*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 27, No. 26 July 3, 2008 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * + ARRL Tells Red Cross of Remaining Background Check Policy Concerns * + An Era Comes To a Close as Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, Retires * + Philadelphia Area Hams Nail Rogue Radio Signals * + Get Ready for the IARU HF World Championship Next Weekend * + Check Out the July/August NCJ * + FCC Enforcement Actions * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This Weekend on the Radio ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration + ARRL to Close in Observance of Fourth of July + ARRL Audio News Returns to Phone Lines USI to Host Special Event Stations ARRL Contest Update Offers Valuable Information for All +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> =========================================================== ==> ARRL TELLS RED CROSS OF REMAINING BACKGROUND CHECK POLICY CONCERNS ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, has written to Armond T. Mascelli, Vice President for Domestic Disaster response for the American Red Cross (ARC) to identify the ARRL's remaining concerns over the background check policy for ARC partners. Harrison emphasized that the commencement of negotiation of a replacement Statement of Understanding (SOU) between the two organizations should not be further delayed while these concerns are resolved and that he looked forward to signing a new SOU once additional edits to the background check Disclosure Form and clarifications of the background check Authorization Form are in place for those radio amateurs who volunteer their service to the Red Cross. Harrison first wrote to Mascelli on November 28, 2007, setting out the ARRL's concerns with the background check procedures recently implemented by the ARC. ARC now requires a background check for Amateur Radio volunteers seeking to support a Red Cross disaster relief response for more than a seven day period. In the ARRL's view, Amateur Radio volunteers were being asked to consent to a more intrusive background check than was necessary or appropriate. Mascelli's reply on May 8, 2008, addressed some of the ARRL's concerns and Harrison's latest letter to the ARC -- sent on June 30, 2008 -- recognizes considerable improvement in the forms related to the background check procedures that are linked via the ARC's Web site; however, Harrison also states that analysis of the forms has revealed two continuing problems: * The Authorization for Background Investigation consent form still contains "some highly equivocal and broad language which, because of its ambiguity, will inevitably discourage substantial numbers of radio amateurs from participating in the background check process." This form was not included with Mascelli's reply and was not seen by the ARRL until later. * The "Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation" can still be construed as overly broad, although this can be corrected by fairly simple edits. Harrison told Mascelli, "We do not want the implementation of these additional changes to further delay the negotiation of the terms of a replacement SOU. A new SOU is, in my view, a critical and urgent matter. Because the old SOU expired on September 16, 2007, the vacuum thereafter has served neither ARRL nor ARC well." ARRL and ARC staff are ready to work on a draft replacement SOU, the text of which will be reviewed by the ARRL's Programs and Services Committee and approved by either the Executive Committee or the Board prior to completion. Harrison concluded, "We look forward to continuing to provide seamless disaster response communications by Amateur Radio and to enhancing and expanding ARRL's proud partnership with the American Red Cross. I look forward to meeting with you and executing the new SOU once additional edits to the Disclosure Form, and adequate clarifications are included in the Authorization Form that appears on your web site for partner organizations are made, and when the new SOU terms are agreed upon." ==> AN ERA COMES TO A CLOSE AS RILEY HOLLINGSWORTH, K4ZDH, RETIRES On Thursday, July 3, Special Counsel for the Spectrum Enforcement Division of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH -- the man who has come to embody Amateur Radio Enforcement -- said goodbye to the FCC as he retired and began his life as a private citizen. In May, Hollingsworth announced he would definitely retire; he had contemplated retiring in January 2008, but cited "several issues on the table that I want[ed] to continue to work through with the amateur community." While his successor has not yet been named, he was quick to point out that the FCC's Amateur Radio enforcement program will continue. Hollingsworth said that he has "loved" working for the FCC and has "always had great