*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 20, No. 21 May 25, 2001 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Dayton hosts buoyant crowd * +FCC says regulatory ball in Amateur Radio's court * +Astronaut thrills students via ham radio * +Kachina exits ham, HF radio market * +Nevada amateur antenna bill signed * +Kentucky ham dies during antenna installation * +Two ARRL sections getting new SMs * Virginia Section Manager position declared vacant * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio +McGan Award nomination deadline extended: Canada makes 5 WPM official: FCC reiterates license renewal and modification basics: WRTC-2002 seeks donations: +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>DAYTON HAMVENTION HOSTS BUOYANT CROWD Rain on the opening day of the 50th Dayton Hamvention did not deter the crowd from having a good time. Show-priced bargains offered by some dealers enhanced the enjoyment, and the weather improved immensely on Saturday and Sunday. General Chairman Jim Graver, KB8PSO, said Hamvention officials believe that between 27,000 and 28,000 turned out for this year's show--nearly the same number as last year. Graver said he was happy to see a good crowd despite higher gasoline prices and Friday's rain. Unlike past Hamventions, major manufacturers had comparatively little new to offer this year. Among the most noticeable items were: The new Kenwood TH-F6A compact triband hand-held FM VHF transceiver with wideband receive including HF; Ten-Tec's long-awaited 6 and 2-meter all-mode transceiver, the Model 526 "6N2"--the Tennessee company's first factory-built VHF radio; Yaesu's MD-200 desk mike "for elite-class Amateur Radio operators;" and Alpha Power's Alpha 6/2 maximum legal power VHF amplifier--the first amp produced under the company's new management and ownership. ARRL Advertising Manager John Bee, N1GNV, said he got "almost universally positive comments" from Dayton Hamvention 2001 exhibitors. "'They came to buy,' was a common refrain," he said. Bee called the number of new vendors at this year's show "an encouraging sign" for Amateur Radio. During the ARRL Forum Saturday, Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, said, "It's been great year for Amateur Radio and the ARRL. Things are moving in the right direction on a number of fronts." ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, echoed Sumner's sentiments. Pointing to his career in sales, Haynie said Amateur Radio is "the best product that I have in my repertoire of things to sell." Haynie called upon those on hand to think about "the product" that is Amateur Radio and how they can share the fun with others. "I'm asking you to talk to your neighbor, I'm asking you to talk to your brother, your sister, your city council, your mayor, your congressman, and tell 'em about your product, which is Amateur Radio," Haynie exhorted. Haynie presented a plaque to Graver in recognition of the 50th Hamvention. Speaking on behalf of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association and the Hamvention Committee, Graver thanked the League for its efforts on behalf of Amateur Radio. Saturday morning's AMSAT forum included a telephone visit with "space tourist" Dennis Tito, KG6FZX. Tito told the gathering that Amateur Radio provided a great boost to his recent visit to the International Space Station. "The opportunity to do a phone patch five days in a row was a very important part of my flight, and I looked forward to it every day," he said. A planned ham radio contact with the ISS crew from the Hamvention did not work out, however. In addition to handling the Tito interview, Roy Neal, K6DUE, of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program, also chatted with astronaut Janice Voss, KC5BTK. The FCC's Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, not only was one of the Saturday banquet speakers but the highlight of the Sunday morning FCC forum. Playing to a packed house, Hollingsworth and FCC colleague Bill Cross, W3TN, of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, reviewed regulatory and enforcement issues confronting ham radio (see below, "FCC to Amateurs: Detailed Regulation "Not in the Picture.") Hollingsworth told the crowd that amateur enforcement complaints are way down. With tongue only somewhat in cheek, Hollingsworth said "California" topped his list of enforcement issues that keep him awake at night. "If it weren't for California, amateur enforcement would be a one-day-a-week job," he said, "and we wouldn't need most of the rules." Hollingsworth also cited "stupidity" and unlicensed 10-meter operation as other factors that continue to provide grist for enforcement. He played taped excerpts of contentious on-air amateur discussions to demonstrate his point. "There was nothing illegal--nothing against our rules" on the tapes, he said. But, he continued, their