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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 23, No. 09
February 27, 2004


* +FCC releases proposed BPL rules
* +ARRL backs Hawaii antenna bills
* +FCC continues to target alleged unlicensed operations
* +Peggy Sue gets licensed!
* +WA6MHZ wins San Diego SM race
* +N0AX is 2003 Orr Technical Writing Award winner
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Emergency Communications course registration
    +Ham radio "personalities" to be W1AW contest ops
     SATERN net assisting with Haiti traffic
     Spacewalk ends early
     UO-11 to mark 20 years in space
     ARRL Foundation elects officers during annual meeting
     Charles D. "Chuck" Ritchie, W4BUG, SK

+Available on ARRL Audio News



The FCC this week released its Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on
Broadband over Power Line (BPL) systems. The 38-page NPRM--in ET Dockets
03-104 and 04-37--proposes amendments to FCC Part 15 rules to define
so-called "access BPL," make rules specific to BPL systems and provide
measurement guidelines for BPL devices and systems. It would make no
changes to Part 15 emission limits for unintentional radiators, however.
ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, says that while Part 15's current limits on
unintentional radiators on HF may be appropriate for short-duration,
narrowband emissions, they are inappropriate for the sort of
long-duration, broadband emissions BPL would employ. He compared
short-duration, narrowband emissions at the Part 15 radiated emission
limit to a helicopter flying overhead.

"The noise is deafening, but is tolerable because it doesn't happen very
often nor last very long," he observed. "To a radio user, having BPL in
the neighborhood would be like having the helicopter hovering constantly

ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, offered an example most hams could relate
to. "The limit for an unintentional emitter on HF is 30 uV/m at 30 meters
from the source," he said. "If you take a dipole cut for 3.5 MHz and put
it in a 30 uV/m field, you'll have a noise reading of S9 plus 16 dB at
your transceiver."

The FCC proposal takes a broader view of interference. "There is
significant disagreement among the commenting parties regarding the
interference potential of Access BPL," the NPRM declares. "Amateur
operators and amateur organizations in general are opposed to Access BPL
and advocate emission limits that are lower than the existing Part 15

Still, the NPRM concedes, Amateur Radio operations "are likely to present
a difficult challenge in the deployment of Access BPL in cases where
amateurs use high-gain outdoor antennas that are located near power
lines." Noting that power line noise already presents a significant
problem for hams, the FCC said, "we therefore would expect that, in
practice, many amateurs already orient their antennas to minimize the
reception of emissions from nearby electric power lines."

The NPRM goes on to point out that because BPL has the capability to stay
clear of specific frequencies, BPL providers can simply "avoid the use of
amateur frequencies when in close proximity to amateur outdoor antennas."
The NPRM also briefly mentions the possibility of interference to BPL
systems from Amateur Radio, an issue ARRL and others raised in their
comments on last April's Notice of Inquiry on BPL.

The NPRM emphasizes that under the proposed rules, operators of Access BPL
systems would be responsible for eliminating any harmful interference that
may occur. The FCC says it believes current Part 15 emission limits for
carrier current systems--in conjunction with certain additional
requirements specific to Access BPL--"will be adequate to ensure that
existing radio operations are protected against harmful interference."

Sumner suggested that, with licensed services and government users taking
up large portions of the HF spectrum, protecting all licensed HF users
could prove to be a nightmare for BPL providers. He noted, too, that while
the FCC maintains that licensed services must be protected, the proposed
rules place the burden of initiating corrective action on the shoulders of
the licensed services. "And as a practical matter, the FCC's proposed
rules offer no protection at all to mobile and portable stations," he

Sumner also said the ARRL would continue to combat the "misconception"
that BPL systems are viable as a "last mile" broadband technology for
rural dwellers. "In low-density areas, the economics just don't work," he

The NPRM is available on the FCC Web site in Microsoft Word format
<> or as
an Adobe PDF file

