*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 22, No. 33 August 22, 2003 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL says BPL industry comments lack substance * +NTIA weighs in on BPL * +Concert pianist-ham finishes charity run * +The list of codeless countries grows * +Popular UO-14 satellite out of operation * +At least two hams hurt in Baghdad blast * +FCC designates former ham's GMRS application for hearing * +Nominations open for 2003 Professional Media Award * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration Spam a result of virus e-mail spoofing, not from ARRL Kentucky ARES assists in search for missing aircraft 2003 McGan Award nomination deadline looms +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>BPL ADVOCATES' COMMENTS LACK TECHNICAL SUBSTANCE, ARRL REPLY COMMENTS SAY The ARRL says Broadband over Power Line (BPL) proponents failed in their comments to the FCC to substantiate their claims that the technology will not cause widespread interference. In reply comments filed August 20--the FCC's deadline to receive comments in the Notice of Inquiry, ET Docket 03-104--the League said that if the FCC is going to rely on industry statements in making decisions on BPL deployment, the industry should back up its assertions with technical studies and hard data and make these public. "Unfounded assurances that BPL will not cause interference are no substitute for real-world measurements," the League declared, "and the FCC should rely on documented test results and an impact of interference potential based on scientific, not marketing, criteria." A form of power line carrier--or PLC--technology, BPL would use existing low and medium-voltage power lines to deliver broadband services to homes and businesses using frequencies between 2 and 80 MHz. Some BPL proponents--primarily electric power utilities--already are testing BPL systems in several markets and want the FCC to relax radiation limits. "Power lines are ubiquitous, and attempts by the BPL industry to obtain relaxed emission classifications based on operating environment are obviously illogical and frivolous," the ARRL said. BPL would impact not only hams but public safety low-band VHF systems and other mobile systems, the League's comments added. In contrast to the BPL advocates' "blanket statements" of no interference from BPL field trial sites, the ARRL said its own field tests "lead inescapably to the conclusion that BPL will, if deployed, create widespread harmful interference." It predicted signal levels of up to 30 dB over S9 on a typical amateur transceiver, "well beyond what would preclude amateur HF communications entirely." To dramatize its point, the League urged the Commission to view video <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/#video> shot during recent ARRL test-and-measurement forays to BPL field trial communities in four states. The ARRL said the type of degradation expected from BPL would transform 20 meters from a band with worldwide communication capabilities to one of limited regional communication capability. "ARRL has, in fact, done what the BPL industry should have done--brought an amateur station to the trial area," the League said. "When it did so, the interference was manifest and widespread and would be so even to an untrained observer." The League also noted that comments in the proceeding so far have been silent on the interference susceptibility of BPL to ham radio signal ingress. The League predicted that even as little as 250 mW of signal induced into overhead power lines some 100 feet from an amateur antenna could degrade a BPL system or render it inoperative. The ARRL called on the FCC to stop acting like a cheerleader for BPL. "It is past time that the Commission acted in its proper role as a steward of the radio spectrum and recognized the interference potential of BPL to the sensitive incumbent licensed services in these bands," the League concluded. "The Commission cannot stretch the Part 15 regulations as far as would be required to accommodate BPL." The League's complete reply comments are available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/et03-104/reply-comments-index.htm l> along with more information <http://www.arrl.org/news/features/2003/07/08/1/>. Additional information and video clips are on the ARRL "Power Line Communications (PLC) and Amateur Radio" page www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/. To support the League's efforts in the BPL fight, visit the ARRL's secure BPL Web site <https://www.arrl.org/forms/development/donations/bpl/>. ==>NTIA EXPRESSES "BROAD CONCERNS" IN BPL COMMENTS The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has weighed in on the FCC's Broadband over Power Line (BPL) initiative. While urging the FCC to "move forward expeditiously" with its inquiry into BPL, the NTIA expressed "broad concerns" about interference to government users. The NTIA also has launched an extensive modeling, analysis and measurement program for BPL. A Commerce Department branch, NTIA administers spectrum allocated to federal government users. "Notwithstanding BPL's potential benefits, the Commission must ensure that other communications services, especially government operations, are adequately protected from unacceptable interference," the NTIA said in late-filed comments in the BPL Notice of