*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 22, No. 10 March 7, 2003 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +Spectrum Protection Act filed in US Senate * +Support grows for favorable 40-meter plans * +Astronaut says he'll miss ability to fly * +Hamvention hopes to continue calling Hara home * +Hams respond to gas shutdown * +Updated General class syllabus released for comments * +UK to AK on LF! * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Emergency Communications course registration Emergency Communications Level I course registration information Arkansas gets new Section Manager FCC makes housekeeping changes in Amateur Service rules FCC cites RV owners in RFI complaint Former ARRL staffer Marjorie Tenney, WB1FSN, SK Vote on QST Cover Plaque award Dayton Contest Dinner tickets now on sale +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>AMATEUR RADIO SPECTRUM PROTECTION ACT NOW IN BOTH HOUSE AND SENATE The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 2003 now has been introduced in both chambers of Congress. Idaho Sen Michael Crapo introduced the Senate version of the bill, S 537, on March 6. Original cosponsors were Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID).Florida Rep Michael Bilirakis put the latest House version of the bill, HR 713, into the legislative hopper on February 12. The measures, an ARRL initiative, have been introduced twice before in Congress. ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, believes this third time could be the proverbial charm. "Actually, this is the best opportunity that we've ever had to get this bill through, because more members of Congress than ever before are paying attention to ham radio now," said Haynie, who's been in Washington this week to talk Amateur Radio with lawmakers and regulators. In addition, Haynie pointed out, the House and Senate will be considering major spectrum reform bills, and the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act could serve as an amendment to that sort of legislation. HR 713 and S 537 are aimed at ensuring the availability of spectrum to Amateur Radio operators. The legislation would protect existing Amateur Radio spectrum against reallocations to or sharing with other services unless the FCC provides "equivalent replacement spectrum" elsewhere. Haynie encouraged members of the Amateur Radio community to contact their senators and representatives to urge their cosponsorship, which lends support to legislation while it's in committee. The House bill has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce; the Senate bill will be considered by the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. In addition, although more members of Congress than ever understand and appreciate the benefits of Amateur Radio, some may remain reluctant to sign onto a technical piece of legislation without some indication of support from their own constituents. "The League is doing all it can, but we know the success or failure will be in the hands of the amateur community," said Haynie, who pledged the ARRL's continuing efforts to get the bill enacted. "Letters and e-mails are the key to getting legislation passed." A sample letter is available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/govrelations/arspa.html>. Those writing their lawmakers are asked to copy their correspondence to the League via e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The measures would amend the Communications Act to require the FCC to provide "equivalent replacement spectrum" to Amateur Radio and the Amateur-Satellite Service in the event of a reallocation of primary amateur allocations, any reduction in secondary amateur allocations, or "additional allocations within such bands" that would substantially reduce their utility to amateurs. The text of HR 713 and S 537 is available (or will soon be available) via the Thomas Web site <http://thomas.loc.gov/>. ==>SUPPORT GROWING FOR FAVORABLE 40-METER REALIGNMENT PLANS With World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) getting under way in about three months in Geneva, support is growing for two favorable proposals to create a 300-kHz worldwide 40-meter allocation. ARRL and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) seek a return to the 300-kHz allocation that existed worldwide prior to World War II but that now exists only in the Americas. Delegates to WRC-03 will attempt to address--and possibly eliminate--the overlap on 40 meters between amateurs in the Americas (Region 2) and broadcasters elsewhere (Regions 1 and 3). "There is encouraging news," says ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, in his "It Seems to Us . . ." editorial set to appear in April QST. He reports that, thanks to the efforts of IARU volunteers and others, more than 30 countries now have gone on record to support either one or the other of two favorable 40-meter realignment formulas. Sumner said more support is needed, but he called the interim head count "a good start." Most popular among the half dozen realignment schemes outlined by participants at last November's WRC-03 Conference Preparatory Meeting is so-called Method B. This approach calls for a three-stage transition that would begin by allowing Region 1 and 3 amateurs on 7100-7200 kHz on a secondary basis starting in 2005 and end with all ITU regions gaining access to 7000-7300 kHz by the end of 2009--with the top 100 kHz shared with fixed and mobile stations in Regions 