*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 19, No. 40 October 20, 2000 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Phase 3D launch set for November 14 * +Hams on standby following Kentucky sludge disaster * +FCC commends value of band plans * +Shared amateur allocations appear safe * +Ham-astronaut gets space walk thrill * Technical award nominees sought * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio Clarification Correction +US call signs issued for space station operation +Ham among six "flying doctors" killed in plane crash Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award +AMSAT 2000 special event FCC approves GPS-capable FRS Gerald W. Mason, W1KRF, SK +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>PHASE 3D NOW SET TO LAUNCH NOVEMBER 14 The next-generation Phase 3D Amateur Radio satellite is scheduled to go into space Tuesday, November 14, from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Launch agency Arianespace announced the revised launch date for the Ariane 5 Flight 135 this week. The launch was delayed from a tentative October 31 launch window opening after another payload aboard the flight was late in arriving at Kourou. AMSAT-DL Executive Vice President Peter Gülzow, DB2OS--who's heading up the Phase 3D launch campaign--says Phase 3D has passed all of its pre-launch inspections, testing, and preparation and is "ready to fly." Gülzow has been filling in for Phase 3D Project Leader Karl Meizer, DJ4ZC. AMSAT News Service reported this week that Phase 3D was being moved into the final assembly building at the European Spaceport, where it will remain "on hold" until the launch date. Once the other Flight 135 payloads arrive, all will be mated to the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. 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. Phase 3D 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 some 2500 miles from Earth at its nearest point, and nearly 30,000 miles at its farthest. After Phase 3D is in its intended orbit, it's expected to be a few months before it's commissioned and ready for general amateur use. For more information, visit the AMSAT-NA Web site, http://www.amsat.org/. ==>KENTUCKY HAMS HELP IN COAL SLUDGE SPILL DISASTER Amateur Radio operators in eastern Kentucky this week helped their neighbors to cope with a lack of drinking water in the wake of a coal sludge spill that cut off water supplies. More than 200 million gallons of coal waste flooded waterways without warning October 11 after a coal plant retention pond near Inez gave way. The resulting pollution--described as being the consistency of wet cement or molasses--has forced communities in the path of the spill to close water intakes and rely on existing water supplies. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service has not yet been activated, but ARES remains on stand-by to provide emergency communication, if needed. Section Emergency Coordinator Ron Dodson, KA4MAP, says the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management requested Amateur Radio assistance in Martin County, where the spill originated. In Lawrence County, Emergency Coordinator Fred Jones, WA4SWF, says hams were helping to supplement communication among the different agencies involved whose radios operate on a variety of different frequencies. But Jones says the primary need was making sure affected residents had water to drink, cook, and bathe with. While the cleanup is under way, fire is a big concern, according to Jones. "That is the big thing they're worrying about. Our storage tanks are low," he said. "If we have a fire here, we're going to have a pretty big problem." He says water can't be pumped from the contaminated river for fear the sludge will stop up the pumps on the fire equipment. Another worry is the possibility of bad weather. "If we have a big rain right now, it will back that river up big time and flood all these people," Jones predicted. Kentucky Gov Paul Patton declared a state of emergency October 16 in a large portion of northeastern Kentucky. Affected are the counties of Boyd, Bracken, Carter, Fleming, Greenup, Lawrence, Lewis, Martin, Mason, and Robertson. ==>FCC COMMENDS BAND PLANS IN ENFORCEMENT LETTER FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth used the occasion of an enforcement letter to commend the value of band plans. "Although band plans are not mandatory, they exist to enhance the required cooperation and sharing of frequencies in the Amateur Service," Hollingsworth said in an enforcement inquiry to a Connecticut ham. The FCC wrote Advanced licensee Alan J. Koepke, K1JCL, on October 11, 2000, citing complaints received by the Commission alleging that Koepke was operating an uncoordinated AM-mode repeater on 144.65 MHz that was causing interference to coordinated repeaters in Massachusetts and New York using that frequency as an input. "Evidence indicates that you have been coordinated, but not for that frequency configuration," Hollingsworth wrote. The ARRL Repeater Directory indicates that the Connecticut Spectrum Management Association coordinated the K1JCL 2-meter machine for output on 145.25 MHz and a 600-kHz negative offset input. Hollingsworth says Koepke apparently has flipped the input and output frequencies for which his 2-meter repeater was coordinated, contrary to the prevailing band plan. In addition, Hollingsworth said, Koepke has been using a non-standard spacing that may be contrary to its coordination. He has asked