ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 23, No. 32
August 13, 2004
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* +First "Big Project" Teachers Institute a big hit
* +Ohio BPL team stressing credibility
* +Ham-astronaut catching up on his reading in space
* +FCC drastically reduces amateur's malicious interference fine
* +Canadian licensing proposals could start phasing in by year's end
* +"First QST" repro a bonus with early 2005 Handbook orders
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF:
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course registration
    +William Fanckboner, W9INN, SK
    +Oregon amateurs aid in ocean rescue
     ARDFers sought to serve as wildlife-tracking volunteers
     International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend is August 21-22
     Olympics special call signs authorized
     Field Day logs received now posted
     Richard Stroud, W9SR, wins July QST Cover Plaque Award

+Available on ARRL Audio News

===========================================================

==>ARRL HOSTS FIRST "BIG PROJECT" TEACHERS INSTITUTE

Nine educators from across the US this week attended the first ARRL
Education and Technology Program (ETP) Teachers Institute at ARRL
Headquarters. The seminar was aimed at acquainting teachers with effective
approaches to teach wireless technology and electronics. Most Teachers
Institute participants are associated with ETP ("The Big Project")
schools. The ETP provides amateur equipment to participating schools and
promotes Amateur Radio as a pathway to understanding radio and electronics
as well as other subjects such as language arts and geography. Project
Coordinator Mark Spencer, WA8SME, says the atmosphere of the premiere
Teachers Institute was very positive.

"The participants were excited about what they were doing and enthusiastic
about the possibilities of what they will be doing in the coming year," he
said. "There were many 'Aha!' moments throughout the week--'So that's how
it works'--or just plain 'Wow!'"

Spencer told seminar attendees he's a firm believer in hands-on learning.
"Most people enjoy and learn best by doing," he said. But, he added,
educators need to consider all learning styles and come up with a
combination that works for their students. Adjusting for different
learning levels also is something to keep in mind, he said. "Water it
down, pump it up," Spencer advised. "One size doesn't fit all." The
seminar stressed involvement with a community ham radio club as another
critical component of making the Education and Technology Program work in
a given school.

Spencer says the institute provided a much-needed immersion in teaching
wireless technology that "re-engaged teachers, took some of the mystery
out of wireless technology and showed participants they can teach the
subject and teach it better," he said. "The institute gave the teachers an
opportunity to meet their peers, share ideas and laments and make mutually
supportive connections that will ultimately benefit their students."

One successful ETP initiative has been to make available to participating
schools a selection of "activity boards." These have ranged from such
projects as a basic code practice oscillator to more sophisticated
robotics devices--something Teachers Institute participants got to play
with on the seminar's final day.

Participating educators not only came away with a wealth of ideas to teach
wireless technology but an armload of ARRL publications and a sampling of
activity boards to share with their students.

During their stay, attendees got an extensive tour of ARRL Headquarters
and took advantage of opportunities during the week to operate Maxim
Memorial Station W1AW.

"This past week has been hard work, but at the same time good work,"
Spencer said, calling it "the most rewarding week" he's had since joining
the ARRL staff. "I look forward to a better institute next year," he
added. "For the participants, their hard work has just now begun!"

This pilot Teachers Institute was funded largely with a single
contribution from a generous donor in the West Gulf Division. The League
is appealing for donations to support the Teachers Institute as an ongoing
ETP activity and to be able to continue making project activity boards and
hands-on projects available to schools.

The League invites contributions to the ARRL Education and Technology
Program via its secure donation Web site
<https://www.arrl.org/forms/development/donations/education/education.html
>.

==>AMATEUR RADIO BPL TEAM TO STRESS CREDIBILITY

The Cincinnati area's Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) Amateur Radio team
won't ramp up its activities until Cinergy Corp rolls out its BPL system
over a broader area than that of typical BPL field trials to date. ARRL
Ohio Section Manager Joe Phillips, K8QOE, says the group--headed by Kirk
Swallow, W8QID--initially will study the impact of Cinergy's BPL
deployment in two neighborhoods--Hyde Park and Mount Lookout.

