*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 22, No. 09 February 28, 2003 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +All-ham ISS crew returning via Soyuz capsule * +ARRL concerned about proposed 70-cm changes * +Hams aid debris search in Western states * +FCC lifts ham ticket of Michigan pirate broadcaster * +Hurricane conference looks ahead to stormy skies * +Ham-concert pianist plans cancer run * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration Seats still available for ARRL RFI course +4L4FN leaving North Korea Kentucky ARES teams have busy month Pioneer 10 spacecraft sends last signal Summits on the Air (SOTA) encourages portable hilltop operation +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>ISS CREW TO RETURN TO EARTH VIA RUSSIAN SOYUZ CAPSULE The all-ham crew aboard the International Space Station will return to Earth in early May via the Russian Soyuz escape vehicle. Appearing before the US House Science Committee February 27, NASA Chief Sean O'Keefe said that the 16 ISS partner countries have agreed to use the Russian capsule to ferry a new two-person crew to the station--one American and one Russian--and to bring the current three-man crew home. The shuttle fleet remains grounded in the wake of the Columbia tragedy. "There are no threats to the ISS or its crew in the near term, and we are working options to be able to sustain both over the long term," O'Keefe said in remarks prepared for delivery to the lawmakers. O'Keefe noted that the ISS would run short of potable water by June and that the Soyuz 5S vehicle now attached to the ISS will reach its lifetime limit in late April or early May and need to be returned. The fresh crew would remain in space until October, when a new crew would be sent up. Additional unmanned Russian Progress cargo rocket flights will be scheduled to keep the ISS supplied--the next arriving shortly after the new crew in June. That Russian Progress supply mission will carry enough food, water, fuel and other provisions to sustain the two-person crew in space at least through October. The implications of a two-person crew on the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program are not yet fully clear. A successful ARISS school contact with Hochwald Gymnasium in Wadern, Germany, was completed via DL0WR on February 27. "Things continue to be very dynamic as the Columbia accident investigation unfolds," ARISS International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said February 27 in reaction to O'Keefe's announcement. "Despite the reduction in crew size, the ARISS team has been told that we will continue to perform one to two ARISS school group contacts a week." Bauer said since less scientific work will happen while the shuttle program is on hold, opportunities for school contacts will remain the same. Crew member Don Pettit, KD5MDT, also was reported on the air this week seeking random contacts from NA1SS. Stan Vandiver, W4SV, in Indiana, reports he worked NA1SS February 27, but added that he'd heard that Pettit has been on the air on other occasions as well. The ISS downlink frequency is 145.800 MHz. But the substitution of the Russian Progress rockets for the shuttle as a transportation system between Earth and the ISS will strictly limit the amount and type of supplies and equipment carried to the space station. The priorities will be food and water. This means that the ARISS hardware--including SSTV and all-mode HF/VHF/UHF gear that was planned to be flown this year--probably will be delayed, Bauer said. O'Keefe meanwhile said that the ISS partnership was "committed to maintaining crew on-orbit." He told the House Science Committee that the new, two-person crew was training on Soyuz systems at Russia's Star City cosmonaut training center. Now onboard the ISS are Expedition 6 Commander Ken Bowersox, KD5JBP, NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit, KD5MDT, and Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin, RV3FB. The crew this week resumed a full schedule of maintenance and research work on the space outpost. The Expedition 6 team will mark 100 days in orbit on March 3. NASA has not yet revealed who the two new ISS crew members will be. Originally set to replace the current crew next month was the Expedition 7 team of Commander Yuri Malenchenko, ISS Science Officer Ed Lu, KC5WKJ, and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri, U8MIR. The back-up Expedition 7 crew member is Mike Foale, KB5UAC. All four are now training in Russia. Bauer said he considers the option to fly Lu and Malenchenko on Expedition 7 "the highest probable scenario, in my opinion. But is not definite yet." Pedro Duque, KC5RGG, who planned to use the ARISS equipment on the upcoming Soyuz flight, will probably fly in the fall, Bauer speculated. Malenchenko and Lu have worked together in space before. During a shuttle Atlantis mission in 2000, the Russian and the American conducted a more-than-six-hour space walk to install equipment on the then-unoccupied ISS. That same shuttle flight also delivered the initial ARISS VHF and UHF hand-held transceivers, a packet TNC and other ham gear. ==>ARRL EXPRESSES CONCERNS ABOUT HAM RADIO IMPACT OF 70-CM CHANGES The ARRL says two FCC-proposed