content presents a poor image of the Amateur Service to anyone listening in--and that could include the media, decision makers and the general public. Graver said there are no current plans for Hamvention to move from the venerable Hara Arena. Dayton Hamvention's contract to use Hara runs through 2003. ==>FCC TO AMATEURS: DETAILED REGULATION "NOT IN THE PICTURE" The FCC says the ball is in the court of the Amateur Service to determine the course of future Amateur Radio regulation. Speaking May 20 at the Dayton Hamvention FCC forum, Bill Cross, W3TN, of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, said that the days of Commission-imposed regulation are past. "Detailed regulation of the nitty gritty of communication services, including the Amateur Service, is not in the picture," Cross said. "Rather, the FCC is shifting to strong and effective enforcement of truly necessary regulations." The FCC, he said, now plans to look to the amateur community to reach consensus on any new regulations it thinks it wants and needs. "I hope that those of you who are thinking about asking us to carve up a band by fiat will think again," he told the packed forum. "You really are asking us to tie your hands regarding your use of your spectrum." Before the FCC initiates any rulemaking proceedings in the Amateur Service to change privileges, Cross said it wants to see proposals involving the implementation of "new and more modern communications technologies," such as digital. In addition, he said, any future proposal "must include all licensees, and it must include all bands," and--most important--the amateur community must reach a consensus on the topic. Cross said the FCC does not want and cannot handle "multiple proceedings that address piecemeal changes in operating privileges" that affect only certain classes of licensees or certain bands. "You, collectively, need to reach agreement on how you want to use your spectrum," he reiterated. Cross said he expected the issue of restructuring operator privileges to come up "in a couple of years" at the outside. "Changes in operating privileges for the different classes of operator licenses are inevitable," he said. ==>ASTRONAUT THRILLS MISSOURI, WASHINGTON STUDENTS VIA AMATEUR RADIO While he doesn't yet hold a ham ticket, astronaut Jim Voss has been making a lot of friends on Earth via the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. Voss on May 23 completed an on-air conversation with youngsters at the Moran Prairie Elementary School in Spokane, Washington. The previous week, Voss chatted with students at Parkway Central High School in Chesterfield, Missouri. Youngsters at the Washington school asked questions ranging from bone density to exercising in space, radiation and solar flares. "I think your brain does work a little bit differently up here," Voss said in response to a question from one Moran Prairie youngster. On the ISS, Voss said, "you're floating around, and your mind is having to do a lot of things that aren't natural to interpret the way you see things upside down." He said the crew members "have to be a little bit more careful up here." Voss told the pupils that he enjoys space walks and was looking forward to an excursion outside the ISS in a couple of weeks could prove more challenging than usual. Voss said he even enjoys microgravity in his free time. "Sometimes I do things with the zero gravity, floating around and doing flips and somersaults--it's like playing in space." Voss told students at both schools that the astronauts are enjoying "quite a variety" of foods on the space station's menu. He also said he misses his family but told the Missouri students that he felt "lucky and blessed" to be aboard the ISS and that he enjoyed the inspiring view. "The earth is quite a gorgeous place, and we can't take pictures that are good enough to make it look as good as it really is," he told the Parkway Central students May 17. The high schoolers also wanted to know about such issues as sleeping in space, what the crew does if someone gets sick, and what it takes to become an astronaut and ISS crew member. Both contacts were made directly, via 2 meters, and Voss used the NA1SS call sign for the QSOs. Voss, astronaut Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, and Russian crew commander Yuri Usachev, RW3FU, are approximately halfway through their Expedition Two tour of duty aboard the ISS. They will return to Earth in July. ==>KACHINA EXITS THE AMATEUR RADIO, HF MARKET Kachina--which made a big splash at the 1997 Dayton Hamvention when it introduced its then-revolutionary 505DSP PC-controlled Amateur Radio transceiver--has quit the ham radio market. The Arizona manufacturer discontinued production and marketing of the 505DSP, its only ham product, and all other HF radio products and accessories, effective May 24. Kachina Vice President Cameron