ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 19, No. 41
October 27, 2000
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +First ISS ham operation just ahead
* +Arizona club snags Goldwater K7UGA call sign
* +Fires and floods rally hams
* +FCC to monitor eBay for illegal items
* +Changes, challenges loom in contest season
* +Call sign server glitch serves up a scare
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF:
     This weekend on the radio
     CQ WW SSB announced operations list
    +Eastern Pennsylvania to get new Section Manager
     PRB-1 package available on ARRLWeb
     Two amateurs among "flying doctors" killed in plane crash
     "The Doctor is On-Line" debuts on ARRLWeb
     Scanner bill gets Halloween-style stake through its heart
     REACT honors youngster for FRS rescue
     The ARRL Letter most-recent-issue site

+Available on ARRL Audio News

===========================================================

==>COMING SOON: FIRST HAM OPERATION FROM ISS

Amateur Radio is poised to mark an historic milestone. Operation from
Amateur Radio's first permanent foothold in space is expected to debut soon
after the all-ham Expedition 1 crew arrives November 2 aboard the
International Space Station. The ISS crew could be on the air by
mid-November.

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station--or ARISS--initial
station gear already is aboard the ISS awaiting the arrival of Expedition 1
Commander and US astronaut Bill Shepherd, KD5GSL, and Russian Cosmonauts
Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR, and Yuri Gidzenko. The equipment includes 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 Expedition 1 crew is set to blast off October 31 aboard a Russian Soyuz
rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and will arrive aboard the
ISS a couple of days later. Once on board, the crew will begin a four-month
stay aboard the ISS--the first permanent occupancy of the international
complex.

Two US call signs have been issued for Amateur Radio operations as part of
the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program. The FCC
granted vanity call signs NA1SS and NN1SS to the International Space Station
Amateur Radio Club on October 11. The NA1SS call sign will be used on board
the ISS, while NN1SS will be for ground-based ISS communications from
Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. A Russian call sign, RZ3DZR, and a
German call sign, DL0ISS, also have been issued for use aboard the ISS.

The initial station gear will be installed temporarily in the Zarya
Functional Cargo Block of the ISS and will permit operation only on 2
meters--FM voice and packet. Tentative operating frequencies are: Worldwide
downlink for voice and packet, 145.80 MHz; worldwide packet uplink, 145.99
MHz; Region 1 (Europe) voice uplink: 145.20 MHz; Region 2 & 3 voice uplink,
144.49 MHz. Yet to be determined is the ARISS operating schedule, which will
depend on the crew schedule. The ARISS Team anticipates multiband, multimode
operations with the crew and regularly scheduled school group contacts.

For more information about Amateur Radio on the ISS and SAREX, visit the
ARISS Web site, http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

==>GOLDWATER K7UGA CALL SIGN RE-ISSUED

The famous K7UGA call sign formerly held by the late US Sen Barry Goldwater
has been re-issued to his club, the Central Arizona DX Association. The FCC
granted CADXA's request for K7UGA on October 24. 

The call sign came up for grabs this fall after the mandatory two-year
waiting period following the cancellation of Goldwater's amateur license
ended. Goldwater died May 29, 1998. CADXA President Gary Capek, K8BN, says
the club, which traded its N7KJ club station call sign for K7UGA, plans to
keep the call sign active. 

Goldwater's family has donated his amateur equipment, memorabilia and
furnishings to the Arizona Historical Society's museum in Tempe. Capek says
he's met with representatives of the museum--which plans to reconstruct
Goldwater's ham shack as an exhibit--and says CADXA will cooperate in making
the call sign available for special events at the museum.

The Goldwater ham shack exhibit still is in the planning stages, and the
museum has been soliciting donations from the amateur community to construct
the exhibit.

"I have agreed to work with them when they begin to install the old
Goldwater shack items in the next year," Capek said.

