*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 34 August 30, 2002 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Director, vice director races set for 2003-2005 term * +Prison term and fine meted out in Florida jamming case * +'N Sync's Lance Bass plans to ham it up from space * +Power line interference workshop sparks heightened awareness * +Section Manager lauds ARES fire-duty response * +Final ham antennas installed on ISS * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio Field Day 2002 received logs posted +ARRL Computer System Upgrade to Cause Some Disruptions ARRL contest certificate redesign causes delivery delay 2002 ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference set +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== Editor's note: ARRL Headquarters will be closed Monday, September 2, to observe Labor Day. ARRL HQ will reopen for business at 8 AM EDT Tuesday, September 3. We wish all our members a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend! =========================================================== ==>ARRL DIRECTOR, VICE DIRECTOR RACES SET IN FOUR DIVISIONS ARRL members in the Atlantic and Great Lakes divisions will cast ballots this fall in contests to pick directors, while members in the Delta and Midwest divisions will have a choice of candidates for vice director. Six other incumbents--including both the Director and Vice Director in the Dakota Division--avoided challenges in the current election cycle to choose directors and vice directors for the 2003-2005 term. Two directors face opposition. In the Atlantic Division, incumbent Director Bernie Fuller, N3EFN, of Saegertown, Pennsylvania, will face Anthony Gargano, N2SS, of Sewell, New Jersey. Vice Director Bill Edgar, N3LLR, is among those facing no opposition. In the Great Lakes Division, Director Gary Johnston, KI4LA, of Edgewood, Kentucky, is in a three-way race with Paul Daley, WT8S, of Canal Winchester, Ohio, and Jim Weaver, K8JE, of Mason, Ohio. Johnston only recently took over the top spot from George Race, WB8BGY, who, in a surprise move, resigned during the July Board of Directors' meeting. Vice Director Dick Mondro, W8FQT--who was Michigan Section Manager before his appointment in the wake of Johnston's accession--is unopposed for election. Incumbent vice directors in two divisions will compete for their seats. In the Delta Division, incumbent Henry R. Leggette, WD4Q, of Memphis, Tennessee, faces a challenge from Nicholas R. Smith, W4GKM, of Crossville, Tennessee. Delta Division Director Rick Roderick, K5UR, has no opposition. In the Midwest Division, incumbent Vice Director Bruce Frahm, K0BJ, of Colby, Kansas, has competition from Bill Wheeler, K0DEW, of Lebanon, Missouri. Midwest Division Director Wade Walstrom, W0EJ, is unopposed. Dakota Division Director Jay Bellows, K0QB, and Vice Director Twila Greenheck, N0JPH, also face no opposition in their bids for re-election. In the divisions where there is competition for director or vice director, ballots will go out to all ARRL members on record in the division as of September 10, 2002. Ballots will be mailed by October 1 and must be received back at ARRL Headquarters (via the ARRL's auditor) by noon on November 15, when they will be counted and the successful candidates announced. Candidates running unopposed are declared elected. New terms of office begin January 1, 2003. ==>FLORIDA MAN IMPRISONED, FINED FOR DELIBERATE INTERFERENCE Florida Citizens Band enthusiast William "Rabbit Ears" Flippo will spend a total of 15 months in federal prison--including two months already served--and pay a $25,000 fine for jamming Amateur Radio communications and transmitting without a license. He'll also spend a year on supervised probation following his release, during which he cannot own radio gear or firearms. Flippo was convicted in federal court earlier this year on eight misdemeanor counts. The sentence is believed to be a record for convictions of this type. "It's sent a shock wave across the Amateur Radio and CB communities in South Florida," said Ed Petzolt, K1LNC, who was among the amateurs targeted by Flippo and who testified at his trial. "The CB guys are running for cover. You can buy an illegal CB amplifier pretty cheap right now," he quipped. Hams were surprised by the severity of the sentence. Federal District Court Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley imposed the sentence August 29 on Flippo, of Jupiter. He had been found guilty June 19 of four counts of operating without a license and four counts of deliberate and malicious interference. Flippo has remained in custody since the guilty verdict and underwent a psychiatric evaluation prior to sentencing. The judge also said he wants a full financial disclosure from Flippo, who may face other legal actions unrelated to his radio operation convictions. At the sentencing, Flippo reportedly wept, said he'd turned over a new leaf and claimed he was sole support for his