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The ARRL Letter Vol. 27, No. 10 March 14, 2008

Discussion in 'FCC Activity' started by AudioShockwav, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. AudioShockwav

    AudioShockwav Extraterrestrial Admin Staff Member

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    IN THIS EDITION:

    * + 2008 Global EmComm Conference to Be Held in Friedrichshafen, Germany

    * + Idaho Amateurs on Hand for Special Olympics Invitational Winter
    Games
    * + Texas to Host USA's ARDF Championships
    * + Michigan Amateurs Team Up with State
    * + FCC Slams Pennsylvania Ham with Forfeiture Order
    * + FCC Fixes Typographical Errors in Part 97
    * Solar Update
    * IN BRIEF:
    This Weekend on the Radio
    ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration
    + ARRL to Close in Observance of Good Friday
    + KH6 Incoming QSL Bureau Address Change
    "Spirit of Knoxville" Sees Successful Launch
    Exhibit Kits Now Available for Field Day
    Amateur Radio Exempt from California's New "Hands Free" Law
    Notes from the DXCC Desk
    Snake Update

    +Available on ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/>

    Reminder: Next week, the ARRL Letter will be posted on Thursday, March
    20, one day earlier than usual. There will be no ARRL Audio News on
    Friday, March 21.

    ===========================================================
    ==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ
    <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/faq.html#nodelivery>, then e-mail
    <letter-dlvy@arrl.org>;
    ==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane,
    <k1sfa@arrl.org>;
    ===========================================================

    ==> 2008 GLOBAL EMCOMM CONFERENCE TO BE HELD IN FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, GERMANY


    The fourth annual Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (GAREC)
    Conference <http://www.iaru.org/emergency/GAREC2008Program.pdf> is
    scheduled for June 26-27, 2008 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, just prior
    to HamRadio 2008 <http://www.hamradio-friedrichshafen.de/html/en/>. That
    event, called "the Dayton of Europe," is scheduled for June 27-29.
    GAREC's schedule is continuously being updated and is subject to change.


    Dr Hamadoun Toure, HB9EHT, Secretary General of the International
    Telecommunication Union (ITU), is scheduled to present the opening
    remarks at GAREC-08; Dr Toure received his Amateur Radio license in
    2007. Ole Garpestad, LA2RR, President of IARU Region 1, is scheduled to
    participate in the opening remarks, too.

    GAREC will take a look at the state of EmComm preparedness in each of
    the IARU regions, as well as discuss experiences of the 2006 and 2007
    EmComm Parties-on-the-Air and the future of the Global Simulated
    Emergency Test (SET). Delegates will also discuss implementation of the
    WRC-03 modifications to Article 25 of the Radio Regulations, in respect
    to third-party traffic during emergencies and exercises. The part of
    Article 25 concerning Emergency Communications says "Amateur stations
    may be used for transmitting international communications on behalf of
    third parties only in case of emergencies or disaster relief. An
    administration may determine the applicability of this provision to
    amateur stations under its jurisdiction" (RR 25.3), and "Administrations
    are encouraged to take the necessary steps to allow amateur stations to
    prepare for and meet communication needs in support of disaster relief"
    (RR 25.9A).

    GAREC delegates will also have the opportunity to look at and discuss
    the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the International Amateur
    Radio Union (IARU) and the International Federation of Red Cross Red
    Crescent Societies (IFRC), as well as the MOU between the IARU and the
    ITU. IARU Vice President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, with assistance from IFRC
    Secretary General Markku Niskala and IARU International Coordinator for
    Emergency Communications Hans Zimmermann, HB9AQS/F5VKP, will lead the
    discussion. A representative from the ITU will also be on hand.

    Each of the three IARU Region Presidents will speak on the status of
    EmComm in their respective region. Seppo Sisatto, OH1VR, and Juha
    Hulkko, OH8NC, will present on the possibility of Emergency
    Communication Centers around the world. There will also be a talk on
    D-STAR in emergency communications. Case studies of emergency
    communication practices will also be presented.

