*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 02 January 11, 2002 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Comments invited on Amateur Radio petitions * +Vanity logjam starts to clear * +New ham antenna to be installed on ISS * +FCC retains amateur 219-220 MHz slot * +Schoenbohm faces FCC hearing in comeback effort * +New Foundation ticket a hit in the British Isles * +New Rhode Island SM appointed * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course January registration Correction Continuing Legal Education Seminar set Frequency coordinators collecting data for ARRL Repeater Directory DARA announces 2002 scholarships Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>FCC INVITES COMMENTS ON FOUR AMATEUR RADIO PETITIONS The FCC is seeking comments on four Amateur Radio rule making petitions filed recently and put on public notice this week. Comments are due by February 7, 2002, in petitions seeking to legally separate wideband and narrowband modes on 160 meters; to allow hams to bequeath their call signs "in memoriam" to a specific club; to expand HF operating privileges for Novice and Tech Plus operators; and to permit retransmission on amateur frequencies of NASA manned spacecraft communications. A proposal from veteran Top Band operators and contesters Bill Tippett, W4ZV, and Jeff Briggs, K1ZM, asks the FCC to subdivide 160 meters into mode-specific subbands. The petition, submitted to the FCC last September, has been designated as RM-10352. Tippett and Briggs contend that the ARRL band plan for 160 meters--modified last year after lengthy consideration by the ad hoc ARRL 160-Meter Band Plan Committee on which both men sat--does not go far enough and is unenforceable. They want the FCC to prohibit SSB, AM and other wideband modes below 1.843 MHz--something the revised ARRL band plan <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/bandplan.html#160m> already recommends. A copy of Briggs' book, DXing on the Edge--The Thrill of 160 Meters, accompanied their 18-page petition to the FCC. The book is published by ARRL <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/6354/>. Tippett and Briggs made it clear that while the topic of their petition did arise during the ARRL committee's deliberations, their petition is an independent effort with no connection to the committee or the ARRL. The Quarter Century Wireless Association (QCWA) has asked the FCC to change its amateur vanity call sign system rules to permit individual amateurs to, in effect, will a call sign to a designated club as an "in memoriam" call sign. The FCC has designated the petition, submitted in December, as RM-10353. The QCWA notes that the current vanity rule "excludes current licensees from speaking for themselves" while they're still alive and "requires their relatives to speak for them post mortem." Novice licensee John S. Rippey, W3ULS, has petitioned the FCC to expand HF phone and CW privileges for Novice and Technician (with Element 1 credit) operators. The FCC has designated the petition, submitted in December, as RM-10354. Rippey held a General ticket in the 1950s and 1960s and got his former call sign back after relicensing as a Novice in 1999. He argues, among other things, that "the HF operating privileges authorized today for a Novice or Technician Plus license fall far short of providing adequate value." Rippey has asked the FCC to grant Novice and Technician (with Element 1 credit) licensees new or expanded operating privileges on 80, 40, 30, 17, 15, 12 and 10 meters. His suggestions include SSB privileges for Novices and Tech Plus licensees on 17 and 12 meters. The NASA John H. Glenn Research Center Amateur Radio Club is seeking a modification in wording to the Part 97 rule that already permits amateur retransmission of NASA manned shuttle communications. The petition has been designated as RM-10355. The club wants the Amateur Service rule, Sec 97.113(e), to include International Space Station communications as well as any manned spacecraft in the future. Interested parties may comment on any or all of these petitions via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System <http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html>. ==>FCC ACTS ON OCTOBER 15, 2001, VANITY APPLICATIONS The vanity call sign logjam has begun to break up. The FCC granted 27 vanity call signs January 9, based on applications received last October 15. Prior to this week, the FCC had not issued any new vanity call signs since October 30. FCC policy gives paper and electronically filed vanity applications equal priority. Mail problems due to the recent anthrax scare delayed some applications filed on paper and sent to Washington, DC, for decontamination. As a result, vanity processing has been on hold since last fall. FCC Licensing Branch personnel recently have been attempting to obtain new paperwork from applicants, however. All vanity fee payments