ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 21, No. 5
February 1, 2002
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +President Bush gives ham radio a try!
* +ARRL to pull out all stops on 70-cm band threat
* +Members' donation will help preserve ham radio history
* +ARRL Field Day changes announced
* +RFI complaints have Ohio ham on the ropes
* +New distance records set on GHz bands
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF: 
     This weekend on the radio
     Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course registration
     Mystery satellite identified
    +Broadcasters may borrow amateur band for Winter Olympics coverage
     Olympic site is NOAA Weather Radio-ready, thanks to hams
     Alan H. McMillan, W0JJK, SK
     FCC converting ATINs to FRNs
     Man injured installing antenna
     Hamfests change dates
     AMSAT-UK colloquium seeks papers

+Available on ARRL Audio News

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

==>PRESIDENT BUSH ADDRESSES FLORIDA ARES NET

President George W. Bush spoke January 31 via Amateur Radio to members of
the Northern Florida Amateur Radio Emergency Service Net (NFAN). The
president was in Florida to spotlight five volunteer groups for their value
to the new Office of Homeland Security--among them the Volusia County
Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES).

"I want to thank all the volunteers who help make sure that Florida is
prepared for any kind of emergency," the president said in part, after
checking in around 9:15 AM to a regular session of the 75-meter ARES net. "I
want to thank you all for helping your communities be prepared."

Northern Florida ARRL Section Manager Rudy Hubbard, WA4PUP, said Bush spoke
from a portable station set up at a Daytona Beach-area fire station. At the
request of ARES Volusia County Emergency Coordinator Joette Barnett, KG4HPN,
John Schmidt, AF4PU, and Clifford Fraser, KE4HIY, arranged to have the
station ready as a demonstration of Amateur Radio's role in emergency
preparedness and in the hope that Bush would be willing to address the
75-meter net. Hearing the president check into the net was a pleasant
surprise, Hubbard said.

ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, said he was "extremely gratified" that
President Bush recognized the valuable service Amateur Radio operators
provide in times of emergencies. "I know that all hams in the United States
stand ready to do their part in America's Homeland Security Program," Haynie
commented. Haynie has said that defining Amateur Radio's role in homeland
security would top his list of initiatives for his second term.

Hubbard said a copy of proposed expanded Amateur Radio antenna
(PRB-1)legislation was given to the President and to the president's
brother, Florida Gov Jeb Bush, for possible introduction in next year's
Florida legislative session. "We Amateur Radio operators will volunteer
however we're needed, and maybe it will be seen that we can greatly help the
nation if we have the antennas we need," Hubbard commented. The proposed
bill would seek to extend Florida's PRB-1 law to include private deed
covenants, conditions and restrictions.

Bush's stop in Florida was part of a swing through the southeastern US,
which also included stops in North Carolina and Georgia. The Daytona Beach
event marked a rare appearance on ham radio by a sitting president. Former
President Gerald Ford spoke via a ham radio satellite hookup in 1986.

==>ARRL GOING TO THE MAT ON 70-CM BAND THREAT

ARRL officials met recently with FCC staff members as part of the League's
effort to stave off a band threat on 70 cm. ARRL General Counsel Chris
Imlay, W3KD, and Technical Relations Manager Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, delivered
an ex parte presentation to FCC Office of Engineering and Technology
staffers on January 14. At issue was SAVI Technology's plan--already
tentatively agreed to by the FCC--to deploy unlicensed transient RF
identification devices between 425 and 435 MHz at much higher field
strengths and duty cycles than Part 15 rules now permit for such devices.
RFID tags are used to track and inventory parcel shipments.

"We told them that this was the worst possible choice of bands for these
RFIDs," Imlay said. "Besides, there's no technical justification for that
choice of frequencies." The request to use 70 cm has more to do with
economics than technology, he said, because SAVI needs to bring down the
cost of RFIDs in order to make a profit.

Imlay added that the ARRL would "do whatever it takes" to stave off the
threat, including further direct appeals to FCC staff. The ARRL plans to
file "strongly worded" comments on the SAVI petition by the February 12
comment deadline. Reply comments are due by March 12, 2002. Imlay said he
was assured that SAVI's request "was not a done deal."

The FCC acted on the SAVI request last October in an FCC Notice of Proposed
Rule Making and Order (ET Docket 01-278). The ARRL argued in comments filed
last March that the field strengths and duty cycles SAVI proposed for its
RFID tags as Part 15 "periodic radiators" were unreasonable and "would
undoubtedly seriously disrupt amateur communications in one of the most
popular of the Amateur Service allocations," particularly for weak-signal
enthusiasts. 

