*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 20, No. 48 December 7, 2001 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Ham's antenna victory hailed * +FCC now requires FRN on applications * +Ham radio connects ISS with kids in South Carolina, Georgia * +FCC takes feuding 75-meter users to the woodshed * +New Amateur Extra question pool goes public * +Section managers appointed to fill openings * ARRL issues QRP DXCC rules * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio "DX window" remains for ARRL 160 Meter Contest: +Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course December registration FCC offers Internet Explorer fix for on-line filing problems Historic coast radio station to celebrate Marconi event Newfoundland special event to mark centenary of transatlantic reception Special event station W1AA/CC to commemorate Marconi's transatlantic feat Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award Anthrax scare impacting outgoing DX QSL volume +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>NEW YORK HAM WINS ANTENNA LAWSUIT In one of the most favorable PRB-1 court rulings in years, a New York amateur has won a three-year battle to erect a tower on his property. The US District Court for the Northern District of New York has ordered the Saratoga Springs Planning Board to grant Randall J. Palmer, N2NVH, a special use permit for a 44-foot antenna support structure. PRB-1 is the limited federal pre-emption that requires localities to reasonably accommodate Amateur Radio communication. In a 20-page decision issued December 3, US District Judge Norman A. Mordue found that "the planning board did not attempt to negotiate a satisfactory compromise" with Palmer. As a result, Mordue, said, the town failed to reasonably accommodate Palmer's amateur communication needs pursuant to PRB-1. The judge found that "the planning board engaged Palmer in a strictly one-sided negotiation consisting of inflexible demands and the construction of hoop after hoop for Palmer to jump through." Mordue found that the record "clearly proves" the planning board made no attempt to negotiate a satisfactory compromise. On the other hand, the judge asserted, Palmer complied with many of the planning board's numerous requests and even made concessions on his own initiative. Mordue said that since the town already understood its obligations under PRB-1, he was directing the planning board to immediately grant Palmer's application. It's not known if the town will appeal. ARRL Volunteer Counsel Albert J. Millus, WB2EQR, represented Palmer through much of the battle. "I'm a ham radio operator myself, and these are important cases for hams," Millus told the Associated Press December 4. Saratoga Springs limits all antennas to 20 feet in height and allows exceptions only upon issuance of a special use permit. Palmer applied for one in 1999 to erect a modest antenna system of less than 50 feet in height, but the town continued to deny his permit application. After the last rejection earlier this year, Palmer went forward with his lawsuit, filed after the town's initial denial of his application. A bench trial was held October 30. Mordue's decision relied on an analysis of prior antenna cases, including the landmark Pentel v. Mendota Heights case--issued by the Eighth Circuit in 1994. ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, continues to spearhead a legislative effort to codify PRB-1 into New York state law. Fallon said he hoped the decision in the Palmer case--coupled with the goodwill generated by amateur response to the September 11 World Trade Center attacks--would prompt the New York Assembly to act favorably on the PRB-1 bill when the legislature goes back into session December 17. ==>TAKE A NUMBER: FRN NOW MANDATORY Anyone filing an Amateur Radio application now will be asked to supply a 10-digit FCC Registration Number (FRN) issued by the FCC's new Commission Registration System, or CORES. The requirement applies to FCC applications filed on-line or on paper. The FCC also has supplanted Universal Licensing System (ULS) registration with "CORES/Call Sign" registration, so applicants no longer need to register separately in both systems. Most, if not all, hams who registered previously with the ULS already have an FRN, although they may not know it yet. The FCC just completed another cross-registration to include those already on the ULS books within the CORES "entity registration" database, and another is scheduled. Amateurs can learn their FRNs by doing a license search on the FCC's Universal Licensing System page <http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/>. FRNs also are displayed via the ARRL call sign server on ARRLWeb <http://www.arrl.org>. The FCC has updated its ULS page <http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/> to reflect the new reality and to make the page a bit less confusing. Amateurs not yet registered in CORES who click "CORES/Call Sign" registration will be redirected to the CORES site to complete that process. Amateurs who click "Online Filing" are advised to proceed to CORES to register if they do not already have an FRN, then return to ULS for filing. Those filing on-line applications now are asked to supply either an FRN or a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN--a Social Security Number for an individual) plus a password, typically the same for both CORES and ULS. The process is a bit more daunting for new club station applicants, who now will be asked to register in CORES as business entities. Such applicants also may file with a Club Station Call Sign Administrator using Form NCVEC 605 and simply leave the FRN field blank. ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, says that in those cases, the Club Station Call Sign Administrator (CSCSA), such as ARRL, will register the club station entity in CORES on the applicant's behalf. The FCC also now only accept FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice) dated February 2000 or later, which requires providing an FRN. A copy of the acceptable version is available on the FCC Web site <http://www.fcc.gov/fees>. At the left side of the page, click on "Form 159". For more information about the Commission Registration System or on obtaining an FRN, contact the CORES Help Desk, 877-480-3201, email@example.com. ==>HAM RADIO CONNECTS SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA YOUNGSTERS WITH SPACE STATION Youngsters visiting the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia and attending the Atlanta New Century School in Georgia recently spoke via ham radio with the International Space Station. The contacts were the latest in a string of successful radio conversations between school-age youngsters and Expedition 3 Crew Commander Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ. They were arranged as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. On Friday, November 30, 13 youngsters in grades 4 through 11 visiting the South Carolina State Museum quizzed Culbertson, who operated as NA1SS from aboard the ISS. Culbertson generated some news during the contact when he revealed that NASA had scheduled a space walk by two of the crew members to clear up a Progress rocket docking problem. The faulty docking had been holding up the launch of the Expedition 4 crew on the space shuttle. Some 100 youngsters were on hand at "Earth Station South Carolina" for the occasion. One fifth grader wanted to know whether Culbertson had ever seen life in space. "Just the guys I live with up here," Culbertson quipped. "I haven't seen any other kind of life outside the space station." His remark drew laughter from the earthbound audience. "Who knows whether there is or not," he continued in a more serious vein. "If there is, it's a pretty big deal and would be very important. If there's not, then it makes our place in the universe even more important and gives us more responsibility to take care of what we have." Culbertson told the youngsters that he was floating "halfway between the ceiling and the floor" as he was talking to them. "Zero G is fun," he said, referring to the weightless environment, "however, there are hazards." Although there's no artificial gravity aboard the space station, Culbertson said he sometimes he wished there were. Culbertson spoke Wednesday, December 5, with youngsters at the Atlanta New Century School. First up was a first grader who wanted to know how "the fire makes the ship fly." Culbertson explained that the "fire" was really a mixture of exhaust gases forcefully exiting the rocket "really, really fast" and that the reaction to that force made the rocket move in the opposite direction. He told the next questioner that liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen were the primary shuttle fuels--a half million gallons in all. Another student prompted guffaws from his classmates when he asked how much Culbertson earned. The pay scale for his job as an astronaut is the same as for an average aerospace engineer, Culbertson told the youngster--from about $50,000 to more than $90,000 a year. About a dozen questions were asked and answered during contact with Atlanta New Century School. Culbertson's sister, Amy, was among those in the audience at Atlanta. "Tell my sister Amy hello for me," Culbertson said, but the two did not converse. Nancy Richeleau, WH6PN, and Dick Flagg, AH6NM, operating from The Sacred Hearts Academy club station in Honolulu, served as the control operators for the South Carolina contact. Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI, in South Australia handled Earth station duties for the Atlanta contact. Two-way audio was handled by WorldCom teleconferencing facilities. Culbertson, who's logged nearly two dozen ARISS school contacts during his ISS stay, is looking forward to returning to Earth in time to join his family for the holidays. The current crew has been aboard the ISS since August. The shuttle Endeavour carrying the Expedition 4 crew of Commander Yuri Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Dan Bursch, KD5PNU, and Carl Walz, KC5TIE, blasted into space December 5. The shuttle also is carrying some new ham radio antennas for the ISS. ==>FCC CHASTISES FEUDING 75-METER OCCUPANTS The FCC's Enforcement Bureau recently stepped in to halt feuding over the use of some 75-meter frequencies. The dispute had pitted the Alabama Traffic Net, the Alabama SKYWARN Net and the Country Cousins