ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 47
November 28, 2003
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +ARRL on-line licensing course to debut soon
* +FCC announces Wireless Bureau reorganization
* +ARISS Roy Neal, K6DUE, special event starts November 29
* +Expedition 8 commander predicts moon colonies
* +FCC begins revocation proceeding for convicted murderer
* +California club to host USA ARDF Championships
* +ARRL Honorary Vice President Robert York Chapman, W1QV, SK
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF:
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Emergency Communications course registration
     FCC begins "interference temperature" proceeding
    +AO-40 transponders off for a month
     IARU-R1 and CEPT Electronic Communications Committee to cooperate

+Available on ARRL Audio News

===========================================================
NOTE: ARRL Headquarters is closed Thursday and Friday, November 27 and 28,
for the Thanksgiving holiday. There will be no W1AW bulletin or code
practice transmissions on those days. This week's editions of The ARRL
Letter, ARRL Audio News and the DX and propagation bulletins are being
distributed early. ARRL Headquarters reopens Monday, December 1. We wish
everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday!--Rick Lindquist, N1RL
===========================================================

==>ON-LINE LICENSING COURSE, LOBBYING KIT PART OF ARRL'S 2004 PLAN

An on-line Amateur Radio licensing course--possibly bundled with ARRL
membership--plus additional Certification and Continuing Education courses
<http://www.arrl.org/cce/> are among the strategic objectives of the
League's 2004 Operational Plan. The League also plans to evaluate its
existing ARRL on-line class offerings. The item was among several the ARRL
Executive Committee (EC) designated to include in next year's plan when it
met November 9 in Irving, Texas. Work on the licensing course already is
under way, and the ARRL expects to announce its availability in the near
future.

At a mid-September strategic planning session, ARRL Board members agreed
to let the EC pick the 2004 objectives to incorporate into the 2004
Operational Plan. In the future, the full Board will handle the task.
Other strategic objectives include development of a grassroots lobbying
kit for ARRL members to use when approaching congressional representatives
in their home districts on legislation affecting Amateur Radio and
surveying served agencies such as relief organizations to identify their
present and future emergency communications requirements and areas of
Amateur Radio performance that may need improvement.

The EC included some bottom-line related strategic objectives: That the
League operate profitably to insure its future well being, and that it
develop as ARRL Board policy a requirement that all new programs and
services have a business plan and at least break even financially.

In other matters, ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, told the EC that the League
is close to signing a contract calling for independent testing and
measurement of Broadband over Power Line (BPL) interference
characteristics. Earlier this year, the FCC issued a Notice of Inquiry, ET
03-104, that enthusiastically endorsed the prospect of BPL, which the ARRL
and others feel poses the potential of possibly severe interference to
licensed HF radio services. The contract would include certification by
professional engineers.

The EC discussed and developed draft proposals to implement changes in US
Amateur Radio rules in the wake of World Radiocommunication Conference
2003 (WRC-03). Among other significant changes, WRC-03 left it up to
individual countries whether to require a Morse code test for access to
amateur high-frequency allocations. The ARRL Board of Directors will
discuss the EC's recommendations in detail at its January 2004 meeting.

The EC also voted not to go forward with an appeal of FCC actions to
permit expanded unlicensed Part 15 operations in the 24.05-24.25 GHz band.
The ARRL had filed a Petition for Review October 22 with the US Court of A
ppeals for the District of Columbia Circuit of two FCC orders that would
allow certification of unlicensed 24-GHz equipment at field strengths 10
times the level Part 15 rules now permit. After discussing the pros and
cons of the case and the minimal prospects for a positive outcome, the
Executive Committee voted to withdraw the League's appeal.

Minutes of the November EC meeting are available on the ARRL Web site
<http://www.arrl.org/announce/ec_minutes_472.html>.

==>FCC REORGANIZES WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU

The FCC has announced a reorganization of its Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau (WTB) <http://wireless.fcc.gov/> "to more effectively support the
FCC's strategic goals--broadband, competition, spectrum, media, homeland
security and modernizing the FCC." The WTB administers the Amateur Radio
Service (Part 97) and amateur licensing, but the changes are expected to
be transparent to the amateur community. The Amateur Service now will be
administered by the newly named Public Safety and Critical Infrastructure
Division. D'wana Terry, formerly chief of the Public Safety and Private
Wireless Division, will head the new division.

