*************** The ARRL Letter Vol. 28, No. 14 April 9, 2009 *************** IN THIS EDITION: * Italian Hams Respond after Earthquake * New ARRL Advanced Emergency Communications Course in the Works * FCC Denies Michigan Ham's Request for Ruling * Seattle Hosts Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Seminar * FCC, Indianapolis Police Department Address Unlicensed Operations * New Section Manager Appointed in South Dakota * Solar Update * IN BRIEF: This Week on the Radio ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration ARRL to Close in Observance of Good Friday NOTE: There will be no ARRL Audio News on April 10 or April 24. The ARRL Letter is distributed one day early this week, as ARRL HQ is closed Friday, April 10 in observance of Good Friday. =========================================================== ==>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, K1SFA <firstname.lastname@example.org> =========================================================== ==> ITALIAN HAMS RESPOND AFTER EARTHQUAKE An earthquake that registered between 5.8 and 6.3 magnitude struck the town of L'Aquila -- the capital of Italy's Abruzzo region, about 65 miles northeast of Rome -- early on the morning of April 6. News reports say the quake has killed more than 250 people, with at least 50,000 left homeless. Cluster spots reported that two HF frequencies -- 7045 and 3640 kHz -- were being used for emergency communications. Local hams also reported that various VHF frequencies were also being used. According to IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Coordinator Greg Mossop, G0DUB, the 7045 kHz frequency is being used to link local rescue and coordination centers with Protezione Civile in Rome. "Cell phone capacity in the area is being increased," he said, "and a second wave of volunteers and workers are being prepared to go to the area to take over from the first responders." He asked that 7045 kHz be kept clear as the Net remains active and stated that "it is now more important [to keep the frequency clear now] that a formal Net seems to exist." Alberto Barbera, IK1YLO, of Ponderano (near Milan), told the ARRL hams are operating in VHF and UHF locally "because the area involved is not that large. About 30 villages around L'Aquila are involved. Our Dipartimento Protezione Civile does not need additional help at this moment; perhaps it will be necessary in a second step, we will see." Fabrizio Villanova, IK6GTF, of Pescara (about a 90 minute drive from L'Aquila), said that several hams from his town and from Chieti are providing communications support after the quake. "We are using Pescara's repeaters to maintain contacts with hams in L'Aquila and to coordinate the activity of Pescara/Chieti's hams," he told the ARRL. "We operate from an institutional building especially equipped for emergencies where, joined with the police, fire department, Red Cross and other public services, all committed to provide aid. Our national emergency service is working in a very good manner and all activities seem to proceed well." Rino Odoardi, IZ6BMP, of Alanno Stazione (near Pescara), told the ARRL that he and other hams from the Pescara section of the Associazione Radioamatori Italiani (ARI) "are in L'Aquila, involved in Civil Defense activities with officials in L'Aquila. The earth is still shaking now -- I hope it will finish soon!" ARI <http://www.associazioneradioamatoritaliani.it/> is Italy's IARU Member-Society <http://www.iaru.org/>. The death toll reached 260 people, including 16 children, after rescuers pulled more bodies from the rubble in the days after the earthquake. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said in total 28,000 had lost their homes, with 17,000 now living in tents and the rest in free hotel rooms or staying with family. Aftershocks from Italy's worst quake in three decades lasted until April 8 in mountainous Abruzzo and were felt in Rome. According to Reuters News, Berlusconi vowed to build "a whole new town near L'Aquila." ==> NEW ARRL ADVANCED EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS COURSE IN THE WORKS Over the past several months, ARRL staff have been reviewing the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications online course program <http://www.arrl.org/cep/> and have decided to combine two of the three Emergency Communications courses. According to ARRL Education Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ, the review included a critical examination of the course content, as well as methods of course delivery and interrelationships with government organizations. Johnson said that the decision was made to revise the Level 3 course to become a new Advanced Emergency Communications Course; this, she said, will replace both the current Level 2 and Level 3 courses. The new advanced course is set to be released during the last quarter of 2009. "Our aim is to develop professional level courses which are widely accepted by other organizations for the emergency communication component of Amateur Radio," she said. "We are investigating requirements that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently putting in place for approved courses, as well as other possibilities to develop emergency communications training that meets the emerging training needs surrounding emergency communications." Students who have previously taken the Level 2 course will need to have the new advanced course to complete the current Amateur Radio Emergency Communications training program, Johnson explained. "Those who have completed the Level 1 course may progress directly to the advanced course when it is made available; this new course contains content formerly included in the former Level 2 and 3 courses." Johnson said that there are no current plans to change the Basic Level 1 course and that that course will continue to be offered in its current format. With the combining of the Level 2 and 3 courses, Johnson said that anyone who had signed up for the Level 2 course set to begin April 17 may apply for a refund. Any scheduled field instruction of the Level 2 content, as well as Level 2 exam sessions, will also be suspended. "We will honor exam sessions that have been previously scheduled and award Level 2 certificates for any exams successfully completed up to May 31," she said. "Our training program mandate is to provide the training that ham radio communicators need to be prepared to serve our communities in time of communications emergencies," Johnson explained. "This consolidation of program content will streamline the delivery of the training and apply volunteer and administrative support resources more effectively." ==> FCC DENIES MICHIGAN HAM'S REQUEST FOR RULING In October 2007, Christopher Kaczmarek, KB8MLC, of Saginaw, Michigan, petitioned the FCC for a ruling regarding the installation of his Amateur Radio antenna. Kaczmarek told the FCC that he received a notice from the manager of his mobile home community stating the antennas were not allowed and asked for "a ruling from the Commission recognizing [his] right to an Amateur Radio antenna structure." On April 6, 2009, the FCC denied Kaczmarek's request for a ruling in his favor, based on the fact that PRB-1 protections do not extend to private homeowners' agreements <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-774A1.pdf>. The Commission agreed with Kaczmarek that Section 97.15 of the Commission's Rules provides that "state and local regulation of antenna structures must not preclude amateur service communications, must reasonably accommodate such communications, and must constitute the minimum practicable regulation to achieve the state or local authority's legitimate purpose." In its letter to Kaczmarek, the FCC pointed out that it has not, however, extended this policy to regulations promulgated by private parties. Saying that it has considered this same question twice before, the FCC told Kaczmarek that it "chose not to preempt private land use regulations that restrict the installation of antennas and associated support structures used by Amateur Radio stations. As agreements between private parties are voluntarily established and freely entered into, the Commission is hesitant to interfere with them unless it is shown that private agreements will seriously disrupt the federal regulatory scheme." ==> SEATTLE HOSTS AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS SEMINAR More than 250 hams and emergency communications professionals enjoyed two days of focused programs and socializing at the 11th Annual Communications Academy in Seattle over the weekend of April 3-4 <http://www.commacademy.org/>. Held at South Seattle Community College in West Seattle, the conference drew attendees from across the country, mostly from the Pacific Northwest: Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. "The organizing committee, led by Marina Zuetell, N7LSL, is to be commended for putting together this useful annual event that continues to get better each year," said ARRL Contributing Editor and conference attendee H. Ward Silver, N0AX. "The beginner's track was created by Brian Daly, WB7OML, who unfortunately was unable to attend the conference due to some emergency situations at work. He recruited a great team of individuals to take on teaching the five different segments." According to Silver, the conference is designed to interest everyone from brand new hams to seasoned EmComm veterans -- even emergency management and planning professionals. The breakfast keynote speakers were King County (Washington) Emergency Management Director Robin Friedman and ARRL Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD. Silver said the program was organized roughly along three tracks: Introduction to Amateur Radio for new hams; technical topics of interest to EmComm operation, and reports or training programs with EmComm themes or subjects. "The track for brand-new hams was particularly well received," Silver said." Hosted by Scott Currie, NS7C, the programs began Saturday morning with 'Getting Your First Radio' and concluded Sunday with 'I Get It Now! Basic EmComm Equipment Needs.' This is no substitute for hands-on Elmering and training, but it certainly helps the ham with a brand new Technician license in need of some guidance." Silver