1 and 3. Broadcasters would shift upward to 7300-7550 kHz worldwide. For US and other Region 2 stations, such a change would mean an end to deafening nighttime phone band QRM from broadcasters and the necessity to operate split-frequency to work stations in Regions 1 and 3 on SSB. Sumner says Method B is now a European Common Proposal with initial support from 17 CEPT administrations. At least three other countries in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific have also expressed support for Method B, he said. The IARU team now is working to gain the support of additional administrations in Regions 1 and 3 either for Method B or for the similar Method A, Sumner reports. Otherwise identical to Method B, Method A does not include any sharing with fixed and mobile services. In the Americas, a dozen ITU Region 2 countries last month agreed to support an Inter-American Proposal that's virtually the same as the so-called Method D. Proposed by Canada, Method D would provide 300 kHz worldwide for amateurs by shifting broadcasters in Regions 1 and 3 upward by 200 kHz. Region 2's broadcasting allocation would remain unchanged. IARU Region 2 is now working to expand the list of Region 2 countries supporting that plan. The US so far has taken no position on the 40-meter realignment issue, although it has long supported a 300-kHz worldwide, exclusive allocation for Amateur Radio. The FCC WRC-03 Advisory Committee has recommended that Method A be a US proposal, but the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has not yet agreed. "Acting on behalf of the federal government users of the radio spectrum, the NTIA has been advocating 'no proposal' from the US, a position that the ARRL is working hard to overcome," Sumner points out. "A small number of federal agencies claim to be concerned that their backup circuits on HF would be affected by an upward shift of broadcasters." Sumner also calls it "unfortunate" that some broadcasters persist in efforts to link the 7 MHz WRC-03 agenda item with another that deals with the adequacy of broadcasting spectrum between 4 and 10 MHz. Sumner said the broadcasting spectrum item is "a separate issue with an entirely different genesis. ==>ASTRONAUT TELLS GERMAN HIGH SCHOOLERS HE'LL MISS ABILITY TO FLY Despite a last-minute glitch with an antenna rotator, an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact involving students at the Hochwald Gymnasium (high school) in Wadern, Germany, went off right on schedule. During the February 27 QSO, 16 students--all brand-new new amateur licensees--spoke via DL0WR in Saarland with ISS Science Officer Don Pettit, KD5MDT, at the controls of NA1SS. The high school was only the second school in Germany to experience an ARISS contact. "Most significant is that the ARISS contact gave birth to 16 new members of the Amateur Radio community," said ARISS Mentor Peter Kofler, IN3GHZ, who called the accomplishment a "superb illustration of the educational power of the ARISS school contacts." That their first ham radio activity was a contact with the ISS was "a dream come true," he added. The fact that each student had his or her own ticket also covered the sometimes-overlooked legal issue of third-party traffic between the US space station and the German students. Germany and US do not enjoy a third-party traffic agreement. Michael Kraus, DF3VM, conducted the students' training over a period of several weeks. Students ranged in age from 15 to 19. On the classroom side, the students had been working with physics teacher Marco Holzer since last November to prepare for the big day. Pettit told the high schoolers that the thing he misses most in space is his family. The thing he'll miss the most when he gets back to Earth, however, is the possibility to fly while in microgravity. "When I get back to Earth, I'll miss that the most," he said. He explained that while the ISS occupants are able to float freely, there is a "ceiling" and a "floor" to the spacecraft. The "floor," he said, has a darker color than the other surfaces. Pettit also described how the crew enjoys the spectacular view of Earth below through the airliner-sized ports on the ISS, talked about what the astronauts do in their spare time and explained the scientific research the Expedition 6 crew is involved with. No, he said, there are no alcoholic beverages onboard Space Station Alpha. In the parking lot of the auditorium where the contact took place, coordinating teacher Hubert Schšfer, DJ8VH, and some fellow members of the Wadern Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC)-affiliate, which loaned its DL0WR call sign to the occasion, had set up a 12-meter-tall mast to support the antenna system. Barely an hour before the contact was to take place, the primary antenna rotator failed. A backup unit put into play worked flawlessly. Reporters from two television, two radio stations and two newspapers covered the event. The Hochwald contact marked the 88th ARISS school contact. ARISS is an international program with participation by ARRL, NASA and AMSAT. For more information, visit the ARISS Web site <http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov>. ==>HAMVENTION HOPES TO CALL HARA ARENA HOME A WHILE LONGER Although 2003 marks the last year of a five-year contract to hold Hamvention at Hara Arena, organizers hope to keep the show there for the indefinite future. Rumors crop up each year--and this has been no exception--that this year's event will be the last to