ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

The ARRL Letter

Volume 19, Number 28
July 21, 2000

IN THIS EDITION:

+Available on ARRL Audio News

HOLLINGSWORTH: "THERE'S A LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE"

Riley Hollingsworth (left) chats with ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, prior to the ARRL Board of Directors meeting in Hartford, Connecticut. [ARRL Photo]

FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth says he expects to continue his amateur enforcement effort at the current pace despite fewer complaints in recent months. "There's a lot of work to be done," he said July 20 during a visit to ARRL Headquarters.

At the same time, Hollingsworth said, amateurs wielding their newly minted HF privileges as a result of restructuring have generated no enforcement problems whatsoever. "In fact, had I not known about the restructuring, I wouldn't know it from an enforcement standpoint," he said. "I've noticed no difference." Hollingsworth encouraged veteran operators to bring newcomers to the HF bands "into the fold" and teach them to be proficient, compliant operators.

Hollingsworth noted that while the pace of amateur complaints continues to slow, the Amateur Service still is not where it should be from a compliance standpoint. "Today, the equipment seems to be better than a lot of the operators," he said, adding that he did not expect to change his enforcement pace for the next several years.

The trend toward fewer overall complaints, he said, will provide the FCC with an opportunity to concentrate on the more complicated cases, including unlicensed operation. "We can't tolerate unlicensed operation," he said. "The whole allocation system breaks down if you tolerate unlicensed operation."

Hollingsworth also said the federal government has ramped up its efforts to collect fines in those cases where they've been levied on violators. In the meantime, he said he plans to continue to curry voluntary amateur compliance, without fines or license revocations. "The main goal is not to take licenses. The main goal is compliance," he said.

During his brief visit to Connecticut, Hollingsworth also spoke informally with ARRL Board members and League officers prior to the July 21 Board of Directors meeting in Hartford.

FCC LAUNCHES CORES

The FCC has begun implementing the Commission Registration System, to be known as CORES. While the action has few immediate implications for Amateur Radio licensees, CORES registration eventually will replace Universal Licensing System, or ULS, registration.

Described as an agency-wide registration system for anyone filing applications with or making payments to the FCC, CORES will assign a unique 10-digit FCC Registration Number, or FRN to all registrants. Once the system is fully deployed, all Commission systems that handle financial, authorization of service, and enforcement activities will use the FRN. The FCC says use of the FRN will allow it to more rapidly verify fee payment. Amateurs mailing payments to the FCC--for example, as part of a vanity call sign application--would include their FRN--once assigned--on the revised FCC Form 159.

The on-line filing system and further information on CORES is available by visiting the FCC Web site and clicking on the CORES registration link.

For the time being, using an FRN is voluntary, although the Commission says it will consider making it mandatory in the future for anyone doing business with the FCC. That's not expected to happen until sometime next year, however. The FCC says it will modify its licensing and filing systems--including ULS--over the next several months to accept and use the FRN.

The FCC's Steve Linn confirmed this week that while CORES registration will supplant ULS registration, the ULS itself will remain the licensing database system for Wireless Telecommunications Bureau licensees, including amateurs. For now, the ULS remains available to new registrants. Amateurs who registered in the ULS prior to June 22 automatically have been registered in CORES and will receive an FCC Registration Number in the mail. ULS registrants also may search for their FRN on-line at the FCC's CORES site. The FCC says ULS passwords will become CORES passwords in most cases. It's possible to register on CORES using a paper Form 160.

As with the ULS, those registering with CORES must supply a Taxpayer Identification Number, or TIN. For individuals, this is usually a Social Security Number. Club stations must obtain an Assigned Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN) before registering on CORES or ULS.

Linn says anyone can register via CORES and obtain an FRN. "CORES/FRN is entity registration," he said. "You don't need a license to be registered." Linn says the FCC is making every attempt to minimize the impact of CORES/FRN on Amateur Radio licensees, and no action will be required on the part of amateur licensees already registered in ULS.

A copy of the FCC Public Notice on CORES/FRN is available as a PDF file on the ARRL web.

ARIANE 5 SCHEDULE DELAY COULD AFFECT PHASE 3D LAUNCH

An artist's rendering of the Phase 3D spacecraft.

Phase 3D project officials are attempting to determine the impact of an Ariane 5 launch delay. Arianespace has postponed the launch of Flight 130 (Ariane Flight 506), scheduled to launch July 25, while it looks into an "anomaly" uncovered during testing. Phase 3D--the next-generation Amateur Radio satellite--tentatively had been scheduled to launch aboard Flight 132 (Ariane Flight 507), the next Ariane 5 flight in line after 130.

