ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 7
February 16, 2001
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +Antenna bills filed in two more states
* +Maine hams speak out against mobile hand-held devices bill
* +David Clark wants to continue round-the-world attempt
* +Ohio ham gets second FCC sanction
* +FCC queries wireless Internet provider about interference
* +K2DO appointed to chair PR committee
* +Susan Ness to leave FCC
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF: 
     This weekend on the radio
     Correction
     Texas lawmaker exempts hams in amended tower proposal
     Ham radio earthquake response winds down in India
     Code-free Technician ticket turns 10
     File all club station applications, except vanity, through a CSCSA
     Oscillating preamps generate rash of interference complaints
     HQ closed for Presidents' Day

+Available on ARRL Audio News

===========================================================

==>ALASKA, NEVADA JOIN STATES SEEKING PRB-1 LEGISLATION

Two more states have joined the list of those seeking to get Amateur Radio
antenna legislation on the books. Efforts are under way  to incorporate the
provisions of the limited federal preemption known as PBB-1 into state law
in Alaska and Nevada.

The Alaska proposal, Senate Bill 78, seeks a minimum regulatory height limit
of up to 200 feet for Amateur Radio antennas or structures--similar to the
Virginia Amateur Antenna law. The Nevada proposal, Assembly Bill 61,
represents the first attempt on the state level to limit the impact of
private covenants, conditions and restrictions--so-called CC&Rs--on Amateur
Radio antennas.

ARRL Alaska Section Manager Kent Petty, KL5T, credited "the dedicated and
tireless efforts" of Dan Squires, KD7WN, and Rob Wilson, AL7KK, as well as
ARRL Northwestern Division Director Greg Milnes, W7OZ, with moving the bill
forward. Sponsored by Sen Robin Taylor, SB 78 was introduced February 8 and
referred to the Community and Regional Affairs Committee.

The Alaska bill would establish a three-tier minimum regulatory height
schedule that depends on the population density of the community in which
the antenna is installed and the size of the lot on which it is sited. The
minimum would be 75 feet in areas with population densities more than 120
people per square mile. A minimum regulatory height of 140 feet would
prevail in areas with population densities of more than 120 people per
square mile and a lot size of an acre or larger. The top-tier 200 feet
minimum regulatory limit would apply in areas where the population density
is 120 people or less per square mile.

Petty is encouraging members of the Alaska Amateur Radio community to
contact their state senators and representatives to support the measure
(visit http://www.legis.state.ak.us/ for more information).

In Nevada, the PRB-1 bill was filed February 1 by Assemblyman Bob Beers,
WB7EHN, and referred to the Committee on Government Affairs. The proposal
(http://www.leg.state.nv.us/71st/bills/AB/AB61.html) would require local
ordinances to "reasonably accommodate amateur service communications" and
"constitute the minimum level of regulation practicable to carry out the
legitimate purpose of the governing body." The bill would not apply to
historic or architectural preservation districts. 

In a unique twist, however, the Nevada measure would make "void and
unenforceable" any provision in a deed covenant, restriction or condition
that "precludes amateur service communications" or "unreasonably restricts
the placement, screening or height of a station antenna structure" that
might significantly decrease antenna performance or that does not allow for
the use of an alternative station antenna "at a comparable cost and with
comparable efficiency and performance."

The bill's provisions would not apply to CC&Rs in Nevada already "executed
and recorded" at the time the bill goes into effect.

Ten states now have incorporated the essence of PRB-1 into their lawbooks.
For more information on PRB-1 and Amateur Radio antenna regulation, visit
ARRLWeb, http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/#local .

==>MAINE HAMS OPPOSE MOBILE HAND-HELD DEVICES BILL

A group of Maine amateurs, including ARRL Section Manager Bill Woodhead,
N1KAT, trooped to the State House in Augusta this week to testify against
bills that would make it illegal to use hand-held electronic devices such as
cellphones while driving.

The more stringent of the two measures, LD 95, was introduced by Rep Joseph
E. Brooks. His bill would restrict the use of hand-held cellular telephones
as well as "computers, Citizens Band radios, dictaphones, microphones and
other electronic devices" that are not essential to the operation of a
vehicle on Maine's highways.

