ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 32
August 10, 2001
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +FCC puts a primary amateur allocation in peril
* +New satellite will raise APRS to the next level
* +Hams praised for storm duty
* +VECs tackle topics of mutual concern
* +FCC pulls the plug on a famous call sign
* +DXing ban on CB affirmed by FCC
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF: 
     This weekend on the radio
     August Emergency Communications Level I on-line course registration
     ARRL Southwestern Division Convention set for September 7-9
    +FCC collecting date-of-birth info on Form 605
     DXCC 2001 Yearbook deadline approaching
     Report--US and Peru share blame in downing of missionary plane
     Radiotelegraphy reference available free via the Web

+Available on ARRL Audio News

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

==>FCC ACTION PUTS AMATEUR ALLOCATION IN PERIL

The FCC has included a primary Amateur Service allocation among bands it
plans to examine to support the introduction of advanced wireless services,
including third-generation (3G) mobile systems. Meeting August 9, the FCC
said it will seek comments on reallocating some spectrum in the 2390 to 2400
MHz amateur segment as well as in the non-amateur 1.9 and 2.1 GHz bands for
unspecified mobile and fixed services.

The FCC adopted a Memorandum Opinion and Order and Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking that explores additional bands to support advanced
wireless and 3G services. The FCC said the further proceeding supplements
the record of its January 2000 advanced wireless spectrum proposals by
providing "new allocation options," adding that it would "seek comment on
the benefits and costs of each."

The Commission said it "intends to explore spectrum options that would
complement, rather than substitute for" alternatives identified in the
January 2000 NPRM. Besides 2390 to 2400 MHz, the additional bands are
1910-1930 MHz, 1990-2025 MHz, 2150-2160 MHz, and 2165-2200 MHz. The
2390-2400 MHz band is also available for certain unlicensed uses under FCC
Part 15 rules.

ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, and other observers believe the FCC
is eyeing 2390 to 2400 MHz as one place to move other services displaced to
make way for 3G. "We could have anything in there," he said. "It's totally
up in the air." Unclear until the FCC finally acts in the matter is whether
amateurs might continue to have access to the band on a shared basis.

Imlay cautioned the Amateur Radio community to hold off any comments to the
FCC until the Commission actually issues its Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking and requests comments.

The issue was presented to the FCC by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
and the Office of Engineering and Technology. "The WTB presentation included
reference to 2390-2400 MHz and said the Commission was particularly
interested in the impact of the proposal on the Amateur Service," Imlay
said. Gloria Tristani, the only commissioner to comment on the issue,
expressed concern about how the FCC's action would affect the Amateur
Service.

The FCC says it plans to seek comments on the potential for commercial use
of the additional bands "for new advanced wireless services or for the
relocation of other incumbent licensees or operators" displaced by any final
allocation decision; the advantages and disadvantages of the options,
including their potential use for advanced wireless services; the potential
effect of the allocation proposals on existing and prospective users of the
bands and the services they provide; and the effect that allocating the
additional bands or portions of them might have on global compatibility for
advanced wireless services to the extent not identified by World
Radiocommunication Conference 2000. 

In addition to 2390 to 2400 MHz, the Amateur Service has primary allocations
in this part of the spectrum at 2402 to 2417 MHz. The ARRL has asked the FCC
to grant the Amateur Service primary status at 2400 to 2402 MHz, and Imlay
said he's optimistic the petition will be granted. The AO-40 satellite has
been successfully using that band for downlink telemetry and transponder
operation and AMSAT plans a similar downlink for its next satellite project.


Earlier this year, the ARRL re-petitioned the FCC for primary status at 2300
to 2305 MHz. The League's petition faces competition from AeroAstro, which
wants co-primary status with the Amateur Service for its commercial
satellite-based location service.

==>NEW AMATEUR SATELLITE TO LINK REMOTE APRS NODES

A new Amateur Radio tracking and communications satellite called PCSat is
scheduled to launch September 1 (0100 UTC) from Alaska. PCSat will augment
the existing Amateur Radio Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS) by
providing links to the 90 percent of Earth's surface not covered by the
terrestrial network.

Designed and assembled by midshipmen at the Naval Academy in Annapolis,
Maryland, PCSat's first mission was to provide practical hands-on experience
in support of the students' aerospace curriculum. The midshipmen worked
under the guidance of Academy Senior Project Engineer Bob Bruninga,
WB4APR--the acknowledged "father of APRS."

