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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 36
September 12, 2003


* +IARU already looking toward next WRC
* +"Old-fashioned" ham radio keeps Bermuda in touch during hurricane
* +Astronaut visits collegiate alma mater via ham radio
* +President Haynie addresses 911 Commemorative Net
* +FCC asks utility to try harder to fix power line noise
* +ARRL announces contest rule changes
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Emergency Communications course registration
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     ARRL HQ job opportunity
     IRTS disallows claim for first two-way transatlantic 2-meter QSO
     Court kicks New York ham's "police radio" case
     Grassroots effort beats the odds in Florida county
     Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award

+Available on ARRL Audio News



The focus was on the future when the International Amateur Radio Union
<> Administrative Council met September 6-7 in
Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The council reviewed in detail the results of
World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) as they affected the
Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services and congratulated and thanked all
individuals and organizations contributing to the "satisfactory outcome."
A compromise to move broadcasting from 7100 to 7200 kHz by early 2009 was
a major result of WRC-03. In Amsterdam, the council began considering the
prospect of further progress on the 40-meter issue during the next World
Radiocommunication Conference, tentatively set for 2007.

"While considerable progress was made at WRC-03 toward fulfilling Amateur
Service spectrum requirements at 7 MHz, the requirements were not fully
satisfied and there may be an opportunity to revisit the issue at WRC-07,"
the IARU said. The IARU's stated goal is for a 300 kHz worldwide
allocation at 7 MHz.

Four hours of the meeting were devoted to strategic planning that scanned
the horizon out to 2010. Among issues in the near term, the IARU plans to
participate in International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication
Sector (ITU-R) study group sessions concerning the interference potential
of high data rate telecommunication systems using power lines--known in
the US as Broadband over Power Line (BPL) or power line carrier (PLC)

Looking further ahead, discussion dealt with Amateur Radio-related topics
that could come up at WRC-07. The WRC-07 agenda includes two items of
interest to the Amateur Service--a review of allocations between 4 and 10
MHz and a possible secondary low-frequency amateur allocation in the
vicinity of 136 kHz.

In the aftermath of WRC-03, the council urged IARU member-societies to
call to the attention of their administrations "the desirability of
adopting specific changes in their domestic regulations for the amateur
and amateur-satellite services, so that they will be consistent with the
revised Article 25 of the international Radio Regulations."

In that vein, the IARU governing body called for the removal of Morse code
as an examination requirement to operate on HF. The council reiterated its
stance first taken in 2001 that Morse code proficiency "as a qualifying
criterion for an HF amateur license is no longer relevant to the healthy
future of Amateur Radio."

"IARU policy is to support the removal of Morse code testing as a
requirement for an amateur license to operate on frequencies below 30
MHz," the IARU Administrative Council resolved. At the same time, the
council's resolution recognized Morse code as "an effective and efficient
mode of communication used by many thousands of radio amateurs." It also
took into account ITU-Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) Recommendation
M.1544, which sets down the minimum qualifications of radio amateurs.

World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 left it up to individual
countries to determine if they want amateur applicants desiring to operate
below 30 MHz to first demonstrate Morse proficiency. The council also
reviewed and updated a working document that describes the spectrum
requirements for the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services, particularly
to reflect the results of WRC-03.

In other business, the council endorsed nominations for 2004-2009
officeholders. Past ARRL President Larry Price, W4RA, was nominated for a
second term as IARU president. Timothy S. Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, was
nominated as vice president. IARU member-societies must ratify the
nominations. New terms of office begin next May 9. The council recognized
retiring IARU Vice President David Wardlaw, VK3ADW, for his long and
devoted service to the IARU.


Amateur Radio became a primary means of contact between Bermuda and the
rest of the world as Hurricane Fabian swept across the island September 5,
claiming at least four lives and causing extensive property damage in some
areas. Authorities in Bermuda this week were assessing its extent. A
dangerous category 3 storm, Fabian took out power to some 25,000
homes--about two-thirds of the island--as well as all radio and TV
stations. Additionally, generator problems took the government's emergency
FM station off the air for a time. Tony Siese, VP9HK, reports the police
operations center was evacuated after the 120-MPH winds took off part of
its roof.

Siese said the only contact with the outside world for a couple of hours
was via hams like himself relaying information on 2 meters to HF operators
and getting weather reports from the National Hurricane Center via the
Hurricane Watch Net <> on 20 meters. He said that when
the government emergency station dreturned to the air, amateurs provided
it with updated National Hurricane Center reports from the HWN.

