ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 42
October 19, 2001
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +Part 15 access to 425-435 MHz could spark battle
* +FCC won't accept filings delivered in envelopes
* +NA1SS may be on the air for JOTA
* +ARRL Executive Committee reviews FCC matters
* +Michigan kids make "great connection" with ISS
* +CQ requests only e-mail contest logs
* +Starshine 3 telemetry reports requested
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF:
     This weekend on the radio
     Special event station K7UGA on the air October 20-21
     Additional Emergency Communications Course on-line classes opened
     Davenport hamfest to shift location
     AMSAT-NA seeks name for new satellite project
     PCsat commissioned and operational
     SATERN seeks team to staff LA Territorial Headquarters station
     WRTC 2002 announces additional national teams

+Available on ARRL Audio News

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

==>BATTLE LOOMS OVER PART 15 ACCESS TO 425-435 MHZ

The FCC has proposed changes to its Part 15 rules governing unlicensed
devices that would allow operation of advanced RF identification devices
between 425 and 435 MHz. By going along with a request made earlier this
year by SAVI Technology Inc and fiercely opposed by ARRL, the FCC has set
the stage for another battle between amateur and commercial interests.

"The FCC hasn't thought this through," said ARRL Executive Vice President
David Sumner, K1ZZ. He contends that the Part 15 RFID proposal--included
this week as part of a larger Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order--is
"contrary to the whole philosophy of the Part 15 rules." Sumner said the
RFID devices SAVI proposes more properly belong on frequencies that are also
authorized for use by devices regulated by FCC's Part 18 Industrial,
Scientific and Medical (ISM) rules.

The FCC said this week's NPRM&O would modify the rules for RFID systems "to
harmonize our rules with those in other parts of the world and to allow for
improved operation." Sumner said that 433.9 MHz is allocated for ISM devices
in 10 European countries but not in the rest of the world, including ITU
Region 2 (North and South America).

Last March, the ARRL urged the FCC to deny or dismiss SAVI Technology's
petition. The League argued that the field strengths and duty cycles SAVI
proposed for its RFID tags were unreasonable "and would undoubtedly
seriously disrupt amateur communications in one of the most popular of the
Amateur Service allocations."

SAVI, which markets radiolocation and wireless inventory control products,
told the FCC it needed the rules changes to satisfy customer demand for
increased RFID system capabilities. The FCC this week said it agreed with
SAVI that changes to its Part 15 rules to allow more advanced RFID systems
in the 433 MHz band "would serve the public interest." It proposed to create
a new section to Part 15 that would allow operation of RFIDs in the 425-435
MHz band and transmissions of up to two minutes at maximum field strengths
now only permitted for extremely short-duration, intermittent control
signals.

In an apparent about face, the FCC said it believes the proposed levels
would offer only minimal interference potential for licensed users. The FCC
in the past has acknowledged serious interference potential and has
prohibited data transmission, among other things, at the proposed field
strengths for that very reason. 

As proposed, transmissions of 120 seconds would be permitted with just a
10-second silent period between transmissions. Under Section 15.231(e)
periodic radiators are permitted field strengths of less than 5000 uV/m at
433 MHz measured at three meters, with duty cycles of less than one second
and a silent period between transmissions that's at least 30 times the
duration of the transmission.

The League pointed out in its earlier comments that the Communications Act
of 1934 lacks authority to allow unlicensed devices with substantial
interference potential. "Such devices must be licensed," the ARRL concluded.
Unlicensed Part 15 devices must not interfere with licensed services and
must tolerate interference received from licensed radio services in the same
band.

Another portion of the proceeding involves the 13.56 MHz ISM frequency.
Sumner said that proposal "at first glance" might permit increased emissions
in the bottom 10 kHz of the 20-meter amateur band. Sumner said the ARRL
would take a closer look at this section of the overall proposal before
assessing its interference potential.

Sumner said the League plans to file a strong opposition to the FCC's
NPRM&O. The entire Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order in ET Docket
01-278 (which incorporates RM-9375 and RM-10051) is available on the ARRL
Web site.

