ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

The ARRL Letter

Volume 19, Number 10
March 10, 2000

IN THIS EDITION:

+Available on ARRL Audio News

LEAGUE OFFICIALS PROMOTE AMATEUR RADIO ISSUES IN DC

FCC Commissioner Michael Powell (center) shakes hands with ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP after meeting at Commission offices in Washington to discuss Amateur Radio issues. Looking on are ARRL First Vice President Joel Harrison, W5ZN (right) and Executive Vice President Dave Sumner, K1ZZ (left).

ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, and other members of the League leadership team enhanced the visibility of Amateur Radio during a recent visit to Capitol Hill and the FCC. Haynie says he and the other League officials promoted the value of Amateur Radio at every stop and put in a good word with FCC officials in favor of expanding PRB-1 into private-sector agreements.

"We had an opportunity to tell our story again about Amateur Radio and the important functions it serves, especially in public service and education," Haynie said this week. The League president said he was pleased by the willingness of both members of congress and the FCC "to acknowledge Amateur Radio as an important part of American society."

One focus of the congressional meetings was the Spectrum Protection Act, HR-783. In the wake of the League officials' visit, a companion bill was introduced in the US Senate (see "Amateur Radio Spectrum Bill Introduced in Senate" below).

Haynie says that during his Capitol Hill meetings, he stressed that Amateur Radio provides "millions of dollars worth of emergency communications vehicles and equipment that's made available to the public at no cost to any governmental agency." Haynie said his hosts were impressed with the fact that Amateur Radio is a valuable resource that doesn't cost the taxpayers a dime and is poised for action in the event of a disaster.

Accompanying Haynie to Washington were First Vice President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, Legislative and Public Affairs Manager Steve Mansfield, N1MZA, and General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD. Haynie also huddled with the League's Washington-based Technical Relations staff and met later with the ARRL Enforcement Task Force.

At the FCC, the League officials met with Commissioners Susan Ness and Michael Powell, and sat down for more than an hour with Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief Thomas J. Sugrue; Public Safety and Private Wireless Division Chief D'Wana Terry; Bill Cross, W3TN, and other WTB staffers.

A prime topic at the FCC gathering was the League's recent petition for reconsideration that includes expansion of PRB-1 to include covenants and restrictions--what Haynie called a "hot button issue" within the Amateur Radio community. The ARRL in late December filed a petition calling on the FCC to apply PRB-1 to hams falling under private-sector restrictions just as it does to those regulated solely by local zoning laws.

"We feel that it's only fair that we be given the same 'reasonable accommodation' in that area as we have been with municipalities," Haynie said.

Haynie and the ARRL contingent told FCC officials and staff that the League sees "a positive and exciting future" for Amateur Radio in the wake of restructuring. He said League and FCC officials also talked about the possibility of lifetime credit for the 5 WPM Morse code element. "They're very much willing to listen to us," he said.

AMATEUR RADIO SPECTRUM BILL INTRODUCED IN SENATE

The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act bill now has supporting legislation in the US Senate. Idaho Sen Michael Crapo has introduced a bill that mirrors the house bill, HR 783. The Senate measure has been designated S 2183.

"In introducing this bill, we want to do something for Amateur Radio in return for all the good it has done the people of Idaho and elsewhere in the US by providing a reliable means of backup communication in times of emergency," said Crapo, who pledged to work hard to push this bill in the Senate.

Like the House version, the Senate bill, if enacted, would require the FCC to provide equivalent replacement spectrum should it ever be necessary to reallocate Amateur Radio frequencies for some other purpose. The new Senate legislation was introduced with bipartisan co-sponsorship.

So far, the House version of the spectrum bill has drawn bipartisan support, with 140 cosponsors to date, and has met with no opposition. However, Congress, and the all-important House and Senate Commerce committees, have been preoccupied with non-telecommunications matters and the Amateur Spectrum Protection Act has not yet moved out of committee. The new Senate bill provides additional motivation for the Congress to consider the legislation.

