*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 07 February 15, 2002 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL challenges FCC's authority in new RFID proposal * +Vanity holdup resolution could be near * +Hams aid Winter Olympics * +Conference hears of ham radio's benefit to hurricane forecasters * +ARRL to comment on 5-GHz wireless networking proposal * +Changes announced in ARRL's Field & Educational Services * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio Field Day 2002 rules, packets now available ARRL Headquarters closed for Presidents' Day holiday Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course registration +Body of amateur lost in World Trade Center collapse located +Wayne C. Williams, K4MOB, SK +Many happy returns to W8HKY, age 101! New satellites get OSCAR numbers New listserver established for Web resource discussions QCWA honors K4FW Second Winter Olympics special event station on the air +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>ARRL ASKS FCC TO DROP RFID RULES PROPOSED FOR 425-435 MHz The ARRL says the FCC "cannot legally proceed with the rules proposed for unlicensed RFID tags at 433 MHz," and it's asked the Commission to not adopt them. The League filed comments February 12 as part of its continued opposition to what it called "this ill-conceived proposal" of SAVI Technology 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. The FCC appears inclined to agree with SAVI's proposal, but FCC staff members have told the ARRL that it's not a "done deal." "The level of interference from the devices permitted under the proposed rule is intolerable," the ARRL argued, citing its own interference study. The League reiterated its stance that the Communications Act of 1934 "is devoid of any authority to allow unlicensed devices with substantial interference potential; such devices must be licensed." SAVI, the ARRL argues in its comments, "wants to have its cake and eat it too" by getting high power levels and lengthy duty cycles operating on a band heavily used by a licensed radio service that uses sensitive receivers "and all of the above on an unlicensed basis." Among other applications, RFID tags are used to track and inventory parcel shipments and vehicles. The ARRL said the FCC's inclination to go along with SAVI Technology's proposal "eviscerates the periodic radiator rules, is vague and overbroad," and would permit digital RFIDs to operate "at unsuitable power levels and duty cycles." The result would be unacceptable interference that would "preclude or repeatedly disrupt amateur operation," the ARRL said. The ARRL also said that the cost of the tags is a problem for SAVI, and the choice of frequency band is related only to the cost of components. The League said SAVI chose 433.9 MHz as an operating frequency because of the availability of relatively cheap components in Europe, where the 433.05-434.79 MHz band is available for industrial, scientific and medical uses in at least 10 countries. The ARRL pointed out that deploying the proposed RFID tags elsewhere would make much better sense than 70 cm. "SAVI should seriously consider the frequencies around 868 or 915 MHz, which apparently stand at least some reasonable chance of global standardization," the ARRL advised. The RFID rules proposed in response to SAVI's Petition for Rule Making last year "are flawed from their inception and should not be adopted under any circumstances," the League concluded. The ARRL has said it will "do whatever it takes" to keep the FCC from permitting the RFID tags on 70 cm. That could include further direct appeals to FCC staffers, Imlay has said. The FCC included the Part 15 RFID proposals within a larger proceeding, ET-01-278, that's aimed primarily at reviewing and updating portions of its Part 2, 15 and 18 rules. A copy of the ARRL's comments in the proceeding is available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/savi/arrl-savicmts-0.html>. Reply comments are due by March 12, 2002. ==>DIM LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL IN VANITY HOLDUP Despite a rising level of annoyance among those awaiting Amateur Radio vanity call signs, the FCC remains at a standstill in terms of resolving the current stalemate. No vanity call signs have been granted since February 1, when applications received at the FCC October 22, 23 and 24 were processed. The FCC subsequently realized that it needed further information for an October 23 application, and--at least for now--it has rescinded vanity grants for October 23 and 24. Prior to late January, no vanity call signs had been issued since October 30. The ARRL estimates that some 1800 vanity applications now are in the FCC's processing pipeline--the majority of them filed electronically. The current holdup stems from the fact that some mail destined for the FCC's Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, office last October was diverted to Washington, DC, with other FCC mail for anthrax decontamination. That mail, which included more than 100 vanity applications filed on paper, never got back to Gettysburg, where the FCC processes