*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 22, No. 35 September 5, 2003 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL emergency communications training grant renewed * +FCC invites comments on No-Code International Morse petition * +Amateur Radio contact with astronaut proves educational * +FCC plans hearing on former ham's fitness to be a licensee * +Civic project pays big dividends for Oklahoma club * +Hudson Division Vice Director challenges Director for his seat * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Emergency Communications Course registration ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration Correction Oklahoma hams respond following explosion Salvation Army's SATERN participating in Indiana flood response South Carolina county lauds ARES/RACES ARRL president to participate in second N2LEN 9/11 Commemorative Net Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>ARRL GETS SECOND-YEAR EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS TRAINING GRANT The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) <http://www.cns.gov/> has renewed funding to subsidize the cost of ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level I training for another year. The federal grant of nearly $180,000 covers the second year of a three-year award. The goal of the second-year grant--which runs September 1, 2003, through August 31, 2004--is to provide basic training for about 1700 more Amateur Radio emergency communicators. "This is a validation of our performance during Year 1 of the grant," said ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH. As a result of the first-year grant, ARRL was able to provide emergency communications training to 1699 volunteers. This year, CNCS will be looking not only at the course completion rate but also the "outcomes that quantify and qualify the impact Amateur Radio has on communities nationwide," Hobart added. "The true measure of the grant's success will be in how well these volunteers serve their communities when all else fails," Hobart said. The second-year grant also places renewed emphasis on recruiting senior volunteers--those 55 and older. "In Year 2," she said, "CNCS wants to know how certified hams have become actively involved in their communities in drills, in practices and in actual disasters--how they've aided communities when citizens, their homes and businesses are in harm's way." Hobart called the success of the Year 1 grant "as much a testament to ARRL as to the hams who have taken the emergency communications course and who serve when called upon to do so." A $150,000 grant from United Technologies (UTC) in large part has gone to sponsor nationwide Level II <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html#ec002> and Level III <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html#ec003> "leadership-level" emergency communications training. The UTC grant is for three years. Students who take advantage of the grant-provided emergency communications training through the ARRL will be reimbursed for the tuition cost once they have successfully completed the course. Certified volunteers then are expected to take an active role as part of their local Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) team. To learn more about the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications courses, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) <http://www.arrl.org/cce/> Web page and the C-CE Links found there. For more information, contact Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, email@example.com, 860-594-0340. ==>FCC PUTS NO-CODE INTERNATIONAL'S MORSE PETITION ON PUBLIC NOTICE The FCC has invited public comments on another Morse code-related petition for rule making--this one from No-Code International (NCI) <http://www.nocode.org/>. It's designated RM-10786. When the FCC put six other Morse-related petitions in the sequence RM-10781 through RM-10787 on public notice, RM-10786 failed to show up on the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) <http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/>. It remained missing through September 2. NCI calls on the FCC to delete Element 1--the 5 WPM Morse code exam--"totally" from the Amateur Service rules and grant "Tech Plus" privileges to current Technicians. It also wants the FCC to act on the matter as soon as possible, preferably in a separate rule making and without further ado. "[T]he Commission clearly has the authority to modify its rules on its own initiative and without further public notice or comment," NCI asserted in its 20-page petition. NCI notes that World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) made optional the requirement to prove the ability to send and receive Morse signals to operate below 30 MHz. As a result, "the Commission is no longer bound to maintain any Morse proficiency requirement." The Morse requirement, NCI contends, is keeping newcomers away from Amateur Radio. Comments poured in this week from members of the amateur community on all seven petitions. Clearly ahead in the comment-collection race is the petition filed by the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators, RM-10787, which had collected more than 350 comments by week's end. The other petitions each have garnered more than 100 comments apiece. Interested parties may file comments