"The bureau's portfolios have been redistributed along the lines of
strategic goals, consolidating similar functions to focus resources
better," the FCC said in a November 24 public notice. As a result of the
reorganization, which the FCC approved November 13, WTB expands from five
to six divisions: Public Safety and Critical Infrastructure, Spectrum
Management Resources and Technologies, Auctions and Spectrum Access,
Spectrum and Competition Policy, Mobility, and Broadband.

In addition to the Amateur Service, the Public Safety and Critical
Infrastructure Division will oversee Part 95, Marine, Aviation,
Intelligent Transportation Systems, Public Safety Fixed Microwave, Public
Safety and Private Land Mobile services and E911, among other areas.
Responsibilities moved elsewhere include Fixed Microwave (Part 101),
Instructional Television Fixed Service, the Multipoint Distribution
Service, and the Multichannel Video Distribution and Data Service.

The action reduces the scope and size of WTB's larger divisions and
eliminates separate branches below the division level, while retaining
their current functions. One of those was the Licensing and Technical
Analysis Branch, headquartered in the FCC's Gettysburg, Pennsylvania,
office. Among other tasks, that branch has handled the granting and
issuance of Amateur Radio licenses and the vanity call sign program.
Another was the Policy and Rules Branch at FCC Headquarters, which has
been the home of Bill Cross, W3TN, an FCC figure well-known within the
amateur community. Among other tasks, that branch has handled Amateur
Radio rule making petitions and Part 97 rules interpretations.

A potential plus of the new arrangement is that Cross now will work under
another amateur licensee, Mike Wilhelm, WS6BR, who will report to Terry.

The FCC said eliminating branches would promote greater management
flexibility in deploying resources and lead to a flatter, more flexible
organization without altering the bureau's overall mission. The Commission
said it was able to carry out the reorganization by redeploying existing
positions.

WTB Chief John Muleta said the reorganization will result in "a
mission-driven team that will be innovative in its approach to regulatory
policies and customer service."

==>ROY NEAL, K6DUE, ARISS COMMEMORATIVE EVENT STARTS NOVEMBER 29

An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) NA1SS special
event to commemorate Roy Neal, K6DUE (SK), gets under way Saturday,
November 29, with an ISS pass over the US West Coast. ARISS International
Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, says ARISS has provided ISS Expedition 8
Commander Mike Foale, KB5UAC, with a list of potential passes for the
November 29-30 weekend. (See the ARRL Web site
<http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2003/11/26/3/> for frequencies and pass
times.)

"It is our expectation that Mike will probably concentrate on a couple of
passes over North America and/or Europe this weekend, but we cannot be
sure of this," Bauer said. "So our advice is to be listening wherever you
live in the world." ARISS requests that special event participants keep
all contacts short.

Bauer said Foale hopes to be on the air from NA1SS for the special event
for about two passes per weekend through December. "This, of course, is
completely contingent upon his schedule and other duties or issues that
might crop up on ISS," he cautioned. Those contacting the ISS by voice
(NA1SS) or packet (RS0ISS) through the end of December will be eligible
for a special anniversary event certificate.

Born Roy N. Hinkel, Neal--a former NBC News correspondent and
executive--chaired the Space Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX)/Amateur
Radio on the International Space Station Working Group and moderated many
of its meetings. Through his extensive NASA contacts, he was instrumental
in the 1980s to convince NASA management to fly Amateur Radio onboard the
space shuttle.

November 28 marks the 20th anniversary of the first Amateur Radio
operation from space by astronaut Owen Garriott, W5LFL, from the shuttle
Columbia. Amateur Radio communication from the ISS began three years ago
this month, when Expedition 1 crew members Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR, and
Bill Shepherd, KD5GSL, spoke with R3K, the Energia amateur station in
Russia, and with NN1SS, the ISS ground station at Goddard Space Flight
Center in Maryland.

Bauer advised those working NA1SS to not request a certificate until ARISS
releases QSL instructions. Additional information may be available on the
ARISS Web site <http://www.rac.ca/ariss/>.

