*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 27, No. 28 July 18, 2008 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * + ARRL Board of Directors Meets July 18-19 in Connecticut * + New 70 cm Coordination Agreement Reached for New England * + Kansas Ham, Son, Electrocuted While Erecting Antennas * + Court of Appeals: FCC Must Reimburse Fees Stemming from BPL Challenge * + ARRL, FCC Meet in Washington to Discuss BPL Remand * + W1HQ Notes ICOM Donations * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This Weekend on the Radio ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration + No ARRL Audio News July 25 + E-mails Asking for Personal Information Not from ARRL Robert Dickinson, W3HJ (SK) W1AW/KL7 to Operate from Arctic Circle +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> =========================================================== ==> ARRL BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETS JULY 18-19 IN CONNECTICUT The ARRL Board of Directors holds their second meeting of 2008 July 18-19 in Windsor, Connecticut. Directors, Vice Directors and ARRL Board officers are in attendance. The meeting, which begins Friday and continues through Saturday, was preceded on Thursday with meetings of the Administration and Finance Committee and the Programs and Services Committee. The Administration and Finance Committee (A&F), chaired by Northwestern Division Director Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF, study, advise and make recommendations for all administration and financial matters of the League, including recommending the annual budget to the Board, making recommendations in regard to staff management and interfacing with the ARRL Foundation on fundraising issues. Fenstermaker said he can report "a successful first half of 2008 with increased workload from membership increased and requests for services remaining high. Staff has done a good job, satisfying the needs of members. The committee continues to review new programs and opportunities to serve the members and grow Amateur Radio. We will continue to leverage our opportunities and foster a positive perception of Amateur Radio as a viable and fun avocation. " The Programs and Services Committee (PSC), headed by Midwest Division Director Bruce Frahm, K0BJ, study, advise and make recommendations for all programs and services provided by the League, including Logbook of The World, W1AW and the incoming and outgoing QSL services. "PSC has oversight of our Field Organization and its volunteers, membership programs such as operating awards and contesting, the Education and VEC departments and W1AW. In spite of the slow return of sunspots, interest in on-air events and LoTW is trending up, which is great. Our biggest task has been a yearlong study of Section governance. We will report our findings and recommendations to this board meeting," Frahm said. More information on the July meeting of the ARRL Board of Directors will soon be available on the ARRL Web site and in The ARRL Letter. ==> NEW 70 CM COORDINATION AGREEMENT REACHED FOR NEW ENGLAND In the next step of developing a long-term procedure to mitigate interference to the Air Force PAVE PAWS radar site at Cape Cod Air Force Station in Massachusetts, the ARRL has brokered a deal that will allow new coordinations to be considered by the New England Spectrum Management Council (NESMC) on the 70 cm band. ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, has been engaged in discussions with Lou Harris, N1UEC, of NESMC; USAF Colonel Chris Gentry, commander of the Cape Cod PAVE PAWS Radar installation, and Dave Pooley of Air Force Space Command Headquarters, to craft additional procedures that would allow NESMC to consider new or modified 70 cm repeater applications. "The plan being put into place will allow NESMC to resume 70 cm coordination while putting into place some checks and procedures which will allow the Air Force to be notified when a new repeater is going on the air within the area around the radar sites," Henderson said. "NESMC continues as the frequency coordinator for amateur repeaters, which is their role." The ARRL will work with NESMC on Longley-Rice modeling to obtain an estimated signal strength at the radar of the new repeater. Once this occurs, Henderson said the ARRL will "then make a recommendation -- based on our knowledge of current repeater signals -- if the proposed repeater should be at or near limits that that should allow it to operate without interference to the radar." Henderson added that this is not an exact science: "Some levels of degradation of the radar receiver levels are only detectable by precise testing. The unit of the Air Force that provides that testing only visits the Cape Cod site about once a year. It is possible that a repeater that had been in operation for a while under the new procedures would have to address an interference issue when that future testing is performed." Calling it "fortunate" to have Harris, Pooley and Skinner involved in the process, Henderson said, that if successful, "The procedures being put into place can serve as a model for addressing the same issues in other situations which might arise, such