ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 05
January 31, 2003
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +ARRL comments on FCC's Spectrum Policy Task Force Report
* +Extraordinary gift funds new "full-ride" scholarship
* +"Hybrid" emergency communications classes offer advantages
* +Wisconsin utility gives $40,500 to ARES groups
* +FCC warns unlicensed ops, threatens fines
* +Comments invited on amateur-related petition
* +Utah antenna bill on fast track
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF:
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Emergency Communications course registration
     Kathy Capodicasa named ARRL Customer Service Manager
     Position opening at ARRL Headquarters
     ARRL supports AMSAT-NA petition
     Hams provide assistance following plane crash
     Prompt action by Amateur Radio operators helps save lives
     AA6JR appointed to head PR Committee

+Available on ARRL Audio News

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

==>ARRL EXPRESSES MIXED FEELINGS ON SPECTRUM POLICY TASK FORCE REPORT

The ARRL has registered some mixed feelings about the FCC's Spectrum
Policy Task Force Report issued late last November. In comments to the FCC
this week, the League called the report "a positive first step" in
developing a comprehensive national spectrum management approach. At the
same time, the ARRL said, the SPTF Report "fails to address the needs and
goals" of the Amateur Service and urged the FCC to not abandon
longstanding allocation policies based on engineering.

"Overall, ARRL asks that the Commission not adopt the SPTF Report in toto,
but rather use it as a basis for future planning on an ongoing basis," the
League said January 27 in its comments in ET Docket 02-135. "Spectrum
policy reform should be viewed as an ongoing process, not as a wholesale
paradigm shift to be accomplished in half a year." The ARRL said the
report's orientation toward commercial services makes it not wholly
applicable to the Amateur Service. Among other factors, the League said,
services such as public safety and Amateur Radio cannot pay for spectrum
access.

Cautioning the FCC to not continue an apparent "rush to judgment," the
ARRL said there's not been enough time to study the report's
recommendations thoroughly, much less deploy them immediately. The League
also warned against basing allocation policy on anticipated advances in
technology.

The ARRL again called on the FCC to consider greater use of "negotiated
rulemaking" to expedite allocation decisions. "Instead of acting as the
judge and jury, the Commission could act as more of a facilitator among
competitors for spectrum," the League said.

In terms of sharing schemes, the ARRL said it supports "to a limited
extent" the concept of "interference temperature" calculations and
measurements. But, it pointed to the 2400-2450 MHz band as "an example of
a failing attempt at inter-service sharing" that some predictive
calculations might have alleviated. The ARRL said the explosion of Part 15
devices coupled with relaxed rules on power, antenna gain and duty cycles
of high-powered unlicensed devices "has rendered the band unusable in some
areas."

Once again asserting that the FCC "has pushed the Part 15 concept beyond
the point that it works," the ARRL took advantage of the comment
opportunity to again express its view that unlicensed devices "cannot be
authorized by the Commission under current statutes" without first
determining that they do not pose a significant interference potential to
licensed radio services.

The ARRL's comments on the FCC's Spectrum Policy Task Force Report in ET
Docket 02-135 are available on the ARRL Web site
<http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/et02-135/arrl-comments.html>. The
report itself is available from the FCC Web site
<http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2002/db1115/DOC-228542A1
.doc>

==>$1 MILLION GIFT FUNDS NEW SCHOLARSHIP

The ARRL Foundation <http://www.arrl.org/arrlf/> has announced the
Goldfarb Memorial Scholarship, a full, four-year undergraduate scholarship
that will go to a meritorious young Amateur Radio operator about to
graduate from high school. The new award is the result of a generous
endowment from the late William Goldfarb, N2ITP.

ARRL Foundation Secretary Mary Lau, N1VH, said the Goldfarb scholarship
marks the first Foundation scholarship that funds a complete undergraduate
education. Before his death in 1997, Goldfarb set up a scholarship
endowment of close to $1 million in memory of his parents, Albert and
Dorothy Goldfarb, Lau explained.

Each year, to the extent of the funds available, the Foundation will
select a deserving young Amateur Radio operator to receive a "full ride"
for his or her undergraduate studies at an accredited baccalaureate
degree-granting institution. The successful applicant must major in
computers, engineering, the sciences, medical/nursing or a
business-related area. Also, financial need must be demonstrated via
submission of a copy of the applicant's Free Application for Federal
Student Aid (FAFSA) <http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/>. The grant will cover all
conventional educational expenses--including tuition, room and board and
textbooks.

