*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 20, No. 47 November 30, 2001 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Space walk set to resolve docking glitch * +Comments due February 12 in "band threat" proceeding * +Unfavorable sun angle will mean AO-40 transponder shutdown * +Atlantic spanned on 73 kHz! * +MARS lets US troops "phone home" * +NWS/ARRL special event is December 1 * +"The Big Project" seeks logo * +Leonard "Professional Media Award" deadline looms * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio Registration opens for ARRL Level III Emergency Comms course Amateur Radio Trader calls it quits ARRL approves Afghanistan operation for DXCC FCC says ULS now compatible with Internet Explorer and Netscape Ham-sailor departs Nassau John Parrott, W4FRU, SK John "Mac" McKinney, W0AP, SK Sixth District QSL Bureau changing manager, address Southeastern Division Convention is December 1-2 Starshine 3 is now SO 43 DXCC credit granted for XU7AAR operation Badger State Smoke Signals delayed +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>SPACE WALK SET TO FIX ISS DOCKING PROBLEM Speaking via Amateur Radio November 30, International Space Station crew chief Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ, told youngsters in South Carolina that a space walk scheduled for December 3 will attempt to fix a Progress supply rocket docking problem. The faulty docking was holding up the launch of the fourth ISS crew. Culbertson said the Russian Progress rocket, which arrived November 28, was not completely attached to the ISS. "It's firmly attached with some latches, but it doesn't have the right hooks engaged to make it really, really strong," Culbertson explained to youngsters gathered at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia. "So, on Monday, two of the crew members are going to do a space walk to try to find out what is blocking the hooks and see if we can get that cleared and complete the latching." Culbertson made the comments during a scheduled Amateur Radio on the International Space Station--or ARISS--school contact. NASA later confirmed the spacewalk schedule. Russian Progress supply rockets are programmed to dock automatically with the ISS. NASA says the two Russian crew members aboard the ISS--Mikhail Tyurin and Vladimir Dezhurov--will carry out Monday's space walk at 1330 UTC. NASA has re-set the shuttle Endeavour launch for December 4, 2245 UTC, from Kennedy Space Center. The Expedition 4 crew of Commander Yuri Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Dan Bursch, KC5PNU, and Carl Walz, KC5TIE, was to head into space November 29. They are scheduled to replace the current crew of Culbertson, Tyurin and Dezhurov, who have been aboard the ISS since August. In addition to the replacement crew, new Amateur Radio antennas are stowed aboard the shuttle for transport to the ISS. Once they arrive , the new antennas will be installed around the perimeter of the Service Module, allowing future operation from HF to microwave frequencies. For more information about the ISS, visit NASA's Human Space Flight Web site, <http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/index.html>. ==>COMMENTS DUE FEBRUARY 12 IN "BAND THREAT" PROCEEDING Comments are due February 12, 2002, in an FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order, ET Docket 01-278, that ARRL has targeted as a potential band threat. Reply comments are due on March 12, 2002. The proceeding deals in part with a potential threat to the popular 70-cm band from Part 15 RF identification devices proposed for deployment between 425 and 435 MHz. SAVI Technology, which markets radiolocation and wireless inventory control products, told the FCC it needs the rules changes to satisfy customer demand for increased RFID system capabilities. The FCC has proposed to allow operation of RFIDs as unlicensed Part 15 devices in the 425-435 MHz band with transmissions of up to two minutes at field strengths now only permitted for extremely short-duration, intermittent control signals. The ARRL has argued that under the Communications Act of 1934 the FCC lacks authority to permit unlicensed devices with substantial interference potential and that such devices must be licensed. The League also is looking into the interference potential posed to 20 meters by a proposal to increase the maximum emission levels permitted by Part 15 devices operating at 13.56 MHz, as well as the maximum level of out-of-band emissions. Commenters are advised