"We don't know. We're asking the question right now," said AMSAT-NA President Keith Baker, KB1SF, when asked about a possible schedule impact on P3D. He said there's been no official word yet as to whether the Flight 130 delay will affect Phase 3D's launch schedule.

The Ariane 5 launch vehicle.

Arianespace said it was holding up the Flight 130 launch until an upper stage anomaly detected during endurance testing on Ariane 5 components in Europe could be resolved.

Flight 132 had been set for mid-September at the earliest and possibly as late as the end of October. Arianespace is expected to announce a new launch date for Flight 130 soon, with the mission now being targeted for the first half of September.

The Phase 3D satellite is at the European Spaceport in French Guiana awaiting the start of launch preparations. A launch contract accepting Phase 3D as a payload for the first suitable Ariane 5 launch vehicle was signed last October.

For more information about Phase 3D, visit the AMSAT-NA Web site.

ARRL ASKS FOR PRIMARY STATUS AT 2400-2402 MHZ

The ARRL has asked the FCC to elevate the domestic status of Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services from secondary to primary in the band 2400 to 2402 MHz. The League filed a Petition for Rule Making with the FCC on July 17.

Amateurs already are primary at 2390 to 2400 and from 2402 to 2417 MHz. The ARRL says it's necessary to secure the intervening spectrum slice "to provide some assurances of future occupancy of the band segments for the next generation of amateur satellites," including Phase 3D.

"It is urgent to protect the 2400-2402 MHz band due to the extensive reliance by the Amateur-Satellite Service on the future development of satellite uplinks and downlinks in that segment in particular," the League said.

Hams have shared their other 2.4 GHz spectrum on a secondary basis with government users. In this week's petition, the League said it wants an allocation that's not subject to reallocation or use by "an incompatible sharing partner." The City of Los Angeles recently was granted an experimental license to operate a TV downlink system in the 2402-2448 MHz band. The ARRL has protested that grant as well as a similar application from Los Angeles County.

Although the FCC in 1995 declined to elevate the entire 2390-2450 MHz band to primary status for amateurs, the ARRL's latest petition recites FCC assurances made at the time that amateur use of 2400-2402 MHz would continue to be accommodated. The proposal to make Amateur Radio primary in the segment would, the League said, be "entirely consistent" with the earlier FCC stance. The League said the primary allocation also is consistent with National Telecommunications and Information Administration obligations to not disrupt amateur use of the segment through reallocations.

WRTC-2000 FINAL OFFICIAL RESULTS POSTED

(Left to right) Doug Grant, K1DG; Dan Street, K1TO; Chief Referee David Sumner, K1ZZ; WRTC Organizing Committee Chairman Tine Brajnik, S50A; Jeff Steinman, N5TJ; and John Dorr, K1AR, at the WRTC-2000 closing ceremonies in Bled, Slovenia. The K1TO-N5TJ team came in at first place; the K1DG-K1AR combo placed third. [ARRL photo]

The World Radiosport Team Championship 2000 referees have posted the final official results of the July 8-9 competition in Slovenia, and several team place standings have changed as a result. No scoring adjustments affected the rankings of the top three finishers--Dan Street, K1TO, and Jeff Steinman, N5TJ, operating as S584M, repeated as WRTC champions--but there were a few changes in the order of finish farther down the list. In addition, most team scores--including the top three--were minutely affected.

Most significantly affected by the change was the standing of Team Finland, OH1EH and OH1NOA, which moved up from 20th to fifth place in the standings. The team operated as S537L.

After the winners of WRTC 2000 were announced in Bled, Slovenia, July 11, Team Finland questioned why its reported score was much lower than the one they believed they had submitted. Chief Referee David Sumner, K1ZZ, says this occurred because the referees ended up having to rely on a binary file to score the results instead of extracting the log data from text files as originally intended.

Sumner explained that while Team Finland had submitted a complete text file of its log, the team's binary file turned out to be incomplete. The text-file log that Team Finland submitted earned them a fifth place finish, however.

"The referees' team apologizes for initially reporting a lower score," Sumner said.

The site of the S512T station operated by the Lithuanian team of LY3BA and LY2BM was located at a ski lift shack. All WRTC-2000 sites were on hilltops or mountains. The triband Yagi and the Windom antenna for 80 and 40 meters are clearly visible above the heads of Dick Norton, N6AA (left) and Tine Brajnik, S50A. [ARRL photo]

In posting the final official results this week, Sumner also noted that several teams had said that their multipliers were lower than expected. Rescoring the logs to accommodate the Team Finland problem, Sumner explained, not only eliminated some "not-in-log" score reductions for other contestants, but gave the referees an opportunity to correct some multiplier scoring and "to conduct a more complete review of the logged call signs, resulting in some changes to 'bad' calls."

