*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 22, No. 42 October 24, 2003 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL puts Virginia city on notice regarding BPL rollout * +Hara Arena will be home to Hamvention 2004 * +Two-ham Expedition 8 crew takes over ISS * +AMSAT says OSCAR Echo set to launch next March * +Texas antenna decision shows PRB-1 has teeth * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration +Back on the water again +Alfred M. Gowan, W0LX, SK FCC cites Texas companies for alleged CB-related violations Ham radio operators get TV time in South Dakota +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>VIRGINIA BPL STARTUP SPARKS ARRL RESPONSE The ARRL this week put officials in Manassas, Virginia, on notice that the League will act on behalf of its members to ensure full compliance with FCC regulations when the city's Broadband over Power Line (BPL) system starts up in a few months. The League was responding to media reports that Manassas--a Washington, DC, suburb--has approved plans for a citywide BPL rollout. Manassas City Council reportedly voted unanimously October 16 to grant a 10-year franchise to Prospect Street Broadband to expand a BPL field trial and offer high-speed Internet service to the entire community over municipal power lines. ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, on October 22 faxed Manassas Mayor Marvin L. Gillum to point out BPL's dark side--the potential for RF interference from and to any BPL system. "Your advisors no doubt have made the Council fully aware of the great potential for radio interference from such a system," Sumner said. "In particular, you are no doubt well aware that Title 47 CFR §15.5 requires that no harmful interference is caused to any radiocommunication service, and that the operator shall be required to cease operation upon notification by a Federal Communications Commission representative that the device is causing harmful interference." Sumner noted that the same FCC Part 15 rule also provides no protection against interference from the operation of an authorized radio station. "Tests conducted by ARRL technical personnel have shown that the system planned to be deployed in Manassas causes harmful interference to the Amateur Radio service," Sumner said. "We also have reason to believe that the system will be susceptible to interference from normal amateur station operations." An article in Potomac News.com touted the impending Manassas BPL rollout as the first of its type in the US. Sumner said he was writing to alert the City of Manassas "on behalf of its members who live in and use the public thoroughfares of Manassas" that the ARRL "will ensure that there is full compliance with the FCC regulations" once the city's BPL system is in operation. Prospect Street Broadband reportedly will offer the BPL service for $29.95 a month. One estimate predicts the city stands to gain up to $4.5 million over the 10-year life of the contract, due to be signed this week. The Manassas BPL field trial is one of the smallest now under way and involves fewer than a dozen homes and businesses. It was installed in an area that has underground utility wiring and no Amateur Radio licensees nearby. BPL articles in major media have proliferated in recent weeks, many of them painting the service in rosy hues and neglecting to point out the potential for radio interference to and from BPL by other HF spectrum occupants. An October 13 article in The Wall Street Journal, "A New Outlet," by Walin Wong, quotes one trial user who calls the service "fantastic." But Wong also notes that one "Achilles' heel" of BPL is that serving rural areas would require installing costly repeaters every mile or so along the power line. The article also deals with the reluctance on the part of some electric utilities to embrace the technology. Sumner also reacted to the WSJ article. In a letter to the editor not yet published, he pointed out that BPL "amounts to sending a wideband radio signal over unshielded wires that were not designed for the purpose" and that do not work well for the 2 to 80 MHz signals common in BPL systems. Instead, "they function as antennas," he said, and that can lead to interference to radio services, including some involved with public safety. Sumner said potential broadband technology and delivery investors would be far better off considering fiber in densely populated areas and adaptations of wireless LAN technology in rural areas. Additional information on BPL and video clips from field trial sites are on the ARRL "Power Line Communications (PLC) and Amateur Radio" page <http://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/>. ==>HAMVENTION SIGNS CONTRACT FOR 2004 SHOW AT HARA ARENA Hamvention <http://www.hamvention.org/> will be at Hara Arena near Dayton, Ohio, at least for another year. General Chairman Gary Des Combes, N8EMO, announced the one-show contract this week. The last Hamvention contract with Hara Arena was for five years. Des Combes also expressed confidence that behind-the-scenes management changes he's instituted since taking over July 1 will translate into success for "the world's largest Amateur Radio gathering and trade show." "Overall, I think things are going very well," Des Combes said of progress toward pulling together Hamvention's 53rd show, which will take place May 14-16. "I'm confident we're going to be successful." The always