"We hope that PCsat will be a new direction for amateur satellites by
serving the communications needs of travelers with only mobile and hand-held
radios anywhere on Earth," Bruninga said. PCSat will be the first satellite
to report its exact position directly to users via its onboard GPS. This
means that whenever the bird's in view, users won't need tracking software
to determine its position.

According to Bruninga, the satellite will demonstrate vehicle tracking and
communication for GPS-equipped remote travelers--including Naval Academy
vessels at sea, cross-country travelers, expeditions or anyone far from the
existing APRS terrestrial tracking infrastructure
<http://web.usna.navy.mil/~bruninga/digis.html>; 

In addition to its APRS capabilities, the satellite will offer 1200 and
9600-baud packet operation on VHF (145.825 MHz) and UHF (435.250 MHz). For
APRS digipeating, the satellite will use the recognized North American APRS
frequency of 144.39 MHz.

Bruninga said that PCsat should make a great classroom tool, since its
telemetry can be received by any hand-held packet radio for display to
students on their PCs. "And with the Internet connectivity of ground
stations worldwide," he said, "classes are not limited to observing passes
only over their school, but anytime PCSat is in view of any other
participating school."

PCSat was deemed spaceworthy last month. Bruninga left this week for Alaska
and the launch preparations. PCSat will be one of four satellites in the
Kodiak Star payload, and the only one with Amateur Radio capabilities. The
others are Sapphire, Starshine III, and PicoSat.

For more information, visit the PCSat Web site,
<http://web.usna.navy.mil/~bruninga/pcsat.html>;

==>HURRICANE WATCH NET STANDS DOWN; HAM RADIO PRAISED

The Hurricane Watch Net secured operation for Tropical Storm Barry early
this week after the storm reached shore on the Florida Panhandle. Manager
Jerry Herman, N3BDW, says the net stood down at 0300 UTC August 6. The
activation for Tropical Storm Barry at the request of the National Hurricane
Center in Miami marked the Net's first for the 2001 hurricane season. "Not
our last, I expect," Herman added.

While the Net was in operation, the National Hurricane Center reported
receiving many valuable reports via Amateur Radio to the Center's W4EHW and
called ham radio "a vital link" in its tracking and forecasting efforts.

"Barry came ashore as a tropical storm after exhibiting explosive growth
early in the day on Sunday," Herman said. "Normally the net would only go
into operation if the storm was a hurricane," Herman said, "but forecasters
expected Barry to make hurricane strength before landfall."

The storm's approach prompted the activation of SKYWARN and emergency nets
along the Gulf Coast. ARRL Northern Florida Section Emergency Coordinator
Nils Millergren, WA4NDA, reported that emergency operations centers and some
shelters opened in five counties, and Amateur Radio Emergency Service
members were standing by ready to assist. The storm eventually worked its
way into Alabama. Alabama Section Traffic Manager Chris Sells, AC4CS,
reports the storm dropped up to 10 inches of rain across southern Alabama
and lesser amounts elsewhere. "Some minor structural damage was reported to
some houses in the small coastal community of Florella in Baldwin County
Alabama, but nothing major," Sells said.

W4EHW Assistant Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4JR, said it was considered
"appropriate and necessary" to activate W4EHW as well as the ON-NHC on-line
observers network for the storm--even though Barry did not attain hurricane
strength. W4EHW was on the air for three shifts--a total of nine hours--on
August 5. "We appreciate all of the volunteers who took part in this
effort," Ripoll said.

Ripoll explained that the decision to activate "was based on Barry's near
hurricane strength, close proximity to the coast and in consideration of
possible hurricane status forecasted before landfall." The NHC said many
reports were collected via the Hurricane Watch Net on 20 meters (14.325 MHz)
as well as via e-mail and the W4EHW on-line reporting form.

During the activation, W4EHW made several contacts directly on 75 meters
with North Florida Emergency Net stations and with SEC Millergren in the
affected area. "It is very important to have direct HF backup communications
to the EOCs in the affected area from NHC and FEMA/NHC when other landline
or satellite communications go out," Ripoll said. "Ham radio has always been
there as this vital link."

For more information, visit the W4EHW Web site,
<http://www.fiu.edu/orgs/w4ehw>;. For additional details on the Hurricane
Watch Net, visit the HWN Web site <http://www.hwn.org>;.

