*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 22, No. 25 June 20, 2003 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +League urges informed comments in Broadband Over Power Line * +60-meter rules add new record-keeping requirement * +ARISS logs its 100th school group contact * +Well-known contester, DXer dies after fall from tower * +FCC sets aside ham ticket in false distress calls investigation * +MARS operations under way in Iraq * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration Correction Michigan gets new Section Manager +Space Station may be on the air during Field Day 2003 ARRL's 2002 Annual Report is hot off the press FO-20 back in the land of the living FCC announces improvements to the Electronic Document Management System +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>ARRL URGES INFORMED COMMENTS IN FCC BPL INQUIRY The ARRL is urging amateurs to file well-thought-out, informed comments when responding to the FCC's Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) Notice of Inquiry (ET Docket 03-104). The FCC published its NOI on May 23. The NOI asks how the FCC should regulate the delivery of broadband services to homes and businesses using electrical wiring to conduct high-speed digital signals. While the FCC has dubbed this technology Broadband over Power Line, it's more commonly known as Power Line Carrier or PLC. BPL would use building and/or overhead power lines to conduct HF and low-VHF digital signals to network computers. The FCC has expressed its unabashed enthusiasm for BPL, which it views as a competitive Internet access point. Utilities consider BPL as another means to use existing infrastructure to generate additional revenue. The NOI is not asking if BPL technology should be permitted. Under existing FCC rules, BPL systems may be built and used in the US right now. The FCC is asking how the rules might be changed "to promote and encourage new BPL technology," in the words of the NOI. Present FCC Part 15 rules say that carrier-current systems--including BPL/PLC--need to meet the general radiated emission limits for unlicensed "intentional emitters." While the rules permit BPL at significant power levels, utilities would prefer that the FCC authorize even higher power levels. BPL systems under development and in field trials use spectrum between 1.7 and 80 MHz, but the NOI also asks whether BPL should operate on other parts of the spectrum as well. As of mid-June, nearly 1000 comments already had been filed in the proceeding. The ARRL has urged amateurs who comment to outline the important uses they make of Amateur Radio and the impact strong interference from BPL could have at HF and low-VHF amateur frequencies. Electric utility companies will operate many, if not most, BPL systems. ARRL members who have had experience dealing with power line interference and utilities' responses to complaints also may want to describe those experiences in their comments to the Commission. Amateurs filing comments to the FCC NOI might want to consider these topics and points: * Amateur Radio is a valuable resource that must be protected. * Describe the uses you make of Amateur Radio, especially those with a public service or emergency communication aspect. * The present FCC Part 15 limits for this technology already can result in substantial interference potential to amateur frequencies. * BPL systems that radiate on wide swaths of spectrum and occupy entire neighborhoods have greater interference potential than localized systems, such as switching power supplies or electric motors. * The FCC has promised to protect licensed users of the spectrum. We must hold them to that promise. For more information, see "Understanding the FCC's Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) Notice of Inquiry" <http://www.arrl.org/news/features/2003/06/19/2/>. An ARRL white paper, "Calculated Impact of PLC on Stations Operating in the Amateur Radio Service" <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/files/C63NovPLC.pdf> provides technical details. The ARRL's Broadband Over Power Line resource page contains links to worldwide studies and other resources. The ARRL has initiated an important Spectrum Defense Fund campaign to support activities to educate government officials on the potential threat that BPL poses to Amateur Radio. To find out more, or to support ARRL's efforts in this area, visit the ARRL's secure BPL Web site <https://www.arrl.org/forms/development/donations/bpl/> The complete NOI is available on the FCC Web site <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-03-100A1.doc>. Comments are due on or before July 7, 2003. Reply comments are due on or before August 6, 2003. Interested parties may submit electronically filed comments via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) <http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/>. Under ECFS Main Links, click on "Submit a Filing." In the "Proceeding" field, enter "03-104" and complete the required field. Comments may be typed into a form or you may attach a file containing your comments. Comments also may be submitted via e-mail, per instructions on the ECFS page. ==>60-METER RULES ADD NEW RECORD-KEEPING REQUIREMENT When the five new 60-meter channels become available to US Amateur Radio operators at midnight (12 AM) local