ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

The ARRL Letter

Volume 19, Number 3
January 21, 2000

IN THIS EDITION:

+Available on ARRL Audio News

ARRL BOARD ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT, OFFICERS

ARRL President-elect Jim D. Haynie, W5JBP.

ARRL President-elect Jim D. Haynie, W5JBP.

Jim D. Haynie, W5JBP, of Dallas, Texas, will be the next president of the ARRL. The ARRL Board of Directors elected Haynie January 21 shortly after convening in Memphis, Tennessee. Haynie, 56, is currently the ARRL West Gulf Division Director. He will succeed Rod Stafford, W6ROD, to become the League's 13th president.

Calling the recently announced FCC restructuring plan "a positive thing," Haynie said his presidency will focus on the future of Amateur Radio, and he suggested amateurs take the opportunity to regroup. "Now that restructuring is behind us, I think it's time for all amateurs--League members and nonmembers alike--to pull together to see what we can do to make our hobby a thriving and vibrant hobby."

The President-elect pledged to work with the Board, his fellow officers, and with all amateurs to bring respect to Amateur Radio and to enhance its stature here and abroad. "I think it's time the League started changing," he said. "I think there's a lot we can do." While not offering specific programs at this point, Haynie said he favors even greater promotion of Amateur Radio, especially among youth and in schools. He also said he'd like to see programs to rekindle interest and activity among current licensees.

"The best interest for Amateur Radio as a whole is where the League Board of Directors stand, and it's certainly where I stand," he said.

A ham for 27 years and an ARRL Board member for 12 years, Haynie says Amateur Radio is his "escape" from the world of industry and commerce. An Advanced class licensee, Haynie has been a manufacturer's representative in the metals business for 30 years and runs his own firm in Dallas. He also currently chairs the ARRL Board Audit and Finance Committee.

The Board also elected new vice presidents. Vice President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, was elevated to First Vice President. Current Atlantic Division Director Kay Craigie, WT3P, and Roanoke Division Director John Kanode, N4MM, were picked as Vice Presidents. Current Vice President Hugh Turnbull, W3ABC, was elected Honorary Vice President.

ARRL President Rod Stafford, W6ROD, was elected to succeed past ARRL president Larry Price, W4RA, as International Affairs Vice President. Price now serves as president of the International Amateur Radio Union and did not seek re-election.

Haynie said the League Vice Presidents would become "more like a strike team" during his term. "They're part of the team," he said.

Reelected as League officers were Treasurer James McCobb, W1LLU; Chief Financial Officer Barry Shelley, N1VXY; and Secretary and Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ.

Haynie's election means that West Gulf Vice Director Coy Day, N5OK, will succeed Haynie as Director. The changes also mean that Atlantic Division Vice Director Bernie Fuller, N3EFN, and Roanoke Vice Director Dennis Bodson, W4PWF, will become Directors. The vacancies in the Vice Directors' seats will be filled by appointment.

As do other ARRL officers, the League's president serves as an unpaid volunteer. All League officers-elect formally will assume their positions when the Board meeting concludes January 22. All terms are for two years.

In other business, the Board plans to discuss the implications of the FCC's recently announced license restructuring plan that goes into effect April 15, 2000. In a related vein, the Board will hear the second installment of a report from ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, on Amateur Radio in the year 2010 and beyond. Sumner's report will expand on one of the themes of his preliminary report delivered to the Board in July 1999: voluntary certification programs to encourage continuing education and skills development by radio amateurs above and beyond the licensing requirements.

The Board also will hear plans to enhance the League's presence on the World Wide Web.

RUSSIAN SETBACKS ALTER PLANS FOR AMATEUR RADIO'S ISS DEBUT

The ARISS initial amateur gear in a NASA "soft stow" bag that protects the gear during flight and transfer from the shuttle to the ISS.

The ARISS initial amateur gear in a NASA "soft stow" bag that protects the gear during flight and transfer from the shuttle to the ISS. The initial ham gear--primarily Ericsson commercial-grade hand-held transceivers--will support amateur operation from the ISS on voice and AFSK packet on 2 meters and 70 cm. [NASA photo]

(L-R standing) ARISS Project Manager John Nickel, WD5EEV; Karen Nickel, WD5EEU; Rosalie White, WA1STO; ARISS Administrative Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, and SAREX Working Group Chairman Roy Neal, K6DUE; (in front) Carolynn Conley of NASA and SAREX Principal Investigator Matt Bordelon, KC5BTL, at Johnson Spaceflight Center in Houston.

