ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 21, No. 04
January 25, 2002
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +ARRL Board okays modified refarming plan
* +Vanity processing slowly resuming
* +ARISS gets new HF antenna
* +FCC modifies California ham's sanction
* +Wisconsin in line to be next PRB-1 state
* +ARRL award winners announced
* +Hams help sailboat in distress
*  RACES members aid nursing home residents
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF: 
     This weekend on the radio
     Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course registration
     Reminder: Continuing Legal Education Seminar set
     KK5DO joins AMSAT-NA Board of Directors
     New Jersey call sign license plates to bear "Amateur Radio" legend
     Shiro Nomura, JA1CB, SK
     Call for papers for Southeastern VHF Conference

+Available on ARRL Audio News

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

==>ARRL BOARD ADOPTS MODIFIED NOVICE BAND REFARMING PLAN

The ARRL Board of Directors has adopted a modified proposal to refarm the
Novice bands, now that the FCC no longer issues Novice licenses. The Board
met January 18-19 in Fort Worth, Texas.

The ARRL Novice Spectrum Study Committee had proposed allowing Novice and
Tech Plus (or Technician with Element 1 credit) licensees to operate CW on
General-class 80, 40, 15 and 10-meter CW segments at up to 200 W output. The
panel recommended refarming the current Novice/Tech Plus CW subbands, in
part to allow expansion of phone allocations on 80, 40 and 15 meters.

The Board approved a modified plan that would leave in place or slightly
trim the amount of additional phone spectrum the committee had recommended
for 75 and 15 meters. The amended plan would drop the US phone band to 3725
kHz on 75 meters but leave it at 21,200 kHz on 15 meters. The original plan
called for dropping both by 25 kHz. 

The 75-meter proposal would expand the phone band by 50 kHz for Generals
over the present allocation and by 25 kHz for Advanced and Extra licensees.
On 15 meters, Generals would get another 25 kHz of phone spectrum, but phone
privileges for Advanced and Extra class operators would stay the same.

The Novice Spectrum Study Committee's original recommendations for 40 and 10
meters were accepted. The ARRL plans to propose the modified refarming plan
to the FCC later this year along with other regulatory requests.

The Board also deferred until its July meeting a decision on whether to cut
"Section News" and contest "line scores" from QST and move them to the ARRL
Web site as part of an effort to stem ARRL operating losses. Before deciding
to relocate the QST content, the Board said, it wants members to be "aware
of the reasons for the proposed relocation and the enhanced capabilities
available on the Web site." The Board said it also wants to evaluate
"variations and alternatives" to the proposal.

The Board did decide to eliminate the minutes of its own meetings--published
as "Moved and Seconded"--from QST. Minutes already are posted on the ARRL
Web site and will be made available via alternative means to members lacking
Internet access.

In other business, the Board accepted the Volunteer Resources Committee's
recommendations to change several field organization rules. The new rules
state that a section manager "is accountable for carrying out the duties of
the office in accordance with ARRL policies" and "shall act in the best
interests of Amateur Radio." Among other changes, the revised rules will
prohibit a section manager removed from office from running in the next SM
election following removal. Anyone removed by action of the Executive
Committee would have to get that committee's consent to be eligible to run
again. The Executive Committee also will have the power to cancel any field
organization appointment "whenever it appears to be in the best interest of
the ARRL to do so."

The changes were prompted in part by the Executive Committee's declaring the
office of Virginia Section Manager vacant last May. The rules changes will
not affect the current Virginia SM election process, already under way.

The Board also modified the ARRL by-laws to say that anyone removed from
office by recall won't be eligible to be a candidate for director or vice
director for three years following removal from office.

The Board resolved to petition the FCC in order to elicit "a clear statement
from FCC acknowledging the limit of its statutory jurisdiction to authorize
the manufacture and sale of unlicensed Part 15 devices."

The Board further resolved to extend the ARRL's "most sincere condolences to
the families and friends of the radio amateurs who lost their lives on
September 11, 2001." The Board also commended and honored amateurs who
volunteered during the subsequent rescue and recovery efforts.

ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, who was elected to another two-year term
during the Board meeting reported that he felt the League's relationship
with the FCC had improved and that he was very pleased with the Amateur
Radio Day at the FCC held last September.