A close friend of Goldfarb's--Richard Goldstein--characterized Goldfarb as
"a wonderful person" who was genuinely interested in other people. "He
placed a high value on education, and he saw this scholarship as a way to
perpetuate the memory of his parents," he said. Goldfarb grew up in
Brooklyn, and his parents died while he was a teenager. After a stint in
the US Air Force, he worked for the New York City Department of Finance.

An on-line application for the Goldfarb Memorial Scholarship is available
on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/arrlf/Goldappl.html>. The
application deadline for the 2003 Goldfarb Scholarship is March 15. For
additional information, contact Mary Lau, N1VH, n1vh@arrl.org.

==>"HYBRID" AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS CLASSES BEST OF ALL
WORLDS

You've heard of hybrid tomatoes and hybrid ham radios. Now, some "hybrid"
ARRL Level I Amateur Radio emergency communications (EC-001) classes offer
a mix of on-line and on-campus instruction.

"This marriage of teaching has been absolutely perfect," said ARRL
Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG. "Previously,
these classes were either all on-line or anything but on-line. The
implementation of hybrid classes offers the best of all available worlds."

Miller says each Level I hybrid course is a little different, as
instructors take advantage of their particular strengths, access to
varying materials and local interests.

Since the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)
grant-sponsored Amateur Radio emergency communications classes began last
September, 1277 students have signed up for the Level I course. To date,
723 have graduated and been reimbursed for their tuition. Miller hopes the
hybrid classes will help to boost graduation rates.

Under the first year of the nearly $182,000 CNCS grant, students can be
reimbursed for the $45 registration fee after they successfully complete
the course. "When each student has a financial stake in completing the
course, each dollar of the grant will have maximum impact," Miller
explained.

The ARRL is strongly encouraging older amateurs to take advantage of the
emergency communications training since they're a target of the CNCS
grant. "Senior hams bring a wide variety of experience and knowledge to
the program," Miller said. "When they become active participants, they add
more insight which then yields a better learning experience."

Miller said successful implementation of the grant-funded training program
already has had some positive effects, including an increased awareness of
Amateur Radio as a resource by government; the formation of new ARES/RACES
groups; stronger ties between existing amateur emergency communication
groups and local emergency operations centers; and an influx of new hams
to emergency communication teams.

To learn more about the Amateur Radio emergency communications courses and
other ARRL Certification and Continuing Education classes, visit the C-CE
Course Listing Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html>.

==>WISCONSIN UTILITY MAKES AWARD TO ARES/RACES GROUPS

We Energies, a Wisconsin gas and electric utility, has given ARES/RACES
organizations <http://wi-aresraces.org> in 17 Wisconsin counties a total
of $39,000 to enhance their emergency communication capabilities. A
ceremonial check presentation was held January 21.

"We are excited about this timely award, which will bring needed equipment
to several of our counties," said Wisconsin Section Emergency Coordinator
Dr Stan Kaplan, WB9RQR, who also serves as RACES Chief Radio Officer in
the Badger State. "We thank We Energies for their forethought and
generosity."

Kaplan said the grant would help to build an effective statewide packet
network for use during emergencies. He also said he hopes the idea will
"snowball" and inspire other companies to follow suit.

Last November, PA Consulting Group--the energy industry's largest
management consulting firm--honored We Energies by presenting the
ReliabilityOne Award for superior electric system reliability in the
Midwest during 2001.

"In planning how we wanted to celebrate this award, including what we
could give to our employees as recognition, we decided that we could put
these dollars to better use," said Charles Cole, We senior vice president
of distribution operations. "We are proud that we were able to take this
award, take it one step further, and share it with a worthwhile
organization such as ARES."

EC Resources, a 501(c)3 group established 10 years to fund Outagamie
County ARES, will accept the donation from We, solicit written requests
from each county's EC for equipment and disburse the funds to buy the
needed gear.

Counties picked to receive funds were those with at least 5000 We
customers, and funds were apportioned according to the number of customers
it serves in county. The top grant of $9000 went to Milwaukee County,
while Waukesha County got $6000 and Racine County $3000. ARES/RACES
organizations in 14 other Wisconsin counties plus one We-served county in
Michigan got $1500 each.

==>FCC WARNS UNLICENSED OPS, RESCINDS REPEATER'S AUTOMATIC CONTROL
AUTHORITY

The FCC has sent warning notices to 10 individuals--eight of them Amateur
Radio licensees--for operating without a license in the 11-meter band. All
but one of the operators live in the Greater New York City area.

