*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 44 November 8, 2002 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +HR 4720 sponsor, hams in Congress survive election * +FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force issues recommendations * +Last Expedition 5 ARISS school contact a success * +FCC suspends Ohio ham following repeater interference * +MARS "Operation Holidays" turns 12 * +Well-known contester Dan Robbins, KL7Y, SK * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration +No comments filed on multiple vanity applications petition Attention all ARRL-affiliated clubs! Jean R. Cebik, N4TZP, SK Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award Veterans' Day special event set +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>TWO HAMS IN US HOUSE, HR 4720 SPONSOR, MOST COSPONSORS SURVIVE ELECTION The only two Amateur Radio operators in the US House of Representatives as well as the sponsor and most cosponsors of the CC&R bill, HR 4720, were returned to office in this week's mid-term election. HR 4720 sponsor, Rep Steve Israel--a New York Democrat--beat back a challenge from Joseph Finley in that state's second congressional district. An original HR 4720 cosponsor, Texas Republican Rep Pete Sessions, of the 32nd congressional district, defeated Democratic challenger Pauline Dixon. Elsewhere, Rep Greg Walden, WB7OCE, an Oregon Republican, handily won re-election in a three-way race in that state's second congressional district. Also re-elected was Arkansas fourth-district Democrat, Rep Mike Ross, WD5DVR, who defeated Republican Jay Dickey for another term. Walden and Ross are both HR 4720 cosponsors and the only hams in Congress. Of the 34 HR 4720 cosponsors signed on to date, only three won't be back in January when the new Congress convenes. Although Rep Patsy Mink, the Hawaii Democrat died September 28, her name remained on the ballot, and she defeated Republican Bob McDermott. A special election will be held to fill the vacancy. Another cosponsor, Rep Bob Schaffer, a Colorado Republican, did not seek a new term, and a third, Maryland Republican Rep Constance Morella, was defeated for re-election by Democrat Christopher Van Hollen. Although at least one "lame duck" session of Congress is scheduled between now and the time the new Congress convenes, action on HR 4720--"The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act"--is considered highly unlikely. Technically, the measure remains alive until Congress formally adjourns. ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, has called HR 4720 "probably the most important thing the League has done in a long time." The League's effort to secure a congressional solution to the issue of CC&Rs--deed convenants, conditions and restrictions as they affect the ability of amateurs to erect outdoor antenna systems--will re-start after the new Congress is gaveled into session in January. The measure was referred to the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee, to which Walden was appointed. It would require private land-use regulators--such as homeowners' associations--to "reasonably accommodate" Amateur Radio communication consistent with the PRB-1 limited federal preemption. PRB-1 now applies only to states and municipalities. For more information, visit the HR 4720, The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act of 2002 page <http://www.arrl.org/govrelations/hr4720> on the ARRL Web site. ==>FCC SPECTRUM POLICY TASK FORCE PRESENTS RECOMMENDATIONS The FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force this week presented recommendations to modernize the rules that guide how the nation's spectrum is managed and utilized. The panel recommended that spectrum management evolve from a traditional government "command-and-control" model to a more flexible, consumer-oriented approach. Created by FCC Chairman Michael Powell last June, the Task Force--after research and extensive public input--concluded that the time is ripe for spectrum policy reform. "The foundations of our current spectrum policy are cracking beneath the weight of innovation and widespread consumer use of spectrum-based services," Powell said. "This is no surprise, since most of our policies date from the 1920s." The FCC said in a Public Notice <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-228242A1.doc> that the Task Force's report will provide a starting point for a long-term review of spectrum policy approaches. The ARRL was among the entities and individuals commenting in the FCC's Task Force initiative, ET Docket 02-135, earlier this year. The League told the FCC that marketplace forces should not determine Amateur Radio spectrum allocations, and that interference management is a technical, not an economic, issue. "The value to the public of a vital, growing Amateur Radio Service, while perhaps only indirectly measurable in market terms, cannot translate to a marketplace ability to pay for spectrum, no matter what the mechanism," the ARRL asserted in its comments. A market-oriented allocation processes could preclude Amateur Radio communications, the League asserted. In its comments, the ARRL compared Amateur Radio spectrum to a public park or right-of-way. "Given the wide availability of Amateur Radio to the general public and its value as an educational and public