ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 21, No. 18
May 3, 2002
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +Latest "space tourist" enjoying ham radio, life in space
* +Weather emergencies bring out the best in amateurs
* +ISS duty tour like "a long family trip," Bursch says
* +FCC will not require birth date on  Form 605
* +McGan Award nomination deadline looms
* +Former ARRL staffer Laird Campbell, W1HQ, SK
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF:
     This weekend on the radio
     Certification and Continuing Education Program registration
     Amateurs invited to participate in Armed Forces Day on-air event
    +Amateur Extra class population tops 100,000
     Colorado fire prompts Amateur Radio response
     Florida amateurs activate during power outage
     Second national ARDF championships a wrap
     Sixth Southeastern VHF Society conference draws a crowd

+Available on ARRL Audio News

===========================================================

==>SHUTTLEWORTH ENJOYS BUSY WEEK IN SPACE

It's been a busy, but apparently enjoyable, week on the radio and in the
laboratory for South African Mark Shuttleworth, who paid $20 million to
have the time of his life in space and conduct a little research.
Shuttleworth this week completed four Amateur Radio on the International
Space Station (ARISS) school contacts. On April 29 Shuttleworth spoke with
students at Bishops College--his alma mater--marking the first ARISS QSO
with a school in Africa.

"I'm living my own dream here," the 28-year-old Shuttleworth told the
Bishops students. "We need to think about our future and dream about a
better future, and I hope that this project--the realization of a
dream--will inspire some other people to pursue theirs."

Shuttleworth also thrilled several US amateurs by showing up unannounced
on 2 meters during a North American pass May 1. Shuttleworth's solo casual
operation--at the encouragement of ARISS--resulted in a string of
contacts.

"As you can imagine, I was thrilled to work him," said Stan Vandiver,
W4SV, who was at or very near the head of the line in working
Shuttleworth. "He was doing a pretty good job fielding the calls." Those
who routinely monitor the ISS 145.80 MHz downlink frequency got a hint
that something was up when they began hearing Shuttleworth's
British-accented English instead of packet bursts.

"Wow!" was the simple reaction of Bruce Weaver, K3LTM, the advisor to the
Cowanesque Valley School Amateur Radio Club in Knoxville, Pennsylvania,
after the school's KB3BRT club station made its own brief contact with
Shuttleworth.

"The class shouted 'hello' to him, and I told him our QTH and some info
about the school," Weaver said in a posting to AMSAT's SAREX (Space
Amateur Radio Experiment) reflector. "It was very exciting for everyone."

Among several other stations, Shuttleworth also spoke briefly with ARISS
International Group Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO. "Thanks, Frank. Thanks
very much for your help with A-R-I-S-S," Shuttleworth said, spelling out
the acronym.

During a May 2 ARISS QSO with students gathered in Gauteng, South Africa,
Shuttleworth spoke at some length about his research projects. He
described one experiment from the University of Stellenbosch as especially
challenging and ambitious.

"No one's ever done anything like it in space before," he said. The
experiment involves carrying sheep and mice embryos and stem cells into
space to see how they react to the weightless environment. Upon his
return, the embryos and stem cells will be compared to identical embryos
and stem cells left on Earth.

Other research involves attempts to crystallize HIV and human immune
system proteins to study their structure and provide insights into
developing drugs to treat AIDS, a major health problem on the African
continent. Shuttleworth said he also was studying muscle degradation and
the ways humans burn energy in space.

Accommodations aboard the ISS are "not too bad" and "quite comfortable,"
according to Shuttleworth. "The International Space Station is all about
learning how to make space suitable for human exploration, and we still
have a very long way to go," he said. Nonetheless, he added, the food's
good and the view is fabulous.

A native of South Africa, Shuttleworth now lives in London. He and his two
crewmates--Russian cosmonaut and ISS veteran Yuri Gidzenko and European
Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori, IZ6ERU, blasted off April 25 from
Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a Soyuz "taxi mission." They will
begin their return to Earth May 5.