Koepke to explain that and to answer other questions about the repeater's coordination and operation. "A repeater operating contrary to coordination is an uncoordinated repeater," Hollingsworth told Koepke. Citing Section 97.205 of the rules, Hollingsworth said that where there is interference between a coordinated and an uncoordinated repeater, "the licensee of the uncoordinated repeater has the responsibility to resolve the interference." "Band plans minimize the necessity for Commission intervention in Amateur operations and the use of Commission resources to resolve amateur interference problems," Hollingsworth wrote in expressing the FCC's position on band plans. "When such plans are not followed and harmful interference results, we expect very substantial justification to be provided, and we expect that justification to be consistent with Section 97.101." Hollingsworth said he included the statement to reiterate where the FCC stands on the question of band plans. "You can't possibly have a rule for every circumstance," he said. Last December the FCC dismissed an ARRL petition calling on the Commission to equate observance of voluntary band plans with "good amateur practice." The FCC said defining band plans as the ARRL had proposed "would have the effect of transforming voluntary band plans into de facto required mandates," something inconsistent with current FCC policy. ==>SHARED AMATEUR ALLOCATIONS UNAFFECTED BY WHITE HOUSE ORDER A White House announcement directing federal agencies to work with the FCC and the private sector to identify spectrum for next-generation wireless services will not likely have any impact on amateur allocations. The October 13 Executive Memorandum issued by President Bill Clinton follows the path agreed to during the World Radiocommunication Conference earlier this year to make frequencies available for so-called 3G (third-generation) or IMT (International Mobile Telecommunications)-2000 portable wireless devices. The announcement sparked alarm among some members of the amateur community that a government-industry spectrum grab was under way. Some expressed fears that spectrum amateurs now share with the US Government, primarily the military, could be lost. Breathless media accounts referring to the White House announcement as "extraordinary" didn't help matters. "It's nothing for amateurs to get excited about," ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, said. Sumner points out that the memorandum merely implements previously announced plans to reallocate frequencies spelled out at WRC-2000. As reported in August QST (see "World Radiocommunication Conference" starting on page 51), IMT-2000 proponents sought at least 160 MHz of spectrum for handset-to-satellite applications. Amateur Radio dodged a bullet at 2.3 to 2.4 GHz when delegates were able to find the needed spectrum elsewhere. The bands identified at WRC-2000 for IMT-2000 terrestrial use are 862-960 MHz in Region 1, 806-902 MHz and 928-960 MHz in Region 2, and 806-960 MHz in Region 3, in addition to 1710-1885 MHz and 2500-2690 MHz. Some mobile-satellite service bands also have been identified for the satellite component of IMT-2000. According to ARRL Technical Relations Manager Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, not all of the frequency bands identified at WRC-2000 are destined for reallocation for 3G users in the US. The President's order calls on the Secretary of Commerce to "work cooperatively with the FCC" to develop, by October 20, a plan to select third-generation wireless system spectrum. An interim report due by November 15, 2000, would spell out current spectrum uses and the potential for reallocation or sharing "of the bands identified at WRC-2000 that could be used for third generation wireless systems." "Time is of the essence," Clinton said in a statement accompanying the memorandum. Spectrum reallocations plans are to be firmed up by next July, with auction licenses issued to competing applicants by the fall of 2002. In an unrelated matter, the FCC transferred government spectrum at 3.6 GHz to nongovernment commercial use. The FCC allocated 3650 to 3700 MHz for fixed and mobile commercial wireless services. ==>HAM ABOARD DISCOVERY GETS SPACE WALK THRILL US astronaut Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, aboard the shuttle Discovery got the thrill of a lifetime last weekend as he joined fellow Mission Specialist Leroy Chiao during a more than six hour spacewalk. "This is too cool! McArthur said October 15 when he got a look at the International Space Station from outside the shuttle. "Awesome," Chiao countered. He and Chiao let out repeated whoops of exhilaration as they floated out of the Discovery. The space walk was the first for McArthur and the third for Chiao. During their space walk--the first of four in this mission--McArthur and Chiao connected power and data cables between the newly installed Z1 framework and the space station's Unity, Zarya and Zvezda modules. They also oriented antennas on the Z1 and attached an S-band space-to-ground dish antenna to the end of a 12-foot boom and swung it into place. McArthur performed his tasks while strapped to the end of Discovery's 50-foot robotic arm while Mission Specialist Koichi Wakata, KC5ZTA, controlled the arm from inside Discovery. A Ku-band TV antenna failure aboard the shuttle has prevented the crew from downloading photos and video of their activities. The astronauts used a slower backup system to relay black-and-white