*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 25, No. 37 September 15, 2006 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +League granted experimental license for 500 kHz research * +ARRL member, ARES volunteer receives volunteer service award * +Ham radio operation back on civilian space traveler's agenda * +License loss could follow felonies, alleged corporate misdeeds * +Heil Sound Ltd welcomes Chip Margelli, K7JA, to its team * +Tom Hogerty, KC1J, is League's new Contest Branch manager * +ARRL HQ graphic designers win prestigious award * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration +ARRL again participating in the Combined Federal Campaign Alan Bloom, N1AL, wins August QST Cover Plaque Award Long-distance CW QSO marks milestone in LF experimentation Microwave Update 2006 offers learning opportunity Lifetime licenses for UK/Great Britain hams delayed Islands on the Air program announces Icom sponsorship deal +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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> ==>Editorial questions or comments only: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, <email@example.com> =========================================================== ==>ARRL GRANTED EXPERIMENTAL LICENSE FOR 500 KHZ RESEARCH BY RADIO AMATEURS The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology on September 13 granted Part 5 experimental license WD2XSH to the ARRL on behalf of a group of radio amateurs interested in investigating spectrum in the vicinity of 500 kHz. The two-year authorization permits experimentation and research between 505 and 510 kHz (600 meters) using narrowband modes at power levels of up to 20 W effective radiated power (ERP). ARRL Member Fritz Raab, W1FR, of Vermont, will serve as experimental project manager for "The 500 KC Experimental Group for Amateur Radio" <http://www.500kc.com/> "I'm kind of excited to see how we can apply modern technology to a 'classic part' of the radio spectrum," Raab told ARRL this week. He pointed out that 500 kHz - the traditional maritime emergency frequency - is roughly geometrically halfway between the 136 kHz experimental band and the 160 meter amateur allocation. "In contrast to 160 meters, 500 kHz is low enough to offer good groundwave propagation, but in contrast to 137 kHz it is high enough to allow us to engage in real communication with realistic equipment." Raab eventually would like to see at least a secondary 600-meter amateur allocation from 495 to 510 kHz. "Besides the opportunities for experimenting at low frequencies, that frequency is well suited to regional groundwave communication," Raab said. He envisions eventual use of the spectrum to provide Amateur Radio emergency communication via groundwave, without having to deal with the vagaries of the ionosphere or causing interference to other services. For about a century, the 500 kHz region was an important band for maritime communication, emergency and otherwise. The band is occasionally used by "heritage" commercial maritime stations, such as the Maritime Radio Historical Society's KPH on the West Coast, on special occasions. 500 kHz remains designated as an official maritime emergency CW frequency, although the vast majority of maritime users have shifted to satellite-based systems. In addition to experimentation and regional emergency work, Raab says he believes that the 505-510 kHz spectrum could serve as "an historic band" that could support various commemorative special event-type operations. Proposals are under consideration in the UK and Ireland to establish an experimental Amateur Radio allocation in the vicinity of 500 kHz. The WD2XSH project calls for operation from 21 discrete fixed sites spread throughout the US. Participants all are electrical professionals, many with maritime radio backgrounds, Raab said, adding that operation already has begun. The group eventually will be seeking reports from non-participants, he said. Raab says the gear participants will use represents "every kind of antenna and equipment you can imagine," including surplus vacuum-tube maritime units. At his Colchester, Vermont, location he's using a 42-foot vertical, but others are employing inverted Ls, loops and Marconis, among others. Raab was a co-author of the article "A 100-W Class-D Power Amplifier for LF and MF," which appeared in the March-April edition of QEX <http://www.arrl.org/qex/2006/03/toc.pdf>. He's using an amplifier of that design for his WD2XSH operations. The FCC turned down a 1998 petition from the ARRL to create an Amateur Radio "sliver band" in the vicinity of 136 kHz, but some US amateur licensees have obtained FCC Part 5 Experimental licenses to research the possibilities of LF, including transatlantic and transpacific propagation. Amateur Radio licensees in Europe and elsewhere already have access to 135.7 to 137.8 kHz, and several hams in Canada have authorization