*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 23, No. 20 May 14, 2004 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL generally supports cognitive radio proposals * +President Bush hears ham's BPL concerns * +Amateur rocket poised to carry ham radio payload into space * +California to host USA ARDF Championships in June * +FCC seeks comments on wireless broadband access * +W6RO marks a quarter-century of ham radio aboard the Queen Mary * +ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service changes aimed at improving service * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration ARRL Foundation announces scholarship winners ARES team in Virginia responds to severe weather emergency YCCC announces DXpedition Award Program for new, younger hams Allen Baker, KG4JJH, wins QST Cover Plaque Award IARU presents Amateur Radio Administration Course in Iran DXCC DX Desk approves operations for DXCC credit +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>ARRL SUPPORTS FCC'S COGNITIVE RADIO TECHNOLOGY PROPOSALS WITH RESERVATIONS The ARRL says it generally supports the proposals contained in an FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order (NPRM&O), ET Docket 03-108 relating to so-called cognitive radio (CR) technology. But the League urged the FCC to avoid large-scale deployment of CR technology--and especially of unlicensed devices in spectrum regularly used by licensed services--"until further experience with the technology is obtained." The ARRL also strenuously objected to a proposal to allow cognitive radio technology devices to operate under Part 15 in "rural areas" at up to a sixfold increase in the currently permitted power level in several UHF bands that include amateur allocations. "ARRL opposes increases of power levels for undefined and indefinable 'rural areas,'" the League's comments said, "because the practical radio horizon at higher Part 15 power levels makes interference with the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite service operations in many frequency bands inevitable." The FCC seeks to allow a transmitter power increase of up to six times (approximately 8 dB) higher than current Part 15 limits in the 902-928, 2400-2483.5 and 5725-5825 MHz bands and in the 24 GHz band. The League said the Commission should not view cognitive radio as an opportunity to increase permissible Part 15 power levels and questioned why the FCC was willing to put forth such proposals "without the slightest real-world test deployment" of the systems it wants to authorize. A "cognitive radio" is one that "can change its transmitter parameters based on interaction with the environment in which it operates," the FCC's NPRM&O says. "This interaction may involve active negotiation or communications with other spectrum users and/or passive sensing and decision making within the radio." Most cognitive radios will be software defined radios (SDRs), the League predicted. "There is no need for separate rules regarding cognitive and software defined radios," the ARRL said, calling both "an excellent opportunity" to drive technological advancement within Amateur Radio. "They should and can be regulated within the existing rules." The ARRL also urged the FCC to avoid creating regulatory obstacles that would hamper "experimentation and flexibility in conducting amateur operations." "These technologies will allow ever-greater participation by amateurs in restoration of communications systems following a wide-area emergency or disaster and in conducting disaster relief efforts on site in coordination with served agencies," the League predicted. ==>WISCONSIN HAM TAKES BPL CONCERNS TO PRESIDENT BUSH An ARRL member from Wisconsin took advantage of a recent campaign visit by President George W. Bush to carry ham radio's concerns about broadband over power line (BPL) right to the top. Rich Kelly, KB9RNO, of Prairie du Chien, says he did what he could May 7 in the few moments it took to greet Bush and shake his hand. "I wanted him to know that it was a concern for us," Kelly said. He got his chance when Bush was leaving the campaign event, he said, and was able to get very close to the president and shake his hand. "I held his hand extra long and said, 'Mr President, please support the Amateur Radio operators of America!'" Kelly says the president looked right at him and replied, "I do, I do." As Bush moved on down the line of well-wishers, Kelly continued, "Broadband Internet over power lines is a real concern for us." He said the president turned back toward him and responded, "I know, I know about it." "And in a flash, he was gone," Kelly said. "It doesn't really tell us much about his support or concern about the potential problem, but at least I know that he heard me and was aware that he was talking to a Amateur Radio supporter. That is my best effort for going right to the top!" Kelly said the exchange took place as Bush made a planned campaign stop in Prairie du Chien, a Mississippi River community of some 6200 people. He said approximately 1500 were on hand for the occasion, and he managed to get a ticket to the "town hall meeting" the president addressed. Kelly said he knew he had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to say something to the president on behalf of Amateur Radio. "Trying to find the right words when I knew that I only had a short time to do it was the hard part," he said. Kelly says that while the president may have forgotten the exchange just as quickly as it occurred, he felt it was a worthwhile gesture nonetheless. "I made the effort and feel