noted there were two technical programs on digital voice modes, such as D-STAR <http://www.dstarinfo.com/> and Project 25 <http://www.project25.org/>. "The presenters guided the audience through some of the intricacies of digital voice technology, comparing and contrasting the strengths and weaknesses of each," he said. "Microsoft's Groove communications technology <http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/groove/HA101656331033.aspx> was explored as a tool for EmComm teams along with the use of D-RATS <http://www.d-rats.com/wiki/> -- a software package that makes use of D-STAR's low-speed data mode. An 'Ask the Doctor' question-and-answer session proved lively with questions ranging from 'how to' about antennas through the regulations regarding identification on digital voice modes. Staff from a local wireless store gave a standing-room-only presentation on installing mobile radios of all sorts in vehicles." Communications Academy also offered planning and training programs, including such seminars on how to recognize haz-mat situations through "windshield surveys," ways to provide neighborhood-level communications, methods to develop situational awareness and NOAA weather. "The most difficult thing about the Communications Academy," Silver said, "is deciding what programs to give up in order to see the ones you want!" One course offered was on the Emergency Alert System. According to Zuetell, the system is not an Amateur Radio system but is "a Federal program used by emergency management officials that utilizes the public broadcast system to send targeted local alerts out to the public. The thrust of the presentation was to begin training Amateur Radio operators to program the equipment on a regular basis to keep it current and correct." One of the highlights of the Communications Academy is an opportunity to see the local EmComm organizations demonstrate their mobile communications facilities. This year, nearly a dozen vehicles from small cargo vans to full-sized trucks were lined up outside. "There was plenty of time and excellent weather for attendees to tour the vehicles, with radios spanning the low HF bands through microwave," Silver said. "While not every club or team is fortunate enough to have its own mobile radio center, you can't help but come away with ideas from improving any EmComm station." The building competition, wherein individuals submit examples of their ability to create EmComm-related radio packages, is a recent addition to the programs at Communications Academy. Silver said that this year's theme was to build a portable radio system that could operate from portable dc power and on as many EmComm-related bands and modes as possible. "Each entry was judged by both a panel of judges and by the attendees, with the winning score a combination of both," he said. "Like the communication vans, even if you didn't have such a package yourself, it was impossible not to walk away thinking of incorporating some of the ideas at home or in your mobile station." Silver said that one of the highlights of the Saturday morning "Donuts and Danish" introductory remarks each year is learning how many millions of dollars worth of volunteer time and thousands of driven miles are contributed to the public good by ham radio operators, working together to prepare and be ready: "As the news reports show, it's never very long before the next opportunity to serve, no matter where you live!" ==> FCC, INDIANAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT ADDRESS UNLICENSED OPERATIONS In response to an investigation by the FCC, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) <http://www.indy.gov/eGov/IMPD/Pages/home.aspx> has taken action to prevent further use of Amateur Radio frequencies by unlicensed officers. Any Amateur Radio equipment in the cruisers of unlicensed officers was removed by order of IMPD Chief of Police Michael T. Spears. According to the FCC, some IMPD officers were using the radios to supplement their normal communications channels, including using amateur frequencies for tactical communications during drug surveillance. As part of its inquiry, the FCC reminded the IMPD of the large number of tactical channels available on a secondary basis to police departments from the public safety pool of frequency allocations. "We are pleased that IMPD has put a stop to this unlicensed activity," said ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND. "The investigation by the FCC, coupled with the expedient cooperation and correction of the problem by the IMPD, eliminates a situation that had raised serious concerns in the amateur community." The FCC stated they would monitor the situation and follow-up appropriately if needed. ==> NEW SECTION MANAGER APPOINTED IN SOUTH DAKOTA Scott Rausch, WA0VKC, of Piedmont, has been appointed Section Manager of the ARRL South Dakota Section starting April 7. He will serve the balance of the term of Rich Beebe, N0PV; Beebe passed away on March 16 <http://www.arrl.org/?artid=8834>. According to the Rules and Regulations of the Field Organization, when a vacancy in the office of Section Manager occurs between elections, the position is filled by appointment. Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager Dave Patton, NN1N, in consultation with Dakota Division Director Jay Bellows, K0QB, made the appointment effective Tuesday, April 7. Rausch has served as a South Dakota Assistant Section Manager since 2003; he is also an Emergency Coordinator and an Official Emergency Station within the Field Organization. His term of appointment as Section Manager continues through March 31, 2010. ==>SOLAR UPDATE Tad "The golden weather greeting on the Sun-warm hills" Cook, K7RA, this week reports: Recently, the 45 day forecast for daily solar flux and planetary A index has consistently predicted a solar flux at 70 for every day into the future. The last of these was on March 24. Then on March 25, the prediction was for the solar flux to be at 72 for March 28-31. That changed on March 26, showing solar flux at 72 on March 28-April 2. On March 27, the solar flux rose to 72 (actually 71.6) and the forecast was the same, but extended the 72 number through April 3. Solar flux has not reached 72 since then, but the March 28 forecast extends the reading of 72 through April 4. On March 29, it extends to April 5, and on March 30, to April 6. On March 31, it extends 72 until April 9 -- three additional days -- but it also shows a new period with a flux of 72, April 23-May 6. April 1 is the same, but April 2 the flux is dropped to 71 for April 3-9. The April 3 prediction gives up on the slightly higher flux values for the near term, but still predicts 72 for April 23-May 6. The forecast remains the same until April 7, when the 72 flux for April 23-May 6 is shortened to April 23-29. So it appears that even these near term predictions for a very small increase in activity are continually revised downward. In the April 8 forecast, it shows the planetary A index for April 9-10 at 15 and 8, then dropping to 5 until April 21. Early on April 9, we are experiencing the effects of a solar wind stream, and planetary K index rose from 3 to 4 at 0300 UTC. Sunspot numbers for April 2-8 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0 with a mean of 0. The 10.7 cm flux was 70.6, 70.4, 70.1, 70.4, 68.8, 70.2 and 70 with a mean of 70.1. The estimated planetary A indices were 3, 2, 2, 4, 3, 2 and 5 with a mean of 3. The estimated mid-latitude A indices were 0, 2, 0, 3, 2, 2 and 4 with a mean of 1.9. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet to unsettled conditions April 10, quiet April 11-14, quiet to unsettled April 15 and unsettled April 16. 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/>. This week's "Tad Cookism" brought to you by Lucy Maud Montgomery's "Spring Song" <http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/spring-song-2/>. __________________________________ ==>IN BRIEF: * This Week on the Radio: This week is the NCCC Sprint Ladder on April 10 and the PODXS 070 Club PSK 31 Flavors Contest on April 11. On April 11-12, look for the Georgia QSO Party, the Yuri Gagarin International DX Contest and the JIDX CW Contest. The SKCC Weekend Sprint and the UBA Spring Contest (SSB) are April 12. The Low Power Spring Sprint is April 13. The 222 MHz Spring Sprint is April 14 (local time) and the NAQCC Straight Key/Bug Sprint is April 15. Next week is the NCCC Sprint Ladder on April 17. Be sure to check out the Holyland DX Contest, the TARA Skirmish Digital Prefix Contest, the ES Open HF Championship and the Feld Hell Sprint on April 18. The Michigan QSO Party, the Ontario QSO Party and the YU DX Contest are April 18-19. The Run for the Bacon QRP Contest is April 20. The SKCC Sprint and the 432 MHz Spring Sprint are April 22 (the 432 MHz Sprint is local time). 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. Looking for a Special Event station? Be sure to check out the ARRL Special Event Station Web page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/spev.html>. * ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains open through Sunday, April 19, 2009 for these online course sessions beginning on Friday, May 1, 2009: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 1; Radio Frequency Interference; Antenna Design and Construction; Technician License Course; Analog Electronics, and Digital Electronics.. 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/cep/student> or contact the Continuing Education Program Coordinator <email@example.com>. * ARRL to Close in Observance of Good Friday: ARRL Headquarters will be closed in observance of Good Friday on Friday, April 10. There will be no W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions that day. "The ARRL Letter" will be posted a day early on Thursday, April 9; there will be no "ARRL Audio News" on April 10 or April 24. ARRL Headquarters will reopen Monday, April 13 at 8 AM Eastern Daylight Time. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend. =========================================================== 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.) Copyright 2009 American Radio Relay League, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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