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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 24
June 13, 2003


* +Pres Haynie makes the case for HR 713 on Capitol Hill
* +WRC-03 gets under way in Geneva
* +NASA educators hit the road to pitch ARISS, ham radio
* +WA8SME joins HQ staff as "Big Project" coordinator
* +FCC tells Part 15 users to hold the phone following QRM complaints
* +Ham-pianist more than halfway through run
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Emergency Communications course registration
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     AO-40 expected to be visible to North America by Field Day
    +Declining QSL volume reflects decaying conditions
     Hudson, Atlantic Directors pulling out all stops on New York antenna
     K1D to be on the air for Kid's Day
     Nevada club donates to The Big Project
     Problems reported with Fuji-OSCAR 20, 29 satellites

+Available on ARRL Audio News



ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, testified June 11 on Capitol Hill on
behalf of the Spectrum Protection Act of 2003, HR 713. The ARRL initiative
would require the FCC to provide "equivalent replacement spectrum" to
Amateur Radio if the FCC reallocates primary amateur frequencies, reduces
any secondary amateur allocations, or makes additional allocations within
such bands that would substantially reduce their utility to amateurs.
Haynie was the last of 11 scheduled witnesses to speak during the
Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet hearing, "The Spectrum
Needs of Our Nation's First Responders."

"We are indeed a first responder," Haynie said on behalf of the nation's
some 680,000 Amateur Radio operators. Ham radio is more than "just having
fun playing on the radio," he told the panel, a subcommittee of the House
Energy and Commerce Committee chaired by Rep Billy Tauzin (R-LA). "It also
produces capable, trained volunteer communicators in systems of emergency
telecommunications that are impervious to disasters of all sorts," Haynie
said. "These volunteers are ready to respond--and do respond
immediately--when all other systems of communications fail, including
public safety communications whey they're overloaded, destroyed or lack

Among other examples, Haynie pointed out how Amateur Radio operators
answered the call on September 11, 2001, in New York City, at the Pentagon
and at the Western Pennsylvania crash site of the fourth hijacked
airliner. Hams also assisted federal authorities in the debris search
following the February 1 shuttle Columbia disaster, Haynie pointed out,
and aided in the response to tornadoes in the Midwest and South earlier
this year.

Haynie told the subcommittee that hams have lost more than 100 MHz of VHF
and UHF spectrum over the past 15 years and that another nearly 360 MHz of
VHF and UHF spectrum "has been substantially compromised." Haynie said
hams have shared spectrum successfully with government users on VHF and
UHF and have been able to "make do with less," but "that concept has
reached a breaking point with our service," he added. The 2.4 GHz area,
once left largely to amateurs, in recent years has become "polluted" with
wireless activity, Haynie told the panel.

"Interoperability" was the watchword of the day at the subcommittee
hearing, which got under way at 11 AM EDT and continued well into the
afternoon. Several witnesses testified that a lack of interoperability
among public safety responders at disaster scenes--including the World
Trade Center--prevented warning those in danger and resulted in a tragic
loss of life.

Haynie was not alone in offering supportive words about Amateur Radio. HR
713 sponsor Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), quoted a paragraph from the
submitted testimony of Norman Jacknis of the Westchester County, New York,
Department of Information Technology. "In the first hours following the
attack of September 11, 2001, the only way we could coordinate the sharing
of firefighting, medical examiner, health, and information technology
resources with New York City officials was through the highly trained,
volunteer Amateur Radio (ham) operators," Jacknis said. "This
irreplaceable resource must be protected from incursion by other

One of the two amateur licensees in Congress, Rep Greg Walden, WB7OCE
(R-OR)--a subcommittee member called for a halt to the "astonishing"
erosion of amateur spectrum. "Time and again, if you find an emergency,
you find a ham radio operator," Walden said.

FCC Office of Engineering and Technology Chief Edmond Thomas also cited
the contribution of Amateur Radio operators to public safety. "The ham
radio community has offered invaluable service to first responders during
emergency situations," the OET chief said.

