*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 10 March 8, 2002 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL poised to file Novice "refarming" plan * +Vanity logjam breaks! * +Oregon, UK students befriend astronaut via ham radio * +New Mexico, West Virginia join growing list of PRB-1 states * +"Logbook of the World" to complement QSL tradition * +Hiram Percy Maxim Award nomination deadline looms * +Dayton Hamvention names award winners * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration Past ARRL president to commemorate first-ever DXpedition John J. "Jack" Kelleher, W4ZC, SK Ten-Tec ORION to replace OMNI line TiungSAT-1 gets OSCAR designation +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>ARRL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MULLS OMNIBUS FCC FILING, CC&R LEGISLATION As a result of ARRL Executive Committee action, the ARRL moved another step closer to asking the FCC to act favorably on its Novice band "refarming" recommendations. The EC also further mulled strategy regarding a possible congressional solution to the issue of deed covenants, conditions and restrictions--CC&Rs--as they affect the ability of amateurs to erect outdoor antennas. Meeting March 2 in Arlington, Virginia, the EC waded through a full agenda of regulatory and legislative items. President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, chaired the session. Within the next few weeks, the ARRL is expected to file a Petition for Rule Making that, among other things, will ask the FCC to revise its Amateur Service rules in accordance with the modified Novice band refarming scheme the ARRL Board of Directors okayed in January (see "ARRL Board Adopts Modified Novice Band Refarming Plan," <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2002/01/21/101/>). That plan--based on recommendations of the ARRL Novice Spectrum Study Committee--would eliminate the Novice/Technician Plus CW subbands as such and reuse that spectrum in part to expand phone allocations on 80 and 40 meters. The plan would permit Novice and Tech Plus (or Technician with Element 1 credit) to operate CW on General-class 80, 40, 15 and 10-meter CW allocations at up to 200 W output. The ARRL's pending "omnibus" petition also would seek other minor changes to the Part 97 Amateur Service rules. ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, is putting the finishing touches on the draft Petition and will circulate it to the ARRL Board of Directors prior to filing. The EC took no formal position on several other recent Part 97 rule making petitions. While initial comment deadlines have passed, the Committee noted that another comment opportunity will open "if and when the FCC incorporates one or more of the petitions into a Notice of Proposed Rule Making." On the legislative front, meetings with several members of Congress during the week leading up to the EC meeting were said to have "offered encouragement" regarding the possible introduction of legislation to extend PRB-1 preemption to include CC&Rs. Existing draft legislation was reworked to reflect the tenor of the Capitol Hill discussions, and the EC reviewed and concurred with the revised draft. Details have not yet been released, however. In an effort to reduce or eliminate the necessity of filing paper vanity call sign applications, the EC authorized ARRL Headquarters staff to develop a vanity call sign filing service for members and to charge a fee to recoup expenses. In addition, the EC asked Imlay and ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, to draft a letter to the FCC advocating "a prohibition on multiple applications for the same call sign by a single applicant." Minutes of the March 2 EC meeting are available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/announce/ec_minutes_469.html>. ==>ROUTINE VANITY PROCESSING RESUMES! The vanity logjam has broken. With all outstanding vanity applications initially filed last October in hand, the FCC this week resumed routine vanity call sign processing. By March 7, some 455 vanity applications had been granted out of an estimated backlog of more than 2000. For more than a week, a single missing vanity application had delayed full resumption of vanity processing. The vanity holdup, which began last fall, had become source of growing irritation within the amateur community. A spokesperson at the FCC's Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, office said the Commission plans to run batches of applications daily until amateur vanity processing is caught up. The FCC acknowledged the ARRL's assistance in efforts to contact the lone elusive applicant to have the individual resubmit a vanity application. Contact finally was made with the applicant this week, and a reconstructed paper application was faxed to the FCC in Gettysburg. At the core of the problem were some two weeks' worth of October paper vanity applications sent from Gettysburg to Washington, DC, last fall for anthrax decontamination, but which never made it back to Gettysburg. FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau personnel were successful in using information gleaned from payment receipts to contact most of the known paper filers via e-mail or telephone to have them resubmit copies of their vanity applications. As a result, a few vanity call