*************** 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 <email@example.com> ==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, <firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com. 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 <firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. * 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 features and columns. ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/ audio/> is a weekly "ham radio newscast" compiled and edited from The ARRL Letter. It's also available as a podcast from our Web site. 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/American Radio Relay League. ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): email@example.com ==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, firstname.lastname@example.org ==>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. To change these selections--including delivery of The ARRL Letter--registered members should click on the "Member Data Page" link (in the Members Only box). Click on "Modify membership data," check or uncheck the appropriate boxes and/or change your e-mail address if necessary. (Check "Temporarily disable all automatically sent email" to temporarily stop all e-mail deliveries.) Then, click on "Submit modification" to make selections effective. (NOTE: HQ staff members cannot change your e-mail delivery address. You must do this yourself via the Members Only Web Site.) The ARRL Letter also is available to all, free of charge, from these sources: * ARRLWeb <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/>. 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