A Senate version of the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act, S 537, was
introduced earlier this year by Sen Michael Crapo (R-ID). The Senate bill
is being considered by the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee,
but no hearing on the measure has been set. The text of HR 713 and S 537
is available via the Thomas Web site <>.


The International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) World Radiocommunication
Conference 2003 got under way June 9 in Geneva, Switzerland. More than
2600 delegates and other participants are expected to attend the four-week
conference, chaired by Dr Veena Rawat of Canada.

"Several items on the conference agenda are of great importance to radio
amateurs, so the International Amateur Radio Union has fielded its largest
team of observers at an ITU conference in more than a decade," noted IARU
Secretary (and ARRL CEO) David Sumner, K1ZZ, who's part of the IARU
delegation in Geneva. In addition to Sumner, the core IARU team consists
of IARU President Larry Price, W4RA, Wojciech Nietyksza, SP5FM, Michael
Owen, VK3KI, and Ken Pulfer, VE3PU. Past ITU Radiocommunication Bureau
Director Robert W. Jones, VE7RWJ, is serving as a consultant to the IARU.

Approximately a dozen other radio amateurs representing their national
IARU member-societies are participating on national delegations, along
with members of IARU regional executive committees who are serving on
delegations and in other capacities. Dozens of other radio amateurs are
present at WRC-03 in a wide range of professional capacities.

Amateur Radio is but a small part of the conference, which is trying to
complete work on more than 40 agenda items. Three are especially important
to Amateur Radio: Realignment of 7 MHz allocations, revision of the
regulations governing the amateur and amateur-satellite
services--including the Morse code requirement for HF operation, and
consideration of an allocation for satellite-borne synthetic aperture
radars (SARs) in the 70-cm band.

Two other agenda items with potentially great impact are the drafting of
an agenda for the next WRC, scheduled for 2007 and the revision of
footnotes to the Table of Frequency Allocations. A member of the IARU core
team has been assigned to follow each of these five items, but the
greatest focus is on 7 MHz, Sumner said.

Committee 4, chaired by Germany's Eberhard George, DL7IH, is handling the
critical agenda items for Amateur Radio except for the SARs request.

Sumner said that, while there's been plenty of informal discussion about
the issues, no final decisions have been made yet. "It is important to
remember that nothing is final until the second reading of a document in
the Plenary, which--in the case of controversial issues--will not take
place until the final week of the conference, June 30-July 4," he
said.--IARU news release


Three new hams based at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) have been
spending more than two-thirds of their workdays on the road highlighting
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) and other
NASA-supported educational programs. Aerospace education specialists for
the NASA Aerospace Education Services Program (AESP) headquartered at JSC,
the ham trio's combined territory includes Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas,
Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico and Colorado. Forty
education specialists work out of NASA regional centers nationwide,
serving kindergarten through college-level educators.

"NASA personnel are involved in amazing research and engineering programs
truly unique to the agency," said Ota Lutz, KD5UQZ
<>;, whose territory includes Kansas and
Nebraska. "The opportunity to share a glimpse inside those programs with
education audiences and observe the excitement it generates provides my
greatest source of satisfaction."

Lutz, Joan Sanders, KD5UQW <jsanders@ aesp.nasa.okstate>, and Angelo
Casaburri, KD5UQS <casaburri@>--and Linus Guillory
<linus@ aesp.nasa.okstate>--travel to schools and museums as AESP
representatives. Casaburri's area is North and South Dakota, while
Guillory's is Colorado and Oklahoma.

AESP specializes in providing free professional development workshops for
teachers of science, mathematics, geography and technology. Workshops
introduce participants to hands-on activities and NASA curriculum support

Lutz, Sanders and Casaburri studied for and passed their licensing exams
in December, not only because they have a lot of respect for Amateur Radio
but because they believe in the benefits of the ARISS program. "ARISS
offers lots of opportunities, has a fairly simple application procedure
and an in-place support network--local ham clubs--and is available to
nearly anyone, regardless of geographic location," Lutz said.