"We're not all that geared up, because Cinergy has not established much of
a BPL footprint yet," Phillips explained. "We want to see what happens
when they do the buildout. That will be the definitive factor."

Cinergy's is being touted as the first large-scale commercial BPL
deployment in the US. At this point, Phillips said, the team has seen no
formal complaints of interference--just "some reports." But when
complaints do start showing up, "I want ham radio to look credible," he
emphasized. "Any interference complaints will be valid." Phillips says the
BPL team--a subcommittee of the Greater Cincinnati Local Interference
Committee--aims to gather solid engineering data on any BPL interference
cases.

"I have this recurring dream that one of these days we'll walk into
Cinergy, we'll have data they can't get from their BPL partners and
they'll walk away from it saying it's not worth it," Phillips said, noting
that utilities are "very PR conscious." An August 10 article in the
Cincinnati Enquirer cites "a flurry of concern among ham radio operators"
and quotes Cinergy and its partner Current Communications Group as saying
that Amateur Radio operators' interference fears "are unfounded."

That assertion flies in the face of the growing number of BPL-related
interference reports being tracked by ARRL
</http://www.arrl.org/~ehare/bpl/NPRM_hyperlinks.html#reports>.

Phillips, who's also mentioned in the Enquirer article, predicts the
"massive antenna" system that will result from Cinergy's planned
widespread deployment will raise the noise floor to undesirable levels.
"We're not interested in having them fix every little thing," he said,
referring to the sorts of "interference mitigation" techniques BPL
providers have used to date, such as notching of amateur frequencies. "We
are interested in seeing them do what FCC Part 15 rules require--not cause
interference to licensed spectrum users."

Phillips also praised the Cincinnati Enquirer for soliciting Amateur
Radio's perspective in the BPL controversy. "We don't have to seek it
out," he said. "We're now a permanent part of the debate." He said he's in
the process of contacting all amateur licensees in the affected
neighborhoods--some five or six dozen in all--to enlist their cooperation
with the BPL team.

The BPL rollout initially will make broadband service available to some
8000 customers. While Cinergy isn't saying publicly, it's estimated that
1000 or more customers already have signed up for the service.

Cinergy eventually hopes to have up to 55,000 subscribers on board by the
end of its first year. Plans call for expanding BPL service to Northern
Kentucky and to the remainder of the utility's Southwest Ohio service area
next year.

==>SPACE STATION TOUR PROVIDING LOTS OF READING TIME, ASTRONAUT TELLS
YOUNGSTERS

NASA International Space Station Science Officer and astronaut Mike
Fincke, KE5AIT, told youngsters in Tennessee via Amateur Radio this week
that he's been able to read a lot of books during his off-time since
arriving aboard the ISS in April. Fincke spoke August 10 with students
from Good Shepherd School in Decherd and Saint Paul's School in Tullahoma.
The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program arranged the
direct contact between NA1SS in space and K4FUN on Earth. Responding to a
question about what he does in his free time and to wind down, Fincke said
he's been catching up on his reading--and Expedition 9 still has almost
three more months to go.

"We work really hard every day, and I don't have any TV up here--or the
Internet--so I read books, and it's really great," Fincke said. He
explained that he reads books on his computer, which means he's been able
to get current titles uploaded to him during the mission. "So far I've
read 30 books aboard the International Space Station."

Two youngsters asked about keeping animals aboard the ISS. "We haven't
brought any animals up to the space station," Fincke responded. "I would
really like to, because it would be kind of nice to have a pet up here.
But it's also a lot of work--even more than usual--because you'd have to
supply oxygen and food and things like that, and it's a lot tougher than
it is on the planet."

Fincke also noted that, while he can't surf the Internet from space, he
does have e-mail and telephone capability. He said he speaks with his wife
every day from space.

