*************** 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, email@example.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 The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of interest to active amateurs. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise, and readable. Visit ARRLWeb at http://www.arrl.org for the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRLWeb Extra at http://www.arrl.org/members-only/extra offers ARRL members access to informative features and columns. 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