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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter

Volume 19, Number 15
April 14, 2000

NOTE: Because ARRL HQ is closed on Friday, April 21, next week's edition of The ARRL Letter and ARRL Audio News will be posted one day early, on Thursday, April 20. The solar/propagation bulletin will be transmitted Friday by W1AW and available via e-mail to bulletin subscribers. We wish you all a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.--Rick Lindquist, N1RL


+Available on ARRL Audio News


Willem van Tuijl, with mom and dad, Jannie and Jacco, KH2TD and KH2TE, at Willem's bedside at Children's Medical Center in Dallas. [ARRL Photo]

The van Tuijl family--Jacco, KH2TD, Jannie, KH2TE, and 13-year-old Willem--is getting its "15 minutes of fame." Their story has been featured in major newspapers and on national television. It's set to be highlighted again in an upcoming edition of People magazine (April 24 edition). While the story has been a public relations bonanza for Amateur Radio, the close and rather private van Tuijl family is not especially comfortable being in the spotlight.

Media attention built this week with a segment on ABC's 20/20 news magazine. The Wednesday night program recounted--in TV's typically compressed fashion--the events that led to the pirate attack on the family's sailboat off Honduras and Willem's dire injuries when he was shot by the intruders.

In addition to interviews with the parents, the ABC report included interviews with Ed Petzolt, K1LNC, and Dr Jim Hirschman, K4TCV, who assisted the van Tuijls via ham radio the night of March 28, and with ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, who arranged for Willem to come to the US for medical treatment. It also included audio segments provided by Frank Moorhus, AA2DR.

"We didn't want to do this at all," Jacco van Tuijl said of the ABC piece. But van Tuijl said the family was led to believe that ABC would mention the Willem Fund, and that softened their reluctance. The fund was established through Haynie's business office to assist the family in dealing with Willem's current and future expenses. "So we had the idea we were doing this for Willem, and they didn't do that, which disappointed me really."

For his part, Willem wasn't too excited about being on national TV or about the magazine segment itself, his father said. Willem, he reported, considered the report a bit too melodramatic for his tastes. van Tuijl said he and his wife missed the broadcast because they got lost in Dallas. They saw it on tape later, and they agreed with their son's assessment.

van Tuijl returned to his sailboat in Honduras with the ABC crew to tape part of the segment. He says he stayed aboard the boat rather than in the hotel room ABC had reserved. "I was not ready to give a whole lot to this," he said. "They wanted to take the boat out sailing, and I just said, 'No, I'm just not going to do that.'"

The story also appears on the 20/20 Web site at The family's calamity also will be detailed in Cruising World magazine.

On Thursday, Willem--who suffered kidney and spinal cord damage in the shooting and likely will never be able to walk--was transferred from Children's Medical Center to a rehabilitation facility--Our Children's House--at Baylor University. He could be there for two months.

"He's doing fine. He's recovering really quick," van Tuijl said. But he said Willem has not really come to grips with the long-term implications of his injuries. van Tuijl said the family's insurance covers Willem's medical expenses as long as he's still in the US. Those benefits will end if and when the family returns to The Netherlands, however.

In the meantime, van Tuijl said he expects to retrieve his sailboat--Hayat--from Honduras and sail it--with the help of a friend or two--to the US, probably Florida.

"Eventually, I think we have to go back to the Netherlands, but we also maybe would like to stay in the States," he said, framing the family's dilemma. He acknowledged the huge obstacles to remaining in the US, but he said the best rehab facilities and opportunities for his son are here.

"We just want the best for Willem," he said.

Donations are invited to the Willem Fund, c/o Southwest Bank,1603 LBJ Freeway, Suite 100, Dallas, Texas 75234; 214-243-7900. (The Willem Fund is not an ARRL activity.)


The ARRL Executive Committee heard reports on several regulatory matters confronting or affecting Amateur Radio. The Committee met April 1 in Irving, Texas. Meeting minutes were released this week.

ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, told the Committee that two petitions for partial reconsideration--one of them from the ARRL--have been filed in the wake of the FCC's "restructuring" report and order, WT Docket 98-143. Neither petition has been placed on public notice. Imlay noted that once public notice has been given, interested parties may file opposition comments. The FCC does not solicit supporting comments for such petitions, and it's under no obligation to consider them.

A Petition for Rule Making that seeks to eliminate the Citizens Band rule prohibiting communication over distances greater than 250 km was among other items the committee discussed. The ARRL has commented in opposition to the petition, RM-9807, filed by Popular Communications Contributing Editor Alan Dixon, N3HOE.

The League's comments noted that long-distance communication is contrary to the fundamental purpose of the CB Radio Service, and that legalizing it would encourage the use of illegal power amplifiers. "The Amateur Radio Service is the proper forum for the desired long-distance communications sought by the Dixon petition," the League told the FCC, which is expected to dismiss the petition.

The Committee discussed encouraging additional PRB-1 legislation at the state level on the assumption that local land-use authorities would more likely be aware of state statutes than of federal regulations. Ten states now have PRB-1 legislation in place. Legislatures in several other states, including New York and California, are considering PRB-1 bills.

Imlay also updated the Committee on the status of experimental license applications in the Los Angeles area for airborne microwave downlink video in the band 2402-2448 MHz. Separate petitions were filed on behalf of the County and the City of Los Angeles. Imlay said the City's application was granted, and the license WB2XEN issued. The ARRL has filed a Petition for Reconsideration. The ARRL continues to object to the County's application.

ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, reported that there are now 143 co-sponsors of HR 783, the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act. A companion bill, S 2183, has been introduced in the Senate with five initial co-sponsors. Additional co-sponsors are being sought.

The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be July 20 in Hartford, Connecticut. The complete minutes of the April Executive Committee meeting are available at http:/announce/ec_minutes_463.html.


Dennis Quaid stars as Frank Sullivan in the New Line Cinema thriller, Frequency.
[©New Line Cinema]

An ICOM IC-746 HF plus VHF transceiver is among the prizes pledged by manufacturers for the club that does the best job of promoting Amateur Radio at a local theater screening the movie Frequency. The ham radio-related sci-fi thriller is expected to debut April 28. Local show schedules could vary.

Other prizes and donors--to date and in no particular order--include a Heil Sound GOLDLINE studio microphone from Heil Sound; a KT-36 tribander from M2; an AR-147+ 2-meter mobile transceiver and PMC-100 desk mike from ADI; coaxial cable from Cable X-Perts; a Delta 4C desktop console coax antenna switch and video/book, Basic Technology for the Amateur Radio Enthusiast from Alpha Delta; a 40-meter double bazooka antenna from International Antenna Corp; and a DJ-V5TDC (clear-blue) dualband H-T from Alinco.

In addition, the ARRL will donate the choice of a 2000 ARRL Handbook for Radio Amateurs or 2000 Handbook CD-ROM to each participating club.

Premier/ADI Marketing Director Ken Collier, KO6UX, is enthusiastic about the promotional potential the movie offers. "As an Amateur Radio operator, it is exciting to see our hobby so prominently featured in a major studio movie like Frequency, and I see it as an incredible opportunity," he said.

Winners of the competition will be selected based on each club's written description of its promotional activity. The awarding of the prizes will be determined by a panel consisting of representatives of the manufacturers and suppliers who donated to the prize pool. The League has agreed to receive submittals for the competition. The activity descriptions must be submitted no later than 5 PM Eastern Time on June 30, 2000, to Marjorie Bourgoin, KB1DCO, Field and Educational Services, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Clubs are encouraged to include a letter from their local theater attesting to how many people may have been reached through the promotion, but this is not an absolute requirement. Decisions of the awards panel are final.

Some clubs also may be able to get free passes to a sneak preview of the film. A field publicity representative for the film's distributor, New Line Cinema, said that select clubs in the top 50 markets where early screenings are being held will be offered the opportunity to get passes to a sneak preview during the week of April 24. Clubs contacted may also be asked about their promotional activities for the weekend of the movie's release.