Interested parties may file detailed comments on the NPRM via the main
FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS)
<>. The comment deadline is 45 days after the
NPRM has been published in The Federal Register, and that is not expected
to happen for another week or two. The FCC also is accepting brief
comments on the NPRM via its ECFS Express page

Additional information about BPL and Amateur Radio is on the ARRL Web site
<>. To support the League's efforts
in this area, visit the ARRL's secure BPL Web site


The ARRL this week submitted written testimony in support of two pieces of
Amateur Radio antenna legislation under consideration in Hawaii. House
Bill 2774 would aid Hawaiian amateurs living in subdivisions subject to
homeowners' association covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs). In
general, HB 2774 would permit such Amateur Radio licensees in Hawaii to
install antennas, feed lines and other telecommunications equipment
"directly attached to the owner's residence or other permitted structure
on the owner's lot." A second bill, HB 2773, would allow amateur licensees
in condominiums to install antennas on their units under certain
conditions, without needing permission from a condo owners' association or
managing agent.

"These bills would simply assure the ability of federally-licensed Amateur
Radio operators to install unobtrusive, basically functional antenna
systems without the often arbitrary, or arbitrarily administered, private
regulations that routinely preclude Amateur Radio operation," the ARRL
said in urging approval of both measures. Passage of the bills, the League
asserted, would help to ensure stations would be available to provide
emergency and disaster-related communications if normal communications
were disrupted.

Both measures are in the Hawaii House Committee on Consumer Protection and
Commerce, chaired by their sponsor, Rep Ken Hiraki (D-28). At a hearing on
the two bills February 25, amateur operators spoke of the importance of
the Amateur Service during emergencies, while representatives of
condominium and planned community associations countered with the need to
maintain the CC&Rs that all homeowners agreed to follow when they
purchased. The committee subsequently voted to defer any decision on the
fate of the bills until March 1.

In its written testimony, the League said the two measures contain
sufficient protections against adverse effects to neighbors, and "reach a
good balance between the legitimate interests of condominium and apartment
owner's associations and homeowner's associations on the one hand, and the
clear benefit to the public of available Amateur Radio communications."

The ARRL said the two Hawaii measures apply existing federal principles
regarding "reasonable accommodation" of amateur communications to all
residences, whether subject to municipal or private land-use regulations.
"It would do so in a way as to protect those who might be directly
affected, either aesthetically or in other respects, by an antenna
installation," the League added.

HR 2774 is similar in intent to HR 1478, the proposed legislation now in
Congress that would apply the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 to
CC&Rs on a nationwide basis. If approved, the measures would mark the
first legislation on any level to address the restrictions that CC&Rs and
homeowners' associations impose to hamper the installation of Amateur
Radio antennas.

Hiraki has been urging hams in Hawaii to contact their representatives to
champion the legislation. He also is asking amateurs in Hawaii to submit
their own comments in support of the bills and the need to pass them.

Address letters to Rep Kenneth Hiraki, Chairman, Committee on Consumer
Protection and Commerce, Hawaii State Capitol--Room 320, 415 S Beretania
St, Honolulu, HI 96813. Testimony in support of either or both bills also
can be sent via e-mail <>; or via fax to

Texts of the two bills, HR 2773
<> and HR
2774 <> are
available on the Hawaii State Legislature Web site.


The FCC is continuing efforts to stem alleged unlicensed
operation--primarily by long-haul truckers--on the 10-meter amateur band.
Enforcement Bureau Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth, this month wrote
FedEx Corporation CEO Frederick W. Smith enclosing a complaint asserting
that some FedEx drivers have used "Amateur Radio transmitters to
communicate on the 10-meter Amateur Radio band without a license,"
Hollingsworth said. The complaint focused on alleged operations in

"Many truckers use CB radio, which does not require a license,"
Hollingsworth told Smith. "However, any person using a radio transmitter
on Amateur Radio frequencies must possess both a station and operator
license, for which an examination is required." He pointed out that some
truckers have been known to use uncertificated dual-purpose CB radios that
also can transmit on 10 meters. CB gear must be FCC certificated, formerly
known as type acceptance, but ham radio gear does not need to be.
So-called dual-use ham/CB transceivers may not be sold or marketed under
FCC rules.

