ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 10
March 9, 2001
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection bill introduced
* +ARRL urges FCC to deny 70-cm Part 15 petition
* +AO-40 team de-spinning satellite
* +New satellite among AMSAT-NA Board project proposals
* +Shepherd completes run of ARISS school contacts
* +New Field Day rules announced
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF: 
     This weekend on the radio
    +Eastern New York gets new Section Manager
    +JAMSAT makes donation to Phase 3D Project
     10-10 Net President Thomas A. Henderson, K4CIH, SK
     Richard "Rick" Vahan, N4PBF, SK
     Javier Ledesma, EA4AV, SK
     Burton to serve term in Texas
     Nevada PRB-1 bill hearing set
     The 59(9) DX Report editor retires
     YHOTY nominations are open
     Yugoslav amateur named as envoy to Brazil

+Available on ARRL Audio News

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

==>AMATEUR RADIO SPECTRUM PROTECTION ACT OF 2001 INTRODUCED

The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 2001 is now officially HR 817.
Rep Michael Bilirakis of Florida introduced the bill on March 1 in the US
House of Representatives. Last week, ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, and
ARRL First Vice President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, visited the Congressman's
office to thank him personally for his continuing interest in protecting
Amateur Radio frequency allocations.

The measure has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
The bill seeks to amend the Communications Act of 1934. It would require the
FCC to make no reallocation of primary Amateur and Amateur-Satellite
allocations, diminish any secondary allocations, or make additional
allocations within amateur allocations that would substantially reduce their
utility without also providing equivalent replacement spectrum.

League officials traveled to Washington in late February and early March for
a three-day round of visits with senators and congressmen and their staff
members.

Haynie and Harrison also visited the FCC, where they spoke with Peter
Tenhula, Chief of Staff to FCC Chairman Michael Powell. Haynie was upbeat
about the impact of the visits. "Once again we had an opportunity to tell
our story about Amateur Radio and the important function it serves,
especially in public service and education," he said.

==>ARRL URGES FCC TO NIX PART 15 PETITION AFFECTING 420-450 MHz

The ARRL is urging the FCC to deny or dismiss a petition that seeks to boost
the field strength and duty cycle of RF identification systems deployed as
unlicensed Part 15 devices in the 420-450 MHz band. The League filed
comments March 1 in a petition filed by SAVI Technology Inc. 

The petition, designated RM-10051, asks the FCC to change certain Part 15
rules affecting unlicensed, periodic, intentional radiators. SAVI, which
markets radiolocation and wireless inventory control products, says it needs
the rules changes to satisfy customer demand for increased RFID system
capabilities.

The ARRL argues that the field strengths and duty cycles SAVI proposes for
its RFID tags "are completely unreasonable and would undoubtedly seriously
disrupt amateur communications in one of the most popular of the Amateur
Service allocations."

The ARRL characterized SAVI's petition as another in a long series in which
manufacturers of unlicensed RF devices seek to liberalize rules regarding
permitted field strengths for such devices in bands allocated to the Amateur
Service. The League said SAVI obviously did not have interference avoidance
in mind when it chose the 420-450 MHz band. "It is among the worst choices
SAVI could have made from that perspective," the ARRL said. The League
suggested that SAVI would be better off deploying the devices in the 902-928
MHz band.

The ARRL said SAVI not only has failed to show that its unlicensed devices
could operate at the requested field strengths and duty cycles on an
itinerant basis without unduly risking harmful interference to amateurs, it
hasn't shown why it needs such extremely high field strengths to communicate
over paths of 100 meters.

The ARRL said its limited anecdotal studies of noise levels from unlicensed
devices in certain metro areas indicate that manmade RF noise "is
substantially increasing." The League warned the FCC to "be extremely
careful in evaluating rulemaking petitions proposing substantial departures
from present Part 15 rules."

For more information on Part 15 devices, visit the ARRL Web page,
http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/part15.html.