"Such operation will subject you to fine or imprisonment, as well as an in
rem seizure of radio transmitting equipment, in cooperation with the
United States Attorney for your jurisdiction," FCC Special Counsel Riley
Hollingsworth wrote January 15. He cited "monitoring information before
the Commission" indicating that the individuals were transmitting on
26.540 and/or 26.555 MHz, frequencies allocated for government use. Fines
for unlicensed operation can run as high as $10,000.

In other enforcement actions, the FCC rescinded the automatic control
authority of a repeater operated by Daniel Granda, KA6VHC, of Whittier,
California. The action means a control operator must be present at all
times at the control point of the KA6VHC repeater. FCC Los Angeles
District Director Catherine Deaton wrote Granda January 13 to say the
action was being taken because Granda's repeater was under review by the
Enforcement Bureau for apparent violations of the FCC's rules. Alleged
violations include obscene and indecent communications, inadequate station
control and deliberate interference.

Deaton told Granda that--under threat of fines and revocation
proceedings--he may not operate his repeater under automatic control until
the enforcement allegations are cleared up.

Last October, the FCC dismissed Granda's complaint against the KD6ZLZ and
WA6NJJ repeaters on 223.82 and 223.84 MHz. The FCC told Granda that his
16-year-old coordination document "was insufficient to establish
coordination" and that he bears primary responsibility for preventing
interference to the two repeaters because he cannot show current
coordination. Granda has told the FCC that he's been using the two
frequencies "continuously for over 25 years." Hollingsworth told Granda,
however, that, even if he were properly coordinated 16 years ago,
"coordination is not a lifetime grant" nor a de facto frequency
assignment.

The FCC said it continues to receive complaints about deliberate
interference from Granda's station to the two repeaters as well as
allegations of obscene and/or indecent speech. It's asked Granda to
respond to the complainants. In addition, the Commission wants Granda to
provide "a detailed plan" to prevent interference to the KD6ZLZ and WA6NJJ
repeaters or risk enforcement action. Noting that Granda's license expires
next November 9, Hollingsworth said the FCC would not act upon a renewal
application until the enforcement issues were resolved.

The FCC also wrote a Florida amateur, John S. Gregory, W3ATE, letting him
know that the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau had set aside his
General-class upgrade on December 4. As a result, Gregory reverts to a
Tech Plus licensee. The action, the FCC said, was based on complaints that
Gregory--on more than one occasion in 2002--had operated his station on 20
meters while still licensed as a Technician. The FCC issued Warning
Notices to Gregory last May and June but said both were returned as
"unclaimed."

The FCC gave Gregory 20 days to explain the alleged operation. "Failure to
respond will result in the dismissal of your application," Hollingsworth
concluded.

==>FCC INVITES COMMENTS ON AMATEUR-RELATED PETITION

Comments are due February 28 on another Petition for Rulemaking filed by
Dale Reich, K8AD, of Seville, Ohio.

Reich has petitioned the FCC to require sellers of two-way voice or data
equipment to keep on file a buyer's name, address, telephone number and
"any future information when selling a radio that required licensing under
the current FCC rules." Information collected would remain private,
available only to the FCC or law enforcement. Reich said in his petition
that, under his proposal, any retail vendor would be able to ask local
police to investigate if the retailer suspected that the radios were not
going to be used in compliance with the law.

A separate petition would require "ownership and license tagging" for gear
operating under Parts 5, 15, 18, 74, 80, 90, 95 and 97, including call
sign, owner's name and address and any FCC file number. It would include
CB, Family Radio Service, Multi-Use Radio Service and General Mobile Radio
Service gear. In his petition, Reich said such tagging used to be an FCC
requirement and that his proposed change was long overdue as a needed tool
for local law enforcement.

The FCC has lumped both petitions into one, designated as RM-10641. The
full text of Reich's petitions is available on the FCC Web site.

In an earlier petition, designated RM-10620, Reich had asked the
Commission to upgrade Novice and Advanced license holders to the "next"
license class if the licensee has 20 or more years of operating
experience. Reich said such test-free upgrades would compensate for "the
previous tougher exam that was past administered" and give credit for
violation-free service records. Before the comment window for Reich's
earlier petition closed January 17, it attracted more than 150 comments
from the amateur community.

==>UTAH AMATEUR RADIO ANTENNA BILL PASSES HOUSE

Utah's Amateur Radio antenna bill appears to be on the fast track. Just 11
days after its introduction, the bill made it through the Utah House of
Representatives. The vote January 31 was 65 to 8 (with two members not
voting). ARRL Utah Section Manager Mel Parkes, AC7CP, has been encouraging
Utah amateurs to get behind the new measure, House Bill 79, which was
introduced January 20.

