*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 22, No. 04 January 24, 2003 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL Board targets strategic planning, WRC-03 * +League to debut Amateur Radio Today CD-ROM presentation * +Princess Marconi adds magic touch to 100th anniversary * +Logbook of the World gets limited testing * +G3YWX is Bill Orr, W6SAI, Technical Writing Award winner * +New 145 GHz DX record set * +Leonard award winners announced * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration FCC says power line communications technology shows promise President Haynie to visit Tropical Hamboree Contributing editor needed Official WRTC 2002 video now available +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>ARRL BOARD DISCUSSES STRATEGIC PLANNING, WRC-03 Establishing a timeline for future strategic planning, increasing ARRL membership and raising the level of awareness of Amateur Radio issues at World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) were the primary topics as the ARRL Board of Directors met January 17-18 in Connecticut. Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, cited a cooperative spirit and said the session's overall mood was upbeat. As a result of action taken at the meeting, the Board plans to convene a leadership seminar in July and a two-day strategic planning retreat in September. ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, said strategic planning--especially aimed at embracing new technologies--is vital for the League's health. "We're interested in planning for the League on a long-term basis to ensure that we're on the right track 5 to 10 years from now," he said. "We have to keep up with emerging technology." Haynie said he's excited with what the High-Speed Multimedia Working Group <http://www.arrl.org/hsmm/> and the Digital and Software Defined Radio committees have come up so far. The Board also created a new ad hoc committee, chaired by ARRL International Affairs Vice President Rod Stafford, W6ROD, to focus on recruiting and retaining members. "This committee is for the near term to explore ways to entice people to join the organization," Haynie said. The panel also will look at what the League can do to make the ARRL more attractive to potential members. The Board also discussed strategy for protecting Amateur Radio's interests at WRC-03 <www.fcc.gov/wrc-03/>, to be held in Geneva from June 9 to July 4. The hottest ham radio topic is 7 MHz and the objective of a worldwide 300 kHz harmonized amateur allocation. Sumner said the immediate need is to get the US Government to support a realignment of allocations for amateurs and broadcasters in ITU Regions 1 and 3. "The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA, which oversees the federal government's use of radio spectrum) thinks that Region 1 and 3 administrators should take the leadership role on this issue and that we in Region 2 should make no proposal," Sumner said. "We're trying to change that view." Sumner says the US has a responsibility to represent the interests of amateur licensees whose 40-meter operation is severely impacted by high-power broadcasting stations elsewhere in the world. "The US did so in 1979 and 1992 and should do so again in 2003," he said. The Board also updated the League's legislative positions for the 108th Congress. ARRL will work for a re-introduction of The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act <http://www.arrl.org/govrelations/hr4720/>. Known last session as HR 4720, the bill deals with deed covenants, conditions and restrictions. Also set to be reintroduced is the Spectrum Protection Act. In other business, the Board adopted a 2003 budget; resolved to honor the Hospital Disaster Support Communications System <members.aol.com/emcom4hosp/> (HDSCS) of Orange County, California, with the ARRL National Certificate of Merit; and elected Tod Olson, K0TO, and John Kanode, N4MM, as honorary vice presidents. ==>ARRL ANNOUNCES "AMATEUR RADIO TODAY" CD-ROM PRESENTATION The ARRL soon will make available a new video presentation, Amateur Radio Today, that tells Amateur Radio's public service story to nonhams. Directed by Dave Bell, W6AQ, and narrated by former CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD, the presentation runs approximately six minutes. "We wanted to have something for people to take to nonhams and civic clubs," said ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP. Haynie also anticipates that the CD-ROM production will come in handy during his visits to Capitol Hill. Haynie recently wowed those attending the January ARRL Board meeting by playing--and distributing--draft copies of the disk. A slightly revised, final version is expected to be ready for distribution in early February. The presentation focuses on Amateur Radio's role in emergency communications. Copyrighted by ARRL, the presentation is intended for personal, noncommercial use as a tool to showcase Amateur Radio in a manner that nonhams can relate to. "Dozens of radio amateurs helped the police and fire departments and other emergency services maintain communications in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC," narrator Cronkite intones in reference to ham radio's response on September 11, 2001. "Their country asked, and they responded without reservation." Amateur Radio Today also highlights ham radio's part in helping various agencies respond to wildfires in the Western US during 2002 and mentions ham radio in space. Haynie said he and Bell discussed