*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 20, No. 26 June 29, 2001 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL asks members' opinions on Novice band refarming * +KC7NHZ conducts first Field Day operation from space * +FCC fines, revokes ham, GMRS tickets of reputed radio pirate * +Hams stand down as forest fire is contained * +No more Mr "NOCALL" on ISS * +W1AW seeks signal reports on 80 * Ham radio praised at disaster communications conference * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio Beat the clock! Special ARRL membership rates expire June 30 +Dayton attendance down slightly +DXCC announces 12 meter DXCC NCVEC sets July meeting schedule California club to operate as W1AW/6 during IARU HF World Championship RAC announces Morse code proficiency certificate Vera M. Tallman, K4ICA, SK +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>SURVEY SEEKS INPUT ON NOVICE/TECH PLUS HF SPECTRUM The ARRL Novice Spectrum Study Committee is soliciting input from the amateur community on possible ways to optimize use of the present Novice and Technician Plus allocations on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters. Survey results might form the basis for the ARRL to approach the FCC and request changes in the ways amateurs may operate within HF bands that contain Novice subbands. The Novice Spectrum Study survey is available to ARRL members on the Web <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/NoviceSurvey.html>. Members will be able to complete and submit the survey only once. Nonmembers are invited to e-mail comments and suggestions to email@example.com . The committee--chaired by ARRL International Affairs Vice President Rod Stafford, W6ROD--has been examining the status and usage of the present Novice HF bands with an eye toward determining what changes might be needed now that the FCC no longer issues new Novice licenses. The survey offers members a chance to express opinions and preferences on various options--including leaving things as they are. Respondents are invited to add comments and suggestions before submitting the survey. Some 40,000 Novice licensees remain in the current FCC database, and that number is dropping by some 6000 licensees each year through attrition and upgrading. The Novice Spectrum panel will present an interim report at the July ARRL Board meeting, and a final report at the annual meeting next January. ==>SUSAN HELMS, KC7NHZ, THRILLS FIELD DAY OPS FROM ISS Astronaut Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, took time out aboard the International Space Station to join in the ARRL Field Day fray last weekend. The operation was believed to mark the first time anyone participated in Field Day from space. Helms worked several dozen stations--most of them Field Day operations--as the ISS passed over the US. ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, says the NA1SS contacts will count for Field Day credit, but they will not count for satellite bonus points. Helms sounded like a veteran contester during Field Day, although not without some confusion as to what exchange she should transmit. Initially acting on incorrect information, Helms was giving out "one alpha maritime mobile-Russia" for a Field Day report. Later, she resorted to "1 alpha battery on the space station." The NA1SS Field Day operation infused a lot of enthusiasm into the occasion. "This Field Day is the one I'll remember the most, even after doing FD for 40 years," said ARRL Wisconsin Public Information Coordinator Jim Romelfanger, K9ZZ. Romelfanger worked NA1SS as part of the WB9FDZ Yellow Thunder Amateur Radio Club Field Day crew. "Susan was having a ball up there!" he said. Dave Swartz, KC7RRH, said his club's Field Day operation was another lucky enough to snag a contact with NA1SS. It happened almost by accident. Swartz, who operated with the Federal Way Amateur Radio Club's WA7FW setup in Washington, said the group was set up for a packet contact via the ISS when he heard Helms' voice coming over the speaker. Although he was on 20 meters at the time, he grabbed the mike at the packet setup next to him and made the QSO. Swartz said he was "very psyched" about working Helms but disappointed not to get the bonus points. Henderson said that ISS contacts will not count for bonus points because the ISS is not an "Amateur Radio satellite," as rule 7.3.7 specifies. Henderson said that, because of their nature, bonus points "need to be readily available to everybody," and the ISS offers only a limited window of opportunity. As for the correct Field Day operating class for NA1SS, Henderson said there is more than one possible choice, but the question is largely academic. "Whatever exchange she sent out, count it as a valid contact for Field Day and enjoy the experience," he said. Field Day entries require a list of call signs worked by band and mode. Henderson said Helms' ISS Field Day entry will end up "in a class by itself." US stations working NA1SS aboard the International Space Station QSL to Margie Bourgoin, KB1DCO, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Canadian stations QSL to Radio Amateurs of Canada, 720 Belfast Rd--Suite 217, Ottawa, ON K1G 0Z5. A self-addressed, stamped envelope is required to get a QSL in return. ==>FCC REVOKES HAM TICKET OF ALLEGED RADIO PIRATE, ISSUES FINE The FCC has revoked the Amateur and General Mobile Radio Service licenses of reputed pirate broadcaster Leslie D. "Doug" Brewer