ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

The ARRL Letter

Volume 19, Number 36
September 22, 2000

IN THIS EDITION:

+Available on ARRL Audio News

HAYNIE RAISES VISIBILITY OF AMATEUR ISSUES IN DC VISIT

ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, promoted issues of importance to Amateur Radio during visits to Capitol Hill and at the FCC and the American Red Cross the week of September 11.

"We're in there competing with the big boys in telecommunications, and we've got to maintain a high profile, because we're all in the same arena," Haynie said in the wake of his second trip this year to Washington. Haynie and an ARRL entourage also visited in the capital last March. "Making visits like these doesn't just help ARRL members," Haynie said. "It helps all amateurs."

Accompanying Haynie this time were ARRL Technical Relations Manager Paul Rinaldo, W4RI; ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, and Legislative Affairs and Public Relations Manager Steve Mansfield, N1MZA. Manfield notes that Haynie's visit complemented "hundreds of visits" on Capitol Hill and to the FCC and other agencies that he and other ARRL staff members make every year.

Haynie chats with the FCC's Bill Cross, W3TN, of the Public Safety and Private Wireless Bureau.
Haynie meets with FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth.

During meetings with FCC officials--which included a chat with Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth--Haynie says he stressed the League's position on restrictive covenants--sometimes also called deed restrictions or CC&Rs. The ARRL has petitioned the FCC to incorporate restrictive covenants as part of the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1. The ARRL team also met with Private Wireless Division Chief D'Wana Terry and with Bill Cross, W3TN, and other Wireless Telecommunications Bureau staffers.

Wireless Adviser and Legal Counsel to FCC Chairman William Kennard Clint Odom (left) listens as ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, makes a point.

Haynie said the CC&R discussions focused on the impact that restrictive covenants have on the basis and purpose of Amateur Radio already codified in the FCC's rules. Haynie raised the issue of restrictive covenants at several other stops on his Washington tour.

The League delegation also visited with Dale Hatfield, W0IFO, and staff members of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology that he heads. Software-defined radios were part of the discussions at OET. Haynie said the OET has approached the League about participating in some noise-floor measurement tests in spectrum occupied by Part 15 devices. Discussions also touched on Amateur Radio exam questions, RF interference issues, spread spectrum, and the League's pending petition for a low-frequency allocation.

Haynie shakes hands with Dutch Consulate General Alexander C. H. van Schelle (left) while Rep Pete Sessions (R-TX) looks on. (Sessions' chief of staff is Jeff Koch, NU5Z.) Haynie said that van Schelle expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the role that Amateur Radio operators played in helping the van Tuijl family earlier this year after their son, Willem, was wounded by pirates off the coast of Honduras. Amateurs assisted Jacco and Janni van Tuijl, KH2TD and KH2TE respectively, over the air after the incident. Haynie and Sessions were instrumental in getting the boy to the US for medical care and rehabilitation. [ARRL Photos by Brooks Blunck, W3BCW]

Haynie also used the occasion of his Washington visits to drum up support for his educational initiative--formally called the ARRL Amateur Radio Education Project but often referred to as "The Big Project." Haynie says that he and the ARRL contingent talked about education and The Big Project at every stop and said he's exploring federal funding resources through the FCC. Haynie has been seeking funding for the project from corporate and foundation sources.

Haynie said a highlight of his Washington tour was a luncheon meeting with Beltway area hams familiar with or involved in public telecommunications policy. Haynie said the gathering was an effort to reconstitute the old "Washington Watch" group of years past to--as Haynie put it--"establish a working relationship with people on The Hill we might call on" to work with in the future on Amateur Radio-related issues.

The ARRL delegation also visited the national headquarters of the American Red Cross and toured the Red Cross communications facility. The League officials also huddled with Emergency Communications Manager Paul Reid, N4EKW, at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters and discussed a pending memorandum of understanding.

Haynie and Andy Butler, president of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, and the two signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on future projects, including the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Project.

Haynie said he was encouraged by the League's reception in Washington. "My sense was one of great progress," he said, adding that he believes continued contact with Washington will pay off for Amateur Radio in the future.

