ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 01
January 3, 2003
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +ARRL's 5-MHz experimental operation ends
* +New crew resumes ARISS school contacts
* +FCC poised to renew Kevin Mitnick's ham ticket
* +Hams fill communication gap during telephone emergency
* +McGan Award nominations open
*  ARRL offering license renewal, other application services to nonmembers
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF:
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Emergency Communications course registration
     ARRL to sponsor emergency communications course seminar in
Mississippi
     Correction
     Packet users requested to not send e-mail messages to ISS crew
    +ARRL QSL Service ends 2002 just shy of 2 million cards shipped
    +League volunteers help at public TV pledge drive
     IARU presents Amateur Radio Administration Course in Kenya

+Available on ARRL Audio News

===========================================================

==>ARRL CONCLUDES 5-MHz EXPERIMENTS, AWAITS FCC DECISION ON NEW BAND

Without fanfare, the ARRL allowed its WA2XSY 5-MHz experimental license to
lapse January 1 rather than request renewal for another year. Last May,
the FCC proposed going along with the ARRL's 2001 request for a new
domestic (US-only), secondary HF allocation at 5.25 to 5.4 MHz.
Discussions with various governmental agencies--including the
Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC) and the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)--continue on how
to accommodate amateur operation in the band, which is primary for several
governmental agencies including the military. The NTIA regulates radio
spectrum allocated to the federal government.

"At this point, we have every reason to believe the FCC will act on its
proposal early this year," said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner,
K1ZZ. "As to what the outcome will be as far as 5 MHz is concerned, we
cannot predict."

In a December 24 letter, Sumner thanked the 15 Amateur Radio clubs and
individual amateurs who took part in the 5-MHz experimental operation that
began in January 1999 and largely concluded in 2002. "You assisted in
providing an important part of the groundwork for our petition for a
domestic allocation to the Amateur Radio Service in this frequency range
by demonstrating the desirability and feasibility of a shared allocation,"
he wrote. "We hope it will not be long before amateurs throughout the
country are able to enjoy the fruits of your efforts."

Sumner said the ARRL chose not to request another renewal of the WA2XSY
license because it already had obtained sufficient information to justify
its petition for the band.

Until surprise opposition surfaced last fall from the NTIA, the FCC had
the League's request for a new 60-meter band on the proverbial fast track.
In a letter filed with the FCC last August--after the comment deadline had
passed--the NTIA recommended that the Commission not go forward with the
5-MHz proposal. The NTIA said several government agencies with allocations
in the proposed spectrum had expressed reservations about allowing
amateurs to use the band, even on a non-interference basis.

The ARRL has been working with the federal agencies involved to resolve
the impasse the NTIA letter raised. The NTIA said critical federal
agencies, including the Department of Justice, the US Coast Guard and the
Department of Defense, were making extensive use of 5 MHz frequencies. The
FCC's May 2002 Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) fails to adequately
protect these "critical government operations" from harmful interference,
the NTIA asserted.

The ARRL has called the 5 MHz allocation "an urgent priority of the
Amateur Service." In its July 2001 petition, the League told the FCC that
a new band at 5 MHz would aid emergency communication activities by
filling a "propagation gap" between 80 and 40 meters.

Experimental operations on 5 MHz continue on a very limited basis in the
United Kingdom and in Canada. In Newfoundland, the Marconi Radio Club's
VO1MRC has been operating under experimental authority from Industry
Canada and an endorsement from Radio Amateurs of Canada to conduct
experiments on 5 MHz. On December 21, VO1MRC completed a cross-band (5
MHz/7 MHz) CW contact with VK7RO in Tasmania.

==>CHICAGO YOUNGSTERS ENJOY END-OF-YEAR ARISS QSO

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school and
educational contacts resumed in late December after a hiatus to change
crews. Expedition 6 Crew Commander Ken Bowersox, KD5JBP, spoke December 29
via NA1SS with a dozen youngsters visiting Adler Planetarium and Astronomy
Museum <http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/index.html> in Chicago. It marked
the 81st ARISS contact and the first contact for Bowersox' crew with
youngsters in the US. Expedition 6 crew members also conducted successful
ARISS contacts on New Year's Eve with participants at the World Scout
Jamboree in Thailand and with students in France.

"I'd say the most important thing that I have learned in space is that
people are very, very strong and flexible, and we can adapt to all types
of different environments," Bowersox told a youngster who had asked the
space veteran to describe the most interesting or important thing he'd
learned in space.