==>VANITY PROCESSING RAMPING UP SLOWLY

Vanity call sign processing is resuming, but not exactly apace. On January
23 and 24, the FCC processed 70 vanity grants from applications received
October 16, 17 and 18. Additional vanity grants are expected to follow as
FCC personnel assemble all applications--paper and electronic--received on a
given date. 

Prior to January 9--when the FCC processed 27 vanity applications received
from October 15 filers--the Commission had not issued any vanity grants
since last October 30. 

The holdup got its start when a batch of mail containing some 100 vanity
applications received during the first two weeks of October apparently was
mislaid in the process of dealing with the anthrax scare and mail
decontamination. FCC policy gives equal priority to paper and electronic
vanity applications, so the mail snafu has affected all vanity processing.

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.

Since October, 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  <http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls>. All
applicants now must include an FCC Registration Number (FRN) when filing any
application.

==>NEW HF AMATEUR RADIO ANTENNA INSTALLED ON ISS

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station gained a new HF antenna
January 25--although there's no HF gear aboard the ISS as yet. The
antenna--the second of four slated for installation aboard the Service
Module--was put into place during a spacewalk--or EVA--conducted by
Expedition 4 Crew Commander Yuri Onufrienko, RK3DUO, and astronaut Dan
Bursch, KD5PNU.

The antenna is a flexible-tape design--similar to, but longer than, a
VHF-UHF antenna installed during a January 14 EVA by Onufrienko and
astronaut Carl Walz, KC5TIE. ARISS Board Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said
the antenna would be installed at the end of the Service Module in the 2
o'clock position (6 o'clock is pointing toward Earth). 

The HF antenna is a 2.5-meter (8.2-foot) long flexible tape. Bauer thinks it
will definitely work on 10 meters and speculated that it might work on 15 or
20 too. Bauer added that he did not know when HF gear would be transported
to the ISS nor when it might be made available for use by a future crew. 

The EVA lasted several hours and also involved attaching six thruster plume
deflectors on the ISS as well as the ham antenna work. Installation involved
not only the mechanical deployment of the antenna but routing cables,
establishing the RF connection and even photographic documentation. 

A paper entitled "2001: an Amateur Radio Space Odyssey on the International
Space Station," which details the development of ARISS and discusses the
four new ARISS antennas is available via the ARISS Web site
<http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov/EVAs/amsat01.pdf>.

The Expedition 4 crew is tentatively scheduled to speak with students at
Butte High School in Montana the week of January 28. The contact was being
arranged either via Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI, in South Australia or via WH6PN
at Sacred Hearts Academy in Honolulu.

==>FCC MODIFIES SANCTION IN CALIFORNIA REPEATER CASE

The FCC has reduced a sanction imposed last year against a California
amateur who had been banned from using repeaters on the 144, 222, or 440-MHz
bands for three years. The case involved allegations that Ted R. Sorensen
III, KC6PQW, of Agoura Hills, California, and Gregory S. Cook, ex-KC6USO, of
Chico, California, had conspired in making late-night one-way transmissions
on the W6NUT 147.435 MHz repeater that originated from Sorensen's station.

Last March the FCC accepted Cook's voluntarily surrendered license. Although
he did not dispute the allegations, Sorensen got a lawyer and protested his
lengthy banishment. In his initial response to the FCC, Sorensen offered to
accept a suspension from talking on the W6NUT repeater for a year "as fair
punishment." After reviewing Sorensen's case, the FCC decided to accept that
less-stringent settlement of the case, rather than get involved in a
hearing.

Because Sorensen already has been off the repeater for more than two months,
the prohibition expire next September 15.

The FCC review into the operation of the W6NUT repeater continues, following
complaints of jamming by users, broadcasting, playing music and "a plethora
of other violations," the FCC said.

==>WISCONSIN AMATEUR ANTENNA BILL HEADED FOR GOVERNOR'S DESK

Wisconsin is poised to be the next state to incorporate the language of the
limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 into state law. ARRL Wisconsin
Section Manager Don Michalski, W9IXG, said the antenna bill--Assembly Bill
368, "Amateur Radio FCC PRB-1 Amateur Radio Antenna Protection Act"--passed
the State Senate this week on a voice vote.  The bill now goes to Gov Scott
McCallum for his signature.

"We would like to acknowledge this victory due to the tireless efforts of
Jim Romelfanger, K9ZZ, SK," Michalski said. "Without his hard work over many
years, it would not have been possible. This is a tribute to Jim, and we
should all be grateful." Romelfanger, a Wisconsin Amateur Radio activist,
ARRL Public Information Coordinator and editor of the Badger State Smoke
Signals ham radio newspaper, died December 22.

