ARRL

Secure Site Login

ARRL Letter

Preview
The ARRL Letter
April 9, 2015
ARRL Home PageARRL Letter ArchiveAudio News
Ad

 

ARRL to FCC: Amateurs and Vehicular Radars Can Play Nicely Together on 77-81 GHz

In comments filed on April 6 in response to a February FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Reconsideration Order (NPRM&RO) in ET Docket 15-26, the ARRL has told the Commission that it should make no change in the Amateur Radio allocation at 76-81 GHz and impose no additional regulatory constraints on Amateur or Amateur-Satellite uses of the band. The League said the FCC should proceed with authorizing short-range radar (SRR) systems for automotive applications in the band under Part 15 rules, and that such applications are compatible with amateur operations in the band.

In its NPRM&RO, the FCC solicited comment on issues involving expanded use of various radar applications in the 76-81 GHz band, which Amateur Radio shares with other services. The band 77.5-78 GHz is allocated to the Amateur and Amateur Satellite services on a primary basis, and to the Radio Astronomy and Space Research services on a secondary basis. The NPRM&RO was in response to a 2012 Petition for Rulemaking (RM-11666) by Robert Bosch LLC and to two petitions for reconsideration of a 2012 Report and Order (R&O) addressing vehicular radar systems in the 76-77 GHz band. ET 15-26 incorporated earlier proceedings.

In its comments, the ARRL suggested that the FCC overreached in proposing unjustifiable changes at 77-81 GHz on its own initiative.

"There is not, anywhere in the four corners of the Bosch Petition for Rule Making or in any comments that have been filed thus far in response to RM-11666, any suggestion that there is any incompatibility between Amateur Radio operation and automotive radars," the ARRL said. "Quite the contrary." The League said a credible, current ITU study has "definitively established" compatibility between short-range automotive radars and Amateur Radio.

The ARRL said Bosch's filing of its Petition followed "extensive discussions and technical evaluations between ARRL and Bosch" that making spectrum at 77-81 GHz available for automotive radars "would have no significant impact on the Amateur Radio Service." Bosch, the League pointed out, "did not propose a domestic spectrum allocation for vehicular radar devices and systems," just modification of the FCC Part 15 rules to permit vehicular radars at 78-81 GHz on the same basis that these radars now operate in the US at 76-77 GHz -- on a non-allocated, non-interference basis.

The ARRL said that no changes are necessary in the Amateur Radio domestic primary allocation at 77.5-78 GHz or in the secondary amateur allocation at 77-77.5 GHz or 78-81 GHz to accommodate automotive radar systems at 77-81 GHz. "Nor are any additional Part 97 rules necessary to accommodate compatible sharing of that band between radio amateurs and automotive radar systems," the League added. "Indeed, that is the position of the United States in anticipation of consideration of WRC-15 agenda item 1.18 later this year."

The League characterized as "both premature and poor spectrum management" the FCC's proposal to unilaterally permit unspecified fixed radar systems throughout the 76-81 GHz band "without the benefit of any completed, definitive studies relative to the compatibility of fixed radar systems with automotive radar, radioastronomy and/or Amateur Radio in this band."

Any consideration of fixed radars at 77-81 GHz, the League said, "should await the completion of conclusive, refereed compatibility studies that credibly establish compatibility with incumbent services." Read more.

World Amateur Radio Day is April 18!

On Saturday, April 18, radio amateurs worldwide will take to the airwaves to celebrate World Amateur Radio Day (WARD). It was on April 18, 1925, that the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) was founded in Paris, with ARRL Co-Founder Hiram Percy Maxim, 1AW, as its first president. The primary purpose of World Amateur Radio Day is to highlight Amateur Radio and its benefits to countries and communities. The IARU said World Amateur Radio Day is an opportunity for IARU member-societies to demonstrate Amateur Radio to the public and make friends with other amateurs around the world. Special event stations will be on the air over the April 18-19 weekend to highlight World Amateur Radio Day and the IARU's 90th anniversary.

