ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 26, No. 24
June 15, 2007
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

* + US Senate to investigate BPL's interference potential to Amateur Radio 
* + Are you ready for Field Day?
* + Army MARS HF e-mail system passes "hurricane test"
* + ElectroMagnetic Capability Committee meets at ARRL HQ 
* + ARRL Headquarters gets a facelift 
* + Oklahoma governor signs antenna support structure bill into law; North
Carolina next in line 
*  Solar Update
*  IN BRIEF: 
      This weekend on the radio
      ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
    + ARRL Logbook of the World back on line 
    + New General class books are good to go! 
      WAS Award gets a new look 
      US Islands revamps awards program 
      Amistad takes to sea with Amateur Radio send-off 
      Rare Rwanda on the air 


+Available on ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/
audio/> 

===========================================================
==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ <http://www.arrl.org/
members-only/faq.html#nodelivery>, then e-mail <letter-dlvy@arrl.org>;
==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, <k1sfa@arrl.org>;
===========================================================

==> US Senate to investigate BPL's interference potential to Amateur Radio

Sen Mark Pryor of Arkansas filed a bill yesterday in the US Senate calling on
the Federal Communications Commission to conduct a study on the interference
caused by broadband Internet transmission over power lines, otherwise known as
BPL. Sen Pryor is a member of the Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation.

If passed, Senate Bill 1629 would require the FCC to "conduct and submit to
the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the
Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives, a report on a
study of interference potential of systems for the transmission of broadband
Internet services over power lines."

The bill states that there are to be four required areas of study.

1. "The variation of field strength of BPL service signals with distance
from overhead power lines, and a technical justification for the use of any
particular distance extrapolation factor.
2. "The depth of adaptive, or 'notch,' filtering for attenuating normally
permitted BPL service radiated emission levels that would be necessary and
sufficient to protect the reliability of mobile radio communications.
3. "A technical justification for the permitted, radiated emission levels
of BPL signals relative to ambient levels of man-made noise from other sources.
4. "Options for new or improved rules related to the transmission of BPL
service that, if implemented, may prevent harmful interference to public safety
and other radio communication systems."

ARRL president Joel Harrison, W5ZN, said, "The ARRL is grateful for Senator
Pryor's support. The radio amateurs of my home state of Arkansas are fortunate
to be represented in both the Senate and the House of Representatives by
legislators who are sensitive to our needs and concerns. The Senator's
recognition of Amateur Radio's role in emergency communications and public
safety is greatly appreciated."

This bill calls for the same studies to be performed as House Bill 462,
introduced January 12, 2007 by Rep Mike Ross of Arkansas.

To view Senate Bill 1629, please see
www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/amateur_radio_act.pdf.

==> Are you ready for Field Day? 

Field Day 2007 is fast approaching! Are you ready? Dan Henderson, N1ND, ARRL
Regulatory Information Specialist and Field Day Coordinator, reminds all Field
Day participants that now is the time to make those final preparations.
"Now is the time to make sure you have sent out the letters inviting the
local officials, such as town council members, served agencies representatives,
to attend your event. You should also be firming up your media contacts."

If you need additional information, please refer to your Field Day packet. This
includes rules, forms and various FAQs; it can be downloaded from
www.arrl.org/contests/forms. Those groups still needing handouts and exhibit
kits for their information tables should not wait any longer -- orders for
supplies need to be at ARRL HQ by Monday, June 18 to allow for shipping prior to
Field Day. Contact Leona Adams at 860-594-0341. The cost is $6.50 for ARRL
members and $9.50 for non-members.

==> Army MARS HF e-mail system passes "hurricane test"

Although the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season has yet to begin, a Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) alert for a fictitious hurricane in late March
sent special teams of Army Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) emergency
responders scurrying to duty stations from Miami to Houston and beyond. Dubbed
"Operation Sidewinder," the drill aimed to test a new HF digital
backup communication link for airports in case a weather or terrorist event ever
compromised conventional telecommunications, as Katrina did in 2005. For this
first comprehensive trial run, Army MARS mobilized a new Winlink digital
communication system, with Air Force and Navy-Marine Corps MARS members
providing active support. 

