*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 20, No. 22 June 1, 2001 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL seeks FCC probe of long-range cordless telephone sales * +New AMSAT satellite project on the drawing board * +ARISS completes 15th space-school ham contact * +Ham-sailor David Clark, KB6TAM, nearing his goal * +FCC sets aside one license grant, short-terms another * +New FCC members, chairman's reappointment confirmed * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio +Kid's Day is just around the corner +FCC puts paper on par with e-filing for vanities Florida ARES group activates to cover 911 outage President Haynie attends RAC Board meeting Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award Writers wanted! BBC to drop North American short-wave transmissions Ham-Com 2001 is June 8-10 Joe C. "Pat" Patterson, W5VY, SK +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== Editor's note: The ARRL Letter and ARRL Audio News will be on vacation June 6. They will return June 13. The Solar Update for June 8 will be available on the ARRL Web site and via W1AW.--Rick Lindquist, N1RL =========================================================== ==>ARRL ASKS FCC TO INVESTIGATE LONG-RANGE CORDLESS TELEPHONE SALES The ARRL has asked the FCC to investigate and "take appropriate action" against several companies it alleges have been marketing so-called "long-range cordless telephones" via the Internet. The ARRL took the action in the wake of an interference complaint and numerous reports from the amateur community about sales of the devices, some operating on amateur VHF and UHF frequencies. ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, said the League was seeking the FCC probe because the apparently uncertificated devices operate on amateur bands and are capable of interfering with amateur communication. He also noted that the devices are not likely to meet maximum permissible exposure levels for RF. "ARRL has not been able to locate any FCC certification for these devices and, based on the advertised frequency bands and ranges, it is believed that none of these devices could be certificated, or legally marketed or sold, under FCC rules," Imlay wrote. The League said some of the companies may be selling similar wireless products that may operate on amateur or restricted bands. The letter was addressed to FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief David Solomon as well as to Raymond LaForge of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology's Equipment Authorization Division and to FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth. Imlay said the ARRL also is looking into the marketing of products such as 434-MHz video surveillance equipment and other "apparently non-certificated devices" that use amateur frequencies but are being marketed in the US to non-amateurs. The ARRL was able to obtain one of the long-distance cordless telephones for testing. The device, made in China and bearing no FCC identification number or label, operates near 147 MHz with an output power greater than 3 W. Other such phones are advertised as having ranges of up to 100 km operating at power levels of up to 35 W on VHF and UHF. ARRL Lab Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI, said he's received at least one report of actual harmful interference from a long-range cordless telephone to amateur communication. The amateur reporting it tracked the telephone to the home of a neighbor, who said he'd bought the device on eBay. Hare said some long-range devices are legally certificated to operate on the 900 MHz or 2450 MHz Part 15 bands. Hare invited reports of unlicensed devices causing actual harmful interference to Amateur Radio operation to email@example.com. ==>AMSAT PRESIDENT LAUDS AO-40 SUCCESS, LOOKS TOWARD NEW PROJECT With a modicum of success already assured for the troubled Phase 3D/AO-40 project, AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, says his organization already is looking toward its next bird. Haighton said AMSAT's newest satellite project could be up and running within three years, possibly sooner. In an interview with the ARRL, Haighton lauded the "fantastic reports" and "great worldwide coverage" of the AO-40 satellite. Until this week AO-40 had operated its transponders in an experimental mode with uplinks at 435 MHz and 1.2 GHz and a downlink and beacons in the 2.4 GHz band. AO-40 ground controllers have shut down the satellite's transponders in preparation for raising AO-40's perigee by about 200 km. AMSAT-DL President and AO-40 team member Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, said transponders will remain off "until further notice." The RUDAK beacon and the 2.4 GHz middle beacon will remain up, however. Haighton said this week that it's hoped the a slightly higher perigee will eliminate the effects of what he described as "a mysterious force" that alters the satellite's attitude when it comes through perigee. While AMSAT continues dealing with AO-40, Haighton said it's also looking ahead to its next satellite, and design work is expected to get under way in earnest by this summer. "We would like people in apartments to have access to satellites with relatively small, easy compact equipment and not have to swing large antennas around," he said. "We're looking at our next satellite to provide that." As plans now stand, the new satellite would--at