*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 19, No. 39 October 13, 2000 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Phase 3D launch delayed * +FCC cuts a deal in amateur enforcement case * +Two hams aboard 100th shuttle mission * +FCC questions business transmissions on ham bands * +ARRL HQ e-mail system recovering * +Nominations open for ARRL Professional Media Award * +N8UR is new TAPR president * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio DARA accepting scholarship applications FCC set to authorize MURS FCC extends filing period in UWB proceeding K2BSA/1 on the air from Connecticut's ScoutShow 2000 ARDF World Championship special event Special event AX2GAMES +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>PHASE 3D LAUNCH DELAYED AMSAT News Service reports the launch of the next-generation Phase 3D Amateur Radio satellite has been delayed until mid-November. The launch agency, Arianespace, had tentatively planned to launch Phase 3D and three other payloads on or about October 31 aboard an Ariane 5 rocket. A new tentative launch date for Ariane Flight 135 has not been announced. AMSAT-DL Executive Vice President Peter Gülzow, DB2OS, has indicated to ANS that one of the payloads scheduled to travel into space with Phase 3D has not yet arrived at the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, but was due to be there "very shortly." Once on-site, the payload still must undergo a detailed launch preparation campaign similar to the one Phase 3D now is completing. In addition to Phase 3D, the Ariane 5 will attempt to orbit the PanAmSat PAS 1R communications satellite and two British Space Technology Research Vehicle microsatellites, STRV 1C and STRV 1D. Gülzow says Phase 3D's fueling operations now are complete. Loading of ammonia was the last step in the fueling process--Phase 3D is only the world's second satellite to use ammonia in its fuel. The satellite also will carry dinitrogen tetroxide, an oxidizer, and monoethylhydrazine, a fuel. Loading each chemical fuel took approximately two days--the first to set up the operation and the second for the actual fueling. Phase 3D team members already have checked out the RF, computer, electronic, and mechanical systems for the satellite before buttoning it up for the last time prior to launch. Phase 3D's solar cells were fitted and tested using high-intensity lights to verify electrical output and battery charging capabilities. In addition, the satellite was fitted into the support bearing structure--or SBS--that will cradle Phase 3D on its ride into space. Phase 3D soon will be moved into the final assembly building at the European Spaceport, where the satellite will be mated to the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. The new satellite, at more than 1400 pounds and nearly 20 feet across, will be the largest Amateur Radio payload ever put into space. Once in space, Phase 3D will be nudged by its onboard thrusters into an elliptical orbit that will put it at 4000 km (approximately 2485 miles) from Earth at its nearest point and 47,700 km (approximately 29,900 miles) at its farthest. The satellite, with an estimated ten-year lifespan, will provide Amateur Radio coverage over North America, Europe and the Far East on several bands from HF through microwave. Gülzow has reminded satellite operators planning to use Phase 3D that it could be a few months after launch before the satellite is ready for general amateur use. For more information, visit the AMSAT-NA Web site, http://www.amsat.org/. ==>FCC CUTS DEAL IN TEXAS AMATEUR INTERFERENCE CASE A Texas amateur facing an $8000 fine in a malicious interference case instead will give up his Amateur Radio license for five years and make a voluntary contribution to the US Treasury. In exchange, the FCC will drop the fine. The FCC this week adopted a consent decree terminating the forfeiture proceeding against Technician licensee Robert L. Meyers, N5WLY. Last spring, the FCC affirmed $8000 fines levied on Meyers and General licensee Paul E. Holcombe, K4TOF, both of Houston. The two were charged with causing malicious interference on a local repeater and with failing to identify. The terms of the agreement call for Meyers to turn in his amateur license and to agree to not reapply for a period of five years. In addition, Meyers has agreed to make a voluntary $1000 contribution to the US Treasury. In return, the FCC will cancel its Forfeiture Order against Meyers--$7000 for malicious interference and $1000 for failing to identify. The consent decree only affects the case against Meyers, who has demonstrated to the FCC that he was financially unable to pay the fine. "We are proceeding to collection of the Holcombe forfeiture," FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth said. He indicated that Meyers now is cooperating with the FCC in its investigation. Meyers and Holcombe each received a Forfeiture Order last May from the FCC's Houston office. The fines followed an FCC investigation last year that involved the use of direction-finding equipment to track interfering signals to Holcolmbe's and Meyers' vehicles. As part of the consent decree, Meyers agrees to not contest the findings of the Forfeiture Order, but he does not admit that he committed the violations either. After the FCC first sent a