Operation Sidewinder marked the first comprehensive demonstration of the TSA's
partnership with the Army MARS, a Pentagon-sponsored organization of volunteer
Amateur Radio operators that supports federal government agencies during
emergencies. MARS has some 5000 members in its separate Army, Air Force and
Navy-Marine Corps branches. Operation Sidewinder called for a Category 3
hurricane to make landfall at Miami, continuing on toward Houston. To drill
MARS's capabilities in multiple emergencies, a possible terrorist operation
concurrent with the weather emergency was added.

Earlier this year, the TSA, part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),
adopted the MARS Winlink emergency communications network for deployment at
major airports. DHS, however, has not adopted Winlink on a department-wide
basis. DHS cites the Winlink system for its ability to provide interconnectivity
between HF radio and the Internet. The use of Winlink 2000 permits access to
SHARES [SHared RESources program of the National Communications System] and MARS
systems via conventional HF/VHF/UHF radio circuits. 

Army MARS Chief Stuart Carter said Operation Sidewinder gave MARS members the
opportunity to demonstrate long-haul HF connectivity, local VHF communication,
HF e-mail, a WiFi computer interface with HF radio for e-mail, a TSA HF mobile
facility, an Army MARS volunteer's vehicle capable of indefinite HF operations
and two small, light and portable HF suites. 

Participants at Miami International Airport activated the TSA Winlink station
and dispatched an initial situation report to inform the network that the
airport had shut down in the face of 115 MPH winds. At Pensacola, the TSA's
AAN4PNS portable unit was activated. Other TSA stations joined in from
Dallas/Fort Worth, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houston and Charleston, West
Virginia. At Charleston's Yeager Airport, a 10 member MARS support team handled
50 text messages along with several photos. Texas Army MARS Winlink gateway
AAB6TX logged 236 exercise messages in addition to secondary voice and MT63
digital traffic. Additional participants included the Pentagon's AAN3PNT, the
Army North headquarters at Ft Sam Houston in San Antonio; FEMA Region 6, and the
Texas State Emergency Operations Center, plus dozens of Army, Air Force and
Navy-Marine Corps MARS members who joined on their own initiative. 

==> ElectroMagnetic Capability Committee meets at ARRL HQ

The ElectroMagnetic Compatibility Committee (EMC), an ARRL Standing Committee,
met at ARRL Headquarters in Newington this week. Committee Chairman Dennis
Bodson, W4PWF, ARRL Roanoke Division Director, said the group came together to
discuss the Committee's goals and objectives. They also discussed presenting an
EMC forum at the Dayton Hamvention in 2008, as well as ElectroMagnetic
Compatibility forum as it relates to automobiles.

"We provide hams with information on how they might minimize their
situations to ElectroMagnetic Compatibility. We serve as the conduit to receive
reports for Committee action and respond back," Bodson said.

Bodson said the Committee has numerous goals, including monitoring the
development of ElectroMagnetic Capability; assessing the impact of
ElectroMagnetic Capability on the Amateur Radio Service; informing the ARRL
Board of Directors about the Committee's activities, and making recommendations
to the Board for further action concerning ElectroMagnetic Compatibility if
necessary.

Committee members have certain areas of expertise, Bodson said. Jody Boucher,
WA1ZBL, is an electric-utility RFI troubleshooter. Ron McConnell, W2IOL, and
Steve Jackson, KZ1X, work with digital subscriber lines (DSL). Mark Steffka,
WW8MS, deals with automotive EMC. Steve Strauss, NY3B, is an expert concerning
home-phone networking and Part 15 issues. Ron Hranac, N0IVN, handles cable
television issue. Cortland Richmond, KA5S, is an EMC consultant. Other members
of the committee are ARRL Laboratory Engineer Mike Gruber, W1MG, and ARRL
Honorary Vice President Hugh Turnbull, W3ABC, member emeritus of the EMC
Committee.