ARRL CERTIFICATION PROGRAM PREPARES FOR MEMBER INPUT

L.B. Cebik, W4RNL (right) and David Sumner, K1ZZ L.B. Cebik, W4RNL (right), visited ARRL Headquarters recently to discuss the new ARRL Certification Program with League Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, and other HQ staff members. [Rick Lindquist, N1RL]

Starting Wednesday, March 15, ARRL members will get their chance to suggest the shape and scope of the new ARRL Certification Program. A Web-based forum will go "live" that day to start collecting member input on how the program should be designed and what it should include. ARRL Educational and Technical Advisor L.B. Cebik, W4RNL, of Knoxville, Tennessee, has been tapped to serve as the interim forum moderator-facilitator.

"The first step in this process is to receive the maximum amount of member input possible to ensure that the program truly serves the needs and desires of the amateur community," said Cebik, a retired educator whose writings are familiar to readers of many of the League's publications.

The forum site is http://www.arrl.org//members-only/forums/index.php3. The Web forum is being moderated to ensure that all member input is acknowledged and integrated as fully as possible into the emergent program. Members will be asked to suggest specific programs and areas of study or skills development they would like to see as part of the Certification Program. The League also plans to seek outside expert assistance in setting the optimal knowledge or performance threshold.

"You are invited to participate as much as you would like in helping us to formulate the program," Cebik said. "In fact, if you have some special skills or knowledge, we should also like to know that, since the eventual size of the program will make it mandatory that we deeply tap the talents and knowledge of our members."

Cebik's task will include organizing members' comments and suggestions into a form that the ARRL staff can use in further developing the program. He points out that nothing is cast in stone at this point. "For instance, the 'kernel' list of suggested topics at the forum site may well undergo considerable revision from time to time in response to member suggestions and ideas," he said.

The ARRL Board of Directors approved the development and implementation of the self-education program for radio amateurs at its January meeting. The Certification Program is aimed at inspiring amateurs to continue acquiring technical knowledge and operating expertise beyond that required to become licensed.

The League hopes to have its first certification examinations and related materials available before the end of the year. The program will continue to evolve over time, however.

US APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS RF EXPOSURE REGULATIONS

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has upheld the FCC's 1996 RF exposure guidelines. The court also turned away a challenge to the FCC's exclusive ability to regulate relevant radio facility operations. The wide-ranging challenge was brought by the Cellular Phone Taskforce joined by other petitioners including the Communications Workers of America.

In an opinion released February 18, the three-judge panel upheld the FCC against the challenges on all points.

The Court disagreed on all facets of the petitioners' claims. The petitioners, in part, had claimed the FCC failed to account for non-thermal effects of RF radiation, didn't evaluate new evidence, failed to get expert testimony, and failed to account for "scientific uncertainty" about RF exposure in deciding to not lower the maximum permissible exposure levels below the maximum permitted thermal levels. The petitioners also faulted the FCC for adopting a two-tiered MPE level system that allows for higher exposure in "occupational/controlled" situations than in "general population/uncontrolled" situations.

Additionally, the Appeals Court:

  • said the FCC was not irrational, arbitrary or capricious in its decision and that it did not ignore "substantial comments" from experts.
  • noted that licensees are still responsible for compliance "and an interested person can petition the FCC for review of a site believed to violate the MPE levels."
  • disagreed that an environmental impact statement was required from the FCC.
  • rejected the petitioners' arguments that by not considering RF interference with medical devices, the FCC failed to take a hard look at the environmental consequences of its actions.
  • rejected arguments that--under the Telecommunications Act of 1996--the FCC did not enjoy broad preemption authority over state or local government to regulate wireless service facilities.

ARRL RF Safety Committee Chairman Greg Lapin, N9GL, credits the FCC with being comprehensive in developing its RF safety regulations and thinks the Appeals Court did the right thing. "The FCC is not a health and safety organization, and the Commission never intended the rules to serve as a standard," Lapin said.

Lapin pointed out that the FCC's rules are based on accepted ANSI/IEEE and National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements standards and based on "mountains of research and the opinions of lots of experts."

