*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 20, No. 9 March 2, 2001 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Hams scramble following earthquake * +A glimmer of hope for AO-40 * +FCC launches LA repeater review * +Space station crew shift set * +ARRL seeks greater flexibility at 219-220 MHz * +Hiking hams claim pedestrian mobile record * +ARRL gets call book collection * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL seeks articles for Antenna Compendium ARRL DXCC Desk approves ST0P operation for credit Tristani poised to exit FCC Taroh Yagi, JH1WIX, SK Jack Carter, KC6WYX, SK, to be buried at sea QRP EME QSO reported New BVI QSL Bureau address +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>AMATEUR RADIO MOUNTS QUICK QUAKE RESPONSE Hams responded within minutes after an earthquake hit the Seattle area the morning of February 28. The epicenter was some 35 miles southwest of Seattle, but the quake was felt as far away as Salt Lake City. Washington Gov Gary Locke declared a state of emergency for western Washington. As of week's end, Amateur Radio had scaled back its response as power and telephone service returned to the stricken region. Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) teams in the quake zone were mobilized within minutes of the event. The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) and the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) also activated. Residents in the affected region now are picking up the pieces. Damage estimates could top $2 billion. Upwards of 350 injuries--a few of them serious enough to require hospitalization--were reported, but no deaths were directly attributed to the earthquake. ARRL Western Washington Section Manager Harry Lewis, W7JWJ, reported that very soon after the quake struck, State RACES Officer Jim Sutton, WA7PHD, was on the air, handling net control duties for the Washington State Emergency Net on 75 meters from the State Emergency Operations Center at Camp Murray. Western Washington Section Nets also activated on HF SSB, and in the Seattle area, ARES volunteers had mounted an emergency repeater net with King County EC Rich Hodges, KB7TBF, and Lt. Russ Reed, N7NOV, of the US Coast Guard sharing NCS chores. Several other county ARES nets took to the air. Amateur Radio operators also set up a temporary 2-meter net to assist the Red Cross with damage assessment. An unconfirmed report says one ham used an ATV link from a helicopter to the State EOC--where Gov Locke was on hand--to survey the damage below. While Eastern Washington was not as badly affected, Spokane County ARES/RACES activated to assist. Because the Spokane County Department of Emergency Management had trouble maintaining contact with the State EOC at Camp Murray, an auxiliary cross-state link was established via the Washington Emergency Net. "This HF link was maintained by Spokane County's off-site Official Emergency Stations, communicating with operators at the County EOC by 2 meters," said Spokane County EC Nathan Jeffries, KI7QT, who said the action drew later praise from a County emergency official. Eastern Washington SM Kyle Pugh, KA7CSP, said "a loose information net" also fired up on 40 meters to handle general inquiries and health-and-welfare traffic. The Alaska Pacific Emergency Preparedness Net also took the airwaves on 20 meters (14.292 MHz). "The net was opened within minutes of the quake, and hundreds of messages were passed," said Bob Baker, NL7UH, in Anchorage, Alaska. Baker praised net participants for their "very highly professional manner. The net was formed after the 1964 Alaska earthquake, and it includes several net control stations in Alaska and in the "Lower 48." The SATERN Net activated for about six hours on 20 meters (14.265 MHz), processing health-and-welfare information requests and handing out situation reports from Washington and Oregon amateur stations. "Scores of stations over the nation assisted in relay," said National SATERN Director Pat McPherson, WW9E. SATERN's Web site, www.go.to/satern , remains available for inquiries. Lewis said he was "deeply impressed" by the speedy amateur response. ==>A GLIMMER OF GOOD NEWS FOR AO-40 AMSAT reports that the sun began triggering AO-40's sun sensor as the satellite emerged from Earth's shadow on orbit 147. The news has boosted ground controllers' optimism that they might be able to regain control over the satellite's spin rate and attitude sooner than had been predicted. AMSAT-DL's Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, said