Other youngsters were curious about food and eating in space. Bowersox
said he missed pizza most of all aboard the ISS. His favorite space food,
he said, was bread pudding. "And I can just open a packet and eat straight
out of the packet with a spoon," he said. Bowersox also explained that the
human body still digests food very well in zero gravity. He also noted
that the crew was trying to grow some tomatoes and herbs in space. "We're
not sure how they'll turn out," he said, "but we're hoping they'll be very
tasty."

An audience of some 200 people, including TV and newspaper reporters, were
on hand to watch the youngsters interview Bowersox via Amateur Radio.
Participating youngsters ranged between five and ten years old. Organizing
the ARISS event were ARISS mentor Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, and the
planetarium's Geri Smith.

Audio and video (Quicktime) clips of the Adler Planetarium ARISS contact
are available via the Adler Planetarium Web site
<http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/education/events/iss/>.

On December 31, 15 Scouts at the 20th World Scout Jamboree
<http://www.worldscout.pacific.net.th/> in Thailand spoke with Expedition
6 crew member Don Pettit, KD5MDT, via special event station E20AJ. Among
other questions, the Scouts asked Pettit if he wanted his own kids to grow
up to become astronauts, how the crew members bathe in space, and how the
lack of gravity affects the human body.

Also on December 31, Pettit spoke with students at the Rene Mure school in
Commelle-Vernay, France. ARISS International Vice Chairman Gaston Bertels,
ON4WF, said some 60 schoolchildren and their parents assisted in the
contact. The French youngsters wanted to know if Pettit believed in
extraterrestrial life, whether the crew could feel the speed of the ISS
through space, and if microgravity made it difficult for crew members to
find their way in the space station.

==>FCC POISED TO RENEW COMPUTER HACKER'S HAM TICKET

An FCC Administrative Law Judge has recommended that the FCC grant the
Amateur Radio license renewal application of convicted computer hacker
Kevin D. Mitnick, N6NHG. The Initial Decision
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-02D-02A1.pdf> by
Chief Administrative Law Judge Richard L. Sippel released December 23
comes approximately one year after the FCC designated Mitnick's license
renewal application for hearing.

"Right now, my goal in life is to live a productive life and to earn a
living and try to make up for all the time that I lost and try to be a
productive citizen," Mitnick told an FCC hearing last June 18. The
Commission had cited character issues stemming from Mitnick's history of
illegal computer-related activity--which included several convictions and
prison sentences and two years on the run.

Mitnick testified that he's decided to turn his life around and dedicate
himself to a career in broadcast radio, public speaking, and writing to
help government, businesses, and individuals minimize the risks associated
with computer intrusions. Following his release from prison, Mitnick said,
he has been law-abiding and has no desire to return to his former life.

In his Initial Decision, Sippel wrote, "There is reliable evidence that
Mr. Mitnick has focused on becoming an honest, productive citizen and that
he has the means to continue to do so." Sippel said that Mitnick has been
on the amateur bands since his release from prison and there have been no
complaints regarding his on-the-air behavior. "The evidence in its
totality shows Mr. Mitnick to have an overall record of compliance with
Commission rules," Sippel concluded.

Unless exceptions are raised within 30 days or the FCC reviews the ruling
on its own motion, Sippel's decision becomes effective 50 days after its
release.

First licensed in 1976, Mitnick, 39, filed with the FCC through his
attorney to renew his General ticket not long after his US District Court
conviction in August 1999. His ham license was due to expire in December
1999, but the FCC extended his operating authority while his renewal
application was pending. Mitnick reportedly spent some $16,000 in legal
fees to retain his ham ticket.

Following a similar hearing earlier this year on character issues, the FCC
recently granted the Amateur Radio license application of Herbert
Schoenbohm. Last month, Schoenbohm regained his previously held KV4FZ call
sign via the vanity call sign system. Upon his return to ham radio after a
nearly two-year absence, he initially was issued NP2MJ as a sequential
call sign.

==>HAMS HELP OUT DURING OKLAHOMA TELEPHONE EMERGENCY

Hams responded to fill a communication gap December 23 after the town of
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, experienced a city-wide telephone outage that left
telephone customers unable to call outside their local exchange. Broken
Arrow implemented its Telecommunications Failure Plan as a result. A
request went out for amateurs to assist at the local emergency operations
center (EOC) and at three area hospitals.