Inquiry. "In tailoring its rules to promote BPL deployment, the Commission must be certain to provide all communications stakeholders with adequate protections against BPL emissions that may cause unacceptable radio frequency interference." Until releasing its comments this month, the NTIA has been largely silent on the issue since last spring. In an April 24 letter, then-NTIA administrator Nancy J. Victory applauded the FCC's decision to launch its inquiry into BPL, but called on the Commission to make sure that BPL does not cause harmful interference to other services. In early July, Frederick R. Wentland, NTIA's associate administrator in the Office of Spectrum Management, told the FCC that the NTIA did not favor Current Technologies LLC's <http://www.currenttechnologies.com/> request for a permanent waiver of the field strength limit specified for Class B emissions under FCC Part 15 rules. A Maryland BPL developer, Current Technologies already is field testing and marketing the technology. Wentland worried that the pole-mounted interfaces and outdoor power lines used for BPL could interfere with public safety communication in the 30 to 50 MHz range. He told FCC Office of Engineering and Technology Chief Edmond J. Thomas that the "unobstructed and ubiquitous nature of this BPL application, and perhaps other aspects of BPL, differs considerably from the situations presently found in typical unintentional radiators" operating under Part 15. Wentland--named recently to succeed Victory as NTIA administrator on an interim basis--also invited the FCC to coordinate its own BPL measurement activities with those of the NTIA. The NTIA's comments, which have not been posted on the FCC Web site, are available on the NTIA Web site <http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/fccfilings/2003/bplcomments_08132003.htm > ==>HAM-CONCERT PIANIST-JOGGER COMPLETES 880-MILE CHARITY RUN Concert pianist and cancer survivor Martin Berkofsky, KC3RE, has completed his 880-mile "Celebrate Life Run" <http://www.celebrateliferun.com/> from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to the Chicago area. An ARRL member, Berkofsky set out jogging on April 9, his 60th birthday, to celebrate his recovery from cancer and to raise money for research into the disease. He concluded his marathon around midday August 20 in Zion, Illinois. He performed a special concert August 21 for cancer patients, their families and staff members at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) Midwestern Regional Medical Center. "How grateful I am for all of the support and help from so many radio amateurs," Berkofsky told ARRL. He singled out for special mention the Tulsa Amateur Radio Club and its president, Gregg Wonderly, W5GGW, as well as the Washington (Missouri) Zero Beaters, the Chicago FM Club, and his QSL manager Murray Green, K3BEQ. He also acknowledged "the countless radio amateurs who kept me company with on-the-road QSOs, many even driving out to meet me personally and to help me with road directions when my maps weren't clear." Along the way, Berkofsky carried a quad-band ham radio handheld transceiver to chat with locals as he passed through their communities. He also marked his daily position using borrowed APRS gear and made some QSOs via EchoLink. Berkofsky says he set a daily record of 23.1 miles on July 16. "Went through the wall, as runners would say," he said. CTCA and the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation (CTRF) <http://www.celebrateliferun.com/ctrf.cfm> sponsored Berkofsky's run and are benefactors of the donations pledged on its behalf. CTCA says his run raised more than $80,000 for cancer research. "How proud I am to say that Amateur Radio played such a large part in this," Berkofsky added. "I think it will take months to really understand everything that has happened." The run also garnered extensive media coverage along its route. "What an incredible experience, what incredible lessons . . . what a wonderful country we have" Berkofsky said. "I hope I come out of this as a better person." ==>MORE COUNTRIES DROP MORSE CODE REQUIREMENT Two more countries have joined the small, but growing, list of administrations that no longer require Amateur Radio applicants to pass a Morse code test to have access to HF. Others have indicated they will do so soon. Affected countries also have granted HF privileges to their amateurs who hold "no-code" VHF/UHF licenses. Joining Switzerland, Belgium, the UK and Germany are Norway and the Netherlands. Waiting in the wings are Austria and New Zealand. The actions are in response to the World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 decision to delete the requirement to prove Morse code ability from the international Radio Regulations, leaving individual administrations to decide if they want to retain it or not. The Norwegian Post and Telecommunication Authority <http://www.npt.no/> reportedly has told the Norwegian Radio Relay League <http://www.nrrl.no/> that the three former license classes--with LA, LB and LC call sign prefixes--were combined into one class on August 19. Those holding LC call signs have been issued new LA-prefix call signs, and those holding LB-prefix call signs may apply for LA call signs if they wish. The Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency <http://www.agentschaptelecom.nl/> announced