ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 21, No. 35
September 6, 2002
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +NTIA throws ARRL's 5-MHz proposal a curve
* +Lance Bass sidelined for ISS trip
* +Indiana kids enjoy back-to-school space chat
* +Amateurs assist tornado-stricken town
* +South African amateurs back up summit communications
* +ARRL announces new ARES gear
* +Award winner donates prize to ARRL scholarship fund
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF:
     This weekend on the radio
     Special event station K4P to mark first anniversary of Pentagon
attack
     DXCC announces 30-Meter Award
     ARRL computer system upgrade delayed
     National Frequency Coordinators' Council, Board announce election
results

+Available on ARRL Audio News

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

==>NTIA HEAVES POTENTIAL MONKEY WRENCH INTO 5-MHZ BAND PROPOSAL

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has
recommended that the FCC not grant an ARRL petition for a domestic-only,
secondary Amateur Radio allocation at 5 MHz. The NTIA regulates radio
spectrum allocated to the federal government. The last-minute
recommendation followed hundreds of largely favorable comments and reply
comments from organizations--including the ARRL--and from individuals.

In an August 21 letter, the NTIA's Fredrick R. Wentland said federal
agencies are making extensive use of HF for emergency services, including
communications support for the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard and
Department of Justice law enforcement activities. "NTIA believes the
Commission's current proposal does not adequately provide for protection
from harmful interference to these critical government operations primary
in the band," said Wentland, who is NTIA's acting associate administrator
for spectrum management.

In its recent comments, the ARRL called the 5 MHz allocation "an urgent
priority of the Amateur Service" and asked that the proceeding to grant it
be expedited. Wentland's letter arrived at the FCC beyond the cut-off date
for reply comments in the proceeding, ET Docket 02-98.

Wentland said that without a more complete understanding of the
interference potential to federal operations, the NTIA believes the
secondary amateur allocation would be "premature." But he said that NTIA
would work with the federal agencies, the FCC and the amateur community to
determine whether "some future accommodation" for amateurs at 5 MHz would
be possible. That could include limitations on power or emission types, a
reduction in the size of the proposed band, the use of discrete
frequencies or geographical restrictions, he suggested.

ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, said that while he and the ARRL
Board of Directors have been long aware of the concerns registered by the
US Coast Guard and the US Department of Justice with the NTIA's
Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC), he was surprised by the
tone of the NTIA letter.

"This is a lot worse than we were told to expect," he said, noting that
the FCC had cancelled a meeting to discuss issues expressed by the NTIA
several months ago and went forward with its proposal despite the NTIA's
concerns.

"We don't know how seriously the FCC will take NTIA's comments," Imlay
added. "We're in the process of expediting coordination arrangements and
other means to identify and satisfy NTIA's legitimate concerns."

On May 2, the FCC proposed granting the ARRL's requests for new amateur
allocations at 5250 to 5400 kHz and 135.7 to 137.8 kHz and to elevate the
Amateur Radio allocation at 2400 to 2402 MHz to primary and to create a
primary Amateur-Satellite allocation there. Imlay said the 5250 to 5400
kHz segment was proposed because it appeared to have the fewest US
government assignments.

Ironically, the ARRL's own timely filed comments and reply comments in
late July and mid-August noted that the eagerly anticipated 5-MHz
allocation request was "essentially uncontested" and enjoyed "extensive
support" within the amateur community."

The FCC went along with ARRL's proposal to permit 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 or
to break the band down into mode-specific subbands. In its comments, the
ARRL said that the band should be open to General and Extra class
licensees and that band planning was sufficient to maintain order among
modes.

Two non-amateur organizations commented negatively. The HomePlug Powerline
Alliance (HPPA), while not opposing the allocation, suggested that its
Part 15 home wiring telecommunication devices operating in the 5 MHz range
be presumed to not cause interference to amateur operations and not have
to cease operation if interference is alleged. The ARRL called HPPA's
request "absurd."

The Power Line Communications Association (PLCA) said the FCC should not
grant the 5-MHz band request because amateurs could interfere with its
planned deployment of Part 15 broadband devices operating in the same
region. "No Part 15 device manufacturer is entitled to oppose an
allocation to a licensed radio service based on future deployment of an
unlicensed device, period," the League said in its reply comments.

Many more negative comments were received regarding the proposed 136-kHz
low-frequency allocation, most of them from utilities that employ
unlicensed Part 15 power line communication (PLC) systems. The ARRL
reiterated its request for 200 W PEP power-output limitation but in no
case greater than 2 W equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) on
136 kHz. The League also asked the FCC to reconsider granting an amateur
allocation at 160 to 190 kHz as it had requested in its initial petition.

