*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 19, No. 46 December 1, 2000 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARISS international partners meet * +CB enforcement bill clears White House * +ARES/RACES activate as Buffalo is buried * +Michigan ham agrees to HF suspension; Ohio ham faces hearing * +Former Flash Comm seeks to expand HF messaging system * +FCC to accept Internet data in identifying SKs * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio +Steve Affens, K3SA, SK Reminder--National Weather Service/ARRL On-Air Event +A deadline reminder for all clubs ULS scheduled to be down CQ introduces Amateur Radio Hall of Fame PBS to air Tesla: Master of Lightning UK extends 73 kHz authorization +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>ARISS INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS MEET The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station--or ARISS--international partners are meeting this weekend at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The three-day session will update current status of the ARISS program and attempt to map its future direction. Expected to be on hand will be ARISS delegates from the US, Russia, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Japan and Italy, in addition to representatives of NASA, AMSAT-NA, TAPR and the Mir Amateur Radio EXperiment group, MAREX-NA. Space Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX) Working Group Chairman Roy Neal, K6DUE, will serve as meeting moderator. ARISS rules and bylaws development and ratification tops the list of discussion items this weekend. The Expedition 1 crew of Commander William "Shep" Shepherd, KD5GSL, and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR, and Yuri Gidzenko has been aboard the ISS since November 2. With about three months left in its tour of duty, the crew has been extremely busy with its normal work schedule. Crew members did take time in mid-November to check out the initial amateur station gear aboard the ISS. On November 17, Shepherd enjoyed a few casual QSOs with earthbound hams. ARISS spokesman Will Marchant, KC6ROL, says the crew has used Amateur Radio for personal contacts with family members but that crew members have been too pressed for time to engage in casual contacts. In addition, the shuttle Endeavour launched November 30 carrying huge solar arrays to the ISS. Marchant said he hopes ARISS can ramp up the level of school and casual contacts after the first of the year. A tentative schedule of school contacts is pending. The topic of future contacts between ISS crew members and students is on the agenda for this weekend's meeting. The delegates will look at how school contacts can be smoothly integrated into the ISS crew schedules and how often they will occur. They'll also attempt to come up with an equitable system for the international partners to select schools for ARISS QSOs. ARISS delegates also will be looking ahead to the next phase of Amateur Radio hardware on the ISS. Right now, the initial station gear consists of low-power VHF and UHF hand-held transceivers. As currently configured aboard the Zarya Functional Cargo Block, the gear provides 2-meter FM and packet capability, although the packet system has not yet been activated. Marchant said ARISS needs to make sure the packet system operation will not interfere with the regular 143-MHz communication channel between the ISS and Earth. Marchant says the most immediate and pressing hardware projects are to install the German "digitalker" system and to move ahead with a plan to deploy Slow-Scan TV aboard the ISS. A German proposal to upgrade the initial station gear with a so-called "transportable station" mobile transceiver offering more power and flexibility also will come under scrutiny. Deployment of the next phase of ARISS gear probably will not happen until 2002, Marchant said. More information about ARISS and SAREX, is at http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov/. ==>PRESIDENT SIGNS CB ENFORCEMENT BILL President Bill Clinton has signed legislation that permits the enforcement of certain FCC Citizens Band regulations by state and local governments. Amateur Radio operators are exempt from the provisions of the law, now PL 106-521. Congressional lawmakers saw the measure as a way to give a voice to those experiencing radio frequency interference resulting from illegal CB radio operation. The FCC will not yield its authority to regulate Citizens Band or other radio services, however. In short, the measure authorizes states and localities to enact laws that prohibit the use of unauthorized CB equipment--consistent with FCC regulations. This would include the use of high-power linear amplifiers or equipment that was not FCC-certificated. FCC-licensed stations in any radio service--including the Amateur Service--are excluded from such state or local enforcement, and state or local laws enacted under this legislation must identify this exemption. The bill--HR.2346 is the House version; it was S.2767 in the Senate--actually is the old Senate "Feingold bill" from several sessions ago. The bill's sponsor, Rep Vernon Ehlers of Michigan says local hams asked him to support the bill because of the bad rap they were getting from illegal CBers using high-power linear amplifiers that resulted in TV and telephone interference while the CBers involved hid behind federal preemption. As did Feingold before him, Ehlers asked the ARRL to review his measure to ensure