==>AO-40 TEAM REPORTS SUCCESS IN SLOWING SATELLITE'S SPIN RATE

Initial efforts to slow AO-40's spin rate have met with success. Peter
Guelzow, DB2OS, of AMSAT-DL and the AO-40 team says magnetorqueing has been
able to decrease AO-40's initial spin rate from 17.59 RPM to 15.9 RPM. "The
target is something in the area of 5 RPM," Guelzow said this week.

The onboard magnetorqueing system--which consists of solenoid coils--makes
use of Earth's magnetic field to control the spacecraft's spin and
orientation. Magnetorqueing is most effective when Earth's magnetic field is
strongest, so it typically only takes place at perigee--when the satellite
is closest to Earth. Ground controllers have been making incremental
adjustments during each perigee.

Guelzow said that as soon as the spin is favorable, AO-40's attitude will be
adjusted to improve communication with Earth. De-spinning the spacecraft is
a necessary first step to making any attitude adjustments, however. 

Guelzow said the onboard YACE camera was used to take some photographs "for
a quick attitude determination," but he said the highly compressed
JPEG-format digital photos were inconclusive. More pictures are planned once
the spin rate is reduced.

When it met in Orlando late last month, the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors
recognized that completing a full evaluation of AO-40 would take some time
and that all of the satellite's designed functions may not be available.
(See related story, "AMSAT-NA Board Approves Satellite Project Proposals,"
below.) 

AO-40's present and future situation will be the subject of presentations
March 17 in Detmold, Germany, when AMSAT-DL holds its annual symposium
there.

==>AMSAT-NA BOARD APPROVES SATELLITE PROJECT PROPOSALS

Meeting February 24-25 in Orlando, Florida, the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors
met February 24-25 approved three satellite project proposals. The Board
said now is the right time to start the planning and design process for the
next series of satellites.

The first, a new satellite to be placed into a geostationary transfer orbit,
would feature communication capability at 2 meters, 70 cm, and 1.2, 2.4 and
5.6 GHz. The satellite would weigh up to 100 kg and have a power consumption
of about 100 W. Stabilization would be provided by spinning the spacecraft.

The directors also approved the concept of designing, building and testing a
new Internal Housekeeping Unit (the IHU serves as an onboard computer
system--Ed) for use in future AMSAT satellites. AMSAT-NA says the existing
design, although very stable, uses components that are hard to find. The new
unit design would use improved techniques and more readily available
components. 

The board further approved the design, construction and demonstration of a
new mode using digital modulation techniques. AMSAT-NA says it anticipates
that the new IHU and digital modulation projects would be ready in time to
become a part of the new satellite.

==>SHEPHERD WRAPS UP ARISS EXPEDITION 1 SCHOOL CONTACT SCHEDULE

Expedition 1 Crew Commander William "Shep" Shepherd, KD5GSL, capped his more
than four-month tour aboard the International Space Station with Amateur
Radio chats with students in Hawaii and American Samoa and at his Arizona
high school alma mater. Scheduled as part of the Amateur Radio on the
International Space Station, or ARISS, program, the two school contacts were
expected to be the last for the current ISS crew. A new crew was launched
March 8.

On March 1, five high school students from Hawaii and one from American
Samoa got a chance to talk with Shepherd for approximately six minutes. The
first student asked Shepherd if space travel had changed his religious
beliefs. 

"It hasn't really," he replied. "I'll tell you, looking out into the sky is
a lot like being on the Islands. The view of the stars is much clearer. I
guess it gives one a sense that there's a whole lot more out there to the
universe and the cosmos than we normally appreciate."

In response to other questions, Shepherd said muscle atrophy was "one of the
biggest problems for humans if we're every going to go anywhere far away
from Earth." He said the ISS crew needs to exercise two hours each day to
maintain tone.

The contact ended with a loud "Aloha!" to Shepherd from the students, who
invited Shepherd back to Hawaii.

On March 7, Shepherd spoke briefly to students at his high school alma
mater, Arcadia High School in Phoenix. As-yet unexplained circumstances kept
the contact short, and Shepherd was only able to reply to the first
student's question. The Arcadia school contact was fit into the ARISS school
contact schedule at Shepherd's request.