The League also took a dim view of a suggestion by the IEEE Local and
Metropolitan Area Network Standards Committee that Part 15 devices
operating in the 2.4 GHz region enjoy a "safe harbor" of operation. The
ARRL reminded the FCC that such Part 15 devices have "no allocation status
at all."

The ARRL's comments and reply comments urged the FCC to immediately
implement the three proposals. "The Commission cannot make allocation
decisions based on non-technical assertions of Part 15 users or user
groups or manufacturers of such devices," the ARRL said. "ARRL contends
that compatibility between amateur uses in the subject bands and those of
incumbents is not a substantial concern in any of the three cases."

A copy of the ARRL's comments
<http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/et02-98/arrl-comments.pdf>  and a
copy of ARRL's reply comments
<http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/et02-98/arrl-reply.pdf> in ET
Docket 02-98 are available on the ARRL Web site.

The NTIA letter is available on the FCC Web site
<http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&;id_docu
ment=6513290159>.

==>BASS BOOTED?

A cargo container appears destined to replace "space tourist" hopeful
Lance Bass, KG4UYY, on an October mission to the International Space
Station. Associated Press, CNN and Reuters reported that the pop
singer--part of the group 'N Sync--will not be going into space after all.
It's still not clear, however, that this is the final word on the on
again/off again relationship between Bass and the Russian space program.

Last week, Bass passed his Technician Amateur Radio license test in
preparation for doing some Amateur Radio on the International Space
Station (ARISS) school contacts during his planned ISS tour. The FCC
granted the new call sign to the Orlando, Florida, resident on September
5. News accounts this week reported, however, that Bass has been removed
from the roster of the Soyuz taxi mission crew and has left the Star City,
Russia, cosmonaut training center--although he's still said to be in the
Moscow area.

Still on the Soyuz flight schedule are Russian commander Sergei Zalyotin
and Belgian flight engineer Frank De Winne, ON1DWN. Russian Space Agency
officials said this week that the commercial consortium backing the Bass
adventure still has not come up with any of the estimated $20 million
payment, despite several deadline extensions. Bass who's relying on the
corporate sponsors to pay for his fare as a space tourist, began his
training in July at Star City and had just returned to Russia after a week
at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Bass's handlers are blaming the nonpayment on paperwork problems and say
the latest setback is temporary and negotiations are continuing. The
Russians are standing firm that Bass is out of the program. They have said
they'll now send a container of additional equipment instead of the pop
star. The 23-year-old Bass has been hoping to become the youngest person
ever to journey into space.

During his Amateur Radio training at Johnson Space Center in Texas, Nick
Lance, KC5SWM--who instructed Bass in getting his ticket--also exposed him
to a simulation of what he might expect to hear in space while making
casual QSOs. "Frank Bauer [KA3HDO, the ARISS Board chairman] and I felt it
was important for him to experience what it would be like responding to
thousands of calls simultaneously, so I arranged for pileup training for
Lance with my students acting as the ground stations," Lance said.

With his wife Renee, KC5VMA, serving as control operator for the training
event, a couple of dozen students called while Bass tried to copy and
respond to each one. "Lance was initially overcome by all the call signs,
then settled down after making several contacts and did well himself,"
Lance said.

Bass later stopped by to say hello to the students who had just helped
train him. "Everyone was thrilled," Lance said. "Then we went back to our
studies and Lance Bass took the exam and passed.

==>INDIANA YOUNGSTERS ENJOY BACK-TO-SCHOOL BOOST FROM ARISS

Students at the Stanley Clark School in South Bend, Indiana, started out
their school year on a high note on September 4. As an audience of about
200 fellow students and 50 adults looked on, 13 fifth, sixth, seventh and
eighth-grade students at the school spoke via Amateur Radio for about 10
minutes with US astronaut Peggy Whitson, KC5ZTD, operating NA1SS aboard
the International Space Station. Whitson had visited the school in 1999.
The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact was
the first with a US school since last spring.

"The Earth is incredibly beautiful, but I think the most interesting thing
is seeing how thin the atmosphere is," Whitson told the youngsters in
response to one question. "It looks very fragile and like something we
should take care of." Whitson said there are several windows in the ISS
Service Module so the crew can observe Earth from there.

Replying to a question about the debris shields on the ISS, Whitson said
that at a speed of 17,000 MPH, any debris is a threat. "We see damage by
things as small as paint chips," she explained.

Students always seem to be interested in the food aboard the ISS, and the
South Bend youngsters were no exception. "I think the food on the ISS is
pretty good, but I tell ya what, after several months up here, I am a
little bored with it." Her favorites are the rehydrated strawberries and
cookies, she said.

