*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 48 December 13, 2002 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL Executive Committee meets by telephone * +Rock star invests in ham radio's future * +"The Big Project" adds 14 schools, tackles curriculum review * +Hams help neighbors after Carolina iceout * +FCC closes out exam session inquiries * +New Jersey ham antenna bill introduced * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration +FCC grants deadline extension on Spectrum Policy Task Force comments Nevada getting new Section Manager Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award Hamvention 2003 to celebrate "Year of the Young" Howard W. Wolfe, W2AGW, SK +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>ARRL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETS IN TELECONFERENCE The ARRL Executive Committee met December 5 in a rare telephone session to discuss items of League business needing attention before the next Board of Directors meeting in January. ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, said that, among other things, holding the meeting by telephone helped to hold down expenses at a time when the Committee was dealing with issues that did not warrant an in-person meeting. The Executive Committee is required to meet twice yearly. During the approximately 90-minute session, the EC reviewed suggestions regarding possible changes to the League's standing committee structure and responsibilities. The EC agreed to share its suggestions with the rest of the Board for comment. The EC also authorized the ARRL to support an AMSAT-NA petition to the FCC that seeks to eliminate a 27-month pre-launch information filing requirement for the Amateur-Satellite service. The requirement already is routinely waived. The committee also directed ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, to provide a "white paper" and to draft formal comments in response to the FCC's request for comments on the Spectrum Policy Task Force report in ET Docket 02-135. Comments are due at the FCC January 27. The committee also reviewed a recent FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning the implementation of digital broadcasting and concluded that the proceeding revealed no implications for Amateur Radio. The EC also briefly discussed concerning the implications for the Amateur Radio Service of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Imlay also offered a status report on a comprehensive Board-ordered study of allocation and utilization policy for the amateur bands between 902 MHz and 24 GHz. Imlay, the ARRL Technical Relations Office and First VP Harrison are collaborating on the study, which has been delayed by other pressing obligations as well as by developments in the regulatory environment. The EC targeted the July ARRL Board meeting as a completion date for the study. Sumner also briefed the members on the recent Conference Preparatory Meeting for WRC-03 and the status of 7-MHz worldwide "harmonization" efforts. On-line for the telephone conference in addition to Sumner--who serves as the EC's Secretary--and Imlay were committee members President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, who chaired the session; First Vice President Joel Harrison, W5ZN; and Directors Frank Butler, W4RH, of the Southeastern Division; Frank Fallon, N2FF, of the Hudson Division; Tom Frenaye, K1KI, of the New England Division; and Rick Roderick, K5UR, of the Delta Division. Minutes of the December 5 EC meeting are available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/announce/ec_minutes_470.html>. ==>ROCK STAR GIVES MAJOR DONATION TO "THE BIG PROJECT" Hoping that his donation will spur others to contribute to "The Big Project," veteran rock star and well-known amateur Joe Walsh, WB6ACU, has given in a major way to ARRL's Education and Technology Fund. ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, says the "significant gift" through the Joseph F. Walsh Foundation will fund an additional eight pilot schools in the ARRL Education and Technology Program. ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, expressed his gratitude for Walsh's dedication and support to The Big Project's goals and aims. "I am particularly pleased with Joe's donation, as it emphasizes his belief in our school project and more importantly, investing in the future of Amateur Radio," Haynie said. "The additional schools that will be brought into the program as a result of this donation represent a big step in increasing the number of students participating in the ARRL Science and Technology program." Walsh, best-known as a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter with The Eagles and The James Gang, has been an active Amateur Radio operator for more than 37 years. He's also an avid collector