ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 21, No. 41
October 18, 2002
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +It's "status quo" for now at 2300-2305 MHz, FCC rules
* +Ham radio avionics package "keeps on ticking" after launch disaster
* +Youngsters learn firsthand about space flight via ham radio
* +FCC judge favors Schoenbohm's return to ham radio
* +Amateur's Petition for Reconsideration on CC&Rs denied
* +League asks FCC not to let European FRS-type radios on 70 cm in US
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF:
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     ARRL Audio News celebrates its fifth birthday
     Salvation Army officer praises hams' efforts in wake of hurricanes
     Paul Blumhardt, K5RT, joins CQ staff
     Special event to mark Panama centenary
     P29PL leaving Papua New Guinea

+Available on ARRL Audio News

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

==>FCC OPTS FOR STATUS QUO AT 2300 TO 2305 MHz

In a classic good news-bad news scenario, the FCC has dismissed an ARRL
petition that sought primary status for amateurs at 2300-2305 MHz. At the
same time, the Commission denied petitions from AeroAstro and
MicroTrax--commercial interests that had hoped to share the spectrum with
Amateur Radio. The action, taken October 9, maintains the status quo on
the band.

"That the commercial petitions were dismissed is, of course, good news,"
said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. "We had argued for
that outcome." In comments filed on the AeroAstro and MicroTrax
proceedings last year, the League had called on the FCC to put an end to
"commercial encroachments" on amateur allocations in the 2.3 and 2.4 GHz
bands.

Sumner called the outcome of the League's petition, RM-10165, "mildly
disappointing" because, as he explained, a status upgrade "would provide
some measure of protection against future commercial proposals." Sumner
pointed out that the FCC did not altogether rule out a future status
upgrade, but he cautioned that the band "is still vulnerable."

In turning down the ARRL's petition, the FCC said that since it was also
dismissing the MicroTrax and AeroAstro petitions for access to 2300-2305
MHz, "amateur operators' weak-signal communications in the 2300-2305 MHz
band will be protected if the amateur allocation remains secondary." The
FCC said the band "will remain in the Commission's reserve, and the status
quo in the band will be maintained until the Commission reevaluates the
spectrum status for the Amateur Service that may be appropriate."

The FCC turned down the MicroTrax and AeroAstro applications in part
because appropriate spectrum already was available elsewhere and neither
company had demonstrated a need for an additional allocation. MicroTrax
had proposed to establish a Personal Location and Monitoring Service
(PLMS) at 2300-2305 MHz under FCC Part 27 rules.

The AeroAstro petition went further, proposing to share the band on a
co-primary basis with the Amateur Service. AeroAstro wanted to establish
its Satellite Enabled Notification System (SENS) messaging service under
the FCC's Miscellaneous Wireless Communication Service rules. AeroAstro
also had called on the FCC to impose technical limits on amateur
operation, which the ARRL in its comments had characterized as "Draconian"
and "totally unacceptable."

ARRL interference studies predicted "intolerable" interference, especially
to weak signals in the band, if the FCC had adopted AeroAstro's petition.
The FCC also worried that NASA's Deep Space Network would not be protected
by the modified out-of-band limits AeroAstro had proposed.

Internationally, the 2300-2305 MHz band is allocated to Fixed and Mobile
services on a primary basis and to the Amateur Service on a secondary
basis in all three International Telecommunication Union regions. The
Radiolocation Service has a secondary allocation in the band in Region 1,
and a primary allocation in Regions 2 and 3.

A copy of the Order is available on the FCC Web site
<http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2002/db1010/DA-02-2587A1
.doc>.

==>HAM RADIO PACKAGE "KEEPS ON TICKING" FOLLOWING LAUNCH DISASTER

What began as a perfectly magnificent morning in the Nevada desert
September 19 ended in a disastrous launch failure for a group of Amateur
Radio operators and amateur rocket enthusiasts. The Civilian Space
Xploration Team's (CSXT) Primera rocket engine failed a few seconds into
its flight, and the rocket was destroyed. CSXT team members had hoped the
suborbital vehicle, which carried several Amateur Radio payloads, would be
the first amateur-built rocket to reach space--an altitude of more than 60
nautical miles.

"It was very exciting. The sun came up, and the rocket was there, and we
activated all of the computer systems, and everything came up fine,"
recalled Avionics Manager and CSXT Program Co-Leader Eric Knight,
KB1EHE--one of the several hams involved in the project. "Everything went
very very smoothly." Until everything went terribly wrong three seconds
into the launch.

