*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 20, No. 17 April 27, 2001 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +AO-40 transponders could be up by summer * +WRTC-2002 set for Finland * +NASA relents on Dennis Tito flight to ISS * +Missionary-ham, infant die in Peru plane downing * +Kansas hams volunteer for tornado duty * +Astronaut making casual QSOs from NA1SS * +Hudson delegation promotes antenna bill in capital visit * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARECC on-line course full McGan Award entry deadline looms A weekend's work compressed into two hours at Visalia Ham helps his "Elmer" in health emergency Hosstraders has moved! Submarines on the air Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award Smithsonian "Space Day" to include ham satellites +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>AO-40 TRANSPONDER OPERATION POSSIBLE THIS SUMMER AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, this week raised the possibility that AO-40 could inaugurate transponder operation this summer, if tests and orbital maneuvers between now and then go as planned. "We are learning how to fly this thing," Haighton said. "But I still think we're going to end up with a darned good satellite." The most likely initial transponder configurations, Haighton said, would be Mode L/S--1.2 GHz up and 2.4 GHz down, Mode U/S--435 MHz up and 2.4 GHz down, and possibly Mode V/S--145 MHz up and 2.4 GHz down. Recent data suggest that the mid-December incident that silenced AO-40 for two weeks and rendered some systems unusable also might have blown a hole on the 400-newton motor side of the spacecraft. "Speculation is there could be damage, and sunlight is getting right in," Haighton said. He noted that ground controllers have detected a distinct rise in temperature when sunlight strikes that side of the satellite. The speculated opening was not causing any major problems, he said, but it could explain why efforts to adjust AO-40's attitude via magnetorquing have been unpredictable. As the AO-40 recovery effort continues, Haighton said, ground controllers plan to raise the height of the perigee in the very near future. That process, using the onboard arc-jet motor, could take up to several weeks. The AO-40 team hopes the maneuver will minimize or eliminate possible effects on the satellite's orbit caused by atmospheric expansion at the peak of the solar cycle. AO-40 currently is approximately 320 km--almost 200 miles--above Earth at perigee--its closest point--and some 51,000 km--some 31,600 miles--at apogee. Plans call for raising the orbit at perigee to around 520 km, or some 320 miles. The maneuver would "hardly affect" the satellite's apogee, Haighton said. The arc-jet would be operated without electrically igniting it, using the pressure of the ammonia fuel alone. Once the orbit has been adjusted, ground controllers would orient the spacecraft's attitude and check out the various onboard transmitter and receiver systems to see what works and what does not. "We're still pretty confident that the 2 meter and 70 cm transmitters are not there," Haighton said, "but we're equally confident that the receivers for those bands still are." The satellite has been transmitting telemetry on the 2.4 GHz (S-2) beacon, and signals reportedly have continued to improve--although the beacon has been out from time to time as needed to conserve power during eclipse periods. ==>WRTC 2002 TO BE HELD IN FINLAND The next World Radiosport Team Championship--which some characterize as the "Olympics of Amateur Radio"--will be held next year in Finland. A formal announcement came April 21 during the International DX Convention in Visalia, California. WRTC 2002 will be jointly organized by Contest Club Finland and the Finnish Amateur Radio League (SRAL). The on-air competition will take place July 13-14, 2002, in conjunction with the IARU HF Championship. Last held in Slovenia in July 2000, the WRTC involves on-air contest-style competition among two-person teams operating from the same geographical vicinity at stations having equivalent capabilities. All operation is done at 100 W with modest antennas. The WRTC 2002 Organizing Committee Chairman is Jouko Häyrynen, OH1RX. Sharing duties in chairing the competition will be Martti Laine, OH2BH, and Pasi Luoma-aho, OH2IW, both world-class contesters. Ari Korhonen, OH1EH, who's handling WRTC 2002 publicity, was paired with OH1NOA on Team Finland, which finished fifth at WRTC 2000. Team selection will begin soon. Considered likely contenders next year are WRTC 96 and WRTC 2000 winners Dan Street, K1TO, and Jeff Steinman, N5TJ. Participants from all continents will be selected based on their track-records in past contests. Korhonen said every effort would be made to provide teams with comparable operating conditions. "Our plan is to have 45 to 50 station sites set up in locations around Helsinki, each equipped with identical antenna systems," he said. The WRTC 2002 Web site is http://www.wrtc2002.org. ==>ISS