service resource, the concept fits well," the League said. The Task Force said some bands are heavily used while many are not in use in all geographic areas or are used only part of the time. "Thus, there may be opportunities for spectrum-based services or devices to operate in the resulting 'white spaces,'" the Task Force suggested. The Task Force said that technological advances--such as the increased use of digital technologies and the development of software-defined radios--are providing some potential answers to current spectrum policy challenges. "These technological advances enable spectrum rights to be parceled as a function of time," the FCC panel said. "Also, they allow systems to be much more tolerant of interference than in the past." The Task Force also concluded that spectrum rights and responsibilities are not always clearly defined and that users need more certainty. "In addition, the rights and responsibilities that are defined need to better reflect more market-based models and policies," it said. Among its specific recommendations was to adopt "interference temperature" to quantify and manage interference. The Task Force said using an "interference temperature" standard to establish maximum permissible interference levels on a band-by-band basis would place a limit on the noise environment in which receivers would be required to operate. "To the extent, however, that the interference temperature in a particular band is not reached, users who emit energy below that temperature could operate more flexibly," the panel said, "with the interference temperature serving as the maximum cap on the potential RF energy they could introduce into the band." The Task Force said it found that new technological developments now permit access to unused or underused spectrum through time-sharing of spectrum between multiple users and lead to more efficient use of the spectrum resource." Concluded FCC Chairman Powell, "The Commission is chartered to serve the public interest. The public has made their desire for interference-free spectrum-based services quite clear. The challenge now rests with us to deliver." ==>PARENT BAILS OUT LAST EXPEDITION 5 ARISS SCHOOL CONTACT Despite some last-minute anxiety due to equipment failure, an October 28 Amateur Radio contact between Colorado youngsters and the International Space Station was successful. The contact between ISS astronaut Peggy Whitson, KC5ZTD, and middle school students at Silverheels Middle School in Fairplay was arranged as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. "It's an experience we'll never forget, and we appreciate all the volunteers who made this possible," coordinating teacher Marcy Wilkins said. "I've been looking forward to this and so have the kids. They have been so excited about this since school started." The ARISS school contact was the last scheduled with a member of the ISS Expedition 5 crew. Because the QSO was handled via a WorldCom teleconferencing link between the school and Earth station op Nancy Rocheleau, WH6PN, in Hawaii, all the school needed on its end was a working speakerphone. But, with all else ready, the school's speakerphone failed at the appointed hour. A parent rushed home and returned with a substitute unit, and the conversation went ahead as scheduled. Student Jacob Reese wanted to know how long it takes Whitson to swim across the entire space station. Whitson said "swimming" in zero gravity is one of her favorite pastimes. "I actually can get across the station in probably less than a minute if I'm in a hurry," Whitson, said. "But sometimes high speed can get you in trouble, especially if someone happens to be in your way." Replying to another question, Whitson took another mild swipe at the repetitious menu crewmembers consume while on ISS duty. "Every eight days we start over with the same foods we had the previous eight days," Whitson said. "So I think I'm looking forward to anything that's not on those eight days." Whitson said it was an "amazing feeling" to lift off in the space shuttle. "It was a pretty exciting moment for me," she said. The first few days in space were another matter altogether. "You tend to feel like you have a head cold because the fluid has shifted toward your head, and a backache from having the fluid redistribute in your spine," Whitson explained. But, she said, those effects disappear quickly. Toward the end of the contact, Whitson again reflected on the enjoyment she derives from living and working in zero gravity. "Living up here on space station gives me an opportunity to enjoy the feeling of floating," she said. "It's an amazing feeling." Working outside the space station, she added, made her feel like "a very very fast bird." As she's told other students, Whitson said she hopes to one day return to space after her current ISS tour ends later this month. Whitson and her Expedition 5 crewmates, Valery Korzun, RK3FZ, and Sergei Treschev, RK3FU, have been in space since June 5. The Expedition 6 crew of Kenneth Bowersox, KD5JBP, Nikolai Budarin, RV3FB, and Donald Petit, KD5MDT, will launch aboard the shuttle Endeavour November 11. Bowersox will serve as the crew commander, Petit will be the NASA ISS science officer, and Budarin will serve as a flight engineer. The Expedition 6 crew will be the third all-ham crew to serve aboard the ISS. ARISS