*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 19, No. 43 November 10, 2000 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL files cautionary reply comments in UWB proceeding * +FCC intervenes in amateur-related power line case * +Phase 3D Launch Information Net established * +Nebraska club tops Frequency promotion competition * +VE3FRH is new AMSAT-NA president * +FCC seeks Technological Advisory Council nominees * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio +Canadian amateur gets plaque for LF contact +Ham call signs turn up in kids' book K4IC gets Williams Trophy Keps bulletin now includes ISS data New North American 145-GHz record claimed Working the new millennium with the old Young ham gets AMSAT award +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== EDITOR'S NOTE: The November 10 editions of The ARRL Letter and ARRL Audio News are being posted one day early, to accommodate the editor's travel schedule. The Solar Update will be available via W1AW and also posted on the ARRL Web site. =========================================================== ==>ARRL CONTINUES CAUTIONARY TONE IN UWB REPLY COMMENTS In reply comments in the FCC's ultra-wideband proceeding, the ARRL has reiterated its stance that the Commission should not act in the matter until more test data are in and analyzed. Initial test data in the proceeding were due October 30, but the ARRL is encouraging the FCC to consider additional testing. Pointing out that the ITU and the ARRL have only just begun their own UWB studies, the ARRL characterized the rulemaking proceeding as "entirely premature." The extensive record in the proceeding (Notice of Proposed Rule Making, ET Docket 98-153), the League noted, "still lacks conclusive test results from ongoing testing efforts from various sources." The ARRL joined the US Department of Defense in urging the FCC to await the outcome of tests looking at the interference potential of UWB devices to amateur receivers before deciding on UWB operational and technical requirements. The Defense Department, with which the Amateur Service shares some spectrum, also has urged the FCC to await ongoing analyses and measurements before it acts in the proceeding. The League said the FCC should "afford a reasonable period for review of subsequently submitted test data" plus a further comment period to address it. And the ARRL warned the FCC about making assumptions concerning UWB's interference potential without first insisting on objective technical tests. "ARRL is convinced that the studies conducted to date cannot accurately reflect the diversity of the Amateur Radio Service," the League said in its reply comments, "and it urges that no sweeping rules changes be made until all available studies and data are available and analyzed." The League recently arranged with the University of Southern California's UWB lab to test the interference potential of UWB devices to "typical Amateur Radio station configurations." The ARRL has provided lab staff members with 1.2 GHz multimode receiving equipment for field testing, and results are expected by year's end. The League said it anticipates participating in additional tests. The League also has urged "most strongly" that any UWB devices be required to operate above 2450 MHz "to avoid interference to sensitive receivers, especially those used for amateur satellite reception." The FCC last May proposed amending its Part 15 rules to permit the operation of ultra-wideband devices on an unlicensed basis, saying the technology could have enormous benefits for public safety, consumers and businesses. In its initial comments filed in September, the ARRL advised the FCC to put its UWB proceeding on hold until more evidence is available on the technology's interference impact. All of the ARRL's comments in the UWB proceeding are available at http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/et98-153/index.html. ==>FCC INTERVENES IN ANOTHER POWER LINE INTERFERENCE CASE The FCC has written a Wisconsin electric utility as a result of complaints of suspected power line interference filed by two Iowa amateurs. The FCC intervened after Alliant Energy of Madison indicated that it already considered itself to be in compliance with applicable state and federal laws. The FCC explained the utility's obligations under its Part 15 rules and gave the company 30 days to look into the situation and report back to the complainants. The FCC's intervention October 27 stemmed from harmful interference complaints filed by James L. Spencer, W0SR, and Frederick M. Spinner, W0FMS, both of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The ARRL also has been in touch with Alliant Energy on behalf of the two ARRL members in an effort to resolve the matter. In response to an inquiry from ARRL Lab Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI, Steven Baker, Alliant's general manager for customer operations, said his company "cannot financially justify making major system changes or investments to address problems, which are understood to be incidental radiators with no harmful interference as per FCC requirements." Baker said several of the RFI problems in Spencer's area were traced to "fish tank heaters, doorbell transformers and other devices" not under the utility's control. "The nature of the RFI in Mr. Spencer's case is