    Those wishing to attend GAREC-08 are encouraged to register online
    <http://www.korkee.net/Garec2008/>. For those registering prior to June
    12, the fee is 55 euros; after June 12, the fee is 75 euros. GAREC will
    take place in the Conference Center of the Friedrichshafen Messe in the
    Oesterreich Room. Travel and lodging information for GAREC and HamRadio
    2008 is available online at the HamRadio 2008 Web page.

    ==> IDAHO AMATEURS ON HAND FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS INVITATIONAL WINTER
    GAMES

    More than 20 Amateur Radio operators wrapped up technical and
    operational support for the 2008 Special Olympics Invitational Winter
    Games in Boise, Tamarack and Sun Valley, Idaho the last week in
    February. Approximately 365 athletes from 10 countries competed in five
    sports -- Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, Floor Hockey,
    Snowboarding and Snowshoeing. The Invitational Games were seen as the
    practice run for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games to be held
    in Idaho February 6-13, 2009.

    The Department of Defense provided Motorola VHF analog and P25 handheld
    radios and temporary repeaters to support the Games. Covering all of
    Southwestern Idaho, the ARES VHF repeater was instrumental in providing
    Games radio communications and critical communications for athlete
    transportation to and from Bogus Basin and Boise. Crossband links were
    used to coordinate and provide communications to the KX7ID Boise ARES
    repeater from the Tamarack Snowboarding venue near the Cascade/Donnelly
    area, about 100 miles north of Boise.

    "It was a privilege to work with the Idaho State Police, Boise Police,
    Ada County Sheriff, Ada County EMS, Blaine County Sheriff and others
    within the Public Safety community," said Chuck Robertson, KX7ID,
    Technical Director for Games Radio Communications. "We are grateful for
    the relationships built during these test Games which will improve
    cooperation and teamwork as we work together toward support of the 2009
    Games and public service initiatives beyond the Games."

    The 147.380 MHz ARES repeater was the primary system used for the event,
    but the KX7ID UHF repeater, D-Star VHF simplex and P25 VHF simplex were
    also used. In addition, D-Star VHF low speed data using D*Chat
    <http://nj6n.com/dstar/dstar_chat.html> was tested from the Boise
    National Weather Service to Boise area hospitals.

    "Communications are a vital component to any successful event,
    especially one as complex as the 2008 Special Olympics Invitational
    Winter Games and the upcoming 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games,
    which are both multi-sport and multi-venue events with a lot of moving
    parts," said Kirk Miles, 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games Chief
    Operating Officer. "We are grateful to all the Amateur Radio operators
    that have worked or will be working to make the 2009 Games a great
    success."

    The 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games
    <http://www.2009worldgames.org/> will be held in Idaho, February 6-13,
    2009 and will include up to 3000 athletes from as many as 85 countries
    and 6000 volunteers. Competition will take place in seven winter sports
    -- Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, Figure Skating, Floor Hockey,
    Snowboarding, Snowshoeing and Speed Skating. Competition and activities
    will be in communities and venues throughout Idaho, including Bogus
    Basin, Boise State University, Qwest Arena, Idaho Ice World, Sun Valley
    Resort and Tamarack Resort.

    ==> TEXAS TO HOST USA'S ARDF CHAMPIONSHIPS

    Bastrop State Park in Central Texas will be the site for this year's USA
    championship of on-foot hidden transmitter hunting. Fans of this
    international sport -- also called foxhunting or Amateur Radio Direction
    Finding (ARDF) -- are making travel plans now.

    Interest and participation in ARDF has been growing every year since
    stateside hams first competed at the World Championships in 1998.
    Beginning in 2001, there has been an annual national championship to see
    who is best at the sport and to select team members for the World
    Championships. The Texas ARDF group and the Houston Orienteering Club
    are combining to host this year's events, to be held the second weekend
    of May.

    Thursday, May 8 is scheduled for arrival and equipment testing; 2 and 80
    meter transmitters will also be on the air near the event headquarters.
    There will also be a get-acquainted meeting and drawing for the starting
    order. The 2 meter contest will take place Friday morning. Competitors
    will start in small groups made up of different age and gender
    categories, in the drawn order.

    The 80 meter event will be early Saturday morning with starts in reverse
    order, highest numbers first. After everyone returns from the woods and
    the results are tallied, medals will be presented for first, second and
    third place in each category. There will be ample time for everyone to
    return home in time for Mother's Day activities.

