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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 27, No. 47
November 26, 2008


*   ARRL President Emeritus George Wilson, W4OYI (SK) 
*   IARU Region 1 Meets in Croatia 
*   Dates Set for DXpedition to Desecheo Island 
*   ARRL HQ to Close for Thanksgiving 
*   Solar Update 
      This Weekend on the Radio 
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration 

==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ
<>, then e-mail
==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane,


George S. Wilson III, W4OYI, of Owensboro, Kentucky, passed away at his
home on November 25. He was 76. Wilson served as the ARRL's 11th
President from January 1992-July 1995. He resigned from the position
after a stroke in 1995. Wilson's tenure in ARRL leadership included
positions as Kentucky Section Emergency Coordinator, Kentucky Section
Communications Manager, Vice Director and Director of the Great Lakes
Division, as well as Vice President and First Vice President, eventually
culminating in the position of ARRL President. Upon retirement from the
League's top position, Wilson was named President Emeritus based on his
lifelong commitment to Amateur Radio and the League -- one of only four
people granted this honor. He also served as an Assistant Director in
the Great Lakes Division.

After his stroke, which left him completely paralyzed on his left side,
Wilson stepped down after serving just over three years in the League's
top volunteer position. He told the ARRL Board of Directors that while
he felt had made progress in rehabilitation, his medical condition
prevented him from travelling and from devoting the energy required to
perform the demanding duties of the office. He expressed his
appreciation to the members of the Board for the opportunity to serve.

Wilson told the Board's July 1995 meeting that "The League has my
undying love and support." To honor Wilson's service to the ARRL and to
Amateur Radio as a whole, the Board named him ARRL President Emeritus.
His legacy includes a near lifelong involvement in the League's
emergency and public service communications programs. He remained active
in public service and emergency communication until his death.

Then-ARRL First Vice President Rod Stafford, W6ROD (ex KB6ZV), moved up
to fill Wilson's shoes. Upon taking the position, Stafford said that
Wilson "believe[d] in team building, in getting people involved and
keeping them informed. That the ARRL was able to function so seamlessly
while George was incapacitated is a testimony to his own management

According to ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, Wilson
suffered his stroke in February 1995 while on ARRL business in
Washington, DC. "The stroke left George physically limited," Sumner
said, "but he remained mentally active and stayed in touch with his
friends, mainly by e-mail and some CW operating. The history of the ARRL
is highlighted -- indeed, our history has been made possible -- by the
extraordinary contributions of many volunteers. With George's death,
we've lost one of the great ones."

"George was a personable individual who preferred to look at things from
a simple perspective," said current ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN.
"When I attended my first ARRL Board meeting as a young 28 year old
Director, George was elected Vice President. During time on the Board
afterward, he provided me with some valuable experience that allowed me
to be an effective Director working within the great democratic process
that we benefit from. After he experienced his terrible medical
situation while serving as ARRL President, he displayed great resilience
in moving forward; Amateur Radio not only played a part in his recovery,
but a major part of his life afterward. His involvement in Amateur Radio
will be missed, but his impact will remain. It is a sad loss."

A lawyer by profession, Wilson, according to Sumner, "played the role of
a simple small-town lawyer disarmingly well when he debated, right up to
the point where he skewered his opponent with surgical precision. It was
great fun to watch as long as you weren't the one being skewered!"

Ohio Section Manager Joe Phillips, K8QOE, fondly remembered Wilson,
recalling a meeting he had with the ARRL President in the early 1990s:
"I was seated at a table at the Findlay Hamfest in Ohio. I had ARRL
President George Wilson, W4OYI, on one side of me and then-Great Lakes
Division Director Al Severson, AB8P (SK) on the other. They were
discussing problems within the ARRL. I was impressed at the depth of
their concern for the future of the ARRL. Al left and George stayed
behind; he gave me a quick lesson on ARRL service to the membership. He
taught me the meaning of constituency service to the membership when you
wore an ARRL leadership badge. I had only recently been appointed Ohio
Section Public Information Coordinator and I never gave membership
service any real thought. George Wilson redirected my thinking that
morning. He was a real giant in ARRL leadership, with his greatest
accomplishment being an inspiration to others. He was particularly
effective because he had that 'plain old guy' appearance, while working
with a keen mind and impressive spirit. I will miss him."

