*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 19, No. 47 December 8, 2000 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Big Project draws big donations * +FCC Registration Number could become mandatory * +ARISS elects officers, ratifies bylaws * +First ARISS school QSO set * +AO-40 activates S-band telemetry * +Taxis in space, a tick on 20? * +Former ARRL Director W5GM and former Vice Director W7JIE, SK * +Yaesu donates transceiver, amp to W1AW * ARRL's "Radios On-Line service now free to members * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio HQ staffer Steve Mansfield, N1MZA, recuperating Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award deadline looms Pennsylvania ham snags ISS contact QSL postage to remain at 20 cents Discovery Channel to offer ISS special +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>"THE BIG PROJECT" ATTRACTING BIG DONATIONS Before it's even officially off the ground, "The Big Project"--the educational initiative of ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP--already has attracted a few substantial donations plus several smaller ones. The project, known formally as "The ARRL Amateur Radio Education Project," is aimed at providing a turnkey Amateur Radio curriculum at the middle school level plus resources and equipment to bring it to life for youngsters. "Without asking we've already received approximately $125,000 for the project," Haynie said. "This tells me people are very serious about this initiative." Haynie has been courting corporate dollars and seeking foundation grants for the project. So far, the project has received two substantial donations of stock from anonymous donors. Since the ARRL is a 501(c)(3) organization, donations are tax deductible--at the appreciated value in the case of securities. In addition, the ARRL Foundation has pledged $50,000 in start-up funds for the project. A formal check presentation is scheduled for the January ARRL Board of Directors meeting. As conceived by Haynie and under the guidance of ARRL Vice President Kay Craigie, WT3P, the ARRL Amateur Radio Education Project will work directly with teachers who use Amateur Radio as a teaching strategy in the classroom. "The goal is to improve the quality of education for kids by providing educationally valid techniques involving Amateur Radio for teaching all sorts of subjects--science, geography, languages, speech," Craigie said. "Kids get the hobby of a lifetime and preparation for good careers--that's the ultimate goal." Craigie said the project's philosophy is that Amateur Radio can be a "powerful resource" for teachers in attaining their educational goals--whether or not licensing is involved. "It's about improving education." Growth in the amateur ranks could be a delayed effect of the program. "Some children will want to study for licenses immediately," Craigie said. "Others will return to the idea in later life." If nothing else, those exposed to ham radio through The Big Project "will remember Amateur Radio as a good thing that made school more fun," she said. "These kids who have good school experiences with ham radio will grow up to be our neighbors, zoning board members, and political officials," Craigie said. "Amateur Radio can never have too many friends." Haynie has been testing out some of the program's concepts at the DeGolyer Elementary School in the Dallas area. "The kids are like sponges," Haynie said of the sixth graders involved. "They learn it faster than we even want them to." Donations are encouraged to the ARRL Amateur Radio Education Project, c/o Barry Shelley, N1VXY, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Contact Shelley, email@example.com; 860-594-0212, to discuss details. ==>FCC SEEKS TO REQUIRE FCC REGISTRATION NUMBER The FCC has proposed requiring that everyone it does business with obtain and use an FCC Registration Number--or FRN. Many amateurs registered with the Universal Licensing System already have been assigned a 10-digit FRN by the Commission Registration System--or CORES. The FCC has not made FRN use mandatory, however. The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (MD Docket 00-205) December 1. The FCC says requiring individuals and entities to obtain an FRN will help it to better track and manage the collection of fees. The FCC proposes requiring that FRNs be provided with any filings that require payment of a fee, such as the vanity fee for amateurs. The FCC is proposing to reject filings requiring an FRN that do not include the number. The Commission said its proposed rules "would make the use of the FRN mandatory in certain circumstances so that anyone not yet assigned an FRN or who has not yet obtained one must obtain one." An individual does not have to hold