*************** 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 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. * 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. 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. Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League. ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): email@example.com ==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, firstname.lastname@example.org ==>ARRL News on the Web: <http://www.arrl.org> ==>ARRL Audio News: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call 860-594-0384 ==>How to Get The ARRL Letter The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from ARRL HQ. 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