Clubs selected to attend a Frequency sneak preview will be contacted during the week of April 17. If available, tickets would be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, at the discretion of New Line Cinema. Clubs are being urged to contact their local theaters to inquire when Frequency will show in their area and about the possibility of on-site promotion on behalf of Amateur Radio.

Frequency was directed by Gregory Hoblit. The movie uses ham radio as a plot device that lets a long-dead father (Dennis Quaid) and his adult son (John Caviziel) meet up on the airwaves via ham radio--during the mother of all sunspot cycles. Eventually, they conspire in efforts to change the past. The ARRL was consulted in the interests of accuracy, but no League representatives have viewed the film.

For more information on "Frequency," visit


Fred Maia, W5YI, said this week that the W5YI-VEC is starting afresh in Puerto Rico with its Amateur Radio examination program. Maia says he decertified all but one of his program's seven Volunteer Examiner teams there after meeting with some of his VEs last weekend.

"I made a trip to Puerto Rico for a team leader meeting," Maia said Tuesday, adding that he met with about 30 of the more than 100 W5YI-VEC VEs on the Island. "What we ended up doing was telling all seven teams that we were going to start over fresh."

Maia cited a lack of confidence in the integrity of his Amateur Radio testing program in Puerto Rico for his decision to decertify the majority of the W5YI-VEC volunteers there.

For now, the Arecibo Observatory Amateur Radio Club--KP4AO, under the leadership of Bill Genter, KP3O, will be the only W5YI-VEC accredited VE team in Puerto Rico. Maia said the approximately half-dozen accredited VEs associated with the Arecibo club will represent the W5YI-VEC in Puerto Rico. All other VE teams are "null and void," he said.

Maia said his plan calls for the Arecibo club to approve any VEs in Puerto Rico, announce and coordinate all testing sessions, and receive the paperwork for all testing sessions. In addition, he said, Arecibo VEs will audit test sessions.

"I have the utmost confidence in" the Arecibo Observatory team, he said. He estimated that the W5YI-VEC serves upwards of 100 amateur applicants a year in Puerto Rico.

Genter has invited all ARRL members in Puerto Rico to cooperate in helping the W5YI-VEC to re-establish its Amateur Radio testing program in Puerto Rico.

Maia said he has responded to all FCC inquiries into alleged W5YI-VEC examination irregularities in South Carolina as well in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. While in Puerto Rico, Maia said he also met with ARRL Section Manager Victor Madera, KP4PQ, to brief him on the situation.

For more information, contact Fred Maia, W5YI, at, or Bill Genter, KP3O, at


Open for business! Winter-like weather came down hard when the doors opened at AES on Friday, but cleared up Saturday morning drawing big crowds for the second day of Superfest. AES and their BIG sign on West Good Hope Road welcomes thousands of customers each year to their headquarters store.

Representatives of the ARRL recently joined Amateur Radio equipment manufacturers and publishers for the second year in a row to share ideas and discuss issues facing the ham radio industry. The session last weekend, was organized by Amateur Electronic Supply Manager Ray Grenier, K9KHW, and held at the Wisconsin hunting lodge of AES owner Phil Majerus.

Attending on behalf of the ARRL were ARRL Executive Vice President Dave Sumner, K1ZZ; ARRL Advertising Manager John Bee, N1GNV, and ARRL Marketing Coordinator Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R.

Leading the discussions were Gordon West, WB6NOA, of the Gordon West Radio School, and Bob Heil, K9EID, of Heil Sound Limited.

Among the representatives attending the industry meeting were (left to right) Ed Hammond, WN1I (Cushcraft), Randy Gawtry, K0CBH (Timewave), Ken Collier, KO6UX (ADI), Heather Collier, K6HEY (ADI), John Bee, N1GNV (ARRL Advertising Manager), Arnie Sposato, N2IQO (CQ Advertising Manager), and Marc Abramson, KC9VW (Cable X-Perts).

Sumner said much of the talk centered on ways to better support local efforts to attract new amateurs. "As all politics is local, so is the case here," Sumner said. During the session, ICOM and other manufacturers proposed offering prizes of equipment to clubs that do the best job of promoting Amateur Radio at local theaters screening the upcoming movie Frequency (see related story, "Prizes Pledged in Frequency Promotion Competition").