signs trickled out of Gettysburg in recent weeks. Prior to last week, no amateur vanity call signs had been granted since February 1, and until late January, no vanity call signs had been issued since October 30. Although the majority of vanity applications are filed electronically, the FCC's policy is to give equal processing weight to paper and electronic applications. ==>ARISS SCHOOL CONTACTS A HIT IN OREGON, ENGLAND Groups of youngsters in Oregon and young ladies in England each got a chance this week to chat with astronaut Carl Walz, KC5TIE, aboard the International Space Station. The contacts March 6 and 7 were arranged by the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. On March 6, pupils at Deep Creek Elementary School in Boring, Oregon, interviewed Walz at the NA1SS controls during a scheduled direct 2-meter contact using ground-station facilities provided by the Boring Amateur Radio Club. Noted contester and DXer Tree Tyree, N6TR, handled ground-station duties using the BARC's K7RAT call sign. Two of Tyree's daughters attend the school, and both participated in the contact. One youngster wondered if Walz was ever afraid in space. "I haven't really been afraid in space because I've had very very good training," Walz replied, "and so I've always had tremendous confidence that whatever I was trying to do I'd be able to successfully do it." Walz also explained that the onboard computers help to keep the ISS oriented and let the crew know where the spacecraft is located. In response to another question he said the crew doesn't often get to look spaceward--and thus be able to see distant planets--because the ISS windows typically are oriented to face Earth. He said he had seen meteors burn up in Earth's atmosphere but had not seen any comets yet. Near the end of the approximately eight-minute contact, Deep Creek Principal Connie Rice took the K7RAT microphone to express appreciation for the opportunity. "It has been, in my 29 years of education, the most exciting event," she said. Walz said the QSO was fun for him, too. "I think that one of the great things about this space station is that so many people all around the country and all around the world can participate in this tremendous adventure of space travel," he said. On March 7, eight teenaged hams--all students at England's Harrogate Ladies' College--started their morning chatting with Walz from the school's GB2HC club station. The young women asked 14 questions during the 8-1/2 minute contact. All of the school's nearly 400 students were invited to submit questions. Walz told the students that the best part of being an astronaut was the broad range of activities the crew is involved in, from spacewalks and robotics to learning about medical care. "The worst part, I guess, is the travel, going back and forth to different places for training," he added. He also said that time "seems to go faster up here." In response to another question, Walz said the crew had a good medical kit on board that includes "different kinds of medicines," a suture kit and even a defibrillator "if, God forbid, some really bad thing happened, and we needed to start someone's heart." Richard Horton, G3XWH, the students' physics instructor, proclaimed the contact "absolutely excellent." Horton boasted that Harrogate Ladies' College has produced more than 90 Amateur Radio operators since the school's club station was established in 1980. Students at Harrogate were the first in the UK to make Amateur Radio contact with Russia's Mir space station in 1991. Harrogate has a Web site <http://www.hlc.org.uk>. ARISS mentor Tim Bosma, W6ISS, assisted in Harrogate contact. ARISS is an international project with US participation from the ARRL, AMSAT and NASA.--Gene Chapline, K5YFL, provided some information for this report ==>NEW MEXICO, WEST VIRGINIA BECOMES LATEST STATES TO ADOPT PRB-1 LEGISLATION New Mexico and West Virginia this week become the 14th and 15th states to adopt Amateur Radio antenna bills based on the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1. In New Mexico Gov Gary Johnson signed House Bill 314 on March 5 after it easily passed both houses of the legislature last month with just two opposing votes during a short session that typically only deals with appropriations bills. West Virginia Gov Bob Wise signed House Bill 4335 into law March 7. Acting with uncharacteristic speed, the West Virginia Legislature okayed the measure less than 30 days after it was introduced. West Virginia ARRL Section Manager Hal Turley, KC8FS, said Gov Wise--whose late father was a ham (WA8AYP), also proclaimed March 7 as "Amateur Radio Operators Appreciation Day." New Mexico's "Emergency Communication Preservation Act" was sponsored by Rep Mimi Stewart and Sen Ramsay Gorham. It stipulates that municipal or county ordinances regulating Amateur Radio antennas "shall not obstruct or preclude amateur radio service communications" and "shall reasonably accommodate amateur radio service communications." The bill further provides that antenna structures "may be erected at heights and dimensions sufficient to accommodate amateur radio service communications," but it does not include a minimum regulatory height schedule. It also exempts Amateur Radio "antenna towers" constructed prior to the effective date from subsequent