==>FCC STOPS ACCEPTING FILINGS ENCLOSED IN ENVELOPES

The FCC announced this week that, effective immediately, hand or
messenger-delivered filings enclosed in envelopes will not be accepted at
FCC Headquarters until further notice. The Commission is encouraging
everyone to file electronically or via fax whenever possible.

Filings and other documents in envelopes or packages destined for the FCC
should continue to be addressed to FCC Headquarters, 445 12th Street SW,
Washington, DC 20554. At least for now, these deliveries will be diverted to
the FCC's Capitol Heights facility--at 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol
Heights, Maryland--for special handling. The FCC said it's looking for an
alternative Washington, DC, site to accept delivery of filings on a more
permanent basis.

A Public Notice said that starting Monday, October 22, the FCC will accept
originals and copies of official filings addressed to the Commission's
Secretary "held together with rubber bands or fasteners" only at its Capitol
Heights facility . The FCC was accepting no hand-delivered or
messenger-delivered filings--in envelopes or otherwise--before October 22.
Filing deadlines for both paper and electronic filings were extended in
light of the new procedures.

The changes were necessary "as a precautionary measure," the FCC said. "As
the Commission continues to balance its efforts to be accessible to its
customers with the need for heightened security measures, the Commission
encourages its customers to make full use of the Commission's electronic
filing systems to facilitate the filing of documents," an FCC announcement
said. 

The FCC Public Notice made no direct reference to the current anthrax scare.
It also made no mention of any change in procedures regarding filings mailed
in envelopes to its Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, office--where Amateur Service
applications typically are sent.

The FCC said the Commission's Office of the Secretary will work with bureaus
and offices, as appropriate, to handle bulk filings in accordance with the
just-announced precautionary measures. The new no-envelopes procedures
extend to filings requesting confidential treatment under the Commission's
rules. 

The FCC directed all questions about the new procedures to the Commission's
Secretary, msalas@fcc.gov, or 202-418-0300.

Visit the FCC Web Site for more information.

==>ISS CREW CHIEF MAY BE ON THE AIR FOR JOTA

International Space Station Expedition 3 Crew Commander Frank Culbertson,
KD5OPQ, says he hopes to be on the air October 20-21 from NA1SS during
Scouting's annual Jamboree On The Air. Stations not participating in JOTA
are requested to give preference to Scouting/JOTA stations attempting to
contact NA1SS. 

"The ISS crew is very busy but excited about supporting JOTA QSOs," said
Will Marchant, KC6ROL, of the Amateur Radio on the International Space
Station program. "Frank had packed his Scouting T-shirt and will be wearing
that during the QSOs."

Culbertson will use the general QSO voice frequencies: In Regions 2 and 3
(this includes the US), the frequencies are 144.490 MHz up and 145.800 MHz
down; in Region 1 (Europe, Africa and the Middle East), the frequencies are
145.200 MHz up and 145.800 MHz down. See the ARRL Web site,
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2001/10/16/1/>, for approximate pass
times. 

Marchant advised stations to always listen before transmitting and to wait
until NA1SS calls for the next station before transmitting. If NA1SS comes
back to someone else, stop calling and wait until that contact is completed
before trying again. He also says Culbertson hopes to be able to find more
time for casual ham radio contacts in the days and weeks ahead. 

During JOTA, Amateur Radio operators around the world invite Boy Scouts and
Girl Scouts/Guides to their stations to chat with each other and to learn
about Amateur Radio at the same time. Details are spelled out in the
September 2001 issue of QST (see page 48) and on the ARRL Web JOTA page
<http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/jota.html>. 

==>EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE BRIEFED ON STATUS OF FCC, LEGAL ISSUES

The status of FCC and legal matters dominated the October 13 meeting of the
ARRL Executive Committee. President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, chaired the
gathering, which was held near Dallas, Texas.

ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, reviewed the status of various FCC
proceedings in which the League has an interest. The Committee was told that
the FCC's Ultra Wideband (UWB) Transmission Systems proceeding, ET Docket
98-153, is expected to be resolved by year's end. The ARRL has continued to
participate in a telecommunications industry coalition that is fighting to
limit the interference potential of UWB devices. 

Meanwhile, a resolution of the issue is not expected for several months in
the ARRL's Petition for Rule Making requesting the FCC to elevate the
Amateur Service to primary at 2300-2305 MHz. The FCC is under considerable
pressure to increase the commercial use of spectrum in this general
frequency range, Imlay told the panel. The League has been attempting to
elevate Amateur Radio's status in the segment for five years, and renewed
its request last May in a petition, RM-10165. A petition by AeroAstro,
RM-10166, proposes a co-primary allocation but would place new restrictions
on amateur operations in the 2300-2305 MHz band.

Imlay said the FCC is not likely to accommodate the Microtrax Petition for
New Personal Location System at 2300-2305 MHz. Imlay also shared draft
comments due for filing October 19 that address the inclusion of the
2390-2400 MHz amateur allocation among bands the FCC is considering for
so-called next-generation wireless devices, ET Docket 00-258. The draft
comments concluded that additional commercial use of 2390-2400 MHz is
incompatible with the amateur primary allocation, but it may be possible to
accommodate some government sharing.

Imlay said it's anticipated that the FCC will combine three other ARRL
petitions into a single proceeding early next year. RM-9949 calls for an
Amateur Service primary allocation at 2400-2402 MHz; RM-9404 seeks new
amateur allocations at 135.7-137.8 kHz and 160-190 kHz; and RM-10209
requests a new amateur allocation at 5.250-5.400 MHz.

Regarding ET Docket 99-231, Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making Regarding
Part 15 Spread Spectrum Devices, Imlay noted that the ARRL has filed
comments opposing the elimination of the processing gain requirement for
direct sequence spread spectrum systems in the 2400-2483.5 MHz band because
the requirement gives manufacturers an incentive to design
spectrum-efficient systems.

Imlay noted that the FCC has requested parties to "refresh the record" in IB
Docket 95-59 regarding reconsideration of rules adopted in 1996 on
preemption of local zoning regulation of satellite earth stations. He
observed that this may provide an opportunity to argue against inconsistent
interpretation of the FCC's authority to preempt private land-use
restrictions. The committee instructed Imlay to prepare and file appropriate
comments in this proceeding.

Imlay reported that Barry Gorodetzer, N4IFE, was awarded his attorney's fees
by a Florida trial court in his successful amateur antenna-related suit
against the Emerald Estates Community Association. The Association has
appealed. The ARRL Antenna Case Assistance Committee has provided funding to
help cover the opposition to the appeal. The committee also reviewed the
status of other cases involving amateur antennas.

In addition to Haynie and Imlay, others attending included First Vice
President Joel Harrison, W5ZN; Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ;
and Directors Frank Butler, W4RH, Frank Fallon, N2FF, Tom Frenaye, K1KI, and
Fried Heyn, WA6WZO, and International Affairs Vice President Rodney J.
Stafford, W6ROD.

==>MICHIGAN SCHOOL YOUNGSTERS MAKE "GREAT CONNECTION" WITH ISS

Youngsters at The Holy Spirit School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, recently
quizzed International Space Station crew chief Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ, on
a variety of topics. The ham radio contact October 5 was arranged through
the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program.

It took a couple of tries for a successful QSO. A direct contact with the
ISS was not possible, so the Holy Spirit contact ultimately was handled via
a WorldCom telephone linkup with Gerald Klatzko, ZS6BTD, in South Africa. An
initial attempt a day earlier via Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI, in Australia, came
up dry. As it turned out, Culbertson was in the middle of a scheduled
activity and could not break away.

Ten excited students ranging from third grade to eighth grade turned out at
the school at around 6 AM to be on hand. Culbertson thanked them for showing
up so early. When all was said and done, 18 questions were asked and
answered before the ISS passed out of range.