good about it," he said, adding, "Long live Amateur Radio!" In late April, the ARRL called on the White House to withdraw its support for BPL and focus the administration's attention on "more suitable technologies" such as wireless broadband access. The League has issued a call for members to do the same. The ARRL Web site provides an information package <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/cta/> explaining how members can contact the White House and members of Congress to express their views on BPL deployment and why they need to do so. ==>HAM RADIO-CARRYING ROCKET HOPES TO REACH SPACE An amateur rocket team is hoping to send a 21-foot-tall rocket carrying a ham radio avionics package into the fringes of space. The launch by the Civilian Space Xploration Team (CSXT) could occur as early as Monday, May 17, from Black Rock Desert in Nevada. A CSXT try to reach space in 2002 ended some three seconds after launch when the rocket's engine exploded. Avionics Team Leader Eric Knight, KB1EHE, says CSXT has since rebounded from that devastating blow with a newer, bigger vehicle. "We are very pumped," the Connecticut amateur told ARRL. "Our confidence level grows with each launch. All the ingredients are there for success." Knight's avionics team includes eight Amateur Radio licensees, most of whom also were involved in the 2002 launch attempt. The entire CSXT team, headed by CSXT founder and Program Director--and former Hollywood stunt man--Ky Michaelson of Minnesota, has 18 members. In terms of Amateur Radio, the GoFast rocket, named for a corporate sponsor, will transmit telemetry on the 33-cm amateur band and Amateur TV at 2.4 GHz using a high-quality color camera. The avionics also incorporate multiple global positioning system (GPS) units to record the vehicle's precise location and flight path, redundant data acquisition and storage systems, and a variety of data sensors. Once the rocket goes up, appropriately equipped amateurs may be able to receive signals from the approximately 2 W transmitters onboard, even at some distance from the launch site, Knight says. Specific frequencies had not been selected by week's end, however. In addition, the team will set up a special event HF station at the launch site with the call sign K7R--"for rocket," Knight says. Look for K7R in the General class phone portions of 20 and 40 meters. Knight says the avionics crew even salvaged a few electronic components for the 2004 launch from the 2002 avionics package, which continued to function flawlessly until the rocket crashed into the desert. Plans call for the solid-fuel rocket to zip upward from the desert floor and reach a speed of more than 4000 MPH in about 9 seconds. Assuming all goes well, the suborbital vehicle will, on its own momentum, attain an altitude of 100 km or 62 statute miles--high enough to be considered "space"--linger there for a couple of minutes then arc back to Earth some 26 miles down range. If successful it would mark the first amateur rocket launch into space. Knight is optimistic that the team has gained valuable knowledge from its past failures. "We've learned a lot that you can't get from a textbook," he said. "We feel we have a chance to make history." There's more information on the CSXT Web site, www.civilianspace.com. ==>USA ARDF CHAMPIONSHIPS COMING TO CALIFORNIA IN MID-JUNE Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) enthusiasts across the US are gearing up for the fourth annual national ARDF Championships next month. ARRL ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, says, the sport--also known as radio-orienteering or foxtailing--is an all-on-foot "adventure in the woods" to see who can track down and find the most hidden transmitters in the shortest time. The Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club (SBARC) <http://www.sbarc.org/> will host the competition. Radio-orienteers from all over the country plus visitors from abroad are expected to attend. Moell anticipates a mix of experts and newcomers who aspire to be future champions. He says equipment need not be elaborate or expensive. "Most beginners do very well by augmenting their handheld VHF transceivers with simple Yagi antennas made out of a steel measuring tape and PVC pipe from the hardware store," he said. For "closing in," he says an offset RF attenuator consisting of some $15 worth of small parts will knock down the signal and keep the receiver's S-meter within its scale. "Plans are on the Web <http://members.aol.com/joek0ov/offatten.html>, and kits are available, so warm up your soldering iron," he adds. The ARDF competitive courses are open to anyone of any age and at any foxhunting skill level. No Amateur Radio license is needed. Medals in the event will be awarded in five age categories for males and four for females, in accordance with International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) rules <http://members.aol.com/homingin/intlfox.html#rules>. Heading up the USA ARDF Championships is Marvin Johnston, KE6HTS, a medalist at the last two USA ARDF Championships. An optional training camp with map-and-compass orienteering kicks off the ARDF action June 12-13. The main program gets under way Wednesday, June 16. The 2-meter competition takes place Friday, June 18. The 80-meter competition is the next day. The California events end just in time for final selection of ARDF Team USA 2004 members, who will travel to the Czech Republic for the 12th ARDF World Championships September 7-12. More than 200 participants representing two dozen or more countries are expected to turn out for the event. Moell says Team USA's positions will be filled based on performances in this year's national championships in California and in last year's national championships in Ohio. There's more information on the 2004 USA ARDF Championships on the SBARC Web site <http://www.sbarc.org/ardf/index.shtml>. A downloadable registration form and additional information are on Moell's "Homing In" Web site <http://www.homingin.com/>.