Two additional trucking firms this month were the target of FCC warning
notices involving complaints of unlicensed operation on 10 meters.
Hollingsworth wrote Carl Leonard Ross of CLR Transport in Saluda, North
Carolina, citing allegations that a CLR Transport vehicle traveling on
I-85 in North Carolina "was the source of unlicensed radio transmissions
on the 10-meter Amateur Radio band on July 14, 2003." Cassidy's Express of
Bristol, Pennsylvania, heard from the FCC regarding reports that one of
its vehicles was the source of unlicensed radio transmissions while under
way in Pennsylvania last October 9.

Hollingsworth asked Smith to advise FedEx drivers that such operation of
radio transmitting equipment without a license is a violation of federal
law and could subject violators to stiff fines and even jail time as well
as seizure of equipment. Pointing out the same penalties for violators,
Hollingsworth asked the other two trucking firms to contact him to discuss
the allegations.

Earlier this year, the FCC sent warning notices to two shipping companies
in the wake of reports to the Commission that some of the companies'
vehicles may have been illegally transmitting on 10 meters. At least one
of the companies, UPS, offered its full cooperation and promised to


During the recent Buddy Holly W5B commemorative special event operation,
Peggy Sue Gerron-Rackham was perhaps the most prominent of the W5B guest
operators. The namesake of Holly's 1957 "rockabilly" hit "Peggy Sue"--who
went to high school with Holly and later married the drummer in his band,
The Crickets--says participating in the W5B event sharpened her desire to
get her ham license. That happened this week when the FCC granted her the
call sign KE5AKW. She now plans to apply for a vanity call sign.

"Out of all the Buddy Holly events that I have attended in my life," she
said after the W5B special event. "This event will always stand out in my

As rock n' roll history has it, Holly originally titled the song "Cindy
Lou," but Crickets drummer Jerry Allison convinced the singer to change
the tune's name to "Peggy Sue" just before the recording session. Gerron,
who still goes by that name, says that story is "close" to the truth but
not entirely accurate. After Holly's death, Gerron toured with The
Crickets when the band got back together. Holly's follow-up song "Peggy
Sue Got Married" inspired a 1986 movie starring Kathleen Turner.

Over the years, Gerron has made public appearances all over the
country--including on "Oprah," VH1, the Oxygen Network, as well as network
TV, and has worked as a speaker, columnist, back-up singer and talk radio
co-host (her show was called "Rave On"). Getting on the air during the W5B
special event, however, turned out to be very "special" for her.

"You can do TV specials, and you can be interviewed by the very best DJs,"
she said, but there is nothing like the feeling of putting your finger
down and transmitting your call sign and having somebody answer back."

The Buddy Holly special event--January 29 through February 2 in Holly's
home town of Lubbock, Texas--marked the 45th anniversary of the
entertainer's untimely death in a February 3, 1959, plane crash in Iowa.
The mishap also claimed the lives of early rock n' rollers Ritchie Valens
and JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson.

The Lubbock Amateur Contest Club's W5LCC provided the site for the special
event station. Some area hams still remember Holly as a classmate at
Lubbock High School. Bryan Edwards, W5KFT, who obtained the W5B call sign,
reports W5B logged more than 1000 contacts. The special event generated a
lot of interest in talking to Peggy Sue, and she obliged as many as
possible. A few shared personal recollections of Holly and his music.

"This is not planned conversation," Gerron said of Amateur Radio. "It's
one person communicating with another. Is anybody out there? You bet they
are! Keep rockin'!"