    On both bands, each of the five foxes transmits for 60 seconds at a time
    in numbered order on one frequency, and then the cycle repeats. Fox #1
    continuously sends "MOE" in Morse code, then #2 sends "MOI," #3 sends
    "MOS" and so forth. Knowledge of Morse code isn't necessary, because the
    number of dits reveals which fox is on. Find your required foxes in any
    order and then head for the finish, following your map or the continuous
    beacon transmitter on a second frequency.

    As always, the USA ARDF Championships are open to anyone of any age who
    can safely navigate the woods. A ham radio license is not required, so
    encourage your unlicensed-but-athletic friends and family members to
    join in. Each person competes as an individual; there is no teaming or
    person-to-person assistance allowed on the courses. Using GPS as a
    navigation aid is also forbidden.

    The annual ARDF championships are an ideal opportunity to watch and
    learn from the best radio-orienteers in the country, as well as visitors
    from around the world. Previous USA championships have drawn experts
    from Australia, China, the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Hungary,
    Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

    Registration for the 2008 USA championships is now open. A $70-per-
    person package includes the practice session, both competitions, Friday
    dinner and a T-shirt. Check out the Texas ARDF Web site
    <http://www.texasardf.org/> for detailed schedules, frequencies, lodging
    information and registration forms. An e-mail reflector
    <http://lists.texasardf.org/mailman/listinfo/texasardf> is available for
    Q&A, as well as for coordinating transportation and arranging equipment
    loans.

    If you have never participated in an international-style transmitter
    hunt, you will find all the basics at ARRL Amateur Radio Direction
    Finding Coordinator Joe Moell's, K0OV, Web site
    <http://www.homingin.com/intlfox.html> including the rules and signal
    parameters. You will get equipment ideas for 2 meters and 80 meters. You
    can also determine your own age category. The pages of photos from our
    previous championships will help you decide what gear to carry (the
    lighter, the better) and what to wear. -- Information provided by ARRL
    ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV

    ==> MICHIGAN AMATEURS TEAM UP WITH STATE

    ARRL Michigan Section Manager Dale Williams, WA8EFK, and Michigan
    Section Emergency Coordinator John McDonough, WB8RCR, have been working
    with the Homeland Security Division of the Michigan State Police
    Emergency Management to align the capabilities of the Amateur Radio
    Public Service Corps (ARPSC) more closely with the communications needs
    of the state's public service agencies.

    ARPSC -- Michigan's integrated ARES/RACES program -- also participates
    in the Michigan State Department Emergency Management Coordinators
    Quarterly meetings at the State Emergency Operating Center. It is here,
    Williams said, that discussion of the Public Safety communications
    grants are discussed and their investment justifications are detailed.
    "We have been afforded the opportunity to discuss Amateur Radio's
    involvement with communications interoperability, as well as our ability
    to fill gaps in disparate networks and outages. As a result of these
    conferences, I was asked to include a list of ARPSC's needs for the next
    three years."

    To further that end, Williams told the ARRL that they have been
    successful in incorporating the ARPSC Program into the Michigan State
    Preparedness Priorities. Michigan intends to develop the ARPSC into a
    fully integrated communications team operating under common standards
    and procedures, including maintaining and enhancing the statewide
    Amateur Radio communications system; establishing suggested standards
    for Amateur Radio capabilities in local Emergency Operations Centers,
    and developing a public awareness and education program to bolster the
    ranks of Amateur Radio participants. The hope, Williams said, is to have
    all this implemented by 2010.

    Williams said, "Since the early 1980s, Michigan has operated an
    integrated ARES, RACES and NTS program referred to as the Michigan
    Amateur Radio Public Service Corps. By combining the forces of these
    normally separate structures, these valuable resources are pulled
    together to form an active trained and unified organization. The Section
    Emergency Coordinator also holds the positions of Section Traffic
    Manager and RACES Radio Officer. Membership in ARPSC is open to all
    amateurs and is structured to allow a beginning ham to progress from an
    entry-level position to a RACES-qualified operator by meeting specific
    training milestones."

    "There is no doubt that by presenting a unified organization, the
    Michigan ARPSC has demonstrated the effective use of resources, training
    and our unique capabilities so that we have become a well respected
    public service organization in the state," Williams said.

