*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 22, No. 20 May 16, 2003 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +FCC gives hams half a loaf * +Members of Congress get Amateur Radio Today presentation * +Logbook of the World opens beta testing * +Hams' response to tornadoes winds down * +Panel says foam insulation likely shuttle disaster cause * +Hamvention 2003 under way * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Emergency Communications course registration ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration ARRL to sponsor emergency communications course seminar in Nevada California ham radio antenna bill set for Senate hearing Jerry Jennison, N5OKQ, SK +Lee Kitchens, N5YBW, SK +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>FCC DECLINES TO GRANT LF ALLOCATION, GIVES CHANNELIZED ACCESS TO 5-MHZ The FCC bowed to power company concerns and declined to grant amateurs an expected sliver-band allocation at 136 kHz "at this time." But, in a compromise with government users, the Commission gave amateurs secondary access to five discrete 2.8-kHz-wide channels in the vicinity of 5 MHz instead of the 150-kHz band ARRL had requested. In its Notice of Proposed Rule Making a year ago, the FCC appeared inclined to go along with both ARRL requests. The FCC did agree in its Report and Order (ET Docket 02-98) to elevate the Amateur Service--but not the Amateur-Satellite Service--to primary status at 2400 to 2402 MHz. The changes to Part 97 go into effect 30 days after publication in The Federal Register, which has not yet occurred. "We are disappointed that the FCC could not see its way clear to providing even a narrow LF allocation to the amateur service, given earlier encouraging signs and the general trend in other countries," ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, said of the FCC's decision. The FCC, however, found itself more persuaded by arguments from electrical utilities and other commenters that amateur operation at 136 kHz might interfere with power line communications (PLC) used by electrical utilities to control the power grid. The FCC said a new amateur LF allocation is not justified "when balanced against the greater public interest of an interference-free power grid." The FCC said amateurs wishing to experiment with LF could apply for experimental licenses or operate under existing Part 15 rules. "We will not jeopardize the reliability of electrical service to the public," the FCC concluded. The granting of just five spot frequencies--5332, 5348, 5368, 5373, and 5405 kHz--at 60 meters was less of a surprise given opposition expressed last fall by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The NTIA had cited a possible need for the requested band by federal government users and proposed the five specific frequencies for amateur use on a secondary basis. The FCC has granted operation on USB (2K8J3E emission) only, with a maximum effective radiated power limit of 50 W relative to a 0 dB gain antenna--a half-wave dipole. The channels--each with a maximum permissible bandwidth of 2.8 kHz--will be available to General and higher class licensees. "While the new amateur privileges at 5 MHz are not as flexible as we had hoped, we recognize that much has changed since the ARRL petition for rulemaking was submitted to the FCC in the summer of 2001," Sumner said. "Federal agencies with homeland security responsibilities have renewed interest in HF radiocommunication." The restriction to USB is aimed at maintaining interoperability with federal government users, who conceivably could require immediate access to one of the amateur secondary channels. Sumner said the ARRL was pleased to see 2400-2402 MHz upgraded to primary. "The upgrade of the 2400-2402 MHz amateur allocation to primary provides a seamless primary allocation from 2390 to 2417 MHz, in addition to the secondary allocations of 2300-2310 and 2417-2450 MHz," he said. Amateurs already have been experimenting with high-speed multimedia operation in the band using IEEE 802.11b protocols. The Report and Order is available on the FCC's Web site, http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-03-105A1.doc. ==>AMATEUR RADIO TODAY SENT TO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS A copy of the new Amateur Radio Today CD-ROM video presentation this week went out to all 535 members of the US Congress. The ARRL video tells Amateur Radio's public service story from a non-Amateur Radio perspective. Former CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD, narrates the six-minute presentation. "After viewing the video, I am sure you will agree that hams are a valuable public safety resource, and continued threats to the spectrum they operate on is not in our national interest," say identical letters to their colleagues from US Rep Michael Bilirakis, a Florida Republican, and US senators Michael Crapo, an Idaho Republican, and Daniel Akaka, a