Sumner said this was done "in order to provide the most accurate record possible of the results of WRTC 2000."

The WRTC 2000 referees let stand the final score of the S511E team of DL6FBL and DL1MFL. That score was based on the submission of a truncated log that was missing approximately one hour of operation. The problem occurred when the team copied its log to a floppy disk that was nearly full for submittal. The DL6FBL-DL1MFL team moved from fifth to sixth place as a result of this week's scoring adjustments.

The WRTC-2000 top 10 finishers represented world-class contesters from seven countries, including three from the US and two bi-national teams--UT4UZ from Ukraine and RW1AC from Russia, who operated as S523W, and DL6RAI from Germany and OE2VEL, from Austria, who operated as S533G.

FCC REDUCES FINE FOR FORMER AMATEUR

The FCC has substantially reduced a $17,000 fine that it proposed to levy on a former Houston, Texas, amateur. On July 12, the Commission issued a Forfeiture Order telling Leonard D. Martin, formerly KC5WHN, that he should pay $4000 for repeated unlicensed operation and for failing to allow the FCC to inspect his radio equipment.

Martin first ran afoul of the FCC two years ago. In May 1998 the Commission received a written complaint alleging that a station identifying as KC5WHN was operating on frequencies not authorized by Martin's Technician class license. FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth sent Martin a Warning Notice in November 1998. In a subsequent telephone conversation with Hollingsworth, the FCC says, Martin "generally denied the unauthorized operation."

In February and March of last year, an FCC agent using mobile automatic direction finding equipment tracked 27 MHz transmissions to an antenna at Martin's residence. Both times, Martin reportedly refused an FCC inspection.

The FCC's Houston Office issued Martin an Official Notice of Violation last April. In his reply, Martin said that he understood that operating on the frequencies in question was a violation and that the FCC has full inspection authority. He also promised to comply with FCC rules. In July, Martin turned in his Amateur Radio license for cancellation.

Last October, the FCC twice tracked 27 MHz transmissions to Martin's residence. Once again, Martin reportedly refused to let FCC personnel inspect his transmitting gear.

In March, the FCC's Houston Office sent a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to Martin for "repeatedly and willfully" operating without an FCC license and refusing to allow an FCC inspection. Martin did not deny the violations but said he couldn't pay the $17,000 fine and submitted copies of his tax returns for 1996, 1997 and 1998 as proof. He also told the FCC that he would dismantle and sell all of his radio transmitting gear and antenna and forfeit proceeds to the FCC or to charity and would permit FCC personnel to inspect his residence to insure all equipment has been removed.

The FCC said that while it could not rely on Martin's "promises of remedial action," it could reduce the size of the proposed forfeiture given Martin's "limited ability to pay the full amount." The FCC said the $4000 fine was justified in light of the serious nature of the willful and repeated violations and gave Martin 30 days to pay.

SOLAR UPDATE

Heliophile Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: This has been quite a week for solar activity, with blasts of solar wind dominating space weather news. July 15 was the big day for HF radio blackouts and aurora, with the planetary A index jumping to an incredible 152 and the mid-latitude A index at 148. The planetary K index, updated every three hours, was at nine for three readings on July 15. A K index reading of nine over a 24-hour period would be equivalent to an A index of 300. This is big--really big!

These numbers are associated with an extreme geomagnetic storm that was nearly off the scale. On July 16, one of the most powerful solar flares of the current cycle triggered a storm of protons directed toward Earth. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded a full halo coronal mass ejection heading toward earth at greater than 1 million meters per second. Check out animations of this event on the web. There are only a few events of this magnitude in the average solar cycle.

Another coronal mass ejection emerged on Wednesday, July 19, but the predicted effect is uncertain because the ejection may not be aimed squarely at Earth. On Thursday the planetary K index went up to six for several hours, but by the end of the UTC day it was three. The planetary A index for Thursday was 43, and the College A index, recorded in Alaska, was 57.

The latest forecast shows the planetary A index rising to 50 on Friday, then dropping to 20 and 15 and then 10 on Saturday through Monday. Solar flux peaked for the recent short term at 252.9 on Thursday, and is expected to drop to 245, 235, 230 and 225 on Friday through Monday. The next short term minimum is predicted around July 28 at 170, followed by another peak above 200 around August 6-9.

Sunspot numbers for July 13 through 19 were 240, 243, 229, 268, 335, 343 and 342 with a mean of 285.7. The 10.7 cm flux was 231.9, 203.9, 213.1, 218.9, 228.3, 261.9 and 249.9, with a mean of 229.7. The estimated planetary A indices were 33, 35, 152, 46, 9, 13 and 15, with a mean of 43.3.