all vanity applications. Since the FCC's policy is to give equal priority to electronic and paper vanity applications, the whole process ground to a halt when the paper applications went missing. Payment receipts were not lost, however, and using that information, FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau personnel in Gettysburg scrambled to contact known applicants via e-mail or telephone to have them resubmit copies of their vanity applications. That process was largely successful. Right now, it appears that only three vanity applications filed during the last couple of weeks of October remain outstanding. The FCC has been unable to reach the applicants via e-mail or telephone, however. Wireless Bureau staffers also have been dealing with similar issues involving date-sensitive applications in other radio services. The FCC has been considering issuing a formal public notice with a cutoff date for outstanding applicants in the Amateur Vanity and in the other similarly affected FCC services to respond--a process that could take weeks. In the meantime, the ARRL has been assisting the FCC in efforts to contact the missing applicants, collect the necessary information and get it to the Commission as soon as possible. If that effort is successful, the vanity logjam could begin to break as early as next week. Once vanity processing resumes, the FCC is not expected to process all of the remaining applications in a single batch. It's more likely that the processing would be spread out over a period of a few days. Last week, the FCC said it was making arrangements to test for possible anthrax contamination at the off-site mailroom serving the Gettysburg office. The Gettysburg testing would be "a further precaution," the FCC said, and there was no indication that any anthrax was present at Gettysburg or that the testing would have any impact on the processing of any Amateur Service applications. Since October, the FCC has been urging all applicants to file electronically. ==>AMATEUR RADIO VOLUNTEERS SUPPORTING OLYMPICS Following months of planning and coordination, Amateur Radio is supporting the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, which got under way in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 8. Ham radio volunteers are assisting with security and remain available to provide back-up communication. "The amateurs involved have assisted numerous local and federal agencies to develop a unique system that covers the entire Wasatch Front Area, providing communications to reach numerous Olympic venues 24 hours a day," said Utah ARRL Section Manager Mel Parkes, AC7CP. "Amateur Radio will be there should any of the primary frequencies fail or become unavailable." According to Parkes, Utah Section Emergency Coordinator John Mabey,W7CWK, and Brent Thomas, AC7H, from the State of Utah Comprehensive Management Office began working on this effort over a year ago. A special public safety organization--Utah Olympic Public Safety Command (UOPSC)--was created by the various local and national public safety organizations that provide the security necessary for the international event. Mabey, along with Davis County EC Hall Blankenship, KC7RAF; Kirk Boman, KD0J; Ed Cole, KB7EC; and Mike Youngs, KK7VZ, headed up the Amateur Radio effort to provide emergency backup communication for the Olympic Security Command. "UOPSC has now involved more than 200 Amateur Radio volunteers in Utah to support this critical security effort," Parkes said. In addition Amateur Radio volunteers are staffing a number of Olympic Security Command centers assisting local and national public safety organizations. Nevada SEC Paul Cavnar, NN7B, says hams in his state remain on standby in case they're needed to help with communications. Cavnar said hams in Nevada, Idaho and Northern California also are prepared to assist in the unlikely event of a mass evacuation of the Winter Olympics site. "The hard work and dedication by all these Amateur Radio operators will certainly contribute to a very successful and safe Winter Olympic Games," Parkes said. ==>CONFERENCE TOLD OF HAM RADIO'S VALUE TO HURRICANE FORECASTERS Attendees at the seventh annual Amateur Radio Hurricane Conference earlier this month in Miami gained some insights into how forecasters make use of reports gathered via ham radio to produce hurricane and tropical storm advisories. National Hurricane Center staffer Stacy Stewart described how so-called "ground truth" reports from hams in an affected region can augment data gathered via instruments, radar and satellites and permit forecasters to generate more accurate models of storms in progress. Nearly a full house of some 40 attendees turned out for the conference February 2 at the National Hurricane Center. The annual event was organized by volunteers and operators of W4EHW--the Hurricane Center's Amateur Radio station, now in its 22nd year. During an Atlantic or Gulf storm, real-time weather data from amateurs is funneled to forecasters via the Hurricane Watch Net <http://www.hwn.org> and W4EHW to benefit forecasters in tracking the storm and predicting