ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 21, No. 13
Mar 29, 2002
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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, cce@arrl.org.

* 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, dxcc@arrl.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://165.166.141.20/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
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Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or
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