*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 16 April 19, 2002 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Comments invited on Amateur Radio-related petitions * +ARRL offers members expanded contest coverage on Web * +Chalk up two more successful school contacts for NA1SS * +ARISS International pledges cooperation with Canada * +Ham radio manufacturers, dealers form trade group * +Long Island club reports success with one-day Extra class * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration Corrections FCC okays geographic area AMTS licensing, agrees to consider ARRL request Atlantic Division ARRL Director gets Scouting award +New Hampshire SATERN volunteers honored P5/4L4FN QSL cards imminent Signing antenna bill was his pleasure, governor says Evan Nepean, G5YN, SK International Marconi Day special events United Arab Emirates team invited to WRTC 2002 Visalia DX dinner set +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>FCC INVITES COMMENTS ON NOVICE BAND, FIELD-REPARABLE GEAR PETITIONS Comments are due by May 16 on two Amateur Radio-related Petitions for Rule Making put on public notice this week by the FCC. An ARRL petition, designated RM-10413, would eliminate the 80, 40 and 15-meter Novice/Technician Plus CW subbands and reuse the spectrum in part to expand the 80 and 40-meter phone allocations. Another petition filed by Nick Leggett, N3NL, designated RM-10412, would require most commercially manufactured Amateur Radio transmitters and transceivers to be field-repairable "in some manner." Amateurs may view and comment on these proposals via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html. (Click on "Search for Filed Comments." In the "Proceeding" field enter the rulemaking number, with "RM" in upper-case and the hyphen included.) The ARRL's petition, filed in March, asks the FCC to eliminate the Novice and Technician-Plus CW bands and reapportion these "inefficiently deployed segments" to alleviate overcrowding elsewhere. If the FCC goes along, current Novice and Technician Plus (ie, Technician with Element 1 credit) licensees would be permitted to operate on the 80, 40, 15 and 10-meter General-class CW allocations at up to 200 W output. For General and higher class operators, the ARRL plan would implement changes in the 80, 40 and 15-meter phone bands, expanding phone segments for many amateurs. The League's petition also seeks FCC permission to use spread spectrum on 222-225 MHz; to expand the pool of special event call signs beyond the 1x1 format to include identifiers for US territories and possessions that do not provide for mailing addresses; to clarify rules to indicate that modulated CW (MCW) is permitted for repeater station identification; and to incorporate into the rules a 1990 FCC waiver authorizing amateurs in certain areas of Colorado and Wyoming to operate on certain segments of the 33-cm band. The Leggett petition was filed in February. "Field repair is important to the Amateur Radio Service because it enhances emergency communications preparedness and the growth of technical knowledge in the Amateur Radio Service," Leggett said in his petition. Leggett suggests that the FCC consider mandating easily replaceable modules or circuit boards, minimum component spacings on circuit boards, removable integrated circuits mounted in sockets and other requirements for commercially made amateur transmitters and transceivers. He would exempt ham radio receivers. Leggett concedes that some manufacturers may drop out of the amateur market if the FCC were to adopt his recommendations, but he suggests that they would be replaced by other manufacturers, such as those making QRP equipment. Last December, Leggett and attorney Don Schellhardt petitioned the FCC to require that all electronic equipment subject to FCC jurisdiction be shielded against electromagnetic pulse (EMP) damage. ==>ARRL OFFERS MEMBERS EXPANDED CONTEST COVERAGE ON THE WEB ARRL has expanded its on-line coverage of ARRL-sponsored contests. A new membership service supplements contest coverage in QST and enhances what's already available via the ARRL Web site. The augmented coverage premiered April 19 with the results of the 2001 ARRL November Sweepstakes (CW). Among the new features is an interactive, searchable database of contest line scores. "Contesting has come a long way since the old paper logs, broken pencils, and hand-scored results," said ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND. "The addition of expanded ARRL contest results on our Web site takes contest reporting to the next level." Access to the new services is limited to ARRL members, who must first be logged onto the ARRL Web site with user name and password. All expanded coverage is linked from the ARRL Contest Results page <http://www.arrl.org/contest/results/>. In addition to the information normally presented in QST, the new searchable database will include band-by-band QSO breakdowns for all participants, as well as hours operated and any club affiliation. The database will be searchable by call sign and entry class as well as by ARRL section, division or club. Results can be sorted by several criteria. Another new feature is a more extensive Soapbox for each contest that will allow