Antenna restrictions also were a hot topic at the manufacturers' meeting. "The group identified antenna restrictions and especially restrictive covenants, as the greatest challenge facing ham radio at this point," Sumner said. He emphasized in his remarks to the group that antenna restrictions remain a priority issue for the League.

Sumner also acknowledged the extraordinary efforts of amateurs in recent emergencies, including the situation off Honduras where 13-year-old Willem van Tuijl was shot and seriously wounded when the family's sailboat was attacked by marauders.

Bee said the gathering was upbeat. "I thought there were a lot of positive thoughts expressed at the meeting," he said. He said manufacturers were more optimistic about the business outlook than in the past, in part because of FCC license restructuring. The group also recognized the importance of expanding support to the many hams soon getting licensed or upgrading as a result of restructuring.

The manufacturers meeting was held in conjunction with the annual AES Superfest, April 7 and 8. Amateurs attending Superfest had a chance to meet with more than 36 manufacturers exhibiting at the AES store in Milwaukee. The event also included informational forums, license exams, and volunteers representing area radio clubs. AES Superfest 2000 was an ARRL-sanctioned event.--Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, contributed information for this story


Solar savant Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar activity was down over the past week. Average solar flux was off over 35 points, and average sunspot numbers were down over 80 points, when compared with the previous week. Geomagnetic indices were way up at the beginning of the reporting week, with major storms on April 6 and 7 when the planetary A indices were 56 and 50. As the UTC day passed from Thursday to Friday, the K index was as high as 8, which is very disturbed.

Solar flux should reach a short-term minimum in the next few days. The predicted solar flux values for Friday through Tuesday are 165, 165, 160, 160 and 165. Flux values are expected to reach 200 by April 21, and peak near 225 around April 27. Predicted planetary A indices for the next five days are 10, 12, 7, 7 and 8. After this weekend the A index should stay in the single digits until April 26 through May 4, with a peak in unsettled to active geomagnetic conditions around April 29.

Sunspot numbers for April 6 through 12 were 155, 172, 167, 160, 175, 148 and 172, with a mean of 164.1. The 10.7 cm flux was 177.7, 174.9, 182, 176.3, 177.8, 181.5 and 173, with a mean of 177.6. The estimated planetary A indices were 56, 50, 14, 13, 20, 10 and 5, with a mean of 24.

In Brief:

  • This weekend on the radio: The TARA PSK31 Rumble, the Michigan QRP Party, the DXYL-NAYL Contest (CW) and the EA QRP Contest (CW) art the weekend of April 15-17. The 222 MHz Spring Sprint is April 18. Just ahead: The Six Meter Sprint, the DXYL-NAYL Contest (SSB) and the Low Power Spring Sprint are the weekend of April 22-23. See April QST, page 100, for more information. NOTE: Information on the QRP to the Field event in April QST is incorrect. The event is April 29. Visit for up-to-date information.

  • Wayne Mills, N7NG, to join ARRL HQ staff: ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, has announced that noted DXer Wayne Mills, N7NG, will join the Headquarters staff as Membership Services Manager, effective May 2. He succeeds Bill Kennamer, K5NX, who retired in March. First licensed in 1953 at age 10, Mills has served as the Rocky Mountain Division DX Advisory Committee representative since 1996 and as chairman of the DXAC since March 1997. He also served on the DXCC 2000 Committee. He is best known for his operating on DXpeditions over the past 15 years, most recently from TX0DX. He holds BSEE and MSEE degrees from the University of California-Davis and just sold his two-way radio communication sales and service business in Jackson, Wyoming.

  • League officials in Paris for IARU anniversary: ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, and Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, will represent the ARRL at the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the International Amateur Radio Union, April 18 in Paris. A meeting of the IARU Administrative Council will be held in conjunction with this event. The IARU, founded in 1925, is a worldwide federation of national Amateur Radio societies with members in 150 countries and separate territories.