Hawaii Democrat. The letters also seek additional cosponsors for The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 2003. Bilirakis is the House sponsor of the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 2003, HR 713, while Crapo sponsored the Senate version of the bill, S 537. Akaka is an original cosponsor of the Senate measure. The bills, an ARRL initiative, are on their third try in Congress. HR 713 and S 537 would protect existing Amateur Radio spectrum against reallocations to or sharing with other services unless the FCC provides "equivalent replacement spectrum" elsewhere. That would include 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 chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet has agreed to hear testimony on the House version of the bill later this spring. The text of HR 713 and S 537 is available via the Thomas Web site <http://thomas.loc.gov/>. Individuals may order a copy of the Amateur Radio Today CD-ROM from the ARRL on-line catalog <https://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=8861> or download it for free. Amateur Radio Today also is available in VHS videotape format. A subtitled (open-captioned) version also is available. ==>ARRL'S "LOGBOOK OF THE WORLD" ENTERS OPEN BETA-TESTING PHASE The long-anticipated "Logbook of the World" (LoTW)--the ARRL's secure electronic contact-confirmation system--is being opened for beta testing. While a formal unveiling was set for the Hamvention DX Forum May 17, LoTW now is available to all who wish to participate in the beta testing program, expected to last 60 days. At the heart of the Logbook of the World concept is a huge repository of log data provided by operators--from individual DXers and contesters to major DXpeditions--and maintained by ARRL. Logbook of the World Project Leader Wayne Mills, N7NG, says the system will benefit big and little guns alike by providing quick QSO credit for awards offered by ARRL--and, it's hoped, those offered by other organizations as well--without having to first collect and submit hard-copy QSL cards. Visit the ARRL Logbook of the World Web site <http://www.arrl.org/lotw> to learn more, download the necessary software and take part in the beta testing effort. For the purposes of the beta test, validated users are asked to submit log data for contacts made on or after January 1, 1998. Once a certificate is issued, beta testers may e-mail their log data to the LoTW database firstname.lastname@example.org. LoTW will accept authenticated data--either in Cabrillo or ADIF format--directly from computerized logs via the Internet. Software Development Manager Jon Bloom, KE3Z, noted that because the software still is under development, any data uploaded during the beta-testing period will be erased before LoTW "goes live." Beta participants will have to obtain new certification even if they've participated in earlier LoTW testing. The beta certification will be good only for the beta-test period. Bloom emphasized that every call sign would need a separate certificate. Bloom and Mills encouraged beta-test DXers and contesters to upload their log files--the bigger the better--to test the robustness of the software as well as to populate the database and create a more realistic environment. LoTW will find and match contacts between stations based on the log data submitted by users, and the results will appear on the Logbook of the World Web page. "We're not replacing the whole paper QSL scheme with Logbook of the World," said Mills, who is also ARRL's Membership Services manager. "This is really a system to offer credits for awards." ==>HAM RADIO TORNADO RESPONSE WINDS DOWN ARRL Oklahoma Section Manager John Thomason, WB5SYT, said this week that the intense Amateur Radio relief and recovery effort following two tornadoes earlier this month in the Oklahoma City area was "winding down quickly." The FCC rescinded a general communications emergency on 3900 kHz in the Oklahoma area last weekend. Responding amateurs in Oklahoma supported relief activities of The Salvation Army following storms May 8 and 9. Amateurs also provided weather-spotting via the SKYWARN system and handled emergency and health-and-welfare traffic and assisted with damage assessment. "Amateur Radio responded quickly and thoroughly," Thomason said, adding that hams from the Oklahoma City area as well as other parts of the state turned out to help in what he called "a very challenging and changing environment." Some 50 amateurs were involved in the Oklahoma response, Thomason said. The storms struck just a day after some 30 of the hams involved had attended a two-day Salvation Army-sponsored disaster conference. The Oklahoma storms capped a week that some have been calling the worst ever for tornado outbreaks. On May 4, tornadoes struck the both sides of the border in the Kansas City area as well as in other parts of Kansas. Tornadoes that spun off the same weather system also hit