to move the air around to keep the air healthy for us, and that's primarily what we hear-- the noise is from the different fans." Earlier ISS crew members have explained that the air-moving fans are necessary because of the lack of convection currents in the microgravity environment. In all the students asked 22 questions, and as the event drew to a close, Maryam Aljoaan, 9K2MD, who coordinated the 10-minute radio contact at the center, thanked Williams for taking time to speak with the youngsters, who expressed their appreciation with applause. "Thank you so much! 73," Aljoaan said. Serving as the Earth station for the Kuwait contact was Nancy Rocheleau, WH6PN, in Hawaii. Verizon Conferencing donated a teleconference link to handle two-way audio between Hawaii and Kuwait. The Scientific Center of Kuwait, located in Salmiyah, is dedicated to advancement of the sciences and cultural heritage of Kuwait and promotes environmental awareness. It opened in 2000. On hand for the occasion -- in addition to the students -- were some 40 visitors, including members of the media. Another 100 visitors listened in via an intercom hookup. ARISS-Europe mentor Peter Kofler, IN3GHZ, called the event "a success in every aspect." ARISS <http://www.rac.ca/ariss> is a nine-nation international educational outreach, with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. ==>"INTRUDERS" SPOTTED IN SEVERAL AMATEUR RADIO HF BANDS An "intruder" signal spotted on 20 and 17 meters - possibly originating from a Chinese HF broadcast station - has sparked a slew of reports and complaints from around the globe. In addition, those who volunteer to monitor the bands for out-of-place signals cite reports of so-called "single-letter beacon" stations on 40 meters. As the League's liaison with the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 2 Monitoring System (IARUMS) <http://www.iaru.org/iarums/> - also known as "Intruder Watch" - ARRL Field and Regulatory Correspondent Chuck Skolaut, K0BOG, is often the first to hear about strange signals that suddenly pop up on the bands. "It was still on 18.160 MHz as of July 4," Skolaut said, citing reports of a "Chinese broadcaster" on 17 meters. "DARC Monitoring System Coordinator Uli Bihlmayer, DJ9KR, reported hearing the broadcasts on 20 meters as recently as July 2. He indicated the signal was showing up at various times on 14.230, 14.305 and 14.310 MHz." The signal has been heard on one band or the other in the US from the Northeast to Hawaii, as well as in Canada, Sri Lanka, the UK, Australia, Hong Kong and India. Monitors in Connecticut and Pennsylvania reported a strong AM signal from the apparent broadcaster on 18.160 MHz on July 2 at 1100 UTC and 1300 to 1400 UTC. The signal has been heard on 14.180 MHz as well. Several listeners say their bearings put the source of the signal in central or southern China. Chris Cummings, G4BOH, says he's been able to match the audio to transmissions appearing on 15.495, 11.665 and 12.025 MHz. He filed a report with Ofcom, the UK's telecoms regulatory agency. Bihlmayer filed complaints with German telecoms authorities as well as with the Chinese Embassy in Berlin. Reports filed with DX Listening Digest <http://www.worldofradio.com/index.html> suggested that the 14.180 and 18.160 MHz broadcasts are intended to jam the clandestine "Sound of Hope" transmission from Taiwan. The July 2 DX Listening Digest reports put the Chinese-language broadcasts appearing on 14.310 MHz - QRMing the Medical Amateur Radio Council (MARCO) net on 14.308 MHz - as well as on 18.160 MHz. Short wave listeners (SWLs) say the AM carrier occasionally drops at the top of the hour for a monitoring check, only to reappear five minutes later. Skolaut has shared reports and updates with the FCC, although the Commission has no authority to make intruder stations outside the US stop transmitting on Amateur Radio frequencies. Such situations typically are dealt with through diplomatic channels. For several years now, monitors around the world have reported the presence of "single-letter markers" or "single-letter beacons" apparently emanating from Russia. The so-called "C" beacon has again been reported active on 7.039. Those familiar with the beacons - believed to be Russian Navy channel markers - say there has been a "beacon cluster" on and around 7.039 MHz in the past. These stations identify with a single letter in conventional Morse code. IARU Region 2 Monitoring System Coordinator Bill Zellers, WA4FKI, compares the Intruder Watch program to a Neighborhood Watch that communities set up to reduce crime. He invites other radio amateurs or SWLs in IARU Region 2 (the Americas and some eastern Pacific Islands) to become part of the Intruder Watch program. He explains that IARUMS volunteers listen on the bands for intruders. IARU monitors have no legal authority but act only as band monitors, he points out. Monitors in other parts