*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 25, No. 33 August 18, 2006 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +"Radiation Belt Remediation" plan raises eyebrows * +Second Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference held * +US, Australian youngsters talk with ISS via ham radio * +Icom will again be ARRL November Sweepstakes principal awards sponsor * +"Music jammer" QSYs on 20 meters * +IARU Administrative Council meets in India * +DXCC posts new "Accreditation Criteria" rule * +Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration ISS Expedition 12 commander to keynote AMSAT Space Symposium Paul J. Graziani, W5ZK, wins July QST Cover Plaque Award DXCC Desk approves operations for DXCC credit Setting the record straight +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> =========================================================== ==>"RADIATION BELT REMEDIATION" PLAN COULD AFFECT HF PROPAGATION, STUDY SUGGESTS A New Zealand university research group believes a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) "Radiation Belt Remediation" (RBR) plan could cause major worldwide disruptions to HF radio communication and GPS navigation. DARPA reportedly envisions RBR as a way to protect low-Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites from damage caused by severe solar storms or even from high-altitude nuclear detonations. The New Zealand-based research group suggests, however, that policymakers need to carefully consider the implications of the project. Headed by Craig Rodger of the University of Otago Physics Department, the research group says RBR could significantly affect radio propagation from several days to a week or longer. "We've calculated that Earth's upper atmosphere would be dramatically affected by such a system, causing unusually intense HF blackouts around most of the world," Rodger said. "Airplane pilots and ships would lose radio contact, and some Pacific Island nations could be isolated for as long as six to seven days, depending on the system's design and how it was operated." GPS would likely also be disrupted on a large scale, he added. System tests would employ extremely high-intensity, very low frequency (VLF) radio waves to "flush" particles from radiation belts and dump them into the upper atmosphere. The disruptions would result from the deluge of dumped charged particles temporarily changing the ionosphere from a "mirror" that bounces HF radio waves around the planet to a "sponge" that soaks them up, Rodger explains. The group's paper, "The atmospheric implications of radiation belt remediation" <http://www.physics.otago.ac.nz/research/space/ag-24-2025.pdf>, appears in the August edition of the international journal Annales Geophysicae. University of Otago researchers collaborated with UK and Finnish scientists in its preparation. ARRL Propagation Report Editor Tad Cook, K7RA, contacted Rodger to learn more about the RBR proposal. Rodger told him that RBR "is a serious project, that 'money is starting to appear to investigate it in more detail,' and 'US scientists with military connections are treating it seriously'," Cook said. Unclassified US Department of Defense budget documents from earlier this year have proposed using Alaska's High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project (HAARP) "to exploit emerging ionosphere and radio science technologies related to advanced defense applications." HAARP is jointly operated by the US Air Force and the US Navy. The project appears to be included under a program called "Sleight of HAND" (SoH). "The effects of High Altitude Nuclear Detonations (HAND) are catastrophic to satellites," the budget report explains. "HAND-generated charged particles are trapped for very long periods of time, oscillating between the earth's north and south magnetic poles. This enhanced radiation environment would immediately degrade low-earth orbiting (LEO) spacecraft capability and result in their destruction in a short period of time." The military budget documents refer to the SoH program as "a proof of concept demonstration" of technology and techniques to mitigate the HAND-enhanced trapped radiation, with the goal of accelerating "the rate of decay of trapped radiation from the LEO environment by a factor of 10 over the natural rate of decay." ==>ARRL FIRST VP CHAIRS GLOBAL AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS CONFERENCE ARRL First Vice President Kay Craigie, N3KN, represented the League at the Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference 2006 (GAREC-2006) <http://www.rientola.fi/oh3ag/garec/index.html>. She also was chosen to chair the event, held June 19-20 in Tampere, Finland, concurrently with the International Conference on Emergency Communications (ICEC 2006) and the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications (WGET). GAREC-2006 participants primarily followed up on items first raised during GAREC-2005. Representatives of than 