In response to a third grader's question about what it feels like to take
off into space, Culbertson described the experience as "this big kick in the
butt" that accelerates the space shuttle off the pad. "It's quite a ride. I
love it," Culbertson said. 

In response to another question, he explained that investigating the
long-term effects on the human body of living in space was a major focus of
research aboard the ISS. "We want to learn how people can live more
healthily in space for long periods of time," Culbertson said, "because if
we're gonna ever go further than low-Earth orbit, like to Mars, we're going
to have to be able to stay up there for a very long time." 

Culbertson noted that humans have been living aboard the ISS for nearly a
year now. The ISS consists of two air locks and five modules, including a
lab and living quarters. "It's a pretty good-sized house now," he said. 

Culbertson said that when he has a few extra minutes, he often enjoys just
watching Earth go by. One student gave Culbertson an opportunity to wax
philosophical by asking what it's like to look down at what appears to be a
peaceful planet "when it can be filled with so much violence." 

"What I see from here is no real boundaries--artificial boundaries--but I
see a good solid Earth that we need to take care of, and we need to live
together in peace on," Culbertson responded. 

After the applause died down, Holy Spirit Principal Sharon Grant called the
QSO "a great connection, a great contact." The school first applied for a
contact with the shuttle astronauts more than four years ago.

ARRL member Jim Cordes, KI8JD, assisted the school to prepare for the
contact, which was televised throughout the school. 

==>CQ ASKS CONTESTERS TO E-MAIL ALL LOGS

CQ magazine is asking all participants in CQ-sponsored Amateur Radio
contests to submit their logs electronically. "In light of recent events
regarding hazardous items sent through the mail, logs received through the
mail at the CQ offices will be held unopened until all potential health
risks have been evaluated," a CQ Communications news release said. CQ said
it cannot guarantee that logs submitted via the US Postal Service will be
opened. 

All logs for the CQ World Wide DX Contest, the CQ WPX Contest, the CQ World
Wide 160-Meter Contest, the CQ World Wide VHF Contest and the CQ/RTTY
Journal RTTY contests should be submitted via e-mail according to the
instructions in the rules for each contest. 

CQ Communications President Dick Ross, K2MGA, said CQ regrets the
inconvenience to contesters lacking Internet or e-mail access or those who
log by hand, but he said CQ did not want to risk the chance that staff
members or contest committee volunteers might be exposed to dangerous
packages sent through the mail. CQ suggested that contesters not now using
computer logging programs start doing so.

CQ also suggested that hand loggers transcribe their logs into an ASCII
(.txt) file using a word processor, separating each contact element with a
tab, separating each contact with a carriage return, and e-mailing the
resulting file to the address listed in the contest rules. "Be sure to
include the required information about your station in a covering e-mail
message," the CQ notice advised.--CQ Communications news release

==>PROJECT STARSHINE ISSUES CALL FOR TELEMETRY REPORTS

Project Starshine is seeking volunteer Amateur Radio operators and students
worldwide to monitor and report telemetry from the recently launch Starshine
3 satellite. Data supporting a solar cell experiment on the satellite is
being downlinked so students and radio amateurs can participate in
collecting the data. 

The satellite transmits 9600 bps AX.25 packet telemetry at 145.825 MHz every
two minutes. An attractive QSL card is available to all who forward
telemetry reports to Project Starshine. 

Launched September 30 as one of three ham radio payloads from Alaska' new
Kodiak Launch Complex, Starshine 3 is in a 500-km, 67-degree circular orbit.
Nearly one meter in diameter, Starshine 3 weighs some 200 pounds and carries
1500 aluminum mirrors polished by some 40,000 student volunteers in the US
and 25 other countries. 

Starshine 3's primary mission is to involve and educate students in space
and radio sciences. The "mirror-ball" surface permits youngsters to visually
track the satellite during morning and evening passes. Students record the
mirror flashes and report their observations to Project Starshine, and
visual data gathered will be used to determine the effects of the
atmospheric drag on the spacecraft. 