an FCC license to obtain an FRN. The FCC says the information collected by CORES includes the "entity name and type," Taxpayer Identification Number or TIN--typically a Social Security Number for an individual, contact address and e-mail address. CORES information is not made public. Comments on the FCC rulemaking notice are due 30 days from the date of publication in The Federal Register. Reply comments are due by 45 days from the date of publication. The FCC began implementing CORES earlier this year. CORES registration eventually will replace Universal Licensing System, or ULS, registration. The FRN will co-exist with the Licensee ID Number issued by the ULS, an FCC spokesperson said this week. More information on CORES is available on the FCC Web site, http://www.fcc.gov (click on the CORES registration link). ==>ARISS INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS RATIFY BYLAWS, ELECT OFFICERS Amateur Radio on the International Space Station--or ARISS--delegates have ratified new bylaws and elected officers. The ARISS International Group also logged considerable progress in planning the future direction of the ARISS program when it met December 1-3 at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. Now that the solar wings have been deployed and brought on-line aboard Space Station Alpha, more routine operation of the initial ARISS station on 2 meters is anticipated. So far, only Amateur Radio test passes have occurred, although Expedition 1 Commander William Shepherd, KD5GSL, did work a Pennsylvania ham at the tail end of one test pass (see "Pennsylvania ham snags ISS contact" below). The first Amateur Radio contact between the Expedition 1 crew and school children is set for later this month (see "First ARISS School Contact Set!" below). Packet operation is expected to begin soon. Delegates from the US, Russia, a consortium of European countries, Canada and Japan elected Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, to chair the ARISS Board. European Subregional Working Group Chairman Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, was chosen as Vice Chair. ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, was elected Secretary-Treasurer. All will serve for two years. Contacts between the ISS crew and schools was a major focus of the ARISS International Group's discussions. The international partners plan to share the time allocated for school contacts. The oldest two years' worth of school applications for the former Space Amateur Radio EXperiment program will get top priority. The ARISS delegates agreed with a motion from observer Ron Parise, WA4SIR--a NASA payload specialist--to require that all school QSO applications include specific educational proposals. It's hoped that the ISS crews eventually will be able to handle at least one school contact per week. ARISS delegates also approved a QSL card featuring a color photograph of the ISS. The ARRL will handle QSLs for QSOs made by US amateurs with the ISS crew. Other QSL points will be announced. The ARISS International Group approved a Russian proposal to send up a higher-power mobile transceiver to be installed in the Zvezda Service Module, possibly as soon as next year. Antennas for both 2 meters and 70 cm are to be installed during a space walk next year. A proposal to activate Slow-Scan TV is in the works. The Expedition 1 crew of Shepherd and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR, and Yuri Gidzenko has been aboard the ISS since early November and has been extremely busy with its normal work schedule. For more information about Amateur Radio on the ISS and SAREX, visit the ARISS Web site, http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov/. ==>FIRST ARISS SCHOOL CONTACT SET! Students at the Luther Burbank School in Burbank, Illinois, will get a chance to speak with the crew of Space Station Alpha later this month. Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) spokesman Will Marchant, KC6ROL, says the contact will take place on Monday, December 18 starting at around 2202 UTC. If that doesn't work, they'll try again on Tuesday, December 19 starting at around 2100 UTC. The contact is expected to last about 10 minutes. "The ISS downlink is on the 145.80 MHz 'public' frequency," Marchant said. Efforts are under way to set up a Webcast of the occasion. SAREX veteran and professional engineer Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, will be in charge of the Amateur Radio setup at the school. The Burbank School, located on the southwest side of Chicago, has a population of 700 pupils in kindergarten through eighth grade. Another 18 schools are under consideration for ARISS school contacts. Burbank teacher Rita Wright says word of the impending ARISS