that it would not unintentionally harm Amateur Radio. A copy of the new legislation is available on the ARRL Web site at http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2000/11/29/3/cbbill.html. ==>ARES/RACES ACTIVATED AS BUFFALO IS BRIEFLY BURIED They say that when it rains it pours--or, in the case of the upstate New York snow belt recently, when it snows, it snows! The Erie County Amateur Radio Emergency Service and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service found themselves literally snowed under just before Thanksgiving when more than two feet of "lake effect" snow covered the greater Buffalo area like a big, heavy winter blanket. More than two dozen amateurs volunteered to help their community through the severe weather that struck November 20. Karl Weir, N2NJH--who's ARES Western New York District Emergency Coordinator and RACES Officer for Erie County--activated an emergency net, and an informational net was brought up on another area repeater. "At this point, the City of Buffalo and suburbs of Amherst, Cheektowaga and Lancaster had received 24.3 inches of snow in less than 24 hours," Weir said. Traffic was at a standstill, and hundreds--perhaps thousands--of schoolchildren found themselves stranded on buses, while many others were still stuck at their schools. "Dave [Quagliana], K2MTW, was one of the teachers stranded with about 30-plus students at Buffalo Public School #28 who checked into our net," Weir said. By Monday evening, Buffalo and Erie County were declared disaster areas, and motorists were banned from the roads as first-response emergency crews hit the highways. Stranded school buses were evacuated, and several shelters were opened. ARES was activated at 7:30 Tuesday morning in Erie County. Because he was snowbound, Assistant Emergency Coordinator and RACES Officer Eugene Kremzier, N2OBW, had to handle net control duties from his home. Weir says Erie County emergency services activated RACES with a specific request to garner as many 4x4 vehicles as possible and to establish a ham station at the county emergency operations center. With a station established at the EOC, Weir said, "our first order of business was to take Red Cross people to examine the shelters and make any critical deliveries of food and medication." The Millard Fillmore Hospital was happy to accept the assistance of three ham-driven 4x4s and an additional ham volunteer to assist in transporting medical staff, Weir said. In addition, he escorted Red Cross officials delivering medications to stranded residents. By 4:30 on the afternoon of November 21, road crews had begun to open up major highways in the affected area to remove abandoned vehicles. And ARES and RACES stood down at the end of a very long Tuesday. Winter doesn't arrive until December 21, but Buffalo will be ready. ==>MICHIGAN HAM AGREES TO HF SUSPENSION; OHIO HAM FACES HEARING The FCC says Amateur Extra licensee Michael E. Guernsey, ND8V, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has agreed to a nine-month suspension of his HF privileges, starting January 1. FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth said that if Guernsey does not violate FCC rules or the license modification agreement, the FCC will clear his file of past complaints in any future enforcement action against his license. The action came in the wake of allegations that the licensee had caused deliberate interference on 20 meters "particularly communications of Hispanic operators and truckers when you perceived them to have an improperly 'wide' SSB signal or a signal which in your opinion exhibited excessive microphone gain," Hollingsworth said. The FCC also cited allegations that the licensee may have used profanity and obscenity on the air, that he may not have identified by call sign, and that he might have deliberately interfered with communications on the Maritime Mobile Service Net. Meanwhile, the FCC has told General licensee Jeffrey J. Pipenur, WA8IKW, of Vandalia, Ohio, that it's poised to designate his station license for a revocation or renewal hearing and his operator's license for suspension. The FCC cited monitoring information and "complaints before the Commission" alleging that Pipenur "deliberately interfered" with other amateur communications on 75 meters. Further such complaints could lead to a hearing, Hollingsworth told Pipenur. Last March 1, after considering Pipenur's response to earlier FCC allegations of "deliberate interference, poor Amateur practice, and operation contrary to" FCC rules, the FCC set aside his renewal grant and renewed his license for one year. In his response, the FCC said, Pipenur did not deny the activity, apologized, and consented to the short-term renewal. ==>FORMER FLASH COMM SEEKS TO EXPAND HF MESSAGING SYSTEM The FCC is seeking comments by December 18 on a proposal to expand a nationwide, commercial two-way short-data messaging system it authorized on a conditional basis three years ago. Terion Inc--formerly known as Flash Comm Inc--has filed with the FCC to modify its conditional authorization. The company also seeks to obtain "a renewal expectancy." The company has filed an application to modify station WPKU683 in the Business Radio Service. In July 1997, the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau conditionally granted authority to Flash Comm Inc to construct and operate--on a secondary basis--a nationwide, commercial two-way short-data messaging system that operated in the 3-30 MHz range, subject