"There were a lot of people in tears," Knight said. "This is something for
which everybody put their lives on hold for a couple of years. It was a
very very upsetting thing." The team members went through "a period of
mourning" as they went about the range picking up the pieces of the
rocket. "It was very tough to swallow at that point," Knight added. No one
was hurt.

Amazingly and unexpectedly, the Amateur Radio avionics survived the
rocket's destruction and continued operating until they struck the desert
floor. "We were extraordinarily pleased with the way the electronics
performed," Knight said. "If there was an bright spot, it was that the
avionics--all based on ham radio technology and built by hams--worked
flawlessly. We had perfect video of the launch from the rocket right
through the motor failure." All members of the avionics team are ham radio
licensees.

The upbeat Knight said team members, while initially stunned and
devastated, remain undeterred. "We will be pressing ahead for a launch
possibly again next year," he said. "It was only a speed bump in our
overall process." Knight called his teammates "a very resilient bunch" and
determined to go forward.

The disaster means starting over largely from scratch. Along with their
hopes and dreams for success this time went a considerable amount of hard
cash--on the order of $130,000--that came right out of the members'
pockets. "We're actively looking for sponsors right now and people who
would like to have their name and brand tied in with such a historic
endeavor," Knight said. Primera Technology was the only corporate sponsor
for the failed launch.

The September attempt was the group's third. Additional information is
available on the CSXT Web site <www.civilianspace.com>.

==>TEXAS YOUNGSTER MAKES CAREER CHOICE DURING ISS HAM RADIO CHAT

Fourth-grader Kyle Bryant made a career choice this week. He's going to
become an astronaut. At least that's what he told his teacher, James
Jones, after he and nine of his classmates at Lamar Elementary School in
Greenville, Texas, fired off questions via ham radio to astronaut Peggy
Whitson, KC5ZTD, aboard the International Space Station. The contact was
arranged via the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)
project.

Kyle and his classmates at Lamar Elementary have been studying space and
space travel for weeks in preparation for the ARISS QSO. Jones called the
10-minute experience "absolutely phenomenal," and added that it was "mind
boggling" for his students to actually talk to Whitson after studying
about her and her two crewmates, crew commander Valery Korzun, RZ3FK, and
cosmonaut Sergei Treschev, RZ3FU.

"We've been tracking them for days on an Internet Web site," Jones said.
"This was very impressive! It made a bunch of kids very happy!"

Lamar Principal James Evans explained that since his school's new campus
opened in August, the emphasis has been on science and space. "Every
classroom has a display having to do with space," he noted.

Amateur Radio coordinator for the direct, 2-meter contact was Art
Passannante, KC5GQP. He and his crew from Greenville set up their station
outdoors in front of the school to accommodate a sizeable audience. The
quad beams for the contact were hombrewed in classic ham radio fashion
from scraps of all-thread, plastic pipe and wire salvaged from the trash
pile at a construction site.

By all accounts, the contact went flawlessly. Among the onlookers were
some 100 students, 20 parents, a dozen or so teachers and three reporters.

ARISS is an international project with US participation by NASA, ARRL and
AMSAT.--Gene Chapline, K5YFL


==>FCC JUDGE FAVORS SCHOENBOHM'S RETURN TO AMATEUR RADIO

An FCC administrative law judge has agreed that the FCC should grant the
General class Amateur Radio license application of Herb
Schoenbohm--formerly KV4FZ. Schoenbohm lost his bid to renew his ham
ticket in 2000 but applied for a new license the next year. Following a
hearing on Schoenbohm's application last spring, an initial decision of
Administrative Law Judge Arthur I. Steinberg October 11 declared that
Schoenbohm appears qualified to rejoin the Amateur Radio ranks.

Steinberg wrote that the hearing concluded that Schoenbohm "has not
engaged in any significant wrongdoing since his prior disqualifying
misconduct," that his misconduct was not recent, that his "reputation for
good character in his community is excellent," that Schoenbohm "has taken
meaningful measures to prevent the future occurrence of misconduct" and
that loss of his ham ticket "coupled with the shame and humiliation that
resulted" make unlikely a recurrence of misconduct.