Hurricane Watch Net Manager Mike Pilgrim, K5MP, reports his net on 14.325
MHz secured operations September 6 at 0300 UTC "after a very long and busy
day." Participating HWN volunteers feed ground-level weather data to
forecasters via WX4NHC <> at the National Hurricane
Center. WX4NHC also operates with a volunteer staff. The weather data and
information help meteorologists to develop more accurate storm forecasts.

"We had excellent assistance and vital communications from five VP9 hams
who, unfortunately, had to resort to makeshift antennas and back-up
battery power as the storm approached their locations," Pilgrim said.
WX4NHC Assistant Amateur Radio Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4JR, said that
while news reporters on Bermuda found themselves uncharacteristically out
of touch, "old-fashioned" ham radio HF technology got through. As he put
it, "brave Bermuda hams, using car batteries, basic wire antennas and only
50 W of power, were able to send those valued 'surface reports' and
receive vital hurricane advisories." Decent conditions on 20 meters also

Also pitching in were Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN)
volunteers. "The SATERN Net stood by two days at full alert monitoring for
information from Bermuda as Hurricane Fabian raged through the island,"
said National SATERN Coordinator Pat McPherson, WW9E. SATERN Territorial
Coordinator Rick Shirran, VE3NUZ/VP9, said that with power and telephone
service down, "the only communication that held up during the event was
that of the members of the Radio Society of Bermuda via 2 meters, and HF
on the Hurricane Watch Net and the SATERN Net." Shirran lost part of his
own roof and the driven element to his antenna. He got back on the air
using a makeshift antenna and power from a car battery.

Shirran said it could take more than two weeks to restore power to
Bermuda. Telephone service "remains tentative," he said at week's end. The
airport was only open to daylight flights as of September 11.

Amateur Radio reports gathered September 7 by Dick Montgomery, N3DV, on
the 20-meter Bermuda Net indicated many trees down, damage to docked boats
and amateur antennas blown away, but power slowly being restored.

National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield expressed his sincere
thanks to amateurs who supplied critical information during Fabian. "We
never would have known what was going on in Bermuda without your help," he
said. "You are a part of the hurricane team, and it is a pleasure to work
with you."


NASA International Space Station Science Officer Ed Lu, KC5WKJ, spoke
September 4 with students at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Lu is
a Cornell Class of 1984 alumnus and holds a BS in electrical engineering
from the Ivy League school. The contact, arranged through the Amateur
Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program, marked the first
time students at the university had spoken to an astronaut in space.

Among other topics, the Cornell students were interested in hearing about
NASA's options to replace its aging--and currently grounded--shuttle
fleet. At the controls of NA1SS aboard the ISS, Lu replied that NASA is
looking closely at a "much smaller, much simpler vehicle"--the Orbital
Space Plane--to transport ISS crews in the future.

"It would launch on an expendable rocket, and the idea is to make the
thing much less maintenance-intensive than the shuttle is," Lu said. "And
I hope we can get such a thing operational in the next six or seven
years." He said design of the OSP has not yet been finalized.

Lu also said he "absolutely" would be interested in being part of the
first human spaceflight to Mars. "I'm hoping that before my career is up
at NASA that I do get a chance to do something like that," he said.

Cornell Amateur Radio Club (W2CXM) President Chase Million, KB9YER, says
he's planning on a career in the space industry upon graduation. "Today
was more than just a hands-on experience," he said. "We actually got to
talk to a guy who is on the space station!" Mike Hammer, N2VR, the radio
club's faculty adviser, set up the Earth station for the direct 2-meter

While at Cornell, Lu was a Merrill Presidential Scholar and a member of
the Big Red wrestling team. The Cornell Amateur Radio Club
<>--an ARRL-affiliated club--dates back to
1915. Approximately 40 people were on hand for the successful ARISS

Lu also spoke with students at his high school alma mater, R. L. Thomas
High School in Webster, New York, on September 10. ARISS
<> is an international effort with support from
ARRL, NASA and AMSAT.--Cornell University provided some information for
this story


On the second anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, ARRL
President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, joined Amateur Radio operators across the US
and around the world in pausing to remember those who died that day.
Haynie was among the more than 1400 amateurs checking into the 911
Commemorative Net <> organized by Len Signoretti,
N2LEN. The net linked repeaters across the country--many via the
Internet--and included opportunities to check in via EchoLink, IRLP and
eQSO nodes. In his remarks, Haynie addressed Amateur Radio's obligations
in the aftermath of the terror attacks two years ago.