20 countries were on hand, and Craigie said it was beneficial to have a chance to get to know amateurs from other countries who are involved in emergency communications. "It is easy for American amateurs to assume that Amateur Radio emergency communications work in other countries is the same as what we are familiar with in the USA; however, for historical, cultural and regulatory reasons this is not necessarily the case," she said. "We have much to learn from one another." Establishing emergency communications center-of-activity frequencies was among the GAREC 2005 agenda items carried over to this year's gathering. Center-of-activity frequencies provide common spots on various bands for operators in disaster areas to congregate -- after making initial contact -- to carry out necessary communications and pass emergency traffic. GAREC 2006 participants recommended selecting global center-of-activity frequencies on 15, 17 and 20 meters, with regional frequencies considered more appropriate on 40 and 75 meters. Further refinement of the International Amateur Radio Union Emergency Communications Handbook and a proposal to produce a brochure about Amateur Radio communication also came in for discussion. Craigie cited the challenge of producing a book that is useful worldwide -- neither too generalized nor dominated by a few countries' practices. GAREC-2006 participants shared views on what the handbook should include as well as its purpose and audience. Conferees concurred to support the efforts of the IARU Emergency Communications Handbook working group and to make copies of the publication available in their respective languages. International Coordinator for Emergency Communications Hans Zimmermann, F5VKP/HB9AQS, has spearheaded the handbook effort. One conference session was devoted to discussion of special and innovative emergency communication concepts. Participants also debated the various advantages and disadvantages of newer digital modes and networks. Craigie stressed that Amateur Radio needs to avoid "being dazzled by our own press clippings into thinking that we are the big dog in emergency telecommunications." "The point of the Tampere Convention is to remove regulatory impediments to the swift deployment of modern emergency telecommunications equipment and competent personnel," she said, "especially to disaster zones in those parts of the world where communications infrastructure may not have been much to talk about before the disaster struck and where regulatory environments may be hostile." In the US, Craigie pointed out, there's been a post-Katrina emphasis to speed up deployment of sophisticated communications systems after disasters, so that government and non-government organizations can get to work quickly. "As the emergency telecomm world as a whole speeds up its reaction time, we hams must be better organized, more capable and on the scene as quickly as possible after our help is requested," she commented. "Given ham radio's dependency on emergency communications as our reason to exist in the US, it would be suicidal to assume that what we have always been able to do -- at the speed we have always been able to do it -- will be just fine to maintain our relevance into the indefinite future." Craigie predicted there will always be a role for Amateur Radio in disasters. "The question is whether we will suitably prepare ourselves to play it," she concluded. Additional materials, including a presentation by Craigie, are available on the GAREC-2006 Web site <http://www.rientola.fi/oh3ag/garec/material2006.html>. ==>INDIANA, AUSTRALIAN YOUNGSTERS STEP UP TO THE MICROPHONE TO SPACE Pupils at Robinson Elementary School in Anderson, Indiana, and at Teven-Tintenbar Public School in New South Wales, Australia, learned more about life in space when they spoke via ham radio earlier this month with ISS crew member Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ. The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program arranged both direct VHF contacts. During the August 2 QSO between W9VCF at Robinson Elementary and NA1SS in space, one youngster offered a new twist on the typical "food question." He wanted to know how the space station crew was able to eat without their meals floating away. "Well, it does float if you let it go," Williams allowed. "Wet food, if you fish it out of the container with a spoon, will stick to the spoon. Sometimes dry food you can let float and catch it in your mouth." He said moist food is easier to consume because it will stick to a utensil or the container. "We are well supplied with food," he said in reply to another pupil's question. Williams told the youngsters he enjoys being an astronaut because "we do some pretty cool things, and that's what my passion is." He said he became an astronaut because he believes in space exploration that eventually will take human beings outside of Earth orbit and on to the planets. Responding to another question, he told the