Members of the Middle Tennessee Amateur Radio Society and the Stones River
Amateur Radio Club cooperated to set up a station--Field Day style under a
tent. The Stones River ARC loaned its K4FUN call sign for the occasion.

Students, parents and members of the news media surrounded the open-air
arrangement, some sitting on blankets, others on folding chairs inside the
tent. In all, approximately 250 people--including 150 students--were on
hand for the event, which received excellent media coverage. The
youngsters taking part included kindergartners through eighth graders from
the two schools. Mike Boyea, KE4KMG, served as the control operator for
the approximately 10-minute contact--Tennessee's first ARISS school group
QSO.

Fincke signed off wishing all the students the best. "Study hard, and
listen to your parents!" he advised as the space station started to go out
of range.

ARISS in an international educational outreach with US participation by
ARRL, NASA and AMSAT.

==>FCC REDUCES AMATEUR LICENSEE'S FINE FROM $12,000 to $400

The FCC has reduced the fine it had proposed to levy on an Ohio amateur
from $12,000 to $400. In May 2003, the FCC released a Notice of Apparent
Liability to Ronald E. Sauer, N8QN (ex-WE8E), of Bedford Heights. The
FCC's decision to reduce Sauer's fine, spelled out in an August 6
Forfeiture Order, was based on his inability to pay. The fine stemmed from
the FCC's finding that Sauer had deliberately interfered with Canadian
Amateur Radio operations, transmitted music, failed to identify and
violated other FCC Part 97 rules. The FCC said Sauer did not contest the
FCC's findings, but sought to have the fine cancelled because he couldn't
pay it.

"After reviewing Sauer's supporting financial documentation, we agree that
he is unable to pay the proposed $12,000 forfeiture," the FCC said in its
Order, which concluded that a $400 fine was appropriate and "consistent
with precedent."

Although it drastically reduced the fine, the FCC admonished Sauer for his
"deliberate, willful and repeated violations" of Part 97 rules and
cautioned him that further violations could result in additional
enforcement measures including license revocation.

Sauer claimed that he is unemployed, owns no real property and lives on
Social Security. He submitted recent Social Security benefit statements to
back up his assertions, the FCC Order said.

==>CANADIAN LICENSING CHANGES PROPOSED

Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) has proposed formally that Industry Canada
(IC) eliminate Morse code as a ham radio testing requirement for operation
in bands below 30 MHz in Canada. RAC wants Industry Canada to continue to
make Morse testing available to Canadian amateurs still wishing to have
that qualification specified on their certificate, however. At the same
time, the RAC wants IC to require applicants for the Basic examination to
score at least 80 percent before permitting operation below 30 MHz.

Under the proposal, present Basic plus Morse holders would be considered
as holders of the new Intermediate qualification. Basic holders who have
not passed the Morse exam would continue to hold that class with existing
operating privileges. Current Basic-without-Morse licensees who retake the
Basic examination and obtain at least 80 percent would be upgraded to
Intermediate.

RAC also recommends that the passing grade for the Basic and Advanced
examinations be raised from 60 to 70 percent when the Morse requirement is
dropped. Ultimately, RAC wants the passing grade to be upped to 75 percent
for all examination elements.

Anyone holding both the Basic and Advanced qualifications would have HF
privileges, and the Intermediate qualification or Basic plus Morse would
become a prerequisite to obtaining the Advanced.

The RAC also wants IC to create a new entry-level qualification. RAC
President Daniel Lamoureux, VE2KA, says Canadian amateurs can anticipate
implementation of a first phase of the RAC recommendations by year's end.
Details are available on the RAC Web site
<http://www.rac.ca/downloads/morserec.pdf>.

==>ARRL OFFERS "FIRST QST" REPRODUCTION WITH EARLY 2005 ARRL HANDBOOK
ORDERS

To mark the League's 90th anniversary, those placing early orders for the
2005 edition of The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications will get a
reproduction of the first edition of QST as a bonus. Orders received by
1159 UTC on September 30 will qualify to receive the bonus
reproduction--while supplies last. The September issue of QST spells out
details of the 90th anniversary promotion.