have been recorded and deposited or charged to credit card holders' accounts. The FCC has been using vanity fee payment data from the FCC's fiscal agent, Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh to contact applicants directly to have them resubmit their applications. The FCC has a record of when it receives all vanity applications. Once the Commission has all paper and electronic applications for a given date, all submittals will be processed in chronological order. In mid-November, the Gettysburg office began diverting mail addressed to its 1270 Fairfield Road location to another site in town for special handling, and decontamination now is being handled locally. Since October 19, the FCC has been urging all of its customers to avoid using the mails to conduct business with the agency and to use electronic means to file comments or applications. The FCC has been acting on amateur renewals and administrative updates filed on-line via the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau's Universal Licensing System. As of December 3, all applicants must include an FCC Registration Number (FRN) when filing. ==>NEW ISS AMATEUR RADIO ANTENNA TO BE INSTALLED DURING SPACEWALK Amateur Radio on the International Space Station Board Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, has announced that one of the four new ARISS antennas will be installed during a scheduled January 14 spacewalk--or EVA. Two crew members will attach the "WA3" model VHF-UHF flexible tape antenna on one end of the ISS Service Module. "The Russian team is able to deploy this particular antenna sooner than the others because it is located very close to where the four RF connections go into the Service Module," Bauer said. Expedition Four Commander Yuri Onufrienko, RK3DUO, and flight engineers Carl Walz, KC5TIE, and Dan Bursch, KD5PNU, are beginning their second month in orbit aboard the ISS. They have not yet been active on Amateur Radio, although several ARISS school contacts are pending. Onufrienko and Walz will carry out the EVA. NASA says the two will move a Russian cargo crane to the Russian Functional Cargo Block--or Zarya--for future assembly work. According to NASA, Bursch will operate the Canadarm2 robotic arm from inside the space station "and act as spacewalk choreographer." Installation of the new antenna on the Service Module paves the way for two separate ham stations aboard Space Station Alpha. Plans call for one station to remain in the Functional Cargo Block using the Russian antennas that had been used to dock the FGB but are now used for ARISS. A second station will be set up in the Service Module--or Zvezda--using the new antenna. "The installation of this first antenna on the outside of Zvezda will allow the crew to set up ham radio equipment in their living quarters," said Bauer, who's also chief of the Guidance, Navigation and Control Center at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Maryland. The initial station ham gear was installed aboard the Zarya module because that module went into space first. "The Zarya location worked well," Bauer said, "but this new setup is much more comfortable and convenient and should allow for more contact between the crew and Amateur Radio operators and schools on Earth." The other three antennas will be installed later this year.--ARISS; NASA ==>FCC REALLOCATION RETAINS AMATEUR RADIO'S 219-220 MHZ SLOT Amateur Radio's secondary allocation at 219-220 MHz remains intact in the wake of an FCC spectrum reallocation of the 216 to 220-MHz band, among others. The FCC declined, however, to go along with ARRL's request to expand amateur access to 216 to 220 MHz. On a brighter note, the Commission potentially relieved spectrum competition for Amateur Radio at 2.3 GHz by making space available elsewhere. The FCC acted December 21, 2001, in ET Docket 00-221 and in several other proceedings that it lumped into a single Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and Order released January 2, 2002. The FCC Order reallocated 27 MHz of spectrum in seven bands from government to non-government use. Some of the spectrum will be put up for bid in public auctions. The Commission allocated the 216-220 MHz band to the fixed and mobile services (co-primary), although some government systems in the band will remain. "We are pleased that the FCC has found suitable spectrum for MicroTrax and AeroAstro other than at 2300-2305 MHz," ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, referring to two commercial competitors. "We hope this will clear the way for an upgrade to primary status at 2300-2305 MHz for the Amateur Service." MicroTrax has sought access to 2300 to 2305 MHz and other bands for a proposed Personal Location and Monitoring System to enable tracking of people and objects. AeroAstro has proposed sharing the band with amateurs on a co-primary basis for its Satellite Enabled Notification System global