ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
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, lmullally@arrl.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, jwolfgang@arrl.org.

==>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 wrc03@fcc.gov.
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 prereg@arrl.org, 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, hrobins@arrl.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
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The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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