*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 19, No. 44 November 17, 2000 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Phase 3D launched! * +FCC Order holds the line on PRB-1 * +Division ballots counted * +ISS ham gear deemed A-OK * +FCC reaffirms fine for former ham * +Russia to dump Mir * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Ham Radio insurance to cover antennas, towers, rotators +ARRL Headquarters seeks teacher +Ham radio relay brings helicopter help to ill hunter Alf Almedal, LA5QK, SK Piero Moroni, I5TDJ, SK Sue Miller, W9YL, SK Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award ARRL seeks transmission line info +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== EDITOR'S NOTE: Because ARRL Headquarters will be closed November 23-24 for the Thanksgiving holiday, the November 24 editions of The ARRL Letter and ARRL Audio News will posted Wednesday, November 22. The Solar Update will be available via W1AW and posted on the ARRL Web site. =========================================================== ==>IT'S ALIVE! PHASE 3D IS NOW AO-40 Alive and well and in orbit around Earth, the satellite known for the past decade as "Phase 3D" has a new name. AMSAT-NA Board Chairman Bill Tynan, W3XO, this week announced that Phase 3D now will be known as AMSAT-OSCAR 40, or AO-40. "We have been calling it Phase 3D for far too long," Tynan said. "Henceforth it will take its place in the long line of OSCARs, satellites built by the Amateur Radio community for the Amateur Radio community throughout the world." Tynan said he got the official go-ahead from Phase 3D Project Leader Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, to assign an OSCAR number. It's been 40 years since the first OSCAR satellite launched. AMSAT-OSCAR 40 was dedicated to the memory of one of its principal builders, Werner Haas, DJ5KQ, and operates under the call sign DP0WH. Haas died earlier this year. A plaque aboard AO-40 is dedicated to his memory. Tynan, whose tenure as AMSAT-NA President covered the early years of the Phase 3D project, was overjoyed to see the satellite finally in orbit. "Congratulations and thanks to all who participated in any way to this wonderful achievement," he said. Following a one-day postponement, Phase 3D was successfully launched November 16 at 0107 UTC and placed into a geostationary transfer orbit, from which it will be nudged into its final high elliptical orbit. When the Ariane 5 launcher successfully deployed Phase 3D at 0153 UTC, cheers erupted from the AMSAT team monitoring the flight's progress in the Arianespace control room. The satellite is not expected to be ready for general use for about nine months. "It was a textbook launch," said Phase 3D Mission Director and AMSAT-DL Executive Vice President Peter Guelzow, DB2OS. Guelzow, who's filling in for Phase 3D Project Leader Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, said the satellite appears to be in excellent health. A "general beacon" was transmitting on approximately 435.450 MHz. The AO-40 PSK beacon has been monitored on or about 145.898 MHz--slightly different from the expected frequency. This week's Phase 3D launch culminated a decade of planning, design, construction and testing as well as an ambitious fundraising campaign. The ARRL was among the major contributors to the Phase 3D project. Newly elected AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, hailed the news of the launch. "It expands the capabilities of radio amateurs to work with higher frequencies and develop advanced communication techniques," he said. "Once more, Amateur Radio operators will be at the leading edge of experimentation in communications." The satellite now is in orbit some 585 miles above Earth at the closest point. Phase 3D's final elliptical orbital configuration will put the satellite some 2500 miles away from Earth at its nearest point, and some 29,500 miles at its farthest. At 630 kg (1380 lbs) and some 20 feet across when the solar panels are deployed, Phase 3D is the largest Amateur Radio satellite ever put into space. Three other satellites, the giant PanAmSat PAS-1R communications satellite and the smaller STRV-1C and 1D mini-satellites, joined AMSAT Phase 3D--now AO 40--for the ride. For more information, visit the AMSAT-NA Web site, http://www.amsat.org. ==>FCC ORDER DECLINES TO INCLUDE CC&RS IN PRB-1 The FCC has denied an ARRL Petition for Reconsideration calling on the Commission to declare that PRB-1 applies to amateurs living in areas governed by CC&Rs or condominium regulations just as it does to hams regulated solely by local zoning laws. The FCC Order also seeks to "amplify" the definition of the oft-cited "reasonable accommodation" phrase in PRB-1 with respect to local land use and zoning. The FCC Order said the League failed to demonstrate any "significant change in the