messaging system. Both indicated interest in the 1670-1675-MHz band; MicroTrax also has said that 2385-2390 MHz might be a good fit. The FCC also noted comments from ArrayCom that the 1670-1675-MHz band would be suitable for its i-BURST high-speed data system, now operating experimentally at 2.3 GHz. Sumner was less enthusiastic about the FCC's action at 216-220 MHz as it impacts the Amateur Service. "While the limited secondary allocation to the Amateur Service at 219-220 MHz is being maintained, the more intensive use of 216-220 MHz by commercial services is likely to preclude amateur use of the band in many parts of the country," he commented. The amateur allocation at 219-220 MHz is secondary to the Automated Maritime Telecommunications System (AMTS). Within the 1 MHz of spectrum, Amateurs may install and operate point-to-point digital message-forwarding systems, but only under strict limitations that require coordination with and sometimes approval by AMTS licensees. The ARRL had hoped to expand opportunities for point-to-point digital messaging systems, but the FCC said amateurs already have access to other bands for that purpose and denied the request. The Order in ET Docket 00-221 is available on the FCC Web site <http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Orders/2001/fcc01382.pdf> . ==>SCHOENBOHM EFFORT TO OBTAIN NEW TICKET PROMPTS FCC HEARING ORDER Former Amateur Radio licensee Herb Schoenbohm, ex-KV4FZ, apparently is eager to return to his favorite pastime. The FCC this week suggested that Schoenbohm, who lives in Kingshill, Virgin Islands, won't get his wish easily. Last April, only a few months after losing his battle to renew his ham ticket and his operating authority had expired, Schoenbohm applied for a new Amateur Radio license and passed the General exam. The FCC now has designated that pending application for hearing, to determine, in part, if Schoenbohm is rehabilitated and deserves to be a Commission licensee. The FCC didn't mince words in its Hearing Designation Order, released January 6 in WT Docket No 01-352. Schoenbohm's "previous criminal behavior, misrepresentation and lack of candor warranted denial of his renewal application," the Order said. "Mr. Schoenbohm is a convicted felon and was found to have misrepresented facts and lacked candor in his testimony in that hearing." The FCC said, however, that what's past is past, and it does not intend to rehash Schoenbohm's earlier case in the current proceeding. Now, the Commission says, it must determine whether Schoenbohm "has been sufficiently rehabilitated" since his earlier "disqualifying behavior." The Commission said it needs to know if Schoenbohm "could be relied upon to observe our rules and policies and deal with the Commission in an honest and forthright manner." The FCC said that since it has "no facts now before us that would support a finding of rehabilitation," it cannot make a ready determination that granting Schoenbohm's application "would serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity." So, it's designating his application for hearing. "Absent a demonstration by Mr. Schoenbohm that he now possesses the requisite character qualifications to be a Commission licensee, his pending applications may not be granted," the FCC added. Schoenbohm vowed last year to return to Amateur Radio. The FCC, meanwhile, is continuing to investigate whether a South Carolina amateur broke any rules when he let Schoenbohm operate during a recent contest. Stephen S. Reichlyn, AA4V, rented and operated from Schoenbohm's station during the CQ World Wide SSB Contest last October. The FCC said this week that Schoenbohm would bear the burden of proof in the new license application proceeding before an administrative law judge. The hearing would determine whether he possesses the requisite character qualifications to be a Commission licensee and whether his application should be granted. Schoenbohm has 20 days to respond to the Order or his application will be denied with prejudice. A copy of the FCC Order is available on the FCC Web site <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-01-392A1.doc>. ==>NEW UK FOUNDATION LICENSE PROVIDES HF ACCESS VIA "MORSE ASSESSMENT" A new class of Amateur Radio license in the United Kingdom will make the HF bands much more accessible to newcomers as well as to Class B VHF-only "no code" licensees. The new Foundation license, which became effective January 1, does not require a specific Morse code examination. Instead, applicants must pass a short test and complete what's called a "Morse assessment." According to the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), 600 of the new licenses were issued the first week. The new license provides holders with access to most bands from 136 kHz through 440 MHz--with the notable exception of 10 meters--using CW, SSB, or digital modes. Foundation licensees may operate with 10 W output using