PHASE 3D LAUNCH CAMPAIGN UNDER WAY

The launch campaign for the next-generation Amateur Radio Phase 3D satellite has begun at the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, where the satellite has been in storage since spring. Phase 3D is tentatively set to go into space aboard an Ariane 5 rocket no earlier than November 4. A specific launch date has not yet been announced.

An artist's rendering of the Phase 3D spacecraft, now tentatively set to launch no sooner than November 3.

AMSAT-DL Executive Vice President Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, is heading the launch team in Kourou, filling in for Phase 3D Project Leader Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC. Meinzer underwent surgery this summer and was unable to make the trip to South America. An advance P3D launch team arrived in Kourou September 9, and the group since has swelled to 16.

"P3D is doing just fine!" AMSAT-NA President Keith Baker, KB1SF, enthused this week. "Things are going well, and there are no significant issues." Baker said the team's primary task is to coordinate with the launch agency, Arianespace.

The Ariane 5 launch vehicle. [Arianespace photo]

AMSAT News Service says the team has pronounced Phase 3D in excellent condition. The satellite's batteries have been recharged, and RF testing of transmitter and receiver systems has gone smoothly. The team earlier carried out propulsion system pressure tests.

AMSAT and Phase 3D officials were encouraged by the September 14 Ariane 5 launch that they'd been keeping an eye on as a bellwether for the next-in-line Phase 3D launch. The Ariane 5 successfully delivered a pair of communication satellites into the desired geostationary transfer orbit after what was called "a spectacular launch" from the European Spaceport.

A launch contract accepting Phase 3D as a payload for the first suitable Ariane 5 launch vehicle was signed last fall. More information about Phase 3D is on the AMSAT-NA Web site.

HAMS MOBILIZE AS GORDON STRIKES FLORIDA'S GULF COAST

As authorities ordered the evacuation of some Florida Gulf Coast areas in advance of Hurricane Gordon Sunday, Amateur Radio operators went on alert to assist. Gordon, subsequently downgraded to a tropical storm, caused flooding and power outages but no injuries or deaths.

Tampa saw a storm surge four feet above normal Sunday night. Rainfall of up to 10 inches fell in the storm's wake from Fort Myers north to Cedar Key. Southwestern Florida also experienced some flooding. Several shelters were open and manned by amateurs. The Red Cross says only about 500 people took advantage of shelters. At the peak of the storm, some 120,000 customers--most in the Tampa metro area--were without power.

The Hurricane Watch Net activated over the weekend on 14.325 MHz when the storm was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane. "Since Gordon stayed pretty much out in the Gulf of Mexico, there was very little in the way of reporting," said Net Manager Jerry Herman, N3BDW. Herman reports the Net stood down at 2100 UTC Sunday, after Gordon was downgraded to a tropical storm.

Amateur Radio emergency nets on VHF and UHF as well as regional HF nets were called up as the storm threatened. At one point, the FCC Tampa Field Office declared a voluntary communications emergency for frequencies on 75 and 40 meters.

Paul Toth, NA4R (left), handles the APRS station at WX4TBW, while West Central Florida SM Dave Armbrust, AE4MR (center), keeps an ear on the HF net, and Walt Zeleski of the National Weather Service stops by for an update.

West Central Florida Section Manager Dave Armbrust, AE4MR, said he and Section Emergency Coordinator David Colburn, KD4E, had been planning to attend a meeting of emergency coordinators Saturday. "But instead we skipped that step and brought you the real thing!" he said.

Armbrust said Gordon came up quickly, but Florida Amateur Radio Emergency Service and SKYWARN teams were not caught off guard. "SKYWARN was active in nine of the ten counties in the West Central Florida Section," he said. Armbrust said he rode out the storm at the Ruskin National Weather Service facility to keep track of the storm's path to the north. He and Assistant SM Paul Toth, NA4R, and Darrel Davis, KT4WX, kept in touch with the section via West Central Florida SKYWARN Group station WX4TBW at the NWS site.