To report Starshine 3 telemetry, visit the Starshine 3 Telemetry Web site,
<http://epulation.com/starshine/starshine3/>. For additional information
about Project Starshine, visit the Project Starshine Web site,
<http://www.azinet.com/starshine/>.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Solar sage Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Sunspot numbers
and solar flux values rose this week. Average daily sunspots were up nearly
18 points, and average solar flux rose almost 40 points. Solar flux was
mostly in the 170s for a couple of weeks until this week, when it went above
190 and then 200.

Solar flux for the next few days should continue this rise, with values of
235, 240, 245 and 250 predicted for Friday through Monday. Unless new
sunspots emerge, the solar flux is expected to decline below 200 by the end
of this month. Thursday and Friday, October 11 and 12, had unsettled to
active geomagnetic conditions, but geo-indices have been quiet since. This
was expected to continue, with A indices below 10, until October 18 at 0105
UTC when a large solar flare erupted from sunspot region 9661. The energy
from this flare caused a radio blackout across Asia and Australia, and is
expected to fully affect Earth on October 21.

Sunspot numbers for October 11 through 17 were 174, 179, 166, 178, 176, 168
and 171, with a mean of 173.1. The 10.7-cm flux was 174.8, 179.2, 179.5,
191.9, 192.9, 207.2 and 217.4, with a mean of 191.8. Estimated planetary A
indices were 17, 27, 10, 9, 11, 8 and 4 with a mean of 12.3.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: Jamboree on the Air (JOTA), the JARTS WW RTTY
Contest, the 50 MHz Fall Sprint, the Worked All Germany Contest, the
Asia-Pacific Sprint (CW), the RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest (CW), and the Illinois
QSO Party are the weekend of October 20-21. The YLRL Anniversary Party (SSB)
is October 24-26. JUST AHEAD: The CQ Worldwide DX Contest (SSB), the SLP
Competition (SWL), and the 10-10 International Fall Contest (CW) are the
weekend of October 27-28. See the ARRL Contest Branch page,
http://www.arrl.org/contests/ and
http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/weeklycont.html for more info.

* Special event station K7UGA on the air October 20-21: The famous K7UGA
call sign, once held by former US and presidential candidate Sen Barry
Goldwater of Arizona, will be on the air during the October 20-21 weekend.
Goldwater was a Life Member of the Central Arizona DX Association, and K7UGA
was re-issued to the CADXA last October. K7UGA will be on the air on CW (32
kHz up from the band edge) and SSB (5-10 kHz up from the General band edge).
Also look for K7UGA on 10.110, 18.090, and 24.905 on CW and on 18.160 and
24.965 on SSB. For more information, visit the CADXA Web site,
<http://www.cadxa.org>.--Dave Hollander, N7RK/CADXA 

* Additional Emergency Communications Course on-line classes opened: Due to
increased demand, additional sections have been opened for the October
on-line Level I Emergency Communications Course (EC-001) class. Seats remain
available. "In light of the atrocities of September 11, hams around the
country are realizing the importance and need to be prepared for the
unexpected," said ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Coordinator
Dan Miller, K3UFG. Those who were unable to successfully register earlier
this week are urged to try again. Visit the ARRL Certification and
Continuing Education Registration Page <https://www.arrl.org/forms/cce> to
take advantage of this expanded continuing education opportunity. Answers to
most questions are on the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education home
page <http://www.arrl.org/cce> and the C-CE links at the right, including
the CCE Syllabus, FAQs, Classroom and Exam Info, and much more. For other
concerns--or if  you have problems registering--contact ARRL Certification
and Continuing Education Coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG, cce@arrl.org.