    ==> FCC SLAMS PENNSYLVANIA HAM WITH FORFEITURE ORDER

    On March 6, the FCC announced that it has issued a "Forfeiture Order"
    <http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-08-498A1.pdf> in
    the amount of $4300 to Ronald Mondgock, KA3OMZ, of Honeybrook,
    Pennsylvania, "for willfully and repeatedly violating Section 301 of the
    "Communications Act of 1934, as amended" (Act), by operating radio
    transmitting equipment on the frequencies 439.850 MHz and 147.560 MHz
    without a license." Section 301 states a federal license is required to
    "operate any apparatus for the transmission of energy or communications
    or signals by radio." Mondgock's Amateur Radio license expired in
    December 2005.

    Mondgock, who held a Novice class license, first received an "Advisory
    Notice" in February 2001 warning that he had been heard operating on the
    75 meter band. He was told that he was not authorized to use that
    portion of the band and to review the Commission's rules relating to
    Amateur Radio Service frequencies.

    In July 2004, Mondgock, received a "Citation" from the FCC's
    Philadelphia Field Office "related to failure to identify, transmissions
    involving obscenity and indecency and operating on a frequency not
    authorized for your Novice Class license." He was issued a "Warning
    Notice" in November 2004 for not replying to the "Citation" within the
    20-day period. In the Warning Notice, Mondgock was warned by the
    Commission that if "a reply is not received by December 15, 2004, a
    'Notice of Apparent Liability for Monetary Forfeiture' will be issued
    against you. We note also that your license expires December 14, 2005.
    No renewal or upgrade will be granted until this matter is resolved."

    Also in July 2004, Mondgock received a letter from the FCC stating that
    the Commission "received an anonymous complaint alleging that several
    operators on the Amateur Radio Service frequency 146.55 MHz were using
    profane or obscene words or language and were failing to transmit their
    amateur license call signs. On June 2, 2004, between 7:30 p.m. and 8:45
    p.m., an FCC agent with the Philadelphia Office investigated the
    complaint and monitored radio communications on the frequency 146.550
    MHz allegedly between William Chapman (KB3IXS) and you. Based on your
    alleged radio communications that the FCC agent monitored, you may have
    violated the following FCC rules: Failing to transmit an amateur license
    call sign, in violation of Section 97.119(a) of the rules; Transmitting
    obscene and indecent words and language, in violation of Section
    97.113(a) of the rules, and Operating on an unauthorized frequency, in
    violation of Section 97.301(e) of the rules. (A Novice class amateur
    licensee does not authorize operation on any frequency in the 2-meter
    Amateur Radio Service frequency band, 144-148 MHz, including 146.55
    MHz." Mondgock was given 20 days to respond and told that his response
    "must address each alleged violation and include a statement of the
    specific actions taken to preclude a recurrence."

    In February 2006, the Commission sent Mondgock a letter telling him that
    his application for renewal of his Amateur Radio license "cannot be
    routinely granted and has been referred to the Enforcement Bureau for
    review." He was advised that this was because he had never submitted
    responses to the Commission's correspondence or never claimed a letter
    sent via certified mail. Mondgock was given yet another 20 days to
    respond to this letter, and warned that if he chose not to do so that
    "your application for renewal will be dismissed and a 'Notice of
    Apparent Liability for Monetary Forfeiture' will be issued against you."


    In December 2006, the FCC's Field Office in Philadelphia sent Mondgock
    another "Letter of Inquiry" to "follow up on a recent investigation, of
    the operation of your Amateur Radio Service station, on the frequencies
    147.560 MHz and 439.850 MHz. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As discussed
    more fully below, agents determined the operation of your Amateur Radio
    Service station on the frequencies 147.560 MHz and 439.850 MHz violates
    Section 1.903(a) of the Rules and your operation on those frequencies
    must cease immediately. In addition, you are required to submit a
    detailed written response to the questions below regarding the operation
    of your station."