All of Shuttleworth's ARISS contacts have been via WorldCom
teleconferencing hookups using Amateur Radio Earth stations in Australia,
South Africa and the US. Vittorio is scheduled to attempt a direct 2-meter
ARISS contact with a school in Cervignano del Friuli, Italy on May 4.

ARISS is an international project with US participation by the ARRL, AMSAT
and NASA. More information is available on the ARISS Web site
<http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov>.

==>AMATEURS MUSTER FOR WEATHER EMERGENCIES

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) teams activated or stood by to
assist as severe weather struck several states in recent days. The
National Weather Service (NWS) said storms over the April 27-28 weekend
left pockets of devastation from Kentucky to Maryland.

"It has been a wild 24 hours in Charles County, Maryland," said Maryland
ARRL Section Manager Tom Abernethy, W3TOM. A tornado April 28 badly
damaged the business district in La Plata. Among structures destroyed or
damaged were the Charles County Chapter of the American Red Cross office
and the building housing the Charles County Emergency Operations Center
(EOC).

Abernethy said Michelle Sack, N3YRZ--on the job at the LaPlata hospital at
the time--broke into a SKYWARN net to report a tornado only one-half mile
away to the west heading directly for her location. "She tracked and
described the tornado until it struck her location and then continued to
provide on-the-scene assessments," Abernethy said. Other amateurs along
the storm's track also provided reports on severity and damage.

Charles County ARES Emergency Coordinator and RACES Officer Mike Tackish,
KA3GRW, activated the Charles County ARES/RACES team's emergency plan.
Amateurs established a UHF command/control net while VHF tactical nets
supplied communications for the hospital, which was left without telephone
service or internal communication.

ARES/RACES also worked with the county's Director of Emergency Services,
Donald McGuire, and provided communication at Red Cross shelters.
ARES/RACES teams from Prince Georges and Calvert counties supported
Charles County ARES/RACES. After an activation that lasted until 2 AM the
following day, amateurs returned a few hours later to enable direct
communication between damage assessment teams in the field and the Charles
County EOC.

Amateurs specially trained in National Weather Service severe weather
investigations also assisted NWS Meteorologist Barbara Watson of the
Washington/Baltimore NWS office in its follow-up investigation of the
tornado, a record-breaker at F5 on the Fujita scale with winds of 261 MPH
or greater.

"Amateur Radio has once again proved to be of immense value to our
community in time of disaster," Abernethy said. "With large areas of the
county without commercial power and cell phones not useful due to
overloading, Amateur Radio provided a communications bridge in the time of
need until normal services were restored."

In Kentucky, Section Emergency Coordinator Ron Dodson, KA4MAP, said the
Wide Area Repeaters Net (WARN) and Meade/Breckinridge County ARES
responded April 28 to assist both the National Weather Service and Meade
County Emergency Management when severe weather struck that state.

Dodson said a weather-spotting net activated after a severe thunderstorm
warning was issued for the two counties. A few minutes later, a tornado
was spotted in Breckinridge County. A second report of a possible tornado
west of Irvington was followed by damage reports east of the town. As a
result of amateur reports, the NWS issued a tornado warning. Several homes
in the Irvington area were damaged or destroyed, Dodson said, and one
person died. No major damage was reported in Meade County, although the
area experienced power outages, high winds and heavy rainfall. Dodson said
11 amateurs participated in the response.

Floyd Sense, K8AC, notes that a tornado that swept through the Jackson
Township, Ohio, area April 28 severely damaged the home of Jerry LaRocca,
KF8EB, in Massillon. "Jerry and his wife, while in the house when the
tornado struck, were uninjured," Sense said. "The home next door, about 50
feet away, was completely leveled."