The K7UGA station equipment and console were removed last May from the
Goldwater home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, which has been sold. Goldwater's
station and massive antenna system were used to complete thousands of phone
patch messages for troops during the Vietnam War.

==>FIRES AND FLOODS MUSTER AMATEUR ASSISTANCE

Amateur Radio was on emergency duty in several states this week. The Amateur
Radio Emergency Service activated in Minnesota last weekend to assist the
Red Cross after wildfires broke out. ARRL Minnesota Section Manager Randy
Wendel, KM0D, says brush fires burned more than 8000 acres in the Carlo
Avery Wildlife Management Area north of Minneapolis. 

Hams assisted the American Red Cross to provide communication between mobile
canteens set up to feed firefighters and the Red Cross office. They also
helped to coordinate the efforts of other Red Cross volunteers from North
Dakota and Iowa. The Salvation Army's Terry Thurn, KB0SVW, headed up his
organization's relief effort.

"The efforts of Amateur Radio here have been very well-received in the fire
zone by the various agencies directly involved with fire-fighting
activities," Wendel said. "The radio operators who have helped in this event
should be very proud of themselves."

In Arizona, Amateur Radio operators rallied to assist during flooding this
week. Flash flood warnings were issued earlier this week in Arizona, New
Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma after as much as five inches of rain fell on some
parts of the Southwest.

David McCarthy, KC7AYX, an ARES Emergency Coordinator and American Red Cross
Communications Specialist, said the need for Amateur Radio communications
became critical due to limited cell phone coverage and very few public
telephones. He said hams were providing communication between the Red Cross
HQ and shelter in Parker, the American Red Cross Central Arizona Chapter
Communications Center in Phoenix, and field units conducting damage
assessment, feeding and bulk distribution in the flooded areas in and around
the town of Wenden.

McCarthy said that up to two dozen hams from Yuma, La Paz and Maricopa
counties responded to requests to assist with communications. McCarthy said
APRS was being used to track some of the units in the field through
digipeaters.

In Kentucky, the Amateur Radio water brigade wound down over the past
weekend as running water was turned back on in communities affected by a
recent coal sludge spill. An estimated 210 million gallons of coal waste
spilled into streams and rivers October 11 when a coal plant retention pond
near Inez gave way. As a result, communities that obtained drinking water
from affected waterways had to shut down their water treatment plants.

"The boil-water advisory is lifted now, but schools and car washes are
closed for a few more days," Lawrence County Emergency Coordinator Fred
Jones, WA4SWF, said Monday. Hams were among those helping to unload and
distribute containers of drinking water to area residents after fresh water
supplies were shut off following the spill.

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service was not activated but remained on
stand-by in Kentucky as a result of the spill. 

==>FCC TO MONITOR AUCTION SITE FOR ILLEGAL ITEMS

The FCC says it has reached an agreement with the eBay auction site that's
aimed at curtailing the sale of clearly illegal radio equipment.

FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth says
eBay has agreed to cooperate in removing advertisements in which the item
for sale "is clearly non-certified" under FCC rules. Hollingsworth said most
of the equipment involved falls into the CB category, including illegal
amplifiers.

Hollingsworth agreed to publicize the initiative at the urging of the ARRL
Regulatory Information Branch's John Hennessee, N1KB."I've got a whole
folder of people who have been complaining about this and will be delighted
to know that the Commission is taking action," Hennessee said.

Hollingsworth said a review team within the Technical and Public Safety
Division of the FCC Enforcement Bureau is screening eBay ads each week. He
said the practice could be extended to other auction sites if the FCC learns
of similar problems.

Hollingsworth credits complaints from the Amateur Radio community with
getting the new system in place. "I've been collecting complaints for a
year, but the amateur community really generated it," he said. Hollingsworth
says he sees about 10 complaints a week about auction site radio gear
advertisements--sometimes several about the same ad. He cautions that
complaints should be based on clear-cut FCC rules violations, such as
attempts to sell illegal linear amplifiers.