Steinberg concluded that Schoenbohm "possesses the requisite character
qualifications to be a Commission licensee" and that the FCC should grant
his application. Schoenbohm also has taken and passed the Extra class exam
(Element 4), but that application was not part of the proceeding.

For his part, Schoenbohm said he was very grateful for the outcome and
said he appreciated "all the amateurs who came to my defense and supported
the application." He said he does not yet know if he will attempt to
regain his KV4FZ call sign if his application is granted.

Assuming that the FCC concurs with Steinberg's initial decision,
Schoenbohm has made good on his promise to one day return to Amateur Radio
after losing a lengthy battle with the FCC to renew his license.
Steinberg's decision followed this summer's Proposed Finding of Fact and
Conclusions of Law from the FCC Enforcement Bureau, which recommended that
the evidence presented at hearing supported giving Schoenbohm another
chance.

In 1994, the FCC put Schoenbohm's renewal application for KV4FZ up for
hearing following his 1992 felony conviction on federal fraud charges. The
Commission finally turned down his renewal application in 1998, the US
Appeals Court upheld the FCC's decision in 2000, and the US Supreme Court
declined to hear the case later that same year.

In March 2001, a couple of months after his authority to operate as KV4FZ
had expired, Schoenbohm took and passed the General class examination. A
couple of weeks later, he qualified for Amateur Extra as well, but the FCC
refused to act on the second application since it had not yet granted the
first. The FCC designated Schoenbohm's General license application for
hearing on the basis of character issues stemming from his 1992 conviction
as well as his alleged lack of candor during subsequent FCC hearings on
the matter.

A copy of Steinberg's initial decision is available on the FCC Web site
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-02D-01A1.doc>.
Other documents pertaining to this proceeding, WT Docket 01-352, are
available via the FCC's "Search for Filed Comments" page
<http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/comsrch_v2.cgi>. To view these
documents, enter "01-352" in the "Proceeding" field and click on "Retrieve
Document List."

==>FCC REJECTS AMATEUR'S PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION ON CC&R ISSUE

The FCC has turned down a Petition for Reconsideration filed by a Florida
amateur of the Commission's 2001 decision to deny the ARRL's Application
for Review in RM-8763. That proceeding concerned the League's lengthy
effort--ultimately stymied by the FCC--to have the Commission include
privately imposed deed covenants, conditions and
restrictions--CC&Rs--under the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1.
That policy, codified in Section 97.15(b) of the FCC's rules, calls on
municipalities to "reasonably accommodate" amateur communication when
regulating the installation of outdoor antenna structures. The League
subsequently sought a congressional solution to the issue in the form of
HR 4720.

The FCC dismissed the League's Application for Review on December 18,
2001, on the grounds that PRB-1 "adequately protects the predominant
federal interest in promoting amateur communications from regulations that
would frustrate the important purposes thereof." Not long after, and
acting on his own, W. Lee McVey, W6EM, of Bradenton, Florida, filed his
Petition for Reconsideration, claiming it presented additional evidence
that the FCC had not considered in dealing with the ARRL's petition.

"McVey's Petition fails to explain why he did not present his arguments
earlier and fails to present new facts or circumstances," said the
Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O) by D'wana R. Terry, who heads the
Public Safety and Private Wireless Division of the FCC's Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau. Terry pointed out in the MO&O that under FCC
"delegated authority" she could dismiss as repetitious any Petition for
Reconsideration that "fails to rely upon changed facts or new
circumstances."

Terry contended that McVey could have made his arguments by commenting on
ARRL's Petition for Rule Making. "In this regard, we note that McVey did
not attempt to participate in this proceeding prior to filing the instant
Petition for Reconsideration."

Terry concluded that none of McVey's arguments warranted reconsideration
of the Order that denied the ARRL's Application for Review.

The FCC said McVey filed his own Petition for Rule Making on the CC&R
issue while the ARRL's Application for Review was pending in 2001. The FCC
dismissed that petition last February, reasoning that it was substantially
the same as the ARRL's. McVey, the MO&O noted, "did not appeal or
otherwise challenge" the FCC's decision.

==>ARRL ASKS FCC TO DENY US USE OF EUROPEAN/UK FRS-TYPE RADIOS ON 70 cm

The ARRL has asked the FCC to deny a petition, filed by a Virginia
amateur, that would set aside eight channels in the 70-cm band on which
visitors from Europe and the United Kingdom would be permitted to use
their Personal Mobile Radio (PMR 446) transceivers while in the US. PMR
446 is similar to the US Family Radio Service (FRS), which uses
frequencies in the 462-467 MHz range.

