*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 25 June 21, 2002 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +President greets ham radio operators * +Florida CBer convicted of interfering with hams * +ARRL, United Technologies announce emergency communications initiative * +Ham radio has essential role in rocket quest * +FCC invites comment on new band proposals * +WRC-03 rescheduled for Geneva * +ARES fire support continues in Colorado * ARRL to offer satellite communications course * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio AMSAT Field Day info ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration New York PRB-1 bill passes Senate Continuing Legal Education seminar set for New England Division Convention ARRL to host power-line interference workshop ARRL Outgoing QSL Service tops one million cards for 2002 +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>WHITE HOUSE GREETS AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS President George W. Bush has sent his greetings to all Amateur Radio operators, acknowledging their role in emergency communications and in generating international goodwill. The White House letter came as hams in the US marked Amateur Radio Week June 17-23 and got ready to participate in ARRL Field Day--an emergency preparedness exercise. "I salute amateur radio operators for your work on behalf of public safety officials," the President said. "I also commend your interest in communicating with persons in other parts of the world and learning about other cultures and countries. Your involvement builds understanding and goodwill around the globe." For the first time, Field Day will be open to participation by amateurs throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. The President's letter acknowledged ham radio's "important role in emergency communications, assisting law enforcement personnel and other emergency services as they carry out their responsibilities." ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, expressed his delight at the presidential communication. "I'm extremely pleased that the president has decided to recognize the accomplishments of Amateur Radio operators throughout America," he said. "Amateur Radio is a real asset to America, and even more so after September 11." President Bush said First Lady Laura Bush "joins me in sending our best wishes." Governors in several states have issued proclamations designating Amateur Radio Week or Amateur Radio Month. ==>FLORIDA MAN CONVICTED OF DELIBERATE INTERFERENCE, UNLICENSED OPERATION A Florida CBer accused of jamming Amateur Radio operations and transmitting without a license was convicted in federal court June 19 on eight misdemeanor counts. Willam Flippo of Jupiter was found guilty of four counts of operating without a license and four counts of deliberate and malicious interference. The jury deliberated about 30 minutes. Federal District Court Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley noted that, while the charges were misdemeanors, it was important that the amateur airwaves be free of interference in the event of an emergency. He ordered that Flippo, 60, remain in custody and undergo a psychiatric evaluation prior to sentencing. The prosecutor in the case, Neil Karabdil, credited members of the Amateur Radio community with bringing Flippo to justice. The list included 1999 ARRL International Humanitarian Award winner Ed Petzolt, K1LNC, who helped the FCC gather evidence in the case; Bert Morschi, AG4BV; Palm Beach County Emergency Coordinator Dave Messinger, N4QPM; and Chuck Mulligan, N4SDW. "This is a very good day for Amateur Radio, and a very good day for justice," Petzolt said following the trial. "Let the word go out that we will not tolerate this sort of thing on our frequencies, and you will be caught." Petzolt cited local amateurs and the efforts of the FCC, including Special Counsel for Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth "and everyone else who kept the faith," for helping to bring the case to a successful conclusion. "Never give up and never surrender," Petzolt advised those facing similar malicious interference situations. "If you do, they win." According to Petzolt, who testified in the trial, Flippo primarily had targeted the Jupiter Tequesta Repeater Group for jamming and regularly interfered with amateur operations, especially on 10 and 2 meters, over an approximately three-year period. Following up on the amateurs' complaints, personnel from the FCC's Tampa District Office visited the Jupiter area at least twice in 1999 and reported tracking the offending signals to Flippo's residence. Known as "Rabbit Ears" within the CB community, Flippo was arrested by federal authorities in July 2000. He already faces a $20,000 fine levied in 1999 for unlicensed operation, willful and malicious interference to Amateur Radio communications, and failure to let the FCC inspect his radio equipment. The six-and-a-half-day trial was anything but routine. A day after attempting to fire his court-appointed attorney, Robert Adler--who countered that Flippo was trying to undermine his own trial--Flippo, then still free on $100,000 bond, drove himself to the hospital June 13 claiming he'd suffered a stroke. He was released the following day. Hurley recessed the trial but took the unusual step of revoking Flippo's bond June 17 after a physician told the judge that medical tests determined that Flippo had not had a stroke. Hurley said he was concerned that Flippo might not return to court for his sentencing hearing and