In Erie, Pennsylvania, Lee Williams, N3APP, reported that a line of severe
thunderstorms that plowed through his area April 28 left a trail of
destruction. The Radio Association of Erie was providing communications
for a March of Dimes nine-mile walk, which was called off after the severe
weather hit. "SKYWARN was activated, and the event's net control was
advised that a tornado warning had been issued," Williams said.

High winds damaged buildings at the Erie International Airport, which also
suffered a power outage. Trees and power lines also were downed, but no
injuries were reported.

In Missouri on April 24, tornadoes struck southeastern Missouri. Hardest
hit were Butler, Carter and Madison counties. More than 100 homes were
damaged or destroyed. ARRL Missouri Section Emergency Coordinator Patrick
Boyle, K0JPB, said ARES teams and individual amateurs remained on standby
to assist if needed during the recovery period.

==>ISS CREW MEMBERS SOMETIMES "BUG" EACH OTHER, BURSCH TELLS STUDENTS

Astronaut Dan Bursch, KD5PNU, aboard the International Space Station,
conceded this week that he and his crew mates sometimes get on each
others' nerves. The comment came April 30 as Bursch answered questions
from an enthusiastic group of youngsters at Woodland Middle School on New
York's Long Island.

"If you can imagine taking a long family trip and never getting out of the
car for six months," Bursch said, replying to a question about whether he
and his crew mates ever get frustrated or annoyed with each other. The
three ISS crew members occasionally "bug each other" over little things,
Bursch said, and when that happens, they usually go off and do something
else by themselves.

Nearly five months in space have not blunted Bursch's sense of humor. "My
personal primary goal is to make sure that my number of launches equals my
number of landings," Bursch quipped when asked about the crew's primary
goals. He said fostering international cooperation in constructing the ISS
is an overarching objective. Education--including the ARISS school
contacts and cooperating with student experiments--also is an important
part of the ISS program, he said.

Handling Earth station duties for the 10-minute contact was Mark Steiner,
K3MS, at the controls of NN1SS at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

The Woodland contact was the first of two Amateur Radio on the
International Space Station (ARISS) school QSOs April 30--an ARISS first.
After a missed schedule earlier in the day, a contact between "space
tourist" Mark Shuttleworth and South African students was promptly--and
successfully--rescheduled.

==>FCC WON'T REQUIRE AMATEUR APPLICANTS TO SUPPLY DATE OF BIRTH AFTER ALL

The FCC can't seem to make up its mind about whether or not it wants to
know the date of birth of an Amateur Service applicant. Supplying a date
of birth used to be a requirement on amateur applications, and the FCC
made the information public as part of a licensee's record. But a few
years ago, the FCC dropped the requirement and hid the database field that
once displayed birth date information.

Last year, the FCC flip-flopped and announced it was revising FCC Form 605
to include a date of birth field and would again require the
information--although it would not be made public. Now, the FCC has
changed its mind once more. Missing from the latest version of Form 605 is
the requirement for Amateur Service applicants to supply a date of birth,
although they may do so if they wish (it is a requirement for certain
other wireless service applicants).

A call to the FCC's Gettysburg office confirmed the discontinuation of
birth date collection for amateur applicants. The latest version of FCC
Form 605 (dated April 2002) is available on the FCC Web site. The FCC has
no plans to change the format of its Amateur Service data records.

Valid FCC Form 605s are those bearing March 2001, November 2001 and April
2002 dates. The FCC now requires applicants to have an FCC Registration
Number (FRN) before applying.

==>MCGAN AWARD NOMINATIONS DUE MAY 24!

Nominations close May 24 for the Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna
Award. The annual award honors an amateur who demonstrates outstanding
public relations success at the local, state or national level on behalf
of Amateur Radio, and who best exemplifies the volunteer spirit of the
award's namesake.

"Successful PR efforts can bring new hams into the ranks, create better
relationships with people in the community and make reporters aware that
Amateur Radio is still alive and well," said ARRL Media Relations Manager
Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY.