this week that Morse proficiency will cease to be a requirement for HF access as of September 1. The Netherlands' Class A and C licenses--which correspond to CEPT Classes 1 and 2 respectively--will enjoy the same privileges, although they'll retain their distinctive call sign prefixes for now. The change does not affect the Class N license, which permits 2-meter and 70-cm operation only. A letter to all amateurs was to go out this week to all hams in the Netherlands. Information from Austria's IARU member-society, the Austrian Experimental Radio Transmitters Union (OeVSV) <http://www.oevsv.at/>, indicates that country will grant provisional HF access to all CEPT Class 2 licenses "sometime in September," pending formal changes. New Zealand telecommunications authorities plan to remove the requirement for Morse competency from the General class syllabus as part of the next round of updates to that country's radiocommunications regulations. The change is expected to go into effect later this year. In the US, six unrelated petitioners have requested the FCC to delete the requirement that applicants pass the 5 WPM Element 1 Morse code test to gain HF access and make related changes in the Amateur Service rules (Part 97). The FCC has not yet invited public comment on any of these petitions.--some information from RSGB, No-Code International and Kees Murre, PA2CHM ==>POPULAR SATELLITE SHUTS DOWN The popular and heavily used UO-14 FM satellite has quit working, and some in the amateur satellite community worry that the venerable easy-sat could be down for the count. UO-14 (145.975 MHz up, 435.070 MHz down for Mode J) failed to appear on August 5 over the western Americas, but ground controller Chris Jackson, G7UPN, later was able to reset the satellite from the UK. The reason for that shutdown remains a mystery. "Since the flight computer is not operating, we have no way of knowing why this event occurred and can only hope that it is not a sign of more problems to come," Jackson said at the time. His words turned prophetic a week or so later when UO-14 again failed. It was still not back in operation at week's end. "It seems that there is a problem with the UO-14 power system--possibly a battery cell has a fault," Jackson said after the second shutdown. "This is causing the spacecraft to shut down during some eclipses." Jackson said since this was shutting down the whole spacecraft, it was impossible to implement an automatic routine to periodically cycle the transmitter and keep it on. Jackson said UO-14 had been changed over to a secondary power system that does not shut down quite as easily, and he was running UO-14's downlink in telemetry mode to find clues to the problem on board. One possible fix was to make the satellite automatically switch its power back on each time it passes over its Surrey, England, control point. "UO-14 is getting on toward 14 years and has completed something on the order of 74,000 charge/discharge cycles of its NiCd batteries--not bad really," Jackson said. "Let's hope it can manage a few more." AMSAT-NA Vice President for User Services Bruce Paige, KK5DO--a regular satellite user--says many UO-14 users have migrated to another FM satellite, SaudiSat SO-50 (145.800 MHz up, 436.800 MHz down, 67 Hz CTCSS tone, for Mode J). "It is a bit more difficult to work as you have to have a 67-Hz PL tone," he said. "The polarity of the satellite changes many times during a pass." Paige notes that hams nonetheless have had success with handheld transceivers and very modest antennas. He said SO-50 is typically on over North America.--AMSAT News Service/AMSAT BB ==>HAMS INJURED IN BAGHDAD BLAST The Daily DX <http://www.dailydx.com/> reports that three Amateur Radio operators were injured in the August 19 bombing of the UN Headquarters at the former Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq. The Daily DX Editor Bernie McClenny, W3UR, says he's received word from Les Nouvelles DX <http://lesnouvellesdx.free.fr/> Editor Jean-Michel Duthilleul, F6AJA, that Ghis Penny, ON5NT, was at the UN Headquarters when the bomb went off. He reportedly suffered a minor head injury and was evacuated August 21 to Amman, Jordan. Penny expects to be back home in Belgium in the next few days. Robert Kasca, S53R, also was working at the UN offices when the explosion occurred but apparently was not hurt. According to McClenny, Kasca told Randy Hollier, WX5L, that he plans to continue working in Iraq. Kasca also said that Michael Dirksen, PA5M (ex-PA5MD), was hospitalized in Germany as a result of the bombing and was said to be doing well. The UN has indicated that it would move at least some of its personnel outside Iraq as a result of the incident. At least 23 people were killed in the bombing. The dead included widely respected UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN's high commissioner for refugees who had taken on an assignment in Iraq. ==>FCC DESIGNATES HEARING ON FORMER AMATEUR'S GMRS APPLICATION The FCC has designated the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) application of Richard Allen Burton, ex-WB6JAC, of Harbor City, California, for hearing. For more than two decades, Burton has had a troubled relationship with the FCC, which revoked his General-class Amateur Radio station license and suspended his operator license in 1981 for "willful and