*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 20, No. 36 September 7, 2001 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Get ready (again) for CORES! * +Expedition 3 commander talks with Texas youngsters * +California ARES team burns candle at both ends * +Judge bans Florida CBer from owning radio gear * +Vanity fee drops to $12 September 10 * +Jerry Hill, KH6HU, to coordinate "The Big Project" * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio Sign up for September Emergency Communications Level I on-line course! +CQ Contest publishes its final issue Allen B. Harbach, WA4DRU, SK Former ARRL HQ employee died of heart failure, not bee stings DXCC squared--the hard way! High-altitude balloon flight carried ham radio payload West Kiribati T30ES operation on the air K3RXK to be digital conference banquet speaker +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>FCC REGISTRATION NUMBER BECOMES MANDATORY IN DECEMBER Get ready (again) for the FRN! Although the FCC has slipped the deadline before, the Commission said this week that, starting December 3, 2001, everyone doing business with the FCC--licensed or not--must obtain and use a 10-digit FCC Registration Number--or FRN. The FCC called the move "a first step" toward streamlining fee collection and tracking. Many amateurs registered with the Universal Licensing System (ULS) were assigned a 10-digit FRN by the Commission Registration System--or CORES--in a one-time cross-registration last year and notified by mail. Details to implement CORES for the Amateur Service are still being worked out. Steve Linn of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau said just how CORES and ULS will work together remains up in the air. "CORES is not replacing the ULS database," he explained, "but there are a lot of questions as to how it is to be integrated." A final implementation with respect to Amateur Radio is "yet to be determined," he said. Under the most likely scenario, however, CORES registration will supplant ULS registration for those who do not already have an FRN. Those without an FRN will be required to register and provide one before transacting business with the FCC, whether or not a fee is required. An individual does not have to hold an FCC license to obtain an FRN. The requirement to obtain one extends to applicants for an Amateur Radio license as well as to anyone required to pay a fee to the FCC, such as those applying for a vanity call sign. CORES registrants will be required to supply a Taxpayer Identification Number--or TIN--typically a Social Security Number (SSN) for an individual. The FCC says CORES information is not made public. An FRN will not be needed to file comments in rulemaking proceedings. Filings that do require an FRN but don't include one will be rejected. The FCC has not yet proposed replacing the ULS Licensee Identification Number with an FRN; many amateurs already have both, and both numbers appear in FCC licensee records. The ULS continues to be available to new registrants. The FCC began implementing CORES last year. The agency announced the adoption of its new CORES/FRN rules on August 31 and detailed the requirements in a Report and Order. In its Order, the FCC sounded almost apologetic for imposing yet another set of numbers on licensees and applicants. "We realize that the manner in which our electronic systems have developed has results in a multiplicity of numbers, passwords and identifiers," the FCC conceded. The FCC said that once various electronic filing systems--such as ULS--incorporate CORES and FRN into their application process, "the need to maintain registration information in multiple systems will be eliminated." The FCC said CORES makes provision for the registration of foreign nationals unable to obtain an SSN by providing the ability to register without one. The FCC has required that club stations obtain an assigned TIN when registering in the ULS. In an apparent about-face, the FCC's CORES Order states that unincorporated radio clubs registering in CORES should use the TIN/SSN of the license trustee. The ARRL has asked the FCC to clarify. The on-line filing system and further information on CORES is available by visiting the FCC CORES Web page, <https://svartifoss2.fcc.gov/cores/CoresHome.html>. A copy of the FCC R&O is available on the ARRL Web site, <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2001/09/04/3/cores-ro.pdf>. ==>ISS EXPEDITION 3 CREW CONDUCTS ITS FIRST SCHOOL CONTACT Youngsters at Seabrook Intermediate School in Texas got their new school year off to a banner start by speaking with the International Space Station via ham radio. The September 4 contact was carried out as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program. Crew