ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 33
August 17, 2001
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +FCC seeks comments on ARRL 60-meter proposal
* +ARRL asks FCC to stop commercial encroachments on ham bands
* +ARRL commences Amateur Radio Interference Assessment effort
* +AO-40 S1 transmitter quits
* +California ham takes suspension in lieu of fine
* +KD5OPQ heads ISS Expedition 3 crew
* +Maritime Net "delivers" baby to dad
*  Barry provides trial run for new MARS net
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF: 
     This weekend on the radio
     Take two!
     Sign up now for August Introductory Emergency Communications on-line
class
     Hams track police radio interference
     Club agrees to process NA1SS QSLs
     Former NNY Section Manager George Veraldo, WB2BAU, SK
     William Sprague, WA6CRN, SK
     Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award
     We've never heard this one before

+Available on ARRL Audio News

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

==>FCC INVITES 60-METER PETITION COMMENTS

The FCC is accepting comments on the ARRL's petition seeking the allocation
of 5.250 to 5.400 MHz to the Amateur Service on a domestic (US-only),
secondary basis. The Commission put the proposal on public notice this week
and assigned a rulemaking number, RM-10209, to the proceeding. Comments are
due by September 12, 2001.

Interested parties may comment on the proposal using the FCC's Electronic
Comment Filing System (EFCS) <http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html>;.
Commenters should reference "RM-10209" in their postings. Even if the FCC
eventually okays the petition, it's likely to be several years before the
new band actually becomes available.

In its petition, the ARRL told the FCC that the new band would aid emergency
communication activities by filling a "propagation gap" between 80 and 40
meters, particularly for emergency communications during hurricanes and
severe weather emergencies. The ARRL also said a new 150-kHz allocation at 5
MHz also could relieve substantial overcrowding that periodically occurs on
80 and 40.

The ARRL has proposed that General class and higher amateurs be permitted to
operate CW, phone, data, image and RTTY on the new band running maximum
authorized power. No mode-specific subbands were proposed. If allocated to
the Amateur Service on a secondary basis, hams would have to avoid
interfering with--and accept interference from--current occupants of the
spectrum, as they already do on 30 meters.

The ARRL said that its successful WA2XSY experimental operation between 1999
and this year has demonstrated that amateur stations can coexist with
current users and that the band is very suitable for US-to-Caribbean paths.

A copy of the ARRL petition is available on the ARRL Web site,
<http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/5MHz;.

==>ARRL TO FCC: STOP THE ENCROACHMENT!

The ARRL has called on the FCC to put an end to commercial encroachment on
amateur allocations at 2.3 and 2.4 GHz. The League included the request in
its reply comments, filed August 16, on a petition by AeroAstro to share
co-primary status with the Amateur Service at 2300 to 2305 MHz. The ARRL
reiterated its stance that the company's petition represents "a Trojan
Horse" and that there is no way that Amateur Radio and AeroAstro's position
monitoring system could share the same spectrum. 

"It is time for the Commission to stop those encroachments, because they
have gone too far already," the ARRL said. 

The League said AeroAstro's petition for a commercial Miscellaneous Wireless
Communication Service allocation at 2300 to 2305 MHz not only would impose
"preclusive operating conditions" on hams but represents "yet another in the
continuing series of encroachments" into amateur allocations between 2300
and 2450 MHz. The ARRL asserted that AeroAstro has failed to back up its
claim that hams and low-power commercial operations can share the band on a
co-primary basis without interfering with each other. An interference study
prepared by the ARRL Lab and attached to the League's comments predicts
"intolerable" interference, especially to weak signals, if the AeroAstro
petition were granted.

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 its Satellite Enabled Notification System (SENS)
position-monitoring system under MWCS rules. The FCC put both petitions on
public notice last month, and both parties filed comments earlier this
month. There is no primary occupant at 2300-2305 MHz.

"There is no dispute that the segment near 2304 MHz is uniquely suited to
amateur weak-signal communications, and the remainder of that segment is
used and useful for other types of amateur communication," the ARRL said in
its reply comments.

AeroAstro says its 1 W spread-spectrum SENS uplinks and Amateur Radio can
share the 5 MHz of spectrum and still protect the nearby NASA Deep Space
Network. While contending that it "does not seek to cut back current Amateur
operations in the band," AeroAstro also asked the FCC to severely limit
amateur power levels in the band. The ARRL has called those recommendations
"Draconian" and "unacceptable."

