*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 20, No. 19 May 11, 2001 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +AO-40 transponder tests a hit! * +ARRL again asks FCC to make hams primary at 2300-2305 MHz * +ARISS partners meet in Europe * +California ham turns in ticket in W6NUT case * +Antenna bill introduced in Wisconsin * +Information sought for Colvins book * +Alinco USA shifts to Ohio distributor * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio Armed Forces Day Communications Test reminder: NY governor enrolled as ARRL member; antenna reassigned: ISS astronaut to visit alma mater: May 12-13 is National Foxhunting Weekend: Kid's Day is June 16: National Hurricane Center's W4EHW announces on-the-air test event: QSL card postage to jump a penny: SETI League gives Bruno Memorial Award to DJ0BI: +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== NOTE: Somewhat abbreviated editions of The ARRL Letter and ARRL Audio News for Friday, May 18, will be distributed on Wednesday, May 16, to accommodate Dayton Hamvention travel schedules. See you in Dayton!--Rick Lindquist, N1RL =========================================================== ==>AO-40 TRANSPONDER TESTS A HIT! 10-GHz TEST SET The inaugural AO-40 transponder tests this past week have been a huge success. Reports from amateurs making their first contacts on AO-40 have come from all over. "It was just great!" enthused AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, who worked a dozen or so stations via AO-40 last weekend. AMSAT has announced plans to test the 10-GHz X-band downlink over the weekend. The solid state X-band amplifier will be turned on and adjusted on May 13 at 0500 UTC, at MA 165. If that works, the 60-W traveling-wave tube amplifier will be fired up. "Beacons will be used and probably the L1 uplink," said the AO-40 team's Peter Guelzow, DB2OS. Guelzow said plans also call for connecting the C-band receiver to the X-band downlink. AO-40 ground controllers opened up the next-generation satellite's transponders May 5 for general amateur use on an experimental basis. Stations can uplink on either 435 MHz or 1.2 GHz. The transponder downlink is at 2.4 GHz. The operation is experimental, the schedule subject to change, and the transponders could be shut down at any time without warning. Mike Seguin, N1JEZ, in Vermont, says he successfully logged a dozen contacts in the first hour of operation, including two contacts using the Mode-L uplink. "I also logged my first DX contact with IZ8EDE." Seguin said his final first-day tally was 24 contacts. Ed Krome, K9EK, in Indiana, echoed N1JEZ's comments. "Wow, AO-40 was terrific on this first morning of transponder operation, he said. "After almost 10 years, what a thrill! Bruce Paige, KK5DO, in Texas also got lucky, racking up several DX contacts in Europe and later in Japan. At this point, AO-40 may be available for use several hours a day, starting at orbital positions MA 136 and continuing through MA 240. During recent passes, the transponders have been available for six hours or so from a given point on Earth. The tests have shown that uplink frequencies (without taking Doppler into account) are 435.495-435.780 MHz and 1269.211-1269.496 MHz, and the downlink passband is 2401.210-2401.495 MHz. The transponders are inverting, so a downward change in uplink frequency will result in an upward frequency shift in the downlink. Users are being asked to avoid the "middle" telemetry beacon at 2401.323 MHz. For maximum QSO signal strength, stations should aim for a passband signal that's 10 dB below the beacon's. AO-40 has been operating without the benefit of the LEILA system, which can compensate for stations that are too strong in the uplink. Haighton expressed appreciation for the "very hard work" of Project Leader Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, AMSAT-DL President Guelzow and the worldwide support group of command stations and technical advisors "for providing us with a great satellite." Check the AMSAT-DL Web site for the latest information, http://www.amsat-dl.org/journal/adlj-p3d.htm . ==>ARRL AGAIN PETITIONS FCC FOR PRIMARY ALLOCATION AT 2300-2305 MHz The ARRL has again asked the FCC to create a primary domestic Amateur Radio allocation at 2300-2305 MHz. Amateurs now are secondary there. The ARRL first asked the FCC in 1996 to upgrade the allocation there to primary, but the Commission never acted on the request. "The segment 2300-2305 MHz is of extreme importance to the Amateur Service, especially for weak-signal communications and propagation research, including beacon operation, due to the low noise levels in that band," the ARRL said. The renewed petition was prompted by increasing demands on that portion of the spectrum due to development of new telecommunications technologies. The Amateur Service has primary allocations in this part of the spectrum at 2390-2400 MHz and 2402-2417 MHz. The ARRL last year sought to have the segment 