    The FCC received information that Mondgock was operating radio
    transmitting equipment on the frequencies 147.560 MHz and 439.850 MHz.
    In response, the Philadelphia Field Office conducted an investigation
    between August-October 2006. "An agent used direction finding techniques
    to determine that you apparently operated radio transmitting equipment
    on the frequency 439.850 MHz from your residence on September 19, 2006,
    between 8:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and from your vehicle on October 24,
    2006, between 5:30 p.m. and 6:02 p.m. In addition, on September 12,
    2006, the agent used direction finding techniques to determine that you
    apparently operated a repeater station on the frequency 147.560 MHz from
    One Commerce Square in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."

    The FCC asked Mondgock 11 detailed questions concerning his operations,
    directing him to "provide a complete explanation to the following
    questions and should provide copies of any relevant documents." He was
    told that his answers must be accompanied by a signed, sworn statement
    attesting to the truth and accuracy of the response. He was given 20
    days to respond with answers to the questions and provide the sworn
    statement.

    On August 15, 2007, the Commission's Philadelphia Field Office issued a
    "Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture" (NAL) to Mondgock in the
    amount of $10,000 for operating radio transmitting equipment on the
    frequencies 439.850 MHz and 147.560 MHz without a license. Mondgock
    responded to the NAL and did not dispute the findings of the Commission,
    but requested a cancellation of the Forfeiture based on his inability to
    pay.



    In examining Mondgock's response, Section 503(b) of the "Act" requires
    that the Commission take into account "the nature, circumstances, extent
    and gravity of the violation and, with respect to the violator, the
    degree of culpability, any history of prior offenses, ability to pay,
    and other such matters as justice may require." When considering
    someone's inability to pay a fine, the FCC has determined that, in
    general, gross revenues are the best indicator of an ability to pay a
    forfeiture. The FCC examined Mondgock's financial documentation that he
    provided. The Commission declined to cancel the forfeiture but reduced
    the amount from the original $10,000 to $4300, based on Mondgock's
    demonstrated inability to pay the full forfeiture amount.

    ==> FCC FIXES TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS IN PART 97

    On March 12, in an effort to correct typographical errors in the
    Commission's Rules (including rules affecting Part 97, the Amateur Radio
    Service), the FCC released a Memorandum Opinion and Order (MOO)
    <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-08-530A1.pdf>.
    According to the FCC, these changes in the MOO are "non-substantive
    editorial revisions" and do not introduce new rules or change old rules
    applicable to Amateur Radio operators.

    In this MOO, the FCC is updating the Allocation Table and service rules
    for the Amateur Radio Service with regard to the band 75.5-81 GHz. In
    2003, the Commission released a Report & Order (R&O)
    <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-03-248A1.pdf>,
    commonly called the "70/80/90 GHz R&O," that adopted a transition plan
    for the amateur use of the segment 75.5-76 GHz. The Commission concluded
    that moving Amateur Radio operations out of the 75.5-76 GHz band would
    not pose a major inconvenience to the Amateur Radio Service, but would
    "substantially benefit future fixed services, because it would eliminate
    the possibility of harmful interference from amateurs." Accordingly, the
    primary allocations to the Amateur and Amateur Satellite Services in the
    75.5-76 GHz band were downgraded from primary to secondary status, with
    secondary use ceasing on January 1, 2006. After that date, the band
    75.5-76 GHz was no longer available for use by the Amateur Service or
    the Amateur Satellite Service.

    This transition plan was codified in footnote US387 and in Section
    97.303(r)(3) of the Commission's Amateur Service rules. Because the
    transition period has concluded, the Commission "removed expired
    footnote US387 from the list of U.S. footnotes and we are amending Part
    97 of the Commission's Rules to reflect this allocation change by: (1)
    revising the entry "75.5-81.0" GHz in Section 97.301(a) to read "76-81"
    GHz; (2) removing paragraphs (r)(2) and (r)(3) from Section 97.303; and
    (3) renumbering paragraph (r)(1) as paragraph (r)."

    In October 2006, the FCC released another Report & Order (R&O)
    <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-06-149A1.pdf>,
    the "Amateur Phone Band Expansion R&O," that expanded the phone bands.
    With the release of the MOO, the FCC is making two changes.

    The first change to the October 2006 R&O is simply a correction of a
    typographical error in the Rules for the General phone allocation on 15
    meters. In the Amateur Phone Band Expansion R&O, the Commission revised
    21.30-21.45 MHz to read 21.275-21.45 MHz, but the current codification
    of the rule does not reflect this change. All the Commission did was to
    bring the Rules into alignment with the R&O.