to operate there using Amateur Radio call signs. ==>MICHIGAN ARES VOLUNTEER RECEIVES AWARD FROM PRESIDENT BUSH President George W. Bush has presented the President's Volunteer Service Award to a Michigan ARRL member and Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteer. Genesee County Emergency Coordinator and RACES Radio Officer Greg Ybarra, N8HXQ, of Flint, accepted the award during the president's September 8 visit to Flint. Ybarra told ARRL he got word just a couple of weeks ago that local emergency managers had nominated him for the honor. On September 6, Ybarra got the call from the White House informing him that not only had he been selected as a "USA Freedom Corps Greeter" <http://www.freedomcorps.gov/about_usafc/newsroom/local_vols.asp> he'd be meeting the president in person. "I was in shock and didn't know what to say," Ybarra told ARRL this week, "so I said, 'That is great.'" Ybarra -- who calls himself neither a Republican nor a Democrat -- says his apparent initial lack of enthusiasm on the telephone prompted the White House aide to ask if he wasn't excited to be meeting the president. But, as he put it, "I felt my heart was going a hundred miles an hour, and I was trying to stay calm and focused." Ybarra says Genesee County Emergency Management Director Grace Ranger, KC8BOE, and Emergency Management Program Manager Tami Yorks, KC8YGS, submitted his name to recognize his work as a volunteer with Genesee County ARES (GCARES). At first, Ybarra was advised not to say anything about the pending award to anyone -- not even his wife, Maria. And even when he got the okay to tell her, "Well needless to say she didn't believe me," Ybarra said. When the big day arrived, Ybarra and his wife got to Bishop International Airport early. "I was fine until the president started walking toward me," he said. "Then I got nervous and tongue tied. It was a great honor to meet President Bush in person." The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation created the President's Volunteer Service Award program as a way to express appreciation for and honor Americans who inspire others by their example to engage in volunteer service. Ybarra, 52, is an electrician at General Motors Powertrain -- North Flint. He's been a radio amateur and GCARES volunteer for about 20 years. He also teaches Amateur Radio licensing classes.--some information from Jerry Baker, KD8AYL/GCARES ==>CIVILIAN SPACE TRAVELER SET TO TRY AMATEUR RADIO FROM ISS AFTER ALL Hold the phone! The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program now says US businesswoman Anousheh Ansari, who will travel to the ISS September 18 as part of the Russian Soyuz TMA-9 "taxi mission," will attempt some Amateur Radio contacts while in space after all. Earlier indications from Ansari, 39, were that she had decided not to get a license and would not do any ham radio contacts. "Anousheh wishes to talk with US-licensed school children in random QSOs," ARRL ARISS Liaison Rosalie White, K1STO, says. "She will be on the air at various times from Thursday, September 21, until Tuesday, September 26, using RS0ISS. Because of third-party traffic rules, Ansari may only speak with Amateur Radio licensees. A tentative schedule also calls for Ansari to speak with students at George Washington University, her alma mater, on Friday, September 22. Ansari has had training on the ARISS gear but because of her tight training schedule in Russia was unable to get her license. Space Adventures Ltd <http://www.spaceadventures.com/> is handling arrangements for Ansari's mission. She's a last-minute stand-in for Daisuke "Dice-K" Enomoto as the fourth private citizen - and the first female civilian - to fly to the ISS. She'll spend approximately 10 days in space. "By reaching this dream I've had since childhood, I hope to tangibly demonstrate to young people all over the world that there is no limit to what they can accomplish," said Ansari, who's chairman and co-founder of Prodea Systems Inc. According to Space Adventures, Ansari wants to be a space ambassador and "share the spaceflight experience with as many people as possible, and use her experience to help educate." "She also wants to use the mission to further educate children on the importance of space travel and life in space," Space Adventures added. ==>FELONIES, ALLEGED CORPORATE MISDEEDS COULD COST RADIO AMATEUR HIS LICENSE The FCC has ordered an Indiana commercial and Amateur Radio license holder, Timothy M. Doty, WB9MCD, of W Terre Haute, and a Land Mobile Service (LMS) company in which he's a principal to show cause why their respective licenses should not be revoked. In an Order to Show Cause released August 30, the FCC said it received information last year suggesting that Commercial Radio Service Inc (CRS) "may not have properly disclosed information" about Doty's felony convictions in applications it filed with the Commission. "The