Other operators during the W5B special event included  Doug Hutton, W5JUV,
Terry Bajuk, KE5BL, Dennis Brush, WA5CBG, Joey Johnston, KC5MVZ, Eddie
Petmecky, KC5OBX, Davis Plunkett, K5DLP, Rick Roy, KB5KYJ, and Tom Tucker,
KB5UOP.--thanks to Mike Gruber, W1MG, who provided information for this


In the only contested ARRL Section Manager race in the current election
cycle, Patrick Bunsold, WA6MHZ, of El Cajon, California, has been elected
as the ARRL San Diego SM. He outpolled Stephen Early, AD6VI, 378 to 258.
Election ballots were counted February 24 at ARRL Headquarters.

Bunsold previously served two terms as San Diego SM--from 1994 to 1998.
He'll be stepping into the shoes of current SM Kent Tiburski, K6FQ, who
decided not to run for re-election.

Six other incumbent SMs ran unopposed and were declared elected. They are
Pete Cecere, N2YJZ, Eastern New York; Eric Olena, WB3FPL, Eastern
Pennsylvania; Mickey Cox, K5MC, Louisiana; John Covington, W4CC, North
Carolina; Richard Beebe, N0PV, South Dakota and Carl Clements, W4CAC,

All successful candidates begin their two-year terms on April 1.

Kevin Bogan, AH6QO, also elected without opposition in the current
election cycle as the new the Pacific SM, began his term earlier this year
after being appointed to replace outgoing SM Bob Schneider, AH6J, who
stepped down before his term ended.


The ARRL Foundation has bestowed the 2003 Bill Orr, W6SAI, Technical
Writing Award on QST Contributing Editor H. Ward Silver, N0AX, of Vashon
Island, Washington. The action came during the foundation's annual
meeting, held via teleconference February 12. The Foundation Board of
Directors cited Silver's "fine technical series in QST and other League
venues." ARRL Northwestern Division Director Greg Milnes, W7OZ--a
foundation board member--will present Silver with a $250 award and a
commemorative plaque at an upcoming meeting of the Western Washington DX

"I really am thrilled to win the award because I greatly admired the
technical savvy and writing of Bill Orr," Silver said. "I still have
several of his antenna books on my bookshelf. His Radio Handbooks were
very helpful as companions to The ARRL Handbook, as well."

The award selection is made by the ARRL editorial staff, based on articles
published in QST during 2003, that most exemplify the writing philosophy
of Bill Orr--that articles should tell a technical "story" that appeals to
a broad audience extending beyond those individuals who have a particular
interest in the topic.

Silver said that his main goal as an Amateur Radio writer is to light that
same spark in other beginners as authors such as Orr lighted for him. "I
owe a lot of my writing and drawing style to QST and other League
publications, so it is particularly gratifying to be recognized as
continuing the tradition," he said.

The avid and well-known contester has authored more than 200 articles for
ARRL publications. In 2003, Silver started his popular "Hands-On Radio"
series in QST. He is also the editor of the Contester's Rate Sheet
<> and the ARRL Antenna Design
Course <>, and is the author of
N0AX's Radio Puzzler. He's also written feature articles and product
reviews for QST, and penned the "Contest Corral" and "Test Your Knowledge"
columns in the journal.

"Ward's got a great sense of how to write for beginners," said QST Editor
Steve Ford, WB8IMY. "He can take a complicated subject and explain it to
anyone. Another great strength is his sense of humor in his writing.
Between those two strengths, he can make almost any subject palatable."


Propagation prognosticator Tad "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" Cook,
K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: A large sunspot emerged over the past
week. On February 21, sunspot 564 began to appear around the east limb of
the visible solar disk. By February 23, it was five times as large as
Earth. The sunspot was rotating across the upper hemisphere of the sun, so
it was never aimed squarely toward earth, but it was most directed toward
us on February 25.

Average daily sunspot numbers were slightly higher this week than last.
Average daily solar flux was lower by 0.2 point. Solar activity is rising,
and solar flux should peak between February 28 to March 1 at around 130. A
sunspot currently is forming on the far side of the sun, and it may cause
a slight rise in solar flux around March 8.