The award is named for the late journalist Philip J. McGan, WA2MBQ, the
first chairman of the ARRL's Public Relations Committee and an
enthusiastic Amateur Radio booster. The ARRL's Public Relations Committee
will screen eligible nominations and forward its recommendation to the
ARRL Board of Directors, which will make a final determination on an award
recipient at its July meeting.

To obtain an entry form for the Philip J. McGan Silver Antenna Award,
contact Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, jhagy@arrl.org; 860-594-0328. Send completed
forms and supporting materials to Philip J. McGan Silver Antenna Award,
care of Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.

Complete details, including official entry rules, are in February issue of
QST.

==>FORMER ARRL STAFF MEMBER E. LAIRD CAMPBELL, W1HQ, SK

Former ARRL Headquarters staff member Laird Campbell, W1HQ, of Amarillo,
Texas, died April 26 following a long battle with multiple sclerosis. He
was 70. During his distinguished 35-year HQ career, he served in a variety
of roles, including QST managing editor and ARRL advertising manager. He
was an ARRL Charter Life Member.

"Laird was an uncommonly decent human being--I was proud to call him my
friend," said current QST Managing Editor Joel Kleinman, N1BKE. "Despite
the setbacks he had after he left the ARRL HQ staff, he never lost his
sense of humor. He was the quintessential gentleman."

Campbell developed his interest in electronics while attending Texas Tech.
Following an active duty stint in the US Naval Reserve, he was licensed in
1951 as WN5TQD (later W5TQD). He joined the ARRL staff as a contest log
checker in 1954 and became W1CUT. His later choice of W1HQ reflected his
close association with ARRL Headquarters.

While at ARRL HQ he met his future wife, Connie, and Amateur Radio legend
Lew McCoy, W1ICP, gave away the bride at their wedding. Connie Campbell
later became W1CIE. She died in 1990, and the couple's daughter Mary now
holds her mother's call sign.

As a technical assistant at HQ, Campbell in 1955 was believed to have made
the first Amateur Radio contacts using transistorized transmitters. After
stints as QST managing editor and advertising manager, he was promoted to
assistant general manager for business operations in 1976.

ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, recalled that, for many
years, Campbell made a point of working--and getting a QSL card
from--every new licensed ARRL HQ staffer. "This was in the days before VHF
handhelds, so it was far from a trivial pursuit; he had to use a variety
of bands and modes," Sumner said. "I think he took special pleasure in
cajoling newly licensed staffers into getting on the air."

Campbell retired in 1989. At the time, it was said in QST, "Few persons
have contributed as much to the League or in as many different ways as has
Laird."

Among his closest friends during his ARRL career were HQ staff members Bob
and Ellen White, W1CW and W1YL, and their son Jim, K4OJ. "We've all lost
something very special in our lives," Ellen White said.

A memorial service was set for May 4, 11 AM, in the parlor at Park Place
Towers of Amarillo.

Survivors include a son, Michael, and his wife Rie; a daughter Mary
Campbell-Barry, W1CIE, and her husband, Will Barry, N1XRK--an ARRL
Volunteer Counsel; and Laird Campbell's partner of the past six years,
Shelli Mosier of Amarillo. The family invites memorial contributions to
the Maine Chapter, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, PO Box 8730,
Portland, ME 04104.--some information provided by the Amarillo Globe-News

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Solar sage Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Both average
solar flux and daily sunspot numbers dropped last week. Sunspot numbers
were down more than 30 points, and solar flux was down nearly 20 points.

During the last half of April, three coronal mass ejections sent energy
past Earth, resulting in geomagnetic storms. Energy from a coronal hole
should sweep past us shortly, but it shouldn't cause the kind of upset
that April's storms brought us. Over the next few days expect moderate
geomagnetic activity with a rising solar flux. Flux values are expected to
rise above 180 by Sunday and peak for the near term above 200 around one
week from now.