of the world have logged "drift net buoys" on 160 meters, international broadcasters on 80 and 40 meters, fishing trawlers and pirates, paramilitary stations from India on 17 meters as well as something called "the Havana Gurgle" - the third harmonic of a broadcast on 6.030 MHz. "To survive, the Amateur Radio community needs clean frequencies that are free of intruders," Zellers says. "Take a few minutes to join the Intruder Watch program and help us take care of our Amateur Radio neighborhood." Contact Zellers <firstname.lastname@example.org> for more information. ==>CONTEST CLUB FINLAND TO PROVIDE RUNNING WRTC-2006 "SCOREBOARD" During World Radiosport Team Championship 2006 (WRTC-2006) from Brazil, Contest Club Finland (CCF) will provide running team scores to the worldwide Amateur Radio community via an Internet "Scoreboard" <http://www.hagasoft.com/>. Held in conjunction with the IARU HF World Championship <http://www.iaru.org/contest.html>, WRTC-06 gets under way at 1200 UTC on Saturday, July 8, and concludes 24 hours later. Official WRTC-06 scores are expected to be posted July 10. "Each of the competing teams will release their scores at hourly intervals, and the ranking will appear on your computer screen along with historical data," said well-known DXer Martti Laine, OH2BH. The competing teams will not see the hourly updates. Referees at each station site will text-message the scores via cell phones - made available by Nokia - to a dedicated server at the scoring center in Brazil. From there, the data will undergo processing before being transferred to an SQL server in California. The Scoreboard screen has two parts, separated by a gray vertical line. On the left are the latest standings from top to bottom - including a so-called "minus percentage," which represents by how many percent each competitor's score falls short of the top station at that point in the event. The right side features statistical details, including the standing of each competitor station on an hour-by-hour basis and the relative gap between stations. "That gap can be used for drawing conclusions about the trend - whether it has narrowed or widened in relation to the leading competitor as a function of time," Laine explains. All scores sent by referees are compiled and forwarded to the database hourly at five minutes past the hour, with an updated Scoreboard page ready a couple of minutes later. Browsers with Java are updated automatically at eight minutes past the hour. Laine cautions that while the Scoreboard works with all browsers - including Internet Explorer, Netscape and Firefox - the graphics may not necessarily come out satisfactorily for those using browsers other than IE. "The Amateur Radio community is greatly indebted to these people and specifically to the companies that offer support to make this technology available for WRTC 2006," he said. For additional WRTC-06 insights, National Contest Journal (NCJ) is posting blogs that include the musings and general comments of WRTC-2006 competitors, referees and log checkers. NCJ readers may post their comments as well. Access the blogs from the NCJ home page <http://www.ncjweb.com/> or from the WRTC-2006 coverage section <http://www.ncjweb.com/wrtc2006blogs.php>. Postings will continue until WRTC-2006 wraps up. ==>NEW TECHNICIAN CLASS STUDY MATERIALS AVAILABLE A significantly revised and updated Technician class (Element 2) question pool went into effect July 1 for all Technician class examinations offered on or after that date. ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, says ARRL VEC prepared for the changeover. "ARRL Volunteer Examiner teams were stocked with new test materials based on the Technician class question pool that became effective on July 1," she says. "The new Technician class question pool does not contain any diagrams or symbols." The League also has updated its Technician study guides to reflect the new Element 2 question pool. A brand-new publication, The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, includes all the information a prospective ham needs to get licensed. In addition, the fourth edition of ARRL's Tech Q & A now is available. Well-known ham radio author and QST contributing editor Ward Silver, N0AX, wrote both manuals. ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, says these two publications replace the popular and familiar Now You're Talking! (5th edition) and ARRL's Tech Q & A (3rd edition) for those taking the Technician examination on or after July 1. ARRL-registered instructors may continue to receive discounts on League training materials. A team of ARRL staffers and volunteers contributed to the organization and layout of The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, which may be used either for self-study or for classroom use. It features a friendly, easy-to-read two-color format that emphasizes key learning concepts as well as easy-to-understand "bite-sized" sections. The new ARRL Tech Q & A also includes the Technician Amateur Radio license examination (Element 2) question pool effective July 1 plus an answer key and concise, clear explanations for all questions. The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual (Order No 9639) is $24.95. The new fourth-edition ARRL Tech Q & A (Order No 9647) is $15.95. Visit the ARRL online catalog <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/> Later this summer, the League will introduce a new online class, "The ARRL Ham Radio License Course," replacing the Technician License Course (EC-010) that had been offered through the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (CCE) program. Once it's available, students taking the new course will be able to complete all of their Technician class license training online. Along with a 100-percent risk-free guarantee, registration will include a copy of the new ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, a one-year ARRL membership and post-graduate support. ARRL offers online and computer-based training for students interested taking practice test drills. HamTestOnlineT is a Web-based training program for the Amateur Radio written exams, covering all questions and study material. Also available is Ham University on CD-ROM. This software allows you to browse the questions and quiz yourself on weak areas. Both products are available for the new Technician question pool, as well as for students preparing to upgrade to General or Amateur Extra. HamTestOnline (Order No 9571) is $49.95. The complete edition of Ham University (Order No 8735) retails for $39.95, or purchase the Technician edition (Order No 8956) for $24.95. Inderbitzen says the ARRL Technician class video course expired when the new exam question pool took effect on July 1. Making the course current will require extensive changes, but a new Technician class video will not be available right away. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sol man Tad "Sunshiny Day" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar activity was up this week. Average daily sunspot numbers rose this week by nearly 22 points to 35.6. Average solar flux rose by 11 points - from 75.7 to 86.7. The moderately active geomagnetic day this week was July 5, with a planetary A index of 19, and the college A index from the magnetometer near Fairbanks at 28. The increased geomagnetic activity was due to a high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole on the sun beginning July 4. Earth was vulnerable, due to a south-pointing interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). The next increase in geomagnetic activity is predicted for July 9. The current prediction for the planetary A index for July 7-10 is 8, 10, 25 and 18. Solar flux for those days is predicted at about 85. Propagation to South America from the Northern Hemisphere to work WRTC-2006 stations generally should be good this weekend. A new forecast from NOAA Space Environment Center puts the bottom of this solar cycle at somewhere from January through April 2007 - slightly later than the previous forecast. 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>. Sunspot numbers for June 29 through July 5 were 35, 38, 36, 34, 38, 40 and 28, with a mean of 35.6. 10.7 cm flux was 85.5, 86.1, 85.5, 87.1, 85.9, 92, and 84.7, with a mean of 86.7. Estimated planetary A indices were 12, 8, 5, 2, 4, 13 and 19, with a mean of 9. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 8, 7, 3, 1, 2, 11 and 18, with a mean of 7.1. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The IARU HF World Championship/World Radiosport Team Championship 2006, the VK/Trans-Tasman 160-Meter Contest (phone), the FISTS Summer Sprint, the Six Club Contest and the ARCI Summer Homebrew Sprint are the weekend of July 8-9. The RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (SSB) is July 12. The Thursday NCCC Sprint Ladder is July 14. JUST AHEAD: The North American QSO Party (RTTY), the CQ Worldwide VHF Contest, RSGB Low Power Field Day, and the Run for the Bacon QRP Contest are the weekend of July 15-16. The NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint and the RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship, (Data) are July 20. The Thursday NCCC Sprint Ladder is July 21. The Great Lakes Sweepstakes has been cancelled. 