*************** 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 Gülzow, 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 email@example.com.--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 firstname.lastname@example.org.--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 The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of interest to active amateurs. 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