Fellow aerospace education specialist Sanders agreed. "Without exception,
the men and women of the Astronaut Corps are heroes to school children,"
said Sanders, who travels in Texas and New Mexico. "Amateur Radio makes
contact possible with our astronauts on orbit for audiences around the
world, and it provides a method of direct access that otherwise may be

They've found that teachers respond very positively to the their
presentations. As Lutz explained, "Our focus is on providing inquiry-based
hands-on activities that are aligned with state educational standards and
utilize inexpensive materials. NASA Enterprise topics are the driving
theme, so our material is current and of high interest to students,
teachers and the general public."

NASA's Aerospace Education Services Program began in 1961. Oklahoma State
University, the current contract administrator, recently approved the
three new hams for a portable ham station to take on the road. The
aerospace education specialists want to give teachers an idea of how easy
it is to operate a ham station, and they're hoping local radio club
members will partner with schools.

Amateurs may check the NASA AESP Web site
<> and the OSU AESP Web site
<> to learn what the specialists have
to offer and where they expect to be during the summer.--Rosalie White,


Mark Spencer, WA8SME, has joined the ARRL Headquarters staff as the new
coordinator of the ARRL Amateur Radio Education and Technology
program--also known as "The Big Project." He succeeds Jerry Hill, KH6HU,
who has returned to Hawaii.

Spencer, whose first day on the job was June 5, said he's happy to have
the chance to continue to work with both young people and Amateur Radio.
"This office has the great opportunity to be a facilitator in integrating
wireless technologies into the schools," he said. "Ham radio is a facet
that can open doors in that area, and I think that ham radio can help make
the curriculum relevant for kids."

A ham for 38 years, Spencer has taught math, science, computers and social
science at the middle school, high school and community college levels,
often integrating Amateur Radio into his lessons.

ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, said
she's thrilled to have someone of Spencer's caliber to guide the Education
and Technology Program. "The sky's the limit, dependent only on the
program's funding by generous ARRL members and corporations," White said.

White pointed out that Hill--The Big Project's first coordinator--was
instrumental in guiding 50 pilot schools into the program and oversaw its
development beyond the initial plans into a viable program that already
has touched the lives of nearly 1400 young people.

Prior to starting his teaching career in 1993, Spencer served 21 years in
the US Air Force, retiring with the rank of Lt Colonel after a career that
included work in reconnaissance and intelligence.

The goal of the Education and Technology Program is to use Amateur Radio
as a vehicle to improve the quality of education by providing a curriculum
focused on wireless communications. The project emphasizes integration of
technology, math, science, geography, language skills and social
responsibility within a global society. It also provides a complete
Amateur Radio station for schools accepted into the program.

The continued success of the ARRL Amateur Radio Education and Technology
Program depends on individual and corporate contributions. To learn more,
visit the ARRL Development Office secure Education and Technology Program
donor Web site
For more information on The Big Project, visit the ARRL Amateur Radio
Education and Technology Program Web site <> or
e-mail Spencer <>;.


Hold the phone! The FCC has written two Northern Virginia residents to
follow up on complaints from a local amateur who's alleging that he's on
the receiving end of harmful interference from telephone devices with the
capability to support multiple cordless remotes. Both are unlicensed Part
15 consumer electronics devices made by a well-known manufacturer. The
complaints from Bernie Keiser, W4SW--an ARRL member in Vienna, Virginia,
near Washington, DC--represented a bit of a turnabout from the typical
interference scenario, where ham operation occasionally generates
complaints of interference to cordless consumer equipment.

"Harmful interference to a licensed radio service from a Part 15 device is
a violation of FCC rules," warned Sharon Bowers, deputy chief of the
Consumer Inquiries and Complaint Division of the FCC's Consumer and
Governmental Affairs Bureau. Bowers explained that the equipment was
classified as an "intentional radiator"--a device that generates an RF
signal as part of its normal operation. In separate letters June 2 to the
two Part 15 users--both also Vienna residents--she pointed out that if
their cordless telephone devices cause harmful interference to licensed
spectrum users, "the operator of the device is responsible for correcting
the interference, ceasing operation, if necessary, whenever such
interference occurs."

