*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 26, No. 34 August 24, 2007 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * + Dean Downgraded to Tropical Depression, Hurricane Watch Net Deactivated * + ARRL Director Elections in November * + The 2007 ARRL National Convention -- Gone, but Definitely not Forgotten * + GAREC-07 Celebrates Emergency Communications in Huntsville * + ARES Teams Activated for Northwest Ohio Near-Record Flooding * + FCC Enforcement Actions * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This Weekend on the Radio ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Course Registration + Section Manager Elections Results Announced + Malaysia to Send Astronaut to ISS Communications Museum Comes Back to Life On-line Course Developer Needed QST Wants You! Let Us Know What You Think +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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> ==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, <email@example.com> =========================================================== ==> DEAN DOWNGRADED TO TROPICAL DEPRESSION, HURRICANE WATCH NET DEACTIVATED The remnants of Hurricane Dean, now Tropical Depression Dean, have dissipated over Mexico and the heavy rain threat has diminished. The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) secured activation for Dean on Wednesday afternoon at 1915 UTC after commencing operations last Friday. Despite experiencing very poor propagation and noisy conditions on 20 meters, the net managed to provide the latest storm advisories from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to amateurs and listeners in Dean's path. As the storm powered through the Windward Islands, scraped Jamaica, threatened the Cayman Islands, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and finally crossed into Mexico, HWN was in frequent contact with the affected areas to collect real-time weather data from local hams, passing it to the NHC forecasters and informing the affected areas about what to expect next via official bulletins. On Tuesday, Dean made landfall near Costa Maya or Majahual at 0830 UTC as a potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane. Earlier in the week, the storm slammed Jamaica as the eye passed within 50 miles of the South Coast of Jamaica as a Category 4 hurricane. The VoIP Hurricane Net solicited reports from any stations in the affected area or any stations that have contact with the affected area. "We received numerous reports of estimated winds over 100 MPH in Corozal, Belize, with roofs off homes, power, electricity and phone service out in many areas. Similar damage was reported in Chetmual, Mexico from a relay from Connie, NH7IE, from a friend who lives in Chetmual, Mexico," said Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Director of Operations of the VoIP Hurricane Net. WX4NHC Assistant National Hurricane Center Amateur Radio Station Coordinator, Julio Ripoll, WD4R, worked to get reports via the VoIP Hurricane Net and liaison was established with Spanish speaking Mexican stations on the XE2MCC EchoLink conference node: 255469. Ripoll received reports directly from that conference via Spanish, and Francisco Diaz-Gonzalez, NP3OD, from the VoIP Hurricane Net Control team, is monitoring that conference for reports. "We've received reports of trees down, power outages from the Telum and Campeche, Mexico, area as relayed via the XE2MCC conference and from other amateurs," Macedo said. A report of 16 fishermen being stranded in the Middle Keys on Jamaica was confirmed by Julien Dedier, 9Z4FZ,from Trinidad, by making contact with the Trinidad Coast Guard who then verified the report with the Jamaican Coast Guard. All 16 fishermen took shelter in a Coast Guard building on the keys and were safe. Dedier relayed numerous other damage, storm surge and wind estimate reports from Jamaica to the net. "Thanks for the update on the fishermen and were glad to know they are safe," said Ripoll. Ray Weber, KA1JJM, from Western Massachusetts SKYWARN, and Dave Taylor, KI4YIK, from Rock Hill, South Carolina, both were instrumental in relaying measured wind data reports. Ray had a contact in Lionel Town, Jamaica, who was a mariner, and Dave had a contact with a missionary in Jamaica that had wind instrumentation that clocked sustained wind speeds. "This is an example of gathering disaster intelligence information by all means possible which is a huge role for our net. If we don't have direct contact with the affected area, getting stations that can relay from other sources from both within the Amateur community and from other contacts that Amateurs may have in the area can be of great help," Macedo said. Between the *WX-TALK*/IRLP 9219 reflector system and the listen-only conferences, there were more than 150 connections from EchoLink PC users, as well as EchoLink and IRLP links and repeaters where people that were interested in Dean's impact on Jamaica monitored. This included relief agencies that monitored, such as the Salvation Army and the Southern Baptist Relief organization. The Hurricane Watch Net activates on 14.325 MHz when a hurricane is forecast within 300 miles of landfall. - Information provided by HWN Manager Dave Lefavour, W7GOX, and Director of Operations of the VoIP Hurricane Net Rob Macedo, KD1CY ==> ARRL DIRECTOR ELECTIONS IN NOVEMBER ARRL Chief Executive Officer and Board Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, announced that the Ethics and Elections Committee of the ARRL Board of Directors has completed its review of the candidates' eligibility and has found all of them to be eligible. Ballots will be counted at ARRL HQ on November 16. The Divisions holding elections this year are Pacific, Rocky Mountain, Southeastern, Southwestern and West Gulf. In the Pacific Division, Bob Vallio, W6RGG, of Castro Valley, California, was named Director for another three year term; Vallio was running unopposed. The rules state that if a candidate is running unopposed, he or she shall be declared the winner without balloting. Vallio has been Pacific Division Director since February 2003, when he assumed the position upon the death of Jim