"One of the reasons we have a license and the privileges we have here in
the United States is to provide a voluntary, noncommercial communication
service particularly with respect to providing emergency communications,"
Haynie said. "Since 9/11, our government at the federal, state and local
levels have a new respect for the ability of Amateur Radio operators to do
just that: Provide communications when all others have failed."

Citing the late President John F. Kennedy's call, "Ask not what your
country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," Haynie said
hams can do a lot for their country. "We can be vigilant, we can be
trained and we can be ready!" he declared. "This is a task that we can do,
and you can do it well."

Haynie expressed his appreciation for those who volunteered in the
aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks and for those amateurs
who continue to assist in disasters and emergencies.

Seven Amateur Radio operators died in the World Trade Center and Pentagon
disasters: Steven A. "Steve" Jacobson, N2SJ; William V. "Bill" Steckman,
WA2ACW; Michael G. Jacobs, AA1GO; Robert D. "Bob" Cirri Sr, KA2OTD;
William R. "Bill" Ruth, W3HRD; Gerard J. "Rod" Coppola, KA2KET; and
Winston A. Grant, KA2DRF.

During this week's memorial activities, The Salvation Army set up canteen
operations at three New York City locations on September 11 to serve those
attending. The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN)
supported necessary communication on Amateur Radio VHF simplex.


The FCC has asked American Electric Power Company of Columbus, Ohio, to
take a closer look at several power line noise complaints and try harder
to resolve them. The cases involve complaints from four Amateur Radio
operators in Ohio, Indiana and Oklahoma.

"While we certainly appreciate the considerable effort that AEP afforded
this matter, we are puzzled by the lack of results," FCC Special Counsel
Riley Hollingsworth wrote August 26 in a letter to AEP Senior Vice
President Marsha P. Ryan. "In most cases, a noise source can be located
easily by trained personnel using the proper equipment."

AEP responded February 10 to the FCC's initial correspondence regarding
the four cases. Hollingsworth says, however, that follow-up reports from
the complainants suggest discrepancies exist between what AEP told the FCC
and what the complainants report. Hollingsworth said evidence to date
indicates that none of the cases has been satisfactorily resolved.

In one case, AEP erroneously identified the amateur's own antenna as the
source of the noise.

Jerry Daugherty, W9FS, of Indiana told the FCC that he's heard nothing
from AEP and was not even aware that the utility was considering his case
closed. "As of June 20, 2003, the noise was present at VHF and coming from
several different locations," Hollingsworth said, citing information from

James Kiskis, W8PA, of Ohio reported to the Commission that, although
interference identified as coming from two utility poles was fixed, it has
since returned from one of them. Kiskis told Hollingsworth that an AEP
interference investigator showed up at his residence June 23 and--using a
spectrum analyzer hooked up to Kiskis' antenna--found strong noise on 20
and 10 meters. The investigator reportedly told Kiskis that he was turning
his findings over to a line crew to have the problems repaired.

William Hannon, N8PW, of Ohio confirmed to the FCC that AEP had repaired
several suspect utility poles, "including one very significant noise
source," Hollingsworth said. But, he added in his letter to Ryan, Hannon
"continues to experience strong noise in dry weather conditions when his
antenna is pointed east."

Howard McCloud, KC5RGC, of Oklahoma reported power line noise last April
and identified its source for AEP as utility lines about a mile from his
station. McCloud was not aware that AEP had attempted to correct it,
Hollingsworth wrote. "AEP now apparently maintains that the source of the
noise is McCloud's antenna, even when it is disconnected and on the
ground," a conclusion Hollingsworth labeled "patently defective." McCloud
reports relatively strong noise on HF that continues 24/7.

Hollingsworth asked AEP to "revisit each of these cases" and to update the
FCC within 45 days of any progress in each case. He also referred the
power company to ARRL RFI Specialist Mike Gruber, W1MG, for technical
assistance in resolving the cases.


The ARRL Contest Branch has announced rule changes governing
ARRL-sponsored operating events. The changes become effective November 1,

In any contest that requires off-time, any claimed off-time period must be
at least 30 minutes long. "Remember that listening time counts as
operating time when calculating off-time," said ARRL Contest Branch
Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND.

Second, the Northwest Territories (NWT) multiplier has been renamed
"Northern Territories"--abbreviated NT--for contests that use ARRL and
Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) sections as part of the exchange.