parts of Tennessee and other states. In Missouri, Section Emergency Coordinator Don Moore, KM0R, says hams there logged more than 1000 volunteer work hours in eight days. "We have had Amateur Radio operators active in one part of Missouri or another since Sunday, May 4, providing communications for served agencies, assisting in damage assessment or handling health and welfare traffic into and out of the affected areas," he said. In Kansas, the Johnson County ARES Net was on the air within minutes of the May 4 tornado. Hams used HF to maintain contact among The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services headquarters in Kansas City and affected areas south and east of Kansas City. Hams also supported Salvation Army mobile canteens in stricken areas throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area and rode along with damage-assessment teams. Another series of thunderstorms swept into Kansas May 8, and a tornado hit Lawrence near the University of Kansas campus. There were no major injuries, but The Salvation Army dispatched canteen units with ham radio support. In Tennessee, hams assisted as residents dug out from a tornado that struck the Jackson-Madison County area early on May 5. Madison County EC Kenny Johns, AB4EG--a City of Jackson employee--found himself putting in 12-hour days in cleanup operations. As of last weekend, some 5000 homes remained without power, and Johns said some areas may take up to a month to restore. Nearly 200 structures were destroyed, 11 people were killed, and hundreds were left homeless. Hams were assisting the Madison County Emergency Management Agency as needed, Johns said. ARRL Assistant SEC for Middle Tennessee Tom Delker, K1KY, said ARES teams in Middle Tennessee provided daily support to served agencies daily since tornadoes on May 5 and 11. Delker said that upward of 400 Middle Tennessee amateurs provided support for state and local emergency management agencies, law enforcement, the American Red Cross and the National Weather Service. When damaging tornadoes struck east of Smyrna on May 11, "ham storm spotters tracked the storm and responded to the call for assistance immediately after touchdown," Delker said. The storm destroyed six homes and left some 30 others with major damage. It was a similar story in nearby Williamson County, where a tornado destroyed one home and damaged others. ARES groups in more than 22 Middle Tennessee counties were active, he said. ==>COLUMBIA PANEL ISSUES PRELIMINARY FINDINGS IN SHUTTLE TRAGEDY The space shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) has released what it's calling "a working scenario" <http://www.caib.us/news/press_releases/pr030506.html> to explain the February 1 tragedy that claimed the lives of seven astronauts--three of them Amateur Radio licensees. Preliminary findings, based on three months of "intense investigation," suggest that just over a minute into the January 16 launch, a piece of foam insulation from the shuttle's external fuel tank struck and damaged the lower left wing reinforced carbon-carbon (RCC) panels. The CAIB says its evidence indicates that a breach in the same area of the left wing allowed hot gases to flow into the wing during re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, eventually leading to the spacecraft's destruction. "The CAIB is continuing testing and analyses to refine the working scenario," NASA said. The independent investigation board--headed by retired US Navy Adm Harold Gehman--will issue its final report this summer. Gehman told reporters earlier this month that his panel has been careful not to say that the piece of insulation knocked a hole in the leading edge of the orbiter's wing "because we can't prove it." In an effort to pin down that probability, investigators at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio has been using a gas-fired cannon to shoot pieces of insulating foam at actual shuttle RCC and insulating tile components. Lost in the February 1 disaster were Columbia Commander Rick Husband; Pilot Willie McCool; Mission Specialists Kalpana "KC" Chawla, KD5ESI; David Brown, KC5ZTC; Laurel Clark, KC5ZSU; and Michael Anderson; and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon--an Israeli astronaut. The Columbia started to break up over the southwestern US as it entered the earth's atmosphere on the return leg of its 16-day science mission. Many Amateur Radio volunteers provided communication support during the early days of the shuttle debris recovery effort. NASA and Amateur Radio have a longstanding relationship through the Shuttle Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX) and Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) programs. More information is available via the NASA Human Spaceflight Web page <http://www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/>. ==>HAMVENTION UNDER WAY IN DAYTON Billed as the world's largest Amateur Radio gathering