Earnshaw blamed "the slowdown in Amateur Radio in general, and HF radio in particular" for the company's decision to exit the HF market. "Any radio selling for over $1000 is a pretty hard sell these days," he said. The Kachina 505DSP, the first amateur transceiver designed solely for control via a personal computer, has retailed in the vicinity of $2000. "Unfortunately, the 505DSP was too expensive to produce," he told ARRL. "For that we have only ourselves to blame. Performance costs money, but you really limit your sales when you cross that $1000-$1200 mark." Earnshaw said he does not know how the Japanese manufacturers continue to produce and market top-end Amateur Radio gear. He suggested they must be doing so "out of a labor of love, supporting the losses from other more-profitable ventures." Earnshaw said Kachina will continue to provide service and spare parts for all Kachina HF radio products for the foreseeable future and will honor all factory warranties through their duration. Amateur Radio products remaining in Kachina's inventory were being discounted through Kachina's Web site, http://kachina-az.com. Kachina Chief Engineer Doug Smith, KF6DX, said he's sad to see the product line come to an end. "Some might say that this is another blow to Amateur Radio, but I would say it is just an indicator of the need to adapt to changing conditions," he said. "The Amateur Radio Service should see several exciting developments in the coming years, including digital voice, high-speed digital modes, remote control and further improvements in so-called software-defined radios, to name a few." Smith says he'll be moving on "to greener pastures," but will continue to edit QEX/Communications Quarterly for the ARRL. ==>NEVADA GOVERNOR SIGNS AMATEUR ANTENNA BILL Nevada Gov Kenny Guinn has signed that state's Amateur Radio antenna legislation--Assembly Bill 61. The law goes into effect October 1. "I would like to commend everyone who assisted on this effort," said Nevada Assemblyman Bob Beers, WB7EHN, the bill's author and sponsor. "The grass roots support for this bill was key to its passage and enactment, and the subject of awed comments in both houses." The measure cleared the state Senate on a unanimous vote and went to the Governor this week for his signature. The measure will incorporate the wording of the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 into the Nevada Revised Statutes. Introduced by Beers in February, AB 61 will require municipal ordinances to "reasonably accommodate amateur service communications" and "constitute the minimum level of regulation practicable to carry out the legitimate purpose of the governing body." The bill would not apply to historic or architectural preservation districts. As originally worded, the legislation also would have applied to future deed covenants, conditions and restrictions imposed by homeowners' associations. That language was stripped from the bill in committee, but the rest of the measure survived intact. Nevada Assistant ARRL Section Manager Dick Flanagan, W6OLD, expressed his gratitude to the state's amateur community for the bill's success. "We have achieved passage of AB61 only through your efforts!" he said. Nevada is the 13th state to incorporate PRB-1 language into its statutes. "I can't imagine a more natural state to acquire the Number 13 distinction than Nevada--a state world renowned for beating the odds!" Flanagan said. Amateur Radio antenna bills also were approved this year in Alaska and Idaho, and similar measures are pending in New York and Wisconsin. Updated information on the Nevada PRB-1 legislation is available at the Carson Valley Radio Club Web site, http://www.cvrc.net/ab61/. The full text of AB 61 is available on the Nevada State Web site, http://www.leg.state.nv.us/71st/bills/AB/AB61.html . ==>KENTUCKY AMATEUR DIES INSTALLING ANTENNA A Kentucky Amateur Radio Emergency Service member died May 20 while installing a 2-meter antenna he'd just bought at the Dayton Hamvention. According to ARRL Kentucky Section Emergency Coordinator Ron Dodson, KA4MAP, Ronald L. Oller, KG4JVT, of Irvington, died when the groundplane antenna he was installing fell onto the overhead electrical service line to his house. He had been a ham for about eight months. Dodson said Oller and a teenaged friend, John Betner, KG4LHQ, had purchased new 2-meter groundplanes at the Hamvention. The pair already had installed one of the units at Betner's home and were in the process of raising Oller's antenna when the incident occurred. Betner was not injured and summoned help for his friend. Dodson said Oller had a history of heart trouble but said he did not know if that was a factor in his death. Dodson described Oller as "one of the most enthusiastic hams I have ever met" and as "a generous individual who loved to be helpful in spite of his heart ailment." Earlier in the