Lower geomagnetic indices are generally good for HF propagation. The solar
flux is rising, which is also good. Ten meters should be fading away as we
move toward summer, but 15 meters should do quite well over the next
month. This summer 20 meters should be excellent during nighttime.

Sunspot numbers for April 25 through May 1 were 208, 160, 173, 121, 124,
113 and 166, with a mean of 152.1. The 10.7-cm flux was 167.3, 162.6,
156.9, 147.1, 153, 153.4 and 162.4, with a mean of 157.5. Estimated
planetary A indices were 5, 6, 8, 19, 9, 8 and 5 with a mean of 8.6.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: The AGCW QRP/QRP Contest, the IPA Contest (CW
May 4; SSB May 5), the MARAC County Hunters Contest (CW), the 10-10
International Spring Contest (CW), the Microwave Spring Sprint, the
Indiana QSO Party, the ARI International DX Contest and the New England
QSO Party are the weekend of May 4-5. JUST AHEAD: The Armed Forces Day
Communications Test (see below); the Nevada and Oregon QSO parties, the
Volta WW RTTY Contest, the FISTS Spring Sprint, the CQ-M International DX
Contest and the 50 MHz Spring Sprint are the weekend of May 11-12. 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, May 6, for the Level I Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications course (EC-001); Monday, May 13, for the Level II course
(EC-002); and Monday, May 20 for the Level III course (EC-003). Amateur
Radio Emergency Communications courses must be completed in order,
starting with Level I. Registration for the Antenna Modeling course
(EC-004) opens Monday, May 13. Registration for the HF Digital Course
opens Monday, May 20. Registration for all courses begins 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.

* Amateurs invited to participate in Armed Forces Day on-air event:
Amateurs  are invited to take part in the 52nd celebration of Armed Forces
Day by exchanging contacts with Army, Air Force, Navy-Marine Corps and
Coast Guard radio stations. This year's traditional Armed Forces Day
Anniversary and Military/Amateur Crossband Communications Test will take
place May 11-12, starting at 1100 UTC. Armed Forces Day actually falls on
May 18, but the traditional cross-band communications test was rescheduled
to avoid a conflict with the Dayton Hamvention. During the cross-band
test, military stations in the continental US, Germany and Hawaii will
listen on amateur frequencies in the 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10-meter bands and
transmit on selected MARS frequencies. Participating military stations
will announce their listening frequencies. Thirteen military stations will
be active on SSB and will exchange QSL cards. MARS has requested that
contacts be limited to two minutes or less. Ten additional stations will
transmit the Secretary of Defense's Armed Forces Day message via digital
modes. Full details are on the Army MARS Web site
<http://www.asc.army.mil/MARS/afd/mars_afd.htm>.

* Amateur Extra class population tops 100,000: For the first time ever,
the population of Amateur Extra class operators topped 100,000 licensees.
According to figures available from the FCC Amateur Radio Statistics Web
site <http://ah0a.org/FCC/index.html> compiled by Joe Speroni, AH0A, there
were 100,153 Extra; 85,690 Advanced; 138,980 General; 319,768 Technician
(including Tech Plus); and 38,574 Novice licensees. As of the end of
April, there were 683,165 total Amateur Service licensees in the FCC
database. According to Speroni's statistics, 1888 new licensees came
aboard during April 2002--1800 of them as Technicians.

* Colorado fire prompts Amateur Radio response: Colorado Section Emergency
Coordinator Mike Morgan, N5LPZ, reports that hams there responded within
hours after a major wildfire broke out April 23 some 40 miles southwest of
Denver. Because of extremely dry winter and spring conditions--and fanned
by strong and unpredictable winds--the so-called Snaking Fire spread over
more than 2200 acres within a couple of days. Some 30 Amateur Radio
Emergency Service (ARES) operators responded, and Colorado ARES Districts
6 and 23 provided direct tactical and logistical communications support to
local wild land fire responders, Morgan said. Amateurs from additional
ARES districts (including 22 and 24) as well as Red Cross communicators
supported the Red Cross at shelters and the Salvation Army, which provided
food and support to the more than 400 firefighters at the scene. More than
4000 residents were evacuated from the Bailey, Colorado, area as a result
of the fire. "As in the past, Colorado hams will continue to provide
critical communications support as long as needed," Morgan said.