So far, she told the Stanley Clark students, she has not experienced cabin
fever, "maybe because I got to go on a space walk." She didn't think her
two Russian crewmates were having problems with cabin fever either.

Whitson, an Iowa native, said that when she was very young, she saw the
first astronauts on TV when they walked on the moon, "and I think that had
a big effect on me," she said.

Students spoke with NA1SS via W9AB, with Mary Nimtz, N9YHI, at the
controls. W9AB is the club station call sign of the Michiana Amateur Radio
Club in South Bend. The contact was marred at points by QRM from a local
paging system, but 15 questions were asked and answered.

Crews from two South Bend TV stations were on hand to provide media
coverage. Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, was the ARISS mentor for the Stanley Clark
School contact.

Earlier this month, Whitson spoke with youngsters in Israel, where 2002
has been declared "Space Year" in honor of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon,
who will be aboard shuttle mission STS 107. Youngsters from several
Israeli schools gathered September 2 in the Givatayim Observatory for the
QSO. Using an earth station set up by AMSAT-Israel President Shlomo
Menuhin, 4X1AS, 15 students got to put 20 questions to Whitson as the ISS
passed overhead. The participating students--ranging from 10 to 15 years
old--were selected for their high scores in space-related activities and
study projects.

On August 29, Whitson also spoke with students at Kursk High School No. 55
in Russia got to chat with the ISS during two passes. In all, 10 questions
were asked. "Now we have experience, so we are ready anytime for new radio
communications with the ISS," said Valery Pikkiev, RW3WW. Students used
the school's RK3WXZ club station call sign.

ARISS is an international project, with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT
and NASA.--thanks to Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, Gene Chapline, K5YFL, and
Gaston Bertels, ON4WF

==>AMATEURS CONVERGE TO HELP TORNADO-STRICKEN TOWN

An Amateur Radio Emergency Service team is on the scene in the
northwestern Wisconsin community of Ladysmith, which was devastated by a
tornado on Labor Day. ARRL Wisconsin Section Manager Don Michalski, W9IXG,
reports that the first wave of ARES volunteers arrived in the Rusk County
town of nearly 4000 inhabitants at 10 PM Monday, within hours of the
tornado.

Reports indicated that the tornado arrived with little or no warning. "We
were lucky that this hit on a holiday, when the business district was
closed," Michalski remarked. The Ladysmith tornado was one of four that
touched down in the Badger State on Labor Day, but it was by far the most
damaging. Gov Scott McCallum has declared a state of emergency in Rusk
County. Gov McCallum toured Ladysmith on September 3.

Jim Staatz, KG9RA, reports that members of the Eau Claire Amateur Radio
Club and the Tri County Repeater Association have been providing
communication support for the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.
In addition, Paul Brooten, KB9TYC, of the Tri County Repeater Association
reports that the Barron County American Red Cross Amateur Radio Club and
the NORWESCO ARES/RACES team from Washburn County also have been involved
in assisting the relief organizations. Eau Claire County Emergency
Coordinator Rob Indrebo, KB9SDF, also has been among those assisting.

The Red Cross and The Salvation Army opened a shelter at a high school in
Bruce. A toll-free number for people inquiring about family members has
been set up. It's 800-837-6313.

The Salvation Army reports that its emergency disaster relief personnel
immediately went into action following the tornado that also left hundreds
without shelter and thousands without electricity. "Two Salvation Army
canteens have been roving the area offering aid, including meals and
crisis counseling, to residents and relief workers," a Salvation Army news
release stated. The Salvation Army said it also was providing residents
with vouchers to replace prescriptions, clothing and other necessary items
lost in the tornado.

The severe weather that moved across Wisconsin also spawned two tornadoes
in Marathon County--one in Brokaw, near Wausau, and one near Athens--as
well as in the Fond du Lac County town of Brandon. Wind damage was
reported in several other communities.

Wisconsin Emergency Management reports that the tornado that hit Ladysmith
cut a swath some 14 to 16 blocks long and 2 to 4 blocks wide, destroying
numerous businesses and homes. There were no reports of fatalities, but
some 60 people were injured. Most were treated and released. Search and
rescue operations continued throughout the evening of Labor Day. Crews
this week worked to restore power, and all roads were reported open.

