*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 22, No. 03 January 17, 2003 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +High-speed hamming via the "Hinternet" could be next big thing * +2002 a banner year for ARRL contests * +Astronaut brightens kids' day at Montana school * +New ARRL brochure targets youngsters * +Nominations invited for ARRL awards * +Amateur Radio emergency communications training on target * +Comments sought on draft WRC-03 proposals * FCC launches "express" comment-filing system * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration ARRL Foundation scholarship deadline looms Second Ducie DXpedition set for March Poptronics ceases publication +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>HIGH SPEED MULTIMEDIA HAMMING COULD BE THE NEXT BIG THING High-speed multimedia hamming via the "Hinternet" could be the next big thing for Amateur Radio. That's the hope of the ARRL High Speed Multimedia (HSMM) Working Group, which is adapting the highly popular IEEE 802.11b Part 15 wireless Internet protocol to Part 97 amateur operating. "We expect it to be nothing less than revolutionary!" says John Champa, K8OCL, who chairs the ARRL HSMM Working Group--a subset of the League's Technology Task Force. The Working Group's new "High-Speed Digital Networks and Multimedia" page <http://www.arrl.org/hsmm/> recently premiered on the ARRL Web site. Champa's team is calling the specific techniques, software and hardware involved "the ARRL 802.11b protocol" to distinguish it from the unlicensed, commercial protocol. Systems employ direct-sequence spread spectrum techniques and operate in the 2.4 GHz range. The term "Hinternet" (ham + Internet), Champa says, is a user-friendly way to refer to the development of high-speed Radio Local Area Networks (RLANs) capable of simultaneously carrying audio, video and data signals. "The development of the ARRL 802.11b protocol will significantly enhance Amateur Radio, especially with respect to emergency communication and support of public service activities," Champa predicted. He and his HSMM Working Group colleagues also expect that it will attract many technically oriented users of the Internet and wireless LANs to get their amateur tickets. In addition to emergency communication, Hinternet applications could include two-way streaming video, full-duplex streaming audio, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications such as eQSO, EchoLink, iLink and IRLP, and digital voice. As on the wired Internet, communication can be point-to-point, point-to-multipoint and multicast at high bandwidth. "An emergency volunteer equipped with a laptop or a wireless PDA (personal digital assistant) with a microphone and a small video camera now has the tools to be a mobile set of eyes and ears in the midst of a communications emergency," says Working Group member Kris Mraz, N5KM. In Michigan, the Livingston County HSMM Experimenters Team already has three HSMM access points--called "APs" in the commercial world--and about a dozen stations on the air centered on 2437 MHz. Another group of Amateur Radio 802.11b enthusiasts has recently organized in the San Antonio, Texas, area. Although other amateur allocations also would be appropriate for Hinternet operation, the use of 2.4 GHz was an easy choice, since Part 15 WiFi (wireless fidelity) devices already operate in that part of the spectrum, and inexpensive commercial equipment is widely available. Acting on an ARRL petition, the FCC has proposed elevating amateurs to primary at 2400 to 2402 MHz. The ARRL publications catalog now includes the book 802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?category=&words=802.11> by Matthew S. Gast. The book covers the topics of creating and administering wireless networks. Champa says that taken in a nationwide context, the meaning of the term Hinternet goes deeper than just an amalgamation of words. "In nautical terms the word hinterland is 'the land beyond the coast,'" he said. "And so it is with us. 'The Hinternet' is the radio net beyond the Internet." ==>2002 A GROWTH YEAR FOR ARRL CONTESTS The year 2002 was a banner year for ARRL's Contesting Branch. Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, reports a record number of total entries for ARRL-sponsored operating events. "The total of 18,817 beats 2001's 18,505, a nearly 1.7 percent increase!" Henderson said. Despite the downward slope of Cycle 23, the 2002 ARRL 10-Meter Contest saw a more than 18 percent jump in log submissions over the previous year, he added, even as logs continued to arrive. "Activity is up across the board for almost all contests, and I think we would have seen more than 19,000 logs returned," Henderson said, "but the World Radiosport Team Championships (WRTC 2002) in Finland last July affected numbers for the IARU HF World Championships, as several hundred of the world's top contest operators were there." Henderson notes that since WRTC 2002 used slightly different