Commander Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ, took the NA1SS microphone for the first of what's hoped will be several school contacts during his crew's four-month stay. Ten youngsters in grades six through eight from the school's Science Magnet Program took part in the contact. Among other things, the students wanted to know how life aboard the ISS compared with the space shuttle. "The space shuttle is fairly small," Culberton said, comparing it to "a camper on the back of a pickup truck." The space station is huge in comparison. "It's like night and day between the two," he said. "For living in space, the space station is the way to go." Culbertson said he's enjoying weightlessness aboard the ISS. One youngster wanted to know if the crew was able to shower aboard Space Station Alpha. "We don't actually take showers," Culbertson explained. "That would be pretty messy." He said the crew cleans up using a wash cloth and hot water, plus special soap and shampoo that does not need to be rinsed off but can just be wiped dry with a towel. "It's been a real pleasure talking with you guys," Culbertson said as he signed off from NA1SS. The students reacted with loud applause. Participating youngsters were enthusiastic about their ARISS experience. "That was just so cool talking to people over 210 nautical miles straight up," said Banks, a sixth grader. Seventh grader Adam, who hopes to become an astronaut, called it "a very eye-opening experience." Savannah, another sixth grader, said she hoped to get her ham ticket. Coordinating the ARISS contact at the school was Bill Wood, W5OOD, with help from the Clear Lake Amateur Radio Club (K5HOU) and the Johnson Space Center Amateur Radio Club (W5RRR). Sandy Peck, the school's science coordinator, said some of her students are hoping to attend a licensing class in the spring. The ISS crew is tentatively scheduled to speak next week with students at Altamonte Elementary School in Florida. The ARISS program is a cooperative venture of ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. For more information, visit the ARISS Web site <http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov>.--Bruce Paige, KK5DO, provided some information for this report ==>CALIFORNIA ARES GROUP RESPONDS FOR BACK-TO-BACK BLAZES In the wake of the "Oregon Fire" activation the last week of August, the Shasta County, California, ARES team barely had time to take a smoke-free breath before being activated again. Shasta County Emergency Coordinator Drew Witham, W1SAR, reports that just as evacuation orders in Weaverville were being cancelled and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection was announcing near containment of the Oregon fire, another huge blaze broke out in the nearby town of Hayfork. By late in the day of August 31, the "Hyampom Fire" had scorched an estimated 450 acres and prompted another round of evacuations. Shasta County and Trinity County ARES members responded quickly to shadow CDF and Red Cross team members. Witham said this enabled communication from the mountain communities back to CDF and Red Cross incident support centers in Redding. "Heavy smoke and difficult terrain made direct communication difficult," Witham said. "At times messages were being relayed via two monitoring stations using three different repeaters." Witham said that all of the public information coming from the CDF's multi-agency information center in Redding was relayed via ham radio. Witham said he'd first learned of the "Oregon Fire" while on duty battling another blaze with his local volunteer fire department. Still in his wildland firefighter's yellow Nomex gear, he headed for CDF Headquarters in Redding, where DEC Dick Cloyd, WO6P, had responded to the CDF activation of ARES. They quickly formulated a plan, and Witham headed for the fireline 60 miles away in the mountains. "Despite the distance, CDF and Red Cross personnel had communications within the hour, and support was continued as needed right through the holiday weekend," Witham said. ARES operators stood down September 3.