*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 25, No. 01 January 6, 2006 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * +ARRL renews interference complaint against Ambient Corp BPL installation * +Sole surviving West Virginia miner KC8VKZ still critical * +Hams aid fight against Texas grass fires * +Bill Sawders, K7ZM, appointed NW Division Vice Director * +Larry Wolfgang, WR1B, named QEX Managing Editor * +Weekends best time to catch NA1SS on the air * +Canadian amateurs to lose 220-222 MHz * +Nominations sought for 2006 Dayton Hamvention awards * +ARRL Foundation approves more new scholarships * +Astronaut Leroy Chiao, KE5BRW, goes out on top * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: On the radio: ARRL RTTY Roundup, January 7-8; ARRL Kid's Day, January 8! ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration +Available on ARRL Audio News <http//www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> =========================================================== ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): firstname.lastname@example.org ==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, email@example.com =========================================================== ==>ARRL RENEWS INTERFERENCE COMPLAINT AGAINST AMBIENT CORP BPL INSTALLATION In the wake of continued FCC inaction in response to several previous complaints, on January 5 the ARRL filed a renewal of the complaint against the Ambient Corporation's Broadband over Power Line system in Briarcliff Manor, New York. The BPL system is operated by Ambient, on power lines owned and operated by Consolidated Edison, under an experimental FCC authorization. The latest communication points out that the FCC, without adjudicating ARRL's repeated complaints about interference throughout the amateur 20 meter band, renewed Ambient's experimental license for an additional term, from August 1, 2005 to August 1, 2007. "The Briarcliff Manor BPL system currently (still) causes harmful interference to Amateur Radio communications and it is not compliant with applicable FCC part 15 regulations," according to the ARRL complaint. "Neither," it continues, "is it compliant with the terms of the experimental authorization granted by the Commission, most recently on August 1, 2005." It continues: "ARRL reiterates its request, now more than a year old, that the BPL facility.be instructed to shut down immediately; and that it not resume operation unless the facility is shown to be in full compliance with Commission rules regarding radiated emissions and with the non-interference requirement.of the Commission's Rules and the terms of the experimental authorization. Finally, information about it must be listed in the BPL publicly accessible database." Appended to the January 5 complaint letter was a 25 page engineering report entitled "Additional Testing of BPL System in Briarcliff Manor, NY." ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, wrote the report after conducting further tests at the site December 5, 2005. The report points out that he had conducted similar tests twice before during 2005, and three times during 2004. In this earlier testing, Hare found significant violations of FCC rules regarding Part 15 emissions limits. The January 5 ARRL complaint, entitled "Continued Request for Immediate Cessation of Operation," was signed by ARRL Counsel Christopher D. Imlay, W3KD, and was sent to the FCC's Joseph Casey, Bruce Franca and James Burtle. Casey is Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, while Franca serves as Acting Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, and Burtle is Chief, Experimental Licensing Division. A copy was also sent to the counsel for Ambient Corporation. For more about BPL, see the BPL pages on the ARRLWeb <http//www.arrl.org/bpl>. ==>SOLE SURVIVING WEST VIRGINIA MINER KC8VKZ STILL CRITICAL The only survivor of the January 3 mine explosion in Tallmansville, West Virginia is Randal McCloy Jr, KC8VKZ, of Philippi, West Virginia. At press time, he was listed in critical condition at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he is undergoing specialized treatment. Hams may wish to send a note of support on a QSL card to Randal McCloy Jr, KC8VKZ, PO Box 223, Philippi, WV 26435. -- tnx Randy Padawer, K7RAN ==>HAMS AID FIGHT AGAINST TEXAS GRASS FIRES Amateur Radio Emergency Service and other Amateur Radio operators from the West Texas Section, and especially the Abilene vicinity, were called to assist with communications during the last week of 2005 when the wildfires struck Cross Plains, Texas, in the southeastern portion of neighboring Callahan County. "There was no cell service because the connection to the cell tower was burned," said Bill Shaw, KJ5DX, the ARRL Emergency Coordinator in nearby Taylor County. "There was one landline phone working at the church where the Cross Plains Red Cross shelter was set up." Amateur Radio operators established communication via UHF and VHF radios between the Cross Plains Shelter, Brownwood Red Cross Shelter, and Abilene Red