least in a pinch--accommodate VHF users with omnidirectional antennas at perigee, plus users with good antennas at UHF as well as L band and S band. It also might employ digital modulation capabilities that, Haighton said, could make the new satellite "probably at least 10 dB better than anything we're currently using." Like AO-40, the new satellite will not be a low-Earth-orbiting bird but have an elliptical orbit that Haighton said would be "very very similar to the current AO-40 orbit." The configuration would provide up to 17 hours or so of usage out of every 24. "What we're actually looking at is a new class of satellite," Haighton explained. For the time being, the new satellite is going under the name "Project JJ" after the two people who came up with the idea--Lyle Johnson, KK7P, and Dick Jannson, WD4FAB. "We've already started contacting launch agencies," Haighton said. He added that "a major design weekend" was set for July, and he expressed confidence that the new project could reach fruition "on the outside three years from now." ==>ASTRONAUT SUSAN HELMS BRINGS SMILES TO KENTUCKY VIA HAM RADIO US Astronaut Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, took the microphone of NA1SS aboard the International Space Station May 31 to respond to questions from students at Daviess County High School in Owensboro, Kentucky. The contact marked the 15th Amateur Radio on the International Space Station QSO and the second with a Kentucky school. "Welcome onboard Space Station Alpha. Go ahead with your questions," Helms invited. Eight students obliged with a dozen questions. Helms told the high schoolers that if the station's communication systems were to fail, "we always have our ham radio, which we could use also to call people," she said. She told another questioner that she had been getting on the air from the ISS "on and off" depending on the crew's work schedule. She said she'd made a few contacts that morning. "I try to come to the ham radio and talk to people as much as I can," she said. Helms said the international nature of the ISS program has involved having to deal with different languages and cultures. "My crewmates--Yuri and Jim--and I have worked very hard to become bilingual," she said, referring to cosmonaut Yuri Usachev, RW3FU, and astronaut Jim Voss. "All three of us have become bilingual so that we can communicate and talk in either Russian or English, and we're doing that extremely successfully," she said. In the future, she said, the ISS will have to become multilingual and multicultural. Helms also told the students that NASA already was making plans to travel to Mars, "probably with international help." She called The Red Planet the most feasible target for an interplanetary space mission carrying human passengers. Helms said she and the crew enjoy their "wonderful work" aboard the ISS but miss their families and friends on Earth. The audience of students and guests included ARRL President Emeritus George S. Wilson III, W4OYI, who lives in Owensboro. The event also attracted extensive local news media coverage. "We really are smiling ear-to-ear down here," Steve Morgan, W4NHO, said after the 10-minute contact. Morgan provided technical support at the school. The contact was made via AH6NM in Honolulu, and the audio was telebridged to the school. The next scheduled ARISS contact will be next week with Henley Schools in Oregon via the Klamath County Schools Amateur Radio Club, KC7VWW. ==>ROUND-THE-WORLD HAM-SAILOR IS ON THE HOME STRETCH Ham-sailor David Clark, KB6TAM, arrived May 30 on Fernando de Noronha and said all is well. He expects to resume his sail in a couple of days and plans to reach Fortaleza--some 350 miles distant--by early next week. Clark recently had departed Ascension after a brief stop. He's now is on the home stretch of his quest to be the oldest person to sail solo around the world. Clark, who turned 77 on May 17, is hoping to make Fort Lauderdale by July. He is keeping in touch with wife, Lynda, and others primarily via ham radio phone patches. Fred Moore, W3ZU, has been running phone patches for Clark while Bob Reed, N6HGG, has also been keeping regular radio schedules with Clark since he departed Ascension. Both expect to continue working Clark short-path, now that he is nearer his Florida target. Clark survived a disaster in February that sank his original sailboat, the Mollie Milar. His beloved canine companion Mickey was lost during the rescue efforts. Corporate sponsors and helpful hams in South Africa and elsewhere got him back into blue water with another sailboat--which he named Mickey in honor of his lost companion. Clark reports the new vessel continues to handle well with no major problems. While in Ascension, he picked up a new autopilot and was invited by new friends on a neighboring yacht to celebrate his birthday, May 17, with a dinner party ashore. For more information on Clark's journey, visit http://www.dclark.com and http://www.captainclark.com.