The ARRL Letter
Volume 19, Number 29
July 28, 2000
IN THIS EDITION:
- +ARRL Board approves full-color QST, "Big Project"
- +Board announces award winners
- +Florida man arrested for QRMing, unlicensed operation
- +New Morse testing standards set
- +ARRL volunteers track "the ditter"
- +2000 ARRL/TAPR digital confab set for September
- Solar update
- In Brief: This weekend on the radio; +Canadian lowfers report first 136 kHz QSO; Hans D. Peters, VE3CRU, SK; Lew McCoy seriously ill; Limited-edition Y2K Antenna Book, Operating Manual available soon; Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award; WAS Award #50,000 to K6KO!
+Available on ARRL Audio News
ARRL BOARD APPROVES MORE COLORFUL QST, TECHNOLOGY UPGRADE, "BIG PROJECT"
|(L-R) David Woolweaver, K5RAV, West Gulf Division (left), Les Shattuck, N4NK, Roanoke Division; and William Edgar, N3LLR, Atlantic Division, attended their first ARRL Board meeting in their new roles as ARRL Vice Directors. [Dave Patton, NT1N]|
A more colorful QST will be showing up in members' mailboxes within a few months. The ARRL Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution directing that the League's monthly membership journal be printed in full-color at a minimum size of 176 pages per issue.
"QST is the most visible ARRL membership benefit," said ARRL Publications Manager Mark Wilson, K1RO. "This will give it greater impact." He explained that advances in printing technology have narrowed the gap between full-color and monochrome reproduction to the point that it makes the most sense to go forward with color. "Color communicates better than monochrome," he said, adding that the additional cost would work out to "pennies per issue."
The Board's July 21-22 session in Hartford marked the first held under the leadership of ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, who took office following the January Board meeting. Board members said the session was the smoothest in recent memory.
In other action, the ARRL Board put its stamp of approval on "The Big Project," Haynie's ambitious initiative to provide a turnkey Amateur Radio curriculum in American classrooms. Now officially dubbed "The ARRL Amateur Radio Education Project," the program will offer a curriculum and equipment that schools can incorporate into existing curricula. The project will be funded by corporate and foundation donations.
|Hudson Director Frank Fallon, N2FF (left), confers with his Vice Director, JP Kleinhaus, W2XX, prior to the July 21 board session in Hartford. [Rick Lindquist, N1RL]|
The Board also okayed spending up to $1,025,000 to develop a new information technology platform for ARRL Headquarters. The new computer software and hardware not only will enhance the ARRL's e-commerce capabilities but update membership information and accounting systems. It also eventually will enable such services as electronic QSLing, member Web access to DXCC records, nearly real-time updates of DXCC listings, and expanded, detailed contest results. The Board also agreed to provide additional financial support for the popular ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service.
The Board accepted the report of the Ad Hoc Antenna Case Assistance Committee, which recommended creation of an expert panel to evaluate requests for supplemental funding of antenna cases. The program unanimously approved by the Board puts a $10,000 cap on the funding of federal appeals in "those rare and infrequent cases in which there was a significant issue of law of benefit to the wider amateur community."
The Board also agreed to put the League's muscle behind an international effort to secure a 300-kHz exclusive assignment for Amateur Radio in the vicinity of 7 MHz. The 40-meter realignment issue now is on the agenda for World Radiocommunication Conference 2003.
|ARRL Directors Ed Metzger, W9PRN, of the Central Division and Frank Butler, W4RH, of the Southeastern Division, show off their 50-year ARRL membership plaques, presented (along with 50-year pins) by ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, and Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ. [Dave Patton, NT1N]|
In other action, the ARRL Board of Directors
- voted to proceed with the development of digital voice for the Amateur Service. President Haynie will appoint a committee of knowledgeable individuals to report at the 2001 annual meeting.
- heard a report from the RFI Task Group that detailed the threat to Amateur Radio from the increased use of Part 15 devices as well as efforts to resolve power line noise complaints on the West Coast and HF interference from wireless modem jacks.
- expressed its thanks and appreciation for "the effort, enthusiasm and dedication of ARRL VEs and the ARRL-VEC" for efforts above and beyond the call of duty in handling the flood of applications in the wake of Amateur Radio restructuring.
- extended sincere appreciation and thanks to John and Karen Nickel, WD5EEV and WD5EEU, for their work with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in support of the SAREX/ARISS Working Group's efforts to place Amateur Radio on the International Space Station.
- resolved to file a petition with the FCC "at the appropriate time" to request permission for spread spectrum operation in the 219-220 and 222-225 MHz bands.
- voted expand the ARRL's relationship with the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of America, reaffirming the League's commitment to the nation's youth.
The minutes of the ARRL Board of Directors July meeting are available on the ARRL Web site.
ARRL BOARD ANNOUNCES AWARD WINNERS
|Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT|
The ARRL Board of Directors has named 20-year-old Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, as winner of the 1999 Hiram Percy Maxim Award. The Hiram Percy Maxim Award goes each year to a radio amateur under the age of 21 whose Amateur Radio accomplishments and contributions are of the most exemplary nature.
