*************** 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, email@example.com. 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 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. 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