*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 50 December 27, 2002 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL President Haynie: Vigilance a year 'round necessity * +Arkansas, Missouri amateurs activate for severe weather * +Comments sought on two amateur petitions * +FCC reminds repeater owners of their responsibilities * +Special event, ISS contact to commemorate Marconi transmission centennial * +Kid's Day is January 4! * +Radio astronomy pioneer Grote Reber, W9GFZ, SK * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio Spanish-language NCVEC question pools now available on the Web German Amateur Radio payload reaches orbit Ham Radio University 2003 set Nine-year-old makes Extra World Scout Jamboree to include Amateur Radio activity +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== NOTE: ARRL Headquarters will be closed and there will be no W1AW transmissions New Year's Day, January 1, 2003. ARRL Headquarters will reopen Thursday, January 2, 2003, at 8 AM. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday and all the best in 2003! =========================================================== ==>VIGILANCE, VOLUNTARY GIVING ARE YEAR 'ROUND NECESSITIES, ARRL PRESIDENT SAYS With several important issues facing Amateur Radio, ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, says now is not the time to get complacent about ham radio's future. On the World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 agenda next summer, for example, are items that could change the face of 40 meters worldwide and compel amateurs to compete with interference from mapping satellites on 70 cm and from radio local area networks on microwave bands. Domestically, ham radio faces an array of threats from unlicensed Part 15 devices and the spectrum demands of new technologies (see <http://www.arrl.org/news/bandthreat/>). "Amateur Radio is not safe," said Haynie, who's completing his third year as the League's top--and unpaid--official. "If we relax our energies--even for a day or a week--we can lose valuable ground." Haynie has not let down his guard. He personally has devoted months of work on the road during 2002 on Amateur Radio's behalf. That includes time in Washington talking up ham radio with those who hold its future most directly in their hands. Preserving the future of Amateur Radio is not cheap either. "When we talk about defense of frequencies and advocacy, what we really mean is the $1.2 million that the ARRL spent in staff costs, travel, laboratory work, legal filings and other professional assistance," he said. ARRL membership dues cover just some of the costs associated with advocacy. So does income from investments and other revenue sources. But approximately 40 percent of the cost of the ARRL's efforts to preserve ham radio's future--the 2003 goal is $500,000--comes from voluntary donations from within the Amateur Radio community. ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, says donations have dipped below expectations even as the ARRL has been successful in raising ham radio's visibility. Hobart blames the slack in giving in part as a result of the economic downturn, but she also believes this year's campaign may be languishing due to apathy. "The enhanced visibility we now enjoy due to the efforts of our president and other volunteers may have led many of our members to erroneously conclude that Amateur Radio has arrived," Hobart speculates. "I hope that the average ARRL member understands what it means to represent Amateur Radio in Washington." She also says some hams may think there's not much going on because progress often must be measured in inches rather than miles. Haynie believes 2002 has seen some notable successes, however. It included the introduction of HR 4720, a measure that for the first time asked congress to lead the way in eliminating the burden of private deed covenants, conditions and restrictions--CC&Rs--as they affect the ability of amateurs to erect outdoor antenna structures. The year also saw the FCC propose--at the behest of the ARRL--two new Amateur Radio bands and a status upgrade for the 2400-2402 MHz amateur allocation. Hobart says that as the year draws to a close, every contribution counts as the ARRL works toward meeting its $500,000 goal. "We are hearing that some folks are really feeling the pinch of the current economic and stock market situation," she said, "but if every ARRL member would contribute $8 a year, we could fund our advocacy efforts for 2003 in total." "During 2003, the ARRL Board, staff and I will be working