    The second change fixed an omission in the Novice/Technician allocation
    on 40 meters. The FCC found that when the Amateur Phone Band Expansion
    R&O was released, "the Commission expanded the frequency segment
    authorized for amateur voice communications within the 40 meter band by
    correspondingly reducing a band segment used for narrowband emission
    types by 25 kHz, from 7.100-7.150 MHz to 7.100-7.125 MHz." The revised
    frequency table in Section 97.301(e) of the FCC's Rules that lists
    authorized frequency bands for Novice and Technician Class inadvertently
    omitted 7.100-7.125 MHz from Regions 1 and 3. "Because the Amateur Phone
    Band Expansion R&O addressed the division of amateur frequencies among
    permissible emission types and not between geographic ITU Regions, we
    must further amend Section 97.301(e), as set forth in Appendix C, to
    implement the Commission's decision. Specifically, we are revising the
    40 meter band by reinserting the segment '7.100-7.125' MHz in the Region
    1 and Region 3 columns."

    The FCC also took the opportunity to remove a double negative from
    Section 97.303(b). Before the release of the MOO, this Section read: "No
    amateur station transmitting in the 1900-2000 kHz segment, the 70 cm
    band, the 33 cm band, the 23 cm band, the 13 cm band, the 9 cm band, the
    5 cm band, the 3 cm band, the 24.05-24.25 GHz segment, the 76-77.5 GHz
    segment, the 78-81 GHz segment, the 136-141 GHz segment, and the 241-248
    GHz segment SHALL NOT cause harmful interference to, nor is protected
    from interference due to the operation of, the Federal radiolocation
    service." The FCC chose to take out the word "NOT" to bring the rule's
    words in line with the spirit of the rule.

    ==>SOLAR UPDATE

    Tad "Saw in the Sun a mighty angel stand" Cook, K7RA, this week reports:
    With just a few scattered sunspots in the past two weeks -- February
    28-March 12 -- it isn't meaningful to ponder the change in weekly
    averages. There were just four days with sunspots during that time:
    February 28, March 5-6 and March 10. Sunspot numbers for March 6 through
    12 were 12, 0, 0, 0, 12, 0 and 0 with a mean of 3.4. The 10.7 cm flux
    was 70.3, 70.5, 69.8, 69.5, 70.3, 70.2 and 69.4 with a mean of 70.
    Estimated planetary A indices were 2, 3, 11, 25, 18, 12 and 14 with a
    mean of 12.1. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 2, 1, 6, 14, 12, 7
    and 9 with a mean of 7.3. 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/>.

    __________________________________

    ==>IN BRIEF:

    * This Weekend on the Radio: This weekend, the NCCC Sprint is March 14.
    The AGCW VHF/UHF Contest, Feld Hell Sprint and the 10-10 International
    Mobile Contest are on March 15. The Russian DX Contest is March 15-16
    and the Virginia QSO Party is March 15-17. The UBA Spring Contest (6
    meters) and the 9K 15 Meter Contest are both March 16. On March 17, look
    for the Run for the Bacon QRP Contest and the Bucharest Contest. The
    NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint and the RSGB 80 Meter Club Championship
    (SSB) are scheduled for March 20. Next weekend is the ARLHS Annual
    Spring Lites QSO Party from March 21-30. Another running of the NCCC
    Sprint is March 21. The BARTG Spring RTTY Contest is March 22-24. The
    UBA Spring Contest (2 Meters) is March 23 and the SKCC Sprint is March
    26. See the ARRL Contest Branch page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/>,
    the ARRL Contester's Rate Sheet
    <http://www.arrl.org/contests/rate-sheet/> and the WA7BNM Contest
    Calendar <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for more
    info.

    * ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains
    open through Sunday, March 23, 2008, for these online course sessions
    beginning on Friday, April 4, 2008: Technician License Course (EC-010);
    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). 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/cce/courses.html> or contact
    the Continuing Education Program Coordinator <cce@arrl.org>;.