its likely path. Stewart told the gathering that, among other things, ground truth reports can give forecasters a more meaningful picture of wind velocities at different elevations. The eyewitness ham radio reports also can help forecasters to pin down a storm's location and give them a clearer idea of what actions the public is taking or might have to take, he said. In addition to W4EHW operators and team members, those attending included representatives of the ARRL, the Hurricane Watch Net, Florida Emergency Management, and radio amateurs from the US Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, and Bermuda. Hurricane Center Amateur Radio Coordinator John McHugh, KU4GY, opened the conference and gave an update on the Caribbean Amateur Radio Meteorological Emergency Network (CARMEN) project <http://www.fiu.edu/orgs/w4ehw/>. Assistant Amateur Radio Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4JR, recounted the 2001 hurricane season and W4EHW's supporting operations. He presented some of the reports and photographs sent in from affected areas, including Belize during Hurricane Iris, and Cuba and the Bahamas during Hurricane Michelle. Assistant Hurricane Watch Net Manager Mike Pilgrim, K5MP, described the Net's ongoing mission and activities. ARRL's Steve Ewald, WV1X, discussed the support that the League provides for emergency preparedness and training and gave a plug to the popular ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course series <http://www.arrl.org/cce/syllabus.html>. He said the ARECC courses offer a standardized approach to emergency communications training. Ewald said the ARRL's Field Organization continues to play a vital role in disasters and emergencies, and he thanked all participants for "carrying on the mission of Amateur Radio public service." Individuals honored with W4EHW/National Hurricane Center awards of appreciation in recognition of support rendered during the 2001 hurricane season were: FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH; Wayne Wilkinson, KC4CYK/C6A; Mike Matalon, 6Y5MM; Alison Barton, KF6HYJ/mm; Brian Hamilton; Alexis Digon, CL4RP; and Lionel Remigio, KC4CLD. The conference closed with a tour of the operations room at the National Hurricane Center and W4EHW. "We hope for peace on Earth and a quiet 2002 hurricane season," McHugh said. For more information, visit the W4EHW Web site <http://www.fiu.edu/orgs/w4ehw/>. ==>MORE 5-GHZ SPECTRUM SOUGHT FOR WIRELESS NETWORKING DEVICES The Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance--WECA, an industry coalition--has petitioned the FCC for additional 5-GHz spectrum to make more room for radio local area network (RLAN) systems and other unlicensed Part 15 devices. The FCC put the WECA petition on public notice in late January, not long after it was filed. WECA seeks to extend the available spectrum to include 5.470 to 5.725 GHz. The Amateur Service now shares 5.650 to 5.925 GHz on a secondary basis with government and nongovernment radars and nongovernment fixed satellite uplinks. The ARRL plans to comment on the WECA proposal. "Layering relatively high-power Part 15 users on 5.650-5.725 GHz would reduce the utility of the amateur allocation," said ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ. He said the amateur 5-GHz allocation already has suffered from earlier FCC actions. In 1997, the FCC allocated 5.150 to 5.350 GHz and 5.725 to 5.825 GHz for so-called Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) wireless local area network devices. In 1998, the Commission allocated 5.850 to 5.925 GHz for dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) systems in the Intelligent Transportation System. WECA says the additional spectrum and proposed rule changes are needed to "accommodate the inevitable explosion of demand for broadband mobile wireless data systems." In its petition, designated as RM-10371, WECA asserted that extending the spectrum available for unlicensed Part 15 devices at 5 GHz can be accomplished easily and "without harmful interference to other primary users." The coalition proposed extending the technical rules now in place for U-NII devices at 5.25 to 5.35 GHz to cover the new frequencies. Interested parties may comment on the petition using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) <http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html>. Click on "Search for Filed Comments" and enter "RM-10371" in the "Proceeding" field. Comments are due by the end of February. ==>ARRL FIELD & EDUCATIONAL SERVICES ANNOUNCES CHANGES ARRL Field & Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, has announced the creation of two teams to help streamline the department's varied support activities. White has named Steve Ewald, WV1X, to lead the new Field Organization/Public Service Team, and Mary Lau, N1VH, to lead the new Field & Educational Support Team. White said the new teams, announced February 8, will permit F&ES staff members with common goals to more easily share their expertise, ideas, and resources and better serve League members. Ewald's Field Organization/Public Service Team will