The League also believes the FCC lacks the statutory authority to permit the
RFID tags under its Part 15 rules in the configuration SAVI has requested.
The ARRL argues that under the Communications Act of 1934, such devices with
substantial interference potential must be licensed. The ARRL also has
suggested that SAVI pick one of the Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM)
bands instead of 425-435 MHz.

The ARRL's January 14 ex parte presentation was complemented by an
interference study prepared by ARRL Lab Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI, and ARRL
Senior Engineer Zack Lau, W1VT. A copy of the interference study and more
information is available on the ARRL Web site "Band Threats" page
<http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/rm-1005/SaviExParte.pdf>.

==>ARRL MEMBERS' DONATION TO HELP PRESERVE AMATEUR RADIO HISTORY

A generous donation from an Amateur Radio couple from Dallas will support
the ARRL's efforts to preserve ham radio's history. ARRL Chief Development
Officer Mary Hobart announced the contribution from Barry Merrill, W5GN, and
Judith Spencer Merrill, KA5PQD, this week. The Merrills are ARRL life
members.

"ARRL is proud to acknowledge the Merrills' exceptional generosity in
support of the Preservation of Artifacts Fund," Hobart said. "Their donation
is dedicated to the conservation of the valuable books, papers and artifacts
that define the history of Amateur Radio."

The Merrills' desire to contribute was prompted in part by recent
exploratory efforts--primarily by ARRL Pacific Division Director Jim
Maxwell, W6CF, and his wife, Trudy, KC6NAX--to assess and inventory papers,
pamphlets, correspondence and photographs now stored in an attic room at
ARRL Headquarters. 

The Merrills said the recent discovery of very early correspondence and
documents by the founders and early leaders of Amateur Radio "comprise a
unique history that will be lost forever without archival preservation."
They expressed the hope that the documentary materials one day might be made
accessible to the public, at least in digital form.

The ARRL Historical Committee, chaired by New England Director Tom Frenaye,
K1KI, says the Maxwells' efforts helped increase sensitivity to the
historical importance and value of some of the items on display or in daily
use at Headquarters. For their part, the Maxwells say the uncatalogued
material in the attic was the tip of the iceberg of a possible historical
treasure trove.

In his report to the Historical Committee, Maxwell emphasized the importance
of moving the documents and photographs into a more friendly environment.
The Historical Committee wants to be able to inventory and store as many of
the documents and photographs as possible over the next few months.

Hobart invited other League members to join the Merrills in helping to
conserve Amateur Radio's documentary history. "The conservation project
supported so generously by Barry and Judy Merrill will take months, if not
years," she said. "If you would like to join them in building the historical
record of ARRL, we would be pleased to hear from you."

Contact Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, mhobart@arrl.org;
860-594-0397, or send contributions to the Preservation of Artifacts Fund,
c/o Chief Development Officer Mary M. Hobart, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington
CT 06111.

==>ARRL FIELD DAY, AFFILIATED CLUB COMPETITION CHANGES ANNOUNCED

The ARRL has adopted rule changes affecting Field Day and the ARRL
Affiliated Club Competition program. The primary Field Day change--effective
with this year's event June 22-23--phases out the Novice-Technician station
and replaces it with a new station category, the "Get-On-The-Air"--or
GOTA--station. 

A GOTA station is intended for operation by  Novice and Technician operators
or by generally inexperienced or inactive amateurs as well as by
as-yet-unlicensed or "under-licensed" operators working under the privileges
of a licensed control operator (third-party traffic rules apply--see the
International Third Party Traffic page on the ARRL Web site
<http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/io/3rdparty.html>). Under the
revised rules, any Class A Field Day entry operating at least two
transmitters may include a GOTA station, which will not count as an
additional transmitter for the purpose of entry category.

The GOTA station may operate on any Field Day band and mode, but only one
GOTA transmitter may be in use at any given time. The GOTA station may
complete up to 400 QSOs to be counted toward the group's total Field Day
score. A Field Day group can claim 100 bonus points if its GOTA station
successfully completes 400 QSOs. The GOTA station does not affect the
additional VHF/UHF station provided under Field Day rule 4.1.2.

Field Day 2002 will mark the first in which stations throughout the Americas
have been invited to participate. As approved at the July 2001 ARRL Board of
Directors' meeting, all International Amateur Radio Union Region 2
countries--North and South America--may take part in Field Day starting this
June.