youngsters that all three space travelers now onboard the ISS get along very well. There are three crew members on the ISS: Williams, ISS Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov, RV3BS, of Russia, and Thomas Reiter, DF4TR, of Germany. On August 11, an audience of nearly 400 was on hand at Teven-Tintenbar Public School to witness the contact between VK2ZTY and NA1SS. The youngest student, Amy, VK2FCAT, a recent Foundation licensee, had the honor of establishing contact with NA1SS. Williams told one youngster that there's no single most-important experiment under way aboard the ISS. "We have a whole bunch of experiments that we're doing that will help us understand what it takes to counter the weightless environment for people in long-durations in space," Williams explained, "primarily in preparation for going back to the moon and staying there and on to Mars, because it takes a long time to get to Mars, do the mission and come back." Williams said he misses his family most of all during his space mission. "I also miss the smells of Earth," he continued, "the smells of nature -- flowers, the wind. I miss quietness." After the ISS went out of range, ARISS mentor Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI, picked up where Williams left off, answering a half-dozen questions that the students weren't able to fit in during the nearly eight-minute pass. He also took more questions from the audience. Just after sunset, those gathered at the small school were treated to a clear view of the ISS passing overhead on its next orbit. ARISS <http://www.rac.ca/ariss> is an international educational outreach, with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. ==>ICOM TO BE 2006 ARRL NOVEMBER SWEEPSTAKES PRINCIPAL AWARDS SPONSOR Icom has generously agreed to serve for a second year as principal awards sponsor for the ARRL November Sweepstakes. The Amateur Radio equipment manufacturer first took on that role for the 2005 events. This week, the company announced it would do the same this year. The 2006 CW Sweeps takes place November 4-5, while the phone Sweeps is November 18-19. Under its agreement with ARRL, Icom will be the principal sponsor for nearly 150 unsponsored contest plaques that recognize various levels of operating achievement in the popular annual competition. "We are pleased to continue our role as principal awards sponsor for the 2006 November Sweepstakes," said Icom Amateur Radio Products National Sales Manager Ray Novak, N9JA. "It's a mutually beneficial arrangement and enhances the contesting experience for everyone." ARRL Chief Operating Officer Harold Kramer, WJ1B, said the agreement with Icom will permit the League to recognize the accomplishments of many more of Sweepstakes participants, not just the very top scorers. Contest award plaques lacking club or individual sponsorship typically cost their winners $60 to $70 apiece. The 2005 ARRL-Icom Sweepstakes pact marked the first-ever corporate awards sponsorship for ARRL November Sweepstakes awards. Kramer has assured members -- in particular, regular ARRL contest participants -- that Icom's sponsorship will not in any way affect the integrity of the League's overall program of operating events. Individuals and non-commercial organizations already sponsor many plaques, and ARRL and Icom encourage their continued participation in the awards program. ==>REPORTED "FIREDRAGON" JAMMER/INTRUDER SHIFTS FREQUENCY A Chinese-language "intruder" signal first spotted earlier this summer on 14.260 MHz this week shifted frequencies. International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 Monitoring System (IARUMS) Vice coordinator Uli Bihlmayer, DJ9KR, says the powerful jammer -- dubbed "Firedragon" -- had been transmitting solely Chinese music on 14.260 MHz since August 5. "This offender is active day and night -- all day, every day -- and causing very harmful interference to the Amateur Radio Service," Bihlmayer informed ARRL Monitoring System/Intruder Watch Liaison Chuck Skolaut, K0BOG, and IARU Region 2 Monitoring System Coordinator Bill Zellers, WA4FKI, on August 15. In an August 17 update, however, Bihlmayer said the music jammer had moved to 14.050 MHz. That part of the 20-meter band is allocated to the Amateur Radio Service on an exclusive basis throughout the world. Prior to August 5, Skolaut said, reports indicated that the transmission contained both talk and music and was more intermittent, but "now it's pretty continuous and entirely music." According to Bihlmayer, German telecom authorities pinpointed the transmitter's location as Hainan Island in Hainan Sheng Province, Peoples' Republic of China (PRC), located south of the mainland in the Gulf of Tonkin. Hainan Island also was the apparent source of an over-the-horizon radar signal heard on 75 meters in Region 3. Bihlmayer said. Citing complaints from members, Skolaut has reported the intruder to the FCC, although as he and Zellers point out, 