PARTNERS GRANT FLIGHT EXEMPTION FOR DENNIS TITO, KG6FZX The International Space Station Partnership has granted an exemption for the flight of American businessman Dennis Tito, KG6FZX, to the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz 2 taxi mission. Russia already had given Tito the go ahead to visit the ISS as part of a three-man team on the 10-day Soyuz mission, scheduled to begin April 28. NASA has extended the shuttle Endeavour visit to the ISS by at least a day as the space station crew resolves computer problems and recommended that Russia postpone the Soyuz mission. A NASA statement said that following "intense and extensive consultations" among all space station partners, the Multilateral Coordination Board "achieved consensus on the proposed Tito flight." A former Jet Propulsion Lab engineer, Tito, 61, reportedly has agreed to pay the Russian space program $20 million for the privilege of becoming the first "space tourist." The public relations value of Tito's imminent visit was not lost on the Board. "It is understood that Mr. Tito will contribute to the formation of positive public opinion about the ISS program and the ISS partnership," its meeting report concluded. There are conditions to Tito's visit. He reportedly has agreed that neither he nor his heirs will hold NASA liable for anything that might happen to him on board and that he will pay for anything he might damage. A NASA task force has recommended that Tito have an astronaut escort to visit the US sectors of the ISS and that he sleep near the Soyuz escape vehicle in case an emergency arises. During Tito's visit, the crew of Russian Commander Yury Usachev, UA9AD, and US astronauts Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, and Jim Voss, is expected to adopt a minimal work routine and maintenance schedule. Initially, NASA had vigorously opposed allowing Tito to fly to the ISS at this time and had suggested putting the mission off until later this year. NASA said the Board agreed that no ISS partner would propose to fly another "non-professional crewmember" until the ISS partnership had finalized and adopted detailed crew criteria. Those criteria are to be in place by June. Tito has been in Russia training to go into space. He took and passed the Technician exam earlier this month. NASA sources have said that Tito will have access to the ARISS amateur gear on a "non-interference basis"--meaning that he must not interfere with the crew's work or sleep schedules. At this point, the ham gear is installed in the module that doubles as sleeping quarters for some of the crew. Tito is not scheduled to be involved in any ARISS school contacts--such QSOs normally are not scheduled during docked operations anyway, because the crew is too busy--but it's expected that he may use ham radio to keep in touch with his family. He's also indicated a preference for packet over FM voice. ==>MISSIONARY-HAM, INFANT, DIE WHEN PLANE IS DOWNED IN PERU A missionary from Michigan, killed after the plane in which she was a passenger was shot down last week in Peru, was an Amateur Radio operator. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, identified the dead as Veronica "Roni" Bowers, 35, and her infant daughter, Charity, seven months. Roni Bowers was KD4CKM, a Tech Plus licensee. The Cessna 185 float plane ditched in the Amazon River after being fired upon. Bowers' husband, Jim, and their son, Cory, 6, were not seriously injured in the incident. Jim Bowers is KD4CKN, a General licensee. Pilot Kevin Donaldson was shot in the leg in the incident but survived. The Bowerses, from Muskegon, Michigan, had been serving in Peru since July 1993. News accounts say the Peruvian Air Force shot down the plane carrying the missionaries in the Amazon jungle April 20. The Peruvian military said it opened fire after the pilot ignored warnings to land, but that claim is disputed. A communiqué from the Peruvian Ministry of Defense said that the Peruvian Air Force "deeply regrets the loss of human life." It said its actions were part of its anti-drug operations procedures. Reports say a US military aircraft associated with anti-drug trafficking operations first spotted the Cessna but told the Peruvians the plane might be legitimate. An investigation continues. Funeral services for the mother and infant were set for April 27 in Michigan. ==>KANSAS HAMS RESPOND IN TORNADO'S AFTERMATH Several dozen Amateur Radio Emergency Service members turned out to help in the wake of an F4 tornado that ripped through the small Central Kansas town of Hoisington April 21. The surprise twister left one dead, dozens injured and millions of dollars in damage. A weather-spotting ARES net active prior to touchdown had received reports of a funnel cloud at Hoisington, but the National Weather Service had issued no tornado warnings. Kansas District 5 Emergency Coordinator Bob Haneke, WG0Q, says storm spotter Larry Bruce, KC0IFO, called in a report of extensive damage in Hoisington and said help was needed. Haneke first checked