only commercially manufactured equipment or "properly designed" commercial kits. Licensees will be issued call signs from the M3AAA-M3ZZZ series. The new license scheme followed discussions between the RSGB and the Radiocommunications Agency, or RA--the United Kingdom's telecommunications regulatory agency. The new ticket also is available to residents of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Current UK Class B licensees who have held that ticket for at least a year may obtain a Foundation license simply by taking the Morse assessment. There is no Morse speed requirement, and applicants are provided with a copy of the Morse alphabet and "coding" and "decoding" information sheets. The RSGB says the entire Morse assessment takes about 30 minutes. Passing the Morse assessment will enable Class B licensees to operate on the HF bands as Foundation licensees, using their M3 call signs, while continuing to have privileges above 30 MHz under their Class B tickets. Currently unlicensed newcomers have to complete a Foundation license training program being offered through the RSGB and pass a 20-question multiple-choice test, in addition to the Morse assessment. The class involves about 10 hours of hands-on training in safety, basic operating concepts, regulations and licensing requirements and can be completed in a weekend. Last September, the RA reduced the Morse requirement from 12 WPM to 5 WPM for the Class A "full" license in Britain and incorporated the Class A/B license into Class A. The former Novice license has been renamed the Intermediate license, and the power limit was raised from 10 W to 50 W. The RA also has instituted an apprenticeship program in the UK that lets unlicensed trainees operate under supervision and contact other UK licensees. More information on the new license is available on the RSGB Web site <http://www.rsgb.org>. ==>W1YRC APPOINTED RHODE ISLAND SECTION MANAGER Robert G. "Bob" Beaudet, W1YRC, has been appointed to succeed Armand Lambert, K1FLD, as Rhode Island ARRL Section Manager. Lambert died December 31. The appointment was announced January 10 by Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO. Beaudet, 63, will serve out the remainder of Lambert's term of office, which expires in June 2003. Beaudet had been serving as an Assistant SM under Lambert and worked closely with him during his illness. An ARRL Life Member from Cumberland, Beaudet has held several League appointments in the past, including Official Observer, Net Manager and Assistant Emergency Coordinator. He now serves as an ARRL VEC volunteer examiner. Licensed in 1953, Beaudet is an active DXer and DXCC Honor Roll member who also enjoys CW and vintage gear. Beaudet is a charter member and board member of the Blackstone Valley Amateur Radio Club, where Lambert had served as president. He also belongs to the Richardson Wireless Klub and the Lone Star DX Association in Texas. Members may contact Beaudet via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sun watcher Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar activity has been lower over the past week. Average daily sunspot numbers during the week of January 3-9 were nearly 52 points less than the previous week, and average daily solar flux dropped by 42 points. Along with fewer sunspots there was very little geomagnetic activity--which is great for HF propagation because of lower absorption. Many periods over the past week had planetary and mid-latitude K indices of zero or one. Solar flux probably reached a short-term minimum when it was 188.6 on Monday. Predicted solar flux for Friday through Monday is 230, 235, 240 and 245. Solar flux should peak near 260 around next Thursday or Friday, then reach another short-term minimum during the first week of February. Did we say this week was quiet? This won't last. A high-speed stream of energy from a coronal hole is due, and the predicted planetary A index indicates a geomagnetic storm. Values for Friday through Sunday should be around 30, 20 and 15. There was also a large solar flare at 1801 UTC on Wednesday. Although it came from a sunspot near the center of the visible solar disk, the blast of energy from this flare should not bother Earth. Sunspot numbers for January 3 through 9 were 229, 248, 201, 143, 158, 143 and 159, with a mean of 183. The 10.7-cm flux was 220.3, 218.2, 212.2, 196.6, 188.6, 199.2 and 228.5, with a mean of 209.1. Estimated planetary A indices were 3, 3, 3, 4, 7, 7 and 3, with a mean of 4.3. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The North American QSO Party (CW), the Japan International DX Contest, Hunting Lions in the Air, Midwinter Contest (CW and SSB), the NRAU-Baltic Contest (CW and SSB), and the DARC 10-Meter Contest are the weekend of January 12-13. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes, the North American QSO Party (SSB), the 070 Club PSKFest, the LZ Open Contest (CW), the MI QRP January CW Contest, are the weekend of January 19-20. The CQ 160-Meter Contest (CW) is the weekend of January 26-27. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, <http://www.arrl.org/contests/> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar, <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for more info. * Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course January registration: Registration for the Level II Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (EC-002) will open on Monday, January 14; registration for Level III (EC-003) will open January 21. January registration for the Level I ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (EC-001) is closed. February registration for Level I will open Monday, February 4. 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. * Correction: The antenna system for WLW (AM 700 kHz) in Cincinnati was described incorrectly in an article "FCC Asks Broadcaster, Power Company to Help Cure Weird Interference" in The ARRL Letter, Vol 21, No 1 (Jan 4, 2002). ARRL Michigan Section Technical Coordinator David Smith, W8YZ, points out that the WLW antenna is 189.3 electrical degrees tall--somewhat taller than one-half wavelength. "Both it and WSM (Nashville) were originally 5/8 radiators, but a secondary lobe caused sky to groundwave interference about 300 to 400 miles from the stations," he explained. "Shortening the towers to approximately a 9/16 wavelength radiator lowered groundwave strength slightly but eliminated the secondary lobe skywave problem." Smith also noted that WLW's tower is not top-loaded. * Continuing Legal Education Seminar set: ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, will conduct a Continuing Legal Education Seminar on February 1 in Doral, Florida, in conjunction with the Miami Tropical Hamboree. The session will be held at the Doral Hampton Inn from 1 to 5 PM. The $75 cost of the seminar includes a copy of Antenna Zoning for the Radio Amateur by Fred Hopengarten, K1VR--a $49.95 value. Those who have already purchased Hopengarten's book may attend for $25. The seminar will cover in-depth state and local antenna regulation, with a focus on amateur issues and other legal topics affecting Amateur Radio. Advance registration is required. Contact Linda Mullally, 860-594-0292, firstname.lastname@example.org, to register. More information on Miami Tropical Hamboree 2002 is available on the Hamboree Web site, <http://www.hamboree.org/>. * Frequency coordinators collecting data for ARRL Repeater Directory: Data collection for the 2002-2003 edition of the ARRL Repeater Directory is under way. Coordinators throughout the US and Canada will provide data for the 31st edition of the popular reference, due on sale by mid-May <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?category=&words=8241>. Editor Brennan Price, N4QX, encourages repeater owners who have made changes in the operating parameters of their repeaters to immediately alert the frequency coordinator for their area. "By longstanding directive of the ARRL Board of Directors, all data published in the Repeater Directory must be submitted through a frequency coordinator in areas where a coordinator exists," Price said. "Any clubs wishing to change their listings must report these changes to the frequency coordinator in their area so that the changes can be made in the 2002-2003 edition." Changes should be reported as soon as possible and, in any case, by January 31! Contact information for coordinators throughout the country is available from the National Frequency Coordinators' Council Web site <http://www.arrl.org/nfcc> or from Brennan Price, N4QX, email@example.com. * DARA announces 2002 scholarships: The Dayton Amateur Radio Association <http://www.dara-w8bi.com> has announced the availability of scholarships for the 2002-2003 academic year. Applicants must be graduating high school seniors in 2002 and hold an FCC Amateur Radio license of any class. DARA grants scholarship awards of up to $2000, as determined by the scholarship committee, toward tuition at an institution of higher education--as outlined in the application. To obtain an application, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to DARA Scholarships, ATTN: DARA Scholarship Committee Chairman Gary Des Combes, N8EMO, 9873 Lower Valley Pike, Medway, OH 45341, or via e-mail to Gary Des Combes, firstname.lastname@example.org. Completed applications must be postmarked by June 1, 2002. * Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for December 2001 was Joe Taylor, K1JT, for his article "WSJT: New Software for VHF Meteor-Scatter Communication." Congratulations, Joe! 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 January 2002 issue of QST. Voting ends January 31. =========================================================== 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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