Complete Field Day rules and information packet will be available on the
ARRL Web Contest Forms and Rules page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/forms>
in early February. Field Day 2002 pins and T-shirt may be ordered now via
the ARRL Web catalog
<http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?category=&words=Field+Day+Pin>. 

Changes to the ARRL Affiliated Club Competition program also were included
in the report of the Membership Services Committee (MSC), presented to the
ARRL Board of Directors at its January meeting. In accordance with the
advice of the ARRL Contest Advisory Committee, five specific affiliated club
competition changes will go into effect November 1. Under the revised rules:

* The requirement that a member must attend at least two club meetings a
year in order to be allowed to submit a score for a club in the unlimited
and medium categories has been altered. The new rules will allow
participation by "a member in good standing, as defined by the club."

* Medium and unlimited clubs now may define their club service area either
as a 175-mile radius circle or as an entire ARRL section. This change will
allow clubs from larger states that encompass entire ARRL sections to
compete with each other.

* The percentage of operators who must be members of a club in order for the
club to claim a score from a multioperator station has been reduced from 66%
to 50%.

* A station owner no longer must be a member of a club in order for a guest
operator at the station to claim the score for that club.

* Canadian clubs that are full Radio Amateurs of Canada affiliates now may
participate in the ARRL Affiliated Clubs Competition.

These changes affect ARRL contests that include a club competition--January
VHF Sweepstakes, the ARRL International DX Contest, the September VHF Party,
the ARRL November Sweepstakes, the ARRL 160-Meter Contest and the ARRL
10-Meter Contest.

Complete rules for all ARRL-sponsored operating events are available on the
ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/contests/announcements/>. For more
information, contact ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND,
n1nd@arrl.org.

==>RFI COMPLAINTS, CITY COUNCIL INVOLVEMENT FRUSTRATE MICHIGAN AMATEUR

Rob Underwood, W8YRB, says RFI complaints have him at his wit's end. The
Wyoming, Michigan, ARRL member says his efforts to resolve some neighbors'
complaints of stubborn interference are at an impasse. To add to his
frustration, the Wyoming City Council now has asked the FCC to step in, and
the situation has erupted into a media spectacle that, he says, hasn't done
much for ham radio's image.

The FCC's position with respect to RFI to consumer devices is that the
consumer device--telephone, stereo, TV or other appliance--most often is to
blame, and that consumers need to deal with appliance manufacturers.

Underwood says he's gone the extra mile to resolve interference complaints,
but one neighbor a half block away has become especially intractable,
pinning blame for interference to her telephone and touch lamp squarely on
him. The woman ultimately complained to the city council, which met January
21 and unanimously agreed to contact the FCC.

Underwood said city council members "threw their hands in the air, and most
of them said it was my station that needed to be 'filtered' and didn't want
to hear what my solutions were." Twenty one amateurs reportedly attended the
council meeting on Underwood's behalf, and one Council member praised
Underwood's attempts to assist and to educate everyone. 

Underwood said, however, that several other neighbors turned up at the
session with new RFI complaints he hadn't heard before. He's volunteered to
assist them. Underwood says media coverage has focused on the neighbors'
complaints rather than on his efforts to respond to them.

The neighbor's touch lamp seems especially susceptible to RFI and even
flickers when he keys his 100-W mobile transmitter while driving by her
house, Underwood said. Although he installed some ferrite chokes on the
lamp's power cord, the problem persisted. The neighbor has refused further
offers of help.

Underwood reports that his own home is essentially free of RFI problems,
with the exception of his cordless telephones when he runs his amplifier. He
said he installed RF chokes on telephone equipment for his immediate
neighbors who had complained of problems, and they have not reported any
interference since.

Underwood has the full support of ARRL Michigan Section Manager Dick Mondro,
W8FQT, who noted that the FCC Detroit Field Office was also aware of the
problem and has been cooperating in resolving the issue. 

ARRL provides information and resources to deal with RFI problems on the
ARRL Web site's RFI pages <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/rfigen.html>.

==>NEW RECORDS SET AT 241 GHZ AND 322 GHZ

Contacts made in mid-December "on the ultra-highs" by microwave enthusiast
Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, set new North American records on two bands that
amateurs don't encounter routinely--241 and 322 GHz.

On December 15, Justin, operating W2SZ/4 in Virginia, made contact with
Gordon Howell, WA4RTS/4, on the 322-GHz band "over a whopping distance of
0.05 km (about 164 feet)," he said. Both stations were located in FM07ji. 