==>EXPEDITION 8 COMMANDER ENJOYS FIRST SCHOOL GROUP QSO

ISS Expedition 8 Commander Mike Foale, KB5UAC, took the controls of NA1SS
aboard the International Space Station November 25 for his first school
group contact. The QSO with youngsters at the Renmark Primary School in
South Australia was arranged via the Amateur Radio on the International
Space Station (ARISS) program. Foale predicted during his ham radio
conversation with the Renmark pupils that humans would one day colonize
the moon.

"People should be living on the moon in another 10 years," Foale told the
youngsters, and I hope some of them will be you." Foale and Russian
cosmonaut Alex "Sasha" Kaleri, U8MIR, have been aboard the ISS for about
one month. Foale said he's already a bit homesick, and he expects that to
get worse after the Christmas holiday.

The British-born Foale, who did a duty tour on the Russian Mir spacecraft
in 1997, said he has wanted to be an astronaut since the age of six.
"People laughed at me when I was a little boy, but I kept thinking about
it and studied hard at school and eventually ended up getting to the ISS,"
he said. Living aboard the space station, he explained, is "like living in
a laboratory" and involves a lot of hard work.

In response to one youngster who asked what it sounded like in space,
Foale remarked that the sound of the air-circulating fans is pervasive.
"We hear fans running all the time circulating air," he said. "One time,
we turned off all the fans, and it was dead quiet." The fans are necessary
because of a lack of convection currents in the spacecraft's microgravity
environment. Foale pointed out to the students that the crew could not
leave the fans off for very long without risking a dangerous buildup of
carbon dioxide.

The selection of food aboard the ISS is good, he said. "I went to boarding
school in Britain," Foale quipped, "so I can eat most any food. The food
here is better than boarding school."

Foale also noted that he does not get bored in space and always has
something to do in his off-time. In addition to e-mailing family and
friends, he said he enjoys computer programming and also keeps a journal.

Making the Renmark school group contact possible involved arrangements on
two continents. Members of the Riverland Radio Club
<http://www.rrc.org.au/> in Australia assisted at the school, while
operators at W6SRJ, the Santa Rosa Junior College Amateur Radio Club
station, in California, handled the actual radio link with NA1SS. MCI
provided two-way audio teleconferencing for the event. Will Marchant,
KC6ROL, moderated the contact from Virginia.

ARISS <http://www.rac.ca/ariss/> is an international project with
participation and support from ARRL, NASA and AMSAT.

==>FCC THREATENS CONVICTED KILLER'S HAM TICKET ON "CHARACTER
QUALIFICATIONS"

The FCC has issued an Order to Show Cause to a Texas Amateur Radio
licensee who's now serving a 32-year prison sentence for killing his wife
in 1996. The FCC's show cause order released November 21 is the opening
bell in a hearing process that could end with the revocation of the
Advanced class license of Roger Thomas Scaggs, W5EBC. He must indicate
within 30 days whether he plans to appear at a hearing on the matter to
show cause why his license should not be revoked.

"Mr Scaggs' murder conviction raises very serious questions as to whether
he possesses the requisite character qualifications to be and to remain a
Commission licensee and whether his license should be revoked," the FCC
said. At one time reserved for assessing the fitness of broadcast
applicants and licensees, the FCC's "character qualifications" standard to
date has extended into the Amateur Radio arena only in a handful of cases.
The Order asserts that the Commission has "consistently applied" character
qualifications to Amateur Radio Service applicants. Three of the four
examples it cites to support that claim involved
telecommunications-related offenses, and one involved indecent assault
upon and corruption of minors.

The Order cites ß312(a)(2) of the Communications Act that says the FCC may
revoke any license on the basis of "conditions coming to the attention of
the Commission which would warrant it in refusing to grant a license or
permit on the original application." Scaggs, 64, apparently was able to
renew his ham ticket in the spring of 1998--the same year in which he was
later convicted of murdering his wife, Penny. The FCC granted Scaggs'
application for an administrative update--apparently a change of address
from Austin to Gatesville, Texas. His license expires in 2008.

The FCC reportedly only recently became aware of Scaggs' murder
conviction, which could keep him behind bars at least until he's 75.

Assuming that Scaggs or his attorney indicates that he will appear for or
be represented at a formal hearing, the FCC will follow up with a Hearing
Designation Order. Held before an administrative law judge, the hearing
would consider evidence concerning the effect of Scaggs' felony conviction
on his qualifications to remain an FCC licensee and, in light of the
evidence, whether his license should be revoked.

