ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 44
November 7, 2003
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* + November 7 last day to file comments with FCC on Morse testing
petitions
* + Logbook of the World now works on Macintosh computers
* + IARU, ARRL support Amateur Radio course at Albanian University
* + NWS/ARRL SKYWARN Recognition Day set for December 6
* + Tim Lewallen, KD5ING, wins Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna
Award
*   Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF:
       This weekend on the radio
     + Progress Energy reaches out to NC hams on BPL
       South Africans Launch Telescope Special Event Nov 21
     + Missouri Traffic Net Legend SK at 93


+Available on ARRL Audio News

===========================================================

==> NOVEMBER 7 LAST DAY TO FILE COMMENTS WITH FCC ON MORSE TESTING
PETITIONS

The deadline to submit electronic comments on seven FCC Petitions for
Rulemaking regarding Morse code testing for US Amateur Radio operator is
midnight, November 7. As of 7 PM November 6, 1893 comments have been filed
by various interested individuals and parties, with a large plurality of
respondents commenting on a proposal by FISTS CW Club.

The FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) will accept filings in
the following formats: MS Word 6.0 and higher, MS Excel 4.0 and higher,
Word Perfect 5.1 and higher, ASCII Text, and Adobe Acrobat Portable
Document Format (PDF). Electronic comments must be filed before 12 AM EST;
hardcopy comments must reach the commission by 7 PM.

The 14-page petition filed on behalf of FISTS CW Club by Nancy A. Kott,
WZ8C, the executive director of FISTS' North American chapter, has drawn
almost half of the comments filed on the seven Morse-testing-related
petitions--a total of 877. The FISTS petition would delete the requirement
to pass Element 1 to obtain Technician plus Element 1 (ie, "Tech Plus") HF
privileges.

Designated RM-10811, it would merge Tech and Tech Plus into a single
class, emphasize technical content, including digital modes, on written
examinations and extend digital mode privileges within Novice/Tech Plus
subbands. It would not provide additional HF phone privileges for
Technicians, however. The FISTS petition would retain a 5 WPM Morse exam
for General applicants and raise the Morse exam to 12 WPM for Amateur
Extra applicants while increasing the technical level on written
examinations for both classes.

There are six other Morse-related petitions before the Commission,
numbered RM-10805 through RM-10810, taking various stands on testing, WPM
and subband segment allocation.

Interested parties may file comments on any or all of these petitions
using the ECFS Web site at www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/, which also permits users
to view all comments on file. 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 filed comments, click on "Search for Filed Comments" under
"ECFS Main Links" and type in the complete RM number.

==> LOGBOOK OF THE WORLD NOW WORKS ON MACINTOSH COMPUTERS

ARRL's Logbook of the World continues to grow and expand, and it's now
operational on the Macintosh OS X operating system. Mac enthusiast Steve
Palm, N9YTY, compiled a version of TrustedQSL to work with newer Macintosh
computers. The program was built using MacOS version 10.2--"Jaguar"--and
was tested on versions 10.2 and 10.3, the new "Panther" upgrade.

Palm, said he had a lot of fun porting the TQSL code to the Mac
environment, and was satisfied that he was able to help fill a real need
for Mac users. "There was a lot of discussion about this on the HamMac
mailing list. It was obvious that many Mac users were looking for
something," he said. Palm, the author of EchoMac, a Macintosh OS X
EchoLink program, said it took about a week of concentrated effort to
complete the port to the Mac platform.

"The base code developed by the TrustedQSL team at ARRL didn't really have
any issues that prevented it from being ported to the Mac, so kudos go out
to them for doing a good job writing portable code," Palm said. He tackled
a few Windows-Mac translation issues and made the Macintosh program "more
Mac-like," with configuration and help files embedded in the program so it
can be installed in drag-and-drop fashion.

ARRL Web and Software Development Manager Jon Bloom, KE3Z, said he's also
working on integrating Palm's MacOS changes into the official source tree
so that other Mac developers will be able to easily build a library and
their applications from the source code. The TQSL software also runs on
the Windows platform, and Red Hat Linux versions 7.2 and 8.

Palm, a ham since 1994 and a programmer since the early 1980s, said that
with the new program development tools Apple has recently released, he
believes that more Macintosh Amateur Radio software authors will now get
involved with porting existing ham programs and creating new ones.

In the six weeks the system has been open to the public, Logbook of the
World has accepted logs from 4,000 users from 158 DXCC entities. These
users--all with secure digital certificates--have uploaded nearly 21
million QSO records into the system, as of November 3. All of those
contacts have so far resulted in more than 350,000 records being
generated, Bloom said.