this week that as soon as the sensor unit delivers good sun sensor data, controllers will be able to reduce AO-40's spin and make it easier to adjust attitude. "This also will lead to an improvement in reception of the S-Band telemetry," he said. For the past few weeks, the AO-40 has remained in what AMSAT called "a semi-hibernation state," because the satellite's high angle has prevented the sensor from seeing the sun's light. Controllers had planned to work around the sun sensor issue by using a software routine. Once ground controllers can get accurate AO-40 attitude data, they should be able to correctly aim AO-40's high-gain antennas for optimal reception on Earth. Ground controllers have been relying on telemetry from AO-40's S-band (2.4 GHz) downlink--the only transmitter now operating--but they are holding out hope that at least some of the satellite's other transmitters still function. Since the satellite went silent for about two weeks in December, ground controllers have had no luck hearing the 2-meter, 70-cm or 1.2 GHz transmitters using AO-40's omnidirectional antennas. The next major step will be to bring AO-40 into an orientation where ground controllers can fire the onboard arc-jet thruster--using only gaseous ammonia and no electrical power. The test firing will allow checking out the guidance electronics and the arc-jet valves. Guelzow said the thrust of the test will be enough to lift the satellite's perigee by about 100 km. Guelzow said plans call for optimizing the current orbit with a live arc-jet firing. He said that several independent analyses--including one done by the French space agency, CNES--confirm that the current orbit will be stable for many years--longer than the spacecraft's anticipated lifetime. For more information, visit the AMSAT-NA Web site, http://www.amsat.org. ==>FCC LAUNCHES REVIEW OF LA AREA REPEATER The FCC has launched a review into the operation of the W6NUT repeater in the Los Angeles area. The repeater, which has attracted a following of what some observers call "nontraditional" amateur users, also was said to have been radio home of Richard Burton, ex-WB6JAC, sentenced earlier this year to prison for unlicensed operation. "We've gotten more complaints about that repeater than any other repeater in the country, FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth said of the W6NUT machine, which operates on 147.435 MHz. "If there's a control operator, we sure haven't seen any evidence of it." Hollingsworth wrote the repeater's trustee, Kathryn Tucker, AA6TK, and two W6NUT users regarding lengthy broadcasts made over the repeater in early February. Hollingsworth told Tucker that the FCC has received complaints that control operators and the repeater licensee "fail to address long periods of jamming by users, broadcasting, music playing as well as a plethora of other violations." He cited one transmission of more than two hours on the evening of February 1-2 that included music and commentaries on many of the songs. A similar lengthy broadcast aired over W6NUT a few evenings later, he said. Both transmissions repeatedly timed out the repeater, Hollingsworth said, and there was no evidence that a control operator was present at any time. In separate letters to Technician licensees Ted R. Sorensen III, KC6PQW, and Gregory S. Cook, KC6USO, Hollingsworth cited monitoring information alleging that Sorenson actually transmitted both broadcasts. On the first occasion, on February 1-2, Sorenson is said to have acted in concert with Cook, who was hooked in via phone patch. The second similar transmission February 4-5 was said to have featured only Cook, again via phone patch to Sorenson's transmitter, Hollingsworth said. Citing Sec 308(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, Hollingsworth requested that all three licensees respond to the allegations within 20 days. In addition, Hollingsworth asked Tucker to furnish specific details about the W6NUT repeater system, including names of control operators on duty on the two evenings in question. Cook's license is due to expire May 7, 2001. Hollingsworth advised Cook that his renewal application would "not be routinely granted unless these issues are resolved" and that his renewal application could wind up being designated for hearing. ==>SPACE STATION SHIFT CHANGE SET WITH NEXT SHUTTLE LAUNCH It's almost time for a shift change aboard the International Space Station, and two hams are among the new crew members. Relieving the current ISS crew will be