is an international project with US participation by NASA, ARRL and AMSAT. ==>OHIO HAM SUSPENDED FOLLOWING REPEATER INTERFERENCE An Ohio amateur accused of interfering with a local repeater system has agreed to stay off the air for one year. FCC Special Counsel for Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth notified Gary R. Weiler, KI8DI, of Loveland by letter October 22 to confirm the voluntary license suspension. "The interference consisted of sound effects, harassment and unidentified communications," Hollingsworth said in his letter. In late September, Hollingsworth had served Weiler with a Warning Notice citing monitoring information alleging that on several occasions since last March Weiler had "deliberately interfered" with the K8CLA repeater in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Warning Notice also threatened him with enforcement action up to and including a fine of up to $7500 and revocation of his amateur license. Hollingsworth credited the Cincinnati Amateur Radio Club with helping to pin down the source of the interference to Weiler's location. In his reply September 30, Hollingsworth said, Weiler owned up to the infractions and said they'd involved a personal dispute of some kind. "He said he realized he shouldn't have done it," Hollingworth said. After reviewing his reply, Hollingsworth said Weiler agreed to the proposed one-year suspension, during which he will not maintain an Amateur Radio station. FCC said the suspension will end at midnight October 30, 2003, and that Weiler's amateur license would be returned automatically on or before that date. On October 24, Hollingsworth issued a welcome reminder to Danny A. Kenwood, WA6CNQ, of San Francisco. In November 2000, Kenwood agreed to a modification of his ham ticket that prohibited all but CW operation below 30 MHz for two years. It was not the first FCC sanction Kenwood had endured. In the fall of 1999, Kenwood lost his VHF and UHF privileges for 90 days following allegations of profanity, obscenity and deliberate interference directed at users of the K7IJ Grizzly Peak repeater, and of failure to properly identify. In the spring of 2000, the FCC issued Kenwood a Warning Notice on the basis of reports from the K7IJ repeater system control operator that the repeater had to be shut down due to what Hollingsworth called Kenwood's "interference and harassment to other operators on the repeater system." Kenwood subsequently agreed to the HF CW-only sanction. The modification of Kenwood's General license expires December 1. ==>US ARMY MARS OPERATION HOLIDAYS NOW IN 12TH YEAR The holiday season offers plenty of opportunity for good deeds by hams in general and members of the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) in particular. "Operation Holidays," sponsored by US Army MARS, marks its 12th year in 2002. The program offers the chance for families and loved ones to send US servicemen away from home free MARSgrams and phone patches. In addition, "any servicemember" messages also will be delivered to selected overseas bases, and "any veteran" messages now can be sent to veterans in participating Veterans' Administration hospitals. The "any veteran" program inaugurated in Michigan and California two years ago is the newest wrinkle in MARS morale and welfare traffic. Initiated by Frank Wegori, WD8NIK/AAA9AX, the Army MARS auxiliary membership coordinator, the new--and expanding--program is aimed at bringing recognition and hope to the 100,000 hospitalized veterans who may not have family or friends nearby during the holiday season. Any Amateur Radio operator can participate by either initiating or relaying traffic through a MARS member or via the Internet. For many, the simplest way to send a MARSgram is to connect to the United States Army Military Affiliate Radio System Web site <http://www.netcom.army.mil/mars>, click on "MARSgrams" in the lefthand column and follow the instructions. Each message must include the full military address and, if available, the addressee's telephone number. Radio phone patch connections must be arranged by the overseas service member, and, in most cases, are available only where there no public telephone or e-mail link exists. In recent months, Army MARS has handled phone patch traffic from the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe, where Americans are stationed on peacekeeping missions. MARSgrams can be used to facilitate the connection. Sending an "any servicemember" message is a worthy gesture for those who do not have loved ones of their own in uniform--a sort of pen pal arrangement. MARSgrams will be delivered to participating installations or organizations for forwarding to a serviceman or servicewoman. The largest overseas deployment is in Europe, and the active MARS organization there has challenged its members to initiate 100 "any servicemember" messages during the holiday season. MARS asks senders to limit individual MARSgrams to 50 words each. There is no official limit on the number of MARSgrams a person may send, however.