ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
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, contest@arrl.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, cce@arrl.org. 

* 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, <mlau@arrl.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

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The ARRL Letter

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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