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. Skolaut says he was able to hear the jammer for himself this week -- on its new frequency -- from W1AW. Until earlier this week, the same jammer also was appearing on 18.160 MHz. In July, Bihlmayer alerted telecom authorities in Germany and Hong Kong, as well as IARU Region 3 and the PRC embassy in Berlin to the situation. The 17-meter band also is a worldwide exclusive Amateur Radio allocation. According to reports filed this month with DX Listening Digest <http://www.worldofradio.com/index.html>, the 14.260 MHz Firedragon signal was an effort by the PRC to jam the clandestine "Sound of Hope" transmission beamed to the Chinese mainland from Taiwan, with Amateur Radio operators being caught in the crossfire. The "parallel" signal on 18.160 MHz apparently disappeared earlier this week, and the jammer now has been appearing on 17.330 MHz. The signal also has been heard on 7.130 MHz, which is allocated to broadcasters in much of the world outside of Region 2 (the Americas). Short wave listeners said the AM carrier, heard earlier this summer on various 20-meter phone band frequencies, would occasionally drop out at the top of the hour, apparently for a monitoring check, then reappear five minutes later. Skolaut says he's received reports about the music jammer from all over the US. "I have one ham reporting it regularly from New Zealand," he said. ==>ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL REVIEWS IARU'S ROLE AND STRUCTURE Meeting in Bangalore, India, August 12-14, the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) <http://www.iaru.org/> Administrative Council heard a progress report from an ad hoc panel that's looking into the IARU's future role and structure. The Council wants the committee to provide a recommendation by year's end addressing the feasibility, budget and possible timetable to put a revised organization into place. The Council also reviewed and tentatively agreed with the recommendations and conclusions of a study aimed at improving coordination on electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) matters. Final approval of the report, prepared by the ARRL in its role as IARU International Secretariat, is subject to additional input from the IARU EMC adviser. The study includes several suggestions to improve information flow among radio amateurs worldwide who are working on this important topic. Turning to other matters, the Council determined to continue its strategic planning initiative begun in 2003, and it reviewed progress on a three-year plan to develop support for Amateur Radio frequency allocations. The plan provides for the IARU, working through its regional organizations, to maintain -- and increase -- contact with regional telecommunications organizations. The Council also identified International Telecommunication Union (ITU) meetings requiring an IARU presence over the coming year and reviewed plans for representation. The principal focus continues to be on preparations for the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07). Council members also went over plans for IARU participation in Telecom World 2006 and the accompanying forum. Telecom World 2006 will take place December 4-8 in Hong Kong. A report on the 2006 Global Amateur Radio Emergency Conference (GAREC 2006), held in June in Tampere, Finland, was reviewed. It was agreed to publish the "Statement of GAREC-06" on behalf of the conference to call it to the attention of IARU member-societies. The Council thanked International Coordinator for Emergency Communications Hans Zimmermann, F5VKP/HB9AQS, for his continuing work in this important area, which includes preparation of an IARU Emergency Communications Handbook. Three humanitarian aid workers and radio amateurs were named as the initial honorees for inclusion in the IARU "Memorial for Amateurs Killed in Humanitarian Service." They are Pero Simundza, 9A4SP, Carlos Luis Caceres, KD4SYB, and Nadisha Yassari Ranmuthu, 4S7NR. Simundza and Caceres were among a group of United Nations workers killed by a mob in West Timor in 2000. Ranmuthu, an International Red Cross aid worker from Sri Lanka, was shot to death near Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003. The Council reviewed a working document describing the requirements for radio spectrum allocations to the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services. Delegates strengthened references to the need for an amateur allocation in the vicinity of 5 MHz. The International Secretariat presented -- and the Council reviewed -- the IARU's 2007-2009 budget. The spending plan provides for financial contributions from the three IARU regional organizations to defray a portion of the expenses, in accordance with previously adopted policy. In additional actions, the Administrative Council: * created an IARU exploratory committee to investigate ways to move forward with plans for a commonly adopted Amateur Radio license that would permit amateurs