*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 22, No. 22 May 30, 2003 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL upgrades "Logbook of the World" beta software * +Astronaut talks to hometown kids from space * +Major ARRL donors honored at pre-Hamvention event * +Hamvention PR forum attendees play "Millionaire," win fabulous prizes * +Maine governor praises Amateur Radio, says he'll study for ticket * +Ham-pianist almost halfway to goal in run * +ARRL seeks computer-based presentations, videos * 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 Texas Gerald G. Schmitt, KK5YY, SK Digital Communications Conference issues call for papers Echo satellite a no-go for 2003 launch Ham radio exempted from Texas tower legislation Two-man ISS crew easing into operational routine Ham-meteorologists win NOAA Administrator's Award Newfoundland club promoting interest in LF work +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>ARRL RELEASES UPDATED "LOGBOOK OF THE WORLD" BETA SOFTWARE "Logbook of the World" (LoTW) beta testers for the most part have reacted positively to the latest version of ARRL's secure electronic contact-confirmation system, but some users have run into difficulties. Responding to problems encountered by some early beta testers, the League has released an updated beta version of LoTW that should resolve these issues. Beta testers are encouraged to download the new version of the software, 1.02beta, from the LoTW page <http://www.arrl.org/lotw/>. "While most installations and subsequent e-mailing and uploading of log data have gone flawlessly, as expected there have been problems," said ARRL's Dave Patton, NT1N, who's been a part of the LoTW project from the start. He says the LoTW server software failed to recognize many of the new digital mode designations, such as MFSK-16 and JT6M. This caused fatal errors while digitally signing logs. Patton says the beta update allows users to "map" any mode designation to one of the four main Amateur Data Interchange Format (ADIF) mode categories--CW, phone, image, and digital--without changing the actual log data. He said the beta upgrade also will correct other log data problems that caused fatal errors in signing a log, including allowing the signing process to complete the "good" parts of a log without crashing. Beta testing got under way May 15. So far, the 1300 or so beta testers have uploaded upward of five million contacts to the LoTW database. Once it's ready later this year, LoTW will provide a way for amateurs worldwide to qualify for awards such as DXCC or WAS without having to first collect and submit hard-copy QSL cards. One beta tester from Brazil lavished praised on the LoTW project. "I applaud the creators of LoTW," he wrote. "This will be, for sure, the salvation of DXing and award collecting. Please keep up this essential work!" For now, log data are limited to contacts made no more than five years ago (on or after January 1, 1998) to get a representative sampling, Patton explained. Patton promised "many more bells and whistles" over the weeks ahead. One of those will meld LoTW with DXCC. He noted that a major DXCC software revision, now under way, will need to be completed first. Logging software developers now can get documentation and a Windows DLL library--as well as complete source code for the TQSL software--at the SourceForge Web site <http://sourceforge.net/projects/trustedqsl/>. To join the beta testing program, visit the Logbook of the World--Getting Started site <http://www.arrl.org/lotw/getstart.html>. The beta testing period wraps up in mid-July. All QSO data submitted to LoTW will be deleted when the beta test period ends, and users will have to obtain new digital certificates to submit log data to LoTW once it 'goes live.' As part of the security process for the live system, passwords will be mailed to US licensees at the address that appears in the FCC database. Users should make sure the FCC has their current mailing address. Amateurs can modify their address online or via US mail by using instructions available on the FCC Web site <http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/amateur/licensing/changingaddress.html>. ARRL members may submit license modifications or renewals through the ARRL VEC <http://www.arrl.org/fcc/forms.html>. ==>ASTRONAUT THRILLS HOMETOWN YOUNGSTERS VIA AMATEUR RADIO NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu, KC5WKJ, told youngsters at his hometown alma mater via ham radio this week that zero gravity (G) feels a bit like going over the top on a roller coaster. The May 27 Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with Klem Road South School in Webster, New York, was the first for a member of the two-ham ISS Expedition 7 crew and for Lu, who had attended the kindergarten through grade 5 school some three decades ago. "If you've ever been on a roller coaster and you go over the top of the roller coaster you feel that feeling like you're kinda light--you're floating up on your feet," Lu explained. "It's almost exactly like that but a lot stronger." Weightlessness "feels great." After some time in zero gravity, however, "it feels like your legs weigh a ton," he added, describing his own post-space shuttle experience. Lu told the youngsters that while he was speaking to them from NA1SS, he was floating--and