*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 47 December 6, 2002 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Options for 40 meters expand at WRC-03 prep meeting * +First transatlantic amateur HF digital voice QSO reported * +All-ham ISS crews swap places * +North Korea shuts down only active amateur * +Ex-KV4FZ returns to Amateur Radio * +Question Pool Committee releases new Technician question set * +ARRL Humanitarian Award deadline looms * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration Correction Radio Club of America makes donation to "The Big Project" Dave Hassler, K7CCC, joins ARRL Headquarters staff 2003 Spectrum Defense Fund well under way FCC seeks public comments on Spectrum Policy Task Force report RS-20 is newest Russian Amateur Radio satellite payload +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>WRC-03 CONFERENCE PREPARATORY MEETING EXPANDS 40-METER OPTIONS Paul Simon sang of 50 ways to leave your lover, but participants at the just-ended Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) for World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 heard just five ways to fix 40 meters, plus a sixth that would just leave things as they are. "The five options for change all represent improvements in the amateur band, although two fall short of fulfilling the 300-kHz worldwide requirement," said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. He attended the Geneva gathering in his role as International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) secretary. "All six options maintain the existing 300-kHz exclusive amateur allocation in Region 2." The objective of the CPM was to complete work on a 700-plus page extensive technical CPM Report, which outlines methods to address the more than three dozen items that are on the WRC-03 agenda. As for amateur issues, Sumner says 7-MHz realignment or harmonization "is one of the most difficult issues facing WRC-03." As he explains the situation, three major interests--amateurs, shortwave broadcasters, and users, mainly military, of the fixed and mobile services--have a stake in the outcome. The IARU is on record as supporting a 300-kHz worldwide amateur allocation in the vicinity of 7 MHz. Sumner said achieving this would require the fixed and mobile services to make room for broadcasters and for the broadcasters to change their operating frequencies. The five methods for change the CPM Report describes include a variety of transition schedules to ease the impact on these other services. * Method A would shift Region 1 and 3 broadcasters up by 200 kHz to 7300-7550 kHz in two stages and would provide the same band for broadcasting in Region 2. * Method B is similar but would have amateurs in Regions 1 and 3 sharing the upper 100 kHz of their newly expanded band with fixed and mobile. * Method C would provide just 200 kHz for amateurs in Regions 1 and 3. Amateurs in Region 2 would continue to contend with broadcasting interference from Regions 1 and 3 in the 7200-7300 kHz segment. * Method D, proposed by Canada at the CPM, would provide 300 kHz worldwide for amateurs by shifting broadcasters in Regions 1 and 3 up by 200 kHz but would not expand the Region 2 broadcasting allocation. This plan would minimize the impact on fixed and mobile services in Region 2. * Method E, proposed by the Republic of Korea at the CPM, would provide amateurs in Regions 1 and 3 with an additional 100 kHz shared with fixed and mobile (7100-7200 kHz). As with Method C, however, Region 2 amateurs would continue to face broadcasting interference from Regions 1 and 3 in the 7200-7300 kHz segment. * Method F, proposed by Australia at the CPM, would simply maintain the status quo. This plan reflects concerns about the impact of realignment on military and national security communications capabilities. "There is no guarantee that proposals will be limited to the six methods described in the CPM Report," Sumner said. Amateur Radio was well represented at the CPM. Chairing the CPM was Eberhard George, DL7IH, of Germany. A three-member IARU team was headed by President Larry Price, W4RA, and included Sumner and Wojciech Nietyksza, SP5FM. ARRL Technical Relations Manager Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, served as a member of the US delegation. He also was named to chair the ad hoc group that dealt with the substance of the 7-MHz text. Several other amateurs were on their national delegations, some of them specifically to represent Amateur Radio and others in professional capacities. IARU Vice President David Wardlaw, VK3ADW, was on the Australian delegation. Sponsored by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the CPM drew more than 1000 participants to Geneva during the last two weeks of November. Over the next three months, regional telecommunications organizations and groups (CEPT, CITEL, and Asia-Pacific Telecommunity, the African Telecommunications Union, and Iran and the Arab States) as well as individual administrations will be developing their proposals for WRC-03, which takes place in Geneva next summer. ==>FIRST AMATEUR TRANSATLANTIC HF DIGITAL VOICE QSO REPORTED Radio communication pioneers Ten-Tec and Thales have announced that they've used an Amateur Radio linkup to span the Atlantic on HF digital voice for the first time. Ten-Tec's Doug Smith, KF6DX, and Thales' Didier Chulot, F5MJN, successfully transmitted and received HF digital speech signals November 22 between Paris, France, and