"I know it's not much as far as DX is concerned, but it's on par with
DB6NT's 411-GHz DX record and is a North American first for the 300-GHz
band, excluding light," he added.

About an hour later another QSO was made between W2SZ/4 and WA4RTS/4 on 241
GHz over a distance of 1.1 km (approximately 3609 feet). "This is a North
American first for the band and a new NA record at the same time," Justin
said. 

Both contacts were made using modulated CW and wideband FM receivers. The
power output on 322 GHz was estimated to be just a few microwatts, while the
power on 241 GHz was measured at 0.75 mW. The stations were constructed of
80.6-GHz free running Gunn oscillators driving GaAs diode triplers. Both
setups used homebrew six-inch parabolic dishes with hyperbolic
sub-reflectors. 

Justin said the next step is to phase-lock the Gunn oscillators to crystal
oscillators in the future to permit using narrowband modulation, "thus
resulting in better DX." WA1ZMS estimated that over the span of his ham
radio career, he's operated at least once on every available Amateur Radio
band.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Solar seer Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average solar flux
was up nearly 30 points this week, and average sunspot numbers rose by
nearly 15. Solar flux peaked on Tuesday at 261 and is probably headed down
for a while. Predicted solar flux for Friday through Monday is 250, 245, 240
and 235.

There was an M-1 solar flare at 2005 UTC on Saturday, and the flare may have
enhanced the daily solar flux reading for that day--which was 256.5. This
reading is at noon local time (2000 UTC) in Penticton, British Columbia, but
there is also a morning reading and a third one in the afternoon. The
morning reading for that day was 244.1 and the afternoon flux was 248.8.

Saturday's flare didn't cause any noticeable geomagnetic disturbance. Friday
had a brief period when the planetary K index was 4, and the high-latitude
Alaska College K index was 5, but the rest of the period was so quiet that,
for all week, the A index was in the single digits.

Sunspot numbers for January 24 through 30 were 173, 196, 194, 189, 207, 214
and 210, with a mean of 197.6. The 10.7-cm flux was 230.8, 234.8, 256.5,
248, 259.8, 261 and 256.3, with a mean of 249.6. Estimated planetary A
indices were 4, 8, 7, 7, 6, 4 and 3 with a mean of 5.6.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: 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. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL
School Club Roundup is February 11-16. The North American Sprint (CW), the
Six Club Second Winter Contest, the CQ/RJ WW RTTY WPX Contest, the Utah QSO
Party, the Asia-Pacific Sprint (CW), the Dutch PACC Contest, the YL-OM
Contest (CW), the FISTS Winter Sprint, the RSGB 1.8-MHz Contest (CW) and the
QRP ARCI Winter Fireside SSB Sprint are the weekend of February 9-10. 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 I Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (EC-001) will
open Monday, February 4, 2002, 4 PM Eastern Time. Registration for Level II
will open on Monday, February 11; registration for Level III will open
February 18. 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. 

* Mystery satellite identified: AMSAT News Service reports that a "mystery
satellite" that had been transmitting frequency-modulated AFSK and CW on
144.100 MHz for several days was identified as MAROC-TUBSAT, an
Earth-sensing spacecraft owned by the Royal Center for Remote Sensing--a
Moroccan government agency. The satellite was placed into a polar orbit by a
Russian launcher on December 10. When informed of the interference to
amateur operations, the agency immediately shut down the 144.100-MHz
transmitter. MAROC-TUBSAT also has a downlink at 436.075 MHz, which is
switched on over North Africa and Europe when the control stations in
Morocco and Germany are active. It has not been heard elsewhere. IARU
Satellite Adviser Hans van de Groenendaal, ZS6AKV, is seeking more
information from ARRAM--the Moroccan national radio society.--ANS via Ray
Soifer, W2RS 

* Broadcasters may borrow amateur band for Winter Olympics coverage: The FCC
has granted the Salt Lake Organizing Committee a Special Temporary Authority
to utilize the 13 centimeter band (2300-2305 and 2390-2450 MHz) for
broadcast auxiliary operations at Olympic venues through March 1. While the
STA does not forbid amateur use of the band between now and then, it does
authorize the Broadcast Auxiliary Service as a co-secondary user until March
1. "These types of STAs are not unusual during major broadcast events, and
the Olympic Games qualify," said ARRL regulatory correspondent Brennan
Price, N4QX. The FCC has designated the Salt Lake Organizing Committee as
the single point of contact for coordinating operations under ß74.24 of the
Commission's rules through March 31, 2002, for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games
and Paralympic Games to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