Amateurs can send items to fccham@fcc.gov, Hollingsworth said.

==>CHANGES, CHALLENGES LOOM AS 2000-2001 CONTEST SEASON NEARS 

As the "contest season" approaches, ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan
Henderson, N1ND, is reminding ARRL contest participants of changes that
become effective this year. His department also is gearing up to face the
challenges that lie ahead as the Contest Branch starts implementing new
log-handling methods.

Starting November 1, 2000, the ARRL standard file format for electronic
submissions will be the Cabrillo format. ARRL November Sweepstakes will be
the first operating event to fall under the new electronic logging standard.
The CW weekend is November 4-6 and the SSB weekend is November 18-20 this
year. (Rules appear in October QST, page 102.)

Henderson also reminds contest participants that with the addition of West
Central Florida this past January there now are 80 ARRL/RAC sections.

First announced more than a year ago, the Cabrillo format will result in
electronic logs that adhere to a uniform standard that allows them to be
processed more expediently. Henderson says the change to the new format will
mean the Contest Branch can post the list of "Logs Received" for a given
contest much sooner--once the non-electronic logs have been processed into
the database. "The Cabrillo format will allow us to verify entries and
initialize the database more efficiently, with fewer data entry errors,"
Henderson said.

Cabrillo--pronounced kuh-BREE-oh--is not a program but an electronic file
format that specifies what information is contained in certain fields in the
file document. Henderson says major contest logging software programs have
incorporated the Cabrillo format into their products. "If you're using a
current version of one of those programs, you should have the ability to
generate the Cabrillo file already," he said.

Details on the format appear in the "General Rules for all ARRL Contests" in
the November 2000 issue of QST. Additional information is available at
http://www.kkn.net/~trey/cabrillo/. 

Faced with more 18,000 contest entries during the 1999-2000 contest season,
Henderson says his department's biggest task is routine data entry. "Right
now data must be entered by hand--a very time-consuming process," he said.
Contest Branch staffers estimate that approximately one out of every five
contest entries--electronic and paper--arrives incorrect or incomplete.

"The most common error is omitting required information that allow staff to
properly code the entry, such as not listing a valid entry category, not
listing power level, giving a state of residence or ARRL division instead of
ARRL section for location," Henderson said.

Henderson hopes to use computer automation to reduce the time needed to
score submitted contest logs. For example, to cut the time needed for
initial data entry, the Contest Branch is developing a "robot reader" that
will take information from the Cabrillo format header and initialize that
entry into the database. 

For more information, contact ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson,
N1ND, 860-594-0232 or n1nd@arrl.org or c/o ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington CT
06111.

==>THAT'S MY GIRL, MY WHOLE WORLD, BUT THAT AIN'T MY CALL SIGN

The call sign server on QRZ.com--the Ham Radio SuperSite--burped on a bad
call sign update file from the FCC October 24. As a result, call sign and
licensee data often did not jibe. 

Although requests for W1AW and K1ZZ returned the correct information,
entering the call sign of ARRL Field & Educational Services Manager Rosalie
White, K1STO, for example, yielded another White altogether--and his name is
Daryl who lives in Alabama (actually KD4OOA). The QRZ.com database showed
that the call sign of ARRL Senior News Editor Rick Lindquist, N1RL, was
assigned to a fellow named Aaron in Kentucky whose Novice license already
had expired. 

For the unsuspecting, it was an early Halloween scare. "We had an ARRL
member call in a state of panic because he thought his call had been
mistakenly issued to someone else," said ARRL Lab Test Engineer Michael
Tracy, KC1SX. 

QRZ.com's Fred Lloyd, AA7BQ, said October 25 in an announcement on the site
that the FCC database update his call sign server used "was totally
scrambled and as a result some 140,000 call signs on the QRZ database were
incorrectly modified." Once made aware of the problem, QRZ.com was able to
restore its call sign database using a backup file. "In the meantime,
however, we're not loading anything else from the FCC until they can explain
what happened," Lloyd said. Spot checks of several other Web call sign
servers turned up no problems. 