of Tampa, Florida, and fined him $11,000 for "willful and repeated violation" of the Communications Act. Brewer already owes the US government $11,000 in forfeitures assessed previously for similar violations. "Operating unlicensed radio facilities in deliberate and brazen defiance of our rules cannot and will not be tolerated," the FCC said in its Order of Revocation and of Forfeiture, released June 26. The FCC said that based on its considerable evidence, Brewer "lacks the basic character qualifications to be and remain a Commission licensee." The Order contained a footnoted reference to the case of Herbert L. Schoenbohm, ex-KV4FZ, who lost his Amateur Radio license on the basis of character issues. The FCC said Brewer failed to file any notice of appearance at the revocation proceeding. As a result, the presiding judge waived hearing, and the FCC made its determination in the case based on the information it had before it. Earlier this year, the FCC suspended Brewer's General ticket, KC4HAZ, for the rest of its term while it initiated revocation proceedings. Brewer also held the GMRS call sign KAE1170. He has 30 days to file a petition for reconsideration of the FCC's Order. Otherwise, he has 30 days to pay the fine. The revocations are to take effect 40 days from the release of the Order. Brewer, 46, runs a two-way radio and electronics shop. He's the trustee of several Amateur Radio repeaters in Tampa and is well-known within the Tampa amateur community. FCC and other sources say Brewer operated "The Party Pirate" on 102.1 MHz from his home. He was among those caught up in a November 1997 sweep by federal agents to shut down unlicensed broadcasting operations in Tampa. The FCC said Brewer "continues to display a cavalier disregard toward his licensee obligations . . . notwithstanding clear and repeated notice that his behavior was unlawful." The $11,000 forfeiture was the maximum the FCC could have imposed in the case. The government is continuing its efforts to collect the $11,000 in forfeitures already assessed against Brewer. The FCC Order in the Brewer case is available on the FCC Web site <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov:8835/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-01-1489A1.doc> . ==>NEVADA ARES/RACES WRAPS UP FIRE RESPONSE With a forest fire along the Nevada-California border now largely contained, Amateur Radio support to the Red Cross relief effort has concluded. Amateur Radio Emergency Service District 1 Emergency Coordinator Matt Parker, N7TOD, said communication support efforts wrapped up June 24. "Amateurs remain on standby should additional communication support be needed," Parker said this week. "However, at this point, it does not appear that any further assistance will be needed with this incident." He said hams also have volunteered to assist the Red Cross to rectify operational problems that cropped up with the agency's 47-MHz radio system during the incident response. 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 ARES and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service--coordinated the Amateur Radio effort. On a couple of occasions, radios aboard Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles failed. As a result, H-T-equipped ham radio operators were designated to ride shotgun on all ERVs. As of week's end, the Red Cross had released some or all of its ERVs to return to their home bases. The so-called Martis Fire began June 18 about 20 miles west of Reno--possibly the result of an improperly doused campfire that was blown out of control. Eventually, it consumed some 14,500 acres. Residents of several areas along Interstate 80 in California were briefly evacuated. Last weekend, some feared that gusty winds might further spread the flames, but that did not happen. Parker said cooler temperatures and some rainfall earlier this week helped alleviate the situation. Firefighters remaining on duty this week were "mopping up the hot spots," said Nevada Section Emergency Coordinator Paul Cavnar, NN7B. He reports one mobile home and three vehicles fell victim to the flames, but no one was hurt or killed. "It has been a good learning experience for us and did expose some weaknesses that we will be addressing very soon," Cavnar said. "We actually had a few hams volunteer from other states to come in and assist as needed. Now, that's what I call solid commitment!" ==>NEW PACKET TNC ON THE WAY TO ISS Amateur Radio on the International Space Station Board Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, says the ARISS-US team has delivered a new packet module to NASA. "This new packet module is expected to correct several of the problems that have been observed on the current ARISS packet system," he said. The module is expected to undergo a "bench review"--or inspection--in the near future by one of the US astronauts. It is scheduled to fly to the ISS on shuttle mission STS-105, currently planned for launch in early August. Bauer says Expedition 3 Crew Commander Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ, plans to make the packet module changeout early in his ISS tour of duty. Culbertson will be joined aboard the ISS in mid-August by Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Turin and Vladimir Dezhurov. Bauer says all pertinent TNC parameters are embedded in the PROM, so the packet module should be fully functional even with a dead battery. It's believed the current TNC lost its