2400-2402 MHz elevated from secondary to primary, but the FCC has not acted on the request to date. The AO-40 satellite has been successfully using that band for downlink telemetry and transponder operation. In light of the FCC's stated policy to protect incumbent amateur operation at 2300-2305 MHz, upgrading the amateur allocation there "would constitute the highest and best use of the band at present," the ARRL asserted in its latest filing. "It would also be consistent with the protection requirements for government and NASA operations immediately below 2300 MHz and the [M]WCS operation above 2305 MHz." Amateur Radio weak-signal work is centered near 2304 MHz. The ARRL also requested the FCC not to introduce any other users to the band. The FCC has not yet put the ARRL's petition on public notice. ==>ARISS INTERNATIONAL TEAM MEETS Members of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station International Team met this month in the Netherlands to firm up plans to expand ham radio operation from space. The gathering offered an opportunity to involve all ARISS partners in future activities, not primarily the US and Russia. Attending the sessions May 4-6 at the European Space Agency facilities in Noordvik were delegates from the US, Russia, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Italy, France, Japan, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Poland. Those on hand included representatives from AMSAT and the International Amateur Radio Union. The partners reached accord--in some cases tentatively--on issues ranging from the scheduling of international ARISS school QSOs to future hardware plans and the final design of an ISS QSL card "Up to now, we've mostly been working on projects by country," said Rosalie White, K1STO, who represented ARRL on the US delegation. "Now, we've realized that we need to learn to adapt together and to get things accomplished as an international group." Other American attendees included ARISS Administrative Committee Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, and Space Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) Working Group Chairman Roy Neal, K6DUE, who moderated the sessions. ARISS Operations Committee Chairman Will Marchant, KC6ROL, updated the group on the status of school contacts to date. He also reviewed how the crew has been using the ARISS equipment on the ISS since the first crew came aboard in November. The current "Phase 1" Amateur Radio facility aboard the ISS includes hand-held transceivers for 2 meters and 70 cm, although in its current location aboard the Functional Cargo Block, the station only has 2-meter capability. A packet setup also is aboard and working, but it still needs to be properly configured or replaced. With a series of successful ARISS US and Canadian school contacts behind them, the ARISS partners have appointed an ARISS School Committee--with representatives from the US, Europe, Canada, Japan and Russia. "In the next few weeks, we'll be coming up with a plan to integrate the European schools," said White, who is among those on the panel. One issue is how to integrate school applications filed more recently with those from schools that have been waiting for several years to have a space contact. Still outstanding are plans to complete fabrication of and install the four ARISS antennas on the ISS Service Module, the ultimate location of the Amateur Radio station. The antennas could be installed before the end of the year during a space walk, but several issues still need to be resolved. The ARISS partners also reviewed applications for some Amateur Radio projects, including one for a slow-scan television setup. Another is a proposal from AMSAT-France to deploy a small "IDEFIX" satellite from the ISS, similar to the mini-Sputnik satellites launched from Mir. The ARISS partners okayed a prototype design for a QSL card. It's expected to be finalized in a few weeks. ==>CALIFORNIAN TURNS IN TICKET; FCC STILL WANTS EXPLANATION A California ham has turned in his Technician license in the wake of an FCC inquiry into his involvement in alleged rules violations on a Los Angeles-area repeater. But the FCC has told Gregory S. Cook, ex-KC6USO, of Chico that he must still address the allegations of broadcasting, playing music, and one-way phone patching before he'll be allowed to get another license. FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth wrote Cook earlier this year, citing information that Cook had been party to the transmission of "a lengthy broadcast" in the late evening and early morning hours of February 1 and 2 over the W6NUT repeater in the Los Angeles area. Hollingsworth also wrote Technician licensee Ted R. Sorensen III, KC6PQW, of Agoura Hills, citing information alleging that Sorenson had acted in concert with Cook, who was hooked in via phone patch while Sorenson facilitated the actual transmission. A similar transmission February 4-5 was said to have featured only Cook, again via