The other, less restrictive bill is sponsored by Rep Gerald E. Bouffard.
Both bills would permit the use of hands-free accessories for cellular
telephones used on the road.

The Maine Legislature's Transportation Committee reviewed both bills during
a public hearing February 12. Most of the testimony opposed the proposed
restrictions, with Amateur Radio operators and cellular telephone providers
most prevalent among the speakers. The state Highway Safety Bureau took "a
neutral position," according to a report in the Bangor Daily News. 

Woodhead said Maine's amateur community was well-represented. "February 21
there will be the [legislative] workshop on LD 95, and, hopefully, it will
be killed there," he said.

California, Florida and Massachusetts limit cell phone use in moving
vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but no
states have instituted outright bans. Several states, including Arizona,
Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania are considering
bills that would ban the use of hand-held cellphones, however, and a number
of localities already have put such laws into effect.

==>DAVID CLARK TO RESURRECT ROUND-THE-WORLD ATTEMPT

Within hours of a maritime disaster in which his sailboat sank and his
beloved canine companion Mickey was lost at sea, 76-year-old David Clark,
KB6TAM, was ready to once again set sail. Despite the devastating loss,
Clark has vowed to continue his effort to become the oldest person to sail
solo around the world.

Clark may have ham radio to thank for being alive. According to media
accounts, when Clark realized he was in trouble, he used his onboard ham
gear to call for help.

Following his rescue February 7, Clark told his wife, Lynda, that he would
complete his journey "if I have to swim." Clark had begun the final leg of
his round-the-world sail when his vessel, the Mollie Milar, sank two days
after leaving Cape Town, South Africa. He had hoped to reach Ft Lauderdale,
Florida--where he began his journey in late 1999--by mid-May, a sail of
approximately 7000 nautical miles from South Africa. 

Clark now is back in Cape Town, thanks to several South African hams, and
he's making plans to restart his adventure with another vessel.

Lynda Clark said that since speaking with her husband by telephone, she's
been able to get more accurate details on what happened the night of
February 7, when the Mollie Milar began taking on water and her husband and
Mickey, a west highland terrier, had to abandon ship in rough seas.

Clark is said to have put out a distress call via Amateur Radio, and his
call was picked up in Cape Town and relayed to maritime rescue authorities.
"It was very fortunate that there was a ship close by," she said.

The container vessel Emonte was equipped to mount a rescue effort. The
Emonte launched a lifeboat with a crew of four, which subsequently capsized.
But David Clark and Mickey were not aboard at that point.

With the initial rescue effort foiled and thinking the ship might not be
able to rescue him after all, Clark prepared his own lifeboat for launch,
Lynda Clark said. By then, the ship was within a few feet of Clark's 44-foot
steel-hulled sailboat and again ready to attempt a rescue. A line was
thrown, and Mickey was put into a sling to bring him aboard first, but he
wriggled free and was lost at sea.

For his part, Lynda Clark continued, "David had all he could do to get
himself up the side of that ship at this point, and limited time to do it." 

"We are totally indebted to the people on the ship who rescued David and
brought him safely back to East London port," Lynda Clark said. "And we
can't express how much we appreciate the ham operators and all the people of
South Africa who have loved and supported David and are now offering him so
much assistance."

Hams in East London paid Clark's fare to Capetown and arranged for a hotel.
Another group of hams is said to be looking after Clark in Cape Town.

"He will get to Ft Lauderdale to complete the goal, we just don't have the
date yet," Lynda Clark said this week. For more information on David Clark's
journey, visit http://www.dclark.com and http://www.captainclark.com.

==>OHIO HAM STACKING UP FCC SANCTIONS

Already under a short-term renewal sanction imposed last year for alleged
deliberate interference, an Ohio ham now is being prohibited from all but
VHF and the 30-meter band as a result of similar infractions.

The FCC notified General licensee Jeffrey J. Pipenur, WA8IKW, of Vandalia,
on February 7, that his Amateur Radio license was being modified to prohibit
operation on all HF bands except 30 meters until February 10, 2004. The
FCC's action comes in the wake of continued allegations of deliberate
interference on the part of the licensee.

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.

Pipenur's one-year renewal was granted with the condition that his license
would be renewed if there were no further violations. Last November,
however, the FCC confronted Pipenur with additional monitoring information
and complaints alleging that he had deliberately interfered with ongoing
amateur communications on 75 meters as recently as last September and
October. 