--Joe Moell K0OV ==>FCC FORMS WIRELESS BROADBAND ACCESS TASK FORCE, SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENT Even as the FCC pursues its broadband over power line (BPL) agenda, it's continuing to explore wireless broadband access. FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell this week announced the formation of a Wireless Broadband Access Task Force, which has released a public notice seeking comment on issues related to the FCC's wireless broadband policies. Powell says the task force's mission is to identify potential changes in wireless broadband policies that will further facilitate the deployment of wireless broadband services. "We are strongly committed to facilitating broadband investment and deployment, particularly through technological choices," Powell said. "This Commission has put a high priority on making sure Americans have access to broadband services through multiple facilities-based platforms. I believe that we can do even more." The FCC says the new task force "will reach out to all relevant stakeholders and develop recommendations that will further the deployment of wireless Internet service providers (WISPs)." Powell says the "overarching goal" of this newest initiative is to examine what the Commission can do to extend broadband services to underserved areas and to increase competition in areas already having broadband access. There's more information on the FCC's Wireless Broadband Access Task Force Web site <http://www.fcc.gov/wbatf/>. ==>W6RO CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF OPERATION FROM THE QUEEN MARY W6RO, the Amateur Radio station in the Wireless Room of the Queen Mary, recently celebrated 25 years of continuous operation. Permanently berthed at the Port of Long Beach, "The Queen" is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Southern California. During its 25 years of operation, W6RO has presented a positive image of Amateur Radio to more than four million visitors. W6RO is the club call sign of the Associated Radio Amateurs of Long Beach, an ARRL Special Service Club. At the center of operations is Nate Brightman, K6OSC. He has spearheaded Amateur Radio aboard the Queen Mary, recruited hundreds of operators, garnered equipment donations from leading manufacturers, and maintained excellent relations with "The Queen's" management. At a 25th anniversary celebration held April 29 in the Queen's salon, ARRL Southwestern Division Director Art Goddard, W6XD, presented a Special Service Award to Brightman, who accepted it on behalf of all W6RO radio operators. "What does it take to sustain a major volunteer operation over a quarter century?" Goddard asked in his remarks. "Vision, persuasion, promotion, persistence and enthusiasm. And a leader like Nate Brightman, K6OSC. The results? A deep sense of personal satisfaction and the presentation of Amateur Radio to more than four million visitors." Nearly 100 amateurs volunteer at least four hours a month to operate W6RO from 9 AM until 5 PM daily. W6RO also is a regular stop on the Queen Mary self-guided tour, and licensed visitors may log in and get on the air. The former passenger liner now is on the National Register of Historic Places. There's more information on the Associated Radio Amateurs of Long Beach W6RO on the Queen Mary Web site <http://www.mpicomputers.com/ham/queen/> ==>ARRL E-MAIL FORWARDING SERVICE CHANGES AIM TO IMPROVE TRAFFIC FLOW The ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/emailfwd.html> has instituted several changes to reduce the overall volume of unwanted e-mail traffic while evening out the flow of desired correspondence. One outcome--at least in the short term--has been a reduction in undesired and unsolicited e-mail ("spam") via @arrl.net e-mail addresses. Several Forwarding Service participants have even e-mailed ARRL Headquarters to remark on the improvement. ARRL Chief Financial Officer Barry Shelley, N1VXY, says daily volume on the free-to-ARRL-members service and the number of users--63,000 and rising--have grown dramatically, requiring some mitigation. Volume was averaging 500,000 messages per day, and on some days, traffic reached nearly one million. "Changes had to be made, as this volume threatened to overwhelm the resources of the servers that maintain and process the e-mail for the ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service," Shelley said. "In addition, because of the volume of spam, Internet service providers (ISPs) would periodically refuse to accept messages originating from @arrl.net addresses, mistakenly identifying the Forwarding Service as a spam source." "We're trying to keep the Forwarding Service viable and at no cost to members," he said. Among other changes, the Forwarding Service vendor updated its Realtime Black Lists to include many more targeted spam sources. "This should help to somewhat reduce the amount of spam," Shelley explained. He predicted, however, that as spammers figure out how to circumvent the changes, spam levels are likely to rise again. The Forwarding Service also reduced the amount of time a message remains in a queue on the @arrl.net servers before the sender receives a delivery failure message. Although the vendor adjusted the number of recipients the Forwarding Service server will process at any one time, there is no limit on the number of addressees. "What it means is that the sending server may have to deliver a given message more than once to reach all intended recipients," he explained. "The idea is to smooth out the flow of messages through the system, reducing the number of messages in the queues as well as eliminating or minimizing delays resulting from a high volume of traffic." Members can help reduce their vulnerability to spam by not posting their @arrl.net e-mail addresses on public Web sites, Shelley says. But, he adds, as long as spamming continues to be a moneymaker, nothing will eliminate it entirely. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Propagation prognosticator Tad "Good Day Sunshine" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Sunspot activity has been in the doldrums, which is expected at this stage of the declining solar cycle. Average daily solar flux and sunspot numbers have hardly changed over the past week. Now, both numbers are rising modestly due to quickly expanding Sunspot 606, which is squarely aimed at Earth. There's also some good news from the sun's far side, where helioseismic holography has detected another sizable sunspot group. Both sunspot and solar flux numbers have topped 100. The lowest recent sunspot count was 30 on May 6, and the solar flux dropped to 85 the following day. Solar flux values should rise over this weekend, with the Friday through Monday, May 14-17, solar flux predicted at 105, 110, 115 and 115. Solar flux should stay in the vicinity of 115 through Thursday, May 20. The predicted planetary A index indicates unsettled conditions for Saturday, May 15, with the Friday through Monday planetary A index predicted at 12, 15, 12 and 8. A new issue of the NOAA Space Environment Center Preliminary Report and Forecast <http://www.sec.noaa.gov/weekly/pdf/prf1497.pdf.> includes some solar cycle predictions on pages 12-13. The forecast for the bottom of the cycle still looks to be around the end of 2006 or early 2007. For the higher HF bands, declining sunspots mean fewer or even no openings on 10, 12 and 15 meters, and probably a greater reliance on 20 or 17 meters for worldwide propagation during daylight hours. Sunspot numbers for May 6 through 12 were 30, 34, 37, 57, 55, 46 and 83, with a mean of 48.9. The 10.7 cm flux was 86.4, 85.2, 87.2, 93.2, 93, 90.2 and 98.8, with a mean of 90.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 8, 17, 10, 6, 7, 10 and 11, with a mean of 9.9. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 10, 13, 7, 3, 5, 8 and 9, with a mean of 7.9. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The US Counties QSO Party (SSB), Portuguese Navy Day HF Contest, Manchester Mineira CW Contest, Anatolian RTTY World Wide Contest, His Majesty the King of Spain Contest (CW) and the ARCI Newcomer's Run are the weekend of May 15-16. The RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (CW) is May 20. JUST AHEAD: the 2 GHz and Up Contest, the VK/Trans-Tasman 80-Meter Contest (phone) the EU PSK DX Contest and the Baltic Contest are the weekend of May 22-23. See the ARRL Contest Branch page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for more info. * ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration: Registration for the ARRL Antenna Modeling (EC-004) on-line course remains open through Sunday, May 16. Classes begin Tuesday, May 25. Computer-modeling expert and noted author L.B. Cebik, W4RNL, has combined the expertise of his long career as a college professor with his love and antennas and antenna modeling to offer a comprehensive, yet practical, course of study. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce> or contact the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program Department <firstname.lastname@example.org>. * ARRL Foundation announces scholarship winners: The ARRL Foundation has announced the recipients of 39 scholarship awards for the 2004 academic year. Winner of the $5000 ARRL Scholarship to Honor Barry Goldwater is Nathaniel T. Oster, KC0IEI, of Ames, Iowa. The Mary Lou Brown Scholarship award of $2500 goes to A. J. Barse, KD7OGZ, of Silverdale, Washington, while the $2000 Perry F. Hadlock Memorial Scholarship recipient is John Stratton, AA3SL, of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. A complete listing of all scholarship winners is on the ARRL Web site. Information and applications for 2005 academic year scholarships, including three new scholarship awards for 2005, downloadable applications and instructions, are on the ARRL Web site <http:www.arrl.org/arrlf>.The application period for 2005 academic year awards begins October 1, 2004. The deadline to submit applications with transcripts and SAT/ACT scores affixed is February 1, 2005. * ARES team in Virginia responds to severe weather emergency: The Spotsylvania County, Virginia, ARES team activated May 7 after severe thunderstorms knocked out part of the county's emergency communications system. "The problem resulted when a strong series of thunderstorms passed through the area about 6:30 Friday evening," said Virginia Section Emergency Coordinator Tom Gregory, N4NW. "Lightning strikes associated with these storms knocked out a portion of the 911 radio communications system serving the various volunteer fire stations in Spotsylvania and the radio link between Spotsylvania and Stafford." Amateur Radio operators provided backup communication