wife and two daughters. None of his family members was in the courtroom for the sentencing, however. The judge was not persuaded, telling Flippo, 60, that he was old enough to have considered the consequences of his actions. Hurley also alleged numerous incidents of perjury during the course of Flippo's testimony during his June trial, which ran six-and-one-half days. The jury took about a half hour to determine that he was guilty on all counts. According to trial testimony, Flippo primarily had targeted members of 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. Flippo had faced a maximum of eight years in prison--one year on each count--and up to $80,000 in fines. Available opinions were mixed on whether the sentence Hurley imposed was appropriate. Petzolt, who assisted the FCC in gathering evidence and, at one point, had his car rammed by Flippo's vehicle, said he felt Flippo should have received at least three years. "I thought it was a slap on the wrist," said Petzolt, the 1999 ARRL International Humanitarian Award winner who also testified at the trial. John Criteser Jr, KC4JLY, agreed. "I think he should have gotten more--at least five years," Criteser said outside the courthouse. Other amateurs who attended the sentencing session, including Jupiter-Tequesta club member Bert Moreschi, AG4BV, were satisfied with the penalty, however. Last year, Flippo was convicted in state court of criminal mischief--also a misdemeanor--after ramming Petzolt's vehicle. He was sentenced to a year's probation and ordered him to dispose of his radio equipment. A ban on possessing radio gear also was a condition of his federal bond, which Hurley revoked during the trial. Federal authorities arrested Flippo in July 2000. The criminal charges of which he now stands convicted covered violations allegedly committed between June 1999 and April of 2000. The defendant 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. Hurley ordered Flippo immediately back into custody to start serving his sentence. Flippo reportedly was led into and out of the courtroom in shackles and leg irons. ==>POP STAR LANCE BASS PASSES TECHNICIAN TEST AS PART OF HIS QUEST FOR SPACE Lance Bass of the pop singing group 'N Sync is still hoping to travel to the International Space Station in late October through Russia's "space tourist" program. Bass passed his Technician license examination August 30 at an ARRL-VEC test session, and, if all arrangements can be worked out, ham radio could be a part of his space visit. He has not yet been issued a call sign. In the US this week for training with NASA, Bass worked with the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) volunteer team, which included Nick Lance, KC5KBO, ARISS Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, and Carolynn Conley, KD5JSO--the Amateur Radio integration manager at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston. "I will be staying in contact the whole time I'm up there," Bass said during a NASA-hosted Web chat with students across the US August 29. "I'm getting my ham license this week--that's one of my goals this week--so I can talk to different schools around the world via ham radio. That'll be a lot of fun." An audience of youngsters ranging in age from 9 to 12 from Pearl Hall Elementary School, Pasadena, Texas, also joined Bass in the Johnson Space Center studio to ask questions face-to-face. Bauer said Bass knows the rules and regulations and that the ARISS team also supplied training on the ARISS hardware and operations from space. "We gave him some sessions where he could listen to typical QSOs on orbit and school group contacts from the ground; he is now well versed on what to expect." Bass also received training with the ham radio hardware during his Russian training stay. At this point, however, nothing is finalized to ensure that Bass will get on the air from the NA1SS/RS0ISS ham station on the ISS. Daily discussions continue between members of the ARISS team and Celebrity Mission LLC--the group handling Bass's affairs. If all goes well, the stage may be set for Bass to communicate with the Amateur Radio community from space this fall. Bass would be part of a three-person Soyuz "taxi crew" that will blast off from Kazakhstan on October 28. At 23, Bass would be the youngest person ever to travel into space. A remaining potential roadblock still appears to be completion of financial arrangements with Russia, which has claimed that it had not received a promised payment from Bass's organization. At one point, Russia even halted Bass's training, but he was subsequently permitted to resume. The round-trip ticket price has been generally estimated to be in the vicinity of $20 million, but all sides are keeping mum about the exact cost. For more information about the International Space Station, the Expedition 5 crew and the taxi crew of which Bass will be a member, visit the NASA Human Spaceflight Web site <http://spaceflight.nasa.gov>. ==>POWER