*************** 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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, email@example.com. * 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 <firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.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 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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