and trade show, Hamvention is under way near Dayton, Ohio, this weekend. The show is celebrating "Year of the Youth" at this year's event--its 51st year and its 52nd show May 16-18 at Hara Arena. Upward of 25,000 are expected to attend this year's event. The ARRL booth in North Hall will offer a retail counter, product demonstrations and DXCC card checking, among other services. ARRL will conduct its general informational forum Saturday, May 17, 8:15-9:45 AM (in Room 3). This week's FCC Report and Order giving amateurs five discrete channels in the vicinity of 5 MHz while denying a request for an LF allocation at 136 kHz is expected to head the list of discussion topics at that forum and perhaps others. This year's FCC forum was cancelled, however. This year's AMSAT forum for satellite enthusiasts will coincide with the ARRL forum May 17, 8:15-9:45 AM (in Room 1). AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, and other AMSAT notables will detail progress on the new "Echo" satellite, now under construction, that could launch later this year. Amateur Radio Newsline will sponsor its annual live Town Hall Meeting, Saturday, May 17, 1-3 PM (in Room 3) with Newsline producer Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, as moderator. ARRL will present an Amateur Radio public relations forum Sunday, May 18, 8:30-10 AM (in Room 1). There will be door prizes. The ARRL Technology Task Force session will follow at 10:15 until noon. Hamvention will honor its 2003 award winners at an awards reception Saturday, May 17. Well-known contester Larry "Tree" Tyree, N6TR, will receive Hamvention's 2003 Amateur of the Year Award. Tyree is the creator, organizer, and promoter of the successful Kid's Day, now administered by the ARRL. He also developed the popular TR-LOG contest logging software. Jonathan Taylor, K1RFD, is the winner of Hamvention's 2003 Special Achievement Award. Hamvention's 2003 Technical Achievement Award goes to Dr Steve Dimse, K4HG. Late news about the show is on the Hamvention Web site <http://www.hamvention.org> ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar sage Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Disturbed conditions triggered by a continuous solar wind stream appear to go on and on, week after week, seemingly without end. Nice quiet conditions would result from a daily A index of 10 or lower. Average daily conditions near that level haven't been reported since the week of February 20-26 when the daily average A index was 11.1, or January 9-15 when it was 9.1. Conventional wisdom says that disturbed conditions occur more often when the solar cycle has passed the peak and is headed down, and recent experience seems to bear this out. Recent forecasts for daily solar flux and planetary A index don't predict a daily A index below 10 until May 31. Sunspot numbers for May 8 through 14 were 33, 23, 22, 47, 66, 59, and 75, with a mean of 46.4. 10.7 cm flux was 100.9, 97.1, 92.7, 91.5, 93.9, 96.1, and 96.3 with a mean of 95.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 30, 29, 43, 31, 18, 27, and 27, with a mean of 29.3. ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The US Counties QSO Party (SSB), the Anatolian RTTY Worldwide Contest, His Majesty the King of Spain Contest (CW) and the Baltic Contest are the weekend of May 17-18. JUST AHEAD: The CQ Worldwide WPX Contest (CW), the VK-ZL Trans-Tasman Contest (SSB) and the QRP ARCI Hootowl Sprint are the weekend of May 24-25. The Michigan QRP Memorial Day CW Sprint is May 26-27. 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 is closed for the Level II ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications on-line course (EC-002) that begins May 27, sponsored by United Technologies Corporation. Registration opens Monday, May 19, 12:01 AM EDT (0401 UTC), for the Level III Emergency Communications on-line course (EC-003). Registration remains open through the May 24-25 weekend or until all available seats have been filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, June 3. Thanks to a grant from United Technologies Corp, the $45 registration fee paid upon enrollment will be reimbursed after successful completion of the Level III course. During this registration period, approximately 50 seats are being offered to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. 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 email@example.com. 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 Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, firstname.lastname@example.org; 860-594-0340. * ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration: Registration for the new ARRL VHF/UHF--Life Beyond the Repeater (EC-008) <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html#ec008> and the High Frequency Digital Communications (EC-005) <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html#ec005> courses opens Monday, May 19, 12:01 AM EDT (0401 UTC). Registration remains open through Sunday, May 25. Classes begin Tuesday, May 27. Registration for the ARRL Antenna Modeling (EC-004) <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html#ec004> course remains open through Sunday, May 18. 