the project, and Bell agreed to take it on. Alan Kaul, W6RCL, authored the script, and Keith Glispie, WA6TFD, edited the production. Haynie said Bell, Kaul and Glispie donated a lot of their own time and effort in making the the video presentation a reality. Amateur Radio "really is the best back-up communications system in the world," Cronkite says in his concluding remarks, adding, "and that's the way it is." That phrase was the one Cronkite always used to close out his nightly newscasts during his tenure with CBS. Individuals may order a copy of the Amateur Radio Today CD-ROM (approximately 70 MB) from the ARRL on-line catalog <https://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=8861>. Plans are under way to also make Amateur Radio Today available in other video formats if there is sufficient demand. ARRL will make the presentation available for downloading from its Web site as soon as the final version is available. All that's needed to show the presentation to a group is a laptop computer with a CD drive plus a large monitor or a video projector and screen. Bell, a Hollywood TV producer, is a past chairman of the ARRL Public Relations Committee. Kaul is an NBC Television producer. Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, of Amateur Radio Newsline also assisted in the presentation's production. Because of copyright restrictions, Amateur Radio Today may not be broadcast, multicast or cablecast in any manner. Those seeking to distribute copies of Amateur Radio Today must contact ARRL for permission. To request permission, send your name and contact information and a brief description of the intended use to ARRL Editorial and Production Manager, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; firstname.lastname@example.org. ==>AMATEUR RADIO BOOSTS MARCONI CENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION INTO ORBIT The magic touch of a princess helped to put Amateur Radio center stage January 18 on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, during events marking the 100th anniversary of the first transatlantic wireless message transmitted by Guglielmo Marconi. For the occasion, Marconi's youngest daughter--Princess Elettra Marconi--launched greetings into space via an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) hookup to ISS crew commander Ken Bowersox, KD5JBP. "One hundred years ago today, my father, Guglielmo Marconi, sent the first wireless message across the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Cod," Princess Elettra said from a packed auditorium at the Cape Cod National Seashore Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham. "In this same spirit of his achievement and also from Cape Cod I send this wireless greeting to you in space. Cordial greetings, good wishes and God bless you" Replied Bowersox from NA1SS, "It's wonderful to hear your voice across the radio waves. It's amazing how far our societies and radio communication have come in the past 100 years." On January 18, 1903, Marconi sent wireless greetings on behalf of President Theodore Roosevelt to Great Britain's King Edward VII. Events throughout the week leading up to the ARISS contact included two Amateur Radio special event stations. KM1CC operated from a National Seashore site not far from Marconi's original Cape Cod radio station, transmitting a commemorative message from President George W. Bush and retransmitting Marconi's original 1903 text. Another special event station, WA1WCC, was on the air from the former WCC shore station in Chatham, where Marconi had relocated operations after the ocean threatened to claim the antenna support towers of his original station. Princess Elettra also visited the WA1WCC special event site. Following Princess Elettra's introductory remarks, eight students from three Cape Cod high schools took turns firing a total of 18 questions at Bowersox as hundreds of visitors and some two dozen news media representatives looked on. Serving as mentor for the noontime Cape Cod contact was ARISS International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO. The students' curiosity ranged from research goals to whether Bowersox had any desire to undertake a trip deeper into space--perhaps to Mars. Bowersox said his wife has forbidden him to go to Mars--a comment that drew a chuckle from the audience--but said he'd volunteer for a deep-space mission if he could bring his family along. "I think someday we're going to leave Earth," Bowersox predicted in response to one of the students' questions. "We're going to move on out of our solar system out to the stars, and we're just taking the baby steps now. Your generation will take us a lot farther, I hope." Handling earth-station duties for the ARISS contact was Nancy Rocheleau, WH6PN, in Honolulu. A WorldCom teleconferencing arrangement made two-way audio available on Cape Cod. Students selected were from Provincetown High School, Cape Cod Technical and Vocational School and Nauset Regional High School. "The ARISS contact at the Marconi centennial event was a tremendous success," said Bauer. "I must say that this contact was one of the more impressive and awe-inspiring ARISS contacts we have accomplished." ARISS <http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov> is an international effort with support from ARRL, NASA and AMSAT. ==>LIMITED "LOGBOOK OF THE WORLD" TESTING IS A HIT The long-anticipated "Logbook of the World" (LoTW)--the ARRL's secure electronic contact-confirmation system--took a major leap toward public