*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 22, No. 07 February 14, 2003 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +UTC announces nationwide emergency communications training grant * +ISS crew digs in for longer stay in space * +Texas amateurs wind down support for Columbia debris search * +CITEL countries support harmonized 7-MHz allocation * +Hollingsworth advocates courtesy, common sense * +Utah amateur antenna bill headed for governor's desk * +Revised Amateur Radio Today video now available for downloading * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration Indiana amateur antenna bill advances Atlantic Division seeks nominees for annual awards ARISS chair begs patience regarding RS0ISS packet system +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== NOTE: ARRL Headquarters closed on Presidents' Day: ARRL Headquarters will be closed Monday, February 17, for the Presidents' Day holiday, and there will be no W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions on that day. ARRL Headquarters will reopen at 8 AM EST Tuesday, February 18. =========================================================== ==>UTC EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS NATIONAL TRAINING GRANT TO COVER ALL LEVELS A generous grant from ARRL corporate partner United Technologies Corporation (UTC) <http://www.utc.com> will expand reimbursed Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (ARECC) training to all three training levels and put the UTC grant program on a national level. The three-year, $150,000 grant will reimburse the cost of tuition to students anywhere in the US who successfully complete ARRL's Level I, II and III Amateur Radio emergency communication courses. An earlier UTC grant covered Level I and II ARECC training for more than 280 Connecticut amateurs. "This grant plays perfectly into the overall plan and scope of emergency communication for local communities and our nation as a whole," said ARRL Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG. "This will allow us to increase the number of seats offered each month for reimbursable courses." Miller praised UTC's foresight and proactive approach to community involvement. ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, said UTC clearly recognizes the importance of emergency communication. "With this new grant, UTC has taken a giant step and renewed its commitment to Amateur Radio, emergency communication and homeland security," she said. Including the earlier UTC grant and a three-year federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) award of some $543,000, the ARRL now has secured $726,000 for emergency communication training. That training, Hobart predicted, "will have an impact on every state in the union." Students successfully completing any level of the on-line Amateur Radio Emergency Communications classes under the new UTC grant will be eligible for reimbursement of their $45 registration fee. ==>ISS CREW COMMENTS PUBLICLY ON COLUMBIA, DIGS IN FOR POSSIBLE LONG STAY The members of the all-ham crew onboard the International Space Station said this week that while they grieve the loss of the shuttle Columbia crew, human space exploration must continue and they're ready to spend up to a year in space if necessary. The ISS crew made its first public comments since the February 1 shuttle disaster in two news conferences this week. "My first reaction was pure shock," Expedition 6 crew commander Ken Bowersox, KD5JBP, told reporters February 11, when asked about how he felt when he heard the news that Columbia and her crew were lost. "I was numb and could not believe that it was happening." During serial briefings February 12 with CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC, Bowersox and his crew reiterated their resolve to stay the course, remaining in space for up to a year if necessary. Bowersox said that once it became unlikely that there were any survivors from the Columbia catastrophe, "we discussed all of the different options for how it would affect us." He said he was confident that the crew would have a way to get home. "We've got a Soyuz vehicle parked right outside," he said. Pettit--who had played chess via radio and e-mail with Columbia pilot Willie McCool during the Columbia STS-107 science mission--said he's hoped the crew somehow had made it safely to the ground. He said the magnitude of the tragedy hit him when the ISS crew realized that there were no survivors. "I'm the type that likes to grieve quietly and in private," he said February 12. Budarin said he's comfortable with staying in orbit as long as necessary, now that NASA has indefinitely grounded the shuttle fleet. The Russian cosmonaut told a CBS reporter that he has experienced seven months in orbit before aboard Mir, and that he's hoping for a good landing back on Earth--whether via the US space shuttle or the Russian Soyuz escape vehicle that's attached to the space station. Bowersox said the crew was happy to stay aboard the ISS. "We like it aboard space station," he said. "We're going to enjoy however many months we have to stay on orbit." Bowersox said February 12 the crew did not feel isolated and had plenty of contact