phone patch to Sorenson's transmitter, Hollingsworth said. Responding on March 10, Cook sent the FCC his ham ticket, which was due to expire May 7. Cook said he would agree to not renew his ticket and to stay off the air for a year if the FCC would consider the case closed. Hollingsworth obliged him, but only to a point. In an April 18 letter, he said the FCC had accepted Cook's license for cancellation and that he could reapply in a year. But before that, Hollingsworth said, Cook would have to "respond satisfactorily" to the allegations outlined in the FCC's February 21 letter. In a separate reply, Sorenson told Hollingsworth that he intends to cooperate fully and adhere to FCC rules. He suggested that a "fair punishment" would be suspension from the W6NUT repeater for a year. Sorenson also offered to provide information on other rulebreakers on the W6NUT repeater. On February 20, Hollingsworth initiated a separate inquiry with the repeater's trustee, Kathryn Tucker, AA6TK. Hollingsworth told Tucker that the FCC had 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." In a lengthy reply, Tucker, said the repeater's owners had not monitored the alleged February episodes involving Cook and Sorenson. "The policy of the W6NUT repeater is not to attempt to remove unruly operators from its use," she told the FCC, adding that "an extensive educational campaign" has been conducted to inform users of proper operation. Tucker said the W6NUT owners have received "numerous complaints" about the repeater's operation. "The policy is to let them 'go in one ear and out the other'," she told the FCC. ==>ANTENNA BILL INTRODUCED IN WISCONSIN Wisconsin amateurs are making another attempt at getting an Amateur Radio antenna bill through that state's legislature. Assembly Bill 368 was introduced May 3 by Rep Joan Wade, with sponsorship from 11 of her Assembly colleagues and cosponsorship from four members of the Wisconsin Senate. Sen Fred Risser will shepherd the bill in the upper chamber. The bill will attempt to incorporate language from PRB-1--the FCC's doctrine of limited preemption of authority over Amateur Radio antenna structures--into Wisconsin state law. Wisconsin Section Manager Don Michalski, W9IXG, credited ARRL Public Information Coordinator Jim Romelfanger, K9ZZ, and ARRL State Government Liaison Jim Lackore, AD9X, for spearheading the effort within the amateur community. If approved, AB 368 would require that ordinances or resolutions affecting the placement, screening or height of Amateur Radio antennas or support structures have a "reasonable and clearly defined aesthetic, public health or safety objective." Such an ordinance or resolution also must represent "the minimum practical regulation" necessary to accomplish the locality's objectives and must reasonably accommodate Amateur Radio communication. The measure has been referred to the Committee on Urban and Local Affairs, and a hearing is set for May 15. A copy of the proposed legislation is available on the Wisconsin Legislature Web site, http://www.legis.state.wi.us/2001/data/AB-368.pdf. More information is available on the Badger State Smoke Signals Web site, http://www.bsss.org. A dozen states have incorporated PRB-1 language into their statutes. Bills also are pending in Nevada and New York. ==>RECOLLECTIONS, PHOTOS, ANECDOTES SOUGHT FOR COLVINS BOOK A book now in the works will highlight the adventures of the late husband-and-wife DXpedition team of Lloyd and Iris Colvin, W6KG and W6QL. Author Jim Cain, K1TN, is seeking the assistance of radio amateurs and others around the world to share reminiscences, anecdotes, photos and other relevant information for possible inclusion. Commissioned by the Yasme Foundation, the soon-to-be-published book will include a history of the Foundation and a biography of the Colvins. Anyone with information to share may contact Jim Cain at email@example.com. Iris Colvin died in 1998, and Lloyd Colvin died in 1993. Between the 1960s and the early 1990s, the Colvins took ham radio to some 200 countries--including nearly every member-nation of the United Nations. They racked up more than a million contacts over the years and amassed one of the largest QSL collections in the world--more than a half million cards at last count. Yasme Foundation President Wayne Mills, N7NG, said the Foundation was extremely pleased to have retained Cain, a former ARRL Headquarters staff member and a ham since 1961, to research and write the Colvins' and the Yasme Foundation's story. The Yasme Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation organized to conduct scientific and educational projects related to Amateur Radio, including DXing and the introduction and promotion of Amateur Radio in underdeveloped countries. Visit the Yasme site at http://www.yasme.org. ==>ALINCO SHIFTS NORTH AMERICAN DISTRIBUTION, SERVICE TO OHIO FIRM Amateur Radio manufacturer Alinco has closed its US branch in Torrance, California, and shifted its