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Amendment to ARRL DXCC Rules Expands DXCC List
The ARRL Board of Directors approved a motion to amend the DXCC Rules, when it met January 19-20. Section II, Subsection 1 of the DXCC Rules now will include a new Subsection (d): The entity has a separate IARU member society and is included on the US State Department Independent States in the World."The discussion during the Board meeting and the rule change did not address any specific entity," ARRL Radiosport Manager Norm Fusaro, W3IZ, said. "The amendment could allow some additions to the current DXCC List of entities. It's a good thing not only for DXCC, but for all active hams."Effective on January 21 at 0000 UTC, the Republic of Kosovo (Z6) was added to the DXCC List of current entities, increasing the total number of current DXCC entities to 340. Nothing is retroactive, Fusaro said. A new Logbook of The World (LoTW) TQSL configuration file (v.11.4) has been released to accommodate the addition.Kosovo's IARU member society SHRAK Headquarters station Z60A now is active on several bands with multiple guest operators, marking the 10th anniversary of Kosovo's independence in February 2008.
Secretive "Numbers Stations" Persist on HF
For many years, unidentified radio broadcasts have been transmitting coded messages, using numbers, such as "6-7-9-2-6 or 5-6-9-9-0." Even today, tuning across the HF spectrum typically will yield a "numbers station," a mechanical-sounding voice (male or female) methodically announcing groups of single-digit numbers for minutes on end. According to Radio World, you may have tuned into a spy agency's numbers station transmitting coded instructions to their minions worldwide.Numbers station transmissions typically consist of a voice "reading out strings of seemingly random numbers," explained Lewis Bush, author of Shadows of the State, a new history of numbers stations. "These are sometimes accompanied by music, tones or other sound effects," he said. The Radio World article quotes Paul Beaumont, an associate editor of Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine, a publication dedicated to espionage and intelligence, "Voice (numbers) stations are known to be spy messages."The article said that one of the best-known numbers stations was "The Lincolnshire Poacher," so called due to its use of "The Lincolnshire Poacher" folk song played on a pipe organ as an identifier. Radio amateurs used direction-finding equipment to pin down the station's eventual location to an RAF base on Cyprus, the article said.ARRL member Chris Hays, AB6QK, on the west coast, said this week that he frequently hears a CW station on 7.163 MHz sending random alphanumeric characters, each group terminated by one or more question marks.-ARRL Letter