to certain conditions. The frequencies the system uses do not fall in any current ham bands, but some are close, and the ARRL strenuously objected to the plan when it was first proposed. The ARRL plans to file comments this time around as well. Under the Flash Comm/Terion system, so-called "intelligent transceiver units" are installed on vehicles and structures. Transmitted data enable the service to track the location or monitor the status of each "asset." Transmissions are in short bursts averaging two seconds on HF channels the system selects automatically as being unoccupied. Terion wants to quadruple the amount of authorized spectrum. It also wants the FCC to approve increasing the total HF energy transmitted each day, also by a factor of four and jump the aggregate transmissions per hour from one percent to four percent. The company says it wants to "obtain a renewal expectancy in the event it provides a showing of substantial service" prior to the expiration of its five-year conditional authorization in order to eliminate the need for a separate rulemaking proceeding. Comments on the requests are due by December 18, 2000. Reply comments are due by January 2, 2001. Commenters should reference DA-00-2600. ==>FCC TO ACCEPT INTERNET DATA TO IDENTIFY SILENT KEYS The FCC now is prepared to accept a printout from an Internet Web site as sufficient proof of death to cancel a license in the Amateur Service. The FCC will continue to accept death certificates and published obituaries, and now can accept multiple cancellation requests. According to a spokesperson in the FCC Licensing and Technical Analysis Branch in Gettysburg, the FCC now can accept a printed copy of information appearing on the Internet as adequate proof of death "provided the printout contains certain, verifiable, information." The Licensing Bureau also will accept a list--with supporting documentation--of multiple requests for cancellation of amateur licenses. "It's basically no different than us taking requests today, other than a person can now send multiple cancels in one request and can also send documentation printed from a reliable Web site," the Licensing Branch spokesperson said. "We still require the same information." According to information on the FCC's vanity Web site, http://www.fcc.gov/wtb/amateur/vnityfaq.html, individuals can report the death of a licensee by submitting a signed request for license grant cancellation accompanied by a copy of an obituary or death certificate to the Licensing Branch. The FCC says it's been able to match up the name, address and birth date of the deceased included on some submittals it's received via the Ancestry.com site (http://www.ancestry.com) on the Internet. "The validity of these printouts as proof of death is equal to the same level of sufficiency as an obituary, in terms of reducing the risk of the inadvertent cancellation of a valid amateur call sign," the FCC spokesperson said. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sun watcher Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average solar flux rose almost 25 points two weeks ago from the previous week and then nearly another 23 points last week. Solar flux probably peaked around November 23 at 205.3. It has recently dropped below 190, and the predicted solar flux for Friday through Monday is 190, 185, 180 and 180. Geomagnetic conditions are expected to remain stable over the next week, barring some unforeseen solar flare or coronal hole. Sunspot group 9246 has quadrupled in size since Tuesday, and if magnetic fields above this rapidly growing active region become more complex, we could see some more geomagnetic disruptions if the energy is directed toward earth. Earlier this week conditions were quite disrupted. Planetary A index on November 27-29 was 38, 37 and 52, and in the higher latitudes the College A index was 51, 65 and 62. There were some spectacular auroral effects, and some great pictures are at http://www.spaceweather.com/aurora/gallery_26nov00.html . Solar flux is expected to drop down to 145 December 8-13, then rise to a peak near 200 around December 23-25. Conditions should be good for the ARRL 160-Meter Contest this weekend as well as for the TOPS 80 meter CW Contest. It is still too early to tell, but the ARRL 10-Meter Contest next weekend is during a time when the solar flux may be low, and there could be some higher geomagnetic activity due to recurring coronal holes. Check back next week. Sunspot numbers for November 16 through 22 were 142, 140, 171, 174, 168, 160 and 136 with a mean of 155.9. The 10.7 cm flux was 154.2, 163.3, 177.1, 174.9, 173.7, 185.4 and 194.9, with a mean of 174.8. The estimated planetary A indices were 4, 4, 6, 7, 9, 9 and 7 with a mean of 6.6. Sunspot numbers for November 23 through 29 were 141, 134, 110, 95, 121, 154 and 160 with a mean of 130.7. The 10.7 cm flux was 205.3, 197.1, 202, 202.4, 191.7, 195.5 and 188.4, with a mean of 197.5. The estimated planetary A indices were 7, 9, 7, 22, 38, 37 and 52 with a mean of 24.6. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The ARRL-NWS Special Event is December 2 (UTC). See below or November QST, page 75 for more information or visit http://www.nws.noaa.gov/event2000/. The ARRL 160 Meter Contest is the weekend of December 2-3. See November QST, page 98, for the rules. Also the weekend of December 2-3 are the QRP ARCI Holiday Spirits Homebrew Sprint (CW), the Ninth Annual TARA RTTY Sprint, and the TOPS Activity 3.5 MHz CW Contest. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL 10-Meter Contest and the 28 MHz SWL Contest 2000 (which runs concurrent with the ARRL 10-Meter event) are the weekend of December 9-10. See December QST, p 97, for more information. * Steve Affens, K3SA, SK: Well-known contester and DXer Steve Affens, K3SA (ex-K3ZAW), of Olney, Maryland, died November 28 reportedly after suffering a heart attack in the Cayman Islands. He was 52. According to reports, Affens and his wife were celebrating their 30th anniversary in the Caymans. Affens also had operated from the Caymans as ZF2SA during the CQ World Wide CW DX Contest this past weekend and had been active in the ARRL November Sweepstakes. An ARRL Life Member, Affens was first licensed in 1963. He was an active member of the Potomac Valley Radio Club and the webmaster for the club's site. Affens was a videographer for WJLA (Channel 7) in Washington, DC, which described him as "one of the nation's most distinguished photojournalists." Affens won the White House News Photographers' Association award for Cameraman of the Year five times. He also was the recipient of several Emmy Awards and numerous other photography citations. Survivors include Affen's wife, Patti, N3HOT, and their son Scott, KA3TUE.--thanks to Bernie McClenny, W3UR, and John Creel, WB3GXW; WJLA * Reminder--National Weather Service/ARRL On-Air Event: The National Weather Service Special Event is December 2 (UTC). Co-sponsored by the NWS and ARRL, the NWS Special Event is aimed at recognizing the contributions amateurs make to the Weather Service during threatening weather. The National Weather Service Special Event takes place December 2, 2000--Friday night through Saturday--0000 to 2400 UTC. During the event, Amateur Radio operators will operate from National Weather Service offices across the country. Amateurs are invited to work as many of these special event stations as possible. The NWSSE Web site http://www.nws.noaa.gov/event2000/ has complete details. * A deadline reminder for all clubs: The deadline is December 31, 2000, for clubs planning to submit an entry for the ARRL Club 2000 Achievement Award http://www.arrl.org/field/club/club-awards/. All entries must be submitted via the US Postal Service. No e-mail entries will be accepted! Clubs also must include the score sheet, which can be found at http://www2.arrl.org/field/club/club-awards/peform.html. For more information, contact Margie Bourgoin, KB1DCO, in ARRL Field and Educational Services, email@example.com; 860-594-0267; fax 860-594-0259. * ULS scheduled to be down: The FCC Universal Licensing System and Antenna Structure Registration will be unavailable from 5 PM (Eastern) Friday, December 1 until 8 AM (Eastern) Monday, December 4. The outage is necessary to accommodate the Land Mobile Phase 3 conversion. The task involves the conversion of more than 350,000 licenses and 5200 pending applications. * CQ introduces Amateur Radio Hall of Fame: CQ magazine has announced the establishment of the "CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame." The new hall of honor joins CQ's "DX Hall of Fame" and "CQ Contest Hall of Fame." CQ says the dual goals of the new program are to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions and to focus public attention on the far-reaching and longstanding value of Amateur Radio in society. Nominees will be judged on the basis of qualifying in one of two broad areas: Individuals, licensed or not, who have made significant contributions to the Amateur Radio hobby; and radio amateurs who have made significant contributions to society in general. CQ is accepting nominations for the inaugural class of the Amateur Radio Hall of Fame until March 31, 2001. A nomination form, along with full details, will be available on the CQ Web site, http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com. Initial selections will be announced at the 2001 Dayton Hamvention next May.--CQ news release * PBS to air Tesla: Master of Lightning: PBS will air the documentary Tesla: Master of Lightning Tuesday, December 12 (check local listings for time and channel) about the life and accomplishments of inventor Nikola Tesla (1853-1943). Actor Stacy Keach will provide the voice of Tesla for the 90-minute presentation. A Web site, http://www.pbs.org/tesla/index.html, will serve as the on-line companion to the acclaimed documentary. A contemporary of Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi, Tesla--a Serbian immigrant to the US--is credited with being the inventor of our system of ac power transmission and even of radio. The book, Tesla: Master of Lightning, by Margaret Cheney and Robert Uth, is reviewed in December QST, page 37.--PBS * UK extends 73 kHz authorization: The Radiocommunications Agency in the UK has announced a three-year extension to the 73-kHz Amateur Radio allocation there until June 30, 2003. The allocation has been available to hams in the UK since 1996. It was due to be withdrawn completely at the end of June. The Radio Society of Great Britain says the RA agreed to the extension because experimentation on 73 kHz has been slower than anticipated due to the high-noise floor towards the top end of the allocation. The RSGB said that additional work is under way on how propagation is affected by the current enhanced solar flare activity.--RSGB =========================================================== 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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