take place at the venerable venue near Dayton, Ohio, that's served as Hamvention's home since 1964. Negotiations on a new contract to retain Hara for future shows remain in the offing. Billed as "the world's largest Amateur Radio gathering and trade show," Hamvention 2003 takes place May 16-18. "We haven't made any decisions yet," Hamvention Production Manager Garry Matthews, KB8GOL, said this week. "We want to get this year's show under our belt and then renegotiate the contract." At the same time, Matthews said, there are no plans to go elsewhere, nor is Hamvention under any threat or pressure to relocate. "There's nothing planned to move," he said. "But," he conceded, "we've looked at alternative locations in case something happens. Anything could happen to Hara." Matthews says the sponsoring Dayton Amateur Radio Association has explored several other possible locations for Hamvention, which has quietly dropped "Dayton" from the show's official name. Matthews says no other site in the Greater Dayton area will serve the purpose that Hara does. "None of the other venues will support the show at its current size," he said. Speaking of size, Hamvention reported that attendance for last year's 50th anniversary event was 24,832--down about 5 percent from 2001's crowd of 26,151. 2002 marked the second year in a row that Hamvention's attendance had dipped. Attendance climbed to 28,804 in 2000, the year of the ARRL National Convention at Dayton. Matthews has said that any crowd larger than 28,000 starts to push the envelope as far as Hara Arena is concerned--especially the human comfort factor. Hamvention attendance peaked in 1993 at 33,669--before the event date changed from April to May. As for continued use of Hara Arena, Matthews points out that the building has never been sold, is not for sale now and never has been. As for a new contract with Hara? "We'll evaluate the show after June 1, and we hope to improve some things," he said, without revealing any details. In the meantime, he's pouring his energy into the arrangements for this year's show, but, he reports, things have been slower to come together in terms of advance sales to visitors and vendors. "If we go to war, people might not want to travel," he said. "There's nothing to panic about, but it's tougher this year." Some changes already have been announced. Among other things, Hamvention this year will replace its annual banquet and entertainment with a more low-key award winners' reception at Hara Saturday evening. Between now and show time, Matthews says Hamvention will--among other moves--boost its advertising and promotion to counteract the sluggish advance sales. "We're going to have a good show," he predicted confidently. For additional insights and information on Hamvention, see "How Hamvention Happens," in April 2000 QST and available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2003/03/06/4/0004053.pdf>. For more information on Hamvention 2003, visit the Hamvention Web site <http://www.hamvention.org>. ==>AMATEURS RESPOND TO PENNSYLVANIA "BIG CHILL" Amateur Radio Emergency Service/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (ARES/RACES) team members in southern York County, Pennsylvania, activated March 3 after a natural gas shutdown forced residents to evacuate their homes to escape winter's chill. Some two dozen amateurs took shifts to assist the American Red Cross, staff the local emergency operations center and provide other necessary communication. ARRL Eastern Pennsylvania Section Manager Eric Olena, WB3FPL, reports that Amateur Radio involvement in the gas emergency ended around midday on March 5. York County ARRL Emergency Coordinator Kerry Smeltzer, KA3KAR, says the problem, reportedly the result of a regulator failure, cut off the main natural gas supply serving the communities of Red Lion and Dallastown. Estimates vary as to the number of residents directly impacted by the gas failure, but they ran anywhere from 5000 to 10,000. Red Cross "mass care" facilities in two local schools let residents take advantage of heated facilities and hot meals. Smeltzer and his family were among those taking refuge. In addition to the ARES/RACES teams activated in York County, Smeltzer said, ARES teams in surrounding counties and from nearby Maryland were on standby for the duration in case needed. ARES/RACES used two local VHF repeaters for most communications. Smeltzer said that the Baptist Men's Kitchen was on site to provide meals. The Civil Air Patrol also responded. ==>QUESTION POOL COMMITTEE RELEASES DRAFT ELEMENT 3 SYLLABUS FOR COMMENT The Question Pool Committee of the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators has released a draft syllabus for the Element 3 (General) Amateur Radio examination. This syllabus will be used to develop a new General class question pool that will become effective July 1, 2004. The QPC is inviting comments on the document as well as suggested questions for the General-class question pool. ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, says comments and questions may include, but are not limited to, such things as new material in terms of technology or operations, topics that might be deleted as no longer relevant and corrections involving grammar, spelling and technical details. The General class syllabus is an outline of 10 question-topic areas--called "subelements"--from which actual Element 3 examination questions will be developed. These include FCC rules, operating procedures, radio wave propagation, Amateur Radio practices, electrical principles, circuit components, practical circuits, signals and emissions, antennas and feed lines and RF safety. A question pool based on the revised syllabus will be released later this year. The QPC will invite public input on the General questions once they've been made public. A new Technician class question pool released last November takes effect in the exam room on July 1 of this year. The draft General (Element 3) syllabus <http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/gp-syllabus-2004.html> is available on the ARRL Web site, which also includes all current question pools <http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/pools.html>. QPC Chairman Scotty Neustadter, W4WW, has requested comments to the committee by July 15, 2003. The amateur community may e-mail comments to the Question Pool Committee at email@example.com. ==>UK TO AK ON 136 kHz Reaching Alaska from the United Kingdom using just 1 W ERP is quite a feat for any band, but the Radio Society of Great Britain reports that Laurie Mayhead, G3AQC, was heard in Alaska on 136 kHz. In the early hours of February 15, he transmitted to Laurence Howell, GM4DMA/KL1X in Anchorage, and just before UK dawn at 0615 his call sign was clearly identified using software to read the signal. G3AQC was using QRSS--very slow CW--with a 60-second-long dit. The 7278-km distance is a transmission record for 1 W ERP on 136 kHz. Two years ago, Mayhead and Larry Kayser, VA3LK, made ham radio history when they completed the first two-way transatlantic exchange on 136 kHz, also using very slow speed CW. Last year G3AQC became the first person to span the Atlantic on 73 kHz. Howell expressed surprise that the path involved in the latest accomplishment is "notoriously poor" between southeastern Alaska, on the east coast of the Pacific, and Europe. "The signal would theoretically go on a Great Circle route to nearly 80 degrees north, over the northern Canadian Arctic, northern Greenland, east of Iceland, Glasgow, then over the UK to the South Coast--across and through the auroral oval." He said there's speculation that the actual path might been around or even under the auroral zone, since there was no auroral Doppler seen on the received signal. Howell and Mayhead credited research and preparation carried out by G3NYK, G3LDO, W3EEE and W4DEX, for helping to set the new LF record.--RSGB ==>SOLAR UPDATE Heliophile Tad "I Live for the Sun" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: This week we saw the average daily sunspot number increase nearly 50 points over the previous week, and the average daily solar flux was up 30 points. The geomagnetic indices were active after a robust solar wind arrived on March 3. The most active period was late on March 3 into March 4 when the planetary K index reached 4 and Alaska's College K index reached 6. On Thursday evening of the reporting period we were affected by a high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole causing minor geomagnetic storms in high latitudes. This would result in absorption of HF signals over polar paths. Geomagnetic indices are expected to be unsettled to active over the next few days, and solar flux should decline again. Solar flux is expected to go below 145 by March 10, then reach a short-term minimum below 110 around March 22-23. Sunspot numbers for February 27 through March 5 were 82, 77, 73, 67, 136, 160 and 138, with a mean of 104.7. The 10.7-cm flux was 117.6, 124.9, 138.1, 147.3, 149.1, 146 and 148.5, with a mean of 138.8. Estimated planetary A indices were 22, 17, 14, 14, 15, 26 and 16, with a mean of 17.7. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: 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. JUST AHEAD: The Pesky Texan Armadillo Chase is March 13. The YLISSB QSO Party (SSB), the 10-10 Mobile Contest, the BARTG Spring RTTY Contest, the SARL VHF/UHF Contest, the Russian DX Contest, the AGCW VHF/UHF Contest and the Virginia QSO Party are the weekend of March 15-16. 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 10, 12:01 AM EST (0500 UTC), for the on-line Level II Emergency Communications course (EC-002). Registration remains open through the March 15-16 weekend or until all available seats have been filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, March 25. Thanks to a recent grant, the $45 registration fee paid upon enrollment will be reimbursed after successful completion of the course. During this registration period, approximately 50 seats are being offered to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. 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. * Emergency Communications Level I course registration information: March registration is closed for the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level I on-line course (EC-001) sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). All available seats have been filled. Registration for the next available Level I class opens Monday, April 7, at 12:01 AM EST. Senior amateurs are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. Those considering enrolling in the Level I class are urged to take the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium WebMentor sample course to familiarize themselves with the course template and tools used in all ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) on-line courses. Sign up for e-mail registration reminders for all C-CE courses by sending a request to email@example.com. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce> and the C-CE Links found there. Address your Emergency Communications course questions to ARRL Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, firstname.lastname@example.org. * Arkansas gets new Section Manager: ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, has appointed Robert D "Dennis" Schaefer, W5RZ, to be the new Arkansas ARRL Section Manager. Schaefer, who lives in Dover, served as a Section Communications Manager (SCM) from 1968 until 1970 and as an Assistant SM. He now serves as a Delta Division Assistant Director and as a District Emergency Coordinator. He succeeds SM Bob Ideker, WB5VUH, who first served as SM from 1991 through 1995 and who returned to office in 2001. Ideker had decided to not run for another term, and Eldon Bryant, K7ZQR, was nominated and elected to replace him. Bryant subsequently decided not to assume the office, however. Schaefer's term as SM term begins April 1. Arkansas members may contact Schaefer via e-mail <email@example.com>. * FCC makes housekeeping changes in Amateur Service rules: The FCC has made some minor changes in the Part 97 Amateur Service rules as a result of decisions at past World Radiocommunication Conferences. In a wide-ranging Report and Order released March 3 that affects several radio services, the FCC has removed ß97.401(b) and international footnote 5.120 from the Amateur Service rules. The sections reference International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Resolution 640, which invited administrations to provide for the needs of international disaster communications and for the needs of emergency communications within their national regulations using certain amateur bands. Resolution 640 was deleted at WRC-97, and footnote 5.120 at WRC-2000. "We do not think this will have an impact on the Amateur Service emergency communications because Sections 97.111(a)(1) and 97.101(c) of our Rules allow amateur stations to communicate with foreign stations in disaster areas, making the provisions based on the former ITU Resolution No. 640 unnecessary," the FCC said in the RO&O in ET Docket 02-16. Those sections permit "transmissions necessary to exchange messages with other stations in the amateur service" unless an administration objects and require control operators "at all times and on all frequencies" to give priority to stations providing emergency communications. Footnote 5.120 had listed 80, 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12 and 2 meters as bands to be used in the event of natural disaster. * FCC cites RV owners in RFI complaint: The FCC has told an Oregon couple to stop using its Winegard amplified television antenna (Model Sensar/Roadstar) on their recreational vehicle "until the condition causing harmful interference has been corrected." The FCC contacted Jimmy and Jan Bowen of Gresham, Oregon, following a February 3, RFI complaint from an Amateur Radio operator to the FCC Portland office. The interference was reported on 447.375 MHz. An FCC agent investigating the allegation tracked the interfering signal to the Bowen's RV in Portland. The FCC cited Part 15 rules and noted that certain Winegard antenna amplifiers "have been the source of radio frequency interference in a number of cases." Due to the complaints, Winegard <http://www.winegard.com> has agreed to replace defective units at no charge. The FCC advised the couple to contact Winegard to make necessary arrangements. * Former ARRL staffer Marjorie Tenney, WB1FSN, SK: Former ARRL Headquarters staff member Marjorie C. Tenney, WB1FSN, died February 22. She was 78. Known for her friendliness and willingness to help others, Tenney worked in various HQ capacities from 1965 through 1985. ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, remembered Tenney as consistently cheerful person who was eager to be of help to members and coworkers. Survivors include her husband, Herbert, WB1ETL, three sons--including Richard, WB1ASG--and a daughter. * Vote on QST Cover Plaque award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for December 2002 was Dick Stroud, W9SR, for his article "Try Copper for 2 Meters--the CuLoop." The January 2003 winner was Paul Wade, W1GHZ, for his article "A 222-MHz Transverter for the Yaesu FT-817." The February 2003 winner was David A. Rosenthal, N6TST, for his article "Portable in Paradise: Cruise Ship Dxing." Congratulations, Dick, Paul and David! The winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author--or authors--of the best article in each issue--is determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes place each month on the QST Cover Plaque Poll Web page <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/qstvote.html>. Cast a ballot for your favorite articles in the March issue of QST. Voting ends March 31. * Dayton Contest Dinner tickets now on sale: The North Coast Contesters have announced that tickets for the 11th annual Dayton Contest Dinner now are on sale. The dinner will be held Saturday, May 17, 6:30 PM, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Dayton. Seating is limited, random and not reserved. All dinner ticket orders are handled exclusively by Craig Clark, K1QX, Radioware and Radio Bookstore, PO Box 209, Rindge, NH 03461 <http://www.radio-ware.com>. Order tickets weekdays by calling toll-free 800-457-7373 or via e-mail <jcclark at prexar.com>. 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