In 2004, Wilson received the Special Achievement Award, sponsored by the
Dayton Hamvention. Nominated by current ARRL Great Lakes Vice Director
Gary Johnston, KI4LA; former ARRL First Vice President Steve Mendelsohn,
W2ML, and Amateur Radio Newsline's Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, they noted
that Wilson "spent his entire ham radio career in devoted service to his
community, to his country, to his hobby and in service with its only
national representative body. He has given of himself because that's his

Johnston, Mendelsohn and Pasternak said that "those of us close to
George knew [that resigning as ARRL President] was not an easy decision
for him to make, but one that he had to face. He had so many ideas and
plans for making ham radio a hobby and service to be shared with the
world. Yet he knew that his physical condition was such that he must
devote his every waking moment to 'rehab' if he would at some later date
again be able to contribute to the service that he loved so much."

The nomination continued: "When he took office [as ARRL President],
George Wilson made it clear that he would do all he could to preserve
our ham bands and make them more pleasant to operate. He has been at the
forefront of efforts in both areas. The results can be seen in several
areas of the hobby including the creation of the vanity call sign
program and a major victory in retaining Amateur Radio access in the
902-928 MHz [33 cm] band." 

His nomination recounted Wilson's beginnings as a radio amateur.
Licensed at 16, Wilson took to 40 meters with a home-brew transmitter
consisting of a 6L6 oscillator tube driving an 807 running about 30 W of
power, a simple receiver and wire antenna. "His first exposure to the
world of emergency service communications came [when he was only 17] in
December 1949 when the Green River overflowed its banks and flooded the
town of Calhoun [Kentucky]," the application stated. "As the emergency
crystallized, relief workers found stranded residents calling in for
evacuation. Ferry boats would go get them, only to have to turn around
[and] go right back because the next door neighbor had since also
requested evacuation. What was needed was communications between the
relief agency in Owensboro and the boats involved in the rescues. As
there were no cellular telephones, 2 meter [handheld transceivers] or
repeaters in that era, George and his comrades installed CW rigs on the
two ferries and one at the local courthouse to act as a 'dispatch.' The
system worked flawlessly and made rescue of those stranded by the
flooding more efficient. In reality, it most likely saved lives. The die
was cast and George Wilson, W4OYI, was hooked on public service."

In the years since his stroke, Wilson used a wheelchair, making travel
to hamfests and conventions a bit difficult. As a result, his ham radio
public service activities were limited to those he could do from or near
his home. As such, Wilson devoted much of his time to monitoring the
local repeater for those in need of assistance and was active in the
Owensboro Amateur Radio Club and ARES.

In 2003, amateurs in the Great Lakes Division created the George S.
Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award. This annual award is presented to a
Division member who has "contributed greatly to the overall vitality of
the Amateur Radio Service."

Wilson was a member of the ARRL's A-1 Operator Club
<> and held DXCC (CW and Mixed) with
200 countries confirmed on each <>. 

In addition to his wife Marian (of 51 years) and his children Berry and
Jennifer, Wilson is also survived by two grandchildren, Meghan and
Rachel. Visitation will take place Friday, November 28 from 2-7 PM at
the James H. Davis Funeral Home in Owensboro; an online guestbook is
available <>. Services will be at 10 AM at
the funeral home the following day. Wilson will be interred at Elmwood
Cemetery, also in Owensboro. In lieu of flowers, the family requests
that donations in Wilson's name be made to the American Red Cross. 


Earlier this month, IARY Region 1 held its triennial conference in
Cavtat, Croatia. Forty IARU Member Societies were present, with another
12 Member Societies represented via proxy. IARU Vice President Tim
Ellam, VE6SH, and IARU Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, also attended the

Sunday, November 16, marked the opening of the five day conference that
was hosted by. Hrvatski Radioamaterski Savez (HRS), Croatia's IARU
Member Society <>. HRS President Kreso Kovarik,
9A5K, welcomed local and national officials and conferees. Kovarik said
he was pleased that that the IARU chose to have the 2008 conference in
Croatia, and expressed his view that this would be of great value to
Croatia and to the HRS. 

Ellam spoke next, relaying greetings from IARU President Larry Price,
W4RA, who was unable to attend. Ellam took this opportunity to briefly
review the work done by IARU over recent years and said he "looked
forward to WRC 11." He thanked Region 1 and the HRS for their excellent
organizational arrangements for the conference. Region 1 President Ole
Garpestad, LA2RR, echoed Ellam's good wishes and noted that there were
50 delegations present for this conference, either in person or by

The conference was formally opened by Kreso Antonovic, Director of
Electronic Communications and Postal Service Directorate, Ministry of
Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Croatia. A postage stamp
commemorating the conference was unveiled at a recption for heads of
delegations and invited guests that followed.

