*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 13 Mar 29, 2002 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Amateur comments support ARRL's position in SAVI proceeding * +FCC chipping away at vanity backlog, proposes higher vanity fee * +All-ham ISS crew will spend an extra month in space * +K7BV to join ARRL HQ staff * +Hams summon help to aid stranded sailboat * +FCC proposes changes to repetitive application rule * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio Certification and Continuing Education Program registration ARISS school contact report set to air on NBC ARRL Development wants to know +Ducie Island DXpedition is a wrap Hams help transport injured passenger from sailboat ARRL will attend NTIA spectrum summit ARRL represented at annual NVOAD conference German vote favors retention of Morse requirement DXCC Yearbook set for late spring publication B&W co-founder John F. "Jack" Williamson, W3GC, SK Gene R. Willbanks, N5BLK, SK +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== EDITOR'S NOTE: ARRL Headquarters is closed Friday, March 29, for the holiday weekend. There will be no W1AW transmissions March 29. The March 29 editions of The ARRL Letter and ARRL Audio News are being posted and distributed on Thursday, March 28. ARRL Headquarters reopens, and W1AW resumes its normal schedule Monday, April 1.--Rick Lindquist, N1RL =========================================================== ==>COMMENTS IN SAVI PROCEEDING BOLSTER ARRL POSITION The ARRL says the large number of comments filed by amateurs in opposition to SAVI Technology's plans to operate RF identification (RFID) tags on 70 cm support the League's position that the proposed rules are flawed and should not be adopted. The ARRL took note of the amateur community's response in its reply comments filed in the proceeding, ET Docket 01-278, on March 12. SAVI wants the FCC to authorize operation of the RFID system at 425-435 MHz at much higher field strengths and duty cycles than current Part 15 rules permit for such devices. "There were approximately 132 comments filed by radio amateurs or Amateur Radio organizations in this proceeding," the ARRL pointed out, "all of which are opposed to the proposal to allow high-power, continuous-duty RFID tags and interrogators in the weak-signal portion of the most popular and heavily-occupied UHF amateur band." RFID tags are used for tracking shipments and packages, among other applications. The ARRL said that while package tracking using RFID technology "is a beneficial application as a general matter," it belongs elsewhere. The ARRL maintained that if the proposed rules were enacted as proposed, the inevitable result would be severe and harmful interference. Some commenters from the amateur community predicted interference from--and to--the RFID tags as a result of amateur TV operation in that portion of 70 cm. Others worried about the tags' effects on weak-signal work. "The only way to mitigate the interference in this case would be for SAVI to select another band and abandon its plan for high-power, high-duty-cycle operation at 425-435 MHz," the ARRL declared. The ARRL admonished the FCC to "not create Part 15 rules to accommodate a single company's product or even one type of RF device." The League also asserted that FCC approval of SAVI's proposal would undermine the regulatory philosophy underlying the current Part 15 rules governing unlicensed intentional radiators. The ARRL reiterated its argument that the RFID tags cannot be operated in the US under current Part 15 rules for unlicensed devices, and in numerous European and Asian countries they cannot be operated at all. The ARRL's reply comments also characterized SAVI's tests and interference studies as "flawed" and not representative of real-world conditions. Concluded the League, "Operation of near-continuous duty devices at Section 15.231(a) power levels at 433.92 MHz and the surrounding band segment is fundamentally incompatible with incumbent amateur operation and cannot be permitted." The ARRL again urged the FCC not to adopt the proposals. The ARRL's reply comments include a summary of the League's ex parte presentation in the proceeding delivered to FCC Office of Engineering and Technology staff members February 26. The ARRL submitted a third ex parte rebuttal presentation on March 22. ==>FCC CHIPS AWAY AT VANITY BACKLOG, PROPOSES VANITY FEE HIKE The FCC continues to whittle away the vanity backlog. Another 268 call sign grants were issued this week. The latest run includes applications received by the FCC as of January 25, 2002. Among the recent happy campers was Randy McAlister, W7CWW (ex-KD6AQB), of Ventura, California, who wrote ARRL to say that he and his family were pleased that he now holds the call sign once held by his grandfather, Eugene Brounty--something he'd wanted since his grandfather died in 1963. Meanwhile, the FCC is proposing to raise the regulatory fee it charges vanity call sign applicants from $12 to $14.50 for the 10-year license term. The FCC included the proposed new fee in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (MD Docket No. 02-64) released March 27 to set Fiscal Year 2002 fees. The effective date will be announced in the Report and Order that terminates the proceeding. If it's approved, the new fee likely