In Brief:

  • This weekend on the radio: The Georgia QSO Party is the weekend of July 22-23. Just ahead: The RSGB Islands-On-The-Air Contest and the Flight of the Bumblebees QRP Contest are the weekend of July 29-30. See July QST, page 100, for more information.

  • Australia makes 5 WPM official: Australia officially has adopted a 5 WPM Morse code examination requirement for full access to the HF amateur bands. In an announcement in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on July 12, the Australian Communications Authority changed the amateur regulations for the VK Intermediate grade license that requires 5 WPM Morse code proficiency. By that action, the ACA lifted the previous HF band restrictions on Intermediate licensees, who now may use all bands below 30 MHz. The change had been anticipated following a submission to the ACA in March by the Wireless Institute of Australia seeking a lowering of the code speed. For the time being, Australia will maintain its Unrestricted license--which requires 10 WPM Morse proficiency--but only to satisfy the needs of reciprocal licensing agreements. The HF operating privileges and conditions for the Intermediate and Unrestricted licenses now are identical. For more information, visit Linton's "Morse code watch,".--Jim Linton, VK3PC/WIA

  • Cyprus okays anniversary prefixes: Amateurs on Cyprus have been granted permission use the special prefix 5B40 ("Five Bravo Forty") until November 30, 2000, to celebrate the 40 years of the Republic of Cyprus. Use of the special prefix is optional.--Spyros Stavrinides, 5B4MF/CARS

  • K2ORS to become hall of famer: The late radio storyteller and talker Jean Shepherd, K2ORS, is among those scheduled to be inducted posthumously into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame this fall. The ceremony is set for November 13 in New York City. Shepherd died last October at the age of 78. Many remember him best for his late-night talk program on New York's WOR, where he sometimes spoke of his Amateur Radio activities. After his death, some hams wrote the ARRL to say they'd been inspired by Shepherd's monologues to pursue their own radio activities. Shepherd also wrote and produced several programs for public television and once was the banquet speaker at the Dayton Hamvention.--Broadcasting & Cable; Shop Talk

    Gordon West, WB6NOA

  • Kids and Internet vs Amateur Radio: Who says the Internet takes kids' interest away from Amateur Radio? During the ARRL-sponsored Kid's Day event in June, 77 youngsters took part in the youth Amateur Radio licensing class put on by Gordon West, WB6NOA. Once a year, West puts on a no-cost ham course for young people that runs on Friday and Saturday. He also invites kids to take advantage of ARRL's low-cost family membership rate or youth membership rate--depending on whether there's already a licensed ham in the youngster's household. He also makes different types of radio equipment available for the kids--this year's class ranged from 10 to 18 years old--to try out. Area hams are asked to stand by at their stations to give the newly licensed kids a chance to make QSOs. "One of the elements of the final test I give is to make contact with another radio station," West says. "That will also give them a chance to try out a variety of radio equipment." What better day for a young person to get licensed than on Kid's Day--when more than 1000 other kids already were out there on the airwaves?--thanks to Rosalie White, K1STO

  • N8GNJ named CQ digital editor: CQ magazine has named Steve Stroh, N8GNJ, as its new digital editor. CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, said Stroh will assume his new role effective with the September 2000 issue. The appointment of Stroh follows the resignation of Packet Editor Buck Rogers, K4ABT, and the conclusion of Rogers' Packet User's Notebook column. Stroh's new column, "Digital Wireless," will cover the full spectrum of amateur digital communications--from RTTY to spread spectrum and newly developing modes such as ultra wideband. Stroh has held a number of positions in TAPR and is chairman of the 2000 ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference to be held this fall in Florida.--CQ news release

  • W9DXCC bash set: The 48th annual W9DXCC Convention will be September 15-16 at the Holiday Inn, Rolling Meadows, Illinois. The program includes presentations on the A52A Bhutan DXpedition with Glenn Johnson, W0GJ; the 4W/W3UR operation in East Timor by QST "How's DX" Editor Bernie McClenny, W3UR; the FO0AAA Clipperton DXpedition by Jim Mornar, N9TK; and the first Chesterfield operation--TX0DX--by ARRL Membership Services Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG. There will be a special 160-meter presentation by DXing on the Edge author Jeff Briggs, K1ZM as well as a propagation program by NCJ and Worldradio columnist Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA. On-site ARRL DXCC card checking will be available too. Program details and on-line registration is available at the W9DXCC home page, or via e-mail from W9DXCC 2000 Chairman Bill Smith, W9VA, w9va@aol.com.

 

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