*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 23, No. 28 July 16, 2004 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL Board of Directors is in session * +BPL team organized in Ohio * +Space campers speak with ISS via ham radio * +AO-51 commissioning continues * +Amateur Radio antenna bills vetoed in Hawaii * +FCC orders huge fine for California licensee * Girl Scouts activate K0S special event * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course registration +New vanity fee goes into effect August 6 +FCC Chairman reaffirms support for BPL +Actor Marlon Brando, KE6PZH/FO8GJ, SK ARRL receives Citizen Corps grant Field Day fun leads to ISS ragchews Museum ships and submarines taking to the airwaves Scout special event station on the air from Turkey DXCC Desk accredits DX operations +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>ARRL BOARD MEETING IN CONNECTICUT ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, is wielding the gavel as the League's Board of Directors meets Friday and Saturday, July 16-17, in Windsor, Connecticut, for its second meeting of 2004. Prime among the discussion topics will be broadband over power line (BPL) and strategic planning. Board members will review the current status of BPL and discuss any additional actions the League may wish to take to address potential interference. They also will hear a status review and revision of the ARRL's Strategic Plan and select strategies to implement in 2005. A significant portion of the agenda will be given over to hearing and considering reports from committees and coordinators. Among others, Great Lakes Division Vice Director Dick Mondro, W8FQT, will speak for the Ad Hoc Committee on ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) Communications, which he chairs. The Board also will hear briefings on the status of current Amateur Radio-related legislation and on the progress of various regulatory issues. Recent proposals now before the FCC, including one from ARRL, would further restructure Amateur Radio licensing. Bestowing certain honors on several members of the Amateur Radio community is a traditional part of each July Board session. The Board is expected to name winners of the Hiram Percy Maxim, the Herb S. Brier Instructor of the Year, the Professional Educator of the Year, Technical Service, Technical Innovation and Microwave Development awards. A recipient of the Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award--for exemplary public relations achievement--also is expected to be announced. Special guest at the July Board session will be Radio Amateurs of Canada President Daniel Lamoureux, VE2KA, who greeted the opening session July 16. ==>OHIO ARRL SECTION MANAGER ANNOUNCES BPL TEAM ORGANIZATION Amateur Radio operators in the Cincinnati area are organizing a Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) team to monitor a planned BPL deployment. In announcing the move, ARRL Ohio Section Manager Joe Phillips, K8QOE, says the group will study the effects of a BPL rollout in two neighborhoods by utility Cinergy Corp. The new group, consisting of a half dozen engineering professionals and some 20 others, will operate as a subcommittee of the Greater Cincinnati Local Interference Committee (LIC). Kirk Swallow, W8QID, will head the BPL/LIC effort. "Kirk has been operations manager for several electronics cellular and satellite firms," said Phillips, "and his experience with directing professional engineers makes him well qualified to handle this assignment." Phillips says the Greater Cincinnati LIC has a long and successful record of handling repeater interference problems. "This BPL problem, however, represents new and special challenges in interfering with the spectrum," he added. In March, articles in The Wall Street Journal and the Cincinnati Enquirer announced the BPL rollout by Cinergy and its BPL partner Current Technologies. Cinergy and Current said they hoped to offer the service to between 60,000 and 1.5 million Cincinnati-area customers by year's end and eventually to some 24 million potential customers elsewhere who are served by smaller utilities. Cinergy has been charging $40 a month for BPL service, but Philips says many current subscribers are utility employees who get the service at no cost. The new BPL/LIC team will work with Phillips and ARRL Great Lakes Division Director Jim Weaver, K8JE, to serve as a clearing house for BPL suggestions, comments and information from the Amateur Radio community. "We in Cincinnati are getting lots of calls and notes from all sections of the US, as this city has the biggest BPL offering from the largest utility," Phillips noted. The team also will cooperate with the ARRL Laboratory to monitor and investigate BPL in the affected area using "the highest professional standards," Phillips said. Phillips said being able to produce "credible" technical data and information is key to any effort to convince Cinergy of BPL's harmful interference potential and that the technology won't boost the company's bottom line. Several technical companies in the area already have offered the BPL/LIC team the use of state-of-the-art spectrum measurement equipment, he said. ==>ASTRONAUT CHATS WITH SPACE CAMP TURKEY PARTICIPANTS NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, onboard the International Space Station, answered questions from students at Space Camp Turkey via Amateur Radio on July 5, as