(L-R standing) ARISS Project Manager John Nickel, WD5EEV; Karen Nickel, WD5EEU; Rosalie White, WA1STO; ARISS Administrative Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, and SAREX Working Group Chairman Roy Neal, K6DUE; (in front) Carolynn Conley of NASA and SAREX Principal Investigator Matt Bordelon, KC5BTL, at Johnson Spaceflight Center in Houston. [Photo courtesy of Rosalie White, WA1STO]

Despite launch delays, Amateur Radio will be available to the first crew members to live on the International Space Station, thanks to some quick shuffling of plans by those involved with the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station project. Initial ham gear now will be installed temporarily aboard the Functional Cargo Block module, already in space, instead of aboard the Service Module. The station would use existing non-ham antennas that can function on 2 meters.

Flaws recently revealed in the Russian Proton booster rocket further put off the launch of the Zvezda (or "Star") Service Module that was to house initial ISS crews and initial amateur gear.

An all-ham initial ISS crew and the amateur gear could go into space as early as this summer, instead of this spring as planned. Original ARISS plans had called for installation of basic VHF-UHF amateur gear and antennas aboard the Service Module.

Russian space agency chief Yuri Koptev said this week that Russia plans to put the Service Module into space at the end of July. But Koptev also indicated that his country will need additional financial help to cover the costs of its space endeavors. Those projects include rejuvenating the aging Mir space station.

"Our ham equipment eventually will be installed in the Service Module," explained ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, WA1STO--a member of the SAREX Working Group. White says the shift in ARISS plans meant the US and Russian ISS partners have had to tackle some new issues, including connectors, feed lines, and attachment within the Functional Cargo Block. Russian qualification testing for gear that will fly in the Russian module was said to be nearly complete this week.

White will report in detail on the ARISS project's status to the ARRL Board of Directors, meeting this weekend in Memphis.

The first ISS crew includes US astronaut Bill Shepherd, KD5GSL, and Russian Cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR, and the recently licensed Yuri Gaidzenko, whose call sign was not available. Shepherd's designated backup is astronaut Ken Bowersox, who just passed his Amateur Radio exam this month.

The SWG has tapped John Nickel, WD5EEV, to be Project Manager of ARISS. He'll work with SAREX Principal Investigator Matt Bordelon, KC5BTL. Nickel was SAREX Principal Investigator before he retired from NASA.

In her report to the ARRL Board, White said the multinational ARISS project has generated a new dimension of challenges and difficulties. "If someone had asked how much work it would take to have Amateur Radio onboard the International Space Station, the SAREX Working Group would have never even come close to guessing the correct number of hours," she said. In the spirit of "one of the fine ham traditions we hold dear," White concluded, the ARISS team would continue to find the time and know-how to work through the challenges and problems ahead.

FCC CONTINUES SOUTH CAROLINA EXAM AUDIT

An FCC investigation continues into possible irregularities in some South Carolina exam sessions last summer. On January 13, the Commission wrote Volunteer Examiner William J. Browning, AB4BB (ex-AF4PJ), of Pendleton, South Carolina. The letter was part of a continuing audit of a July 14, 1999, W5YI-VEC Amateur Radio examination session in Clemson. Browning was listed as the manager of the session.

The FCC said the Manifest of Applicants Browning submitted was signed by Eugene D. Watring, AF4DB, and Maurice D. "Dale" Martin, KT4NY. Watring and Martin have told the FCC that they were not at the session and did not sign the manifest. Seven FCC Forms 610 Browning submitted also bore Watring's and Martin's signatures, but both have told the FCC they did not sign them.

In its letter to Browning, the FCC enclosed copies of the Manifest and Forms 610 and asked him to explain the apparent discrepancies "in detail" within 20 days.

FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth also said the FCC was aware of allegations that Browning had "physically threatened one or more of the Volunteer Examiners" listed on the July 14 session documents. Hollingsworth warned Browning that if the allegations are true, the information would be turned over to law enforcement authorities.

The FCC also wrote Watring on January 13 regarding a second July 14 VE session in Clemson that Watring managed. The FCC said the Manifest of Applicants Watring submitted was signed by Grady P. Robinson, AK4N, and Mikel T. Blackwell, N4OPD. The FCC said Robinson's and Blackwell's signatures also appear on four Forms 610 Watring submitted. Robinson has told the FCC he was not at the session and didn't sign any documents relating to it. The FCC had not yet heard from Blackwell.

The FCC enclosed copies of the Manifest and Forms 610s and asked Watring to explain the apparent discrepancies "in detail" within 20 days. The W5YI-VEC has been cooperating with the FCC in its investigation in South Carolina.

JAWSAT LAUNCH TO BE RESET

The launch of an Air Force rocket carrying several Amateur Radio satellite packages was postponed until late January after a last-minute glitch kept the launcher earthbound January 14. The new US Air Force Minotaur booster was scheduled to lift off then on its maiden flight from the new California Commercial Spaceport at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The launch was aborted just moments prior to liftoff. According to Eric Lemmon, WB6FLY, the first attempt to launch the Minotaur rocket was aborted around T minus 90 seconds due to a failure in the launch sequencer. At that point, the schedule already had been delayed because of a problem with one of the command-destruct transmitting sites. The sequencer problem was fixed, but a second attempt was halted due to a low battery voltage. "There was insufficient time to recycle before the launch window closed, so the launch was scrubbed," Lemmon explained.

Lemmon says the next launch opportunity would be at least a week away, due to the need to reconfigure the range to accommodate other launches. "It appears that one or more of the batteries aboard the rocket must be removed and serviced before another attempt will be made," he said. "Since there are a number of other satellites hitching a ride on this rocket, there are many issues to be considered."

The Minotaur's primary payload is the US Air Force Academy's Falconsat. JAWSAT--Joint Air Force-Weber State University Satellite. It will serve as a bus for several deployable payloads and for the Plasma Experiment Satellite Test experiment. The telemetry stream from JAWSAT, including data from PEST, will be transmitted on Amateur Radio frequencies.

Deployable payloads aboard JAWSAT are Stanford University's Orbiting Picosat Automatic Launcher--or OPAL; Arizona State University's ASUSat1, and the Air Force Research Lab's Optical Calibration Sphere.

ASUSat will contain amateur packet hardware and a 2-meter/70-cm FM voice repeater. ASUSat1 is an ASU NASA Space Grant project and Arizona State University's first student-designed satellite. Information on ASUSat is available at http://nasa.asu.edu/asusat/.

OPAL, in turn, will release three tiny picosats. One of them, StenSat, will have a crossband repeater aboard that will operate much like the popular AO-27 satellite. Hank Heidt, N4AFL, of the StenSat team offers more information at http://users.erols.com/hheidt/.

ARRL OFFICIALS CONGRATULATE NEW LEAGUE SECTION

ARRL First VP Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML, (center, in dark suit), cuts the ribbon to inaugurate the West Central Florida section.

ARRL First VP Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML, (center, in dark suit), cuts the ribbon to inaugurate the West Central Florida section. He's assisted by new SM Dave Armbrust, AE4MR (right), and Assistant SM Paul Toth, K2SEC (left).

At the stroke of midnight January 15, ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, was the first to offer his best wishes to the new ARRL West Central Florida Section. Sumner worked WCF special event station W4C on 40-meter CW from his home in Coventry, Connecticut, and sent the section leadership a 24-word radiogram of congratulations.

The new section, the League's 71st, formally came into being January 15. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held the same day at the Sarasota Hamfest to mark the occasion, with ARRL First Vice President Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML, on hand to do the honors. "This is a momentous occasion for ARRL members and all Amateur Radio operators here as we begin the 21st century," Mendelsohn declared.

The new Section Manager is Dave Armbrust, AE4MR. The ceremony capped a year-long campaign to move Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties into their own ARRL section.