==>VOLUNTEER EXAMINER COORDINATORS HUDDLE IN GETTYSBURG

The difficulty of setting up Amateur Radio volunteer examination sessions in
remote areas was a prime discussion topic as representatives of 12 of the 14
active Volunteer Examiner Coordinators gathered for the annual meeting of
the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators. 

Moderating the July 27 and 28 session in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was
Conference Chairman Win Guin, W2GLJ. ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, and
ARRL Vice President Kay Craigie, WT3P, represented the ARRL VEC and the
League. Several FCC officials also were on hand.

Jim Wiley, KL7CC, representing the Anchorage VEC and Alaskan amateur
licensing interests, described the unique difficulties in getting examinees
and volunteer examiners together in the remote areas of Alaska. Wiley said
he's aware of individuals in sparsely populated areas who would like to get
licensed. The problem involves both costs and logistics. Applicants either
would have to travel to a less-remote site, or the VEC would have to deploy
VE teams to various remote areas. A committee--with Wiley as chair and Fred
Maia, W5YI, of the W5YI VEC and Jahnke as members--will attempt to resolve
the issue.

In a report on the effects of restructuring, RC Smith, W6RZA, of the Greater
Los Angeles VEC concluded that restructuring has been successful in turning
around the decline in Amateur Radio growth. "The prospects for future
growth, although more modest than earlier anticipated, are markedly
improved," his report asserted.

The FCC's Riley Hollingsworth followed up on exam integrity issues that
arose last year in Puerto Rico and elsewhere. The W5YI-VEC suspended its
Puerto Rico VE teams in April 2000 after alleged irregularities attracted
FCC scrutiny. Hollingsworth said he sent 128 letters last year requesting
that applicants re-test at FCC offices. All but 20 never appeared for
retesting, he said, and 88 of those who failed to appear were from Puerto
Rico.

Hollingsworth advised the VECs not to accredit any new volunteer examiners
in Puerto Rico without first clearing it with the FCC. He warned VECs to
adhere to the rules by carefully screening applications and verifying the
signatures of examiners.

The FCC's Steve Linn, N4CAK, said FCC statistics indicate there are only 18
hams younger than age 11, while there are more than 6100 between 90 and 100,
and more than 90 who are older than 100. The ages of many amateurs are not
known, however, since the FCC stopped collecting dates of birth for several
years. 

Chosen as chairman for the coming year by the NCVEC delegates was John
Creel, WB3GXW, of the Laurel VEC. The delegates also elected Guin as vice
chair; Steve Sternitzke, NS5I, as secretary, and Ray Adams, W4CPA, as
treasurer. Adams--who resigned last August as NCVEC chairman--was recognized
with a plaque for his contributions to the Question Pool Committee.

The three current Question Pool Committee members--Jahnke, Maia and Chairman
Scotty Neustadter, W4WW, were reappointed. Following the meeting the Laurel
VEC tapped former FCC staffer John Johnston, W3BE, as its QPC
representative.

==>FCC PULLS THE PLUG ON AH1A CALL SIGN

The FCC has cancelled the AH1A call sign made famous during a 1993
DXpedition to Howland Island, and returned its holder's original US call
sign. A May 23, 2001, FCC letter to Luigi "Gino" Attaianese, I8ULL, had
questioned whether AH1A had been obtained legitimately. 

The FCC says Attaianese, then KF1P, applied for a new sequential call sign
in 1982 and listed "1 Seashore Drive, Canton Island, EQ" as his mailing
address, but then asked that the license be sent to a mailing address in
Massachusetts. The FCC granted AH1A on April 23, 1982. Not long afterward,
Canton Island became part of the Republic of Kiribati.

The FCC says Attaianese did not request a change to a US mailing address
until 1988. Besides, Kiribati authorities told the FCC in April that there
never have been street addresses on Canton Island. "Without a bona fide
mailing address on Canton Island, it appears you were not eligible to have
the call sign AH1A assigned to your station," the FCC wrote Attaianese.

When it didn't get a reply or an explanation, the FCC canceled the AH1A
grant on July 19, 2001, and returned Attaianese's US call sign to KF1P. 

The FCC's action prompted an idea from ARRL Rocky Mountain Director Walt
Stinson, W0CP, who was among the 1993 AH1A team members. "No DXpedition
since AH1A has been permitted to obtain a relevant prefix designator,
although many have sought them," he said this week. At its July meeting, on
a motion by Stinson, the ARRL Board of Directors, unanimously agreed to have
the ARRL formally ask the FCC to modify its 1x1 call sign program "to
accommodate the issuance of temporary 2x1 call signs from United States
prefixes designating areas which contain no bona fide mailing addresses." 

