ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 19, No. 42
November 3, 2000
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +All-ham crew aboard ISS
* +Supreme Court ends KV4FZ renewal saga
* +Phase 3D to launch November 15 (UTC)
* +Unlicensed operation leads to jail for former ham
* +Arizona hams continue flood response
* IN BRIEF: 
     This weekend on the radio
    +ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communication Course coming soon
    +DXCC applications list available
    +FCC seeks Web site comments
     Ham-astronaut says Mir should be jettisoned to make way for ISS
     NFCC elects officers
     NWS/ARRL Special Event updates
     Prairie DX Group to mount wired DXpedition to Vanuatu
     US to recommend dropping Maritime-Mobile Service Morse references

+Available on ARRL Audio News

===========================================================
EDITOR'S NOTE: The November 10 editions of The ARRL Letter and ARRL Audio
News
will be posted one day early, to accommodate the editor's travel schedule.
===========================================================

==>ALL-HAM CREW SETTLES IN ABOARD ISS

The all-ham crew of US astronaut and ISS Expedition 1 Commander William
"Shep" Shepherd, KD5GSL, and Russian cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei
Krikalev, U5MIR, now is aboard the International Space Station. After
blasting off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan October 31, the crew
arrived at the ISS early November 2 aboard a Soyuz vehicle that will remain
docked with the space station.

"Give us a fast ship," Shepherd--a Navy captain--was quoted as saying before
the launch. Shepherd, 51, is only the second US astronaut to go into space
aboard a Russian launch vehicle. The Soyuz lifted off from the same launch
pad where the space race began 43 years ago last month with the launch of
the Sputnik 1 satellite.

Not long after arriving aboard the ISS, Shepherd asked for and was granted
at least temporary permission to dub the new space outpost "Alpha."

In a NASA interview, Shepherd said the ISS will give humans "unique access
to the space environment where we hope we can do very interesting and
productive research." But he and the other Expedition 1 crew members also
say they view the ISS as a stepping stone on the pathway to human habitation
of space. 

"If we don't have this progress with this space station, it means that
humans in space are pretty much destined to stay close to the Earth, and I
don't think that's what humans are about," Shepherd said.

The Expedition 1 crew's four-month stay in the station will begin the
permanent human habitation of space. NASA said the crew's first tasks would
be to activate the station's food warmer, set up the sleeping quarters and
perform communications checks with flight controllers in the US and Russia.

"This is a huge, huge event," said US Astronaut Frank Culbertson, who
directed the joint US-Russia program to put American astronauts aboard the
Russian Mir space station in the 1990s. Culbertson is set to command a space
station mission of his own next year. Yuri Semenov, who heads the Russian
Energia company that built the Russian ISS modules, called it "a historical,
remarkable day."

The crew has a busy schedule that primarily involves getting the ISS up and
running for future research activities. Amateur Radio operation is not
expected to commence until mid-month, although the crew is said to be
enthusiastic about firing up the initial Amateur Radio on the International
Space Station--or ARISS--gear. Once installed temporarily aboard the Zarya
module, the equipment will provide FM voice and packet capability on 2
meters. 

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 and 3 voice uplink, 144.49 MHz. Crew
members may use their personal call signs or one of the "club station" call
signs issued for ISS use--NA1SS, RZ3DZR, or DL0ISS.

The Keplerian elements bulletin from ARRL now includes data for the
International Space Station.

Expedition 1 is scheduled to leave the station next February, when the
three-member Expedition 2 crew arrives on STS-102. When it's completed in
2006, the ISS will be one of the brightest objects in the night sky and be
as roomy as a jumbo jet. 

For ARISS information and updates, visit the ARISS Web site,
http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

==>SUPREME COURT ENDS KV4FZ RENEWAL SAGA

The US Supreme Court has put an end to the high-profile amateur license
renewal case of Herbert Schoenbohm, KV4FZ, by denying his petition for
certiorari. The petition was Schoenbohm's last avenue of legal appeal in the
case, which stretches back to 1994.

Strictly speaking, Schoenbohm does not have to immediately stop transmitting
on the ham bands. Legally, he may continue to operate until 12:01 AM on
Monday, January 29, 2001. But Schoenbohm--who was on 160 meters during the
CQ WW SSB Contest--has turned off his gear and appears disinclined to press
the issue just yet.

"I haven't been on the air since Tuesday," Schoenbohm said this week from
his home in the US Virgin Islands. "I would like to operate in the CQ WW CW
and the ARRL contest on 160 meters, but I will need to check with the FCC to
see if it is not frowned upon." The FCC Enforcement Bureau would not comment
on whether or not it would prefer that Schoenbohm stay off the air.

The Supreme Court's refusal to hear his case was "as expected," Schoenbohm
said. "The saga has gone on for almost eight years and was worth the fight."
The Supreme Court announced its latest list of orders October 30.