of Collins Radio gear. The amount of his donation was not made public. The Big Project--as the program is popularly known--highlights Amateur Radio as a significant resource for teachers in classrooms as well as for enrichment and after-school programs. The 40 pilot schools now in the program receive a complete Amateur Radio station, technical library and a curriculum that makes technology fun and relevant for the participating students. Walsh's contribution was one of 3500 made by ARRL members, who--together--have raised more $225,000 to fund the Education & Technology Program in 2003. ==>CURRICULUM REVIEW IS NEXT ON "THE BIG PROJECT" AGENDA With the addition of 14 new schools--13 pilot schools and one progress grant school--in December, the ARRL Education and Technology Program--"The Big Project"--is up to a total of 41 participating schools. That's more than double the number of schools involved since the program's launch in February. Early in 2003, the 13 pilot schools will be receiving complete Amateur Radio station equipment, a curriculum and a technical library, said ARRL Education and Technology Program coordinator Jerry Hill, KH6HU. The 14th school, which already uses Amateur Radio in the classroom, will receive a $500 progress grant. More than new schools is being added to the Education and Technology Program. Hill said that as the program nears its first full year in existence, an evaluation of the curriculum is now under way. "We have a new draft of the curriculum, and we'll be testing it in all of the schools, asking them to add their lessons and activities and report back in June," Hill said. "Then we'll get a new one out for September and post it on the Web. The new curriculum will be out there for anyone to use." Hill says he does not expect Web posting until late next year, however. Hill said that The Big Project will update the curriculum yearly, so the program can offer teachers and students a continually improved program. One of the first major efforts will be to split the text of the curriculum into two parts--elementary and secondary. That way, Hill said, the program can offer developmentally appropriate levels of instruction while still teaching similar concepts to all participants. The program's first pilot school was DeGolyer Elementary School in Dallas, Texas. DeGolyer, which tested the program beginning in 2001, got major-market media exposure December 9 when its activities were featured in a Dallas Morning News article. Under the direction of teacher Sanlyn Kent, KD5LXO--who was not a ham when she began working with the youngsters at DeGolyer--the program has turned out 30 new young hams in fewer than two years. ==>AMATEURS RESPOND TO CAROLINA ICE STORM Accompanied by the worst power outages since Hurricane Hugo in 1989, a severe snow-turned-ice storm swept along through the Carolinas early on December 5, prompting area Amateur Radio operators into action to aid their neighbors during the emergency. "Sleet and snow began falling across the state the afternoon and evening of December 4, but overnight it turned to freezing rain," said ARRL North Carolina Section Public Information Coordinator Gary Pearce, KN4AQ. "SKYWARN nets operated overnight across the state, providing the National Weather Service with updated information on changing ground conditions." More than 1.5 million customers in the Carolinas were left without power for much of the rest of the week and weekend. Power was not expected to be restored to many residents until after the this week. North Carolina Gov Mike Easley declared a state of emergency in the Tar Heel State. Four deaths in North Carolina were blamed on the storm; eight others died in Arkansas and Kentucky. With a half-inch of ice coating practically everything, widespread power outages, tree-blocked roads and temperatures uncharacteristically in the 20s, a number of North Carolina ARES groups activated, and hams provided support at numerous shelters across the state. ARES in Guilford County supported four shelters, the Red Cross and the county's Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Alamance County hams provided damage assessments to county emergency management teams, Wake County ARES supported four shelters, ARES in Gaston County was at two shelters and the county EOC, Harnett County hams helped at five shelters and amateurs in Nash County provided almost all communications from the town of Rocky Mount, according to Pearce. While a statewide ARES net was not activated December 5, the North Carolina state EOC in Raleigh was staffed with hams helping to pass traffic between there, county EOCs and the state's 25 open shelters. The Tarheel Net--the statewide ARES Net--operated throughout the day December 7, while operators from many of the affected counties maintained watch, but no requests were