ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
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,
jwolfgang@arrl.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. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President

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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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