*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 20, No. 25 June 22, 2001 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Morse testing changes become effective July 1 * +Nevada ARES helps Red Cross in fire response * +AO-40 readies for orbit shift * +Colorado students quiz Jim Voss on ISS by ham radio * +FCC orders two hams off most repeaters * +Round-the-world ham-sailor to sit out hurricane season * +Registration opens June 25 for ARRL Level II Emergency Comms course * +WA1VVB joins HQ staff * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Headquarters seeks teacher West Texas getting new Section Manager Ham radio-carrying balloon launch set AMSAT-NA announces nominations for directors GM creates Web link to aid mobile installations Hams assist US Navy flight QRZ.com is for sale QSL card postage jumps a penny on July 1 Space tourist Tito expresses appreciation to ARISS Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award ARRL-Affiliated Club database now available to all +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>AMATEUR MORSE TESTING CHANGES EFFECTIVE JULY 1 New Morse code exam standards go into effect Sunday, July 1, for all Volunteer Examiner Coordinators. The new standards call for Farnsworth character speed in the 13-to-15 WPM range and the end of multiple-choice questions for routine Morse code exams. The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators voted last July to set up the revised standards for the administration of Morse code examinations in the US after amateur restructuring established 5 WPM as the sole Amateur Radio Morse code requirement. ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, points out the required change to the Farnsworth protocol replaces the 18-WPM character speed ARRL VEC has used since 1989. "Standard 5 WPM messages with 5 WPM characters are available as an accommodation," he said. "Standard (non-Farnsworth) speed messages are available upon special request from the ARRL VEC for ARRL VE teams." In addition, the Morse exam audio frequency range should be between 700 and 1000 Hz for routine exams. Consistent with the revised standards, Jahnke said, ARRL VEC has set 15-WPM characters as its Farnsworth setting and 750 Hz as its audio-frequency standard. Code practice transmissions from Maxim Memorial Station W1AW will reflect the new Farnsworth standard. W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, says transmissions using the new protocol will begin Monday, July 2. "Any of our code transmissions at speeds below 18 WPM will drop from 18 WPM to 15 WPM character speed," he said. "We will maintain the standard method at speeds above 18 WPM--20 WPM at 20, 25 WPM at 25, etc." Carcia said the W1AW Web code practice files <http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/morse.html> also will be changed to mirror the W1AW transmission protocol. ARRL's Your Introduction to Morse Code cassette tapes and audio CDs also have adopted the new standards. The new Morse examination standards also affect test administration. After July 1, Morse examinees will have to supply fill-in-the-blank answers for the 10-question Element 1 quiz. Multiple-choice type examinations no longer will be acceptable. Under the new testing regime, Morse code examinees must either correctly answer seven of the ten fill-in-the-blank questions or correctly copy 25 consecutive characters. ==>NEVADA ARES SUPPORTS RED CROSS IN FIRE RESPONSE As a forest fire raged out of control along the Nevada-California border this week, amateurs from both states responded to lend valuable communication support to the American Red Cross. The Red Cross Sierra Nevada Chapter provided relief services to firefighters battling the major woodland blaze southwest of Reno. Northern Nevada Amateur Radio Services--representing Washoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service--is coordinating the Amateur Radio effort. The so-called Martis fire began June 18 about 20 miles west of Reno near Truckee, California--possibly the result of an improperly doused campfire that got out of control from high winds. Residents of several areas along Interstate 80 in California were briefly evacuated earlier in the week but were allowed to return home after the fire danger had subsided. At week's end, the fire covered nearly 15,000 acres and was considered 50-percent contained on the western side. Nevada Section Emergency Coordinator Paul Cavnar, NN7B, said most of the fire is burning dense forest areas that have not burned for nearly 200 years. Cavnar said local Amateur Radio resources have become strained as the week wore on because several volunteers were away on vacation or had full-time jobs during the daytime when the need for operators has been the greatest. Cavnar said hams from the Douglas County Amateur Radio Team (DCART) have provided "mutual assistance" operators during the day. "Most of them are traveling 50 or 