to each of the county's fire stations until normal communication was restored to the stations. Members of Stafford County ARES assisted Spotsylvania ARES by providing additional operators and a radio link between the Spotsylvania and Stafford sheriff's offices to maintain interoperability between the two departments while the normal radio link was down at the Spotsylvania County end. * YCCC announces DXpedition Award Program for new, younger hams: The Yankee Clipper Contest Club (YCCC) has announced a new DXpedition Award Program, aimed at encouraging new and younger amateurs to participate in contesting. The club raised funding for the 2004-2005 contest season with a raffle. YCCC will award the winning applicant up to $1500 to accompany--for up to one week--a YCCC-authorized DXpedition or contesting operation anywhere in the world to compete in one of four major contests: The ARRL International DX Contest or the CQ World Wide DX Contest--CW or phone. The award will help defray transportation and lodging costs and provide a stipend of $150. Applicants must live within a radius of 175 miles of the club's center--Erving, Massachusetts. Applicants must be 14-21 years of age to qualify in the "youth" category, or licensed for less than one year (with no prior license) to qualify in the "amateur" category. Applicants for both categories must hold a General class or higher license. The application period deadline for this contest season is July 15, 2004. One winner will be chosen and announced at the New England Division Convention <http://www.boxboro.org/>, August 14-15 in Boxboro, Massachusetts. The winner must use the award within one year. For further details and an application, contact YCCC President Jim McCobb, W1LLU <email@example.com>, 978-363-1619; fax 978-363-2430. A contesting club with more than 400 members that's been in existence for more than 25 years, the YCCC's territory includes most of New England, as well as parts of New Jersey and New York. To learn more, visit the YCCC Web site <http://www.yccc.org/>. * Allen Baker, KG4JJH, wins QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for April is Allen Baker, KG4JJH, for his article "A 6 Meter Moxon Antenna." Congratulations, Allen! The winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author--or authors--of the best article in each issue--is determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes place each month on the QST Cover Plaque Poll Web page <http://www.arrl.org/members-only/qstvote.html>. Cast a ballot for your favorite article in the May issue of QST. Voting ends May 31. * IARU presents Amateur Radio Administration Course in Iran: In response to an invitation from the administration of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Fred Johnson, ZL2AMJ, representing International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 3, and Daniel Lamoureux, VE2KA, representing the IARU International Secretariat, visited Iran to present a three-day Amateur Radio Administration Course April 26-28. Since the early 1980s this course has been conducted by IARU in various forms all over the world--including at ARRL Headquarters--and in response to invitations from administrations to train regulators and prospective regulators in the administering of the Amateur and Amateur Satellite services. Related objectives include managing disaster relief communications and organizing an Amateur Radio society. The course in Tehran was arranged by the Directorate General of Telecommunications. Presentations included PowerPoint displays prepared by the IARU. Each of the 16 participants received printed copies of the displays and many other documents, plus two CD-ROMs containing information about Amateur Radio. The two IARU visitors spoke with many radio amateurs in Tehran, some of whom attended the course. The course participants visited EP3PTT, a station established on the Ministry's premises in Tehran. The equipment in this station was received by Iran from the IARU Region 3 Stars program. It may be operated by licensed Iranian operators by arrangement. Johnson and Lamoreaux described the course as a memorable experience and said they'd been very warmly received. Contact between IARU and the amateurs and the administration of Iran will continue.--IARU * DXCC DX Desk approves operations for DXCC credit: The following operations have been accredited for DXCC: Burundi, 9U5M, February 4-March 17, 2003; Chad, TT8XZ, December 4-19, 2003; Iraq, YI/N3YPI, August 22, 2003 through present; YI/AB8DY, July 2, 2003 through present; Democratic Republic of the Congo, 9Q0AR, January 1-March 31, 2004; 9Q1KS, January 1-March 31, 2004; Haiti, HH2SJR, January 1, 1998-present; Rivellagigedo, XF4IH, March 3-20, 2004. For more information on the ARRL DXCC program--including rules, current and deleted DXCC lists and all forms needed to participate--visit the DXCC Web site <http://www.arrl.org/awards/dxcc>. =========================================================== The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; <http://www.arrl.org/>. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President. The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of interest to active amateurs. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise, and readable. Visit ARRLWeb <http://www.arrl.org/> for the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> offers access to news, informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> is a weekly "ham radio newscast" compiled from The ARRL Letter. 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