First licensed at age 12, Mileshosky has a long track record of promoting ham radio among his peers. An ARRL member, Mileshosky is an active Official Observer and was a speaker at the 2000 Dayton Hamvention-ARRL National Convention. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Upper Rio FM Society Inc, a volunteer examiner, and a member of Amateur Radio Emergency Service teams in two counties.
Mileshosky, a senior this fall in electrical engineering at the University of New Mexico, will receive a cash award of $1000, an engraved plaque, and a expenses-paid trip to an ARRL convention for a formal presentation.
The Board also named:
|Allen Wolff, KC7O|
|Dan Calzaretta, NX9C|
|Diane Ortiz, K2DO|
The Board awarded an ARRL National Certificate of Merit to Jack Landis, W0PRF, for having mentored more than 500 amateurs during his 50-plus years in Amateur Radio, and to Forrest Bartlett, W6OWP, who provided regular on-the-air code practice and qualifying runs for West Coast amateurs over a similar period.
FLORIDA MAN ARRESTED FOR INTERFERENCE TO HAMS
Federal authorities have arrested a Florida man and charged him with interfering with Amateur Radio operations and transmitting without a license. William Flippo of Jupiter was taken into custody July 20. The arrest is the latest chapter in a lengthening saga involving complaints of flagrant and repeated malicious interference attributed to Flippo.
Flippo already faces a $20,000 fine levied last summer for unlicensed operation, willful and malicious interference to Amateur Radio communications, and failure to let the FCC inspect his radio equipment. The matter was referred to the US Attorney in January after Flippo failed to pay the fine, and the interference complaints continued.
Armed with a search warrant, federal marshals and FCC and FBI agents, accompanied by local authorities, took Flippo into custody. FCC agents seized items related to the alleged offenses, including radio equipment.
Flippo was released on $100,000 bond. An arraignment on the federal charges is scheduled for July 31. One condition of his release is that he not make any radio transmissions.
Flippo was charged with four counts of transmitting without a license--each count carrying a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $10,000 fine--and four counts of interfering with the operations of licensed stations, which carry the same penalty.
Hams in Florida say Flippo has continued to thumb his nose at the FCC--even since being fined--and has persisted in flouting the law by interfering with local HF and repeater nets. FCC Enforcement Bureau Deputy Chief Jane Mago commended the members of the amateur community, who provided information leading to Flippo's arrest. She also thanked the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida and the US Marshals Service for their efforts in prosecuting the case.
NCVEC ADVANCES REVISED MORSE TESTING STANDARDS
The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators has voted to set up revised standards for the administration of Morse code examinations in the US. The move at the NCVEC's July 21 meeting in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, comes in the wake of the FCC's December 30, 1999, action to establish 5 WPM as the sole Amateur Radio Morse code requirement.
Under the revised standards, examinees would have to show 25 character-count solid copy on their test sheets or successfully answer seven out of 10 questions of a fill-in-the-blank quiz on the sent text. The plan would bar the use of multiple choice tests for Morse code testing.
Morse examinations would specify use of the Farnsworth method, where characters are sent faster than the overall speed and additional spaces added between characters, words and sentences. Farnsworth "character speed" would be in the range of 13 to 15 WPM at an audio pitch of between 700 and 1000 Hz. Standard 5 WPM tests with 5 WPM character speed could be administered only as a special accommodation.
The new Morse testing standards are to be in effect by next July 1, but VECs may implement them sooner.
Representatives of 11 of the nation's 14 Volunteer Examiner Coordinators attended the session. Also on hand were six FCC staff members. The FCC's Bill Cross, W3TN, and Steve Linn, N4CAK, conducted FCC presentations. FCC staff members indicated that any decision on petitions for reconsideration of the FCC's Amateur Radio restructuring Order would not come until this fall or winter. The FCC also said that an FCC Order appointing amateur club station call sign administrators is pending, but gave no indication of when it would be released. The ARRL-VEC, the W5YI-VEC and W4VEC have applied to be call sign administrators.
Cross also advised the conference that an overlooked amendment to the Communications Act has eliminated the test fee reimbursement basis. The ARRL initially had requested this change several years ago. The FCC plans to issue a Public Notice by year's end clarifying how this will affect 2001 test fees. In the meantime, the current fee schedule remains in place.
FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, also addressed the session. In his remarks, Hollingsworth discussed recent enforcement actions and emphasized the VEC's obligations to uphold the integrity of the volunteer examiner system.
The NCVEC Question Pool Committee was re-elected at the Gettysburg gathering. Ray Adams, W4CPA, will continue as chairman.
FCC statistics presented during the session show that Technician and Tech Plus licensees still make up nearly one half of the US amateur population, which totals 710,626--including expired licensees within the two-year grace period. As of July 18, there were 209,550 Techs and 121,175 Tech Pluses. Reflecting the shift in license class because of restructuring, Extras now number 92,165, and Generals 134,015--both up by more than 20% over year-earlier figures. There are 93,834 Advanced ops, and the Novice population remains at just under 60,000.