support the activities of field volunteers, who further ARRL objectives at the local and section level. Ewald thus becomes the primary contact person at ARRL Headquarters for Section Managers. He will continue as the League's expert on emergency communications, public service and the field organization. "Public service is one of the most important aspects of Amateur Radio and one of the main reasons why we enjoy the many frequencies we've been allocated," White said. Ewald's team includes Leona Adams and Linda Mullally, KB1HSV. Lau's Field & Educational Support Team will work with field volunteers active in the education and recruiting of new hams, as well as provide support for ARRL-affiliated clubs and ARRL-sanctioned conventions and hamfests. F&ES also sponsors annual events, such as Jamboree On The Air, Kid's Day and School Club Roundup, and the ARRL's annual educator and technical awards. Lau's team includes Jean Wolfgang, WB3IOS, Gail Iannone, and Margie Bourgoin, KB1DCO. White stressed that Amateur Radio education in arenas other than schools will continue to be a major focus, equal in importance to the support given to clubs, hamfests and conventions. A Tennessee native, Ewald, 42, began his ARRL career in 1982. He currently edits the "Section News" and "Public Service" columns in QST, and is a frequent contributor to various ARRL publications. He was licensed in 1972. Lau has been at ARRL Headquarters since 1986. She also serves as secretary of the ARRL Foundation. She's been a ham since 1985. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Heliophile Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average daily solar flux and sunspot numbers both declined over the past week. Solar flux reached a low around 192 around February 7 and 8 but jumped to near 217 over the weekend. The best current guess is for flux values to remain between 190 and 195 from now through Tuesday, then peak near 240 or 245 around February 24-28. On February 14 around 0250 UTC a coronal mass ejection headed toward Earth, and this should cause geomagnetic upset around February 16- 17, just in time for the ARRL International DX Contest (CW). This isn't good news for contesters, although it is possible that the effects could be mild. If not, then expect greater absorption--especially on the polar paths. There is also the possibility of a visible aurora, especially in northern latitudes. Sunspot numbers for February 7 through 13 were 178, 229, 225, 205, 206, 182 and 158, with a mean of 197.6. The 10.7-cm flux was 191.7, 191.5, 199.4, 216.5, 201.7, 208.3 and 203.5, with a mean of 201.8. Estimated planetary A indices were 14, 10, 9, 8, 13, 6 and 10 with a mean of 10. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The ARRL International DX Contest (CW), the YLISSB QSO Party (CW) and the YL-OM Contest (SSB) are the weekend of February 16-17. JUST AHEAD: The CQ 160-Meter Contest (SSB), the REF Contest (SSB), the UBA DX Contest (CW), the High Speed Club CW Contest, the North Carolina QSO Party, and the CQC Winter QSO Party are the weekend of February 23-24. 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 * Field Day 2002 rules, packets now available: The ARRL Field Day 2002 rules and packets now are available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/contests/forms/> as Adobe PDF files (ASCII files will be updated by next week). The ARRL has adopted rule changes affecting Field Day, including the addition of a "Get On The Air" (GOTA) station, which replaces the Novice-Technician station. Field Day 2002 will mark the first in which stations throughout the Americas have been invited to participate. All International Amateur Radio Union Region 2 countries--North and South America--may take part in Field Day, which takes place June 22-23 this year. For more information, contact ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, firstname.lastname@example.org. * ARRL Headquarters closed for Presidents' Day holiday: ARRL Headquarters will be closed all day Monday, February 18, for Presidents' Day. Headquarters will reopen Tuesday, February 19, at 8 AM Eastern Time. * Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course registration: Registration for the Level III Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course (EC-003) will open Monday, February 18, at 4 PM Eastern Time. Registration for the Level II ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course (EC-002) will remain open through this weekend or until all 50 seats are filled--whichever happens first. March registration for Level I will open Monday, March 4. Courses must be completed in order, starting with Level I. Thanks to tremendous interest in the Antenna Modeling course (EC-004), all available seats for the first classes have been filled. More than 100 people signed up the first day! As we add mentors to the list for this course, we will be able to offer more classes in the months ahead. 