ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 21, No. 49
December 20, 2002
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +ARRL-UTC partnership pays off
* +Mississippi ARES teams aid tornado-stricken town
* +Ham radio has role in Guam relief effort
* +ARISS team discusses future of ham radio in space
* +FCC raises questions about exam session
* +Hams aid maritime rescue
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF:
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
    +League keeps eye on emerging RFI issues
     ARRL VEC praises retiring veteran FCC employee
     Reginald Hoskin Sr, W7ROL, SK
     Former ARRL staffer Arline Bender, WA1VMC, SK

+Available on ARRL Audio News

===========================================================
NOTE: ARRL Headquarters will be closed Christmas Day, Wednesday, December
25. We wish all our readers a safe and enjoyable holiday season!
===========================================================

==>PARTNERSHIP PAYS OFF IN HUNDREDS OF HAM RADIO EMERGENCY TRAINEES

The $33,000 grant from Hartford, Connecticut-based United Technologies
Corporation (UTC) announced last spring has fueled a more than 20-fold
increase in the number of trained Amateur Radio emergency communicators in
Connecticut. In just six months, 258 Connecticut hams have completed the
ARRL Level-I Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course tuition-free,
thanks to the grant.

"UTC has helped us lay the groundwork for taking this training
nationwide," said ARRL Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller,
K3UFG. "The grant from UTC was worth far more than a dollar amount."

Before UTC offered its support last June, just a dozen Connecticut hams
had become certified via the Level I emergency communications course. The
number certified now stands at 270. "We've learned from the experience in
Connecticut and will be able to move ahead quickly and effectively to roll
out the national program," Miller said.

Some of the Nutmeg State's newest trained ham radio communicators found
themselves put to the test November 17, when an early ice storm clamped
down on northwestern Connecticut. The ice storm cut off power to more than
130,000 residences and businesses. For Jim Ritterbusch, KD1YV, an ARRL
emergency coordinator, the way hams handled themselves in their roles as
emergency communicators during the storm was a direct result of the ARRL
Amateur Radio emergency communications training subsidized by the UTC
grant.

"The value of the training was apparent in many of the operators who had
taken Level I," he said. "The nets ran more accurately and efficiently
than we have seen in the past." As an example, he pointed out that during
the ice storm, several specific-purpose nets were in operation rather than
the single multi-purpose--and sometimes chaotic--nets of the past.

The partnership between UTC and ARRL has served as a model for
dramatically expanding Amateur Radio emergency communications courses. So
far, nearly 1700 amateurs nationwide have gone through at least one of the
three emergency communications course levels since the program's inception
in December 2000. ARRL offers three emergency communications
courses--introductory, intermediate and advanced.

ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, said the League hopes
UTC now will approve a three-year grant to help fund further expansion of
the Amateur Radio emergency communications course program to the national
level. "A second grant from UTC for a national scale program will enable
ARRL to certify 5000 radio amateurs in Level I, II or III of the emergency
communications course, and have an even greater impact on homeland
security and disaster relief efforts," she said.

More information on the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education
Program is available on the ARRL Web site
<http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html>.

==>MISSISSIPPI ARES TEAMS RESPOND IN TORNADO-STRICKEN COMMUNITY

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) teams from Jackson and Meridian,
Mississippi, have converged on the tiny community of Newton to provide
emergency communication support following a devastating tornado December
19. ARRL Mississippi Section Manager Malcolm Keown, W5XX, said about a
dozen amateurs from the Metro Jackson ARES and the Lauderdale County ARES
groups were taking turns supporting relief agencies in Newton, which has
no ARES organization of its own.

The mid-day twister struck a Wal-Mart filled with holiday shoppers,
blowing out the front windows and collapsing part of the roof. The tornado
also damaged a furniture factory. Newton is located roughly halfway
between Jackson and Meridian in the Interstate 20 corridor. According to
news accounts, some 70 people were hurt, but no one was killed. Property
damage in the town was said to have been widespread, and Gov Ronnie
Musgrove has declared a state of emergency in Newton.