* Davenport hamfest to shift location: The Davenport (Iowa) Radio Amateur
Club Hamfest/Computer Show, Sunday, November 4, 8 AM until 2 PM, has been
forced at the last minute to shift to another location. Now in its 30th
year, the event will take place at the former Walgreens store in Southpark
Mall, Moline, Illinois. The show was scheduled to take place at the Iowa
National Guard hangar, but that site was declared off-limits because of
security concerns. Talk-in will be on the 146.88 repeater. More information
is available on the Hamfest/Computer Show is on the DRAC Web site,
<http://gwltd.com/hamfest/>.

* AMSAT-NA seeks name for new satellite project: AMSAT-NA is looking for a
proper name for its new satellite project--now known simply as "Project JJ"
after the two proponents of the technology AMSAT is developing--Lyle
Johnson, KK7P, and Dick Jansson, WD4FAB. In his President's Letter this
week, AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, said Johnson and Jansson
have asked for a name change. Haighton requests suggestions for a new name
via e-mail <ve3frh@amsat.org>; by November 30. A committee will review the
suggestions and announce a decision. "The person who proposes the chosen
name will receive free admission to the Dayton AMSAT 2002 dinner," Haighton
said. If there's a tie, the earliest entry will be declared the winner. 

* PCsat commissioned and operational: PCsat, the recently launched Naval
Academy Amateur Radio Satellite, was activated for users on October 3. Bob
Bruninga, WB4APR, requests that users first read and agree to the PCsat User
Service Agreement, posted on the US Naval Academy Web site
<http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/pcsat/contract.txt>. Bruninga said that,
due to frequent resets on orbit a temporary change to normal operating
procedures was made as of October 12 to permit users to digipeat via the
call signs of W3ADO-1 and W3ADO-2. "Thus, whether it is in safe mode or not,
the settings will not change for users," Bruninga said. PCsat provides a
worldwide position, status and messaging service for mobile and hand-held
Amateur Radio satellite users. Bruninga said he hopes users will, for now,
adhere to the maximum one-packet-per-two-minutes protocol. Base-station
transmissions through PCsat "are not encouraged except for special tests,
demos or other circumstances." PCsat is designed with no CPU other than two
TNCs. 

* SATERN seeks team to staff LA Territorial Headquarters station: Salvation
Army Team Emergency Response Network National Coordinator Pat McPherson,
WW9E, says SATERN is seeking a team or club to staff the Amateur Radio
station at its Territorial Headquarters in Los Angeles. "This is the
Salvation Army's headquarters for the Western States, and our people there
are eager to develop the SATERN program," McPherson said. "We especially
need personnel at the Territorial Headquarters to connect up with the rest
of the amateur arena and our SATERN network during disasters, events and
exercises." McPherson suggested that a club might want to adopt this duty as
an ongoing activity. Interested parties may contact McPherson for additional
details at ww9e@aol.com. 

* WRTC 2002 announces additional national teams: These experienced
contesters have been nominated to represent their countries in WRTC 2002.
Asiatic Russia: Vadim Travin, RA9JX, and Oleg Usov, UA9CDV; European Russia:
Team 1, Vlad Aksenov, RW1AC, and Jack Danielyan, RW3QC; European Russia:
Team 2, Igor Avdeev, UA2FZ, and Alex Orlov, RW4WR; Hungary: Zoli Pitman,
HA1AG, and Antal "Anti" Hudanik, HA3OV; Lithuania: Dainius Savicius, LY1DS,
and Andrius Ignotas, LY2TA; Slovenia: Robert Kasca, S53R, and Robert Bajuk,
S57AW. Jointly organized by Contest Club Finland <http://www.qsl.net/ccf/>
and the Finnish Amateur Radio League--SRAL <http://www.sral.fi>, WRTC 2002
will take place in Finland from July 9-16, 2002. The on-air competition will
be held in conjunction with the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) HF
World Championship. During WRTC 2002, 50 two-person teams representing top
operators from more than 30 countries will vie for gold, silver and bronze
medals in both on and off-the-air events. For more information, visit the
WRTC 2002 Web site, <http://www.wrtc2002.org/>.

=========================================================== 
The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American
Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St,
Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259;
http://www.arrl.org. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President

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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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