"The appeals court recognized this in its decision," Lapin said.

CALIFORNIA HAM HOPES TO BE OLDEST SOLO SAILOR

Clark and First Mate Mickey Clark and First Mate Mickey aboard the Mollie Milar. [David Clark]

At age 74, David Clark, KB6TAM, is not resting on a lifetime of accomplishments as you might expect he'd be doing at this stage of his life. Despite being "retired," Clark just doesn't enjoy "sitting around." That's why he's taking a crack at becoming the oldest person to sail solo around the world. On his long journey, begun in early December from Ft Lauderdale, Florida, ham radio has provided a welcome link with the world he left behind.

Clark has been a regular daily check-in on the Maritime Net (14.313 MHz) at between 7 and 8 PM Pacific time. Net members and other hams have patched Clark through to his wife, Lynda, and to other family members, and helping out with information. Clark also has satellite communication gear aboard.

Clark is sailing a 44-foot steel-hulled sloop, the Mollie Milar--named for his mother. He's already sailed around the world once--in 1987 to 1991--although not completely alone. A previous solo attempt failed in 1995.

As of this week, Clark was located in the Pacific some 900 miles from Tahiti and typically averaging 120 miles a day. The vessel is equipped with a small auxiliary engine. "He is getting low on propane so is preserving by limiting his cooking and eating cold beans out of the can," his wife reported this week after speaking with him via ham radio.

Although officially "solo," Clark does have a first mate along--his west highland terrier, Mickey. Clark expects to arrive in Tahiti in a couple of weeks or so, depending on the winds. To supplement his Social Security check, Clark has been playing clarinet gigs at his various ports of call. Corporate sponsors such as Raytheon have provided equipment, but Clark is financing his latest adventure out of his own pocket.

FIELD DAY 2000 PREPARATIONS UNDER WAY

The official Field Day 2000 information packet now is available online in PDF format at the ARRL Contest Branch Web site, http://www.arrl.org/contests/announcements/fd/fdpack.pdf. You can download this packet, which include the official rules and forms for FD 2000. To order the packet, send an SASE with three units of first-class postage affixed to Field Day Package, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.

A new bonus point category has been added for Field Day 2000. Groups can earn 100 bonus points by setting up a demonstration of a "nontraditional" amateur mode, including APRS, ATV or SSTV. The bonus does not include modes for which regular QSO credit already may be earned (such as AM or FM on phone or packet, PACTOR, AMTOR or PSK-31 on digital). QSOs made via the demo station do not count toward the Field Day score, and the transmitter does not count toward the transmitter total. There are no rule changes regarding the special Novice/Tech Plus station.

The Field Day participation pins also are back this year. To earn a pin, all you need to do is participate in Field Day--no minimum number of contacts to achieve or ARRL sections to work. The pin is for anyone active in helping to make Field Day happen--from the set-up crew and on-the-air operators to the covered-dish organizers and generator crew.

Field Day 2000 pins are available now for $5 each. Send orders with payment to Field Day Pin Order, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Early orders are recommended, since the 1999 pins sold out rapidly. Clubs and groups are encouraged to purchase their pins together.

For more information on Field Day 2000, contact Dan Henderson, ARRL Contest Branch Manager, n1nd@arrl.org or 860-594-0232.--Dan Henderson, N1ND

NOMINATIONS CLOSE MARCH 31 FOR MAXIM MEMORIAL AWARD

Nominations close March 31 for the 1999 Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award. The award goes each year to a radio amateur under the age of 21 whose accomplishments and contributions are of the most exemplary nature within the framework of Amateur Radio activities. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Participation or leadership in organizational affairs at the local or national level.
  • Technical achievement.
  • Operating record.
  • Recruitment and training of new amateurs.
  • Public relations activities.

Formal nominations are made by Section Managers. Supporting information, including the endorsement of ARRL-affiliated clubs and elected or appointed League Leadership officials, should be submitted to League headquarters with the nomination.