Geomagnetic conditions have been very quiet this week. Sunspot 563
released two solar flares on February 26. Earth is expected to encounter a
solar wind stream on February 29 or March 1. Planetary A index predictions
for February 27 through March 2 are 12, 12, 15, 20 and 20.

Sunspot numbers for February 19 through 25 were 33, 34, 52, 58, 68, 85 and
107, with a mean of 62.4. The 10.7 cm flux was 96.4, 95.4, 98.2, 103.9,
104.3, 105.5 and 118.5, with a mean of 103.2. Estimated planetary A
indices were 5, 4, 7, 8, 8, 11 and 8, with a mean of 7.3.



* This weekend on the radio: The CQ 160-Meter Contest (SSB), the REF
Contest (SSB), the UBA DX Contest (CW), the Mississippi and North Carolina
QSO parties, the Russian PSK World Wide contest, the CZEBRIS Contest, the
North American QSO Party (RTTY) and the High Speed Club CW Contest are the
weekend of February 28-29. JUST AHEAD: The RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship
(Data) is March 1; the ARS Spartan Sprint and the AGCW YL-CW Party are
March 2. The ARRL International DX Contest (SSB), the Makrothen RTTY
Contest, the Open Ukraine RTTY Championship, the DARC 10-Meter Digital
Contest are the weekend of March 6-7. The RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship
(CW) is March 10, and the Pesky Texan Armadillo Chase is March 11. See the
ARRL Contest Branch page <> and the WA7BNM
Contest Calendar <> for
more info.

* ARRL Emergency Communications course registration: Registration opens
Monday, March 1, 12:01 AM Eastern Time (0501 UTC), for the on-line Level I
Emergency Communications course (EC-001). Registration remains open
through the March 6-7 weekend or until all available seats have been
filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, March 16. Thanks to
our grant sponsors--the Corporation for National and Community Service and
the United Technologies Corporation--the $45 registration fee paid upon
enrollment will be reimbursed after successful completion of the course.
During this registration period, approximately 175 seats are being offered
to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. Senior amateurs are
strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. To learn more,
visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page
<>. For more information, contact Emergency
Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, <>;;

* Ham radio "personalities" to be W1AW contest ops: ARRL Life Members Joe
Walsh, WB6ACU, of the band The Eagles, and ham radio audio expert and
manufacturer Bob Heil, K9EID, of Heil Sound will be on hand at Maxim
Memorial station W1AW during the March 6-7 weekend to operate the ARRL
International DX Contest (SSB)
<>. ARRL Contest Branch
Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, says Walsh--a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
member and Eagles guitarist and vocalist--and Heil will be available to
work zero-point contacts with US stations during the DX contest. Walsh is
a major benefactor of the ARRL Education and Technology Program
<>. He and Heil will be part of a
multioperator team that will include Henderson as well as ARRL HQ staffers
Dave Patton, NN1N, Mark Spencer, WA8SME, and Mary Hobart, K1MMH, among
others. A special W1AW QSL card featuring a photo of Walsh and Heil will
be available for those working W1AW during the event. Enclose an SASE when
requesting a card. W1AW will not begin DX contest operations until
regularly scheduled bulletin and code practice transmissions have ended
sometime early Saturday, March 6 (UTC). It's anticipated that W1AW will be
on the air for the rest of the contest period, which ends at 2400 March 7,
although Walsh and Heil will only operate March 6. Walsh and Heil will
tour ARRL Headquarters March 5. It will mark Walsh's first visit to HQ.

* SATERN net assisting with Haiti traffic: The Salvation Army Team
Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) Net has activated on 20 meters to assist
with health-and-welfare traffic for the troubled nation of Haiti. The net
convenes on or near 14.265 MHz.  Jim Adams, WA0LSB, is coordinating net
control operators for the activation, while Quent Nelson, WA4BZY, is the
health-and-welfare team leader. SATERN National Director Pat McPherson,
WW9E, says SATERN members are being encouraged to monitor the net
frequency and to assist in relaying traffic as needed. SATERN also offers
a health-and-welfare link <> on its Web
site , for use by those seeking information on family and friends who may
be affected by the crisis in Haiti.