rules, the logs from those operators could not be entered in the IARU event, which ARRL administers. The 2002 ARRL 10-Meter Contest, proved to be record-setter in several ways. According to Henderson, not only was the December 14-15, 2002, operating event the most active 10-meter contest on record, it had the single highest number of participants returning logs of any single contest in League history. As of January 16, the Contest Branch had logged 3051 entries and was still counting. "That's the very first time a single-weekend ARRL contest has topped the 3000 mark in entries," Henderson said. Other ARRL operating events that also saw increased numbers of logs over 2001 were Straight Key Night, up 22 percent; the ARRL 160-Meter Contest--a CW event--up 19 percent; the ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest, up 11 percent; and ARRL Field Day, up by one-half of one percent. For the first time ever, the 160-meter event topped 900 entries. ARRL November Sweepstakes entries jumped between two and three percent for the CW and SSB weekends in 2002, Henderson said. Entries received for the ARRL international DX Contest remained approximately level for each mode last year as did submissions for the ARRL's four major VHF-UHF-SHF events in 2002. Henderson said the move to require Cabrillo-format electronic logs has proved a major boon to the Contest Branch. The elimination of most manual log entry has moved up the posting of contest results by about a month, he said. He said he expected the Contest Branch would be fine tuning electronic log-processing during 2003. Rules for all ARRL-sponsored operating events are available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/contests/calendar.html>. ==>MONTANA ARISS CONTACT "A GRAND SUCCESS" Youngsters at Sacajawea Middle School in Bozeman, Montana, conversed via ham radio on January 8 with International Space Station resident Don Pettit, KD5MDT. The contact between NA1SS and the school club station's K7BZN was the first Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) QSO this year with a US school. "I am happy to say that it was a grand success," said Vivian Linden, K7CUB, a retired science teacher who continues to serve as advisor to the school's Amateur Radio club. "The contact was crystal clear, the kids did a great job with their questions, and the adult ham club--the Gallatin Ham Radio Club--put it all together." Some young radio amateurs were among the student questioners. Arianna Haines, KD7RHA, wanted to know if Pettit had any radio experience before becoming an astronaut and if it influenced his decision to become one. Pettit explained that he became a ham only after joining the astronaut corps. Jeff Nickelson, KD7TQL, asked Pettit how he was chosen to be an ISS crew member. "You get chosen for the ISS program partly based on interest and partly based on who they happen to need for the mission involved," Pettit replied. "So they look at background, and they look at interest." Nickelson later expressed a desire to become an astronaut and asked Pettit's advice on what he should do now. "What you need to do is to follow what you want to do in your heart," Pettit responded. He also advised the youngsters to do their best in school and to keep up their grades. Food is never far from the minds of most youngsters, and so it was with the kids at Sacajawea Middle School. One student wanted to know how the crew ate and how the food was cooked. Pettit explained that it's not that much different from pre-packaged food on Earth. "We eat with spoons, just like you eat with spoons on Earth," said Pettit. Most of the crew's food is freeze-dried. You add hot water and mix, then "just dig in with your spoon," Pettit said. Pettit also told the youngsters that the crew doesn't have too much time for "fun" activities. "There's really not much spare time up here," he said. "We're always working." But, he added, the crew does get enjoyment out of the work it does, which sometimes includes just observing Earth through one of the ISS portholes. Some 50 youngsters, teachers and a handful of reporters were on hand for the contact. Linden said audio was piped throughout the school. "I was told later that the school was in a buzz the rest of the day," she said. Students from Morning Star Elementary School also attended. ARISS is an international project with support from ARRL, NASA and AMSAT. For more information, visit the ARISS Web site <http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov>. ==>NEW LEAGUE BROCHURE TARGETS KIDS A colorful, new, kid-tested ham radio brochure is available from ARRL Headquarters. "Leap into Amateur Radio" aims at an elementary school audience and introduces youngsters to the hobby. "Amateur Radio is an exciting hobby that lets you meet new people of all ages--and have a great time!" the full-color, tri-fold flier emphasizes. "Getting started is easy!" Field and Educational Support Team Leader Mary Lau, N1VH, headed the team that produced