relaxing--about a foot above the floor and about to have a lunch of lamb, a chicken omelet and cookies for dessert. "I like the food up here a lot," he remarked later. Most of the current cuisine is Russian, he said, but he anticipated some Chinese and Hawaiian fare to arrive aboard the next Progress supply rocket. The ISS crew typically eats three meals a day, he said. The lack of gravity does make it necessary to secure everything, including eating utensils, so they don't float off. Another downside of zero G is that the astronauts aboard the ISS must exercise regularly. "If you don't exercise, all of your muscles get smaller, and that includes your heart," he explained in response to one boy's question. In all, Lu answered about a dozen questions, although apparent signal dropout and noise plagued the last minute or two of the QSO, rendering his replies barely intelligible. Lu advised the youngsters that, while expertise in science and math was most important to becoming an astronaut, skills and specialties vary among those in the Astronaut Corps. "The common thing among all of them is that all of them did pretty well at whatever it was they chose to do," he said. With the ISS was over Hawaii at the time, radio contact with NA1SS was established via Nancy Rocheleau, WH6PN, in Honolulu, who arose before 3 AM to serve as control operator for the QSO. An MCI teleconferencing circuit linked the school with WH6PN. ARISS is an international program with participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. ==>ARRL RECOGNIZES MAJOR DONORS The second-annual ARRL Donors' Recognition Reception afforded those assembled the opportunity to meet an architect of US naval policy--and a fellow ham. The event was held May 15, just prior to the start of Hamvention 2003, at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base officers' club in Dayton, Ohio. After a welcome and Maxim Society presentation by League President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, introduced the keynote speaker, retired US Navy Vice Adm John Scott Redd, K0DQ. In 36 years of active duty, Redd commanded eight organizations, led the recommissioned Fifth Fleet and held several senior policy positions at the Pentagon. "We were very lucky to have Vice Admiral Redd as our speaker," said ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH. "Scott captivated the guests with amazing stories of his service to our country." Redd also discussed the importance of the ARRL Education and Technology Program-"The Big Project"--to the future of Amateur Radio. Also honored for their generosity were ARRL Vice President Kay Craigie, N3KN, and her husband Carter, N3AO. The Craigies were recognized for their lifetime support of ARRL with membership in the Maxim Society. The Maxim Society is made up of those who have made more than $10,000 in lifetime contributions to ARRL programs. "Their extraordinary generosity is reflected in all areas of ARRL fund raising," Hobart said. "ARRL is pleased to have the opportunity to thank all of our major donors who have supported all of our efforts to support Amateur Radio so generously." ==>HAMS ON THE "HOT SEAT" AT ARRL HAMVENTION PR FORUM Attendees at the ARRL public relations forum at Hamvention 2003 enhanced their knowledge of Amateur Radio public relations and had a lot of fun in the process. The forum May 18 was organized by members of the League's Public Relations Committee. Several members of that panel also were on hand to participate. For the "fun" part, the group developed its own version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" Audience members volunteered to sit on the hot seat to answer a variety of PR-related questions and compete for prizes. Contestants collected "Hiram Bucks" for continuing to come up with correct answers. Three lucky forum attendees walked away with hand-held radios generously donated by ICOM and Yaesu. Several ARRL products were awarded as door prizes. PR Committee members also set up a question-and-answer panel discussion. Among other pieces of useful information, attendees learned which photo formats media outlets prefer, how to get local coverage during a major disaster and how to encourage media reporters to cover Amateur Radio events. In opening remarks, ARRL Media Relations Manager Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, talked briefly about the League's public relations program and her duties at ARRL Headquarters. PR Committee Chairman Jeff Reinhardt, AA6JR, moderated the forum. Participating committee members included David Greer, N4KZ, Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, Gary Johnston, KI4LA, Rich Moseson, W2VU, Sherri Brower, W4STB, and Jim McDonald, KB9LEI. ==>MAINE GOVERNOR GETS A TASTE OF HAM RADIO Maine Gov John Baldacci praised the dedication and value of Maine's Amateur Radio operators as he met April 24 with members of the Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association and other amateurs. He also checked into a 75-meter traffic net during his visit and promised to renew efforts--begun a couple of years ago--to get his ham ticket. The governor assured the group that the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) relies on Amateur Radio operators to support the statewide communications system. Baldacci pointed out that communication