==> ARRL Headquarters gets a facelift

If you haven't been to ARRL Headquarters lately, you might not recognize it. The
building received a fresh coat of paint earlier this month, and the drainage
problems in the parking lot have been fixed.

This week, workers started tearing out the sidewalks in front of the HQ building
in preparation for the new Diamond Terrace. New curbs and sidewalks will also be
installed. Pictures chronicling the progress of the project will be up on the
ARRL Web site next week. This will be a photo blog or essay that will show the
project as it goes through its many steps to completion.

A project of the ARRL Diamond Club, The Diamond Terrace will be constructed of
personalized, 4×8-inch laser-engraved bricks. Gracing the new entrance to ARRL
Headquarters, The Diamond Terrace will recognize donors wishing to venerate
their own call signs or to honor or memorialize the call sign of a family
member, club or "Elmer" (mentor). 

ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, was the first in line to buy a Diamond
Terrace brick, and another 20 bricks already are spoken for. Others can join
them with a $250 annual Diamond Club membership contribution (ARRL will contact
Diamond Clubbers who made contributions of $250 or more after November 15, 2006
to ask if they wish to place a brick). The Diamond Club now has more than 2000
members, and the unrestricted funds it takes in support such ARRL activities as
spectrum defense, educational initiatives, field services, DXCC, publications,
contesting and the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator among others, Hobart
points out. "You pick an area that's near and dear to your heart, and
Diamond Club revenue is very likely supporting it."

Donors may request up to three lines of 16 characters (spaces and punctuation
included) per line, although the more lines, the smaller the characters. Legends
may consists of a call sign or a name -- or both -- or a club name and call sign
and even a year. Diamond Club members contributing $250 or more each year may
add a new brick, or bricks, to the terrace. Especially generous donors may wish
to donate a garden bench to The Diamond Terrace at ARRL for an initial donation
of $10,000.

New bricks for The Diamond Terrace will be put into place 50 bricks at a time
each year during May and June. Bricks will be set in sand and are treated to
withstand a harsh New England winter. A brick locator will be posted on the ARRL
Web site.

Hobart says the terrace ultimately will consist of 5000 bricks. "We hope it
will be a catalyst for growth, and that many members will support this
effort," she said. Contact Hobart by telephone (860-594-0397) or via e-mail
at k1mmh@arrl.org. You can also visit the
ARRL Web site to learn more or to sign up for your Diamond Club membership and
Diamond Terrace brick. 

==> Oklahoma governor signs antenna support structure bill into law; North
Carolina next in line

Oklahoma became the 24th state to pass antenna support structure legislation.
Governor Brad Henry signed Oklahoma Senate Bill 426 into law May 31. This new
law states antenna support structures can be erected as long as the structure
complies with 47 C. F. R., Section 97.15(b). This "allow[s] for the
erection of an Amateur Radio antenna or an Amateur Radio antenna support
structure at a height and dimension sufficient to accommodate Amateur Radio
Service communications," the law reads.

The new law defines an antenna support structure as a "structure or
framework that is designed to elevate an antenna above the ground for the
purpose of increasing the effective communications range and reliability of an
amateur radio station. Amateur Radio antenna support structures are removable by
design and therefore are a removable structure for assessment purposes."

The Oklahoma law is scheduled to take effect on Thursday, November 1, 2007.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, State House Bill 1340, the "Amateur Radio
Antenna Bill" was approved by the Senate Commerce, Small Business and
Entrepreneurship Committee on Thursday, June 14. 

Director of Bill Drafting for the North Carolina Legislature Gerry Cohen, K4GC,
wrote HB1340. "Though the committee approved the bill today, the report was
not turned in; I expect that to happen Monday. If that happens, it will be on
Tuesday's Senate calendar for approval, returned to the House Wednesday for
concurrence in the date change amendment, probably concurred in Thursday of next
week, ratified the following Monday, and delivered to Gov Michael F. Easley on
Tuesday, June 26. He then has 10 calendar days to act, with day one being June
27. This is all assuming no hang-ups along the way," Cohen said.