60 miles," he said. To the west of the fire in California, the California Department of Forestry set up a staging area in the Hirshdale area--not easily accessible from the east due to smoke and fire. Cavnar said he contacted Sacramento Valley (North) SEC Dave Thorne, K6SOJ, who alerted section leadership of the need for assistance from the California side of the fire. Placer County (West) EC, Wayne Mikel, KE6DJE, responded by providing operators for daytime shifts. Efforts June 22 were concentrated on the fire's southern and eastern sides, Cavnar said. "We're all keeping our eyes on the weather. If we do get strong winds, we will go into active alert status, and all available operators will be put on standby to mobilize." Washoe County RACES Officer and NNARS team member Russ Shively, W7LWI, said the Red Cross initially requested NNARS communication support because its radio liaison was on duty for the Texas and Louisiana floods. In light of the isolated, mountainous terrain involved, hams have made use of several repeaters. "Many of these areas were so remote, even cell phone links were inoperable," Shively said. At one point on June 18, one of the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles lost its radio, and a ham with a hand-held transceiver was assigned to ride shotgun to provide communications. After an ERV broke down and lost contact and another ERV radio failed, it was decided that hams with H-Ts would ride along with all ERVs, Shively said. ==>AO-40 ORBIT SHIFT SET With the AO-40 satellite's transponders still shut down, preparations are under way for a slight shift in orbital configuration. Ground controllers want to raise the satellite's orbit at perigee--the position nearest Earth--by about 200 km. As AO-40 approached the planned attitude, ground controllers successfully activated the arcjet--or ATOS--propellant feed system during orbit 295. According to telemetry, the ammonia heater, flow-rate controller, valves and pressure indicators seem to work appropriately. For the "cold" test, the gas was warmed by a 120-W heater and flowed for approximately 22 minutes. Since AO-40's solar panels have not been fully deployed, no electric current was applied to the arc. Plans call for additional cold firings of the arcjet. The next out-gassing will occur when the spacecraft reaches apogee again. It will probably last about an hour. The S2 transmitter will be turned off during the test to save power, so all telemetry will be logged in the IHU-2's memory and downloaded later. Guelzow says that if the hour-long out-gassing works successfully, then it will be extended--possibly to as long as four hours. AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, has said the arcjet firings will not significantly change the apogee. He said it's hoped that a slightly higher perigee for AO-40 will eliminate the effects of what he described as "a mysterious force" that alters the satellite's attitude when it comes through perigee. One possible theory, he said, is that atmospheric expansion caused by the current sunspot cycle peak is influencing the satellite's orbit in some way. For more information on AO-40, visit the AMSAT-DL Web site, http://www.amsat-dl.org/ or the AMSAT-NA Web site, http://www.amsat.org.--thanks to Bruce Paige, KK5DO ==>COLORADO STUDENTS INTERVIEW ASTRONAUT VIA HAM RADIO Eight students from several schools in the Boulder, Colorado, area used ham radio to ask US astronaut Jim Voss about his experiences and activities aboard the International Space Station. The June 21 contact was arranged through the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. Participants ranged from elementary school age through college, including one questioner who attends the University of Colorado in Boulder, Voss' alma mater. The students gathered at the home station of Bill McCaa, K0RZ, in Boulder for the linkup, which lasted just over 10 minutes. Students' curiosity ran the gamut from scientific to spiritual. One high schooler asked about how the lack of gravity affected Voss' sensation of balance. "Actually, the fluids of your inner ear do change a little bit, but after a day or so, you're used to it--your eyes take over and you don't really feel like you're off balance or anything like that," Voss replied. Voss said the body adapts very quickly to space, "and you feel like you're right at home, whether you're upside down or right side up." Another youngster asked Voss if being aboard the International Space Station made him "feel any closer to any heavenly body." Voss pointed out that the ISS was only a couple of hundred miles or so above Earth and that the view of the heavens wasn't that much different than from the ground. "I just feel further away from Earth," he said. Voss told the students that he and his crewmates still can see the stars and planets, but they don't twinkle as they do on Earth because of the lack of atmosphere. More spectacular, he