ARRL Assistant to the CEO David Patton, NN1N, said Logbook continues to
evolve, with the ability to claim confirmed contacts for ARRL awards
credit being just around the corner. He said the cost per credit would be
between 15 and 25 cents, making each credit far cheaper than the cost of
mailing a paper QSL card with a self-addressed, stamped envelope and
possibly an international reply coupon, as well.

For a complete overview on Logbook of the World, just head on over to the
LoTW Web page at www.arrl.org/lotw or check out the article by ARRL
Membership Services Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG, on page 46 of the October
2003 QST.

==> IARU, ARRL SUPPORT AMATEUR RADIO COURSE AT ALBANIAN UNIVERSITY

Beginning November 9, an International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 1
supported course in Albania will commence under the sponsorship of Spartak
Poci, the Minister of Telecommunications, and in cooperation with the
Polytechnic University of Tirana.

Thirty-four third and fourth year students will begin a five-week course
of study, culminating in a CEPT license examination. A unique part of this
program is that Amateur Radio is being integrated into the regular
university course offerings using an advanced Radio Society of Great
Britain study package as a reference.

Each week of this program in Tirana will benefit from the efforts of
invited professional educators from the Amateur Radio community from
Albania, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Macedonia,
Spain, Sweden and the United States. In total, some 50 Amateur Radio
operators, drawn mainly the DX and contesting communities, will travel to
Albania to teach. The core organizing team consists of Joseph Obstfeld,
4X6KJ; Carsten Esch, DL6LAU; Angel Padin, EA1QF; Roger Brown, G3LQP;
Pietro Mario Ambrosi, I2MQP; Warren Hill, K7WX; Pertti Simovaara, OH2PM;
Marenglen Geni Mema, ZA1B, and Martti Laine, OH2BH.

Professor Giorgio Goggi, I2KMG, and Professor John Share, G3OKA,
representing the University of Pavia and the Associazione Radioamatori
Italiani, and the University of Liverpool and RSGB, respectively, will
teach the first week. Share will serve as a lead teacher for the first
three weeks and be succeeded by Uli Weiss, DJ2YA.

The second week segment of the course will be lead by Hill and taught
under the supervision of Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA. Representing the ARRL,
team members Dan Brown, N7DB; Rich Chatelain, K7ZV; Robin Critchel,
WA6CDR; Paul Rubenfeld, WF5T, and Don Wilson, K6RKE, will demonstrate
hands-on operating practices and cover the topics of the Earth's magnetic
field, the mysteries of radio propagation, practical antennas, the role of
Amateur Radio in society, FCC/CEPT examinations, transmitter interference,
QSL practices and successful DXpeditioning.

During this five-week period, ZA1A--the station of the Albanian Amateur
Radio Association--will be active on many bands and in a variety of modes
while demonstrating Amateur Radio to local telecommunications and
education administrators, as well as to the students. Multiple locations
will be used and several stations may be active at the same time. All QSL
request should be sent via OH2BH.

After the course, all equipment used will be put to serving the Albanian
amateur community. The progress of the entire project can be followed on
the Internet at www.za1a.com. This educational program is supported by the
International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 1 with additional support
from the ARI, ARRL, RSGB, IARC, URE, the Northern California DX
Foundation, Vertex Standard Co Ltd (Yaesu), Fluidmotion Inc (SteppIR
beams), Malev Airlines and Rogner Europark Hotel in Tirana. --Martti
Laine, OH2BH

==> NWS/ARRL SKYWARN RECOGNITION DAY SET FOR DECEMBER 6

The fifth annual SKYWARN Recognition Day will take place Saturday,
December 6, 2003, 0000 UTC to 2400 UTC. During the special event, Amateur
Radio operators visit National Weather Service (NWS) offices and contact
other operators around the world. The purpose of the event is twofold: to
recognize Amateur Radio operators for the vital public service they
perform during times of severe weather and to strengthen the bond between
radio amateurs and their local NWS office. The event is cosponsored by the
American Radio Relay League and the National Weather Service.

Traditionally, hams have assisted the National Weather Service during
times of severe weather by providing real-time reports of severe events
and storm evolution. "You simply can't put a price tag on it," said Scott
Mentzer, N0QE, organizer of the event and Meteorologist-In-Charge at the
NWS office in Goodland, Kansas. "The assistance that radio amateurs
provide to the NWS throughout the year is invaluable."