North American distribution to an Ohio firm. Alinco product distribution and customer service now are being handled by Atoc Amateur Distributing LLC in Covington, Ohio. The change was effective May 1. A news release posted on the Alinco Web site says that Alinco will continue to be "a very committed, viable player in the Amateur Radio marketplace" and that all Alinco warranties "will remain in force and continue to be honored through their term." Alinco will exhibit at Dayton Hamvention next week and will sponsor the W8BI special event station in the outdoor exhibits area as it has in past years. In addition to dealer distribution, the Atoc facility in Ohio is taking over customer support and out-of-warranty service of Alinco products and sales of Alinco parts. Parts sales have been temporarily suspended during the changeover, and service could be disrupted for a time as well. The announcement said Alinco will concentrate on designing and manufacturing products from its Japan headquarters in Osaka and factory in Toyama. For more information, visit the Alinco Web site, http://www.alinco.com , or contact Atoc Distributing LLC, 23 S High St, Covington, OH 45318; 937-473-2840. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar seer Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: As sunspots fade from view, solar flux and sunspot numbers are down. Average sunspot numbers for the week declined by nearly 45 points, and average solar flux was off by more than 40 points. The A and K indices went high this week, indicating a minor geomagnetic storm on May 9 and 10. This began on May 8 when the earth entered a high speed solar wind stream. The interplanetary magnetic field, which is another name for the sun's enormous magnetic field, turned south on May 9. This rendered Earth's magnetosphere vulnerable to gusts of solar wind. Active geomagnetic conditions are fading, and should become unsettled on May 11 and 12, with planetary A indices of 15 and 12, dropping to around 10 on May 13 and 14. Contesters should see fairly good conditions for the CQ-M Contest this weekend. Solar flux is expected to stay near 135 for the next few days, then rise above 150 after May 17 and above 175 after May 19. Currently we are moving from spring toward summer propagation conditions. Ten meters is not as viable as it was in late March, and as longer daylight hours in the northern hemisphere heat the ionosphere, the ionosphere thins and the MUF is lower during daylight hours. 15 meters can still be quite good, especially into areas that are dark, and as the days become longer, night time openings on 20 meters will become more common. Sunspot numbers for May 3 through 9 were 157, 186, 151, 120, 103, 88 and 98 with a mean of 129. The 10.7 cm flux was 172.3, 175.6, 160.6, 155, 138.3, 128.7 and 129.4, with a mean of 151.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 9, 5, 7, 17, 14 and 32 with a mean of 13. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The Armed Forces Day Communications Test (see below), the Nevada and Oregon QSO Parties, the Volta WW RTTY Contest, the FISTS Spring Sprint, the CQ-M International DX Contest and the 50 MHz Spring Sprint are the weekend of May 12-13. JUST AHEAD: The Manchester Mineira CW Contest and the Baltic Contest are the weekend of May 19-20. The CQ WW WPX Contest (CW) is the weekend of May 26-27. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, http://www.arrl.org/contests/ and http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/weeklycont.html for more info. * Armed Forces Day Communications Test reminder: To avoid conflict with the Dayton Hamvention, the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are co-sponsoring the annual Amateur Radio communications tests in celebration of Armed Forces Day the weekend of May 12-13. The annual celebration features the traditional military-to-amateur crossband communications test and message-receiving test. Full information is on the ARRL Web site, http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2001/05/01/2/afday-2001.html . * NY governor enrolled as ARRL member; antenna bill reassigned: ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, says the Assembly version of New York's Amateur Radio antenna bill, A 1565, has been reported out of the Local Government Committee and now is in the Ways and Means Committee. The Senate version, S 2893, remains in the Senate Local Government Committee. Fallon says bill proponents have been encouraging club members around the Empire State to write letters in support of the measures. Fallon said he's "very optimistic" about the bill's chances this year. If approved by both chambers, the bill would go to Gov George Pataki, a former amateur (K2ZCZ) for his signature. In an effort to get Gov Pataki back into ham radio, Fallon said, the governor has been presented with a two-year ARRL associate membership with the inscription, "We want to get you back into Amateur Radio. We hope that