The single question--from a ninth grader--had to do with the most exciting
research projects aboard the ISS. "The science aboard is just getting
started," Shepherd responded. He told the Arcadia students that one project
being carried out by the Max Planck Institute in Germany and Russian
scientists is a physics experiment involving plasma. "We're doing an
experiment right now, basically figuring how to control very small films of
material, which may help us to make better computers some day," Shepherd
said. 

The Amateur Radio link broke off as the next student was asking his
question. The all-student Arcadia High School Amateur Radio Club KD7LAC team
was unable to re-establish contact, despite repeated attempts. Shepherd used
the NA1SS call sign for both contacts.

Since coming aboard the ISS last November, Shepherd also has spoken with
schools in Illinois, Virginia, New York, Texas, and Ontario, Canada, as part
of the ARISS program. The shuttle Discovery launched March 8, transporting
the Expedition 2 crew to the ISS. The ISS Expedition 2 crew includes two
hams, Russian cosmonaut and Expedition 2 Commander Yuri Usachev, UA9AD, and
US astronaut Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, in addition to US astronaut Jim Voss.
ARISS school contacts could resume in late March. 

For more information on the ARISS program, visit the ARISS Web site,
http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov.

==>NEW FIELD DAY RULES FOR 2001 DESIGNED TO ENHANCE THE FUN

Field Day 2001 will run from 1800 UTC June 23 to 2100 UTC June 24--as
always, the fourth full weekend in June. Typically a club or group event,
Field Day is the most popular operating activity of the year--and one of the
most enjoyable for hams of all skill levels. A few rules changes this year
affect bonus points for Field Day scores.

* The non-traditional mode bonus has been expanded from 100 to 300 points
for doing three separate demonstration modes. 

* Packet is back and will be counted as one of the three demonstration
modes, but to claim packet credit, you must set up a portable digipeater
system. Existing, permanent packet networks do not qualify for this bonus.

* You may earn a 100-point bonus if an invited local government official or
representative of one of the agencies that ARES serves in an emergency
visits your Field Day site. To earn this bonus, the invited official must
actually visit the site, not just be invited.

* The message-handling bonus has been changed. You may now earn 10 points
per message, up to 100 points total, for origination, relay, and delivery of
formal NTS messages. In the past, only messages received and relayed were
counted. The Field Day participation message to the Section Manager or
Section Emergency Coordinator under rule 7.3.5 does not also qualify for
bonus points under these rules.

This marks the last year that the extra Novice/Tech Plus station will exist
in its current form. The Novice/Tech station is a non-counting transmitter,
and its QSOs count for QSO point credit. The ARRL Membership Services
Committee is considering several options to encourage participation by newly
licensed hams.

The ARRL Contest Branch has compiled a 24-page Field Day 2001 Information
packet, http://www.arrl.org/contests/forms/01fdpack.pdf . This document is
available in hard-copy format by sending an SASE with four units of postage
to Field Day Package, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.

In addition to the dated Field Day pins that have proven so popular the past
few years, the League now offers 2001 Field Day T-shirts. Pins are just $5,
and the T-shirts are $9.95. For ordering information, visit the ARRL
Products Catalog, http://www.arrl.org/catalog, or call toll-free
888-277-5289. The Contest Branch no longer handles orders for these items.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Solar shaman Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Although the
week's sunspot numbers and solar flux began low, they rose steadily, with
the average sunspot number up more than eight points and average solar flux
up more than ten. Thursday, March 1, the beginning of the reporting week,
the sunspot number was a very low 59. December 10, 2000 was the last day
with a reported sunspot number as low as this, when it was 58. Prior to
that, the previous low was around September 11 and 12, 2000, when it was 27
and 38. To find another date with a sunspot number as low, one would have to
look on the other side of the solar cycle peak, way back to October 2, 1999,
when it was 47. 

Current activity is a far cry from last summer, when daily sunspot numbers
were routinely 200 or more, or even 300, or on July 20 over 400.