"Since its founding, the IARU has worked tirelessly to defend and expand the frequency allocations for Amateur Radio," the IARU said in marking World Amateur Radio Day. "Thanks to the support of enlightened administrations in every part of the globe, radio amateurs are now able to experiment and communicate in frequency bands strategically located throughout the radio spectrum."

The 1925 IARU Congress in Paris. ARRL Co-Founder Hiram Percy Maxim is third from the right at the front table.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has recognized the IARU as representing the interests of Amateur Radio. Today, Amateur Radio is more popular than ever, with more than 3 million enthusiasts around the world, the IARU has estimated. As 2015 will also mark the 150th anniversary of the ITU, the IARU has adopted the theme, "ITU & IARU: Celebrating 150 years of Advancing the Telecommunication Art" for World Amateur Radio Day 2015.

From 25 countries in 1925, the IARU has grown to include more than 160 member-societies in three regions. IARU Region 1 includes Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Asia. Region 2 covers the Americas, and Region 3 is comprised of Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific island nations, and most of Asia.

"April 18 is the day for all of Amateur Radio to celebrate and tell the world about the science we can help teach, the community service we can provide, and the fun we have," the IARU said. Read more.

Ad
ARRL Teachers Institutes Want to Equip Teachers to Meet the STEM Challenge

The 2015 ARRL Education & Technology Program (ETP) will offer three introductory sessions and one advanced Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology seminar for educators this summer. The 4-day introductory (TI-1) sessions will be held June 22-25 at Parallax in Rocklin, California; July 7-10 at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut; and July 13-16 at the Dayton Amateur Radio Association in Dayton, Ohio. The 5-day advanced (TI-2) seminar, "Remote Sensing and Data Gathering," will be held July 20-24 at ARRL Headquarters. The TI-2 session is only open to those who have already completed the TI-1 program.

"As our nation looks toward an increasingly high-tech future, our educational system must improve the preparation of our students in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)," said ARRL Education Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ. "Teachers and schools are looking to meet these expectations by providing students with opportunities for hands-on, project-based learning."

Teachers at the 2014 Dayton TI-1 session assemble the Boe-Bot® robot, which they will use to learn microcontroller programming and robotics.

Johnson said the expenses-paid Teachers Institute sessions offer educators a professional development opportunity that equips them with training and resources to explore a variety of applications in radio science and wireless technology and -- in the advanced seminar -- remote sensing and data-gathering techniques.

ARRL Teachers Institute is open to grade 4-12 teachers as well as to post-secondary educators. "We look for teachers who have a vision of how to apply this wireless technology training to support STEM learning in their classrooms," Johnson said.

Additional details are in the article, "The ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology" in the March 2015 issue of QST. Interested teachers will find more details and an application on the ARRL website. Applications are due by May 1.

Amateur Radio Gear, Tools, Supplies Bound for Micronesia in Wake of Tropical Cyclone

A shipment of ham radio equipment, tools, and supplies will head from Hawaii to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) this week with John Bush, KH6DLK/V63JB. The radio gear will support communication for relief efforts as the FSM recover from Tropical Cyclone Maysak, which ravaged many of the nation's islands in late March and early April, wreaking major damage and causing some deaths. Bush plans to leave April 10. Initial plans called for including an ARRL "Ham Aid" kit in the shipment, but Bush said he's leaving that gear in Hawaii for the time being, because the building where it was to be set up no longer exists.

ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, IZ0UDF, was able to photograph the spectacular Typhoon Maysak from the ISS on April 1 as the storm continued to spin in the far western Pacific Ocean. [NASA photo]

"While many agencies and nations are responding, it's just not enough," said ARRL Hawaii Section Manager Bob Schneider, AH6J. The Ham Aid gear had been shipped to Hawaii last fall, as the massive Puna volcanic lava flow threatened some communities on the Big Island of Hawaii. It includes both HF and VHF gear.

With a population of about 103,000, FSM is comprised of four states over 600 islands -- about 1800 miles from end to end. Typhoon Maysak struck Ulithi Atoll with 160 MPH winds, with gusts to 195 MPH -- a Category 5 storm. A major storm surge of unknown height also hit, and infrastructure on all islands, including schools, homes, and the power and telecommunication systems, suffered major damage or were destroyed altogether.