Sponsored by Rep Neal B. Hendrickson, HB 79, "Regulation of Amateur Radio
Antennas," received a favorable recommendation from the House standing
committee on political subdivisions earlier this month. HB 79 would
prohibit municipalities and counties in Utah from enacting ordinances that
fail to comply with the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1.

The measure would require that local ordinances involving placement,
screening or height of an Amateur Radio antenna that are based on health,
safety or aesthetics "reasonably accommodate amateur radio communications"
and "represent the minimal practicable regulation to accomplish the
municipality's purpose."

The bill now moves to the Utah Senate. A copy of the proposed legislation
is available on the Utah State Legislature Web site
<http://www.le.state.ut.us/~2003/bills/hbillint/hb0079.htm>.

So far, 16 states have incorporated the essence of PRB-1 into their
statutes. Bills are pending in several other states.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Solar guru Tad "Sunshine Superman" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington,
reports: Again this week the solar numbers were lower, with average daily
solar flux down more than 9 points and average daily sunspot numbers down
more than 25. Solar flux has probably reached a minimum for the short term
at about 125, and it should slowly rise over the next 10 days. There
aren't any large clusters of sunspots visible, but a holographic image of
the sun's far side shows a complex of spots which eventually will rotate
into view.

Over the past week the quietest geomagnetic day was January 27, when K and
A indices at all latitudes were quiet low. Other than January 27,
conditions have generally been unsettled to active, indicating higher
absorption on higher latitude paths. The latest prediction is for
unsettled to active conditions on Friday, with a planetary A index around
20, then a drop back to quieter conditions on Saturday, followed by active
geomagnetic conditions on Sunday and Monday.

For more information about propagation and an explanation of the numbers
used in this bulletin, see the ARRL Web site Propagation page
<http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html>.

Sunspot numbers for January 23 through 29 were 123, 129, 103, 133, 134,
133 and 173, with a mean of 132.6. The 10.7-cm flux was 135.9, 129.8,
128.9, 125, 121.3, 125.6 and 124.4, with a mean of 127.3. Estimated
planetary A indices were 19, 15, 28, 17, 8, 12 and 14, with a mean of
16.1.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: 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. JUST AHEAD: The North American
Sprint (CW), the Six Club Winter Contest, the CQ/RJ WW RTTY WPX Contest,
the Asia-Pacific Sprint (CW), the Dutch PACC Contest, the YL-OM Contest
(CW), the FISTS Winter Sprint, the OMISS QSO Party, the RSGB 1.8 MHz
Contest (CW) and the QRP ARCI Winter Fireside SSB Sprint are the weekend
of February 8-9. The ARRL School Club Roundup is February 10-15. See the
ARRL Contest Branch page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/> and the WA7BNM
Contest Calendar <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for
more info.

* ARRL Emergency Communications course registration: Registration opens
Monday, February 3, at 12:01 AM Eastern Time (0500 UTC) for the on-line
Level I Emergency Communications course (EC-001). Registration remains
open through the February 8-9 weekend or until all available seats have
been filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, February 18.
Thanks to the federal homeland security grant from the Corporation for
National and Community Service, the $45 registration fee paid upon
enrollment will be reimbursed after successful completion of the course.
During this registration period, approximately 200 seats are being offered
to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. Senior amateurs are
strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. 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 Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller,
K3UFG, dmiller@arrl.org; 860-594-0340.

* Kathy Capodicasa named ARRL Customer Service Manager: Kathy Capodicasa,
N1GZO, has been promoted to ARRL Customer Service/Circulation Manager,
overseeing the distribution of QST, QEX and NCJ. She takes over the reins
from Debra Jahnke, who was named ARRL Sales Manager several months ago but
has continued to oversee the Circulation Department. "As manager, I want
to maintain the high standards of the department and the excellent record
of customer service the staff has had over the years," Capodicasa said. "I
want to continue that tradition." The Circulation Department is
integrating a new computer system to help manage distribution of the three
publications. She's also getting acquainted with the large number of forms
and tracking statistics it takes to make sure members get their
periodicals in the most efficient and timely manner. An ARRL HQ employee
since 1987, Capodicasa most recently served as Senior Fulfillment
Supervisor and Circulation Supervisor. A Connecticut native, she holds a
bachelor's degree in management from Central Connecticut State University.