Keiser told ARRL that the interference--in the form of broadband noise
from 2400 to 2450 MHz--impairs his ability to hear the AO-40 downlink and
beacon on the band. "I have a 2.4-GHz cordless telephone that does not
cause problems," he said. According to Keiser, the devices in question
electronically poll various remote stations, and it's the polling function
that apparently causes the noise. He was able to track down the noise
sources on his own and has discussed the issue with his neighbors, with
whom, he says, he remains on friendly terms. He said the owner of the
device that's causing the worst interference is a communications attorney
who understands the problem and hopes to deal with it through the

In her letters, Bowers cited the applicable sections of Part 15 and
advised that the alleged harmful interference must be corrected before
they may use the devices legally. She suggested the consumers contact the
manufacturer or retailer of the devices to see if they'd either allow them
to return them or exchange them for devices that don't cause interference.


Concert pianist Martin Berkofsky, KC3RE, got some help from members of the
Zero Beaters Amateur Radio Club (WA0FYA) when his CelebrateLifeRun
<> from Tulsa to Chicago took him through
Washington, Missouri, on June 4. A cancer survivor and an ARRL member from
Northern Virginia, Berkofsky set out April 9--his 60th birthday--on an
860-mile jog to celebrate his recovery from cancer and to raise money for
research into the disease. He's now just beyond the halfway point in his

"I've been feeling fine," Berkofsky told ARRL, "and have managed to keep
out of the really bad weather, only ducking for cover once, and once
running with an umbrella."

As Berkofsky got closer to the metropolitan area, he found that road noise
drowned out his hand-held amateur transceiver and his cell phone. Craig
Brune, N0MFD, modified a headset--with a cushion around the earpiece--to
cancel road noise and enable Berkofsky to keep talking with fellow hams
while on the move. During the June 4 ZBARC club meeting, Berkofsky
recapped the first half of his cross-country trek. Berkofsky was set to
resume running June 14 following a June 12 benefit concert at Webster
University in St Louis. He says Brune also loaned him an extendable
antenna for 2 meters, "so I should be able to have some contacts even from
the Illinois corn fields."


Propagation prophet Tad "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow" Cook, K7RA,
Seattle, Washington, reports: Geomagnetic disturbances continued this
week, but at a lower level than the previous seven days. Average daily
planetary A index for the week dropped to 21 from 37.1 the previous week.
The average daily sunspot number rose from 67.4 to 149.4, reaching a peak
of 207 on Tuesday, June 10. Solar flux also was up. Weekly average solar
flux rose from 117.4 to 150.5. Solar flux peaked at 192.9 on Wednesday,
June 11. Solar flux over the weekend is expected to be 150, 140, 130 and
120 for Friday through Monday.

With all of the recent geomagnetic disturbances, there is hope for HF
operators with the predicted planetary A index of 12 for June 13 and June
16. This is only slightly unsettled--much better than the A indices of 20
to 30 we've seen recently. However, be aware that flares can pop up and
conditions can change. A coronal mass ejection earlier this week could hit
Earth June 13, causing a rise in geomagnetic indices.

Sunspot numbers for June 5 through 11 were 95, 98, 125, 167, 176, 207 and
178, with a mean of 149.4. The 10.7-cm flux was 113.6, 125.6, 133.2,
153.4, 158.3, 176.5 and 192.9, with a mean of 150.5. Estimated planetary A
indices were 13, 13, 24, 27, 28, 27 and 15, with a mean of 21.