to operate in countries other than their own without the need to obtain a permit from the host country. * discussed problems facing QSL bureaus operated by IARU member-societies, recognizing that the cost of forwarding of QSL cards is substantial for some member-societies. * received and discussed reports from the three IARU regional organizations, acknowledging that member-societies in all regions face financial challenges. * received reports of the other IARU international coordinators and advisers. Additionally, the International Secretariat agreed to undertake efforts to increase the visibility of IARU activities within the worldwide Amateur Radio community. This month's Administrative Council meeting followed on the heels of the IARU Region 3 Conference, also held in Bangalore. The next IARU Administrative Council meeting is set to take place next May in Boston, Massachusetts. Attending the Bangalore gathering were IARU President Larry Price, W4RA; Vice President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA; Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ; regional representatives Ole Garpestad, LA2RR, Don Beattie, G3BJ, Rod Stafford, W6ROD, Reinaldo Leandro, YV5AMH, Chandru Ramchandra, VU2RCR, K. C. Selvadurai, 9V1UV, and Peter Lake, ZL2AZ; and recording secretary Paul Rinaldo, W4RI. ==>DXCC ANNOUNCES ACCREDITATION CRITERIA RULE CHANGE ARRL's DXCC program has added language to its Accreditation Criteria to minimize difficulties stemming from online DXpedition logs. The change, recently approved by the ARRL Board of Directors Programs and Services Committee, limits the level of QSO detail that DXpeditions may provide on Web-based log sites, search engines or other public forums and still qualify for DXCC accreditation. ARRL Membership Services Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG, notes that it's become accepted practice for DXpeditions to post QSO information on the Web. "Although this information is generally limited to call sign, band and mode, it has been useful in reducing the number of duplicate contacts in the DXpedition log," Mills points out. "Publishing complete QSO information or information from which full QSO information can be derived, on the other hand, threatens the integrity of the QSLing process, and is unacceptable." Mills says at least some key information a station provides when submitting a DXpedition contact for DXCC credit must be obtained solely by actually making the QSO. "If complete contact information can be derived from information based on the DXpedition log, the QSL manager's job can be much more difficult if busted calls are involved," he says. Section III, Accreditation Criteria, Rule 5, of the DXCC rules states: "The presentation in any public forum of logs or other representations of station operation showing details of station activity or other information from which all essential QSO elements (time, date, band, mode and call sign) for individual contacts can be derived creates a question as to the integrity of the claimed QSOs with that station during the period encompassed by the log. Presentation of such information in any public forum by the station operator, operators or associated parties is not allowed and may be considered sufficient reason to deny ARRL award credit for contacts with any station for which such presentations have been made. Persistent violation of this provision may result in disqualification from the DXCC program." "In almost every case, the new accreditation rule will change nothing," said Mills, calling the new rule a "reasonable compromise" in terms of its impact on the program's integrity. "Publishing band and mode information for each call sign -- as is now done -- is perfectly acceptable. It is only the rare case where complete QSO information is published or can be derived from published data that we are concerned about." ==>SOLAR UPDATE Propagation guru Tad "Sunshine Superman" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar flux and sunspot numbers were up a bit this week, with the average daily sunspot number rising by 25 points to 33.6. Friday, August 11, had a daily sunspot number of 39. With more sunspots, the higher HF bands exhibit better propagation than they did nearly two weeks ago when the sunspot number was zero for four days in a row. A coronal mass ejection (CME) August 16 could cause geomagnetic disturbances this weekend. The predicted planetary A index for August 18-21 is 10, 25, 15 and 8. We are still anticipating the upcoming solar minimum, but a large amount of e-mail arrived this week regarding news from NASA of what could be the first spot of Cycle 24 <http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/15aug_backwards.htm>. The sunspot appeared briefly, then disappeared. The clue was the short-lived sunspot's magnetic polarity, which was the opposite of sunspots during the current Cycle 23. As time goes on, there will be more Cycle 24 spots and fewer Cycle 23 spots. For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL Technical Information Service at http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html. For a detailed explanation of the numbers used in this bulletin, see http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/k9la-prop.html. An archive of past propagation bulletins is at http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/prop/. Sunspot numbers for August 10 through 16 were 37, 39, 27, 26, 45, 32 and 29, with a mean of 33.6. 