ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 31
August 3, 2001
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +ARRL, commercial service vie for 2300-2305
* +FCC auditing Georgia ham exam session
* +"Logbook of the World" kicks off software design
* +Early-morning ARISS contact generates smiles
* +KD5OPQ heads Expedition 3 crew launching August 9
* +California ham agrees to repeater ban
*  ARRL certification program logs progress
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF: 
     This weekend on the radio
     Correction
     Seats Remain for Level II Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course
    +FCC levies $10,000 fine for unlicensed hamming
     Hams help handle 911 outage
     Noted DXer Philip J. Latta, W4GTS, SK
     Pacific Northwest VHF Conference set for September 22
     REACT International conventioneers enjoy David Clark visit
     Walter Edward Marquart, W0CKT, SK
     Radio Amateurs of Canada opens convention Web site

+Available on ARRL Audio News

===========================================================

==>ARRL, AeroAstro SQUARE OFF OVER 2300-2305 MHZ

In a spectrum battle pitting Amateur Radio against a commercial interest,
the ARRL and AeroAstro this week filed comments with the FCC to bolster
their respective--and competing--proposals for 2300 to 2305 MHz. ARRL has
petitioned to elevate the Amateur Service from secondary to primary status
on the band and requested that no commercial operations be introduced.
AeroAstro seeks co-primary status with the Amateur Service to accommodate a
Miscellaneous Wireless Communication Service satellite-based
position-monitoring system.

The FCC put both petitions on public notice last month. There is no primary
occupant at 2300-2305 MHz.

The ARRL characterized AeroAstro's petition as "a Trojan horse" and came out
with both barrels blazing. "There is nothing contained in the four corners
of the AeroAstro petition that would indicate the extent of compatibility
between incumbent and future Amateur operation and the open-ended MWCS
operation proposed by AeroAstro," the ARRL asserted. Given the unpredictable
and mobile nature of Amateur Radio and AeroAstro's proposed use, the League
said, "There is no possibility whatsoever of coordination of operations
between auctioned MWCS and Amateur operations in the band."

AeroAstro claims in its comments that the 1 W spread-spectrum uplinks of its
proposed Satellite Enabled Notification System (SENS) and Amateur Radio can
share the 5 MHz of spectrum and still protect the nearby NASA Deep Space
Network. While asserting that it "does not seek to cut back current Amateur
operations in the band," AeroAstro also called on the FCC to impose severe
power and antenna limitations on hams at 2300-2305 MHz.

Under the AeroAstro petition, Amateurs would be limited to 100 W output and
antennas with a beamwidth no greater than 5 degrees for "narrowbeam"
operation such as Earth-Moon-Earth communication. For other operation,
AeroAstro wants the FCC to limit amateurs to 25 W EIRP.

"This is totally unacceptable," the ARRL retorted in its comments. "It is
preclusive of most Amateur operation in the band." The current situation,
where no service is primary, is preferable to such a sharing arrangement,
the ARRL said.

A co-primary allocation such as AeroAstro proposes also would make no
provision to mitigate interference. AeroAstro's mobile SENS consumers, the
ARRL said, "would not be able to meet any standard of responsibility in
addressing interference avoidance and remedies relative to Amateurs."

The ARRL said the FCC already has made "adequate accommodation" for services
such as the one AeroAstro has proposed "without compromising the 2300-2305
MHz Amateur allocation." Calling on the FCC to either dismiss or take no
action on the AeroAstro petition, the League noted that a proposal now
pending before the FCC would allocate 1670-1675 and 2385-2390 MHz "for
exactly the type of use proposed by AeroAstro."

==>FCC SCRUTINIZING GEORGIA ARRL VEC EXAM SESSION

The FCC has announced the audit of a second ARRL VEC Amateur Radio
examination session. The ARRL VEC alerted the FCC to discrepancies in the
May 19, 2001, exam session in Statesboro, Georgia, and forwarded relevant
documents, prompting the FCC audit. Last month the FCC also announced that
it was auditing a May 10 ARRL VEC exam session in Trumbull, Connecticut.

ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, says the 11 volunteer examiners listed
on the Test Session Report remain suspended pending the outcome of the FCC
audit. Suspension is standard operating procedure in such situations, he
explained.

In an letter to the VEs originally sent July 23 but revised August 3, FCC
Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth said that
based on the evidence he's seen, volunteer examiners at the May 19
Statesboro session used exam question sets and Morse text identical to those
used at several recent exam sessions. Hollingsworth said that apparently
contradicts the intent of Section 97.509(f) of the Amateur Service rules,
which prohibits administration of a "compromised examination.

"Furthermore," Hollingsworth continued, "it appears that the test candidates
had been shown, or had access to, the Morse code answer key for the
examination administered."

There were 13 applicants at the May 19 session. Eleven of them qualified for
a new license or upgrade. At the FCC's direction, all applications are being
held by ARRL VEC, pending the outcome of the FCC audit.

The FCC's letter of inquiry went out to volunteer examiners Ellie Waters,
W4CJB; Cheryl L. Waters, W4CLW; Joanne D. Sharpe, KF4WFN; John W. Sharpe,
WA4BE; Joseph A. Horne, N4ZAJ; George B. Grant, KF4WPU; Robert T. Jernigan,
W4RTJ; Kathy L. Lanier, KD4MVY; Marshall R. Thigpen Jr, W4IS; Lawrence A.
Lewis, K4RRR; and Charles F. Roberts, AI4A. 

Jahnke said that, while the names of Roberts and Lanier appeared as
participating VEs, information provided to ARRL VEC after the session
indicated that neither was at the May 19 session. For now, they remain
suspended along with the others listed.

Among other things, Hollingsworth has asked the 11 VEs to explain their
roles at the Statesboro session and to detail any relationship between the
Morse and theory tests administered at recent examination sessions and the
ones used on May 19. He also asked them to state the relationship between
the theory tests used for class and/or practice sessions and the theory
tests administered at recent examination sessions.

He also wants to know the dates and locations of all exam sessions they've
participated in over the past two years.

==>"LOGBOOK OF THE WORLD" SOFTWARE DESIGN UNDER WAY

Fast on the heels of approval of the "Logbook of the World" by the ARRL
Board of Directors, software design to support the electronic
contact-verification program is moving full speed ahead. ARRL Membership
Services Manager and LOTW Project Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG, said the ARRL
hopes to make LOTW software modules available soon to vendors for
incorporation into their logging programs. 

"We have been in touch with 15 or so developers of popular logging
software," Mills said. "We're also looking at providing a basic,
do-it-yourself program to get contact data to ARRL."

The logging software modules are being developed as part of the Trusted QSL
open-source project headed by Darryl Wagoner, WA1GON.

At the heart of the Logbook of the World concept is a huge repository of log
data provided by operators--from individual DXers and contesters to major
DXpeditions--and maintained by ARRL. Mills says the system will benefit big
and little guns alike by providing quick QSO credit for awards offered by
ARRL, and, it's hoped, for awards offered by other organizations as well.

Once it becomes available--which could be as early as the middle of next
year--Logbook of the World will accept authenticated data directly from
computerized logs via the Internet. "This is an e-mail based system that
uses easy-to-obtain digital signatures for authentication," Mills said.
"Once you get your digital certificate, a few keystrokes will do the trick."

Mills said the program envisions user access to the LOTW "confirmed
database" so an operator can see what "matches" turn up--such as
confirmation of new DXCC entities, states or grid squares. "We'll also
publish a list of logs that have been submitted," he said, adding that
operators may access the LOTW database once they've uploaded their own log
data.

Heading up software development is ARRL Electronic Publications Manager Jon
Bloom, KE3Z, along with Web Applications Developer Mark Simcik, WA1VVB.
Software specifications already have been established. In addition to
Wagoner, those assisting the project include Dick Green, WC1M, Ted
Demopoulos, KR1G, and ARRL staffer and well-known contester and DXer Dave
Patton, NT1N.

