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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter

Volume 19, Number 34
September 8, 2000


+Available on ARRL Audio News


The space shuttle Atlantis blasted off on schedule September 8, bringing Amateur Radio operation from the International Space Station a giant leap closer to reality. On board Atlantis is the initial Amateur Radio on the International Space Station equipment as well as other supplies needed by the Expedition 1 ISS crew members.

As part of the multinational ARISS project, the gear will be stowed aboard the ISS until the Expedition 1 crew comes aboard in late October. The Expedition 1 crew will consist of US astronaut Bill Shepherd, KD5GSL, and Russian Cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR, and Yuri Gaidzenko, whose call sign was not available.

Although astronaut Dan Burbank, KC5ZSX, is aboard Atlantis, there will be no Amateur Radio operation from the shuttle or the ISS during this mission, STS-106. Atlantis will deliver the ARISS VHF and UHF hand-held transceivers as well as a TNC for packet, a specially developed headset and signal adapter module plus power adapters and interconnecting cables.

The shuttle Atlantis rockets into space from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. [ARISS Photo]

The ARISS initial station gear will be installed temporarily aboard the Functional Cargo Block module and use an existing antenna that’s being adapted to support FM voice and packet on 2 meters but not on 70 cm. The ARISS gear will get a more-permanent home aboard the Service Module next year, once VHF and UHF antennas can be installed.

During the nearly two-week STS-106 shuttle mission, the seven-member crew will unload space station supplies from both the shuttle and from a Russian Progress cargo ship that’s now docked at the ISS.

NASA and the Russian space organization Energia have signed agreements that spell out the place of Amateur Radio aboard the ISS. A technical team, called ISS Ham, has been officially set up to serve as the interface to support hardware development, crew training and operations from space.

A Russian call sign, RZ3DZR, has been issued for the ISS ham radio station. A German call sign, DL0ISS, also has been issued, and a US call sign will be applied for.

The $60-billion International Space Station is being built jointly by the US, Russia, the European Space Agency, Canada and Japan. NASA this week extended the deadline to complete the ISS to 2006. The ISS partners have agreed to spread out the assembly missions.

For more information about Amateur Radio on the ISS and SAREX, visit the ARISS Web site.


The 11th International Amateur Radio Union Region III Conference ended September 1 by resolving to seek the ultimate removal of Morse code proficiency as an International Telecommunication Union licensing requirement for HF operation. As "an interim measure," the conference agreed to support the reduction of all Morse code testing speeds to 5 WPM.

"IARU Region III strongly supports Morse code as an effective and efficient mode of communication," the resolution said in its preamble. "However, it believes that the position of Morse as a qualifying criterion for an HF amateur license is not relevant to the healthy future of amateur radio."

The resolution urged IARU Region III member societies to seek an interim 5 WPM Morse code testing requirement while looking toward eventually eliminating the Morse requirement altogether. "We recommend that, setting aside any previous relevant decisions of earlier Conferences, a policy of the removal of Morse code testing as an ITU requirement for an amateur license to operate on frequencies below 30 MHz be adopted by IARU Region 3," the Conference resolution declared.

Voting in accordance with ARRL Board policy, International Affairs Vice President Rod Stafford, W6ROD, cast the lone dissenting vote on the League’s behalf, although he voted in favor of an earlier motion to support 5 WPM as the top code speed for testing. The Hong Kong Amateur Radio Transmitting Society abstained. The Asian and Pacific region’s other member societies favored the resolution.

The Region III Conference, meeting in Darwin, Australia, recommended that the IARU Administrative council adopt its position as IARU policy. Meeting September 3-4 in Darwin, the Administrative Council declined to act on the policy recommendation, however, until after the Region II conference next October in Guatemala.

Conference delegates addressed another concern related to ITU Radio Regulation S25, which requires that applicants demonstrate Morse proficiency to operate below 30 MHz. Some delegates worried over wording in a preliminary draft recommendation that includes reference to "radio telegraphy" among amateur license operating skills. Delegates were told that the ITU defines "radio telegraphy" to mean all digital modes, not just Morse. In a motion proposed by the Radio Society of Great Britain and seconded by the ARRL, the conference requested that the IARU Region III representatives to the IARU Administrative Council propose replacing the term "operating skills" with "methods of communication."