--Bill Sexton, N1IN ==>DANIEL K. ROBBINS, KL7Y, SK Well-known contester Dan Robbins, KL7Y, of Wasilla, Alaska, died October 31 as a result of a motorcycle accident in Hawaii. He was 54. According to a report in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Robbins lost control of the motorcycle he was riding in Kona, on the "Big Island" of Hawaii, and drove into a lava field. Robbins, who was not wearing a helmet, reportedly suffered fatal head and other injuries. "Dan has always been like a part of my family," said Robbins' friend and neighbor Kevin Forster, NL7Z. "We will all miss that familiar voice and fist of KL7Y, his sense of humor and his knowledge." At the time of the mishap that ended his life, Robbins--an ARRL Life Member--was vacationing in Hawaii, where he'd been part of the KH7R multi-multi operation for the CQ World Wide SSB contest the previous weekend. One of the KH7R team, Kimo Chun, KH7U, said that Robbins--a Raytheon employee--was returning from a visit to one of the company's sites on Hawaii when the accident occurred. "We who knew him and enjoyed this last opportunity to radio contest with him are still in shock," Chun said in a CQ-Contest reflector <firstname.lastname@example.org> posting. "We all benefited from his presence and contributions." Another friend, Joe Jeffries, WL7E, called Robbin's passing "a great loss to the contesting community, ham radio and the lives of many," he said. John Worthington, WA2GO, called KL7Y "Alaska's Amateur Radio ambassador to the world" as well as a great Elmer and a first-rate Elmer and technician. "He will live on as an inspiration to anyone who knew him," Worthington said. A funeral service was scheduled for Saturday, November 9, 10 AM, at Congdon Funeral Home, 3012 Sheridan, Zion, Illinois. Jeffries said Robbins' friends and acquaintances may route condolences via e-mail <email@example.com>. Survivors include his mother, Arlene Robbins (2202 Lydia Ave, Zion, IL 60099-2038) and his friend Linda McKinney (6204 235th Ave, Salem, WI 53168). Memorial donations are invited to the Daniel K Robbins Memorial fund, c/o Bridgeview Bank, 11411 W Wadsworth Rd, Beach Park, IL 60099.--some information from the CQ-Contest mailing list <CQ-Contest@contesting.com> ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar maven Tad "Black Hole Sun" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Sunspot numbers and solar flux increased last week. The average daily sunspot number rose nearly 31 points and the solar flux was up by nearly 11. Geomagnetic indices have been quite active of late, although this week was quieter than last. In general, HF operators appreciate A indices of 10 or lower, but November 1 was the only day in the past two weeks that the Planetary A index was ever as low as 10. Lately our planet has been inside a constant solar wind from a coronal hole. Over the past week conditions haven't been so stormy that they would produce lower latitude auroras as they did on October 24 and 25. A huge sunspot (number 180) has been squarely Earth-directed in the center of the visible solar disk for the past couple of days, and the daily sunspot number from Monday through Thursday has risen from 166 to 175, 234 and 259. This sunspot presents a threat of solar flares. The predicted planetary A index for Friday through Monday is 10, 10, 20 and 20. Solar flux is expected to remain fairly high over the next few days. A year ago this bulletin reported that the sunspot numbers were a small amount lower than this week (fewer than 4 points) and the solar flux was about 60 points higher. The latest Preliminary Report and Forecast of Solar Geophysical Data show that smoothed solar flux should be about 44 points lower a year from now. The latest prediction for the next solar minimum is around September 2006 through April 2007 for solar flux and centered right around December 2006 to January 2007 for smoothed sunspot number. Sunspot numbers for October 24 through 30 were 149, 151, 143, 120, 143, 168 and 182, with a mean of 150.9. The 10.7-cm flux was 160.3, 172.9, 158, 157.1, 158.3, 161.6 and 167.7, with a mean of 162.3. Estimated planetary A indices were 47, 40, 27, 22, 17, 16 and 19, with a mean of 26.9. Sunspot numbers for October 31 through November 6 were 134, 169, 177, 217, 166, 175 and 234, with a mean of 181.7. The 10.7-cm flux was 170.2, 162.2, 164.6, 169.2, 177.4, 183.1 and 184.5, with a mean of 173. Estimated planetary A indices were 18, 10, 21, 27, 21, 19 and 19, with a mean of 19.3. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The Japan International DX Contest (SSB), the WAE DX Contest (RTTY), the OK/OM DX Contest (CW) and the Anatolian ATA PSK31 Contest are the weekend of November 9-10. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL November Sweepstakes (SSB), the North American Collegiate Amateur Radio Club Championship (SSB), the RSGB 1.8 MHz Contest (CW) the LZ DX Contest (CW) and the All-Austrian 160-Meter Contest are the weekend of November 16-17. 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 Level II Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (EC-002) and Antenna Modeling (EC-004) courses opens Monday, November 11, 4 PM Eastern Standard Time (2100 UTC). Registration will remain open through Sunday, November 17. Classes begin November 18. All 300 seats available in November for the Level I ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course (EC-001) have been filled, and registration has been closed for the month. If you were not able to enroll at this time, please be patient. New classes open every month. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education page <http://www.arrl.org/cce> on the ARRL Web site and the C-CE Links found there. For more information, contact Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, firstname.lastname@example.org. +No comments filed on multiple vanity applications petition: A Petition for Rulemaking put on public notice (RM-10582) by the FCC in late September that asked the Commission to consider only one vanity call sign application per applicant per call sign attracted no comments. The period for comments ended in late October. The application, filed by Marvin Edwards, K4BWC, Frank Lynch, W4FAL and Norman Young Jr, KA4PUV, sought either a change in Part 97 Amateur Radio Service rules or modification of the FCC's current vanity call sign policy. FCC rules do provide for filing comments beyond the filing deadline, but commenters must justify the reason for late filing. The petitioners said that permitting multiple applications from the same applicant for the same call sign "has created a de facto lottery" that favors applicants who can afford to pay multiple application fees (now $14.50 per application and refundable if the call sign is not granted) and put applicants unable to do so at "a distinct disadvantage." The petitioners also cited specific instances where the winners of particular call signs had filed as many as 30 separate applications. By dismissing all applications after an initial vanity request for a given call sign, the FCC "would permit every licensed amateur competing for an available call to have an equal chance of having that call granted," the petitioners concluded. * Attention all ARRL-affiliated clubs! ARRL Field and Educational Services reminds ARRL-affiliated clubs that they are eligible to sign up for ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service (@arrl.net) vanity e-mail addresses. To apply, send an e-mail request <email@example.com>, and F&ES will do the rest. You should receive a test message once the process has been completed. F&ES also points out that to remain actively affiliated, ARRL-affiliated clubs need to file a report with ARRL Headquarters each year. A good way to remember to submit your club's report is to use your election time as a reminder "flag." ARRL HQ also needs to know any time a change occurs within a club's records. To update your club's records, complete the Affiliated Club Annual Report Form, available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/club/forms/fsd2/>. Reminder notices go out to overdue clubs in January and July. For more information, contact ARRL Club and Educational Correspondent Margie Bourgoin, KB1DCO, firstname.lastname@example.org; 860-594-0267; fax, 860-594-0259. * Jean R. Cebik, N4TZP, SK: Jean Cebik, N4TZP, of Knoxville, Tennessee, died November 4. She was 59 and had been battling cancer for more than a year. Jean Cebik was the wife of well-known antenna guru and prolific QST, QEX and NCJ author L.B. Cebik, W4RNL. She was a Full Family Life Member of ARRL. His wife's final wish, L.B. Cebik said, was that all of her friends plant a tree or a shrub in her memory "to support the songbirds that she so much loved and so ably rehabilitated." * Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for October was Mike Marcus, N3JMM, for his article "Linux, Software Radio and the Radio Amateur." Congratulations, Mike! The winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author of the best article in each issue--is determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes place each month on the Cover Plaque Poll Web page <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/qstvote.html>. There's still time to cast a ballot for your favorite article in the November 2002 issue of QST. Voting ends November 30. * Veterans' Day special event set: To recognize Veterans Day and the anniversary of the birth of Gen Curtis E. LeMay, K0GRL/K4FRA/W6EZV (SK), the Strategic Air Command Memorial Amateur Radio Club (SACMARC) <http://www.sacmarc.org/> will operate special event station K0GRL on Monday, November 11, from 1200 to 2400 UTC. Operation will be in the General-class phone bands on or near frequencies ending in 47--for 1947 when the Air Force became a single entity)--3947, 7247, 14,247, 21,347 and 28,347 kHz. LeMay held K0GRL when he was the Strategic Air Command, Commander assigned to Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska. LeMay later obtained K4FRA when he served as the USAF Vice Chief of Staff (later Chief of Staff). When he retired in California, he became W6EZV. SACMARC obtained K0GRL via the vanity call sign program in 1997. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with QSL requests to SACMARC, PO Box 1292, Bellevue, NE 68005-1292.--Darwin Piatt, W9HZC =========================================================== The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; http://www.arrl.org. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of interest to active amateurs. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise, and readable. Visit ARRLWeb at http://www.arrl.org for the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRLWeb Extra at http://www.arrl.org/members-only/extra offers ARRL members access to informative features and columns. Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. 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