popular annual gathering attracted slightly more than 22,100 visitors in 2003. That figure was down by more than 10 percent from the 2002 crowd, and it marked the third year in a row of declining Hamvention attendance. Des Combes is banking that the management team and "best business practices" approach he's put into place for next spring's show will turn things around. One significant change is a shift away from jobbing out Hamvention's production to paid professionals and returning to the strong reliance on volunteers that was a hallmark of past Hamventions. "Some of the volunteers, quite frankly, felt they were not welcome," said Des Combes, who believes that moving away from an all-volunteer Hamvention was a mistake and created some unease within the organization. Under his regime, some volunteer staffers from the past now have returned to the fold, Des Combes said. Most of the volunteers for the 2004 show are from the sponsoring Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) <http://www.ceitron.com/dara/>. The new order at Hamvention means that Garry Matthews, KB8GOL, is out as the show's paid production manager (See "How Hamvention Happens" <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2003/03/06/4/0004053.pdf>, by Rick Lindquist, N1RL, QST, Apr 2000). Matthews had served as the backstage impresario for more than three decades of Hamventions. Des Combes said he intends to spread out Matthews' former duties among several volunteers, saving money in the process. He's also establishing--and in some cases re-establishing--a set of committees responsible for various aspects of Hamvention. The Hamvention assistant chairman is Jim Nies, WX8F. "We have to just work smarter and tougher," he said, adding that the management change will be invisible to those attending. "I don't think John Q. Ham will see anything much different." While the show is still in the planning stages, Des Combes said one possible change would be to have the award winners' recognition ceremony during Hamvention itself. The recognition event has replaced the traditional Saturday evening banquet, done away with this year because of slack attendance. A project management professional, Des Combes says he anticipates the all-volunteer approach will make it possible for Hamvention to more economically mount a show that's of the same quality or better than those of past years. "I can tell you I am leading sweeping changes in how we operate Hamvention," he said. All of them, he says, will better serve the vendors, DARA and the amateurs who attend Hamvention. "I think it's going to be good for everybody." Ticket prices for the 2004 Hamvention will remain at the prices established prior to Des Combes' taking over the reins. Advance tickets for all three days are $20 ($23 park-n-ride bus transportation). Tickets at the gate will cost $25. All under 12 years of age are admitted free. Des Combes says arrangements are under way to enable on-line ticket purchases. There's more information on the Hamvention Web site <http://www.hamvention.org/>. ==>NEW TWO-HAM CREW TAKES OVER ISS REINS The new two-ham crew of Expedition 8 Commander and NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Foale, KB5UAC, and Russian Cosmonaut and ISS Flight Engineer Alexander "Sasha" Kaleri, U8MIR, officially took over the reins of the International Space Station this week. A formal change-of-command ceremony took place Friday, October 24. The contingent of space travelers aboard the ISS expanded to five this week with the arrival of the Expedition 8 crew and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Pedro Duque, KC5RGG, who accompanied them into space. Duque, who spent the week aboard the ISS, conducted two Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) <http://www.rac.ca/ariss/> contacts with school groups in his native Spain using the special call sign ED4ISS. He'll return to Earth October 27 with Expedition 7 Commander Yuri Malenchenko, RK3DUP, and NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu, KC5WKJ, aboard the Soyuz transporter that's been docked with the ISS. Malenchenko and Lu have been aboard the ISS since April. The Expedition 8 crew, which left Earth from Russia October 18, will spend the next six months on the ISS. The two teams have been conducting crew hand-over activities during their eight days of joint operations. Duque, who flew under a commercial agreement between the Russian space agency Rosaviakosmos and the ESA, also conducted a series of scientific studies during his ISS stay. This mission mark Duque's second space flight. The Expedition 7 crew chalked up several human spaceflight milestones. During its tour, the crew marked the 1000th day of ISS habitation on July 29, Lu's 40th birthday on July 1, and Malenchenko's marriage by proxy on August 10 to Ekaterina Dmitriev, a native of Ukraine who now lives in Texas. Upon his return, the couple reportedly plans a church wedding in Russia. Expedition 8 Commander Foale, 46, is a veteran of five space flights and has spent a total of nearly 180 days in space--including more than four months on the Russian Mir space station in 1997. During his Mir stay, Foale found ham radio a valuable supplement to conventional Russian and NASA communication systems after the station was damaged in a collision with an unmanned Progress cargo rocket. Kaleri, 47, flew on three Mir missions and has logged 416 days in space.