*************** 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. =========================================================== 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 ARRLWeb Extra <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/extra> offers access to informative features and columns. 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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