*************** 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 §312(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 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. For more information, contact Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, <email@example.com>; 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 firstname.lastname@example.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. 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. 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