The special event, WCF-First Contact, continues until January 23 with operation from each of the nine counties. Similar messages were received from Southeastern Division Director Frank Butler, W4RH, and Vice Director Evelyn Gauzens, W4WYR. The West Central Florida Section Web site is http://www.wcfarrl.org.

SPREAD SPECTRUM INVENTOR, ACTRESS HEDY LAMARR, DIES

Hedy Lamarr, the sultry, sexy screen star of the 1930s and 1940s who also conceived the frequency-hopping technique now known as spread spectrum, has died. She was believed to be 86.

Born Hedwig Kiesler in Austria, Lamarr came to the US in 1937 after being signed by MGM. Among her most successful films was the 1949 Samson and Delilah, directed by Cecil B. DeMille.

In her 1992 book Feminine Ingenuity, Lamarr describes how she came up with the idea of a radio signaling device for radio-controlled torpedoes that would minimize the danger of detection or jamming by randomly shifting the frequency. She and composer George Antheil developed the concept and received a patent for it in 1942.

The concept never saw fruition during World War II, but when the patent expired, Sylvania developed the idea for use in satellites. Spread spectrum also has found applications in wireless telephones, military radios, wireless computer links, and Amateur Radio experimentation.

"I read the patent," Franklin Antonio, chief technical officer of the cellular phone maker Qualcomm Inc, said in 1997. "You don't usually think of movie stars having brains, but she sure did."

Lamarr lived in an Orlando, Florida, suburb in recent years and shunned publicity.

A more-detailed version of Lamarr's role in spread spectrum is described in the IEEE book Spread Spectrum Communications, published in 1983. --thanks to André Kesteloot, N4ICK and Bill Ricker, N1VUX

SOLAR UPDATE

Sun watcher Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar flux was up, geomagnetic activity was down. What could be better for HF propagation? Average solar flux this week was up 35 points, or over 20 percent, compared to the previous week. Geomagnetic conditions were quiet, with A indices in the single digits. The most stable day was January 17, when the planetary A index was three and the K index was one during five of the eight daily K index reporting periods. There also was a three-hour period when the K index was zero.

Solar flux has been rising, and reached a short term peak on Sunday with a 2000 UTC measurement of 207.7 and a 2200 UTC reading of 209.6. It has mostly been falling since, dropping to 178.6 on Wednesday and 170.7 on Thursday. The outlook for this weekend is a continued decline in flux, with values of 170, 165 and 160 for Friday through Sunday. The predicted planetary A indices for the same three days are 12, 35 and 12.

After the weekend look for solar flux to decline to around 135 for the period from January 27 through February 1, then rise above 150 around February 5 and peak again above 200 around February 11 and 12. Expect unsettled geomagnetic conditions from January 27 through the end of this month, with the worst conditions on January 27 and 28.

Sunspot numbers for January 13 through 19 were 218, 228, 268, 262, 227, 185 and 196 with a mean of 226.3. The 10.7 cm flux was 202, 201.3, 210.7, 207.7, 196.4, 194.6 and 178.6, with a mean of 198.8. The estimated planetary A indices were 10, 7, 5, 6, 3, 4 and 4, with a mean of 5.6.

IN BRIEF:

  • This weekend on the radio: The ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes is January 22-24.
    Just ahead: the CQ WW 160-Meter DX Contest (CW), the REF French Contest (CW), the UBA Contest (SSB), the YL International QSO Party (CW), and the Kansas QSO Party are January 28-30. See January QST, page 100, for more information.

  • Field Day scores available in traditional format: The ARRL Contest Branch has posted the 1999 Field Day Scores in the "traditional" format--with entries sorted into battery and non-battery (ie, generator) categories. Visit the Contest Branch Web Page, http://www.arrl.org/contests/results/ 99/fd-tradscores.pdf. (188,830 bytes, Adobe Acrobat file) --Dan Henderson, N1ND

    ARRL Outgoing QSL Service Manager Martin Cook, N1FOC, sorts some of the nearly six tons of QSL cards that passed through the Service's hands last year.

    ARRL Outgoing QSL Service Manager Martin Cook, N1FOC, sorts some of the nearly six tons of QSL cards that passed through the Service's hands last year.

