*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 23, No. 29 July 23, 2004 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +League to launch volunteer grassroots lobbying effort * +ARRL Board encourages enhanced ARES communication system development * +ARRL announces award winners * +Astronaut promotes international space cooperation * +Florida power blackout brings out best in hams * +John Kraus, W8JK, SK * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This weekend on the radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration Correction Dave Bowker, K1FK, wins QST Cover Plaque Award +AMSAT asks patience as Echo AO-51 checkout continues Wireless Institute of Australia pushes ahead on 5 MHz proposal First western Canada LF QSO reported +Available on ARRL Audio News =========================================================== ==>ARRL BOARD OKAYS VOLUNTEER GRASSROOTS LOBBYING EFFORT The ARRL Board of Directors has formalized a grassroots congressional lobbying program with an initial focus on BPL. Acting July 16 during its second meeting of 2004 in Windsor, Connecticut, the Board acknowledged the need to "immediately begin a BPL grassroots lobbying campaign." Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, who headed the Ad Hoc Committee on Grassroots Lobbying, sees the creation of a national "political machine" as a practical way to protect Amateur Radio spectrum. "We're really, in essence, changing the culture of how we operate," Fallon said after the meeting. "We're going to use our members as constituents to talk to key legislators." While the campaign will zero in on BPL in the near term, it eventually could expand to support bills dealing with spectrum protection and with and deed covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) and their impact on amateur antennas. "It can be more effective for two or three constituents to walk into a lawmaker's office to pitch their cause," Fallon said. Such contacts, he pointed out, also can pave the way for subsequent meetings between League officials and members of Congress or their staff members. To establish a coordinating structure, the Board created the positions of Division Congressional Action Chair, Congressional Action Coordinator and Congressional Action Assistant. The Board authorized the League's 15 division directors to appoint qualified volunteers to these positions. Under the plan the Board adopted, the Division Congressional Action Chair, one in each ARRL division, would be a cabinet-level volunteer with some experience in lobbying activities. There would be at least one Congressional Action Coordinator in each state, ideally selected in consultation with section managers. These volunteers also would be members of the director's cabinet. Working with the director, the Congressional Action Coordinator will designate and develop a number of Congressional Action Assistants to "accomplish the mission of getting the ARRL message to legislators," the ad hoc committee's report explained. Fallon said the grassroots lobbying effort will fold into a comprehensive broadband over power line strategy, which the Board discussed at length but did not make public. The Board expressed the hope that the lobbying effort could be up and running by fall. In other business, the Board: * approved a system to automatically recognize long-term League membership and to express appreciation of that support through a system of awards. * designated the next Dayton Hamvention as ARRL National Convention 2005. Hamvention will take place May 20-22 at Hara Arena near Dayton, Ohio. * directed the filing of an application with the FCC for an experimental license authorizing low-frequency operation for specified Amateur Radio stations. * directed the filing of a petition with the FCC to permit security of data for computer-to-computer communications on domestic transmissions above 50 MHz. * established as policy that ARES groups and any group using the ARES logo shall formally acknowledge ARES as an ARRL program, including in their bylaws or other organizational documents, and agree to abide by all rules and guidelines the League establishes. Since both ARES and Amateur Radio Emergency Service are registered ARRL service marks, ARES groups are to utilize the R symbol in any printed or electronic media and note that the logo is used by permission. All ARES records, membership rosters and other data pertaining to the ARES program, wherever located, are the property of the ARRL. * resolved to have President Haynie appoint a study committee to recommend effective means of promoting "constructive relations and open lines of communication" between the League and the Amateur Radio industry. The committee will solicit input from the Industry Advisory Council and report to the Board at its January 2005 meeting. * recognized and thanked ARRL Chief Operating Officer Mark Wilson, K1RO, for his longstanding service and dedication to the League and wished him well in his future endeavors. Wilson has announced that he'll be leaving ARRL in September to move to New Hampshire. He's been a member of the ARRL Headquarters staff for 24 years. The official minutes of the July 2004 meeting of the ARRL Board of Directors are available on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/announce/board-0407/>. ==>"ARESCOM" PLAN TO ENHANCE EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION CAPABILITY The ARRL Board of Directors has adopted a resolution encouraging further development and expansion of an inaugural network to enhance the