At that point, FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley
Hollingsworth had threatened to designate Pipenur's license for a revocation
and suspension hearing. Instead, Pipenur agreed to avoid a hearing and
settle the matter by letting the FCC modify his license to restrict his
operation to frequencies above 30 MHz with the exception of the 30-meter
band.

Hollingsworth told Pipenur that his renewal would be granted with the
restrictions stipulated. But he warned Pipenur that this was his last chance
to avoid more serious sanctions. 

"Please understand that if there are any substantial violations of these
frequency restrictions or Commission rules during this three-year period
ending February 2004, we intend to proceed towards revocation of your
license for your station and suspension of your operator license for the
remainder of the term," he said.

==>FCC QUERIES WIRELESS 'NET PROVIDER ABOUT INTERFERENCE TO HAMS

The FCC has asked a wireless Internet system provider what it intends to do
to eliminate interference to Amateur Radio operations in the Dallas, Texas
area. The FCC wrote Darwin Networks Inc on February 8, 2001, regarding
complaints of harmful interference to Amateur TV on 2.4 GHz that's said to
be a result of the company's deployment of Part 15 devices in an apartment
complex. 

The FCC said Darwin Networks' Part 15 devices at the Post Townlake Village
property in Dallas apparently were installed in the apartment complex to
provide Internet service using wireless 2.4 GHz nodes. 

In the letter, FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley
Hollingsworth noted that operators of Part 15 devices are required to cease
operation should harmful interference occur to authorized (ie, licensed)
spectrum users. "Darwin Networks is obligated under Commission rules to
locate the source of interference caused by its equipment and make necessary
corrections within a reasonable time," he said.

According to Hollingsworth, Darwin had written the unidentified complainant
stating that its devices were operating under Part 18 Industrial, Scientific
and Medical rules, which would not obligate the company to resolve amateur
complaints. But Hollingsworth said it appears that Darwin is not operating
Part 18 ISM devices but Part 15 devices that are not covered by the same
sort of exception.

Hollingsworth gave Darwin Networks 10 days to reply. 

==>K2DO APPOINTED TO CHAIR ARRL PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEE

ARRL New York City-Long Island Public Information Coordinator Diane Ortiz,
K2DO, of Bellport, New York, has been appointed to chair the ARRL Public
Relations Committee for 2001. "I am honored to have been appointed," said
Ortiz. "The promotion of ham radio is an important element in ensuring a
healthy future for the Amateur Radio service."

Lead Editorial Systems Technician for Newsday as well as QST "YL News"
Editor, Ortiz will be taking over a mostly new committee recently appointed
by ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP. Ortiz said she joins Haynie in
expressing appreciation to all past committee members for their service on
behalf of ARRL and the amateur community. 

The ARRL also has conveyed sincere thanks to past PR Committee Chairman Dave
Bell, W6AQ, for his steadfast commitment to Amateur Radio public relations
and the efforts of the PR committee. Ortiz said she hoped to be able to call
on her former committee colleagues and PR experts for their advice in the
year ahead.

In addition to Ortiz, who will continue as New York City-Long Island PIC,
those named to serve on the ARRL Public Relations Committee include ARRL
Public Information Coordinators Jim McDonald, KB9LEI, Indiana; Jeff
Reinhardt, AA6JR, Los Angeles; Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, North Carolina; Tom Webb,
WA9AFM, Oklahoma; and Bob Josuweit, WA3PZO, Eastern Pennsylvania.

ARRL Public Information Officers serving are ARRL Atlantic Division Vice
Director Bill Edgar, N3LLR, Western Pennsylvania; and CQ magazine Editor
Rich Moseson, W2VU, Northern New Jersey. Other members include ARRL Great
Lakes Division Vice Director Gary Johnston, KI4LA, who will serve as liaison
to the ARRL Board of Directors, and Southern Florida Section Manager
Phyllisan West, KA4FZI.

Ortiz was the winner of the 2000 Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna
Award, given to a ham who has demonstrated success in bringing Amateur Radio
to the public's attention. She invites anyone wishing to share ideas about
Amateur Radio public relations to contact her at hamyl@aol.com. 