the flier. She cited two objectives in its design. "There was a desire to specifically target 8 to 11 year olds," she said, "as well as the need to supply a youth-oriented handout to replace the Archie's Ham Radio Adventure comic book that is no longer published." The brochure is comprised of colorful graphics, photos of kids operating and several boxes of basic text explaining what Amateur Radio is and does. There's also space on the back for local clubs or organizations to affix their contact information, so that children and their families can get more information about the hobby. The back panel also includes a blurb about ARRL and gives its e-mail address. On the "What is Amateur Radio" page right inside the tri-fold brochure is a brief explanation of what Amateur Radio is. "Anyone can be a ham--no matter what age, sex or physical ability," the flier points out. Accompanying the text are photos of youngsters--a boy and a girl--on the air. Fully open, the flier presents four capsules of information about Amateur Radio: * How ham radio and wireless technologies fit into lives that include cell phones and the Internet. * The several modes hams use to communicate with each other--including voice, computer, and even telegraph key. * The various types of operating activities available--including public service and the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. * How simple it is to get started in Amateur Radio and whom to contact. Assisting the in the project were ARRL Educational Program Coordinator Jean Wolfgang, WB3IOS; Educational Correspondent Marjorie Bourgoin, KB1DCO, and Field and Educational Services Assistant Linda Mullally, KB1HSV. After assembling the material for the flier and putting together a prototype, Lau and her staff got the brochure into the hands of a number of area youngsters for some product testing. The children offered a few ideas to make the handout even more appealing, she said. Arizona-based graphic artist Cameo Hill did the final layout and design. "Leap into Amateur Radio" will become available in mid-February--free of charge and in limited quantities of up to 25 fliers--to any Amateur Radio operator or amateur club. Lau said the only cost will be for shipping. The brochure is now available as an Acrobat PDF file via the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/materials/Leap-into-AR.pdf>. To order copies of the brochure, interested clubs or individuals should contact Linda Mullally, KB1HSV, firstname.lastname@example.org; 860-594-0292. ==>ARRL INSTRUCTOR, EDUCATOR, RECRUITING AWARD NOMINATION DEADLINE LOOMS Nominations close Friday, January 31, for ARRL awards that recognize excellence in teaching Amateur Radio classes, using Amateur Radio in the classroom, and recruiting others to Amateur Radio. Completed nominations forms must be sent to your ARRL Section Manager <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/org/smlist.html> in time for the SM to meet the nomination deadline. The ARRL Herb S. Brier Instructor of the Year Award goes each year to a volunteer Amateur Radio instructor. The ARRL Professional Educator of the Year Award goes to a professional teacher who has incorporated Amateur Radio into his or her class curriculum. The ARRL Professional Instructor of the Year Award is presented to a paid, non state-certified ham radio instructor--such as those teaching classes offered through adult education programs. The ARRL Excellence in Recruiting Award goes to a ham who exemplifies outstanding recruiting enthusiasm and technique and has gone the extra mile to introduce others to Amateur Radio. All winners receive engraved plaques and $100 gift certificates redeemable for ARRL publications. Full information and nomination forms are available on the ARRL Educational Awards page <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/award/>. For more information, contact Jean Wolfgang, WB3IOS, email@example.com. ==>AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS TRAINING ON TARGET The ARRL's Amateur Radio Emergency Communications training effort is right on target. Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, says that as of January 17, 661 students had completed the Level I emergency communications on-line course (EC-001) under the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) federal grant. Enrollment for the grant-funded classes stands at 1277. "We're pleased with the success of the program to date and with how far we've come," Miller said. "We're right where we should be under the federal grant guidelines." The nearly $182,000 federal grant, announced last July, will subsidize online training for up to 1700 amateur licensees during its first year. The CNCS grant permits students successfully completing the Level I program to be reimbursed for the cost of tuition. Miller says another 200 students registered this month and will begin classes January 21. "Interest in the on-line classes remains high," Miller said. "Registration