the ISS orbited some 250 miles over the Pacific Ocean. Some 130 students, aged 12 to 16, took part in the two-way Earth-space contacts via the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) equipment. Students hailed from several countries including Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Israel and the US. One camper's question, "What do your children think of you being gone for so long?" really hit home with Fincke, whose wife recently gave birth to a daughter whom he has not yet seen. "You know, this is almost my favorite question of all of them," Fincke responded, "because I have a boy who's three years old and a baby who was born while I was up here, so my little boy misses me very much, and my little girl doesn't even know who I am yet." He said he gets to talk with his wife and his son, Chandra, every day by telephone, and, he added, "that makes a big difference to me." Fincke said he also misses the variety of food available on Earth. "The food up here is really good, except we just have pretty much the same kind of food--we can't cook anything, we don't have a microwave oven even, much less a real stove or anything." Fincke said he was looking forward to enjoying different kinds of food when he gets back on Earth. Located in Izmir, Turkey, the space camp was linked to the ISS ham equipment through an MCI-donated telephone bridge, similar to a phone patch, to Earth station WH6PN in Honolulu. Dick Flagg, AH6NM, served as control operator. Aziz Sasa, TA1E, served as control operator on the Turkey end of the contact. Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, moderated the contact. In addition to Sasa, the students and their two American teachers, attendees included many spectators and news media. ARISS is an international educational outreach with participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. ==>AO-51 SATELLITE COMMISSIONING PROCESS CONTINUES Work continues to commission AMSAT-NA's recently launched "Echo" satellite--now known as AO-51--for general amateur use. Primary tasks this week have involved uploading new computer code, testing the S-band downlink and the UHF "B" transmitter. "The Command Team is carefully checking off the tests and measurements that are part of the commissioning process," Jim White, WD0E, told AMSAT News Service. "They ask everyone to be patient." Since AO-51 is not yet open for general use, the Command Team cautions that any transmissions aimed at the satellite by other than ground control stations could delay commissioning. Opening the satellite for general amateur use could take up to a month or possibly longer, although AMSAT says it will be available "shortly." AMSAT will issue a bulletin when that happens. AMSAT said this week that AO-51's second UHF transmitter, TXB, has been moved to 435.300 MHz and was on as of July 16. TXA is on 435.150 MHz, but it was off as of July 16. AMSAT says that as testing continues, "there will be occasions that either or both transmitters may be on." White said that after looking over initial whole orbit data, the Command Team adjusted the solar panels to a more optimal setting. "It resulted in nearly double the peak power input from the panels on the following orbit," he said. The panels now produce nearly 20 W peak and 15 W average when exposed to the sun. The AO-51 Command Team continues to invite telemetry downloads to the new Echo telemetry archive Web page <http://www.coloradosatellite.com/echo>. The TlmEcho program may be downloaded from the Decoding Echo Telemetry Web site <http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/echo/tlm_decode.php>. The AO-Echo satellite project remains slightly more than $9000 short of the $110,000 that was needed to launch the spacecraft. AMSAT guaranteed the full fare by borrowing from its dedicated funds, which now must be repaid. AMSAT--a 501(c)(3) organization--welcomes additional donations to bridge the funding gap. Visit the AMSAT AO-Echo Web page <http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/echo/> for additional details.--AMSAT News Service ==>HAWAII'S GOVERNOR VETOES AMATEUR RADIO ANTENNA BILLS Hawaii Gov Linda Lingle has vetoed two Amateur Radio antenna bills. Both pieces of legislation would have provided limited opportunities for amateurs living under private deed covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) to erect antennas. HB 2773 would have opened the door for amateurs living in condominiums to make arrangements with the homeowners' association board to install an antenna without having to change the CC&Rs--often a more difficult process. HB 2774 would have granted similar rights to the relatively few amateurs who live under CC&Rs in agricultural-zoned property. Lingle, a Republican, invoked the same reason for refusing to sign both bills into law. "This bill is objectionable because it amounts to an inappropriate and unacceptable governmental intrusion into the contractual affairs of the property owners," Lingle said July 13 in her veto messages to HB 2773 and HB 2774. "This measure would allow the installation of antennas in an owner's unit, notwithstanding objections by other owners." The two measures, sponsored by Rep Ken Hiraki (D-28), had undergone substantial changes in wording from that proposed in the original legislation. Following lengthy negotiations and a House-Senate conference, HB 2773 passed the Senate May 3 on a 25-0 vote and the House 37-14. On