    * ARRL to Close in Observance of Good Friday: ARRL Headquarters will be
    closed in observance of Good Friday on March 21. There will be no W1AW
    bulletin or code practice transmissions that day. "The ARRL Letter" will
    be posted a day early on Thursday, March 20; there will be no "ARRL
    Audio News" that week. ARRL Headquarters will reopen Monday, March 24 at
    8 AM Eastern Daylight Time. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable
    holiday weekend.

    * KH6 Incoming QSL Bureau Address Change: As of April 1, 2008, Barbara
    Darling, NH7FY, will assume management of the Hawaiian KH6 Incoming QSL
    Bureau. All card shipments should now be sent to KH6 QSL Bureau, Big
    Island ARC, Attn: Barbara Darling, NH7FY, PO Box 1938, Hilo, HI
    96721-1938. Any concerns regarding this bureau's operation should be
    directed via e-mail to Barbara Darling, NH7FY <nh7fy@yahoo.com>;. The
    ARRL would like to thank former KH6 Incoming QSL Manager Wayne Jones,
    NH6K, for his years of service.

    * "Spirit of Knoxville" Sees Successful Launch: The trans-Atlantic
    balloon flight of the "Spirit of Knoxville IV"
    <http://www.spiritofknoxville.com/> launched into orbit on March 11 at
    0200 UTC (10 PM EDT March 10). The balloon, designed to stay aloft for
    more than 24 hours, was successfully inserted into the current jet
    stream at normal flight altitudes of 30,000-40,000 feet. On Wednesday,
    March 12, it had made two-thirds of its journey and crossed the tectonic
    plate to Europe. Organizers hoped the balloon would make to Europe, but
    after 40 hours and 3300 miles, the balloon lost altitude late Wednesday
    and went into the ocean as it neared Ireland. Using radio frequencies,
    the balloon transmitted data detailing its current location, distance
    traveled, speed, height and health of the balloon. The balloon's payload
    consisted of hand-made computers and radios, along with a GPS and
    self-authored software. The onboard computer gathered such information
    from the GPS as altitude, speed and temperature; the computer then
    determined whether the balloon needed to drop weight to maintain its
    altitude and sent this information, via Amateur Radio frequencies, to
    volunteers around the globe.

    * Exhibit Kits Now Available for Field Day: Please visit our Field Day
    information page <http://www.arr.org/fieldday> for all the details on
    Field Day rules, frequencies, forms, pins, logos and T shirts. The
    complete Field Day packet can be downloaded from the site as well. If
    you have unanswered questions about Field Day, contact ARRL Field Day
    Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, via e-mail <fcinfo@arrl.org>; or by phone at
    860-594-0236. If you want to order exhibit kits containing printed
    flyers about Amateur Radio, you may order these materials
    <http://www.arrl.org/brochures/> on the ARRL Web site. The cost of the
    exhibit kits ranges from $8-$12 depending on shipping. To make sure
    you'll have the display material in time for Field Day, your order must
    be received before June 13.

    * Amateur Radio Exempt from California's New "Hands Free" Law: On July
    1, the State of California will have new laws on the books to deal with
    the use of wireless telephones while driving. There has been some
    confusion as to whether California amateurs who operate in their car
    will be affected by the new law. According to the California Department
    of Motor Vehicle's Web site
    <http://www.dmv.ca.gov/cellularphonelaws/dl208_03cell_phone.pdf>, "the
    use of dedicated two-way radios such as walkie-talkies or Citizen Band
    (CB) radios is not affected by the new law" for drivers 18 or older.

    * Notes from the DXCC Desk: ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, reports
    that the 2007 ZL1GO/8 DXpedition to Kermadec Island has been approved
    for DXCC credit. "If you had cards rejected for this operation, please
    send an e-mail <dxcc@arrl.org>; to the ARRL DXCC Desk to have your DXCC
    record updated," Moore said.

    * Snake Update: E-mails to name the W1HQ snake
    <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/02/21/100/> keep coming in to
    ARRL HQ. According to ARRL News Editor S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, more
    600 names have been submitted. "I am sorting through the names and soon
    the W1HQ team will go through all of them and choose the name for our
    mascot."

    ===========================================================
    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
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    Copyright 2008 American Radio Relay League, Inc.
    All Rights Reserved
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