to read paragraphs 20-27 of the NPRM&O, available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2001/10/19/1/290a11.html>. Interested parties may file comments using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System, <http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html> (search using "01-278"). Commenters should include full name, US Postal Service mailing address, and applicable docket or rule making number--in this case ET 01-278. It's also possible to e-mail comments via the ECFS. To obtain e-mail filing instructions, commenters should send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the words "get form <your e-mail address>" in the body of the message. A sample form and directions will be sent by reply e-mail. ==>AO-40 TRANSPONDER HIATUS LOOMS Necessary adjustments to AO-40's attitude to compensate for unfavorable sun angles over the next several months will silence the satellite's transponders for a while. Recent reports indicate that AO-40 continues to operate well, providing coverage between many parts of the world. Command station team member Stacey Mills, W4SM, says, however, that he's puzzled and disappointed by the relatively low numbers of users on AO-40 during the last month or so. "I'm not sure why," he told ARRL this week. "This is prime time, and we won't have such good conditions much longer until the three-month 'bad angle' cycle passes." A scheduled attitude shift to compensate for the unfavorable sun angle will leave AO-40's antennas pointing away from Earth until next spring and lead to a transponder shutdown period that could start as soon as late December. The satellite is currently in a long period during which Earth eclipses the sun near perigee--its point closest to Earth. AO-40 relies on solar panels for its power. Mills said that testing and development continue on AO-40's three-axis control system, but three-axis control would not be ready in time to avoid the unfavorable solar-angle season. AO-40 will remain in spin mode for at least a few more months, he said. Mills estimated that ground controllers may need to start shifting the satellite's attitude starting sometime just before Christmas. He didn't expect a favorable sun angle that would again allow pointing AO-40 directly toward Earth (ALON/ALAT 0/0) until mid-April. "It's possible that we can leave the transponders on during the first part of the move and turn them back on slightly before April 15 as we start back toward 0/0," Mills said, "but you can figure that things will be sub-optimal from about Christmas until April 15." Mills said earlier this month that ground controllers now assume that AO-40's S1 transmitter is beyond recovery. The S1 transmitter quit abruptly in August, but before going down, it had produced excellent results. Ground controllers also have done additional testing on the 2-meter (V band) transmitter, which, Mills conceded, also appears lost. The next-generation AO-40 satellite marked its first year in orbit during November. The former "Phase 3D" satellite was launched November 16, 2000, aboard an Ariane 5 launcher from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Transponder operation began May 5, 2001. AO-40 is the largest Amateur Radio satellite ever put into space. The current AO-40 transponder operating schedule and more information are available via the AMSAT Web site <http://www.amsat.org>. ==>G3AQC'S SIGNAL SPANS THE ATLANTIC ON 73 KHZ! Low-frequency experimenter Lawrence "Laurie" Mayhead, G3AQC, has added another LF accomplishment to his list--transatlantic reception of his 73 kHz signal. Word of the LF exploit comes just weeks away from the centennial of the historic transatlantic transmission of December 12, 1901, when Guglielmo Marconi, in Newfoundland, received the letter "S" transmitted from England. Mayhead reports that on the night of November 21-22, his signal on 72.401 kHz was received in the US. "I managed to transmit a full call sign to John Andrews, W1TAG, in Holden, Massachusetts," he said. Mayhead was using dual-frequency CW--or DFCW--featuring elements that are two minutes long, and Andrews detected his signal using ARGO DSP software. Andrews, who lives in Central Massachusetts, says he first tried to receive G3AQC's 73-kHz transmissions last spring, but got only partial copy. Mayhead resumed beaconing again in late August, and Andrews devoted "quite a number of evenings" to trying to hear him. His patience was rewarded November 20 (UTC), when he reports G3AQC's signal "magically appeared from the noise" and, although very weak, showed up on his computer display. Initially, Mayhead was just sending his call sign suffix--"AQC"--over and over, but the next night he began repeating his full call sign. "Luck being with us, conditions were absolutely amazing," Andrews said, adding that G3AQC's signal was much clearer than the previous evening. "Figured by grid squares, the distance between G3AQC and W1TAG was 3275 miles (5270 km)," he said. G3AQC and two other UK stations have transmitted since the evening of November 21-22, but no further reception has occurred. Andrews said he lives in a residential area that's not known for being especially "quiet," so he's puzzled that he's apparently the only US station to hear the 73-kHz transmissions from the UK. Last February, Mayhead and Larry Kayser, VA3LK, in Ontario, completed a transatlantic Amateur Radio contact on 136 kHz. The UK's 73-kHz band is a 2.8 kHz sliver of spectrum, from 71.6 to 74.4 kHz. The ARRL has petitioned the FCC to create two low-frequency Amateur Radio allocations--at 136 kHz and at 160-190 kHz. FCC action is anticipated in 2002. ==>MARS AGAIN LETTING US TROOPS "PHONE HOME" US Army Special Forces on duty in Islamabad, Pakistan, and in other undisclosed locations have begun keeping in touch with home via Military Affiliate Radio System--MARS--phone patches. Army Military Affiliate Radio System Headquarters here said that MARS members in all three services--Army, Air Force and Navy-Marine Corps--are gearing up for greatly expanded phone-patch operations as the holidays approach. MARS phone patches make it possible for deployed troops to call their families in the US from areas where commercial connections are not available. Specially trained Amateur Radio operators enrolled in MARS provide the connection between military shortwave stations deployed overseas and the telephone system back home. During the Vietnam War, phone patches were a major source of comfort to families and service members alike. MARS responded again during Operation Desert Storm. Phone-patching has taken on new life over the last several years as Special Forces members were deployed on peacekeeping missions to Kosovo, Macedonia, West Africa and other areas that lack regular or affordable phone service. "Most of our contacts lasted less than 15 minutes and were to the wives," said a communications sergeant recently returned from a three-month Special Forces mission in Africa. "All the guys wanted to make sure everything was running smoothly in their absence." Successfully completing a patch gives a big lift to the MARS amateur in the middle, too. "You never know who you will meet on these [high] frequencies," said one East Coast MARS member, who called it "a privilege" to serve as an Army MARS phone-patch operator. These days, calls from overseas might originate from battery-powered backpack transceivers with a power of 20 W or less, but hams on the US end of the circuit using ordinary Amateur Radio gear and antennas are usually able to make a workable connection. Even the more sophisticated military base stations can experience problems, however. One overseas communicator reported that turning on a linear amplifier tripped the circuit breakers on the local power system. Amateurs interested in joining MARS should contact their state MARS director or visit the Army MARS <http://www.asc.army.mil/mars/>, the Air Force MARS <http://public.afca.scott.af.mil/public/mars1.htm> or the Navy-Marine Corps MARS <http://navymars.org/> Web site.--thanks to Army MARS and Bill Sexton, N1IN ==>NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE/ARRL SPECIAL EVENT IS DECEMBER 1 The National Weather Service and ARRL will co-sponsor an on-the-air event to recognize the contribution of SKYWARN volunteers. The NWS/ARRL SKYWARN Recognition Day will be Saturday, December 1, from 0000 to 2400 UTC. This will mark the third year that ARRL and the NWS have co-sponsored an Amateur Radio special event. Some 80 National Weather Service offices are signed up to participate. During the special event, hams or ham groups will operate from NWS offices and contact other amateurs or amateur groups across the country. Last year more than 23,000 contacts were made from NWS offices. The object is for amateur stations to exchange QSO information with as many National Weather Service special event stations as possible. Stations will transmit call sign, signal report, location and a one or two word description of the weather