Schoenbohm's license renewal troubles date back to 1994, when the FCC put
his renewal application up for hearing following his 1992 felony conviction
on federal fraud charges. The Commission turned down his renewal application
in 1998, and the US Appeals Court upheld the FCC's decision earlier this
year. Schoenbohm petitioned the high court in August to review his Appeals
Court record.

The 1998 FCC Order includes a provision that authorizes Schoenbohm to
continue to operate his station until the 91st day "following the release
date of any order on reconsideration or the completion of judicial review,
whichever is later." 

Schoenbohm holds the call signs VP2VFZ, VP2MFZ, VP2EFZ, and PY1ZAI, but he
may not use those call signs from US territory. This week he offered up his
Virgin Islands station for use by DXpeditions and for contest operations.
For now, Schoenbohm says he'll content himself with communicating with his
friends via the Internet. "There is certainly less QRM," he said.

==>PHASE 3D GETS FIRM LAUNCH DATE

AMSAT News Service says the next-generation Phase 3D amateur radio satellite
now has a firm launch date and time. ANS says it's been informed by "various
sources" that the Ariane 507 carrying Phase 3D and other satellite payloads
aloft will head into space Wednesday, November 15, at 0107 UTC from the
European Spaceport in Kourou, French, Guiana.

The Radio Club of Kourou's FY5KE has announced plans to broadcast the Phase
3D launch on 14.315 MHz in French "and probably in English." The
transmission will start at approximately 15 minutes prior to launch and will
end about 45 minutes later when the satellite is put on orbit.

Also atop the Ariane 5 rocket will be the PanAmSat 1R communications
satellite--the largest and primary payload--and two British Space Technology
Research Vehicle minisats, STRV 1C and STRV 1D. If all goes as intended, the
Ariane 5 will place all four satellites into geostationary transfer orbit.

The Ariane 5 will deploy its payloads sequentially during a sort of aerial
ballet that involves a dozen or so critical positioning maneuvers for
success. At the very top of the rocket, the PanAmSat 1R will be the first
satellite ejected into space--after the protective cap is jettisoned and the
launcher has been precisely aimed.

The launcher then must be accurately repositioned to deploy the STRV
packages, which are fitted to the Ariane Structure for Auxiliary Payloads
platform along with Phase 3D. 

Finally, it will be Phase 3D's turn. The launcher will align itself for a
final time, and, once in the exact position, will eject the amateur
satellite package. Beyond that point, Phase 3D still must successfully
negotiate several more steps on its way to its much-higher final elliptical
orbit. That process, which involves firings of the onboard 400-Newton motor
and arcjet (ATOS) engine eventually will result in an orbit that's some 2500
miles from Earth at the nearest point and almost 30,000 miles away at the
farthest and at a 63 degree inclination. Establishing the final orbital
configuration could take up to one year.

Phase 3D, at more than 1400 pounds and nearly 20 feet across, will be the
largest Amateur Radio payload ever put into space. In October, AMSAT-DL
Executive Vice President Peter GŁlzow, DB2OS--who's heading up the Phase 3D
launch campaign--pronounced the satellite "ready to fly" after it passed all
of its pre-launch inspections, testing, and preparation. 

For more information, visit the AMSAT-NA Web site, http://www.amsat.org/.

==>FORMER CALIFORNIA HAM AGREES TO JAIL FOR UNLICENSED OPERATION

Former amateur Richard Allen Burton reportedly has agreed to serve three
months in jail for Communications Act violations, pending pre-sentencing and
medical reports. Burton, who has a long history of alleged unlicensed
operation, was arrested August 5 after his indictment in May by a grand jury
for the US District Court for the Central District of California. Sentencing
will be in February. 

Formerly WB6JAC, Burton faced six felony counts of violating the
Communications Act of 1934. The FCC says he operated without a license on
repeaters in Southern California after his license was cancelled.

Burton's General ticket was revoked in 1981. The following year, he was
convicted on four counts of transmitting without a license and two counts of
transmitting "obscene, indecent or profane words, language or meaning."
Burton initially was sentenced to serve six months of an eight year prison
term, with the remainder suspended. Upon appeal, the US Ninth District Court
of Appeals upheld the unlicensed operation conviction but threw out his
obscenity conviction. The FCC says that Burton transmitted without a license
while on probation in 1984 and again in 1990 and in 1992. After the second
incident, he was fined $2000 and received a year's probation; after the
third, he was sentenced to seven months in jail and a year's probation.

In 1992, Burton attempted to get his Amateur Radio license back, but the FCC
refused to reinstate him. He was briefly successful in getting a ham ticket
in 1996, when he passed a Technician exam at a VE session. The FCC granted
Burton a new license and the call sign KF6GKS, which was promptly set aside
as soon as the Commission realized its error.