on any or all petitions now on public notice <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-238494A1.pdf> by using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) <http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/>. The ECFS also permits users to view all comments on file. There is a 30-day comment window. To file a comment, click on "Submit a Filing" under "ECFS Main Links." In the "Proceeding" field, type the full RM number, including the hyphen, and complete the required fields. "RM" must be in capital letters, and you must include the hyphen between "RM" and the five-digit number. You may type your remarks into a form or attach a file. ECFS also accepts comments in active proceedings via e-mail, per instructions on the ECFS page. To view any comments already submitted for each petition, click on "Search for Filed Comments" under "ECFS Main Links" and type in the complete RM number, including the hyphen, in the "Proceeding" field. "RM" must be in capital letters, and you must include the hyphen between "RM" and the five-digit number. Several countries--including Switzerland, Belgium, the UK, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands--already have moved to drop their Morse requirements. Austria, New Zealand and Australia are expected to do so soon. ==>TEXAS, COLORADO STUDENTS LEARN ASTRONAUT'S VIEW ON LIFE IN SPACE Lack of gravity and future human space flight endeavors were among topics Texas and Colorado youngsters recently explored via ham radio with astronaut Ed Lu, KC5WKJ. Lu was at the controls of NA1SS aboard the International Space Station for an August 28 chat with students at Incarnate Word Academy in Houston, Texas, and a September 3 QSO with elementary, middle and high schoolers in Boulder, Colorado. Most were students at Boulder High School, where Lu once was coached wrestling. Both contacts were arranged via the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. "It feels great!" enthused Lu when a student at Incarnate Word Academy--a Roman Catholic college preparatory academy for girls--asked how he was managing in zero gravity. "At this very moment, my feet are not touching the floor. I'm just floating in the middle of the cabin." Returning to Earth will be another story altogether. "All good things do come to an end, and when we come back down to the ground, gravity is gonna suck us down to the floor," Lu said. He explained that the effect was less because of muscle atrophy than the fact that the space traveler's brain and body need a few days to readjust to Earth's gravity. On a lighter note, Lu said the crew does laundry "the way I wish we could do laundry on the ground--which is, we don't." He said the crew wears clothing items for a few days and then "we toss 'em away." Students at the Houston School posed 14 questions to Lu. The control operator Nick Lance, KC5KBO, thanked Lu and ARISS on behalf of the students. Members of the Clear Lake Amateur Radio Club (CLARC) <http://www.clarc.org/> set up the equipment for the contact, which involved a simplex link from the school to the Johnson Space Center's W5RRR club station 21 miles away. Nine youngsters--several of them Amateur Radio licensees--participated in the September 3 QSO from Boulder. One student asked Lu to respond to criticism that scientific experiments aboard the ISS were redundant and could be done on Earth. Lu said the research the crew does is not the primary scientific focus of the ISS. "The real thing we're doing is learning how to fly in space--meaning long-duration flights in space," Lu said, "and in that sense, the entire space station is an experimental vehicle." The ISS will "help us learn the things that we need to learn to go outward" to the moon again, to asteroids or to Mars. "That's where we're really going to get scientific payoff," he said. Lu told the Boulder students that ISS crews "live by the clock" and not by whether it's dark or light outside--since the ISS experiences 16 day-night cycles a day. "When it's time to go to bed, you go to bed, and when it's time to wake up, you wake up," he explained. The Boulder QSO took place from the station of Bill McCaa, K0RZ, who handled Earth-station duties for a similar contact in 2001. The students were able to ask 13 questions before the NA1SS signal faded out. The Expedition 7 crew of Lu and commander Yuri Malenchenko, RK3DUP, will return to Earth in October. The crew's round of ARISS contacts is expected to wrap up by September 20. ARISS <http://www.rac.ca/ariss/> is an international program with participation by ARRL, NASA and AMSAT. ==>FCC WARNS FORMER LICENSEE ABOUT ALLEGED EX PARTE VIOLATIONS The FCC has warned a former amateur licensee to stop contacting Commission personnel regarding the disposition of his Amateur Radio application. The FCC had granted Jack Gerritsen of Bell, California, a Technician license, KG6IRO, on November 8, 2001. Acting on its own motion six days later, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau set aside Gerritsen's license after learning that he'd been convicted the previous year in state court of interfering with Los Angeles Police Department radio transmissions. The FCC also received complaints that Gerritsen had operated without a license and caused malicious interference on amateur frequencies. Gerritsen's application reverted to a pending status, and the