* Position opening at ARRL Headquarters: ARRL seeks a state-certified
teacher with classroom experience--preferably several years at the
middle-school level--to coordinate ARRL's Amateur Radio Education and
Technology Project, "The Big Project," and handle other duties as needed.
The candidate should be an Amateur Radio operator, preferably with
experience in a wide range of ham activities. The position is at ARRL
Headquarters in Connecticut. For information on skills required and job
responsibilities, contact ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager
Rosalie White, K1STO, rwhite@arrl.org, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT
06111. Please, no telephone calls. The ARRL is an Equal Opportunity
Employer.

* ARRL supports AMSAT-NA petition: The ARRL has commented in favor of an
AMSAT-NA Petition for Rulemaking that seeks to change an FCC rule
regarding pre-space notifications for Amateur Satellite Service stations.
AMSAT-NA wants the rule changed to require a single, written pre-space
notification (or information document) within 30 days after receiving a
launch commitment. The current rule, ß97.207(g), requires two pre-space
notifications--the first at 27 months before initiating space station
transmissions and the second at five months prior, even if no information
has changed. The ARRL said that because finding affordable launch
opportunities can be difficult and often involves last-minute decisions,
"the 27-month notice requirement imposes an unreasonable and practically
impossible compliance burden." AMSAT must seek a waiver of the requirement
for essentially every launch, and the FCC has routinely granted such
waivers, the ARRL noted. The change to a 30-day requirement (with updates
also required if any information changes) "reflects the realities of the
Amateur Satellite Service, which is a model of the type of scientific
accomplishment, educational opportunity and self-regulation that is a
hallmark of the Amateur Radio Service," the League commented. AMSAT-NA
President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, expressed his appreciation to ARRL for
its support of its petition.

* Hams provide assistance following plane crash: After two small planes
collided and crashed January 24 over Denver's West Highland neighborhood,
Amateur Radio operators were among those on hand to assist. Five persons
onboard the two aircraft were killed, and seven on the ground were treated
for minor injuries. One plane came down near an apartment complex occupied
mostly by retired older adults. The other landed in a backyard. The
Salvation Army's Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) Metro Denver team was
called in to provide canteen services. Metro Denver EDS Supervisor Mike
Gelski, KB0PVD, contacted team volunteers to prepare two canteens. Gelski
reports that during the response, nine members of the Denver Radio Club
provided Amateur Radio communication between two feeding stations as well
as with the Denver command post and the Salvation Army command post.
Canteen services were concluded the following evening after aircraft
debris was removed from both crash locations.

* Prompt action by Amateur Radio operators helps save lives: As ARRL
member Joe Giraudo, N7JEH, was on his long, daily commute to his office at
a mining corporation outside Elko, Nevada, he came upon a car that had
skidded on "black ice" and rolled over a number of times in isolated
valley north of Carlin. A bus carrying emergency medical technicians to
the mine had already arrived, and the EMTs were mobilizing to treat the
three accident victims. Giraudo immediately called up the autopatch on the
W7LKO 146.85 repeater to notify the Nevada Highway Patrol and the Carlin
police and fire departments. He again used the autopatch so EMTs could
relay situation reports to the responding emergency units. When the
emergency units started arriving, they found they were unable to
communicate using their own radios because of the local terrain. Again,
the autopatch under Giraudo's control allowed them to communicate with
their central dispatcher to coordinate other responding units, warn them
of the black ice and request helicopter support. At one point the W7LKO
autopatch went down, but Gene D'Asto, WA7BWF, immediately came up on the
repeater and began relaying information via landline. After a 30 minute
extraction effort, all three victims were taken by ambulance to the Elko
Regional Medical Center.--Dick Flanagan W6OLD/Carson Valley Radio Club
Carson Currents.

* AA6JR appointed to head PR Committee: ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP,
has appointed Jeff Reinhardt, AA6JR, of Agoura Hills, California, as the
2003 chairman of the League's Public Relations Committee. A veteran
committee member, Reinhardt, is also Public Information Coordinator for
the ARRL Santa Barbara Section and Public Information Officer for his
local club. He said his first order of business would be to schedule a
committee conference call to discuss the group's priorities for 2003.
Committee members provide advice and counsel to the League's media
relations manager and handle other tasks as determined by the media
relations manager or the ARRL Board. Reinhardt is a partner in Reinhardt &
Reinhardt Advertising. In addition to a long list of accomplishments and
community activities, he serves on the Agoura Hills City Council and was
recently elected as mayor.

===========================================================
The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American
Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main
St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259;
<http://www.arrl.org>. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President.

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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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