time on July 3, the rules will impose a new record-keeping requirement for hams. The requirement applies only to those using something other than a simple half-wave dipole for an antenna on the 5-MHz allocation. According to §97.303(s), a half-wave dipole on the 5 MHz allocation will be presumed to have a gain of 0 dBd. "Licensees using other antennas must maintain in their station records either manufacturer data on the antenna gain or calculations of the antenna gain," the newest addition to the FCC's Amateur Service rules says. Because the new rules also require hams to run no more than 50 W effective radiated power (ERP) on the new channels, the choice of antenna becomes an important compliance factor. The FCC rules stipulate, "For the purpose of computing ERP, the transmitter PEP will be multiplied with [sic] the antenna gain relative to a dipole or the equivalent calculation in decibels." If you use a half-wave dipole--about 87 feet 3 inches for the "middle" channel according to the formula--setting your transmitter's power output power at up to 50 W peak envelope power (PEP) should ensure compliance. Under no circumstances may amateurs on 5 MHz radiate more than 50 W ERP in any direction, so those choosing to employ gain antennas will have to "do the math" and calculate their ERP. They also will have to keep a record of such antenna gain calculations on file. This might include documentation such as output from a computer modeling program for a homebrew antenna design. For example, an amateur using an array for 5 MHz exhibiting a calculated or modeled gain of 3 dB would have to cut power to 25 W PEP to comply with the new rules. Operating on 60 meters is the subject of the July 2003 QST "It Seems to Us . . ." editorial <http://www.arrl.org/news/features/2003/07/01/1/> by ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ. "If we demonstrate that we can use [the 60-meter channels] responsibly, cooperatively and in the public interest, there is no reason we cannot seek expanded access at an appropriate time," Sumner wrote. "If your personal operating practices are inconsistent with that, please do yourself and everyone else a favor and confine your operating to the traditional bands." The FCC Report and Order in ET Docket 02-98 is available on the FCC's Web site <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-03-105A1.doc>. The ARRL has posted a list of frequently asked questions concerning 5 MHz operation on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/faq.html#sixty> ==>AMATEUR RADIO ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION LOGS 100TH SCHOOL CONTACT The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program reached a milestone June 12 with its 100th school group contact. Doing the honors was Expedition 7 NASA Science Officer and Flight Engineer Ed Lu, KC5WKJ. Lu took the controls of NA1SS aboard the space outpost to answer a dozen questions from students gathered at Lively District Secondary School in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. "I would choose to go on a mission to Mars," Lu told the students, answering a question about what mission he would pick if he had the choice. "Because I think that's the place in our solar system that has the best chance of having life besides our Earth, and I would love to go there to try and find that." Lu said that while a human spaceflight mission to Mars is not yet on NASA's schedule, he hopes to one day have the opportunity to journey there. "Maybe one of you kids down there will get a chance to do it if I don't get to go." Lu says he sees a lot of things that are "incredibly interesting" from his vantage point in space, including looking down at Earth and viewing the northern and southern lights. But he said he hasn't been inspired to want to live in space indefinitely. Aboard the ISS since late April, Lu is part of the first two-person crew headed by Expedition 7 commander Yuri Malenchenko, RK3DUP. They arrived aboard a Russian Soyuz vehicle, which also serves as the escape vehicle for ISS crew members. The Expedition 7 crew is scheduled to return to Earth in October. Asked whom he would like to have accompany him into space if he could pick one person, Lu replied, "If I could bring one person with me, it would be my fiancee, and if I said anything else, boy would I be in trouble." On Earth, Steve Gorecki, VE3CWJ, served as control operator. He had assistance from members of the Sudbury Amateur Radio Club, who helped to install antennas on the roof of the school's gymnasium and equipment inside. Students participating in the contact came from several area schools. "It definitely had an impact on the kids," Gorecki told ARRL after the contact, "but it only dawned on them later what they'd actually done." Students involved were in grades 7 through 12. On June 14, pupils at another Canadian school--École primaire de l'Apprenti-Sage in Québec--enjoyed a successful ARISS contact. Among other topics, the primary schoolers wanted to know how long Lu would be in space, if it hurt during liftoff on the Soyuz, his favorite activities in space and how the crew "drives" the ISS. Youngsters at the school had been studying space and space-related topics leading up to their scheduled contact. Members of the Club Radio Amateur de Québec (VE2CQ) <http://www.craq.qc.ca/> set