at their location--such as sunny, partly cloudy, windy. The NWS will offer participation certificates and endorsement stickers to amateurs who request them. Requests go to National Weather Service, 920 Armory Rd, Goodland, KS 67735. This year's endorsements includes the Patriot--a special endorsement to honor Amateur Radio volunteers who assisted in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Full information, operating instructions, a list of participating NWS stations, and certificate and QSL information is available on the NWS/ARRL SKYWARN Recognition Day Web page <http://hamradio.noaa.gov/> or see November QST, page 76. ==>"THE BIG PROJECT" SEEKS LOGO Now that the Amateur Radio Education Project-- "The Big Project"--is under way, it's looking for a logo. "The theme is using Amateur Radio in education," says The Big Project Coordinator Jerry Hill, KH6HU. "This is your opportunity to show off your creativity." The deadline for entries is December 28, 2001! All entries should incorporate the ARRL diamond, portray the proper image in both black-and-white and in color, and be the same size as other standard patches, such as ARES--typically 3.5 inches in diameter. Entries should be submitted electronically at a resolution suitable for QST publication (at least 300 dpi when the image is sized at 4x5 inches or larger; see The ARRL Author's Guide , <http://www.arrl.org/qst/aguide/>). The creator of the logo selected as a permanent symbol for The Big Project will receive a handsome wall certificate, and the winner's name will be announced in QST, in The ARRL Letter and on the ARRL Web site. Remember, the deadline for entries is December 28. E-mail entries to The Big Project Coordinator Jerry Hill, KH6HU <email@example.com>. (Resubmit your entry if it's not acknowledged within two business days.) ==>PROFESSIONAL MEDIA AWARD ENTRY DEADLINE NEARS December 14 is the deadline to submit nominations for the 2001 Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award. The annual ARRL award goes to a professional journalist or group of journalists to recognize outstanding coverage of Amateur Radio in TV, radio, print or multimedia. Nominations will be reviewed by members of ARRL's Public Relations Committee, and the committee's recommendation will be presented to the ARRL Board of Directors at its January meeting. The winner will receive an engraved plaque and a check for $500. An avid Amateur Radio enthusiast, Leonard--a former President of CBS News--is remembered for his 1958 Sports Illustrated article "The Battle of the Hams," which focused on the "sport" of DXing. Leonard died in 1994 and was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 1996. For more information about the Professional Media Award or to receive an official entry form, contact Media Relations Manager Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, 860-594-0328; firstname.lastname@example.org. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar maven Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average daily sunspot numbers were down by nearly 38 points this week over last, but average daily solar flux remained about the same. Flux and sunspot values reached a minimum on Sunday and are now increasing. Projected solar flux for Friday through Monday is 210, 215, 220 and 220. A large sunspot (9715) with a complex magnetic field is moving to the center of the visible solar disk, with a straight shot at Earth. This may cause some disruptions this weekend, although probably nothing like the severe geomagnetic storm that disrupted HF propagation last weekend. The predicted planetary A index for Friday through Monday is 5, 15, 30 and 15. 30 is quite disturbed, so Sunday may have high absorption of HF signals. Last weekend Earth was blasted by energy from two coronal mass ejections. The mid-latitude A index on Saturday was 76, and the planetary A index was 108, indicating a severe geomagnetic storm. This caused dramatic aurora displays visible as far south as Arkansas and Texas in the United States. A dramatic gallery of aurora images is available on the SpaceWeather.com Web site <http://spaceweather.com/aurora/gallery_24nov01.html>. Sunspot numbers for November 15 through 21 were 219, 200, 157, 181, 168, 160 and 132, with a mean of 173.9. The 10.7-cm flux was 207, 202.1, 198.5, 188.2, 191.3, 185 and 184.2, with a mean of 193.8. Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 8, 11, 7, 16, 8 and 6, with a mean of 9. Sunspot numbers for November 22 through 28 were 143, 144, 124, 102, 122, 139 and 180 with a mean of 136.3. The 10.7-cm flux was 282.5, 177.3, 173, 170, 174.8, 190.4 and 198.5, with a mean of 195.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 8, 12, 108, 8, 5, 2 and 3 with a mean of 20.9. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The TARA RTTY Sprint, the TOPS Activity 80-Meter Contest, the Tennessee QSO Party and the QRP ARCI Holiday Spirits Sprint are the weekend of December 1-2. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL 160-Meter Contest, Six Club First Winter Contest, the PSK31 Death Match are the weekend of December 8-9. The ARRL 10-Meter Contest is the weekend of December 15-16. 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 ARRL Level III Emergency Comms course: Registration for the ARRL Level III--Advanced Amateur Radio Emergency Communications on-line course (EC-003) opens Monday, December 3, at 4 PM Eastern Time. On-line classes will begin the week of December 10. For those who took the prerequisite Level I (EC-001) and Level II (EC-002) courses, the Level III course is designed to prepare volunteers for activity in upper level positions. To enroll, visit the ARRL Course Registration page <https://www.arrl.org/forms/cce> after 4 PM Monday. ARRL Course Welcome letters will be sent later in the week after mentors have been assigned to each student. Access codes will follow, so all students can begin. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Continuing Education Web site <http://www.arrl.org/cce> and the CCE links found there, or contact ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG, email@example.com. * Amateur Radio Trader calls it quits: Amateur Radio Trader magazine is ceasing publication with its second November issue, which went out to subscribers November 20. "This was a difficult but necessary decision, due to the combined effects of the Internet on our print edition (the primary source of our Web content), and the economic climate," said the magazine's editor Barbara Patterson, KF4MVV, in a statement on the Amateur Radio Trader Web site <http://www.amradiotrader.com>. "ART is no longer a viable product for us. We are redirecting the company's resources into other areas." Patterson told ARRL that the Amateur Radio Trader Web site also would be discontinued and that subscribers would be reimbursed for any outstanding issues. She said TAP Publishing Company, which owns the twice-monthly listing of classified ads, had decided to put its energies into other areas. Patterson apologized for any inconvenience and said the second November issue of ART would remain posted on the ART Web site through December 9. * ARRL approves Afghanistan operation for DXCC: The ARRL DXCC Desk reports it has received acceptable documentation for YA5T in Afghanistan and has approved it for DXCC credit. Afghanistan is among the top 10 "most wanted" countries. The license, which authorizes operation on all bands--including 6 meters--was issued by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan government that's still recognized by the United Nations. YA5T will be operated by Peter Casier, ON6TT, as well as by Mats Persson, SM7PKK, Robert Kasca, S53R, and Mark Demeuleneere, ON4WW. All work for the UN World Food Program. YA5T will be on the air as their schedules permit. The DXCC documentation is for contacts made on or after November 20, 2001. No other call signs or operations have been approved. For more information, visit the YA5T Web site managed by Bruce Richards, WD4NGB <http://www.qsl.net/ya5t/>. * FCC says ULS now compatible with Internet Explorer and Netscape: The FCC has announced that its Universal Licensing System (ULS) now can be accessed using either Internet Explorer 5.5-6.0 or Netscape Navigator 4.5, 4.51, 4.61, 4.7 and 4.75. Until now, the ULS has supported only Netscape. The FCC says applicants may now use Internet Explorer to file applications and for all other ULS purposes. For more information, contact ULS <firstname.lastname@example.org>. For questions concerning computer access to ULS, CORES registration and FCC Registration Number, TIN/Call Sign issues, or submitting attachments in ULS, contact the Technical Support Hotline, 202-414-1250, available weekdays 7 AM-10 PM, Saturdays, 8 AM-7 PM and Sundays from noon-6 PM Eastern Time. The Public Notice outlining this change is available on the FCC's Web site <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-01-2729A1.doc>. * Ham-sailor departs Nassau: David Clark, KB6TAM--the oldest person to sail solo around the world--is again under way after a stopover in Nassau, the Bahamas. Clark arrived in Nassau Thanksgiving day on his way to a homecoming celebration in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, December 7. His wife, Lynda, reports that he departed November 27 for Bimini in order to get ahead of Hurricane Olga, now a Category 1 storm. Lynda Clark said her husband was "treated royally" during his Nassau stay. * John Parrott, W4FRU, SK: Veteran DXer and well-known QSL manager John Parrott, W4FRU, of Suffolk, Virginia, died November 28. He was 79. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, he was first licensed in 1937. An ARRL Life member, Parrott was a director of the International DX Association, a member of the Virginia DX Century Club, Quarter Century Wireless Association, The Society of Wireless Pioneers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. "All we say isn't enough for a friend like John," said INDEXA President Murphy Ratterree, W4WMQ. "He was special to many people." He was a retired US Air Force fighter and transport pilot, and his 32-year flying career spanned World War II, the Korean conflict and Vietnam. Survivors include his wife Amy, KN4NZ, and their daughter and two sons. The Funeral was set for December 1 in Suffolk, and burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. Memorial donations are welcome to the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association. * John "Mac" McKinney, W0AP, SK: A well-known member of Nebraska's ham radio community--John "Mac" McKinney, W0AP, of Dannebrog, died November 24. He was 83. A New York native and FCC employee from 1945 until 1975, McKinney last served as chief of the monitoring station in Grand Island. He was an ARRL Life Member, Assistant Midwest Division Director, and manager of the Nebraska CW Net. He also belonged to the Society of Wireless Pioneers, the Morse Telegraph Club, the Old Old Timers Club, and the Quarter Century Wireless Association, and once served as a QCWA board member. Survivors include five daughters. Services were set for November 28 in Dannebrog. * Sixth District QSL Bureau changing manager, address: The ARRL Sixth District QSL Bureau has changed management and has a new address. Taking over effective December 1, 2001, are Arlette and Chuck Marshall, KO6IS and KD6WP, ARRL Sixth District QSL Bureau, PO Box 530, Weed, CA 96094-0530. For more information, visit the ARRL Sixth District QSL Bureau Web site <http://www.kqlz.com/qslbureau6.html>. * Southeastern Division Convention is December 1-2: The ARRL Southeastern Division Convention will be held December 1-2 at the Manatee County Civic Center, Palmetto, Florida, in conjunction with the 26th annual Tampa Bay Hamfest. Featured speaker is ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP. ARRL Lab Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI, will offer five technical presentations. Amateur Radio examinations will be offered. For more information, visit the Tampa Bay Hamfest Web site, <http://www.fgcarc.org> or e-mail email@example.com.--Paul Knupke, N4PK * Starshine 3 is now SO 43: AMSAT-NA Board Chairman Bill Tynan, W3XO, has announced that the recently launched Starshine 3 satellite has met all the requirements for an OSCAR number and has been designated Starshine OSCAR 43 (SO-43). Starshine 3 is a mirror ball with AX.25 9600-baud telemetry on 145.825 MHz. The satellite is visible to the eye and will provide students the opportunity to participate in its primary mission of satellite tracking. More information about the Starshine project can be found on the Starshine Web site <http://www.azinet.com/starshine>.--AMSAT News Service * DXCC credit granted for XU7AAR operation: The ARRL DXCC Desk reports that it has received supporting documentation for the 1999 XU7AAR (Cambodia) operation and has now accepted XU7AAR for DXCC credit. Those who submitted XU7AAR previously and were denied credit may contact DXCC <firstname.lastname@example.org> and have their records updated without having to resubmit cards.--DXCC Desk * Badger State Smoke Signals delayed: The January 2002 editions of Wisconsin's Badger State Smoke Signals Amateur Radio newspaper for Wisconsin amateurs will be delayed in delivery due to the ill health of Editor Jim Romelfanger, K9ZZ. =========================================================== 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. 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