contact has generated a flurry of educational activities at the school. "Since being notified of our ISS contact, our teachers and students have been very busy with space, space station, and space exploration topics and activities," said Wright, who's the eighth-grade science and math teacher. "Our school is vibrating with excitement and activity." ==>AO-40 ACTIVATES S-BAND TELEMETRY; TESTING CONTINUES AMSAT News Service reports that general AO-40 housekeeping tasks continue as ground stations test the complex systems onboard the next-generation Amateur Radio satellite. Magnetorquing operations also continue, prior to moving the new satellite to its final orbit. Launched November 16, AO-40--formerly Phase 3D--for now remains in a geostationary transfer orbit. North American P3D Command Station operator Stacey Mills, W4SM, reports an S-band (2.4 GHz) transmitter has been activated and has been sending 400 b/s BPSK telemetry. The satellite will transmit S-band telemetry only at certain times, such as when reasonable squint angle and visibility are available. Doppler correction at this frequency and at this point in the orbit will be dramatic, he said. The 2-meter transmitter (145.898 MHz) will remain on during S-band operation. Information on PSK demodulators is available from AMSAT-NA at http://www.amsat.org/amsat/sats/ao40/ao40-tlm.html. There's been no word on when or whether AMSAT and the AO-40 ground controllers will permit a limited period of general amateur operation while the satellite is still in the geostationary transfer orbit. AO-40 is the largest Amateur Radio satellite ever put into space. ==>TAXIS IN SPACE, 20-METER TICKS CHALLENGE INTRUDER WATCHERS Interference to the AO-27, UO-14, SO-35 and possibly other Amateur Radio satellites tentatively has been traced to taxi fleet transmissions from south of the US border. "The stations appear to be unlicensed Mexican taxi operators operating in the satellite uplink portion of the band," said Brennan Price, N4QX, of the ARRL Monitoring System. AMSAT News Service reports that severe interference from other allegedly unlicensed Spanish-speaking stations continues on 145.850 and 145.825 MHz and transmissions were being picked up by UO-14 and SO-35. "Since VHF signals don't go so far, except via satellite, finding these folks is tough," Price said. IARU Region 2 Monitoring System Coordinator Martin Potter, VE3OAT, reports that one signal source in Mexico that was interfering with the AO-27 uplink was located, thanks to intervention from FMRE, the Mexican IARU society. FMRE reported the situation to COFETEL, the Mexican telecommunications authority. COFETEL made the taxi drivers move away from the AO-27 uplink, but taxi operations continue on other 2-meter frequencies, and AO-27 was still experiencing similar interference at last report. Meanwhile, the FCC tentatively has identified a mysterious "tick-tick" intruder signal as the third harmonic of an ocean current-sensing radar near Atlantic City run by Rutgers University. The FCC directed the licensee to eliminate the harmonic but did not order the transmitter shut down. The transmitter manufacturer has since installed a low-pass filter to eliminate the interference. The "tick" showed up from 14.275 to 14.381 MHz. The typical signal of the experimental Rutgers radar system is 25 kHz wide. While the tick was audible, it did not present significant interference to amateurs. ==>FORMER ARRL DIRECTOR W5GM AND FORMER VICE DIRECTOR W7JIE, SK Former ARRL West Gulf Director Jack D. Gant, W5GM, of Ardmore, Oklahoma, died December 6. He was 84. Gant served as West Gulf Division Vice Director from 1972 to 1976 and as Director from 1977 to 1980. Licensed for 66 years, Gant was an ARRL member for most of those years. He also belonged to the Quarter Century Wireless Association. ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, remembered Gant as "a real gentleman." ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, said Gant mentored him when Haynie first joined the Board as West Gulf Director in 1982. "He gave me a lot of good advice," Haynie said. A service was set for December 9. Former ARRL Northwestern Division Vice Director Millard L. "Gib" Gibson, W7JIE, of Seattle, Washington, died December 1. He was 81. An ARRL Life Member, Gibson served as Northwestern Division Vice Director in 1983 and 1984 after being appointed by then-ARRL President Vic Clark, W4KFC, to fill an unexpired term. Gibson had served as director of the IARU Region 2 Intruder Watch program and also was active as an Official Observer. Gibson was a member of the QCQA. On the air, he had been an active CW QRP operator. A service was held December 6. ==>YAESU DONATES MARK-V FT-1000MP, QUADRA TO W1AW Maxim Memorial Station