*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 28, No. 30 July 31, 2009 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * + Nevada Hams Coordinate Roadside Medical Rescue * + Local Hams Aid Rescue Squad to Solve Public Safety Interference Issue * + Baker, Clyburn Confirmed by Senate: FCC at Full Slate * + FCC Issues Citation to Part 15 Marketer * + Space Shuttle Endeavour Deploys Student-Built Satellites * FUNcube Cubesat Project Announced * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This Week on the Radio ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration + Amateurs Provide Communications Support During Gas Leak + FCC Expands ARRL's 500 kHz Experimental License International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend +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: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA <email@example.com> =========================================================== ==> NEVADA HAMS COORDINATE ROADSIDE MEDICAL RESCUE On the afternoon of July 16, ARRL Elko County (Nevada) Emergency Coordinator Greg Barker, K7CWL, was making his way home on Nevada Highway 278 when a van sped past him. About 60 miles later into his trip, he saw the van slow down and pull over to the side of the road. Barker, a physical therapist, pulled over and asked if he could assist. An elderly couple, their daughter and granddaughter were on the way to the hospital in Elko -- another 60 miles -- as the grandmother was experiencing what they believed was a series of mini-strokes. The daughter told Barker that their van kept losing power and wouldn't run. Barker assessed the grandmother and tried to call 911 on his cell phone, but there was no coverage in that area. "I put out a call on my mobile radio, requesting immediate assistance, using the 146.850 repeater located about 55 miles away, part of a wide-area linked repeater system maintained by the Elko Amateur Radio Club," he told the ARRL. "Kent LeBart, K6IN, club president and a radio technician for the Nevada State Highway Patrol, was monitoring the system and responded immediately, asking how he could be of assistance." Using the crossband repeat mode on his mobile radio, Barker was able to stay with the family at the van. He also used his handheld transceiver to tell LeBart that the grandmother needed to get to the emergency room. "Kent contacted central dispatch and relayed the information I gave him and asked me questions from the dispatch about the patient's situation and condition," he said. "Based on that information, they sent a medivac helicopter from Elko and an ambulance from Carlin." Barker said that Highway 278 has no mile markers: "I relayed information to dispatch about the location using the closest ranch name and mountain pass turn-off as landmarks. With this information, volunteer fire fighters and first responders were on scene in about 20 minutes and the helicopter was on scene in about 30 minutes, followed by the ambulance at about 35 minutes." Another local ham, Joe Sasgen, AD7OO, was able to offer useful information about approximate arrival times of the helicopter and ambulance. "Joe was monitoring central dispatch out of Elko," Barker said. "This information was reassuring to the family." Flight paramedics assessed the grandmother and determined that a flight was justified based on her condition, Barker told the ARRL. "I was able to take her husband into the hospital in Elko to meet his wife. This is another testament to the value and utility of Amateur Radio, particularly on the lonely highways of rural Northern Nevada." ==> LOCAL HAMS AID RESCUE SQUAD TO SOLVE PUBLIC SAFETY INTERFERENCE ISSUE When you live on a remote island with numerous mountains and valleys, communications can be tricky. Add interference that blocks the main communications frequency used by the local emergency rescue squad and you've got a disaster waiting to happen. That's what responders and residents on St John in the US Virgin Islands recently found themselves facing. On June 12, the primary repeater output frequency for St John Rescue <http://www.stjohnrescue.org/> was completely blocked by a 2-tone AFSK signal that continued for more than a week. Because St John Rescue uses the frequency to dispatch, monitor and provide two-way communications during emergency calls, it was vital that the cause of the problem be detected and corrected. According to Phyllis Benton, NP2MZ, a Public Information Officer in the ARRL US Virgin Islands Section, some members of St John Rescue are also members of ARES. With some additional help from the FCC, three hams -- Paul Jordan, NP2JF, Mal Preston, NP2L, and George Cline, KP2G -- set out to find the source of the interference. The interference was not directly affecting operation of a second rescue repeater, Benton told the ARRL. "St John Rescue Chief Gilly Grimes and Paul Jordan, NP2JF, used handheld Yagi antennas to 'fox hunt' for the source of interference," she said. "To their surprise, the signal was being received off the back of the antennas and coming in very strong." The source of the interference turned out to be 32 miles away from a tower on Mount St Georges on the island of St Croix. "The carrier frequency was just 7.5 kHz above the rescue frequency of 158.7525 MHz," she explained. "Upon closer inspection, the