Solar flux rose from a low of 129.7 last Friday, then jumped nearly 19
points in a single day to 176.6 on Wednesday. The official daily solar flux
is always the noon reading, but there is also a 10 AM and a 2 PM reading (at
local time for the observatory in Penticton, British Columbia). On that day
the early reading was 164.8, and the late one was 165.5, so the noon
reading, a more than 10-point difference, seems somewhat of an anomaly.
Solar flux has not been this high since January 13, when it was 184.3.

Solar flux is predicted at 170 for Friday and Saturday, March 9 and 10, and
165 for Sunday and Monday. Current best projections show flux values hanging
around 160 for March 13-23, then dropping to 135 around March 28 or 29. 

While the solar cycle appears to have peaked last year, we are still at a
high point in the cycle, and headed toward typical spring HF conditions,
when overall propagation is best (as in the fall equinox). 

Sunspot numbers for March 1 through 7 were 59, 77, 138, 157, 143, 131 and
102, with a mean of 115.3. The 10.7-cm flux was 131.4, 129.7, 139.6, 141,
155.8, 157.8 and 176.6, with a mean of 147.4. Estimated planetary A indices
were 5, 8, 14, 17, 18, 6 and 7, with a mean of 10.7.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: The North American Sprint (RTTY) and the
Wisconsin QSO Party are the weekend of March 9-11. JUST AHEAD: the CLARA and
Family HF Contest (SSB and CW) is March 13-14; the Virginia QSO Party is the
weekend of March 17-18. See the ARRL Contest Branch page,
http://www.arrl.org/contests/ for more info.

* Eastern New York gets new Section Manager: The ARRL Eastern New York
Section has a new Section Manager. Rob Leiden, KR2L, who had served as SM
since March 1996, has stepped down because he has moved out of the section.
On March 1, ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White,
K1STO, appointed Peter A. Cecere, N2YJZ, of Woodstock, New York, to complete
Leiden's term of office, which expires March 31, 2002.

* JAMSAT makes donation to Phase 3D Project: The Japan Amateur Satellite
Corporation has donated approximately $38,000 to the Phase 3D Project.
AMSAT-DL has expressed its gratitude for the contribution toward ongoing
AO-40 activities. In a letter to JAMSAT President Tak Okamoto, JA2PKI,
AMSAT-DL President and P3D Project Leader Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, wrote that
the money would go toward helping AMSAT-DL to speed up the commissioning of
AO-40, including the SCOPE cameras contributed by JAMSAT.

* 10-10 Net President Thomas A. Henderson, K4CIH, SK: 10-10 International
President Tom Henderson, K4CIH, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, died March 4. He was
64. Henderson reportedly had suffered a massive heart attack February 14 and
had been in a coma. He was an ARRL member. Known to other 10-10
International Net members as #33233, Henderson was licensed in 1959 and had
been active in 10-10 since 1980. He joined the board as a director in 1993
and became president in 1995. Henderson was a retired nursing supervisor.
Services were private. Chuck Imsande, W6YLJ, has been designated to succeed
Henderson. Visit the 10-10 Net International Web site at
http://www.ten-ten.org. --Gerry Gross, WA6POZ

* Richard "Rick" Vahan, N4PBF, SK: Well-known Southern Florida amateur Rick
Vahan, N4PBF, of Miami, Florida, died February 28, of leukemia. He was 73.
Vahan served as president of the Dade Radio Club, was a past director of the
South Florida FM Association and a member of Dade County ARES, as well as an
acclaimed volunteer for W4EHW at the National Hurricane Center. He also
served as an ARRL Public Information Officer. Vahan's interest in scuba
diving led to a position as a curator at the New England Aquarium, where he
also did public relations. He later became curator of education at Shedd
Aquarium in Chicago. In 1972 Jacques Cousteau invited Vahan to ghostwrite
The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau. Vahan later worked for the Dade County
Office of Film and TV Coordination, where he promoted the county as a TV and
film location. He retired in 1994. A memorial service will be held March 17,
2 PM at the Unitarian Church, 7701 SW 76 Ave, Miami.