will be the most difficult and expensive part of the state's homeland security strategy. While some federal money has been provided for basic protective equipment needs, the governor said Maine would rely on Amateur Radio volunteers if primary telecommunication systems go down. Baldacci also pledged to squelch any legislation banning cell telephone use by motorists that also prohibited hams from talking on microphones. Such a bill was soundly defeated in the Maine Legislature two years ago, but there's a similar bill in the current legislative session. On the other hand, Baldacci was not very receptive to the idea of free or discounted amateur call sign vanity plates, which now cost $35. Like many states, Maine is dealing with severe budget problems, he explained. The Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association presented Baldacci with a Certificate of Appreciation for his support of Amateur Radio during his tenure as US Congressman. ARRL Section Manager Bill Woodhead, N1KAT, also gave the governor a Certificate of Merit from the ARRL for his support. Woodhead also provided Baldacci with the latest edition of the ARRL Technician study guide, Now You're Talking. Baldacci said he'd add the goal of getting his ticket to his to-do list and would rely on the encouragement and help of Maine's hams to achieve it.--Phil Duggan, N1EP ==>HAM-PIANIST CLOSING IN ON HALFWAY POINT IN RUN Concert pianist Martin Berkofsky, KC3RE, is closing in on the halfway point in his CelebrateLifeRun <http://www.celebrateliferun.com> from Tulsa to Chicago. A cancer survivor and an ARRL member from Northern Virginia, Berkofsky set out April 9--his 60th birthday--on an 860-mile jog to celebrate his recovery from cancer and to raise money for research into the disease. Berkofsky--who has ham gear, including APRS, along with him--was 380 miles into his journey and some 20 miles south of Hermann, Missouri, as of mid-week. Berkofsky reports he's made many new ham radio friends in his travels, and he's hoping for an invitation to operate Field Day with an Illinois ham club group. "So far he has found local folks--sometimes Amateur radio enthusiasts, sometimes cancer survivors--to put him up for the evening or drive him to his next base camp," said Joni Shulman, assistant research director of the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation in Tulsa. "Thanks to the generosity of total strangers, Martin has spent only two or three nights in motels." The CTRF will benefit from money raised during Berkofsky's run. Berkofsky has scheduled some benefit concerts along his route, including Rolla, Missouri, May 30; June 2 in Hermann, Missouri; and June 12 in St Louis (at Webster University). "St Louis will mark halfway through the run with my target arrival in Chicago 11 August," Berkofsky told ARRL. "I have managed to always keep a few days ahead and to run a few extra miles most days, weather allowing." Follow his progress via the Internet <http://www.celebrateliferun.com/route.cfm>. ==>ARRL SEEKS COMPUTER-BASED MULTIMEDIA PRESENTATIONS, VIDEOS ARRL Field and Educational Services (F&ES) is seeking Amateur Radio presentation programs or slide shows that utilize Microsoft PowerPoint or similar computer-based slide-viewing software. F&ES also is interested in VHS and digital video programs to add to materials F&ES offers hams through the ARRL Video Series <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/materials/videos.html>. Topic choice can be any Amateur Radio topic of interest to hams or targeted for a non-ham community, including demonstrations and tutorials on various topics. The ARRL Web site's Multimedia Frequently Asked Questions page <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/materials/visuals.html> has further information. The League's video library needs media in forms that are easily portable, easily presented and up-to-the-minute. As file size and download speed may be an issue for downloading submissions from the ARRL Web site, F&ES wants to offer the best submissions by topic collection in CD-ROM format. Presentations and slide shows submitted should be placed on disc or CD-ROM (file zipping is acceptable). Videos should be in VHS or DVD format and not exceed 20 minutes in length. Submissions must contain original material and should not use music, video clips or copyrighted materials owned by others without appropriate permissions. Submissions should include a cover sheet describing the program, system requirements and file sizes and noting any use of materials used with the permission of others. Submissions accepted for use and distribution by ARRL will require the signing of a release form provided by ARRL. CDs selected for distribution would be made available to clubs and interested individuals for the cost of duplicating, shipping and handling. Send presentations or slide shows on disc, CD-ROM, VHS tape or DVD to Multimedia Project, c/o Mary Lau, N1VH, ARRL Field and Educational Services, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. For further information on this project, contact Mary Lau, N1VH, email@example.com. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sun watcher Tad "I See the Light" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: While this bulletin is being written Friday, May 30 at around 0600 UTC, a severe geomagnetic storm rages. For the past three reporting periods (three hours each), the planetary K index has been 8, indicating extremely active conditions. A late forecast at 0359 UTC on May 30 shows the projected planetary A index for May 30 through June 2 as 60, 40, 25 and 20, followed by an A of 30 for June 3-5, 35 for June 6, and 30 again on June 7. On May 29 Earth was hit by coronal mass ejections at 1215 UTC and 1900 UTC. A third coronal mass ejection may hit Earth May 30. Rather than working HF, now seems a good time for 6-meter operations and observing aurora. Solar flux over the next few days (May 30 through June 2) is predicted at 145, 140, 135 and 125. Sunspot numbers for May 22 through 28 were 110, 87, 84, 51, 65, 116 and 116, with a mean of 89.9. The 10.7-cm flux was 118.4, 117.9, 116.8, 121.1, 125.1, 128.8 and 130.2, with a mean of 122.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 25, 21, 22, 22, 18, 26 and 36, with a mean of 24.3. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The Six Club World Wide Contest and the Great Lakes QSO Party are the weekend of May 31-June 1. JUST AHEAD: The VK-ZL Trans-Tasman Contest (CW), the IARU Region 1 Field Day (CW) and the QRP TAC Sprint are the weekend of June 7-8. 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, June 2, 12:01 AM EDT (0401 UTC), for the on-line Level I Emergency Communications course (EC-001). Registration remains open through the June 7-8 weekend or until all available seats have been filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, June 17. Thanks to a United Technologies Corporation grant, 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. A new service now allows those interested in taking an ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) course in the future to receive advance word of registration opportunities via e-mail. To take advantage, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. On the subject line, include the course name or number (eg, EC-00#). In the message body, include your name, call sign, e-mail address, and the month you want to start the course. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/> and the C-CE Links found there. For more information, contact Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, email@example.com; 860-594-0340. * ARRL to sponsor emergency communications course seminar in Texas: The ARRL will offer a free Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course (ARECC) seminar Friday, June 20, in conjunction with the ARRL National Convention at HamCom in Arlington, Texas. 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 those considering these volunteer positions. The seminar will be Friday, June 20, 1-5 PM, Room M5. Seating may be limited. If you plan to attend, contact ARRL Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, firstname.lastname@example.org; 860-594-0340; fax 860-594-0259. For registered CMs, CIs and CEs who attend, mileage may be reimbursable up to $35. Seminar attendance does not include admission to the convention, June 20-22. For more information on the 2003 ARRL National Convention, visit the HamCom Web site <http://www.hamcom.org>. * Gerald G. Schmitt, KK5YY, SK: Jerry Schmitt, KK5YY (ex-KC5EGG), of Los Alamos, New Mexico, died unexpectedly May 23 after an apparent heart attack. He was 60. Schmitt was especially well-known within the AMSAT and APRS communities and was the designer and primary promoter of the portable Arrow antenna used for satellite work; he also had a hand in developing antennas for AO-40. "Jerry was a very good friend of AMSAT's," said AMSAT President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH. At Hamvention 2003 Schmitt assisted at the AMSAT booth and did a live ham satellite demonstration. "He was just a great guy all around and full of humor," Haighton said. "We're all going to miss him." An ARRL member, Schmitt served as a net control operator for the New Mexico Swapnet and took part in providing ham radio communication during the Cerro Grande fires in New Mexico. In 2001, Schmitt managed Earth-station duties during an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school group contact from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque. He was nearing retirement from Los Alamos National Laboratories and planning to move with his wife, Barbara, KD5CGU, to Alaska. Arrangements are pending.--Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, provided some information for this report * Digital Communications Conference issues call for papers: Technical papers are solicited for presentation at the 22nd annual ARRL-TAPR Digital Communications Conference set for September 19-21, 2003, in Hartford, Connecticut. Papers also are needed for publication in the conference Proceedings, published by the ARRL. Presentation at the conference is not required for publication. The deadline to submit papers is August 5. Submissions go to Maty Weinberg, KB1EIB, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111, or to email@example.com. Paper submission guidelines are available on the TAPR Web site <http://www.tapr.org/dcc/>. * Echo satellite a no-go for 2003 launch: AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, says launch of the ECHO Amateur Radio satellite now under construction will be delayed about six months, so the satellite will not be launched this year as previously hoped. "This is not an AMSAT delay, but we have learned that the launch organization does not have a primary payload for their fall launch," Haighton said in this month's "President's Letter" via AMSAT News Service. "On the positive side, it gives us a few more months to complete the work on ECHO, complete the software and complete the tests. It may also slightly reduce our overall launch costs."