ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
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 knilsson@fcc.gov 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

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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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