repeated violation" of the Amateur Service rules. Since then, the FCC has stymied his every effort to return to ham radio. "Based on the information before us, we believe that Burton's history of repeated violations of the [Communications] Act and our rules raises a substantial and material question of fact as to whether he possesses the requisite character qualifications to be a Commission licensee," the FCC asserted in a Hearing Designation Order released August 7. Burton filed his GMRS application in June 2002. GMRS is a general-purpose UHF radio service that operates under Part 95 of the FCC's rules. In addition to Burton's 1981 license revocation, the HDO cites his four separate convictions for alleged unlicensed operation of radio transmitting equipment. As a result of his most recent conviction in 2000, Burton spent three months in a federal prison in Texas, received a year's probation and was ordered to undergo psychological counseling. In 1996, Burton was briefly successful in becoming relicensed when the FCC issued him the call sign KF6GKS after he'd passed the Technician examination. The FCC promptly set aside the grant as soon as it realized the error. Burton recently got a Warning Notice from FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth citing monitoring information alleging that Burton had operated on 2 meters "on numerous occasions" in the Los Angeles area since January. Last year, the FCC warned a Los Angeles-area repeater owner about allowing Burton to use his repeater. The hearing will consider Burton's prior record as well as the more recent allegations. Based on the evidence presented, the FCC will determine Burton's qualifications to be an FCC licensee and whether to grant his GMRS application. The HDO is available on the FCC Web site <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-03-2607A1.doc>. ==>NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR 2003 BILL LEONARD, W2SKE, PROFESSIONAL MEDIA AWARD The ARRL is accepting nominations for the annual Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award, a tribute to the late CBS News President Bill Leonard, W2SKE. The award goes to a professional journalist whose outstanding coverage in TV, radio, print or multimedia best reflects the enjoyment, importance and public service value of Amateur Radio. The deadline to receive entries is December 5, 2003. The ARRL Public Relations Committee will review all submissions and make a recommendation to the Board of Directors at its January 2004 meeting. The winner receives a plaque and a cash award of $500. An avid Amateur Radio operator, Leonard was most active on the air during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1958, an article he wrote for Sports Illustrated, "The Battle of the Hams," covered the "sport" of DX contesting. To this day, it remains one of the best Amateur Radio feature stories ever published. Leonard, who died in 1994, was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1996. Last year's Professional Media Award winner was Assistant News Director Jill Valley and News Director Greg Schieferstein of KPAX-TV in Missoula, Montana. For more information or to obtain a nomination form and official entry rules, contact Media Relations Manager Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, email@example.com; 860-594-0328. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar overlord Tad "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Sunspot numbers are down 19 percent, solar flux is down 7 percent and the planetary A index is up 42 percent: Could it be any worse for HF operators? Well yes, it could, but those percentages reflect the change in average daily indices from last week to this week. What could be worse, of course, are zero sunspots with solar flux around 70 or lower--which is what we saw about seven years ago at the bottom of the solar cycle. The day most disturbed by geomagnetic storms this week was Monday, August 18, when the planetary A index was 86. The planetary K index was 8 during one three-hour period, 7 during another, and 6 during three other periods. This indicates a severe geomagnetic storm. The storm began around 0100 UTC when the interplanetary magnetic field tipped to the south near Earth. This makes Earth vulnerable to the effects of any solar wind or flare activity. A solar flare erupted on August 19 at 2005 UTC, and this pushed a strong coronal mass ejection toward Earth. The forecast from the US Air Force for planetary A index was adjusted upward on Thursday, August 21, after the initial one at 2104 UTC. That earlier one predicted a planetary A index of 30 for Friday, which is quite high. Six hours and twenty minutes later a new forecast was released that predicted Friday's planetary A index at 50. Saturday is predicted at 30, and Sunday, Monday and Tuesday all show the same planetary A index of 25. Predicted solar flux for Friday, August 22 is 115, and 110 is the value for Saturday through Tuesday, after which the number is expected to head up. Sunspot numbers for August 14 through 20 were 108, 86, 92, 113, 104, 77 and 62, with a mean of 91.7. The 10.7-cm flux was 129.7, 131.4, 126.9, 119.3, 115.9, 116.7 and 111.8, with a mean of 121.7. Estimated planetary A indices were 18, 14, 11, 15, 86, 21 and 15, with a mean of 25.7. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The ALARA Contest, the Hawaii QSO and Ohio QSO parties, the TOEC World Wide Grid Contest (CW), the NRRL 75th Anniversary Contest and the CQC Summer QSO Party are the weekend of August 23-24. JUST AHEAD: The ALARA Contest, the YO DX HF Contest, the SARL HF CW Contest and the SCC RTTY Championship are the weekend of August 30-31. 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, August 25, 12:01 AM EDT (0401 UTC). Registration remains open through Sunday, August 31. Classes begin Tuesday afternoon, September 2. Registration for the ARRL HF Digital Communications (EC-005) and VHF/UHF--Life Beyond the Repeater (EC-008) courses remains open through Sunday, August 24. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, email@example.com. * Spam a result of virus e-mail spoofing, not from ARRL: Spam that appears to be coming from ARRL Headquarters e-mail addresses is a result of computer worms capable of e-mail "spoofing" and is not coming from ARRL. Complaints from the began arriving this week to ARRL Headquarters about received spam that looked like it had come from ARRL's e-mail system. Outside of routine correspondence, the ARRL only sends e-mail to its members who request mailings, such as W1AW bulletins and The ARRL Letter. ARRL Information Systems Department Manager Don Durand says so-called worm programs are the culprit. "What happens is that this worm--and many others--will infect someone's machine," he explained. The worm takes addresses from the user's personal address book and uses them on the "From:" line of a piece of e-mail. "The worm will then take the rest of the personal address book and send notes to everyone in it, varying the 'From:' line as it goes." Durand said the worm programs can use arrl.org e-mail addresses it harvests from others' machines to propagate and replicate itself. The latest SoBig.f variant began circulating August 19. Durand said ARRL has been receiving dozens of calls from victims of e-mail spoofing. "It's everywhere," he said of the SoBig worm. "It's not slowing down." Network Associates has upped its threat rating for SoBig to "high." NAI has more information on the worm on its Web site <http://vil.nai.com/vil/content/v_100561.htm>. * Kentucky ARES assists in search for missing aircraft: Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) members from Kentucky ARES districts 1 and 2 assisted in efforts to locate a private aircraft that was reported missing June 14 with two men aboard. Responding to a request from the emergency manager in Calloway County to Assistant ARES Coordinator Bill Call, KJ4W, ARES members set up the county's mobile communication trailer at the Murray Airport to support the search. Amateurs supported the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in the search. Attempts to locate the missing plane continued for several days and eventually involved responders from four states. Calloway County ARES Coordinator Mark Garland, K4SDI, and ARES District 1 Coordinator Bill Slayman, KY4NU, headed up the ham radio support and recruited additional amateurs for duty. "We had a full activation in communications support of the CAP mission and a total of 22 ARES members participated in various roles," Slayman said. CAP flew some 280 missions. Watercraft also were involved after debris from the plane was found June 23 in a lake in Tennessee. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency took over the incident at that point, and the ARES activation ceased. Calloway County's Office of Emergency Management extended "heartfelt appreciation" to ARES members from Calloway and Hopkins County, Garland said. "Their support filled a gap that otherwise would have delayed operations and cost in excess of $70,000." The amateurs' effort gained wide media coverage, including a mention on CNN.--Pat Spencer, KD4PWL/Kentucky Amateur Radio News * 2003 McGan Award nomination deadline looms: The deadline is September 2 to receive nominations for the 2003 Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award, which recognizes significant contributions in the area of volunteer public relations on behalf of Amateur Radio. The ARRL Board of Directors voted in July to re-solicit nominations for this year's award after the Public Relations Committee determined that none of the nominations submitted adequately fit the award criteria. Those planning to nominate someone for the 2003 McGan Award are encouraged to read "Announcing the 12th Annual McGan Award" (QST Feb 2003) <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2003/07/24/103/Award.pdf>. The article highlights the significant differences between public relations and public service. Public relations involves efforts specifically directed at bringing Amateur Radio to the attention of the general public and the news media in a positive light. Nomination forms are available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/pio/McGan-Nom-Form03.pdf>. Return completed entry forms and supporting materials to Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award, c/o Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Nominations must be received at ARRL Headquarters by 5 PM Eastern Daylight Time on September 2, 2003. =========================================================== 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. 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