--AMSAT News Service * Ham radio exempted from Texas tower legislation: Hams in Texas are breathing a sigh of relief after lawmakers exempted Amateur Radio licensees from Senate Bill 1261, also known as the LeClair-Jennings Act. The measure relates to proposed construction, marking and location of wireless communication towers. The Texas House of Representatives this week passed SB 1261--it earlier had gained Senate approval--and it now goes to Gov Rick Perry <http://www.governor.state.tx.us/> for his signature. The text of the legislation is available on the Texas Legislature Web site <http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/>. * Two-man ISS crew easing into operational routine: Now a month into their Expedition 7 mission, the crew of the International Space Station has moved beyond an orientation and familiarization schedule and into an agenda of operations that reflects the range of activities they'll pursue during the remaining five months of their flight. Expedition 7 Commander Yuri Malenchenko, RK3DUP, and NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu, KC5WKJ, last week completed various maintenance tasks. This week, Malenchenko and Lu--the first two-person crew to stay aboard the ISS--will replace a storage battery in the Zvezda Service Module. As training for a contingency space walk, Malenchenko and Lu will practice getting into--and out of--their American spacesuits, a task they typically had help with during training on the ground. No spacewalks are planned for this increment, however. On May 21 Malenchenko and Lu discussed mission progress and scientific research with the BBC World Service and with WHEC-TV in Rochester, New York, near Lu's hometown of Webster. The following day, they answered questions from students gathered at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. On May 27, Lu spoke via Amateur Radio with students at the Klem Road South School, his home town alma mater (see "Astronaut Thrills Hometown Youngsters via Amateur Radio" elsewhere in this issue). More information on the Expedition 7 crew's activities is available on NASA's Human Spaceflight Web site <http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/>.--NASA * Ham-meteorologists win NOAA Administrator's Award: Scott Mentzer, N0QE, who's the meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service's Goodland, Kansas, office, is a recipient of this year's NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Administrator's Award. The award cites "major achievements in strengthening the relationship between the National Weather Service and volunteer Amateur Radio (ham) operators involved in hazardous weather communications throughout the United States." Former Goodland NWS Office meteorologist Dennis Hull, KB0NYC, now of Pendelton, Oregon, is another award recipient. While at Goodland, he was warning coordination meteorologist and worked closely with ham weather spotters. Mentzer called the ARRL "a great supporter and cosponsor of the national SKYWARN Recognition Day each December," which Mentzer has helped organize and develop. Mentzer and Hull will be treated to an expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, to pick up their awards. * Newfoundland club promoting interest in LF work: The Marconi Radio Club of Newfoundland is promoting interest in low-frequency (LF) work on 136 kHz The club reports it's breaking new ground on the long waves by conducting experiments aimed at assisting Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) <http://www.rac.ca> to acquire a 136-kHz amateur allocation and promoting interest in LF work. The RAC has endorsed and Industry Canada has approved an experimental license proposal drafted by club member Joe Craig, VO1NA. Since then, an LF transmitting station--the first in the Newfoundland-Labrador Section--has been on the air at 135.830 kHz as MRCN members conduct various experiments including crossband contacts. Signals from the station have been copied by W1TAG near Boston and by G3NYK in England. The FCC recently decided against granting the 136-kHz allocation for US amateurs that ARRL had requested and the FCC had proposed granting in 2002. Visit the MRCN Web site <http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~jcraig/mrcn.html> for further information. =========================================================== The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; <http://www.arrl.org>. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President. The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of interest to active amateurs. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise, and readable. Visit ARRLWeb <http://www.arrl.org> for the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> offers access to news, informative features and columns. 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