Burton has been free on $20,000 bond. He pleaded not guilty at his
arraignment. A trial was postponed while the plea agreement was being worked
out.

==>AMATEUR RADIO RESPONSE TO ARIZONA FLOODING CONTINUES

Amateurs in Arizona so far have logged nearly two weeks of support for
American Red Cross relief efforts in the wake of a double-whammy of
flooding. All 1200 residents of the town of Wenden--some 80 miles west of
Phoenix--had to be evacuated last weekend. Some residents had just finished
cleaning up their homes after flash flooding a week earlier.

Red Cross volunteer and ARES Emergency Coordinator Dave McCarthy, KC7AYX,
reports that over the past 12 days, Red Cross shelters and service centers
have been opened and moved as the affected area was hit by additional rain.
More than one inch of rain fell October 27 and 28 in Wenden, which normally
sees a fraction of that this time of year. McCarthy says hams have been
riding along with the four Red Cross emergency response vehicles being used
to supply food and blankets to the affected areas.

Flooding in Wenden began October 21, when heavy rainfall swept into the
normally arid Centennial Wash--a river bed that only fills during storms.
Gov Jane Hull has declared a state of emergency, and the National Guard has
been called in to assist.

McCarthy said that during the first three days of the operation--which began
October 22--up to two dozen hams from Yuma, La Paz, Mohave and Maricopa
counties responded to requests to assist with communications. McCarthy said
this week that fewer hams have been needed to help with communication as
telephones and a radio system base station have been installed in the Red
Cross service center. But, he said hams were being kept on alert because of
the possibility of more wet weather.

According to McCarthy, some media accounts have mentioned Amateur Radio's
contribution to the flood relief effort. "Amateur Radio has really come
through on this," he said.

ARES EC Bob St Clair, N7VVA, said amateurs from the London Bridge Amateur
Radio Association with help from the Western Arizona Radio Club and the
Auxiliary Communications Group from Yuma County assisted in the flood zone
during the week of October 22. St Clair said hams helped with communications
in Wenden, Parker and other affected communities.

"This has been a learning experience, and it has followed the training that
we have been conducting here in Lake Havasu City for the past seven years,"
St Clair said. "Murphy didn't have a chance. This time, we had it covered."


==>SOLAR UPDATE

Solar sage Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar activity was
up for the past week. During the CQ Worldwide DX Phone Contest, geomagnetic
activity rose through the weekend, reaching storm levels on Sunday. Both the
mid-latitude and planetary K indices reached five, and the A indices were 24
and 26 respectively. The Alaskan College K index, which is higher during
high geomagnetic activity due to its high latitude, was 6 over two periods,
and the A index was 41 for Sunday, indicating a severe geomagnetic storm.

Average sunspot numbers were up nearly 19 points and average solar flux was
up nearly 26 points compared to the previous week. Flux values are expected
to peak around 200 on November 3 or 4. Solar flux is expected to decline
below 190 by November 8, then reach a broad minimum around 160 between
November 11-17.

A coronal hole has been developing in the center of the solar disk facing
earth, and this could cause some unsettled geomagnetic conditions over the
next few days. The planetary A index is predicted at 20 for November 4 and
15 for November 5--ARRL November Sweepstakes CW weekend--followed by quiet
conditions until November 10 when it may be 15 again. A planetary A index of
15 is predicted for November 13 and 15, and on November 17 and 18 the
projected A index is 20 and 25, based on the previous solar rotation.

Average solar flux for October was 167.7. For June through September it was
179.8, 200.5, 163.1 and 201.7.

Sunspot numbers for October 26 through November 1 were 113, 113, 153, 163,
158, 135 and 206 with a mean of 148.7. The 10.7-cm flux was 171, 175.9,
182.2, 187.1, 193.7, 193.4 and 204.4, with a mean of 186.8. The estimated
planetary A indices were 7, 5, 19, 26, 13, 11 and 6 with a mean of 12.4.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: 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. JUST AHEAD: The
Worked All Europe Contest (RTTY), the Japan International DX Contest (SSB),
and the OK/OM DX Contest are the weekend of November 10-12. For details, see
November QST, page 93.

* ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communication Course coming soon: The ARRL
Certification and Continuing Education Pilot Project's first offering is
closer to completion. Since March 2000, a dedicated crew of volunteers has
been working together to produce a basic level introductory course in
emergency communications. The course will provide a basic standard of
training for everyone, regardless of their geographic location or education
level. This first-ever ARRL continuing education course will initially be
available as an on-line course, offering a certificate and ID card for each
student who successfully completes each part. The first course, which
comprises Level I, Introduction to Emergency Communications, is made up of
Parts 1, 2 and 3. Future courses, Level II, NCS and Liaison Training, and
Level III, Emergency Communications Management/Administration Issues, will
be available in 2001. More details about Level I, Introduction to Emergency
Communications, will be released as the course nears completion.--Dan
Miller, K3UFG

* DXCC applications list available: DXCC applicants no longer need wonder
whether their applications made it to ARRL HQ for processing. Now they can
find out by visiting the List of DXCC Applications Received page,
http://www.arrl.org/awards/dxcc/appstatus.html. The page lists pending DXCC
applications by call sign.