Net against an informal group of amateurs. All wanted to operate between 3.965 and 3.970 MHz. In the end, the FCC declined to take any enforcement action in the situation, but Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth took all sides to task for bringing their charges and countercharges to the FCC in the first place. "This dispute appears to be largely a 'who's on first' dispute, involving issues of proper operating procedures, and not appropriate for enforcement action," Hollingsworth told the parties involved. In a two-page response sent to Jeremy Jackson, K9CNI, Henry Willmon, WA4GQS, Sal Viglione, W4SAL, and Alabama ARRL Section Manager Bill Cleveland, KR4TZ, Hollingsworth recounted allegations of deliberate and retaliatory interference, verbal harassment, frequency hogging, obscenity and profanity and even a charge that one individual was selling illegal linear amplifiers. Hollingsworth pointed out that nets--regardless of their longevity, membership numbers or public service benefit--are not specifically regulated by FCC rules and have no greater rights to any frequency than any other licensee. On the other hand, the informal group, Hollingsworth said, needs to consider whether it's good amateur practice to deliberately start communications on a frequency widely known to be used by a long-established net. Hollingsworth put those involved on notice that anyone violating the rules was risking FCC enforcement action and possible fines. "We cannot, however, mandate courtesy, good and fair operating practices or even common sense," he added. Hollingsworth says the informal group has told him it would find another frequency to meet on 75 meters. ==>NEW AMATEUR EXTRA CLASS QUESTION POOL RELEASED The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators' Question Pool Committee has released a revised and expanded Amateur Extra class (Element 4) question pool into the public domain. The new question pool becomes effective July 1, 2002, and must be used to generate all Extra class written examinations administered on or after that date. It replaces the Extra class question pool released April 15, 2000--the day Amateur Radio "restructuring" became effective. The new Element 4 pool expands the number of questions by more than 20 percent--806 questions--as opposed to 665 in the current Extra class pool, and it contains more technical material. More than half of the questions cover electrical principles, circuits, signals and emissions. The 50 questions in an Extra class examination are drawn from the question pool consistent with FCC rules and according to a formula that specifies the number of questions to be asked from each of nine topic areas. Applicants must correctly answer at least 37 questions to pass. The new Element 4 question pool is available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/pools.html>. The just-released Extra class question pool remains valid through June 30, 2005. The Question Pool Committee now will turn its attention to developing an outline for the Technician class (Element 2) question pool. A draft Element 2 syllabus is scheduled for public release and comment next spring. The QPC invites suggestions for the Element 2 syllabus and question pool revision. Questions and comments about the QPC's work can be directed to, Chairman Scotty Neustadter, W4WW, firstname.lastname@example.org; ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, email@example.com; Fred Maia, W5YI, firstname.lastname@example.org; and John Johnston, W3BE, email@example.com ==>THREE SECTION MANAGERS APPOINTED TO FILL VACANCIES ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, has named three new ARRL section managers to fill vacancies in the field organization. New section managers were appointed in the Alaska, Georgia and San Diego sections. In Alaska, David Stevens, KL7EB, of Anchorage, will succeed L. Kent Petty, KL5T. Petty last month withstood a challenge from Stevens for the SM slot, 154 to 104, but has decided to step aside. Stevens previously served as SM from July 1998 until December 1999. He's an ARRL Life Member and an Extra class licensee. He's also served as a Affiliated Club Coordinator and an Official Observer. In Georgia, Susan Swiderski, AF4FO, of Norcross will replace Sandy Donahue, W4RU, the SM since 1997, who was recently elected Southeastern Division Vice Director. An Extra class licensee, Swiderski has been active in the ARRL field organization and has served as an Affiliated Club Coordinator. In the San Diego Section, Kent Tiburski, K6FQ, of San Diego will step into the post now held by Tuck Miller, NZ6T, who was just elected ARRL Southwestern Division Vice Director. Miller has served as SM since April 1998. Tiburski has served as an Assistant Section Manager, District Emergency Coordinator and Technical Coordinator for the section. Terms of office for Stevens, Swiderski and Tiburski begin January 1, 2002. ==>ARRL ISSUES QRP DXCC PROGRAM RULES The ARRL has issued rules <http://www.arrl.org/awards/dxcc/qrp/qrp-dxcc-rules.html> for its new QRP DXCC Award. Applications will be accepted starting January 2, 2002. The ARRL Board of Directors approved the new QRP DXCC Award at its July 2001 meeting. The QRP DXCC Award is given for