backup battery. As a result it displays <NOCALL> as a call sign. Stations cannot connect but have been able to digipeat through the system, however. The new TNC will display the Russian call sign RS0ISS. The Personal Mailbox System (PMS) uses the call sign RS0ISS-1. ==>W1AW SEEKS 80-METER SIGNAL REPORTS Maxim Memorial Station W1AW has changed its 80-meter bulletin antenna system and requests signal reports from those monitoring the 80-meter transmissions. An 80-meter "cage" dipole joined the W1AW antenna farm in May. W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, says the new dipole is oriented to radiate east-west. The "cage" complements a coaxial dipole that's been in use for several years. Field Day marked the first official test of the new 80-meter cage. Previously, RFI problems with the alarm system had prevented general use of the new skywire. Carcia and Building Manager Greg Kwasowski, KB1GJF, solved the RFI problem by installing a number of ferrite cores on the unshielded wires entering the alarm box from the various smoke heads. "The wire installers failed to take into account that the alarm system is located in a high RF-environment," Carcia said. Signal reports received during Field Day indicated the 80-meter "cage" antenna appears to be functioning quite well. W1AW put 512 QSOs into its Field Day log on 80, 40, 20, 15, 10 and 6 meters, using CW, SSB and RTTY--for a claimed score of 1366. Reports on W1AW's 80-meter signal should note your location, time of reception, mode, signal strength and quality. Use of the standard R-S-T system is acceptable. Mail reports on a postcard to W1AW 80-meter reports, 225 Main St, Newington, CT, 06111. E-mail reports may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The complete W1AW Operating Schedule appears in July QST, page 105, and on the Web, http://www.arrl.org/w1aw.html. ==>DISASTER COMMUNICATIONS CONFERENCE PRAISES HAM RADIO Amateur Radio's role in emergency communication received high praise in an opinion adopted by the recent Second Tampere Conference on Disaster Communication. Several speakers at the conference, held in late May in Tampere, Finland, also lauded the work of amateurs in the wake of disasters. An Opinion of the Conference expressed appreciation for "the role played by volunteers, in particular those of the Amateur Radio Service," and encouraged administrations to facilitate their work in emergency telecommunications. In the role of International Amateur Radio Union expert consultant, ARRL Technical Relations Manager Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, spoke at the conference on Amateur Radio and disaster communications. Approximately 125 attended the conference, including what Rinaldo called, "a notable percentage of radio amateurs" representing agencies or companies from several nations. The conference Opinion also invited administrations to consider "the recognized need of disaster relief organizations to use their existing radiocommunication equipment under disaster relief situations" as well as "the need to conclude frequency arrangements" for such equipment in emergencies. The conference--sponsored by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the International Institute of Communications--was organized to raise visibility of the 1998 Tampere Convention <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/1998/12/02/1/; and to urge its ratification. The US is not yet among the nine countries that have ratified the Convention. Tampere II also provided a forum for administrations and nongovernmental organizations to exchange information about disaster communications. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Propagation prognosticator Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Conditions were good over Field Day weekend, with no big geomagnetic upsets. Forty meters was probably the best all-around band for Field Day contacts. Sunspots and solar flux have been high recently, but both currently are declining. Average sunspot numbers dropped more than 48 points from last week, and average solar flux was off by nearly 17 points. Currently geomagnetic conditions are very quiet, and are expected to remain that way over the next week. Single digit planetary A indices are forecast until after July 4. Solar flux is expected to decline over the next few days, to 130 on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Flux is expected to rise to 160 by July 6 and 190 by July 11. Sunspot numbers for June 21 through 27 were 212, 203, 228, 212, 220, 177 and 185, with a mean of 205.3. The 10.7-cm flux was 200.3, 203.6 206.2, 194.8, 182.4, 167.9 and 147.9, with a mean of 186.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 13, 7, 8, 10, 8, 13 and 10 with a mean of 9.9. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: See the ARRL Contest Branch page, http://www.arrl.org/contests/ and http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/weeklycont.html for more info. * Beat the clock! Special ARRL membership rates expire June 30: A few hours remain to take advantage of special ARRL membership rates before new dues rates take effect July 1, 2001! Current or prospective ARRL members in the US and US possessions may qualify by Saturday, June 30, for the special five-year renewal rate: $146 ($122 for those 65 or older). Complete your renewal or new application online <http://www.arrl.org/join.html>. Members also may opt to lock-in an ARRL Life Membership at current rates. To beat the dues increase, Life Membership Applications must be completed, signed, and FAXed (860-594-0303 or 860-594-0259) to ARRL by Saturday, June 30. A downloadable PDF Life Member application is available <http://www.arrl.org/lmember.pdf>. On July 1, ARRL full membership dues increase to $39 per year for individuals ($34 per year for those 65 and older). Due to postal considerations, we cannot extend the special five-year discount plan to those living outside the US. Special discounts apply to family, youth and visually impaired applicants. A complete rate schedule and application form is available on ARRLWeb <http://www.arrl.org/join.html>. * Dayton attendance down slightly: Dayton Hamvention General Chairman Jim Graver, KB8PSO, reports the official attendance at the 2001 Dayton Hamvention--the 50th event--was 26,151, down roughly 9% from last year's 28,804. Hamvention attendance peaked at 33,669 in 1993, before the change in date from April to May in 1996. Graver blamed rainy weather on the opening day of the event and high gasoline prices for the attendance drop. Graver also will chair next year's Dayton Hamvention. * DXCC announces 12 meter DXCC: The ARRL DXCC Desk has announced the addition of the 12-Meter Single Band DXCC. Applications will be accepted starting July 2, 2001. The 12-Meter DXCC certificates will be dated but not numbered. Twelve-meter credits will not count toward the DeSoto Cup competition until October 1, 2001, but they will be included in the DXCC Challenge totals. DXCC records as Adobe PDF files may be ordered via e-mail to email@example.com . The 12-meter band was added to the printout on January 1, 2001, and DXCC records ordered since then contain 12-meter credits. Hard copies also are available from DXCC, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Include $2 for postage and handling. For more information, contact the DXCC Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.--DXCC Desk * NCVEC sets July meeting schedule: The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators holds its annual VEC conference July 27 and 28 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Among items on the agenda is discussion of the impact of Amateur Radio license restructuring on the amateur population and the topic of testing in sparsely populated areas, such as Alaska. Representatives from at 12 of the 14 Volunteer Examiner Coordinators in the US have indicated they'll attend. Bill Cross, W3TN, of the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau staff is expected to be on hand to present the Commission's perspectives and to answer questions from VECs. Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau also will be at the meeting. Attending on behalf of ARRL will be ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, and Vice President Kay Craigie, WT3P. The NCVEC also will elect its board and officers during the conference. * California club to operate as W1AW/6 during IARU HF World Championship: ARRL has authorized the Northern California Contest Club to use the famous W1AW call sign for the IARU HF World Championship. For 24 hours on the weekend of July 14-15, NCCC operators will make W1AW/6 available to the world and attempt to top the IARU HQ competition category in this event. (The DARC's DA0HQ made nearly 20,000 QSOs in last year's running and is the current champion and record holder.) W1AW/6 will be active on 160-10 meters, SSB and CW. A certificate will be awarded to each station completing a QSO on 10 of the possible 12 band-modes, and an endorsement is available for working all 12 band-modes. Look for W1AW/6 near these frequencies: CW, 1818, 1833, 3508, 3538, 7008, 7038, 14,038, 21,038 and 28,038 kHz; SSB, 1848, 3738, 3898, 7158, 7238, 14,158, 14,238, 21,338 and 28,338 kHz. Details on the awards and the operation will be available in the July NCCC club report on the Northern California Contest Club Web Site, <http://www.nccc.cc/;. Contest rules are available on the ARRL Web site, <http://www.arrl.org/contests/announcements/rules-iaru.html; and in April 2001 QST, p 111.--Ken Keeler, N6RO/NCCC * RAC announces Morse code proficiency certificate: Radio Amateurs of Canada now offers a Certificate of Proficiency in Morse Code, for speeds of 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 WPM. A certificate, also available in the French language, will be issued for each qualification. The $5 charge covers printing, handling and postage. Industry Canada RIC-1 standards will be used. Accredited Examiners also may certify candidates who produce an original Advanced Amateur, First Class or Second Class Commercial, or military Morse Code qualification certificate issued by the Canadian government. For more details, see the RAC Web site Morse program page, http://www.rac.ca/morseprog.htm.--RAC * Vera M. Tallman, K4ICA, SK: Vera Mayree Tallman, K4ICA, of Mt Pleasant, Tennessee, died June 19, 2001. She was 99. Tallman was founder and past president of YL International SSBers (http://www.qsl.net/yl-issb/). She also was a nurse and one of the first airline stewardesses for American Airlines in Little Rock, Arkansas. A service was held June 23 in Mt Pleasant. Her son and a sister are among her survivors.--thanks to Bob Brown, KS4TD; The Daily Herald =========================================================== 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. 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