ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 43
October 26, 2001
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +ARRL tells FCC to just say "no" to commercial use of 2390-2400 MHz
* +FCC still working out CORES amateur implementation
* +JOTA in space a big hit on Earth
* +SATERN wraps up New York City relief support operation
* +Culbertson having fun during ham radio school chats
* +FCC invites comments on Kenwood petition
* +Surplus radios deemed safe from bill's provision
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF: 
     This weekend on the radio
     Registration opens for Level II Emergency Communications on-line course
    +Dayton Hamvention picks emergency communications theme
     Amateurs assist with American's United Flag Run
     ARRL honors its own for long service
     Bicycle Mobile Hams of America founder Hartley Alley, NA0A, SK
     James B. "Jim" Ricks, W9TO, SK
     John Abbott, K6YB, SK

+Available on ARRL Audio News

===========================================================
Editor's note: Due to a scheduled vacation, editions of The ARRL Letter and
ARRL Audio News for Friday, November 2, will be distributed early, on
Wednesday, October 31. There will be no editions of The ARRL Letter and ARRL
Audio News for Friday, November 9. Breaking news will be posted on the ARRL
Web site <http://www.arrl.org/>, as an ARRL Bulletin or as a Special
Bulletin to Letter subscribers. The ARRL Letter and ARRL Audio News will
return Friday, November 16.--Rick Lindquist, N1RL

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

==>ARRL TO FCC: NO COMMERCIAL USERS AT 2390-2400 MHz!

The ARRL this week urged the FCC "in the strongest possible terms" to make
no commercial allocations in the Amateur Service 2390 to 2400 MHz primary
allocation. The League tentatively suggested, however, that hams might be
willing to share the band with compatible government services that are
displaced to make room for advanced wireless systems.

The ARRL told the FCC that advanced wireless services "are fundamentally
incompatible with continued amateur access to the band."

The federal government, on the other hand, "has historically been a
compatible sharing partner," the League said, adding that government uses
would offer "the least disruptive opportunities for sharing" in the band.
The ARRL made clear that such sharing should happen only "if it is
absolutely necessary to re-accommodate some displaced users" and would be
"subject to compatibility studies."

The ARRL commented this week in four separate proceedings dealing with
allocations for advanced and third-generation wireless systems, the mobile
satellite service and the Unlicensed Personal Communications Service
(U-PCS). The ARRL focused its remarks on ET Docket 00-258, which included
2390-2400 MHz as a candidate band for advanced wireless services.

Commenting on the WINForum Petition for Rule Making (RM-9498) that seeks to
modify technical rules for Part 15 U-PCS operation at 2390 to 2400 MHz, the
ARRL reiterated its position of two years ago. The ARRL said it still
opposed a power increase for asynchronous U-PCS devices in the band and said
there can be no change in maximum power spectral density. The ARRL called
those two provisions "critical to the compatible sharing plan that resulted
in ARRL support of the U-PCS authorization" in the band.

The ARRL also asked the FCC to retain the non-government primary Amateur
Service allocation at 2390-2400 MHz. The ARRL also noted that amateur
allocations in the vicinity of 2 GHz "have been steadily eroded" through
encroachment by other services.

==>FCC CLARIFIES DETAILS OF CORES AMATEUR IMPLEMENTATION

The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has clarified several issues
regarding Amateur Service implementation of the Commission Registration
System--or CORES. Starting December 3, everyone doing business with the
FCC--including amateur licensees--must obtain and use a 10-digit FCC
Registration Number (FRN) when filing. Many amateurs will not need to take
any action to comply with the new requirement, which further expands the
number of FCC abbreviations, numbers and systems hams need to be aware of.

Amateur licensees now registered in the Universal Licensing System (ULS)
already have been cross-registered in CORES and issued an FRN by mail. The
FCC said it planned another cross-registration by November 28. Amateurs can
check to see if they have an FRN via a ULS license search. Many Internet
call sign servers, including ARRL's, also provide this information.

Once CORES becomes mandatory, the FCC will "auto-register" all amateurs who
seek to register in ULS and will issue them an FRN. Amateurs then should use
the FRN in place of a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN--typically an
individual's Social Security Number) when filing applications with the FCC.
New or upgrade license applicants not previously registered in ULS will be
registered automatically in both CORES and ULS when they provide a TIN on a
license application filed through a Volunteer Examiner Coordinator.

Both ULS and CORES will contain a licensee's FRN, but updating information
in one system will not update the other. For amateurs, CORES registration
will replace ULS "TIN/Call Sign" registration. Once CORES becomes mandatory,
those registering in ULS will be redirected to CORES registration. The ULS
will remain the Amateur Service licensing database within WTB, however, and
only ULS will associate an individual with a particular call sign and FRN. 