==>SOUTH AFRICAN AMATEURS PROVIDE BACK-UP COMMUNICATION DURING WORLD
SUMMIT

Members of the South African Amateur Radio League's Hamnet assisted with
back-up communication during the just-ended World Summit on Sustainable
Development. The global gathering was held in late August and early
September in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Hans van de Groenendaal, ZS6AKV, reports no major problems during the
10-day event. "Some time ago, the organizers had approached Hamnet, the
national emergency communications organization of the South African Radio
League, to provide back up communications," van de Groenendaal explained.
Hamnet established HF and VHF communication--including repeaters and
simplex--at three of the joint operational centers--one near the
Johannesburg International Airport, one at Waterkloof Airbase, which
serves as an overflow airport, and one at the main joint operations center
near the Sandton Convention Center, where the summit was held.

Hamnet National Director Francois Botha, ZS6BUU, reported that all
operations ran smoothly. In addition to the three operational centers,
many radio amateurs monitored emergency channels and could be called upon
at short notice. The amateurs remained available for back-up communication
around the clock during the conference. Botha said South African amateurs
cooperated in keeping a primary 40-meter frequency clear during the event.

Among the more than 100 heads of state and other dignitaries on hand for
summit were British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US Secretary of State
Colin Powell, who represented President George W. Bush. In all, the world
conference drew some 45,000 delegates.--Hans van de Groenendaal, ZS6AKV

==>ARRL ANNOUNCES NEW GEAR FOR ARES VOLUNTEERS

ARRL has announced that new gear for Amateur Radio Emergency Service
(ARES) volunteers is now available. The initiative to offer stylized ARES
gear to volunteers arose during the ARRL Board of Directors' meeting last
January--in the wake of Amateur Radio's deep involvement in responding to
the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Board asked ARRL staff to look
into the possibility of developing distinctive garments for use by ARES
team members that would be similar to jackets and vests worn by other
public service volunteers.

A questionnaire circulated among ARRL field volunteers indicated
overwhelming interest in the idea. Results of the survey plus additional
feedback from ARES volunteers led to arrangements to make available ARES
vests, windbreakers and equipment bags.

The ARES vest is a reflective-style garment similar to those worn by law
enforcement officers or joggers. This orange "bib" can be worn over a
shirt or jacket. Constructed of neon mesh with large front and back
reflector panels, the vest is imprinted with the words "AMATEUR RADIO
COMMUNICATIONS" on one side.

The vest is lightweight and easily folded and stored in your
immediate-response kit. It features adjustable side straps, and one size
fits most. The ARES vest retails for $9.95 plus shipping and handling.

The brightly colored, royal blue windbreaker jacket features an
embroidered ARES logo on the front and the words "AMATEUR RADIO
COMMUNICATIONS" in white lettering on the back. The jacket is 100% Nylon
and has a snap front and a polyester lining. There's a bottom drawstring
to keep out drafts, plus side slash pockets and elasticized cuffs.

ARES members may personalize their windbreakers with FIRST NAME and CALL
SIGN (optional) for an additional $4. Sizes are medium (M), large (L) and
extra-large (XL). The windbreaker retails for $30.95 (sizes 2X are $34.95
and 3X are $38.95), plus shipping and handling.

The ARES equipment bag is the perfect immediate-response kit! It offers
lots of places to store hand-held radios, spare batteries, paperwork and
manuals, portable rigs, coaxial cable, clothing, and more.

The ARES equipment bag comes in black only. It's embroidered with an
attractive three-color ARES logo. It includes both hand and shoulder
straps, heavy-duty zippers, Velcro and quick-snaps. It's great for
travelers or as an airplane carry-on too. The bag measures 20 inches long
by 11 inches tall and 10 inches wide. It retails for $24.95, plus shipping
and handling.

All orders must be placed through ARRL's authorized agent--Barker
Specialty Company <http://www.barkerspecialty.com/arrl>. ARRL Headquarters
cannot handle orders. Barker Specialty also carries other official ARRL
sportswear and supply items.

ARES stickers, decals, patches and other public service supply items are
available directly from ARRL's online store <http://www.arrl.org/shop>.

==>CORPORATE AWARD WINNER DONATES AWARD SCHOLARSHIP TO ARRL

ARRL Life Member Bill Mueller, W5VSD, of Dallas, Texas, recently won
MAXRAD's <http://www.maxrad.com/> fifth annual George M. Hanus Award. The
award provides a $1000 scholarship to a student at a technical college or
university of the recipient's choice to support technical education in the
field of communication. Mueller chose to donate his honorarium to support
ARRL's Education Fund.

Mueller, a former president and CEO of Hutton Communications Inc, is a
veteran Amateur Radio operator who's been involved in the electronics and
wireless communications industry for more than 40 years. ARRL President
Jim Haynie, W5JBP, accepted the $1000 scholarship donation from Mueller in
a presentation August 27 at Hutton Communications headquarters. Mueller
told Haynie he supports ARRL and wanted to help further Amateur Radio.