The North Carolina bill calls for "reasonable accommodation" of
antenna support structures. It states that "a city [or county] may not
restrict antennas or antenna support structures of Amateur Radio operators to
heights of 90 feet or lower unless the restriction is necessary to achieve a
clearly defined health, safety, or aesthetic objective of the city [or county]. 

If North Carolina passes HB1340, 25 states will have PRB-1 language laws on the
books.

==>SOLAR UPDATE

Tad "Sunrise, Sunset" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: Expect low
sunspot activity and moderate geomagnetic conditions this next week. Higher
geomagnetic activity is predicted for June 19 and again on June 22. The US Air
Force predicts the planetary A index from June 15-24 (June 23-24 is ARRL Field
Day) at 10, 5, 5, 10, 20, 15, 12, 20, 12 and 5. Geophysical Institute Prague
predicts unsettled conditions for June 15, quiet to unsettled on June 16-17,
quiet on June 18-19, unsettled June 20, and unsettled to active conditions on
June 21. Sunspot numbers for June 7 through 13 were 59, 51, 19, 14, 13, 12 and
12 with a mean of 25.7. 10.7 cm flux was 85.5, 84.3, 78.6, 75.9, 73.3, 70.4, and
70.9, with a mean of 77. Estimated planetary A indices were 3, 8, 8, 8, 2, 4 and
5 with a mean of 5.4. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 1, 7, 5, 6, 1, 3 and
5, with a mean of 4. These numbers show that average daily sunspot numbers for
June 7-13 are down over 20 points, compared to May 31 through June 6. Average
daily solar flux declined over five points. For more information concerning
radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page
<http://www.arrl.org/tis/
info/propagation.html>.

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This weekend on the radio: Coming up on June 13 is the SKCC Sprint, the NAQCC
Straight Key/Bug Sprint, the RSGB 80 Meter Club Championship (CW) and the NCCC
Sprint Ladder. The Digital Pentathlon, the All Asian DX Contest (CW), the SMIRK
Contest, SARL Youth for Amateur Radio, the West Virginia QSO Party, the AGCW
VHF/UHF Contest, Kids Day, DIE Contest, Run for the Bacon QRP Contest and the
RSGB 80m Club Championship (SSB) are all this weekend, as well. ARRL Field Day
is next weekend, June 23-24. Next weekend also plays host to the following
contests: NCCC Sprint Ladder and the Digital Pentathlon on June 22; the
Ukrainian DX DIGI Contest, His Majesty King of Spain Contest, (SSB), Marconi
Memorial HF Contest and the ARCI Milliwatt Field Day. The Quebec QSO Party has
been cancelled. 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 June 17 for these online courses beginning on Friday
July 6; Technician License Course (EC-010), Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Level 1 (EC-001), Radio Frequency Interference (EC-006), Antenna
Design and Construction (EC-009), Analog Electronics (EC-012) and Digital
Electronics (EC-013). These courses will also open for registration Friday May
15, for classes beginning Friday July 3. To learn more, visit the CCE Course
Listing page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html
> or contact the CCE Department <cce@arrl.org>;.

* ARRL Logbook of the World back on line: The new Logbook of the World server is
up and running. The principal benefits of the new server, aside from the value
of having newer hardware, are that it provides faster processing and more
storage, and it uses upgraded operating-system and relational database (RDMS)
software. The speed difference will be quite noticeable, as well. The increase
in storage space took LoTW from using about 90 percent of its available storage
to about 45 percent. The new software allows for future growth, as the ARRL has
upgraded to a system that allows better distributed processing and clustering.
LoTW has more than 16,400 users and over 130 million QSO records.

* New General class books are good to go!: According to ARRL Sales and Marketing
Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, the new ARRL General Class License Manual is
ready for shipping. As of July 1, 2007, a new General Class license exam pool
will take effect; the old pool will no longer be valid. The new ARRL General
Class License Manual has everything you need to pass the General Class exam.
Also available is the ARRL General Q&A. This book makes upgrading to General
Class quick and easy, allowing you to review from the entire question pool with
brief explanations following each question. You can order the new manuals, plus
manuals for Technician and Amateur Extra from www.arrl.org/catalog/lm/.