emergency communications capability of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). The action came during the Board's meeting July 16-17. The Board had charged an ad hoc committee, dubbed "ARESCOM," with developing an augmented ARES telecommunications system that would include rapid and accurate handling of long-range emergency communications. ARESCOM recommended deployment of a digital e-mail system based on Winlink 2000 software. The Board encouraged the deployment of e-mail via Amateur Radio--"as exemplified by Winlink 2000"--to meet the needs of served agencies and others involved in providing disaster communications. "The digital network will provide a value-added service for ARES and will continue to be viewed very positively by our served agencies," the committee said in its report to the Board. "This allows ARES to be viewed as modern and necessary instead of antiquated and invasive." The committee, chaired by Great Lakes Division Vice Director Dick Mondro, W8FQT, said situations arise when ARES must "pass message traffic across the nation quickly and accurately." It also said the need for such a nationwide ARES capability is likely to increase in light of the ARRL's Citizen Corps partnership with the Department of Homeland Security. Winlink 2000--a worldwide Amateur Radio digital radio e-mail system--already is widely used by the blue water boating and recreational vehicle communities. Members of the ARRL Programs and Services Committee witnessed a Winlink 2000 demonstration at ARRL Headquarters the day before the board meeting. The ARRL Board extended the committee's charter until its January 2005 meeting so ARESCOM can complete an implementation plan that ensures that ARES has "the prominent role" in managing the national network and that ARES officials and appropriate ARRL Headquarters staffers have an chance to critique the network's operation to ensure it meets the requirements of ARES and its served agencies. A two-part series appearing in the August and September 2004 issues of QST, "Winlink for ARES," by ARRL South Texas Section Emergency Coordinator Jerry Reimer, KK5CA, outlines an enhanced ARES network that would include e-mail capability over HF links. ==>ARRL BOARD NAMES AWARD WINNERS For the first time ever, the ARRL Board of Directors named two young amateurs to receive the prestigious Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award for 2003. Selected as winners in equal standing were Andrea L. Hartlage, KG4IUM, and Jay Thompson, W6JAY. The Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award goes annually to an amateur under age 21 who has contributed in an exemplary manner to both the Amateur Radio community and the local community. Facing a difficult choice in deciding among several talented and dedicated nominees, the Board said Hartlage and Thompson stood out as the best of the best. Nominated by Georgia Section Manager Susan Swiderski, AF4FO--who has designated Hartlage as Assistant Section Manager/Youth, and Bill Carter, KG4FXG, Hartlage, 15, is well known to visitors of the ARRL Web site as the editor of the monthly column Youth@HamRadio.Fun <http://www.arrl.org/news/youth/>. "Andrea is one of ham radio's best ambassadors and a strong leader," the Board said. She's active in her community through her participation in Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) activities, and she recently completed the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level II course. She also mentors aspiring young amateurs at a local middle school. Hartlage said she was honored to be selected. "Thank you to the American Radio Relay League and to the many hams who have taught, encouraged and helped me along the way," she said. She expressed special gratitude to her dad, Scott Hartlage, KF4PWI, for introducing her to ham radio. This has been an honor-filled week for Hartlage. In addition to the ARRL award, Amateur Radio Newsline this week named her as its 2004 Young Ham of the Year. Thompson, an ARRL Life Member who turns 19 this month, was nominated by his father, Richard Thompson, WA6NOL. The 2003 Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year, Thompson is active in Amateur Radio direction finding and has won numerous ARDF medals, including three in the IARU Region 2 competition. He'll compete in September in the ARDF 12th World Championship in the Czech Republic. Thompson also has taught DFing to Scouts. In addition, he serves as a net control station for his local ARES net and for the Hospital Disaster Support Communications System. During numerous science fairs, Thompson has demonstrated his grasp of the technical side of ham radio. He designed and built a new type of quad antenna--the fractal quad--for a regional science fair, making him an "honored participant." He also mentors other youth through his active participation in the Boy Scouts' radio merit badge program. Thompson said he was surprised to be named the 2003 HPM Award winner. "I was thrilled that there were two winners, because it lets me know that there are other young hams with major accomplishments," he said. "I congratulate Andrea, KG4IUM, on winning this award also." Both are Amateur Extra class licensees. Each will receive a $1500 stipend and engraved plaques. There were multiple winners as well of the 2003 Doug DeMaw, W1FB, Technical Excellence Award. Created to honor the late Doug DeMaw, W1FB--a former ARRL staffer and one of the most widely published technical authors in Amateur Radio history--the award goes to the author or authors of the best