up and managed the Earth station for the direct contact. Gaëtan Trépanier, VE2GHO, handled control op duties as some 500 students and visitors looked on. A dozen students each got to ask a question before the ISS zipped over the horizon. "It was a resounding success," said Daniel Lamoreaux, VE2KA, the Radio Amateurs of Canada Quebec director who was on hand for the event. Lamoreaux is a member of the ARISS Educational Outreach/School Selection Committee. On June 18, students at Kuise Elementary School in Amagasaki, Japan, chatted with Lu during a direct contact between NA1SS and 8N3ISS. Among other topics, youngsters wanted to know what country's time the crew followed aboard the ISS, whether zero gravity was "convenient" and if zero gravity changed the intensity of odors. ARISS is an international project with participation by ARRL, NASA and AMSAT. ==>WELL-KNOWN CONTESTER, DXer DIES IN FALL FROM TOWER Well-known contester and DXer Steve Miller, N8SM (ex-WD8IXE), of Prosper, Texas, died June 15 as a result of a fall while working on his Amateur Radio tower. He was 38. An ARRL member, Miller had extensive experience in tower work and antenna installation. With the assistance of several other hams, Miller had erected a 136-foot tower on his property and installed several antennas as part of his overall effort to build a competitive contesting station. Details of the mishap that claimed Miller's life are not available. According to unofficial accounts, Miller had been working on his tower the morning of June 15, and, after a lunch break, told his wife, Radhicar, that he had another hour's work left. Later, she heard a noise from the yard and found her husband lying on the ground. Miller's wife called 911, but the rescue squad was unable to revive him. ARRL antenna guru Dean Straw, N6BV--who had corresponded with Miller on several topics--was among those expressing shock and sadness at his death. "Steve was always most responsive, and he always had the most intelligent comments and questions concerning whatever technical topic we were discussing," said Straw. "I will miss his innate, contagious enthusiasm." First licensed as WD8IXE in 1977 at the age of 12, Miller--an Ohio native--enjoyed contesting and DXing. He was routinely active during the CW weekends of the CQ World Wide, ARRL International DX and ARRL November Sweepstakes events. He also operated as J68AG from St Lucia in the Caribbean and participated in a few DXpeditions, including several stints as a member of the J6DX team in the 1980s and 1990s. He was an ARRL DXCC Honor Roll member, with 332 entities confirmed (mixed). In addition to ARRL, Miller belonged to the North Texas Contest Club <http://www.qsl.net/ntcc/> and 10-10 International <http://www.ten-ten.org/. Besides ham radio, he enjoyed playing jazz saxophone. An Ohio State graduate, Miller worked for Texas Instruments as part of its broadband wireless access group in Dallas. Survivors include his wife and their young daughter. A memorial service was held June 19. ==>HAM'S TICKET SET ASIDE AS FCC INVESTIGATES ALLEGATIONS OF FALSE DISTRESS CALLS The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) has set aside the nearly month-old Technician-class license of a California man while it looks into allegations that the now-former licensee may have made false marine distress calls. In a June 3 letter, FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth notified Michael V. Swift of San Ramon of the WTB's action--taken on the bureau's own motion. The FCC granted Swift the call sign KG6QOB on May 1 and canceled his ticket May 29. In his letter, Hollingsworth said the cancellation was "based upon evidence that you made numerous false distress calls on Channels 16 and 22A Marine frequencies." Hollingsworth warned Swift that in view of the WTB's action, he had no authority to operate Amateur Radio transmitting equipment. Hollingsworth told ARRL that agents in the FCC's San Francisco office--in cooperation with the US Coast Guard--reportedly tracked transmissions on the marine channels to Swift's residence, where they interviewed him. The FCC also sent a Warning Notice May 30 to Ronald E. Shapiro, N2CQT, of Kerhonkson, New York, citing information alleging that the licensee "deliberately interfered with and harassed operators on 3.906 MHz" on May 24. "It appears that you were operating under some type of impairment," Hollingsworth wrote, "and during the transmissions played music, made transmissions to no one in particular and deliberately transmitted on top of ongoing communications." The FCC alleges the transmissions, which began at about 1 AM, continued for almost an hour. Hollingsworth gave Shapiro 20 days to explain the circumstances of the operation detailed in the Warning Notice. ==>MARS OPERATIONS BEGIN IN IRAQ; MORE OPERATORS SOUGHT The Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) is poised to start the flow of messages between troops in Iraq and Kuwait and their families and friends back home. The first MARS licenses have been issued to soldier stations in Iraq and Kuwait, and a broad range of frequencies has been assigned for MARS use. MARS also is operational in Afghanistan. Daniel Wolff, assistant affiliate MARS coordinator for Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia, reports that four soldier