Notice of Violation and then a Notice of Apparent Liability to each licensee, each responded by denying the allegations. The FCC was unconvinced by their assertions, and said their denials were contradicted by the observations of the FCC agent, who surreptitiously observed each vehicle while the Memorial Emergency Repeater Association's 145.47 machine in Houston was being interfered with. ==>TWO HAMS ABOARD 100TH SHUTTLE MISSION After delays due to bad weather, a possibly problematic retracting bolt, a sluggish valve and a halted countdown to remove a stray tool, the shuttle Discovery lifted off from Cape Canaveral the evening of October 11. The launch was the 100th of the space shuttle program. Two Amateur Radio operators are aboard Discovery. They include Mission Commander Brian Duffy, N5WQW, and Mission Specialist Koichi Wakata, KC5ZTA, who will represent NASDA, the Japanese Space Agency. No Amateur Radio activity is scheduled for this mission, however. Others aboard Discovery will include Pilot Pam Melroy, and mission specialists Leroy Chiao, Bill McArthur, Jeff Wisoff, and Mike Lopez-Alegria. Discovery is on the fifth shuttle construction mission to the International Space Station and the last before the arrival of the ISS Expedition 1 crew in early November. Two new segments of the ISS are in the shuttle's cargo bay--a new docking port for use by future shuttle missions and a nine-ton exterior framework. Shuttle mission STS-92 had been scheduled to launch on October 5, but inclement weather, concerns over a retracting bolt assembly, and a faulty engine valve delayed the launch until this week. Then, with the crew aboard and the countdown running Wednesday, NASA personnel spotted a stray metal pin apparently left behind by a worker on a support strut between the orbiter and the shuttle's giant fuel tank. Launch managers decided to halt the countdown at T-minus 20 minutes and roll the launch tower back into place to retrieve the pin. An investigation is under way to determine how it was left behind and not accounted for. The ISS exterior framework--called the Z1 truss--will be attached to the expanding station. The Z1 will house gyroscopes and communications equipment that will provide future "balance" for the outpost as well as enhanced voice and television capability. A conical mating adapter called Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 will be attached, providing an additional shuttle docking port. During the 11-day mission, Wakata will use the shuttle's robotic arm to attach the framework and mating adapter to the station's Unity module. Amateur Radio on the International Space Station initial station gear was delivered last month by the shuttle Atlantis. The equipment has been stowed aboard the ISS until the Expedition 1 crew of US astronaut Bill Shepherd, KD5GSL, and Russian Cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR, and Yuri Gidzenko come aboard for a four-month stay. The Expedition 1 crew launch currently is targeted for October 30 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.--from NASA news releases and press reports ==>FCC QUESTIONS POSSIBLE "CORPORATE RAIDERS" ON HAM BANDS With complaints involving Amateur Radio licensees on the decline, FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth has been focusing more on unlicensed activity. In a few recent cases, he's questioned businesses about transmissions monitored on amateur bands. In late September, the FCC sent a Warning Notice to Friendly Tree Services of Orange, New Jersey, after members of the amateur community there monitored what appeared to be business-related communications on 2 meters. Citing "information before the Commission," Hollingsworth dropped Friendly Tree a line on September 29 to inquire about transmissions monitored on 144.085 MHz. Monitoring information provided to the FCC indicated that an apparently unlicensed station was conducting business on 2 meters using a "base station and at least four trucks." The amateurs made the connection with the tree service after overhearing directions to a particular street address given over the air. The amateurs drove to the address and spotted one of the company's trucks and a worker at the site. Another Warning Notice went out in late September to Inland Materials Inc of Casselberry, Florida. That Notice cited information alleging that the company was transmitting on 438.537 MHz without a license. According to Hollingsworth, amateur reports indicated that one channel of the company's business radio system transmits on an amateur frequency, but he said it was unclear if this was by design or simply an error. Hollingsworth has advised the two companies that unlicensed operation is a violation of federal law that could result in a fine of up to $10,000 and jeopardize any FCC licenses the companies already hold. Hollingsworth requested both firms to contact him within 10 days to discuss the matter. The FCC also notified AT&T Wireless PCS in late September to inquire about allegations that the PCS system's KNLF245 in Newport News, Virginia, may be causing harmful interference to the KA4VXR Amateur Radio repeater in nearby Hampton. The FCC requested that AT&T contact the repeater system's trustee to "explore a solution to the problem" and to advise the FCC of its findings. The FCC is