==>NESS REPORTEDLY STEPPING DOWN FROM FCC

Not unexpectedly, another member of the FCC is leaving. Bloomberg News and
the Wall Street Journal are reporting that Susan Ness, one of two Democrats
on the FCC, will not seek another term and will step down after President
George W. Bush picks another Democrat to fill her spot on the five-member
panel. 

Before leaving office, former President Bill Clinton announced a recess
reappointment for Ness, the senior member of the Commission whose first term
expired in 1999. Her reappointment nomination had been held up in the US
Senate. Ness, who's 52, has served on the FCC for seven years.

During her FCC tenure, Ness was the FCC's senior representative at the 1995,
1997 and 2000 World Radiocommunication Conferences. In public statements,
Ness has suggested that adequate spectrum needs to remain available for
Amateur Radio, public safety, unlicensed Part 15 devices and experimental
and scientific purposes.

In exiting the FCC, Ness joins Republican Harold Furchtgott-Roth, who says
he'll leave at "a mutually agreeable departure date," and Chairman William
Kennard, a Democrat, who departed January 19. President Bush named
Commissioner Michael Powell to succeed Kennard as Chairman. The remaining
Commissioner is Gloria Tristani. 

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Propagation guru Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: The quiet
sun period continues, as the sunspot number dropped below 100 and solar flux
went down to 137.9 on Wednesday. The last two times that solar flux values
were this low were on December 9 and September 13 of last year. 

Average solar flux for the past week was down almost 15 points and average
sunspot numbers were off by over five points, when compared to the previous
week. The forecast for the next few days has solar flux dropping to 135 on
Friday and Saturday, and bottoming out around 130 on Sunday and Monday. It
is Then expected to rise rapidly from 135 to 165 February 21-23.

Despite the relatively quiet sun, there was some geomagnetic activity this
week. Earth entered a high-speed solar wind stream on Tuesday, and the
results were planetary A indices of 19 and 17 on Tuesday and Wednesday, with
planetary K indices as high as four over much of the two days. This wind
stream was probably the result of a coronal mass ejection that occurred
Sunday. Fortunately, the bulk of this ejected mass missed us.

Conditions should be relatively settled for the ARRL International DX CW
Contest this weekend, and with the days getting a little longer, we should
see a little more spring-like propagation on HF.

A story on the Science@NASA Web site at
http://science.msfc.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast15feb_1.htm concerns the
sun's magnetic poles' reversing during the peak of every solar cycle. The
article says that the switch has already happened and that this is a good
indication that the peak of the solar cycle is here or perhaps has passed.

Sunspot numbers for February 8 through 14 were 168, 179, 172, 169, 106, 113
and 99, with a mean of 143.7. The 10.7-cm flux was 156.5, 162.4, 160.7,
151.3, 144.6, 141.3 and 137.9, with a mean of 150.7. The estimated planetary
A indices were 6, 4, 5, 7, 4, 19 and 17 with a mean of 8.9.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: The ARRL International DX Contest (CW) is the
weekend of February 17-18. JUST AHEAD: The CQ WW 160-Meter SSB Contest, the
REF French Contest (SSB), the UBA Contest (CW), the RSGB 7 MHz Contest, the
CQC Winter QRP QSO Party, and the North Carolina QSO Party are the weekend
of February 23-25. See the ARRL Contest Branch page,
http://www.arrl.org/contests/ for more info.

* Correction: In the item "W9NN to observe 80 years as a ham" that appeared
in The ARRL Letter, Vol 20, No 6, we incorrectly stated the year that Bob
Baird, W9NN, was involved as one of the founding fathers of the Quarter
Century Wireless Association. The correct year would be around 1947, when
the QCWA was founded. 

* Texas lawmaker exempts hams in amended tower proposal: As a result of
intervention from the ARRL, Texas House of Representatives member Robert
Cook has agreed to amend a proposed bill, HB 1148, aimed at regulating
antenna construction, height, lighting and location, to include a new
section that excludes Amateur Radio. The new section, 240.082.5 EXCLUSIONS,
is now worded to say: "Nothing herein shall be construed to regulate, nor
shall it regulate, antennas, antenna support structures, devices or
facilities, installed, maintained and used exclusively for Amateur Radio
communications by Amateur Radio operators licensed by the Federal
Communications Commission." ARRL assisted Rep Cook in wording the specific
exemption. In a separate action, another proposal, Texas House Bill 1492,
would require all towers taller than 50 feet to be painted and marked in
accordance with aviation safety regulations. ARRL President Jim Haynie,
W5JBP, has suggested that Texas amateurs contact the bill's sponsor, State
Rep Rick Hardcastle, rick.hardcastle@house.state.tx.us, and voice objections
to the bill in its present form. 