Ten-Tec's Sevierville, Tennessee, headquarters. "We view this as a significant accomplishment," said Smith. "Amateur Radio has long been at the forefront of technological development. It's nice to be able to show that our legacy is alive and well." Tests are being conducted under the auspices of ARRL's Digital Voice Working Group, which Smith chairs. A written report on the tests is due in January. Calling it "a major breakthrough," a Ten-Tec news release said the two amateur stations "demonstrated the advantages of digital audio during the conversation, including noise-free, FM-like reception and the potential for simultaneous voice and data." The feat was accomplished on 15 meters using Ten-Tec transceivers and Thales Communications Skywave 2000 digital audio software. Operating as F8KGG, Chulot spoke with Smith for several minutes over the HF digital link, operating within a 3-kHz bandwidth. Smith said he and F5MJN used unmodified Ten-Tec transceivers in upper-sideband mode, although AM or FM mode also would work. No additional hardware was required beyond the cables connecting the transceiver and the microphone to the PC sound card. Smith said audio quality was roughly the same as a conventional telephone circuit. An Amateur Radio version of the Thales system is expected to appear on the market early next year. "At this stage, the system is experimental-only for ham radio, but it looks like it's going to take off," Smith predicted. In terms of Amateur Radio, Alinco was the first manufacturer to come out with a digital voice option for some of its transceivers. ICOM debuted its D-Star digital "concept radio" system last May at the Dayton Hamvention--where Smith chaired the Digital Voice Forum--and demonstrated it at the ARRL-TAPR Digital Communications Conference in September. The unit, which operates on 1.2 GHz, was scheduled to hit the ham radio market this fall. Technical details of the Thales system will appear in an article "International Digital Audio Broadcasting Standards: Voice Coding and Amateur Radio Applications" in the January/February issue of QEX, which he edits. The article is available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/pdf/x0301049.pdf>. He also has authored two articles on digital voice in QST: "Digital Voice: The Next New Mode?" <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/pdf/0201028.pdf> in the January 2002 issue, and "Digital Voice: An Update and Forecast" <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/pdf/0202038.pdf> in the February 2002 issue. Additional images and background are available on the TAPR Web site <http://www.tapr.org>. Look for the Digital Voice Forum page and the presentation by Cédric Demeure.--Ten-Tec news release; Doug Smith, KF6DX ==>ALL-HAM, ALL-MALE CREW SETTLES IN ONBOARD INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION With this week's departure of the space shuttle Endeavour from the International Space Station, one all-ham crew has replaced another onboard the ISS. This time around, however, no female voices will grace the amateur airwaves between the space outpost and Earth. The new crew is entirely male. The crew change also marks the first time since Expedition 3 that a US astronaut will serve as crew commander. The Expedition 6 crew--Commander Ken Bowersox, KD5JBP; Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin, RV3FB, and NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit, KD5MDT--lifted off November 23 on its four-month scientific mission. The team replaces the all-amateur Expedition 5 crew of Commander Valery Korzun, RK3FZ; Sergei Treschev, RK3FU, and Peggy Whitson, KC5ZTD. The Expedition 6 team is the third all-ham crew to serve aboard the ISS. In space since June 5, Whitson, Korzun and Treschev ended up staying in space a bit longer than they'd expected. The launch of the Endeavour and the new ISS crew was delayed--first by an onboard oxygen leak and later by weather problems in possible emergency landing zones. Subsequently, inclement weather on Earth frustrated the Endeavour's efforts to return home. By week's end it appeared they might not be back home until December 6 or 7. The shuttle launch was the last one for the year 2002. In addition to the replacement crew, it also carried a truss segment for the ISS. The next scheduled Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contact is December 16 with students at Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum in Chicago. A light ARISS school contact schedule is planned over the next three weeks or so, however, as the crew settles in and takes care of initial duties, including a spacewalk this month by Bowersox and Budarin. ARISS <http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov/> is an international project with US participation by NASA, ARRL and AMSAT. ==>NORTH KOREA ASKS P5/4L4FN TO QRT The only Amateur Radio station active from North Korea has been ordered off the air. Ed Giorgadze, 4L4FN, had been operating for the past year as P5/4L4FN from Pyongyang. The ARRL subsequently accredited SSB and RTTY operation of P5/4L4FN for DXCC. "This really hits the ham community hard," QSL manager Bruce Paige, KK5DO, said in a news release. "I, for one, was looking forward to a satellite contact on AO-40. I know that many of you were still awaiting your first QSO." Paige said that on Friday, November 22, Giorgadze was called into a meeting with the "Radio Regulation Board" without any explanation, and