character of the applicant is among those factors that the Commission considers in its review of applications to determine whether the applicant has the requisite qualifications to be a Commission licensee," the FCC said in the show cause order. Felony convictions "raise potential questions regarding a licensee's qualifications," the FCC said. "Similarly, because of the extent of his ownership and control of CRS, Mr Doty's felony convictions also raise serious questions about the character qualifications of CRS to be and remain a Commission licensee." The FCC said CRS's response to a letter of inquiry it had sent last May determined that Doty has been a director and 50 percent shareholder of CRS, and, until last May, a CRS officer. CRS holds licenses for four Private LMS stations and one Commercial LMS station. Doty holds a General Radiotelephone Operator license in addition to his ham ticket. All of the licenses are in jeopardy. The Commission said publicly available records show that Doty was convicted in federal court of a felony that involved manufacture and possession of unauthorized satellite TV descrambling devices. He received three years' probation and a $2000 fine in that case, the FCC said in the Order. In addition, the FCC said, publicly available records indicated Doty was found guilty in state court on a felony count of possessing a controlled substance. For that conviction, he was sentenced to 18 months' incarceration with all but 30 days suspended, the FCC said in the Order. Subsequent to his federal and state felony convictions, the FCC asserts, CRS failed to reveal that the applicant or any party directly or indirectly controlling the applicant had ever been convicted of a felony in state or federal court. The FCC said misrepresentation and lack of candor "raise immediate concerns as to whether a licensee will be truthful in future dealings with the Commission." CRS, the FCC maintained, should have revealed Doty's felony convictions in its Commission filings. "The Commission may revoke the license of a licensee who deliberately makes misrepresentations or lacks candor in dealing with the agency because he or she lacks the basic character qualifications to hold the license,." the FCC said. Assuming that CRS and Doty respond to the show cause order within 30 days of its release, the Commission indicated it would schedule a hearing to determine whether Doty's felony convictions affect his and CRS's qualifications to be and remain a Commission licensee and to determine whether CRS made misrepresentations and/or lacked candor in its dealings with the FCC. "CRS's failure to disclose the felony convictions of one of its principals raises a substantial and material question of fact as to whether CRS made false certifications, misrepresented facts to the Commission and/or demonstrated a lack of candor," the FCC said in its discussion of the case. The FCC suggested that CRS declined to reveal Doty's felony convictions because it knew the information would potentially disqualify CRS and Doty as Commission licensees. Regardless of the outcome of the hearing on the character qualification issues, the FCC said it also would determine whether to fine CRS as much as $97,500 for its alleged failure to disclose Doty's felony convictions in one or more applications. Since the 1990s, the FCC has applied character qualification standards previously reserved for broadcast licensees to applicants and licensees in other radio services, including the Amateur Radio Service. The Order to Show Cause is available on the FCC Web site <<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-06-128A1.pdf>. ==>CHIP MARGELLI, K7JA, MOVES TO HEIL SOUND LTD Well-known Amateur Radio industry personality Chip Margelli, K7JA, has joined Heil Sound Ltd <http://www.heilsound.com/> as vice president of sales and marketing. Heil Sound President Bob Heil, K9EID, and his wife Sarah announced September 14 that Margelli will be responsible for all national and international Amateur Radio sales and marketing plans. Margelli, who for many years has been associated with the Yaesu Amateur Radio brand and regularly fronted that manufacturer's hamfest concessions all over the US, says he's "honored and excited" to be making the move to Heil Sound. "Heil Sound is a dynamic, growing, and creative enterprise, and I look forward to being a part of their bright future," Margelli commented. Calling it "an historic day for Amateur Radio," Heil said Margelli "brings his great passion and knowledge of Amateur Radio to this new post." He cited Margelli's more than 40 years of experience and expertise as a DXer, DXpeditioner, contester and top-notch CW operator "along with his great knowledge of just about every radio in existence" as assets that will benefit Heil Sound's dealers and customers worldwide. Licensed since 1963, Margelli is an ARRL Life Member. He also belongs to AMSAT and the Quarter