will become effective sometime in September. The FCC has estimated that 8000 applicants would apply for vanity call signs in FY2001. Applicants for amateur vanity call signs will continue to pay the $12 regulatory fee per call sign (per 10-year license term) until the FY2002 fee schedule becomes effective. The vanity fee is paid at the time of application for a new, renewal or reinstated vanity license. Comments are due April 23; reply comments are due May 3. ==>ALL-HAM ISS CREW'S DUTY TOUR EXTENDED The Expedition 4 International Space Station crew of Commander Yuri Onufrienko, RK3DUO, and flight engineers Dan Bursch, KD5PNU, and Carl Walz, KC5TIE, will be spending an extra month in orbit. Problems with the Canadarm 2 robotic arm on the ISS will result in extending their mission to 189 days--a new record for the US crew members. March 29 marks 114 days in space for the current crew, which came aboard in December. Late last week NASA decided to bump the launch of the Expedition 5 crew aboard the shuttle Endeavour (STS-111) from May 6 to May 31 in order to permit more training time for the shuttle crew to deal with the mechanical arm repair. Shuttle astronauts will replace a wrist joint in the space station's mechanical arm. The Endeavour won't be returning to Earth until June 12, which means the astronauts on the Expedition 4 crew will beat NASA's current space endurance record by one day. US astronaut Shannon Lucid, who spent 188 days aboard the Russian Mir spacecraft in 1996, is the current American record holder, and she will still hold the women's space endurance record. Onufrienko, however, will not come close to topping the Russian 438-day endurance record set aboard Mir in 1994 and 1995 by cosmonaut Valery Polyakov. For more information about the ISS, visit NASA's Human Space Flight Web site, <http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/index.html>.--NASA, news accounts ==>DENNIS MOTSCHENBACHER, K7BV, TO JOIN ARRL HEADQUARTERS STAFF Noted contester and DXpeditioner Dennis Motschenbacher, K7BV, will join the ARRL Headquarters staff April 1 as sales and marketing manager. In that role, he'll oversee ARRL's publication and advertising sales as well as membership recruitment activities. "We're pleased to have someone with Dennis's Amateur Radio and professional experience and international stature to take on this critical management role," said ARRL Chief Operating Officer Mark Wilson, K1RO. "We expect that he will be a major asset in helping the ARRL to meet its goals for the future." An ARRL Life Member and a Minnesota native, Motschenbacher, 54, has been licensed since 1962 and is no stranger to the ARRL family. For the past four years, he has been the editor of National Contest Journal, published by ARRL. Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, is replacing K7BV as NCJ editor starting with the May/June issue. Motschenbacher told his NCJ readers in his farewell editorial that he considers the opportunity to work at ARRL Headquarters a dream come true. "I feel like a kid who has just been granted his fondest wish," he said. In addition to serving at the NCJ helm, Motschenbacher has been actively involved in the fundraising and promotion for World Radiosport Team Championship 2002 (WRTC 2002) and will be a referee at the event in Finland this summer. In WRTC 2000, he teamed with Ralph Bellas, K9ZO, at S566Z in Slovenia. He's also operated from various exotic locales. Moving to the East Coast from Nevada, he says, will rejuvenate Amateur Radio for him. He and his wife Lieska have arranged to purchase a house in Eastern Connecticut that has a convenient hill on the property, and he's already got a permit from the town to erect an 80-foot tower. Four towers and associated antennas are being transported from Nevada as well. Motschenbacher says he's never operated from the East Coast--with the sole exception of the CY9AA DXpedition--and he's eager to experience propagation from his new location. One down side, he noted, is that Nevada is a lot more rare as an ARRL section multiplier than Connecticut. On the professional side, Motschenbacher brings 30 years of sales, marketing and business experience to ARRL HQ, primarily in the fire protection and safety business. Most recently he was president and co owner of ESG Inc of Reno, which specializes in fire protection systems for the telecommunications industry worldwide. He says he's eager to put his sales acumen and entrepreneurial spirit to work on behalf of the ARRL and Amateur Radio. "I view it as a very strong personal responsibility to help see Amateur Radio into the future," he said. ==>AMATEURS SUMMON HELP AFTER SAILBOAT RUNS AGROUND Vigilant members of the Maritime Mobile Service Net on 20 meters relayed calls for help from a sailing vessel that ran aground March 26 off the northern coast of Cuba. Aboard the sailing vessel Tao were Dave Beane, G0TAG, and his wife, Sara, whose frantic calls on the Net frequency got a quick response. The couple subsequently was rescued by Cuban authorities and their sailboat refloated. "She was in a big panic, and then they just stopped transmitting," reported Ed Petzolt, K1LNC, in South Florida, who said he happened onto the situation when he turned on his transceiver. US Virgin Islands ARRL Section Manager John Ellis, NP2B, said