actions could negatively affect Amateur Radio. One would substantially expand the geographical area in the US subject to power limitations on 70 cm. The other would deploy National Weather Service wind-profiler radars in the 448-450 MHz segment. "The Commission has proposed two actions that have a potentially substantial adverse impact on a large number of Amateur Radio operators in this proceeding," the ARRL said in comments filed this month in ET Docket 02-305. "In each case, the Commission can minimize that impact." In a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) late last fall, the FCC proposed on behalf of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to--among other things--more than double the size of the geographical area in New Mexico and Texas where amateurs in the 420-450 MHz band would be limited in power to protect military radiolocation service operations. Amateur transmitters in certain geographical areas already are limited to 50 W PEP "unless expressly authorized by the FCC after mutual agreement, on a case-by-case basis" between the FCC district director and the applicable military frequency coordinator--ß97.313(f). The NPRM also reflects action by NTIA specifying the operation of federal government wind profilers in the band 448-450 MHz. Acknowledging that the Amateur Service is secondary to government services in the band, the ARRL nonetheless asked the FCC to ensure that the affected zone in Texas and New Mexico "is minimized as much as possible, consistent with protection of military facilities." The ARRL also requested the FCC to create "a streamlined procedure for case-by-case exemptions" from the power restrictions. "It is difficult for ARRL to address the contention of the Army that amateur power in excess of 50 W PEP in the additional protected areas requested by the Army would cause interference to military radiolocation facilities involved in missile tracking," the League said in its comments, "because the claim made by the Army is not substantiated by any technical information." The proposed area would include all of New Mexico and all of Texas west of 104 degrees W longitude. The ARRL said it was "not intuitively obvious" that such a large restricted area was necessary. The ARRL concluded that a 50-W power restriction was "not a substantial burden" on many FM repeater users but that it could mean lowering the outputs of some critical repeaters used for emergency and public service work or taking them off the air altogether. It also could affect so-called weak-signal, experimental and Earth-Moon-Earth operations, the ARRL said. More than five dozen repeaters in the affected region could be affected, the League estimated. Concerning the wind profilers, the League said it had understood that the National Weather Service--which operates the radars--would notify ARRL of their locations as selected. "Ideally," the League said, "since the amateur repeaters are incumbent in the band now, the National Weather Service should select sites that minimize the effect on those repeaters." The complete text of the ARRL's comments, the FCC NPRM and other documents are available via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) site <http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/>. Click on "Search for Filed Comments" and enter "02-305" in the "Proceeding" field. ==>HAMS AID COLUMBIA DEBRIS SEARCH IN WESTERN STATES Amateur Radio operators continued their involvement with efforts to locate space shuttle Columbia debris, as NASA's search shifted focus to include points west of Texas. According to NASA, the search for parts is running along the shuttle's re-entry path--basically 60 miles north or south of a line from San Francisco, California, to Lafayette, Louisiana. New Mexico amateurs were among those helping to check in the Albuquerque area. "Based on a number of sources and analysis, NASA had reason to believe that debris from the shuttle Columbia may have impacted in Embudito Canyon," read a statement on the New Mexico Search and Rescue Support Team Web site <http://www.nmsarsupport.org/>. The team includes a number of hams in its ranks. NASA wanted to follow up on both radar and eyewitness reports of possible shuttle debris in Embudito Canyon--in the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque. Authorities asked the NM SAR Support Team to provide communication and incident base support February 15 for a massive search involving more than 150 searchers. Although several small objects were found in the rugged terrain, none were attributed to the Columbia. Keith Hayes, KC5KH, of the NM SAR Support Team estimates that more than 40 Amateur Radio operators participated in the effort, serving as incident command staff, providing communications for tactical and logistics support, and as members of field search teams. "In addition to providing tactical and logistical support with its specialized communications trailer, 14 ham radio members of the New Mexico SAR Support Team provided additional APRS tracker and field team GPS track data collection," Hayes said. "Bernalillo County ARES Search and Rescue provided additional off-site logistical communications." On February 24 near Caliente, Nevada, investigators continued to