ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
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; rboucher@arrl.org. For more information, contact Rosalie
White, K1STO, rwhite@arrl.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, n6bv@arrl.org 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

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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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