as the mitigation project around the PAVE PAWS site at Beale Air Force Base in California." Part of the new agreement includes the ARRL serving as the point of contact for the Air Force if new interference is detected. "The ARRL is providing a mechanism whereby and future interference issues can be immediately addressed and hopefully resolved," said Henderson. "It makes sense to have a 'first step' whereby an amateur is given the opportunity to address concerns before a more formal FCC interaction would have to be considered by the Air Force. This plan hopefully provides that step." The agreement does not inject the ARRL into a formal role in repeater coordinations; the role of the League in the coordination process will be simply to provide the NESMC coordinator with an assessment of the proposed repeater's signal strength, as well as potential for interference at the radar site. "While we do not have the specific receiver sensitivity requirements, Air Force officials have indicated our previous calculations for repeaters already involved are 'in the ball park,'" Henderson stated. "We should be able to provide NESMC with a relatively informed assessment for any new repeater, but the final decision on whether to coordinate a repeater remains in the hands of NESMC." ==> KANSAS HAM, SON, ELECTROCUTED WHILE ERECTING ANTENNAS While putting up backyard antennas on the afternoon of Sunday, July 13, Edward Thomas, KC0TIG, of Kansas City, Kansas, and his son Jacob were electrocuted. Edward, 65, was pronounced dead at the scene. Jacob, 27, was rushed to the hospital but died later that day. Initial reports suggest that the antenna they were installing came in contact with 7620 V power lines. Neighbors reported a "loud popping sound" and the electricity went out on the block. Jacob's 7 year old daughter witnessed the tragedy and ran to the neighbor's yard, calling for help. Byron Kirkwood and another neighbor attempted to perform CPR on the men; the neighbor also called 911. Robert Mullendore, a spokesman for the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (KCBPU), was quoted by Kansas City television station KSBH as saying it is rare to survive a shock as strong as the two men received: "There are people who will survive -- they're lucky by the grace of God, it's high energy, it's dangerous, that's why it's up in the air -- you just have to be careful. Even those who survive have pretty wicked wounds and they are lifelong wounds." In the power business for more than 30 years, the spokesman said these accidents are "really rare," saying that he only sees something like this "every two or three years. If you're doing any kind of work like this, you just really, really need to be aware of your surroundings." Chuck Kraly, K0XM, used to work for KCBPU; he built and maintained the substation that fed the circuit going to the Thomas home: "This is nothing to take chances with. In my almost 30 years as a ham -- and 27 years in the power utility field -- I have seen way too many 'accidents.' Stop and look. If it is close or seems that way -- don't. Find another place. High voltage lines are not forgiving. Your life depends on it. Please follow the warnings. Anywhere close is too close." -- Thanks to Larry Staples, W0AIB, and others who contributed to this story ==> COURT OF APPEALS: FCC MUST REIMBURSE FEES STEMMING FROM BPL CHALLENGE The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ordered that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reimburse ARRL for the docketing fee and the cost of reproducing copies of briefs and appendices in the ARRL's successful challenge of the FCC's broadband over power line (BPL) rules <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/04/25/10064/>. The Order, issued on July 9 following review of an opposition from the FCC and a reply from the ARRL, awarded the ARRL's full claim of $6,096.18 <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/appealCostAwardOrder2008jul09.pdf >. Commenting on the Order, ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, observed: "While this is just a small fraction of the cost of our judicial appeal, the Order is significant because the Court did not buy the FCC's arguments that the ARRL had only achieved 'partial success' in its appeal and that our claim of costs was excessive." Sumner continued: "In addition, the FCC falsely claimed that the ARRL 'was unsuccessful in persuading the Court to vacate the rules it challenged.' In fact, the ARRL never sought to do so since the BPL rules adopted by the FCC, inadequate as they are, were still better than nothing. The award of these fees affirms that, contrary to the 'spin' the FCC has tried to put on the Court's remand, the ARRL substantially prevailed in its appeal." ==================== One of the most important activities that ARRL engages on behalf of its members is representation in Washington. Generous member contributions to The ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund support a full menu of activities that help protect our Amateur Radio spectrum, including important meetings in Washington. Your contribution by mail, phone or on the Web is vital <http://www.arrl.org/defense>. ==> ARRL, FCC