working 100 different "entities" (formerly "countries") on The DXCC List while operating with an output power of 5 W or less. Standard DXCC rules <http://www.arrl.org/awards/dxcc/> also apply to this new award. Contacts made since November 15, 1945, are acceptable. The award is available to Amateur Radio operators worldwide. Applicants must submit an alphanumeric list of 100 contacts--sorted by call sign prefixes. Application forms and additional information are available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/awards/dxcc/qrp/index.html>, via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax 860-594-0259, or mail to ARRL DXCC, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Propagation prognosticator Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: This has been a quiet week with no geomagnetic disturbances. Each day's planetary A indices have been in the single digits, indicating stable conditions without the high absorption of HF radio signals associated with solar coronal holes and flares. Average sunspot numbers were up more than 84 points, and average solar flux rose by nearly 49 points. Solar flux has probably peaked for the short term in the past few days. For this weekend, Friday through Monday, solar flux is predicted at 225, 225, 220 and 210. Planetary A indices are expected at 8, 8, 15 and 15. The rising A index is possible because of sunspot 9727, currently moving toward the center of the visible solar disk with a complex magnetic field harboring the possibility for solar flares. Conditions should be good for the 160-meter event, barring any geomagnetic upset. Average daily solar flux values for November were up slightly from the previous month, and were a fairly high monthly value for the year. Average daily solar flux for January through November was 166.6, 147.2, 177.7, 178.2, 148.7, 173.7, 131.3, 163.1, 233.8, 208.1 and 212.7. Holographic images of the sun's far side show no substantial sunspots. Barring any emerging activity, the next short term minimum in solar flux is expected from December 16-20. Recently, 6-meter operators have been working a great deal of DX via F2 layer propagation. Sunspot numbers for November 29 through December 5 were 204, 158, 208, 271, 230, 214 and 260, with a mean of 220.7. The 10.7-cm flux was 216.4, 225.8, 221.3, 245, 235, 233.3 and 237, with a mean of 230.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 3, 3, 7, 4, 7, 6 and 8, with a mean of 5.4. ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The ARRL 160-Meter Contest, Six Club First Winter Contest, the PSK31 Death Match are the weekend of December 8-9. JUST AHEAD: 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. * "DX window" remains for ARRL 160 Meter Contest: Although the "DX window" no longer is a part of the ARRL 160-meter band plan, there will be a DX window for the ARRL 160 Meter Contest, which runs December 7-9. The contest's rules <http://www.arrl.org/contests/announcements/rules-160m.html> still require that the segment 1.830 to 1.835 MHz be used only for intercontinental QSOs. The contest is a CW-only event. The revised band plan, which is considered an operating guideline, recommends that SSB, SSTV and other wideband modes stay at or above 1.843 MHz. It also establishes a QRP calling frequency is 1.810. In doing away with the DX window last July, the ARRL Board of Directors adopted the recommendations of the ad hoc 160 Meter Committee, which said the DX window concept was not followed and was impractical. The change left it up to contest sponsors to establish DX windows as necessary during their events. * Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course December registration: Due to the holiday season, on-line registration will be handled a bit differently during December. Seats remain available for the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications on-line Level III class that opened December 3. Registration for the Level I class opens Monday, December 10, and registration for the Level II class opens the following Monday, December 17. To register, visit the ARRL Course Registration Page <https://www.arrl.org/forms/cce/> after 4 PM Eastern Time on the opening day of registration for the course you wish to enroll in. Registration will remain open until all seats are filled. Starting in January 2002, registration for Level I will open on the first Monday; registration for Level II will open on the second Monday; and registration for Level III will open on the third Monday. Courses must be completed in order, starting with Level I. To learn more, Visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce> and the C-CE Links found there. For more information, contact Certification and Continuing Education Coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG, email@example.com. * FCC offers Internet Explorer fix for on-line filing problems: The FCC announced recently that it now supports Microsoft Internet Explorer as well as most later versions of Netscape for filing applications via the FCC's Universal Licensing System (ULS). Some amateurs using Internet Explorer have reported problems filing on-line, however, and the FCC says those users may need to run a Java Applet IE plug-in to