problem was isolated to a repeater that is part of the new US Virgin Islands territory-wide MPT 1327 trunking system. This transmitter was licensed for and was putting out 120 W with a pass band of 50 kHz and was being tested as the control channel." Benton said that the second, unaffected repeater operates at an output frequency of 159.660 MHz, far enough away from the trunking frequency being tested to avoid being affected: "This second repeater serves areas not covered by the primary repeater. So, until the problem was resolved, a large part of St John was left without reliable rescue emergency radio communications. Once the source of the problem was identified, the interference was turned off on June 19." To head off any future interference problems, the trunking system promoters have asked St John Rescue to change its current repeater frequencies to frequencies that theoretically would not receive interference from the trunking system. Benton said that St John Rescue is considering this request. -- Information provided by PIO Phyllis Benton, NP2MZ ==> BAKER, CLYBURN CONFIRMED BY SENATE: FCC AT FULL SLATE On Friday, July 24, the Senate confirmed the nominations of Meredith Attwell Baker and Mignon Clyburn as FCC Commissioners. Both nominees appeared before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on July 15 to be vetted by the 25 members of the committee. Baker and Clyburn were nominated by President Barack Obama on June 25; no date has been set for their swearing in. Clyburn will fill the unexpired term of Republican Deborah Taylor Tate, whose tenure as a Commissioner came to a close on January 3, 2009 when the Senate failed to confirm her nomination; Clyburn's term will expire June 30, 2012. Baker will fill the unexpired term of fellow Republican and former Chairman Kevin J. Martin who resigned in January 2009; her term will expire June 30, 2011. Baker will join Robert McDowell as a Republican on the Commission. Current Commissioner Michael Copps is a Democrat, as are Chairman Julius Genachowski and Clyburn. Only three sitting Commissioners may be members of the same political party. For much of this year, the FCC has been operating with just three commissioners. Once Genachowski was sworn in as chairman, Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, a Democrat, left the FCC. He was confirmed by the Senate as the Administrator for the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS), also on July 24. Chairman Genachowski said that he is looking forward to "forging a strong partnership with Jonathan as the FCC and RUS collaborate to extend the benefits of broadband to all corners of the country." Meredith Baker Attwell Baker, the daughter-in-law of former Secretary of State James Baker, served as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and the Acting Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) from 2007 to January 2009. Named as Deputy Assistant Secretary in February 2007, Baker first joined NTIA as a Senior Advisor in January 2004, and also served as Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of International Affairs and on detail to the White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy. Baker spearheaded the coupon program for digital-to-analog converter boxes to help facilitate the transition to digital television (DTV). She has served on delegations representing the United States at major international telecommunications conferences and engaged in bilateral discussions with senior level officials from countries around the world. Before joining NTIA, Baker was Vice President at the firm of Williams Mullen Strategies where she focused on telecommunications, intellectual property and international trade issues. From 2000-2002, she held the position as Senior Counsel to Covad Communications. Before that, she was Director of Congressional Affairs at the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) from 1998-2000. In the 1990s, Baker worked at the US Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit in Houston and later at the law firm of DeLange and Hudspeth. From 1990-1992, she worked in the Legislative Affairs Office of the US Department of State in Washington, DC. In her opening statement at her confirmation hearing, Baker spoke of the need for broadband technology. "Chairman Genachowski, who is off to a great start at the FCC, gave an inspirational introductory speech to the FCC staff on the day of his arrival," she said. "He stated that the promise of technology has never been brighter and consequently, the obligations of the Commission have never been greater. I share that view. The FCC holds the keys to unleashing the power of broadband, the new media landscape and true public safety interoperability. That responsibility is challenging but the rewards will truly make a difference in the life and future of every American" <http://commerce.senate.gov/public/_files/BakerStatement.pdf>. Baker reminded the Committee that Congress has directed the FCC to develop and implement a National Broadband Plan by February 2010. "This directive holds great promise for our nation," she said. "Not only do many aspects of our children's education and opportunities for lifelong learning depend on this directive, but so too does the next generation of health care delivery, smart