Wisconsin ARRL State Government Liaison Jim Lackore, AD9X, said AB 368
passed the upper chamber January 22 with no expressed opposition.

AB 368 would require that ordinances or resolutions affecting the placement,
screening or height of Amateur Radio antennas or support structures have a
"reasonable and clearly defined aesthetic, public health or safety
objective." Such an ordinance or resolution also must represent "the minimum
practical regulation" necessary to accomplish the locality's objectives and
must reasonably accommodate Amateur Radio communication.

Lackore and Michalski were encouraging Wisconsin amateur to contact Gov
McCallum and urge him to sign AB 368 into law. Lackore noted that e-mail can
be sent to McCallum's e-mail address, wisgov@gov.state.wi.us, or via the
governor's Web site <http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us>. Messages also may be
sent via fax (608-267-8983) or by mail to The Office of the Governor, 115
East State Capitol, Madison, WI 53702.

Michalski thanked everyone who has supported the bill. "Your letters have
obviously had an impact," he said. "This is the last step to passage so your
help is appreciated one more time."

To date, 13 states have incorporated PRB-1 language into their statues, and
measures are pending in a few other states. Some states, such as Alaska and
Virginia, have taken PRB-1 another step, passing laws that include schedules
of minimum antenna structure heights, below which municipalities may not
further regulate.

A copy of the pending legislation is available on the Wisconsin Legislature
Web site, <http://www.legis.state.wi.us/2001/data/AB-368.pdf>. 

==>ARRL BOARD NAMES AWARD WINNERS

The ARRL Board of Directors has named the winners of the 2001 ARRL
International Humanitarian Award and the Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional
Media Award. The Board made its selections during its meeting in Fort Worth,
Texas January 18-19.

The 2001 ARRL International Humanitarian Award winner is Dr Jim Hirschman,
K4TCV, of Miami, Florida, "in recognition of a lifetime of medicine and
public service communications that has touched so many lives and put our
Service in such a positive light," the Board said in making the award.

The Board's resolution naming Hirschman said he "combines his Amateur Radio
and medical skills to give on-air advice on a moment's notice." 

Hirschman's skills were put to the test on two occasions when individuals
were injured as a result of pirate attacks on sailing vessels in the
Caribbean Sea. In March 2000, marauders fired upon Jacco van Tuijl, KH2TD,
and his son, Willem, and attempted to commandeer the family's sailboat while
it was moored off the coast of Honduras. Willem was severely injured.
Following van Tuijl's radio calls for help, Hirschman provided live
on-the-air medical assistance for approximately nine hours until the
youngster could be evacuated to medical facilities.

Hirschman also provided critical medical advice in the wake of a subsequent
and similar incident a year later, when Bo Altheden, SM7XBH, of Sweden, was
shot by pirates who boarded his vessel. Altheden's wife put out a call for
help on 20 meters that attracted the attention of the Maritime Mobile
Service Net. The Board said the incidents were "but two examples of a
lifetime of dedication to public service that has made him well-known
internationally."

Hirschman will get an engraved plaque, and his accomplishments will be the
subject of an article in a future edition of QST.

The winner of the 2001 Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award is
Michaelangelo Conte, a staff writer for The Jersey Journal in Jersey City,
New Jersey. This award is given annually to a professional journalist (or
group) for outstanding coverage of Amateur Radio in TV, radio, print or
multimedia. The winner receives an engraved plaque and a check for $500. 

Conte's winning submission, "Radio operators took to air--Aided rescue at
Ground Zero," covered the communications activities of the Jersey City
Amateur Radio Club following the World Trade Center attack last September.
The club, which is affiliated with the Hudson County chapter of the American
Red Cross, focuses on emergency communications, was just being formed and
had not even held its first meeting prior to September 11. Several club
members were interviewed about their roles in providing a needed
communications link between Jersey City and emergency units in lower
Manhattan. 

Conte was nominated by the club's president Rich Krajewski, WB2CRD, who
subsequently renamed the new organization the Cirri Memorial Radio Club in
honor of Robert D. "Bob" Cirri Sr, KA2OTD, a Port Authority police officer
and ARRL Hudson County District Emergency Coordinator who died in the WTC
attack while helping to evacuate the buildings.