said, is the view of Earth from the ISS. "It is truly beautiful!" Voss exclaimed. Seeing Earth from space for the first time was "a very emotional experience," he said. He said the crew has been working to get the Canadian-built manipulator arm working properly and would be involved next month in the installation of a module that will serve as a launch platform for space walks. Voss used the NA1SS call sign for the contact. Each student got to ask two questions. Questioners included at least two hams, 17-year-old Brian Bowman, KC0FSO, and 12-year-old Emily Arthur, KC0GIA. Voss said he hoped to make it back to Boulder for an in-person visit after he returns to Earth. The Expedition 2 crew of Voss, Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, and Yuri Usachev, RW3FU, is scheduled to leave the ISS in mid-August. ==>FCC ORDERS TWO AMATEURS OFF MOST REPEATERS Never say that FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth lacks creative flair in applying enforcement sanctions. Acting in two ongoing cases, Hollingsworth this month notified two Technician licensees that they must stay off all repeaters on the 144, 222, and 440-MHz bands for the next three years. Hollingsworth invoked Section 97.27 of the FCC's Amateur Service rules to modify the licenses of Ted R. Sorensen III, KC6PQW, of Agoura Hills, California, and Joseph Mattern, KG4NGG, of Orlando, Florida. Both licensees have been the subject of repeater-related enforcement inquiries. Sorensen's restriction was among other actions recently taken in conjunction with the Los Angeles-area W6NUT repeater. In February, the FCC asked Sorensen and Gregory S. Cook, ex-KC6USO, of Chico, California, to respond to allegations that they conspired in making late-night one-way transmissions on W6NUT that originated from Sorensen's station. In March the FCC accepted Cook's voluntarily surrendered license. For his part, Sorensen, who did not dispute the allegations, wrote the FCC offering to accept a year's banishment from the W6NUT 147.435 repeater "as fair punishment." Instead, the Commission imposed a ban on the use of all repeaters on the three most popular repeater bands for the next three years. Mattern, who formerly held the vanity call sign WW4WJD as a Tech Plus, was called for retesting last September after the FCC received allegations that the licensee had been using amateur repeaters in his area to solicit traffic reports for his employer, a company that markets the reports. In a reply to the FCC, Mattern characterized his traffic-reporting activities as "a hobby" that earned him very little money. He also agreed to abide by the wishes of repeater control operators who had asked him to stay off their machines. Mattern failed all elements of last year's retest, but he passed the Technician exam earlier this year, and was granted KG4NGG on May 3. In reaction to numerous additional complaints from Central Florida amateurs the FCC set aside that license grant until the Enforcement Bureau could investigate. Mattern's application was granted on June 8 with the repeater restriction imposed. ==>ROUND-THE-WORLD HAM-SAILOR SETS NOVEMBER RETURN DATE Ham-sailor David Clark, KB6TAM, plans to sit out the Atlantic hurricane season and complete his round-the-world sail this fall. Clark left Brazil June 10 and expects to make Trinidad around June 25. There he plans to rest and wait out the hurricane season before resuming his adventure. He now says he'll arrive in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on his wife's birthday, November 18. Clark, 77, is seeking to be the oldest solo circumnavigator on record. Lynda Clark has been in regular contact with her husband via Amateur Radio phone patches. This week, however, Clark reported his radio was not working when he called his wife during a refueling stop in French Guiana. 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. Clark gets support from corporate sponsors, but he has funded much of the trip through Social Security earnings and occasional clarinet gigs. For more information on Clark's journey, visit http://www.dclark.com and http://www.captainclark.com.--Archie McKay, K4GA ==>REGISTRATION OPENS FOR ARRL ON-LINE LEVEL II EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS COURSE Registration for the ARRL Level II--Intermediate Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (EC-002) will open Monday, June 25, at 4 PM EDT. The on-line class will begin the following week. For those with previous experience and for anyone who took the Level I course (EC-001) the Level II course will enhance your skill and knowledge by providing a more in-depth look at emergency communications. Among the many topics covered are: Working With Volunteers, Human Resource Aspects for NCS, Net Manager Duties and Qualifications, Mutual Assistance and the ARESMAT Concept, FCC Emergency Frequency Declarations, Handling Hazardous Material Incidents, and National