"While not an official RAC section, the VE8, VY1 and VY0 (Northwest
Territories, Yukon and Nunavut) are grouped together as a multiplier in
the ARRL November Sweepstakes and the ARRL 160-Meter Contest," Henderson
explained. "The new name and abbreviation will more accurately describe
their makeup."

Henderson said use of the NWT abbreviation was inconsistent to designate a
multiplier that also included Yukon and Nunavut. Awards for ARRL-sponsored
contests will continue to be issued to the VE8, VY1 and VY0 together as
the Northern Territories section.

Finally, in contests using geopolitical entities as multipliers--the ARRL
RTTY Roundup, the ARRL International DX Contest and the ARRL 10-Meter
Contest--the official abbreviation for Northwest Territories is NWT. "This
change brings the multipliers for those events into a consistent form,"
Henderson said. ARRL encourages contest participants to update the
necessary files for their logging software.

For more information, contact Henderson <>;.


Solar seer Tad "Ain't No Sunshine" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington,
reports: Daily sunspot numbers took a dive this week, with the average
dropping 47 points from last week to 56.1. Solar flux declined by a little
more than 18 points. Sunspot numbers on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 9
and 10, were quite low--43 and 42.

This week, geomagnetic indices were lower. On September 7 the normally
high College A index (measured in Fairbanks, Alaska) was 2, which is very
quiet. We have been inside a strong solar wind this week, but the
interplanetary magnetic field has been pointing north, which protects
Earth's magnetic field and keeps A and K indices low. Over the weekend,
expect stable geomagnetic conditions. Solar flux should rise above 100,
peaking around 120 September 17-19.

The fall equinox is only about 10 days away. This is a prime time for
high-frequency DX, because the solar radiation reaching Earth is equal in
the northern and southern hemispheres.

Sunspot numbers for September 4 through 10 were 79, 57, 60, 54, 58, 43 and
42, with a mean of 56.1. 10.7 cm flux was 112.2, 108, 104.9, 107.8, 98.8,
95.9 and 99.3, with a mean of 103.8. Estimated planetary A indices were
19, 16, 12, 10, 9, 19 and 19, with a mean of 14.9.



* This weekend on the radio: The ARRL September VHF QSO Party, the North
American Sprint (SSB), the FISTS Coast to Coast Contest, YLRL Howdy Days,
the Worked All Europe (WAE) DX Contest (SSB), the Louisiana and Tennessee
QSO parties, and the QRP ARCI End of Summer PSK31 Sprint are the weekend
of September 13-14. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL 10 GHz Cumulative Contest, the
SARL VHF/UHF Contest, the Scandinavian Activity Contest (CW), the
Collegiate QSO Party, the South Carolina QSO Party 1300Z, the QRP Afield
Contest, the Washington State Salmon Run, the Panama Anniversary Contest,
the Fall QRP Homebrewer Sprint and the AGB NEMIGA Contest are the weekend
of September 20-21. See the ARRL Contest Branch page
<> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<> for more info.

* ARRL Emergency Communications course registration: Registration opens
Monday, September 15, 12:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time (0401 UTC), for the
Level III Emergency Communications on-line course (EC-003). Registration
remains open through the September 20-21 weekend or until all available
seats have been filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday,
September 30. 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. [ARECC

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration:
Registration for the ARRL VHF/UHF--Life Beyond the Repeater (EC-008)
<> and the High Frequency
Digital Communications (EC-005)
<> courses opens Monday,
September 15, 12:01 AM EDT (0401 UTC). Registration remains open through
Sunday, September 21. Classes begin Tuesday afternoon, September 23.
Registration for the ARRL Antenna Modeling (EC-004)
<> course remains open through
Sunday, September 21. 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 <>;.

* ARRL HQ job opportunity: ARRL Field and Educational Services has an
immediate, full-time opening in Newington, Connecticut, for a
Certification Specialist in charge of ARRL's on-line Certification and
Continuing Education (C-CE) <> technical courses.
Areas of responsibility include developing course topic ideas; finding and
working with potential authors and editors on lesson content and testing
standards; scheduling and managing the course development process;
developing and providing management reports and statistics about the
program; corresponding with students, mentors, instructors and examiners
involved with the program; and overseeing the administrative aspects of
the program. Starting salary depends on experience and qualifications.
Candidates must hold a current Amateur Radio license. Requirements include
excellent verbal and writing skills; good computer skills including
experience with Access databases; excellent organizational abilities with
skills in prioritizing; ability to travel; and ability to handle multiple
tasks with attention to detail. Supervisory experience and experience
managing and working with volunteers is highly desirable. A broad range of
ham radio interests would be helpful. Forward a letter of application,
resume and salary requirements to Rosalie White, K1STO,,
or c/o ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. The ARRL is an equal
opportunity employer.