In Amateur Radio circles, Bill Leonard, a former president of CBS News, is
remembered for his 1958 contribution to Sports Illustrated, "The Battle of
the Hams," which describes the "sport of DXing." In November of 1996,
Leonard was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. Leonard
became a Silent Key in 1994. 

==>AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS HELP SAILBOAT IN DISTRESS

Amateur Radio played a role in the rescue of two people aboard the sailing
vessel Antigone that ran aground off Honduras January 24. Ed Petzolt, K1LNC,
of Hobe Sound, Florida, reports that, despite some apparently deliberate
interference, members of the Intercontinental Net on 14.300 MHz helped relay
communications from the vessel, which was equipped with an HF marine radio. 

David Walz, AG4LI/HR6, in Honduras was in contact with the vessel and passed
traffic from the stranded mariners to the Net. Petzolt said he was able to
patch the US Coast Guard in Miami through to AG4LI/HR6, so the Coast Guard
could obtain additional information and coordinate with Honduran
authorities. Petzolt said the two passengers aboard the 40-foot vessel were
safe, and the boat was on the beach. Amateurs, he said, stood by in case
serious problems arose during the rescue effort. 

The registry of the vessel and the nationalities of the passengers were not
known. The FCC was alerted to investigate the source of the interference.

==>PENNSYLVANIA RACES MEMBERS ACTIVATE FOR NURSING HOME FIRE

Hams responded December 15, 2001, after fire broke out at Cedarbrook County
Home in South Whitehall Township and soon was upgraded to a four-alarm fire.

Emergency Management Agency Coordinator James Kelly, KA3UQP, began opening
temporary shelters in anticipation of the evacuation of the 515 residents.
He notified the South Whitehall EMA team that included Jeff Kelly, N3MFT,
who is the Township EMA Communications Officer, Lehigh County Emergency
Coordinator and RACES Radio Officer. It was agreed that RACES would be
activated to staff the shelters and provide additional support. 

A net was established, and Deputy RACES Officer Bruce Bobo, KB3FIH, directed
operations from the county's mobile command center at the fire scene. RACES
members were deployed to the scene as well as at shelter locations and the
local trauma center. Over the next 24 hours, more than two dozen RACES
members helped to provide communications until temporary shelters had shut
down and residents transported to appropriate care. 

On December 17, Lehigh County EMA contacted Kelly for RACES to assist in
coordinating the return of patients to the facility, which received smoke
and water damage. Bobo said RACES was called back in to help because it was
determined that the amateur system had the best communications coverage over
the four-county area where patients had been sheltered temporarily. More
than 20 RACES members from Lehigh and Northampton counties provided support
for the safe return of all 515 residents. Authorities expressed appreciation
to the RACES teams and for use of the W3OI 146.94, W3OK 146.70 and N3MFT
448.775 MHz repeaters.--Jeff Kelly, N3MFT

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Solar seer Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average sunspot
numbers rose more than nine points this week, and average solar flux dropped
nearly eight points, so solar activity was about the same as last week.
There weren't any days with big geomagnetic upsets. Saturday was slightly
unsettled, with the planetary K index at four over two of the three-hour
reporting periods. Because of lower indices earlier, the planetary A index
for the day was only 11. 

Latest projections show stable geomagnetic conditions well into next month,
with planetary A indices in the low and mid single digits. This is generally
good for HF operators because of lower absorption. Predicted solar flux for
Friday through Sunday is 225.

NASA reported this week that the previous two solar cycles were
double-peaked, and the current one is also. At one time we believed that
Cycle 23 peaked in mid-2000, but then a larger peak emerged in late 2001. No
doubt this explains all that fabulous F2 layer propagation on 6 meters last
fall. You can read NASA's story on the Science@NASA Web site
<http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2002/18jan_solarback.htm>.

Sunspot numbers for January 17 through 23 were 122, 156, 153, 212, 187, 178
and 272 with a mean of 182.9. The 10.7 cm flux was 211.8, 210.5, 213.7,
222.2, 224.5, 228.7 and 226.5, with a mean of 219.7. Estimated planetary A
indices were 6, 5, 11, 7, 9, 6 and 6 with a mean of 7.1.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: The CQ 160-Meter Contest (CW), the REF Contest
(CW), the BARTG RTTY Sprint, the UBA DX Contest (SSB) and the Kansas QSO
Party are the weekend of January 26-27. JUST AHEAD: The North American
Sprint (SSB), the Vermont, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Delaware QSO
parties, the 10-10 International Winter Contest (SSB), the FYBO Winter QRP
Field Day, and the Mexico RTTY International Contest are the weekend of
February 2-3. 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 registration: Registration
for the Level III Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (EC-003)
will remain open over the January 26-27 weekend--or until the 50 seats are
filled. February registration for Level I will open Monday, February 4, at 4
PM Eastern Time. 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. 