the same day, HB 2774--essentially completely reworded from its original text--also received unanimous Senate approval, while House members okayed the measure 35-16. ARRL Pacific Section Manager Kevin Bogan, AH6QO, said that while the two pieces of legislation represented only incremental improvement in the antenna situation for Hawaiian amateurs living under CC&Rs, they also could have provided a basis for further gains later. Both measures would have required homeowners' association boards to provide a written explanation if they denied permission to install an amateur antenna, and Bogan called the final versions "a nudge toward reasonable accommodation" by homeowners' association boards. Lingle said in her essentially identical veto messages that purchasers of property in planned communities should be able to rely upon CC&Rs when deciding whether to buy a unit and "not have to worry about subsequent legislative bills that trump the governing documents by permitting certain people to erect antennas on property within the subdivision." ==>FCC AFFIRMS $11,000 FINE FOR CALIFORNIA AMATEUR The FCC has ordered Daniel Granda, KA6VHC, to pay an $11,000 fine for alleged "willful and repeated" violations of the Communications Act of 1934 and Amateur Service (Part 97) rules. The Commission's July 9 Forfeiture Order followed a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) issued March 31. Granda did not respond to the NAL nor to earlier FCC correspondence, and the FCC said it was affirming the forfeiture based on the information it had before it. "The noted violation involves Mr Granda's failure to respond to official Commission correspondence and causing intentional interference to Amateur Radio communications," the FCC Order said. In its earlier NAL, the FCC asserted that on at least eight occasions, Granda, 58, "willfully and maliciously caused interference to other stations and conducted activity in an effort to obtain exclusive use" of a 1.25 meter repeater pair. The Whittier, California, licensee was the recipient of a December 2002 Warning Notice from the FCC Enforcement Bureau alleging that he deliberately interfered with two repeaters, KD6ZLZ and WA6NJJ, and requiring him to provide a detailed plan to prevent interference. Granda failed to respond to that and to subsequent notices, the FCC said. In late 2002, the FCC dismissed Granda's complaint against the KD6ZLZ and WA6NJJ repeaters. Granda had told the FCC that he'd been using the two frequencies "continuously for over 25 years." In January 2003, the FCC's Los Angeles Field Office issued a Warning Notice to Granda alleging that his station was transmitting improperly and causing interference to other stations. It ordered Granda to cease automatic control of his repeater. Agents from the Los Angeles field office used direction-finding techniques to track interfering signals to Granda's residence and inspected his station, the FCC said. According to the NAL, Granda "orally admitted" that he had received the warning notices, and he told the FCC agents that he was "trying to prevent anyone from using 'his' frequency by re-transmitting 147.49 MHz signals on 222.24/223.84 MHz to 'keep the channel occupied.'" Last August, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau set aside the renewal of Granda's Amateur Extra class license, which expired last November. His renewal application has reverted to "pending" status. Granda has 30 days to pay the fine. If he fails to do so, the case could be referred to the US Department of Justice for collection. ==>GIRL SCOUTS ON THE AIR FOR MINNESOTA DREAMS JAMBOREE 2004 Girl Scouts and other volunteers will be on the air from special event station K0S during the Minnesota Dreams Jamboree, sponsored by the Greater Minneapolis Council, Girl Scouts of America (GSA). The gathering Friday and Saturday, July 16-17, is expected to attract more than 1900 participants from 30 states. During the Jamboree, 18-year-old Jean Arimond, KC0SAN, of St Louis Park, Minnesota, will demonstrate Amateur Radio as part of the requirements to earn her GSA Gold Award--similar to the Boy Scouts' Eagle rank. She decided to feature ham radio in keeping with the jamboree's theme "Summer Days, Starry Nights," reflecting the making of dreams into reality. Her dream, she says, is to inspire more girls and women to become Amateur Radio licensees. "It just seems like such a natural fit," she said, "If girls do anything well, it's finding ways to communicate; and that's what ham radio is all about." She plans several hands-on displays showing repeater operation, PSK31, CW and HF communication. Minnesota Youth in Amateur Radio Council members also will have their equipment van available for viewing. A fairly recent licensee, Arimond encourages all hams--and especially women and girls of all ages, to contact her and the other volunteers during the Jamboree special event. K0S will operate on or about 14.250 and 28.450 MHz. Other participating operators include Janice and Janet Robidoux, K0JA and K0JE, both 50-year ham radio veterans; ARRL Dakota Division Vice Director Twila Greenheck, N0JPH; and Orcena Lyle, W0QT. Arimond says her father's interest in Amateur Radio, particularly, in its community service aspects, inspired her to get her ticket. Her dad is Tim Arimond, N0BYH. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Propagation guru Tad "Who can make the sun shine, on a cloudy day?" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Sunspot numbers and solar flux rose this week. Average daily sunspot numbers were up 54 points above last week's average. Sunspot 649, a big one, came around the sun's eastern limb this week. Helioseismic holography shows more sunspots on the far side of the sun, so the short-term trend for solar activity is up. The big news is a huge X-class solar flare, detected July 15 at 0140 UTC. If a coronal mass ejection is heading toward Earth, it could mean big geomagnetic storms. The prediction made before the flare called for a planetary A index of 12, 20, 12 and 10 for Thursday through Sunday, July 15-18. Predicted solar flux for the same period is 140, 140, 135 and 135. Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, who often writes the Solar Update in my absence, will speak on 160-meter propagation this weekend at the Pacific Northwest DX Convention near Seattle. A new article by K9LA, "Propagation Planning for DXpeditions," now is available on the Propagation page of the ARRL Technical Information Service site <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/pdf/propplan.pdf>. Sunspot numbers for July 1 through 7 were 26, 33, 31, 37, 26, 39 and 31, with a mean of 31.9. The 10.7 cm flux was 81.3, 80.7, 79.5, 79.4, 78.2, 78.9 and 79.3, with a mean of 79.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 13, 9, 9, 6, 7, 7 and 5, with a mean of 8. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 9, 8, 5, 4, 5, 5 and 2, with a mean of 5.4. Sunspot numbers for July 8 through 14 were 17, 32, 58, 98, 118, 129 and 149, with a mean of 85.9. The 10.7 cm flux was 81.8, 86.7, 93.3, 104.4, 125, 149.5 and 138.1, with a mean of 111.3. Estimated planetary A indices were 5, 5, 8, 14, 13, 16 and 9, with a mean of 10. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 1, 4, 5, 13, 12, 11 and 6, with a mean of 7.4. ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The Mid-Summer Six Club Contest, the VK/Trans-Tasman 160-Meter Contest, the North American QSO Party (RTTY), the CQ Worldwide VHF Contest and the RSGB Low Power Field Day are the weekend of July 16-17. JUST AHEAD: The RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (Data) is July 22. The RSGB IOTA Contest and the ARS Flight of the Bumblebees are the weekend of July 24-25. See the ARRL Contest Branch page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/> 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, July 18. Class begins Tuesday July 27. This course is an excellent way to learn the ins and outs and nitty-gritty details of antenna modeling. Computer-modeling expert and noted author L.B. Cebik, W4RNL, has combined the expertise of his long career as a college professor with his passion for antennas and antenna modeling to offer a comprehensive, yet practical, course of study. Registration for the Technician Licensing course (EC-010) also remains open through Sunday, July 25. Class begin Tuesday, August 3. With the assistance of a mentor, EC-010 students learn everything they need to know to pass the FCC Technician license class test. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/> or e-mail the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program Department <firstname.lastname@example.org>. * ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course registration: Registration for the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level II on-line course (EC-002) remains open through the July 17-18 weekend. Registration for the Level III on-line course (EC-003) opens Monday, July 19, at 1201 AM EDT and will remain open through the July 24-25 weekend or until all available seats have been filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, August 3. Thanks to our grant sponsor--the United Technologies Corporation--the $45 registration fee paid upon enrollment will be reimbursed after successful completion of the course. During this registration period, seats are being offered to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce>. For more information, contact Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, email@example.com; 860-594-0340. * New vanity fee goes into effect August 6: The FCC has announced that the new Amateur Radio vanity call sign regulatory fee of $20.80 for the 10-year license term will go into effect August 6, 2004. Applicants for amateur vanity call signs will continue to pay the $16.30 fee per vanity call sign application until the new fee goes into effect. All applications received at the FCC on or after August 6 must be accompanied by the new, higher fee. * FCC Chairman reaffirms support for BPL: Speaking in Menlo Park, California, July 15, FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell again asserted that broadband over power line technology "holds the great promise to bring high-speed Internet access to every power outlet in America." Powell's statement followed a demonstration of BPL technology at AT&T Labs co-sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and AT&T. "What I saw today has the potential to play a key role in meeting our goals to expand the availability and affordability of broadband," Powell said. "The future is bright for powerline broadband. We'll continue at the FCC to explore ways to support this technology while protecting other services from interference." * Actor Marlon Brando, KE6PZH/FO8GJ, SK: One of the best-known names in cinema--Marlon