ordered him returned to jail. Flippo reportedly hung his head after the jury returned a guilty verdict on the second count. He had no comment for a reporter as he was led back to jail. Sentencing could take place in about a month. According to the FCC, Flippo faces a maximum penalty of eight years in prison--one year on each count. He also could be fined up to $80,000. ==>ARRL, UNITED TECHNOLOGIES ANNOUNCE EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS INITIATIVE A generous donation from United Technologies Corporation will help to boost the emergency communication expertise of Connecticut's Amateur Radio volunteers. A $33,000 grant from UTC will provide ARRL Emergency Communications Course Level I training for 250 Connecticut amateurs, and the ARRL-UTC initiative could be expanded nationwide. The joint initiative was announced June 18 during a press conference at ARRL Headquarters. "This joint partnership is sure to make a difference in communities across the state and act as a model for other states to showcase the important role Amateur Radio operators play during times of emergency," said UTC Contribution and Communication Services Director Jacqueline Strayer. The partnership is the first of its kind for both organizations. ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner told the gathering that ARRL was very fortunate to receive the grant to benefit Connecticut's 8000 amateurs. "We're confident that a significant number will be interested in taking UTC's challenge to complete the course and put their skills to the test, if and when called upon," he said. Approximately 1000 Amateur Radio operators across the US have completed the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level I course. The on-line instruction, offered as part of ARRL's Certification and Continuing Education Program, is made possible through the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC). The introductory Level I course is designed to raise awareness and provide additional knowledge and tools for emergency communications volunteers. During the press conference, guest of honor Connecticut Lt Gov Jodi Rell thanked both ARRL and UTC for pairing up to provide the training opportunity for the state's radio amateurs. "Having hundreds, if not thousands, of Amateur Radio operators trained for emergency communications can only enhance our communications skills and our progress here," she said. "Frankly, I hope that we never need your expertise." Connecticut Emergency Management Director John Wiltse said partnerships like the one between UTC and ARRL are important to the activities he oversees. "Government cannot do it all," he said. "This is how preparedness happens, by forming this partnership and moving forward." The UTC-ARRL initiative emphasizes "how essential communication is to emergency preparedness," he said. In addition to area amateurs, others on hand for the announcement included ARRL New England Division Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI; ARRL Connecticut Section Manager Betsey Doane, K1EIC; and Connecticut Section Emergency Coordinator Jim Ritterbusch, KD1YV. Doane said she was "thrilled" about the UTC grant and welcomed the opportunity for Connecticut amateurs to obtain emergency communications training. "Communicating is an art," she said. "It's not just speaking into a microphone." Based in Hartford, Connecticut, United Technologies Corp provides high-tech products and services to the building systems and aerospace industries worldwide through its Otis Elevator, Carrier Corp, UTC Fuel Cells, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky Aircraft and Hamilton Sundstrand companies. ==>ROCKET BOYS--AND GIRL--SET THEIR SIGHTS ON SPACE If all goes as planned, a group of Amateur Radio operators and amateur rocket enthusiasts is poised to make aerospace history this summer by putting the first amateur rocket into space. The Civilian Space Xploration Team (CSXT) is hoping the suborbital vehicle will carry its Amateur Radio payloads to an altitude of more than 60 nautical miles. "Amateur Radio is central to the whole flight," said Eric Knight, KB1EHE, of Unionville, Connecticut--one of the hams involved. He explained that the rocket's Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS), amateur TV and packet telemetry gear will enable the team to document its success. "Space" is defined as 50 nautical miles. The team is aiming to attain an altitude of 62 nautical miles with its rocket--the Primera Spaceshot 2002. (Primera Technology is a primary sponsor for the project and is helping with support and materials, Knight says.) Other Connecticut amateurs involved include Rod Lane, N1FNE--whose garage and basement workshop have been largely given over to rocket construction and integration--and Don Skinner, N1HWR. Assisting in the project for the past three years has been high school senior Julia Cohn, KB1IGU. Licensed since April, Cohn has been involved in constructing and programming some of the sequencing electronics that will go aboard the vehicle. Her electronics instructor and mentor at West Hartford's Hall High School is Chet Bacon, KA1ILH. Other students in Bacon's electronics classes also have contributed to the project. In all, Knight says, 16 "key people"--including spouses--have immersed themselves in the rocket project. Among them is a real rocket scientist, Jerry Larson, an "almost ham" and an engineer with Lockheed Martin in Colorado. The team has built the vehicle itself, right down to the solid-rocket propellant grain. Overseeing the CSXT effort