One of the highlights of the conference was the election of new
officers. With 41 out of 49 votes cast, Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T,
of the Netherlands, was elected President. Mustapha Diop, 6W1KI, of
Senegal, was unanimously elected Vice President. Dennis Green, ZS4BS, of
South Africa, was elected Secretary and Andreas Thiemann, HB9JOE, of
Switzerland, was elected Treasurer. Rounding out the Region 1 Executive
Committee are Hani Raad, OD5TE, of Lebanon; Betty Magnon, F6IOC, of
France; Nikola Percin, 9A5W, of Croatia; Panayot Danev, LZ1US, of
Bulgaria, and Colin Thomas, G3PSM, of Great Britain.

In preparation for the expansion of 40 meters in Region 1 on March 29,
2009, the HF Committee debated a band plan to incorporate the change
from 7.000-7.100 to 7.000-7.200 MHz. The conference adopeted the
following plan:
* 7.000-7.025 MHz, CW, contest preferred (200 Hz maximum bandwidth)
* 7.025-7.040 MHz, CQ, QRP Center of Activity to be 7.030 MHz (200 Hz
maximum bandwidth)
* 7.040-7.047 MHz, Narrow band modes (digimodes) (500 Hz maximum
* 7.047-7.050 MHz, Narrow band modes (digimodes, unattended
automatically controlled data stations) (500 Hz maximum bandwidth)
* 7.050-7.053 MHz, All modes (digimodes, unattended automatically
controlled data stations) (2700 Hz maximum bandwidth)
* 7.053-7.060 MHz, All modes (digimodes) (2700 Hz maximum bandwidth)
* 7.060-7.100 MHz, All modes, digital voice 7070, SSB QRP Center of
Activity to be 7.090 MHz, SSB contest preferred (2700 Hz maximum
* 7.100-7.130 MHz, All modes, Region 1 Center of Activity to be 7.110
MHz (2700 Hz maximum bandwidth)
* 7.130-7.200 MHz, All modes, SSB contest preferred, Image Center of
Activity to be 7.165 MHz (2700 Hz maximum bandwidth)
* 7.175-7.200 MHz, All modes, priority for intercontinental operation
(2700 Hz maximum bandwidth)

The conference had an eye to both new and young radio amateurs.
Delegates agreed unanimously to recommend to Member Societies the
importance of the annual Jamboree on the Air and encouraged the
organizations to assist Scouts with the event. By doing so, the
delegates said, this will promote Amateur Radio to Scouts to where they
will get their Amateur Radio license and become active on the air.

The delegates also recommended that an additional category be introduced
to Amateur Radio contests "wherever possible." Details for the
"Youngsters and Newcomers" category will be left to individual contest
organizers to develop. Delegates also encouraged contest organizers to
replace signal strength reports required in contests with "some other
less predictable exchange, so as to enhance the skill requirements of
contest operators."

Delegates had three choices for the next conference: South Africa, Spain
or England. Sun City, South Africa was chosen as the venue for the 2011


The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has notified a group of hams
led by veteran DXpeditioners Bob Allphin, K4UEE, and Glenn Johnson,
W0GJ, that they will be able to mount a DXpedition to Desecheo Island
(KP5, IOTA NA-095), February 12-26, 2009 <>. Desecheo
currently sits at number 7 on the Most Wanted list, kept by "DX
Magazine." Desecheo is a small uninhabited island in the Mona Passage,
14 miles off the western coast of Puerto Rico. It is part of the USFWS's
national wildlife refuge system administered by the Caribbean National
Wildlife Refuge Complex (CNWR).

Per USFWS rules, only 15 operators will be allowed on the island at one
time. "We have arranged with USFWS to allow a shift change about half
way through the DXpedition," Allphin told the ARRL. "This has allowed a
number of hams on our waiting list an opportunity to participate in this

Johnson said the team will be running CW, SSB and RTTY on 160-6 meters.
"We've had tremendous support from DX organizations all over the world
and from numerous equipment and antenna manufacturers," he told the
ARRL. "We are diligently working on the propagation studies to reach our
hard to work areas of Asia and Europe. This and with our planned
antennas, we should knock Desecheo off of the Most Wanted List for a
long time to come." Desecheo is the second most-wanted DXCC entity in
Asia and third most-wanted in Europe.