Going away December 3 will be the so-called Assigned Taxpayer Identification
Number, or ATIN, which the FCC has been issuing to applicants ineligible to
obtain a Social Security Number, such as foreign applicants and club station
licensees. CORES will offer exemptions to amateur clubs and to foreign
entities not holding a TIN/SSN. The FCC is encouraging club station
applicants to first register in CORES and then use their FRN when filing via
a Club Station Call Sign Administrator. Club station applicants also may use
a trustee's TIN/SSN or a tax-exempt club's IRS-assigned EIN.

The WTB says that starting December 3, "all passwords will be maintained in
the CORES database." Amateurs using paper FCC Form 160 to register in CORES
will be mailed a CORES password for on-line access.

The FCC continues to work out the details of how amateurs, CORES and ULS
will coexist. Amateur Service testing with CORES is planned for November.
For more information about CORES, visit the FCC Web site
<http://www.fcc.gov/> and click on the "Commission Registration System"
link.

==>ISS CREW CHIEF ADDS SOME SPICE TO JOTA

Although he's been licensed a relatively short time, International Space
Station crew commander Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ, sounded like a contesting
pro last weekend during Scouting's Jamboree On The Air. A former Boy Scout
himself, Culbertson--operating NA1SS--worked a string of JOTA participants
in the US and abroad October 20-21. Culbertson even brought along his Scout
T-shirt.

Among the happy customers was Al Lark, KD4SFF ("Scouting for Fun"), who
reports that at least three Scouts spoke with NA1SS over the weekend from
Lark's N4ISS backyard JOTA setup in Greenville, South Carolina. "Frank was
also excited to speak to a Scout from his home state of South Carolina."
Lark said the Scouts now are very interested in obtaining their ham tickets.

On a Sunday pass over the US, Culbertson also logged contacts with
K2BSA--the official Boy Scouts of America station near Dallas, as well as
with other stations in the Southwest, Midwest and Northeast.

In Louisiana, Cedric Walker, K5CFW, said he had 16 boys from Troop 48 in New
Orleans on hand to participate in JOTA. Walker said the QSO with Culbertson
was crystal clear and was "an unforgettable thrill for every one of them."

In Oklahoma, Boy Scouts from Troop 850 in Guthrie and Troop 116 in Oklahoma
City managed a quick contact with Culbertson on a Saturday pass. "At 17,000
miles per hour, he didn't have much time to chat," explained Assistant
Scoutmaster John Dronberger, N5YZA.

From Australia, Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI, in Paringa said a young woman in his
Scouting group of about 60 also snagged a contact with Culbertson. "Frank
did a fine job over Australia on the scheduled pass," Hutchison said.

While over Europe, Culbertson whipped through a series of contacts--some
with JOTA operations and others with non-participating stations. Recently,
Culbertson has been more active in making casual FM voice contacts, and he's
also been averaging two ARISS school contacts a week.

==>SATERN ENDS WORLD TRADE CENTER SUPPORT OPERATION

The Salvation Army Team Emergency Response Network (SATERN) Amateur Radio
volunteer support effort in the wake of the World Trade Center attack in New
York City has ended. SATERN Amateur Radio Liaison Officer Jeff Schneller,
N2HPO, says the operation wrapped up October 18. The Salvation Army now is
relying on Nextel and cellular telephone service.

During its five weeks of service, several dozen Amateur Radio operators from
all over the US assisted the Salvation Army's relief efforts. REACT
International provided volunteers in the early weeks of the activation. Ham
radio primarily was used to provide logistical support for the
organization's canteens and feeding centers. 

Among the more recent volunteers were Steve and Kim Merrill, KB1DIG and
KB1GTR, from New Hampshire. They did a tour of duty October 7-18. Working
anywhere from 10 to 14 hours a day, the couple called their time in New York
City "a very humbling experience."

"There was so much devastation," the Merrills recounted. "Nothing read in
the newspapers or seen on TV could have prepared us for the actual sight of
all of this."

The Merrills said they came away from their SATERN volunteer experience
feeling as though they had "lived a lifetime in a few short days," but with
"friendships that will last a lifetime" and "stories that have no end."

"Salvation Army SATERN is to be commended," they said. "They were more than
nice to us. We felt like a part of a family!"

Schneller has urged all Amateur Radio operators to prepare for the future by
first getting acquainted with and joining their local ARES or SATERN teams,
then by taking the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course
<http://www.arrl.org/cce>.