* Ham radio earthquake response winds down in India: Raj Kumar, VU2ZAP, in
Bangalore, reports that Amateur Radio's role in the disaster response is
nearly over. "Ham radio's part, in my opinion, is done," he said. He said
some members of the Bangalore Amateur Radio Club, which had posted several
members to the Gujarat quake zone, already had returned to Bangalore. The
January 26 earthquake killed more than 50,000 people, injured many others
and left upwards of 1 million homeless. In the immediate aftermath of the
earthquake, Amateur Radio provided the only reliable communication with the
outside world. Telecommunications systems have been at least partially
restored to the stricken region. Salvation Army Team Emergency Network
Coordinator Pat McPherson, WW9E, says his organization will provide care for
up to 100 children from the Bhuj area orphaned or disabled by the quake.

* Code-free Technician ticket turns 10: Valentine's Day, February 14, marked
the 10th anniversary of the elimination of the Morse code requirement to
obtain a Technician license. For the first time, starting on February 14,
1991, applicants could obtain an Amateur Radio license in the US without
having to take a Morse code examination. The ARRL was among several
petitioners for a codeless license--quite a controversial issue at the time.
In putting out the welcome mat to the new class of Amateurs in his "It Seems
to Us . . ." editorial in the February 1991 QST, ARRL Executive Vice
President David Sumner, K1ZZ, predicted that five years down the road, "our
first codeless amateurs will be providing personnel and leadership in local
public service communications efforts from coast to coast." That prediction
turned out to be right on the money. The Technician license has proved
popular over the years, and Technician and Tech Plus licensees far outnumber
other license classes today.

* File all club station applications, except vanity, through a CSCSA: With
the exception of vanity call sign applications, the FCC now only accepts
club station applications from one of the three FCC-designated Club Station
Call Sign Administrators. As of January 22, 2001, the FCC began accepting
new, modification and renewal applications for Amateur Radio club and
military recreation stations only from a designated CSCSA. These may only be
filed as original, hard-copy applications using the NCVEC Form 605 or W4VEC
Form CSCSA. On-line filing via the Universal Licensing System to modify or
renew an Amateur Radio club and military recreation station license no
longer is available. Applications to renew Radio Amateur Civil Emergency
Service--or RACES--licenses also must be filed via a CSCSA, but the FCC no
longer issues or renews RACES licenses. The three CSCSAs are ARRL, W4VEC
Volunteer Examiners Club of America, and W5YI-VEC. The NCVEC 605 application
form is available on the ARRL Web site, http://www.arrl.org/fcc/forms.html .
All applications for vanity call signs must be filed directly with the FCC.
Information on filing a vanity call sign application is on ARRLWeb at
http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/vanity.html .

* Oscillating preamps generate rash of interference complaints: The FCC
reports it's gotten word of a rash of interference problems created by
oscillating preamplifiers built into Winegard TV antennas used primarily on
RVs, campers and motor homes. The oscillations generally appear in the
400-500 MHz range--and sometimes elsewhere--and have caused interference
problems to public safety and Amateur Radio operation at distances of
several miles away. The FCC's Gary Hendrickson says Winegard has
acknowledged the problem and estimates that there may be as many as 40,000
defective units in the field, which it has agreed to replace at no charge.
Owners, RV dealers or repair shops that might have new, but defective, units
in stock should contact the factory at Burlington, Iowa, at 319-754-0600.
Winegard also has proposed a proactive program in which service technicians
will visit the larger campgrounds, rallies and dealers around the country,
actively look for defective/radiating units in operation or on the dealer's
shelves, and replace them at no charge to the customer, regardless of the
age of the unit.--Gary Hendrickson/FCC

* HQ closed for Presidents' Day: ARRL Headquarters will be closed Monday,
February 19, to observe the Presidents' Day holiday.

=========================================================== 
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 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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