ARRL-VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, said the FCC posted a full update file
Tuesday morning that included October 23 transactions. The corrupted file,
supposedly a daily update file with FCC transactions for Monday, October 23,
was posted about an hour later. Jahnke said the ARRL call sign server
ignored the second file because the system is programmed to first check to
see that the file actually represents an update from the current file. Daily
and weekend FCC updates and public data downloads had not run from last
Thursday until Monday while the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
deployed the second phase of the Universal Licensing System for Land Mobile
Radio Services.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Heliophile Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average solar flux
for the past week was exactly the same as the previous week. It was 160.9
for the past week, and 160.2 for the week previous. Average sunspot numbers
dropped about ten points.

Solar flux is rising, and is expected to peak on November 2 around 190. But
the main interest among many radio amateurs is the forecast for this
weekend, when the CQ Worldwide DX Phone Contest commences. On October 25 a
full halo coronal mass ejection was detected blasting away from the sun, and
effects may be felt this weekend. The predicted planetary A index for Friday
through Monday is 10, 15, 15 and 12. The outlook for Saturday and Sunday is
for unsettled to active geomagnetic conditions.

Solar flux for the same four days is predicted at 175, 175, 180 and 180.
After the November 2 peak in activity, solar flux is expected to bottom out
around 155 on November 6 or 7.

Sunspot numbers for October 19 through 25 were 128, 144, 166, 117, 143, 99
and 112 with a mean of 129.9. The 10.7-cm flux was 157.8, 160.7, 158, 160.2,
166.5, 159.2 and 164, with a mean of 160.9. The estimated planetary A
indices were 9, 4, 4, 13, 15, 11 and 8 with a mean of 9.1.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: The 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. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL November
Sweepstakes (CW) coupled with the Seventh Annual North American Collegiate
ARC Championship (CW) plus the IPA Contest (SSB & CW)are the weekend of
November 4-6.See November QST, page 93.

* CQ WW SSB announced operations list: Contest watcher Bill Feidt, NG3K,
offers his annual listing of announced operations for the CQ Worldwide DX
Contest (SSB) October 28-29 weekend at
http://www.ng3k.com/Misc/cqs2000.html.

* Eastern Pennsylvania to get new Section Manager: Veteran ARRL Eastern
Pennsylvania Section Manager Allen Breiner, W3TI, has announced plans to
step down effective December 31. Breiner, who's 80, has been part of the
ARRL field organization for many years. He was first elected as Section
Communications Manager--as the SM job used to be known--in 1959 and held
that post for 12 years. He was elected as SM in 1995 and re-elected in 1998
and 2000. ARRL Field & Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO,
has named Eric Olena, WB3FPL, of Mohnton to replace Breiner effective the
first of the new year. Olena has served as Section Emergency Coordinator
since 1994 and was an Assistant SM from 1992 until 1996. He will complete
Breiner's term, which runs through April 2002. 

* PRB-1 package available on ARRLWeb: Questions regarding antenna
restrictions and the limited federal pre-emption known as PRB-1 are among
the most frequently asked of ARRL Headquarters staff members. John
Hennessee, N1KB, of the ARRL Regulatory Information Branch has prepared a
PRB-1 package and made it available on the League's Web site at
http://www.arrl.org/field/regulations/PRB-1_Pkg/index.html. The ARRL PRB-1
Package site contains the original FCC PRB-1 document, a list of states
whose statutes incorporate PRB-1, precedent-setting antenna cases, model
antenna ordinances and other helpful information.