with family and friends and that, while not operating at peak efficiency, the crew members would continue to move forward with the "serious tasks" ahead of them. "We'll be working through that grieving process for the rest of the time we're here, I think." Pettit, the Expedition 6 science officer, said the crew's work schedule has suffered from the effects of the Columbia tragedy. "But now, it looks like we'll have plenty of time to finish all that we have remaining on our task list." he added. Pettit said that cutting the crew size would hurt scientific research because the crew would spend a lot more of its time just maintaining the ISS. But, he pointed out, research into how humans cope physiologically in space would continue and would make the risk of human spaceflight worthwhile. "This is a matter where you can decide as a society can decide to lead the way, step aside or follow," Pettit told NBC News anchorman Tom Brokaw. Space exploration is "an investment in your future, and, as such, you can't let a setback stop your exploration activities." The Expedition 6 crew has been aboard the ISS since November and was scheduled to return to Earth aboard the shuttle Atlantis in March. Unmanned Progress cargo rockets, including one that docked February 4, are providing fuel and supplies. On February 11, the crew used the Progress to boost the stations' orbit by about six miles (the ISS is approximately 250 miles above Earth). The crew reportedly has sufficient provisions to last at least until June. A Soyuz taxi crew is scheduled to visit the ISS in April to drop off a new Soyuz capsule and return the one now attached to the ISS. The crew has not used the NA1SS onboard ham station since the last Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contact in January. The next scheduled ARISS contact is set for February 21, with students at Oregon State University. ==>TEXAS AMATEURS STAND DOWN IN COLUMBIA DEBRIS SEARCH Ham radio support for the shuttle Columbia debris search and recovery effort in Nacogdoches and San Augustine counties in Texas wrapped up February 12. US Forest Service personnel were scheduled to assume the support role hams had filled in East Texas for nearly two weeks. "I must say the amateurs were very professional and very dedicated to assist in any manner," said South Texas Section Emergency Coordinator Bob Ehrhardt, W5ZX. "Even after a day in the bush, they would come back in to the ops center and say they were ready for another day." Ehrhardt said the weather often was rainy and cold with some sleet. "The brambles and briars in the forest did not help," he added. "The agencies that they worked with were very surprised and pleased with Amateur Radio. I know that we changed several minds that we could get the job done." Jim Lawyer, AA5QX, a Dallas-area amateur who'd helped to organize Amateur Radio search-and-recovery support in Nacogdoches County also expressed his appreciation. "To all who offered to assist and for those who were able to serve, thank you for being part of the solution!" he said. In addition to communication support, hams used GPS and computer mapping software to pin down and report the locations of debris items as they were sighted. Nacogdoches County ARES Emergency Coordinator Kenneth Hughes, KK5BE, said he was "very proud" of the local ARES members who responded to the call for volunteers. "Twelve days of operation is hard to keep all things going well," he said. Kevin Anderson, KD5CCH, of Nacogdoches he was proud of the support East Texas amateurs were able to provide. "This has been a rather large team effort," he said. "Under the extremely complicated and sensitive circumstances in which we have operated, we came together and pulled off a rather huge task based on the scope of the operations in which we were called upon to participate and the type of services we were asked to provide." Lawyer says that preliminary numbers reported February 13 during a debriefing net in Nacogdoches indicated that 198 amateurs logged in at one time or another in Nacogdoches County and 148 in San Augustine County. Lawyer says an estimated 80 percent of the participating amateurs were from outside the two counties. "It took all of us to make it happen, and without all of us, it wouldn't have been the success that it was," Lawyer said. "You have reason to be proud that you are 'amateurs'--those who do it for the love of it." ==>HARMONIZED 7 MHz ALLOCATION GAINS SUPPORT IN THE AMERICAS A dozen countries in the Americas have agreed to support a proposal for a "harmonized" 300-kHz amateur band in the vicinity of 7 MHz. The issue of a uniform worldwide 40-meter allocation is on the agenda of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03), set to be held in Geneva this June and July. The US has so far taken no position on the issue. "It is possible that other countries will sign on when this proposal is circulated among all 34 member-states of the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL)," said ARRL Technical Relations Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA. "It takes at least six countries of the Organization of American States to make an Inter-American Proposal (IAP). If more countries sign on, the IAP will have greater weight at WRC-03." Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela agreed to the Canadian-sponsored IAP for a 300-kHz amateur band--from 7 to 7.3 MHz--in all three ITU radio regions. That position is in line with what the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) has been calling for. The support came during a meeting of CITEL's Permanent Consultative Committee for Radiocommunications (PCC.II-RADIO) Working Group, which is preparing Inter-American Proposals for WRC-03. PCC.II-Radio met February 3-7 in Orlando, Florida. Fourteen CITEL member states attended the Orlando session. Siverling has been chair of so-called Chapter 5 issues for CITEL, leading up to WRC-03, which he will also attend. Chapter 5 issues include the Maritime Mobile, Amateur and Amateur-Satellite and Broadcasting services in the MF and HF bands. Another matter on the WRC-03 agenda is possible changes to Articles 25, 19 and 1 to the international Radio Regulations. Fifteen countries--Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the US, Uruguay and Venezuela--signed an IAP favorable to the Amateur Service. The US signed the IAP but withheld support on two of the 18 specific provisions. Siverling explained that the IAP approved at Orlando conforms with IARU positions on the three articles. Article 25 covers technical requirements and operator qualifications, including Morse code proficiency--which could be left up to individual administrations to require following WRC-03; Article 19 covers call sign configurations, and Article 1 deals with issues consequent to any changes to Article 25. Twelve CITEL countries agreed in Orlando on an IAP to propose a "footnote allocation" of 135.7-137.8 kHz to amateurs in Region 2. This band is already available to amateurs in some CEPT countries. The 136-kHz issue came up as a Canadian proposal to create a secondary allocation, but the issue is not on the WRC-03 agenda. According to Siverling, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) member-states want to eliminate or minimize footnotes in the Radio Regulations. The IAP for a "footnote allocation" at 136 kHz, however, was seen as a way to get the issue on the WRC-03 agenda "on an exception basis," he said. Siverling explained that the CITEL IAP leading to a possible allocation in Region 2 of the 136-kHz band at WRC-03 has been handled separately from the pending US amateur LF allocation. Acting on an ARRL request, the FCC has proposed a domestic (US-only) allocation at 136 kHz on a non-interference basis. "At some point, the twain will meet," Siverling said. ==>HOLLINGSWORTH PREACHES COURTESY, COMMON SENSE FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth told those attending his forum at the Richmond, Virginia, Frostfest February 9 that Amateur Radio enforcement still has a long way to go, but that amateurs can do a lot through peer pressure to head off problems before they become enforcement issues. "Enforcement is no substitute for courtesy and common sense," Hollingsworth declared. "More courtesy would go a long way. Hollingsworth again suggested that amateurs "operate so that listeners will be impressed with Amateur Radio," not offended or turned off by it. He said awareness of Amateur Radio is on the rise in the wake of media attention since September 11, 2001, and, more recently, with ham radio assistance in the search for debris from the shuttle Columbia. He pointed to 20 and 75 meters as the current enforcement hot spots as well as the bands where the least courteous operating practices are found--some of which he described as "a disgrace" to the Amateur Service. Off-the-air peer pressure, he said, is an effective tool to provide guidance to amateurs who may be unaware of how they sound to others on the air. The reactions of some hams when they confront interference--or perceived interference--can be worse than the original interference--whether or not it's deliberate. "Don't overreact," Hollingsworth advised. "The best reaction is no reaction whatsoever." "You have to always be aware of your image and be willing to protect it," he told those gathered in the packed forum. "You can't shoot yourself in the foot." More than 1000 attended the Richmond Frostfest, sponsored by the Richmond Amateur Telecommunications Society <http://www.rats.net/>. The use of new technology and on-the-air experimentation also sometimes brings controversy to the amateur bands, Hollingsworth said, and may prompt an occasion for the FCC to revisit its current Part 97 Amateur Service rules. Hollingsworth pointed to the use of so-called "enhanced SSB," where experimenters have been attempting to achieve full-carrier AM-like high-fidelity audio in that mode. Hollingsworth said the presence of the enhanced SSB experimenters has led to complaints to the FCC--as many as 20 per week--that these signals are taking up excessive bandwidth. Hollingsworth told his Richmond audience that deliberately operating a wideband mode in a crowded spectrum is "shortsighted and rude," may be ignoring the "minimum bandwidth necessary" rule. If its use isn't accompanied by courtesy and common sense, he said, it will lead to pressure on the FCC