==>SANTA BARBARA CLUB TO HOST USA ARDF CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club will host the 2004 USA Amateur Radio
Direction Finding (ARDF) Championships, ARRL ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell,
K0OV, announced this week. Moell said the fourth annual USA ARDF event
will be held next June in California.

"Radio-orienteers from all over the country plus visitors from abroad are
expected to attend," Moell said. "The competitive courses are open to
anyone of any age from any country, with or without an Amateur Radio
license."

Medals will be awarded in five age categories for male competitors and
four for female competitors, in accordance with International Amateur
Radio Union (IARU) rules. The competition, which will include both
80-meter and 2-meter events, gets under way June 16.

After a day for practice and alignment sessions and opening ceremonies the
full-length 2-meter competition will take place June 18. The 80-meter
competition will take place the next day, followed by closing ceremonies.

Moell says the USA Championships will occur just in time for final
selection of ARDF Team USA 2004 members. Those chosen for Team USA will
travel to the Czech Republic for the 12th ARDF World Championships,
September 7-12. "Team positions will be filled based on performances in
the 2004 events in California and the 2003 events in Ohio," he explained.

One of North America's ARDF pioneers, Marvin Johnston, KE6HTS, will serve
as general chair for the 2004 USA Championships. Johnston was a member of
USA's first team to the 1998 ARDF World Championships held in Hungary and
he won medals at the last two USA ARDF Championships.

The hosting SBARC also "has an abundance of ARDF talent," Moell said. That
includes club president Jay Hennigan, WB6RDV, who took gold in his age
category on both 80 and 2 meters in this year's USA Championships in
Cincinnati. Other SBARC medal winners include Scott Moore, KF6IKO, who won
bronze on 80 and 2 meters in Cincinnati. SBARC will collaborate with the
Los Angeles Orienteering Club (LAOC) to prepare maps and set up the
start/finish areas for the competition.

An official Web site for the 2004 Championships is under construction. It
will contain complete rules and technical details, including competition
frequencies, plus registration and lodging information. Information about
transmitter hunting and US ARDF activities is available on Moell's Homing
In Web site <http://www.homingin.com/>.

==>FORMER NEW ENGLAND DIRECTOR ROBERT CHAPMAN, W1QV, SK

Former ARRL New England Director Robert York Chapman, W1QV, of Groton,
Connecticut, died November 21. He was 96. Chapman served as New England
Division Director from 1965 until 1975, when the ARRL Board of Directors
elected him an ARRL Honorary Vice President. Chapman also was president
emeritus of the ARRL Foundation, which he helped to found in 1973.

"He was the 'grand old man' of Amateur Radio in Southeastern Connecticut
40 years ago when I became a ham," recalled ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ.
Sumner said that during his tenure on the ARRL Board, Chapman championed
ARRL life membership (he was a Charter Life Member) and, at the Board's
May 1968 meeting, proposed the ARRL Five-Band DXCC Award as the epitome of
Amateur Radio DX achievement.

An ARRL member since 1923 and a ham since 1924 (as 1QV), Chapman served in
the US Naval Reserve during World War II after studying at Columbia
University and Johns Hopkins University.

He was the director of  the Acoustical Research and Development Division
at the US Navy Submarine Base in Groton, where he led the program to
develop silencing mechanisms for ships and was a Navy consultant in the
field of acoustics.

Chapman was a member and past president of the Tri-City Radio Club and
chaired 21 consecutive club hamfests. He also was member of the A1
Operator Club, the Quarter Century Wireless Association, the Old Old
Timers Club and IEEE.

Survivors include three sons, a daughter and a sister. The family invites
memorial donations to the Poquonnock Bridge Baptist Church, South Road,
Groton, CT 06340.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Propagation guru Tad "When I Wanted Sunshine, I Got Rain" Cook, K7RA,
Seattle, Washington, reports: This short propagation update is going out
early, since ARRL headquarters will be closed Thursday and Friday for the
Thanksgiving holiday. We'll report sunspot numbers, solar flux and A
indices for November 20-26 in a subsequent bulletin during the week of
December 1.

Solar flux and sunspot numbers are expected to trend slightly lower than
now. Solar flux for the past week has been running from 171 to 178, and
for the CQ World Wide DX Contest CW the weekend of November 29-30, values
should run 15 to 20 points lower.