energy grid development, and public safety interoperability. The FCC will play an important role in making sure that the right regulatory environment exists to incent companies to build out infrastructure faster, to reward innovation and investment and to encourage competition." She also spoke about the Radio Spectrum Inventory Act that was introduced in March in the Senate; a companion bill was introduced in the House in early July <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/07/15/10964/>: "I believe we can reap great benefits from a spectrum policy that unlocks the value of the public airwaves in more efficient, transparent and flexible ways. The Spectrum Inventory bill that this Committee marked up last week shows important leadership and is a first step to increasing wireless broadband use in innovative ways such as secondary markets, leasing, and testbeds." Chairman Genachowski congratulated Baker on her confirmation. "Meredith is a distinguished public servant who will bring unique insight and expertise to bear in the agency's policymaking process," he said. "I enthusiastically await Meredith's arrival at the FCC and the opportunity to collaborate with her on advancing our shared goal of improving the lives of all Americans. With the full slate of Commissioners on board, I look forward to working with all of my colleagues on policies that advance innovation, investment, competition and consumer interests." Mignon Clyburn Clyburn, the daughter of House Majority Whip Representative James Clyburn (D-SC), has served on the Public Service Commission of South Carolina since 1998. The Public Service Commission regulates South Carolina's investor owned public utilities, including providers of telecommunications services. Before her election to that body, she spent 14 years as the publisher and general manager of The Coastal Times, a weekly newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1998, Clyburn was elected by the South Carolina General Assembly as a Commissioner to represent the Sixth Congressional District; she has been re-elected three times, chairing the Commission from 2002-2004. She is a past chair of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, and is presently the chair of the Washington Action Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). Clyburn also serves on NARUC's Audit Committee and Utilities Market Access Partnership Board. Clyburn told the Committee that she will "work with each member of [the Commerce, Science and Transportation] Committee to ensure that the FCC is fair, open and transparent and that it protects consumers, encourages robust competition in the marketplace and champions technological innovation." In her opening statement, Clyburn emphasized that "We also must ensure that all Americans have access to and can make productive use of the communications tools essential to making the American Dream a reality. Most notably, by providing universal, high-speed, high-quality affordable access to broadband we can establish the essential underpinnings for enduring national prosperity" <http://commerce.senate.gov/public/_files/ClyburnStatement.pdf>. In speaking to the Committee, she said she was "a strong believer in the value of collaboration within and among levels of the government," and has "witnessed first-hand the benefits of and necessity for cooperation among local, state and federal governmental agencies. These partnerships are essential to achieving a uniform and predictable regulatory environment in which technological innovation can thrive." Clyburn said that network operators should have "reasonable tools" to control what goes over their networks. She said that whether network neutrality regulations were needed would depend on whether the market was competitive. If so, there might be no need, but if not, it warranted consideration. "It is with great pleasure that I congratulate Mignon L. Clyburn on her Senate confirmation," Chairman Genachowski said. "Mignon's deep commitment to public service, experience in state government, and entrepreneurial expertise will be invaluable assets to this agency. I enthusiastically await Mignon's arrival at the FCC and the opportunity to collaborate with her on advancing our shared goal of improving the lives of all Americans through communications. With the full slate of Commissioners on board, I look forward to working with all of my colleagues on policies that promote innovation, investment, competition and consumers." ==> FCC ISSUES CITATION TO PART 15 MARKETER On July 28, the FCC issued a Citation to Hobby Lobby International (HLI) <http://www.hobby-lobby.com/> for marketing non-compliant radio frequency devices <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-1626A1.pdf>. According to the Commission, these devices were in violation of the Communications Act of 1934, As Amended and the Commission's Rules, as well as United States Customs and Border Patrol regulations. On March 5, the Spectrum Enforcement Division of the Commission's Enforcement Bureau sent HLI a Letter of Inquiry, initiating an investigation. The FCC wanted to know if the Tennessee-based company was marketing an unauthorized radio frequency device, specifically, the Pilot View FPV 2400 video transmitter <http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=858566>. According