LINE INTERFERENCE WORKSHOP A HIT A two-day workshop at ARRL Headquarters on power-line interference turned out to be a great success on more than one level. The August 22-23 session, conducted by Mike Martin, K3RFI, of RFI Services of Maryland, not only attracted a better-than-average turnout, but participants were able to track down at least some of the sources of power line noise affecting W1AW. Most of those attending the session were involved with locating and dealing with power-line related interference issues. "We're starting to get their attention," ARRL Lab Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI, said of the power companies. By hosting the workshop, the ARRL hoped to assist hams as well as the power companies to combat this longstanding problem. The course included hands-on field work and specific instruction on finding and fixing the noises that can plague Amateur Radio operators and other radio spectrum users. Participants went away with techniques on how to quickly determine which specific system hardware is the source of the noise. The FCC recently began taking a harder line toward alleged Part 15 violations involving power line interference to Amateur Radio operators. Martin's workshops are aimed at helping anyone involved with the electric power industry to find sources of power line noise--occasionally an ongoing and vexing concern for hams--and to help them to understand their obligations under FCC rules. Among the 20 attendees were FCC Special Counsel for Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth, two members of the US armed forces, a communications specialist, several members of the ARRL Headquarters staff and several power company employees. "The RFI workshop was excellent and led to a much better rapport between the power companies and amateurs," Hollingsworth remarked. "Since RFI problems are often an early warning of an outage or danger to persons on the ground, it is important that the power companies respond. Power line interference can degrade the Amateur Service and must be dealt with." The first day's class discussed the causes of power-line noise, some of the less well-known things to watch for and noise-locating techniques. On the second day, the whole group took to the field for some practical experience. Loading themselves into a fully equipped noise-locating van, the students went out to see if they could find the sources of noise that has been causing interference at W1AW for more than three years. It took the group less than an hour to find the two noise sources. Now that they have been identified, local power supplier Northeast Utilities will be notified and asked to correct the problem. ARRL Electromagnetic Compatibility Specialist John Phillips, K2QAI, said participants' comments were uniformly positive. "It is our hope that as more people become aware of how easy it is to locate and fix most sources of power-line noise," Phillips said, "more power companies will take responsibility for solving the problems expeditiously." ==>AMATEURS' NON-STOP FIRE DUTY DOES SECTION MANAGER PROUD Amateur Radio Emergency Service members in the San Diego, California, area spent two weeks assisting the American Red Cross and the California Division of Forestry during the so-called Pines Fire. ARRL San Diego Section Manager Kent Tiburski, K6FQ, says dozens of ARES members responded July 30 to a full callout. The fire started a day earlier after the blade of an Army National Guard helicopter on drug patrol struck the ground near Volcan Mountain. Hundreds of residents had to be evacuated as the fast-moving wildfire some 60 miles northeast of San Diego threatened homes. "Amateur Radio played a major role in the safe evacuation of residents from their homes to Red Cross-maintained shelters," Tiburski said. "Hams manned several shelters including one at Julian High School." The high school served as the primary shelter as well as the California Division of Forestry's field operations center. ARES members also were detailed to other shelters in Shelter Valley and Ramona. Hams later assisted the Red Cross in damage assessment. "The fire early on had destroyed power and telephone lines, leaving the east county towns without telephone and cellular service," Tiburski said. "Hams utilized numerous repeaters during the fire to cover the rugged back country of San Diego County." Radio operators quickly set up vital communication links between the Red Cross emergency operations center and workers in the field, earning later praise from Red Cross officials. "As the fire lines quickly changed, radio operators stayed one step ahead of the fire, radioing information necessary to assure an appropriate Red Cross disaster response," said Red Cross Public Information Officer Jay Esper. "Without the quality service from the ARES radio operators, the American Red Cross could not maintain the high quality of service to its clients." Tiburski had special praise to San Diego County and the