Several hams in and around the town of 75,000 residents responded to the
call. Four Broken Arrow Amateur Radio Club members staffed positions at
the Broken Arrow EOC and at three hospital emergency rooms. Tulsa Amateur
Radio Emergency Service member Joe Iverson, KD5KKZ, reported to the City
of Tulsa EOC.

"All in all, things went smoothly," said Broken Arrow ARC president Steve
Bradley, KB5ZSD. "The city officials were again very impressed and
appreciative with the amateur community's commitment to service and
response to the emergency. It is times like these that such partnerships
between local government and the local hams become invaluable."

The operation lasted about five hours. In addition to passing traffic
between the EOC and the hospitals, lines of communication also were opened
with the Oklahoma State Department of Civil Emergency Management in
Oklahoma City via the EOC's HF amateur station.

The telephone system troubles were traced to the loss of a digital
protocol needed for call routing.

==>NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR THE 2003 PHILIP J. MCGAN MEMORIAL SILVER ANTENNA
AWARD

Nominations are open for the ARRL 2003 Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver
Antenna Award. Throughout the year, ARRL PICs, PIOs and other PR
volunteers in the ARRL field organization strive to keep Amateur Radio
visible in their communities. Among other valuable activities, they
publicize special events, write press releases, and maintain solid working
relationships with their local media--radio, TV, newspapers.

"If you know someone who has achieved public relations success on behalf
of Amateur Radio, nominating him or her for the McGan Award is the perfect
way to bestow much deserved recognition," said ARRL Public Relations
Manager Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY. "The 2003 McGan Award will go to a ham who
has demonstrated success in Amateur Radio public relations and best
exemplifies the volunteer spirit of Phil McGan, the award's namesake."

A journalist, Philip J. McGan, WA2MBQ (SK), served as the first chairman
of the ARRL's Public Relations Committee, which helped reinvigorate the
League's commitment to public relations. Hagy notes the award honors
contributions in public relations, not in public service.

"Public relations activities for which the McGan Award is given include
efforts specifically directed at bringing Amateur Radio to the public's
attention--and most often the media's--in a positive light," she
explained.

A committee of volunteers knowledgeable about Amateur Radio public
relations will pick the winner, subject to approval by the ARRL Board of
Directors. Information on nominating someone for this award is available
on the ARRL Web site
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2002/12/30/1/call-for-nominations.html>.
To obtain an entry form, call ARRL HQ at (860) 594-0328 or e-mail Jennifer
Hagy, N1TDY, jhagy@arrl.org.

==>ARRL PROVIDING FCC LICENSE RENEWAL, ADDRESS CHANGES, MODS TO NONMEMBERS

The ARRL has announced that it's now providing FCC Amateur Radio license
renewals, address changes and other license modification services to
nonmembers. For a $12 fee, the League will renew a nonmember's Amateur
Radio ticket (the license must be within 90 days of expiration), file an
application to change address or name or request issuance of a new
sequential call sign. The ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator is
processing these applications.

"The $12 is in line with our calendar year 2003 exam application fee,"
said ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ. For several years, the ARRL has
been handling renewals, address and name changes and modifications free of
charge for members and has directed nonmembers to the FCC's free Internet
or hard-copy application options or to other providers of such services.

Jahnke suggests that nonmembers who now choose to employ the League's
application handling service also consider adding $27 (based on the
current under-65 full term member rate of $39) for a full ARRL membership
that includes free application handling and other services--not to mention
QST.

Members or nonmembers taking advantage of this service should submit NCVEC
Form 605 <http://www.arrl.org/fcc/forms.html> to ARRL VEC, 225 Main St,
Newington CT 06111 USA for processing. Nonmembers should make the $12 fee
payable to "ARRL." For more information, contact ARRL VEC, vec@arrl.org.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Wave bender Tad "Who can make the sun shine, on a cloudy day?" Cook,
K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Last week we reported sunspot numbers
dropping dramatically. This week it became a trend. Average daily sunspot
numbers for the past three weeks were 206.1, 164.4 and 55.3. Average solar
flux was 188.7, 169.1 and 117.1. The real shocker though was Monday, with
a sunspot number of only 44! I thought it possible that the sunspot number
had not been that low since the other side of the solar cycle (before the
peak), but we actually saw lower values of 27 and 38 on September 11 and
September 12, 2000. On September 26, 1999, it was also 44--and that was
probably on the other side of the peak of the current cycle.