* Spacewalk ends early: Russian space officials this week cut short
Expedition 8's spacewalk due to a cooling system problem in one of the
Russian Orlan space suits. The "extravehicular activity" or EVA ended
February 27 at 0112 UTC. Unlike previous spacewalks by ISS crews, there
was not a crew member inside the station as the spacewalkers worked
outside. Despite the early end to the EVA, Crew commander Mike Foale,
KB5UAC, and Flight Engineer Sasha Kaleri, U8MIR, were able to complete
nearly two-thirds of their scheduled work. Initial indications are that a
kink in a tube in Kaleri's liquid cooling garment was preventing the flow
of water through the suit. The spacewalk began February 26 at 2117 UTC and
lasted 3 hours 55 minutes. During the EVA, the NA1SS ham gear aboard the
ISS remained shut down for safety reasons. There's more information on the
NASA Web site

* UO-11 to mark 20 years in space: UO-11 (also known as UOSAT-2) will turn
20 years old on March 1. To mark the event, AMSAT-UK will issue a
commemorative QSL card in exchange for listener reports from stations
monitoring the satellite's signal during the month of March 2004. The
reports must be posted via the reporting page on the AMSAT-UK Web site
<>, and QSL cards will be in the
form of a downloadable E-QSL. UO-11 was the second satellite to be
launched by the University of Surrey group headed by Martin Sweeting,
G3YJO. Its telemetry beacon can be heard on 145.825 MHz FM using just a
handheld radio. UO-11 also has a 2401.5 MHz beacon, although hearing the
2.4 GHz signal could present a challenge. "Depending on the status of the
satellite, it sometimes goes into 'safe' mode, and the beacon transmitters
are not active for days at a time," said Trevor, M5AKA. "The University of
Surrey Ground station staff will attempt to maximize the number of days
the transmitters are active during March." More information is available
on the AMSAT-UK Web site <>.

* Charles D. "Chuck" Ritchie, W4BUG, SK: Chuck Ritchie, W4BUG--known as
the "BUG of Boca Raton"--died February 13. He was 79. An Amateur Radio
licensee since 1947 (originally K2GRM), Ritchie served for 11 years as the
ARES/RACES Emergency Coordinator for South Palm Beach County, Florida. In
1999 Boca Raton proclaimed July 13 "Chuck Ritchie Day" and dedicated the
city's new emergency communications room he'd helped establish in his
honor. Ritchie served two US presidents during his US Army career with the
White House Army Signal Agency, where he headed the Press Radio and
Television section. During World War II, Ritchie--then a recording
engineer in the Public Information Office of Supreme Headquarters Allied
Expeditionary Forces in London--set up the microphones and recording gear
for General Dwight Eisenhower's announcement of the June 6, 1944, D-Day
landing of Allied Forces on the beaches of Normandy. He served presidents
Eisenhower and Kennedy before retiring from the Army in 1963. Ritchie also
was active in the US Air Force MARS program and handled thousands of phone
patches for US troops during the Gulf War. Survivors include his wife,
Shirley, N4JKI, and a son.

* Clarification: The story "NPR Feature Spotlights Addition of @ Symbol to
Morse Code" in The ARRL Letter, Vol 23, No 08 (Feb 20, 2004), may have
incorrectly implied that ARRL Chief Technology Officer Paul Rinaldo, W4RI,
originated the idea of adding the "@"; symbol to the Morse code. Rinaldo
did conceive of the new character--the letters A and C run together--but
others had suggested  years earlier the need to establish a Morse
equivalent for the "@"; symbol.

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,
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the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRL Web site
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weekly "ham radio newscast" compiled from The ARRL Letter.

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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==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):
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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.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

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