that less than an hour earlier, Beane had checked into the MMSN to say the couple had enjoyed a visit to Cuba and was planning to sail around to the south side. "There was no indication of any problem," he added. Since Ellis had the best copy, he managed the incident. "It turned out that Dave and Sara had run upon a reef, had called for help from the Cuban authorities, but had received no response," he said. "Sara was rather frantic when she came on 14.300. We immediately gave her a clear frequency." Ellis said a net slightly higher in frequency yielded to give the Net a wide berth. Mike Pilgrim, K5MP, in Texas notified the US Coast Guard. At about the same time, Petzolt contacted the Swiss Embassy--the US has no diplomatic relations with Cuba, and Switzerland often serves as an intermediary. The Swiss Embassy put him in touch with the Cuban mission in Washington, which, in turn, contacted authorities in Havana by radio. The US Coast Guard was only able to contact the Cuban authorities via telex. "We tried to determine if they were in danger of sinking, but that is when we lost communication," Ellis said. "We never heard from them for the remainder of the evening." Ellis said G0TAG checked into the Net later in the week to say that Cuban authorities were able to float the vessel off the reef and get the couple under way again. "Dave, G0TAG, had nothing but good words to say about the Cubans," Ellis said. "The authorities were very nice and helpful, they even sent two divers down to inspect the bottom of the boat--all at no charge!" The MMSN had "excellent cooperation and assistance" during the incident from net control Frank Kelly, N3FK, Petzolt, Pilgrim and Dave Dalziel, N4ICE, Ellis said. "There were a number of others on frequency available to help, but all maintained top-notch order and control," Ellis added.--thanks to Brandon Horn, KC2HFG, for alerting ARRL to this incident ==>FCC PROPOSES TO STRENGTHEN RULES AGAINST REPETITIVE APPLICATIONS The FCC has proposed changing its application rules for all wireless radio services--including the Amateur Radio Service--in an effort to expand the scope of its current ban on repetitious applications. In a Notice of Proposed Rule Making released March 20, the FCC seeks to modify ß1.937 of its rules to prohibit all applications that are "substantially similar" to applications denied or dismissed with prejudice within the previous 12 months. While the proposed rule would apply to the Amateur Service, it would prohibit only a handful of applications filed by new and renewing hams. Most dismissed amateur applications--such as vanity dismissals--are turned down without prejudice because of procedural deficiencies. The FCC now allows these applicants to correct the mistakes and file again, and it will continue to do so if the proposed rule change is adopted. Current FCC rules already prohibit repetitious applications for new stations, modifications of services or facilities, or for licenses that have been revoked. "Because [the current regulations] bar specific types of applications, these provisions can be interpreted as permitting the filing of other repetitious applications that are not specified in the rule," the FCC said in the NPRM. Among the types of applications that are not currently listed and specifically barred are renewal applications. The FCC cited the pending application of Herbert Schoenbohm, ex-KV4FZ, as an example of a repetitious application for the same service less than 12 months after the final denial of a previous application. "Such cases can consume significant resources to re-litigate identical issues involving the same applicants very close in time," the FCC said. Schoenbohm's amateur license renewal was finally denied in 2000, when the US Supreme Court refused to hear the case, and his authority to operate expired in January 2001. Last April, Schoenbohm applied for a new Amateur Radio license and passed the General exam. The FCC now has designated that pending application for hearing, to determine, in part, if Schoenbohm deserves to be a Commission licensee. Comments in the proceeding, WT Docket No. 02-87, are due 30 days from the publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register, which has not yet occurred. Reply comments will be due 45 days after publication. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Heliophile Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average daily solar flux was down 10 points this week. Average sunspot numbers were up by 35 points. Sunday, March 24 was a very active geomagnetic day. Planetary A index was 47, with several periods of five and six K index, indicating a robust geomagnetic storm, the kind that causes dramatic auroral displays. This activity was due to a coronal mass ejection on Saturday. The outlook for the CQ Worldwide SSB WPX Contest this weekend is rather dicey, because there is the possibility of an eruption from sunspot 9878. The sunspot is Earth-facing, and magnetic fields above this area have grown more complex recently. For the weekend, contesters will hope that any solar eruptions are later, rather than early. Because there is some delay (which can vary) with the different events that cause high geomagnetic activity, any solar activity this weekend might miss the contest. The latest projection as of March 28 had solar flux around 170 for Friday and Saturday, then flux below 170 until April 5-6. Geomagnetic conditions will probably be stable through the weekend, but become at least unsettled on Monday and Tuesday. Sunspot numbers for March 21 through 27 were 160, 194, 176, 169, 162, 145 and 179, with a mean of 169.3. The 10.7-cm flux was 174.1, 171.6, 170.4, 175.3, 170, 165.7 and 169.1, with a mean of 170.9. Estimated planetary A indices were 8, 8, 9, 47, 5, 11 and 5 with a mean of 13.3. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The CQ WW WPX Contest (SSB) is the weekend of March 30-31.The 144 MHz Spring Sprint is Apr 1. JUST AHEAD: The MARAC County Hunters Contest (SSB), the SP DX Contest, the EA RTTY Contest, the Missouri QSO Party are the weekend of April 6-7. The 222 MHz Spring Sprint is Apr 9. The YLRL DX to NA YL Contest (CW) is April 10-12. 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 Program registration: Registration opens Monday, April 1, for the Level I Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course (EC-001), Monday April 8, for the Level II course (EC-002), and Monday, April 15 for the Level III course (EC-003). Courses must be completed in order, starting with Level I. Registration for the Antenna Modeling course (EC-004) opens Monday, April 8. On all dates, registration will begin at 4 PM Eastern Time. 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. * ARISS school contact report set to air on NBC: NBC Weekend Nightly News tentatively plans to air a report Saturday, March 30, on the recent Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with students at the Deep Creek Elementary School in Boring, Oregon. Check local listings for time and station. The report could be "bumped" to accommodate breaking news, however. On March 6, astronaut Carl Walz, KC5TIE, at NA1SS answered youngsters' questions during the scheduled 2-meter contact via 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. The contact lasted nearly eight minutes, and all 380 Deep Creek pupils were on hand for the big event. The Nightly News piece was written and produced by Alan Kaul, W6RCL. * ARRL Development wants to know: In support of an ARRL funding proposal, the ARRL Development Office would like to know if you are a current employee or a retiree of any United Technologies business unit nationwide. If so, please visit the UTC Survey Web page <http://www.arrl.org/utcsurvey.html> and enter your call sign by April 5. This information will not be used for any purpose except to convey raw data in support of ARRL's request to UTC as a potential funding partner. If you make a contribution to ARRL, United Technologies may match your donation. Information about the UTC Matching Gift Program is available on the UTC Web site <http://www.utc.com/profile/community/contribut.htm> (scroll down to "UTC Matching Gift Program"). * Ducie Island DXpedition is a wrap: The inaugural VP6DI DXpedition to the newest DXCC entity--Ducie Island--came to an end March 26. A 2.5-square-mile Pacific atoll, Ducie was approved for DXCC credit last November, but it took three trips, many months of planning and a big budget to make this operation a reality. The DXpedition was sponsored by the Pitcairn Island Amateur Radio Association. The VP6DI team was on the air for just over nine days, logging something on the order of 40,000 contacts. VP6DI HF QSLs go via VE3HO, and 6-meter QSLs go to JA1BK. More information is available on PIARA's DXpedition to Ducie March 2002 Web site <http://www.qsl.net/wd4ngb/ducie.htm>.--The Daily DX * Hams help transport injured passenger from sailboat: Marc Weinberg, K9PET, says amateurs on the Manana Net on 14.340 MHz recently were confronted with a medical emergency. On March 13, it was reported that a man suffered a back injury aboard a sailboat off the Pacific side of Baja near Rosario, Mexico. Amateurs alerted appropriate authorities. By the next day, however, seas were too high--more than 20 feet--and there was no nearby sheltered harbor. The Mexican Navy was standing by to assist, and an ambulance was available on the shore, but weather conditions prevented airlifting the injured man from the vessel. Weinberg says the March 15 Net session brought the happier news that the man had been taken off the boat by a US Coast Guard helicopter and was in a San Diego hospital. It turned out that the man had aggravated a previous injury to his spine while aboard the boat. The man was able to travel to San Francisco for surgery. * ARRL will attend NTIA spectrum summit: ARRL Technical Relations Coordinator Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, will attend the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) spectrum summit April 4-5 in Washington DC. The session is aimed at identifying more efficient ways to manage the nation's airwaves. The demand for radio spectrum from both commercial industries and the government has increased tremendously in recent years. The goals of the summit will be to develop policies to increase efficient use of the spectrum; provide spectrum for new technologies; and improve the effectiveness of domestic and international spectrum management. The keynote speaker will be Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans. Other speakers include FCC Chairman Michael Powell and NTIA Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Nancy Victory. For more information, visit the NTIA Web site <http://www.ntia.doc.gov/>.