Maxwell, W6CF. For Vice Director in the Pacific Division, incumbent Andy Oppel, N6AJO, of Alameda, California will face Rob Brownstein, K6RB, of Santa Cruz, California. Current Rocky Mountain Vice Director Division Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is running for Director against Jeff Ryan, K0RM, of Westminster, Colorado. Current Director Warren G. "Rev" Morton, WS7W, of Casper, Wyoming, is not seeking re-election. Vice Director candidates for the Rocky Mountain Division are Dwayne Allen, WY7FD, of Devil's Tower, Wyoming, and Chris Howard, W0EP, of Fort Collins, Colorado. Due to the retirement of ARRL Southeastern Division Director Frank Butler, W4RH, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, after 50 years of elected service to the ARRL, the Southeastern Division Director's seat is open. Candidates are Sherri Brower, W4STB, of Vero Beach, Florida; Rudy Hubbard, WA4PUP, of Milton, Florida; Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, of Harvest, Alabama, and Carl Zelich, AA4MI, of Chuluota, Florida. Candidates for Vice Director of the Southeastern Division are incumbent Sandy Donahue, W4RU, of Dothan, Alabama, and Jeff Beals, WA4AW, of Loxahatchee, Florida. Current ARRL Southwestern Division Director Dick Norton, N6AA, of Topanga, California, will face challenger Carl Gardenias, WU6D, of Perris, California. Current Vice Director for the Southwestern Division Edward J. "Ned" Stearns, AA7A, of Scottsdale, Arizona, is not seeking re-election; four candidates have stepped forward to seek that position: Tom Fagan, WB7NXH, of Tucson, Arizona; Joseph Madas, AE6JM, of Banning, California; Tuck Miller, NZ6T, of National City, California, and Marty Woll, N6VI, of Chatsworth, California. Current ARRL West Gulf Division Director Coy Day, N5OK, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, will face Ed McGinley, W5ETM, of Fort Worth, Texas, for that position. Incumbent Vice Director for the West Gulf Division, Dr David Woolweaver, K5RAV, of Harlingen, Texas, will face John Teer, AK5Z, also of Harlingen. Ballots will be sent to all full members of the League in that Division who are of good standing as of September 10, 2007 (you must be a licensed radio amateur to be a full member). The ballots will be mailed not later than October 1, 2007 and, to be valid, must be received at ARRL HQ by noon Eastern Time on Friday, November 16, 2007. Absentee ballots are available to those ARRL full members licensed by the FCC but temporarily residing outside of the US. Members overseas who arrange to be listed as full members in an appropriate Division prior to September 10, 2007, will be able to vote this year where elections are being held. Even within the US, full members temporarily living outside the ARRL Division they consider home may have voting privileges by notifying the ARRL Secretary prior to September 10, 2007, giving their current QST address and the reason another Division is considered home. ==> THE 2007 ARRL NATIONAL CONVENTION -- GONE, BUT DEFINITELY NOT FORGOTTEN The 2007 ARRL National Convention, held August 18-19 in conjunction with the Huntsville Hamfest, lived up to its promise to be 'chock-full of activities and exhibits.' The centerpiece of the Convention was ARRL EXPO -- an entire exhibit area showcasing many ARRL programs and services. According to Charlie Emerson, N4OKL, vice president of the Huntsville Hamfest Association, more than 5000 people enjoyed the National Convention and hamfest. ARRL Sales and Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, led the team that organized ARRL's exhibit and convention activities. "The Huntsville Hamfest Committee rolled out the red carpet for ARRL members and friends. We were delighted to sign up more than 150 new and renewing members throughout the event. But the greatest measure of this event's success was in the relationship-building that took place throughout these days. GAREC, the Huntsville Hamfest and the ARRL National Convention brought together the very best of our Amateur Radio Service." Just prior to the hamfest, the 2007 Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference (GAREC-07), sponsored by the IARU, was Thursday and Friday, August 16-17. GAREC-07 registrants participated in emergency communications-themed presentations, discussions and demonstrations. ARRL staff and volunteers ran booths and tables at the Convention, showcasing the services and programs offered by the League. Representatives from various ARRL departments were in attendance, including the ARRL Lab, Public Relations, Publications, DXCC and Awards, and the ARRL VEC. The big ARRL Bookstore offered hundreds of books and other ARRL publications and merchandise, as well. ARRL Officers and Directors were on hand, too, including President Joel Harrison, W5ZN and CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, as well as Vice Presidents Rick Roderick, K5UR, and Rod Stafford, W6ROD. Representatives from the IARU, including President Larry Price, W4RA, and Vice President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, made the trek to Alabama, as well. ARRL Headquarters staff and Field Organization leaders gave more than a dozen short mini-forums on the ARRL Stage during the Convention in ARRL's big exhibit area. Presentations on the ARRL Stage included an update on Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) given by Ed Hare, W1RFI; suggestions for energizing young -- and potential -- hams, presented by ARRL Youth Contributing Editor and Georgia Assistant Section Manager/Youth Andrea Hartlage, KG4IUM; a "how-to" session on writing for QST, presented by ARRL News Editor S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA; an introduction to ARRL Operating Awards and the ARRL QSL bureau with ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L; tips for contesting with QST Contributing Editor and ARRL author Ward Silver, N0AX, and an overview of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) presented by Rob Suggs, KB5EZ, NASA Space Environments Team Lead from the Marshall Space Flight Center. ARRL staff presented forums at the hamfest, as well as on the ARRL Stage. ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, moderated the ARRL Membership Forum. ARRL Education Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ, led the ARRL Education Forums which included an overview of the ARRL's new Education Services Department. She also covered topics on the new ARRL mission statement on education, new licensing materials, enrichment courses and an update on ARRL outreach activities through the Education and Technology Program and Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS). ARRL Membership Manager Katie Breen, W1KRB, took visitors on a virtual ARRL Headquarters tour, sharing stories of ARRL special event activities aimed at encouraging on-air activity among new and newly active hams, including real-time Web blogs and videos, Hello-Live! and the W1AW HF Open House. ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, talked about ARES and the media, and discussed ways to help public service activities capture the attention of the media. ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, and ARRL Web and Software Development Manager Jon Bloom, KE3Z, presented ARRL's Logbook of the World (LoTW) and the DXCC award program. More than 8000 copies of the 2007 Public Relations brochure, "Getting the Message Through" were distributed at the Convention, as well as 200 copies of the revamped "Hello!" brochure, according to Pitts. Another activity offered at the Convention this year was the ARRL Passport. While this activity was a smaller version of the one offered at the Dayton Hamvention, it provided the same excitement and thrill as its counterpart. Billed as the ultimate Convention scavenger hunt, those taking part this year searched the ARRL EXPO area and attended ARRL Forums to acquire special Passport codes that, once entered in the Passport, qualified the hunters to win one of two prizes. Out of nearly 500 entries, Richard Pavalonis, KE5ORR, of Santa Fe, Texas, won an Icom IC-7000 HF/VHF/UHF all-mode mobile transceiver, and Tim Shipman of Owensboro, Kentucky, son of Walter, KI4OHY, will have fun with the Yaesu FT-8577D HF/VHF/UHF all-mode mobile transceiver. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who participated. For those who couldn't make it to Huntsville, Keane and Bloom together contributed to a Convention Weblog <http://www.arrl.org/blog/Huntsville%202007> that posted news and happenings direct from the ARRL EXPO area (and beyond!). One of the busiest places at the ARRL EXPO was the Youth Lounge. Young people, ranging from ages of about 7 to 17 were all over the Convention and hamfest, exploring all that Amateur Radio has to offer. There were many foxhunts throughout the two days, as well as scavenger hunts, a ham radio quiz show, crafts, prizes and more. Other hamfest forums covered contesting, emergency communications such as D-STAR, public service, education and many technical issues. After the hamfest closed on Saturday, the ARRL Alabama Section held a reception for retiring ARRL Southeastern Director Frank Butler, W4RH. Butler is retiring after more than 50 years of elected service to the ARRL. He began his elected service as Section Communications Manager for the Western Florida Section. Butler plans to stay involved with the ARRL, attending the IARU Region 2 Committee Meeting in Brasilia, Brazil as a member of the ARRL delegation next month, and the ARRL Executive Committee Meeting in October, before his term ends January1, 2008. Emerson said that Convention and hamfest attendance reached unprecedented levels. "The hamfest is getting into the 'unreal' category. We have reports of people coming in from everywhere." Both official hotels, the Embassy Suites (connected to the all air-conditioned Von Braun Center, site of the Convention and Hamfest) and the Holiday Inn (across the street) sold out before the hamfest. When asked where the next ARRL National Convention would be held, Inderbitzen said, "We're glad to help evaluate National Convention applications, but the ultimate decision is made by the elected officials of the ARRL Board of Directors. In the meantime, we hope that all of our members can someday enjoy attending an ARRL National Convention." ==> GAREC-07 CELEBRATES EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS IN HUNTSVILLE The third event of its kind, and the first ever held in the United States, the Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference (GAREC-07) took place August 16-17 in Huntsville, Alabama, just prior to the 2007 ARRL National Convention and Huntsville Hamfest. Almost 100 people from all over the world came to Huntsville, making this truly a global event. GAREC's prevailing theme, how to apply advanced technologies to emergency communications, was echoed throughout the two-day event. From presentations to discussion groups to emergency vehicle displays to information about the latest in hardware, GAREC attendees had a sampling of just about everything pertaining to the Emergency Communications arena. According to IARU International Coordinator for Emergency Communications Hans Zimmermann, F5VKP/HB9AQS, "Compared to the first two GAREC conferences [held in Tampere, Finland], the number of international participants was considerably lower. Region 1 [Europe, Africa, the Middle East], was represented by Ireland, France, Bulgaria, Finland, The Netherlands and South Africa. Region 2 [the Americas] had representatives from Brazil, Canada, the United States and Trinidad and Tobago. Region 3 [Asia and Oceania] submitted a detailed report, but sent their regrets due to a collision of dates with a major regional event." ARRL Alabama Section Manager Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, said many large and essential organizations that work with Emergency Communications sent representatives to GAREC. "We saw representatives from the IARU, ARRL, Army MARS, American Red Cross, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, Department of Homeland Security, The Salvation Army, industry and others." Sarratt said that organizations weren't the only attendees. "Many Section Emergency Coordinators (SEC), District Emergency Coordinators (DEC) and Emergency Coordinators (EC) from the ARRL field organization attended GAREC." In