The FCC's letter to Attainiese is available on the ARRL FCC Amateur Radio
Enforcement Letters page,
<http://www.arrl.org/news/enforcement_logs/2001/0602.html>;. 

==>FCC AFFIRMS DENIAL OF CB DX PETITION

The FCC has affirmed its decision of a year ago and denied a Petition for
Reconsideration of a proposal to amend FCC Part 95 rules to permit DXing on
the 11-meter Citizens Band. The petition, filed by Popular Communications
Contributing Editor Alan Dixon, N3HOE, sought to lift the prohibition on
communication or attempts to communicate with CB stations more than 250 km
(approximately 155 miles) away and to contact stations in other countries.

Dixon asked the FCC last September to reconsider its denial of his petition,
designated RM-9807, on the grounds that the Commission had not addressed
emergency communications and the applicability of a limit on the distance of
such communications. In declining July 30 to reverse or revise its earlier
denial, the FCC maintained that it had turned away Dixon's petition in the
first place because it was inconsistent with the fundamental purpose of the
CB Radio Service. The FCC said it has already considered the matters raised
by Dixon's Petition for Reconsideration and did not believe it had to
address every type of communication for which the service might be used. 

The FCC said individuals finding themselves in an emergency situation would
be more likely to have other radio services available to them, such as
amateur, marine, land mobile or cellular. "Further, we believe that messages
from these stations are more likely to result in the individual quickly
obtaining the needed emergency services," the FCC concluded. 

The ARRL had commented in opposition to the initial petition but did not
comment on Dixon's Petition for Reconsideration.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Solar sage Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Sunspot numbers
and solar flux rose quite a bit this week. Sunspot numbers peaked on Sunday
at 214, the highest since June 25. Average sunspot numbers rose more than 83
points, and average solar flux was up more than 32 since the previous week. 

Conditions have been quiet for the past few days, but on Sunday, August
12--the second day of the Worked All Europe DX CW Contest--geomagnetic
activity should rise again. Projected planetary A index for Friday through
Monday is 10, 10, 25 and 20. Predicted solar flux for those same days is
155, 150, 150 and 145. Conditions should be good for the first day of the
contest at least. 

Sunspot numbers for August 2 through 8 were 113, 140, 182, 214, 182, 177 and
191 with a mean of 171.3. The 10.7 cm flux was 120.8, 131.6, 148.4, 156,
163.7, 166.3 and 166.9, with a mean of 150.5. Estimated planetary A indices
were 8, 14, 9, 23, 21, 13 and 9 with a mean of 13.9.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: The Maryland-DC QSO Party, and the Worked All
Europe DX Contest (CW) are the weekend of August 11-12. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL
10 GHz and Up Cumulative Contest and the New Jersey QSO Party are the
weekend of August 18-19. See the ARRL Contest Branch page,
http://www.arrl.org/contests/ and
http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/weeklycont.html for more info.

* August Emergency Communications Level I on-line course registration:
August registration for the Level I-Introduction to Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications on-line course (EC-001) opens Monday, August 13, at 4 PM
Eastern Time. Two classes of 50 students will be processed during the week,
and the on-line classes will begin the following week. After 4 PM Monday,
the registration form can be found on the ARRL Course Registration page,
<https://www.arrl.org/forms/cce/>; until all seats are filled. The ARRL
Certification and Continuing Education Home page <http://www.arrl.org/cce>;
and the C-CE FAQ page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/faq.html>; should answer most
typical questions. For more information, e-mail Dan Miller, K3UFG,
cce@arrl.org. Registration for Level II--Intermediate Amateur Radio
Emergency Communications (EC-002) will open Monday, August 27.