hard for you and for the future of Amateur Radio," Haynie said. "Please support us." The ARRL is an IRS 501(c)(3) organization, and contributions to the Spectrum Defense Fund are deductible to the extent permitted by law. Visit the secure FCC Web site <http://www.arrl.org/defense> for more information and to make a contribution. ==>SKYWARN, ARES ACTIVATE FOR ARKANSAS, MISSOURI STORMS The same front that produced tornado activity in Mississippi on December 19 earlier touched Arkansas and Missouri with devastating and deadly effect. After nearly a year without any significant tornado activity, Arkansas was again at the heart of severe weather December 18. Tornadoes hit several counties in Missouri December 17 and 18. One person died in each state a direct result of the severe weather. The National Weather Service (NWS) activated SKYWARN at approximately 2 PM in Arkansas, and participants remained active until after 11 PM. Little Rock Emergency Coordinator Dale Temple, W5RXU, reports that the NWS issued 48 warnings during the nine-hour net. Temple also is president of Arkansas SKYWARN. Temple said NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist John Robinson and Meteorologist-In-Charge Renee Fair praised the accuracy and dedication of the Arkansas SKYWARN volunteers. In Arkansas, hail up to two inches in diameter, heavy rain up to six inches, damaging straight-line winds and tornadoes developed in Desha, Faulkner, Lincoln, Prairie, Saline, Woodruff, Jackson, Lonoke, White and Cross counties. At the request of American Red Cross Arkansas State Disaster Director Roger Elliot, Richard Thompson, W5SUB, fired up the Amateur Radio station at Red Cross Headquarters to help coordinate the organization's efforts to provide needed services to about 85 families whose homes had been damaged or destroyed by the severe weather. "Mr Elliot credited ham radio operators in assisting the Red Cross to mobilize more quickly and accurately to needy victims," Temple said. Arkansas SKYWARN, the Central Arkansas Radio Emergency Net, Pulaski County, Little Rock and North Little Rock ARES/RACES actively supported state and local emergency management agencies as well as the Red Cross, The Salvation Army and area hospitals. In central and southern Missouri, several Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) teams activated the night of December 17 when severe weather struck. There were multiple instances of rainfall greater than one inch per hour, and hail was reported in several counties. Missouri SEC Don Moore, KM0R, said that in a couple of instances, the NWS issued severe thunderstorm warnings shortly after ARES reports came in. Reports filed with the St Louis NWS Office included heavy rain, hail and damaging wind speeds. "There was a tornado reported in Laclede County that moved into Pulaski County, along with damaging wind speeds in excess of 75 MPH in another area during the early morning hours of December 18," Moore said. Tornado activity was also reported in Springfield and the surrounding area. Hams also worked with the Springfield NWS Office. Linked repeater systems were used to pass information to the respective NWS offices and among local nets. Some five dozen hams involved in the response in three ARES districts logged double-digit work hours. Several county emergency coordinators said they monitored the statewide HF frequency for the Missouri Emergency Services Net in case there was traffic to pass. They also kept in contact with local governments and other served agencies in case Amateur Radio volunteers were needed. ==>FCC SEEKS COMMENTS ON AMATEUR RADIO-RELATED PETITIONS The FCC is inviting comments on two Amateur Radio-related petitions for rule making. Both have been put on public notice and are available for public review and comment. In his petition, designated RM-10620, Dale Reich, K8AD, has asked the Commission to automatically upgrade Novice and Advanced license holders to the "next" license class if the licensee has 20 or more years of operating experience. Reich has said such test-free upgrades would compensate for "the previous tougher exam that was past administered" and give credit for violation-free service records. Among other proposed changes in his "merit and service upgrade" schedule, Reich asks that Novice phone privileges in the 2-meter band--rescinded in the 1970s--be reinstated for those still holding that license. In his petition, Reich asserts that Amateur Radio the proposed changes could augment public service abilities on the part of the affected licensees. In another amateur-related