look for possible debris from Columbia that was tracked by air traffic control radar. Materials have been found in the area, but so far none have been confirmed to be from Columbia, NASA said. NASA has asked anyone in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah for help in locating any material that may have fallen from Columbia as it was re-entering Earth's atmosphere. "Everyone is asked to be on the lookout for possible shuttle material 60 miles north or south of the re-entry track," NASA said in a news release. ==>MICHIGAN PIRATE BROADCASTER BANNED FROM HAM RADIO FOR FIVE YEARS The FCC has canceled the license of a Michigan Amateur Radio operator and told him he may not apply for another ham ticket until 2007. The Commission took the action against Thomas A. Brothers, ex-KI8BE, of Berkley, because he'd been the operator of an unlicensed FM "pirate" radio station. FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth wrote Brothers February 14 to confirm receipt of his amateur license--which Brothers had agreed to surrender. The FCC also had imposed a $10,000 fine against Brothers, who's in his early 20s, but rescinded the forfeiture last December because of Brothers' demonstrated inability to pay. Brothers' Advanced class ticket was cancelled December 5, 2002. He had been licensed since 1997 and formerly held the call sign KC8CRI. Hollingsworth said he requested the five-year reapplication hiatus. FCC sources say the Commission's Detroit Field Office became aware as early as 1998 that Brothers was operating an FM pirate radio station on 88.3 MHz from his home. On multiple occasions, an FCC agent used direction-finding gear to track the signal to Brothers' residence and sent Brothers Warning Notices ordering him off the air. Brothers ceased the pirate broadcasting in 1998, but by 2000 he was back on the air, and an agent from the Detroit Field Office again traced the broadcast signal to Brothers' home at least twice in 2000 and 2001, following up with Warning Notices. In January 2002, the FCC issued Brothers a Notice of Apparent Liability for $10,000 for repeatedly violating Section 301 of the Communications Act by operating an FM station without a license. In a subsequent Petition for Reconsideration, Brothers did not dispute that he willfully and repeatedly has violated Section 301, but he asked the FCC to cancel the fine because--among other factors--of his inability to pay. The Detroit Field Office turned the case over to Hollingsworth late last year to consider sanctions against Brothers' Amateur Radio license. ==>AMATEUR RADIO HURRICANE CONFERENCE LOOKS AHEAD TO STORMY WEATHER The upcoming 2003 hurricane season was the focus earlier this month as Amateur Radio volunteers, the National Hurricane Center's W4EHW Amateur Radio Group, representatives of the Hurricane Watch Net and emergency officials gathered for the eighth annual Amateur Radio Hurricane Conference. Among the approximately 50 attendees February 1 at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) <http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/> in Miami were representatives from the US as well as from throughout the Caribbean. "The presentations, post-season analysis and discussions are very helpful in preparing for the coming hurricane season," said Julio Ripoll, WD4JR, the NHC's assistant Amateur Radio coordinator. ARRL Public Service Team Leader Steve Ewald, WV1X, highlighted the latest news in emergency communication training from ARRL through the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications courses <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html>. He also explained how the federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) grant was expanding opportunities for hams nationwide to take the Level I Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course. Ewald also discussed how the ARRL Field Organization serves as a ready resource during emergencies. National Hurricane Center Amateur Radio Coordinator John McHugh, KU4GY, and Ripoll organized and led the annual event. Among other things, they brought attendees up to date on the latest news and activities of the 36-member team of Amateur Radio Station W4EHW. The station will adopt a new call sign, WX4NHC, on June 1 at the start of the new hurricane season. Ripoll said the new call sign would give "better on-the-air recognition, as WX is understood to mean weather, and NHC is well-known for National Hurricane Center." W4EHW celebrates its 23rd year of continuous service this year. Calling upon a staff of trained volunteers, the NHC's amateur station activates during tropical storms or hurricanes and gathers and disseminates real-time, surface-level weather data from hams and other volunteer observers. NHC forecasters use the data and information to develop their forecasts. During the 2002 hurricane season, W4EHW was on the air for more than 140 total hours, gathering over 300 reports via 20 meters (14.325 MHz) and, for the first time, via the Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP) VHF/UHF repeater network. Hurricane Watch Net Manager Mike Pilgrim, K5MP, told the conference that he expects the HWN to explore the possibility of accepting hurricane reports via EchoLink in the coming season. Hurricane Hunter aircraft pilot Capt Dave Tennesen, NL7MT, told the conference that he's never without ham radio onboard, and he's been known to occasionally check into the Hurricane Watch Net during his Hurricane Hunter flights. "Ham radio serves as a vital backup link to NHC if other means of communications fail," he said.