Mills said that he hopes to be able to announce a specific inauguration date
for Logbook of the World within a few months.

==>MIDWEST YOUNGSTERS GATHER AT "ZERO-DARK-30" FOR ARISS QSO

Seventeen Indiana elementary and middle schoolers got up extra early July 31
to speak via Amateur Radio with International Space Station crew member Jim
Voss. The youngsters, who attend five Hobart-area schools, gathered before 4
AM at Joan Martin Elementary School to participate in the Amateur Radio on
the International Space Station contact. All 17 got to ask a question of
Voss, who was in his usual high spirits.

In answer to one youngster's question, Voss said the most unexpected thing
he'd encountered in space was when the three main ISS computers had problems
at the same time. "We never thought that would happen," he said. "Luckily,
the people on the ground who support our flight were able to figure out what
to do, and we were able to solve the problem and all of our computers are
working properly."

As for the most exciting thing, Voss told the students that space walks have
been "a remarkable experience" for him each of the four times he's gone out.
Being launched into orbit was "quite an exciting ride," he said. Getting
into space takes about eight minutes, he explained, but then it takes
another two days to catch up with the ISS.

Voss said he expects a hamburger--which he has not had since he went into
space nearly five months ago--and ice cream--which is not available on the
ISS--to be among the first things he'll want to eat when he returns to Earth
later this month.

Asked about how trash is disposed of on the ISS, Voss explained that the
crew stows its trash in bags similar to the ones used on Earth for that
purpose. The rubber bags are sealed up and eventually stowed aboard an empty
Russian Progress cargo vehicle, he explained. "And then, that rocket goes
back into the Earth's atmosphere after it's full and it's all burned up and
destroyed," he said. Some trash also goes back to Earth aboard the shuttle
when it visits the ISS.

Before signing off, Voss urged the youngsters to continue studying space and
to "reach for the stars."

Mike Frank, KF9WW, who handled Earth-station chores at the school, called
the contact "a huge success." Some of those involved also got to see the ISS
pass overhead.

"Hams assisting with monitoring the tracking of the antennas from the
rooftop reported a spectacular visual sighting of the ISS, which included a
'flare' of the spacecraft near the peak elevation of 83 degrees," Frank
said. "Unfortunately, most of us missed that part of the excitement." The
ISS is about 210 miles above Earth.

Voss and the Expedition 2 crew of Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, and Crew Commander
Yury Usachev, RW3FU, are scheduled to return to Earth in about three weeks.

ARISS is a cooperative program of ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. More information is
available at the ARISS Web site, <http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov>;.

==>NEW ISS CREW TO LAUNCH AUGUST 9

NASA says the International Space Station Expedition 3 crew will head into
space August 9 aboard the shuttle Discovery. Frank L. Culbertson Jr, KD5OPQ,
will head up the Expedition 3 team. His Russian crewmates are Mission Pilot
Vladimir Dezhurov and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin. NASA says that
Discovery's launch on the 12-day STS-105 mission has been set for 2138 UTC. 

In addition to the new crew, Discovery will transport a host of supplies and
scientific racks and experiments to the ISS. The launch follows by only a
couple of weeks the return of the shuttle Atlantis from the ISS.

Once in space, Culbertson, Dezhurov and Tyurin are scheduled to conduct
three space walks and continue scientific research aboard the space station.
The new crew also will oversee the arrival of the Russian docking
compartment, set to launch in mid-September.

The station's second resident crew, directed by Russian Commander Yury
Usachev, RW3FU, with American astronauts Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, and Jim Voss
will return to Earth aboard Discovery on August 21, ending more than five
months in orbit.

More information about the launch of STS-105 and the International Space
Station is available on the Web, <http://spaceflight.nasa.gov>;.--NASA

==>CALIFORNIA AMATEUR AGREES TO STAY OFF REPEATERS UNTIL 2004

A California amateur is to stay off repeaters for the next two and a half
years as part of an agreement with the FCC. But, if Technician licensee
Lester M. Killingsworth, KE6WSC, of Hollywood, violates the agreement, he
could face license revocation proceedings.

FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth wrote
Killingsworth on June 15, outlining alleged violations monitored May 17 on
the W6NUT repeater system in the Los Angeles area. The letter included a
transcript of some of Killingsworth's transmissions, which, Hollingsworth
said, contained obscene and indecent language.

Killingsworth replied to the FCC inquiry by telephone in early July, and his
response is "under review," Hollingsworth said. In the meantime,
Killingsworth agreed to the suspension of his repeater privileges, and
Hollingsworth said the FCC will hold any enforcement action in the matter in
abeyance.

If there are no violations, Hollingsworth said, the repeater prohibition
will expire automatically at midnight January 21, 2004.

==>ARRL CERTIFICATION AND CONTINUING EDUCATION PROGRAM LOGS PROGRESS

As the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program approaches its
first anniversary, coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG, says that response to the
Level I and Level II emergency communications courses "has been excellent."
The number of enrollees in the two courses has topped 1100; graduation rates
are running in the vicinity of 70%.

"We expect to have four courses running--both on-line and in
classrooms--before the end of this year," Miller said. The Level
III-Advanced Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course--the third and
final installment of that series--is due for release in a couple months. The
Continuing Education Program's first technical course, Antenna Modeling,
also is in development. 

In the meantime, Level I (EC-001) "live" classroom courses are being planned
and developed for some areas. A CCE syllabus now is available
<http://www.arrl.org/cce/syllabus.html>; for both emergency communications
courses.

The CCE program now boasts some 65 mentors as well as 60 certification
instructors and 42 certification examiners. Miller invites anyone interested
in becoming a certification instructor or certification examiner to the
CI/CE Criteria Web Page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/ccecriteria2.html>;.

Work continues on the course book for the "live" Level II (EC-002) Amateur
Radio Emergency Communications Course, which should be arriving next month,
Miller said.

The ARRL is the first organization to offer a Web-based Amateur Radio
Emergency Communications course that qualifies for continuing education
course credit. Students have up to eight weeks to complete the interactive
courses.

For more information on the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education
Program, send your request to cce@arrl.org or visit the CCE Web site
<www.arrl.org/cce>.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Heliophile Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average daily
sunspot numbers dropped again this week by nearly 64 points. Average daily
solar flux dropped more than 20 points. On July 31 the planetary A index
rose to 23, the result of a solar wind stream. Geomagnetic activity on that
day caused some impressive auroral displays.

Solar flux is predicted to be 125 for August 3, and around 130 for August
4-5. Currently flux values are expected to rise slowly to 140 by August 10.

Geomagnetic activity could be active again on Friday, settling down to
unsettled for the weekend. Planetary A index for Friday is predicted to be
20, and 15 for Saturday and Sunday.

Sunspot numbers for July 26 through August 1 were 115, 96, 88, 59, 64, 85
and 108, with a mean of 87.9. The 10.7-cm flux was 123.4, 121.4, 115.5,
116.9, 114.5, 116.8 and 120.2, with a mean of 118.4. Estimated planetary A
indices were 14, 9, 5, 8, 9, 23 and 12 with a mean of 11.4.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: The ARRL UHF Contest, the QRP ARCI Summer Daze
SSB Sprint and the YO-DX Contest are the weekend of August 4-5. JUST AHEAD:
The Maryland-DC QSO Party, and the Worked All Europe DX Contest (CW) are the
weekend of August 11-12. See the ARRL Contest Branch page,
http://www.arrl.org/contests/ and
http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/weeklycont.html for more info.

* Correction: William Morine, N2COP, of Wilmington, North Carolina, was the
winner of the 2001 Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award. The
incorrect year was reported in The ARRL Letter, Vol 20, No 30 (7-27-01).