zoning regulation changes. As with most PRB-1 bills, municipalities or counties in New Mexico will still be able to require Amateur Radio antennas or support structures to meet screening, setback and placement, construction and health and safety standards. Such regulation "must be the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the local municipality's or county's purpose," however. New Mexico ARRL Section Manager Joe Knight, W5PDY, gave Mike Stuart, AC5ZO, an ARRL member from Corrales, much of the credit for getting the New Mexico bill through the legislature. Stuart said that while all involved had hoped to have a more powerful amateur antenna bill, "the practical and political realities dictated otherwise." The West Virginia measure also incorporates language very similar to that of PRB-1 into articles of the Code of West Virginia. Under the bill, any county or municipal ordinance or order concerning the regulation or placement of Amateur Radio antennas would have to comply with all FCC regulations, rulings and orders; reasonably accommodate" Amateur Radio communications; and represent "the minimum practicable regulation." West Virginia's bill would not prevent a county commission or municipality from taking action to protect or preserve historic buildings, structures, sites and districts established by federal, state or local law. Turley credited "the tireless efforts" of Kanawha County House of Delegates member Sharon Spencer, KC8KVF--an ARRL member from Charleston--for helping to get the bill through the legislature as well as for her "dedication and commitment" to Amateur Radio. He said that amateurs from all corners of The Mountain State actively participated in promoting the bill's passage and by contacting their elected representatives. "And I am certain there are many legislators in our state who now know a lot more about Amateur Radio than they did a month ago," he said. An Amateur Radio antenna bill awaits the governor's signature in Wisconsin, a PRB-1 bill recently was introduced in Tennessee and similar measures have been proposed for introduction in other states. More information on antenna regulation is available on the ARRL Antenna Restrictions Web page <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/antenna-restrictions.html>. ==>"LOGBOOK OF THE WORLD" WILL COMPLEMENT QSL TRADITION ARRL's "Logbook of the World" (LOTW) electronic contact-verification program will spark "a culture change" when it's introduced later this year, predicts Project Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG. Once LOTW is operational, participants will be able to qualify for awards such as DXCC or WAS without having to first secure verification in the form of hard-copy QSL cards. But Mills--who heads ARRL's Membership Services Department--is quick to add that LOTW will complement the conventional exchange of QSL cards, not replace it. "We will not do away with accepting QSL cards in the traditional manner," Mills says. "We're not replacing the whole paper QSL scheme with Logbook of the World." Neither will Logbook of the World provide a means to get QSLs--electronic or otherwise. Mills said amateurs will still be able to solicit QSLs--even electronic cards--although e-QSLs still may not be used to apply for ARRL awards. Mills this week issued a separate ARRL e-QSL policy statement to clarify what is and what is not acceptable <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2002/03/07/100/>. Logbook of the World "is really a system to offer credits for awards--and not just our awards," Mills explained. He hopes to enlist the participation of other organizations that grant operating awards, such as CQ and RSGB. Central to the LOTW concept is a huge repository of constantly updated log data provided by individual DXers, contesters and DXpeditions and maintained by ARRL. Once it's up and running, Logbook of the World will be able to provide quick contact credit. Mills adds that the system will be open to all--ARRL members and nonmembers. Registering and uploading electronic log data to LOTW will be free. The only time users will incur charges is when they wish to apply contact credits toward a particular award, such as DXCC, WAS or VUCC. Software development for The Logbook of the World continues. "We're well into the software implementation phase for the logbook server," said ARRL Web/Software Development Department Manager Jon Bloom, KE3Z, who expects to begin full system testing this spring. "The security part is the linchpin of the system," Bloom said. Both he and Mills emphasize that every effort will be made to ensure the integrity of LOTW log data. Registrants will have to positively identify themselves via off-line, hard-copy means before being issued a secure--and free--digital signature and granted password access. In simple terms, when a participant logs on, the Logbook system would determine if its database contains any contact "matches" with log data submitted. If so, a user could apply any credits generated to particular awards at a per-credit fee. Mills said the cost would be in line with current ARRL award fees. In situations where an operator disputes a failure to match, Mills said, the operators involved would have to resolve the situation off-line. Bloom and Mills believe that Logbook of the World will improve