licenses had been issued as of June 1 but he hopes there will be many more as active hostilities continue to wind down. These new operations will open up MARSgram and phone patch communications for troops stationed beyond the reach of e-mail and cell phones. Just about every company-size unit overseas has high frequency radio equipment in house--or, more likely, "in tent." While preparedness to provide emergency or contingency communications backup now occupies first place, handling "morale and welfare traffic" is another role MARS members still can play. The only drawback is the shortage of stations to receive it. MARSgrams are being handled at least one-way. Those addressed to Iraq or Kuwait are transmitted by radio to the nearest MARS gateway station, then refiled into the Military Postal System for delivery. This shaves days or weeks off the time it takes a message going by mail. Information on sending MARSgrams is available on the Army MARS Web site <http://www.netcom.army.mil/MARS>. Now that most hostile action has ceased, Wolff says, MARS should be among the organizations assuming a humanitarian and support role--if only there were more stations in the region. FCC-licensed amateurs may apply for an overseas MARS license much as they would in the US, except that some additional information is required. Commanding officers may also apply for a MARS station license for their units and are exempt from the FCC Amateur Radio license requirement, he explained. Full information and application forms are available to overseas applicants by e-mailing Wolff <firstname.lastname@example.org> or for US amateurs by visiting the US Army MARS Web site <http://www.netcom.army.mil/MARS/>.--Bill Sexton, N11N/AAA9PC ==>SOLAR UPDATE Heliophile Tad "That Lucky Ol' Sun" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Low sunspot numbers and geomagnetic disturbances in the over-the-hill portion of the solar cycle continue. There are enough sunspots for some good HF propagation, but we are about three years past the cycle peak and about three and a half years ahead of the next sunspot minimum. Complicating the situation is continued high solar wind and flares, causing constant disturbance to geomagnetic conditions. HF operators generally want stable geomagnetic indices, such as a K index at three or below and daily A index of ten or less. Average sunspot numbers dropped nearly 37 points from last week to 112.7 this week. Solar flux was also down. Not surprisingly given the conditions and all the reports, average planetary A index increased from 21 to 30. Space weather was remarkably mild on Thursday, June 19 with mid latitude and planetary K indices down to two or three. However, the forecast shows more of the same enhanced activity over the next few days, with a planetary A index of 25, 25, 20 and 20 for June 20-23. Solar flux should remain around 125 on those days. On June 20 we should enter a solar wind stream flowing from a coronal hole, which should cause those high A indices. Sunspot numbers for June 12 through 18 were 168, 149, 91, 111, 91, 80, and 99, with a mean of 112.7. 10.7 cm flux was 163.5, 151, 133.5, 128.7, 122.6, 121.9, and 120.4, with a mean of 134.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 11, 11, 32, 20, 32, 50, and 54, with a mean of 30. ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: Kid's Day, the All Asian DX Contest (CW), the SMIRK Contest, the AGCW VHF/UHF Contest and the DIE Contest are the weekend of June 21-22. JUST AHEAD: ARRL Field Day <http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2003/rules-fd-2003.html>, the Marconi Memorial HF Contest, the QRP ARCI Milliwatt Field Day and the His Majesty the King of Spain Contest (SSB) are the weekend of June 28-29. The RAC Canada Day Contest is July 1. The Michigan QRP July 4th CW Sprint is July 4-5. 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 Certification and Continuing Education course registration: Registration for the Radio Frequency Interference (EC-006) and Satellite Communications (EC-007) courses opens Monday, June 23, 12:01 AM EDT (0401 UTC). Registration will remain open through Sunday, June 29. Classes begin Tuesday afternoon, July 1. Registration for the ARRL HF Digital Communications (EC-005) and VHF/UHF--Life Beyond the Repeater (EC-008) courses remains open through Sunday, June 22. Those interested in taking an ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) course in the future can sign up to be advised via e-mail in advance of registration opportunities. To take advantage, send an e-mail to email@example.com. On the subject line, indicate the course name or number (eg, EC-00#) and the month you want to start the course. In the message body, provide your name, call sign, and e-mail address. Please do not send inquiries to this mailbox. 