underlying rationale of the PRB-1 decision" that would necessitate revisiting the issue. "The Order provides some additional clarification on the extent of PRB-1 preemption, but it falls short of providing the relief that ARRL was seeking," said ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ. Because Deputy Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief Kathleen O'Brien Ham issued the November 13 Order under what's known as "delegated authority," the ARRL was mulling whether to submit an application for review by the full Commission. Sumner said the ARRL believes the issue is "critically important." He said the League continues to gather additional information and to plan on how to present its arguments more persuasively before the FCC. The FCC Order said that even if the Commission does have authority to address CC&Rs within the context of Amateur Radio facilities, "this alone does not necessarily warrant revisiting the exclusion of CC&Rs" from PRB-1. The ARRL has argued that the FCC has Congressional authority to prohibit restrictive covenants that could keep property owners and even renters from installing antennas to receive TV, satellite and similar signals. The same principle, the ARRL asserts, applies to Amateur Radio. The FCC Order says, however, that ham antennas are not like over-the-air reception device antennas, "which are very limited in size in residential areas." Regardless of the extent of the FCC's discretion with respect to CC&Rs generally, "we are not persuaded by ARRL's arguments that it is appropriate at this time to consider exercising such discretion with respect to amateur station antenna preemption," the Order said. In its initial denial a year ago, the FCC strongly encouraged associations of homeowners and private contracting parties to "follow the principle of reasonable accommodation" with respect to Amateur Radio. The FCC Order also took the opportunity to clarify by example what PRB-1 means by "reasonable accommodation" in terms of amateur antennas. The Order says the FCC does not believe that zoning that provides for extreme or excessive prohibition of amateur communications "could be deemed to be a reasonable accommodation." As an example, the Order said, "we believe that a regulation that would restrict amateur communications using small dish antennas, antennas that do not present any safety or health hazard, or antennas that are similar to those normally permitted for viewing television" is not reasonable accommodation or minimum practicable regulation. On the other hand, the Order said, communities wanting to "preserve residential areas as livable neighborhoods" would be free to adopt zoning that forbids antennas "commonly and universally associated with those that one finds in a factory area or an industrialized complex." The FCC conceded that while such rules could constrain amateur communications, "we do not view it as failing to provide reasonable accommodation to amateur communications." The FCC Order also stuck to the earlier conclusion that the current standards for "reasonable accommodation and minimum practicable regulation" spelled out in PRB-1 "are sufficiently specific to cover any concerns related to unreasonable fees or onerous conditions." The Order said the FCC continues to believe that it should "not specify precise height limitations below which a community may not regulate, given the varying circumstances that may occur." The Order combined the FCC's response to the ARRL petition with its response to a similar filing from Barry N. Gorodetzer, N4IFE, and Kathy Conrad-Gorodetzer, KF4IDH, of Ft Lauderdale, Florida. The FCC Order is at http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/rm8763.html. ==>NEW CENTRAL DIRECTOR, HUDSON VICE DIRECTOR ELECTED The ARRL Central Division will get a new director, and a former Hudson Division vice director and director and ARRL First Vice President is back as the division's new vice director. Incumbents will return to office in the Northwestern, New England and Roanoke divisions. Ballots were counted and tabulated today at ARRL Headquarters in contested races for director and vice director in three ARRL divisions. The vote counting proceeded smoothly--without the sort of fanfare that's left the recent US presidential election up in the air. In the Central Division, challenger George R. "Dick" Isely, W9GIG, topped the field in a three-way race for the Director's seat. He outpolled incumbent Director Edmond A. Metzger, W9PRN, and a second challenger, Richard David Klatzco Jr, N9TQA. Isely picked up 1926 votes to 1466 for Metzger and 946 for Klatzco. Metzger has served as Central Division Director since 1981 and has 42 years of service as an ARRL elected official. Central Division Vice Director Howard Huntington, K9KM, was unopposed for re-election. In the Hudson Division, former ARRL