  • 1999 outgoing QSL stats reflect increased activity: In 1999, the ARRL Outgoing QSL Service shipped more than 1.8 million cards to DX stations, up from nearly 1.6 million in 1998. The final tally was 1,853,870, according to Martin Cook, N1FOC, who manages the Service at ARRL HQ. He says that works out to approximately 5.8 tons of cards. The Service serves approximately 260 DXCC countries, including nearly every active country. Cards are forwarded from the ARRL Outgoing Service to a counterpart bureau in each of the respective countries. ARRL members can ship cards to DX bureaus for $6 a pound (or $1 for 10 or fewer cards; $2 for 11 to 20 cards; $3 for 21 to 30 cards). For more information on the ARRL Outgoing QSL Service, contact Cook at n1foc@arrl.org.

  • Exams a-plenty at Miami Hamboree: Two exam sessions have been scheduled for Sunday, February 6 at the ARRL Southeastern Division Convention/40th Annual Tropical Hamboree. Arrangements have been made to accommodate up to 100 applicants at each exam session. The morning session (9 AM-noon) will be conducted by the ARRL-VEC, and the afternoon session (1-3 PM) will be conducted by the W5YI-VEC. Applicants may complete paperwork and ask pre-exam questions February 5 at Booths 3 and 4 in the main entrance aisle of the show building. FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, is scheduled to speak Saturday and Sunday. The Hurricane Conference will the held at the National Hurricane Center in Miami Saturday morning, February 5.--Evelyn Gauzens, W4WYR

  • Ham Radio University 2000: Attention hams in the Long Island, New York, area! Ham Radio University 2000, is Sunday, January 23, 2000, 10 AM, at the Babylon Town Hall Annex in North Babylon. Not a hamfest, HRU 2000 is a day of technical education about many areas of Amateur Radio, with continuous forums as well as displays by organizations and clubs. Speakers include ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, who will discuss Amateur Radio license restructuring; technical expert Mike Kozma, WY2U, who will speak on antenna theory and practical applications; and packet guru John Papson, WB2CIK, who will discuss the latest packet radio innovations. For additional details, visit the ARRL NYC/LI Web site, http://www.arrlhudson.org/nli. --Diane Ortiz, K2DO/The Hudson Loop

  • Pending restructuring sparks bumper crop, confusion at VE session: ARRL-VEC Volunteer Examiner Emmett Freitas, AE6Z, of San Jose, California, says his team held its largest VE session in years January 15. "Most were Advanced class hams seeking testing on Element 4B," he said. "We tested 24, with four of them failing." One woman who showed up hoping to file an upgrade application prior to the April 15 implementation date. "When I started to check her in, I found that she had a current Tech Plus license and license copies proving she had been licensed [as a Technician] on March 21, 1987," he said. The woman wanted to prove her eligibility to become a General after April 15 but have it on record now. Freitas advised the applicant to return to a VE session after April 15, present her documentary proof, and have the VE team process her General upgrade application then. Freitas also says he encountered a lot of confusion among some hams about what happens after April 15. "Technicians, in some cases, are misinformed." he said. "Some think that a Tech Plus license can be upgraded to General without further testing, and some think that a (no-code) Technician can do the same," he said. (Wrong on both counts --Ed.) --Emmett Freitas, AE6Z

  • Ham radio question makes Millionaire: Eric Hall, K9GY, reports that Amateur Radio has even invaded the popular ABC Television show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Hall says one $100 question asked what Amateur Radio operators are called. The answer, of course, was "hams." Says Hall: "Someone at ABC gave ham radio a little PR." Hall claims that watching the show was his wife's idea.

  • VE5AQ gets Canadian Hall of Fame Award: The Canadian Amateur Radio Hall of Fame Board of Trustees has announced that Allan Davies, VE5AQ, has been chosen as the 1998 recipient of the Hall of Fame Award. Davies soon will be inducted into the Canadian Amateur Radio Hall of Fame as a member.--RAC

  • Australia authorizes special prefix: Hams in Australia have been authorized by the Australia Communications Authority to use the prefix AX during Australia Day, January 26, 2000 (local time). Australian local time is 8 to 11 hours ahead of UTC. For more information, visit http://www.aca.gov.au/. --Julian Sortland, VK2YJS

 

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