Brando, KE6PZH/FO8GJ--died in Los Angeles July 1. He was 80. Brando appears in the FCC database under his real name, "Martin Brandeaux," while his FO8GJ listing indicates both his real and his screen names. Brando held a US General class ticket. He was on the air occasionally over the years as FO8GJ from his private island in French Polynesia. In a 1994 CNN interview with Larry King, Brando affirmed his continued interest in Amateur Radio. In response to a caller's question, he said ham radio provided him with the opportunity to just be himself. Brando was best known for his roles as Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire," a dockworker in "On the Waterfront," and Vito Corleone in "The Godfather." He was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won twice. * ARRL receives Citizen Corps grant: The ARRL will receive a $3000 grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) via the New York State Citizen Corps to recognize Amateur Radio operators in the Empire State who have been involved in emergency-related activities. The funds will provide ARRL emergency communications vests to 200 New York ham radio volunteers. The four ARRL New York Section Managers will select the recipients. The grant will recognize ARRL members in New York who have completed emergency communications training, participated in drills and Simulated Emergency Test exercises and supported New York agencies during emergencies such as the September 2001 terror attacks and the August 2003 power failure. Citizen Corps is coordinated nationally by the Department of Homeland Security. DHS also works closely with CNCS to promote volunteer service activities that support homeland security and community safety. The ARRL has a Statement of Affiliation with Citizen Corps and is a current recipient of a three-year Homeland Security training grant. * Field Day fun leads to ISS ragchews: International Space Station astronaut Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, enjoyed his time operating during the 2004 ARRL Field Day so much that during the July 4 holiday he got on the air from NA1SS for ragchews. ISS Ham Radio Project Engineer Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO, at Johnson Space Center, said Fincke made several QSOs after calling CQ on 2 meters. "He logged 8 contacts with stations in Canada, the US and Costa Rica," Ransom reported. "He said he had such a good time during Field Day that he hopes to get on the air more often in his spare time. He also hopes word will get out to hams that he will be more active." South Carolina AMSAT Area Coordinator Al Lark, KD4SFF, monitored Fincke speaking with US and Canadian stations and called him. After they'd exchanged signal reports, Lark wished Fincke and ISS Commander Gennady Padalka, RN3DT, a happy Fourth of July. "I asked Mike to pass along my good morning (in Russian) to Gennady and to tell him about 17-year-old Russian-born, Maria Sharapova's win at Wimbledon," Lark said. * Museum ships and submarines taking to the airwaves: The 2004 Museum Ships Special Event weekend Saturday and Sunday, July 17-18 (UTC), offers operators a chance to work some rare and unusual stations and collect unique QSL cards and certificates. More than 80 museum ships and subs worldwide are expected to take part in the event, which is sponsored by the USS Salem Radio Club. Club members will operate K1USN aboard the USS Salem (CA-139), the world's only preserved heavy cruiser, and WW2MAN from the Seehund U boat (U-5075) from their moorings at the US Naval Shipbuilding Museum in Quincy, Massachusetts. There's more information, including a listing of vessels planning to participate, on the K1USN Web site<http://www.qsl.net/k1usn/event.html>. Stations working 10 participating vessels are eligible for a certificate by sending a copy of log pages showing these contacts and a self-addressed, stamped envelope large enough to hold an 8-1/2 x 11-inch certificate (or send $2) to Bob Callahan, W1QWT, 56 Acorn St, Scituate, MA 02066. * Scout special event station on the air from Turkey: Turkey Radio Amateur Club President Aziz Sasa, TA1E, has announced that special event station TC4JAM will be on the air as part of an international Scout camp in the Koycegiz area along Turkey's Mediterranean coast. Some 3000 Scouts from Turkey, Belgium, Egypt, Azerbaidjan, Holland, Pakistan, Greece, Macedonia, Great Britain, Israel, China and Romania are expected to participate. The station will be on the air from July 15 until July 24. Operation will be on all HF bands except 160 meters (primary operating frequencies are 7.092 and 14.270 MHz). Some APRS and 2-meter activity also is planned. Schedules may be arranged by e-mailing TA1E <firstname.lastname@example.org>. * DXCC Desk accredits DX operations: The following DX operations have been approved for DXCC credit: YA7X, Afghanistan, March 1-April 30, 2004; HZ1AN, HZ1IZ, Saudi Arabia, all operations; 3DXQZ, Republic of Guinea, April 20-30, 2004; YI9MC, Iraq, current operation effective March 23, 2004; 5V7AD, Togo, June 12-22, 2004. For more information, visit the DXCC Web page <http://www.arrl.org/awards/dxcc>. A new feature, DXCC FAQ <http://www.arrl.org/awards/dxcc/faq/>, can answer most of your questions on DXCC program issues. =========================================================== 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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