An award panel reviews nominations and selects the winner. The prize consists of a cash award of $1000, an engraved plaque, and an all-expense-paid trip to an ARRL convention for a formal presentation.

Nominations should document as thoroughly as possible the Amateur Radio achievements and contributions of the nominee during the previous calendar year. Additional information concerning the character of the nominee should be as complete as possible.

Nominations must be sent to the appropriate Section Manager, who must submit completed nomination forms by March 31, 2000. There is no limit to the number of nominations a Section Manager may make.

Nominations go to Jean Wolfgang, WB3IOS, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. For more information, contact Jean Wolfgang, jwolfgang@arrl.org; 860-594-0200 or visit http://www.arrl.org/field/awards/hpm.html.

NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR THE NINTH ANNUAL McGAN AWARD

Nominees are invited for this year's Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award, given annually to a League member who goes the extra mile to promote Amateur Radio at the local, state or national level. The award honors an amateur who demonstrates outstanding public relations success on behalf of Amateur Radio. The award is named for the late journalist Philip J. McGan, WA2MBQ, the first chairman of the ARRL's Public Relations Committee and an avid spokesman for Amateur Radio.

Public relations activities--as distinguished from public service--are those specifically directed at bringing Amateur Radio to the public's attention in a positive light--typically through the news media (TV, newspapers or radio).

"This is your chance to nominate someone who works hard to spread the good word about Amateur Radio," said ARRL Public Relations Manager Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY. "Successful PR efforts can bring new hams into the ranks, create better relationships with people in the community and make reporters aware that Amateur Radio is still alive and well in the new millennium."

Nominations for the ninth annual award are due May 26, 2000 at ARRL Headquarters, by 5 PM Eastern time. The February issue of QST has complete information on the award, including the official entry rules.

The ARRL's Public Relations Committee will screen eligible nominations and forward its recommendation to the ARRL Board of Directors, which makes the final determination at the July Board Meeting.

To obtain an entry form for the Philip J. McGan Silver Antenna Award, contact Media Relations Manager Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, jhagy@arrl.org; 860-594-0328. Both the application (a PDF file) and the complete rules are available. Send completed forms and supporting materials to Philip J. McGan Silver Antenna Award, care of Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.--Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY

SOLAR UPDATE

There was a nice surprise for participants in last weekend's DX contest. Last week's update predicted stormy geomagnetic conditions, but it turned out that the energy from solar eruptions did not affect the earth's geomagnetic field.

Average solar flux was about the same last week as the week before, and average sunspot numbers were slightly lower. Average A indices have also been lower. Solar flux is expected to dip below 200 this weekend. Predicted flux values for Friday through Tuesday are 200, 195, 190, 185 and 180. Solar flux is expected to bottom out around 150 on March 17 or 18, then rise above 200 by March 23 and stay around 220 from March 25 to April 4. Geomagnetic indices are expected to remain quiet until March 22-23, then settle down again until March 31 and April 1.

We are moving toward the spring equinox, which always means better HF conditions, especially with the rising solar flux. Look for more frequent worldwide openings on 10, 12 and 15 meters.

Sunspot numbers for March 2 through 8 were 209, 189, 167, 181, 172, 164 and 212 with a mean of 184.9. The 10.7-cm flux was 213.2 203.8, 200.2, 220.3, 222.4, 221.8 and 214.9, with a mean of 213.8. The estimated planetary A indices were 8, 5, 5, 7, 11, 16 and 13, with a mean of 9.3.

In Brief:

  • This weekend on the radio: The QCWA QSO Party, the Wisconsin QSO Party, and the World Wide Locator Contest are the weekend of March 11-12. Just ahead: The CLARA and Family HF Contest (SSB/CW) is March 14-15. The Alaska and Virginia QSO parties plus the Bermuda Contest are the weekend of March 18-20. See March QST, page 100, for more information.