* Javier Ledesma, EA4AV, SK: Well-known DXer Javier Ledesma, EA4AV, of
Madrid, Spain, died February 24. He was 64. Ledesma was named one of the
first three International DXCC Card Checkers by ARRL at the URE national
convention in 1996. He very actively served URE members and the ARRL DXCC
Desk in this volunteer role until last December when he had to withdraw
because of failing health. He was involved as a delegate to the Madrid
section of URE, and he was a member of the URE general assembly. Ledesma
held DXCC Number One Honor Roll, 5BDXCC, 5BWAS, and 5BWAZ (all 200
zones).--Paco Campos, EA4BT; by Chuck Hutchinson, K8CH

* Burton to serve term in Texas: FCC sources say that former ham Richard
Allen Burton, ex-WB6JAC, who was convicted of unlicensed operation, will
spend his three months in jail in a federal detention facility in Ft Worth,
Texas. Burton also was sentenced earlier this year to one year's probation
and must undergo psychological treatment. The sentence resulted from a plea
agreement. Originally set to begin serving his term in late February, Burton
was allowed another couple of weeks to report to the federal prison in Ft
Worth on his own, instead of being transported there in the company of US
marshals. He's scheduled to report to begin serving his term March 19.
Burton, who has a long history of alleged unlicensed operation, has been
free on $20,000 bond since his arrest last August.

* Nevada PRB-1 bill hearing set: Nevada's proposed Amateur Radio antenna
bill, Assembly Bill 61, has been set for hearing by the Nevada State
Assembly Government Affairs Committee Wednesday, March 14, at 8 AM in the
Government Affairs Room, Room 3143, on the third floor of the Nevada State
Assembly Building, 401 North Carson Ave, Carson City. The bill, filed
February 1 by Assemblyman Bob Beers, WB7EHN, would limit municipalities from
passing ordinances that do not conform with the limited federal preemption
known as PRB-1. It also 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." A copy of the bill is available on the Web,
http://www.leg.state.nv.us/71st/bills/AB/AB61.html. Beers encourages a
strong show of support for the measure. For more information, visit the
Carson Valley Radio Club site, http://www.cvrc.net/ab61/ .--Dick Flanagan,
W6OLD

* The 59(9) DX Report editor retires: Editor Bob Nadolny, WB2YQH, of The
59(9) DX Report has decided to retire from the DX bulletin business. Nadolny
started the publication from scratch seven years ago and grew it into the
largest of the US paid-subscription newsletters. The subscription list for
all versions has been sold to Bernie McClenny, W3UR, who publishes The Daily
DX. McClenny will rename the publication The Weekly DX, and it will be
available in paper and Acrobat PDF versions. Nadolny will keep the name The
59(9) DX Report for his Flying Horse Callbook distributorship and will
continue to offer the WARC Award and QSL Pipeline Directory. For more
information, contact Bernie McClenny, W3UR, bernie@dailydx.com. 

* YHOTY nominations are open: Nominations are for the Amateur Radio Newsline
Young Ham of the Year Award for 2001. Created in 1986, the award recognizes
one young amateur under the age of 18 in the continental United States for
his or her contributions to society through Amateur Radio. Nominating forms
and additional information are available at the Amateur Radio Newsline Web
site, http://www.arnewsline.org. All nominations and materials required by
the official rules must be received by Amateur Radio Newsline before May 30,
2001. Complete details and application forms also are available by sending a
self-addressed stamped envelope to The Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of
the Year Award, 28197 Robin Ave, Santa Clarita CA 91350. 

* Yugoslav amateur named as envoy to Brazil: Subject to final confirmation,
well-known contester and DXpeditioner Radivoje "Rasa" Lazarevic, YU1RL, has
been named to serve as Yugoslav ambassador to Brazil. The 39-year-old
Lazarevic has operated many times from Brazil and Fernando de Noronha. He
participated in WRTC-96 in San Francisco and had been scheduled to
participate in WRTC-2000 in Slovenia but had to cancel as it conflicted with
his political party's congress (he is a founding member and vice president
of New Democracy, a pro-European party). 

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

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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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