"ARRL is not unsympathetic to the compatibility concerns of international
travelers, but at the same time, there are far less problematic solutions
to the problem noted by the petitioner than those contained in the
Petition," the League said in its comments. The ARRL recommended that
European and UK visitors purchase FRS transceivers to use during US
visits.

The FCC put the Petition for Rule Making from Dr Michael Trahos, KB4PGC,
on public notice in August and designated it as RM-10521. A physician from
Alexandria, Trahos said his proposal would help to promote international
goodwill. The General-class licensee asked the FCC to amend its Amateur
Service "and/or" Family Radio Service rules to allow
"visiting/transient/tourist non-amateur non-United States resident foreign
nationals" unlicensed access to certain frequencies between 446.0 and
446.1 MHz at up to a half watt PEP output.

The ARRL demurred. "Not all means of fostering international goodwill
constitute public interest justifications sufficient to support regulatory
changes," the League said. A rule change permitting non-amateurs to
operate unlicensed transmitters on amateur bands, it continued, would be
contrary to the fundamental regulatory structure of the Amateur Service,
the Communications Act of 1934 and the International Radio Regulations. To
modify Part 95 rules would require a reallocation proceeding, the ARRL
said.

In his Petition, Trahos also asserted that existing Part 97 Amateur
Service rules precluding the use of PMR 446 radios in the US were
"essentially unenforceable" and that granting his petition would have
minimal impact on existing amateur operations. The ARRL contended,
however, that there are "obvious" enforcement problems associated with the
Petition and that putting the unlicensed users on a ham band was "a
formula for serious interference."

The ARRL band plan for 70 cm designates 446.0 MHz as a national calling
channel. Other frequencies in the segment are for simplex or repeater use.
In the US, government radiolocation services are primary and Amateur Radio
is secondary on that portion of the 70-cm band.

"If nothing else, this Petition reveals the problems that arise from the
failure to harmonize allocations internationally," the ARRL noted. "Had
the United States and CEPT [the European Conference of Postal and
Telecommunications Administrations] taken steps to harmonize FRS channels
internationally prior to creating the FRS in the first place, the problems
reasonably noted by the petitioner might have been avoided."

The Petition, RM-10521, and filed comments are available via the FCC's
Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). Click on "Search for Filed
Comments" and enter "RM-10521" (the ECFS is case-sensitive) in the
"Proceeding" field. The comment period has expired.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Solar Solon Tad "Good Day, Sunshine" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington,
reports: Sunspots and solar flux were higher during the past week. Average
daily sunspot values increased by more than 46 points over the previous
week, and average solar flux was up by nearly 20. Geomagnetic conditions
were unsettled to active. The most active days were Thursday and Monday
(October 10 and 14), when planetary A indices were 23 and 26. The really
quiet day was Friday, with a planetary A index of 8 and mid-latitude A
index of only 5.

Solar flux should drop over the next couple of weeks to around 140 by
October 27-29, then turn up again at the end of the month. Over the next
few days, Friday though Tuesday, approximate solar flux values are
predicted around 180 to 185. The earth is currently within a high-speed
solar wind, and we could see a jump in geomagnetic activity if the
interplanetary magnetic field tilts south. Planetary A indices are
predicted around 12-15 over the next few days, an unsettled outlook.

Sunspot numbers for October 10 through 16 were 244, 178, 171, 167, 175,
165, and 182, with a mean of 183.1. The 10.7-cm flux was 171.9, 179.4,
180.4, 179.2, 181.2, 176.8 and 182.5, with a mean of 178.8. Estimated
planetary A indices were 23, 8, 11, 10, 26, 15, and 14, with a mean of
15.3.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: Scouting's Jamboree on the Air (JOTA), the
JARTS World Wide RTTY Contest, the ARCI Fall QSO Party, the Worked All
Germany Contest, the Asia-Pacific Sprint (CW), the RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest
(CW) and the Illinois QSO Party are the weekend of October 19-20. JUST
AHEAD: CQ Worldwide DX Contest (SSB), the ARRL International EME Contest
and the 10-10 International Fall Contest (CW) are the weekend of October
26-27. 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.