Armbrust says that the hams at the NWS station took numerous damage reports from Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. "They included a structure that lost its roof, and spray that was flying six feet over a bridge," he said. He said several major bridges from Pinellas to Hillsborough were closed due to flooding. The team also took several damage reports from the Sheriffs Tactical Amateur Radio Club, located at the 911 emergency center in Hillsborough. Pinellas County SKYWARN Director and Assistant EC Jack Belich, WB4PBF, says SKYWARN ran nearly continuously all weekend, forwarding more than 100 severe weather and damage reports.

Hams went on alert in Northern Florida, but Gordon didn't show. The storm lost its punch shortly after coming ashore and dissipated. ARRL Northern Florida Section Manager Rudy Hubbard, WA4PUP, says three ARES districts in his section worked under a single communications plan for this event, and he was pleased with the level of cooperation. The Jax SKYWARN Association's WX4JAX at the Jacksonville NWS office also was on the air over the weekend to gather spotter reports and issue weather bulletins.

"We dodged another bullet," Capital District EC Kent Hutchinson, KC4TOC, said in a report to Hubbard. "We planned, and we were ready."

By week's end, the Florida Panhandle appeared poised to dodge another bullet as Tropical Storm Helene weakened and a hurricane watch was canceled.

HAMS MUSTER AFTER TWISTER RIPS XENIA, OHIO

One person was killed and dozens injured when a tornado ripped through Xenia, Ohio, Wednesday evening around 7:30 PM Eastern. An Amateur Radio Emergency Service was established, and at week's end hams continued to assist the Red Cross and local emergency management officials in the stricken area.

Ohio Gov Bob Taft declared a state of emergency for the southwestern Ohio community, which is about 15 miles east of downtown Dayton. The National Weather Service classified Wednesday's tornado as a F4 on the Fujita scale, with winds ranging between 207 and 260 MPH.

Greene County Emergency Coordinator Fred Stone, W8LLY, says a tactical net supporting the Greene County EOC was established on the Xenia Weather Amateur Radio Net 147.165 MHz repeater. A Red Cross net was set up to handle shelter support. Amateurs also were assisting with the damage assessment effort. Hams also relayed information between Greene Memorial Hospital in downtown Xenia and outlying hospitals. The tactical net was secured Thursday afternoon.

Area residents said they had little or no warning that the storm was on its way. The weather service had issued a severe thunderstorm watch, but no tornado watches or warnings. The storm knocked out power to much of Xenia. Repeaters remained operational, however. Amateurs reportedly helped to set up shelters and secure generators for emergency power to aid in searches for victims.

In addition to downed trees and power lines, heavy damage was reported at the Greene County Fairgrounds, where a festival was under way. The storm's winds overturned vehicles, shattered windows, and leveled or damaged dozens of structures. Hail also was reported, and a church lost its roof. Most of a grocery store collapsed, and seven people were trapped inside.

"Overall, everything operated very smoothly, said Stone, who also thanked amateurs from adjacent counties who checked in and offered assistance. "That's the way it should work, and does work, when the chips are down."

"The big job now is cleanup!" he said.

The Wednesday storm was a grim reminder of the deadly 1974 tornado that struck Xenia, killing nearly three dozen people and leveling much of the city. Forecasters say the September 20 twister followed roughly the same path as the earlier--and much more destructive--storm.

ZD9ZM ANTENNAS DAMAGED BY STORM

Bob Henderson, G3ZEM/ZD9ZM.

Since early September, Bob Henderson, G3ZEM, has been making rare Tristan da Cunha available to the DX community as ZD9ZM. Now, that DXpedition has run into some rough weather, and the news is not good for operators who had hoped to snag ZD9ZM on the low bands.

According to Steve Wilson, G3VMW, the island suffered a severe storm the evening of September 20. Both ZD9ZM's Titanex vertical and WARC beam were badly damaged by high winds. Only an HF tribander and a 30-meter vertical remain in operation, limiting his activity to 30, 20, 15, and 10 meters.

Edinburg Settlement, the site of ZD9ZM. [G3ZEM/ZD9ZM Photos]

The 53rd most-wanted DXCC entity, Tristan da Cunha is comprised of a group of small volcanic islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, midway between Africa and South America.