Century Wireless Association (QCWA). He and his wife Janet, KL7MF, live in Garden Grove, California. Margelli has authored articles for QST, QCWA Journal, CQ and CQ VHF magazines. His most recent contribution for QST was "Field Day 2003 from Cuba," which appeared in the December 2003 issue. Margelli enjoys operating on all amateur bands from HF through UHF -- including "weak-signal" terrestrial and moonbounce work and satellite operation -- and has a special fondness for 6 meters. Beyond ham radio, Margelli enjoys photography, astronomy and running marathons. Margelli holds both bachelor's and master's degrees (political science and business administration, respectively) from the University of Washington. He speaks fluent Japanese. In May 2005, Margelli and partner Ken Miller, K6CTW, enjoyed their "15 minutes of Amateur Radio fame" with an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC. Using Morse code, the two radio amateurs went head to head with US cell-phone text messaging champ Ben Cook and his partner to see which mode would get the message through in the shortest time. Margelli, Miller and Morse won hands down. Outside of the realm of the Amateur Radio industry, Margelli and Heil are longtime friends. An industry personality in his own right, Heil was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in June on the basis of his pioneering sound work with a variety of rock bands, including The James Gang and The Eagles (see "Hall of Famer Bob Heil, K9EID: "It's all Because of Ham Radio!" in Oct 2006 QST, p 49). Another Heil friend, Joe Walsh, WB6ACU, plays in both bands. Contact Margelli via e-mail <Chip@heilsound.com>. ==>ARRL HQ VETERAN TOM HOGERTY, KC1J, TAKES OVER CONTEST BRANCH Tom Hogerty, KC1J, has assumed the reins of the Contest Branch within the ARRL Membership Services Department. With nearly 19 years of experience in various positions at ARRL Headquarters, Hogerty most recently worked in the Software and Web Development Department. The move to Contest Branch Manager marks his return to the Membership Services Department. "This marks the third time I've worked with the fine folks in MSD, and I very much look forward to my new responsibilities there," Hogerty said. ARRL Membership Services Department Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG, said, "We're extremely happy to have Tom back in our department." He pointed out that Hogerty helped guide the DXCC Branch through its conversion from paper to computer recordkeeping in addition to his involvement in ham radio regulatory matters. As Contest Branch Manager, Hogerty succeeds Dan Henderson, N1ND, who took over as Regulatory Information Branch specialist earlier this year following the death of John Hennessee, N1KB. Mills said Hogerty will be responsible "for the nuts-and-bolts operation of the Contest Branch." This includes ensuring that the contest log "robots" are operating properly, overseeing the preparation of contest results and handling the Contest Branch's customer service activities - including answering myriad questions from contesters that come up each day. "With more and more Web-based presentation, Tom will be a great asset to the program," Mills added. Hogerty also will coordinate with various volunteers who assist the League in contesting matters. These include Trey Garlough, N5KO, who operates the "contest robot," as well as log checkers Tree Tyree, N6TR; Dave Pruett, K8CC; Ken Wolff, K1EA, and Larry Weaver, N6TW. Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, also contributes a number of services, while Garlough and Contest Advisory Committee Chairman Ward Silver, N0AX, serve as general consultants to the Contest Branch. Kathy Allison, KA1RWY, the Contest Branch assistant, also works with Logbook of the World (LoTW) <http://www.arrl.org/lotw>. After joining the League staff in 1988 as Regulatory Information Department manager, Hogerty subsequently served as DXCC manager, Regulatory Information Supervisor and Web assistant among other positions. He previously worked 17 years for The Hartford Insurance Group. He's studied business administration at the University of Hartford and Central Connecticut State University, and he has extensive training and experience in computer applications and Web site operations. ==>ARRL WINS AMERICAN GRAPHIC DESIGN AWARD FOR SECOND YEAR A nationwide panel of judges has selected ARRL Headquarters graphic designers Sue Fagan and Diane Szlachetka as 2006 American Graphic Design Awards winners. The honor marks the second year in a row that Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) has honored ARRL as an American Graphic Design Awards recipient. The graphic design elements GDUSA recognized served to highlight or backdrop displays and exhibits during the League's ARRL EXPO 2005 national convention at Dayton HamventionR. "We feel strongly about representing ARRL with consistent images and messages at hamfests and conventions," said ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. "The high-quality designs that Sue and Diane have produced for ARRL are already being used by field volunteers in several ARRL sections." The competition is considered among the most prestigious design awards and among the most selective, too, Inderbitzen says. Fagan and Szlachetka were among the 10 percent of nominees honored this year. Winners receive an embossed certificate of excellence for each piece selected and become eligible for reproduction in Graphic Design USA's Awards Annual, seen by more than 100,000 colleagues and clients each year. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sun watcher Tad "Tequila Sunrise" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: The autumnal equinox for the Northern Hemisphere will occur September 23 at 0402 UTC. Fall is generally a better time for HF propagation, except for a lack of sporadic-E skip. Average daily sunspot numbers rose over the past week by 19 points to 44.3. Geomagnetic conditions were quiet every day. For the next week Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet conditions for September 15, then quiet to unsettled on the September 16, unsettled geomagnetic activity on September 17 and 18, then quiet on September 19-21. The US Air Force spaceweather operation predicts planetary A index (a measure of geomagnetic activity) for September 15-21 at 5, 10, 12, 15, 8, 5 and 5. 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 September 7 through 13 were 39, 49, 51, 50, 42, 41 and 38, with a mean of 44.3. The 10.7 cm flux was 86.7, 87.2, 85.5, 87.3, 84.6, 84.1, and 82.9, with a mean of 85.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 8, 4, 2, 6, 8, 4 and 6, with a mean of 5.4. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 5, 4, 1, 5, 7, 2 and 3, with a mean of 3.9. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The North American Sprint (SSB), the ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest, F.I.S.T.S. Get Your Feet Wet Weekend, the SARL VHF/UHF Contest, the Scandinavian Activity Contest (CW), the South Carolina QSO Party, QRP Afield, the Washington State Salmon Run and the QCWA Fall QSO Party are the weekend of September 16-17. JUST AHEAD: The Run for the Bacon QRP Contest and the 144 MHz Fall Sprint are September 18. The NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint is September 21. The CQ Worldwide DX Contest (RTTY), the Scandinavian Activity Contest (SSB), the Texas QSO Party, the AGCW VHF/UHF Contest and the UBA ON Contest (CW) are the weekend of September 23-24. The Fall QRP Homebrewer Sprint is September 25. The 222 MHz Fall Sprint is September 26. 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 24, for these ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (CCE) program online 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 on Friday, October 6. These courses will also open for registration Friday, September 22, for classes beginning Friday, November 3. To learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html> or contact the CCE Department <firstname.lastname@example.org>. * ARRL again participating in the Combined Federal Campaign: For the fifth year running, the US Office of Personnel Management has designated the ARRL to participate in the 2006 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) <http://www.opm.gov/cfc/>. In the past, this campaign for federal government civilian employees, US Postal Service workers and members of the military has generated more than $69,000 for ARRL programs. The CFC provides an easy way to support ARRL's efforts to represent its members and all radio amateurs. Similar to the United Way, the CFC encourages individuals to pledge by payroll deduction to non-profit organizations of their choice. The ARRL encourages eligible radio amateurs to consider the League when designating campaign recipients. Those wishing to select the ARRL to receive all or part of their payroll deduction should designate organization 9872 when completing their CFC donor forms. Donations to ARRL can be designated for Diamond Club contributions, the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund or the ARRL Education & Technology Program. Or, donors may make unrestricted contributions to the League. The ARRL Development Office would appreciate a copy of the donor form <email@example.com> to ensure that each contribution is applied according to the donor's wishes and the contribution or pledge can be properly acknowledged. The 2006 CFC ends December 15. * Alan Bloom, N1AL, wins August QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for August is Alan Bloom, N1AL, for his article "VHF/UHF Mobile Propagation." Congratulations, Alan! 