on his brother, who lives in Hoisington, then headed out. Barton County Emergency Coordinator Carl Anderson, N0ORS, activated an ARES emergency net on the 146.76 repeater. Then, accompanied by his wife and two sons--all hams--Anderson and several other amateurs established initial emergency communications from Hoisington. Others helping in Hoisington included ARRL Midwest Division Vice Director Bruce Frahm, K0BJ. The town of about 3000 is located some 100 miles northwest of Wichita and just north of Great Bend in Barton County. The storm took the roof off the Hoisington High School auditorium, and gutted a strip mall, the town's only grocery store, and a Dairy Queen where some people took shelter in a walk-in freezer. Also heavily damaged was Hoisington's hospital. Its patients had to be relocated to Great Bend or to the local nursing home, which had no power or telephone. Later, severe flooding swamped sections of the town that the tornado had skipped. At one point early on, Haneke said, the only link parts of Hoisington had with the outside world was via Amateur Radio VHF to the emergency operations center in Great Bend. "The outgoing phone line trunk had been damaged," he said, "and cellular phones in the area were useless, as the system was grid-locked." Amateurs assisted in several ways during the relief effort. Haneke says hams provided communication support to several responding agencies, including the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Adventist Community Services. Hams also provided primary or back-up communication for hospital facilities and shelters and assisted the Red Cross with damage assessment. In addition, HF and VHF links were established to handle health-and-welfare traffic. The Golden Belt Amateur Radio Club dispatched its emergency communications bus. Haneke says that as power and telephone service were restored to the community on April 24, amateur operators were able to stand down from active duty, and the ARES emergency net was deactivated that afternoon. A contingent from the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) remained in Hoisington to handle additional requests and to support Salvation Army relief efforts. Frahm said amateurs also still were assisting at the nursing home, municipal building and hospital area. ==>ASTRONAUT MAKING CASUAL QSOS FROM NA1SS Astronaut Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, recently put smiles on the faces of a number of US hams. Reports from several amateurs indicate that she's made several casual voice contacts from her perch aboard the International Space Station. Mike Seguin, N1JEZ, was one of the stations who made contact with Helms on April 20. He reports she had a great signal. Also reporting contacts were Tom Blubaugh, N7HXP, Samuel Danner, N3MPE (who worked NA1SS for the second time), and Stan Vandiver, W4SV (who posted audio from his QSO on his Web site, http://stan.vandiver.com). Helms also was active on April 23. Several stations have managed to connect with the ISS packet system, still operating as "NO CALL". Bruce Paige, KK5DO, reports he worked a male operator at the NA1SS mike on April 25. As of April 27, the ARRL had received QSL card requests for two Expedition One FM voice contacts and four Expedition Two FM voice contacts (along with several dozen SWL reports for both missions), plus eight "NO CALL" packet encounters. With the STS-100 mission under way, four of the five space agencies involved in building the space station are now represented on board. Endeavour's crew includes Italian Umberto Guidoni of the European Space Agency, Russian Yuri Lonchakov--who's been granted the call sign RS1ISS--and Canadian Chris Hadfield as well as US astronauts Kent Rominger, Jeffrey Ashby, John Phillips and Scott Parazynski, who's KC5RSY. Endeavour docked with the ISS April 21. It's return flight was delayed at least a day and possibly two because of the ISS computer difficulties. It's not known if either of the hams from Endeavour planned to do voice QSOs while aboard the ISS. There is no amateur gear installed aboard the shuttle. Here are the QSL routes for W/VE stations working NA1SS: US stations QSL to Margie Bourgoin, KB1DCO, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Canadian stations QSL to Radio Amateurs of Canada, 720 Belfast Rd--Suite 217, Ottawa, ON K1G 0Z5. A self-addressed, stamped envelope is required to get a QSL in return.--ANS; news reports ==>HUDSON DIVISION DELEGATION PROMOTES ANTENNA BILL IN CAPITAL A delegation of four from the ARRL Hudson Division recently trekked to the state capital of Albany on April 17 to garner support for New York's Amateur Radio antenna bill. Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, reports the group met for nearly five hours with Assembly and Senate members and staffers as well as with Gov George Pataki's assistant counsel Greg Allen. An effort to incorporate the wording of the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 into New York's statutes fell short of its mark last year. Fallon says he's more optimistic this time around, now that companion bills have been introduced in the Assembly and Senate, designated A 1565 and S 2893. Accompanying Fallon on the visits were Assistant Hudson Division Directors Gerry Agliata, W2GLA, and Diane Ortiz, K2DO, and Eastern New York Local Government Liaison Ray Wemple, KA2DVM. During the visits, Fallon said, the delegation explained that a state antenna bill was needed to supplement PRB-1, since many local town and villages seem unaware of PRB-1 or ignore its provisions. "We explained how our bills would save local governments time and money and avoid confrontation among neighbors over a very technical issue few local legislators fully understand," he said. Fallon said the group likened Amateur Radio operators to volunteer firemen who, rather than responding to fires "respond to communications emergencies when the lights go out and phones go dead." "Those we spoke to seemed receptive to our arguments," Fallon said, "and one assemblyman said that his committee would again report our bill out as it had done last year." Fallon predicted that Gov Pataki--a former ham (ex-K2ZCZ)--will almost certainly sign the bill when he receives it." Fallon encouraged support from New York amateurs. "Letters, phone calls and visits are much more effective than e-mails," he said. The Hudson Division Web page http://www.arrlhudson.org has a copy of the bill, links to find names and addresses of state representatives, and copies of sample letters. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Heliophile Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: After bottoming out on April 16 at 123.4, solar flux is on the rise. Average flux values for this week were up more than 50 points, and activity continues to rise with the return of sunspot region 9393. Solar flux is expected to peak this weekend around 210, but a rise in geomagnetic activity due to a large M7-class solar flare on April 26 is expected on Sunday. This flare was from sunspot 9393, which also hurled a full-halo coronal mass ejection. This sunspot covers about half the area that it did when it was on our side of the sun last month, but it is still quite large. Last month it produced the largest solar flare ever recorded--which fortunately was not pointed toward Earth. On Monday an enormous prominence--a filament of cool dense gas suspended above the sun--extended over the sun's southwestern limb. You may still be able to view a photo from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory at http://spaceweather.com/images2001/23apr01/20010423_1837_eit_304_big.gif . Sunspot numbers for April 19 through 25 were 85, 103, 156, 164, 140, 175 and 182, with a mean of 143.6. The 10.7 cm flux was 144.5, 180.4, 191.1, 192.5, 196.4, 193.5 and 193.9, with a mean of 184.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 8, 7, 28, 21, 8 and 7 with a mean of 12.3. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The Florida and Nebraska QSO parties and the Six Meter Sprint are the weekend of April 28-29. JUST AHEAD: See the ARRL Contest Branch page, http://www.arrl.org/contests/ and http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/weeklycont.html for more info. * ARECC on-line course full: The April ARRL on-line Emergency Communications Level I classes now are closed to further enrollments. If you missed out, two new classes will open in mid-May. In the meantime, watch the ARRL Web site for the latest information on the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program. * McGan Award entry deadline looms: The deadline to receive nominations for the 10th annual Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award is 5 PM, Friday, May 25. The McGan Award goes to an individual who has achieved volunteer public relations success on behalf of Amateur Radio, exemplifying the efforts of Phil McGan, WA2MBQ (SK). Nominating someone for this award is the perfect way to recognize an ARRL Public Relations Coordinator, Public Relations Officer or club PR appointee for his or her dedication to the promotion of ham radio on the local, regional or national level. For more information about the McGan Award, see February QST. Entry forms and the award program guidelines are available on the ARRL Web site, http://www.arrl.org/pio. * A weekend's work compressed into two hours at Visalia: Three ARRL staffers and 18 volunteers from California DX clubs combined their talents to field check 83 DXCC applications during the 52nd annual International DX Convention in Visalia, California, April 20-22. The task of checking the approximately 5000 QSL cards typically would take the equivalent of an entire weekend. But this year, 21 card checkers showed up and whittled a weekend's work down to an astonishing two hours! Ken Anderson, K6TA, organized the project. The Northern California DX Club-this year's convention sponsor-and the Southern California DX Club take turns organizing the convention. The Redwood Empire DX Association assisted. More than 600 registered for this year's event. ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, encouraged those assembled to stress membership recruitment in their respective clubs. Other ARRL officials attending included Vice President John Kanode, N4MM, Southwestern Division Director Fried Heyn, WA6WZO, and Pacific Division Director Jim Maxwell, W6CF, plus other section and division volunteers. Membership Services Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG, participated in the DX Forum moderated by DXAC representative Jack Troster, W6ISQ. ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, participated in the Contest Forum moderated by Bob Wilson, N6TV. * Ham helps his "Elmer" in health emergency: Kansas Section Emergency Coordinator Joseph Plankinton, WD0DMV, reports that a new ham in his section recently got to return a favor for the amateur who'd helped him get his license--his "Elmer." On April 5 Conrad Lauck, KC0JUV, of Topeka was enjoying a QSO on a local repeater with his old friend Wayne Peterson, KB0AMY, 55 miles away in Horton. Both hams are blind, and Peterson is a diabetic. During the contact, Peterson mentioned that he was not feeling well, and, as the conversation progressed, his speech began to slur. Finally, Lauck heard Peterson key his microphone but not speak, and he knew his friend was in trouble. He contacted authorities in Horton to check on Peterson, who apparently had suffered a health emergency. An ambulance was called, and the crisis was averted. * Hosstraders has moved! The popular Hosstraders event--considered the premier hamfest in New England--has moved again. Originally held in Deerfield, New Hampshire, the Hosstraders event shifted venue to Rochester, New Hampshire, several years ago. Starting with the May 4-5 event, the Hosstraders will move to the Hopkinton State Fairgrounds, located off I-89 (Exit 7), in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. "We are excited about this big step forward," says organizer Joe DeMaso, K1RQG. "Those of you who miss the old days at Deerfield will be especially happy with the look of our new home." The Hosstraders location change to Rochester led many hams to dub the event "Deerchester." Now, some are starting to call it "Deerkinton" as a result of the latest move. More information is available on the Hosstraders 2001 Web site, http://www.qsl.net/k1rqg. * Submarines on the air: The Submarine Veterans Amateur Radio Association will sponsor its fifth annual Submarine Memorial Radio Reactivation Day April 28-29 in honor of the 101st anniversary of the US Navy Submarine Service. More than 50 subs were on the air around the world for last year's event. Submarines on the Air will run from April 28 at 0600 UTC until April 29 at 2359 UTC. Among subs which will be "radio-active" are the Cobia in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, with the ManCoRad Radio Club, Fred Neuenfeldt, W6BSF, operating, the German U-505 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, and the WA3KEY/2 operation from the conning tower of the nuclear guided missile submarine USS Growler (SSG-577) in New York's Hudson River. Suggested operating frequencies: AM/SSB, 3.943, 7.243, 14.243, 21.313, and 28.343 MHz; CW up 43 kHz from the lower band edge. For a Submarine Veterans Amateur Radio Association certificate, send copies of at least four QSLs from participating subs to Jim Flanders, W0OOG, 1539 California Trail, Plano, TX 75023-4300; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Jim Flanders' Tubes Forward Web site, http://w0oog.50megs.com/ . * Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winners of the QST Cover Plaque Award for April was Frank N. Musso, WA5QHV, for his article "Laser Generated Antennas." Congratulations, Frank, for a great April Fool spoof! ARRL members are reminded that the winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author(s) of the best article in each issue--is determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes place each month on the ARRL Members Only Web site at http://www.arrl.org/members-only/qstvote.html. As soon as your copy arrives, cast a ballot for your favorite article in the May issue of QST. Voting ends May 15. * Smithsonian "Space Day" to include ham satellites: Amateur Radio satellites will be on display at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the museum's "Space Day" activities on May 3. Young people who attend The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation's (AMSAT) display, can take a crack at building their own MicroSats as they learn more about Amateur Radio and amateur satellites. "Our goal is to interest students in entering careers in the technical fields," says AMSAT Vice President Perry Klein, W3PK. The AMSAT display will be located in the Air and Space Museum's Space Race Gallery 114 and will run from 11 AM until 3 PM. =========================================================== 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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