The conference also reaffirmed the IARU’s determination to obtain an exclusive worldwide allocation of no less than 300 kHz in the vicinity of 7 MHz. Region III IARU directors were instructed to "treat achievement of this objective as a matter of the highest priority." The conference also supported seeking an Amateur Radio HF allocation in the vicinity of 5 MHz and a low-frequency allocation in the vicinity of 136 kHz or 160 to 190 kHz.

In addition to Stafford, those attending the conference from the US included IARU President Larry Price, W4RA; ARRL Executive Vice President and IARU Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ; and ARRL Technical Relations Manager Paul Rinaldo, W4RI.

The next IARU Region III Conference will be held in Taipei, Taiwan, in September 2003.--IARU; WIA


Pero Simundza, 9A4SP, SK

One of the three United Nations workers killed by a mob this week in West Timor was an Amateur Radio operator. Pero Simundza, 9A4SP, of Split, Croatia, had been in West Timor for nearly one year and had been active as 4W/9A4SP and as 4W6SP. He was 29.

Simundza, Samson Aregahegn of Ethiopia, and Carlos Caseras of the US died September 6 when thousands of armed pro-Indonesian militiamen and their supporters stormed a UN office in West Timor, killing the three and injuring several others. Witnesses say the mob beat the three UN workers to death then burned their bodies in the street while Indonesian security forces stood by and did nothing to stop the violence.

The UN staffers, who all worked for the UN High Commission for Refugees, had been involved in helping refugees from the conflict with East Timor, which voted last year to break away from Indonesia and is now administered by the UN. West Timor remains under Indonesian control.

Prior to his service in West Timor, Simundza had been working for the UNHCR in his native Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina. According to Teijo Nurmi, OH7NRW, of the UNHCR Telecommunications Unit in Geneva, Simundza had an opportunity late last year to join UNHCR’s international staff and was selected to serve in Atambua, West Timor. Nurmi says Simundza managed communications for the Atambua UNHCR office.

Nurmi says that Simundza recently returned to West Timor after a holiday, had just purchased a new transceiver to upgrade his station in West Timor and was eager to get it set up. 9A4SP had operated portable from other countries including a stint from Albania last summer as ZA/9A4SP. He also had operated as T98P from Bosnia.

Amateurs are being invited to sign a guest book or send condolences to Simundza’s family at


When the FCC moves its Taxpayer Information Number/Social Security Number registration system for amateurs from the Universal Licensing System to the new FCC Commission Registration System, the changeover will be largely transparent to users.

Steve Linn of the Commission’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau says once the changeover is in effect, the CORES/FRN system will be linked from the ULS home page. In addition, those already registered in the ULS will--in most cases--still be able to use their ULS password to access CORES.

Amateurs will not have to start signing up in CORES until sometime next year, however, and those already registered in ULS won’t have to do a thing. For now, Linn says hams should simply stick with ULS "TIN/Call Sign" registration until CORES registration becomes mandatory.

"Don’t even worry about CORES," Linn said. "If you have a letter from CORES, hang onto it for your FCC Registration Number." The FCC recently sent letters to every licensee who was registered in the ULS as of June 22, 2000. The letter contains the individual’s new FCC Registration Number--or FRN--and a few words about CORES. Linn says the FCC has suspended mailing out CORES/FRN letters for now.

Described as an agency-wide registration system for anyone filing applications with or making payments to the FCC, CORES assigns registrants a unique 10-digit FCC Registration Number. 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 says use of the FRN will allow it to more rapidly verify fee payment.

Until CORES assumes the registration function, Linn encouraged hams to register in ULS, which will continue to house the FCC’s Amateur Service database even after CORES registration is implemented. Just when in 2001 that will happen Linn was not able to say. "There are a lot of factors involved," he said.

Individuals who register in CORES are not automatically registered in the ULS database (an individual does not have to be licensed to register in CORES). ULS TIN/Call Sign registration is eventually reflected in the CORES database, however, Linn confirmed.

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


Some of the damage in Dutchess County, New York, resulting from severe weather on August 10. [KL7JCQ Photo]

Hams in Northern New Jersey and just up the Hudson River in Dutchess County, New York, rallied to provide assistance as severe weather and flash flooding struck the region last month.

Dutchess County Emergency Coordinator Adam Nowik Jr, KC2DAA, reports that in the early morning hours of August 10, a severe thunderstorm rolled into the area. Substantial damage occurred in areas of Poughkeepsie and LaGrange. The Dutchess County Red Cross was called upon to provide relief to families in the affected areas. Red Cross officials, in turn, put out the call for Amateur Radio assistance in the relief effort. Nowik says that he, SEC Ken Akasofu, KL7JCQ, Red Cross Communications Officer and AEC Ed Hahn, WC2J, located 21 amateurs available for service.