for this month's classes filled within the first few hours, leaving many potential students frustrated." The good news, Miller says, is that there's still plenty of room in future classes to allow interested amateurs to take advantage of the program. Senior hams are encouraged to enroll in these classes. The ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce> has additional information. ==>FCC SEEKS COMMENTS ON WRC-03 DRAFT PROPOSALS The FCC is seeking comments on draft recommendations that the World Radiocommunication Conference Advisory Committee (WRC-03 Advisory Committee) adopted January 8. The FCC established the WRC-03 Advisory Committee in January 2001 to assist the agency in developing WRC-03 proposals. "Based upon our initial review of the recommendations forwarded to the Commission," the FCC said this week in a Public Notice, "the International Bureau, in coordination with other Commission Bureaus and Offices, tentatively concludes that we can generally support the proposals recommended by the WRC-03 Advisory Committee." The FCC said the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has submitted letters to the FCC containing draft proposals developed by Executive Branch agencies, and the FCC requests comment on those draft proposals as well. The FCC will consider the draft proposals and comments during upcoming consultations with the US Department of State and NTIA in the development of US proposals to WRC-03. Once agreed to by these agencies, proposals will be used by US delegations at bilateral, regional and international meetings. "The draft proposals attached to this Public Notice may evolve as we approach WRC-03 and during the course of interagency discussions," the FCC said. "Therefore, they do not constitute the final national position on these issues." The Public Notice includes proposals concerning WRC-03 agenda items 1.35, 7.1, 7.2, 2.16, 1.8.2, 1.13, 1.20, 1.22 and 1.36. Agenda item 1.20 concerns the so-called "Little LEOs." Item 1.36 involves examining the adequacy of the frequency allocations for HF broadcasting in the vicinity of 4-10 MHz. Complete texts of draft proposals are available via the FCC's WRC-03 Web site <http://www.fcc.gov/wrc-03>. Interested parties may file comments via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Commenters also may submit an original and one copy of comments to the Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554. Provide a courtesy copy to FCC WRC-03 Director Alex Roytblat, Room 6-A738. Comments should refer to specific proposals by document number. The deadline for comments on draft proposals and NTIA letters is January 31, 2003. WRC-03 takes place in Geneva, Switzerland, from June 9 until July 4, 2003. ==>FCC LAUNCHES "CONSUMER-FRIENDLY" ELECTRONIC COMMENT FILING SYSTEM The FCC has launched "ECFS Express," an updated electronic system that the Commission says will make it easier for at least some members of the public to file comments on FCC proceedings. ECFS Express is a simplified version of the popular Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), but it is not available for all FCC proceedings. ECFS Express is accessible from the FCC home page <http://www.fcc.gov>. Users just click on the "File Comments" logo--which is on the left-hand side of the page about one-third of the way down under the words "Filing Public Comments." To comment, users click on a topic, fill in their personal information, write their comments and hit "SEND." "ECFS Express will highlight the proceedings most likely to generate consumer interest," the FCC said this week in a Public Notice. "The topics will change periodically as new issues emerge." The downside is that if the particular issue you want to comment upon is not listed among the ECFS Express topics, you'll have to use the "expert version" of ECFS to comment, the FCC said. At the moment, the EFCS Express list includes no Amateur Radio-related petitions. The FCC says the original Electronic Comment Filing System--which includes all docketed FCC proceedings--will remain accessible on its Web site <http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html>. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar-powered Tad "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar flux and sunspot numbers peaked early in the week and are headed downward again. Average daily solar flux rose to 173.6 this week from 149.4 last, and sunspot number averages went from 137.9 to 200.9. Activity should continue declining, with Friday through Monday values of 140, 135, 135 and 125, reaching a minimum around 115 from January 25-28. Geomagnetic activity for the near term is predicted to be quiet to unsettled. You can see the general downward trend in activity in the charts on the Web site of Mark Downing, WM7D <http://www.wm7d.net/hamradio/solar/past_cycle.shtml>. There is tremendous variability, but the overall trend is pretty clear. Over the next few years we'll see a dramatic drop. Current projections from NOAA show the minimum solar flux between September 2006 and April, 2007, and sunspot minimum around December 2006 to January 2007. Sunspot numbers for January 9 through 15 were 206, 199, 238, 232, 182, 176 and 173, with a mean of 200.9. The 10.7-cm flux was 182.9, 184.7, 188.8, 173.4, 171.8, 164 and 149.9, with a mean of 173.