intermittent and at frequencies which have no effect on the public general broadcast frequencies," Baker said. Spencer told the ARRL that he's been working for several years to resolve power line noise problems and has logged dozens of contacts with the utility. While he reported getting good customer service early on, he says the level of service has declined lately. Spinner, who contacted the utility more recently, said he's received no indication that Alliant intends to correct his problem and, in fact, suggested that he might have to live with it. The ARRL has offered to assist all parties in reaching a satisfactory resolution. The FCC also suggested that Alliant contact the ARRL for additional guidance on dealing with RFI involving amateurs. The FCC Consumer Information Bureau's Sharon Bowers told Alliant that even interference to a limited range of frequencies constitutes harmful interference to a licensed service. The FCC pointed out that the utility must not cause harmful interference to licensed services, and, if it does, should locate and correct problems within a reasonable time. The Commission requested that Alliant advise the complainants within 30 days of the steps it is taking to correct the reported interference problems. Last year, the FCC intervened in the wake of longstanding RFI complaints from several West Coast amateurs who claimed they were receiving harmful interference from Pacific Gas and Electric power lines or equipment. The ARRL Technical Information Service offers more information at http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/rfi-elec.html. ==>PHASE 3D LAUNCH INFORMATION NET SET With the launch of the next-generation Phase 3D amateur satellite just days away, a launch information net is being established to provide information and commentary via several outlets, including amateur frequencies. Phase 3D is scheduled to be launched aboard an Ariane 5 rocket November 15 at 0107 UTC from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Details are being worked out for the AMSAT Launch Information Net Service to run "live" during the launch. Houston AMSAT Coordinator Bruce Paige, KK5DO, says the net will provide launch information and commentary via several HF stations on various bands as well as on local repeaters. The current schedule calls for the net to start about 15 minutes before launch and carry through separation of P3D. Paige says the plan is to monitor the Arianespace TV C-band satellite feed for real-time launch information, then communicate that information via a telephone bridge. "We are not re-transmitting the Arianespace audio to avoid possible problems with the FCC," he explained. The telephone linkup will include key AMSAT personnel who will add their own comments and details to the real-time announcements. Participating commentators in addition to Paige include newly elected AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, as well as AMSAT-NA Vice President for Operations Keith Pugh, W5IU; Andy MacAllister, W5ACM; Pat Kilroy, N8PK at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; launch team second-in-command Chuck Green, N0ADI; North American Command Station Stacy Mills, W4SM; and IARU Satellite Coordinator Hans van den Groenendaal, ZS5AKV. Others may be added as the launch approaches. Paige says the Houston AMSAT Net, http://www.amsatnet.com, will carry the launch information net telephone feed on its normal net connections--satellite, local repeater and Internet RealAudio. The Launch Information Net also will be carried by key HF stations, led by the Goddard Amateur Radio Club's WA3NAN (http://garc.gsfc.nasa.gov/www/retransmission/retrans_status.html). WA3NAN expects to be on the air an hour prior to launch and will re-transmit on its shuttle frequencies, 3.860, 7.185, 14.295, 21.395, and 147.45 MHz. W5RRR at the Johnson Space Center in Texas--or its alternates--will use 3.840, 7.279, and 14.282 MHz. The Radio Club of Kourou's FY5KE also has announced plans to broadcast the Phase 3D launch on 14.315 MHz in French "and probably in English." According to Paige, Bob Arnold, N2JEU, is planning to make the Arianespace audio available on the Internet. Details are available at http://www.ralabs.com/livep3d. CQ Amateur Radio magazine has announced plans to offer continuously updated coverage of the Phase 3D launch via its Web site, http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com. CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, says Satellite Editor Phil Chien, KC4YER, will author a running "launch log" in which he'll post regular updates every few minutes. CQ also will provide links to sites featuring live launch video. ==>NEBRASKA CLUB TOPS FREQUENCY PROMOTION COMPETITION The Ak-Sar-Ben Amateur Radio Club of Omaha, Nebraska, has been chosen as the winner of the Frequency Amateur Radio promotion competition. The Nebraska club topped a list of six Amateur Radio organizations that were selected to receive prizes for their efforts in spreading the word about Amateur Radio in conjunction with the movie Frequency, which uses ham radio as a central plot device. The top prize ICOM IC-746 HF-VHF transceiver donated by ICOM was among several prizes pledged by manufacturers for the clubs that did the best job of promoting Amateur Radio at a local theater screening Frequency. In addition, the ARRL donated