This year, radio amateurs once again proved their worth. On May 4, after
tornadoes knocked out all communications in Stockton, Missouri, portable
ham radio stations were set up and staffed by volunteers, with licensed
NWS employees forwarding specific forecasts to hams at the Stockton
Emergency Operations Center (EOC). In August, an Amateur Radio storm
spotter in Iowa tracked a tornado until it lifted, providing the local NWS
office in the Quad Cities with "ground truth." This resulted in more
specific information and earlier warnings being disseminated to the
public.

The story doesn't stop there. Deployed during a winter storm last March,
hams in Fairbanks, Alaska reported pinpoint locations of freezing rain and
snow. The information was relayed on 2 meters, which allowed the local NWS
office to sharply define the warning area and provide detailed statements
of ice accumulation. In Wisconsin, a volunteer operator reported to the
NWS office at early one spring morning and solicited snowfall reports from
amateurs across the region, allowing the NWS to produce a detailed snow
graphic and make a public statement summarizing the storm. Amateur Radio
success stories such as these occur every year, all across the country.

In 2002, participants logged nearly 23,000 QSOs during the 24 hour event.
Last year nearly 70 countries were contacted. To learn more, check out the
NOAA Web site. -- Thanks to David Floyd, N5DBZ, Warning Coordination
Meteorologist, NWS Goodland, Kansas

==> ARRL ANNOUNCES 2003 PHILIP J. MC GAN MEMORIAL SILVER ANTENNA AWARD
WINNER

Tim Lewallen, KD5ING, of Nacogdoches, Texas, is the winner of the 2003
Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award, the ARRL announced November
5. The award is given annually to an ARRL member who demonstrates
outstanding volunteer public relations success on behalf of Amateur Radio.

Lewallen has been licensed since 1999, and is an ARRL Public Information
Officer (PIO) for the League's North Texas Section. He also serves as a
PIO for the Nacogdoches Amateur Radio Club.

Not long after Lewallen took on his ARRL PIO position earlier this year,
the space shuttle Columbia disaster occurred. Hams in Texas immediately
got involved in the debris recovery effort, and Lewallen knew there was a
story to be told. Lewallen quickly sought out advice from fellow
participants on the League's public relations reflector and implemented a
media plan that garnered a lot of positive press for the ham radio
emergency responders, and Amateur Radio in general.

"Through his efforts and cooperation with the response agencies, Amateur
Radio was cast in a very positive light," said ARRL Public Relations
Committee Chairman Jeff Reinhardt, AA6JR.

Aside from his work during the shuttle disaster, Lewallen works regularly
with his local media, helps build positive awareness about Amateur Radio
by giving talks to community groups and is a regular contributor on the
League's public relations reflector. "Tim's resourcefulness and
willingness to tell the Amateur Radio story sets a fine example for all
PIOs," says Reinhardt. "The PR Committee was pleased to recommend Tim for
this year's honor."

Lewallen was nominated by Army Curtis, AE5P, and Lloyd Colston, KC5FM. He
will receive an engraved plaque, and ARRL officials in the League's North
Texas Section are planning an in-person presentation.

The McGan Award was created in 1993 in memory of Phil McGan, WA2MBQ (SK).
He was a journalist, the first chairman of the League's Public Relations
Committee and an enthusiastic supporter of volunteer PR efforts to benefit
ham radio.


==>SOLAR UPDATE

Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports:

Last week's events caused excitement, but this week was positively
historic.  The largest explosion ever recorded in our solar system
occurred Tuesday, November 4, when an X28 class flare exploded from
sunspot 486.  The flare erupted as the giant sunspot was about to rotate
from the visible disk.  This means the blast wasn't aimed at earth, but
was in a great position for taking images.  The eruption saturated X-ray
detectors on NOAA's GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental
Satellites, and was so strong that the X28 measurement had to be
estimated, as did the solar flux for November 4.

The flare saturated observing satellites for about 13 minutes during the
peak of the event, according to Christopher Balch of NOAA SEC, who spoke
with Tomas Hood, NW7US.  The measurements stopped at X17.4.  The level of
the flare was estimated by analyzing data from HESSI, the High Energy
Solar Spectroscopic Imager.  The last time a huge flare saturated X-ray
detectors was in April, 2001, and that one was X-20, the biggest recorded
at that time.  Keep in mind that there aren't any accurate records of
flare intensity before about 30 years ago.

Sunspot numbers for October 30 through November 5 were 293, 266, 277, 174,
76, 79 and 32, with a mean of 171. 10.7 cm flux was 271.4, 248.9, 210.4,
190.4, 166.9, 168 and 114, with a mean of 195.7. Estimated planetary A
indices were 162, 93, 21, 18, 10, 31 and 9, with a mean of 49.1.