--information provided by NASA was used in this report ==>AMSAT OSCAR ECHO TO LAUNCH IN MARCH AMSAT-North America <http://www.amsat.org/> has announced that launch of the AMSAT OSCAR-E Amateur Radio microsat--the "Echo Project"--has been moved up to March 31, 2004. Earlier plans had called for a May 2004 launch. Echo Project Team member Richard Hambly, W2GPS, reported at AMSAT-NA's Annual Meeting and Space Symposium October 18-19 in Toronto, Canada, that the Echo project has made significant progress in recent months. "The Project Team met with our contractor, SpaceQuest <http://www.spacequest.com/>, and at this meeting we decided that spacecraft integration would take place this December and scheduled the launch for March," Hambly told the gathering. Integration will take place at the AMSAT Integration Lab at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. A Russian Dnepr LV rocket--a converted SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile--will carry the approximately 10-inch-square satellite into a low-Earth orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Hambly reported that the project team powered up the Echo flight hardware in late summer in a "flat-sat" configuration at SpaceQuest. Data communications, command and control, and attitude control subsystems were tested, in addition to the radio equipment, power systems and cabling. The satellite will incorporate two UHF transmitters, each running from 1 to 8 W and capable of simultaneous operation, four VHF receivers and a multiband, multimode receiver capable of operation on the 10 meter, 2 meter, 70 cm and 23 cm bands. Echo will feature V/U, L/S and HF/U operational configurations, with V/S, L/U and HF/S also possible. FM voice and various digital modes--including PSK31 on a 10-meter SSB uplink--also will be available. During the Symposium, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, outlined the delivery of the so-called Phase 2 ham equipment to the ISS. A Progress rocket already has delivered a Kenwood TM-D700E VHF/UHF transceiver to the ISS. The unit will mean a significant boost to the power output of the ARISS initial station gear--from 5 W to 25 W. Bauer said a Yaesu FT-100D and SSTV equipment, along with some new headsets, tentatively are set for transport to the ISS in January on another Progress flight. Additional ARISS gear will not go up until the space shuttle returns to flight in September 2004, however. Bauer said the equipment still on the ground will be tested in November in Moscow to validate that the Phase 1 and 2 systems are compatible. RF testing will also be conducted. According to Bauer, plans call for the Expedition 8 crew of Mike Foale, KB5UAC, and Alex Kaleri, U8MIR, to install the Phase 1 and 2 70-cm hardware after ground tests are complete. Previous crews already installed four Amateur Radio antennas to cover HF, 2 meters, 70 cm and microwave frequencies. In addressing the general membership meeting, AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, asked the Board of Directors to continue its support of ARISS and that it go ahead with the OSCAR-Eagle project. ==>TEXAS ANTENNA CASE SHOWS PRB-1 IS NO PAPER TIGER A Texas amateur antenna case has affirmed again that the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/local/prb-1.html> has teeth when it comes to compelling municipalities to reasonably accommodate Amateur Radio communication. It took some time, persistence and considerable aggravation, but in the end the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas--Houston Division ruled in favor of Orin Snook, KB5F, of Missouri City. The court determined in late August that Snook could keep his 114-foot antenna structure. In a 63-page Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law <http://users3.ev1.net/~osnook/34.pdf> that Snook has posted on his Web site, US District Judge David Hittner said the city "failed to meet the FCC's requirement of reasonably accommodating Snook's amateur communication needs in accordance with PRB-1." Missouri City had attempted to limit Snook's tower to 65 feet, limit the size of his antenna array and required removal of the 100-foot structure for which it already had granted him a building permit. Snook, who is ARRL Fort Bend County Emergency Coordinator and an Official Emergency Station, argued that he needed the higher structure to permit him to operate VHF and UHF effectively in an emergency. The court declared the city's height restrictions, antenna array restrictions and structure removal requirement "preempted, void and unenforceable." Hittner ordered the city to grant Snook a specific use permit allowing his tower and antennas to remain, although Snook must maintain an existing screening of mature trees surrounding the tower. Although Texas adopted a PRB-1 statute in 1999, it was Snook who made the city council aware of PRB-1. Even so, the city rejected the recommendation of its planner and building inspector to issue Snook whatever permit was necessary under the relevant federal law. The court found the city "failed to attempt to negotiate a satisfactory compromise with Snook" and rejected consideration of any height extending above the trees. Snook secured the services of professional engineer Kent Marshall, W5TXV, who testified to Snook's need for a 100-foot structure instead of the compromise 65 footer. For Snook, Hittner's decision is half a loaf because he failed to prevail on