W1AW has received an early Christmas present--a new Mark-V Yaesu FT-1000MP and matching speaker unit, and a Quadra VL-1000 linear amplifier. Executive Vice President for Engineering Mikio Maruya, WA6F, visited ARRL Headquarters December 1 to formally present the new gear on behalf of Jun Hasegawa, President and CEO of Yaesu's parent company, Vertex Standard Ltd (formerly Yaesu Musen). Among other features, the Mark-V offers 200 W RF output, improved DSP, a 75 W Class A mode, and interlocked digital/analog bandwidth tracking (see "Product Review," QST Nov 2000, page 64). The Quadra linear amplifier requires no manual tuning and is designed to work smoothly with the Mark-V. The new equipment has been installed in W1AW's Studio 1 operating suite and will be available for use by visitors to the station. ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, expressed the ARRL's deepest appreciation for the gift. Maruya, who's been with Yaesu/Vertex Standard for 10 years now, is an Honor Roll DXer who says he only needs North Korea to wrap up DXCC. He previously spent 20 years with Standard as research and development director. Mikio Maruya's wife, Saeko, is WA6G; his daughter, Rika, is KC6JAM. Maruya serves as the interface between Vertex Standard in Japan and the US market for the firm's commercial and amateur lines. He said Yaesu/Vertex Standard is committed to the amateur market, which he predicted will continue to grow. The new gear got an initial workout when HQ staffer Brennan Price, N4QX, put it to use during the recent ARRL 160-Meter Contest. ==>ARRL'S "RADIOS ON-LINE" SERVICE NOW FREE TO MEMBERS Listing a classified ad to buy and sell Amateur Radio-related equipment on the ARRL's Radios On-Line service now is free to League members. Listings will continue to be available for viewing by everyone, but now that Radios On-Line is an ARRL membership benefit, only League members may post ads. ARRL members now will be able to post free ads up to 100 words--subject to a few rules. Members first must register for access to the ARRL members-only pages and be logged on as a member in order to post ads. Classifieds listed on Radios On-Line will remain posted for 30 days unless canceled earlier. Radios On-Line is for noncommercial, personal use. There are no provisions for nonmembers to post classified advertising. The service provides for listings in more than two dozen categories. Members may list ads seeking or selling Amateur Radio-related equipment. The site includes a search engine to look for specific items. The ARRL does not warrant any items advertised on Radios On-Line, nor are individual advertisers subject to scrutiny. The ARRL reserves the right, at its discretion, to decline a listing or to discontinue an ad without prior notice. Visit the Radios On-Line site http://www.arrl.org/RadiosOnline/ to place or view ads. For information on how to join the ARRL, visit ARRLWeb, http://www.arrl.org, and click on the "JOIN ARRL" button. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Propagation prognosticator Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average solar flux was down and sunspot numbers were up this week. At least there weren't any major geomagnetic disturbances. Quiet and stable conditions prevailed, with A indices in the single digits. Solar flux is expected to rise to a peak near 200 around December 20-23. Current prediction shows flux values for December 8-12 at 145, 150, 150, 155 and 160. Unfortunately for hams looking forward to the ARRL 10-Meter contest this weekend, the quiet conditions probably will not continue. Predicted planetary A index for Friday through Tuesday is 15, 25, 15, 12 and 10. The active conditions in this weekend's forecast are probably due to a coronal hole in the center of the visible solar disk. This will be a problem for high latitude and east-west propagation. There was also a solar flare toward the end of the UTC day on December 6. Sunspot numbers for November 30 through December 6 were 191, 157, 141, 186, 120, 90 and 99 with a mean of 140.6. The 10.7 cm flux was 192.3, 184.5, 167, 163.6, 152, 147 and 141, with a mean of 163.9. The estimated planetary A indices were 6, 6, 4, 12, 10, 4 and 7 with a mean of 7. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: 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. The USS Wisconsin Radio Club N4WIS special event continues through December 10 on 40-10 meters from the Nauticus National Maritime Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, to commemorate the 59th anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor and the permanent berthing of the Wisconsin at the Museum. JUST AHEAD: The Croatian CW Contest and the OK DX RTTY Contest are the weekend of December 16-17. The W3T/W3F special event from Cobb Island, Maryland, commemorating the first AM transmission by Reginald A. Fessenden in 1900 will be December 16. See the ARRL Special Event Calendar http://www.arrl.org/contests/spev.html for details on special events. See December QST, p 97, for more information on contests. * HQ staffer Steve Mansfield, N1MZA, recuperating: ARRL Legislative and Public Affairs Manager Steve Mansfield, N1MZA, is recuperating at home after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor. Although he still faces additional long-term treatment, his spirits are high. "I'm feeling very optimistic," Mansfield said. He expressed his heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for all the cards and letters he's received. Mansfield, who works with members of Congress and their staff members on issues affecting Amateur Radio, says he hopes to stay in the legislative loop during his recuperation. Mansfield edits the "DC Currents" column in each issue of QST. Members and friends may write Steve Mansfield c/o ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington CT 06111. * Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award deadline looms: The deadline is fast approaching for any professional journalists who wish to be considered for the 2000 Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award. All nominations must be received at ARRL Headquarters by 5 PM Eastern Time on December 15, 2000. The Leonard award goes to a professional journalist whose coverage best reflects the enjoyment, importance and public service value of Amateur Radio. The award was named in honor of the late Bill Leonard, a former president of CBS News and avid Amateur Radio operator in the 1960s and 1970s. The winner will receive a plaque and a cash award of $500. For complete information, contact Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-594-0328. * Pennsylvania ham snags ISS contact: It was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time, says ARRL member Randy Shriver, KG3N, of Hanover, Pennsylvania. He managed to snag the first--and so far only--"informal" contact with ISS Expedition 1 crew commander William "Shep" Shepherd, KD5GSL, early on the morning of November 13. "I only had 20 seconds or so," said Shriver. Space Station Alpha was over Newfoundland at the time and had just completed an "engineering pass" contact with NN1SS at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland when Shriver dropped in a quick call, and Shepherd came back to him using his own call sign. "Well Randy, you are my first contact from the space station," Shepherd responded. A ham for about 20 years, Shriver says he built his station specifically for SAREX contacts (he's got four stacked 22-element arrays and 100 W). In 1985, Shriver worked Tony England, W0ORE, aboard the shuttle Challenger. WGAL-TV, Channel 8 in Lancaster included a report on Shriver's ISS QSO in its newscasts. * QSL postage to remain at 20 cents: While first-class domestic postage in the US will increase to 34 cents starting January 7, 2001, the cost of mailing a postcard--such as a QSL card--within the US will remain at 20 cents. The governors of the US Postal Service this week announced that the price of a first-class letter will rise to 34 cents, but the cost of each additional first-class ounce will decrease from 22 cents to 21 cents. The new 34 cent letter-rate stamps go on sale December 15. International mailing rates also will rise January 7. An airmail postcard (QSL) will cost 50 cents if bound for Canada or Mexico and 70 cents to anywhere else in the world. For other mail, the basic unit rate has been raised to one ounce--60 cents/ounce for Canada and Mexico; 80 cents elsewhere in the world, meaning users actually will be able to mail more for less. The complete rate schedule is available on the USPS Web site, http://www.usps.gov/news/2001rate.htm .--USPS news release * Discovery Channel to offer ISS special: The Discovery Channel will broadcast "Inside the Space Station" Sunday, December 10, at 9 PM and 1 AM Eastern and Pacific. The program mentions the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station--or ARISS--ham gear aboard Space Station Alpha and the prospect of amateur contacts between the ISS occupants and schools on Earth. The program also will be broadcast Sunday, December 17, at 6 PM Eastern and Pacific; Monday, December 18, at 9 PM and 1 AM Eastern and Pacific, and Saturday, December 23, at 5 PM Eastern and Pacific. Visit the Discovery Channel Web site, http://www.discovery.com/stories/science/iss/iss.html . =========================================================== 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. 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