received for ham radio assistance. ARES EC Liaison for North Carolina Emergency Management John Guerriero, KG4HDT, demonstrated the HF and VHF Amateur Radio operation to the National Guard coordinator at the EOC. Over the weekend, Alamance County ARES operators also assisted with communications among the state EOC, the Red Cross and shelters. During a visit to the Alamance County EOC, Gov Easley thanked the volunteers and workers for their exceptional effort. Hams also were able to help in other ways, Pearce pointed out. "In the Raleigh-Durham area, there were long lines at the few grocery stores and gas stations that were able to open," he said. "Many repeaters remained on the air with emergency power, and hams passed tips on where to find open stores, gas, batteries and other supplies." All ARES activity secured December 10. ==>FCC FOLLOWS UP ON ARRL VEC EXAM SESSION INQUIRIES The FCC has completed its review of ARRL VEC Amateur Radio examination sessions held in 1999 and 2000 in Cookeville, Tennessee, and in Trumbull, Connecticut in 2001. The Cookeville case involved exam sessions on December 14, 1999, and on March 11, 2000. In a November 18 letter to ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth recommended that the ARRL VEC no longer accept the volunteer examiner services of five amateurs involved with the sessions. He named James N. Keaton, W4SOH; Maria C. Droke, KC4FLW; George S. Droke, W5SD; Bobby A. Raymer, N2BR; and Steven G. Hunter, KF4FAV. Hollingsworth said the FCC's decision was based on the fact that members of the VE team participated in the examination of applicants they knew--or should have known--to be related to certain VEs, contrary to §97.509(d) of the FCC rules. He further noted that the actual examination location and date of one of the tests--for a disabled person--were concealed and represented to be at a different location and date. "Please emphasize to your VEs that every participating or administering VE shares responsibility for the administration, oversight and integrity of the test session," Hollingsworth told Jahnke, whom he also thanked for his cooperation in the matter. The FCC launched its probe after the ARRL VEC called apparent discrepancies at the Cookeville sessions to the Commission's attention. In a separate letter November 20 to Gary E. Hunter, KG4FRN, the brother of former VE Stephen G. Hunter, KF4FAV, the FCC downgraded Gary Hunter's license from Amateur Extra to Technician--his previous license class prior to the Cookeville session administered in part by his brother. The wife of Bobby Raymer, Kathy J. Raymer, ex-KG4FWO, also had been credited with having passed exam elements at the session. Kathy Raymer agreed earlier this year to forfeit her Technician license. FCC rule §97.509(d) prohibits a VE from administering an examination to a close relative. The list includes spouses, children, grandchildren, stepchildren, parents, grandparents, stepparents, siblings and stepsiblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and in-laws. Regarding the Trumbull, Connecticut, review, Hollingsworth wrote Jahnke on November 14 that 9 of the 10 VEs administering the May 10, 2001, session "followed proper testing procedures" and that the FCC has no objection to their being reinstated as VEs. All 10 volunteer examiners had been suspended from the ARRL VEC program in 2001 for the duration of the FCC probe--standard procedure in such instances. Jahnke says the nine VEs Hollingsworth named in his letter have been returned to the active list. Those reinstated were ARRL VEC VEs Kevin W. Cellini, N1GKM; Glenn J. Krieger, N1HAW; Allen H. Silberstein, N1RWE; Andres A. Rosado, KB1FKJ; Robert E. Moreland, KA1ZMF; Peter J. Keyes, N1GOJ; Donald W. Stowe, N1VNM; Arthur L. Cartier, III, N1VGT; and Kenneth A. Frissora, N1JKA. A 10th VE, Freddy Martin, W1BIQ (ex-KB1FKI), continues to be suspended from the roster of active ARRL VEC VEs, per his June 28, 2001, letter initiating the inquiry. Hollingsworth said he anticipates no further action in the case. Hollingsworth initially cited Trumbull session documents that he'd said "reflect several alarming discrepancies in testing procedures." The ARRL VEC had referred the test documents to the FCC. The probe had focused on discrepancies in documents submitted on behalf of one applicant--Elvis Mendez, KB1GPY--who had attempted to upgrade to Extra at the May 10 session. It was believed that the candidate may have had access to the answer key used by VEs for grading Morse code examinations or that his answer sheet may have been completed prior to the examination. Mendez' Extra exam was invalidated as a result of the discrepancies. ==>NEW JERSEY LAWMAKER INTRODUCES PRB-1 BILL New Jersey State Assemblyman Matt Ahearn (D-Fair Lawn) has introduced an Amateur Radio antenna bill, Assembly Bill 3065. Ahearn is KB2PNN and an ARRL member, If approved by New Jersey lawmakers, the measure, put into the legislative hopper December 9, essentially would codify the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 into the Garden State's statutes. The measure also would preclude regulation via any ordinance or regulation that effectively prohibits an antenna support structure of 70 feet or less above ground level--exclusive of any antenna upon the structure. "This policy enhances the state's available pool of emergency communications volunteer operators and stations that can provide reliable emergency communications at no cost to the State or municipal governments," said Ahearn. ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, said he was thrilled that there are now PRB-1 bills in both New Jersey and New York. "Our New Jersey PRB-1 Task force met over a number of months earlier this year to write a bill, and we thought we had a good one," he said. As it turned out. Ahearn put together his own bill, which he submitted. "His bill is actually better in some respects than what we came up with in that it gets the height of 70 feet into the bill in a less confrontational fashion," Fallon said. Ahearn said his bill also would help to keep municipalities out of court. "By codifying PRB-1, the bill protects municipalities that might otherwise prohibit or unreasonably regulate such structures from the litigation that would occur because of the preemptive effect of PRB-1," he said in a statement. Ahearn's bill would prohibit governing bodies from adopting a zoning ordinance or regulation that "prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting" the construction, maintenance or use of an Amateur Radio antenna and support structure. The measure would require municipal zoning ordinances and regulations to "reasonably regulate the location and height of those antenna structures for the purposes of health, safety or aesthetics" provided that those ordinances and regulations "permit sufficient height of those antennas and support structures so as to reasonably accommodate Amateur Radio communications." Restrictions on antennas and support structures "shall constitute the minimum practicable regulation necessary to accomplish the legitimate purposes of the governing body enacting that ordinance or regulation," the bill states. So far, 16 states have incorporated the essence of PRB-1 into their statutes. Laws in four states--Alaska, Orgeon, Virginia and Wyoming--specify minimum regulatory heights for antenna structures, below which local governments in those states may not regulate. The bill, A3065, has been referred to the Housing and Local Government Committee for further consideration. The text of the proposed legislation is available on the New Jersey Legislature Web site <http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/>. Search on "A3065" in the "Bill Search" engine. Interested New Jersey amateurs may contact Ahearn via e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>. More information on PRB-1 is available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/PRB-1_Pkg/index.html>. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sun seeker Tad "I'll Follow the Sun" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: This week conditions improved for HF, with slightly lower geomagnetic indices (daily average planetary A index down from 13.6 to 9.7) with solar flux and sunspot numbers up. Average daily sunspot numbers were up nearly 16 points, and average solar flux was up by nearly 8 points. Conditions look good for the ARRL 10-Meter Contest this weekend with moderate geomagnetic conditions and a rising solar flux. Predicted solar flux values for Friday through Monday are 155, 160, 165 and 170. Right now the days are very short, and they will keep getting shorter for the next week. Long nights are good for 40-meter propagation, but the higher frequencies close early. The winter solstice will come to North America on December 21, and after that we can watch the slow progression toward springtime propagation. Sunspot numbers for December 5 through 11 were 153, 112, 106, 150, 189, 142, and 171, with a mean of 146.1. 10.7 cm flux was 148.7, 148.2, 151.1, 154.4, 156.3, 161.4, and 152.3, with a mean of 153.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 9, 10, 16, 12, 8, 7, and 6, with a mean of 9.7. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The ARRL 10-Meter Contest, the Great Colorado Snowshoe Run, and the Digital Prefix Contest are the weekend of December 14-15. JUST AHEAD: The AGB Party Contest, the OK DX RTTY Contest and the Croatian CW Contest are the weekend of December 21-22. 