several other non-PRB-1 issues, including purported malicious prosecution and his convictions on 21 counts of violating city statutes in the course of the years-long row. Snook alleges that his wife also lost her job with the city as a result of the dispute. The battle, he estimates, also has left him some $35,000 poorer. "It's a tough victory that's extremely hollow right now," Snook told ARRL. "The 21 criminal convictions of ordinances written after the antenna went up were largely ignored." Hittner determined that the city had, indeed, changed its ordinance, then required Snook to comply with it, even though it already had issued him a building permit in 1999. Snook also points out that while the court ordered the city to pay his costs, that does not include his attorneys fees or a damage award. In addition, the city gets to keep its ordinance--which he'd tried to get thrown out. "The judge ruled strongly in our favor but protected the city as best he could too," he said. Hittner's decision was based on case law that's well known in amateur antenna legal circles. Among decisions cited was Pentel v City of Mendota, argued successfully by attorney and ARRL Dakota Division Director Jay Bellows, K0QB. Also cited was Marchand v Town of Hudson. In that case, ARRL New England Division Vice Director and Volunteer Counsel Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, represented the amateur involved in written and oral arguments before the New Hampshire Supreme Court, while ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, filed an amicus brief. Imlay and Bellows both discussed Snook's case with him by telephone. Snook seeks contributions to his KB5F Legal Defense Fund via his Web site <http://users3.ev1.net/~osnook/>. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Sun gazer Tad "I Wear My Sunglasses At Night" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: The big news this week is a colossal sunspot that appeared on Sunday, October 19, and a related large solar flare. Scientists are predicting this activity could affect radio, cellular telephone and communications satellites and possibly the power grid. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Environment Center (SEC) <http://www.noaa.sec.gov/> reports the passage of a "geomagnetic sudden impulse" at 1450 UTC today--a result of a coronal mass ejection--or solar flare--earlier in the week. It also issued a space weather alert for a geomagnetic K index of 6. The SEC predicted solar activity would be at high levels, with sun regions 484 and 486 "very capable of producing major flares." The sunspot first emerged at about seven times Earth's diameter, but by Tuesday, October 21, it had grown to around the size of Jupiter. That's the equivalent of 11 Earth diameters. This is one of the largest sunspot groups to appear during the current cycle 23. Along with this large spot have been CMEs--solar flares--upsetting Earth's magnetic field. There was an additional spot by mid-week. One CME caused a radio blackout on Sunday, October 19, around 1650 UTC. The solar flare activity certainly is not good news for operators planning to participate in the CQ World Wide DX Contest (SSB) <http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com/cqwwhome.html> this weekend. As of Thursday, October 23, the forecast was for a planetary A index of 50 for Friday through Sunday, October 24-26, but this could be a modest projection. The solar flux has risen since October 14, when it was only 92, and it should top 200 by the middle of next week. The mounting solar activity is dramatic enough to make national news. MSNBC <http://www.msnbc.com/news/984388.asp?cp1=1>, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer <http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/144998_solar23.html>, The Honolulu Advertiser <http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/Oct/23/ln/ln14a.html> and The Huntsville Times <http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/index.ssf?/base/news/1066931170176 140.xml> were among those picking up on this celestial story. The solar flux value of 191 for October 22 is the value measured at the Penticton Observatory in British Columbia. The number from the NOAA Space Environment Center was lowered to 154, probably because of a flare enhancement to the Penticton reading. Those who keep records may want to lower the value for that day to 154 from 191, which would make the week's average for the daily solar flux 123.4 rather than 128.7. Not shown here is the following day, October 23, when the observatory at Penticton measured 209.3 while the SEC reported it as 183. These seem to be estimates based upon the morning measurements made three hours before local noon, which were both around 154 and 183 for the two days. Sunspot numbers for October 16 through 22 were 28, 66, 91, 89, 113, 144 and 117, with a mean of 92.6. The 10.7 cm flux was 95.2, 98.8, 108.6, 120.4, 135.1, 151.5 and 191, with a mean of 128.7. Estimated planetary A indices were 26, 31, 27, 32, 30, 39 and 33, with a mean of 31.1. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The CQ Worldwide DX Contest (SSB) and the 10-10 International Fall Contest (CW) are the weekend of October 25-26. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL November Sweepstakes (CW), the North American Collegiate ARC Championship (CW), the QRP ARCI Running of the QRP Bulls, the IPA Contest (SSB), the High Speed Club CW Contest, the Ukrainian DX Contest and the DARC 10-Meter Digital Contest are the weekend of November 1-2. 