the choice of a 2000 edition of The ARRL Handbook for Radio Amateurs or Handbook CD-ROM to each of the 25 clubs that entered the competition. The second place winner was the Bay Area Amateur Radio Club in Bay City, Michigan, which will receive an M2 17-30 LP 7 log periodic antenna. Taking third place was the Austin Amateur Radio Club in Austin, Texas, which won an ADI AR-147+ 2-meter mobile transceiver. Winners were selected based on each club's written description of its promotional activities. Prize awards were determined by a panel of representatives of the manufacturers and suppliers who donated to the prize pool. The ARRL agreed to receive submittals for the competition. Frequency's far-fetched plot involving communicating across time offered a unique opportunity to promote Amateur Radio in communities across the country. Shortly before the movie's release last April, Amateur Radio industry representatives joined with the ARRL to sponsor the competition for clubs. With an enthusiastic show of support from theater management, the top-ranked Ak-Sar-Ben club put up a first-rate, professional-quality display booth and wowed moviegoers at the 20 Grand Theater in Omaha. Complete with a Heathkit transceiver similar to the rig used in the movie, club members demonstrated a variety of modes and Amateur Radio technologies, letting moviegoers make HF contacts, track moving vehicles with APRS or see themselves on SSTV (reportedly a big hit with the younger crowd). After the event ended, theater management asked the club to leave behind as much of the display as it could--excluding the radios and the computers, of course--so more theater goers could learn about Amateur Radio. Capitalizing on its Frequency PR effort, Ak-Sar-Ben club members set up a Technician license class shortly after the event. Club PR Chairman Bill Newman, K0NSA, says that everyone who turned out for the class did so as a result of having visited the theater display. Other prizes were provided by Cable X-Perts, Heil Sound, Alpha Delta, International Antenna and Alinco. Frequency was directed by Gregory Hoblit. In the movie, a long-dead father (played by Dennis Quaid) and his adult son (played by Jim Caviezel) meet up via ham radio during the mother of all sunspot cycles. Eventually, father and son conspire in efforts to change the past. For those who still have not had a chance to see the movie, Frequency now is out in home video.--Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY ==>VE3FRH IS NEW AMSAT-NA PRESIDENT Canadian amateur and ARRL member Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, has been elected president of AMSAT-NA. Haighton was elected without opposition at the AMSAT-NA Annual Meeting October 29 in Portland, Maine. Haighton, 63, replaces Keith Baker, KB1SF, in AMSAT-NA's top slot. Prior to his election, he had served as AMSAT-NA's executive vice president. An electrical engineer by profession, Haighton has been licensed since 1977. He previously held the call sign GD4INU. He's been a member of AMSAT since 1991, and, in 1997, he organized the AMSAT-NA annual meeting. Haighton is one of two Canadian representatives to the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) project. He's been active in Canadian Amateur Radio affairs for many years, and is a life member of Radio Amateurs of Canada (formerly of the Canadian Amateur Radio Federation). Baker surprised the Amateur Radio community in September by announcing that he did not plan to seek another term. Baker remains an AMSAT-NA board member. Ray Soifer, W2RS, has stepped back into the job of executive vice president vacated by Haighton. Soifer had served as international affairs VP for AMSAT-NA.--RAC and AMSAT News Service ==>FCC SEEKS TECHNOLOGICAL ADVISORY COUNCIL NOMINEES The FCC is seeking nominees to serve on its Technological Advisory Council. The Council--a diverse array of distinguished technologists that met for the first time only last year--is aimed at providing "cutting-edge" advice to the FCC. Nominations and applications will be accepted through November 22. The FCC says it must stay abreast of future developments in communications and related technologies to fulfill its responsibilities under the Communications Act. The TAC has 25 members. The FCC intends to replace half of those. Members serve two-year terms. Nominees and applicants for membership on the Council should have national, or international, reputations as leading technologists in their areas of expertise. Individuals may apply for, or nominate another individual for, membership on the Council. Nominations and applications should be sent to Kent Nilsson, Network Technology Division, Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554. For further information, contact Kent Nilsson at email@example.com or 202-418-0845.--FCC Public Notice __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: 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. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL November Sweepstakes (SSB), the North American Collegiate ARC Championship (SSB) and the LZ DX Contest (CW) are the weekend of November 18-20. For details, see November QST, page 93. The CQ WW DX Contest (CW) is the weekend of November 25-26. See October QST, page 101, for more information. * Canadian amateur gets plaque for LF contact: John Currie, VE1ZJ, has received a plaque for his role in the September 10 transatlantic LF/HF QSO. Currie, on the LF receiving end of the contact, managed to pull out the 136-kHz signal of Dave Bowman, G0MRF. He transmitted back to the UK on 20 meters. The Deutscher Amateur Radio Club, AMRAD and the RSGB sponsored the plaque as part of an effort to encourage people to work LF across the Atlantic and to reward those who got results. The plaque is dedicated to the memory of Peter Bobek, DJ8WL, an LF pioneer who died last year. For his part, Bowman was presented a DARC/AMRAD/RSGB framed certificate created by Hartmut Buettig, DL1VDL. The TransAtlantic II effort November 10-27 will attempt to span the Atlantic on LF in both directions. Visit the TransAtlantic II LF Test Web site for details at http://www.rac.ca/vlftest.htm. The ARRL has petitioned the FCC to allocate two LF amateur bands.--Andrť Kesteloot, N4ICK * Ham call signs turn up in kids' book: When Laurel Parker, KA1WJL, spotted the Amateur Radio call sign N1IQB in a children's book, The Wanderer, it piqued her curiosity. So, she wrote to Newbery Medal-winning author Sharon Creech and to Wayne Grabowski of Spencer, Massachusetts, who holds N1IQB, to find out more. As Parker explained in a note to the ARRL: "Neither of them knew each other, and the author had just more or less made up the call and hoped that if it did belong to someone that they would be flattered that their call had been used. The other call that she used (WB2YPZ) is not an active call at this time." The Wanderer is a tale of growing up and self-discovery surrounding a young teenaged girl, Sophie, who journeys across the Atlantic on a sailboat accompanied by her adoptive mother's three brothers and two nephews. * K4IC gets Williams Trophy: ARRL member Lt Gen Thomas Miller (USMC retired), K4IC, has been awarded The Williams Trophy, by the Washington Airports Task Force. Sen John Glenn, a close friend of the General's, made the presentation for "lifelong dedication to aviation safety and improvement." Gen Miller, known as "Tom" on the ham bands, has successfully mixed aviation and Amateur Radio for more than 50 years. A combat pilot in World War II, Vietnam and Korea, he commanded many important aviation elements of the Marine Corps, including four years as Head of Marine Corps Aviation, before retiring in 1979. His many honors include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, two Legion of Merit awards, four Distinguished Flying Cross awards and fifteen Air Medals.--Roy Neal, K6DUE * Keps bulletin now includes ISS data: The Keplerian elements bulletin from ARRL now includes data for the International Space Station. Initial Amateur Radio operation from the ISS--as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, project, is expected by mid-November. * New North American 145 GHz record claimed: A new North American claimed record at 145 GHz was set November 6 when Brian Justin, WA1ZMS/4, and Geep Howell, WA4RTS/4, established two-way contact over a path of 34 km. Justin reports that the CW signals were weak but able to be copied. The transmitter power on each end was around 5 mW. ICOM R-7000 receivers were used for IFs. WA1ZMS was on the Blue Ridge Parkway in FM07fm. WA4RTS was in Lynchburg, Virginia, in FM07ji. "No receive margin was to be had on the WA4RTS end, so we reached the limit of what we can do for now with the exception of weather conditions," Justin said.--Brian Justin, WA4ZMS/4 * Working the new millennium with the old: Dave Paperman, W5WP, worked the 100 entities required for the ARRL DXCC Millennium Award using a restored Hallicrafters "Hurricane" transceiver--the SR-2000 (of course!). He reports that his QSO #100 was with the FO0AAA DXpedition. "I decided to use the Hallicrafters partly as a tribute to the classic equipment of the previous millennium and as part of an ongoing demonstration of the ability of these venerable radios to 'hold their own' in the pileups of today," he writes. He said he got a lot of favorable reports on his audio "even before I mentioned the equipment I was using," he says. "My thanks to the League and the DXCC Desk for creating this award." * Young ham gets AMSAT award: ARRL member Mahana Paige, W5BTS, was honored at the recent AMSAT-NA Symposium and Annual Meeting in Portland, Maine, for her efforts as a member of the Houston AMSAT Net team. The 11-year-old Technician licensee was recognized for helping out with the Houston AMSAT Net when her dad, Bruce Paige, KK5DO, is not available. The inscription on her award read: "In recognition of your efforts as a member of the Houston AMSAT Net Team. The results have been significant. The Houston AMSAT net with its emphasis on AMSAT News Service information has been heard around the world via short-wave broadcasts, direct satellite feeds, North American VHF and UHF repeaters and real audio on the Internet. AMSAT looks forward to your further contributions and successes." It was signed by outgoing AMSAT-NA President Keith Baker, KB1SF. Mahana is in sixth grade. Her dad says her BTS call sign suffix stands for "born to shop." She's been licensed since January. =========================================================== 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. Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. 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