continuing to investigate allegations raised earlier this year that the Citipage Plus paging system in Las Vegas, Nevada, has been causing harmful interference to the N7OK repeater on 147.09 MHz. ==>ARRL HEADQUARTERS E-MAIL RESUSCITATED, RECOVERING The ARRL Headquarters e-mail system appears to be on its way to a full recovery. The system is again running--albeit sluggishly--and efforts continue to clear remaining problems. The system went down over the Columbus Day weekend. Although some e-mail managed to trickle in and out of ARRL Headquarters during the week, the system was shut down to users for the better part of four days. ARRL Information Systems Department Manager Don Durand said that recovery utilities used in the wake of the crash apparently did the trick. E-mail service in and out of ARRL Headquarters was restarted at noon Thursday Eastern Time. Staff members were still catching up on their e-mail traffic by week's end. Durand has emphasized that the problems with the Headquarters e-mail system have not affected the ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service. The e-mail system problems arose after a Headquarters staff member routinely set up his ARRL account to forward e-mail to his personal AOL e-mail account while he was out of town. When the staffer's AOL in basket became full and refused to accept new messages, however, e-mail began bouncing back to his ARRL account. At that point, the League's e-mail server attempted to send the bounced traffic back to AOL, creating a "feedback loop" that eventually led to the corruption of software on the League's e-mail server. Because of the e-mail problems, ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, has extended until October 18, 2000 the deadline to submit entries for the ARRL September VHF QSO Party. He also has recommended that anyone who submitted a log after October 5 should resubmit the entry. ==>NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR 2000 PROFESSIONAL MEDIA AWARD The ARRL is accepting nominations for the 2000 Professional Media Award, which pays tribute to the late CBS News President Bill Leonard, W2SKE. The award goes each year to a professional journalist whose coverage best reflects the enjoyment, importance and public service value of Amateur Radio. The deadline for entries is December 15, 2000. Nominations will be judged by ARRL's Public Relations Committee, and the winner will be recommended to the Board of Directors for consideration at its January 2001 meeting. The winner receives a plaque and a cash award of $500. Leonard was an avid Amateur Radio operator most active in the 1960s and 1970s. In Amateur Radio circles, he is remembered for his 1958 contribution to Sports Illustrated, "The Battle of the Hams," (http://hamradio-online.com/1996/jan/hams.html) which covered the "sport" of DX contesting. In addition to describing Amateur Radio and identifying some of the notables of the day, the article details the K2GL operation during the 1958 running of the ARRL International DX Contest. Leonard was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1996. Last year's award went to Jeff Holland, staff writer for the Monroe, NC, Enquirer Journal. For more information about the award or to obtain a nomination form and entry rules, contact ARRL Media Relations Manager Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, email@example.com ; 860-594-0328. ==>TAPR ELECTS NEW OFFICERS John Ackermann, N8UR, is the new president of TAPR--Tucson Amateur Packet Radio. Ackermann was elected during TAPR's annual board meeting, held in conjunction with the 19th ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference in Orlando, Florida, September 21-24. Ackermann, who had served as TAPR's vice president, succeeds Greg Jones, WD5IVD, who had served as president since 1993. Steve Bible, N7HPR, was chosen to replace Ackermann as vice president. Bob Hanson, N2GDE, was re-elected secretary, and Jim Neely, WA5LHS, remains treasurer. Ackermann credited Jones with leading TAPR through a period of growth and innovation. "His retirement leaves a void in TAPR that will be hard to fill." An ARRL member, Ackermann, who formerly was AG9V, lives in Dayton, Ohio, and has served on the TAPR Board of Directors and as vice president since 1995. Bible, a League member who lives in Kingsland, Georgia, has been a TAPR Board member since 1996. He is leading TAPR's development of a road map to develop software defined radio technology for amateur use. Ackermann said that his primary objective will be to ensure that TAPR remains on the cutting edge of radio technology, with a special emphasis on emerging concepts such as software defined radios. The annual Digital Communications Conference attracted 135 amateurs. The DCC includes a presentation of technical papers, hands-on demonstrations, and beginner's sessions. Proceedings from the 19th ARRL/TAPR 2000 Digital Communications Conference are available from ARRL for $15. Order Item 8144. DCC 2001 will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, September 21-23, 2001.