petition, designated RM-10621, AMSAT-NA has asked the FCC to drop its presently required 27-month pre-space notification to the FCC's international branch for Amateur Satellite launches and substitute a pre-space notification within 30 days of a launch commitment. The comment deadline for both petitions is January 17, 2003. Interested parties may view the Reich and AMSAT petitions and file comments via 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 rulemaking number--RM-10620 or RM-10621. ==>K7IJ REPEATER SYSTEM ATTRACTS RENEWED FCC ATTENTION The FCC has sent a Warning Notice to the owner of the K7IJ Grizzly Peak repeater system in California's San Francisco Bay area citing "numerous rule violations" on the machine since last April. In a November 26 letter, FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth reminded repeater owner Bruce Wachtell, K7IJ, of his responsibility to ensure proper control of his repeater. Almost four years ago, the FCC shut down the Grizzly Peak repeater after it determined the system was out of control of the licensee and his designated control operator. "Since the repeater bears your call sign, it is important for you to understand that you are responsible for its proper operation," Hollingsworth told Wachtell, whose residence is in Carson City, Nevada. "The decision to operate a repeater is a totally voluntary one. Repeaters are a convenience in the Amateur Radio Service, not a necessity." Hollingsworth said repeater control operators "must ensure immediate proper operation" of the system, regardless of the type of station control. If Wachtell cannot regain control of his repeater, then he must shut it down, Hollingsworth concluded. Violations cited included failure of users to identify--or to identify correctly, intentional interference from "certain users," use of the repeater by unlicensed operators and "lengthy carriers and key-ups." Hollingsworth told Wachtell that it's his responsibility to prevent recurring and deliberate violations. "If you are unwilling or unable to prevent violations on your K7IJ repeater, then your operator and station licenses will be subject to enforcement action by the Commission," warned Hollingsworth, who raised the specter of fines, suspension and license revocation. In an unrelated repeater case, Hollingsworth sent a Warning Notice December 4 to Wayne Curley, WA6NRB, who operates a repeater in the Los Angeles area. Hollingsworth cited monitoring information that the repeater has been used by an unlicensed individual, Richard Burton, ex-WB6JAC. Burton spent three months in a federal jail last year after being convicted of unlicensed operation. Hollingsworth also reminded Curley that a repeater licensee is responsible for recurring violations and that enforcement action--fines, suspension or revocation--could result if he is unable to prevent violations on his repeater. ==>SPECIAL EVENT, SPACE CONTACT TO MARK MARCONI TRANSMISSION CENTENNIAL Special event station KM1CC will be on the air January 11-19, 2003, to mark the 100th anniversary of Guglielmo Marconi's inaugural wireless transmission between the US and Great Britain January 18, 1903 (January 19 UTC). On that date, from the sandy Cape Cod cliffs overlooking the Atlantic, Marconi--using a powerful (35 kW) rotary spark transmitter coupled to a massive antenna system-- transmitted a 54-word greeting from President Theodore Roosevelt to England's King Edward VII. The monarch promptly acknowledged receipt of the message via land line and cable, literally igniting the spark of global communication. The Marconi Radio Club, W1AA, and the Marconi Cape Cod Memorial Radio Club, KM1CC, are working in partnership with the National Park Service at Cape Cod National Seashore to organize the celebration. The special event will take place at the former Coast Guard station at Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, Massachusetts, which is near the original Marconi site. Operation will include several amateur modes, including SSB, CW, FM, digital and satellite. Marconi Radio Club President Robert J. "Whitey" Doherty, K1VV, says operators will be on the air 24 hours a day from January 11 through January 19. "We have a half dozen operators who will live at the station for the full period," he said. The special event station will open to the public from 9 AM until 5 PM EST (1400-2200 UTC). An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contact--the first of the new year with US students--is to be scheduled during the weeklong celebration. Doherty says that selected students