--information from Julio Ripoll, WD4JR, and Steve Ewald, WV1X ==>CONCERT PIANIST-HAM'S RUN TO BENEFIT CANCER RESEARCH Combining music, athletics and Amateur Radio to raise funds and awareness for cancer research, Martin Berkofsky, KC3RE, is set to run from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Arlington Heights, Illinois, this spring and summer. An internationally known concert pianist and music scholar, Berkofsky plans to celebrate his 60th birthday and his recovery from cancer with the 700-mile "Celebrate Life Run." Along the way, he hopes to contact as many hams as possible on VHF and UHF as he navigates the back roads of the Midwest. "The plan is to cover 10 miles a day, six days a week," Berkofsky said. "Of course, there will be days of bad weather and stubbed toes, but there is more than sufficient time allowed." The run starts on his birthday, April 9, at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Hospital in Tulsa, where he was treated. Berkofsky expects to reach his destination--the headquarters of the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation in Illinois--in late August. He plans to kick off his run with a free piano concert in Tulsa. Berkofsky said he's obtained a copy of ARRL's TravelPlus for Repeaters CD-ROM to determine the locations of repeaters along his route. He'll raise funds through donations at his three performances and through per-mile sponsorships from groups and individuals. All proceeds from the events go to the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation. Berkofsky suggested those interested should check the Web site of his Cristofori Foundation < http://cristoforifund.tripod.com/>. Once the run is under way, Cancer Treatment Centers of America plans to track Berkofsky's progress on its Web site. Throughout his life, Berkofsky has enjoyed a parallel fascination with electronics and music. A child prodigy at the piano, he was licensed in 1957 at age 14, first as KN3HDW, later K3HDW. Berkofsky has performed, taught and operated from more than 25 countries and is renowned in the music world for his Liszt performances and scholarship. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar sage Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, fills in this week for Tad "Sunshine, Sunset" Cook, K7VVV: Solar activity during the reporting period, Friday, February 21, through Thursday February 27, was very low to low. The largest X-ray flare was a C5 event on Saturday. There were no radio blackouts (R in the WWV announcement) or proton events (S in the WWV announcement) during the period. Geophysical activity was quiet to active from Friday through Wednesday and ranged from unsettled to minor storm on Thursday. There were no significant geomagnetic storms (G in the WWV announcement) during the period. The minor storminess on Thursday only lasted about nine hours. Solar Cycle 23 continues its descent. Cycle 23 peaked in April 2000 with a smoothed sunspot number of 121. A second peak occurred in November 2001 at a smoothed sunspot number of 116, which gave 6-meter aficionados worldwide F2 propagation. Cycle 23 is predicted to reach its minimum in the 2006-2007 timeframe. This weekend is the ARRL International DX Contest (SSB). For the contest period, solar activity is expected to be low, and the geomagnetic field is expected to be unsettled. This translates to generally decent propagation. Cycle 23's decline will take its toll on 10 meters, however. The East Coast should still have decent 10-meter openings into Europe, and the West Coast should still have decent 10-meter openings into Asia. But 10-meter openings from the East Coast to Asia and from the West Coast to Europe, along with openings to Europe and Asia from the Midwest, could be tough. So enjoy 10 while you can. This contest is also a good opportunity to work new countries for your DXCC award. Sunspot numbers for February 20 through 26 were 66, 87, 53, 41, 44, 48 and 45, with a mean of 54.9. The 10.7 cm flux was 118.3, 119.6, 106.6, 104, 102, 101.6 and 109.4, with a mean of 108.8. Estimated planetary A indices were 16, 13, 11, 11, 6, 5 and 16, with a mean of 11.1. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The ARRL International DX Contest (SSB), the Open Ukraine RTTY Championship and the DARC 10-Meter Digital Contest are the weekend of March 1-2. JUST AHEAD: The South African Radio League (SARL) Field Day Contest, the RSGB Commonwealth Contest (CW), the North American Sprint (RTTY), the UBA Spring Contest (CW), the NSARA Contest and the Wisconsin QSO Party are the weekend of March 9-10. 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, March 3, 12:01 AM Eastern Time (0500 UTC), for the on-line Level I Emergency Communications course (EC-001). Registration remains open through the March 8-9 weekend or until all available seats have been filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, March 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. 