* This weekend on the radio: The ARRL June VHF QSO Party, the ANARTS World
Wide RTTY Contest, the Portugal Day Contest, the World Wide South America
CW Contest, the Asia-Pacific Sprint (SSB) and the West Virginia QSO Party
are the weekend of June 14-15. JUST AHEAD: Kid's Day, the All Asian DX
Contest (CW), the SMIRK Contest, the AGCW VHF/UHF Contest and the DIE
Contest are the weekend of June 21-22. See the ARRL Contest Branch page
<> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<> for more info.

* ARRL Emergency Communications course registration: Registration is
closed for the Level II ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
on-line course (EC-002) that begins June 24 and is sponsored by United
Technologies Corporation. Registration opens Monday, June 16, 12:01 AM
Eastern Daylight Time (0401 UTC), for the Level III Emergency
Communications on-line course (EC-003). Registration remains open through
the June 21-22 weekend or until all available seats have been
filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, July 1. Thanks to a
grant from United Technologies Corp, the $45 registration fee paid upon
enrollment will be reimbursed after successful completion of the Level III
course. During this registration period, approximately 50 seats are being
offered to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. For more
information, contact Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller,
K3UFG,; 860-594-0340.

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration:
Registration for the new ARRL VHF/UHF--Life Beyond the Repeater (EC-008)
<> and the High Frequency
Digital Communications (EC-005)
<> courses opens Monday, June
16, 12:01 AM EDT (0401 UTC). Registration remains open through Sunday,
June 22. Classes begin Tuesday afternoon, June 24. Registration for the
ARRL Antenna Modeling (EC-004)
<> course remains open through
Sunday, June 15. Those interested in taking an ARRL Certification and
Continuing Education (C-CE) course in the future can sign up to be advised
via e-mail in advance of registration opportunities. To take advantage,
send an e-mail to On the subject line, indicate the
course name or number (eg, EC-00#) and the month you want to start the
course. In the message body, provide your name, call sign, and e-mail
address. Please do not send inquiries to this mailbox. To learn more,
visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page
<> and the C-CE links found there. For more
information, contact Certification and Continuing Education Program
Coordinator Howard Robins, W1HSR, [C-CE logo]

* AO-40 expected to be visible to North America by Field Day: The AO-40
satellite is expected to return to a favorable alignment (ALON/ALAT = 0/0)
on or about June 20, ground controller Stacey Mills, W4SM, reports. A
typical passband schedule for ALON/ALAT = 0/0 is MA 40 to 210, which Mills
said should hold for the start of Field Day, June 28, when AO-40 will be
visible to all of North America, assuming it makes it back to 0/0 by June
20. "We should at least be close to that value by then," Mills said,
"although the perigee eclipses are making it slow going to advance ALON."
Mills said another cycle of attitude changes will have to start in the
fall.--Stacey Mills, W4SM, via AMSAT News Service

* Problems reported with Fuji-OSCAR 20, 29 satellites: AMSAT reports
apparent troubles with the two remaining linear transponder satellites
outside of AO-40. Fuji-OSCAR 20 (FO-20)--uplink 145.90 to 146.00 MHz
(CW/LSB); downlink 435.80 to 435.90 MHz (CW/USB); beacon 435.795 MHz--has
been reported silent by numerous operators. Launched February 7, 1990,
FO-20 is in mode JA continuously. FO-20 control station operators are said
to believe that the under-voltage controller now is regulating the
transponder. The controller monitors battery voltage and tries to protect
the batteries from overdischarge. Meanwhile, AMSAT reports that the Japan
Amateur Radio League (JARL) FO-29 command station is carefully considering
options to turn on the satellite's transmitter because it is not clear why
FO-29 recently went silent. When the satellite has been on, reports have
indicated it has a distorted signal. The command team seeks reception
reports, so if you hear FO-29, report the time (UTC), location, signal
strength to Masa, JN1GKZ, <>; or to the AMSAT-BB. FO-29 was
launched August 17, 1996. Mode JA uplink 145.90 to 146.00 MHz (CW/LSB);
downlink 435.80 to 435.90 MHz (CW/USB); beacon 435.795 MHz. Digital Mode
JD uplink 145.850, 145.870 and 145.910 MHz (FM); downlink 435.910 MHz
(1200-baud BPSK or 9600-baud FSK). FO-29 also has a digitalker at 435.910
MHz.--AMSAT News Service