* IRTS disallows claim for first two-way transatlantic 2-meter QSO: The
Irish Radio Transmitters' Society has disallowed a claim for the Brendan
Trophies <>. The Brendan Trophies will be
awarded to the operators of the first two Amateur Radio stations to
establish two-way communication between Europe and North or South America
on 2 meters. According to a report from the Radio Society of Great Britain
<>, the IRTS Awards Panel fully considered the June
2002 application of Alexander Dutkewych, N2PIG, and Debra Dutkewych,
K2PIG/VA3PIG. The applicants claimed a WSJT-mode contact March 19, 2002,
between N2PIG in Newfoundland and K2PIG in County Kerry, Ireland.
According to the RSGB, the Awards Panel decided that the application did
not comply with the provisions of its Rule 6, which states that the Awards
Panel has sole discretion in deciding on the validity of a contact. The
RSGB report said the level of proof provided for the contact was

* Court kicks New York ham's "police radio" case: A New York court has
dismissed a misdemeanor charge against ARRL member Richard C. "Dick"
Lalone, KC5GAX, for violating §397 of that state's Vehicle and Traffic
Law. That section prohibits individuals other than law officers from
equipping their vehicles with radios "capable of receiving signals on the
frequencies allocated for police use" without first securing a permit. The
section, which also prohibits knowingly interfering with police
transmissions, contains an explicit exemption for "any person who holds a
valid amateur radio operator's license . . . and who operates a duly
licensed portable mobile transmitter and in connection therewith a
receiver or receiving set on frequencies exclusively allocated . . . to
duly licensed radio amateurs." In a nearly 1300-word decision, Judge John
J. Hallet said it was clear the legislature never intended the provisions
of §397 from applying to licensed Amateur Radio operators, and he
dismissed the charge August 5. Susan Terry, KF4SUE, a former New York
assistant attorney general, represented Lalone. ARRL President Jim Haynie,
W5JBP, ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, and ARRL Regulatory
Information Specialist John Hennessee, N1KB, provided advice or assistance
to Lalone.

*Grassroots effort beats the odds in Florida county: Hams living in
Florida's Brevard County--which includes Melbourne, Titusville and Cape
Canaveral--now are exempt from all fees and permit processes for Amateur
Radio antennas. Bob Keim, W4TAT, says that in return, amateurs have agreed
to adhere to accessory building setbacks when erecting antennas or antenna
supports. The setback requirement does not include guy wires. Keim said a
"grassroots effort" comprised mostly of amateur clubs, individual amateurs
and interested county citizens got the Brevard County Commission to agree
to the exemption in its ordinances. "There were those who felt Brevard
would never exempt amateurs, and I am truly honored to be part of a group
that proved that statement wrong," Keim said. He urged amateurs installing
antenna systems to be "good neighbors" by employing "commonsense
placement" and ensuring that antennas and support structures meet the
highest engineering standards. Keim credited a large turnout of amateurs
at the August 7 hearing where the County Commission agreed to the change.
The county had agreed initially to exempt administratively all amateurs
and chose to include receive-only antennas, Keim said, but amateurs
worried that changes in staff could make the administrative exemption
unreliable over the long haul. "For the entire amateur community to keep
this ordinance, we will be dependent upon the actions of each and every
amateur to respect the issue and not create a problem with the ordinance,"
Keim urged. ARRL South Florida Section Manager Sherri Brower, W4STB, wrote
the commissioners in support of working something out with the amateurs,
and Brevard County Emergency Coordinator Ray Kassis, N4LEM, spoke in
support of the issue at one hearing. The biggest support, Keim said, came
from the Titusville Amateur Radio Club and from members of other area
clubs. Keim said the core group of supporters that showed up at every
hearing "deserve the credit for this touchdown."

*Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award
for August was Mike Loukides, W1JQ, for his article "A Dipole Curtain for
15 and 10 Meters." Congratulations, Mike! The winner of the QST Cover
Plaque award--given to the author--or authors--of the best article in each
issue--is determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes place each
month on the QST Cover Plaque Poll Web page
<>. Cast a ballot for your
favorite article in the September issue of QST. Voting ends September 30.

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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