Keown said the ARES teams were helping the Red Cross with damage
assessment and with shelter communication. In the tornado's immediate
aftermath, telephone service and electrical power were out in much of the
town of nearly 4000 and in surrounding Newton County, he said. The hams
also have been assisting The Salvation Army and the Southern Baptist Men's
Kitchen canteen operations as well as making themselves available to local
emergency management officials.

Although some reports indicated the tornado hit without warning, Keown
said SKYWARN teams had activated all along the I-20 corridor in
anticipation of the severe weather, and the National Weather Service had
issued tornado warnings.

"We were up all day long," he said of the SKYWARN activity. "The first
damage estimates to the National Weather Service came from ham radio
SKYWARN reports."

==>HAM RADIO HAS ROLE IN GUAM RELIEF, RECOVERY

After a supertyphoon struck the Pacific Territory of Guam earlier this
month, an opportunity for hams to step in and provide emergency
communications never materialized, mostly due to a lack of fuel on the
stricken island. Nonetheless, ham radio is playing a role as Guam
residents get back on their feet.

"Most of the guys are trying to get themselves back together," said Dick
Manns, KH2G, "but one of the main problems immediately after the typhoon
was fuel for generators, as the tank farm was burning and no fuel could be
brought out and what little was available was being reserved for emergency
vehicles." The Marianas Amateur Radio Club has discussed setting up
emergency communications systems, he said, but insufficient funding has
hampered the effort.

Supertyphoon Pongsona hammered Guam December 8. Manns says FEMA, the US
military and the nongovernmental relief organizations have been helping a
lot in the typhoon's aftermath. But, it would have been nice, he
suggested, if local hams had been able to reciprocate with some
communications help using portable repeaters and packet radio. Another
problem: The storm pretty much devastated amateur antenna systems, he
said.

Duncan Campbell, KF6ILA/KH2, was one of the few hams able to get on the
air in the first few days after the storm hit, felling the island's lone
2-meter repeater tower in the process. Island hams used 2-meter FM simplex
as a major means of communication, Campbell said. The repeater reportedly
is back up. He was able to make several stateside HF to relay needs, but
fuel to run emergency generators for radio use became scarce, and he had
to shut down after December 10.

Manns said electrical power remains out for most residents and that only
about a third of the electrically powered water wells on Guam were
functional. Telephone service remains out "pretty much island-wide for
varying amounts of time" due to the power outages, he said. It's expected
to be several months until electrical power is fully restored on Guam.

At one point, despite an active listening campaign, Amateur Radio
operators on the air from Guam were simply not to be found. "We have six
amateurs engaged in this, almost our entire complement of HF operators,"
said ARRL District Emergency Coordinator for the Commonwealth of the
Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Tim Hayes, NH0H, December 15. Amateurs on
Saipan monitored the agreed-upon emergency frequency of 7085 kHz almost
continuously for a week without hearing a single Guam signal, he said. The
Pacific Inter-Island Net on 14,320 kHz also made a special effort to
listen for Guam stations.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and 28 US Government
agencies have combined to provide relief and recovery services. Reports
say 1750 homes were destroyed or left uninhabitable by the typhoon.

The Salvation Army is operating 12 temporary shelters and housing an
estimated 3000 residents left homeless. Salvation Army Team Emergency
Radio Network (SATERN) Coordinator Pat McPherson, WW9E, said SATERN this
week established contact between Guam and the SATERN national office in
Chicago via an EchoLink connection--a marriage of Amateur Radio and the
Internet. McPherson credited Al Paja, WH2Z, on Guam with helping to set up
the EchoLink connection.

Campbell, Manns and others have been able to maintain communication to the
outside world via the Internet after December 11. The fiber optic line
between Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands survived
the storm, and local Internet Service Providers were able to reconnect to
the backbone. With semi-reliable cellular telephone service available,
Campbell was able to post updates on local conditions to several Internet
bulletin boards.

The Guam Pacific Daily News Web site <http://www.guampdn.com/> also has
remained active and current. It continues to provide a major conduit for
those outside the island to leave messages for friends and relatives on
Guam.