county's Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) team for loaning its new county-wide repeater system. He said the more than 40 ARES members, some working multiple shifts round-the-clock, passed hundreds of messages without missing a beat. Doug Morris, W6DUG, who assisted at the Julian shelter, said he was "overwhelmed" at how dependent the community was upon the services of Amateur Radio. "It seemed many hams who had never been involved in this type of operation volunteered and found themselves badly needed," he said in a message to Tiburski. For his part, Tiburski said he was gratified and pleased at how well the ARES members responded. "Their selfless devotion to providing emergency communications in time of need reflected great credit upon ARES and the Amateur Radio Service," Tiburski said. "I'm proud to be their Section Manager!" The Pines Fire burned over some 62,000 acres and destroyed three dozen homes and another 100 or so other structures. Tiburski said it was the largest and longest-burning fire in San Diego County to require ARES support. ==>FINAL TWO HAM ANTENNAS INSTALLED ABOARD SPACE STATION The last two Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) antennas were installed this week during a space walk. The installation wraps up work that began last January when the first two of the four Italian-designed antennas were attached to the ISS exterior. During the second of two space walks this month, two members of the Expedition 5 crew attached essentially identical VHF-UHF flexible-tape antennas to the ISS Service Module on August 26. The space walk--or EVA (extra-vehicular activity)--had been postponed from August 23. Expedition 5 Flight Engineer Sergei Treschev, RZ3FU, joined Crew Commander Valery Korzun, RZ3FK, during the nearly 10-hour-long space walk. In addition to installing the new ham radio antennas, the pair prepared the station for upcoming space walks and worked with Russian and Japanese experiments on the station's exterior. Installation of the new ARISS antennas on the Zvezda Service Module--the crew's living quarters--makes possible two separate ham stations aboard the orbiting outpost--one for VHF operation, the other for UHF (70 cm). Similar flexible-tape antennas for VHF-UHF and for HF were installed during January space walks by the Expedition 4 crew, although there is not yet any HF gear aboard the ISS. The newest two VHF-UHF flexible tape antennas--designated WA1 and WA2--were installed along the perimeter of the aft end of the Zvezda Service Module, near the Soyuz docking port. ARISS is an international project sponsored jointly by ARRL, NASA and AMSAT. A paper entitled "2001: an Amateur Radio Space Odyssey on the International Space Station," which details the development of ARISS and discusses the four new ARISS antennas, is available via the ARISS Web site <http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov/EVAs/amsat01.pdf>. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar scholar Tad "Tequila Sunrise" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Last week's rise in sunspot count couldn't last forever, and the numbers this week show a drop. Average daily sunspot count for the reporting period, August 22-28, declined 104 points, and solar flux was down by nearly 38 points when compared to the previous week. The autumnal equinox is just a few weeks away. This is a great time for HF DX, as we pass from the summer season. Sunspot 87 is currently passing through an area where it is squarely aimed at earth and poses a threat for developing powerful X-class solar flares. The current prediction is for moderate to unsettled geomagnetic activity over the next few days, barring any upset from sunspot 87. Solar flux is expected to decline over the next few days with Friday through Monday values around 170, 165, 155, and 150. Solar flux is expected to reach a near term minimum near 125 around September 7, and then bounce back quickly. Sunspot numbers for August 15 through 21 were 281, 247, 270, 308, 247, 209 and 238, with a mean of 257.1. The 10.7-cm flux was 210.3, 213.8, 226.7, 241, 237, 227.5 and 219.9, with a mean of 225.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 19, 17, 13, 18, 27, 23 and 41, with a mean of 22.6. Sunspot numbers for August 22 through 28 were 205, 207, 199, 136, 105, 133 and 87, with a mean of 153.1. The 10.7-cm flux was 220.1, 224.5, 195.6, 178.6, 168.6, 161.4, and 163.2, with a mean of 187.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 11, 11, 11, 9, 18, 15 and 10, with a mean of 12.1. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The YO DX HF Contest, the Michigan QRP Labor Day CW Sprint are the weekend of August 31-September 1. JUST AHEAD: The Michigan QRP Labor Day CW Sprint is September 2-3. The North American Sprint (CW), the All Asian DX Contest (SSB), the IARU Region 1 Field Day (SSB), the DARC 10-Meter Digital Contest and the QRP ARCI End of Summer PSK31 Sprint are the weekend of September 7-8. 