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 September issue by Saturday, September 30. * Long-distance CW QSO marks milestone in LF experimentation: Steve McDonald, VE7SL, and J Allen, VY1JA, are claiming the first long-distance, low-frequency aural CW contact between two Canadian amateurs. The QSO in the vicinity of 136 kHz (2200 meters) between VY1JA in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory (CP20) and VE7SL on Mayne Island, British Columbia (CN88) took place Friday, September 9, at 0705 UTC. The distance between the two stations is approximately 1000 miles. "It was nice not having to rely on computers or QRSS [very slow-speed CW] mode to be able to work each other," McDonald said. "Copy was 100 percent at both ends with little fading." VY1JA was running 200 W to a 100-foot top-loaded tower, resonated at 137 KHz, while VE7SL was running 450 W to a 65-foot wire vertical and three wire top-hat. While Canada has not yet allocated an Amateur Radio LF band, Industry Canada has authorized several Canadian hams to experiment in the vicinity of 136 kHz. "LF experimental work by Canadian amateurs continues to demonstrate the suitability of 2200 meters for reliable two-way communications with simple homemade equipment and without causing interference to primary users of the band," McDonald concluded. For more information on 2200 meter activity in Canada, visit The VE7SL Radio Notebook <http://imagenisp.com/jsm/136.html>. * Microwave Update 2006 offers learning opportunity: Microwave Update 2006 (MUD 2006) will take place in Dayton, Ohio, Friday and Saturday, October 20-21. Sponsored by the Midwest VHF/UHF Society and held for the first time in Dayton, this conference offers an excellent opportunity to learn about Amateur Radio microwave activity. Forum presentations are set for both days. There will be a flea market Friday night, and the banquet (with door prize) will be held Saturday evening. Full registration information is available on the MUD 2006 Web site <http://www.microwaveupdate.org/>. Registration is $40 before September 30, $45 after September 30, and $50 at the door. Banquet tickets are $30 per person. Registration includes a volume of the conference Proceedings. * Lifetime licenses for UK/Great Britain hams delayed: UK/Great Britain telecommunications regulator Ofcom has announced that the implementation of lifetime Amateur Radio licenses and revised license terms and conditions has been postponed until December, the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) reports. After October 1, however, Amateur Radio licenses will be issued free of charge. RSGB says Ofcom will begin issuing lifetime licenses and the revised licensing terms and conditions in December. Free lifetime licenses will be subject to validation at least every five years via the Ofcom Web site. Changes to Amateur Radio regulations in the UK include eliminating the need to maintain a log book, allowing radio amateurs to operate stations by remote control, substantial alterations to emergency operations, and the recognition of a number of additional user services. AMSAT-UK meanwhile has welcomed Ofcom's decision to allow Foundation class licensees to access the Amateur Satellite service as part of the revised amateur regulations. "This will enable enthusiastic operators to experience the thrills and challenges of space communications," AMSAT-UK said in a statement. * Islands on the Air program announces Icom sponsorship deal: The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) has announced that Icom will become the new corporate sponsor of its Islands on the Air (IOTA) program, effective October 1. "This three-year worldwide sponsorship deal is a major boost to IOTA both in the UK and internationally," the RSGB said. "Principally involving sponsorship from both Icom UK and Icom America, this deal is set to build this already-popular program into 2009 and beyond." RSGB says the IOTA program has expanded significantly in recent years and now boasts tens of thousands of participants. New Web-based software has been launched to ease the filing and checking of award applications. Since IOTA's launch in 1964, both Yaesu and Kenwood have served as program sponsors. More information on the program is on the IOTA Web site <http://www.rsgbiota.org/index.php4>. =========================================================== 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. 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/American Radio Relay League. ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): firstname.lastname@example.org ==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, email@example.com ==>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. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for e-mail delivery: ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site <http://www.arrl.org/members/>. You'll have an opportunity during registration to sign up for e-mail delivery of The ARRL Letter, W1AW bulletins, and other material. 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