the Expedition 2 team of Commander Yuri Usachev, UA9AD/R3MIR, of Russia and US astronauts Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, and Jim Voss. The Expedition 2 crew is scheduled to head into space March 8 aboard the space shuttle Discovery. The Expedition 1 crew has spent more than four months in orbit. The Space Station Alpha crew is staying in space a couple of weeks longer than planned because of a tight shuttle launch schedule and necessary refitting on the Discovery. Expedition 1 Commander William "Shep" Shepherd, KD5GSL, and Russian cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR, arrived at the station November 2. During their stay, Shepherd has spoken via ham radio with students at several schools as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station--or ARISS--program. In addition to ferrying the Expedition 2 crew, Discovery will have in tow an Italian-made cargo carrier that's filled with laboratory experiments and equipment. At the end of its almost 12-day flight, Discovery will transport Shepherd, Gidzenko and Krikalev back to Earth. Discovery is planned to land March 20 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Commanding Discovery will be Jim Wetherbee. Jim Kelly, KC5ZSW, will be the shuttle's pilot, and Andy Thomas, KD5CHF--a Mir veteran--and Paul Richards, KC5ZSZ, will serve as mission specialists. No Amateur Radio activity from the shuttle is scheduled. ==>LEAGUE SEEKS GREATER FLEXIBILITY AT 219-220 MHz The ARRL is urging the FCC to retain the 219-220 MHz shared Amateur Radio allocation and says it wants the Commission to make it a bit easier for hams to use the segment. In comments filed February 6 in an FCC rulemaking proceeding, the ARRL said it believes the 219-220 MHz band "must be maintained and enhanced." The League commented in PR Docket 92-257, released last November. The Third Further Notice in that proceeding proposed to designate licensing regions for the Automated Maritime Telecommunications System (AMTS) facilities at 216-220 MHz and to authorize a single licensee for each unassigned AMTS frequency block on a geographic basis. The current AMTS system uses a site-based licensing structure. Current rules require that amateurs planning to operate within 80 km (50 miles) of an AMTS facility get written permission from the AMTS licensee, but getting that consent has been difficult to impossible for hams in coastal areas. "The Commission's intended flexibility in amateur station operation at 219-220 MHz has not, in general, been realized," the League commented. The ARRL suggested letting amateurs seeking to use 219-220 MHz submit computer-generated field strength contours that demonstrate a lack of interference potential at the relevant AMTS boundaries in lieu of having to get written permission. "It is ARRL's intention that the Amateur Service be provided a practical opportunity to make substantial, flexible use on a secondary basis of the 219-220 MHz allocation, taking into account expanded development of AMTS stations," the League said. The FCC should "provide some flexibility in the engineering of amateur systems in that band, to the extent consistent with avoidance of interference to AMTS stations." The 219-220 MHz amateur segment was created in 1995 as a result of an ARRL petition for rulemaking. The FCC has designated the band on a secondary basis for amateur fixed point-to-point digital message forwarding systems. While the ARRL said it's unaware of any amateur interference to AMTS stations, attempts by hams to use the band to construct digital backbone systems "have been largely thwarted to date" because on the inability to get consent from AMTS licensees within 50 miles of the proposed operation, as rules now require. A copy of the ARRL's comments is available at www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/pr92-257/. ==>HIKING HAMS CLAIM PEDESTRIAN MOBILE DISTANCE RECORD Bonnie Crystal, KQ6XA, of San Mateo, California, and Max Pompe, ZL1BK, of Auckland, New Zealand, are claiming the record for the longest direct-path, pedestrian-to-pedestrian Amateur Radio contact. The two worked each other February 18 on 10 meters using compact SSB transceivers and homemade antennas. On the New Zealand end, ZL1BK used a 1.8-meter (5 feet 11 inches) homebrew telescopic whip mounted on his Yaesu FT-817 running 5 W. Crystal had a 6-meter (19 feet 8 inches) fishing pole strapped to an aluminum pack frame and ran 20 W using a Vertex/Standard VX-1200 HF Manpack transceiver, a radio that's not marketed