International DX Convention

The 2007 International DX Convention will take place April 27, 28 & 29, 2007 at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Conference Center in Visalia, California. This is an ARRL sanctioned convention that is sponsored this year by the Northern California DX Club. It is expected to draw visitors from around the World and will feature programs from recent DX-Peditions and contest operations.

The Convention theme this year is, “Elmering New DXers is Job Number One!” Accordingly, a portion of the programming will be devoted to helping new DXers learn about how to be noticed in a pile-up, snag a “new one” and get that elusive QSL card.

Other Convention offerings will include: DX, Top Band and Contest Forums, technical talks, many door prizes, both Friday and Saturday evening “attitude adjustments”, Saturday Barbecue Lunch, Saturday night banquet, Sunday morning “power” breakfast, Vendors Exhibits and QSL card checking.

Current information and registration forms are available on the Convention web page, which can be found at Additional registration information can be obtained by contacting Convention Registration Chairman, Dick Letrich, W6KM via Email at

If you’re interested in DX or DXing, the Visalia International DX Convention is the place to be. We hope to see you there.

The Proper use of “Break”

The Proper Use of Break in Amateur Radio Communications

by Rob Mavis AE6GE

January 30, 2007 -There are many terms used in amateur radio communications that have specific meanings or purposes. The term break has three accepted uses. The Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines the word break, in this application, to mean an interruption or to interrupt. In all uses of the term it means just that, to interrupt an ongoing radio communication.

Emergency services communications such as fire, police and military use the term break to mean “Stand by, more to follow, usually to allow for a cough break or a breath to be taken. This is also true for the term when used in amateur radio communications.

The word break can be used to terminate a message with one station and start a message with another during the same transmission. An example of this usage is, “KB6XYZ, message received. Break. WB6KZW, have you arrived at your office yet?

Break is also used to signify there is higher priority traffic. For example, a conversation is in progress between two or more stations about the current weather conditions at their respective locations and another station needs to report a traffic accident. The station with the accident report should, once a station un-keys, key his transmitter and say, “Break. The other stations should immediately acknowledge the breaking station and allow him/her to pass the urgent traffic.

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Morse Code Is Dead. Long Live Morse Code.

IEEE Spectrum

February 2007 – When we learned this past December that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission had finally decided to drop Morse code as a requirement for all ­amateur radio technician class licenses sometime in early 2007, we felt despondent at first. Another soon-to-be-forgotten treasure was about to be cast away on the island of discarded human accomplishments.

So we contacted longtime IEEE member Paul Rinaldo, chief technology officer of the ARRL, the national association for amateur radio (, to see what he had to say about the matter.

He told us: “Elimination of Morse code testing for access to MF/HF bands is not a death warrant for Morse code in the Amateur Radio Service. No question, it will reduce the number of newcomers who learn Morse at the outset. Some will pick it up along the way to join in contacts with other operators, happily using Morse code for contesting, rag chewing, or very-weak-signal communications such as moonbounce. Morse code is also a skill, and many operators just like to demonstrate their proficiency, build up speed, and be regarded as good operators.

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SA Pupil Set to Phone Home from New Satellite

January 30 2007 – A young South African voice will be heard from space after Sumbandila Sat, SA’s second satellite, is launched in April or May.

SA Amsat (Southern Africa Amateur Radio Satellite Association) and the South African Amateur Radio Development Trust have joined forces to find the ideal 15-second spoken message, and are inviting pupils younger than 16 to write it.

The winner will record the message, which will be programmed into the satellite speech processor memory and transmitted around the world. Once Sumbandila Sat is launched and switched on, the message will be the first signal heard from the satellite.

The pupil whose message is selected will receive a HP laptop computer sponsored by the trust.

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How to Call CQ

…or even answer one!

by Steve Katz, WB2WIK/6

It seems impossible, but it’s very true that most new hams don’t know how to call CQ. And a lot don’t know how to answer one, either!

We’re all to blame for that. There just isn’t as much “CQing” as there used to be, except during contests. One reason might be that we’re mostly using transceivers with VFO control – as silly as that sounds. Here’s the explanation: Back in the good old days (for me), we used mostly crystal controlled transmitters with separate, tunable receivers. The odds of having a crystal on exactly the same frequency as someone else who was on the band, and within range, at the same time was pretty slim. So, it was common to call CQ, then tune around, looking for answers.

Well, today, we needn’t tune around looking for answers, any answers will be right there on the same frequency we’re on. Experienced operators know it’s easy to break into an ongoing QSO, if you know how and when it’s appropriate to do so. I make a lot of my contacts like that: Just overhear an interesting conversation, wait for a pause, insert my callsign, and join the group. But many newbies, as well as some old-timers, are too shy to do this, or maybe just not very good at it. And it is frowned on by most to break into a conversation when you’ve absolutely nothing to add to it.

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President Expresses Appreciation to Amateur Radio Operators


NEWINGTON, CT, Jan. 16, 2007 – President George W. Bush has written the ARRL to recognize the just-ended Hello Amateur Radio public relations campaign and to extend “greetings to all those celebrating 100 years of voices over the airwaves.” The president said the centennial of Reginald Fessenden’s landmark Christmas Eve 1906 voice broadcast “opened the door for technological advances” that improved the lives of people around the world.

“I appreciate all who work in radio, and I am grateful to the Amateur Radio operators who provide emergency communications that help make our country safer and more secure,” President Bush wrote. “Your good work strengthens our society and represents the American spirit.”

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Amateur Radio Fan Distributes in Myanmar

by Phil Dirk
The Tribune (San Luis Obispo)

Jan. 26, 2007 – David Martin of Paso Robles holds an amateur radio license issued by the Karen National Union. That’s the rebel government in a disputed region in Myanmar, the Asian country we used to call Burma. Many of us still call it Burma, including Mr. Martin.

Martin, 60, also holds the highest level amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission. He operates a one-man business, manufacturing custom radio equipment and antenna components. He also makes animation mechanisms for animated figures such as those we sometimes see in stores and restaurants.

Radio technology is his avocation, and that avocation takes him to such places as Haiti, Albania and Myanmar. What he does there is to install and improve radio stations for Christian organizations.

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Satellite Competition to Transmit the Voice of Africa

by Lesley Stones

Jan. 25, 2007 – “AN UNUSUAL competition has been launched to find the voice of Africa, with the winner recording a message to be broadcast from SA’s new satellite. ”

The Sumbandila Sat should be launched by May, and once it is switched on the message will be the first signal to be heard from the satellite.

Sumbandila Sat will carry an amateur radio voice identification beacon built by the Southern Africa Amateur Radio Satellite Association. Now the association is looking for the ideal 15-second spoken message and has invited pupils of 16 years or younger to submit their ideas.

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Amateur Radio in Fresno County and the Central Valley of California