addition to those ARRL volunteers and Southeastern Division Director Frank Butler, W4RH, CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ; Chief Technology Officer Paul Rinaldo, W4RI; Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, and Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD, attended GAREC on behalf of the ARRL. Both Pitts and Dura gave presentations. Pitts spoke about the need for a Public Information Officer (PIO) to be in the Joint Information Center (JIC) at any ARES deployment. "We lose far too many good stories because no one is in the right place speaking to media at the time of the incident. With a 24 hour news cycle, even a few hours later is too little too late. This idea was well received, and while many of the region's groups have recently added this to their action plans, approximately a dozen other groups stated that they will be adding this component to their activities. This information was also well received by some of the international representatives who asked for copies of our PR materials and permission to translate and modify them for use in their home countries," Pitts said. Dura talked about using VoIP, EchoLink and IRLP for establishing and maintaining communications during hurricanes. The session discussed the methods of combining RF links to the Internet to establish a cohesive network. The VoIP Hurricane Net is another tool that Amateur Radio operators, the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center and emergency managers use to gather detailed information on local conditions. Other presentations included the use of new technologies and modes in Emergency Communications, such as ALE, EchoLink/IRLP, D-STAR, Winlink 2000 and TSSG, an advanced system being developed in Ireland. Outside of the conference venue, various Emergency Communications agencies brought their vehicles. Sarratt said, "An impressive fleet of emergency communications vehicles added a perfect hands-on hardware feel to GAREC. The vehicles were on display and tour for visitors to learn about serious mobile communications." These vehicles, hosted by Alabama Homeland Security, Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief, American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and the Tennessee Emergency Communications Association, were very popular, drawing large crowds. "Luckily, no emergencies occurred to take the vehicles away from us this weekend," Sarratt said. While GAREC is not a decision-making body, its ideas and proposals will be submitted to the IARU to be included for discussion at their next Administrative Council meeting, scheduled for June 2008. These ideas may also be discussed at each of the three IARU Regions' upcoming meetings. The conference made the recommendation to introduce the call sign suffix "/D." This suffix would be used by those in the Amateur Radio Service who handle traffic related to emergency and disaster situations. According to Pitts, this recommendation, made by Willem Visch, PG9W, would let anyone listening immediately know there was emergency traffic and lessen the chances of someone unintentionally breaking in on an emergency net. Another recommendation included the extension of "EmComm Party on-the-Air." These are Emergency Communications exercises already in place in Region 1. Seppo Sisatto, OH1VR, Region 1 representative, proposed holding two annual international drills, lasting only 4 hours, beginning November 11. This, he said, recognizes that major calamities can and do cross international borders, and hams need to practice for such eventualities. GAREC suggested that the IARU initiate studies in cooperation with its Member Societies and with specialized emergency communication groups. These studies would focus on the development and possible introduction of standard codes for use in international emergency communications, as well as on the need for the development of a list of standard resource types. The conference announced its support of the IARU's Administrative Council decision to collect information from all Member Societies about the status of implementation and application of the revisions to Article 25 of the ITU Radio Regulations (RR) resulting from WRC-03. The part of Article 25 concerning Emergency Communications says, "Amateur stations may be used for transmitting international communications on behalf of third parties only in case of emergencies or disaster relief. An administration may determine the applicability of this provision to amateur stations under its jurisdiction" (RR 25.3), and "Administrations are encouraged to take the necessary steps to allow amateur stations to prepare for and meet communication needs in support of disaster relief" (RR 25.9A). GAREC appealed to all of the IARU Member Societies, as well as specialized emergency communications groups, encouraging the accession to and ratification of the Tampere Convention on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Response Operations <http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/emergencytelecoms/doc/tampere/S-CONF-ICET-2001 -PDF-M07.pdf> by their respective national authorities. The US has not yet ratified this document, but word was received during GAREC that Ireland announced their accession to Tampere. There are currently 37 countries that have adopted Tampere. The conference also appealed to the IARU to "further encourage the development and the application of new modes and technologies in emergency communications," and to support the development of training aids. This includes the handbook on emergency communications, initiated by the 2005 and 2006 GAREC conferences, "and the development of a handout to inform the public, in particular during major conferences such as the forthcoming WRC-07 <http://www.itu.int/ITU-R/index.asp?category=conferences&link=wrc-07&lan g=en>, as already decided by the IARU Administrative Council in 2005." GAREC also asked the IARU to "continue its support to the continuation and further development of the GAREC concept and process." GAREC also asked Amateur Radio contest organizers to include a provision in their rules that contest participants avoid frequencies in the immediate