After settling down over the next two days, geomagnetic conditions are
expected to be quiet, which should be great news for contesters.

For a last-minute propagation assessment before the contest weekend, check
the NW7US site <http://www.hfradio.org/propagation.html>. To see which way
the interplanetary magnetic field is pointing, check SpaceWeather.com
<http://spaceweather.com/>. This information appears under the heading
"Interplanetary Mag. Field"--just below the sunspot number on the
left-hand side of the page. If it is pointing north, which it was as of
about 1630 UTC today, conditions should be fairly quiet and stable--even
if there is a strong solar wind.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: The CQ World Wide DX Contest (CW) is the
weekend of November 29-30. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL 160-Meter Contest, the QRP
ARCI Topband Sprint, the PSK31 Death Match, the TARA RTTY Melee and the
TOPS Activity 80-Meter Contest are the weekend of December 6-7. The ARRL
10-Meter Contest is the weekend of December 13-14. 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.

* ARRL Emergency Communications course registration: Registration opens
Monday, December 1, 12:01 AM Eastern Time (0501 UTC), for the on-line
Level I Emergency Communications course (EC-001). Registration remains
open through the December 6-7 weekend or until all available seats have
been filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, December 16.
Thanks to our grant sponsors--the Corporation for National and Community
Service and United Technologies Corporation--the $45 registration fee paid
upon enrollment will be reimbursed after successful completion of the
course. During this registration period, approximately 175 seats are being
offered to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. Senior
amateurs are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.
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
prereg@arrl.org. On the subject line, indicate the course name or number
(eg, EC-00#) and the month you want to start the course. In the message
body, provide your name, call sign, and e-mail address. Please do not send
inquiries to this mailbox. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and
Continuing Education Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/> and the C-CE
Links found there. For more information, contact Emergency Communications
Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, <dmiller@arrl.org>;; 860-594-0340.

* FCC begins "interference temperature" proceeding: The FCC has begun an
inquiry and proposed rule making proceeding focusing on the concept of
"interference temperature" as a means to quantify and manage interference
among different services. The interference temperature model "takes into
account the actual cumulative radio frequency energy from transmissions"
and would "set a maximum cap on the aggregate of these transmissions," the
FCC said in a public notice. The Commission's current primary approach to
manage interference is to specify and limit the power output of individual
devices. The FCC said the interference temperature approach "may
facilitate more intensive use of the radio spectrum, creating the
opportunities for new services and improving the predictability of any
interference to existing services. The FCC has not yet released the Notice
of Inquiry and Notice of Proposed Rule Making, adopted November 13 as ET
Docket 03-237. The Commission will seek comment on various technical rules
that would establish procedures and use the interference temperature model
on a limited basis in the 6525-6700 MHz band and portions of the
12.75-13.25 GHz band.--FCC

* AO-40 transponders off for a month: AO-40 now is in "hibernation mode."
The ALON/ALAT is 45/24. Magnetorquing has ceased, and the satellite will
begin drifting toward ALON of approximately 315 degrees. This will take
approximately four weeks. This is done twice a year to keep the satellite
healthy due to poor sun angles. Although the satellite's passbands are
off, its beacon remains on and FEC telemetry is active whenever possible.
According to AO-40 ground controller Stacy Mills, W4SM, the passbands
should be back on in time for the Christmas holiday. The AO-40 team would
like telemetry files. Send zipped files via e-mail to
ao40-archive@amsat.org.--Bruce Paige, KK5DO/AMSAT

* IARU-R1 and CEPT Electronic Communications Committee to cooperate:
letter: International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU-R1) and the
Electronic Communications Committee of the European Conference of Postal
and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) this month signed a Letter
of Understanding. The LoU sets out a number of areas for cooperation
between Region 1 and CEPT whereby both entities "will work toward common
European approaches on radio matters and will exchange information and
hold meetings for this purpose," IARU-R1 said in a news release. The LoU,
initially for a three year period, is renewable by mutual agreement. IARU
Region 1 Chairman Ole Garpestad, LA2RR, said the Letter of Understanding
"reinforces the already positive and constructive working relationship
between IARU Region 1 and CEPT."--IARU

===========================================================
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.

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