==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio:  The Worked All Europe (WAE) DX Contest
(RTTY), the Japan International DX Contest (Phone), the South African
Radio League Field Day Contest, the OK/OM DX Contest, the EA-QRP Club
Contest, and the Anatolia ATA PSK31 Contest are all on tap for this
weekend.  The ARRL November Sweepstakes (Phone) is a week away.  See the
ARRL Contest Page <http://www.arrl.org/contests> and the WA7BNM Contest
Calendar <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for more info.

* Progress Energy reaches out to NC hams on BPL: North Carolina amateurs
are getting heard regarding broadband over power line Internet delivery by
a company whose infrastructure would carry such a system. Raleigh, North
Carolina-based Progress Energy has responded to many calls and e-mails
this fall from concerned hams by contacting several local Amateur leaders
and beginning a dialog that will include Amateur Radio in their BPL
testing. In October, Progress Energy network engineer Bill Godwin met
separately with Wake County ARES EC Tom Brown, N4TAB, and Gary Pearce,
KN4AQ, Wake County ARES PIO, and talked by phone with Technical Specialist
Frank Lynch, W4FAL. Godwin wanted to know more about Amateur Radio, what
hams thought problematic with BPL, and who in the amateur community he and
Progress Energy should work with. ARRL North Carolina Section Manager John
Covington, W4CC, and ARRL Lab Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI, were identified
as primary persons for Progress Energy to work with. Godwin set a positive
tone by promising that Amateur Radio operators would be part of the next
phase of testing, to begin early in 2004 in Wake County, NC. Godwin asked
about notch filters. It was explained that notching the ham spectrum might
work in a limited sense, but it wouldn't protect other services like
shortwave broadcast listeners, aviation, etc. Progress Energy completed
their Phase I test in the Wakefield area of north Raleigh early last
summer. Phase I was designed to give Progress Energy engineers experience
with the hardware, and let them know if it really worked. Amateur Radio
was not involved in that test, and no Amateur Radio interference
monitoring was conducted. But they have been hearing from hams steadily,
and stridently, ever since. Phase II is planned for the end of 2003 and
early 2004. It will be a larger test and focus more on marketing than
technology, but hams will be invited to participate, and their interest
will be technical. Both Phase I and II tests involve mostly underground
wiring. ARRL Lab Supervisor Ed Hare's testing in areas with underground
wiring showed that substantial interference still occurred, though above
ground wiring was worse. Progress Energy is testing a system manufactured
by Amperion. More information about BPL and Amateur Radio can be found at
the ARRL Web site at www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/ --Thanks to Gary
Pearce KN4AQ, Wake County, NC ARES PIO

* South Africans Launch Telescope Special Event Nov 21: A group from the
South African Boland Amateur Radio Club will operate a special event
station November 21-23 from the Sutherland Observatory in the Northern
Cape Province of South Africa. "The purpose is to make amateurs aware of
the largest Telescope in the Southern Hemisphere," noted Dennis Green,
ZS4BS. Using the call sign ZS1SALT ("South African Large Telescope"), the
station will operate from 1100 UTC November 21 until 1000 UTC November 23.
All HF frequencies will be used and the station can be worked on phone, CW
and digital modes. A special QSL card will be sent to all amateurs who
make contact and send direct QSL cards. Cards should be sent to Borland
ARC, PO Box 273, STRAND, 7140, Republic of South Africa. For additional
information on the project, please visit the Web site www.salt.ac.za, as
well as the Boland Amateur Radio Club website at www.qsl.net/zs1bak.


* Missouri Traffic Net Legend SK at 93: Letha A. Dangerfield, W0OUD, of
Joplin, Missouri died October 31. She was 93 years old. Dangerfield was an
active ham for many years, reported Jim Johannes, N0ZSQ. "She handled
traffic using CW, which she copied on her Braille typewriter. She was also
a net control operator for the Missouri Traffic Net. At one time, Letha
won a CW receiving contest at 49 wpm," he said. Dangerfield was born Dec.
4, 1909 in San Francisco, Calif. Although partially blind, she graduated
from Joplin High School, ranking 3rd in her class; soon after graduation
her eyesight failed completely. She was a member of the Joplin Amateur
Radio Club, the Joplin Service Club of the Blind and the board of
directors for the Joplin Association for the Blind, serving many years as
secretary. Dangerfield was also a published poet. A funeral mass was said
November 4 at St. Peter's Church in Joplin.



===========================================================
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