* REMINDER: 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, KB1HSV, 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/>. 

* KK5DO joins AMSAT-NA Board of Directors: Bruce Paige, KK5DO, is the newest
member of the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors. Paige, a first alternate, acceded
to the Board upon the resignation of Andy MacAllister, W5ACM, who stepped
down because of a heavy professional workload. Paige will serve out the
remainder of MacAllister's term, which runs through September. AMSAT-NA
President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, has appointed Paige to also replace
MacAllister as vice president of user services. "I thank Andy for his many
years of service to AMSAT and his active role as vice president of user
services," said Haighton, who expressed his regrets at MacAllister's
resignation but said he looked forward to MacAllister's "wise counsel" on
future AMSAT matters. In a teleconference January 17, the AMSAT Board
appointed AMSAT-NA's immediate past president Keith Baker, KB1SF, as
executive vice president of AMSAT. "I welcome Keith, with his past
experience and working knowledge of AMSAT," Haighton said. Paige will
continue as AMSAT-NA's awards manager. 

* New Jersey call sign license plates to bear "Amateur Radio" legend:
Starting in February, New Jersey amateurs will be able to request call sign
license plates bearing the legend "Amateur Radio," thanks to an amendment to
the state's existing call sign license plate statute. The amendment was
signed December 28, 2001, by then-acting Gov Donald DiFrancesco. The DMV is
not yet ready to process new plates at this point, however. Northern New
Jersey Section Manager Bill Hudzik, W2UDT, said the amendment now allows
hams with leased vehicles to apply for plates, includes the words "Amateur
Radio" on the plates, and increases the fee to $15. "Many New Jersey hams
have worked over the years to make this happen," said Hudzik, who credited
ASM John Hults, K2WJ, with started the ball rolling on the amendment some
eight years ago. The measure also got help over the years from then-Hudson
Division Director Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML--now Hudson Division Vice
Director--as well as past Northern New Jersey SM Jeff Friedman, K3JF; the
bill's original sponsor, Assemblyman Nick Felice, W2YGM; Frank Terranella,
N2IGO, who drafted the bill's text; and Northern New Jersey State Government
Liaison Ray Makul, K1XV. "This was a true team effort!" Hudzik said.

* Shiro Nomura, JA1CB, SK: Retired Kenwood executive and chief engineer
Shiro Nomura, JA1CB, of Tokyo, Japan, died January 18. He was 70. An ARRL
and Japan Amateur Radio League member, Nomura was a Kenwood Communications
Corporations chief engineer and research-and-development manager prior to
his retirement. He also was the designer of the popular TS-930S transceiver.
Between 1989 and 1997, he directed Kenwood USA operations in California.
Nomura was a DXCC Honor Roll member (352 mixed) and was active on the air
until shortly before he died. Survivors include his wife and the couple's
son and daughter. A service was held January 22 in Tokyo. Friends may
express condolences to the family via e-mail, ja1cb@jarl.com.--Junji Saito,
JA7SSB

* Call for papers for Southeastern VHF Conference: The Southeastern VHF
Society has issued its first call for papers for the sixth annual
Southeastern VHF Conference. The conference will be held April 26-27 in Oak
Ridge, Tennessee. Registration, program details, hotel and travel
information is available on the Society's Web site <http://www.svhfs.org/>.
The conference will include presentations from accomplished VHF-UHF Amateur
Radio enthusiasts. In addition, the program will include antenna gain
measurements, pre-amp gain and noise figure measurements, the Friday evening
flea market with vendor displays, the Saturday afternoon auction and the
Saturday evening banquet. To submit a paper for inclusion in the Conference
Proceedings, contact Skip Coppola, KG4QDZ, kg4qdz@arrl.net. The submission
deadline is March 1, 2002. Proceedings of the 2002 Southeastern VHF Society
Conference will be available from ARRL. 

=========================================================== 
The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American
Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St,
Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259;
http://www.arrl.org. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President

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The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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