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. * Body of amateur lost in World Trade Center collapse located: The body of Robert D. "Bob" Cirri Sr, KA2OTD, was among several found February 9 in the ruins of the World Trade Center. The remains of Cirri, 39--a Port Authority Police Department lieutenant--and five other PAPD members were located in what had been the lobby of One World Trade Center--the second tower to collapse September 11. Nearby, recovery crews also found the body of a woman strapped into a rescue chair. An ARRL member, Cirri, of Nutley New Jersey, had served as ARES District Emergency Coordinator for Hudson County. "The thoughts of the Cirri Memorial Radio Club are with his family," said club president Rich Krajewski, WB2CRD. The club, headquartered in Jersey City, was renamed last year to honor Cirri's sacrifice. Cirri had helped to organize the club. * Wayne C. Williams, K4MOB, SK: Wayne Williams, K4MOB, of Colfax, North Carolina, died February 12 after an extended illness. He was 65. An ARRL member, Williams served from 1977 to 2000 as editor of the Southeastern Repeater Association's SERA Repeater Journal. As the proprietor of Williams Radio, Williams was a familiar and welcome presence on the hamfest and convention circuit in the southeastern US. Current Repeater Journal Editor Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, hailed Williams as a "driving force in SERA," the frequency-coordination body for eight southeastern states. During his tenure as editor, Williams transformed the Repeater Journal from a newsletter to its current color-cover magazine format. "Wayne touched the lives of thousands of hams in the Southeast," Pearce said. "We'll miss him." Williams' survivors include his wife, Gerry, KB4SEL, and two sons, Chris, W4CAW, and Wayne Jr (a third son, Gary, died in 2000). The funeral was February 14. * Many happy returns to W8HKY, age 101! ARRL member Mike Anuta, W8HKY, of Marinette, Wisconsin, remains active on VHF and UHF at the age of 101 and regularly participates in club nets. Anuta, who's quite possibly the League's oldest member, celebrated his 101st birthday February 4. The ARRL sent special greetings to Anuta when he attained centenarian status in 2001. He was first licensed as WN8HKY in 1952 during the early days of the Novice program. ARRL Wisconsin Section Manager Don Michalski, W9IXG, said he visited W8HKY at the Marinette-Menominee Amateur Radio Club <http://www.W8PIF.com> annual charter banquet. "He wanted to pass along his gratitude to the club for their efforts in bringing area youngsters into the hobby," Michalski said. "He's an inspiration to everyone!" * New satellites get OSCAR numbers: AMSAT-NA's Bill Tynan, W3XO, has announced OSCAR designations for two new amateur satellites. PCsat will be known as NAV-OSCAR-44 (NO-44). PCsat is a 1200-baud APRS digipeater designed for use by amateurs using hand-held transceivers or mobiles. The spacecraft known as Sapphire has been designated NAV-OSCAR-45 (NO-45). Sapphire has 1200-baud AX.25 telemetry and a voice replay on 437.1 MHz. PCsat is a project of the Small Satellite Program within the US Naval Academy's Department of Aerospace Engineering, and Sapphire is a joint effort involving the Naval Academy's Small Satellite Program, Stanford University and Washington University at St. Louis. Both were launched October 1, 2001, from Alaska. * New listserver established for Web resource discussions: ARRL Field and Educational Services will offer to a select group of field volunteers a listserver for discussions about how ARRL's Field Organization can be better served by ARRL Web resources. As this is a pilot project to discover core Web issues of importance to field volunteers, all ideas are welcome but may not necessarily result in creative application or implementation. If you are interested in participating, e-mail Mary Lau, N1VH, <firstname.lastname@example.org> a short statement noting any topics that especially interest you and describe your Web development experience, if any. * QCWA honors K4FW: The Quarter Century Wireless Association has honored Al Kahn, K4FW, of Cassopolis, Michigan, on his 80th anniversary as an Amateur Radio licensee. Kahn, who turns 96 in July, was president of Electro-Voice and, after retirement, went on to co-found Ten-Tec. He's also a member of the ARRL, the First-Class CW Operators Club and the A-1 Operator Club. The Quarter Century Wireless Association was organized to promote friendship and cooperation among Amateur Radio operators licensed at least 25 years ago. QCWA boasts nearly 200 active chapters and more than 10,000 active members from Australia to Zimbabwe.--submitted by Dan Caesar, NI9Y * Second Winter Olympics special event station on the air: Ray Friess, WA7ITZ, in Salt Lake City has been operating special event station WA7ITZ/W19OG to commemorate the 19th Winter Olympic Games. WA7ITZ/W19OG is operating on 160 through 10 meters near the lower edge of the General phone bands. Some CW operation is possible. QSL to WA7ITZ, 1801 Jennifer Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84116. An SASE would be appreciated. =========================================================== 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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