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 email@example.com. On the subject line of your message, include the name or number (eg, EC-00#) of the course you'd like to take. 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 Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, firstname.lastname@example.org; 860-594-0340. * Seats still available for ARRL RFI course: Seats remain available for the Radio Frequency Interference (EC-006) and Satellite Communications (EC-007) courses <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html>. Registration will remain open through Sunday, March 2. Classes begin Monday, March 3. 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. * 4L4FN leaving North Korea: Ed Giorgadze, 4L4FN, the first amateur to operate extensively from North Korea and to earn DXCC from that entity, will leave for his next duty assignment March 1. Last fall, after about one year of operation, Giorgadze--an employee of the United Nations World Food Program who had been operating as P5/4L4FN from Pyongyang--was ordered off the air by North Korean authorities. The ARRL accredited SSB and RTTY operation of P5/4L4FN for DXCC, and Giorgadze himself earned a mixed DXCC Award during his stay. As of the end of his operation last November 22, P5/4L4FN had logged a total of 16,194 QSOs (12,170 unique call signs) that included 167 DXCC entities worked. More information on P5/4L4FN is available on the AMSAT Net Web site <http://www.amsatnet.com> of QSL Manager Bruce Paige, KK5DO. Click on "P5 North Korea." * Kentucky ARES teams have busy month: Amateur Radio Emergency Service members stood ready to help February 20 after an insulation factory exploded near Corbin in southern Kentucky. The blast killed one worker and injured 43 others. With the area still reeling from an ice storm and flooding earlier in the month, commercial communication and power system delivery were spotty. Kentucky Section Emergency Coordinator Ron Dodson, KA4MAP, said there were initial reports that burn victims from the factory fire also possibly suffered cyanide exposure. He said Kentucky ARRL Official Emergency Station Ron Nutter, KA4KYI, was instructed by Lexington Emergency Management to help with getting vital chemical information from the affected area to treating hospitals, so doctors would be prepared for the injured and implement decontamination procedures. Nutter contacted two other Lexington hams--William DeVore, N4DIT, and Joseph Leitner, WD4EJA, both of whom still had power at their residences--to call into Corbin-area repeaters and ask for information on the chemicals. It was determined subsequently that there was no chemical contamination of the injured. The factory disaster apparently began near a furnace, where raw fiberglass is mixed with a resin. The blaze sent black smoke billowing through residential areas, forcing hundreds of people to temporarily evacuate. On February 24, operations ceased for amateurs involved Lexington-Fayette County ARES in response to the weather emergency. ARES members were on duty for more than a week. * Pioneer 10 spacecraft sends last signal: Talk about weak-signal DX! NASA says that after more than 30 years, it appears the venerable Pioneer 10 spacecraft has sent its last signal to Earth. Pioneer's last, very weak signal was received on January 22. NASA engineers report Pioneer 10's radioisotope power source has decayed, and it may not have enough power to send additional transmissions to Earth. NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) did not detect a signal during the last contact attempt February 7. The previous three contacts, including the January 22 signal, were very faint with no telemetry received. The last time a Pioneer 10 contact returned telemetry data was last April 27. NASA plans no additional contact attempts for Pioneer 10, which is 7.6 billion miles from Earth. At that distance, it takes more than 11 hours 20 minutes for the radio signal to reach Earth. More information is available on the Pioneer 10 Web page <http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/tmp/1972-012A.html>. * Summits on the Air (SOTA) encourages portable hilltop operation: Richard Newstead, G3CWI, is encouraging participation by US amateurs in the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program, which promotes portable, hilltop operation. "It started about a year ago, and, so far, seven countries have schemes running," Newstead told ARRL. "The scheme is based on a core set of rules, and each country adds its list of summits to enable it to participate." Newstead says the list of summits need not be comprehensive but must include a mix of easy and difficult peaks. He says there are awards for both activators and chasers. Details are available on the SOTA Web site <http://www.sota.org.uk> or by contacting SOTA General Manager John Linford, G3WGV, <firstname.lastname@example.org>. =========================================================== 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. ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> is a weekly "ham radio newscast" compiled from The ARRL Letter. 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