ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
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 (n1nd@arrl.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. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely,
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Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or
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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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