Amateurs affiliated with the US Department of Health and Human Services'
Office of Emergency Response flew to Guam. "We're very active here with
disaster relief and have two sites operational on HF," said Steve "Sid"
Caesar, NH7C, the team's communications officer. Others on that team
include Satoshi Manabe, WH6CTO, and Jayson Kohama, WH6BXK. Caesar has been
in regular contact with amateurs in Hawaii over the past week.

==>ARISS TEAM TALKS ABOUT FUTURE HAM-RADIO-IN-SPACE PROJECTS

Members of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)
International Team met December 5-8 at the NASA Goddard Space Flight
Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Delegates represented partner countries,
International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) member-societies and AMSAT
organizations in Europe, Japan, Canada, Russia and the US.

"I was extremely impressed with the quality of the discussions at our
meeting and the camaraderie of the international team," said ARISS
International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO. "The ARISS Team really has
come together to be a cohesive international team since we first met in
1996." Bauer also represented AMSAT-NA during the session, which was
moderated by Roy Neal, K6DUE, a long-time advocate of Amateur Radio in
space. ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO,
attended on behalf of the ARRL. AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH,
was on hand as a delegate for Canada.

The delegates heard progress reports on various ARISS equipment proposals,
including timing for certification and future delivery. The ARISS Team
will begin a review of new project proposals to determine their
feasibility as well as their benefits to NASA and to ham radio operators.
The ARISS Team must evaluate the work involved in bringing a particular
project proposal to fruition and, perhaps equally important, determine if
the developers have the required funding.

Among the more unusual Amateur Radio experiments the team plans to
consider further are a plasma cloud experiment and another that would
compare the performance of different solar arrays. Details were
unavailable. ARISS Team members also expressed concerns about hardware
proposals that had been initiated without ARISS knowledge or support,
since NASA requires coordination of all ham radio activity via the ARISS
Team.

Previously approved hardware projects are now being completed to make the
most of the four Amateur Radio antennas now installed outside of the ISS
Zvezda Service Module--the crew's living quarters. Operations on 70 cm
could commence as early as next spring, and SSTV (SpaceCam) hardware could
be launched later in 2003. Once it's in place, students will be able to
see the astronauts via SSTV while in QSO with them. Future add-ons under
consideration include enhanced digital 10-meter crossband operation using
PSK-31 or full-duplex voice repeater operation.

Delegates re-elected Bauer as ARISS chairman, White as ARISS
secretary-treasurer, and Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, as ARISS vice chairman.
All will serve two-year terms.

ARISS is an international project, with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT
and NASA.

==>FCC INITIATES REVIEW OF GEORGIA ARRL VEC EXAM SESSION

The FCC has initiated a review of a June 2000 ARRL VEC examination session
in Pelham, Georgia. At that session, an examinee who had unsuccessfully
attempted to pass Element 2 (Technician) seven times at other exam
sessions got a perfect score on Element 2 and also passed the Element 3
(General) exam.

The applicant in question, Arthur Lee Clark, of Oxford, Georgia,
subsequently was granted a General ticket as KG4IJV. It's not clear when
or how Clark obtained credit for the Element 1 ( Morse code) examination.
The FCC called Clark in for retesting last spring and cancelled his
license after he failed to appear.

FCC Special Counsel for Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth wrote volunteer
examiners William K. Ferguson, W9UNH, Alice Childs, AF4HB, and Walter J.
Childs, KQ4SF, on November 12 asking them to provide further information
on the examination session at which Clark had qualified for General. In a
separate letter November 12 to ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ,
Hollingsworth requested that the ARRL VEC not accept the services of the
three VEs involved in the Pelham session at least until the FCC concludes
its investigation. Suspension of volunteer examiners is standard procedure
during such inquiries.

Among other things, Hollingsworth asked Ferguson and the Childses to
describe any conversations they might have had with Clark as well as any
documents or materials Clark may have had before, during or after the
examination session. Hollingsworth also wanted the three VEs to tell where
and how the test session was administered, "including the location of VEs
during the examination and the names and addresses of anyone else present
before and during the examination."