First Vice President and Hudson Division Director and Vice Director Stephen A. Mendelsohn, W2ML, ousted incumbent Vice Director J.P. Kleinhaus, W2XX. The vote was 2240 for Mendelsohn and 1187 for Kleinhaus. Hudson Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, was unopposed for re-election. In the Northwestern Division, incumbent Director Greg Milnes, W7OZ, edged out Mary E. Lewis, W7QGP, a former Northwestern Director, 2383 to 2237. Milnes had defeated Lewis for the vice director's slot in 1998, then moved up to director following the death of Director Mary Lou Brown, NM7N. Incumbent Northwestern Division Vice Director James E. Fenstermaker, K9JF, outdistanced challenger Edward W. Bruette, N7NVP, 2620 to 1873. Isely, the Central Division Director-elect, is an ARRL and AMSAT Life Member and Extra class licensee. He's been licensed since 1977 and is an active DXer and HF contester. A retired airline pilot from St Charles, Illinois, Isely helped organize the National Frequency Coordinators' Council and served four years as a director. He has served as NFCC president and recently was elected secretary. Mendelsohn, the Hudson Division Vice Director-elect, was a familiar face on the ARRL Board for 17 years. While First Vice President, Mendelsohn was a nominee to succeed Rod Stafford, W6ROD, for the ARRL presidency. He was thwarted in that bid last January when the ARRL Board of Directors elected Jim Haynie, W5JBP, on a 9-6 vote. An ARRL life member, Mendelsohn lives in Dumont, New Jersey. During his earlier tenure as a League official, Mendelsohn headed the ARRL Computer Committee that spearheaded system upgrades at ARRL Headquarters. He also has served for 25 years as radio coordinator for the New York City Marathon. Incumbent New England Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, and Vice Director Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, and Roanoke Director Dennis Bodson, W4PWF, and Vice Director Les Shattuck, K4NK, were elected without opposition. All terms are for three years beginning at noon January 1, 2001. ==>ISS CREW CHECKS OUT HAM GEAR The International Space Station crew of US astronaut and ISS Expedition 1 Commander William "Shep" Shepherd, KD5GSL, and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR, and Yuri Gidzenko checked out the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station initial station ham gear last weekend. "With the successful execution of engineering test communications passes, the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station project has passed a significant milestone," said ARISS team member Will Marchant, KC6ROL. Two initial Amateur Radio test passes were conducted via R3K at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City near Moscow, with Russian ARISS delegate Sergej Samburov, RV3DR, at the controls. AMSAT Russia President Eugene Labutin, RA3APR, and Vladimir Zagainov, UA3DKR, also were on hand for the commissioning pass. A subsequent test pass via NN1SS at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center was equally successful. The crew reiterated its interest and support for Amateur Radio activities on the ISS. School Amateur Radio contact schedules and casual QSOs are pending at this point, however, as the crew tackles a very busy work regime in space. Shepherd reports that all equipment aboard the ISS appears to be operating well, although he and the other crew members have complained about the noisy air conditioner. The crew spent its first week installing an oxygen generator, a carbon-dioxide removal unit and other life-support systems. Things will get busier when a Russian cargo ship filled with food, parts, trash bags and another air conditioner arrives November 17. The crew must unload the rocket, stow the gear, then fill the rocket with trash to jettison before the shuttle Endeavour lifts off at the end of the month with a new set of solar panels for the ISS. The crew is not getting Thanksgiving off, and crew members did not request turkey and the trimmings be sent into space. Students at the Burbank School in Burbank, Illinois, were tentatively scheduled to have the first Amateur Radio contact with the Expedition 1 crew next month. Another 18 schools are under consideration for ARISS school contacts. Tentative operating frequencies are: Worldwide downlink for voice and packet, 145.80 MHz; worldwide packet uplink, 145.99 MHz; Region 1 (Europe/Africa) 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 ISS. For more information, visit http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov/. ==>FCC REAFFIRMS REDUCED FINE FOR FORMER AMATEUR The FCC has denied a Petition for Reconsideration filed by a former Houston, Texas, amateur and has affirmed a $4000 fine. Leonard D. Martin, formerly KC5WHN, had asked the FCC to reconsider its reduced fine for operating without a