release this month with several weeks of limited--or "alpha"--testing. Dozens of Amateur Radio operators checked out a preliminary version of the LoTW software, which is still under development. Once it's ready, LoTW will provide a means for participants to qualify for awards such as DXCC or WAS without having to first collect hard-copy QSL cards. "This is cool!" exclaimed one alpha tester. "Slick!" declared another tester. "It's pretty neat so far. This looks like a good start." ARRL staffer Dave Patton, NT1N, said the limited test run was extremely helpful. "One of the main things that will come out of this phase of testing is a good package that will be ready to give to logging program developers to incorporate into their software," he said. ARRL Web and Software Development Manager Jon Bloom, KE3Z, explained that the League hopes that logging software vendors will choose to add value to their products by integrating LoTW client-side functions. "But the software we provide to individual amateurs will be sufficient for basic use of LoTW," he added. ARRL will not be releasing the LoTW server code, however. Linked via e-mail, the LoTW testers spent two weeks registering their call signs, uploading logs and attempting to push the system to extremes. One tester was amazed at its robust nature after he uploaded a complete station log of about 320,000 QSOs. "I sent this blob expecting it to croak the server, but it didn't!" he said. Logbook of the World Project Leader Wayne Mills, N7NG, says LoTW won't spell the end of QSL cards. Instead, he says, it will provide an avenue for increased speed and accuracy for hams chasing awards, as well as remove some chances for human error that can occur in the traditional process. "This is really a system to offer credits for awards," said Mills, who is also ARRL's Membership Services manager. Mills said LoTW will minimize opportunities to "game the system" or otherwise cheat--something that's not always possible to detect even with paper QSLs. He emphasized that the League has no plans to do away with accepting traditional QSL cards as it's been doing all along. "We're not replacing the whole paper QSL scheme with Logbook of the World," he said. Unlike electronic QSLing systems now in use, LoTW is not set up to exchange QSL "cards" via the Internet. The main idea is that ARRL will maintain a secure log database that will be constantly updated by DXers, contesters, DXpeditions and thousands of individual amateurs. Registering and uploading electronic logs cost nothing; the only time a user will incur a charge is when applying accumulated contact credits toward an award. LoTW beta testing for the general Amateur Radio public is expected to begin soon. The ARRL has not announced a specific inauguration date for Logbook of the World. ==>G3YWX WINS 2002 BILL ORR, W6SAI, TECHNICAL WRITING AWARD Ian Poole, G3YWX, is the winner of the 2002 Bill Orr, W6SAI, Technical Writing Award, which is sponsored and administered by the ARRL Foundation. Poole was chosen as the award's first recipient on the basis of his article "Understanding Solar Indices," which appeared in September 2002 QST. The award's namesake, Bill Orr was an engineer, educator and communicator of extraordinary ability and a frequent contributor to QST and other ham radio magazines from the 1940s through the 1980s. "I was extremely delighted to be told I had won the award, and I feel that it is a great honor, especially as the award is named after such a great name in Amateur Radio," Poole said. "I also feel really privileged to have articles accepted by QST, because the magazine has a tremendous reputation." He will receive an engraved plaque and a check for $250, thanks to a fund established by Steve Cornell, K4AHA. "Understanding Solar Indices" looks at the three main solar indexes--10.7-cm solar flux, Ap and Kp--and shows how all hams interested in DX can use these numbers to their advantage. Poole's winning article is available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/pdf/0209038.pdf>. QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, pointed out that the award criteria mandate that the winning article must exemplify the writing philosophy of Orr, who died two years ago. "The article should tell a technical story that appeals to a broad audience extending beyond those individuals who have a particular interest in the topic," Ford said. "In the opinion of the QST editorial department, 'Understanding Solar Indices' was a top choice." An engineer, Poole has been a ham for more than 30 years and spends much of his time on HF SSB and CW. In addition to having written several books on propagation, VHF antennas and other topics, he has published more than 400 radio and electronics magazine articles. He's a long-time Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) member. ==>VIRGINIA AMATEUR GROUP SETS NEW 145 GHz DX RECORD Four amateurs from the Lynchburg, Virginia, area celebrated the new year January 12 by breaking their own distance record on 145 GHz and by confirming a fifth grid for VUCC <http://www.arrl.org/awards/vucc/> on yet another microwave band. Brian Justin, WA1ZMS; Pete Lascell, W4WWQ; Hal DeVuyst, KA4YNO; and G. P. "Geep" Howell, WA4RTS, spanned a nearly 80-km path to set a new North American and world DX record. "This claim should be the very first VUCC for that band, and it took two years of hard work to make it happen," said Justin. Both stations exchanged contact information using FSK-CW. All participants are members of the