MEET IN WASHINGTON TO DISCUSS BPL REMAND On July 9, ARRL officials -- President Joel Harrison, W5ZN; Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, and General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD -- met with members of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology to discuss the recent US Court of Appeals decision regarding broadband over power lines (BPL) <http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_do cument=6520033586>. In that case, the Court agreed with the ARRL on two major points and remanded the rules to the Commission. According to Imlay, the meeting was convened to discuss "a possible regulatory approach" to BPL with the FCC. Suggestions put forth by ARRL "would address the needs and concerns of Amateur Radio operators in avoiding harmful interference from [BPL systems] while imposing the minimum necessary regulatory obligations on BPL deployments." The ARRL understands, Imlay said, that "there are at this point rules that could be adopted which would, at once, (1) protect Amateur Radio communications from predictable harmful interference from BPL; and (2) permit broadband over power line systems to operate in the 3 to 80 MHz range without significant constraint and without substantial redesign or retroactive build outs." ==> W1HQ NOTES ICOM DONATIONS Earlier this month, ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, presented ICOM Division Manager Ray Novak, N9JA, and ICOM Sales Representative Pat Marcy, W7PZ, with a plaque, thanking ICOM for its support of ARRL stations W1AW and W1HQ throughout the years. ICOM recently donated an IC-756PROIII and an IC-746PRO to W1HQ, the ARRL's Laird Campbell Memorial HQ Operators Club station <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/02/13/101/?nc=1>. Kutzko, who serves as President of W1HQ, said it was "a real treat to get W1HQ operational again as a thriving club station. ICOM has been an enormous help in getting the W1HQ back on the air. With the addition of the 756ProIII, we are able to take our DXing and contesting pursuits to the next level at the club. The 746Pro has also been a valuable addition; we are now on-the-air on 6 and 2 meter SSB and CW." Kutzko said he is proud that several newly licensed employees at ARRL HQ have also had the opportunity to operate VHF+: "This has allowed some of our Technician licensees to go from working amateurs on the local repeater system to working stations in Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands on 6 meters. I am grateful to ICOM for opening those doors for us and continuing the education -- and recreation -- of our employee amateurs." ==>SOLAR UPDATE Tad "...the setting Sun dropped from the zenith like a falling star" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: If today is like yesterday and the day before that, it will be the 26th consecutive day with no sunspots. Think this is bad? At the last solar minimum, there were only four days showing any sunspots between September 5 and October 24, 2006. For this week, geomagnetic conditions should mild in the beginning and increasing later. Predicted planetary A index for July 18-24 is 8, 5, 5, 5, 10, 15 and 12. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet conditions for July 18, quiet to unsettled July 19-20, quiet again on July 21 and unsettled July 22-24. Sunspot numbers for July 10-16 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0 with a mean of 0. The 10.7 cm flux was 65.4, 65.7, 64.9, 65.2, 65.6, 65.7 and 64.6 with a mean of 65.3. Estimated planetary A indices were 4, 7, 21, 14, 10, 7 and 7 with a mean of 10. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 2, 6, 16, 10, 9, 7 and 4 with a mean of 7.7. 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 is the NCCC Sprint Ladder on July 18. The Feld Hell Sprint and the VK/Trans-Tasman 160 Meter Contest (CW) are July 19. Look for the DMC RTTY Contest, the North American QSO Party (RTTY) and the CQ Worldwide VHF Contest on July 19-20. On July 20, check out the RSGB Low Power Field Day and the CQC Great Colorado Gold Rush. The Run for the Bacon QRP Contest is July 21, the SKCC Sprint is July 23 and the RSGB 80 Meter Club Championship (Data) is July 24. Next weekend is the NCCC Sprint Ladder on July 25 and the RSGB IOTA Contest on July 26-27. 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 20, 2008 for these online course sessions beginning on Friday, August 1, 2008: Technician License Course (EC-010), Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 1 (EC-001), Radio Frequency Interference (EC-006), Antenna Design and Construction (EC-009), Analog Electronics (EC-012) and Digital Electronics (EC-013). 