QST or QEX technical article during the prior year. The 2003 Technical Excellence Award will go to two sets of authors. The Board recognized Bob Larkin, W7PUA, Larry Liljequist, W7SZ, and Ernest Manly, W7LHL, for their July/August 2003 QEX article, "Microwave Propagation in the Upper Troposphere." The Board also recognized ARRL Life Member Robert Sommer, N4UU, for his August 2003 QST article "Optimum Radial Ground Systems." Donald P. Wright Jr, AA2F, is the winner of the 2003 ARRL Herb S. Brier (W9AD) Instructor of the Year Award. Named for the late, long-time CQ "Novice" column editor, the award honors an individual who represents the spirit of Brier's effective and caring Amateur Radio instruction. The Lake County Amateur Radio Club of Crown Point, Indiana, cosponsors the award. Wright has been active in Amateur Radio education for more than 20 years and has taught hundreds of individuals to prepare for their license examinations. Nick Lance Jr, KC5KBO, is the recipient of the 2003 ARRL Professional Educator of the Year Award. This award goes to a teacher who uses Amateur Radio within the curriculum. The Lambda Amateur Radio Club of Philadelphia is the award cosponsor. Lance is solely responsible for assisting numerous members of the astronaut corps and 29 of NASA's aerospace education specialists to get their ham tickets. He also teaches a ham class to middle schoolers and inspires them to pursue careers in technology. Michael J. Duff, KG4SLH, is the recipient of the 2004 Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award, honoring an amateur who demonstrates outstanding Amateur Radio public relations success at the local, state or national level. An ARRL Life Member, Duff has helped build public awareness for Amateur Radio via radio, television and print and has reached out to the public through informational displays and speaking engagements, continually demonstrating his success as a public relations volunteer. "Mike has the uncanny ability of successfully obtaining media and community exposure," said Jack Jackson, N4JJ, who nominated Duff for the award. "He has reached the youth through Boy Scouts and school programs as well as the general community through library displays and public event information booths." The Board also honored two recipients with the 2003 ARRL Microwave Development Award, which recognizes contributions to microwave equipment design and development. Named were Brian D. Justin Jr, WA1ZMS, and John Champa, K8OCL. The Board recognized Justin for his pioneering work in developing the Amateur Radio microwave bands above 30 GHz. In February, the ARRL Life Member claimed a new world and North American DX record for the 241 GHz band--49.35 miles. Champa, also an ARRL Life Member, was honored for his leadership as chairman of the ARRL High Speed Multimedia Committee and for the development of practical IEEE 802.11 "WiFi" technology for Amateur Radio. ==>"WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER," ASTRONAUT TELLS STUDENTS IN JAPAN It was a truly international Earth-space Amateur Radio contact July 13 when International Space Station astronaut Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, spoke with students at Meizen High School in Japan. Fincke, who's fluent in Japanese, answered most questions in both Japanese and English. During the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact between NA1SS in space and 8N6A in Japan, one questioner wanted to know what Fincke saw for the future of space development. "The future of space development is very important to everyone on the planet," Fincke replied. "We need to work together, and we can go to the moon, we can go to Mars, we can go to the stars." Speaking of stars, Fincke told another student that he hasn't been able to view any of the constellations from space because the ISS ports face earthward. "The constellations are above us, and so far, I've only looked down on the Earth, and the Earth is very bright," Fincke said. The astronaut also noted that the ISS inhabitants could see pollution on Earth from space. "Yes, we can see a little bit of environmental pollution," Fincke said in response to a student's question. "We must keep our planet clean." Regarding his newborn daughter Tarali, Fincke said he's only seen her via a computer linkup. Ten elementary pupils and seven junior high and high schoolers participated in the event, which attracted attention from local and national news media. An audience of 50 elementary, 20 junior high and 250 high school students plus some 80 parents also was on hand. The nearly nine-minute contact was marred by occasional signal dropout from NA1SS. In all, Fincke answered 16 of the students' questions before he got out of range. Osamu Nakamura, NH7TA, who attends Meizen High School, served as control operator for the direct 2-meter contact. Nakamura received his General class FCC license last November specifically for this event. "All preparations for this contact were made by the Meizen High School students themselves," said ARISS Japan mentor Satoshi Yasuda, 7M3TJZ/AD6GZ. "This was a first for Japan and a very successful event for all!" The next ARISS school group contact also will be with students in Japan. On Thursday, July 29, fifth and sixth graders attending Habikigaoka Elementary School in Habikino will have the opportunity to question Fincke. ARISS is an international educational outreach program with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. ==>HAMS MUSTER IN WAKE OF FLORIDA CAPITAL