--Drew Witham, W1SAR/SCARES ==>JUDGE BANS RADIO GEAR OWNERSHIP BY FLORIDA CBER A Florida man who's facing thousands of dollars in federal fines for unlicensed radio operation and for interfering with local hams was sentenced to probation August 30 in state court. William Flippo was found guilty of criminal mischief, a Class 1 misdemeanor, during a jury trial last spring. Palm Beach County Judge Charles Burton further ordered Flippo--a Jupiter CBer known as "Rabbit Ears"--to dispose of any radio equipment now in his possession. The sentence resulted from a charge that Flippo rammed his vehicle into the car of a local amateur, Ed Petzolt, K1LNC, of Hobe Sound. At the time of the incident two years ago, Petzolt was assisting an FCC agent in tracking down malicious interference attributed to Flippo. Burton had sentenced Flippo to 120 days in jail but suspended incarceration in lieu of one year's probation with multiple conditions, including the ban on owning radio equipment. Flippo has 30 days to appeal his sentence. Burton further ordered that Flippo is to have no contact with Petzolt or with any member of Petzolt's family. He also may not own or possess any weapons, and he is required to reimburse Petzolt for lost wages. Flippo also has written a letter of apology. Flippo, 58, already owes the US government $20,000 in fines for unlicensed operation, willful and malicious interference to Amateur Radio communications, and failure to let the FCC inspect his radio equipment. He's now scheduled to appear in federal court November 5 after his arrest last summer on additional charges. Flippo faces four counts of operating without a license and four counts of deliberate and malicious interference to a licensed service--Amateur Radio. Flippo was taken into custody in July 2000 and has been free on $100,000 bond. As a condition of his release, US Magistrate Judge Ann E. Vitunac restricted Flippo's travel and prohibited him from making any radio transmissions. The criminal charges going to trial in November cover alleged violations between June 1999 and April of last year. Each count carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $10,000 fine. In January 2000, the FCC gave Flippo 30 days to pay the $20,000 already levied. The case was referred to the US Attorney after he failed to do so, and the interference complaints continued. ==>LOWER AMATEUR RADIO VANITY FEE IS EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 10 The FCC says the fee for a new or renewed Amateur Radio vanity call sign will drop to $12 on September 10. Applications received on or after that date will be subject to the new fee. The current vanity call sign fee is $14. The FCC proposed the lower fee last March in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for FY 2001 (MD Docket No. 01-76). The FCC has estimated that 8000 applicants will apply for vanity call signs in the current fiscal year. Earlier this year, the FCC also put paper and electronic vanity call sign applications on an equal footing in terms of processing priority. The FCC used to give priority to electronic applications for vanity call signs. FCC rules stipulate refunds for applicants who inadvertently overpay a regulatory fee. Applicants who determine that they overpaid a vanity fee may request a refund in writing. Requests seeking a "Vanity Fee Overpayment Refund" go to FCC, 1270 Fairfield Rd, Gettysburg PA 17325-7245. Refund requests should indicate the date of application, the total fee paid, and the total refund owed. The FCC has posted its FY2001 fee schedule on the Web <http://www.fcc.gov/fees/2001wtbguide.txt>. For more information on applying for a vanity call sign, visit the FCC Amateur Radio Web page, <http://www.fcc.gov/wtb/amateur/VanityCS.html>. ==>ARRL WELCOMES KH6HU AS "BIG PROJECT" COORDINATOR Gerald W. "Jerry" Hill, KH6HU, of New Haven, Connecticut, has been chosen as coordinator of the ARRL Amateur Radio Education Project--better known as "The Big Project." The educational initiative of ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, is aimed at providing a turnkey Amateur Radio curriculum, equipment and resources to middle schools. "We're happy to have Jerry on board, and now we're anxious to get going," Haynie said. Hill started work September 4. The aim of "The Big Project" is to improve the quality of education by employing educationally valid techniques involving Amateur Radio to teach a variety of subjects--including science, geography, language and speech. In his new position, Hill will work with national educational organizations and ARRL educational advisors to achieve this goal. Born and raised in the upper Midwest, Hill lived for 25 years in Hawaii and considers it home. Prior to his retirement in April, Hill served as career and technical education regional coordinator for the Department of Education in Kauai. His experience in the education field includes curriculum development, assisting teachers in implementing standards in the classroom, grant writing, and a school-to-work program. A US Navy veteran, Hill is a member and past president of Kauai Amateur Radio Club and a long-time member of ARRL. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sunnyside Up Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Compared to the previous seven days, average solar flux rose nearly 10 points this week, but average sunspot numbers dropped about the same amount. There seems to be quite a bit of new activity emerging. Earth is exiting a solar wind, which brought planetary A indices to 17 and 20 on Monday and Tuesday. The current forecast shows a planetary A index around 10 for the next 10 days, but, of course, this could change. A new sunspot group could bring more flare activity and coronal mass ejections. The current outlook calls for solar flux to rise over the next few days, to 225 on Friday, and around 230 on Saturday through Tuesday. This could be an exciting fall DX season, and since solar activity will be declining, perhaps the best for years to come. Sunspot numbers for August 30 through September 5 were 138, 142, 153, 141, 168, 168 and 175, with a mean of 155. The 10.7 cm flux was 199.2, 188.7, 184.1, 182.5, 198.7, 218.4 and 218.3, with a mean of 198.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 13, 16, 8, 7, 17, 20 and 10 with a mean of 13. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The ARRL September VHF QSO, the North American Sprint, (CW) the WAE DX Contest (SSB), the SLP Competition (SWL), and the ARCI End of Summer PSK31 Sprint are the weekend of September 8-9. JUST AHEAD: YLRL Howdy Days, the QRP Afield event, the AGB NEMIGA Contest, the Air Force Anniversary QSO Party, the ARRL 10 GHz Cumulative Contest, the Scandinavian Activity Contest (CW), the Washington State Salmon Run, the North American Sprint (SSB) and the Tennessee QSO Party are the weekend of September 15-16. 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. * Sign up for September Emergency Communications Level I on-line course! September registration for the Level I--Introduction to Amateur Radio Emergency Communications on-line course (EC-001) will open Monday, September 10, at 4 PM Eastern Time. Two classes of 50 students will be processed during the week, and the on-line classes will begin the week of September 17. After 4 PM Monday--and until all seats are filled--the registration form can be found on the ARRL Course Registration page <https://www.arrl.org/forms/cce/>. Answers to most questions are on 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>. To learn more, contact ARRL Certification and Conntinuing Education Coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG, firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration for Level II--Intermediate Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (EC-002) will re-open Monday, September 24. * CQ Contest publishes its final issue: CQ Contest magazine has put out its last issue. Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA, says the magazine, in publication for almost six years, has been losing money for the past several years, and the decision to cease publication with the October issue was strictly a business decision. The content for the ham radio niche publication will be absorbed into CQ. "CQ's dedication to the contest community is in no way diminished," Ross said in "A Message from the Publisher" in CQ Contest's final edition. All CQ Contest subscribers will be converted to CQ subscribers or have their CQ subscriptions extended on a dollar-for-dollar basis, starting with the November issue of CQ. In his "The Band Edge" editorial in the October issue, CQ Contest Editor Bob Cox, K3EST, says the magazine's legacy might be carried forward in the form of a Web publication to serve the contesting community. The demise of CQ Contest leaves National Contest Journal--published by ARRL--as the sole hard-copy magazine aimed at the Amateur Radio contesting community. * Allen B. Harbach, WA4DRU, SK: The man who had made life a bit easier for fans of vintage Heath gear, Al Harbach, WA4DRU, of Melbourne, Florida, died August 15. He was 73. He was a Life Member of ARRL and had authored several items that appeared in QST. A native of Orchard Park, New York, and an engineer, Harbach was first licensed in 1948 as W2YNI. In more recent years, he became known to many as "Mr Heathkit" and a source of parts and information about Heath amateur gear. A longstanding member of the North Florida DX Association, Harbach was a prominent DXer, DXpeditioner and DXCC Honor Roll member with 351 entities. His contesting experience using SB-200s and SB-220s led him to design several modifications to those amplifiers that he offered as products. He also sold antenna hardware. Survivors include his wife, Pat. DX Engineering <http://www.dxengineering.com> has taken over Harbach's antenna hardware business. Jeff Weinberg, W8CQ, has assumed operation of Harbach Electronics <http://www.harbachelectronics.com/>. * Former ARRL HQ employee died of heart failure, not bee stings: Authorities now say that Bill Jennings, K1WJ, a former ARRL Headquarters staff member, died of heart failure, not as a direct