conviction and complaint information was referred to the Enforcement Bureau for evaluation. "The Office of Administrative Law Judges has requested we advise you that your repeated calls to those offices are in violation of the Commission's rules against ex parte communications," FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth said in an August 14 letter to Gerritsen. "Those rules place restrictions on contacts with Commission decision-making personnel and provide sanctions for violations of those rules." Gerritsen again was arrested in January 2002 after he allegedly made death threats on Amateur Radio frequencies and violated his parole following his 2000 conviction for interfering with police transmissions. Gerritsen had served one year of a five-year term, and the FCC alleges that, once out on parole, he resumed operating and caused deliberate interference to numerous amateur repeaters in the Los Angeles area. At the time of arrest, the FCC said, Gerritsen had more than 20 radios--eight of them capable of operating on the amateur, marine, Land Mobile and Public Safety bands. He had a marine radio hidden in a closet with batteries connected to it, and a length of antenna line running outside his residence, the FCC said. "The terms of the parole prohibited you from possessing radio transmitting equipment," Hollingsworth noted in his August 14 letter. In May 2002, Gerritsen was sentenced to three years in prison--with credit for good behavior, work time and time already served--but he was released early due to jail overcrowding, Hollingsworth told ARRL. Now, Gerritsen faces a hearing to determine if he's qualified to hold a Commission license. Hollingsworth said that in due course, the FCC will issue a Hearing Designation Order setting forth the details of the proceeding, but he admonished patience on Gerritsen's part. "Neither repeated calls to specific Commission employees nor calls to Commission employees at random will expedite this process," Hollingsworth said, adding that issues related to possible violations of FCC ex parte rules could come up at the hearing. ==>STORM SHELTERS PROJECT PAYS DIVIDENDS FOR CLUB An Oklahoma ham radio club's initiative has paid off by helping the community and enhancing public recognition for Amateur Radio. Chuck Kanach, KC5EZS, who's vice president of the Choctaw Amateur Radio Club <http://k5car.tripod.com/carc>, says his club proposed last year to locate the precise position of storm shelters in the tornado-prone community to enable them to be found later--after a storm. CARC, an ARRL-affiliated club, got the okay this summer. Members used their own GPS units and kept in touch via ham radio and cellphone as they used an initial list of 137 addresses from the city to track down, pinpoint and inventory the exact location of each storm cellar. Before they finished, the list had grown by another two dozen. "We worked in teams of two and were able to locate 154 of these shelters within a six-week period," said Kanach, who headed up the project <http://k5car.tripod.com/carc/id1.html>. When the club finally turned over its list, Fire Chief Loren Bumgarner handed the club another dozen to locate. "We have also been asked to locate storm shelters for neighboring cities, Kanach said. "It looks like we will be staying busy for a while." The success of the project--and ham radio's contribution in the aftermath of last May's tornadoes in Oklahoma--has encouraged municipal officials to take ham radio more seriously as an emergency resource, Kanach said. "I am now on first-name basis with our city's emergency coordinator," Kanach said. "He knows that we have people in our club concerned about our city and our people. He also knows the type of services we could provide." Kanach believes part of the reason for the project's success--which got local media coverage--was not waiting for the city to ask but taking the initiative to propose the project first. "The City of Choctaw and everyone we came in contact with now knows about the Choctaw Amateur Radio Club," he said. ==>SOLE ARRL DIRECTOR RACE IS IN HUDSON DIVISION The only contested seat in the current election cycle for ARRL directors and vice directors is in the Hudson Division. Incumbent Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, will face a challenge from current Vice Director and former Director Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML. Ballots will go out no later than October 1 to all full League members in the division who are in good standing as of September 10. The current election cycle includes the Central, Hudson, New England, Northwestern and Roanoke divisions. "The Election Committee has completed its review of nomination petitions and candidates' questionnaires for this year's elections for Director and Vice Director," said ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, in his capacity as ARRL Board secretary. "In all uncontested elections the single eligible candidate has been declared elected or re-elected." Challenger Mendelsohn--an ARRL Life Member--was elected to his first term as Hudson Division Vice Director in 1982 and became Director in 1987. The ARRL Board of Directors elected him ARRL First Vice President in 1994. Nominated for ARRL President at the Board's January 2000 meeting, Mendelsohn was defeated for the top job by Jim Haynie, W5JBP, on a nine to six