Lynchburg Amateur Radio Club (K4CQ), of which Justin is president. The group already has earned the first-issued VUCC awards on the 47 and 76 GHz bands. Justin, who designed and built all of the equipment, set up his station in grid square EM96wx in Southwest Virginia. On the other end of the circuit was the W2SZ/4 station, with Howell, Lascell and De Vuyst. W2SZ/4 was at approximately 4000 feet above sea level in Virginia's Bedford County in grid square FM07fm. Lascell said while the team was setting up, he was able to snag a 20-meter contact with KM1CC, the Marconi special event station on Cape Cod. "A neat way to tie the bottom of the spectrum and the beginning of radio to a new frontier 100 years later," he said. Weather conditions were just right for the QSO to take place with little wind and an extremely low dew point and no haze. Both stations ran about 4 mW of power and used one-foot dish antennas, which must be precisely aimed. Additional information is available on the Mt Greylock Expeditionary Force Web site <http://www.mgef.org>. ==>BILL LEONARD, W2SKE, PROFESSIONAL MEDIA AWARD WINNERS NAMED The ARRL 2002 Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award honors a group project. The winners are Assistant News Director Jill Valley and News Director Greg Schieferstein of KPAX-TV in Missoula, Montana. The Leonard award is given annually to a professional journalist (or group) for outstanding coverage of Amateur Radio in TV, radio, print or multimedia. The winners will receive an engraved plaque and a check for $500. KPAX-TV's winning submission was a news segment featuring Jenna Rettenmayer, KD7MAD, a Missoula high school senior on the air making a moonbounce (EME) contact. Rettenmayer decided to get her Amateur Radio license as her senior project. Members of the ARRL's Public Relations Committee, who judge the nominations each year, said they were especially impressed with the KPAX-TV piece. Not only did it feature a young woman who is interested in Amateur Radio, it captured a moonbounce contact--a communication mode that's outside the mainstream of typical hamming. The ARRL Board of Directors ratified the PR Committee's decision this week. In Amateur Radio circles, Bill Leonard is perhaps best remembered for his 1958 contribution to Sports Illustrated, "The Battle of the Hams," which describes the "sport of DXing." In November of 1996, Leonard was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. Leonard died in 1994. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2003 Professional Media Award. For more information, including rules for entry and nomination forms, contact ARRL Media Relations Manager Jennifer Hagy, email@example.com; 860-594-0328. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar seer Tad "That Lucky Ol' Sun" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Daily sunspot numbers and solar flux were down again this week. Average daily sunspot numbers for the week were down by more than 43 points, and average daily solar flux dropped by more than 37 points. Current geomagnetic conditions are unsettled to active, with planetary A index for the past four days of the reporting period (through January 22) at 16, 17, 17 and 17. On Thursday it rose to 19, and it should stay unsettled for a few more days. Planetary A index for Friday through Monday is predicted at 20, 15, 20 and 15. Solar flux should decline for a few more days. Flux values predicted for Friday through Monday are 135, 130, 125 and 125. Sunday and Monday should have the minimum solar flux, and sunspot numbers for the near term then are expected to rise to a short-term peak around February 6 or 7. Sunspot numbers for January 16 through 22 were 135, 150, 148, 168, 184, 167 and 152, with a mean of 157.7. The 10.7-cm flux was 144.6, 141.7, 137.4, 130.2, 138, 133.6 and 129.5, with a mean of 136.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 8, 12, 16, 17, 17 and 17, with a mean of 13.4. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: 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. JUST AHEAD: The North American Sprint (SSB), the 10-10 International Winter Contest (SSB), the Delaware and Minnesota QSO parties, the FYBO Winter QRP Field Day and the Mexico RTTY International Contest are the weekend of February 1-2. 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 first class in Radio Frequency Interference (EC-006) <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2002/11/26/2/> and for the Satellite Communications (EC-007) course opens Monday, January 27, 12:01 AM Eastern Standard Time (0501 UTC). Registration will remain open through Sunday, February 2. Classes begin Monday, February 3. Registration for the ARRL Level III Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (EC-003) and HF Digital Communications (EC-005) courses remains open through Sunday, January 26. A new service now allows those interested in taking an ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) course to be advised via e-mail in advance of registration opportunities. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. On the subject line of your message, include the course name or number (eg, EC-00#) in which you're interested. In the message body, include your name, call sign, e-mail address and the month you want to start the course. 