"Local communications have been heavily impacted by the storm, and some areas are still cut off and have not been heard from," Schneider told ARRL.

Two FSM hams, William Radolfetheg, V63YWR -- an elementary school principal on Federai Island, part of Ulithi Atoll -- and Albert, V63YAG, were off the air since before the typhoon hit and had not been heard from until April 6, when V63YWR came on the air using a depleted battery and at very low power.

The ARRL is a member of Hawaii State VOAD, an organization of non-governmental organizations that provide disaster relief. Other organizations pitching in include church-affiliated groups, the Red Cross, The Salvation Army, the International Organization for Migration, USAID, and Pacific Missionary Airlines.

William Radolfetheg, V63YWR -- an elementary school principal on Federai Island, part of Ulithi Atoll.

Bush and Schneider have been assembling an assortment of loaned and donated radio equipment, antennas, tuners, power supplies, tools, hardware, "suitcase" solar panels, and FAA-legal gel cells for "bare-bones power" to send to the stricken region. As a result, the shipment could mean as many as a dozen extra bags; negotiations are under way with Hawaiian Airlines to reduce or waive excess luggage fees. Private donations amounting to approximately $3000 have been received, and most of those funds will go toward fuel for the Pacific Missionary Airlines leg of the trip. Barbara Darling, AH7G/NH7FY, sponsored the 100 W portable photovoltaic system.

"This preparation to provide emergency communications has occurred in just 9 days but has the complexity of a major DX expedition," Bush said. "If everything goes well, we should be on 14.335 at 0700 UTC and possibly on 21.335 at 2100 UTC each day."

"Look for us, but please don't interrupt if vital communications are in progress," Schneider stressed. "This is not a DXpedition!" Read more.

Ad
ARRL Rookie Roundup Returns: SSB Event is Sunday, April 19!

The SSB version of ARRL Rookie Roundup returns on Sunday, April 19. The event gets under way at 1800 UTC and continues through 2359 UTC. For the purposes of this operating event, a "Rookie" is any radio amateur licensed within the current calendar year or in the previous two calendar years, regardless of license class. Rookie Roundup events take place three times a year: SSB in April, RTTY in August, and CW in December.

From left to right, KJ6PUO, KK6CWV, and KJ6PUN operate Rookie Roundup 2013 at Stanford University's W6YX.

The goal of Rookie Roundup is to encourage recently licensed operators in North America (including territories and possessions) to operate on the HF bands and experience competitive Amateur Radio operating. Experienced operators are encouraged to participate and help new operators -- either on the air or in person. Old Timers may want to consider opening up their stations to rookies and serving as contesting mentors. The more operators on the air, the more fun the Roundup will be for everyone.

Rookies call "CQ Rookie Roundup," while veteran ops call "CQ Rookies." Exchange the call sign of the station you're working, your call sign, your first name, the two-digit number of the year first licensed, and your state, Canadian province, Mexican call area, or DX.

Rookie Roundup participants can log the contest using contest logging software the supports the event, paper forms provided on the Rookie Roundup web page or by using the real-time In The Log website. Once the contest is over and you've calculated your score, complete the Rookie Roundup Online Score Submission Form to submit your score; no logs are necessary. Entrants must fill out this form to enter, and all entries are due within 72 hours (3 days) of the end of the contest.

Contact ARRL Contest Branch Manager Matt Wilhelm, W1MSW, for more information. Read more.

Slow-Scan TV Transmissions from ISS Scheduled for April 11

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) has announced that slow-scan television (SSTV) transmissions are planned for Cosmonautics Day, Saturday, April 11 from RS0ISS in the ISS Russian sector. Cosmonautics Day celebrates space pioneer Yuri Gagarin's April 12, 1961, as the first human to reach space.

An SSTV image from the ISS, successfully received in October 2014 by N4ZG.

The SSTV event will get under way on April 11, 1000 UTC on 145.800 MHZ and continue until 2130 UTC. All transmissions will use SSTV mode PD180 (enable "Always show RX viewer" or use "Picture viewer" (magnifying glass icon) to display in 640 × 496 resolution). If similar to prior SSTV events, 12 different photos will be sent through the weekend with 3-minute off periods between transmissions.