in the US. "Both of us used 3-meter insulated-wire dragging counterpoises," said Crystal. The 6500-mile contact began on 15 meters but ended on 10, because conditions were better there for that path. "Other stations in the HFpack group here in the US had been trying to make a go of it, but we just lucked out," Crystal said. For his part, ZL1BK said, "I still can hardly believe we did it, but the Pacific gods smiles on us as we rode the airwaves today." The HFpack Web site has more information at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hfpack/ . More information on Bonnie Crystal, KQ6XA, is available on her Web site, http://www.qsl.net/kq6xa/. ==>CALL BOOK COLLECTION DONATED TO ARRL HEADQUARTERS Amateurs are known to be collectors, but Al Hall, W9IVA, who became a Silent Key last year at the age of 93, was the collector's collector! Not only did he collect radio gear but also Call Books dating back to the 1940s and other call sign directories going back even further. Now, his collection has been donated to ARRL Headquarters by the ham who inherited it. A longtime resident of Madison, Wisconsin, and an ARRL member at the time of his death, Hall left his Call Book collection to Jim Green, KG9MM, who donated and shipped the entire collection to ARRL Headquarters last month. The volumes will augment the League's Call Book and call sign directory collection, and some of the books will replace directories that have deteriorated with age or become dog-eared through use. Green said Hall--who first used the call of 9BOX at the age of 12 around 1920--"still had his first rig, his last rig, and according to him, every rig in between." Hall's equipment now is on display in a private museum in Madison, Wisconsin, he said. The Hall Call Book collection now is archived in the Field and Educational Services offices at League Headquarters. ARRL Regulatory Information Specialist John Hennessee, N1KB, maintains the small, but expanded, library. He says the League now has 165 call sign directories in its archive, including a complete Call Book collection from the late 1940s. Some gaps remain between 1932 and 1955, however. Hennessee said the ARRL invites donations of needed Call Books to the ARRL collection. Contact Hennessee at 860-594-0236 or by e-mail at email@example.com. He asks that donors not ship books but check with him first to ensure that a particular edition is needed. In addition to its historical significance, the collection of directories also is in demand for research purposes. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sun watcher Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Greetings from Seattle, where we just lived through an exciting earthquake on Wednesday. No damage at K7VVV, but it has had everyone a bit rattled. Average sunspot numbers were lower last week, but average solar flux was about the same, when compared to the previous week. Sunspot numbers were down to 88 on Wednesday, the lowest since January 17. Average daily solar flux for the months of December, January and February were 173.6, 166.6 and 147.2, indicating a decline in activity. Average sunspots over the same period were 146, 143 and 131. The next short term peak in activity is expected around March 8, with a solar flux of 155. Predicted flux values for the next few days, Friday through Monday, are 135, 140, 145 and 150. Moderate geomagnetic conditions are expected for the ARRL International DX Phone Contest this weekend, with planetary A index of 12 on Saturday and 10 on Sunday. This estimate is based on the 80 percent chance that a full halo coronal mass ejection Thursday will not have a large effect on Earth. We are moving toward spring conditions, which means better DX openings between the northern and southern hemispheres. Watch for the upper HF spectrum to open toward the east and south early in the day, then peak north and south in mid day, and then toward the west and south toward the evening. Sunspot numbers for February 22 through 28 were 135, 135, 99, 111, 91, 90 and 88 with a mean of 107. The 10.7-cm flux was 145.8, 145.2, 137.3, 134.9, 135.4, 130.6 and 131.8, with a mean of 137.3. Estimated planetary A indices were 6, 11, 5, 3, 10, 13 and 7 with a mean of 7.9. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The ARRL International DX Contest (SSB) is March 3-4 (see December 2000 QST, page 110 for rules). JUST AHEAD: The North American Sprint (RTTY) and the Wisconsin QSO Party are the weekend of March 9-11. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, http://www.arrl.org/contests/ for more info. * ARRL seeks articles for Antenna Compendium: ARRL is looking for original, unpublished articles for the next volume of the extremely popular book series The ARRL Antenna Compendium. Articles should be about antennas, propagation, transmission lines, antenna tuners, towers--anything dealing with antennas! Submit articles to Dean Straw, N6BV, c/o ARRL HQ, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. * ARRL DXCC Desk approves ST0P operation for credit: Last summer's ST0P DXpedition by Jeff Hambleton, G4KIB/5B4YY/KF9BI, in Khartoum, Sudan, has been approved for DXCC credit. The DXCC Desk has reviewed and accepted ST0P documentation, and stations now can now receive DXCC credit for ST0P. Rejected ST0P submittals can be updated without having to re-submit a QSL by contacting the DXCC Desk, firstname.lastname@example.org. QSL information for ST0P is on the Web at http://www.qsl.net/st0p. * Tristani poised to exit FCC: FCC member Gloria Tristani reportedly will join three present and former colleagues in exiting the Commission. According to Dow Jones Newswires, Tristani will leave the FCC by the end of the year, possibly to pursue elective office in her home state of New Mexico. Nominated to the Commission by President Clinton, Tristani joined the FCC in 1997. Her term expires June 30, 2003. Tristani, a Democrat, joins former FCC Chairman William Kennard--who left the FCC January 19 and was replaced by Commissioner Michael Powell--and commissioners Harold Furchtgott-Roth, a Republican, and Susan Ness, a Democrat, who plan to leave but remain on the FCC for now. * Taroh Yagi, JH1WIX, SK: Well-known JA DXer and Amateur Radio pioneer Taroh Yagi, JH1WIX (ex-J1DO, J2GX) died January 29. He was 93. First licensed in 1924, Yagi, often was the first JA contact for many new hams. Among the founding members of the original JARL, founded in 1926, Yagi in his later years made most of his contacts on CW and spent a lot of time on the 15-meter Novice band handing out JA to newcomers. Bill Acito, W1PA, remembers when he first worked JH1WIX. "I was 15, with an NC300 receiver and a Heath DX-60 transmitter, and tried patiently to work him over several nights," he wrote. "When I finally did, I think I was more excited than when I made my first QSO." ARRL Membership Services Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG, said he remembered Yagi very well, but for a different reason. "For some reason he remembered my name--"Wyne"--many, many times when I worked him in a contest. He never forgot, and he misspelled my name each time. I will miss him." Yagi has belonged to ARRL, JARL, QCWA, FOC and the Tokyo Old Timers Club.--thanks to Bernie McClenny, W3UR; Bill Acito, W1PA * Jack Carter, KC6WYX, SK, to be buried at sea: A memorial service for Jack Carter, KC6WYX, was held March 1 and burial was expected to be at sea from a US Navy vessel. Carter died February 20. He was the executive officer of the World War II Tank Landing Ship LST-325, which recently completed a 4200-mile journey from the Greek island of Crete to Mobile, Alabama, where it will become a museum. Carter had ham radio gear aboard and used the WW2LST call sign of the USS LST Amateur Radio Club while under way. The family invites memorial donations to the American Cancer Society. The Palos Verdes Amateur Radio Club has assumed QSL responsibility for contacts Jack Carter made during his WW2LST/MM voyage.--Herb Clarkson, KM6DD/PVARC * QRP EME QSO reported: A posting on the EME reflector reports that Ernie Manly, W7LHL, and Larry Liljequist, W7SZ, both in Washington, successfully completed an Earth-Moon-Earth (moonbounce) contact February 25 while running 5 W on 1296 MHz. "This was using the PUA43 mode with their DSP-10 transceivers and transverters," said Bob Larkin, W7PUA. This marked their first attempt at using the 5-W level for a QSO. The DSP-10 was a QST construction project by Larkin that appeared in three parts in the September, October and November 1999 issues of QST. The antennas for the QRP contact consisted of 10 and 12-foot TVRO-type dishes. Details are available at Larkin's Web site, http://www.proaxis.com/~boblark/dsp10.htm . * New BVI QSL Bureau address: The British Virgin Islands has a new QSL Bureau address effective immediately. It's BVI QSL Bureau, PO Box 4, West End, British Virgin Islands. =========================================================== 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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