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, email@example.com. * FCC says power line communications technology shows promise: According to an Associated Press report, the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology has found that power line communications (PLC), which can enable high-speed Internet access over electric power lines, shows promise. The OET has said that PLC is "beginning to look like a viable alternative to cable and DSL connections to the Internet," AP reported. At present, no regulations prevent the use of electric power lines to provide Internet connections. The FCC wants to ensure that the technology does not cause interference problems with other services, however. Some PLC devices use digital signals that occupy spectrum into the upper HF range. These signals can be radiated efficiently by some electrical wiring, so there can be a significant potential impact on Amateur Radio. ARRL Lab Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI, chairs an IEEE C63 "RFI" ad hoc working group on the topic. "The problem with PLC is that if a company wants to supply Internet service via PLC, it's going to happen at HF, and it will radiate," Hare said. Last fall, the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Administrative Council noted the growing use of PLC for high-speed data and expressed concerns that PLC radiation could interfere with Amateur Radio reception. As a result of strong opposition from the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL), Japan's government said last summer that it was too soon to allow PLC devices in that country between 2 MHz and 30 MHz, due to its interference potential to other HF users. AP says two utilities, PPL of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Ameren of St Louis, Missouri, are working with consumers to test Internet access over power lines. PLC devices use overhead power lines and/or residential electrical wiring to communicate digital signals--for networking within a home or to provide Internet services to entire neighborhoods. * President Haynie to visit Tropical Hamboree: ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, will head the contingent of ARRL officers and staffers heading south to sunny Florida February 1-2 for the 43rd annual Tropical Hamboree in Miami. Haynie will hold an Amateur Radio forum at the event, held in conjunction with the ARRL Florida State Convention. ARRL International Affairs Vice President Rod Stafford, W6ROD, will be on hand to discuss ham radio on the international level--including this summer's World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-03). RFI will be a hot topic as well. ARRL Lab staffer Mike Gruber, W1MG, will talk to Hamboree attendees about the causes and cures of RFI. ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, will attend the South Florida DX Association forum and be available for questions. Sponsored by the Dade Radio Club of Miami, the Hamboree is one of the largest regional Amateur Radio gatherings in North America. It kicks off Saturday, February 1 at 9 AM at the Fair-Expo Center in Miami and continues through the next day. Complete information is available on the Hamboree Web site <http://www.hamboree.org>, which also has contact information for Spanish-speaking attendees. * Contributing editor needed: The ARRL seeks a contributing editor with a strong interest in and dedication to Amateur Radio and youth to produce a monthly Web-based column on that topic consisting of text and photographs. The individual selected will be compensated on a per-column basis. Candidates should hold an Amateur Radio license, be active on the air and be familiar with ham radio activities, programs and projects that appeal to youthful amateurs or prospective amateurs. The preferred individual is a younger amateur who possesses PC word processing skills, demonstrates a flair for written expression, understands grammar and style requirements and can regularly meet monthly deadlines. Contact Rick Lindquist, N1RL, firstname.lastname@example.org; 860-594-0222, for additional information. * Official WRTC 2002 video now available: The official video of World Radiosport Team Championship 2002 (WRTC 2002) held in Finland now is available in DVD and VHS formats. Three camera crews covered as many teams and events as they could during the actual 24 hour competition. An ESPN announcer narrates the video, which is said to have been produced from "a sports perspective." Running time is 60 minutes. Information on how to obtain a copy is available on the DX & Contest Videos by 9V1YC Web site <http://home1.pacific.net.sg/~jamesb/>. =========================================================== The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; <http://www.arrl.org>. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President. The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of interest to active amateurs. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise, and readable. Visit ARRLWeb <http://www.arrl.org> for the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRLWeb Extra <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/extra> offers access to informative features and columns. Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League. ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): email@example.com ==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, firstname.lastname@example.org ==>ARRL News on the Web: <http://www.arrl.org> ==>ARRL Audio News: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call 860-594-0384 ==>How to Get The ARRL Letter The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from ARRL HQ. 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