According to DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, the lack of amateur activity
on Desecheo is due to the USFWS not issuing the needed Special Use
permits. "The USFWS has always claimed safety concerns as a reason to
not issue the permits," he said. "Since the island was used as a bombing
range, there is the possibility that unexploded, live munitions are
still on the island. It is always a good thing when an entity that had
activation difficulties in the past gets on the air again."

On Friday, December 19, three DXpedition team members, USFWS personnel
and an unexploded ordnance (UXO) expert will go out to Desecheo to sweep
and clear the assigned area of unexploded ordnance and other hazards.
"We are uniquely fortunate for a 'sneak preview' of our operating site
the week before Christmas," Johnson said. "We will spend a day on
Desecheo clearing hazards from our operating sites. Rarely does such a
most-wanted entity have an opportunity for a sneak peak to optimally
plan logistics, stations and antennas." There will be no radio
operations on this trip.

The KP5 DXpedition team will assemble in Puerto Rico on Sunday, February
8 for mandatory UXO training. They will spend the next few days
training, preparing and staging the several tons of equipment for
transport to the site and set out for Desecheo on February 12. Allphin
said that as soon as they land on Desecheo, two stations will be
"immediately activated. Stations will continue to operate until the
final moments of departure on February 26."

Allphin is an experienced DXer, having visited 80 DXCC entities and
operated from 40, including Peter I Island, Howland Island, Kingman
Reef, the South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia Island. Allphin and
Johnson have both participated in DXpeditions to Heard Island and

"For a team leader, the challenges are pretty much the same for Desecheo
as they were for Peter I and other remote DXpeditions," Allphin told the
ARRL. "Take logistics -- you still must make sure everything you need
gets there. Although there is a Radio Shack 20 miles away, the boat trip
is $1000! The team must be selected on compatibility, experience and
operating skills; that never changes. The difference this time is that
Glenn and I have been inundated with requests to join the team. The
close proximity makes it look like an easy DXpedition, I guess!"

ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager and experienced
DXpeditioner Dave Patton, NN1N, said that both Desecheo and Navassa
Islands (currently third on DX Magazine's Most Wanted list) saw frequent
operations in the late 1970s through late '80s, but operations from the
islands have been very limited since then. With the islands under the
control of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, combined with decaying
"infrastructure" on Navassa, there are more issues that must be dealt
with than there were 25 years ago.

"A well-organized and lengthy operation from Desecheo will be a nice
treat for the world's DXers," Patton said. "With W0GJ and K4UEE leading
the operation, I think we can all count on a first class effort that
will give maximum exposure to Asia/Oceania and Europe where KP5 is most
needed. I also think that Glenn and Bob can demonstrate to the Fish and
Wildlife Service that a DXpedition can take place and not damage the
environment or cause big problems amongst other hams or for other
agencies. I hope hams will be invited back to Desecheo more frequently
in the future and expand the places where hams may operate."

In 1979, upon the recommendation of the DX Advisory Committee, Desecheo
Island was added to the DXCC list for contacts made after March 1 of
that year. KP4AM/D -- with operators N4EA, KP4Q, N4ZC, KP4DSD, KV4KV
(now KP2A) and KP4AM (now W4DN) -- made the first DXpedition to Desecheo
in March 1979. Various groups have made their way to Desecheo since the
first trip, but other than a brief operation in December 2005, there has
been no activity from the island since 1994. "It is so exciting that our
DXpedition to Desecheo coincides almost exactly 30 years to the day of
the first operation from Desecheo," Johnson told the ARRL.

In June of this year, CNWR invited written proposals from hams who had
previously made inquiries about an Amateur Radio operation from
Desecheo; CNWR indicated that they would allow one group to activate the
island. After reviewing the proposals, CNWR would then select a group
and prepare to issue a Special Permit to the successful party, limiting
the group to no more than 15 people staying no longer than 14 days.
Applicants had 45 days to prepare and submit their proposals. According
to Allphin, seven groups submitted proposals.

"A panel of three Fish and Wildlife Service employees, from areas within
the Service outside of the Caribbean refuge, spent September 24 and 25
reviewing and evaluating the [seven] proposals," Allphin said. "The
selection criteria used were those outlined in the proposal invitation
letter and points were awarded for how well criteria were addressed for
thoroughness and documentation."