from three Cape Cod high schools will speak via KM1CC with a member of the new Expedition 6 ISS crew. l. Marconi's daughter, Princess Elettra Marconi, is scheduled to attend the a reenactment of the groundbreaking wireless transmission on January 18, when KM1CC will transmit the text of Roosevelt's original message to King Edward VII. KM1CC QSL card requests from US amateurs (include a self-addressed, stamped envelope) go via Barbara Dougan, KB1GSO, Cape Cod National Seashore, 99 Marconi Site Rd, Wellfleet, MA 02667. DX stations are invited to QSL via the W1 QSL Bureau. Additional details are on the Marconi Radio Club Web site <http://personal.tmlp.com/k1vv/w1aa/>. ==>KID'S DAY IS JANUARY 4! The next Kid's Day is Saturday, January 4, 2003, from 1800-2400 UTC. The twice-annual event, held in January and June, is a chance for amateurs to invest in the future of Amateur Radio by participating in a simple, but rewarding, Amateur Radio event. Now entering its ninth year, Kid's Day typically attracts more than 1000 participants for each running. Kid's Day is intended to encourage young people--licensed or not--to enjoy Amateur Radio. It gives youngsters on-the-air experience so they might develop an interest in pursuing a license in the future. It's also intended to give hams a chance to share their station with their children. Activity for Kid's Day <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/kd-rules.html> takes place on 20, 15 and 10 meters--and perhaps on local 2-meter repeaters. It's an opportunity to introduce youngsters to the magic of ham radio and perhaps spark a lifelong love for the hobby. The suggested exchange for Kid's Day is first name, age, location and favorite color. You are encouraged to work the same station again if an operator has changed. Call "CQ Kid's Day." Suggested frequencies are 14,270 to 14,300, 21,380 to 21,400 and 28,350 to 28,400 kHz, and 2-meter repeater frequencies with permission from your area repeater sponsor. All participants are eligible to receive a colorful certificate. Visit the ARRL Kid's Day Survey page <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/kids-day-survey.html> to complete a short survey and post your comments. You will then have access to download the certificate page or send a 9x12 SASE to Boring Amateur Radio Club, PO Box 1357, Boring, OR 97009. Originated by the Boring Amateur Radio Club, Kid's Day now is sponsored an d administered by the ARRL with the cooperation and assistance of the BARC. ==>RADIO ASTRONOMY PIONEER GROTE REBER, EX-W9GFZ, SK Grote Reber, ex-W9GFZ, one of the earliest pioneers of radio astronomy, died December 20 in Tasmania, where he had been living since 1954. He was 90. Reber was the first person to build a radio telescope dedicated to astronomy, and his self-financed experiments laid the foundation for today's advanced radio astronomy facilities. "All radio astronomers who have followed him owe Grote Reber a deep debt for his pioneering work," said National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) Director Fred Lo. Reber was the first to systematically study the sky by observing something other than visible light. "This gave astronomy a whole new view of the universe," Lo said. As a radio engineer and avid Amateur Radio operator in Wheaton, Illinois, in the 1930s, Reber was inspired by Karl Jansky's 1932 discovery of natural radio emissions from outer space. The concept of viewing space via radio signals presented Reber--who had worked his share of terrestrial DX--with a whole new challenge that he attacked with vigor. Reber concluded that what he needed was a parabolic dish antenna, and in 1937, using his own funds, he constructed a nine-meter (31.4 feet) dish antenna in his backyard. The strange contraption attracted the attention of curious neighbors and became somewhat of a minor tourist attraction, he later recalled. Using electronics he designed and built that pushed the technical capabilities of the era, Reber succeeded in detecting "cosmic static" in 1939. In 1941, Reber produced the first radio map of the sky, based on a series of systematic observations. Reber's research results were published in a number of prestigious technical journals. He also received numerous honors normally reserved for scientists professionally trained in astronomy. Ohio State University conferred an honorary doctorate on Reber on 1962. In a 1977 paper, "Endless, Boundless, Stable Universe" <http://personal.nbnet.nb.ca/galaxy/G_Reber.html>, Reber concluded: "Time is merely a sequence of events. There is no beginning nor ending. The material universe extends beyond the greatest distances we can observe optically or by radio means. It is boundless." Reber's amateur call sign, W9GFZ, now is held by the NRAO Amateur Radio Club in Socorro, New Mexico.