entrants to share their observations and photographs right after a contest. Largely freed of the limitations of print media, the upgraded Web-based coverage will treat ARRL members to a contest narrative that includes more detailed analysis, more sidebar stories and more visual images than what typically appears in QST. Updated contest category records also will be part of the expanded coverage, with details for each entry category and ARRL division and section plus overall category records. ARRL continues to offer members and nonmembers a downloadable Adobe PDF of the QST article for each contest as it becomes available, plus contest rules and forms, the ARRL contest calendar, and the "Contest Corral" from QST. ARRL members also may subscribe to the ARRL Contest Rate Sheet <http://www.arrl.org/contests/rate-sheet/>, the new biweekly e-mail newsletter for contesters that debuted in March. Initially, the ARRL's expanded Web coverage will be a "work in progress," Henderson said. "Formats of the on-line portion of our contest coverage will be flexible, allowing us to improve its presentation as we try to keep it as user-friendly as possible." The Contest Branch welcomes feedback from members via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone, 860-594-0232. ==>ARISS LOGS TWO MORE SUCCESSFUL SCHOOL CONTACTS Astronaut Dan Bursch, KD5PNU, aboard the International Space Station this week took time out of a busier-than-usual schedule to answer questions via ham radio from an enthusiastic throng of elementary schoolers. The April 16 contact with Quogue School on New York's Long Island gave 10 youngsters a chance to pose 17 questions to Bursch. On April 11, astronaut Carl Walz, KC5TIE, was interviewed via ham radio by youngsters at Caribbean Preparatory School in Puerto Rico. Both contacts with NA1SS were arranged through the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station--or ARISS--program. "We don't get a whole lot of free time," Bursch acknowledged in response to a question from Emily Hubbard at Quogue School. "Right now the shuttle's docked, and we pretty much have no free time." A crowd of some 120 classmates and some 100 parents and other guests gathered in the school's auditorium to witness the Earth-to-space ham radio interview. Sixth grader Colleen McKennet wanted to know how the crew got streaming video from Earth. Bursch replied that the crew used ProShare teleconferencing software aboard the ISS. Jared Carpenter wanted to know what DVDs the crew liked to watch. "Probably a mixture of comedy and action films," was Bursch's reply. Third grader Sara Garcia asked what foods would not be good in space. Bursch explained that the worst foods were "anything that's crumbly" like cookies, because the crumbs float around and get into everything. Shouts and cheers erupted from the audience after signals from the ISS faded over the North Atlantic horizon. "We did it!," coordinating teacher Roberta Keis, N2RBU, said after the excitement died down a bit. Keis said when the contact was over, the kids enjoyed one of the very foods not on the ISS menu--cookies! The post-contact celebration concluded several-months of classroom emphasis on space-related topics. Members of the Peconic Amateur Radio Club set up the ground-station and antennas. ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, was on hand for the event. A WorldCom teleconferencing circuit carried audio to various listeners; ARISS International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, listened in while from Washington, DC. Audio also went out via the IRLP (Internet Repeater Linking Project). On April 11, students attending the Caribbean Preparatory School in San Juan, Puerto Rico, successfully completed Puerto Rico's first ARISS contact. Earth-station support came from the Puerto Rico DX Club and local amateurs, including Gladys MuŮoz, NP3BY, a physics teacher at the school, Oscar Resto, KP4RF, and Angel Padilla, WP4G. During the contact, 10 students were able to talk with Walz. As newspaper and TV reporters, fellow students and teachers looked on, the Caribbean Prep students asked questions that ranged from serious inquiries about space exploration to "What do you do with your dirty underwear?" "Carl answered every question with great enthusiasm," said ARRL Puerto Rico Section Manager Victor Madera, KP4PQ, who added that downlink audio was easy to copy. "During the approximately 10-minute contact, you could hear a pin drop in the packed auditorium." Students and visitors concluded the event with a standing ovation, Madera said. ARISS is an international project, with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA.--Gene Chapline, K5YFL; Victor Madera, KP4PQ ==>ARISS BOARD RESOLVES GREATER COOPERATION WITH CANADA The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station International Group and the Canadian Space Agency have agreed in principle to cooperate in areas of mutual interest such as educational outreach, public relations and Amateur Radio licensing of Canadian astronauts. The announcement during the ARISS committee meeting at the Canadian Space Agency in Ste Hubert, Quebec, April 4-6 prompted applause from delegates and observers. ARISS and CSA will hammer out the specifics of an umbrella agreement in the coming weeks. Marilyn Steinberg of the CSA's Education Office outlined CSA's educational outreach programs and successful Canadian ARISS QSO activity. She told the gathering she sees a lot of potential in the ARISS program and that she'd like to see expanded Canadian participation in future ARISS school contacts. Steinberg also said she planned to explore ways to have more Canadian astronauts become licensed. ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, serves as ARISS International Secretary-Treasurer and also represented ARRL at the session. She chairs the Educational Outreach School Selection Committee. "No matter how many times I monitor ARISS school QSOs, it still excites me when the connection is successful," White said. Those attending the meeting, moderated by Roy Neal, K6DUE, learned that the remaining two Amateur Radio antennas are scheduled for installation on the ISS Service Module. ARISS International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said the antennas would be installed during spacewalks either this summer by the Expedition 5 crew or in late 2002 or early 2003 by the Expedition 6 crew. The flexible tape antennas are designed for either VHF or UHF use. The gathering also heard updates on so-called Phase 2 Amateur Radio hardware. Crews continue to use the ARISS initial station hardware, which consists primarily of 2-meter and 70-cm hand-held transceivers. An ARISS slow-scan television system called SpaceCam also may be in the offing, although no installation timetable has been set. At this point, testing and development of SSTV system components continues. ARISS delegates also said they would welcome a proposal for an Amateur Radio external payload to be developed by the US Naval Academy and ARISS, with US Navy sponsorship. ==>AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF RADIO ENTHUSIASTS FORMED A new ham industry trade organization, the American Association of Radio Enthusiasts (AARE), has been formed to promote Amateur Radio and emergency communications outside traditional amateur circles. The nonprofit corporation also hopes to serve as a conduit for ham radio equipment dealers and manufacturers to exchange ideas and work together on projects. Its stated goal is to help ham radio grow and to double the number of hams in five years. "We look forward to encompassing all aspects of the Amateur Radio industry--retail dealers, manufacturers and distributors," said ICOM's Ray Novak, KC7JPA, who was chosen to serve as AARE's first president. "This umbrella organization will provide an important focal point leading to a great future." Members of the Amateur Radio industry decided to create the trade group during an informal annual meeting of Amateur Radio manufacturers held April 5 in Milwaukee in conjunction with AES Superfest 2002. The organization says it hopes to serve as "the voice of the manufacturers and dealers in radio," much as ARRL speaks for Amateur Radio operators. In addition to Novak, officers named to guide AARE through its first year include Vice President Rick Ruhl, W4PC, of Creative Services Software, and Secretary-Treasurer Evelyn Garrison, WS7A, who represents Alinco. The AARE Web site <http://www.aaregroup.org>, now under construction, will provide additional information. Dealers and manufacturers of radio products interested in joining AARE should contact Evelyn Garrison, email@example.com. ==>LONG ISLAND CLUB "ONE-DAY EXTRA" COURSE A HIT New York's Long Island Mobile Amateur Radio Club--LIMARC--reports its first "one-day Extra" licensing upgrade class was such a success that it's scheduled additional sessions for later this spring. LIMARC recently attracted two dozen students to its first Extra class license study short course, and nearly all who attended walked away with their Extra tickets. ARRL New York City-Long Island Section Manager George Tranos, N2GA, is LIMARC's education co-chair. He says the session involves seven hours of intensive study. Five instructors taught the nine Extra examination subelements, which include FCC rules, operating procedures, radio propagation, Amateur Radio practices, electrical principles, circuit components, practical circuits and antennas and feedlines. When the session ended, 20 of the 24 applicants had passed Element 4. Students ranged from a veteran with 50 years' experience as a licensee to newcomers licensed only about one year. Many said they'd studied for months prior to the class, but some had spent just a couple of days reviewing the material. LIMARC has previously run one and two-day courses for Technician and General. "Amateur Radio is a wonderful hobby and important national resource," said Tranos, who helped coordinate the response of amateurs in his section to the September 11 World Trade Center attack. "Each of us has an opportunity to learn as much or as little as we want. There are many subject areas to investigate, and a lifetime of learning is possible." LIMARC has scheduled another weekend Extra class for June 15. For more information, visit the LIMARC Web site <http://www.limarc.org>. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar sage Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average daily sunspot number was up slightly and the average solar flux was down a couple of points this week, but the big news was the high geomagnetic activity. On Wednesday the planetary A index was 41, and K indices over several reporting periods were six, which is very high. The high latitude College A index was 73, and the College K index reached 7. On April 15 at 0400 UTC a full halo coronal mass ejection blasted away from the sun. At 1100 UTC on April 17 energy from that coronal mass ejection struck Earth's magnetosphere, triggering a geomagnetic storm. Several hours earlier another coronal mass ejection left the sun, and effects from it may be felt on Friday or Saturday. On Thursday the prediction from the US Air Force was for a planetary A index of 40 on Friday, 50 on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. It also shows solar flux bottoming out for the short term around 170 on Sunday or Monday, then rising above 200 after April 29. With a predicted geomagnetic storm this weekend, expect particularly bad propagation over polar paths, conditions worsening for higher latitudes, and some transequatorial propagation--but only because that may be the only HF propagation available, not because TE propagation (signals crossing the equator) is enhanced during geomagnetic storms. Sunspot numbers for April 11 through 17 were 235, 263, 257, 236, 243, 172 and 137, with a mean of 220.4. The 10.7-cm flux was 197.4, 211.9, 226, 210.3, 203.3, 195.7 and 193.5, with a mean of 205.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 13, 13, 14, 13, 7, 10 and 41 with a mean of 15.9. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: YLRL DX to NA YL Contest (SSB), the 432 MHz Spring Sprint, the Holyland DX Contest, the TARA Spring Wakeup PSK31 Rumble, the ES Open HF Championship, the YU DX Contest, the GACW CW DX Contest, the EU Spring Sprint (CW), and the Michigan and Ontario QSO parties are the weekend of April 20-21. The Harry Angel Memorial Sprint is Apr 25. JUST AHEAD: The SP DX RTTY Contest, the Helvetia Contest, the QRP to the Field event, and the Florida and Nebraska QSO parties are the weekend of April 27-28. 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. * ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration: Registration for the Level III Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (EC-003) will remain open over the April 20-21 weekend or until all seats are filled. Registration for the Level I Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (EC-001) opens Monday, May 6, and registration for Level II (EC-002) opens Monday, May 13, at 4 PM on both days. 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. Don't miss the ARRL Course Listing Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html>. For more information, contact Certification and Continuing Education Coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG, firstname.lastname@example.org. * Corrections: The Turkish Amateur Radio Club--Telsiz Radyo Amatorleri Cemiyeti--or TRAC--marked WTDC-02 with an Amateur Radio special event station, TA1KA/ITU, at the conference site. The call sign was incorrect in a report in The ARRL Letter, Vol 21, No 15 (Apr 12, 2002). The ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program added its first technical offering, a class in Antenna Modeling (EC-004), in February. The month was incorrect in a report in The ARRL Letter, Vol 21, No 15 (Apr 12, 2002). * FCC okays geographic area AMTS licensing, agrees to consider ARRL request: The FCC has approved proposed rules allowing geographic-based licensing of coast stations in the Automated Maritime Telecommunications Service (AMTS), the primary user of the 219-220 MHz band. The Commission also agreed to consider an ARRL petition for changes in the rules governing the secondary amateur allocation at 219-220 MHz. Amateur use of the band within 80 km of an AMTS coast station is currently requires permission from the AMTS licensee, and industry practice has been to routinely deny such requests, regardless of channel separation. The FCC will consider whether AMTS licensees denying permission should be required to give a technical justification for the denial in conjunction with the ongoing 3G proceeding (ET Docket 00-221) that's considering use of 216-220 MHz for new technologies. * Atlantic Division ARRL Director gets Scouting award: ARRL Atlantic Division Director Bernie Fuller, N3EFN, has received the District Award of Merit from the French Creek Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Fuller was recognized for his work with the Venturing program of the Boy Scouts in his capacity as Venturing Chairman of the council's Oliver Perry District. The District Award of Merit is the highest award that a district can bestow upon a volunteer. The Venturing program of the French Creek Council was recognized recently as second in the nation during the past year in terms of increased participation and number of new Venturing Crews. Fuller also has been elected Vice President-Venturing of the French Creek Council Executive Board. In his new volunteer position, he is responsible for the Venturing program for the entire Council, one of the largest in the US. The Venturing arm of the Boy Scouts of America is