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, firstname.lastname@example.org. * Correction: In the item "Hudson, Atlantic Directors pulling out all stops on New York antenna bill," the telephone number for Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno was incorrect. The correct number is 518-455-3191. * Michigan gets new Section Manager: The ARRL Michigan Section has a new Section Manager. Former SM Dale Williams, WA8EFK, of Dundee, will pick up the reins from Debbie Kirkbride, KA8YKK, who has stepped down. Williams' appointment was effective June 17. "Debbie is resigning for health reasons, and hopes to stay as active as the health issues allow her to be," said ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, in announcing Williams' appointment. "She regrets having to give up the position for now." Kirkbride was named Michigan SM last July after former SM Dick Mondro, W8FQT, became the Great Lakes Vice Director. Williams' appointment came with the recommendation of ARRL Great Lakes Director Jim Weaver, K8JE, Vice Director Mondro and Kirkbride. Williams had served previously as Michigan's SM from 1992 until 1996. He's now an Assistant Great Lakes Division Director and heavily involved in emergency communications. Michigan ARRL members may contact Williams via e-mail <email@example.com> or telephone, 734-528-3232. * Space Station may be on the air during Field Day 2003: The Expedition 7 crew may be on the air from NA1SS during ARRL Field Day <http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2003/rules-fd-2003.html> the weekend of June 28-29. "We don't know if the crew will be active or not, but give it a try," said ARISS Mentor Charlie Sufana, AJ9N. Sufana advises "good operating sense" and recommends that FD operators wait for the crew to finish a previous contact before calling. "You may be only hearing a station or two," he pointed out, "but they are hearing hundreds." Look for the ISS during Field Day during these time slots: Northern and Southeastern US, June 28, 1821-1842 UTC; Southern and Northeastern US, June 29, 1059-1117 UTC; Western US, June 29, 1233-1253 UTC; Northeastern US, June 29, 1723-1744 UTC; and Northwestern and Southern US, June 29, 1859-1920 UTC. ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, notes that Field Day contacts with the ISS crew do not count for satellite QSO bonus points, just contact credit. "Valid satellite contacts must be Earth-satellite-Earth contacts through a satellite transponder or repeater," he explained. (See Field Day rule 7.3.7.) * ARRL's 2002 Annual Report is hot off the press! The League's 2002 Annual Report is currently available to members free of charge upon request. The report offers an overview of League activities for the year, messages from ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, and Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, along with ARRL's complete audited financial statements for 2002. Send requests--including your name, call sign and mailing address--to Media Relations Manager Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, firstname.lastname@example.org. The report also is available on-line as a PDF document <http://www.arrl.org/announce/annualreport/02ar.pdf>. * FO-20 back in the land of the living: The Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) FO-29 satellite command team has succeeded in recovering the satellite, which had been experiencing problems. The FO-29 command team staff succeeded June 16 in commanding the satellite's transmitter back on. FO-29 was reported sending a strong CW beacon, and the transponder is also available. The command team said the problem was likely caused by recent major solar flares. The command team continues to analyze data and is seeking FO-29 reception reports. Send telemetry reports to the command team, <email@example.com>. The analog transponder (Mode JA) uplink is 145.900 to 146.000 MHz; the downlink is 435.800 to 435.900 MHz. CW telemetry is at 435.795 MHz. FO-29 was launched on in 1996. For more information, visit the JARL Web site <http://www.jarl.or.jp>. * FCC announces improvements to the Electronic Document Management System: The FCC has announced that its Electronic Document Management System (EDOCS) query page has been reorganized and redesigned to make it easier to search for FCC documents. A new feature linking errata to original documents also has been put into place. EDOCS now permits either "quick" or "advanced" searches. The quick search has a limited number of fields and displays the results in a short form. The quick search is best if you already know a docket number, delegated authority (DA) number or FCC number, or if you know specific words that appear in the document's title or description. The quick search also lets you search on a range of dates. The advanced search is much like the current EDOCS query, allowing users to search on a detailed list of data elements--individually or in combination. Adding fields to the search makes it more precise, and fewer documents are retrieved. Results for the advanced search can be displayed in three formats: condensed, full, and citation. The citation format contains citations to the FCC Record Index, FCC Reports 2nd Series, and the Federal Register. Links to EDOCS are available via the "search" link in the menu bar at the top of the FCC home page <http://www.fcc.gov> and on the resources page <http://www.fcc.gov/resources.html>. EDOCS is also listed on the Search Tools page at http://www.fcc.gov/searchtools.html. For assistance with EDOCS, or to report problems, send an e-mail to EDOCS Help, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202) 418-0265. =========================================================== 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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