--NRAO news release by Dave Finley, N1IRZ; Tom Crowley, KT4XN ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar wonk Tad "I Wear My Sunglasses At Night" Cook, K7VVV, in Seattle, Washington, reports: Geomagnetic activity was up quite a bit this week, but solar flux and sunspot numbers were down. Average daily planetary A index, an indicator of geomagnetic activity, was over double last week's average. Average daily sunspot numbers were down by over 20 percent and average daily solar flux was down by over 10 percent, a drop of 41.7 and 19.6 points respectively. The most active days were Thursday, December 19, when the planetary A index was 21 and Monday, December 23 when it was 26. The mid-latitude numbers were more moderate, but Alaska's College A index was 39 and 40 on those two days. Sunspot numbers dropped dramatically in the past few days. On Christmas Day the sunspot number was only 77, the lowest value in nearly a year and a half, when the sunspot numbers were 59 and 64 at the end of July, 2001. The day after Christmas the sunspot number dropped even lower, to 62. Brian, W2BRI, writes about poor conditions on 80 meters recently. He checks a D-region absorption map (perhaps the one at http://www.sel.noaa.gov/rt_plots/dregion.html) when he notices poor conditions, and it always seems to correlate with an elevated X-ray level. He notices lots of fading and high angle attenuation with close-in stations inaudible but stations further away heard okay. Over the next few days we should see continued geomagnetic activity. A coronal hole is spewing a solar wind stream that is expected to yield a Friday through Sunday planetary A index of 20, 25 and 20. Solar flux over those same days should drop to around 125, 120 and 115. Next week's bulletin will have some end of year numbers. It won't be final until next week, but the average daily sunspot number for the calendar year so far is 178.3. This contrasts with 170.3 for 2001, 173 for 2000 and 136.3 for 1999, which is surprising, since the peak of the cycle was expected to be a couple of years ago. Sunspot numbers for December 19 through 25 were 225, 203, 199, 168, 160, 119, and 77, with a mean of 164.4. 10.7 cm flux was 192.9, 196.6, 183.9, 172, 158.9, 147.3, and 131.9, with a mean of 169.1. Estimated planetary A indices were 21, 16, 18, 12, 26, 18, and 14, with a mean of 17.9. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: 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. JUST AHEAD: ARRL Straight Key Night, the AGB NYSB Contest, the SARTG New Year RTTY Contest, and the AGCW Happy New Year Contest are January 1. The AGCW QRP Winter Contest, the ARRL RTTY Roundup and the EUCW 160-Meter Contest are the weekend of January 4-5. 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. * Spanish-language NCVEC question pools now available on the Web: For the first time, a National Committee of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) question pool has been translated into Spanish and published on the Web to benefit of non-English speaking candidates in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico Amateur Radio League (PRARL), which has prepared Spanish-language question pool translations for the last eight years, has agreed to make available its Element 2 (Technician) Spanish-language question pool and corresponding graphics to other VECs. "It is a very accurate translation of the original version using Puerto Rican Spanish with insertions of English words when translated words are confusing or non existing," said PRARL Secretary Victor Madera, KP4PQ--who also happens to be ARRL Puerto Rico Section Manager. The ARRL VEC Puerto Rico volunteer examiner team has offered Spanish-language tests at the Technician and General-class levels since 1994 and will now allow other VECs serving the Commonwealth to use its pool to generate their examinations. Exam-generating software is in the works and will be available on the Web as soon as it's ready, Madera said. The PRARL also has produced study guides in Spanish, and these are available through local clubs to all interested persons. Visit the PRARL exam Web site <http://prarl.org/servicios.html#Examen> for more information. * German Amateur Radio payload reaches orbit: Oliver Amend, DG6BCE, and the German Amateur Radio Association report that the RUBIN-2 scientific