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration:
Registration for the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level III
(EC-003) and HF Digital Communications (EC-005) courses opens Monday,
October 21, 4 PM Eastern Daylight Time (2000 UTC). Registration will
remain open through Sunday, October 27. Classes begin October 28.
Registration for the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level II
(EC-002) and Antenna Modeling (EC-004) courses remains open through
Sunday, October 20. If you have not yet let us know what you'd like to see
for future C-C course offerings, visit the C-CE Course Survey
<http://www.arrl.org/members-only/cce/ccesurv.html> page on the ARRL Web
site midnight, October 27. 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 Howard Robins, W1HSR, hrobins@arrl.org.

* ARRL Audio News celebrates its fifth birthday: The League's weekly
Amateur Radio newscast--ARRL Audio News--marked its fifth birthday on
October 17. Compiled and edited each week from The ARRL Letter, the news
feed in those early days of 1997 initially was available only in RealAudio
format via the ARRL Web site, and with Tucson Amateur Packet
Radio--TAPR--generously providing server space. A telephone call-in line
(860-594-0384) was added shortly after the news feed's debut. More
recently, ARRL was able to set up the service on its own servers. Along
the way, we've added some additional voices in the form of ARRL HQ
staffers Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, and Brennan Price, N4QX, in addition to the
primary host, Rick Lindquist, N1RL, the ARRL's senior news editor.
Digitally recorded and produced at ARRL Headquarters, ARRL Audio News now
is available as an MP3 file, downloadable from the ARRL Web site
<http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio> in addition to the telephone
call-in service. More than 110 repeaters in the US and elsewhere in the
world now air ARRL Audio News in full or in part.

* Salvation Army officer praises hams' efforts in wake of hurricanes: Mark
Price, N9VOC, a Salvation Army captain and a member of the Salvation Army
Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN), has praised the assistance rendered
to the organization by members of the Central Louisiana Amateur Radio Club
following recent hurricanes that hit the state. The Central Louisiana hams
"gave of themselves and of their own equipment to aid in communications,"
Price said. "With stations manned at Red Cross checkpoints and center as
well as aboard any operation manned by The Salvation Army, the men and
women of Amateur Radio have distinguished themselves above and beyond all
expectations." Price made the comments in a letter to the editor of The
Town Talk, a local newspaper. The hams in Central Louisiana "not only
provided communications and coordination, but also tirelessly gave of
their time to assist The Salvation Army in its Herculean effort to provide
15,130 units of food and refreshment to evacuees over the course of three
days." Hams, Price said, helped prepare and distribute supplies as well as
provide excellent communication.

* Paul Blumhardt, K5RT, joins CQ staff: Paul Blumhardt, K5RT, has joined
the staff of CQ Communications Inc as director of new business
development, company president Dick Ross, K2MGA, announced October 16.
"Paul brings to CQ a valuable mix of ham radio experience coupled with an
outside view of the amateur radio industry," said Ross. Blumhardt will
oversee efforts to broaden the base and the scope of the company's
marketing activities. CQ publishes magazines, books, videos and other
materials for the Amateur Radio and hobby radio fields. Blumhardt has been
serving for the past three years in a volunteer capacity as Worked All
Zones Award manager. He is a member of the ARRL, the North Texas Contest
Club, the Potomac Valley Radio Club and the Lone Star DX Association.
Blumhardt will work from his home in Rowlett, Texas.

* Special event to mark Panama centenary: The Radio Club of Panama will
operate a special event station, HP100RCP, during the month of November to
commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Panama. A
commemorative certificate is available to stations working the special
event station and confirming the contact with a QSL and two International
Reply Coupons (IRCs) or $1 US. QSL to Radio Club de Panama,  PO BOX 10745,
Panama 4, PANAMA. HP100RCP will operate in all bands and all modes
including PSK31.--Radio Club de Panama

* P29PL leaving Papua New Guinea: After 18 years of activity from Papua
New Guinea, 74-year-old Paul Linsley, P29PL, is headed back to Australia
for medical reasons and retirement. He hopes to continue on the air as
VK2EXB and maybe from club station VK2ATZ. Linsley favored CW and often
has been the only active Papua New Guinea station on that mode. "Paul has
been an avid supporter of Amateur radio for all his years in Papua New
Guinea from 1984 and has represented P29 in many contests as well as to
tens of thousands of individual amateurs around the world," said Rick
Warnett, P29KFS.--The Daily DX

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