* Two amateurs among "flying doctors" killed in plane crash: It's been
learned that not one but two Amateur Radio operators died when a private
plane carrying medical volunteers crashed October 14 during a humanitarian
mission to Mexico. Oakland, California, dermatologist Dr Marvin S. Weinreb,
KE6WPH, a Technician licensee, and Deborah Wayne Lucero, KC6UEJ, a Tech Plus
licensee, were members of Los Medicos Voladores or "the flying doctors."
Weinreb was a 20-year veteran of Los Medicos Voladores; Lucero reportedly
helped in translating and in setting up the doctors' visits. The volunteers
died when the Cessna 320E, piloted by Weinreb, crashed outside Ensenada,
Mexico, about two miles from the airport where it was attempting to land. A
formal investigation by Mexican authorities and FAA representatives was
continuing. For more information and updates, visit the Los Medicos
Voladores Web site, http://www.flyingdocs.org/.--thanks to Jim McSherry,
N3AMF and Clark Crabbe, WA7NBU

* "The Doctor is On-Line" debuts on ARRLWeb: "The Doctor is On-line" makes
its debut as a member feature of ARRLWeb at
http://www.arrl.org/members-only/qst/doctor/index.html with the posting of
"The Doctor in IN" column from November QST. If you've ever had the urge to
add your two cents worth of technical knowledge, expertise or experience on
a question the doctor has considered and answered in QST, "The Doctor is
On-Line" is the place to post your follow-up comments. (NOTE: The Doctor
will not be looking for questions on this site; there is a hyperlink to the
doctor's e-mail address for questions.) Each month, the questions and
answers that have appeared in QST will be posted. ARRL members will be free
to post their own helpful comments and additional information for the
individual who originally asked the question, says ARRL Technical
Information Service Coordinator Al Alvareztorres, AA1DO. "This forum puts
this information out there for our members to take advantage of."

* Scanner bill gets Halloween-style stake through its heart: A legislative
proposal in Michigan that would have regulated the possession of scanning
receivers capable of receiving police frequencies has been killed. Michigan
ARRL Section Manager Dick Mondro, W8FQT, reports that the bill's sponsor
scuttled the measure in the wake of complaints from amateurs--even though
hams were specifically excluded from the bill's provisions. The measure,
House Bill 6012, would have made it illegal to have a receiver in a vehicle
that received police frequencies. "The word to anyone inquiring is that the
bill is dead, thanks to the collective efforts of those that care," he said.
Bill sponsor Rep Mike Kowall was much more direct and colorful. "Rest
assured that I have driven a stake through the heart of this bill, and it
will never see the light of day and will die before it reaches the committee
process," he said. "Amateur Radio operators play an integral role in
emergency/management agencies, and their freedoms are guaranteed under the
first amendment of the U S Constitution and should never be
challenged."--Dick Mondro, W8FQT

* REACT honors youngster for FRS rescue: REACT has honored a Washington
youngster for her quick thinking in responding to a call for help
transmitted on a Family Radio Service channel. The nonprofit volunteer
emergency communications organization presented 11-year-old Mikayla Whitley
of Marysville, Washington, with its "Little Hero Award" and "Distinguished
Service Award." On September 24 Mikayla picked up a call for help from
injured hiker Michael Wyant 100 miles away. The girl's parents called
authorities, who launched a rescue while the youngster acted as a
communication relay between the hiker and rescuers. Wyant was picked up by a
helicopter later that afternoon, treated at a hospital and released. He also
called to thank his radio rescuer. REACT officials presented the two awards
October 15 in Kirkland, Washington.--Paula Glovick, KD7CCF/REACT 

* The ARRL Letter most-recent-issue site: Due to a number of reader
requests, there is now a URL that will always give the most recent issue of
The ARRL Letter. Visit the site at
http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/current.html. PDA users may find it more
convenient to access this site, http://www2.arrl.org/arrlletter/current.html
. Since all ARRL news items are available (formatted with photos, if any) on
the public Web site, The ARRL Letter on-line edition now appears as a
text-only publication.

=========================================================== 
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

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of interest
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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.

Much of the ARRL Letter content is also available in audio form in ARRL Audio News.

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