he was politely asked to quit all transmissions and pack all his radio equipment. "Saturday, he spent all day on the roof disassembling his antennas and packing boxes." Paige said North Korean government officials later came by and sealed all of the boxes. When Giorgadze leaves North Korea on December 10 for two weeks of vacation, "he is to take everything with him out of the country," Paige indicated. Giorgadze had tried for more than two years to obtain permission to operate Amateur Radio in North Korea and finally was given the okay in 2001 to bring an ICOM IC-706MkIIG into the country. In the intervening months, he's been slowly upgrading his antenna system. He's made more than 16,000 contacts during his stint in North Korea, and earlier this year attained the first DXCC ever from that country. Paige said the P5/4L4FN logs should be 100% complete on his Web site < http://www.amsatnet.com/ > (click on "P5 North Korea"). Giorgadze, who's from of the Republic of Georgia, had been operating on the basis of oral permission from North Korean authorities, but ARRL Membership Services Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG, said the League was satisfied on the basis of written information submitted that the P5/4L4FN operation conformed with DXCC rules and cards would continue be accepted for credit. ==>HERB SCHOENBOHM RETURNS TO HAM RADIO After nearly two years off the air, Herb Schoenbohm, ex-KV4FZ, of Kingshill, Virgin Islands, has made good on his promise to one day return to the Amateur Radio ranks. The FCC on December 4 issued Schoenbohm a new call sign, NP2MJ, as a General-class licensee, and it acted December 5 on his subsequently filed Amateur Extra-class application. 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. After losing his renewal bid, Schoenbohm applied for a new license in 2001, first passing the General and then the Extra exams. The FCC subsequently designated Schoenbohm's General 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. Following a hearing last spring, Administrative Law Judge Arthur I. Steinberg in October cleared the way for Schoenbohm's return to ham radio by declaring that Schoenbohm appeared rehabilitated and qualified to again become a Commission licensee. Schoenbohm plans to apply for KV4FZ as a vanity call sign. Schoenbohm was dubious about getting on the air for the ARRL 160-Meter Contest December 7-8. "I will try to get on, but the station is still dismantled," he told ARRL. "I don't have any antennas up either except for the 70-foot tower, which needs the beam on top to work properly on 160." His amp also is on the fritz, so if he does manage some Top Band operation during the contest, it will be at the 100-W level. "Since my license has been granted, I have not even made one contact on 2 meters!" Schoenbohm added. ==>NEW TECHNICIAN CLASS QUESTION POOL RELEASED The Question Pool Committee (QPC) of the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators has released a revised and expanded Amateur Technician class (Element 2) question pool into the public domain. The new question pool becomes effective July 1, 2003, and must be used to generate all Technician written examinations administered on or after that date. "The newly revised pool released this week by the QPC includes significant efforts to present the pool in a more friendly and understandable fashion for beginners while maintaining appropriate emphasis on safety, rules and operating procedures," said ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ. "The Technician syllabus was completely revised during 2002 to allow for the revamping of the new question pool." The new Element 2 question pool contains 511 questions--up from 385 in the April 2000 release that occurred around the time of Amateur Radio restructuring. The new question pool, available on the Amateur Exam Question Pools Web page <http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/pools.html>, includes all questions and answers as well as graphics related to the questions for Element 2. The FCC rules (§97.523) require each question pool to contain at least 10 times the number of questions required to appear on any examination drawn from that pool. QPC Chairman Scotty Neustadter, W4WW, says the QPC has attempted to apply that same "10 times" principle to each subelement. Neustadter said "insignificant changes" to the Element 2 syllabus were made as they became obvious, although they were not specifically highlighted in this week's release. VECs have a certain amount of flexibility with the format of their examinations. Outside of the fact that questions, answers, distracters and related graphics must appear as they do in the question pool itself, "the manner of presentation is not interpreted to be of impact to Amateur Radio as long as clarity of presentation is preserved," Neustadter said. On behalf of the QPC, he also thanked all amateurs who assisted in the effort to revise Element 2. In addition to Neustadter and Jahnke, members of the Question Pool Committee are Fred Maia, W5YI, and John Johnston, W3BE. The Question Pool Committee now will turn its attention to developing an outline for the General class (Element 3) question pool, which will be revised during the fall of 2003. The QPC has put out a call for input by January 31, 2003, to the Element 3 syllabus and question pool. Commenters may address specific Element 2 questions as well as inputs to the Element 3 syllabus and question pool to the