to the Citation, the FCC observed that the device was marketed on the retailer's Web site. HLI responded to the Letter of Inquiry on May 7, telling the FCC that they began selling the Pilot View FPV 2400 video transmitter on May 12, 2008; they have sold 109 units of the device in the United States. In its reply, the company told the FCC that the manufacturer of the transmitter, Intelligent Flight, an Australian company, represented to them that the device was FCC compliant. HLI admitted they imported the transmitters, but did not file any FCC Form 740s for the imported units (before radio frequency devices may be imported to the United States, an FCC Form 740 [or the electronic equivalent] must be filed with the United States Customs and Border Patrol). According to the Citation, HLI stated that the last date that a transmitter was received was November 17, 2008, which is around the time that HLI's contact at Intelligent Flight stopped responding to their requests for further information concerning the device. The FCC noted that HLI sent a unit to a test lab prior to receiving the Letter of Inquiry. "After receiving the Letter of Inquiry, HLI contacted the test lab to inquire about the test results and learned, for the first time, that the device is not FCC compliant," the Citation said. "HLI provide[d] a copy of the test results, which indicate that the device substantially exceeds FCC radiated emission limits. HLI state[d] that [they] discontinued selling this device as soon as it became aware that the device was not FCC compliant." The FCC said "it appears that HLI violated Section 302(b) of the Act and Sections 2.803 and 15.209 of the Rules by marketing in the United States the Pilot View FPV 2400 transmitter. It also appears that HLI violated Section 2.1203 of the Rules by importing the Pilot View FPV 2400 transmitter without making the required import declaration." HLI was warned that "if, after receipt of this citation, you violate the Communications Act or the Commission's Rules in any manner described herein, the Commission may impose monetary forfeitures not to exceed $16,000 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation." The company was given 30 days to respond to the Citation either through a personal interview at the Commission's Field Office nearest to your place of business or a written statement. HLI was advised that any response should specify the actions that they are taking to ensure that they do not violate the Commission's Rules governing the marketing and importing of radio frequency equipment in the future. ==> SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR TO DEPLOY STUDENT-BUILT SATELLITES The space shuttle Endeavour returned to Earth on Friday, July 31, but before it left orbit, it deployed four student-built satellites, all with telemetry downlinks in the 2 meter (70 cm) amateur bands. The twin spherical satellites -- named Castor and Pollux -- were designed by students in cooperation with the Naval Research Laboratory as part of the Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment (ANDE) <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/science/experiments/STP-H2-AN DE.html>. Both satellites will transmit 1200-baud packet radio telemetry on 145.825 MHz. Hams are encouraged to submit telemetry reports with special QSLs and mission patches planned (check the ANDE Web site for updates). Castor and Pollux carry an FX.25 experiment that adds Forward Error Correction to standard AX.25 packets. The hope is that FX.25 will improve communication efficiency while still being compatible with existing packet equipment. The satellites also occasionally run GMSK/FX.25 modulation experiments at 9600 baud. In addition to Castor and Pollux, Endeavour also deployed student satellites from the University of Texas and Texas A&M. The tiny picosatellites, christened BEVO-1 and AggieSat2, respectively, are part of an ambitious experiment that will ultimately culminate in autonomous docking of picosats in orbit. For this mission, however, BEVO-1 and AggieSat2 launched as one unit and then separated to collect position data and test a new NASA Global Positioning System receiver known as DRAGON. BEVO-1 transmits Morse code beacons (20 WPM) or packet radio data telemetry at 437.325 MHz. AggieSat2 beacons at 436.250 MHz. The satellites primarily transmit 9600-baud packet telemetry when over the United States. As with Castor and Pollux, reception reports are welcome <http://paradigm.ae.utexas.edu/ops/>. Orbiting at a relatively low altitude of 185 miles, these satellites should be easy to receive with standard FM transceivers and omnidirectional antennas. They should enjoy an operational life of 3-6 months and will likely re-enter the Earth's atmosphere within a year. ==> FUNcube CUBESAT PROJECT ANNOUNCED AMSAT-UK <http://www.uk.amsat.org/> has announced a new amateur satellite project -- FUNcube <http://www.funcube.org.uk/> -- an educational single cubesat project that features a 435-145 MHz linear transponder for SSB/CW operation. According to AMSAT-UK, FUNcube will "enthuse and educate" young people about radio, space, physics and electronics. "The idea of FUNcube is to combine an educational project to excite young people with a simple linear transponder for radio amateurs to use with either legacy