jobs, but this one involving the Amateur Radio Service has been the most fun and I have enjoyed every day of it. I've worked with the best group of licensees on earth, enjoyed your support and tremendous FCC support and looked forward every day to coming to work. The Amateur Radio Enforcement program will continue without missing a beat, and after retirement I look forward to being involved with Amateur Radio every way I can. I thank all of you for being so dedicated and conscientious, and for the encouragement you give us every day." Saying it has been a "privilege to work with and for the Amateur Radio licensees and the land mobile frequency coordinators," Hollingsworth said that he is "extremely fortunate to work for two wonderful groups of people: Those at headquarters in the Enforcement Bureau, and for the Amateur Radio operators." Before joining the FCC, Hollingsworth, a South Carolina native, graduated from the University of South Carolina and Wake Forest University School of Law. While in high school, he worked as a disc jockey for WRHI, an AM station in Rock Hill, South Carolina. "It's a funny thing," Hollingsworth said. "They once held a beauty pageant in Rock Hill and nobody won!" In the mid-1970s, he was a "Nader's Raider" and worked on brown lung disease in the North and South Carolina textile mills. "Basically I'm just an ordinary guy caught in the cross-hairs of radio history," Hollingsworth said. "But I am proud of the fact that the digital clock on my VCR has been blinking for 4 years." Hollingsworth told the ARRL he was "so very impressed" with the young people who are involved with Amateur Radio: "To the very young Amateur Radio operators I have met who have dreams of being scientists and astronauts and communications engineers, we will be pulling for you; I have a strong feeling we won't be disappointed." Calling the Amateur Radio Service a part of the American heritage, Hollingsworth explained that he is "going to stay as actively involved in it as I possibly can. Thank you all for working tirelessly to provide the only fail safe communications system on Earth and for helping this country keep its lead in science and technology. What an incredible gift it has been to work with you every day, and how fortunate we are to love the magic of radio! Every gift of lasting value comes with responsibility. We must never forget what we owe for our spectrum privileges. I will continue working with you in every way I can to ensure that Amateur Radio lasts a thousand years. " ==> PHILADELPHIA AREA HAMS NAIL ROGUE RADIO SIGNALS When residents of a Philadelphia suburb complained <http://www.nbc10.com/investigators/16701097/detail.html?dl=mainclick> to an area television station about how their remote car door entry devices wouldn't work in the parking lot of a local department store, an investigative reporter for NBC-10 (WCAU) called everyone she could to help her discover why. No one knew anything -- until she called on some local ham radio operators. "Many people lock and unlock a car by remote and don't even give it a second thought unless it doesn't work," said NBC10 reporter Lu Ann Cahn. "The mystery problem repeatedly occurs outside the Kohl's store in Royersford. When I went into Kohl's [to ask about this], they told me they had no idea [about this]." Cahn said that shoppers told her that this has been going on for more than a year, and that some shoppers don't realize they might have to manually lock their doors: "One woman reported her laptop was stolen from her car after she thought she had locked it." Shoppers theorized that it was the local power plant causing the interference, but Cahn said that officials at the plant said it wasn't them. Others thought that cellular telephone towers might be the culprit, but there are no cell towers in the area. "Police tell us that they can't figure it out either," Cahn said. So after calling numerous places to help her out with this mystery, Cahn happened upon Reggie Leister, N3KAS, and Bob Rex, K3DBD, of the Pottstown Area Amateur Radio Club <http://www.paarc.net/>; Rex is Vice President of the club and Leister is the club's Public Information Officer (PIO). And as hams do, they were quick to volunteer to help out. Leister and Rex accompanied Cahn to the parking lot in question. Rex built an antenna out of aluminum tubing and hooked it up to a spectrum analyzer. "Somewhere in the vicinity of this parking lot," Leister said, "there is a big source of radiation, some sort of signal." When Leister aimed the antenna in the direction of the Kohl's store, he hit pay dirt. "There are actually two signals there. It looks like [they're] coming from the building," Rex said when he read the analyzer. Leister and Rex moved in closer to the building and pinpointed that one signal was coming from one set of doors, while the other