"It was truly an honor to have our proposal and team selected from the
stiff competition," Johnson told the ARRL. "This has been a true team
effort on our part from the start. We look forward to activating an
entity in the Top 10 Most Wanted that is located in our own back yard!
We are most grateful to the USFWS for giving us this opportunity to
activate this rare entity."


ARRL Headquarters will be closed Thursday, November 27 and Friday,
November 28 in observance of Thanksgiving. There will be no W1AW
bulletins or code practice transmissions those days. The ARRL Letter
will be distributed on Wednesday, November 26. There will be no ARRL
Audio News on Friday, November 28. ARRL Headquarters will reopen Monday,
December 1 at 8 AM Eastern Standard Time. We wish everyone a safe and
bountiful Thanksgiving holiday. 


Tad "The Sun hath shed its kindly light, Our harvesting is gladly o'er"
Cook, K7RA, this week reports: This is an early bulletin for the
Thanksgiving holiday, as ARRL is closed on Friday, the regular day for
release of this bulletin. We plan another brief regular propagation
bulletin on Monday, December 1 that will contain the propagation numbers
for November 20-26 in the regular format that normally appears at the
end of the bulletin. On Friday, December 5, the propagation bulletin
will be back on regular schedule, at least into spring 2009. We had our
last glimpse of sunspot group 1008 as it was about to slip over our
Sun's western horizon on November 18. No sunspots have emerged since
then, but it seems a reasonable assumption that we will see more Solar
Cycle 24 spots, but we do not know when. There is a prediction from
USAF/NOAA that shows solar flux rising to 70 on December 8-9. This is
just tracking a possible reappearance of the region that birthed sunspot
group 1007 that we saw in the Sun's southern hemisphere from October 30
through November 6. Tonight ,high latitude regions may see some aurora
caused by another solar wind stream from a coronal hole. But that same
USAF/NOAA forecast mentioned earlier shows a planetary A index of just
12 for today, dropping to 8 on Thursday, then 5 (a very quiet level)
until December 4-6 when they expect a planetary A index of 8, 15 and 10.
The planetary A index is calculated with data from a collection of
mid-latitude and higher magnetometers around the world, and 12 is a drop
from Tuesday's (November 25) planetary A index of 17, when aurora was
observed in Polar Regions. For more information concerning radio
propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation
page <>. To read this
week's Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW Propagation
Bulletin page <>. This week's "Tad
Cookism" brought to you by Paul Laurence Dunbar's "A Thanksgiving Poem"



* This Week on the Radio: This week, the SKCC Sprint and the RSGB 80
Meter Club Sprint (CW) are both on November 26. The CQ Worldwide DX
Contest (CW) is November 29-30 and the ARCI Topband Sprint is December
4. Next weekend is the ARRL 160-Meter Contest on December 5-7. The TARA
RTTY Melee and the Wake-Up! QRP Sprint are December 6. The TOPS Activity
Contest is December 6-7 and the NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint is
December 10. All dates, unless otherwise stated, are UTC. See the ARRL
Contest Branch page <>, the ARRL Contest
Update <> and the WA7BNM Contest
Calendar <> for more
info. Looking for a Special Event station? Be sure to check out the ARRL
Special Event Station Web page <>.

* ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains
open through Sunday, December 7, 2008, for these online course sessions
beginning on Friday, December 19, 2008: Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Level 2; Antenna Modeling; HF Digital Communications; and
Radio Frequency Propagation. 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
<> or contact the Continuing Education
Program Coordinator <>;.

* Corrections: In last week's ARRL Letter, the vote tallies for Great
Lakes Division Vice Director runners-up John Meyers, NB4K, and Daniel
Romanchik, KB6NU, were reversed. Romanchik received 1205 votes and
Meyers received 1155 votes. The outcome of the election was reported
accurately. In addition, Canada is the eighth country to do
experimentation on 500 kHz, not 55 kHz. 

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; <>. Joel Harrison, W5ZN, President.

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential and general
news of interest to active radio amateurs. Visit the ARRL Web site
<> for the latest Amateur Radio news and news
updates. The ARRL Web site <> also offers
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compiled and edited from The ARRL Letter. It's also available as a
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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 The ARRL Letter/American Radio Relay League.

==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):
==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA,
==>ARRL News on the Web: <>
==>ARRL Audio News: <> or call

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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.

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