The ARRL has contended that AeroAstro should wait until the FCC finalizes
another proceeding, ET Docket 00-221, that would make spectrum at 1670 to
1675 and 2385 to 2390 MHz available for the MWCS system it proposes.

The League asked the FCC to dismiss the AeroAstro petition as defective and
to grant the League's petition for primary amateur status at 2300 to 2305
MHz. 

A copy of ARRL's reply comments in the proceedings, RM-10165 and RM-10166,
are available on the ARRL Web site
<http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/rm-10166/rm-10166-reply.html>;

==>ARRL ANNOUNCES AMATEUR RADIO INTERFERENCE ASSESSMENT PROJECT

The ARRL has inaugurated the Amateur Radio Interference Assessment (ARIA)
project. The effort will involve amateur volunteers across the country to
assess the noise levels primarily from unlicensed devices in bands above 400
MHz. 

ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, has advised the FCC that ARRL plans to
conduct ARIA as a "real-world" noise study. The League will contribute its
results to an overall radio noise study sponsored by the FCC Technological
Advisory Council. The TAC study will look into whether noise generated by
low-power unlicensed Part 15 devices is on the rise and whether it's
adversely impacting other services. 

ARRL's role will be to measure radio noise in the amateur bands above 400
MHz, with initial emphasis on the band 2400-2450 MHz, where Bluetooth and
IEEE 802.11b-protocol wireless local area networks are gaining popularity.
The ARIA's noise-measurement program will begin with some exploratory tests
by the ARRL Laboratory.

Long-term tests starting next year will assess noise trends on the
UHF/microwave bands over a period of several years to determine if the
situation is staying the same, getting worse or getting better.

"If it's getting worse, as some suspect, we will then be armed with factual
data to develop a strategy for continued Amateur Radio access to the
UHF/microwave spectrum," said ARRL Technical Relations Manager Paul Rinaldo,
W4RI.

ARIA is attempting to identify volunteers to participate in the program.
Rinaldo asked that "qualified and motivated" individuals send resumes and
information related to test and measurement capability and equipment
availability to aria@arrl.org. 

Initial volunteers should be willing to review the test plan, have receiving
equipment and antennas capable of covering the 2400-2450 MHz band in a
vehicle, and be able to report results in a timely manner.

==>AO-40 "S1" TRANSMITTER GOES SILENT

AMSAT reports the 2.4 GHz "S1" transmitter aboard AO-40 abruptly quit August
13 while AO-40 was in view of most of the Eastern Hemisphere during orbit
362. An initial attempt to manually switch the S1 transmitter back on
apparently was not successful. 

Ground controller Stacey Mills, W4SM, reports normal telemetry readings up
to the point that the transmitter ceased operating and that no commands were
being sent or experiments under way at the time. An onboard scheduler
switched on the S2 transmitter at the appropriate point in the spacecraft's
orbit. Mills said subsequent telemetry indicated no abnormalities or logged
events to account for the failure.

The S1 transponder, connected to a higher-gain parabolic antenna, had been
brought into the rotation to offer improved coverage when the satellite was
farther from Earth. The S2 transponder is connected to a helical antenna
that has about 10 dB less gain than the parabolic antenna.

While ground controllers continue to study the situation, the S1 transmitter
has been taken out of the schedule. The U-band and L1-band to S2-band
transponder passbands will remain in the operating program.

"The schedule may also be modified for longer passband periods, given the
broader coverage of the S2 helical antenna," Mills added.

Prior to the event, the recently commissioned S1 downlink transmitter had
produced excellent results, and many stations reported much stronger
downlink signals via the S1 transmitter.

Earlier this month, AO-40 performed what might be its most spectacular stunt
to date when the onboard Japanese-made SCOPE camera snapped a photo of
Earth. The result was a magnificent color picture of our planet, the
illuminated portion appearing as a bluish crescent. The first photograph was
shot August 7 using the SCOPE camera's wider lens.

AO-40 ground controllers continue efforts to reorient the satellite,
reducing the squint angle so its antennas are facing directly at Earth. A
so-called "mystery effect" persists, affecting AO-40's orbit near Earth and
puzzling the satellite team. Ground controllers had hoped that the effect
might disappear after the satellite's orbit was raised at perigee--its
closest point to Earth--by nearly 700 km.

For more information on AO-40--and a look at the SCOPE camera photo--visit
the AMSAT-DL Web site, http://www.amsat-dl.org/ or the AMSAT-NA Web site,
http://www.amsat.org.

