ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
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,
bshelley@arrl.org; 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, jhagy@arrl.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
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Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or
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The ARRL Letter

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.

Much of the ARRL Letter content is also available in audio form in ARRL Audio News.

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