composed of young men and women ages 14 through 20. A number of Venturing Crews who have chosen to concentrate their activities around Amateur Radio. * New Hampshire SATERN volunteers honored: Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network volunteers Steve and Kim Merrill, KB1DIG and KB1GTR, have received a certificate of appreciation from their state's chief executive, New Hampshire Gov Jean Shaheen. The Merrills were among the amateurs who turned out in New York City to help in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. "We are proud of your representation of New Hampshire following the tragedy of September 11th," the certificate reads. "You are among the many Amateur Radio operators from around the country whose participation in the rescue efforts will never be forgotten." * P5/4L4FN QSL cards imminent: Bruce Paige, KK5DO, the QSL manager for Ed Giorgadze, P5/4L4FN in North Korea says he expects to receive the first printing run of P5/4L4FN QSL cards this week and hopes to have all QSLs out by May 1. Paige said that any stateside operator who mails for a QSL after May 15 must include 37 cents postage to cover the new first-class mail rate going into effect June 30. "I have 2900 requests for cards," he said. P5/4L4FN has made more than 6000 QSOs, and his stay in North Korea has been extended until June 2003. Only SSB contacts with P5/4L4FN have been approved for DXCC credit. He said P5/4L4FN continues to frequent 21.225 MHz. Paige said P5/4L4FN will be on a trip to Vietnam and Thailand from April 23 until May 4 and may also be on the air from those countries. * Signing antenna bill was his pleasure, governor says: Wisconsin Gov Scott McCallum has acknowledged letters and e-mail messages he received in support of the Amateur Radio antenna bill--Assembly Bill 368--which he signed into law April 2. Based on the FCC's PRB-1 limited federal preemption, the measure requires political subdivisions to "reasonably accommodate" Amateur Radio communication and not unnecessarily hamper the placement or height of Amateur Radio antennas and towers. "Wisconsin's Amateur Radio operators . . . provide a valuable backup for traditional public safety communications systems," the governor wrote. He also noted that hams have worked closely with the Red Cross, The Salvation Army, local emergency governments and law enforcement agencies following emergencies and disasters. "It was my pleasure to sign AB 368 into law," McCallum concluded. "Thank you again for taking the time to contact my office." * Evan Nepean, G5YN, SK: The London Times reports that Sir Evan Nepean, G5YN, ex-AC4YN, died March 11. He was 92. Nepean was active from Tibet as AC4YN from 1936-1939. The Times said that Nepean was the longest-serving member (75 years) of the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB). According to the newspaper account, Nepean packed a transmitter and home-built receiver across the 14,600-foot Natu La pass from India into Tibet. The engine running the battery charger would not work at Tibet's altitude, so a hand-cranked charger was built in India and carried back to Tibet, the newspaper said. An AC4YN QSL card recently sold on an Internet auction site for more than $1100.--John Warren, NT5C * International Marconi Day special events: To commemorate International Marconi Day April 27, the Maritime Radio Historical Society will operate special event K6KPH (starting at 1700 UTC) using the original transmitters, receivers and antennas of ex-RCA coast station KPH, and Radio Austria International will operate special event station OE1M. K6KPH transmitting frequencies will be 7050, 14,050 and 21050 kHz and occasionally 3545 kHz. K6KPH QSLs and reception reports go to D.A. Stoops, PO Box 381, Bolinas CA 94924-0381. For OE1M details visit the Radio Austria International Web site <http://roi.orf.at/intermedia>. Current working frequencies will be announced on the Web site. Operators entering their call signs in the "QRZ" field will immediately get a call on the band from OE1M. International Marconi Day <http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~straff/> takes place each year on a weekend close to the birthday of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi. * United Arab Emirates team invited to WRTC 2002: The WRTC 2002 Organizing Committee has invited a team from the United Arab Emirates to be the representative of the contesting community in the Middle East. While Team UAE will be led by Ali Al-Futtaim, A61AJ, the two team members are well-known US operators--Jeff Briggs, K1ZM, and Phil Goetz, N6ZZ. "In the spirit of the games, a team has been selected that is representative of the current A61AJ operating roster," the committee said in announcing the special team selection.--WRTC 2002 * Visalia DX dinner set: The Northern California Contest Club presents the fourth annual International DX Convention Contest Dinner Friday, April 26, 7 PM. The dinner is in conjunction with the 53rd International DX Convention, April 26-28 in Visalia, California. Details are available on the International DX Convention Web site <http://www.qsl.net/visalia2002/events.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. 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