*************** 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, email@example.com; 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, firstname.lastname@example.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 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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