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. * Field Day 2002 received logs posted: The ARRL Contest Branch has announced that the logs submitted for Field Day 2002 have been posted on the Logs Received page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/claimed/> on the ARRL Web site. Click on "2002 ARRL Field Day" under "Other Reports." Contact the ARRL Contest Branch (firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-594-0232) if you spot errors or if your entry is missing. The Contest Soapbox page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/soapbox> includes interesting photographs and stories from many Field Day groups. Feel free to share your group's photos and stories. * ARRL Computer System Upgrade to Cause Some Disruptions: A major computer system conversion at ARRL Headquarters will allow the League to better serve our members, but there will be some delays in service as we transition from the old system to the new one. Any membership applications, renewals or changes to membership records--such as address or call sign--that arrived after 5 PM EDT August 28 will not be processed until the new system is in operation next week. Club and examination information also will not be updated. In the meantime, all normal lookup features will remain available via the ARRL Web site, but the information will be as of 5 PM EDT on August 28. ARRL product and publication orders placed during the conversion period will be delayed by a few days. E-mail and FCC call sign lookup information will not be affected by the changeover. "Please bear with us as we work our way through the conversion," said ARRL Chief Operating Officer Mark Wilson, K1RO. "The staff is a little nervous about flipping the switch but excited about seeing all of the work and preparation that went into developing the new system turn into reality." ARRL anticipates that regular Web processing will resume by Friday, September 6--if not sooner. We apologize for any inconvenience during this transitional period. Further information on the changeover will be posted as it's available. * ARRL contest certificate redesign causes delivery delay: The ARRL Contest Branch is retiring its landscape-format (horizontal) certificates after many years of service and replacing them with redesigned portrait-style (vertical) certificates. The changeover has meant delivery delays, however. "To those awaiting certificates for several ARRL-sponsored operating events, please stand by," says ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND. "The basic artwork has been approved, and the Graphics Department is hard at work tweaking the final design and layout for the certificates." Henderson says he anticipates having the new certificates on hand, ready for labeling and mailing by the Contest Branch by mid-October at the latest. The new-style certificates will be used for all ARRL-sponsored HF and international events starting with the certificates for the 2001 ARRL 160 Meter Contest. New VHF/UHF certificates will debut with the 2002 June VHF QSO party. New ARRL November Sweepstakes certificates will be issued for the first time for the 2002 events. In addition to the new certificates, ARRL is replacing the old-style ARRL June VHF QSO Party plaque with a more modern design. "The artwork was selected from dozens of photos submitted by members and will feature a spectacular mountain sunrise from a rover's perspective," Henderson explained. The new June plaques also are expected to be available by mid-fall. * 2002 ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference set: The 21st ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference will be held in Denver, Colorado, September 13-15. "Our goal is to make everyone aware of the DCC and make it the best amateur technical conference," said TAPR's Steve Bible, N7HPR. The annual gathering provides an international forum for radio amateurs involved in digital communication, networking, and related technologies to meet, publish their work, and present new ideas and techniques for discussion. At this year's DCC there will be topics and demonstrations on Linux, Software Defined Radio, digital voice, IEEE 802.11 "Wi-Fi" protocol, and precision timing, just to name a few. Software Defined Radio will be the focus of the Sunday Seminar by Matt Ettus, N2MJI. The Saturday night banquet speaker is Bruce Perens, K6BP--a well-known Linux advocate and radio amateur. The DCC is for digitally oriented amateurs of all experience levels. Information about the conference and registration details also are on the TAPR site <http://www.tapr.org/tapr/dcc/>. Copies of the Digital Communications Conference Proceedings will be available from ARRL for $20 via the ARRL Web catalog <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/>. =========================================================== 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. 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