* Declining QSL volume reflects decaying conditions: ARRL Outgoing QSL
Service <> Manager Martin Cook, N1FOC,
can't be certain, but he's ready to blame the downswing in the solar cycle
for a marked decline in the number of QSL cards his bureau has handled so
far this year. "I hope it's not going to be a trend of this cycle," said
Cook, whose operation last year mailed out 1,963,165 cards from ARRL
members to DX stations--an approximately 1.6 percent jump over 2001. So
far this year, the trend is going the other way, with just 681,400 cards
shipped compared with 951,000 by the same time one year ago. "This is a
significant decrease in cards coming in from members for processing," said
Cook, who manages the Outgoing QSL Service with assistance from Heather

* Hudson, Atlantic Directors pulling out all stops on New York antenna
bill: ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, and Atlantic
Division Director Bernie Fuller, N3EFN, are calling on New York ARRL
members to help get the state's Amateur Radio antenna bills enacted this
legislative session. "The final session of the New York State Assembly for
the year 2003 will be Thursday, June 19," Fallon and Fuller said in a
joint statement. "We have only days left to get our antenna bills passed.
We need to pull out all the stops and press for passage of our bill now."
In the Senate, Fallon and Fuller say, the bill, S63, needs to be "put on
the active list" on the Senate calendar and brought out for a vote.
They're calling on New York hams to ask three senators to put the bill on
the active list: Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno
<>;, 909 Legislative Office Bldg, Albany, NY 12247;
518-445-3191, fax 518-455-2448; Sen Dale Volker, 427 Capitol Bldg, Albany,
NY 12247 518-455-3471, fax 518-455-6949; and Sen Hugh Farley, 412
Legislative Office Bldg, Albany, NY 12247, 518-455-2181, fax 518-455-2271.
The Assembly bill, A2662, has cleared the Local Governments and Ways and
Means committees and now needs to be reported out of the Rules Committee
headed by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, <>;
Legislative Office Bldg 932, Albany, NY 12247, 518-455-3791, fax
518-455-5467. The New York bills go beyond simply incorporating PRB-1 into
state law. They would prohibit municipalities from passing laws or
ordinances to "restrict antenna support structure height to less than 95
feet above ground level or restrict the number of antenna support
structures." For more information and sample letters for lawmakers, visit
the Hudson Division Web site <>.

* K1D to be on the air for Kid's Day: Special event station K1D will be on
the air June 21 for ARRL Kid's Day
<>. Peter Schipelliti, W1DAD,
and his wife Jeanne, K1MOM, will be on the air as K1D prior to Kid's Day
to promote the event. Their youngsters Geena, 8, and Luciano, 6, will be
on the air on Kid's Day. "Any noises in the background will be Francesca
Rose--22 months," Peter Schipelliti said.

* Nevada club donates to The Big Project: In recognition of the ARRL and
President Haynie's commitment to bring Amateur Radio to the youth of
America, the Nellis Radio Amateur Club (NRAC) of Nevada voted to begin
financial support of the ARRL Education and Technology Program-- "The Big
Project." The club recently announced an initial donation of $150.
President John Bigley, N7UR, said NRAC graduates a new class of Technician
operators each year. The club also offers an annual General-class course.
Nets also conduct twice-weekly interactive code practice sessions on the
club's KC7TMC 147.06 and 449.875 repeaters, Bigley said. NRAC is
affiliated with Nellis Air Force Base. For more information, visit the
NRAC Web site <>.

The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American
Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main
St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259;
<>. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President.

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of
interest to active amateurs. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely,
accurate, concise, and readable. Visit ARRLWeb <> for
the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRL Web site
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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
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==>How to Get The ARRL Letter
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The ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

Much of the ARRL Letter content is also available in audio form in ARRL Audio News.

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