"Our first stations were on the air within 45 minutes of the initial call up," Nowik said. Hams assisted the Red Cross at the Chapter House, at a fire station that was being used as a feeding site and at a staging area for disaster workers, and the Red Cross ERV--the emergency response vehicle--plus two outreach vehicles.

The situation was even worse the weekend of August 12-13 in Northern New Jersey, where parts of Morris and Sussex counties got anywhere from eight to 14 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, flooding local highways and homes. The National Weather Service issued a severe flood warning on the morning of Saturday, August 12.

"A dam failed on one of the lakes in that region, and things only got worse," reports Northern New Jersey SEC Mike Hoeft, K2MPH. "Hams were called on originally to supplement, and--at one point--replace failed landline communications in Sparta and Jefferson townships," he said. That involved a combined effort between Sussex County RACES and local ARES operators. After lightning knocked out town communications in Hardyston, hams filled that gap--and others.

Amateur Radio operators also handled communications stations at several Red Cross shelters set up in those areas as well as the Metropolitan Red Cross Chapter--the lead office for Northern New Jersey. Four Red Cross shelters were established, and, with the help of Amateur Radio communication, the Salvation Army and Red Cross assisted those who had to be evacuated from the area. The effort continued through the weekend and into the following week, when FEMA personnel arrived and requested ham radio shadows to help with damage assessment, Hoeft said.

As the weather raged, Amateur Radio SKYWARN volunteers monitored local conditions as they went from bad to worse. Sussex County SKYWARN Coordinator Deb McKay, N2TTP, says weather watchers reported rain falling at more than an inch per hour. A possible dam breach at Tamarack Lake, near McKay’s home, upped the tension and the ante for amateurs and local emergency officials.

RACES was called in the afternoon of August 12 after an emergency was declared. The Sussex County emergency van was deployed first near Tamarack Lake and later in Sparta, where it was staffed 24 hours a day until August 16.

McKay, who’s also a RACES volunteer, reported that hams in surrounding counties in New Jersey as well as in parts of New York and Pennsylvania joined the growing network. "It was something that I was very proud to be a part of," she said.


Solar shaman Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar flux and sunspot numbers were up over the past week. Average solar flux was up more than 17 points, and average sunspot numbers rose more than 40 compared to the previous week. The peak in activity didn’t exactly coincide for the two indices, with sunspot numbers first reaching the peak at 214 early in the week.

So when will this solar cycle peak? NOAA has some new projections. If you look at, it shows smoothed sunspot numbers peaking in December 2000 at 140. The predicted progression for smoothed sunspot numbers for August 2000 through June 2001 is 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 139, 138, 139, 138, 137 and 136. A similar table for smoothed 10.7 cm solar flux shows the predicted peak around March, 2001 at 189.

All this is good news for hams hoping for a further peak in solar activity. The best is yet to come, and we can look forward to interesting activity this fall and next spring.

For this week, projections show solar flux peaking around now and then dipping down to a short term minimum around September 21, with the next peak around October 5.

Sunspot numbers for August 31 through September 6 were 214, 195, 177, 181, 169, 144 and 150, with a mean of 175.7. The 10.7 cm flux was 162.9, 157.7, 154, 154.1, 170.8, 180.2 and 178.7, with a mean of 165.5. The estimated planetary A indices were 15, 17, 23, 9, 14, 8 and 11 with a mean of 13.9.

In Brief:

  • This weekend on the radio: The ARRL September VHF QSO Party, the North American Sprint (CW), the Worked All Europe Contest (SSB), the End of Summer PSK-31 Sprint, and the SOC Marathon Sprint are the weekend of September 9-10. Just ahead: The ARRL 10 GHz and Up Cumulative Contest, the North American Sprint (SSB), the QCWA QSO Party, the Air Force Anniversary QSO Party, the Washington State Salmon Run, the Scandinavian Activity Contest (CW) and the Tennessee QSO Party are the weekend of September 16-17. See September QST, page 102, for details.

  • FCC assigns RM number to League petition: The FCC has assigned rulemaking number RM-9949 to the ARRL’s petition requesting that the Commission 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. Comments supporting or opposing the petition are due by the end of September. To file comments in this proceeding, visit the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System page.