vote. Later that year, he outpolled incumbent JP Kleinhaus, W2XX, to return to the Hudson Division's second slot. Incumbent Fallon has served as director since 1997, when he took over the seat by defeating Richard Sandell, WK6R. A retired high school English teacher and a ham for 41 years, he's an ARRL Life Member. As Hudson Division Director, he's served on all standing committees, has been an elected member of the ARRL Executive Committee for four years and serves on the ARRL Foundation Board and on the Administration and Finance Committee, which oversees the League's programs and budget. The lone candidate for the vice director's seat that Mendelsohn is vacating--Joyce Birmingham, KA2ANF--has been declared elected. A ham since 1979, Birmingham holds an Extra class ticket. She's vice president of the 10-70 Repeater Association in New Jersey and enjoys chasing DX. She's also a volunteer examiner. Incumbents running unopposed and also declared elected are: Director Dick Isely, W9GIG, and Vice Director Howard Huntington, K9KM, in the Central Division; Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, and Vice Director Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, in the New England Division; Director Greg Milnes, W7OZ, and Vice Director Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF, in the Northwestern Division; and Director Dennis Bodson, W4PWF, and Vice Director Les Shattuck, K4NK, in the Roanoke Division. A petition from former South Carolina Section Manager Patricia Hensley, N4ROS, for the Roanoke Division's vice director slot was deemed invalid because it did not contain enough ARRL member signatures. Ballots in the contested race must be received at ARRL Headquarters by noon Eastern Time on Friday, November 21. The vote will be tallied and the election result announced later that day. Three-year terms of office for successful director and vice director candidates begin at noon on January 1, 2004. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Heliophile Tad "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Daily sunspot numbers were lower this week than last, and solar flux remained about the same, but the average daily planetary A index dropped by more than half to 14.3. That's the lowest it's been since the reporting week of July 3-9, 2003. The forecast for the next few days is for unsettled to active geomagnetic conditions, with the predicted planetary A index for Friday through Monday, September 5-8, at 20, 12, 12 and 15. Predicted solar flux for Friday and Saturday is 115 and 120, then 125 for Sunday through Friday, September 12. Sunspot numbers for August 28 through September 3 were 146, 132, 120, 101, 59, 90 and 74, with a mean of 103.1. The 10.7-cm flux was 118.7, 116.3, 114, 109.7, 108.1, 105.7 and 110.5, with a mean of 118.9. Estimated planetary A indices were 18, 15, 17, 7, 14, 12 and 17, with a mean of 14.3. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The North American Sprint (CW), the All Asian DX Contest (SSB), the Quick PSK63 Contest, the IARU Region 1 Field Day (SSB) and the DARC 10-Meter Digital Contest are the weekend of September 6-7. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL September VHF QSO Party, the North American Sprint (SSB), the FISTS Coast to Coast Contest, YLRL Howdy Days, the Worked All Europe (WAE) DX Contest (SSB), the Louisiana and Tennessee QSO parties, and the QRP ARCI End of Summer PSK31 Sprint are the weekend of September 13-14. 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, September 8, 12:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time (0401 UTC), for the Level II Emergency Communications on-line course (EC-002). Registration remains open through the September 13-14 weekend or until all seats are filled--whichever occurs first. Class begins Tuesday, September 23. Thanks to United Technologies Corporation, the $45 registration fee paid upon enrollment will be reimbursed after successful completion of the Level II course. During this registration period, approximately 75 seats are being offered to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) <http://www.arrl.org/cce/> Web page and the C-CE Links found there. For more information, contact Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-594-0340. * ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration: Registration for the ARRL Antenna Modeling (EC-004) course opens Monday, September 8, 12:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time (0401 UTC). Registration will remain open through Sunday, September 14. Class begins Tuesday afternoon, September 16. 