Last year was surprisingly good in terms of high sunspot activity. The
average daily sunspot number for Calendar Year 2002 was actually slightly
higher than any of the three previous years. Average daily sunspot numbers
for the years 1997 through 2002 were 30.7, 88.7, 136.3, 173, 170.3 and
176.6. Note the 176.6 value is lower than the 178.3 reported in last
week's bulletin as the average sunspot number for the first 359 days of
the year. The drop in sunspot numbers over the past week was so dramatic
that it actually dropped the yearly average by nearly two points! Average
daily solar flux for the same six years was 81, 117.9, 153.7, 179.6, 181.6
and 179.5.

What is the trend? Let's look at quarterly averages.

Average daily sunspot numbers for the past eight quarters were 147.3,
164.8, 170.4, 198.1, 178.3, 165.3, 193.5 and 152.7. Average daily solar
flux for those same quarters was 164.4, 166.7, 175.5, 219.1, 203.9, 156.4,
178.1 and 164.2. As you can see, there is quite a bit of variability in
the values. Solar cycles only appear smooth when looking backward and
doing a moving average of the data.

Currently Earth is entering a solar wind from a small coronal hole on the
sun. Conditions could be unsettled on Friday and Saturday. The projected
planetary A index for Friday through Monday is 15, 15, 10 and 8. The
projected solar flux for those same days is 120, 125, 125 and 130.

Sunspot numbers for December 26 through January 1 were 62, 63, 70, 51, 44,
50 and 47, with a mean of 55.3. The 10.7-cm flux was 127.4, 116.5, 116.9,
114.8, 113.8, 115.1 and 115, with a mean of 117.1. Estimated planetary A
indices were 15, 37, 19, 13, 15, 11 and 10, with a mean of 17.1.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: Kid's Day, the AGCW QRP Winter Contest, the
ARRL RTTY Roundup and the EUCW 160-Meter Contest are the weekend of
January 4-5. JUST AHEAD: The North American QSO Party (CW), Hunting Lions
in the Air, the East Asia 160/80 DX Contest, the Midwinter Contest (CW),
the NRAU-Baltic Contest (CW and SSB are separate events), the Midwinter
Contest (SSB) and the DARC 10-Meter Contest  are the weekend of January
11-12. 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 Emergency Communications course registration: Registration opens
Monday, January 6, at 12:01 AM Eastern Time (0500 UTC) for the on-line
Level I Emergency Communications course (EC-001). Registration remains
open through the January 11-12 weekend or until all available seats have
been filled--whichever comes first. The class begins Tuesday, January 21.
Thanks to the federal homeland security grant from the Corporation for
National and Community Service, the $45 registration fee paid upon
enrollment will be reimbursed after successful completion of the course.
During this registration period, approximately 200 seats are being offered
to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more, visit
the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page and the C-CE
Links found there. For more information, contact Emergency Communications
Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, dmiller@arrl.org; 860-594-0340.

* ARRL to sponsor emergency communications course seminar in Mississippi:
The ARRL will offer a free Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course
(ARECC) seminar January 31, in conjunction with the 2003 Capital City
Hamfest in Jackson, Mississippi. The seminar will not include the Level I
course itself. This program is designed to explain in greater detail the
duties of volunteer certification mentors, instructors and examiners of
the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications courses and provide additional
information for those considering these volunteer positions. "With Level I
emergency communications training being offered nationwide under the
homeland security grant from the Corporation for National and Community
Service, we hope to have all ARECC team players reading from the same page
to ensure success under the federal grant guidelines," said ARRL Emergency
Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG. The seminar will be held
Friday, January 31, 1 until 5 PM, at the Trade Mart Building, located on
the Mississippi State Fairgrounds northeast of the coliseum. Seating may
be limited. If you plan to attend or need more information, contact Dan
Miller, K3UFG, k3ufg@arrl.org; 860-594-0340; fax 860-594-0259. For
registered CMs, CIs and CEs who attend, mileage may be reimburseable up to
a total of $35. Seminar attendance does not include admission to the
hamfest, which is January 31-February 1. For more information on the 2003
Capital City Hamfest, visit the sponsoring Jackson Amateur Radio Club Web
site <http://www.jxnarc.org/>.