Question Pool Committee via e-mail <email@example.com>. ==>ARRL INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN AWARD NOMINATIONS CLOSE DECEMBER 31 Nominations close December 31 for the 2002 ARRL International Humanitarian Award. The award is dedicated to an amateurs or amateur group devoted to promoting human welfare, peace and international understanding through Amateur Radio. The League established the annual prize to recognize Amateur Radio operators who have used ham radio to provide extraordinary service to others in times of crisis or disaster. The ARRL International Humanitarian Award recognizes the hobby's international communication role and that hams regularly help people in need throughout the world. Amateur Radio is one of the few telecommunication services that allow people throughout the world to meet and talk with each other and spread goodwill across political boundaries. A committee appointed by the League's President recommends an award recipient to the ARRL Board of Directors, which makes the final decision. The committee now is accepting nominations from Amateur Radio, governmental or other organizations that have benefited from extraordinary service rendered by an Amateur Radio operator or group. Nominations must include a summary of the nominee's actions that qualify the individual or group for this award plus verifying statements from at least two individuals having first-hand knowledge of the events warranting the nomination. These statements may be from an official of a group (eg, the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, a local or state emergency management official) that benefited from the nominee's particular Amateur Radio contribution. Nominations should include names and addresses of all references. All nominations and supporting materials for the 2002 award must be submitted in writing in English to ARRL International Humanitarian Award, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 USA. The award winner receives an engraved plaque, and is profiled in QST and other ARRL venues. The 2001 ARRL Humanitarian Award winner was Dr Jim C. Hirschman, K4TCV, of Miami, Florida.--Jean Wolfgang, WB3IOS ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sun King Tad "The Sunny Side of the Street" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average sunspot numbers were up a bit this week, and average daily solar flux barely changed. Geomagnetic indices were quieter. Now that December is here, let's review average daily solar flux and sunspot numbers for November, and compare them with previous months. Here are monthly averages for solar flux and sunspot numbers for this year. From January through November, 2002 the average daily sunspot number for each month was 189, 194.5, 154.3, 144.4, 146, 183.5, 191, 206.4, 153.9 and 159.8. Average daily solar flux for the same months was 227.3, 205, 179.2, 141.4, 148.7, 174.4, 183.9, 175.8, 167 and 168.7. This weekend is the ARRL 160-Meter Contest. It would be good to have low geomagnetic activity for this contest. Right now the predicted planetary A index for Friday through Monday is 12, 15, 20 and 15. This indicates unsettled to active conditions on Saturday and Sunday due to coronal hole effects. There is a chance of moderate solar flare activity over the next few days. Solar activity is likely to be low. Predicted solar flux for the next few days is 160-175. Sunspot numbers for November 28 through December 4 were 124, 107, 150, 97, 155, 135, and 144, with a mean of 130.3. The 10.7-cm flux was 139.7, 141.3, 146.2, 149.6, 146.1, 145.9 and 148.7, with a mean of 145.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 15, 14, 16, 16, 11, 11 and 12, with a mean of 13.6. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The ARRL 160-Meter Contest, the PSK31 Death Match, the TARA RTTY Sprint, the TOPS Activity 80-Meter Contest are the weekend of December 7-8. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL 10-Meter Contest and the Great Colorado Snowshoe Run are the weekend of December 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. * 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, December 9, 4 PM EST (2100 UTC). Registration will remain open through Sunday, December 15. Classes begin Monday, December 16. Registration for the CNCS grant-funded ARRL Level I Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (EC-001) remains open through Sunday, December 15, or until all seats are taken. A new service now allows those interested in taking an ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) course in the future to receive notification via e-mail in advance of registration opportunities. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and include the course name or number (eg, EC-004) on the subject line. Include your name, call sign, and the month you want to start the course in the message body. 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, email@example.com. * Correction: A report "Great Lakes Members Chose New Director; Incumbents Re-Elected Elsewhere" in The ARRL Letter, Vol 21, No 45 (Nov 15, 2002), failed to note that ARRL Atlantic Division Vice Director Bill Edgar, N3LLR, was elected without opposition to a full, three-year term. * Radio Club of America makes donation to "The Big Project": The Radio Club of America <http://www.radio-club-of-america.org/> has announced that it will give at least $6500 this year to the ARRL Education and Technology Program--"The Big Project." The club said it hopes to give even more next year. ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, who attended the club's 93rd annual banquet November 22 in New York City, said she was thrilled with the gift. "This means that we'll be able to add three more schools to the project, serving up to 100 more children," she said. The Radio Club of America, officially founded in 1909 in New York City as "the world's first radio communications society," was involved with some of the earliest defenses of Amateur Radio before Congress. One of its early members, Paul Godley, was involved with the ARRL's 1921 Transatlantic Tests. The RCA's most famous member may have been Edwin H. Armstrong, the father of the regenerative circuit and frequency modulation. The ARRL Education and Technology Program is aimed at putting Amateur Radio in classrooms, enrichment programs and after-school activities. More information on "The Big Project" is available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/tbp/>. * Dave Hassler, K7CCC, joins ARRL Headquarters staff: Dave Hassler, K7CCC, has joined the ARRL Headquarters staff as an assistant news editor. Hassler, 36, came aboard November 18. A native of Portland, Oregon, Hassler will edit a new QST column, "ARRL in Action" as well as handle routine news and feature stories for the ARRL Web site and The ARRL Letter. Hassler has been licensed for two years and holds a General ticket. He has a long interest in all things scientific. "Both of my grandfathers were engineers (one was W7GER, SK), and they encouraged me to explore and helped me build things," he said. Sidetracked by high school activities, educational pursuits and careers as a guitar player, volleyball coach and sportswriter, Hassler took advantage of his recuperation from knee surgery a couple of years ago to study for his Amateur Radio license. Hassler holds a bachelor's in English and an associate's degree in journalism. He also has completed some graduate courses. Most recently, he served as editor-in-chief of The Chronicle in St Helens, Oregon. Hassler enjoys AM and SSB ragchewing and building simple radios and station accessories. He's also getting his feet wet with digital modes. Welcome aboard, Dave! * 2003 Spectrum Defense Fund well under way: ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, says the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund has generated $190,000 in contributions from more than 4100 ARRL members. "If you have already sent your contribution, thank you," Hobart said. "But if you've not yet contributed to this vital ARRL program, please consider a generous contribution before December 31." The goal is to raise $500,000 to support ARRL's work to protect the frequencies amateurs use every day. Financial support from the amateur community funds representation in Washington and the work of the ARRL Lab to support advocacy efforts as well as representation for Amateur Radio at World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 next summer. Contributions can be mailed to ARRL Headquarters or made via the secure ARRL 2003 Spectrum Defense Fund Web site <http://www.arrl.org/defense>. * FCC seeks public comments on Spectrum Policy Task Force report: Public comments are due January 9, 2003, on the recently released report of the Spectrum Policy Task Force (ET Docket 02-135) <see http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2002/11/07/103/>. Reply comments are due February 10. The Task Force released its report to the FCC on November 15. The FCC notes that the Spectrum Policy Task Force Report was drafted by FCC staff and was neither voted upon nor approved by the Commission. "Accordingly, neither the Report nor any of the recommendations contained therein necessarily reflect the views of the Commission," the FCC added. The text of the Report and other Task Force documents are available on the Task Force Web site <http://www.fcc.gov/sptf/>. Parties are encouraged to file comments using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) <http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html>. Commenters should include full name, US Postal Service mailing address, and the docket number, ET Docket 02-135. * RS-20 is newest Russian Amateur Radio satellite payload: On November 28, the Russian Space Agency launched the Algerian AlSat-1 satellite along with a new Russian bird known as Mozhayets--a navigational and scientific satellite. One of its experimental payloads is an Amateur Radio telemetry beacon that has been christened RS-20. Mozhayets orbits at an altitude of 720 km, completing a turn around Earth every 99 minutes. The Keplerian elements for RS-20 are: 1 27560U 02054B 02332.86497891 -.00019965 00000-0 -47472-2 0 37; 2 27560 98.2411 217.5728 0044302 75.5447 285.0613 14.53325574 86. RS-20 is transmitting CW telemetry on 145.818 and 435.319 MHz. According to information provided by Alexander Zaitzev, RW3DZ, each telemetry frame begins and ends with the beacon call sign, RS-20. E-mail reports are welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org. =========================================================== 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 <http://www.arrl.org> for the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRLWeb Extra <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/extra> offers access to informative features and columns. 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