==>CALIFORNIA AMATEUR AGREES TO TWO-YEAR SUSPENSION

An Amateur Extra class operator from California has agreed to a two-year
suspension of his amateur privileges. The accord with Robert J. Kazmierski,
WE6M, of San Mateo followed longstanding allegations of deliberate
interference. The FCC's San Francisco office issued Kazmierski an Official
Notice of Violation (NOV) in late June.

FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth said
the FCC field office referred the case to him for a possible settlement
before seeking a fine in the case. He confirmed the suspension agreement
with Kazmierski by letter August 3. 

"I called him, and he was willing to negotiate a suspension," Hollingsworth
told the ARRL. Kazmierski could have faced a fine of up to $7500. If there
are no violations of the agreement, the suspension expires automatically at
midnight August 3, 2003.

The FCC cited Kazmierski for causing malicious interference earlier this
year. Acting in response to a complaint, FCC agents observed an unmodulated
carrier on 146.550 MHz--a recognized 2-meter simplex channel--while other
amateur communications were in progress. They tracked the interference to
Kazmierski's residence. A subsequent inspection revealed an operational
transceiver tuned to 146.550 MHz.

In a letter to the field office on July 2, Kazmierski apologized for the
infraction, said it wouldn't happen again, and pledged to stay off the air
at least until the end of this year. His plea notwithstanding, Hollingsworth
said, Kazmierski will be off the air until 2003, provided he abides by his
agreement with the FCC.

==>KD5OPQ HEADS NEW ISS CREW

The guard is changing this week aboard the International Space Station with
the arrival of the Expedition 3 crew headed by Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ.
Culbertson and his Russian crewmates--Mission Pilot Vladimir Dezhurov and
Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin--arrived August 12 aboard the shuttle
Discovery.

The Expedition 3 has taken over the space station and the Expedition 2 crew
has moved to the shuttle Discovery in preparation for their return trip to
Earth. A formal change-of-command ceremony was scheduled for Aug 17.

Culbertson, 52, rejoined the corps of active astronauts after desk duty as a
NASA executive. He is a former shuttle commander. Before deciding to return
to space, Culbertson was the program manager for NASA's Shuttle-Mir program,
which saw crew exchanges that put US astronauts aboard the Russian space
station and Russian cosmonauts aboard US shuttle missions.

The Expedition 2 crew of Commander Yury Usachev, RW3FU, and US astronauts
Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, and Jim Voss, has been in space since March. Their
departure comes about a month later than originally anticipated because of
problems with the ISS robot arm. By the time the shuttle returns them to
Earth August 22, they will have spent 167 days in space. Helms has admitted
to having mixed feelings about leaving the ISS.

During their stay, the Expedition 2 crew managed to fit in 14 Amateur Radio
on the International Space Station (ARISS) contacts with youngsters on
Earth--including one with Scouts attending the Boy Scout Jamboree in
Virginia. Helms also conducted the first ARRL Field Day operation from space
in late June.

The Expedition 3 crew is expected to also be active in the ARISS effort. The
tentative schedule calls for contacts later this month with the Kopernik
Space Education Center in New York, as well as contacts with Altamonte
Elementary School in Florida.

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

==>MARITIME NET "DELIVERS" BABY TO SAILOR AT SEA

Thanks to Amateur Radio, a sailor aboard a US Navy destroyer at sea got to
hear his newborn son's cries for the first time. On August 12, members of
the Maritime Mobile Service Net, with cooperation of the Pacific Seafarers
Net, put sailor Mark McDonald in touch with his wife, Wendy, in California,
who was about to go into labor. The sailor later was able to chat with his
wife and her mom and to listen to his son's crying.

Terry Pipitone, KB1FMM, in Connecticut, got a front-row seat. He said the
Net session started out in typical fashion on 14.300 MHz. It soon got
interesting after Tom Lange, W4MDL, on McDonald's ship checked in seeking
help from anyone who could put the husband and wife in contact. When no West
Coast stations were available, Pipitone made some calls to California,
where--as it turned out--Wendy McDonald was headed for the hospital.

As the Net's closing time neared, the proceedings shifted to the Pacific
Seafarers Net on 14.313 MHz. While KB1FMM remained in contact with the
hospital, ARRL member Tom Whelchel, WA6TLL, in California stepped in to
provide a phone patch between the hospital and the ship--somewhere in the
North Atlantic.