Henderson has been handing out especially-sought-after 160 and 80-meter QSOs over the last few days. Unfortunately, further activity on these bands is not anticipated for the remainder of Henderson's operation, which is scheduled to end on September 25. As of September 20, ZD9ZM had racked up 17,600 QSOs. Stations wanting to know if they're in the log may visit the ZD9ZM On-Line Log. For more information, visit the ZD9ZM home page.--Bill Feidt, NG3K, Contributing Editor

FORMER ARRL VICE DIRECTOR JIM KNOCHENHAUER, K6ITL, SK

Former ARRL Pacific Division Vice Director Jim "Knock" Knochenhauer, K6ITL, of San Mateo, California, died September 16. He was 73. An ARRL Life Member, Knochenhauer served as Vice Director from 1986 until 1988 during former ARRL President Rod Stafford's tenure as Pacific Director.

"Jim was a strong supporter of ARRL, an avid DXer, and was for many years the San Mateo County RACES officer," said Pacific Division Director Jim Maxwell, W6CF, was among those who attended Knochenhauer's funeral September 20 in San Mateo. Knochenhauer also served as a member of an ad hoc committee that prepared an early version of the DXCC field-checking rules and was Board liaison to the ARRL Bioeffects Committee--the predecessor to today's RF Safety Committee. He was a member of the San Mateo Radio Club and the Northern California DX Club.

Survivors include Knochenhauer's wife, Martha, and eight children. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Cancer Society or a favorite charity in Knochenhauer's memory.

SOLAR UPDATE

Sun watcher Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: This week we can report the appearance of sunspot 9169, the largest observed in nine years. The area of this spot is a dozen times the area of the earth's surface, and what should make it interesting for HF radio is that it is rotating toward the center of the sun's earth-facing hemisphere, which aims its effects right toward us. A large sunspot such as this can produce big solar flares, but so far this one, although magnetically complex, seems quiet.

Solar flux has been much higher this week than predicted. Last week's bulletin projected a solar flux around 170, but by Sunday it was above 180 and the next day over 200.

The projected solar flux for the next five days, Friday through Tuesday, is 230, 235, 235, 230 and 225. The planetary A index for those same days is expected to be around 10, 10, 10, 15 and 12. So, for this weekend we not only have the autumnal equinox, which is a great time for HF propagation, but increasing solar flux and sunspot numbers as well. This means good conditions--as long as geomagnetic activity stays low.

Sunspot numbers for September 14 through 20 were 109, 113, 148, 146, 154, 140 and 171 with a mean of 140.1. The 10.7 cm flux was 150.8, 159.4, 174.6, 181.5, 203.8, 207.1 and 211.4, with a mean of 184.1, and estimated planetary A indices were 6, 10, 21, 40, 45, 27 and 13 with a mean of 23.1.

In Brief:

  • This weekend on the radio: The Scandinavian Activity Contest (SSB), the CQ/RJ WW RTTY Contest, the Alabama Heart of Dixie QSO Party, and the 2000 Fall Classic (and Homebrew) Radio Exchange are the weekend of September 23-25. See September QST, page 102, for details. Just ahead: The Louisiana and Texas QSO parties are the weekend of September 30-October 1. See October QST, page 100, for details.

  • New Jersey city says "Both hands on the wheel!" The Township Council of Marlboro, New Jersey, got the nod from the state Department of Transportation to put signs up on all roads leading into the area that say Marlboro prohibits the use of cellular telephones while driving. Local law-enforcement officers say they will wait until the estimated 50 signs have been planted before they begin handing out warnings and tickets. New Jersey's State Senate will watch the Marlboro development before it introduces a statewide ban on talking while driving. While the ordinance apparently does not mention hands-free devices, it does say drivers who don't keep both hands on the wheel while talking could be fined up to $250.--reported by the Asbury Park Press

  • Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for September was David Blaschke, W5UN, for his article "MBA: The Mighty Big Antenna." Congratulations, Dave! ARRL members are reminded that the winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author(s) of the best article in each issue--now is determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes place each month on the ARRL Members Only Web site. As soon as your copy arrives, cast a ballot for your choice as the favorite article in the October issue of QST. Voting ends October 15.