license and for refusing FCC requests to inspect his radio installation. This past summer, the Commission substantially reduced the $17,000 fine it had proposed. On July 12, the FCC issued a Forfeiture Order telling Martin to pay $4000 for repeated unlicensed operation on 11 meters and for failing to allow equipment inspections on several occasions. In responding to the initial Notice of Apparent Liability, the FCC said, Martin did not deny the violations but requested cancellation of the fine arguing that he was unable to pay it. In his reconsideration petition, Martin still did not deny transmitting without authorization or refusing to allow an equipment inspection. But he contended the FCC failed to comply with its own procedures by, among other things, not providing him with "proper notice to inspect" and by not giving him a chance to have an attorney present. Martin also claimed the FCC Forfeiture Order was based on "unsubstantiated allegations," that the fine was out of proportion to the violations, that the FCC exceeded its authority to regulate interstate communications, that his First Amendment rights were violated, and that he was denied due process. The FCC categorically turned away Martin's arguments and concluded that he "has failed to provide a sufficient justification" for canceling or reducing the fine. The FCC ordered the fine paid within 30 days. ==>RUSSIA TO DUMP MIR Russia now appears resigned to dump its Mir space station. After much waffling and after announced plans to commercialize Mir fell through, the Russian government voted this week to deorbit the aging space station that for more than a dozen years has been the pride of the Russian space program. Current plans call for Russia to deorbit Mir in February. Yuri Koptev, the head of the Russian space agency, said the Russian government has agreed that Mir would be taken out of orbit and brought down into the Pacific Ocean in a predetermined area off Australia between February 26 and 28. Mir has been the focus of Amateur Radio activity from space by cosmonauts and US astronauts--including several contacts with schools. Amateur Radio communication from US astronauts was able to fill in details of a nearly disastrous fire and after a collision with a Progress rocket nearly decompressed Mir. Koptev said an unmanned cargo ship sent to Mir early next year will fire its rockets to push the space station quickly into the atmosphere. Koptev said Mir was in too poor a state of repair to remain in orbit much longer. This week's decision signals the end of an era for Russia's cash-strapped space program, and defeat for the private MirCorp, which had tried to raise millions of dollars to keep Mir in operation. American businessman Dennis Tito, who had hoped to travel to Mir as a "space tourist" under a deal with MirCorp and has already spent $1 million in training, will not be sent to the station, Koptev said.--from news reports ==>SOLAR UPDATE Propagation maven Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Sunspot numbers and solar flux were down over the past week. Average sunspot numbers were down more than 40 points and average solar flux was off by 36 points relative to the previous week. The expected geomagnetic disturbance arrived earlier than predicted, with Friday being the worst day, with a planetary A index of 41. Planetary K indices reached six for several periods on Friday. Saturday was fairly quiet, and Sunday was fairly active with the planetary K index at 20. Following the weekend the geomagnetic conditions have been quiet. Solar flux probably reached a short term minimum of 143.7 on Monday, November 13, and now is rising. Flux values for Friday through Tuesday are expected to be 155, 155, 160, 160 and 165. Solar flux is expected to peak around 200 from November 27-29. Expected planetary A index values for Friday through Tuesday are 12, 10, 20, 12 and 10, so the current predicted value for this Sunday is nearly identical to last Sunday. The unsettled conditions on Sunday will probably be due to a solar flair that occurred early Thursday. Beyond the weekend, the next predicted unsettled day is November 29, and December 5 looks like an active geomagnetic day, as well as December 8 and 9. Of course this is based upon the previous solar rotation. Look at the chart at http://www.wm7d.net/hamradio/solar/. It looks as if solar flux and sunspots generally declined over the past six months. Sunspot numbers for November 9 through 15 were 149, 141, 128, 112, 99, 131 and 144 with a mean of 129.1. 10.7 cm flux was 166.2, 153.4, 149.6, 146.6, 143.7, 148.6 and 146.5, with a mean of 150.7, and estimated planetary A indices were 11, 41, 12, 21, 8, 5 and 5 with a mean of 14.7. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: 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. JUST AHEAD: The CQ WW DX Contest (CW) is the weekend of November 25-26. See October QST, page 101, for more information. * ARRL Ham Radio insurance to cover antennas, towers, rotators: Seabury & Smith, the ARRL "All Risk" Ham Radio Equipment Insurance Plan administrator (formerly Albert H. Wohlers and Company) has announced that, effective immediately, the plan will insure antennas, towers and rotators. Coverage for antennas, towers and rotators may be written only as an endorsement--or rider--to an existing policy. As in the existing program, the policy is that all the equipment must be scheduled. Members may not insure antennas, tower, and rotators without also purchasing coverage for their other station equipment. The cost of coverage is $1.50 for every $100 of valuation--the same as that for station equipment. Amateurs with further questions can contact the Seabury & Smith Customer Service Department at 800-503-9230. * ARRL Headquarters seeks teacher: The ARRL is seeking a state-certified teacher/educator with classroom experience to serve as the coordinator of the ARRL Amateur Radio Education Project ("The Big Project"). Candidates should hold a current Amateur Radio license, have several years of teaching experience at the middle/junior high school-level, have excellent communication, computer and interpersonal skills and be involved in a wide range of amateur activities. The position is at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut. Send resume and salary expectations to Education Project Coordinator, Bob Boucher, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; fax 860-594-0298; email@example.com. For more information, contact Rosalie White, K1STO, firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-594-0237. The ARRL is an equal opportunity employer. * Ham radio relay brings helicopter help to ill hunter: According to a report in the Eugene Register-Guard, a Coos Bay, Oregon, man who fell ill while hunting November 12 can thank Amateur Radio for his rescue. James Pichette, 58, was hunting east of Reedsport with his stepson, Matt Grigsby, KC7PZH, when Pichette experienced apparent heart problems. Grigsby called for help via ham radio. The call was picked up by an unidentified ham in Florence who relayed the message to one of Pichette's sons. The son called Reedsport police, who, in turn, contacted the Coos Bay Coast Guard office. The Coast Guard transported Pichette to a Eugene hospital. Grigsby says his stepfather has been transferred out of intensive care and is doing fine.--thanks to Patrick Roberson, WA7PAT * Alf Almedal, LA5QK, SK: Former IARU Region 1 Executive Committee member and HF Chairman Alf Almedal, LA5QK, of Sola, Norway, died November 11. He was an ARRL member and a former president of the Norwegian Radio Relay League. Services were set for November 17 in Sola.--Ole Garpestad, LA2RR * Piero Moroni, I5TDJ, SK: A well-known figure in the moonbounce community, Piero Morono, I5TDJ, died November 14 after a lengthy illness. He was 66. An electronic engineer, he had been licensed since 1952 and had been active in EME work since the mid-1970s--the first in Italy, operating mainly on 432 MHz. Joe Reisert, W1JR, called Moroni "a great friend, a true engineer's engineer, and a dedicated weak signal operator" who made his mark both on HF with Honor Roll DXCC and on 432 EME. * Sue Miller, W9YL, SK: ARRL Life Member Sue Miller, W9YL, of Waldron, Indiana, died November 10, reportedly after suffering a heart attack. She was 78. Sue Miller was the xyl of well-known SSTVer Don Miller, W9NTP, operator of Wyman Research Incorporated. Services were November 13.--Chuck Crist, W9IH * Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for November was L.B. Cebik, W4RNL, for his article "A Beginner's Guide to Modeling with NEC." Congratulations, LB! ARRL members are reminded that the winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author(s) of the best article in each issue--now is determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes place each month on the ARRL Members Only Web site at http://www.arrl.org/members-only/qstvote.html. As soon as your copy arrives, cast a ballot for your choice as the favorite article in the December issue of QST. Voting ends December 15. * ARRL seeks transmission line info: ARRL Headquarters is looking for detailed technical information on commercial coax and open-wire transmission lines to augment the information appearing in Table 19.1 of The ARRL Handbook and in Table 1 of Chapter 24 of the 19th Edition of The ARRL Antenna Book. Please contact Senior Assistant Technical Editor Dean Straw, N6BV, email@example.com or to R.D. Straw, N6BV, 5328 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94121. =========================================================== 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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