* ARRL Southwestern Division Convention set for September 7-9: The 2001 ARRL
Southwestern Division Convention will be Friday through Sunday, September
7-9, in Riverside, California. Southwestern Division Director Fried Heyn,
WA6WZO, and Vice Director Art Goddard, W6XD, will serve as the official ARRL
hosts. ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, will deliver the keynote address.
ARRL Headquarters staffers Rosalie White, K1STO, and Ed Hare, W1RFI, will be
in attendance. A feature of this year's convention will be the W1AW/6
special event station, and visitors are invited to operate. A special QSL
card will be issued, and a certificate will be available for those who work
W1AW/6 while W5JBP, K1STO or W1RFI are operating. (Routine W1AW
transmissions will continue from Newington, Connecticut.--Ed) Visit the
Special Event Station W1AW/6 Web site
<http://www.pe.net/~froberts/page7.html>;. Convention highlights include a
separate-registration workshop on Friday, "Satellites--What's Exciting,
Today and Tomorrow!" with Steve Bible, N7HPR, and Larry Brown, W7LB, plus
forums on the ARRL field organization, antennas and propagation, RFI, QRP
(low-power operating), and more. Visit the 2001 ARRL Southwestern Division
Convention Web site <http://www.qsl.net/arrl-2001swdc/>;.--Judy Ann Lowman,
W6YBS 

* FCC collecting date-of-birth info on Form 605: With no fanfare or public
announcement the FCC began collecting date-of-birth information on its FCC
Form 605 earlier this year. The information is a required entry (on line
11a) of the Form 605 as modified in March 2001 for both Amateur Radio and
commercial operators, including Restricted Radiotelephone applicants. The
FCC has said it's not making the information public but will use it for
internal purposes. The FCC stopped collecting and publishing dates of birth
several years ago. The National Council of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators'
version of the form, NCVEC Form 605--the one most new and upgrading amateur
applicants encounter--does not yet require a date of birth, nor is one
required at this point of on-line applicants. It's expected to be required
in the future, however.

* DXCC 2001 Yearbook deadline approaching: The deadline to submit material
for the 2001 DXCC Yearbook is rapidly approaching. Submittals for inclusion
in the 2001 Yearbook cover the dates October 1, 2000, through September 30,
2001. Honor Roll applications and updates must be received by the DXCC Desk
at ARRL Headquarters no later than Monday, October 1, 2001. Those eligible
for complimentary copies of the 2001 DXCC Yearbook must be ARRL members, be
current on the DXCC Honor Roll (325 current entities) or, if not on the
Honor Roll, submit an application that's received at the DXCC Desk no later
than October 1, 2001. Send submittals to DXCC Yearbook, 225 Main St,
Newington CT 06111. The 2001 DXCC Yearbook will be out next spring. Copies
will be available for $5 (including mailing). Previous editions from 1993
until 2000 also are available for $5 each.--Bill Moore, NC1L

* Report--US and Peru share blame in downing of missionary plane: A
binational report says the US and Peru share blame in an April 20 incident
that led to the death of US missionary Veronica "Roni" Bowers, KD4CKM, of
Michigan, and her infant daughter, Charity, seven months. Bowers, affiliated
with the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based Association of Baptists for World
Evangelism, and the infant were killed when their plane was shot down by the
Peruvian Air Force, which erroneously concluded that the plane carried drug
traffickers. The Peruvian military claimed that pilot Kevin Donaldson had
ignored radio and visual warnings to land and warning shots. Bowers' husband
Jim, KD4CKN, and their son, Cory, were not seriously injured in the
incident; Donaldson was shot in the leg. The couple had been serving in Peru
since 1993. A report this week faulted both poor communication and lax
procedures in the US-Peruvian drug interdiction program for the incident.
According to the report, the plane was spotted by a member of the Peruvian
military aboard a US Department of Defense aircraft that was chartered by
the CIA. US observers had expressed doubts that the plane was involved in
narcotics trafficking, but their concerns were not understood soon enough
because of language difficulties. The report also concluded that detailed
safety procedures to prevent such incidents were not followed. The aerial
interdiction program in the region has been suspended. A review of the
program is under way. Donaldson managed to ditch the Cessna 185 float plane
in the Amazon River.--news accounts

* Radiotelegraphy reference available free via the Web: The third edition of
The Art & Skill of Radio-Telegaphy by Bill Pierpont, N0HFF, is available
free for the downloading from the Web <http://www.qsl.net/n9bor/n0hff.htm>;
in Word and in Adobe Portable Document Format. This edition of the
definitive international Morse code reference is aimed at those interested
in telegraphy, those wanting to learn it or to improve their skills or those
who just plain love it. New material includes interviews with such
well-known amateurs as former ARRL Communications Manager George Hart,
W1NJM--the founder of the National Traffic System and still an active
participant. There's also a special section by First-Class Operators Club
member Jim Farrior, W4FOK, author of the well-known code practice program
The Mill.--Fred Adsit, NY2V  

=========================================================== 
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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Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or
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The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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