MAXRAD is a manufacturer of antennas for wireless devices headquartered
near Chicago. Established in 1998 in memory of the company's founder, the
company's Hanus Award recognizes leadership figures within the wireless
communications industry. Prior to his association with Hutton, Mueller
worked for Texas Instruments and ICOM.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Solar wonk Tad "Sunshine of Your Love" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington,
reports: Average daily sunspot numbers for the week were higher than last
week's, and the average solar flux was slightly lower. Geomagnetic indices
were unsettled for most of the week. Then on Wednesday there was a
surprising jump in geomagnetic activity. This began Tuesday evening in
North America after the interplanetary magnetic field near Earth
unexpectedly turned south.

If the interplanetary magnetic field points south at the magnetopause, it
partially cancels Earth's magnetic field at this point of contact and lets
in the solar wind. This is what happened on Wednesday, and the results
were impressive auroral displays and a planetary K index of six.

Over the next few days solar flux is expected to rise, with values over
200 by Sunday, then peaking around 230 by the end of next week.

Sunspot numbers for August 29 through September 4 were 146, 150, 153, 187,
227, 266 and 215, with a mean of 192. The 10.7-cm flux was 169.3, 170,
180.3, 180.5, 173.8, 171.4 and 171.3, with a mean of 173.8. Estimated
planetary A indices were 10, 10, 13, 13, 14, 10 and 42, with a mean of 16.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: 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. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL September VHF QSO Party,
YLRL Howdy Days, the Worked All Europe DX Contest (SSB), the North
American Sprint (SSB) and the Tennessee QSO Party are the weekend of
September 14-15. 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.

* Special event station K4P to mark first anniversary of Pentagon attack:
Deanna Lutz, K7DID, reports that special event station K4P will operate
from the Pentagon starting 0400 UTC Wednesday, September 11 through 0400
UTC Thursday, September 12, to mark the first anniversary of the terrorist
attack. "Given the added security restrictions on that day, only a handful
of us will be active there, however," Lutz said. K4P will operate from the
Pentagon and from other sites in the Washington, DC, area. Activity will
be on 80 through 10 meters, SSB and CW. QSL with an SASE to K7DID, PO Box
70071, Washington, DC 20024.

* DXCC announces 30-Meter Award: The ARRL DXCC Desk has announced the
addition of a 30-meter (10-MHz) single-band DXCC award. Applications for
this award will be accepted starting October 1. The 30-meter DXCC
certificates will be dated but not numbered. Thirty-meter credits will
count toward the DeSoto Cup competition and included in the DXCC Annual
List totals for the period ending September 30, 2003. A 30-meter
endorsement to 5-Band DXCC also will be available. The 30-meter band was
added to the standard DXCC printout in January 2002. If you have received
a copy of your record since then, you already have a copy of your 30-meter
credits. If you don't have a record of your 30-meter credits, contact DXCC
for a copy. These are also available as Adobe PDF documents from DXCC via
an e-mail request <dxcc@arrl.org>;. Hard copies are available from DXCC ($2
US and Canada; $4 elsewhere) by writing to DXCC Desk, ARRL, 225 Main St,
Newington, CT 06111. For more information, contact DXCC via e-mail
<dxcc@arrl.org>;.

* ARRL computer system upgrade delayed: A planned major ARRL computer
system conversion that was to have begun last week has been postponed. At
least for the time being, it's business as usual on the ARRL Web site, and
all lookup features remain operational and up to date. An announcement
will be made as to when the changeover will be accomplished and its impact
on the operation of the ARRL Web site. Once installed, the new system will
allow ARRL to serve its members better.

* National Frequency Coordinators' Council, Board announce election
results: The National Frequency Coordinators' Council (NFCC) and National
Frequency Coordinators' Board (NCFB) have announced the election of new
officers: NFCC President Nels Harvey, WA9JOB; NFCC Vice President Ken
Chilton, KA1TIH; NFCC Secretary Alex Harvilchuck, N3NMN; and NFCC
Treasurer Vince Bardsley, KB3OM. Current NFCC by-laws call for officers to
serve from September 1, 2002, through August 31, 2003. Harvey will serve
as NFCB chairman, and Chilton will serve as NFCB vice chairman. Other
board members are Harvilchuck, Bardsley, and Clay Freinwald, K7CR.--Dick
Isely, W9GIG

===========================================================
The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American
Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main
St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259;
http://www.arrl.org. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President

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The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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