ARRL

ARRL Letter

 


***************
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 lotw-www.arrl.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 prereg@arrl.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 Emergency Communications Course
Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, dmiller@arrl.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, hrobins@arrl.org.
[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, <k3ufg@arrl.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;
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The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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