ARRL VOLUNTEERS FIND, FIX "THE DITTER"
ARRL staffers were greeted the morning of July 24 with reports of a continuous string of CW dits near 14.008 MHz--heard throughout North America over the preceding weekend. Initial reports gave conflicting beam headings of the offending signal, dubbed "the ditter." But when FCC staffer John Reiser, WQ4L, called ARRL to report his observations, things started to happen.
Reiser facilitated an FCC DF trace to the San Diego area. The ARRL San Diego Section leadership was notified, and Section Manager Tuck Miller, NZ6T, coordinated local hams in a close-range DF effort. San Diego section Official Observer Coordinator Bill Sallee, K6TWO, took several field readings. At one point, when he'd narrowed the location to within two miles, the signal abruptly disappeared. The ARRL Monitoring System also was alerted. It was confirmed that this was a normal CW signal, not a "woodpecker"-type intruder.
Dialing around the bottom edge of 20 meters early on July 26, IARU Region 2 Monitoring System Coordinator Martin Potter, VE3OAT, heard the ditter once again, this time near 14.026 MHz. Potter determined that the signal had an identical period and beam heading as the one heard earlier. He notified ARRL Headquarters, and the San Diego hams picked up where they'd left off.
Sallee's field strength readings drew him closer and closer to the coast, where the heading reversed. Sallee reports that he ultimately found the apparent source in the oceanfront community of La Jolla. He says the woman who answered the door said her husband was a ham and allowed Sallee to take a look at the station. Sure enough, a stuck dit paddle was keying a powered, unattended rig, which Sallee disabled.
Sallee theorizes that heating and cooling within the ham's uninsulated shack and a combination of corrosion in the keyer paddle's pivot mechanism and close dit contact spacing contributed to the contact's migrating to a closed position. He said the ham later told him that he'd been operating on 14.007.5 MHz on July 21 but did not return to the shack until Monday afternoon. "He remembers listening to a CW contact on 14.026 but did not transmit," Sallee said. "He then left the shack unaware that by leaving the rig on, he would fall victim to unattended transmission when the moisture and temperatures began to change."
Sallee says the ham, whom he did not identify, "was most embarrassed."
"I really felt sorry for him and assured him that public hangings were no longer in vogue," Sallee said. "He said he had learned a valuable lesson about disabling a rig that will be unattended."
Potter congratulated the ARRL Monitoring System and the San Diego field organization for what he called "a fine example of quick reaction and good, solid work" on tracking down the unintentional transmission.--Brennan Price, N4QX
2000 ARRL/TAPR DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS CONFERENCE SET
|DCC 2000 Conference Chairman Steve Stroh, N8GNJ, and TAPR President Greg Jones, WD5IVD, at last year's DCC in Phoenix.|
The 19th Annual ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference will be September 22-24 in Orlando, Florida--just minutes from the Orlando International Airport and not far from area attractions and vacation spots such as Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World.
The ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference is an international forum for radio amateurs in digital communications, networking, and related technologies to meet, publish their work, and present new ideas and techniques for discussion. The DCC is aimed at digitally oriented amateurs at all experience levels. Presenters and attendees will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and learn about recent hardware and software advances, theories, experimental results, and practical applications. Chairing this year's event is Steve Stroh, N8GNJ, recently named as CQ magazine's digital editor.
Beginning, intermediate, and advanced presentations on selected topics in digital communications will be offered. Topics will include APRS, Satellite Communications, TCP/IP, Digital Radio, Spread Spectrum and other introductory subjects. A symposium and a seminar will be held to allow those with additional time and interest to make the most of the Conference.
Papers on digital topics are invited for publication in the Conference Proceedings. Presentation at the Conference is not required for publication. Papers are due by August 7, 2000, and should be submitted to Maty Weinberg, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111, or via the Internet to firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on paper submission guidelines are available at http://www.tapr.org/dcc.
Solar seer Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar flux and sunspot numbers were down only slightly this week from last. Last week's average sunspot numbers were up over 40 points from the previous week, and this week's are down less than seven. But the big news this week should be the big peak in sunspot numbers on Thursday, July 20, when it reached 401. This is a rare, high number in any solar cycle, and the biggest so far in cycle 23.
A cursory examination of the data shows that the sunspot number has not been this high since August 23, 1991, when it was 478. Sunspot numbers over 400 suggest that we may be nearing the cycle peak. The latest projection the author has seen for cycle peak is from the July 4 Preliminary Report and Forecast of Solar Geophysical Data from the NOAA Space Environment Center.
The latest short term projections show some rough weather ahead for the weekend, with the planetary A index for Friday through Tuesday at 30, 25, 12, 12 and 10. Projected solar flux for those same five days is 160, 155, 155, 150 and 145. Solar flux should rise above 200 by August 4, then reach 230 on August 8-14, and peak around 235 on August 15-16.
Sunspot numbers for July 20 through 26 were 401, 325, 290, 276, 215, 232 and 214 with a mean of 279. The 10.7 cm flux was 252.9, 250.9, 251, 217.3, 224.8, 201.8 and 174.6, with a mean of 224.8. The estimated planetary A indices were 43, 9, 18, 20, 8, 7 and 20, with a mean of 17.9.
|The VE3OT antenna base; the transmitter and tuner gear are at the right.|
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