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 III Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (EC-003) and HF Digital Communications (EC-005) courses opens Monday, December 16, 4 PM EST (2100 UTC). Registration will remain open through Sunday, December 22. Classes begin Monday, December 23. Registration for the ARRL Level II Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (EC-002) and Antenna Modeling (EC-004) courses remains open through Sunday, December 15. A new service now allows those who may be interested in taking an ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) course in the future to be advised via e-mail in advance of registration opportunities. Send an e-mail to email@example.com, and include the course name or number (eg, EC-00#) on the subject line as well as your name, call sign, and the month you want to start the course in the 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, firstname.lastname@example.org. [C-CE logo] * FCC grants deadline extension on Spectrum Policy Task Force comments: Acting on two requests December 10, the FCC extended the deadline to receive comments on the recently released Spectrum Policy Task Force Report (ET Docket 02-135) <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2002/11/07/103/>. The FCC extended comment deadlines by 18 days in response to two petitions for a time extension. The new comment deadline is January 27, 2003, and the new reply comment deadline is February 28, 2003. The FCC noted that, because the Spectrum Policy Task Force Report was drafted by FCC staff and neither voted upon nor approved by the Commission, the Report nor any of its recommendations "necessarily reflect the views of the Commission." 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 applicable docket or rulemaking number--ET Docket 02-135.--FCC * Nevada getting new Section Manager: The ARRL Nevada Section will get a new Section Manager on January 1, 2003. Jan Welsh, NK7N, is stepping down at the end of the year for personal reasons. She has served as SM since March 2000. Filling out the remaining six months of her term will be Dick Flanagan, W6OLD, of Minden. An Amateur Extra class operator and ARRL Life Member with 40 years of continuous membership, Flanagan was the recipient of the ARRL 2000 Excellence in Recruiting Award and was active in the successful effort to secure an Amateur Radio antenna (PRB-1) bill in Nevada. He has been serving as an assistant SM. He also holds field appointments as an ARRL Official Observer, Official Emergency Station and ARRL VEC volunteer examiner. He also serves as an ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program mentor, instructor and examiner. Nevada members may contact Flanagan via e-mail at email@example.com. * Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winners of the QST Cover Plaque Award for November were Stan Schretter, W4MQ; Brad Wyatt, K6WR, and Keith Lamonica, W7DXX, for their collaboration on the article "A Ham Radio Public Utility HF Station." Congratulations, Stan, Brad and Keith! The winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author--or authors--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 December 2002 issue of QST. Voting ends December 31. * Hamvention 2003 to celebrate "Year of the Young": Dayton Hamvention--the world's largest Amateur Radio gathering and trade show--celebrates its 51st year and its 52nd show, Friday, May 16, through Sunday, May 18, 2003. The focus in 2003 will be on the younger hams and attracting 12-to-18 year olds to Amateur Radio. Held at the Dayton, Ohio, Hara Arena complex, Hamvention includes forums; 500 inside exhibit spaces; and a 2500-plus space outdoor vendor area (a-k-a "the flea market"). Dayton Hamvention has become an Amateur Radio tradition for the 25,000 or so amateurs and visitors who attend each spring. More information is available on the Hamvention Web site <http://www.hamvention.org>. * Howard W. Wolfe, W2AGW, SK: DXCC top Honor Roller Howard W. "Howie" Wolfe, W2AGW, of Harrington Park, New Jersey, died December 7. He was 95. "Howie was one of the 'true blue DXers!'" said QST "How's DX?" Editor Bernie McClenny, W3UR. Wolfe had worked every possible DXCC entity except Damao Diu (CR8)--which was deleted (he worked French Indo China, FI8, also now on the deleted list, but never got a QSL card). First licensed as 2AGW in Brooklyn, New York in 1926, Wolfe was a member of the ARRL and the North Jersey DX Association. A couple of years ago in QST, McClenny noted that Wolfe was "always the last man standing in the DXCC count up" at the Dayton DX dinner. CW was his favorite mode. Friends may post tributes to the NJDXA's W2AGW memorial page <http://njdxa.org/w2agw.shtml>.--information provided by Bernie McClenny, W3UR, The Daily DX, and Urb LeJeune, W2DEC =========================================================== 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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