weekend, Oller had traveled to Dayton Hamvention on a chartered bus with other amateurs from Kentucky's Meade, Breckinridge, Jefferson and surrounding counties. Oller got his license last October and became involved in public service and, as AAT4YQ/T, in the Military Affiliate Radio System. He also had "elmered" the 16-year-old Betner when he studied for his license. "It can happen to any of us at any time," said Dodson, who advised caution when installing antennas. "It's too late to help Ron, but, please, let's not lose anyone else to such a terrible tragedy." A memorial service for Ron Oller was set for May 27. ==>TWO ARRL SECTIONS TO GET NEW SECTION MANAGERS New section managers will take office July 1 in the Maryland-DC and Northern New Jersey ARRL sections. Incumbent section managers were re-elected in six other sections. The only contested race was in Rhode Island, where incumbent SM Armand E. Lambert, K1FLD, held off a challenge from Ellis H. Maris Jr, W3PDK, 180 to 123. Votes were counted this week at ARRL Headquarters. In Maryland-DC, Tom Abernethy, W3TOM, will succeed Bill Howard, WB3V, who decided not to run for another term. An Advanced licensee from Accokeek, Maryland, Abernethy, 49, has field appointments as an Emergency Coordinator, Official Emergency Station, Official Bulletin Station and Official Relay Station. In Northern New Jersey, William Hudzik, W2UDT, of Gillette, will succeed Jeffrey Friedman, K3JF, who did not seek another term. Hudzik, 54, holds an Extra Class ticket. He serves as a volunteer examiner and also volunteers in the QSL bureau. Incumbent section managers reelected without opposition were Jan Welsh, NK7N, Nevada; Al Shuman, N1FIK, New Hampshire; Donald W. Costello, W7WN, San Joaquin Valley; Mel Parkes, AC7CP, Utah; and Clay Emert, K5TRW, West Texas. All terms are for two years. ==>VIRGINIA SM POSITION DECLARED VACANT; NEW SM NAMED The ARRL Executive Committee declared the office of Virginia Section Manager vacant on May 16. Carl A. Clements, W4CAC, of Portsmouth was appointed to fill the declared vacancy. Clements will fill out the term of Lynn Gahagan, AF4CD, of Chesapeake, who had been SM since April 1998. "After lengthy deliberation and careful consideration, the ARRL Executive Committee has decided that it is in the best interests of the membership to declare the office of Virginia Section Manager vacant, effective immediately," a brief statement from the Executive Committee said. "A new Section Manager, Carl A. Clements, W4CAC, of Portsmouth, has been appointed to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the current term of office, through March 31, 2002. These actions have been taken in accordance with the rules and regulations of the ARRL Field Organization." Gahagan was notified of the action last week by ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, who thanked Gahagan for his service to ARRL. No details of what led the Executive Committee to declare the Virginia Section Manager's position vacant were released. According to the minutes of the May 5 EC meeting in Dallas, Texas, ARRL First Vice President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, met with Gahagan in February to "review concerns that had been brought to the attention of the Executive Committee." Subsequently, at the direction of the EC, Sumner wrote Gahagan setting out "five points that had to be addressed and resolved with regard to the administration of the ARRL emergency communications program in the Section." The Executive Committee discussed Gahagan's reply at its meeting and agreed to resolve the matter last week. EC members met May 14 in a teleconference to determine the final disposition of the matter. Minutes of that session and the May 5 meeting are available on the ARRL Web site. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Propagation prognosticator Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: SEATTLE, WA, May 25, 2001--Geomagnetic conditions were quieter this week, and solar flux and sunspot numbers were a little higher. Average solar flux was up nearly ten points, and average sunspot numbers were up by about seven points. Solar flux is expected to peak over the next week. Solar flux for Friday is predicted at 165, and then 170 for Saturday through Tuesday. Predicted planetary A index for Friday through Monday is 8, 10, 20 and 12. Earth is currently inside a solar wind stream flowing from a coronal hole. Sunspot numbers for May 10 through 16 were 94, 96, 127, 119, 149, 146 and 125, with a mean of 122.3. The 10.7 cm flux was 130.4, 136.6, 138.1, 138.9, 138.2, 142.1 and 137.8, with a mean of 137.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 28, 9, 34, 23, 12, 16 and 12 with a mean of 19.1. Sunspot numbers for May 17 through 23 were 137, 109, 92, 99, 118, 159 and 192 with a mean of 129.4. The 10.7 cm flux was 147.4, 138.2, 141.3, 141.5, 150.1, 152 and 158.7, with a mean of 147. Estimated planetary A indices were 9, 11, 12, 10, 8, 9 and 11 with a mean of 10. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The CQ WW WPX Contest (CW), the Anatolian RTTY WW Contest, the Memorial Day CW Sprint and the ARCI Hoot Owl Sprint are the weekend of May 26-28. JUST AHEAD: The Major Six Club Contest is June 1-4; the QRP TAC Contest (CW), the WW South America CW Contest and the IARU Region 1 Field Day (CW) are the weekend of June 2-3. The ARRL June VHF QSO Party, the ANARTS WW RTTY Contest, the Portugal Day Contest, the Asia-Pacific Sprint (SSB), and the TOEC WW Grid Contest (SSB) are the weekend of June 9-11. Kid's Day is June 16-17. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, http://www.arrl.org/contests/ and http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/weeklycont.html for more info. * McGan Award nomination deadline extended: The ARRL Public Relations Committee has voted to extend the McGan Award nomination deadline. All nomination materials now must be received at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut, by 5 PM Eastern Time on June 1, 2001. The ninth annual Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award will go to an Amateur Radio operator who has demonstrated outstanding volunteer public relations success on behalf of Amateur Radio. For more information on the award program, see QST, February 2000 (page 48). For a nomination form and official rules, visit the ARRL Web site Public Relations Department page, http://www.arrl.org/pio . Submit all McGan nominations and supporting documents to Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award, c/o Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. * Canada makes 5 WPM official: Canadian Basic operators with 5 WPM credit now have full HF Amateur Radio privileges. Effective May 19, Industry Canada has amended the Technical Requirements set out in the Radiocommunication Information Circular 2, "Standards for the Operation of Radio Stations in the Amateur Radio Service." The IC grants full operating privileges in all Amateur Radio frequency bands below 30 MHz to operators holding the Basic plus 5 WPM Morse code qualification. Copies of the revised RIC-2 are available from the Industry Canada Web site, http://strategis.gc.ca/SSG/sf01226e.html .--RAC * FCC reiterates license renewal and modification basics: The FCC took advantage of the Dayton Hamvention FCC forum to remind Amateur Service licensees that license renewal and modification now is done via the Universal Licensing System--or ULS. The ULS is accessible via the FCC ULS Web site, http://www.fcc.gov/wtb/uls. Bill Cross, W3TN, of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau noted that Amateur Radio licenses may not be renewed any sooner than 90 days prior to license expiration. When only changing an address, he said, licensees should choose the "Administrative Update" (AU) option. When renewing only, he said, choose "Renewal Only" (RO). To change an address while renewing your license within the 90-day window, select the "Renewal/Modification" option. An application requesting renewal that's outside the 90-day window will be dismissed, Cross said. Modifications no longer automatically result in a new ten-year license term. Call sign changes are not made unless requested by the licensee. Cross said amateur applicants needing assistance or who believe they have made an error on an application they've filed should contact the ULS help desk, firstname.lastname@example.org. * WRTC-2002 seeks donations: Donations are now being sought for the World Radiosport Team Championship 2002. Under the leadership of Organizing Committee Chairman Jouko Häyrynen, OH1RX, the Contest Club Finland and the Finnish Amateur Radio League have agreed to jointly host WRTC 2002 from July 9 through July 16, 2002. The on-the-air operating portion of the event will be held in conjunction with the 2002 IARU HF World Championship on July 14 and 15. Appointed as US representatives are Dennis Motschenbacher, K7BV, USA West; Bob Allphin, K4UEE, USA South and Jeff, Briggs, K1ZM, USA East. The Northern California DX Foundation has agreed to assist in processing US donations. Donations by credit card or by check (made out to "NCDXF [for WRTC Project]") are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law for US taxpayers. Send cash, check and VISA/MC/AMEX donations from the US to NCDXF, c/o Rusty Epps, W6OAT, 651 Handley Trail, Redwood City, CA 94062. (email@example.com). Donations from outside the United States can be sent directly to a WRTC 2002 bank account. See the WRTC 2002 Web site, http://www.wrtc2002.org/support.htm for specific information. For event information, visit the WRTC 2002 Web site, http://www.wrtc2002.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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