to revise the Amateur Service rules. The "Emission Standards" section of Part 97--specifically ß97.307(a) and (b)--requires amateur transmissions to not occupy "more bandwidth than necessary for the information rate and emission type being transmitted, in accordance with good amateur practice" and to "not cause splatter" on adjacent frequencies. Hollingsworth said the bandwidth of a given signal is not easily determined by the average amateur transceiver--even one equipped with a band scope of some sort. He pointed out that the problems with apparent splatter can be aggravated by the use of a noise blanker on the receiving end. "Just because it sounds wide doesn't mean it is wide," he said, adding that he'd prefer the amateur community come up a way to accommodate such experimentation, because "a government solution will be worse than the problem." ==>UTAH AMATEUR RADIO ANTENNA BILL ON ITS WAY TO GOVERNOR'S DESK Less than a month after its introduction, Utah's Amateur Radio antenna bill is on its way to the desk of Gov Michael Leavitt. The bill unanimously passed the Utah Senate February 13, 26-0. The measure, HB 79, was introduced January 20. It earlier passed the Utah House, 65-8. "I would like to express appreciation to the many Amateur Radio clubs and individual Amateur Radio operators throughout Utah who spent many hours publicizing this bill and ensuring Utah representatives and senators were contacted about the importance of this bill," said ARRL Utah Section Manager Mel Parkes, AC7CP. "Once the bill is signed Utah will be come the 17th state to enact PRB-1 legislation." Sponsored by Rep Neal B. Hendrickson, HB 79, "Regulation of Amateur Radio Antennas," made it through the house 11 days after getting a favorable committee recommendation. The Utah Senate Business and Labor Committee unanimously approved HB 79 and sent it to the Senate floor February 6. 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." Parkes has credited Mike Davis, KD7FQD, and John Hanson, KI7AR, for developing the bill and getting Hendrickson to sponsor it. 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>. ==>AMATEUR RADIO'S PUBLIC SERVICE STORY IS NOW AVAILABLE ON VIDEO! An updated Amateur Radio Today video now is available for free downloading from the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/ARToday/>. The MPEG-format file is 70 Mbytes. Narrated by former CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD, Amateur Radio Today showcases the public service contributions made by hams throughout the country. Highlights include ham radio's response on September 11, 2001, ham radio's part in helping various agencies respond to last year's wildfires in the Western US, and ham radio-in-space educational initiatives. Directed by Dave Bell, W6AQ, Amateur Radio Today was written by Alan Kaul, W6RCL. The production team included Bell and Kaul as well as Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, and Bill Baker, W1BKR. The editor was Keith Glispie, WA6TFD. Amateur Radio Today is an ideal presentation for clubs, government meetings, civic organizations and any other venue where you want to vividly illustrate what Amateur Radio has to offer the public. The video runs just six minutes and is available in several formats. The digital version of Amateur Radio Today is available in MPEG video format, which can be played by Windows Media Player, Apple QuickTime or RealPlayer software. It can be run from the CD or copied to your hard drive (not included). This copyrighted program is not intended for broadcast use (including over-the-air, cable or Internet) and may not be reproduced or distributed without permission. You also can order Amateur Radio Today on CD-ROM and VHS tape. The CD-ROM version also requires that you have software that can play MPEG files installed on your computer. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar sage Tad "Staring at the Sun" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar flux and sunspot numbers rose this week over last. Average daily sunspot numbers were up nearly 70 points, and average daily solar flux rose by more than 11 points. Neither number was rising over the past few days, and both are expected to continue to decline. The predicted solar flux for Friday through Monday is 130, 130, 125 and 125. Solar flux is expected to reach a short-term minimum near 115 around February 21-22, and then reach another peak roughly around March 5-9. Don't expect high values as in the past few years though. For example, during this same week last year, the average daily solar flux was nearly 62 points higher--201.8. For the ARRL International DX Contest (CW) this weekend we could see some unsettled or perhaps active geomagnetic conditions. The earth should be inside a solar wind stream flowing from a coronal hole on Friday and Saturday. But the current prediction is for a planetary A index of only 15 over the weekend. No doubt higher latitude A indices could be higher. Sunspot numbers for February 6 through 12 were 135, 153, 162, 194, 163, 134 and 119, with a mean of 151.4. The 10.7-cm flux was 149.5, 147.3, 139.2, 141.4, 136.2, 134.9 and 131.6, with a mean of 140. Estimated planetary A indices were 16, 13, 13, 15, 16, 12 and 12, with a mean of 13.9. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The ARRL International DX Contest (CW) and the YL-OM Contest (SSB) are the weekend of February 15-16. JUST AHEAD: The CQ 160-Meter Contest (SSB), the REF Contest (SSB), the UBA DX Contest (CW), the FYBO Winter QRP Field Day, the North American QSO Party (RTTY), the Russian PSK WW Contest, the High Speed Club CW Contest, the North Carolina QSO Party and the CQC Winter QSO Party are the weekend of February 22-23. 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: Thanks to a new grant from ARRL's corporate partner, United Technologies Corporation, students successfully completing Level II and Level III on-line Amateur Radio Emergency Communications classes now are eligible for reimbursement of their $45 registration fee. Registration for the grant-sponsored ARRL Level III Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (EC-003) and for the unsponsored HF Digital Communications (EC-005) courses opens Monday, February 17, 12:01 AM Eastern Standard Time (0501 UTC). Senior amateurs are especially encouraged to take advantage of the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications classes. Registration will remain open through Sunday, February 23 or until all seats have been filled. Classes begin Monday, February 24. No seats remain in the February 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, February 16. A new service now allows those interested in taking an ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) course in the future to receive advance word of registration opportunities via e-mail. To take advantage, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. On the subject line, include the course name or number (eg, EC-00#). 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. * Indiana amateur antenna bill advances: The latest effort to get an Amateur Radio antenna bill on the books in the State of Indiana took another step forward this week. Senate Bill 109 received a "do pass" recommendation following a hearing and a 5-3 vote February 12 by members of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. The measure now goes to the full Senate. In addition to incorporating the essence of the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 into state statutes, the measure would prohibit localities from restricting the height of an Amateur Radio antenna to less than 75 feet above ground level. "I expect opposition on this bill from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, and the Indiana Historical Preservation Society," said ARRL Indiana Section Manager Jim Sellers, K9ZBM. Sellers was among those speaking in favor of SB109 at the committee hearing. He told the panel that there is a patchwork of ordinances across the state regulating various allowable antenna heights, some of them too low to provide effective communication. SB109 would provide a uniform standard. * Atlantic Division seeks nominees for annual awards: The ARRL Atlantic Division is seeking nominees for its 2003 awards for Amateur of the Year and Technical Achievement. The Amateur of the Year Award recognizes a ham in the division whose record merits recognition for outstanding contributions to the Amateur Radio Service. The Technical Achievement Award honors amateurs who contribute to the advancement of the radio art and whose attitude exemplifies the highest dedication to service to others and to science, rather than self. Groups of two or more Amateurs may be nominated for a joint award in this category. All nominations must be received by March 15, 2003. Visit the Atlantic Division Web site <http://www.bfdin.net/atldiv/AtlAwards.htm> to obtain an award nomination form and additional details. For more information, contact Atlantic Division Vice Director Bill Edgar, N3LLR, firstname.lastname@example.org, or write him at 22 Jackson Ave, Bradford, PA 16701. * ARISS chair begs patience regarding RS0ISS packet system: The chairman of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station international team, Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, is asking hams to be patient regarding resumption of the ISS packet operation. "Over the past few weeks the ARISS team has received numerous queries as to when the packet system will be turned back on," Bauer said. "We want to thank you all for your concern in getting this important capability up and running again." Bauer said ARISS has been working with NASA and Russian space officials to get the system operational again, but that the ISS crew has other priorities--especially in the wake of the Columbia tragedy. Bauer said that given the busy crew schedule, amateurs should not be surprised if the RS0ISS packet system is off the air for a bit longer. Once it's operational, he advised amateurs not to post messages to the crew since the crew has not had the opportunity to read the mail. =========================================================== 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 ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> offers access to news, informative features and columns. 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