Cross headquarters. A team of 14 radio amateurs was on hand during this emergency. "We kept up 24 hour communications for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday until noon via ham radio," Shaw explained. "The fire started as a grass fire about noontime on December 27, and quickly escalated into a raging wildfire that was fed by 45 mph winds." Unfortunately, the fire quickly spread toward town about 3 miles away, and it burned the area that is about 4 to 6 miles east-west and 2 to 3 miles north-south in size. "About 31 fire departments fought fires until about 5:00 the next morning," Shaw said. As a result of this fire, almost 8,000 acres burned, 152 homes were damaged, and that represents 25 to 30 per cent of the homes in Cross Plains. Over a hundred of those homes were completely destroyed. Wildfires have also been burning in drought-stricken Oklahoma and New Mexico. ==>BILL SAWDERS, K7ZM, APPOINTED NORTHWESTERN DIVISION VICE DIRECTOR ARRL President Jim Haynie has appointed William J. Sawders, K7ZM, of Bend, Oregon, to fill the remaining year of the current term of Northwestern Division Vice Director. The Election and Ethics Committee has verified his eligibility. A former Oregon Section Manager, Sawders was appointed to the position vacated by Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF, who became Director upon the sudden passing of Greg Milnes, W7OZ, on December 17. Sawders's term ends at noon on January 1, 2007. First licensed in 1957 at the age of 12, Sawders has held an Amateur Extra class license since 1968. Previous call signs were K6ZMZ and W7KWK. He received the call sign K7ZM in 1977. His wife, Vicki is a licensed General class operator and holds the call sign K7VKI. Bill was the ARRL Oregon Section Manager from 1998 to 2002, and is Past President of the San Diego DX Club (1968), Central Oregon Radio Amateurs (1992) and Central Oregon DX Club (1989-1998). He is currently President of the Central Oregon Contest Club. Bill is also the owner of the 145.490 repeater on the south end of Bend. ==>LARRY WOLFGANG, WR1B, NAMED QEX MANAGING EDITOR Long-time ARRL HQ staffer Larry Wolfgang, WR1B, is the new managing editor of QEX, the ARRL's magazine for communications experimenters. Editor of ARRL license study materials since 1985, Larry has been employed at ARRL Headquarters since 1981. He holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Susquehanna University, and taught high school science prior to coming to ARRL. Larry edited the popular QST Hints and Kinks column as well as QST technical articles before moving over to the Book Team to take on the ARRL license manuals series. He has served as a technical consultant on the ARRL video license courses and produced ARRL's Morse code training materials, including Your Introduction to Morse Code. Larry was the editor of the 1990 edition of The ARRL Handbook and was the handling editor for a number of books in the ARRL Radio Amateur's Library. First licensed as WN3JQM in 1968, at the age of 15, Larry also held WA3VIL for many years. Readers can find more information about QEX, published six times a year, at the QEX Web site <http//www.arrl.org/qex. The Table of Contents for each issue is listed there, along with a sample article for free download. ==>WEEKENDS BEST TIME TO CATCH NA1SS ON THE AIR The best time to catch International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, on the air from NA1SS is during a weekend. Now about halfway through his six-month duty tour, McArthur already has more than 300 casual contacts in his log, and he's eager to up the count. "Weekends seem to be Bill's favorite time to operate," says Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Ham Radio Project Engineer Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO. "The weekend has few scheduled activities, so the crew may operate anywhere from 0800 until 2200 UTC." But Ransom says McArthur also operates in his free time on weekdays, and that includes his lunch hour, scheduled around 1200 to 1400 UTC. "Bill has occasionally operated in this time during the week," he told ARRL. The crew's work day ends about 1930 UTC, but McArthur and crewmate Valery Tokarev usually stay up for another couple of hours. The crew sleeps from 2130 until 0630 UTC. McArthur recently completed Worked All Continents (WAC) from space, including the "traditional ARISS" requirement to work Antarctica. "We clearly share a lot in common," McArthur told Chuck Kimball, N0MHJ, at Palmer Station's KC4AAC during their 2-meter contact December 17. "You know, we have this bond. Just our hostile environments are a little bit different." McArthur's still trying to earn Worked All States (WAS) and DXCC from space and as 2005 drew to a close already had logged 37 states and 38 DXCC entities. Responding to questions regarding the legitimacy of a DXCC earned from a spacecraft circling 220 miles above Earth, ARRL Membership Services Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG, concedes that while McArthur's efforts don't have that much to do with traditional