  • Clipperton's FO0AAA is QRT: After logging some 70,000 contacts, the Clipperton team shut down at 1800 UTC on March 8 after six days of operation and departed the island the following day. "Anyone who is afraid that ham radio is dying should try to get through those pileups!" was the reaction of Greg Lapin, N9GL, who worked FO0AAA twice on the final day--once on SSB, once on CW. The pilots and Webmaster of the Clipperton 2000 DXpedition this week congratulated the team and thanked all of those DXers who took the time to send in their comments. For more information, visit http://www.qsl.net/clipperton2000/. A full report, pictures, and logs will be posted on the site when the operators return home.

  • Nevada Section Manager appointed: ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, WA1STO, has appointed Janet "Jan" Welsh, NK7N, of Henderson to be the new Section Manager for Nevada. She succeeds Bob Davis, K7IY, who died February 24. Welsh had served as an Assistant Section Manager during Davis's tenure and formerly served as an ARES Emergency Coordinator. She has been appointed to serve the remainder of Davis's term, which ends July 1, 2001. Members may contact Welsh at nk7n@arrl.org.

  • AMSAT-NA officials "delighted" over Phase 3D news: AMSAT News Service reports that AMSAT-NA President Keith Baker, KB1SF, is reported to be "delighted" with the news that the next-generation Phase 3D Amateur Radio satellite has a tentative late July launch date. AMSAT-DL's Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, broke the exciting Phase 3D news on February 29 via the AMSAT reflector. If the current schedule holds, the Phase 3D satellite would be sent aloft on Ariane 507, flight V132. Baker said, "slowly but surely, Phase 3D is moving ever closer to a launch. To finally see it listed on a launch manifest is a major milestone." Baker said AMSAT-NA is grateful for all the "outstanding support we've been getting from the fine people at Arianespace." Baker's predecessor as AMSAT-NA president, Bill Tynan, W3XO, echoed those sentiments. "As the President of AMSAT-NA during much of the time the spacecraft was being constructed at our Orlando facility, I am especially pleased that the hard work of so many, for so long, is now coming to fruition," he said. A launch contract accepting Phase 3D as a payload for the first suitable Ariane 5 launch vehicle was signed last October. The satellite is now at the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.--AMSAT News Service

  • ARRL Phase 3D resource page: The ARRL Technical Information Service folks have put together an excellent Phase 3D resource page on the ARRL Web site at http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/p3d.html. The next-generation Phase 3D Amateur Radio satellite has a tentative ride aboard Ariane 507 in late July. The Phase 3D resource site includes links to the latest Phase 3D news, the AMSAT-NA site, the official transponder frequency list, and other information including past QST articles dealing with P3D topics. Check it out!

  • Honduran infant doing well after ham-radio arranged US surgery: ARRL 1999 International Humanitarian Award winner Ed Petzolt, K1LNC, says a nine-month-old girl from Honduras who received a heart operation in the US March 6 that was arranged via ham radio is expected to recover completely. Petzolt said the infant--whose name is Hillary Michele--suffers from a congenital heart condition and will need further surgery in two or three years. But for now, he says, "all is well." Last month, Petzolt helped to arrange the youngster's US surgery when he used ham radio to patch a Honduran doctor to a US doctor in Pennsylvania who agreed to perform the surgery for free. Petzolt then patched the Honduran ham intermediary--Ronaldo Roll, HR3RON, a Catholic priest--into the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa to arrange to expedite the necessary paperwork for the infant and her mother to get a medical visa. Petzolt said Roll agreed to pay their airfare to and from the US.


  • Why is this woman smiling? Manager Janet Margelli, KL7MF, stands in the doorway of the newly reopened HRO store in Anaheim, California, at what's being called a "semi-interim" location. The original Anaheim store was destroyed by fire January 23. The new location opened March 1, just up the street from the old site. The old store is to be rebuilt. HRO is maintaining the 933 N Euclid mailing/shipping address, and the telephone numbers remain the same. The only item recovered from inside the HRO store was a plastic owl decoy--sold to scare birds away from towers and beams--that now has become the store's new mascot. Here, "Smokey" stands next to a newspaper front page about the fire.

 

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