satellite carrying the SAFIR-M Amateur Radio payload was successfully launched December 20 (1700 UTC) from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome. As of December 22, he had not yet established contact with the satellite. The call sign, DP0AIS, stands for "Amateur Radio in Schools." Designed as a store-and-forward system for APRS-based messages, SAFIR-M is a project of the Working Group for Amateur Radio and Telecommunications in Schools <http://www.aatis.de> and developed in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences in Pforzheim, Germany. "The main purpose of the satellite is to give students easy access to space communications," Amend says. He notes the satellite will be operational only when RUBIN-2 is in sunlight, so usable passes over Europe will be during the early morning hours and only for up to about five minutes with very low antenna elevations. Now in an approximately 650-km orbit at 65 degree inclination, SAFIR-M has a 1200-baud packet uplink at 437.275 MHz and a 9600-baud packet downlink on 145.825 MHz. There's also an optional voice message beacon on 2 meters. Amend welcomes reports with date and time (UTC) and position (WGS-84 or grid square) via e-mail <email@example.com>. The correct NORAD identifier for two-line Keplerian elements appears to be 27607. More information is available in German on the SAFIR-M Web site <http://amend.gmxhome.de>. * Ham Radio University 2003 set: Ham Radio University 2003 will take place Sunday, January 19, as part of the ARRL New York City-Long Island Section Convention in Oyster Bay, New York (East Woods School, 31 Yellow Cote Road). Billed as a day of education about Amateur Radio, this year's event will feature new forums--including sessions for nonhams as well as for experienced operators. The focus will be hands-on, with special event station W2V on the air and day-long demonstrations of digital communications, satellite communications, low-power operating, emergency communications and other modes and activities. Featured guest speaker and forum leader will be Gordon West, WB6NOA. HRU 2003 will include an Amateur Radio examination session. HRU 2003 is sponsored by the Long Island Mobile Amateur Radio Club and is a cooperative effort among more than 20 clubs and organizations in the New York City-Long Island area. Admission is open to all ($2 donation), and refreshments will be available. Talk-in is on the W2VL 146.85 and 147.210 repeaters. For more information contact ARRL NYC-LI SM George Tranos, N2GA, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the ARRL New York City-Long Island Web site <http://www.hudson.arrl.org/nli>. * Nine-year-old makes Extra: Elizabeth Harper of Vinemont, Alabama, became one of the nation's youngest Amateur Extra-class licensees during the Montgomery Amateur Radio Club hamfest examination session November 9. Accompanying the nine-year-old on her upgrade journey were her parents, Anthony, NO2M, and Sondra Harper, KA4EIC. There was a lot of excitement as the volunteer examiners from the Montgomery CAVEC group graded her Element 4 answer sheet, then rechecked it twice more. A General licensee at the time of the session, Elizabeth also might hold the distinction of being the only youngster her age now working on her third ham radio call sign. When she sat for the Extra, she was KG4NAU. The FCC issued her a new sequential call sign, AG4WP, which she held for about three weeks until the FCC granted her vanity application. Elizabeth now is AK3H.--Steve Padgett, K4NM * World Scout Jamboree to include Amateur Radio activity: The 20th World Scout Jamboree <http://www.worldscoutjamboree20.org> in Thailand from December 28, 2002, to January 7, 2003, will include Amateur Radio operation from E20AJ at the Jamboree site. E20AJ will use World Scout frequencies <http://www.home.zonnet.nl/worldscout/Jota/frequencies.htm>. The station will be operational for the duration of the Jamboree, 24 hours a day, on SSB, CW, SSTV and packet on 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10 and 2 meters. Three HF stations will be in operation. QSL E20AJ via HB9AOF or via the Thailand QSL bureau. GB2COS will be a special Scout station on the air from Chester, England, January 4-5. Activity will be on most HF bands, and GB2COS operators will attempt to contact E20AJ at the World Jamboree in Thailand. QSL GB2COS via G7BQY.--some info from The Daily DX =========================================================== 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. 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