==>CULBERTSON ENJOYING ISS STAY, SCHOOL HAM CONTACTS

International Space Station crew chief Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ, has been
enjoying his stay in space and the opportunity to talk via ham radio with
earthbound students. Culbertson recently chatted with youngsters--including
two of his own--at schools in Indiana and Texas. The contacts were arranged
by the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program.

On October 16, Culbertson enjoyed a direct contact with sixth through
twelfth-grade students who attend schools in Greenfield, Indiana. During the
10-minute contact, Culbertson covered topics that are, by now, familiar
territory to him. A typical question involved the effects of zero gravity.

"Zero G affects almost everything we do up here," he explained. "If you put
a tool down, it doesn't stay there unless it's got Velcro on it." He said
the ISS residents must be careful to keep themselves anchored lest they
become marooned in the middle of a module.

Culbertson related that he misses his family most of all, but ISS crew
members no longer rely exclusively on Amateur Radio to contact with family
and friends. A special Internet telephone permits both voice and e-mail
communication, and the crew members have been making a lot of use of the new
system.

He also told the youngsters that the number-one tool aboard the ISS is the
laptop computer, which serves critical control, communication and planning
functions. After that, Culbertson quipped, it's a tossup between a 7/16-inch
wrench and a screwdriver. "We try to stay away from the hammers," he added.
"The ground gets nervous when we drag them out."

Culbertson exhorted the youngsters to study hard. "Education will open the
doors for everything you want to do in the future," He said. "Going to
school is the most important thing you'll ever do in your life.

On October 18, Culbertson spoke with youngsters at Armand Bayou Elementary
School in Houston, Texas, where his son and daughter attend. The Texas
contact was successfully completed via Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI, in Australia.
A WorldCom teleconferencing linkup provided two-way audio between Texas and
Australia.

Youngsters at the Texas school wanted to know how soon it would be until
"regular people" and not just trained astronauts and cosmonauts could live
aboard the ISS.

"I'll be a long time before 'regular people'--people who are not
astronauts--can live on this space station," Culbertson replied, "but I
think we'll have a station someday where people can live." He predicted that
day could be two or three decades in the future, however.

In the course of answering another question, Culbertson also acknowledged
his son, Frank, and his daughter, Annie, who were on hand at the school. 

Culbertson said the ISS was "about the size of an average three-bedroom
house" and that it took him about a half-minute to drift from one end to the
other.

AMSAT News Service reports that European Space Agency French astronaut
Claudie Haignere has become the first European woman to visit the
International Space Station. She and two Russian cosmonauts arrived Sunday
aboard the ISS from Baikonur aboard a Russian Soyuz vehicle. According to
ANS, ESA has informed the ARISS team that Haignere may use Amateur Radio
during her free time in orbit. The Soyuz crew departs for Earth October 30.

==>FCC PUTS KENWOOD "SKY COMMAND" PETITION ON PUBLIC NOTICE

The FCC has put on public notice a rulemaking petition from Kenwood
Communications Corporation requesting that the FCC relax restrictions on
Amateur Radio auxiliary station operation. The FCC assigned the rulemaking
number RM-10313 to the petition and invited public comment. The petition
marks Kenwood's latest attempt to legalize its "Sky Command" remote station
control system.

Kenwood seeks a change in Part 97 rules that would expand permission to
operate an auxiliary station on all 2-meter frequencies above 144.5 MHz,
except on 145.8 to 146.0 MHz. While not mentioning Sky Command by name,
Kenwood said the proposed rule change "would allow the development and use
by amateurs of new technology devices and increase the utility of the
limited amateur allocations." Current FCC rules limit auxiliary operation to
certain frequencies above 222.15 MHz.

In July 2000, the FCC declared that use of the Sky Command did not comply
with Amateur Service rules--specifically Section 97.201(b)--and declined to
grant a waiver make it legal. The ARRL commented in opposition to Kenwood's
earlier efforts to have the system declared to be in compliance, and it
refused to permit Sky Command advertisements in QST
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2000/07/28/3/>. 

Sky Command lets a user control a fixed HF station via a pair of dual-band
transceivers. It operates in full duplex, using frequencies on 70-cm and 2
meters.

In its latest Petition for Rule Making filed May 1, Kenwood asserted that
auxiliary operation is "poorly defined" in the FCC rules and "significantly
overregulated." Kenwood argued that present limitations on auxiliary
operation no longer are appropriate in today's amateur environment and
should be withdrawn.

Amateurs may view and comment on the Kenwood proposal via the FCC's
Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS),
<http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html>.