vicinity of the Center of Activity frequencies (as proposed at GAREC-05); these frequencies are 14.300, 18.160 and 21.360 MHz. According to Pitts, "This would minimize interference to weak or distant stations which may be passing emergency traffic, but not heard in the contest din." Region 2, of which the US is a part, has not adopted the Center of Activity frequencies, but they will be discussed at the Region 2 meeting in Brazil next month. Zimmermann said, "With the conference in Region 2, GAREC has established itself in a major event in the field of Emergency Communications. What started in Region 1 as an independent event, has in 2006 found wider attention due to its combination with the International Conference on Emergency Communications (ICEC-06) and now with the ARRL National Convention in 2007. It is, however, only thanks to the hosts of these conferences, that they can fulfill the purpose set out from the beginning. "Only the actual implementation and application of the recommendations made by GAREC can be the ultimate criteria for the success of these conferences, as a tool for the further development of the role of the Amateur Radio Service in the provision of emergency communications. The appreciation expressed by numerous participants following each one of the so far three events, and the increasing interest demonstrated by the number of participants must be taken as an obligation to work even harder on the subject, rather than being considered a cause for satisfaction with what has been achieved. The statement of GAREC-07 shows that much remains to be done. In addition to new proposals, it reiterates some still pending issues raised in 2005 and 2006." Sumner said GAREC stressed interoperability. "In explaining how they are applying specific advanced technologies to emergency communications, speaker after speaker identified interoperability with other technologies and networks as a key objective. It was a joy to share the GAREC experience with nearly 100 dedicated, committed Amateur Radio volunteers who were as intent on cooperating as on explaining and advocating their favorite technologies. This spirit of cooperation and the recognition of the need to preserve our interoperability bode well for the future of Amateur Radio emergency communications, and for our ability to continue to serve our local, national and global communities." Sarratt agreed. "This was truly a successful conference. The knowledge gained on technology, networking, organizations and hardware exceeded our expectations. This knowledge and the relationships developed will pay many dividends during disaster relief efforts." Tying it all together was a call that came in right as GAREC was closing. Beepers went off, text messages were received, radios echoed throughout the hall as the National Weather Service and SKYWARN issued an alert to North Alabama due to high winds and oncoming storms. Pitts said, "The alert and call for ham radio helped underscore the dedication and need for those volunteers better than any final speech could have done. It was like, 'The party's over - we go back to work!'" ==> ARES TEAMS ACTIVATED FOR NORTHWEST OHIO NEAR-RECORD FLOODING Heavy rains over the past week began taking their toll on Northwest Ohio communities as near record flood levels peaked on Wednesday. Ohio Amateur Radio Emergency Service District 1 was especially hard-hit in the Hancock and Seneca County areas, and a command post at the Seneca County Emergency Operations Center was activated. The city of Findlay experienced catastrophic flooding; according to Karl Erbland, K8ARL, District Emergency Coordinator for ARRL Ohio Section - District 1, this is the worst flooding in the area since 1913. Hancock County ARES Emergency Coordinator Bill Davis, N8PTJ, activated Hancock Emergency Radio Services ARES to provide support to numerous agencies, including the Hancock County Emergency Management Agency, area fire departments, American Red Cross, the Sheriff and health district departments. Two shelters were set up, with the largest taking around 250 displaced persons. The flooding affected every area of the city. The Blanchard River's almost-100-year-old record of 18.5 feet was nearly broken by a crest reading of 18.46 feet on Wednesday afternoon. The Hancock County hams even had to be resourceful for their own services. A few days before the major flooding began, lightning struck the Findlay Radio Club repeater site during another severe storm. Radio communication during the flood was conducted on a simplex frequency, with additional support through their 440 MHz repeater. Reports of cell phone failures and some problems with the state's 800 MHz digital system set the stage for Amateur Radio networks help to relieve some of these shortcomings. At an information meeting held on Thursday, EMA Director Garry Valentine, N8GIL, noted that agencies should learn to count on the Amateur Radio operators in emergencies to provide communication support, and that Amateur Radio has many capabilities for communicating. "Our amateurs are always there to assist," Davis said. "We can count on them in times like these." Communications activities included the following: relayed from Emergency Operations Center to fire departments; facilitated delivery of food and water to Jenera, Ohio residents; assisted in the rescue of two elderly ladies and two people in wheelchairs; kept County Sheriff aware of road closures; tracked rescue operations for the Red Cross; tracked displaced persons being transported to Red Cross shelter; on standby for Water Command Center and City Command Operations; relayed Health and Welfare traffic; provided telephone service to some without home phone service; relayed between Seneca County and Hancock County EMA directors, and relayed between District Emergency Coordinator and Hancock County Emergency Coordinator. Amateurs in Seneca County were put on standby Tuesday, August 21 when word came that the Ruffing Family Care Center (south of Tiffin, Ohio) might be in danger from the rising Sandusky River, which runs near the center's property. County Emergency Coordinator Mike Klaiss, KC8BUJ, and EMA Director Dan Stahl, KC8PBU, held an on-the-air