Records indicate that from January 1999 until March 2000, Clark took the
Technician exam seven times under another VEC and never answered more than
approximately half the questions correctly. At the ARRL VEC session on
June 20, 2000, however, he was credited with obtaining a perfect score,
then passing his General with only one wrong answer.

==>HAMS AID MARITIME RESCUE

Amateur Radio operators on a 40-meter net that's aimed at helping stations
obtain the Worked All States award are getting at least partial credit for
helping to save a ham-sailor and two companions whose boat was caught up
in rough weather off the West Coast December 14. Steve Letendre, KE6FQ,
said that during a late 40-meter session of the 3905 Century Club Net
<http://www.3905ccn.com> on 7.233.5 MHz, an emergency break came on
frequency.

"The man's boat was in high seas and taking water approximately 350 miles
south of San Diego near Cedros Island," Letendre said. "High winds and
waves mostly kept him from spending too much time giving us info."
Letendre says he later learned from the Coast Guard that the boat was
being exposed to 12-15 foot waves and 60 MPH winds.

Net Control Station John Milner, W6BUM, requested a hold on the net while
Letendre and Joe Seibert, AL1F, in Alaska attempted to communicate with
the vessel's skipper--whom Letendre identified as Walter Jorgenson, W6ULT.
"I was on the phone with San Diego Coast Guard, while Joe copied info as
the questions came from them," Letendre said. "We were unable to get too
much other info due to the boat getting slapped around pretty good. I'm
sure the skipper had his hands full holding the wheel and a mic at the
same time."

Somewhere in the excitement, Letendre said, the skipper fired a flare and
a Mexican Naval vessel appeared and launched a raft. The passengers were
taken aboard the naval vessel and the boat towed to safety. Letendre is
modest about his net's role in the effort. "By the time we had good relays
set up, he was rescued," he said.

The incident did provide an opportunity for Letendre to acquaint the US
Coast Guard in his area with the net's existence. "The Coast Guard officer
also thanked us and requested info on our group, so I gave him the home
page," he explained.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Solar Maven Tad "Hey, Mister Sun" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington,
reports: Once again geomagnetic indices were lower than the previous
week's. November 28 through December 4 the average planetary A index was
13.6, the next week it was 9.7, and this week it was 7.7. This was good
for HF conditions, along with a rising solar flux. Average solar flux for
the same three weeks was 145.4, 153.2 and 188.7, and average daily sunspot
numbers were 130.3, 146.1 and 206.1.

Quiet conditions came to an end December 19, when the planetary A index
jumped to 21. This is due to a solar wind stream flowing from a coronal
hole. Geomagnetic activity is expected to decline, and in a few days solar
flux values should slip below 190.

The winter solstice arrives this weekend, so the long nights soon will
turn gradually shorter. Currently the darkness favors the lower HF bands,
but as the days lengthen in the Northern Hemisphere, higher frequency
propagation will improve.

Sunspot numbers for December 12 through 18 were 129, 176, 214, 217, 194,
252 and 261, with a mean of 206.1. The 10.7 cm flux was 153.1, 166.9,
185.9, 203, 202.9, 212.5 and 196.9, with a mean of 188.7. Estimated
planetary A indices were 7, 7, 11, 9, 8, 6 and 6, with a mean of 7.7.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: The AGB Party Contest, the OK DX RTTY Contest
and the Croatian CW Contest are the weekend of December 21-22. JUST AHEAD:
The DARC Christmas Contest, the RAC Winter Contest, the Stew Perry Topband
Challenge and the Original QRP Contest (CW) are the weekend of December
28-29. 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 Satellite Communications course (EC-007) opens
Monday, December 23, at 4 PM EST (2100 UTC). Registration will remain open
through Sunday, December 29. Classes begin Monday, December 30.
Registration for the Level III Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
(EC-003) and HF Digital Communications (EC-005) courses remains open
through Sunday, December 22. 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 prereg@arrl.org, 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, hrobins@arrl.org.