    All smiles! ARRL 1999 HPM Award Winner Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT (right) with ARRL Rocky Mountain Director Walt Stinson, W0CP. [ARRL Photo]
  • N5ZGT receives HPM Award: The 1999 Hiram Percy Maxim Award winner, 20-year-old Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, received his award and plaque August 26 during the New Mexico State Convention (Duke City Hamfest) in Rio Rancho. Presenting the award was ARRL Rocky Mountain Director Walt Stinson, W0CP. 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 was a presenter 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, received a cash award of $1000, and an engraved plaque.

  • IARU picks theme for World Amateur Radio Day: The IARU Administrative Council has selected "Providing Disaster Communications: Amateur Radio in the 21st Century" as the theme for World Amateur Radio Day 2001. The occasion will be marked next April 18. The selection was designed to help dispel the notion that technological changes have bypassed and diminished the future role of the amateur services. The IARU also wants to reaffirm the importance of Amateur Radio as a resource to help mitigate the effects of disasters by providing communications to aid humanitarian efforts.

  • IARU Region III directors elected: The IARU Region III Conference that met August 28 to September 1 in Darwin, Australia, elected Peter Naish, VK2BPN, and K.C. "Selva" Selvadurai, 9V1UV, as new IARU Region III directors. Naish also serves as president of the Wireless Institute of Australia. Re-elected were Fred Johnson, ZL2AMJ, who was appointed chairman; Yong S. Park, HL1IFM; and Yoshiji Sekido, JJ1OEY. All were elected for three-year terms.

    Dennis, PA7FM, operates as 8P9JT in Barbados during the Low Land DX-pedition Team Caribbean Tour 2000.
  • Caribbean Tour 2000 ends with 64,000+ QSOs: The Low Land DX-pedition Team wrapped up its Caribbean Tour 2000 this past weekend after logging a total of 64,374 contacts from Anguilla (V2), Montserrat (VP2M), and Barbados (8P). During the nearly four-week tour, August 11 to September 4, the team from the Netherlands racked up 31,915 QSOs from Anguilla, 1351 during a brief, unplanned stopover in Montserrat, and 31,108 from Barbados. Operators were active 24 hours a day with two stations--no mean feat for just four operators. The Tour Web site contains the on-line logs, photos, and other information, including RealAudio files of pileups. Visit QSL V26EA,V26ET,V26FM,V26WP,VP2MPA, 8P9JR, 8P9JS, 8P9JT and 8P9JU all via Rob Snieder, PA5ET, Van Leeuwenstraat 137, 2273 VS Voorburg, the Netherlands.

  • Henry R. Kuhn, W8ERG, SK: Henry R. Kuhn, W8ERG, of Cincinnati, Ohio, died June 29. He was 85. As proprietor of Kuhn Electronics during the 1950s and 1960s, he designed, manufactured and marketed communication and audio products, and was among the QST advertisers of that era. Among his products were auto radio converters covering police, ham radio and aircraft frequencies. Kuhn was a member of the Antique Wireless Association and active for more than three decades in Army MARS.--Richard Burnes, W8RGB

  • New emergency communications Web page: An "Emergency Communications" Web Site now is available. The page provides a ready-reference Web Site with links to the latest ARRL bulletins, The ARRL Letter, and weather reports as well as to other Amateur Radio organizations active in emergency operations, such as the Hurricane Watch Net, The Salvation Army Team Emergency Net (SATERN), and SKYWARN. There’s also an Emergency Communications "Q&A" section, and a link to contact varioius ARRL Headquarters personnel during an emergency. Other linked resources include The Net Directory, IARU member societies, ARRL field leadership and club-search.

  • Writer-editor needed at ARRL HQ: ARRL Headquarters seeks an experienced writer-editor to develop content for the ARRL Web site. Duties include writing lively and interesting news and feature stories about ARRL activities and programs, assisting other HQ staff members with developing information for the Web, editing material contributed by others, and reviewing ARRLWeb content to keep it current. Experience in newspaper or Web journalism or public relations plus an Amateur Radio license and experience are required. Experience with incorporating graphics, audio clips, hyperlinks and other interactive elements with written text is a plus. This is a full-time position at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut. Send resume, writing sample and salary expectations to Web Editor Position, Robert Boucher, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; fax 860-594-0298; The ARRL is an equal opportunity employer.


The ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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