"A limited supply of QST, Vol I, No 1, will be printed before it is
returned to the 'ARRL vault' for at least 10 years," said ARRL Marketing
Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. He points out that the 2005 edition of the
Handbook edition--the 82nd--is by far the most extensively revised version
of the popular reference in a decade. ARRL Assistant Technical Editor Dana
Reed, W1LC, edited the 2005 edition, with assistance from Dean Straw,
N6BV, Jan Carman, K5MA, and Chuck Hutchinson, K8CH.

"Entire sections of this book were updated to reflect the most current
state-of-the-art," Inderbitzen noted. The new edition includes material on
digital techniques, DSP and software-defined radio design, surface-mount
construction and components, high-speed multimedia and previously
unpublished antenna designs plus advice on baluns, satellites and
moonbounce--including details on the pending Phase 3E satellite--and much
more. There's a new chapter covering Internet tips for hams, wireless
fidelity ("WiFi") and other wireless and PC technology. The 2005 Handbook
also includes more projects, including a new 10 W transceiver for 60
meters.

For the first time, the 2005 Handbook will come bundled with a free copy
of The ARRL Handbook CD (version 9.0)--a $39.95 value. The 2005 Handbook
is available in softcover, Item 9280, for $39.95 and hardcover, Item 9299,
for $54.95 (visit the ARRL Products Catalog
<http://www.arrl.org/catalog/>). It will begin shipping by early October.

ARRL co-founders Hiram Percy Maxim and Clarence D. Tuska published the
premiere issue of QST in December 1915 at their own expense. It cost 10
cents and contained 24 pages. Contents included the "December Radio Relay
Bulletin," an ARRL membership application (membership was free in 1915!),
a membership list, photographs of early amateur stations, advertisements
for headsets and radio components and more. The debut back-cover
advertised a rotary spark gap and a cat's whisker detector.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Sun watcher Tad "When I Wanted Sunshine, I Got Rain" Cook, K7RA, Seattle,
Washington, reports: Big sunspot 649 rotated back into view this week, and
sunspot and solar flux numbers are up. Average daily sunspot number for
the week August 5-11 rose more than 35 points (from the previous week) to
77.9, and average daily solar flux was up more than 18 points to 106.5.
There were no large geomagnetic events--only some periods of unsettled to
active conditions.

Sunspot 649 is currently in the center of the visible solar disk and
pointed straight toward Earth. It is a possible source of solar flares
over the next few days. Solar flux is expected to rise over the weekend,
peaking below 170 from August 15-17. The Prague Geophysical Institute
predicts unsettled geomagnetic conditions for August 13, unsettled to
active conditions for August 14, and quiet to unsettled conditions for
August 15-16.

A solar cycle prediction released from NOAA SESC this week still shows the
current cycle bottoming out around the end of 2006 and the start of 2007.
It shows the lowest sunspot numbers from December 2006 to January 2007 and
the lowest solar flux values from September 2006 through April 2007.

Sunspot numbers for August 5 through 11 were 36, 52, 71, 77, 101, 93 and
115, with a mean of 77.9. The 10.7 cm flux was 88.9, 91, 94.6, 104.8,
113.9, 121.4 and 130.8, with a mean of 106.5. Estimated planetary A
indices were 7, 7, 20, 5, 13, 14 and 13, with a mean of 11.3. Estimated
mid-latitude A indices were 5, 3, 11, 2, 12, 12 and 10, with a mean of
7.9.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: The Worked All Europe (WAE) DX Contest (CW)
and the Maryland-DC QSO Party are the weekend of August 14-15. JUST AHEAD:
North American QSO Party (SSB), the ARRL 10 GHZ and Up Contest,
International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend (see below), the SARTG WW RTTY
Contest, the Keyman's Club of Japan Contest, the SEANET Contest, New
Jersey QSO Party and the CQC Summer VHF/UHF QSO Party are the weekend of
August 21-22. 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, August 15. Classes begin Tuesday, August 24. This
course is an excellent way to learn the ins and outs of computerized
antenna modeling. Antenna 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. Registration for the
Technician Licensing course (EC-010) remains open through Sunday, August
29. Classes begin Friday, September 10. With the assistance of a mentor,
EC-010 students learn everything they need to know to pass the FCC
Technician license examination. Prospective C-CE students, please note: As
of September, the starting day for all C-CE classes, including Amateur
Radio Emergency Communication courses, will move from Tuesday to Friday.
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 <cce@arrl.org>;.

* Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course registration: Registration
for the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level III on-line
course (EC-003) opens Monday, August 16, 1201 AM EDT, and will remain open
through the August 21-22 weekend or until all available seats have been
filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, August 24. 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, cce@arrl.org;
860-594-0340.

* William Fanckboner, W9INN, SK: William E. "Bill" Fanckboner, W9INN, of
Mt Prospect, Illinois--the proprietor of W9INN Antennas--died July 30. He
was 80. W9INN Antennas will die with him. "He did all of the work by
himself, so it is effectively out of business," said his daughter, Robin
Randall. "He was the business." Refunds will be mailed to those with
existing orders. An ARRL member and supporter, Fanckboner turned his
talents for radio and electronics into W9INN Antennas some three decades
ago after working for Motorola, and he was a regular QST advertiser.
Fanckboner designed and hand-built custom antennas, including the
MPD-5C-78, MPD-2 and MDX-8C "hideaway" dipoles, and, his daughter says, he
was working full time until a week prior to his death. Fanckboner enjoyed
a reputation within the amateur community for skilled workmanship and a
friendly, helpful manner. A memorial service was held August 9. The family
invites memorial donations to the American Cancer Society.

* Oregon amateurs aid in ocean rescue: Two members of the ARRL-affiliated
Coos County Radio Club in Oregon happened to be in the right place at the
right time June 19 and were able to direct an emergency team to the
correct site of a near-drowning. Ed Makaruk, KD7JFB, says he and Rick
Livellara, KD7NTA, were walking along Bastendorff Beach when they
monitored a call on the public safety band that a rip tide had carried
three youngsters out to sea. Looking up the beach, they were able to spot
the commotion. "A surfer was in the water, and we knew that the rescuers
were being dispatched by a tourist who was giving them the wrong
location," Makaruk said. As Makaruk headed up the beach, Livellara ran to
the parking where the surfer had taken the swimmers. "I watched them to
make sure they were all right, then put an emergency call out on the
146.280 repeater," Makaruk said. Andy Hoyle, KD7VCQ, heard it and called
911. "Andy was on the phone with them as we were talking and relayed the
right location and that the kids were all right," Makaruk said. "I stood
and waved in the sheriff when he showed up, then got out of the way so the
pros could do their thing. It happened so fast that I was amazed at how
walking on the beach and playing with radios turned into a way to help
out. How great it is to have a ear listening when you need it!" Ham
radio's role got a mention in The World, the local newspaper in Coos Bay,
which identified the surfer-rescuer as Klint Wirebaugh. The three
youngsters, ages 12, 12 and 14, were not seriously injured.

* ARDFers sought to serve as wildlife-tracking volunteers: ARRL Amateur
Radio Direction Finding Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, says ARDF enthusiasts
and scanner listeners are needed to volunteer in the Denton and Collin
county areas of Texas, where wildlife researcher Jennifer Johnston is
releasing rehabilitated orphan great horned owls into the wild. "Eight
radio-tagged birds are now on the air near 150 MHz," he said. Volunteers
are also standing by for the departure of radio-tagged young burrowing
owls from their nesting sites in Florida. University of South Florida grad
student Robert Mrykalo wants know where they will end up, Moell
explains--whether they'll remain in Florida near their nesting areas or
head north into Alabama and Georgia, or even head out over the open ocean.
"If you live in the appropriate areas, you can listen these signals from
your home or car," Moell says. "If you have direction-finding gear, you
might be able to make a positive sighting." For project details, tag
frequencies and equipment suggestions, visit Moell's Homing In ARDF Web
site <http://www.homingin.com/>.