DXCC, they won't devalue the efforts of those earning the award from Earth either. "While rules are very important, particularly in defining the DXCC program, other concepts can, and often do, transcend mere rules," he said. "Think of this as more of a public relations opportunity." In addition, McArthur has been averaging two ARISS school group contacts as his schedule permits. Not since Expedition 3--when there were three people aboard the ISS for each crew increment--has a crew member done this on a regular basis. The NA1SS worldwide voice and packet downlink frequency is 145.800 MHz. In Regions 2 and 3 (the Americas, and the Pacific), the voice uplink is 144.49 MHz. In Region 1 (Europe, Central Asia and Africa), the voice uplink is 145.20 MHz. The worldwide packet uplink is 145.99 MHz. When NA1SS is in crossband FM repeater mode, the worldwide downlink is 145.80 MHz, and the uplink is 437.80 MHz. All frequencies are subject to Doppler shift. The Science@NASA Web site provides location information for the ISS <http//science.nasa.gov/temp/StationLoc.html>. ==>CANADIAN AMATEURS TO LOSE 220-222 MHz Barring an outpouring of "compelling arguments to the contrary," Industry Canada will reallocate the 220-222 MHz portion of 220-225 MHz from the Canadian amateur service to the mobile and fixed services. Under the provisional reallocation, which will take effect January 25, the amateur service will be allocated the 219-220 MHz subband on a secondary basis. Additionally, the amateur service may be permitted use of 220-222 MHz "in exceptional circumstances on a secondary basis to assist in disaster relief efforts." ==>NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR 2006 DAYTON HAMVENTION AWARDS The Dayton Hamvention is accepting nominations for its 2006 awards for Radio Amateur of the Year, Special Achievement and Technical Excellence. The deadline for nominations is February 20, 2006. All Amateur Radio operators are eligible. The winners will be recognized at the 2006 Hamvention, which runs May 19-21. Nominations are due by February 20, 2006. Additional details on these awards and a nomination form are available on the Dayton Hamvention Web site <http//www.hamvention.org/nominate>. Nominations also are accepted via US mail to Dayton Hamvention Awards, PO Box 964, Dayton, OH 45401. For more information, please send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Dayton Hamvention ==>ARRL FOUNDATION APPROVES MORE NEW SCHOLARSHIPS The ARRL Foundation has announced the addition of new scholarships for the 2006-2007 academic year. The ARRL Foundation Board recently approved additions to the 43 scholarship awards it now offers. The Yasme Foundation will fund five $2000 scholarship awards in 2006 for students pursuing undergraduate studies in the sciences and engineering. Two of the five scholarships are designated as renewable for up to three additional years depending on student performance. The ARRL Foundation also approved The Seth Horen, K1LOM, Memorial Scholarship to honor Horen, a native of Stratford, Connecticut and avid ham radio operator. The Horen Scholarship award of $500 is currently funded by contributions of family and friends. To be eligible for an ARRL Foundation scholarship, an applicant must be an Amateur Radio licensee attending or accepted at an accredited two or four year college or university. Information and application forms for all ARRL Foundation-administered scholarships are available on the ARRL Foundation Web site <http//www.arrl.org/arrlf/>. The application period for ARRL Foundation scholarships closes February 1, 2006. ==>ASTRONAUT LEROY CHIAO, KE5BRW, GOES OUT ON TOP Veteran International Space Station commander, spacewalker and three-time space shuttle flier Leroy Chiao, KE5BRW, has retired from NASA. "Leroy's been a valued team member and has provided extensive expertise to the nation's space flight program," said Ken Bowersox, KD5JBP--who headed ISS Expedition 6 and now serves as flight crew operations director. "We wish him continued success in his future." During an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school group QSO in late 2004 while heading ISS Expedition 10, Chiao told youngsters that the most exciting thing about being an astronaut is flying in space and looking at "our beautiful Earth." Chiao spoke via ham radio with students at 23 schools while he was aboard the ISS. Selected as an astronaut in 1990, Chiao flew his first mission four years later, becoming the first Asian-American and ethnic Chinese to fly in space and perform a spacewalk. He subsequently conducted four spacewalks in 1996 and 2000 to demonstrate tools, hardware and techniques for space station assembly and to configure space station hardware just prior to human occupancy. As Expedition 10 commander and NASA ISS Science Officer, Chiao performed two more spacewalks to complete repair and installation tasks during his six months aboard the ISS in 2004-2005. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Solar Seer Tad "Dancing in Sunshine" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average daily sunspot numbers for the past week (December 29 through January 4) were nearly 22 points below the previous period. Average daily solar flux was about the same. Average daily mid-latitude geomagnetic indices (A and K index) were exactly the same, and planetary A and K index were slightly lower. Sunspot numbers for December 29 through January 4 were 77, 67, 62, 41, 37, 39 and 25 with a mean of 49.7. 10.7 cm flux was 90.3, 89.9, 87.4, 87.4, 84.5, 84.9, and 84, with a mean of 86.9. Estimated planetary A indices were 8, 7, 9, 4, 5, 3 and 2 with a mean of 5.4. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 7, 6, 9, 5, 5, 3 and 1, with a mean of 5.1. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * On the radio: The ARRL RTTY Roundup, the Midwinter Contest (CW), the Original QRP Contest, the EUCW 160-Meter Contest, the Midwinter Contest (SSB), the DARC 10-Meter Contest are the weekend of January 7-8. ARRL Kid's Day is Sunday, January 8 <http//www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/kd-rules.html>. JUST AHEAD: The North American QSO Party (CW), Hunting Lions in the Air, the 070 Club PSKFest, the Michigan QRP January CW Contest and the NRAU-Baltic Contest (CW and SSB are separate events) are the weekend of January 14-15. The Run for the Bacon QRP Contest is January 16. The NAQCC 80-Meter Straight Key/Bug Sprint is January 19. 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. 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 remains open through Sunday, January 8, for these ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (CCE) Program on-line courses: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 2 (EC-002), Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 3 (EC-003), Antenna Modeling (EC-004), VHF/UHF Beyond the Repeater (EC-008), Radio Frequency Propagation (EC-011) and HF Digital Communications (EC-005). Classes begin Friday, January 20. To learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page <http//www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html> or contact the CCE Department <email@example.com>. * WRTC 2006 application deadline extended: The deadline for applications to participate in WRTC 2006 <http//www.wrtc2006.com/html/web/> has been extended until January 20, 2006. So far, more than 80 participant applications have been received. WRTC 2006 will take place July 7-10 in and around Florianopolis, Brazil. The global Amateur Radio contesting competition is held in conjunction with the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) HF World Championship, although WRTC rules differ in some respects from those of the IARU event, and scoring is separate. Two-person teams from all over the globe will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. WRTC stations run 100 W and have comparably modest antenna systems--typically a dipole for the low bands and a triband Yagi for the higher bands. * KB5AVY is winner of third annual Lynch Award: Dr Roberto Dabdoub, KB5AVY, of Metairie, Louisiana, has been named the recipient of the W. Sandy Lynch (W7BX/7J1ABV) Memorial Award. Given annually by the Tokyo International Amateur Radio Association (TIARA), founded in 1972, seeks to exemplify Lynch's dedication to the hobby and his personality. For 20 years, Dr Dabdoub, a native of Honduras, has kept four repeaters on the air in the New Orleans area, and one of them remained working in the metro area following Hurricane Katrina. The repeater was able to stay on the air because of the auxiliary power source at its location, Ochsner Clinic Foundation. "There were many ham radio operators and stations, both on HF and VHF, involved in the response to the Katrina disaster," TIARA President Steven Herman, K7USJ/7J1AIL, said in announcing the award winner. "We want this year's award to symbolize what a single ham and our so-called old-fashioned communications systems can do for the public when disaster strikes." TIARA says Dr. Dabdoub lost his home in the disaster. Just last year, his insurance carrier discontinued his policy because of changes in flood zone regulations where he lives near Lake Pontchartrain. =========================================================== 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. Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League. ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): firstname.lastname@example.org ==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL, email@example.com ==>ARRL News on the Web: <http//www.arrl.org> ==>ARRL Audio News: <http//www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call 860-594-0384 ==>How to Get The ARRL Letter The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from ARRL HQ. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for e-mail delivery: ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site <http//www.arrl.org/members/>. You'll have an opportunity during registration to sign up for e-mail delivery of The ARRL Letter, W1AW bulletins, and other material. 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