result of bee stings as earlier believed. According to The Hartford Courant, Jennings--a backyard beekeeper--was attacked August 26 by bees from an especially aggressive colony, but many of the stings occurred after he'd already died. "There is no evidence that his death is in any way related to being stung by bees," Associate Medical Examiner Arkady Katsnelson said in a statement. "The stingers seen on his face are most likely from being stung after he died from his dysrhythmia, probably aggravated by the stress of the situation." The medical examiner's office said venom from the bee stings had not entered Jennings circulatory system, and it attributed his death to an enlarged heart and generalized cardiovascular disease. Jennings, who was 54, worked at ARRL Headquarters in the late 1970s and early 1980s. QST Publisher Mark Wilson, K1RO, and ARRL New England Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, attended a memorial service for Jennings on August 31. Wilson and Frenaye worked with Jennings when he was at ARRL Headquarters. * DXCC squared--the hard way! The late DXpedition team of Lloyd and Iris Colvin, W6KG and W6QL, worked, confirmed, and received DXCC from more than 100 DXCC entities. This fact was among those established as research continues on a biography of the Colvins by author, Jim Cain, K1TN, a former ARRL Headquarters staff member. "We've counted DXCCs from 109 DXCC countries so far," Cain said, "not including any of the dozens of DXCCs Lloyd and Iris achieved as individuals from California. Can anyone top this?" Iris Colvin died in 1998, and Lloyd Colvin died in 1993. The couple was most active between the 1960s and the early 1990s. Commissioned by the Yasme Foundation, the soon-to-be-published book will include a history of the Foundation and a biography of the couple. Cain invites additional information, photos, and anecdotes on the Colvins and on the early Yasme days in the 1950s. Send information to email@example.com. * High-altitude balloon flight carried ham radio payload: Edge of Space Sciences is declaring its latest balloon launch a success. The Denver, Colorado-based non-profit organization promotes science and education by exploring frontiers in Amateur Radio and high-altitude balloons. EOSS reports that its Flight 51 was launched and recovered successfully on August 25. Seven payloads were on board. "ATV from the balloon was spectacular," said Jack Roland, KE0VH. "It showed the balloon going through a snowstorm as it ascended through 25,000 feet, on its way to its maximum altitude of slightly more than 90,000 feet." Roland said the EOSS team had clear pictures throughout the entire flight. Future flights will incorporate a crossband repeater. For more information, visit the EOSS Web site <http://www.eoss.org/index.html >. * West Kiribati T30ES operation on the air: Eric Griffin, N1JSY, will be on the air for the next 18 months from the island of Butaritari in West Kiribati as T30ES. The T30ES operation is not a DXpedition. Griffin is a Penn State grad who's in the Peace Corps. His T30ES adventure is being supported by the Candlewood Amateur Radio Association and the Bethel Educational Amateur Radio Society, both of Connecticut, whose members donated the various elements for the T30ES station. At last report, one antenna was up and N1JSY had made a few regional QSOs as the station undergoes its shakedown cruise. T30ES will be active as his schedule permits. He's running 100 W with battery power and will operate only during his non-work hours. QSL to PO Box 3441, Danbury CT 06813. For more information on T30ES, visit The Kiribati Connection Web site, <http://people.mags.net/boem/kiribati1.htm>.--Peter Kemp, KZ1Z * K3RXK to be digital conference banquet speaker: Tony Curtis, K3RXK, will be the banquet speaker at the 20th annual ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference, Saturday, September 22 in Cincinnati. His topic will be "40 Years of Amateur Radio in Space: Where We've Been, Where We Are, Where We're Going." Curtis notes that OSCAR-1 was launched December 12, 1961. An ARRL Life Member, Curtis has written dozens of books about space, astronomy, computers and electronics. He is editor of Space Today Online <http://www.spacetoday.org>. Full DCC information, a registration form, and hotel information may be obtained by contacting Tucson Amateur Packet Radio, 972-671-TAPR (8277); fax 972-671-8716; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.tapr.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 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. The ARRLWeb Extra at http://www.arrl.org/members-only/extra offers ARRL members access to informative features and columns. 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