  • AMSAT-NA board members re-elected: Three members of the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors have been re-elected in balloting just completed. Chosen to serve new two-year terms were Keith Baker, KB1SF; Tom Clark, W3IWI; and Andy MacCallister, W5ACM. As the fourth-highest vote getter, AMSAT's Houston Area Coordinator Bruce Paige, KK5DO, will serve as an alternate until the next election in 2001. The new terms for Baker, Clark and MacCallister begin at the AMSAT-NA Board meeting October 29. Baker also serves as AMSAT-NA President. Clark is president emeritus, and MacCallister is vice president/user services.--AMSAT-NA

  • Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, to edit Youth@HamRadio.Fun for AWE: The 1999 winner of the ARRL's presigious Hiram Percy Maxim Award, Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the editor of a new youth-oriented column in The ARRLWeb Extra on the ARRL's Members Only Web site. Look for Brian's debut column. Brian, 20, is a senior in electrical engineering at the University of New Mexico and an active amateur. Share your ideas and suggestions for future columns with him at n5zgt@arrl.net.

  • Delayed amateur satellite launches rescheduled: Three Amateur Radio satellites are set to be launched September 27. SAUDISAT-1A and SAUDISAT-1B and TIUNGSAT-1 had been scheduled for launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on August 25, but Mark Kanawati, N4TPY, reports the launch was automatically halted seconds prior to takeoff due to an abnormal pressure indication in the rocket, and a decision was made to replace the launch vehicle. The SAUDISATs will be able to operate 9600 baud digital store-and-forward as well as FM "bent pipe" mode. The uplinks will be on VHF and the downlinks in UHF. The downlink for SAUDISAT-1A is 437.075 MHz; the downlink for SAUDISAT-1B is 436.775 MHz. The uplinks will be published after the satellites have been launched and checked out. TIUNGSAT-1, the first Malaysian amateur satellite, will offer FM and FSK (at 9.6, 38.4, and 76.8 kB) with uplinks at 144.46, 145.85, and 145.86 MHz and downlinks at 437.300, 437.325, 437.350, and 437.375 MHz. The satellite also carries land and weather imaging payloads.--Bruce Paige, KK5DO

  • Join the ARRL HQ staff! We are looking for a full-time technical editor to join the Publications Group at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut. Duties include editing technical book manuscripts for technical accuracy, style and clarity; planning and organizing editing projects so they are completed by their assigned deadlines; and helping to generate new material for ARRL publications by soliciting high-quality publications material from outside authors and through original writing. The successful candidate will have a wide breadth of Amateur Radio knowledge and experience. Technical degree and two years of writing/editing experience or extensive writing/editing experience required. Amateur Extra Class license, proficiency with Microsoft Office, familiarity with Amateur Radio software and the technical state of the art also preferred. Send resume, writing sample and salary expectations to Technical Editor Position, Robert Boucher, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; fax 860-594-0298; rboucher@arrl.org. The ARRL is an equal opportunity employer.

  • Ted M. Marks, W2FG, SK: Well-known DXer Ted Marks, W2FG, of Kendall Park, New Jersey, died September 13. He was 56. An ARRL Life Member, Marks served as the first chairman of the ARRL DX Advisory Committee. He held DXCC for phone, CW, and RTTY (326 entities on RTTY alone) and was on the DXCC Honor Roll with a mixed total of 360 entities. Marks also had served as an ARRL Hudson Division assistant director and as an ARRL-VEC volunteer examiner. He was past president of the North New Jersey DX Association.--Scott Weis, KB2EAR, via The Hudson Loop

  • VK radio amateurs set to lose 420-430 MHz: The Wireless Institute of Australia has been told by the Australian Communications Authority that the commercialization of spectrum between 420 and 430 MHz is going forward. The WIA says the Amateur Service is "left out in the cold" in the reallocation schemes--initially in Western Australia. The ACA has indicated that it is under pressure to retrieve the lower end of 70-cm spectrum for the Land Mobile Service in other parts of Australia as well. As a result, the WIA says the 70 CM band plan will need to be revised. The 420 430 MHz band currently is designated for repeater inter-linking and amateur television. Australian hams will continue to have 430-450 MHz on a secondary basis. That includes the Amateur Satellite band 435-438 MHz.--WIA
  •  

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