Receiving the SSTV images requires a 2 meter receiver/transceiver and a PC to convert the audio to an image. Software such as MMSSTV (set sound card audio sampling to 48 kHz) is available for free on the Internet (iOS SSTV App). Received images may be uploaded and viewed at the ARISS Image Gallery.

Unanticipated events on board the ISS may cause any scheduled ham radio event to be postponed or cancelled. Check the ARISS Facebook page for updates. The ISS Fan Club website can show you when the ISS is within range. Visit the ARISS SSTV Blog and Gallery.

Ad
TEN-TEC and Alpha Change Hands

Less than a year after TEN-TEC and Alpha Amplifiers merged under the RF Concepts banner, the companies have changed hands again. RKR Designs LLC of Longmont, Colorado, announced on April 2 that it had acquired the two brands' assets from RF Concepts. RKR said it plans to expand the product line while "continuing to service their customers."

RKR Designs principals are Ken Long, N0QO, Richard Gall, and Rich Danielson. Long, with more than 20 years in the electronics and Amateur Radio industries, will be president and CEO of the new company. Gall and Danielson of QSC Systems in Longmont have been a successful contract manufacturer for over 20 years. QSC has been building Alpha amplifiers for more than 5 years, and boards for TEN-TEC since RF Concepts bought the company last year.

RKR Designs LLC is privately held, and the terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Read more.

Add a Scope to your Shack! Oscilloscopes for Radio Amateurs Now Available from ARRL

Oscilloscopes are useful tools in the world of electronics, allowing radio amateurs to "see" the signals inside their equipment. Through personal computers and today's technologies, a variety of analog, digital, or hybrid scopes is available to hams for problem solving and testing new ideas in your workshop.

Oscilloscopes for Radio Amateurs by Paul Danzer, N1II, is filled with practical information you'll need for using a 'scope. It begins with an overview of the oscilloscope and goes on to discuss characteristics, applications, probes, controls, and input modes. If you're considering adding a 'scope to your ham shack or workbench, the book includes an explanation of scope specifications and features to help you select the one that's right for you.

Oscilloscopes for Radio Amateurs is available from the ARRL Store (ARRL Item No 0976) or your ARRL Dealer at $22.95 retail, $19.95 for ARRL members. For more information, contact ARRL Publication Sales, 860-594-0355 or (US toll free) 888-277-5289. See what's new in the ARRL Store.

Ad
WWV's 25 MHz Signal Still Going Strong After 1 Year Back on the Air

Time and frequency standard station WWV silenced its 25 MHz signal in 1977, but it returned to the air on an "experimental basis" a year ago, and it's still up and running. Resurrecting the long-dormant standard time outlet operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was Matt Deutch, N0RGT, WWV's Lead Electrical Engineer.

The WWV campus in Fort Collins, Colorado. [NIST photo]

"We have been at 1 kW for the past year," Deutch told ARRL. "We have had a few hiccups, but nothing serious." Deutch said he was pleased to see the 25 MHz signal included in a recent QST article, "just like the good ol' days" (see "Measuring Frequencies at VE3GSO," in the April 2015 issue of QST, p 37).

"Here at the site we have even been discussing giving the 25 MHz signal its own antenna again," Deutch said. "The ham in me wants to give it something more exotic than a plain ol' boring dipole. But what antenna could it be?" Deutch said he was inspired by the article "Amateur Radio Science" by Eric Nichols, KL7AJ, in the February 2013 issue of QST, which asked hams to do more to advance and contribute to the radio art, "but the gears in my brain are still turning," Deutch said.

The return of WWV's 25 MHz outlet came about after Dean Lewis, W9WGV, lamented its loss last year in an e-mail to Deutch, who surprised him by putting the signal back on the air, initially temporarily. The 25 MHz signal not only provides another option to check your frequency calibration or the exact time, it also can serve to indicate the state of propagation on 12 and 10 meters. Deutch said the WWV 25 MHz signal still gets signal reports from across the Atlantic.

WWV has invited listeners' comments and signal reports. Read more.

