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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 04
January 24, 2003


* +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
     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



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 <>
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 <>, 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
<>. 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
<> (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.


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

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
<>;. 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

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;


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

"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
<> is an international effort with support from


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,

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

"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

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.


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

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.


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 <> 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

Additional information is available on the Mt Greylock Expeditionary Force
Web site <>.


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,;


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.



* 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 <> and the WA7BNM Contest
Calendar <> for more info.

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration:
Registration for the first class in Radio Frequency Interference (EC-006)
<> 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 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 <> and the C-CE Links found
there. For more information, contact Certification and Continuing
Education Program Coordinator Howard Robins, W1HSR,

* 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 <>, 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,; 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

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;
<>. 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 <> for
the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRLWeb 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!):
==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL,
==>ARRL News on the Web: <>
==>ARRL Audio News: <> or call

==>How to Get The ARRL Letter
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The ARRL Letter

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.

Much of the ARRL Letter content is also available in audio form in ARRL Audio News.

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.

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