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 CCE Course Listing page <http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html> or contact the Continuing Education Program Coordinator <firstname.lastname@example.org>. * No ARRL Audio News July 25: There will be no ARRL Audio News on Friday, July 25. The ARRL Letter will be available that day. ARRL Audio News will return on Friday, August 1. * E-mails Asking for Personal Information Not from ARRL: We have received several reports from ARRL members with arrl.net e-mail accounts who have recently been contacted via e-mail asking for personal information, such as user names and passwords. Please be assured that these e-mails are fraudulent attempts at "phishing" and did not originate from ARRL. According to ARRL Information Technology Manager Don Durand, "This is a very crude attempt at phishing, using an easily determined spoof of the originating/return address. There is never a time when we would ask via mass e-mail for user names and passwords of arrl.net users. There is simply no need to ever do so." If you receive an e-mail asking for personal information and it looks like it originated from ARRL, please do not respond, just delete it. * Robert Dickinson, W3HJ (SK): Robert Van Cleft Dickinson, W3HJ (ex-W2CCE), of Zionsville, Pennsylvania, passed away May 28. He was 79. A Fellow of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers and a member of the IEEE, Dickinson, a long-time ARRL Technical Advisor, wrote the chapter on cable television interference in the second edition of "The ARRL RFI Book." ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, remembered Dickinson, saying, "In the early 1980s, as the cable industry was developing, the relationship between the cable industry and Amateur Radio was not good. Early systems were leaky and interference problems -- especially on 2 meters -- were common. Dickinson helped change that; he agreed to serve as a liaison between the ARRL and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA). It took years, but over time -- as improvements in the construction of cable plants and firm guidance from NCTA to cable operators who did not promptly correct interference problems -- his work helped the cable industry flourish with good coexistence with licensed radio services. This has served as a model for ARRL's relationship with other industries." ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, echoed Hare's thoughts: "We are saddened by the loss of Bob Dickinson, W3HJ, a good friend of ARRL and Amateur Radio. Bob's keen interest in League activities on behalf of our Service was evidenced by his generosity as part of the ARRL Diamond Club for five years, as well as his financial support of the Spectrum Defense Fund and the Education & Technology Fund." Dickinson is survived by his wife Jessie, four children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. * W1AW/KL7 to Operate from Arctic Circle: Just 300 miles south of the Alaskan Arctic Ocean -- where the Arctic Circle crosses the Dalton Highway (66 degrees, 33 minutes north) -- W1AW/KL7 will be on the air (grid square BP56) July 26-August 10 on all bands from 160-6 meters. This ARRL 2008 Alaska State Convention Special Event Station plans to run two HF stations operating CW, SSB and digital, one satellite station and one station devoted to 146.52 MHz. The Alaskan summer skies are ablaze with gray line-enhanced propagation effects, providing six to eight hour spurts of activity to most of the ham radio world. W1AW/KL7 plans to be active from 0600 UTC-1400 UTC to maximize gray line propagation. From Alaska, signals will take off in both directions at the same time: Europe to the East on one side, with Asia to the West on the other side. For an illustration of how Arctic gray line propagation works, see page 21 in the August 2008 issue of QST. The 2008 Alaska ARRL Convention will run from August 1-4, 2008 in Anchorage. For more information, please see the W1AW/KL7 Web site <http://www.akhamfest.com/arcticcirclespecial.php>. =========================================================== The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American Radio Relay League: ARRL--the National Association for Amateur Radio, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; <http://www.arrl.org/>. Joel Harrison, W5ZN, President. The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential and general news of interest to active radio amateurs. Visit the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> for the latest Amateur Radio news and news updates. The ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> also offers informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> is a weekly "ham radio newscast" compiled and edited from The ARRL Letter. It's also available as a podcast from our Web site. Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter/American Radio Relay League. ==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): email@example.com ==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, firstname.lastname@example.org ==>ARRL News on the Web: <http://www.arrl.org/> ==>ARRL Audio News: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call 860-594-0384 ==>How to Get The ARRL Letter The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from ARRL HQ. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for e-mail delivery: ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site <http://www.arrl.org/members/>. You'll have an opportunity during registration to sign up for e-mail delivery of The ARRL Letter, W1AW bulletins, and other material. 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