10.7 cm flux was 80.3, 83.9, 84.7, 85.9, 86.4, 85.6, and 86, with a mean of 84.7. Estimated planetary A indices were 5, 6, 8, 2, 4, 3 and 3, with a mean of 4.4. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 4, 3, 4, 2, 2, 2 and 2, with a mean of 2.7. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest, the North American QSO Party (SSB), the SARTG World Wide RTTY Contest, and the New Jersey QSO Party, as well as the International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend are the weekend of August 19-20. The Run for the Bacon QRP Contest is August 21. JUST AHEAD: the Ohio and Hawaii QSO parties, the ALARA Contest, the Keyman's Club of Japan Contest, the YO DX HF Contest, the SCC RTTY Championship, the SARL HF CW Contest and the CQC Summer VHF/UHF QSO Party are the weekend of August 26-27. 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, September 3, for these ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (CCE) online courses. Classes begin Friday September 15. 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). These courses also will open for registration Friday, September 1, for classes beginning Friday, October 20. To learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html> or contact the CCE Department <email@example.com>. * ISS Expedition 12 commander to keynote AMSAT Space Symposium: AMSAT has announced announce that ISS Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, will be the keynote speaker at the 2006 AMSAT Space Symposium this fall in the San Francisco Bay area. The Space Symposium takes place October 6-8. During his six months aboard the ISS -- from October 2005 until April 2006 -- McArthur became the most active radio amateur ever to serve in space, logging more than 1800 QSOs and picking up several honorary operating awards, including Worked All States and Worked All Continents. He also established an impressive new milestone of 37 Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contacts. In addition, he put 130 DXCC entities into the NA1SS log and now is in the process of collecting the cards for DXCC. A veteran of four spaceflights and spacewalks, McArthur will speak during the annual banquet the evening of Saturday, October 7. The 2006 Space Symposium will be held jointly with the ARISS International and IARU Satellite Advisory Panel annual meetings and an AMSAT International Delegates meeting. Additional information and Space Sysmposium online registration are available on the AMSAT Web site <http://www.amsat.org/>. * Paul J. Graziani, W5ZK, wins July QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for July is Paul J. Graziani, W5ZK, for his article "Tune in a Beacon Station." Congratulations, Paul! 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 August issue by Thursday, August 31. * DXCC Desk approves operations for DXCC credit: The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved these operations for DXCC credit: KH8SI, K1ER/KH8, KS6FO/KH8, WH7S/KH8, K8YSE/KH8, AH7C/KH8 and KH6BK/KH8 -- Swain's Island, for contacts made from July 28 through August 2, 2006. The DXCC Desk will begin accepting QSL cards for Swain's Island on October 1. For more information, visit the DXCC Web page <http://www.arrl.org/awards/dxcc/>. "DXCC Frequently Asked Questions" can answer most questions about the DXCC program. * Setting the record straight: The brief obituary for Don Newcomb, W0DN, that appeared in The ARRL Letter, Vol 25, No 32 (Aug 11, 2006), contained incomplete information. Newcomb, who died July 27, co-founded the Butternut Company with Pat Tice, WA0TDA. "We started the company in the basement of an old country schoolhouse Don was using as a home," Tice recalled this week. "It happened to be in Butternut Township, Blue Earth County, Minnesota -- hence the 'Butternut' name." =========================================================== The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League: ARRL--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 and general news of interest to active radio amateurs. Visit the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> for the latest Amateur Radio news and news updates. The ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> also offers informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> is a weekly "ham radio newscast" compiled and edited from The ARRL Letter. It's also available as a podcast from our Web site. 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