ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
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 w1yrc@arrl.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, cce@arrl.org. 

* 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, lmullally@arrl.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, n4qx@arrl.org.

* 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, n8emo1@msn.com. 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

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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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