* International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend is August 21-22: Some 300
stations from Argentina to Wales will be on the for the 2004 International
Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend (ILLW) August 21-22. Mike Dalrymple, GM4SUC,
is the event organizer and coordinator. Not a contest, the event is more
of a QSO party and Amateur Radio demonstration. ILLW aims to raise public
awareness of lighthouses and lightships and the need for their
preservation and restoration, promote Amateur Radio and foster
international goodwill. Stations at more than two dozen US lights are
expected to be on the air for the event, and several stations will
identify with special event call signs. Participating lighthouse/lightship
stations do not have to be inside the structure or on the vessel itself. A
Field Day-type setup at or adjacent to the light is sufficient. More
information and a registration form are on the ILLW Web site
<http://illw.net/2004.htm>.

* Olympics special call signs authorized: To commemorate the 2004 Olympic
Games in Athens, the Greek Ministry of Transports and Telecommunications
has authorized the use of special call signs to Greek amateurs and foreign
Amateur Radio visitors (per reciprocal agreement or CEPT Recommendation
T/R 61-01). The US and Canada are among those with reciprocal agreements.
Non-Greek amateurs may use a special call sign consisting of the prefix
J42004 followed by the licensee's call sign or a combination of up to
three letters of the Latin alphabet of their own choosing. Greek licensees
may use the prefix SY2004 or SX2004 followed by the licensee's call sign
or a combination of up to three letters of the Latin alphabet of their own
choosing. Greek citizens may use Special Olympic Games call signs until
September 9, 2004, while foreign amateurs may use them until September 15.

* Field Day logs received now posted: The complete list of Field Day logs
received has been posted on the ARRL Web site's "Logs Received" page
<http://www.arrl.org/contests/claimed/>. The list includes paper logs,
e-mailed logs and logs submitted via the Web applet. In the event of
errors in the basic information or missing entries, contact Kathy Allison,
KA1RWY, <kallison@arrl.org>;; 860-594-0295. If an entry is marked as a
check log, it is either because it was designated as such or because the
ARRL Contest Branch doesn't have sufficient information to properly
process the log. In those cases, the ARRL Contest Branch has requested
clarification. If no response is received, however, the submissions will
remain check logs.

* Richard Stroud, W9SR, wins July QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of
the QST Cover Plaque Award for July is Richard W. Stroud, W9SR, for his
article "Copper Loops for 222 and 440 MHz." Congratulations, Richard! 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 August issue of QST. Voting ends August 31.

* Correction: The news brief "FCC expands Universal Licensing System
Hotline Support," which appeared The ARRL Letter, Vol 23, No 31 (August 6,
2004), the FCC provided an incorrect telephone number for the ULS
Technical Support Hotline. The correct toll-free number is 877-480-3201.

===========================================================
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Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main
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The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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1. From the Inbox view, select the Tools menu and the Options selection.

2. Click the Read tab

3. Check the Read All Messages In Plain Text box.  When you open the e-mail, it will be in plain text without images. Other e-mail programs may be able to make a Mail Rule for e-mail received from the address memberlist@www.arrl.org so that the plain-text-only display is selected automatically.

Outlook 2007

Use the same procedure as for Outlook Express, although the global option is under "Tools/Trust Center/E-mail Security".

Thunderbird

Use the menu item "View/Message Body As/Plain Text" or "View/Message Source" options.

OS X Mail (Mac)

Use the "View/Message/Plain Text Alternative" menu item.

GMail

Use the "Message text garbled?" link in the drop-down menu at the upper right of the displayed message block. pine, alpine Set "prefer-plain-text" in your ~/.pinerc configuration file: feature-list=..., prefer-plain-text, ...