the integrity of the confirmation process. "It will remove some of the human factors that lead to errors," Bloom said. And, Mills added, Logbook will minimize opportunities to purposely "game the system" or to outright cheat--something that's not always possible to detect even with paper QSL submittals. Mills said he hopes to announce an inauguration date for Logbook of the World within a few months. ==>ARRL HIRAM PERCY MAXIM AWARD NOMINATIONS DUE MARCH 31 Time is running out to nominate an exceptional young Amateur Radio operator for the 2001 Hiram Percy Maxim Award. Nominations are due March 31. The HPM Award winner receives an engraved plaque and a check for $1000. The Hiram Percy Maxim Award is presented annually to an enthusiastic and active amateur licensee aged 21 or younger whose contributions to Amateur Radio and the community are of the most exemplary nature. The 2000 Hiram Percy Maxim winner was Thaddeus W. Huff, KC0AQG. An ideal nominee may be involved in recruiting new hams through demonstrations as well as by example to his or her peers; on the air and/or public service activities; employing technical ingenuity to further Amateur Radio; public relations activities; and participating in local, state and national organizations. Complete nomination criteria are available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/awards/hpm.html>. To nominate a deserving young amateur for the Hiram Percy Maxim Award, visit the ARRL Competitive Award Nomination Form page <http://www.arrl.org/ead/award/application.html>, place an "x" on the appropriate line, fill in the contact information and forward the form to your ARRL Section Manager. (Section managers also may nominate a young ham for this award.). For more information, contact Jean Wolfgang, WB3IOS, firstname.lastname@example.org. ==>DAYTON HAMVENTION ANNOUNCES 2002 AWARD WINNERS Dayton Hamvention has announced that Alanson "Hap" Holly, KC9RP, will receive the Amateur of the Year Award for 2002. Licensed since 1965, Holly, who is blind, produces the weekly Radio Amateur Information Network's The RAIN Report <http://www.rainreport.com/>, an audio news and feature magazine aimed at radio amateurs. A Hamvention news release called Holly "an inspiration to licensed radio amateurs, non-hams and the visually impaired and sighted individuals worldwide." Holly has been producing The RAIN Report since 1984. A made-for-television movie, What Love Sees, chronicled how Holly's parents--both blind--raised four children including Hap, who lost his sight in 1958 at the age of 7. The movie is based on the book of the same name by San Diego teacher Susan Vreeland. Two ham-astronauts--Owen Garriott, W5LFL, and Tony England, W0ORE--will share the 2002 Dayton Hamvention Special Achievement Award. In 1983, Garriott pioneered the SAREX program by working dozens of earthbound hams on 2 meters from the space shuttle using an H-T and an antenna mounted inside the shuttle's window. England became the second astronaut to operate from space in 1985. Both "lent their knowledge, experience and influence to build and then operate equipment that allowed hams everywhere to share the excitement of space flight," Dayton Hamvention said in its announcement. Both are ARRL members. Alan Waller, K3TKJ, will receive the Dayton Hamvention Technical Excellence Award for 2002. In 1993 Waller, an ARRL member, combined his decades-long love for Amateur Radio and a burgeoning interest in the then-new Internet to design and manage the www.qsl.net <http://www.qsl.net> and www.qth.net <http://www.qth.net> Web sites. "Mr Waller's Web sites have served the interests of tens of thousands of hams worldwide by providing technical references, e-mail and Web-page hosting services and links to thousands of other sites," Dayton Hamvention said in making the award announcement. Formal presentations to award recipients will take place at the Dayton Hamvention banquet, Saturday, May 18. Dayton Hamvention <http://www.hamvention.org> celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Billed as is the world's largest Amateur Radio gathering and trade show, it takes place May 17-19, 2002. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sun watcher Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Sunspot numbers are down, and the sun is relatively quiet, although there has been a solar wind stimulating some geomagnetic activity this week. Average sunspot numbers dropped nearly 16 points this week from last, and average solar flux was down more than 14 points. Geomagnetic planetary A indices moved out of the single digits this week and averaged about double last week's average. The most active day was February 28, with planetary K indices as high as five. There was some geomagnetic activity March 5-6, when the K index over the course of several periods was four. The sun should be quiet over the next week, with solar flux below 200. Sunspot numbers for February 28 through March 6 were 188, 153, 153, 169, 197, 168 and 191, with a mean of 174.1. The 10.7-cm flux was 204.2, 187.7, 191, 182.7, 174.9, 172.2 and 177.8, with a mean of 184.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 17, 11, 5, 10, 9, 15 and 15 with a mean of 11.7. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The North American Sprint (RTTY), SARL Field Day, the RSGB Commonwealth Contest (CW), the Great Lakes QSO Party, the UBA Spring Contest (CW), and the Wisconsin QSO Party are the weekend of March 9-10. JUST AHEAD: The YLISSB QSO Party (SSB), the BARTG Spring RTTY Contest, the Russian DX Contest, the AGCW VHF/UHF Contest, and the Virginia QSO Party are the weekend of March 16-17. 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. * Certification and Continuing Education course registration: Registration for the Level I ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (EC-001) will remain open through the March 9-10 weekend. Registration for the Level II Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (EC-002) and for the Antenna Modeling Course opens Monday, March 11, at 4 PM; registration for the Level III Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (EC-003) opens Monday, March 18, at 4 PM. ARRL Emergency Communications 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, email@example.com. * Past ARRL president to commemorate first-ever DXpedition: Past ARRL president Bob Denniston, VP2VI/W0DX, will continue a tradition he began a few years back by marking the 54th anniversary of the first-ever DXpedition March 9-10 (UTC) on 160-10 meters (CW). Denniston, who was ARRL president from 1966 until 1972, turned 83 February 26. He plans to again reprise the "Gon-Waki" VP7NG DXpedition that he headed (as W4NNN), while operating the "second weekend" of the 1948 ARRL International DX Contest in the Bahamas. Denniston began his re-creations on the 50th anniversary in 1998. VP2VI/54 will be on the air from his Tortola QTH using vintage and modern gear plus wire antennas and hand keys (the original crew used a Vibroplex bug). Look for VP2VI/54 24 kc (that's kHz for you newcomers--Ed) up from the CW band edges, except on 30, 17 and 12-meters. A QSL is available for an SASE to Rick Casey, W6RKC, 10640 Tabeaud Rd, Pine Grove, CA 95665. * John J. "Jack" Kelleher, W4ZC, SK: Quarter Century Wireless Association Past President Jack Kelleher, W4ZC, of Silver Spring, Maryland, died February 28, following a long illness. He was 87. A native of New Jersey, Kelleher was first licensed in 1932 as W2DSV and was employed by the communications industry. During the 1940s while working for the Signal Corps Laboratories, he was assigned to a White House Secret Service detail to install VHF-FM mobile and base station radios for presidential communications--a project that often took him on the road with President Franklin Roosevelt's entourage. Kelleher was a charter member and past president and officer of QCWA Chapter 91 in the Washington, DC, area, and he served as QCWA president in 1996 and 1997. He also was an ARRL Life Member and a member of the A-1 Operator Club. A service was held March 4. His wife, Margaret, has invited memorial contributions to the Max Jacobson-John Kelleher QCWA Family Scholarship Fund, c/o QCWA, 159 E 16th Ave, Eugene OR 97401-4017.--some information from the QCWA and Washington Post * Ten-Tec ORION to replace OMNI line: Ten-Tec plans to introduce details of its new ORION HF amateur transceiver March 9-10 at the Charlotte Hamfest in North Carolina. Ten-Tec Amateur Radio Products Manager Scott Robbins, W4PA, says the ORION "represents an entirely new concept in high-performance HF transceivers" and will include features never before available on an amateur transceiver. The ORION will retail in the $3300 price range and will replace the OMNI VI Plus--already discontinued--as Ten-Tec's top-of-the-line amateur HF transceiver. Anticipated features include dual 32-bit DSP processors; full dual-receive capability; 590 independently selectable IF-DSP filters in each receiver; adjustable receive filter shape factors; "superior dynamic range" due in part to the ability to narrow roofing filters down to 250 Hz for improved close-in performance in the vicinity of strong signals; extremely low phase-noise synthesizer; adaptive DSP noise reduction; and a continuous, real-time spectrum display that works on either receiver. Full details are available on the Ten-Tec Web site <http://www.tentec.com/TT565.htm>. The ORION is expected to be available later this year. A prototype may be ready for display at Dayton Hamvention in mid-May, but it will not be on the market by then. "We are very excited about this new product," Robbins said. "Stay tuned!" He notes that complete technical specifications for the ORION remain to be determined, and all information is subject to change. * TiungSAT-1 gets OSCAR designation: AMSAT-NA has designated the TiungSAT-1 Amateur Radio satellite as "Malaysian-OSCAR-46" (MO-46). TiungSAT-1 was one of three Amateur Radio payloads propelled into space September 26, 2000, aboard a converted Soviet ballistic missile. It is Malaysia's first microsatellite. For amateurs, the spacecraft offers FM and FSK (at 9.6 kB) with uplinks at 145.85, and 145.925 MHz and downlink at 437.325 MHz. The satellite also carries land and weather imaging payloads. TiungSAT--named after the mynah bird native to Malaysia--was developed as a collaborative effort between the Malaysian government and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. =========================================================== 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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