In Brief...

TAPR/AMSAT Joint Hamvention Banquet Set For May 15: The TAPR/AMSAT Banquet will take place Friday, May 15, starting with a social hour at 6:30 PM. Reservations must be made in advance via the AMSAT Store; tickets will not be available in Dayton. The deadline to place orders is Tuesday, May 12, at 2200 UTC. The dinner will be held in the Jefferson Room of the Kohler Presidential Banquet Center, 4548 Presidential Way, Kettering, Ohio. -- Thanks to AMSAT News Service

DXpedition to Spratly Islands Set for Mid-April: The DX0P DXpedition to Pagasa Island in the Spratlys is scheduled to get under way on April 15 and will continue until April 20. Spratly Islands is number 75 on the ClubLog Most Wanted DXCC List. Leo Almazan, WA6LOS, will head a nine-member team. The Spratly Islands comprise hundreds and hundreds of reefs, islets, atolls, cays, and islands, which are claimed by several countries, including China and the Philippines. -- Thanks to The Daily DX

Collegiate Dinner Set for Hamvention Week: In conjunction with Dayton Hamvention, the Collegiate Ham Radio Dinner is set for Friday, May 15, at 7 PM at Little York Tavern & Pizza, 4120 Little York Road, Vandalia, Ohio. Sam Rose, KC2LRC, is organizing the event on behalf of the Clarkson University Amateur Radio Club. The Collegiate Ham Radio Dinner is a get-together of current and past collegiate ham radio operators and anyone who shares an interest in college ham radio clubs. College-bound high school students are welcome. RSVPs are appreciated but not required.

Newer Radio Amateurs Asked to Participate on Online Survey: Kentucky academic researcher Joel Shelton, N8XJ/A65BX (seen in the photo), is seeking radio amateurs licensed since January 1, 2000, to take part in an online survey. The survey is part of a research project. Shelton is focusing on newer hams because, he said, "I am interested in what attracts people to take up a century-old hobby for the first time in the 21st century." Shelton asked that if you fit this category to complete his online survey. He said he plans to use the survey results to prepare articles -- one for an academic journal -- about the current state of Amateur Radio and what continues to attract newcomers. Contact Shelton for more information. -- Thanks to Joel Shelton, N8XJ, via QRZ.com

Standard General Affiliate Acquires 1743 RadioShack Stores: The inventory and the leases of 1743 retail outlets that survived RadioShack's February bankruptcy have been acquired by General Wireless Inc, an affiliate of Standard General LP. The acquisition followed an auction, conducted under the US Bankruptcy Code. The current plan calls for "co-branding" about 1440 of the surviving stores with cellular phone provider Sprint Corp. RadioShack once offered entry-level shortwave receivers, Citizens Band gear, a wide array of discrete components -- including transistors, resistors, and capacitors -- and, for a time, 10 and 2 meter Amateur Radio gear. RadioShack said its stores would feature "emerging technologies that enhance the traditional accessories, DIY electronics and innovation for which the company is known."

Oklahoma Radio Amateurs to Conduct Digital Test: Amateur Radio operators in Oklahoma will take part in the year's first statewide Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) net at 0800 UTC (1 PM CDT) Saturday, April 11. The Tulsa Digital Radio Club (KT5DIG) is sponsoring this event. This is an opportunity for radio amateurs to exercise their APRS station by sending and receiving APRS messages as well as the more common position reports. "More and more Amateur Radio operators are using APRS on their smartphones," said Oklahoma Section Manager Lloyd Colston, KC5FM. Oklahoma hams are encouraged to monitor the net activity and provide reception reports of stations heard on 144.390 to Scott Haley, KD5NJR. Monitor the APRS activity online.


The K7RA Solar Update

Solar activity continues to weaken. Average daily sunspot numbers dropped 27.8 points to 50.1 over the April 2-8 period, compared to the previous 7 days. Average daily solar flux declined 17.3 points to 118.4 over the same period.

The latest prediction has solar flux at 110 on April 9, 115 for April 10-16, 145 for April 17-19, 135 on April 20, 130 for April 21-22, 125 on April 23, 120 on April 24, and 125 for April 25-26. Solar flux drops to 115 for April 30 through May 2, then rises to 145 for May 7-10.