meeting with ARES officers and the McCutchenville, Ohio fire chief to review the reports and predictions from the National Weather Service in Cleveland. ARES officers remained ready through the evening and Wednesday morning. Seneca County activated the Emergency Operations Center around 7 AM on Wednesday as the Sandusky River continued to rise and affect additional areas in the county. Seneca County EMA Director Dan Stahl said: "Hams play a big part in the emergency operations plan and in the communications center at the EOC. We intend to use all the amateurs in Seneca County during disasters like these. They provide a trained and reliable pool of communicators capable of assisting us." Thursday brought a little relief from the rising waters but then came the rising temperatures and humidity levels. Disaster assessment was a hot job as temperatures rose to 91 degrees and similar levels of humidity. "There is a lot more to do across the entire affected area," said Erbland. "Our communities are extremely blessed to have such dedicated Amateur Radio operators. Our emphasis on ARRL communications training and the different FEMA courses such as Incident Command System and National Incident Management System is paying off. We're standing by for any needed communications as our communities recover." ARRL Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator Frank Piper, KI8GW, said, "I am extremely proud of how well the Amateur Radio operators in Hancock, Seneca and all other counties affected by the weather this past week in the Ohio Section. This is why we plan and test our communication skills and equipment on a regular basis." -- Information provided by Karl Erbland, K8ARL, District Emergency Coordinator for ARRL Ohio Section - District 1; Bob Copas, K8OIL, Hancock County Liaison/Net Control Operator, and Bill Davis, N8PTJ, Hancock County ARES Emergency Coordinator ==> FCC ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS On August 23, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau released new Amateur Radio enforcement actions. Norman Ball, KE6VWN, of Sunland, California, and Richard Martin, KE6RJI, of Maywood, California, both received Warning Notices informing them that the FCC had received written complaints concerning the K6GE repeater and cited their "failure to follow rules set forth by the licensee/control operators of the repeater system for its users." They were told that they had been told to refrain from using this repeater system, "but have apparently ignored both verbal and written requests" to do so. Both Ball and Martin were informed by the FCC that if they use the repeater again after receiving their letters from the FCC, "[the FCC] will initiate enforcement action against your license, which may include revocation, monetary forfeiture (fine) or a modification proceeding to restrict the frequencies on which you may operate." The FCC warned Ball and Martin that fines "normally range from $7500 to $10,000." Mark F. Hubeny, N9ZHW, of Kaukauna, Wisconsin, received notification from the FCC informing him that he never responded to their Warning Notice concerning the operation of his amateur station on non-amateur frequencies sent June 1 of this year. He was told he had 20 days to respond. The letter said, "Failure to respond appropriately to this letter of inquiry may constitute a violation of the Communications Act and our rules. We will afford you an additional 20 days from the date of this letter to respond." Romeo C. Valdez, K6RMY, of San Jose, California, received notice from the FCC about a complaint filed against the operation of his station. "The complaint alleges that you are operating an unidentified repeater on 147.735 MHz," the letter said. Valdez was directed to "review and fully address the complaint within 20 days of receipt of this letter. Failure to respond to this letter would be a separate violation of the Commission's rules." Smith Trucking, Inc, of Smithfield, Pennsylvania, was cited by the FCC for "operating radio equipment without a license on the frequency 28. 535 MHz and causing interference to licensed stations in the Ten Meter Amateur Band. The drivers were observed operating unlicensed in April and May 2007 on Route 19 between the Fairmont, West Virginia area and the Haywood power plant near Shinnston, West Virginia." The FCC admonished Smith Trucking to "[p]lease advise your drivers that operation of radio transmitting equipment without a license is a violation of Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934...and subject them to a fine or imprisonment, as well as in seizure of any non-certified radio transmitting equipment." James T. Ogden, N7KPU, of Prescott Valley, Arizona, was advised by the FCC of a complaint from "the licensee of a coordinated repeater system, with supporting documentation, alleging that your N7KPU repeater is operating without coordination on 447.350/442.350 MHz and causing harmful interference. The complaint indicates that you have been contacted numerous times about this problem but have declined to address it." The FCC requested information from Ogden concerning the coordination, if any, of his repeater, and asked that he forward any complaints he might have received. The FCC also wants Ogden to describe in detail how his repeater is configured, "including all sites, IRLP links and addresses, using diagrams where necessary. Detail any changes in location since the coordination, if any, was issued." Ogden was informed that any information he provided will be used to determine what, if any, action the FCC might take in this matter. The FCC issued an Order of Dismissal and Termination against Jack R. Sharples of Florida concerning the matter of his application for a new Amateur Radio license. In May, in a Hearing Designation Order, the FCC called Sharples "a convicted felon and registered sexual predator," and said "Sharples's felony conviction for at least one sexual-related offense involving children raises material and substantial questions as to whether he possesses the requisite character qualifications to be a Commission licensee. Although Sharples's felony adjudications occurred more than seven years ago, the