==>SENATE BILL'S PROVISION NOT VIEWED AS THREAT TO SURPLUS RADIO FANS

Amateurs who also collect military surplus radio "boat anchors" apparently
have nothing to fear about a provision contained in the Senate version of
the huge Department of Defense appropriations bill, S.1438. The provision,
Sec 1062, would create governmental authority to "ensure demilitarization of
significant military equipment." 

That provision, now a topic for discussion on news groups and Web sites,
would require anybody possessing "significant military equipment formerly
owned by the Department of Defense" either to have it "demilitarized" or to
return it to the government for demilitarization. The provision also has the
National Rifle Association and a large number of firearms enthusiasts up in
arms and wondering whether it would affect their hobby if it's included in
the final legislation.

ARRL Legislative and Public Affairs Manager Steve Mansfield, N1MZA, looked
into the issue and determined that those with surplus radio gear have
nothing to worry about. "While we cannot speak reliably for the issue of
firearms, we did contact one of the top lawyers for the Senate Committee on
Armed Forces, where the provision was added to the bill," Mansfield said,
"and he assured us that it would not be an issue unless a ham somehow had
custody of some kind of top-secret and highly sophisticated military radio
gear."

Mansfield said his Capitol Hill contact explained that the definition of
"significant" derives specifically from the Arms Export Control Act (22 USC
2778), and that, in turn, was intended to provide "control of arms exports
and imports" and not the typical ARC-5 transmitter or BC-348 receiver.

"In other words, it does not refer to radios, but rather to large shipments
of large military ordinance like missile guidance systems and rocket
launchers," Mansfield said.

The text of federal legislation may be found on the Thomas Legislative
Information Web site, <http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.html>. Mansfield
said the ARRL will continue to monitor the issue.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Heliophile Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar flux and
sunspot numbers rose this week. Unfortunately for HF operators, so did
geomagnetic activity. Average sunspot numbers rose nearly 47 points, and
average daily solar flux was up nearly 43 points.

Geomagnetic conditions were quite active on Sunday and Monday and reached a
peak on Monday with a planetary A index of 66.The severe geomagnetic storm
produced dramatic aurora displays. Conditions were worse toward the poles.

What is bad for HF can make VHF very interesting. JA7SSB reported that 6
meters was quite active in Japan, with SSB monitored from Italy, Norfolk
Island, Australia, Hawaii, French Polynesia and elsewhere. All this
excitement was from solar activity on Friday when flares erupted above
sunspot 9661.

Even though conditions quieted down by Thursday, this does not look like a
quiet weekend for the CQ World Wide DX SSB Contest. A flare around 1500 UTC
on Thursday caused a strong radio blackout across the Americas and Europe.
This expanding cloud of energy will probably strike Earth this weekend,
ruining northern propagation paths. When this occurs, some operators notice
an enhanced north-south propagation path, but what really happens is that
the north-south path is often the only remaining path for HF propagation.

The latest projections late Thursday predict a declining solar flux of 230,
225, 220 and 215 for Friday through Monday, and an A index of 10, 20, 30 and
15 for those same days.

Sunspot numbers for October 18 through 24 were 182, 219, 230, 239, 207, 231
and 230, with a mean of 219.7. The 10.7-cm flux was 228.7, 247.6, 244.7,
224.1, 232.7, 226.4 and 238.7, with a mean of 234.7. Estimated planetary A
indices were 4, 8, 10, 40, 66, 15 and 3 with a mean of 20.9.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: 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. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL November Sweepstakes (CW),
the ARCI Running of the QRP Bulls and the North American Collegiate ARC
Championship (both in conjunction with SS), the IPA Contest (CW/SSB), the
Ukrainian DX Contest, and the High-Speed Club CW Contest are the weekend of
November 3-4. See the ARRL Contest Branch page,
http://www.arrl.org/contests/ and
http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/weeklycont.html for more info.

* Registration opens for Level II Emergency Communications on-line course:
Registration for the ARRL Level II--Intermediate Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Course (EC-002) opens Monday, October 29, at 4 PM Eastern
Time. On-line classes will begin the following week. For those with previous
experience and for anyone who took the Level I course (EC-001), this course
will enhance your skill and knowledge by providing a more in-depth look at
emergency communications. To enroll, visit the ARRL Certification and
Continuing Education Course Registration Page
<https://www.arrl.org/forms/cce> after 4 PM Monday. Welcome letters go out
later in the week after each student has been assigned a mentor. Access
codes will be sent the following week. To learn more, visit the
Certification and Continuing Education Program Home Page
<http://www.arrl.org/cce> or contact Certification and Continuing Education
Coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG, cce@arrl.org.