* Correction: In the report "FCC Seeks Comments on Amateur Radio-Related
Petitions" in The ARRL Letter, Vol 21, No 50 (Dec 27, 2002), we erred in
attempting to synopsize the rule making petition designated RM-10620
offered by Dale Reich, K8AD. Reich notes that his proposal would require
current veteran, rule-abiding Novice and Advanced ticket holders to apply
for an upgrade in license class through a Volunteer Examiner Coordinator.

* Packet users requested to not send e-mail messages to ISS crew: Amateur
Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) International Chairman
Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, has requested that amateurs refrain from sending
e-mail to the ISS crew via the onboard RS0ISS Personal Message System
(PMS). "The crew is not answering the e-mail, and we really don't expect
them to." he said. "If things change, we'll let you know." Reports have
indicated that the ISS packet mailbox is filling up with unread messages,
many of them greetings to the crew or holiday greetings. The all-ham
Expedition 6 ISS crew consists of Crew Commander Ken Bowersox, KD5JBP,
cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin, RV3FB, and astronaut Don Pettit, KD5MDT.

* ARRL QSL Service ends 2002 just shy of 2 million cards shipped: With
sunspot numbers slowly starting to decline, it may be a while before the
ARRL QSL Service <http://www.arrl.org/qsl/qslout.html> again sees the sort
of activity it dealt with in 2002. During the past year, the service
mailed out 1,963,165 cards from ARRL members to DX stations. That's up by
30,850 over 2001--or approximately 1.6 percent. The final day's QSL card
shipment to exotic and rare entities--done every 90 days--was 148,050
cards alone. "Overall, it's been a pretty good year for the bureau," said
ARRL QSL Service Manager Martin Cook, N1FOC. "We got the cards sorted on
time with no backlog this year." Cook said most members have been sorting
their cards properly before sending them to the ARRL QSL Service for
shipping. "Unsorted cards really slow things down," he said.

* League volunteers help at public TV pledge drive: Amateur Radio got a
bit of TV exposure December 30 as several ARRL Headquarters staffers
represented the League during a Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) fund
drive. ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, who organized
the group of HQ volunteers, said that with more than 300 public radio and
television stations in the country, volunteering a ham radio club for a
pledge drive phone bank is a tidy way to gain some visibility. "Just call
the station's volunteer coordinator," Hobart suggested. "Several people
called in and said they were hams, or that their father was a ham, and
donated because they saw our banner in the background." ARRL Electronic
Publications Manager Jon Bloom, KE3Z, even helped a caller with an
"out-of-sync" audio problem on her TV (the SAP channel was
engaged)--something most volunteers probably could not do. The 17 HQ
staffers and family members helped raise more than $45,000 for CPTV during
a University of Connecticut women's basketball game and received high
praise from the station's volunteer coordinator for their professionalism
and above-average results during their segment.

* IARU presents Amateur Radio Administration Course in Kenya: The
International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) has announced the successful
presentation of the Amateur Radio Administration Course (ARAC) in Nairobi,
Kenya. The course, conducted jointly by IARU and the African Advanced
Level Telecommunications Institute (AFRALTI), was taught December 9-13,
2002, to a class of 22 telecommunications officials from English-speaking
African countries. Support for the course was provided by the
International Telecommunication Union Telecommunication Development Bureau
(ITU-D), the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) and the Communications
Commission of Kenya (CCK). Students were from administrations and
telecommunications operators from Ghana, Kenya, Sudan and Zambia.
Presenters were Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, for IARU; Mohamed K. Noorani of
AFRALTI; and Gideon Mwakatobe of ATU. AFRALTI Director Edward Mallango
participated in the opening ceremony and ATU Secretary-General Jan Mutai
officiated at the closing ceremony. Amateur Radio Society of Kenya (ARSK)
Chairman E H M (Ted) Alleyne, 5Z4NU, set up an HF station at the training
site. "The presentation of the course in Nairobi was made possible by a
strong sense of partnership that exists between ITU, ATU, and IARU," said
IARU Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ. "IARU President Larry Price, W4RA, has
assigned a high priority to the development of Amateur Radio in Africa. We
are most gratified that ITU-D Director Hamadoun Tourť as well as ATU
Secretary General Mutai and his colleagues in Nairobi share our conviction
that Amateur Radio can contribute to human resource development for the
improvement of telecommunications in Africa." The course included
instruction in subjects such as the ITU, Radio Regulations, spectrum
management, the IARU, domestic and international regulations, Amateur
Radio operations and technology, disaster communications and the
Amateur-Satellite Service.

===========================================================
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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