is Project Director Ky Michaelson of Minnesota, a semi-retired stuntman and veteran hobby rocket enthusiast who holds dozens of rocket speed records. "It was his inspiration that led to the project," Knight said. He's also the project's primary personal financier. Michaelson serves as president of the National Experimental Rocketry Association. To say that the project has become nearly all-consuming would be an understatement. "We're passionate about it," Knight said, estimating that the team members--whom he describes as "people with a love of rocketry"--easily have spent hundreds of hours apiece over the course of the five-year mission. At this point, they've been working almost around-the-clock, he said. Funding for the project has come from team members' pockets. Knight estimates the costs to date are approaching $100,000. Machining for the nose cone alone cost on the order of $5000. "A lot of our vacation money goes into this," Knight said. "We've convinced our wives that the desert is a good place to spend a couple of weeks." Knight says the rocket was to have flown last September 26, "but then September 11 happened." The team lost its Federal Aviation Administration authorization to launch; it was only reinstated this spring. The team also has made the necessary FCC notifications. Once at the launch site, the rocket will undergo a full day of testing followed by a full day of launch simulation exercises. If everything is a go, the big launch would take place the following day. The team is not releasing the launch date or location because of limitations on the number of visitors allowed at the US government-owned site. Once the vehicle attains maximum altitude, it will be split into two pieces, and parachutes will deploy to carry them back to Earth. "It will come back, one way or the other," Knight said. There used to be a $250,000 prize to put the first amateur rocket into space, but it expired in 2000. "There's no prize or reward whatsoever," Knight said, "only the historic recognition of being the first amateurs to build and launch a rocket into space." More information on the rocket project is on Knight's "Spaceshot 2001/Spaceshot 2002" Web site <http://www.remarkable.com/rocket>.--Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, assisted in the preparation and editing of this report ==>FCC INVITES PUBLIC COMMENTS ON NEW AMATEUR BAND PROPOSALS Public comments on FCC proposals to create two new amateur bands and to upgrade an Amateur Service allocation at 2.4 GHz to primary are due July 29, and reply comments are due by August 12. In response to an ARRL petition, the FCC last month released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ET Docket 02-98) that proposed to create a new 5-MHz HF allocation and a new low-frequency band in the vicinity of 136 kHz in addition to elevating amateurs from secondary to primary at 2400 to 2402 MHz. The FCC adopted the NPRM May 2 on a unanimous vote. The NPRM was published June 14 in The Federal Register. A copy of the petition is available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/et02-98/>. Interested parties may file comments via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) <http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html>. To view filed comments, click on "Search for Filed Comments;" to file a comment, click on "Submit a filing." In either case, enter "02-98" in the "Proceeding" field. More than 130 parties--most of them individual amateurs--already have filed comments. If the proposals eventually are approved, amateurs would gain a new, secondary, domestic (US-only) HF allocation at 5.25 to 5.40 MHz and a new LF "sliver band" at 135.7 to 137.8 kHz. The FCC has recommended permitting amateurs to operate at full legal limit on a new 5-MHz allocation, but it left open for further discussion whether to restrict band access to certain license classes. The FCC also has invited further comment on whether the band should be broken down into mode-specific subbands. On 136 kHz, the FCC has proposed limiting output to 1 W effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP)--or 100 W PEP maximum transmitter output--and with a transmission bandwidth of only 100 Hz. The ARRL had asked for 2 W EIRP and a maximum transmitter power of 200 W PEP. The FCC has asked whether its proposed power limits are appropriate. The FCC proposed to limit access to the band to General and higher-class licensees. ==>WORLD RADIOCOMMUNICATION CONFERENCE 2003 RESCHEDULED FOR GENEVA ARRL has learned that World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, next June and July. The conference was set to be held in Caracas, Venezuela, but the Venezuelan National Commission of Telecommunications (CONATEL) rescinded the invitation earlier this month, citing economic concerns. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is expected to issue a formal announcement regarding the new WRC-03 venue in the near future. "The ITU staff has managed to arrange suitable meeting space in Geneva for the dates that were originally agreed," said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, who will serve as administrative officer for the International Amateur Radio Union delegation to the conference. "It is quite an accomplishment for them to have achieved this on such short notice, and those of us who will be attending the conference appreciate the uncertainty being removed." Sumner said that while the new WRC-03 arrangements have not yet been formally ratified, planning for the global gathering will be able to go forward in the meantime. Several issues of importance to radio amateurs are on the conference agenda, including harmonization of the 7-MHz amateur and broadcasting allocations. Other Amateur Radio-related issues on the WRC-03 agenda include the revision of Article 25 of the international Radio Regulations--the basic rules for the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services. Among other issues, this includes the issue of whether to retain the treaty requirement to demonstrate Morse code proficiency for access to amateur bands below 30 MHz. WRC-03 will take place in Geneva from June 9 until July 4, 2003. ==>AMATEUR RADIO FIRE RESPONSE SUPPORT CONTINUES IN COLORADO Amateur Radio support continues in Colorado as firefighters attempt to gain the upper hand in against the Hayman Fire--the state's largest ever. ARRL Colorado Section Manager Jeff Ryan, K0RM, reports that the Pikes Peak, Douglas and Arapahoe Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) teams have been providing coverage in at least two shifts since June 9. They now are supporting Salvation Army canteens for fire responders as well as at the Salvation Army's Colorado Springs headquarters. Amateurs also have been filling communications gaps as needed. "Phone service at one of the forward area fire stations in Westcreek has been intermittent," Ryan said, "and when service is out, Pikes Peak ARES provides operators to relay traffic between Westcreek and the Teller County Sheriff's office." At week's end, Ryan said the more than 2500 firefighters were being aided by lower temperatures, higher humidity and some rain, although less favorable conditions were predicted. The fire has so far destroyed 79 homes and 413 other structures and prompted the evacuation of more than 8900 people. Some 700 residents were allowed back to their homes in Douglas and Jefferson counties June 20, however, as a shift in wind and cooler temperatures removed the immediate threat. While the Hayman Fire was nearly 50 percent contained, Ryan says strong winds earlier in the week blew smoke and ash to the southeast of the fire extending over Colorado Springs. The fire jumped containment lines in north central Teller County and southwestern Douglas County, and new evacuations were ordered in area along the fire's edge in Douglas County. The Hayman Fire has scorched nearly 140,000 acres in the Pike National Forest. ==>ARRL TO OFFER SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS COURSE The ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program has announced its newest on-line course-Satellite Communications (EC-007). Registration for the new course opens Monday, June 24. This is the sixth course in a growing list of continuing education offerings from ARRL. QST Editor and satellite enthusiast Steve Ford, WB8IMY, developed the curriculum. The course contains material from Ford's articles, as well as new material. Resources were also provided by AMSAT-NA. Ford has written many QST articles on amateur satellites and is the author of ARRL's HF Digital Handbook. "Steve's extensive knowledge of satellites as well as other digital communications has proven invaluable. This is his second course for C-CE," said ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program Coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG. The ARRL Satellite Course is intended for amateurs who have never operated satellites before. The course opens with a review of amateur satellite history. Students will move on to a study of satellite tracking, orbiting relay stations, FM repeater satellites and the International Space Station. It continues with lessons and exercises on FM satellites, the Fuji Sats, AMSAT-OSCAR 40 setup and operation. The final lessons cover store-and-forward digital satellites, APRS and future satellites. Registration for the first on-line class opens Monday, June 24, at 4 PM EDT. There's a 50-seat class limit for July classes. As with most of the other ARRL on-line classes, students will have up to eight weeks to complete the course. Tuition for Satellite Communications (EC-007) is $65 for ARRL members and $95 for nonmembers. More course information is available at the C-CE Course Listing Page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html>. Details about the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program are on the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/>. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sun watcher Tad "But, Mama, that's where the fun is" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar flux and sunspot numbers declined again this week. The daily average for sunspot numbers dropped by more 38 points and average daily solar flux was down by 14 points compared to the previous week, June 6-12. Solar flux reached a short-term minimum last Friday at 131.4 and is now on the rise. Current projections show it peaking around 170 by the end of this month. The predicted flux values for Field Day weekend, Friday through Sunday are 150, 155 and 155. What we hope for this weekend are high solar flux and low geomagnetic activity. Currently Earth sits in a solar wind stream coming from a coronal hole on the sun. This could possibly trigger high-latitude aurora, but the current prediction for Saturday and Sunday is for stable geomagnetic conditions. In addition to being Field Day weekend, this is also the first weekend of summer. This is not a great time for 10 meters, but check 10 for possible E-layer propagation rather than the better F-layer propagation we see on this band in spring and fall. For close-in propagation less than 1000 miles, your best band around the clock will be 40 meters, and 80 meters after sunset. Sunspot numbers for June 13 through 19 were 126, 102, 137, 132, 116, 174 and 127, with a mean of 130.6. The 10.7 cm flux was 133.4, 131.4, 135.3, 136.7, 142.9, 142.9, and 145.8, with a mean of 138.3. Estimated planetary A indices were 11, 7, 7, 11, 7, 11, and 16, with a mean of 10. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: ARRL ARRL Field Day, His Majesty the King of Spain Contest (SSB) and the QRP ARCI Milliwatt Field Day are the weekend of June 22-23. 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. * AMSAT Field Day info: AMSAT-NA reports that information on AMSAT Field Day, concurrent with ARRL Field Day, is available on the AMSAT Web page <http://www.amsat.org/amsat/activities/amsatfd.html>. Information includes rules as well as forms to report your AMSAT Field Day Score. * ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration: Registration for the Level III ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course (EC-003) and for HF Digital Communications (EC-005) remains open through the June 22-23 weekend. Registration for the newest ARRL course, Satellite Communications (EC-007), opens Monday, June 24. All registrations open at 4 PM Eastern Time. ARRL 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. For more information, contact Certification and Continuing Education Program Coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG, email@example.com. * New York PRB-1 bill passes Senate: ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, reports that the Senate version of New York's Amateur Radio antenna bill, S.2893, passed the upper chamber June 18 following approval by the Senate Rules Committee. After some debate and discussion, the measure was put to a vote and received an overwhelming 58-2 majority. An identical measure, A.1565, still is pending in the New York Assembly as the current legislative session heads for adjournment. Gov George Pataki, a former Amateur Radio operator (K2ZCZ), has promised to sign the bill if it passes. In addition to incorporating the "reasonable accommodation" provisions of the PRB-1 limited federal preemption, the bills would preclude localities from restricting the height of an antenna support structure to less than 95 feet or restrict the number of antenna support structures. Fallon asked members to refrain from further correspondence to lawmakers and "keep our fingers cross and let our sponsors carry the ball the rest of the way." The Hudson Division Web page <http://www.hudson.arrl.org/> has a copy of the bill and other information. * Continuing Legal Education seminar set for New England Division Convention: An ARRL Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar will be held in conjunction with the ARRL New England Division Convention, Boxboro, Massachusetts, Friday, August 23, 1 to 5 PM. This is an intensive session designed for attorneys and others concerned with the intricacies of antenna law and the latest legal developments. Sessions will be taught by ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, and Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, author of the ARRL book Antenna Zoning for the Radio Amateur. Advance registration is required. The $75 registration fee includes a copy of Hopengarten's book (the fee is $25 for those bringing their own copies). Auditing students will be accommodated if there is space. Copies of Antenna Zoning for the Radio Amateur will be available at the session for $49.95. CLE credit will be available for Massachusetts. To register, contact Jo-Ann Arel, firstname.lastname@example.org; 860-594-0292. Credit card payments are accepted. If paying by check, include the note "ARRL CLE Seminar" and send payment to CLE Seminar, c/o Jo-Ann Arel, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. For full information on the New England Division Convention, visit the convention Web site <http://www.boxboro.org/>. * ARRL to host power-line interference workshop: The ARRL will host a workshop on power-line interference conducted by Mike Martin, K3RFI, of RFI Services of Maryland. The two-day workshop, August 22-23 at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut, is intended for utility professionals who are responsible for locating and dealing with power-line related interference issues. "ARRL is providing a site for this workshop to show that by working with the utility industry, with communication and training, electrical noise problems can be fixed," says ARRL Lab Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI, who will be among those taking the class. Hare said he believes the course is well worth the $800 tuition fee in terms of saving a utility a lot of time, money and frustration. For amateurs who work in the utility industry, this course has the added benefits of being held at ARRL Headquarters where participants will have a chance to operate W1AW. For more information or a workshop application, visit the K3RFI Web site, www.qsl.net/k3rfi. * ARRL Outgoing QSL Service tops one million cards for 2002: ARRL Outgoing QSL Service Manager Martin Cook, N1FOC, reports that, as of June 14, the bureau had mailed 1,016,100 cards to various incoming QSL bureaus in other countries. Cook says the number represents an increase of 89,700 cards over the date one year ago. =========================================================== 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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