ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
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,
jwolfgang@arrl.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, cce@arrl.org.

* 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.


=========================================================== 
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Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St,
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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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Use the "View/Message/Plain Text Alternative" menu item.

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Use the "Message text garbled?" link in the drop-down menu at the upper right of the displayed message block. pine, alpine Set "prefer-plain-text" in your ~/.pinerc configuration file: feature-list=..., prefer-plain-text, ...