nature of the criminal misconduct, and the fact that the Amateur Radio Service is particularly attractive to children, call into serious question whether he should be permitted to obtain an Amateur Radio authorization." Sharples had 20 days since the release of the HDO to file a written appearance; on June 19, "he submitted to the Presiding Judge a document in which he set forth reasons for filing an [Amateur Radio license] Application, notwithstanding his felony convictions [and] the document was received as a good faith Notice of Appearance. "Sharples, in a telephone call with the FCC requested more time to consider whether he would continue to prosecute his Application. The request was granted without objection." On June 27, Sharples sent a fax to the Presiding Judge withdrawing his application for an Amateur Radio license. The FCC's request to dismiss the application with prejudice and terminate the preceding was granted, as was Sharples's application for an Amateur Radio license, also with prejudice, on August 1. On March 8, 2007, David O. Castle, WA9KJI, of Evansville, Indiana, was first notified by the FCC to "refrain from using the repeater system operating on 146.79/146.19 and 147.15/147.75 MHz," stemming from a complaint by the trustee of the Tri-State Amateur Radio Society, W9OG. In May, 2007, the FCC notified Castle that it was designating his license renewal application for hearing in the wake of alleged misconduct extending back several years and continuing at least until earlier this year. In its Hearing Designation Order from May, the Commission said, "Since 1998, Castle has been warned repeatedly to refrain from intentionally interfering with radio communications; broadcasting without communicating with any particular station; causing interference on amateur repeaters; using amateur repeaters without authorization, and using indecent, slanderous or harassing language. We find that Castle's continuing course of conduct raises questions as to whether he possesses the requisite character qualifications to remain a Commission licensee." Castle was given 20 days to respond to the HDO, but according to the Memorandum Opinion and Order released August 20, 2007, "to date [August 1, 2007], no written appearance has been filed by, or on behalf of, Mr Castle. In addition, a prehearing conference was held on August 13, 2007, in the Commission's Washington, DC offices. No one attended or entered an appearance on behalf of Mr. Castle." The Commission, however, did receive a number of communications by or on behalf of Castle, one requesting that the contents of the HDO be sent to him "'in an audible form (cassette or cd)"' because he has "'limited eye sight.'" The MO&O said Castle told the FCC "Travel will not be possible due to health and finances. Representation by an attorney is not in my budget." The FCC complied with Castle's request and sent him a disc containing audio files of all the documents released in his proceeding to date. Castle's daughter, Donna J. Dill, sent the Presiding Judge a fax on June 18 stating, among other things, that her father "'is not able to travel or hire an attorney...He tells me that he has sent his statement and this is all he is able to do as his eye sight is limited and health poor." It was concluded through Castle's and Dills' submissions to the FCC that Castle did not intend to appear as directed, and "even assuming that these documents can somehow be construed as 'pleadings,' as defined in Section 1.204 of the Commission's Rules, they are procedurally deficient and may not, therefore, be considered." As such, it was ordered that Castle's application to renew his Amateur Radio license be dismissed with prejudice. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Tad "I Wanna Be the One to Walk in the Sun(spot)" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: Conditions were quiet this week, with no geomagnetic disturbances and most days had zero sunspots. For the past two days, August 22-23, the sunspot number was 11 and 12, indicative of a single sunspot group. Slightly unsettled conditions are expected this weekend, with a planetary A index from August 24-30 expected at 8, 15, 15, 12, 8, 8 and 5. Sunspot activity is expected to remain low, as lone sunspot 969 moves across the sun. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet conditions for August 24; unsettled August 25; quiet to unsettled August 26; quiet August 27; unsettled August 28, and quiet again August 29-30. Sunspot numbers for August 16 through 22 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 11 and 12 with a mean of 3.3. The 10.7 cm flux was 67.3, 67.6, 67.9, 67.8, 69.1, 69.3 and 70, with a mean of 68.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 5, 4, 3, 2, 4 and 4 with a mean of 4.1. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 6, 2, 1, 2, 2, 3 and 2 with a mean of 2.6. 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: This weekend, the CCC Sprint (CW) on August 24. The ALARA Contest, the Hawaii QSO Party, the SCC RTTY Championship, the YO DX HF Contest and the Ohio QSO Party are all on August 25-26. The SKCC Weekend Sprint and the SARL HF CW Contest are both August 26. Next week, look for the NCCC Sprint (CW) on August 31. The Russian RTTY WW Contest and the Wake-Up! QRP Sprint are on September 1. On September 1-2, check out the All Asian DX Contest (Phone), RSGB Field Day (SSB) and IARU Region 1 Field Day (SSB). The DARC 10 Meter Digital Contest is September 2, while the MI QRP Labor Day CW Sprint is September 3-4 and the ARS Spartan Sprint is September 4. See the ARRL Contest Branch page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/>, the ARRL Contester's Rate Sheet <http://www.arrl.org/contests/rate-sheet/> 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 September 9, 2007, for these online courses beginning on Friday September 21: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 2 (EC-002); Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 3 (EC-003R2); Antenna Modeling (EC-004); HF Digital Communications (EC-005); VHF/UHF -- Life Beyond the Repeater (EC-008), and Radio Frequency Propagation (EC-011). To learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html> or contact the Continuing Education Program Coordinator <firstname.lastname@example.org>. * Section Manager Elections Results Announced: In the only contested Section Manager race this summer, Bill Hillendahl, KH6GJV, was re-elected as the ARRL San Francisco Section Manager. He received 237 votes and his opponent, Warren "TR" Reese, WB6TMY, received 134 votes. Election ballots were counted last week at ARRL Headquarters. Hillendahl, of Santa Rosa, California, begins his third two-year term of office on October 1, 2007. The following incumbent ARRL Section Managers did not face opposition and were declared elected for their next terms of office beginning October 1, 2007: Jeff Ryan, K0RM, Colorado; Mark Tharp, KB7HDX, Eastern Washington; Susan Swiderski, AF4FO, Georgia; Phineas Icenbice, W6BF, Los Angeles; Ray Taylor, N5NAV, South Texas; Ann Rinehart, KA8ZGY, West Virginia. Jim Pace, K7CEX, of Centralia, Washington, will become the Western Washington Section Manager on October 1. Pace will take over the reins from Ed Bruette, N7NVP, who decided not to run for a third term of office. Pace has moved up through the section leadership ranks by previously serving as District Emergency Coordinator, Section Emergency Coordinator and presently as an Assistant Section Manager. Ron Murdock, W6KJ, who already had been declared elected as the new Sacramento Valley Section Manager as of October 1, began his term a little early on July 2. Murdock was appointed to fill in for Casey McPartland, W7IB, who stepped down because of a planned upcoming move out of the section. * Malaysia to Send Astronaut to ISS: According to ARRL ARISS Program Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, earlier this month Malaysia announced that two Malaysian doctors have become new hams; one will be chosen to travel to the International Space Station under the Malaysian National Angkasawan Programme with Russia. Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, 9W2MUS, and Captain Dr Faiz Khaleed, 9W2FIZ, will make QSOs with students via ARISS. The two doctors regularly publicize ham radio and ARISS on their blog <http://www.angkasawan.com.my/blog/index.php?itemid=21>. For more information on the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station project, check out their Web page <http://www.rac.ca/ariss/oindex.htm>. * Communications Museum Comes Back to Life: A generous individual who wishes to remain anonymous donated $40,000 to the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut, enabling the museum to pay off their debt to the town of Windsor, Connecticut. The donation comes as the museum plans to reopen this summer for the first time in more than seven years. Since that time, the museum has acquired a 20,000 square foot building in Windsor, and volunteers have been hard at work restoring the building for public use. The town of Windsor extended the museum at $35,000 loan that helped them pay insurance and other expenses while the group worked to ready its new location. A $100,000 state grant paid for major building upgrades, allowing the museum to plan for an August opening. The Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut is dedicated to the preservation of old-time communications equipment and to educating the public. The museum displays radios, televisions, motion picture and telephone equipment, as well as vintage advertising and memorabilia. Audio, video and paper libraries, along with an extensive collection of schematics, are also available for research. For more information, visit their Web site <http://www.vrcmct.org/>. * Online Course Developer Needed: As a result of the success of the ARRL Education Services' online Technician licensing course, and due to increasing demand for General Class licensing instruction, ARRL is looking for an experienced on-line course developer to create a General Class licensing instruction course on a contract basis. ARRL's current learning management platform is WebMentor. If you are interested in applying for this position, please send an e-mail <email@example.com> describing your interest and experience. Please provide a daytime phone number in your e-mail. * QST Wants You!: Have you ever thought of writing an article for QST? The official journal of ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio, QST is always on the lookout for articles that explore all the possibilities of ham radio. We are looking for stories and articles that present a project or idea that is useful and engaging to most hams. The story you have had brewing in your head for months might be perfect for QST or the ARRLWeb. For the Web, we're looking for short (1500 words maximum), general-interest articles that tell a particularly interesting story. At least one photo to accompany the story is mandatory. Send your submissions to QST Managing Editor Joel Kleinman, N1BKE <firstname.lastname@example.org>. * Let Us Know What You Think: What's your favorite part of The ARRL Letter? What kind of stories would you like to see in the Letter? Would you prefer the Letter in an HTML format? This is your Letter and your chance to let your voice be heard. Please send your suggestions to ARRL News Editor S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, at email@example.com, with the subject line "ARRL Letter Suggestions." All messages will be read and discussed, and we look forward to implementing positive suggestions into the ARRL Letter. =========================================================== 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!): firstname.lastname@example.org ==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, 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. 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/>. (NOTE: The ARRL Letter will be posted each Friday when it is distributed via e-mail.) * The QTH.net listserver, thanks to volunteers from the Boston Amateur Radio Club: Visit Mailing Lists@QTH.Net <http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/letter-list>. (NOTE: The ARRL cannot assist subscribers who receive The ARRL Letter via this listserver.)
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