--TAPR ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar sage Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar flux and sunspot numbers were down again this week. Average sunspot numbers were down by more than 66 points, and average solar flux by almost 43 when compared to the previous week. We are surely at the peak of this solar cycle. Since there is so much daily variation in solar indices, we won't know until much later when the peak actually occurred, however. Solar watchers and HF radio aficionados wonder if during the final quarter the sun will give us some more activity, yielding a later peak. Geomagnetic indices were very quiet from October 6-9. Solar flux reached a recent short term minimum of 139.6 on October 10. Activity is again increasing. Planetary A index was expected to rise to 35 on Friday, October 13, then hit 15 the next day and 12 for Sunday and Monday. Solar flux values for the same four days are predicted to be 170, 180, 195 and 205. The current rise in geomagnetic activity is due to a full halo coronal mass ejection October 9. Solar flux is expected to peak at 220 around October 18 and 19, and not dip below 200 until October 28. The next short term solar flux minimum is expected around November 5-7. Average solar flux predicted for the next 45 days is 191, which is a bit higher than the average for the first three quarters of this year. Sunspot numbers for October 5 through 11 were 145, 127, 94, 128, 106, 95 and 131, with a mean of 118. The 10.7-cm flux was 173.8, 158.1, 155.6, 148.9, 140.8, 139.6 and 151.4, with a mean of 152.6. The estimated planetary A indices were 96, 6, 7, 5, 5, 12 and 14 with a mean of 20.7. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The Pennsylvania QSO Party, the FISTS CW Fall Sprint, and the ARRL International EME Competition are the weekend of October 14-15. JUST AHEAD: The Arkansas and Illinois QSO parties, the VK/ZL/Oceania Contest (CW) and the RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest (SSB) are the weekend of October 21-22. See October QST, page 100, for details. * DARA accepting scholarship applications: The Dayton Amateur Radio Association now is accepting applications for its annual scholarships. Applicants must be graduating high school seniors in 2001 and hold a valid FCC Amateur Radio license of any class. The DARA scholarships are awarded in varying amounts up to $2000, as determined by the scholarship committee, and may be used for tuition at an institution of higher learning as outlined in the application. To obtain an application, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to DARA Scholarships, 45 Cinnamon Ct, Springboro, OH 45066. Applications must be postmarked by June 1, 20001.--Stan Kuck, NY8F * FCC set to authorize MURS: With no fanfare, the FCC is set to authorize a new Citizens Band Radio Service to be called the Multi-Use Radio Service, or MURS. The service, which came about as part of the biennial review of Part 90 of the FCC's rules, will deploy five former Private Land Mobile Radio Service VHF "color dot" channels for voice, data and imaging transmissions. The channels, 151.82, 151.88, 151.94, 154.57 and 154.60--will be authorized for up to 2 W on an unlicensed basis under Part 95 of the FCC's rules. The establishment of MURS was buried within a huge Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making released this summer as WT Docket 98-182 and PR Docket 92-235. The FCC said it will "revisit" the issue of allocating additional MURS channels "at a later date should additional support develop." The effective date to deploy MURS is pending completion of the FCC proceeding.--FCC * FCC extends filing period in UWB proceeding: The FCC has extended the time period to file reply comments in is proceeding to revise Part 15 regarding ultra-wideband transmission systems (ET Docket 98-153). The deadline has been extended to October 27.--FCC Daily Digest * K2BSA/1 on the air from Connecticut's ScoutShow 2000: The Boy Scouts of America K2BSA station will be on the air October 13-15 from Connecticut Rivers Council's ScoutShow 2000 on the Connecticut shoreline. Nearly 7000 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorers and Leaders are expected to attend ScoutShow 2000 at Hammonasset State Park. Two stations will be on the air. ARRL Headquarters staff member Larry Wolfgang, WR1B, will be among those on hand. * ARDF World Championship special event: Special event station BT4ARDF will be on the air October 13-18 to commemorate the 10th Amateur Radio Direction Finding World Championship in Nanjing, China. BT4ARDF will be active on 40 through 10 meters, SSB and CW. QSL via the operator's home call sign. The Chinese Radio Sports Association will host this year's event from October 13 through 18 in Nanjing City. A dozen US entrants under team captain Dale Hunt, WB6BYU, are competing for individual and team medals in separate events on 80 and two meters. The ARRL is covering the entry fees and food, lodging, and transportation expenses of Team USA while it's in China--The Daily DX; Joe Moell, K0OV * Special event AX2GAMES: Members of the Manly-Warringah Radio Society in Sydney, Australia, activated the special call sign AX2GAMES during the Olympics. AX2GAMES will reactivate for the Paralympics October 28-29. Activity will be mostly on 20, 15 and 10 meters. QSL via VK2PS.--Richard Murnane, VK2SKY =========================================================== The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; http://www.arrl.org. 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