The same prediction has planetary A index at 20, 15, and 8 for April 9-11, 5 for April 12-14, then 12, 20, and 15 for April 15-17, 20 for April 18-19, 12 for April 20-21, 8 for April 22-24, 25 on April 25, and 29 for April 26-27.

These predictions are revised daily, and come from 45-day forecasts from NOAA. My archives of these predictions, with planetary A index and solar flux now are available as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. I hope to update these often. They show how the solar flux forecasts have been weakening over time.

At 2346 UTC on April 8, Australia's IPS Radio and Space Services issued a geomagnetic disturbance warning for April 9-10, due to a CME and solar wind from a coronal hole. Geomagnetic conditions may be at active levels over the 2-day period.

This weekly "Solar Update" in The ARRL Letter is a preview of the "Propagation Bulletin" issued each Friday. The latest bulletin and an archive of past propagation bulletins is on the ARRL website.

Look for reports from readers in Friday's bulletin. Send me your reports and observations. -- Tad Cook, K7RA

Getting it Right...Side Up

Several e-mails informed us that the photo of recent FCC retiree Bill Cross, W3TN, in The ARRL Letter of April 2, 2015, was upside down and thought it may have been a belated April Fool's Day prank. It was not. As it was received, the photo had to be reoriented for publication. Some e-mail clients do not recognize the exchangeable image file format (EXIF) "tag" that indicates a photo has been rotated, however, and will display the image in its native orientation. This particular problem seems to prevail among gmail.com users.


Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • April 11 -- Georgia QSO Party

  • April 11-12 -- Japan International DX Contest (CW)

  • April 11-12 -- Straight Key Weekend Sprintathon

  • April 11-12 -- New Mexico QSO Party

  • April 11-12 -- Yuri Gagarin DX Contest (CW)

  • April 12 -- International Vintage Contest (phone, CW)

  • April 13 -- VHF Spring Sprints

  • April 15 -- NAQCC Monthly QRP Sprint (CW)

See the ARRL Contest Calendar for more information.


Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions and Events

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.


ARRL -- Your One-Stop Resource for
Amateur Radio News and Information

.

.

.

  • Join or Renew Today! ARRL membership includes QST, Amateur Radio's most popular and informative journal, delivered to your mailbox each month.
  • Listen to ARRL Audio News, available every Friday.

Subscribe to...

Free of charge to ARRL members...

  • Subscribe to the ARES E-Letter (monthly public service and emergency communications news), the ARRL Contest Update (bi-weekly contest newsletter), Division and Section news alerts -- and much more!

Find ARRL on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter!

Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
www.arrl.org

 

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.

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 and The American Radio Relay League.

Back issues published since 2000 are available on this page. If you wish to subscribe via e-mail, simply log on to the ARRL Web site, click on Edit Your Profile at the top, then click on Edit Email Subscriptions. Check the box next to The ARRL email newsletter, the ARRL Letter and you will receive each weekly issue in HTML format. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!): letter-dlvy@arrl.org

Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, at ww1me@arrl.org.

Plain-Text

The ARRL E-Letter e-mail is also available in plain-text version:

Outlook Express

1. From the Inbox view, select the Tools menu and the Options selection.

2. Click the Read tab

3. Check the Read All Messages In Plain Text box.  When you open the e-mail, it will be in plain text without images. Other e-mail programs may be able to make a Mail Rule for e-mail received from the address memberlist@www.arrl.org so that the plain-text-only display is selected automatically.

Outlook 2007

Use the same procedure as for Outlook Express, although the global option is under "Tools/Trust Center/E-mail Security".

Thunderbird

Use the menu item "View/Message Body As/Plain Text" or "View/Message Source" options.

OS X Mail (Mac)

Use the "View/Message/Plain Text Alternative" menu item.

GMail

Use the "Message text garbled?" link in the drop-down menu at the upper right of the displayed message block. pine, alpine Set "prefer-plain-text" in your ~/.pinerc configuration file: feature-list=..., prefer-plain-text, ...