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 10, 10, 11, 8, 10 and 8, with a mean of 9.1. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The North American QSO Party (SSB), the ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes, the LZ Open Contest (CW), the Michigan QRP January CW Contest, and the Hungarian DX Contest are the weekend of January 18-19. JUST AHEAD: The CQ 160-Meter Contest (CW), the REF Contest (CW), the BARTG RTTY Sprint and the UBA DX Contest (SSB) are the weekend of January 25-26. See the ARRL Contest Branch page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for more info. * ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration: Registration for the ARRL Level III Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (EC-003) and HF Digital Communications (EC-005) courses opens Monday, January 20, 12:01 AM Eastern Standard Time (0501 UTC). Registration will remain open through Sunday, January 26. Classes begin Monday, January 27. No seats remain in the January registration period for the ARRL Level II Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (EC-002). Registration for the Antenna Modeling (EC-004) course remains open through Sunday, January 19. 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, email address, 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. * ARRL Foundation scholarship deadline looms: The deadline is fast approaching to apply for ARRL Foundation-sponsored scholarships. Individual awards range from $500 to $5000. Don't delay! Send scholarship applications with academic transcripts to The ARRL Foundation, 225 Main St, Newington CT 06111. The February 1, 2003, postmark deadline is firm--there are no exceptions! The annual application window opens October 1 and closes the following February 1. For an application and additional information, visit the ARRL Foundation Scholarship Programs Web site <http://www.arrl.org/arrlf/scholgen.html>. * Second Ducie DXpedition set for March: The second DXpedition to the newest DXCC entity, Ducie Island, is expected to take place in March, according to an announcement this week. Ducie Island DXpedition leader Yuichi Yoshida, JR2KDN, reports he will depart from Narita, Japan, on March 3 heading for Tahiti, French Polynesia, and then on to Gambier Island. Presumably this is where the vessel Braveheart will meet up with the DXpedition team members. They expect to arrive at Pitcairn Island to pick up the remaining team members on March 5 and then head for Ducie Island. Plans are to begin operations March 8 from VP6DI2 (yes, that's a "2" at the end of that call sign) and continue about a week. The operator list includes Dieter, DJ9ON; Hans, DK9KX; Philippe, FO3BM; Hiro, JA1SLS; Yuichi, JR2KDN; Doug, N6TQS; Dave, VP6DB; Mike, VP6AZ; and Meralda, VP6MW. Activity is being planned for 6 through 160 meters on CW, SSB, RTTY and AO-40. QSL via JR2KDN (bureau or direct). Pilot stations for this DXpedition are JE2EHP, DJ8NK and WA2MOE. The initial Ducie Island DXpedition in March of 2002 racked up some 50,000 contacts. A 2.5-square-mile Pacific atoll, Ducie was approved for DXCC credit in November 2001.--The Daily DX <http://www.dailydx.com> * Poptronics ceases publication: Poptronics magazine--which evolved from the former Popular Electronics and Electronics Now magazines--ceased publication with the January 2003 edition (Vol 4, No 1). "After 94 years of publishing electronics magazines Gernsback Publications is no longer in operation," said Larry Steckler, Poptronics' editor in chief and publisher. "Negotiations are under way to provide an alternative publication to Poptronics subscribers." Steckler says a new on-line edition of Poptronics will soon be available. Poptronics Interactive, a separate on-line, paid subscription site announced in the October issue of Poptronics, also is scheduled to return soon, Steckler said. The company plans to post the latest information on its Web site <http://www.Poptronics.com>. The site has been undergoing "remodeling," but Steckler said it should be back in operation by the end of January. Many veteran amateurs may recall the "Carl and Jerry" stories by John T. Frye, W9EGV (SK), which appeared in Popular Electronics in the 1950s and 1960s. The tales involved the ham radio-related exploits of a couple of teenaged hams. =========================================================== 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. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for e-mail delivery: ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site <http://www.arrl.org/members/>. 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