As Pipitone tells it, things happened pretty fast after that. "At 0810 the
baby was born and at 0815 Mark and his new son--Justin Alexander
McDonald--were on the phone together," he said. "Mother and son were all
doing fine, and the proud father was in tears. The timing and the
cooperation could not have been better."

Listening in on the proceedings was Eric Boyle, N0YET, in Kansas, who
reports Mark McDonald not only was able to speak with his wife and his
mother-in-law but got to hear his baby crying for the first time. "This was
neat!" he enthused. "It is times like this that make me extremely proud to
be part of the Amateur Radio Community!"

For more information on the Maritime Mobile Service Net, visit the Net's Web
site <http://www.mmsn.org/>;.

==>ILL WINDS SPAWN NEW MARS NET, GOOD RADIO

Tropical Storm Barry--never quite a hurricane--proved to be a fizzle for
weather watchers. But for Army MARS members in Florida and the Caribbean,
Barry offered an opportunity to test a new emergency link. The "H"--or
Hotel--Net.

The Hotel Net, formed last May just before the hurricane season, is largely
the creation of retired telephone worker Paul Donahue, AG4EZ/AAT4ZS, of
Palatka, Florida. Donahue had noticed Puerto Rico members trying to check
into Florida's Military Affiliate Radio System nets. He proposed
establishing a transcaribbean linkup. By the time the storm warnings were
hoisted for Barry, the Hotel Net was ready. 

What MARS brings to the table is access to a broad range of military
frequencies, with more options for clear propagation and less vulnerability
to overcrowding. Designated MARS members also have direct contact with
federal disaster relief agencies through the government's National
Communications System. By the time Barry died out, 19 stations joined the
Hotel Net, including stations in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands and a
handful of others along the East Coast. Links were also established to MARS
VHF clusters in Florida and Puerto Rico.

At the Ft Huachuca, Arizona, gateway station AAA9USA, contract operator
Martha Bochicchio, KD7AIM/AAT9DS, kept her ear to the MARS national "911"
frequency in case headquarters support was needed.

NCS Donahue says his goal is to bring the entire Gulf region into the net
with stations up the East Coast and with as many VHF clusters as possible
reporting into a HF station to relay.--Bill Sexton, N1IN 

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Propagation prognosticator Carl Lutzelschwab, K9LA, Ft Wayne, Indiana, subs
for Tad Cook, K7VVV, this week: The Penticton (British Columbia) 10.7 cm
solar flux, following the sun's 27-day rotation period, peaked at 165 early
in the period and gradually decreased to 143 by the end of the period. Solar
activity for the period was at low levels.

Geophysical activity for the period was quiet to unsettled during the early
part of the period, with the planetary Ap index at or less than 14. Activity
was unsettled to active during the middle of the period due to a coronal
mass ejection (CME) on August 9, with the Ap index moving up to around 20.
Activity at this level could reduce MUFs (maximum usable frequencies) a
little at mid and high latitudes. 

Activity returned to quiet to unsettled at the end of the period. A CME that
occurred on August 14 could move the geomagnetic field up to active to minor
storm levels in the next day or two.

Solar Cycle 23 update: The maximum of Cycle 23 occurred in April 2000 at a
smoothed sunspot number of 121. Cycle 23 continues its descent to minimum,
which is predicted to be in the 2006 to 2007 time frame.

Now is the time to concentrate on the higher bands--especially 12 and 10
meters in the fall, winter, and spring seasons. On the other end of the
spectrum, low band aficionados still have several years before things get
really good.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: The ARRL 10 GHz and Up Cumulative Contest and
the New Jersey QSO Party are the weekend of August 18-19. JUST AHEAD: NOTE:
The dates indicated in September QST ("Contest Corral") for the CQ WW RTTY
Contest are incorrect. The contest is September 29-30 weekend. See the ARRL
Contest Branch page, http://www.arrl.org/contests/ and
http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/weeklycont.html for more info.

* Take two! The story "Volunteer Examiner Coordinators Huddle in Gettysburg"
in The ARRL Letter, Vol 20, No 32 (8/10/01) contained an error. We should
have said, "The W5YI-VEC suspended all but one of its Puerto Rico VE teams
in April 2000 after alleged irregularities attracted FCC scrutiny." An In
Brief item regarding the 2001 DXCC Yearbook in same edition should have
said, "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 submit an Honor Roll application or a DXCC update that's
received at the DXCC Desk no later than October 1, 2001."