  • Mir back on ham radio: Ian Coots, VK3YIC, reports the Russian Mir space station was on the air working VK stations April 13 on 2 meter FM simplex (145.985 MHz). The operator identified variously as R0MIR and U8MIR. "Your signal 59, very nice. Thank you for contact. 73. Bye!" the Russian-accented operator told one VK station in an audio clip Coots provided. Several other stations were worked or heard calling. Listen in on Mir passing over Australia April 13(140K bytes, Real Audio file).

  • National Hurricane Conference to feature Amateur Radio: "The Role of Amateur Radio in Hurricane Communications" will be one of the featured training sessions at the National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans April 18, 1:30-5 PM. Any Amateur Radio operator wishing to attend this session may do so without registering for the conference. The conference is being held April 17-21at the Hyatt Regency, 500 Poydras Plaza, New Orleans, Louisiana. For further details, visit Session organizer Dr. T. Michael Carter, N3PDK, has lined up several speakers, including representatives from the Hurricane Watch Net, the American Red Cross National Disaster Operations Center, and ARRL Field Organization officials from Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.--Steve Ewald, WV1X

  • Our heartfelt thanks, to you, the ARRL volunteer: National Volunteer Week is April 18-24. Maybe you're one of the thousands of ARRL-VEC Volunteer Examiners (or those who rapidly became one to help out on April 15). Maybe you've stood in the freezing cold to provide communications during a marathon, or joined with other ARES volunteers to provide assistance following a natural disaster. Maybe you're one of hundreds of Volunteer Counsel, ready to help hams with legal questions. Maybe you write promotional articles about Amateur Radio for your local newspaper or community web site. In the thousands of volunteer roles ARRL members are active in, you are still one in a million to us! In the world of ham radio the ARRL volunteer has had a long and distinguished history. Hams have given countless hours to help the general public in times of need--and also to further the enjoyment and education of fellow hams. You're the engine that sustains the hobby and will carry it into the future. Thank you sincerely for giving your time, energy, creative efforts, and concern for the welfare of others. ARRL recognizes how vital you are!--Mary Lau, N7IAL

  • West Central Florida Section gains another county: Northern Florida Section Manager Rudy Hubbard, WA4PUP, and West Central Florida Section Manager Dave Armbrust, AE4MR, have been advised that, by mail vote, the ARRL Board of Directors has authorized the transfer of Pasco County from Northern Florida to West Central Florida. The change will be effective April 15. Board Secretary and ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, thanked Hubbard and Armbrust for their cooperation in effecting a smooth transition for the members in Pasco County. ARRL members in Pasco County recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of the switch.

  • Ham radio represented at ITU Americas Telecom 2000: The International Amateur Radio Union Region II will be a featured participant April 10-15 at the International Telecommunication Union Americas Telecom 2000 in Rio de Janeiro. The show will feature 265 exhibitors from around the world, including the most influential and dynamic telecommunications companies. Project Manager for Region 2 is Vice-President Reinaldo Leandro,YV5AMH. Also on hand will be Region II Directors Reinaldo Szama, LU2AH, and Jorge Lunkes, PT2HF, and from the Washington office of ARRL, Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, assisted by radio amateurs from the Rio de Janeiro area. Visitors are welcome.

  • Grosse Pointe Woods Hamfest cancelled: Gerald Rosner, N8FGK, has announced that Michigan's Grosse Pointe Woods Hamfest, scheduled for Sunday April 16, and sponsored by SEMARA has been cancelled. The Hamfest Committee made the decision based on a lack of advance table sales and dealer participation. SEMARA apologized for any inconvenience.--George Race, WB8BGY

  • You're never too old to upgrade: Volunteer Examiner John Creel, WB3GXW, of Maryland's Laurel VEC, reports a heartwarming experience at a VE session Sunday, March 26, at the Greater Baltimore Hamboree and Computerfest. During the session, the team tested 148 applicants who took 205 elements, including several upgrades to Extra. "The highlight was when Charles A. Earp Jr, W3DKT, came through the door," Creel relates. "He had in his possession his 1933-issued license. At 83 years and one month he upgraded to a grand Extra by passing Elements 4B and 1C. His CSCE was signed by all 23 VEs who worked the session. What a day!" The team's next test date is April 15.--John Creel, WB3GXW


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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