--Archie McKay, K4GA ==>FCC SETS ASIDE LICENSE GRANT, ISSUES SHORT-TERM LICENSE The FCC has set aside a recent license grant to a Florida man and issued a short-term grant in the case of an Illinois amateur. The two cases are among several recent FCC enforcement actions. FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth said the Commission has set aside the Technician license of Joseph E. Mattern, KG4NGG, of Orlando. A former Tech Plus licensee--WW4WJD--who didn't make it past FCC-required retesting last year, Mattern was the subject of past FCC enforcement attention. He was relicensed on May 3. "He was only back on the air for a few days before complaints started coming in, including one alleging use of a false call sign," Hollingsworth told ARRL. "He also was asked by the control operator to stay off several repeaters in the Orlando area." In a May 16 letter, Hollingsworth said Mattern's Technician application now reverts to pending status. He said the latest complaints have been referred to the Enforcement Bureau for evaluation. In an unrelated action, the FCC has issued a short-term license grant to General licensee Reyes Lugo, KB9YDM, of Chicago. Like Mattern, Lugo--who once held an Extra class ticket, NP3N--has a track record with the FCC's Enforcement Bureau. Last summer, he was requested to retake the Extra exam but passed only the Morse code element and his license was canceled. Lugo subsequently retested and was granted KB9YDM. The FCC set aside the grant while it investigated complaints it had received about Lugo's radio operations. The Commission said those allegations had "raised questions" about Lugo's qualifications to hold an amateur license. Hollingsworth informed Lugo on May 10 that the FCC was granting his General application for one year. After that, Hollingsworth said, Lugo would be allowed to renew, provided there were no violations of any sort on any frequency. ==>SENATE CONFIRMS FCC CHAIRMAN, COMMISSIONERS The US Senate has confirmed President George W. Bush's three nominees for the FCC. The action gives Republicans a 3-2 majority on the regulatory panel. FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell also was confirmed for a new five-year term. The new Commissioners are Republicans Kevin Martin, a White House aide and deputy general counsel of the Bush campaign and Kathleen Abernathy, a telecommunications attorney and former advisor to FCC Commissioner James Quello, and Democrat Michael Copps, a former aide to Sen Ernest Hollings of South Carolina, the incoming Senate Commerce Committee Chairman. Confirmation by the full Senate followed a 17-0 vote in favor of the nominees by the Senate Commerce Committee. Abernathy and Copps were sworn in this week. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Propagation guru Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average daily sunspot numbers rose nearly 28 points and average solar flux increased slightly over the past week. Solar flux peaked on Thursday, May 24, at 170.3 and has been declining since. Solar flux for Friday and Saturday should be around 130, and 125 for Sunday and Monday. Flux values are expected to rise very gradually, reaching 140 around June 8, 145 around June 11, and 150 around June 14. This is based on the recent solar rotation, and is blind to any new activity that may emerge. Last week's prediction that solar flux would peak over the weekend was off. Instead it had peaked on the Thursday when the bulletin was written. A geomagnetic disturbance forecast for Sunday was only brief but came up again on Monday when the planetary K index was four during several periods. Sunspot numbers for May 24 through 30 were 171, 146, 167, 189, 190, 131 and 105 with a mean of 157. 10.7 cm flux was 170.3, 161.9, 147.4, 146.9, 143, 138.5 and 132.3, with a mean of 148.6, and estimated planetary A indices were 9, 8, 8, 9, 18, 10 and 5 with a mean of 9.6. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: 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. JUST AHEAD: 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.See the ARRL Contest Branch page, http://www.arrl.org/contests/ and http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/weeklycont.html for more info. * 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 during Kid's Day. 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 colors. Forty kids participated. Last year, more than 1000 took part in the event, now sponsored by ARRL. There's no limit on operating time. The suggested exchange is name, age, location and favorite color. You may work the same station again if the operator has changed. Call "CQ Kid's Day." Complete information is on the ARRL Web site, http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/kd-rules.html and in the June issue of QST, p 48. * FCC puts paper on par with e-filing for vanities: The FCC has put paper vanity call sign applications on an equal footing with electronic filings in terms of processing priority. The change was instituted a few months ago, according to Bill Cross, W3TN, of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, who spoke May 20 at the Dayton Hamvention FCC forum. Previously, the FCC had given priority to electronic applications for vanity call signs. "There is no preference anymore for electronically filed vanity applications," Cross said. "What they do now is key them in all together, and then the paper-filed applications have the same chance of being selected as the electronically filed ones." Vanity applicants should be familiar with acceptable call sign formats before filing. Cross warned that applications seeking unavailable call sign formats will be dismissed. * Florida ARES group activates to cover 911 outage: On May 13, a water leak shorted out Jacksonville Fire-Rescue Department's telephone and radio systems, including the 911 trunk to