* Seats Remain for Level II Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course:
On-line class openings remain available for the August Intermediate (Level
II) Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (EC-002). Registration is
open on the ARRL Course Registration Page,
<https://www.arrl.org/forms/cce/>;. Those having problems registering for a
course should contact ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program
Coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG, <cce@arrl.org>;. The ARECC Level III (EC-003)
class is scheduled to debut in September. 

* FCC levies $10,000 fine for unlicensed hamming: The FCC has levied a
$10,000 fine on an East Palo Alto, California, man for transmitting without
a license on amateur frequencies. Earlier this year, the Commission had
proposed forfeitures totaling $17,000 in the case of Joshie Yasin Nakamura
Sr, who also is known as "Mervyn Ehambrave" and "Marvin Eugene Barnes." The
FCC's Forfeiture Order, released July 6, offered no explanation for the
discrepancy in the figures. The fine stemmed from complaints about Nakamura
to the FCC that date back to late January through March of 2000. The
Commission says it heard from the amateur community and from members of the
ARRL Amateur Auxiliary that an unlicensed station was operating on several
amateur frequencies. Nakamura reportedly is being detained by state
authorities on unrelated felony charges and did not respond to the earlier
FCC notice.--FCC

* Hams help handle 911 outage: Members of the Stafford County, Virginia,
Amateur Radio Emergency Service sprang into action the evening of July 27
after the county's 911 Center lost all incoming telephone trunks. The
telephone company re-routed incoming 911 calls to a local high school.
Stafford County's Emergency Communications Director deployed two dispatchers
to take calls at the school and alerted the Stafford County Amateur Radio
Association to assist in passing message traffic to the 911 Center. Hams
activated an emergency net on the Stafford 2-meter repeater to relay 911
traffic between the high school and the 911 Center, where ham gear is
permanently installed. With another radio set up at the school, the hams
were prepared to relay call information to the 911 Center. The telephone
switch was brought back on line approximately 90 minutes after the
disruption began.--Emmett Price, K3EP 

* Noted DXer Philip J. Latta, W4GTS, SK: Noted DXer Phil Latta, W4GTS, of
Marietta, Georgia, died July 26 after a long illness. He was 85. An ARRL
member, Latta was on the DXCC Honor Roll with 356 entities. Among Latta's
survivors is his brother, Bill, W4LH.--Sandy Donahue, W4RU

* Pacific Northwest VHF Conference set for September 22: The Pacific
Northwest VHF Conference will be held Saturday, September 22, in Tacoma,
Washington, at the Best Western Tacoma Inn. Registration forms, conference
and hotel information are on the Pacific Northwest VHF Conference Web page
<http://www.qsl.net/n7cfo/hamfests/vhfcon.pdf>;. For additional information,
e-mail Jim Aguirre, <w7dhc@arrl.net>;.

* REACT International conventioneers enjoy David Clark visit: Seagoing
adventurer-ham David Clark, KB6TAM, regaled members of REACT International
with tales of his around-the-world sailing voyage during the organization's
2001 convention in Trinidad. Clark, who's sitting out the 2001 Atlantic
hurricane season there, spoke to REACT members attending the Amateur Radio
Breakfast. "He suggested that after finishing his trip in the fall, that he
would like to supplement his income by becoming a motivational speaker,"
said REACT International Secretary Lee Besing, N5NTG. 

* Walter Edward Marquart, W0CKT, SK: Ed "Prof" Marquart of Madison,
Wisconsin, died July 13. He was 91. Marquart was issued the first Amateur
Radio operator's license in South Dakota in 1926. The then-17-year-old was
granted a General class license and the call sign 9CKT by the US Commerce
Department. During World War II Marquart was a consultant for radar
installations around the world. After his retirement from teaching, he
became a missionary and pastor.--David Marquart, W7VT. 

* Radio Amateurs of Canada opens convention Web site: The 2002 RAC
Convention Web site now is open. RAC's second national convention will be
held July 26-28, 2002, in Vernon, British Columbia. The official Web site
for the Convention is <http://www.rac2002.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

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