BLACKOUT Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) teams and local amateurs in the Tallahassee, Florida, area volunteered to assist after electrical power went out in about half of the capital city July 13. The region was affected for about three hours before power was restored. More than a dozen amateurs participated in the blackout response. "We have a very active ARES group here in the Capital District, and all the local hams as usual responded immediately," said Gadsden County Emergency Coordinator Bill Mapoles, KG4LFT. At the request of local authorities, hams helped during the blackout by reporting traffic difficulties, non-operating traffic signals and other power failure-related problems, he said. The 2 PM blackout during hot, humid weather, killed air conditioning, snarled traffic and led Florida A&M University to close for the rest of the afternoon. Former Capital District EC Kent Hutchinson, KC4TOC, started up an informal Tallahassee blackout net, subsequently picked up by Paul Eakins, KJ4G. Amateurs staffed the local emergency operations center and also assisted the American Red Cross, which opened a shelter and three aid stations. "I'm proud to be a part of our local ARES group," Mapoles said, "and I can say that we, in the Capital District, are prepared for anything." ==>JOHN D. KRAUS, W8JK, SK Radio astronomer, antenna designer, cosmic explorer and author John D. Kraus, W8JK, of Delaware, Ohio, died July 18. He was 94. While he enjoyed a worldwide reputation, Kraus is perhaps best known in Amateur Radio circles for his bi-directional wire beam antenna--often dubbed the '8JK array. Other important Kraus designs include the corner reflector and helix antennas. The Michigan native was a pioneer of radiotelescope design and the father of the "Big Ear" radiotelescope. Following an early fascination with radio, Kraus first became licensed as 8AFJ. He later was granted the now-famous W8JK call sign. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he joined the faculty of the Ohio State University 1946, serving as a professor of electrical engineering and astronomy and founding and directing the OSU Radio Observatory. In that capacity, Kraus designed and oversaw construction of the Big Ear on land owned by Ohio Wesleyan University. In 1978, after the "Big Ear" detected the still-unidentified "Wow!" signal that suggested the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, Kraus launched Cosmic Search, a magazine devoted to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The Big Ear fell victim to development pressures and was torn down in 1998. Kraus's classic textbook Antennas, now in its third edition, has been an engineering school staple for decades. Among his other titles are Electromagnetics, Radio Astronomy, Big Ear, Big Ear Two and Our Cosmic Universe. Kraus also wrote several articles for QST. He did a "recap and update" of his W8JK antenna in the June 1982 issue. An article in the July 1970 edition describes a "W8JK 5-Band Rotary Beam Antenna." A 1934 QST article by Kraus highlights "Amateur Radio in the Soviet Union." Kraus was a fellow of the IEEE and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. In 1996, Dayton Hamvention honored Kraus as the recipient of its Special Achievement Award. In 2001, CQ named Kraus to the inaugural class of its Amateur Radio Hall of Fame. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar sage Tad "I Wear My Sunglasses At Night" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Rising solar activity is in the news this week. Sunspot 652--a really big one--is currently looking straight at Earth. We are also experiencing effects from a coronal mass ejection from this spot. Early Thursday, July 22 (Wednesday night in the Americas) geomagnetic K indices were at zero at all latitudes--even above the Arctic Circle. The effects of the coronal mass ejection itself were unimportant, but there was a strong solar wind behind it and the interplanetary magnetic field pointed south, which makes Earth vulnerable. By Thursday night K indices were at five and six. This week's average daily sunspot numbers, compared with the previous week's, rose more than 72 points. Average daily solar flux rose nearly 48 points. When the daily sunspot number reached 176 on Monday July 19, it was the highest reading of this index since November 30, 2003. The solar flux at 175.2 on July 20 was the highest flux value since November 24 of last year. Of course, this doesn't signal any sort of upward trend in the solar cycle, but at this point there is still enough variation to provide some excitement and interest. For July 23-26, Friday through Monday, the predicted planetary A index is 25, 15, 10 and 10. Predicted solar flux for those same dates is 170, 160, 160 and 150. For HF, we generally want sunspot counts to be high for several days with stable geomagnetic conditions. Often the two don't arrive together. Sunspot numbers for July 15 through 21 were 146, 142, 165, 169, 176, 147 and 162, with a mean of 158.1. The 10.7 cm flux was 145.7, 146.5, 149.2, 155.1, 170.2, 175.2 and 172.2, with a mean of 159.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 9, 12, 24, 9, 9, 9 and 6, with a mean of 11.1. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 7, 8, 13, 6, 8, 6 and 5, with a mean of 7.6. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This weekend on the radio: The RSGB IOTA Contest and the ARS Flight of the Bumblebees are the weekend of July 24-25. JUST AHEAD: the RSGB RoPoCo 2 and the SARL HF Phone Contest are August 1. The ARS Spartan Sprint is August 3. The North American QSO Party (CW), the ARRL UHF Contest, theTARA Grid Dip Contest, the 10-10 International Summer Contest (SSB), National Lighthouse Weekend QSO Contest and the European HF Championship are the weekend of August 7-8. 