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. [C-CE logo] * ARRL to sponsor emergency communications course seminar in Nevada: The ARRL will offer a free Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course (ARECC) seminar Saturday, May 31, in conjunction with EMCOMM WEST 2003, an ARRL Pacific Division Operating Specialty Convention in Reno, Nevada. The seminar will not include the Level I course itself. This program is designed to explain in greater detail the duties of volunteer certification mentors, instructors and examiners of the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications courses and provide additional information for people considering these volunteer positions. The seminar will be held Saturday, May 31, 1-5 PM, in the South Reno Baptist Church Auditorium, 6780 S McCarran Blvd. (two blocks west of S Virginia Ave). Seating may be limited. Contact ARRL Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, (860-594-0340; fax 860-594-0259) if you plan to attend. Seminar attendance does not include admission to the convention, which is May 31. For more information on EMCOMM WEST 2003, visit the convention Web site <http://www.cvrc.net/emcommwest>. * California ham radio antenna bill set for Senate hearing: The California Senate's Local Government Committee will hear public comment on the state's pending Amateur Radio antenna legislation, Assembly Bill 1228. The hearing is set for Wednesday, May 21, at 9 AM PDT. ARRL staffer and antenna expert Dean Straw, N6BV, is scheduled to testify on behalf of the proposed legislation. The measure would incorporate the essence of the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 into California's statutes and require localities to "reasonably accommodate" Amateur Radio communication. The bill cleared the California Assembly April 10 on a 67-0 vote. California is home to nearly 15 percent of the nation's Amateur Radio population. The bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Bob Dutton, is inviting letters of support to The Honorable Bob Dutton, State Capitol PO Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-2063 (fax, 916-319-2163). Correspondents are requested to fax a copy to Peter Detwiler at the Senate Local Government Committee, 916-322-0298. * Jerry Jennison, N5OKQ, SK: Jerry Jennison, N5OKQ, of San Angelo, Texas, died May 2 following an extended illness. He was 64. An ARRL member and REACT International Life Member, Jennison also was active in the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) and served as SATERN coordinator for the Southern Territory of The Salvation Army. "This is a sad day for SATERN and for the many organizations that Jerry Jennison served in," said National SATERN Director Pat McPherson, WW9E. "Jerry was reflective of the 'Can Do' spirit of the amateur operator." Jennison also was a volunteer for the Red Cross and was a member of the San Angelo Amateur Radio Club. A memorial service was held on May 7. * Lee Kitchens, N5YBW, SK: Lee Kitchens, N5YBW, of Ransom Canyon, Texas, died unexpectedly May 12. He was 73. An ARRL member, Kitchens served as ARRL West Texas Section Manager from July 2001 until October 2002. ARRL Field Organization/Public Service Team Leader Steve Ewald, WV1X, said he was "surprised and saddened" to learn of Kitchens' death. ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, said Kitchens "was dedicated to communicating important news to the ARRL West Texas Section hams, helping them be more active in the volunteer activities they enjoyed, and increasing the number of ARRL members." Kitchens also was an influential figure in the organization Little People of America (LPA) <http://www.lpaonline.org>, a nonprofit organization that provides support and information to people of short stature and their families. Kitchens was a past president of LPA, a foundation trustee, founder of the West Texas LPA chapter and an organizer and registrar for an upcoming LPA conference. He was LPA's vice president of membership at the time of his death. Kitchens also was a past president and long-time board member of the Human Growth Foundation <http://www.hgfound.org> ) and a past mayor of Ransom Canyon, where the city hall is located on Lee Kitchens Drive. He also was a member of Lubbock County RACES/ARES and trustee of a local repeater. The family invites memorial donations to the LPA's newly established Lee Kitchens Memorial Fund, PO Box 65030, Lubbock, TX 79464-5030.--Bill Ricker, N1VUX =========================================================== 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. Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. 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