the Jacksonville Sheriff's office. This event knocked out all emergency radio and telephone traffic. All police and rescue traffic was diverted to the single UHF repeater normally used for routing private ambulances to area hospitals--resulting in an instant frequency overload. JFRD officials turned to Amateur Radio. The ARES Quick Response Team was on-scene within 30 minutes of the call-up. In all, 21 hams assisted in passing continuous fire and rescue radio traffic over the 146.76 MHz repeater for nearly three hours. Duval County Emergency Coordinator Miller Norton, N4RYX, told the ARES volunteers, "We are the last defense and simply cannot fail to respond when called. Job well done." * President Haynie attends RAC Board meeting: ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, was a guest at the Radio Amateurs of Canada Board of Directors meeting April 26-29 in Cornwall, Ontario. RAC President Ken Oelke, VE6AFO, and Federacion Mexicana de Radio Experimentadores (FMRE) President Pedro Mucharraz Gonzales, XE1PM, attended the ARRL Board's January meeting. The RAC returned the honor in April. "It is important that the respective organizations work together in establishing a strong association and establishing common goals in the Americas," Haynie said. "With WRC-2003 looming closer and closer, our goal of representing Amateur Radio requires a united effort." During its April meeting, the RAC Board adopted eight "core values" that included a pledge to "actively seek and protect adequate spectrum and antenna space for Amateur Radio activities and work in cooperation with other organizations and governments to ensure their availability at all times." The full list of "core values" is on the RAC Web site, http://www.rac.ca/core.htm. * Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winners of the QST Cover Plaque Award for May was Bob Lewis, AA4PB, for his article "An Automatic Sealed-Lead-Acid Battery Charger" Congratulations, Bob! ARRL members are reminded that the winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author of the best article in each issue--is determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes place each month on the Cover Plaque Poll Web page (ARRL Members only), http://www.arrl.org/members-only/qstvote.html. As soon as your copy arrives, cast a ballot for your favorite article in the June issue of QST. Voting ends June 15. * Writers wanted! We're looking for a few good stories--well, lots of them, actually. ARRLWeb seeks your Amateur Radio-related feature stories for posting on our site. You don't have to be a pro--you just have to have something to say that others will want to read. We'll correct your spelling and grammar errors and pay you to boot. Submittals should be organized and coherent and deal with a topic that others in the amateur community will want to read. Good photographs are a real plus, and we'll consider some submittals for use in QST. Articles on everything from antennas to zeners are welcome in electronic form, with text and images e-mailed as separate files. Submit articles for consideration to Rick Lindquist, N1RL, firstname.lastname@example.org. * BBC to drop North American short-wave transmissions: The BBC World Service says it's eliminating its English short-wave transmissions to North America, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands on July 1. "The Beeb" says it will focus its delivery in English via its FM and medium-wave "re-broadcasting partnerships," together with 24-hour on-line audio service. "We know that our listeners have migrated away from short-wave and are now accessing us on FM, via the Internet and also in some areas on satellite, cable and on mobile devices," the BBC said. "In the US, three times as many people listen to us on FM as on short-wave, and one and a half million users access on-line each month." The BBC says the money saved by closing short-wave transmissions to North America will go towards funding its investment in future technologies. It's been reported that the move will save the BBC some $700,000 a year. * Ham-Com 2001 is June 8-10: The Lone Star DX Association announces Ham-Com 2001, June 8-10, in Arlington, Texas. ARRL President and LSDXA member Jim Haynie, W5JBP, will be the keynote speaker. Noted DXer and DXpeditioner Martti Laine, OH2BH, will talk at the DX luncheon. ARRL Vice President Kay Craigie, WT3P, will describe "The Big Project" in a Saturday presentation. In addition, the ARRL will offer its first all-day classroom version of the Emergency Communications Certification Course. For the complete Ham-Com schedule, visit the Ham-Com Web site, http://www.hamcom.org . * Joe C. "Pat" Patterson, W5VY, SK: VHF pioneer and ARRL member Joe C. "Pat" Patterson, W5VY, died May 9. He was 93. In the 1940s Patterson was active on 50-MHz and 144-MHz AM and achieved many firsts. Patterson made the first 50 MHz contacts from the US to Uruguay and France. In June 1950 he worked W8WXV on 144 MHz for the first known 2-meter contact via sporadic E, which also set a new distance record for that band. He was one of the first to work all states and more than 100 countries on 50 MHz. He also made some of the earliest contacts via satellite and was also active on 432 MHz.--Derwin King, W5LUU =========================================================== 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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