* Dayton Hamvention picks emergency communications theme: The theme of the
2002 Dayton Hamvention will be emergency communications and preparedness,
the Hamvention Committee announced this week in a letter to vendors and
exhibitors. Hamvention said it's expecting "record attendance for 2002" at
its 51st show, May 17-19, 2002. The annual event draws upwards of 30,000.
"Hamvention expresses deep concern for the tragic events that occurred
September 11, 2001, and the world events since," the letter said. "In order
to show our support for Amateur Radio, we are going to emphasize emergency
communications and preparedness as our theme for Hamvention 2002." The
committee said it anticipates new Amateur Radio-related exhibitors as a
result and would "limit the number of computer exhibitors at the show to
only those who are related to Amateur Radio."

* Amateurs assist with American's United Flag Run: "American's United Flag
Run"--a grass roots effort sponsored by American Airlines and United Air
Lines employees--is seeking help from the Amateur Radio community to provide
short-range communications as the run progresses across the US along a
southerly route. "This event is to honor the crew and passengers killed on
September 11, to show the American Spirit and to raise money for relief
funds already established," said American Airlines Captain Bill Lokes.
Runners started in Boston on October 11 and are scheduled to arrive in Los
Angeles November 11. Recently, hams in Georgia contributed their services to
the cause as the flag run passed through that state. Georgia ARES--under the
leadership of Section Emergency Coordinator Lowry Rouse, KM4Z--provided
communications for the organizers from the South Carolina to the Alabama
borders. The flag run Web site <http://www.flagrun.org> has a map,
anticipated itinerary and more details about the event. Amateur Radio clubs
or groups are invited to contact Bill Lokes, 610-767-9246; blokes@fast.net,
or Gene Atwell at 215-348-1594; atwell@mindspring.com.

* ARRL honors its own for long service: Each year, ARRL takes time to
recognize employees who have attained at least 10 years' service as
Headquarters staff members. Eight people were honored this year. Executive
Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, took top honors, marking his 30th year of
service to the League. Not far behind were three 25-year honorees: QST
Managing Editor Joel Kleinman, N1BKE, ARRL Building Manager Greg Kwasowski,
KB1GJF, and Assistant Mailroom Supervisor Berta Hould. Recognized for 10
years' service were QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, Legislative and Public
Affairs Manager Steve Mansfield, N1MZA, Lab Test Engineer Mike Tracy, KC1SX,
and Marketing Coordinator Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R.

* Bicycle Mobile Hams of America founder Hartley Alley, NA0A, SK: ARRL
recently learned that Bicycle Mobile Hams of America (BMHA) founder Hartley
Alley, NA0A, of Boulder, Colorado, died on May 29, 2001. He was 82. An avid
cyclist since 1965, Alley was introduced to ham radio in the early 1980s by
a friend who enjoyed getting on the air while riding. BMHA got its start in
1989 after Alley placed a "Stray" in QST seeking other ham radio/bicycle
enthusiasts. According to information on the group's Web site,
<http://www.LaFetra.com/BMHA/>, BMHA now has more than 500 members in the
US. One of Alley's most unique accomplishments was his 1987 cross-country
bike ride to attend his 50th high school reunion in Massachusetts. Alley
worked variously as a professional musician, magazine photographer, and
university professor and also ran a mail-order business for cycling gear. He
co-authored three travel picture books. Survivors include his wife Jean,
N0EOX, and a son, Hartley D. Alley.

* James B. "Jim" Ricks, W9TO, SK: Jim Ricks, W9TO, of Lake Forest,
Washington, died October 20. He was 86. Well-known in high-speed CW as well
as in engineering circles, Ricks, designed the popular Morse electronic
keyer that Hallicrafters marketed as the HA-1 T.O. Keyer. He was also
founder of the high-speed CW group "CFO"--Chicken Fat Operators
<http://home.aurora.edu/~bdillon/cfo/cfo.html>--(recognized on the air by
the dit-dit-dit . . . di-dahhhhh signature, which is meant to sound like a
chicken clucking). Ricks was considered CFO Number 1 and dubbed "Big Bird."
He is survived by his daughter, Carter Ricks Hawley, and a son James
Benjamin Ricks III.

* John Abbott, K6YB, SK: John Abbott, K6YB, of Newhall, California, died
October 5. He was 68. An ARRL Charter Life Member, Abbott is perhaps
best-known for his book Ride the Airwaves with ALFA and ZULU--a Technician
license study guide aimed at youngsters. He also produced many Amateur Radio
training aids that featured games and cartoons, written to simplify the
experience of studying for a license. Honoring her husband's wishes,
Abbott's wife, Teri, has donated the remaining stock and manuscript of his
book to ARRL.

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