--NTIA * ARRL represented at annual NVOAD conference: ARRL Field & Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, represented ARRL at the annual meeting and national conference of the National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster. The gathering was held March 18-19 in Oklahoma City. White reports she was able to network with delegates from groups such as the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Friends Disaster Service, International Relief Friendship Foundation and National Emergency Response Teams. She also had the opportunity to present a luncheon talk to 350 attendees on the contribution of Amateur Radio operators in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. White reports that several other conference attendees also were ham radio operators. * German vote favors retention of Morse requirement: The results of a mail-in vote of Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC) members on whether to retain a Morse code requirement as an examination criterion for HF access indicates DARC members almost split on the issue. Of the 17,455 votes cast, 8530 (48.8%) favored retaining the existing 5 WPM requirement in Germany while 7781 (44.6%) favored abolishing the requirement. DARC said 1133 ballots were nullified (for a variety of reasons that included ballots from nonmembers and duplicate ballots), and 11 took no position.--Hans Berg, DJ6TJ/DARC * DXCC Yearbook set for late spring publication: The ARRL DXCC Desk has announced that the 2001 DXCC Yearbook is currently being assembled and should be ready for mailing sometime in late May or early June. The period for the Annual List in this issue is from October 1, 2000, to September 30, 2001. "If you submitted an application postmarked during this period and you are a current ARRL member, you are entitled to one free copy," said ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L. "You are also entitled to one free copy if you qualified for the DXCC Honor Roll during this period and were an ARRL member, even if you did not submit an application." Those not eligible for a free copy may order one (or more) from the DXCC Branch after June 1. Copies are $5 each, postpaid. For more information, contact the DXCC Desk, firstname.lastname@example.org. * B&W co-founder John F. "Jack" Williamson, W3GC, SK: Jack Williamson, W3GC, of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, died March 19. He was 95. Williamson was the co-founder of Barker & Williamson--B&W--once a well-known US manufacturer of Amateur Radio equipment. First licensed in 1921, Williamson in his youth earned a widespread reputation for his radio knowledge, and even radio manufacturer Atwater Kent and his engineers sought Williamson out for his technical advice. After leaving his electrical engineering studies at Drexel Institute when the Depression hit, he and long-time friend Barrie Barker, W3DGP, then out of work, launched a new business to manufacture RF coils for amateurs. B&W did so well in the pre-World War II years that Hallicrafters engineers, frustrated in their attempts to design an antenna tuner for the BC-610 that could match short antennas to Signal Corps specifications, approached the fledgling company. B&W's prototype was accepted, and a production contract was awarded for the tuner, known as BC-939. That led to additional contracts. After WWII, the company was successful in both the military and ham radio sectors. Most notable in the B&W amateur line were their coils and transmitter variable capacitor products and the model 5100 all-band transmitter. While Barker retired, Williamson continued operating B&W until its sale in 1964. He had been an ARRL member for 22 years and had continued as an active amateur until recently.--Bob Thomas, W3NE * Gene R. Willbanks, N5BLK, SK: Gene Willbanks, N5BLK, of Pollock, Louisiana, died March 21. He was 59. As an International DX Association--INDEXA--staff member, Willbanks participated daily in the INDEXA information session on 14.236 MHz. Along with his fellow staff members, he provided QSL routes and DX information to the Amateur Radio community. An ARRL member, Willbanks also was an active county hunter and especially enjoyed HF mobile operation and helping amateurs to contact new counties for the USA-County Award program. Visit the INDEXA Web site <http://220.127.116.11/indexa/welcome.html>. =========================================================== 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. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League. ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): email@example.com ==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, firstname.lastname@example.org ==>ARRL News on the Web: http://www.arrl.org ==>ARRL Audio News: http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/ or call 860-594-0384 ==>How to Get The ARRL Letter The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from ARRL HQ. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for e-mail delivery: ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site, http://www.arrl.org/members/. 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