ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
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
<letter-dlvy@arrl.org>;
==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane,
<k1sfa@arrl.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 <fccham@fcc.gov>;.

==>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 <cce@arrl.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!):
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==>ARRL Audio News: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call
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==>How to Get The ARRL Letter

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Copyright 2008 American Radio Relay League, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

 

The ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

Much of the ARRL Letter content is also available in audio form in ARRL Audio News.

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