correct the problem. It's available from the FCC at <https://wtbjag1w.fcc.gov/ieplugin/j2re-1_3_0_02-win.exe> When a "File Download" dialog box appears, click on "Run" or "Open" (depending on your version of IE), and the plug-in will download and install automatically. If a "Security Warning" box appears, click "Yes." Amateurs also must now supply a 10-digit Commission Registration System-issued FCC Registration Number (FRN) when filing FCC applications on-line or on paper. For help initiating an on-line filing using Internet Explorer, contact FCC Tech Support, weekdays, for assistance, firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-414-1250. * Historic coast radio station to celebrate Marconi event: Stations KPH and K6KPH will be on the air December 12, 2001, to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first wireless signal to cross the Atlantic, received by Guglielmo Marconi on December 12, 1901, at Saint John's, Newfoundland. Both stations will use the original transmitters, receivers and antennas of KPH, a former RCA coast station. K6KPH, the Maritime Radio Historical Society club station, will be active on amateur frequencies 3545, 7050 and 14,050 kHz. K6KPH will begin operation at 1700 UTC. KPH will be active on commercial frequencies 500 and 426 kHz. KPH will begin operations at 0000 (December 13) UTC. "Commercial practices and procedures will be used on all frequencies to give amateurs the experience of working a real coast station," said K6KPH Chief Operator Dick Dillman, W6AWO.Reception reports or QSLs go to Dick Dillman, W6AWO, 435 Utah St No. 4, San Francisco, CA 94110. KPH reception reports go to Tom Horsfall, WA6OPE, 1862 Tulare Ave, Richmond, CA 94805. More information is available on the Maritime Radio Historical Society Web site <http://www.radiomarine.org>. * Newfoundland special event to mark centenary of transatlantic reception: The Society of Newfoundland Radio Amateurs will operate special event station VO1S during the month of December. The special event will mark the 100th anniversary of the reception of the first transatlantic radio signal--the Morse code letter "s"--received by Marconi at Signal Hill in Newfoundland on December 12, 1901. Marconi used a kite-supported antenna to hear the signal, which was transmitted from his station in Poldhu, Cornwall, England. QSL VO1S via the bureau or direct (before March 1, 2002), to SONRA, PO Box 23099, St John's, NF A1B 479, Canada. * Special event station W1AA/CC to commemorate Marconi's transatlantic feat: The Marconi Radio Club and The Falmouth Amateur Radio Association will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Marconi's December 12, 1901, one-way transatlantic radio transmission with a special event station--W1AA/CC--from December 11-16. Operation will be on 80 through 6 meters, SSB and CW. The public is invited December 12, from 9 AM to 5 PM Eastern Time, when--weather permitting--W1AA will fly a kite antenna and attempt to communicate from Coast Guard Beach, Eastham, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to clubs at the historic Marconi stations in Poldhu, England and Saint John's, Newfoundland. Marconi used a kite antenna at his 1901 receiving site in Newfoundland. W1AA will transmit on 14.052 MHz. Amateurs at these locations also will attempt to fly kite antennas. QSL via the bureau or to W1AA, Box 1193, Lakeville, MA 02347 and include an SASE. For more information on this and other commemorative events, contact Marconi Radio Club President Whitey Doherty, K1VV, email@example.com, or visit the W1AA Web site <http://personal.tmlp.com/k1vv/w1aa/> or The Falmouth Amateur Radio Association Web site <http://www.falara.org/OpEvents/Marconi/fara-marconi.html>. * Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for November was Paul Shuch, N6TX, for his article "A Moonbounce Odyssey." Congratulations, Paul! The winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author of the best article in each issue--is determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes place each month on the Cover Plaque Poll Web page, <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/qstvote.html>. As soon as your copy arrives, cast a ballot for your favorite article in the December issue of QST. Voting ends December 31. * Anthrax scare impacting outgoing DX QSL volume: With one month to go in 2001, ARRL Outgoing QSL Service Manager Martin Cook, N1FOC, reports that his bureau has handled 1,716,940 cards from January 1 through November 30 of this year. That's 54,960 cards ahead of the same date last year. "However, the volume of cards coming in for processing has slowed drastically since the recent anthrax scare," Cook said. "I was hoping to make the 2 million mark this year, but it's not looking good. We will be lucky to beat last year's total." The more than 1.7 million figure so far in 2001 includes cards going to US incoming QSL bureaus and cards sorted and mailed by contractor. The Outgoing QSL Service handled 1,868,895 cards during 2000. =========================================================== 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. Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. 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