* Florida amateurs activate during power outage: Florida Crown District
Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) District Emergency Coordinator
Billy Williams, N4UF, reports ARES activated April 29 to assist in the
wake of a power outage. Williams says several independent events triggered
the failure which hit virtually all of Duval County (Jacksonville) along
with parts of Nassau, Clay and St Johns counties. "There was a fire at a
major generator facility along with a malfunction at a second facility,"
Williams said, citing information from the Jacksonville Electric
Authority. "At almost the same time, a tree fell across a feeder line."
The incident took out traffic signals during afternoon rush hour, although
power was restored quickly to most of the affected areas. The Duval County
Emergency Net and the Florida Crown Emergency Net both activated for a
couple of hours. ARES was active from the Duval Emergency Operations
Center, and operators were on standby to report to several fire stations
and hospitals. "A big problem was that there were no traffic signals
during Monday afternoon rush hour," Williams said. In addition, cellular
phone systems became jammed and unreliable. Most critical users had power
back by 9 PM, although interruptions continued until midnight. Red Cross
opened a critical needs shelter for a couple of hours, and Amateur Radio
provided a link.

* Second national ARDF championships a wrap: ARRL Amateur Radio Direction
Finding Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, reports that the second US national
championship of on-foot hidden transmitter hunting near Pine Mountain,
Georgia, is in the record books. Hosted by hams in the Georgia
Orienteering Club, the event took place April 20-21. "About two dozen of
our country's best fox-finders went into the deep woods of Franklin D.
Roosevelt State Park, trying to be first to find up to five transmitters
and then navigate their way to the finish line," Moell said. In addition
to hidden transmitters, participants were seeking medals and places on
Team USA at this fall's ARDF World Championships in Slovakia. Participants
competed on two courses, with hidden transmitters on 2 meters the first
day and 80 meters the second. Best ARDF performance overall was by Gyuri
Nagi, KF6YKN/HA3PA, who averaged 19 minutes per fox on 2 meters and an
amazing 15 minutes per fox on 80 meters. Photos and complete results on
the GAOC 2002 Radio-Orienteering Championships  are the GAOC Web site
<http://www.gaorienteering.org/Radio-O/Radio.htm>. More information about
ARDF is on Moell's Homing In Web site <http://www.homingin.com/>.

* Sixth Southeastern VHF Society conference draws a crowd: Fans of the
Amateur Radio bands above 50 MHz flocked to the sixth Southeastern VHF
Society Conference April 26 and 27 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Those in
attendance enjoyed a diverse program of presentations from moonbounce
(EME), weak-signal and antenna experts plus a bit of digital signal
processing. Presenters covered operating and station-construction
techniques for all the bands between 50 MHz and 50 GHz. Highlights
included Al Ward, W5LUA, detailing how he and Barry Malowanchuk, VE4MA,
completed the first-ever Amateur Radio 24-GHz EME contact. "47 GHz is
next!" Ward predicted. L.B. Cebik, W4RNL, showed some improved topologies
and element spacings that achieve substantial reduction in the side and
back radiation of Yagi and log-periodic arrays. Paul Wade, W1GHZ, told the
gathering about his design and use of periscope antenna systems and how
they help him get 10-GHz contacts. Dexter McIntyre, W4DEX, won the coveted
K4UHF Award. Conference Proceedings are available from ARRL for $20 (order
item 8683). Visit the ARRL on-line catalog <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/>
or call toll-free 888-277-5289.--Doug Smith, KF6DX

===========================================================
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

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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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