* League keeps eye on emerging RFI issues: ARRL Lab Supervisor Ed Hare,
W1RFI, attended a November 12-14 meeting of the IEEE C63 "RFI" committee
in Baltimore. Hare's visit was in response to a committee invitation for a
presentation on the possible impact of Power Line Communications (PLC) on
Amateur Radio. Hare also attended a very high bit-rate digital subscriber
line (VDSL) standards meeting in Atlanta November 18-19. Hare says that
both technologies present a potential to radiate signals that could raise
the noise floor on nearby HF receivers by tens of dB. "What ham hasn't
looked up at a power line and thought, 'Now there's a heck of a longwire
antenna!'" Hare quipped. "The problem with PLC is that if a company wants
to supply Internet service via PLC, it's going to happen at HF, and it
will radiate." Following the presentation, the IEEE named Hare chairs its
ad hoc working group on PLC. VDSL presents somewhat less of a challenge
than PLC, Hare said, but for overhead telephone wiring, it's important
that the industry include protections for Amateur Radio. Hare said the
ARRL will continue to work these and other industry groups and build on
the successes Amateur Radio has had recently with the HomePlug group and
Home Phoneline Network Alliance in reducing interference to amateur HF
bands.

* ARRL VEC praises retiring veteran FCC employee: On behalf of the League,
ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, has lauded the work of a veteran FCC
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau employee involved in Amateur Radio
licensing. Darlene Reeder, who retired this month after some 40 years of
service, was an industry analyst in WTB's Public Safety and Private
Wireless Division, Technical Analysis Section. "Seldom have I ever come
across someone with the dedication and caring that Darlene has shown in
serving the needs of the hundreds of thousands of Amateur Radio licensees
in the Amateur Service," Jahnke said in remarks prepared for Reeder's
retirement luncheon December 10. "My staff and I will deeply miss working
with Darlene. We wish her the very best in her retirement." More than 150
attended Reeder's retirement fete in Gettysburg. Representatives of the
National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators presented Reeder
with a gift certificate in appreciation for her years of service.

* Reginald Hoskin Sr, W7ROL, SK: Reggie Hoskin, W7ROL, of Four Lakes,
Washington, died December 11. Hoskin's family says he turned 101 a couple
of days before his death. He enjoyed a nearly lifelong interest in radio
and had been licensed for at least 75 years. Dennis Coykendall, AC7KA,
called Hoskin "the grand old man of radio in the Northwest, maybe the
country." Said Charlene Davis, KC7RQF, of the Kamiak Butte Amateur
Repeater Association, "Reggie checked into our nets regularly and helped
folks on the air right up until the last week he was here." Both said
Hoskin would be missed. Born in England, Hoskin got into radio fairly
early after coming to the US. He received instruction from his high school
principal in Ironwood, Michigan--a World War I Navy radio operator--and
built his first station, a spark gap transmitter and crystal receiver, in
1919. It appears from early call books that Hoskin was first licensed in
1927 or 1928 as 9EML. He became W7ROL in 1946 after moving to Washington,
where he served as the first president of the Cascade Radio Club. His late
wife, Ruby, was W7QME. Over the years, he worked as a miner, fireman and
electrician. Hoskin was among the very oldest members of the ARRL and of
the amateur fraternity. He also belonged to the Old Old Timers Club member
and the Quarter Century Wireless Association.

* Former ARRL staffer Arline Bender, WA1VMC, SK: Former ARRL staff member
Arline Bender, WA1VMC, died December 11. She was 84. The Hartford,
Connecticut, native was a staff member at ARRL Headquarters in the 1970s
and 1980s, first in the Communications Department, and later in the Field
Services Department, from which she retired in 1986. While on staff she
met and married former W1AW Station Manager Charles R. "Chuck" Bender,
W1WPR, who survives her. "She was a very nice lady, very kind to
everyone," said ARRL Field Organization/Public Service Team Leader Steve
Ewald, WV1X, who worked with Bender. Prior to her tenure at ARRL HQ, she
was employed by Travelers Insurance. She also was an avid bowler and a
50-year member of Elmwood Community Church in West Hartford. A daughter
and a son also survive.

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

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

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