*************** 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com 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 to active amateurs. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise, and readable. Visit ARRLWeb at http://www.arrl.org for the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRLWeb Extra at http://www.arrl.org/members-only/extra offers ARRL members access to informative features and columns. 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