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, July 9, for these on-line ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (CCE) courses: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 2 (EC-002), Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 3 (EC-003R2), 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 July 21. The same courses will again open for registration Friday, July 7, for classes beginning August 18. To learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page <http://www.arrl.org/cce> or contact the CCE Department <email@example.com>. * RSGB seeks 60-meter extension in Great Britain: Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) Spectrum Director Colin Thomas, G3PSM, reports progress in efforts to extend Amateur Radio access to additional channels in the vicinity of 5 MHz (60 meters) and on the RSGB's proposal for amateur access to frequencies in the 500 kHz region. Thomas says the society recently submitted proposals to the Ministry of Defence and to telecommunication regulator Ofcom to allow amateurs on 60 meters beyond the experimental period that ends July 31. The Society reportedly wants two channels that are common with those already in use by the US, Finland, Iceland and Norway: 5368 kHz (5366.5 kHz tuning frequency) and 5373 kHz (5371.5 tuning frequency). RSGB says the proposals are in accordance with the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) strategy of achieving an amateur allocation at 5 MHz. Regarding 500 kHz, Thomas said discussions were progressing on a 2004 RSGB proposal to Ofcom, and he's optimistic that the Society would be granted its first choice - an allocation between 501 and 504 kHz. He said there's also a possibility that the frequency of 500 kHz would be designated a maritime memorial frequency, but he cautions that this would depend on how long certain countries continue to use 500 kHz as a maritime emergency frequency. * Tom Sowden, K0GKD, wins June QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for June is Tom Sowden, K0GKD, for his article "Homebrew Solid-state 600 W HF Amplifier." Congratulations, Tom! 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 July issue by Monday, July 31. * Microwave Update set for October in Dayton: The Midwest VHF/UHF Society will host Microwave Update 2006 in Dayton, Ohio, October 19-22. Forum papers and presentations are invited. Contact Gerd Schrick, WB8IFM (<firstname.lastname@example.org> or 937-253-3993). On Thursday there will be a surplus shop tour. Friday night will be the traditional flea market and Saturday evening will close the event with a banquet including door prizes and a presentation. In addition to technical forums, there will be an exhibit area for vendors plus a hospitality suite on Thursday and Friday evenings. Test equipment will be available for checking noise figure, amplifier gain, output power, phase noise, and impedance. Registration is $40 before September 30 and banquet tickets are $35 per person. Registration includes a copy of the conference Proceedings. More info will be on the MUD 2006 Web site <http://www.microwaveupdate.org/>. * AMSAT-NA introduces online ride-sharing system for Symposium travelers: AMSAT-NA is matching up drivers and riders for its 2006 AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual Meeting <http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/symposium/> October 5-10 in the San Francisco Bay area. "Sharing a ride is a wonderful way to ease parking congestion and expenses, while sparing the air," says Symposium Chair Emily Clarke, N1DID. "You can sign up as a local participant who is driving in each day, or as a long-distance driver coming from Southern California and surrounding states." The Ride Sharing page <http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/symposium/2006Rideshare.php> has additional information. AMSAT also is offering online registration <http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/symposium/2006Registration.php> for this year's Space Symposium and Annual Meeting, which will be held jointly with Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) International, International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) satellite advisors and AMSAT International. This year AMSAT will provide a limited amount of space for vendors and exhibitors. =========================================================== The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; <http://www.arrl.org/>. Joel Harrison, W5ZN, President. The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of interest to active amateurs. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise, and readable. Visit ARRLWeb <http://www.arrl.org/> for the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> offers access to news, informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> is a weekly "ham radio newscast" compiled from The ARRL Letter. Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League. ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): email@example.com ==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, firstname.lastname@example.org ==>ARRL News on the Web: <http://www.arrl.org/> ==>ARRL Audio News: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call 860-594-0384 ==>How to Get The ARRL Letter The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from ARRL HQ. 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