* Olympic site is NOAA Weather Radio-ready, thanks to hams: With the help of
local Amateur Radio operators in the Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah,
area, the Olympic village in Park City has 24-hour NOAA Weather Radio
coverage. "There was absolutely no weather radio coverage in Park City due
to the mountain range between our SLC transmitter and Park City," said Joe
Lachacz, KF6NHD, a NOAA Weather Radio Specialist. Steve Mainwaring NZ6Z, Don
Lloyd, KD7BA, and Greg Lundell, K7UHP, installed the NOAA Weather Radio on
Quarry Ridge in Park City. Olympic venues in Park City include bobsledding,
luge and downhill skiing.--Joe Lachacz, KF6NHD

* Alan H. McMillan, W0JJK, SK: Alan McMillan, W0JJK, of Council Bluffs,
Iowa, died January 15. He was 71. An ARRL member for more than 50 years,
McMillan was perhaps best known to an earlier generation of amateurs as the
sales manager for World Radio Labs (WRL), where he also contributed to the
design of the Globe series of transmitters. Later, he worked on Galaxy
radios--also part of the ham radio line offered by WRL's Leo Meyerson,
W0GFQ. After retiring from WRL, McMillan founded Hobby Industries, selling
ham gear and, until his death, operating Hi-Manuals
<http://www.hi-manuals.com/HomePage.htm>, which continues to offer reprints
of operating and service manuals for older ham gear.

* FCC converting ATINs to FRNs: Acronym alert! Acronym alert! Everyone to
get from street! (with apologies to the old movie, The Russians are Coming,
the Russians are Coming!) The FCC is completing the conversion of Assigned
Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ATINs) to Commission Registration System
(CORES) FCC Registration Numbers (FRNs). ATINs were issued to amateur
applicants--to clubs and to non-US citizens--who did not qualify for a
Social Security Number, so they could register for the FCC's Universal
Licensing System (ULS). The FCC issued most ATINS, but some were issued by a
Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) or Club Station Call Sign Administrator
(CSCSA). An FCC spokesperson said all ATINs should be converted to FRNs by
mid-February. The FCC has discontinued the use of ATINs, since the CORES
registration process provides an exception for club stations and
non-citizens to obtain an FRN. The FRN then may be used to access the ULS,
which incorporates the Amateur Service licensing database (among other
services).

* Man injured installing antenna: The Electrical Contractor Network
<http://electrical-contractor.net/> reports that an Indiana man--apparently
not an amateur--was critically burned when the antenna he was trying to
install came in contact with an overhead power line. The account says that
21-year-old Steven Long of Brazil suffered third-degree burns over half his
body in the incident, which also burned the tree to which he was attaching
the antenna. When emergency workers arrived, they found the antenna draped
across the power line, the tree charred from the fire and Long hanging onto
a lower branch. Brazil firefighters had to wait for utility workers to cut
power to the line before they could rescue Long. See the Electrical
Contractor Network Web site
<http://electrical-contractor.net/ubb/Forum14/HTML/000146.html> for
additional details.--submitted by George Corron, AF4JH 

* Hamfests change dates: Radiofest 2002 in Monterey/Seaside, California, has
changed its date to February 23. The hamfest, sponsored by the Naval
Postgraduate School Amateur Radio Club, will be held at the General Stilwell
Community Center (old Fort Ord), 4260 Gigling Rd. For more information,
contact chairman Brian Broggie, W6FVI, w6fvi@arrl.net, or visit the
Radiofest Web site <http://www.k6ly.org/radiofest>. The Red River Radio
Amateurs have changed the date of their hamfest in West Fargo, North Dakota,
to March 16 at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds. For more information,
contact Mike Woytassek, N0VGV, mikew@rrra.org, or visit the club's Web site,
<http://www.rrra.org>. 

* AMSAT-UK colloquium seeks papers: The 17th AMSAT-UK Colloquium, set for
July 26-28 at University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom,
invites speakers to submit papers about Amateur Radio space and associated
activities, both for the event and for the Proceedings, to be published
following the event. Authors are asked to present their papers in person if
possible. Offers of papers should be submitted as soon as possible; the
final date for full documents to be received is mid-June 2002. Send
submissions to Richard Limebear, G3RWL, g3rwl@amsat.org, or to 60 Willow Rd,
Enfield EN1 3NQ, UK. AMSAT-UK also invites suggestions for program topics.
This year's Colloquium will include sessions aimed specifically at beginners
to Amateur Radio satellite operating.--ANS via Richard Limebear, G3RWL 

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