you will do for ham radio in the 21st century what Barry Goldwater did in the last century." Fallon said he's hoping to get the governor enrolled in a ham radio class and to have him visit a Field Day site next month. "It sure would be great to see a Yagi flying over the Capitol Building," he said. The Hudson Division Web page http://www.arrlhudson.org has a copy of the bill and additional information. * ISS astronaut to visit alma mater: ISS Expedition One Crew Commander William "Shep" Shepherd, KD5GSL, will visit his alma mater, Arcadia High School, in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 15. Students at Arcadia spoke with Shepherd via ham radio on March 7 when he was still aboard the ISS. The contact was arranged as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. This time, in answer to an invitation from students, he will address the entire school about his own life and times at Arcadia. He'll also share his ISS experiences and visit the Arcadia Amateur Radio Club, KD7LAC. Arcadia High School senior and club president Ross Tucker, AC7JO, spearheaded the effort to make the Arcadia ARISS contact a reality. During his visit to the school Shepherd will take part in a ham radio special event, taking calls from students and youth Amateur Radio clubs in Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, New Mexico and Texas. School clubs can listen in at 28.500 MHz. For more information about ARISS, visit the ARISS Web site, http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov/. For more information on Shepherd's Arcadia visit, contact Ross Tucker, AC7JO, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. * May 12-13 is National Foxhunting Weekend: ARRL Amateur Radio Direction Finding Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, says CQ magazine is sponsoring National Foxhunting Weekend, May 12-13. Foxhunters from around the country will choose their own favorite RDF adventure. For basic information about the sport of foxhunting, suitable equipment for mobile and on-foot hunting and a form for reporting the results of your NFW efforts, visit Moell's ARDF Web site, http://www.homingin.com . * Kid's Day is June 16: Kid's Day is just around the corner. On June 16, 1800 to 2400 UTC, kids of all ages are invited to experience ham radio. Amateurs are encouraged to invite youngsters into their shack to enjoy the fun. Kid's Day began in 1994 with a one-hour program created by the Boring Amateur Radio Club in Boring, Oregon. The youngsters exchanged names and their favorite color. Forty kids participated. Last year, more than 1000 took part in the event, now sponsored by ARRL. All participants can download a personalized certificate. There's no limit on operating time. The suggested exchange is name, age, location and favorite color. You are encouraged to work the same station again if an operator has changed. Call "CQ Kid's Day." Kid's Day rules, frequencies and other information are on the ARRL Web site, http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/kd-rules.html and in the June issue of QST, p 48. * National Hurricane Center's W4EHW announces on-the-air test event: The National Hurricane Center in Miami will sponsor the W4EHW Hurricane Season 2001 On-The-Air Test Event Saturday, June 2, 1300-2200 UTC. W4EHW will be on-the-air on HF, VHF and UHF, including 7.268, 14.325, 21.325, and 28.525 MHz on HF, and on VHF and UHF repeaters and 146.52 MHz simplex FM in the Miami area. Stations should report call sign, signal report, location, and brief weather report (eg, sunny, rain, cloudy, etc). QSL via W4VBQ and include a self-addressed stamped envelope.--Julio Ripoll, WD4JR * QSL card postage to jump a penny: It will cost another penny to mail a QSL card (sans envelope) after July 1. The US Postal Service has announced that it's raising the postcard rate by $0.01. First-class domestic postage in the US increased to 34 cents on January 7. The complete rate schedule is available on the USPS Web site, http://www.usps.com/. * SETI League gives Bruno Memorial Award to DJ0BI: The SETI League has named Peter Wright, DJ0BI, as the winner of its 2001 Giordano Bruno Award, the organization's highest honor. Wright was cited for his efforts to promote the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and amateur radio astronomy in Europe. He is the seventh recipient of the award. A native of Scotland, Wright is a former member of the US-based Society for Amateur Radio Astronomy. He founded a similar organization in Germany--the European Radio Astronomy Club. The SETI League promotes a privatized search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Many of its members are hams, and the executive director is Paul Shuch, N6TX. For more information, visit the SETI League Web site, http://www.setileague.org . =========================================================== 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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