* WAS Award gets a new look: Radio operators applying for the ARRL Worked All
States (WAS) award will now receive a handsome, newly-designed certificate, sure
to be a nice attraction to the ham who enjoys chasing awards and displaying
prizes in the shack. The WAS Award is available to all amateurs worldwide who
submit proof with written confirmation of having contacted each of the 50 states
of the United States of America. The WAS Awards program includes 10 different
awards and endorsements. Complete details, rules and applications for WAS can be
found on the ARRL Web site. Those who already hold a WAS award can get the new
style certificate issued for $10. Contact ARRL Awards Manager, Eileen Sapko at
esapko@arrl.org or 860-594-0288

* US Islands revamps awards program: There have been some significant changes to
the US Islands Awards Program. The US Protectorate Islands were recently added
to the program; formerly, only those islands governed by individual states were
included. As such, there are several new islands added to the mix, including the
US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and others. New awards have
also been added to the program, and an additional award is the works for
protectorate islands. USI stresses that the earlier award series is still
ongoing and hasn't changed. "These new awards series marks the first
expansion to the program in many years," said Page Pyne, WA3EOP, USI's
Program Coordinator. For more information, please see www.usislands.org.

* Amistad takes to sea with Amateur Radio send-off: Special Event call sign W1A
will be on the air this weekend in recognition and celebration of the up-coming
transatlantic crossing and 18-month journey of the Freedom Schooner Amistad.
This historic voyage will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of
the slave trade in the United Kingdom and the United States, promoting the
values of understanding and unity represented by Amistad itself. The main
operation of this special event will be set up at the Long Wharf Pier in New
Haven, Connecticut, homeport of the Amistad, flagship of the State of
Connecticut. The ship will be docked there prior to its departure. Some stations
expect to operate from remote locations using the W1A call sign. HF operations
will start Friday, June 15 at noon, continuing through Saturday and Sunday.
Planned frequencies include 3.675, 7.275, 14.275, 21.275 and 28.475 MHz. The
Freedom Schooner Amistad is a replica of the original ship that was commandeered
by Africans who had been captured in 1839. First stopping in Halifax, Nova
Scotia, the Amistad will travel to England, arriving in London in early August
in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Abolition Act passed by
England's Parliament. The Amistad will then join in the Liverpool National
Museum's public opening of the International Slavery Museum on August 23, the
UNESCO designated Slavery Remembrance Day. The ship travels on to Bristol before
continuing its voyage to Portugal and the West Coast of Africa, marking major
points in the history of the slave trade. In December, the Amistad will sail
into the harbor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, the original West African homeland of
many of the Amistad captives. This symbolic "homecoming" will be a
capstone event of the Atlantic Freedom Tour. The Amistad will return to the
United States via the Caribbean and Bermuda in spring 2008, traveling to
multiple ports coming up the East Coast as the US commemorates the bicentenary
of legislation to ban the importation of slaves. If any hams are interested in
helping to operate W1A, please contact Don Wilson, K1IN at k1in@aol.com.

* Rare Rwanda on the Air: The Daily DX reports Vladimir Bykov, UA4WHX, is now
operating from the very rare Rwanda as 9X0VB. Rwanda has not been on the air
since late 1997 and currently ranks #33 on The DX Magazine's "2006 Most
Wanted Survey." Watch for him on 10-160 meters on both CW and SSB. QSL via
UA4WHX, but please wait until he gets home before sending your QSLs. There is no
word on where Bykov will head to next. 


=========================================================== 
The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio
Relay League: ARRL--the National Association for Amateur Radio, 225 Main St,
Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; <http://www.arrl.org/>. Joel Harrison, W5ZN,
President.

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential and general news of
interest to active radio amateurs. Visit the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> for the latest Amateur
Radio news and news updates. The ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> also offers informative
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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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