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 registration: Registration for the Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) course (EC-006) opens Monday, October 27, 12:01 AM Eastern Standard Time (0501 UTC). Registration remains open through Sunday, November 2. Classes begin Tuesday, November 4. Registration for the HF Digital Communications (EC-005) and VHF/UHF--Life Beyond the Repeater (EC-008) courses remains open through Sunday, October 26. Those interested in taking an ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) course in the future can sign up to receive advance notification 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. * Back on the water again: David Clark, KB6TAM--the oldest person to circumnavigate the globe solo--is back under sail, this time to spend some time in the Caribbean. Clark, now 79, completed his near-disastrous round-the-world sail on December 7, 2001, when he sailed into Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after two years on the high seas. During his adventure, Clark used ham radio to keep in touch with his wife, Lynda, in California, and with friends around the world. Ham radio also helped save his life after his first vessel, the Mollie Milar, foundered off South Africa and was lost. Clark subsequently resumed his voyage in another vessel, which he named Mickey in honor of his canine traveling companion of the same name who was lost when the Mollie Milar went down. Lynda Clark reports that her husband planned to spend a few days in Nassau, the Bahamas, and might play clarinet at one of the Poop Deck restaurants owned by his friend Eloy Roldan. He has ham radio aboard the Mickey. She says Clark is continuing to work on a book about his circumnavigation. An article by Clark appeared in the September issue of Soundings, <http://www.soundingsonline.com/> a boating industry publication. * Alfred M. Gowan, W0LX, SK: Former ARRL Dakota Division Director Alfred M. "Al" Gowan, W0LX (ex-W0PHR), of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, died August 8, 2003. He was 92. Gowan served as Dakota Division Director from 1952--when he took over the division leadership after his predecessor, Goodwin L. "Dos" Dosland, W0TSN, became ARRL president. Gowan served as Dakota Division Director until 1960. A graduate of Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) and of the University of Iowa, Gowan served as a faculty member and academic dean at the University of Sioux Falls. Shortly before his death, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology expressed its appreciation to Gowan for his contribution of a complete bound set of QST to the school's library. Survivors include his wife, Fay, to whom he was married for more than 60 years.--some information provided by Rich Beebee, N0PV * FCC cites Texas companies for alleged CB-related violations: The FCC has cited David P. Pace Jr of Nacogoches, Texas--doing business as Pacetronics and Pace Marketing--for alleged violations of Section 302(b) of the Communications Act and §2.803(a)(1) of FCC rules. The FCC says its investigation determined that Pace, through his companies, was offering for sale more than three dozen types of non-FCC-certificated CB transceivers. The FCC citation noted that Pace was marketing the devices as amateur transceivers. "The Commission has evaluated radiofrequency devices similar to those listed and concluded that the devices at issue are not only amateur radios but can easily be altered for use as Citizens Band devices as well," the Commission citation said. The FCC said dual-use CB and amateur radios can not be certificated under FCC rules. In addition, the FCC warned Pace that §2.815(b) of its rules requires FCC certification for external RF power amplifiers or amplifier kits capable of operation between 24 and 35 MHz. The FCC asked Pace to submit a written statement describing actions taken to correct the apparent violations. The FCC's Dallas office issued the citation. * Ham radio operators get TV time in South Dakota: Ham radio operators in South Dakota will be featured during an upcoming segment of the Public Television program "Dakota Life." The show will highlight how local hams have contributed during emergencies. It will air November 6, 8 PM Central/7 PM Mountain Time. Reruns are scheduled for November 9, 1 PM Central/ noon Mountain Time and November 25, 9:30 Central/8:30 Mountain Time. Visit the South Dakota Public Broadcasting Web site for more information <http://www.sdpb.org/>. =========================================================== 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. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League. ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): email@example.com ==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, firstname.lastname@example.org ==>ARRL News on the Web: <http://www.arrl.org/> ==>ARRL Audio News: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call 860-594-0384 ==>How to Get The ARRL Letter The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from ARRL HQ. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for e-mail delivery: ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site <http://www.arrl.org/members/>. 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