Disaster Medical System Emergency Communications. If you found Level I--Introduction to Amateur Radio Emergency Communications an interesting and educational experience, you will certainly appreciate the Level II course even more. The registration fee is $40 for ARRL members and $70 for non-ARRL members. To enroll, visit the ARRL Course Registration Page, https://www.arrl.org/forms/cce after 4 PM Monday, June 25. ARRL course welcome letters will be sent later in the week once mentors have been assigned to each student. Access codes will be sent the following week, so that all students can begin the program. ==>MARK SIMCIK, WA1VVB, JOINS HQ STAFF Mark Simcik, WA1VVB, of Bloomfield, Connecticut, has joined the ARRL Headquarters staff. He will work in the Electronic Publications Branch as a Web applications programmer. "Mark will be a strong addition to our group," said Electronic Publications Branch Manager Jon Bloom, KE3Z. Simcik's career has been in the field of embedded software engineering and transaction processing. He's a University of Connecticut graduate with a degree cognitive science--an interdisciplinary degree in computer science, linguistics and psychology. Simcik recently upgraded to General class and now serves as the president of the Bloomfield Amateur Radio Club. He is an ARRL Life Member. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Heliophile Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: All solar indicators rose this week. New sunspots emerged, and the average daily sunspot number for this week rose over 43 points. Average solar flux was up 32 points. 289 was the sunspot number on Sunday, the highest since April 1, when it was 320. A strong interplanetary shock wave struck Earth on Monday, beginning its journey last Friday from a coronal mass ejection. The ejection was not aimed toward Earth, but as it expanded through the gaseous interplanetary medium it created a shock wave that affected Earth's magnetosphere. The result was a planetary A index on Monday of 34. Solar flux for Friday through Monday is expected to be 205, 205, 200 and 195. Geomagnetic conditions should be fairly stable, with a predicted planetary A index of 10, 10, 10 and 12 for the same days. Sunspot numbers for June 14 through 20 were 273, 264, 276, 289, 220, 222 and 232 with a mean of 253.7. 10.7 cm flux was 194.7, 196.9, 207.6, 204.6, 221.3, 195.4 and 198.5, with a mean of 202.7, and estimated planetary A indices were 9, 12, 7, 9, 34, 14 and 15 with a mean of 14.3. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: ARRL Field Day (see May QST, page 112), the Marconi Memorial HF Contest, and the ARCI Milliwatt Field Day are the weekend of June 23-24. The RAC Canada Day Contest is July 1. JUST AHEAD: The Michigan QRP July 4th CW Sprint is July 4-5; IARU HF World Championship is July 14-15. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, http://www.arrl.org/contests/ and http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/weeklycont.html for more info. * ARRL Headquarters seeks teacher: The ARRL is seeking a state-certified teacher/educator with classroom experience to serve as the coordinator of the ARRL Amateur Radio Education Project ("The Big Project"). Candidates should hold a current Amateur Radio license, have several years of teaching experience at the middle/junior high school-level, have excellent communication, computer and interpersonal skills and be involved in a wide range of amateur activities. The position is at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut. Send resume and salary expectations to Education Project Coordinator, Bob Boucher, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; fax 860-594-0298; firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, contact Rosalie White, K1STO, email@example.com, 860-594-0237. The ARRL is an equal opportunity employer. * West Texas getting new Section Manager: Lee Kitchens, N5YBW, of Ransom Canyon, Texas, has been appointed West Texas Section Manager, effective July 1. He succeeds Clay Emert, K5TRW, who stepped down for health reasons. Emert had been appointed SM last January and was recently elected to a two-year term. He also has served as an assistant section manager and assistant director. Kitchens is a retired electrical engineer. An ARRL member even before he got his license, he's been a ham for 10 years and holds a Tech Plus ticket.--Rosalie White, K1STO * Ham radio-carrying balloon launch set: Four high-altitude balloons carrying Amateur Radio gear will be launched from Manhattan, Kansas, the weekend of June 30-July 1. Participants in "Great Plains Super Launch 2001" are preparing payloads supporting 2-meter APRS navigation and telemetry via packet radio, a 70-cm simplex voice repeater, 70-cm and 13-cm ATV, 2-meter SSTV, science experiments and film cameras. Amateur Radio operators within 350 miles of northeastern Kansas are encouraged to participate in all communications modes. More information is available at the Great Plains High Altitude Balloons site, http://users.crosspaths.net/~wallio/gpsl2001.html .