snapshots and occasional video. After several delays, Discovery lifted off from Cape Canaveral October 11. The launch was the 100th of the space shuttle program. Mission Commander for STS-92, Brian Duffy, N5WQW, docked the shuttle last Friday without benefit of the shuttle's radar, which failed on Thursday along with the space-to-ground TV link. Although there are three hams aboard Discovery, no Amateur Radio activity was planned during this mission. Discovery is set to return to Earth October 22. In addition to the nine-ton Z1 framework, the Discovery astronauts also installed a new docking port for use by future shuttle missions. ==>NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR THREE ARRL 2000 TECHNICAL AWARDS Nominations are open for the ARRL 2000 Technical Service, Technical Innovation and Microwave Development awards. The ARRL Technical Service Award goes each year to a radio amateur whose service to the amateur community and/or society at large is of the most exemplary nature within the framework of Amateur Radio technical activities. These include, but are not limited to: * Leadership or participation in technically oriented organizational affairs at the local or national level. * Service as an official ARRL technical volunteer: Technical Advisor, Technical Coordinator, Technical Specialist. * Service as a technical advisor to clubs sponsoring classes to obtain or upgrade amateur licenses. The Technical Service Award winner will receive an engraved plaque and travel expenses to attend an ARRL convention for the formal award presentation. The ARRL Technical Innovation Award is presented annually to an Amateur Radio operator whose accomplishments and contributions are of the most exemplary nature within the framework of technical research, development and application of new ideas and future systems. These include, but are not limited to: * Promotion and development of higher-speed modems and improved packet radio protocols. * Promotion of personal computers in Amateur Radio applications. * Activities to increase efficient use of the amateur spectrum. * Digital voice experimentation. The Technical Innovation Award winner will receive a cash award of $500, an engraved plaque and travel expenses to attend an ARRL convention for a formal presentation. The ARRL Microwave Development Award is given each year to the amateur (individual or group) whose accomplishments and contributions are the framework of microwave development, ie, research and application of new and refined uses and activity in the amateur microwave bands. This includes adaptation of new modes, both in terrestrial formats and satellite techniques. The Microwave Development Award winner will receive an engraved plaque and travel expenses to attend an ARRL convention for a formal presentation. Nominations should include basic contact information for yourself and for the nominee. Submit support information along with a nomination letter, including endorsements of ARRL affiliated clubs and League officials. Nominations should thoroughly document the nominee's record of technical service and accomplishments. Send nominations to ARRL Technical Awards, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Nominations must be received at Headquarters by March 31, 2001. For more information, contact Educational Programs Coordinator Jean Wolfgang, WB3IOS, firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-594-0200. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Propagation prognosticator Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: The rise in solar flux that was predicted this week in last week's Solar Update did not happen. Last week we stated that by October 18 and 19 we should see a short term peak in solar flux around 220. Instead, solar flux rose slightly over the weekend, then dropped below 160, and on October 18 and 19 it was 151.1 and 157.8. The current outlook is for a slowly and modestly rising solar flux, with the values for Friday through Monday at 160, 160, 165 and 170. The latest best guess is for solar flux to peak for the short term at only 190 on October 29 and 30, then decline to 145 around November 5. Geomagnetic conditions are expected to remain fairly stable on Friday and Saturday, but planetary A index my rise to 20 and 25 on Sunday and Monday. Geomagnetic indices are expected to calm down after that, but become unsettled to active around October 30 through November 1. Sunspot numbers for October 12 through 18 were 187, 167, 157, 99, 109, 130 and 128 with a mean of 139.6. 10.7 cm flux was 162.7, 168.1, 163.3, 161.1, 160.9, 154.1 and 151.1, with a mean of 160.2, and estimated planetary A indices were 8, 27, 42, 8, 8, 9 and 8 with a mean of 15.7. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The Jamboree On The Air, the Arkansas, Illinois and Rhode Island QSO parties, the RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest (CW). the YLRL YL Anniversary Contest (SSB), the QRP ARCI Fall QSO Party (CW), the Asia-Pacific Sprint (CW), the JARTS WW RTTY Contest and the Worked All Germany Contest are the weekend of October 21-22. JUST AHEAD: Th CQ WW DX Contest (SSB) and the Ten-Ten International Net Fall CW QSO Party are the weekend of October 28-29. See October QST, page 100, for details. * Clarification: A report about the tornado that struck Xenia, Ohio, that appeared in The ARRL Letter Vol 19, No 36 (Sep 22, 2000) said: "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" While this is correct, Dayton SKYWARN Sectional Coordinators Paula and Nelson DiGennaro, KA8HQJ and WB8VUU, point out that the National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Montgomery and Greene counties, and the warning set off NOAA weather radios. Severe thunderstorm warnings mention the possibility of tornadoes and urge residents to seek shelter if severe weather threatens. The Green County warning went out at 7:07 PM. The tornado reportedly struck 16 minutes later. "Any type of a warning is something to take seriously, find shelter and protect yourselves," said Paula DiGennaro. * Correction: Three Amateur Radio operators were aboard Discovery for shuttle mission STS-92. The ARRL Letter, Vol 19, No 39 (Oct 13, 2000) failed to mention that Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, was licensed. McArthur has been a strong supporter of the SAREX program. * US call signs issued for space station operation: Two new call signs have been issued for US Amateur Radio operations as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program. The FCC granted vanity call signs NN1SS and NA1SS to the International Space Station Amateur Radio Club on October 11. The ARISS initial station equipment plus supplies that the ISS Expedition 1 crew will need later this year were delivered to the ISS last month by the space shuttle Atlantis. The gear 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 comes aboard sometime in early November. A Russian call sign, RZ3DZR, and a German call sign, DL0ISS, also have been issued for use aboard the ISS. For more information, visit the ARISS Web site, http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov/. * Ham among six "flying doctors" killed in plane crash: Oakland, California, dermatologist Dr Marvin S. Weinreb, KE6WPH, a Technician licensee, was among six doctors and medical volunteers who died when their private plane crashed October 14 while returning from a humanitarian mission in Mexico. The volunteers, known as Los Medicos Voladores or "the flying doctors" were killed when the Cessna 320E, piloted by one of the physicians, crashed outside Ensenada, Mexico. A formal investigation by the FAA and Mexican authorities was continuing. The six had spent the previous day treating dozens of patients free-of-charge in San Ignacio village.--from news reports * Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for October was George Eldridge, N6RVC, for his article "Decoding the Disneyland Telegraph." Congratulations, George! 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 at http://www.arrl.org/members-only/qstvote.html. As soon as your copy arrives, cast a ballot for your choice as the favorite article in the November issue of QST. Voting ends November 15. * AMSAT 2000 special event: Special event station W3ZM will be active October 26-29 during the AMSAT North America Space Symposium and AMSAT-NA annual meeting in Portland, Maine (FN43). A certificate and QSL card will be available via KK5DO. Send an SASE with two units of postage or one IRC and a 9x12 envelope to KK5DO, PO Box 310, Alief, TX 77411. The special event station will be active on the satellites as well as on HF.--Bruce Paige, KK5DO * FCC approves GPS-capable FRS: The FCC has granted, in part, a request from Garmin for a waiver of the Part 95 Family Radio Service rules [Sections 95.193(a) and 95.631(d)] that will let the company make and market for a one-year trial period FRS transceivers capable of transmitting location information derived from the GPS on FRS channels. The FCC says Garmin must include information in the instructions accompanying the units that the capability to transmit GPS-derived location information is provided "for personal and public safety purposes" only and that no other use is authorized. Current FRS rules permit transmission only of F3E voice communications and CTCSS tones. The units must be designed to limit transmission of emission type F2D GPS-derived location information digital data bursts to not longer than one second and not more often than one burst every 10 seconds, to be actuated by the FRS user. The FCC declined to permit Garmin to manufacture units that can automatically poll other FRS units to determine their locations based on GPS-derived location data. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau adopted the waiver September 28.--FCC * Gerald W. Mason, W1KRF, SK: Jerry Mason, W1KRF, of Freeport, Maine, died June 2, 2000. He was 78. A ham since the age of 15, An ARRL member, Mason was among the hundreds of New York and New England amateurs who provided emergency communication during the disastrous September 1938 hurricane, flood and tidal wave that surprised the region. The storm wreaked havoc along the Long Island and Southern New England shoreline, destroying homes, buildings and vessels with its high winds and extensive flooding and claiming more than 600 lives. During the storm, Mason was among a group of hams that kept hard-hit Westerly, Rhode Island, in contact with the outside world via Amateur Radio for more than 48 hours. The station moved about town finally ending up at W1KRF's QTH. The team handled some 800 pieces of emergency traffic The efforts of Mason and other ham radio heroes of the famous storm were chronicled in a compelling cover story in the November 1938 QST.--Rosalind Mason Harris/David W. Harris, KC1XR =========================================================== 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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