* FCC seeks Web site comments: The FCC says it's evaluating its Web site
(http://www.fcc.gov/) in an effort to make it easier and faster for users to
retrieve information. In particular, the FCC says it wants to find out "what
the public expects from the agency's Web site and whether the site is
meeting those expectations." The FCC invites interested parties who use its
Web site to submit comments--including suggestions for improvements that
would make retrieval of information faster and easier. The FCC says its
evaluation will not address any of its electronic filing systems but just
the FCC Web site proper and its associated Web pages. The FCC would like to
hear comments on--among other things--usability, navigability, format,
content, interactivity and ease of contacting the Commission. Comments are
due by November 10 to webeval@fcc.gov.--FCC 

* Ham-astronaut says Mir should be jettisoned to make way for ISS: One of
the US astronauts who spent a duty tour aboard the Russian Mir space station
says it's time to say good-bye to the aging spacecraft. Michael Foale,
KB5UAC, who was aboard Mir in 1997 and now is the deputy head of NASA's
Johnson Space Center, was quoted this week in a Reuters report. Foale says
he'll be sorry to see Mir go but believes it's necessary if Russia is to go
forward as a full partner in the International Space Station project. Russia
has waffled on whether or not it will attempt to keep Mir up a bit longer,
but it recently announced plans to bring Mir down early next year. "It is
just like when you have an attachment to an old car but find it is just too
expensive to keep on putting in new pieces," he told Reuters on the eve of
the launch of the ISS Expedition 1 crew. "So there will have to be a
transition to ISS and Mir will have to come down." Foale said the $60
billion ISS would be the start of another era in space exploration, paving
the way for new achievements. "This flight is the keystone to all future
explorations from this planet--to the Moon, to Mars and asteroids," he said.

* NFCC elects officers: The National Frequency Coordinators' Council has
elected its officers for the September 2000 through August 2001 term.
Elected were: NFCC President, Owen Wormser, K6LEW; NFCC Vice President, Nels
Harvey, WA9JOB; NFCC Secretary, Dick Isely, W9GIG; NFCC Treasurer, Dave
Baughn, KX4I; NFC Board Chairman, Owen Wormser, K6LEW; NFC Board Vice
Chairman, Nels Harvey, WA9JOB.--NFCC

* NWS/ARRL Special Event updates: As announced, the National Weather Service
and the ARRL will cosponsor The National Weather Service Special Event
December 2 (UTC). A sort of mini-contest, the NWS Special Event is aimed at
recognizing the contributions amateurs make to the Weather Service during
threatening weather. The National Weather Service Special Event will award a
certificate--with endorsements if certain goals are reached. Endorsements
have been altered somewhat since the initial announcement. An up-to-date
list of the endorsements and qualifying criteria may be found at the Special
Event Web Site, http://www.nws.noaa.gov/event2000/. Click on "Event
Certificates" for information on how to obtain your certificate.

* Prairie DX Group to mount wired DXpedition to Vanuatu: The Prairie DX
Group DXpedition November 19-29 to Vanuatu (YJ) will include real-time
on-line logging, a live Web cam, announcement board, photo gallery, and
more. In 1998, The Prairie DX Group (http://www.n9pd.com) operation as
FP/N9PD from St Pierre et Miquelon became the first--and still the
only--DXpedition to have its logs available on the Web in real-time. the
Prairie DX Group expects to be assigned the call sign YJ0PD for general
operating and YJ0V for use during the CQWW (CW) Contest. Digital pictures
will be regularly updated on the club's Web site. The team also hopes to be
able to offer recorded sound files and possibly live streaming audio from
the DXpedition to give those on "the other side" an idea of what the pileups
sound like in Vanuatu. The club also wants to her from educators who might
be interested in incorporating the DXpedition into classroom activities.
QSLs go via N9PD direct (include SASE, IRC or cash to help defray costs) or
via the bureau. For more information, visit http://www.n9pd.com or e-mail
kf9zz@arrl.net.--The Prairie DX Group N9PD 

* US to recommend dropping Maritime-Mobile Service Morse references: At the
September 21 meeting of US Working Party 8B (maritime, aeronautical,
radiodetermination), US and International WP 8B Chairman Richard Swanson
announced that he will recommend to the Conference Preparatory Meeting for
WRC-2003 the suppression of all references to Morse code in the
International Radio Regulations with respect to the Maritime-Mobile Service.

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