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 HF Digital Communication (EC-005), ARRL VHF/UHF--Beyond the Repeater (EC-008) and ARRL Technician Licensing (EC-010) courses remains open through Sunday, July 25. Classes begin Tuesday August 3. Students participating in VHF/UHF--Beyond the Repeater will enjoy exploring some of the lesser-used and more intriguing aspects of VHF/UHF operation. HF Digital Communication students will learn to use a variety of HF digital modes. With the assistance of mentor students in Technician Licensing will learn everything they need to know to pass the FCC Technician class amateur license test. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page <http://www.arrl.org/cce> or contact the ARRL CCE department <email@example.com>. * Correction: In the "In Brief" news item "Actor Marlon Brando, KE6PZH/FO8GJ, SK," appearing in The ARRL Letter, Vol 23, No 28 (Jul 16, 2004), we erred in a statement regarding Brando's real name. He was born Marlon Brando Jr, although he appears in the FCC database under the name "Martin Brandeaux," an apparent pseudonym. His FO8GJ listing indicates both names. * Dave Bowker, K1FK, wins QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for June is Dave Bowker, K1FK, for his article "A 75 foot Top Loaded Vertical Antenna." Congratulations, Dave! 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 July issue of QST. Voting ends July 31 * AMSAT asks patience as Echo AO-51 checkout continues: AMSAT-NA says "much more work and testing is yet to be done" before it can open the Echo AO-51 Amateur Radio satellite for general use by the amateur community. Commissioning continues for AO-51, with ground controllers checking out the satellite's software on the ground and reloading and testing software on the satellite, an AMSAT bulletin reported. When Echo is in the sun, telemetry data also are being collected to work on attitude determination. AMSAT says the command team also must ensure that the satellite's hardware is working properly before making it available for use. At some point in the AO-51 proveout, the satellite will become available for experimental operation. "At the present time it is anticipated that Echo will be opened initially in 9k6 digital mode, via the BBS system," AMSAT said. "After running a few days in that mode, the FM repeater may be enabled." AMSAT says all modes will start at low power and gather data while looking at the overall health of the satellite--specifically the power consumption in each configuration. Power will gradually be increased as ground controllers monitor the data. "The command team asks at the present time, that you continue to not transmit to Echo," AMSAT said. "Please continue to show restraint, and you will be making your first contacts through Echo soon." AMSAT-NA will issue a bulletin when AO-51 becomes available for use.--AMSAT News Service via Mike Kingery, KE4AZN * Wireless Institute of Australia pushes ahead on 5 MHz proposal: The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) plans to soon ask the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) to consider establishing a set of Amateur Radio channels in the 60-meter (5 MHz) band. "We have put together a list of six proposed 5 MHz single-frequency allocations," said WIA Director Glenn Dunstan, VK4DU. He said the WIA came up with the proposed allocations--which WIA has not yet released--using the ACA's on-line frequency database and a database of Pacific 5 MHz channels. "The 5 MHz band is used heavily throughout the Pacific," Dunstan points out, "and this would restrict any amateur activity to a series of spot frequencies, with operation most probably confined to upper sideband, as is the case in the US and the UK." He said having frequencies available in the vicinity of 5 MHz would particularly enhance the capabilities of the Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network (WICEN)--Australia's equivalent of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). The WIA, which has been undergoing a restructuring, now has a national Web site <http://www.wia.org.au/>. * First western Canada LF QSO reported: British Columbia amateurs Steve McDonald, VE7SL, Mayne Island, and Scott Tilley, VE7TIL, Vancouver reportedly completed the first western Canadian contact on the 2200 meter band on July 10. McDonald said the contact between the two stations on 137.754 kHz spanned a distance of approximately 50 km (about 31 miles). "VE7TIL utilized slow-speed CW--QRSS3--mode, while VE7SL used normal CW," McDonald said. VE7TIL was running a homebrew transmitter that ran about 1 W output, while VE7SL was using a homebrew crystal-controlled exciter into a single FET amplifier at 100W output. "Both of us used similar antenna systems for transmitting--a loaded three-wire flattop T," McDonald said, and small loop antennas for receiving. McDonald said he hoped their efforts would stimulate more interest in LF in western Canada. For more information about 136 kHz activity and equipment, visit The VE7SL Radio Notebook <http://www.imagenisp.ca/jsm> and The Radio Beacon 'TIL' Web sites. <http://www.scottboxx.com/radio/>. =========================================================== 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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