* Sign up now for August Introductory Emergency Communications on-line
class: A few openings remain in the August on-line Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Introductory Course (EC-001). To sign up, visit the ARRL
Course Registration Page <https://www.arrl.org/forms/cce/>; while there's
still time. Join the hundreds of other Amateur Radio operators who've taken
advantage of this continuing education opportunity. 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. 

* Hams track police radio interference: Hams in Middletown, Ohio, helped
track down a local amateur who was subsequently arrested August 7 on state
charges of "disrupting public services." Authorities allege that Kenneth
Kelly, WT2FBI--a Tech Plus licensee--was interfering with police radio calls
while using a modified transceiver. The charge is a fourth-degree felony.
The FCC has been notified, and Kelly, 28, also could face federal charges.
"The alleged offender was repeating what sounded to us to be CB broadcasts
onto the police channel," said ARRL member Ernie Howard, W8EH, a city radio
maintenance shop employee who was involved in the tracking. Kelly had
apparently just moved to the area. Authorities reportedly said the
interfering operator also attempted to talk to dispatchers and police
officers and made racial slurs and obscene remarks. At a preliminary
hearing, Kelly was bound over for possible grand jury indictment. He is
being held in lieu of $25,000 bond.--thanks to Ernie Howard, W8EH, and The
Middletown Journal 

* Club agrees to process NA1SS QSLs: ARRL Field and Educational Services has
announced that the Newington (Connecticut) Amateur Radio League has agreed
to handle QSLing duties for NA1SS. The club counts several ARRL staffers
among its members. ARRL staffer Margie Bourgoin, KB1DCO, reports that as of
the first week of August, the ARRL had received 175 QSL requests for two-way
FM voice contacts, 49 for packet QSOs and 77 for listener reports. Among
recipients of the first NA1SS cards to be mailed was Jim Romelfanger, K9ZZ,
who worked Susan Helms (KC7NHZ) while he was at the WB9FDZ Field Day site.
"It's fun to be part of a true ham radio first!" he said. US stations
working NA1SS or RS0ISS aboard the International Space Station should send
QSLs to Margie Bourgoin, KB1DCO, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. A
self-addressed, stamped envelope is required to get a QSL in return. 

* Former NNY Section Manager George Veraldo, WB2BAU, SK: George Veraldo,
WB2BAU, of Norwood, New York, died August 9. He was 75. Veraldo was the
first Northern New York Section Manager and was serving as Affiliated Club
Coordinator for the section at his death. "George was always ready to step
up to help the section," said current NNY SM Tom Dick, KF2GC. Veraldo is
survived by his wife Pat, WB2CRY.--Tom Dick, KF2GC

* William Sprague, WA6CRN, SK: William Sprague, WA6CRN, of Whittier,
California, died July 14. He was 74. An ARRL member, Sprague was a founding
member and long-time secretary of the Medical Amateur Radio Council. He also
was a member of the ARRL A-1 Operator Club. His wife, Nancy, and five
children are among his survivors. A recent edition of the MARCO newsletter
cited Sprague as "one of its true giants" and a man "beloved and respected
by all who knew him."

* Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award
for August were Garry Shapiro, NI6T, and Tom Harrell, N4XP, for their
article "Kingman Reef 2000 DXpedition." Congratulations, Garry and Tom! The
winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author of the best
article in each issue--is determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes
place each month on the Cover Plaque Poll Web page,
<http://www.arrl.org/members-only/qstvote.html>;. As soon as your copy
arrives, cast a ballot for your favorite article in the September issue of
QST. Voting ends September 15.

* We've never heard this one before: ARRL staffers have heard a lot of
stories from members about how they became interested in Amateur Radio, but,
as Assistant Circulation Manager Kathy Capodicasa, N1GZO, says, "We've never
heard this one before!" As she relates the story, she spoke to a mom who had
placed an order on behalf of her young son for Now You're Talking and ARRL's
Tech Q&A. "When I asked her how her son found out about these titles, she
informed me that they had been at the dump and her 11-year-old son started
snooping around among the magazines and newspapers dropped off for
recycling, and he came across the July issue of QST," Capodicasa said. "She
told me that he hasn't been able to put it down since." Of course, an
easier--and less messy--way to find out more about Amateur Radio is to visit
the ARRL Web site and on-line catalog <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/>;. 

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