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 by sending 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: The story "BPL Places FCC at Regulatory Crossroad, AMRAD Suggests" in The ARRL Letter, Vol 22, No 34 (Aug 29, 2003) contained incorrect information. It should have said: "Ironically, the HomePlug standard substantially notches out the amateur bands--something ARRL convinced the HomePlug Powerline Alliance to do after amateur complaints sparked a recall of non-HomePlug-standard carrier-current devices that had operated near 3.5 MHz. The new 60-meter band is not notched out, however." A spokesperson for HomePlug Powerline Alliance notes that HomePlug had worked with ARRL long before any HomePlug products were on the market. * Oklahoma hams respond following explosion: Amateurs in the Tulsa area responded promptly August 18 after an explosion at an Airgas gas distribution facility sparked fires and evacuations. According to news reports, multiple explosions rocked the near-downtown neighborhood, and an evacuation order was issued for an area one mile in diameter around the site. Interstate 244 also was shut down. Amateur Radio volunteers Mark Duensing, KD5DLL, and Joe Iverson, KD5KKZ, reported to the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency's (TAEMA) emergency operation center to provide non-emergency and back-up communication if needed. Craig Roszel, KC5TFI, who lives near the explosion site, responded to the TAEMA mobile command post, which TAEMA has equipped with Amateur Radio gear for such emergencies. "We heard the first blast and could see the fire over the house," said Roszel, who promptly sent his family to safety then checked in with the EOC. Amateurs were on the air within a few minutes of the blast. No major injuries or fatalities were reported. Amateurs were released from duty within about five hours, after the Tulsa Fire Department gained control of the fires.--Mark Conklin, N7XYO. * Salvation Army's SATERN participates in Indiana flood response: Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) members this week supported The Salvation Army's response in central Indiana after torrential rains caused widespread flooding. "For the second time this year the streets of Marion and Hendricks counties were flooded as water flowed in from every direction," said SATERN National Coordinator Pat McPherson, WW9E. McPherson said Peggy McNary, N9QT, and her SATERN team from Central Indiana were supporting the operation with Amateur Radio communication. He reports that since September 1, The Salvation Army has served nearly 1000 meals to flood-affected residents and National Guard troops assisting in the relief work. The Salvation Army also has been providing shelter for displaced residents and distributing clean-up kits. Three Salvation Army canteens are serving meals throughout the Indianapolis area. * South Carolina county lauds ARES/RACES: The Aiken, South Carolina, County Council has expressed its appreciation to area Amateur Radio Emergency Service and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (ARES/RACES) volunteers for their "invaluable assistance" during a communications emergency June 16. In a resolution adopted at the council's August 19 meeting, the hams were praised for responding after a lightning strike took out communications and ambulance dispatch facilities at the sheriff's office. "A net of volunteers from ARES/RACES was established on one of the Aiken repeaters," the resolution explains. Hams were assigned to each remote ambulance location, and amateur volunteers equipped with handhelds traveled with the ambulances during calls and worked from emergency medical service substations and offices during the radio emergency. Other hams acted as net controllers and as relays when the ambulances got outside the coverage area of the local repeater. "Without the assistance of the ARES/RACES, the communications center would have been unable to dispatch ambulances, thereby jeopardizing the lives of many Aiken County citizens," the resolution said. "County Council desires to express its appreciation to the ham radio operators who 'stepped up to the plate' in a crisis situation."--Jim Boehner, N2ZZ * ARRL president to participate in second N2LEN 9/11 Commemorative Net: ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, will participate in the second N2LEN 9/11 Commemorative Net on September 11. Haynie said he will talk about the role of Amateur Radio in homeland security and urge each amateur to develop skills in emergency communications and to be prepared. The net will involve linking repeaters across the US and around the world via the Internet. Haynie addressed a first-anniversary hookup last year to thank all amateurs who volunteered in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The linkup relied on EchoLink and eQSO Internet software connections as well as repeaters and simplex links around the world. Len Signoretti, N2LEN, says improvements over the past year have made communication even easier and more reliable, and he hopes the second-anniversary net will be an even greater success. The main EchoLink net servers will open at 6 AM EDT on September 11, and the directed net will start at 7 PM EDT. All EchoLink, IRLP and eQSO servers are invited to join. For more information, contact Signoretti <email@example.com> or visit the 911 Net Web site <http://www.911net.org/>. * Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for August was Mike Loukides, W1JQ, for his article "A Dipole Curtain for 15 and 10 Meters." Congratulations, Mike! The winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author--or authors--of the best article in each issue--is determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes place each month on the QST Cover Plaque Poll Web page <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/qstvote.html>. Cast a ballot for your favorite article in the September issue of QST. Voting ends September 30. =========================================================== 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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