modes like CW and SSB, or, still to come, digital ones," said IARU Region 1 Satellite Coordinator Graham Shirville, G3VZV. Shirville is also affiliated with AMSAT-UK and ARISS-Europe <http://www.ariss-eu.org/>. FUNcube's target audience consists of primary and secondary school students. The new satellite will feature a 145 MHz telemetry beacon that will provide a strong signal for the pupils to receive. "A simple receiver board is being developed," Shirville explained. "This can be connected to the USB port of a laptop to display telemetry in a fun way for the kids to learn. FUNcube will contain a materials science experiment, from which the school students can receive telemetry data that they can compare to the results they obtained from similar reference experiments in the classroom." FUNcube is the first cubesat designed to benefit this age group and is expected to be the first British cubesat to reach space. According to Shirville, FUNcube would be launched into a Sun Synchronous Low Earth Orbit (about 600-700 km above the Earth) using one of the many launch opportunities that exist for cubesat missions. According to QST Editor and satellite expert Steve Ford, WB8IMY, since FUNcube will be in a low orbit, amateurs from all around the world, including North America, should be able to access it. FUNcube will carry a UHF-to-VHF linear transponder that will have up to 1 W and that can be used by radio amateurs worldwide for SSB and CW communications. Measuring just 10x10x10 cm and with a mass of less than 1 kg, it will be the smallest ever satellite to carry a linear transponder. The choice of frequencies will enable radio amateurs to use their existing VO-52 or DO-64 station. A key feature of the satellite is the absence of an on-board computer. For reliability and maximum power efficiency, Shirville explained that the design has been kept as "straight-forward as possible," with satellite control being achieved using simple commands. Shirville said the project should take less than a year to build: "Then we need to find a cubesat launch opportunity. We believe that this is an achievable mission with a relatively short timescale." AMSAT-UK teams have provided hardware for more than 10 satellites over the past 35 years, including SSETI Express in 2005. They are presently involved with the development of hardware and software for a number of satellite projects, including the European Student Earth Orbiter (ESEO), P3E, SuitSat2 <http://suitsat2.org/>, the Columbus module on the International Space Station and also the GENSO Ground Station Network. "We hope that ESEO and SuitSat2 might have data formats with VHF downlinks that are also compatible with FUNcube-- this would make the educational potential even greater," Shirville said. -- Information provided by Graham Shirville, G3VZV ==>SOLAR UPDATE Tad "Speckled by the mid-day Sun" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: No sunspot activity this week, and if no sunspot appears today, July 31, the average sunspot number for July will be 5.1; this is down from June's average of 6.6. The monthly average of the daily sunspot number, January-July 2009, is 2.8, 2.5, 0.8, 1.3, 4, 6.6 and 5.1. The three-month averages for October 2008-June 2009 were 4.5, 4.4, 3.6, 2.2, 2, 1.5, 2, 4.2 and 5.2. This takes into account all the daily sunspot numbers for September 2008-July 2009, and those numbers are for the center months of each of those three month moving average periods. Sunspot numbers for July 23-29 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0 with a mean of 0. The 10.7 cm flux was 67.8, 68.3, 69.1, 67.6, 68.4, 68.7 and 68.3 with a mean of 68.3. The estimated planetary A indices were 8, 6, 7, 3, 4, 4 and 2 with a mean of 4.9. The estimated mid-latitude A indices were 8, 5, 5, 1, 2, 3 and 2 with a mean of 3.7. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts unsettled conditions July 31, quiet to unsettled August 1, quiet August 2-4, quiet to unsettled August 5 and unsettled August 6. For this weekend, the planetary A index is predicted at 7, which is slightly more active than it has been lately. A solar wind from a coronal hole would be the cause. We are hoping for a return of a recent sunspot group, but only a weak sunspot was spotted from European observatories this morning (July 31). For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html>. To read this week's Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW Propagation Bulletin page <http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/prop/>. This week's "Tad Cookism" brought to you by Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "This Lime-tree Bower My Prison" <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=173248>. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This Week on the Radio: This week, there is an NCCC Sprint on August 1. The ARRL UHF Contest, the 10-10 Summer QSO Party and the North American QSO Party (CW) are August 1-2. Next week, there is an NCCC Sprint Ladder on August 7. The WAE DX Contest (CW) and the Maryland-DC QSO Party are August 8-9. The SKCC Weekend Sprint is August 9. The MMMonVHF/DUBUS 144 MHz Meteorscatter Sprint Contest and the NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint are August 12. All dates, unless otherwise stated, are UTC. See the ARRL Contest Branch page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/>, the ARRL Contest Update <http://www.arrl.org/contests/update/> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for more info. Looking for a Special Event station? Be sure to check out the ARRL Special Event Station Web page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/spev.html>. * ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains open through Sunday, August 23, 2009, for these online course sessions beginning on Friday, September 4, 2009: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 1; Antenna Modeling; Radio Frequency Interference; Antenna Design and Construction; Ham Radio (Technician) License Course; Propagation; Analog Electronics, and Digital Electronics. Each online course has been developed in segments -- learning units with objectives, informative text, student activities and quizzes. Courses are interactive, and some include direct communications with a Mentor/Instructor. Students register for a particular session that may be 8, 12 or 16 weeks (depending on the course) and they may access the course at any time of day during the course period, completing lessons and activities at times convenient for their personal schedule. Mentors assist students by answering questions, reviewing assignments and activities, as well as providing helpful feedback. Interaction with mentors is conducted through e-mail; there is no appointed time the student must be present -- allowing complete flexibility for the student to work when and where it is convenient. To learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page <http://www.arrl.org/cep/student> or contact the Continuing Education Program Coordinator <firstname.lastname@example.org>. * Amateurs Provide Communications Support During Gas Leak: On Friday, July 23 at 2 PM, Sacramento City CERT <http://www.sacramentocert.net/> activated Sacramento City Fire CERT and Sacramento County ARES for a large natural gas leak in South Sacramento. According to ARRL Sacramento Valley Section DEC and CERT Communications Manager Frank Reshke, N6SNO, a two block area was evacuated due to the leak. "Around 30 people came to a shelter that had been set up at a local church," he said. "This is where the CERT and ARES amateurs established a communications network with the Unified Command of Sacramento City Fire and Police and the Red Cross." Reshke said the incident lasted for four hours: "At 6:05 PM, the Unified Command allowed the evacuees back into the neighborhood." -- Information provided by Frank Reshke, N6SNO * FCC Expands ARRL's 500 kHz Experimental License: On July 28, the FCC approved a modification that expands the ARRL's 500 kHz experimental license WD2XSH <https://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/els/GetAtt.html?id=100140&x=.>. According to Experiment Coordinator Fritz Raab, W1FR, the expansion allows for more frequencies, more stations and portable operations. "We can now operate between 495-510 kHz," Raab said. "We were previously limited to 505-510 kHz. We will not be using 500 kHz itself so as to ensure that there is no conflict with the heritage stations on that frequency. The expansion also gives us the opportunity to expand the number of participating stations. We can now have 42 stations, where before we were limited to 23." Raab said that the expansion will now let participants operate within 50 km of their designated stations. This was not allowed under the previous terms of the experimental license. "Some stations have reduced operating bands to ensure that they do not interfere with nearby non-directional beacons (NDB). The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology granted the WD2XSH experimental license to the ARRL in September 2006 <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2006/09/15/104/>. Find out more information on the ARRL's 500 kHz Experiment in the July/August 2007 issue of QEX <http://www.arrl.org/qex>. * International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend: More than 300 lighthouses in more than 51 countries -- from Argentina to Wales -- will be on the air for 2009 International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend (ILLW) <http://illw.net/> organized by the Ayr Amateur Radio Group (AARG) in Scotland <http://www.gm0ayr.org/>. The event, held for the 11th year in a row, takes place Saturday, August 15 0001 UTC-Sunday, August 16 2359 UTC. While not a contest, the ILLW is more of a QSO Party and Amateur Radio demonstration. The ILLW aims to raise public awareness of lighthouses and lightships and the need for their preservation and restoration, promote Amateur Radio and foster international goodwill. Stations at more than 40 US lights are expected to be on the air for the event, and several stations will identify with special event call signs. Participating lighthouse/lightship stations do not have to be inside the structure or on the vessel itself; a Field Day-type setup at or adjacent to the light is sufficient. More information about the event, including a registration form, is available on the ILLW Web site <http://illw.net/2009_list.htm>. =========================================================== 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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