signal emitted from another set of doors. Rex, an engineer, said that the thing that bothers him about this is that the signals "are running constantly." When Cahn approached Kohl's management with their findings, she was told that "they will look into it." "The FCC licenses radio signals and these ham radio operators say the fact that some signal is interfering with remote locks isn't good," Cahn said in her report. Rex concurred, saying, "The FCC rules are pretty clear on that. It might be something that's broken." Leister and Rex agreed that the store security sensors located at each set of doors might be the culprit. Three days after Leister and Rex located the source of the interference, remote car door lockers worked again. "Kohl's will only say that they're working on it," Cahn said. "The FCC says it does sound like something malfunctioned and they have had reports of similar incidents in New York City and Tampa, Florida." A few days after they found the signals, Leister explained that he and Rex did not think the anti-shoplifting detectors were the problem: "What we are guessing here is that they are probably connected to some kind of device that triggers a security camera to come on if there is a breach. Except instead of just sending out a quick 2-5 second (Part 15) blip, these seem to be on continuously and exceeding the permissible signal levels." Cahn was quick to give on-air credit to the local hams who stepped up to the plate and helped crack this mystery: "We here at NBC10 were so curious as to why these remote car locks would just stop working, so we thought we should really try to solve this mystery. I have to give kudos to Reggie Leister and Bob Rex with the Pottstown Area Amateur Radio Club. They were so great and so excited. You don't know how many people we called -- police, Triple A, car dealerships -- we called so many people trying to figure this out and nobody knew anything until we talked to these ham radio operators. They were so wonderful and they knew all about radio signals. They created their own gadgets to help us figure this out. We really want to thank them for their help with this." ==> GET READY FOR THE IARU HF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP NEXT WEEKEND HF Contesting usually hits a dry spell during the summer months, but the weekend of July 12-13 brings a summer bright spot for HF contesters -- the IARU HF World Championship. According to ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, the IARU contest is a little different from most major HF contests. "For starters, it's only 24 hours long (instead of the normal 48). This leaves you plenty of time over the weekend to have fun in the contest and participate in other activities. Another difference is that you can combine modes. While most HF contests are either CW or SSB, IARU allows you to operate CW, SSB or a mixture of both. Lastly, the IARU contest exchange is a signal report and your ITU zone." ITU zones are different than CQ zones, Kutzko said. For a map of ITU zones, you can visit the IARU Web site <http://www.iaru.org/ituzonesc.gif>. One of the features of the IARU contest is the highlighting the IARU member Amateur Radio organizations from all around the world. These organizations often participate in the contest with a special call (often ending in "HQ," designating a national headquarters station) and can be worked as special multipliers in the contest. Kutzko said that IARU Administrative Council members from around the world will also be on and can also be worked for special multiplier credit. "If you hear a station giving R1, R2, R3 or AC as their contest exchange, that station represents part of the IARU Administrative Council or regional Executive Committee." The IARU HF World Championship runs from 1200 UTC Saturday, July 12 to 1200 UTC Sunday, July 13. For complete rules and forms, you can visit the IARU Contest Web page <http://www.iaru.org/contest.html> or the ARRL Contest Web page <http://www.arrl.org/contests>. ==> CHECK OUT THE JULY/AUGUST NCJ NCJ, The National Contest Journal is what everyone interested in radiosport needs to have in their shack. Filled with the latest news from the contesting world, NCJ is the voice of radiosport. Whether you are new to contesting or are a seasoned pro (or somewhere in the middle), you will find something in NCJ just for you. In the July/August issue, Paul Mackanos Jr, K2DB, remembers "Remote Operation and Contesting at K2NNY/K2DB." Ed Muns, W0YK, provides "A Contester's View of Visalia," and Tom Taormina, K5RC, looks at "The Next 3 dB." Calvin Darula, K0DXC, gives "A 13-Year-Old's Perspective on Amateur Radio and Contesting." If you've been waiting to see how you did in the January and February contests, you definitely don't want to miss this issue! Shelby Summerville, K4WW, give readers the rundown on the February 2008 NAQP RTTY Contest. Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, looks at the results of the January 2008 NAQP CW and SSB Contests. Jim Stevens, K4MA, gives his take on the February 2008 North American Phone Sprint and Tree Tyree, N6TR, ponders the February 2008 North American CW Sprint. Of course, there are all the regular columns and features you expect from NCJ: "Workshop Chronicles," by Don Daso, K4ZA; "Contest Tips, Tricks & Techniques," by Gary Sutcliffe, W9XT; "Propagation," by Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA; "VHF-UHF Contesting," by Jon Jones, N0JK; "Contesting on a Budget," by Paul Schaffenberger, K5AF; "DX Contest Activity Announcements," by Bill Feidt, NG3K; "RTTY Contesting," by Don Hill, AA5AU; "Contesting 101," by Kirk Pickering, K4RO, and "Contest Calendar," by Bruce Horn, WA7BNM. All this and more in the July/August issue of NCJ. NCJ is published six times a year by the ARRL; it is edited by Al Dewey, K0AD. Subscribe today <http://www.arrl.org/ncj/>! ==> FCC ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS Special Counsel in the FCC Spectrum Enforcement Division Riley Hollingsworth sent a Warning Notice to William G. Aber, Sr, N2JAI, of Green Creek, New Jersey, alerting him that "[t]he control operator of the KC2JPP repeater, operating on 449.875 MHz, has requested in writing that [Aber] refrain from use of the repeater." These requests, the Commission, noted, were due to Aber's "failure to follow operational rules set forth by the licensee/control operators of the repeater system for its users." Aber had been issued verbal requests to refrain from using the repeaters in the past, but he has, according to the Warning Notice, "apparently ignored both verbal and written requests." Saying that Aber refused delivery of the letter from the repeater owners, Hollingsworth reminded Aber of the FCC's rules that require that "repeaters be under the supervision of a control operator and [the FCC] not only expects, but requires, such control operators and licensees to be responsible for the proper operation of the repeater system. Control operators may take whatever steps are appropriate to ensure compliance with the repeater rules, including limiting the repeater use to certain users, converting the repeater to a closed repeater or taking it off the air entirely." Aber was warned to stay off the KC2JPP system and any other such request by a repeater licensee, control operator or trustee. If he chose to ignore this request, the FCC would initiate enforcement action against his license -- which can include revocation, monetary forfeiture or a "modification proceeding to restrict the frequencies on which [he] may operate N2JAI." Fines normally range from $7500-$10,000. Hollingsworth also sent a Warning Notice to Gateway Coal Mine in Coulterville, Illinois concerning that company's unlicensed radio operation. Citing a complaint made to the FCC, Hollingsworth stated that "your company has been using unlicensed radio equipment. The frequency is 146.400 MHz and is an Amateur Radio Service frequency, not a business or public safety frequency." Hollingsworth advised Gateway Coal Mine that operation of radio transmitting equipment without a license is a violation of Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. Section 301 "and will subject you to fine or imprisonment, as well as an in rem seizure [forfeiture of physical assets] of any non-certified radio transmitting equipment, in cooperation with the United States Attorney for your jurisdiction. Monetary forfeitures normally range from $7,500 to $10,000." Hollingsworth recommended that Gateway Coal Mine contact their radio service technician in order to correct the situation. Direct all questions concerning the Amateur Radio Service Enforcement Actions Web postings via e-mail only to the FCC Spectrum Enforcement Division <email@example.com>. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Tad "I am too much in the Sun" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: The weeks seem to drag on with no sunspots in sight. An image from helioseismic holography on Tuesday shows a spot on our Sun's far side. We hope it emerges in a week or 10 days on our side and hasn't died out by then. Spots emerge from time to time, but they are all old Solar Cycle 23 spots and they seem to fade quickly without much activity. Sunspot numbers for June 26-July 2 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0 with a mean of 0. The 10.7 cm flux was 65.4, 66.1, 65.9, 66.6, 66.7, 65.6 and 65.9 with a mean of 66. Estimated planetary A indices were 16, 8, 7, 8, 6, 5 and 3 with a mean of 7.6. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 17, 7, 6, 7, 5, 4 and 1 with a mean of 6.7. For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service Propagation page <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html>. To read this week's Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW Propagation Bulletin page <http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/prop/>. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This Weekend on the Radio: This weekend, the Digital Pentathlon is on July 4 and the MI QRP July 4th CW Sprint is July 4-5. The VK/Trans-Tasman 160 Meter Contest (Phone) is July 5. On July 5-6, be sure to check out the Venezuelan Independence Day Contest, the WLOTA Contest, the DL-DX RTTY Contest, the Original QRP Contest and the PODXS 070 Club 40 Meter Firecracker Sprint. The DARC 10 Meter Digital Contest is July 6 and the RSGB 80 Meter Club Championship (CW) is July 7. Next weekend, the NCCC Sprint Ladder is July 11 and the FISTS Summer Sprint is July 12. The IARU HF World Championship is July 13, as are the SKCC Weekend Sprintathon and the ARCI Summer Homebrew Sprint. The RSGB 80 Meter Club Championship (SSB) is July 16 and the NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint is July 17. All dates, unless otherwise stated, are UTC. See the ARRL Contest Branch page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/>, the ARRL Contest Update <http://www.arrl.org/contests/update/> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar <http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for more info. * ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains open through Sunday, July 6, 2008 for these online course sessions beginning on Friday, July 18, 2008: 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). Each online course has been developed in segments -- learning units with objectives, informative text, student activities and quizzes. Courses are interactive, and some include direct communications with a Mentor/Instructor. Students register for a particular session that may be 8, 12 or 16 weeks (depending on the course) and they may access the course at any time of day during the course period, completing lessons and activities at times convenient for their personal schedule. Mentors assist students by answering questions, reviewing assignments and activities, as well as providing helpful feedback. Interaction with mentors is conducted through e-mail; there is no appointed time the student must be present -- allowing complete flexibility for the student to work when and where it is convenient. To learn more, visit the Continuing Education course listing page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html> or contact the Continuing Education Program Coordinator <firstname.lastname@example.org>. * ARRL to Close in Observance of Fourth of July: ARRL Headquarters will be closed in observance of Independence Day on Friday, July 4. There will be no W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions that day. The ARRL Letter and ARRL Audio News will be posted a day early on Thursday, July 3. League Headquarters will reopen Monday, July 7 at 8 AM Eastern Daylight Time. We wish everyone a safe and festive holiday weekend. * ARRL Audio News Returns to Phone Lines: We are pleased to report that ARRL Audio News can once again be accessed via telephone at 860-594-0384; it had been down for a few days due to equipment failure. Compiled and edited from The ARRL Letter, ARRL Audio News is available on the League's Web site for two weeks and via telephone for one week after publication. We are sorry for any inconvenience the outage may have caused * USI to Host Special Event Stations: The United States Islands (USI) awards program will host a series of special event stations -- including their main club station KL7USI -- from all over the US, Alaska and the Yukon celebrating 15 years on HF. Starting summer 2008 throughout 2009, look for USI activities on 14.260 MHz and other bands. USI is the premiere state island collecting program. Check USI website for further details <http://www.usislands.org/>. * ARRL Contest Update Offers Valuable Information for All: Every two weeks, H. Ward Silver, N0AX, produces the ARRL Contest Update. Each issue is jam-packed with information for all operators, be they involved in radiosport or not, such as operating and technical tips, propagation information and a focus on a technical Web site each issue. Of course, everything you need to know about upcoming contests is right there at your fingertips. Since the ARRL Contest Update is available in HTML, there is a link to the rules for each individual contest listed, as well as pictures. ARRL members can subscribe the ARRL Contest Update on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/contests/update/about.html#get>. =========================================================== 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/>. 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