--Ralph Wallio, W0RPK * AMSAT-NA announces nominations for directors: AMSAT-NA has announced the slate of candidates for the four seats available on the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors. They are Barry Baines, WD4ASW; Dick Daniels, W4PUJ; Robin Haighton, VE3FRH; Bill Tynan, W3XO; Richard Hambly, W2GPS and Bruce Paige, KK5DO. Bains, Daniels, Haighton and Tynan are incumbents. Ballots will be mailed by July 15. * GM creates Web link to aid mobile installations: In response to a request from ARRL, the General Motors Engineering Center has created a Web link to its official guidelines for installing radio transmitters in vehicles. The Radio Telephone / Mobile Radio Installation Guidelines page is http://service.gm.com/techlineinfo/radio.html. Installation guidelines for Chrysler and Ford are reprinted, with permission, in the ARRL RFI Book, http://www.arrl.org/catalog/6834 . ARRL offers additional information about automotive RFI on its Web site, http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/rficar.html. * Hams assist US Navy flight: Participants on the 20-meter Maritime Mobile Net June 13 were a bit surprised when a ham aboard a US Navy plane checked in for assistance. John Pierce, KC4YWP, informed the Net that the Navy aircraft--using the military call sign "Copperhead 5"--had lost communication with its base. "He asked us to place a telephone call to his base to inform them he was returning due to loss of communications," said Bob Puharic of Pennsylvania--one of the net controllers. Puharic said that retired US Air Force Col Bob Botik, K5SIV, placed the call and informed Copperhead 5 that it had been delivered. "The US Navy thanked the net and secured," Puharic said. * QRZ.com is for sale: The QRZ.com Web site is for sale. Owner and webmaster Fred Lloyd, AA7BQ, says he wants to retire. "After eight years work on this project, I've simply decided to pursue other interests," he said. "When I started QRZ, I also became a certified flight instructor. Now I would like to spend more time teaching people how to fly." Lloyd said the Web site is being offered as a running business. For details e-mail Fred Lloyd, firstname.lastname@example.org or see http://www.qrz.com/qrz_sale.html . * QSL card postage jumps a penny on July 1: It will cost another penny to mail a QSL card (postcard) after July 1. The US Postal Service announced in January that it would raise the postcard rate by one cent--to 21 cents. The complete postal rate schedule is available on the USPS Web site, http://www.usps.com/ . * Space tourist Tito expresses appreciation to ARISS: Dennis Tito, KG6FZX, the first so-called "space tourist" has written a letter of thanks to the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) International Team. "Now that I have returned to Earth and found my footing after nearly a week of weightlessness, I wanted to write to you to extend my personal gratitude for your assistance while I was aboard the International Space Station," Tito said. "Your help made it possible for me to share my deep feelings of joy and fulfillment. I thank you very much for making my space flight so much more meaningful for my family and me."--ANS * Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winners of the QST Cover Plaque Award for June were Wes Hayward, W7ZOI, and Bob Larkin, W7PUA, for their article "Simple RF-Power Measurement." Congratulations. 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, http://www.arrl.org/members-only/qstvote.html. As soon as your copy arrives, cast a ballot for your favorite article in the July issue of QST. Voting ends July 15. * ARRL-Affiliated Club database now available to all: Each year thousands of people contact ARRL asking for information on Amateur Radio. Prospective hams may want to know if there is a nearby ARRL-affiliated club that holds licensing classes. Licensees may be looking for a club that offers assistance in a specialty area. The ARRL maintains a Web site, http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/club/clubsearch.phtml, that permits searches by state, ARRL section, ZIP code and club name or call sign. Club officials may update their clubs' information via a special site, http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/club/forms/fsd2/. As a security measure, clubs that are inactive or have not contacted ARRL within two years may not change any data. The site http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/club/biglist.html is available for all clubs to input data, and it's checked daily. Once verified, the data are transferred to the current database. =========================================================== 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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