ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
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 novicesurvey@arrl.org .

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
w1aw@arrl.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 dxcc@arrl.org . 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 dxcc@arrl.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
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