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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter

Volume 19, Number 23
June 16, 2000


+Available on ARRL Audio News


ARRL-VEC staffer Wayne Irwin, W1KI, handles a telephone inquiry between application processing. In the background ARRL-VEC temporary employee Jane Foy keys in application data for transmittal to the FCC. [Rick Lindquist, N1RL]

The ARRL-VEC reports further substantial progress in clearing the logjam of applications resulting from Amateur Radio license restructuring. Most new and upgrade candidates now are waiting four weeks between test session and license grant. The wait could be longer or shorter in some cases, however, depending upon when the VE team's test session paperwork arrived at ARRL-VEC.

As of June 15, the ARRL-VEC was processing applications received May 24. ARRL-VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, reports that paperwork for another 300 test sessions--with 2350 applications--remains in the queue. He says that represents a potential 500 Tech licenses, 1200 General licenses and 650 Extra licenses.

Once applications are received by the FCC, they generally are processed overnight. Jahnke said the ARRL-VEC expects to cut its backlog to two weeks or less within a week. Last week he reported that the initial surge of applications already had been processed, and fewer applications remained in the pipeline.

ARRL-VEC staff members and volunteers have been working nights and weekends to clear the influx of applications. Seven VEC staff members, two temporary employees, and a half-dozen or more HQ staff volunteers from other departments have been whittling down the stacks.

Jahnke reminded applicants that the best license grant information is available from the FCC's Universal Licensing System web site (click on "License Search"). He noted that typical Web call sign servers are at least 24 hours behind the FCC in updating license data.

Test session processing status continues to be available on the ARRL-VEC Web site.


More than 60 Colorado hams have been on volunteer duty since June 12 as two wildfires burned out of control this week. ARRL Colorado Section Emergency Coordinator Mike Morgan, N5LPZ, reports Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, and Red Cross Communicator teams are involved in the response.

Two wildfires are raging in the Colorado mountains. The Hi Meadows fire, 35 miles southwest of Denver, has burned more than 6500 acres and some three dozen homes. In Larimer County, more than 400 firefighters are battling the Bobcat Gulch fire, now more than 5000 acres in size. Both fires are less than ten percent contained.

More than 800 people are said to have been evacuated so far. Gov Bill Owens has declared a state of emergency for Jefferson, Park, and Larimer counties.

In the Hi Meadows Fire, Morgan says, more than 50 ARES, RACES, and Red Cross Communicator team members have been on duty all week providing the main line of communication since the fire began. He said about 10 members of Jefferson County ARES/RACES are working on the fire lines, relaying status reports and requests for equipment. Others are staffing Incident Command and various operations posts as well as fire resource and staging areas.

"Most of the ARES members have received wildfire and Incident Command System training," Morgan said. Staffing assistance is coming from neighboring Douglas/Elbert, Park, Teller, and Boulder County ARES/RACES groups. The Forest Service has brought in its own VHF system, Morgan says, but ARES/RACES members are expected to remain on duty through the week for added support.

Morgan said the Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross has activated its Red Cross Communicator group with assistance from Arapahoe County ARES. The team is staffing Red Cross shelters to help handle requests for personnel, food and other supplies.

In the Bobcat Gulch fire response, four Larimer/Weld County ARES members have been activated to support the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Local emergency response officials have contacted ARES leadership, and ARES members are currently on standby.

Morgan reports both fires continue to grow, and efforts to contain them are being hampered by 50 MPH winds, high temperatures and low humidity. "ARES/RACES members have represented the hobby very well, providing critical communication services since day one," he said. "Although containment could be days down the road, hams are in it for the long haul!"


An artist's rendering of the Phase 3D spacecraft, now tentatively set to launch in September or October.

AMSAT now says the next-generation Phase 3D Amateur Radio satellite will launch in September at the earliest. Under the latest tentative Arianespace launch schedule, P3D could go up on the Ariane Flight 507 as early as mid-September, but the launch could be as late as the end of October.

Flight 507 had been on the schedule to go into space in July. Arianespace recently announced a resumption of Ariane flights from the European Spaceport. A three-month flight hiatus resulted when several prime Arianespace passengers put their launch preparations on hold until concerns over possible onboard thruster problems could be resolved.

AMSAT-NA President Keith Baker, KB1SF, called the Arianespace announcement "very good news" for the Phase 3D program. On the Ariane 507 launch manifest with P3D is the PAS-1R satellite and two STRV microsatellites.

The Phase 3D satellite safely arrived at the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, last January and has been awaiting the start of its launch campaign.

Arianespace representatives--including the mission director--met recently with Phase 3D representatives at AMSAT-DL headquarters in Marburg, Germany, to discuss preparations for the P3D launch campaign, which could take up to a couple of months to complete.

The next Ariane 5 launch is targeted for July 25, with the Astra 2B and GE-7 satellites aboard. The exact date of the Phase 3D mission's launch depends on how that launch goes and on the availability of the other satellites that will fly with P3D.

A launch contract accepting Phase 3D as a payload for the first suitable Ariane 5 launch vehicle was signed last October.--AMSAT-DL and Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, via AMSAT News Service; SpaceNews


Meeting June 8 in conjunction with HAM-COM in Dallas, representatives of the Amateur Radio industry focused much of their discussions on ideas to attract younger licensees. Some of the conversation also centered on ways to boost the number of amateurs.

Gordon West, WB6NOA, addresses the industry group meeting. The ARRL's Rosalie White, K1STO, and President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, are seated to his left. [Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY]

HAM-COM hosted the meeting and provided dinner. Moderating the session were Gordon West, WB6NOA, and Evelyn Garrison, WS7A.

Those on hand included contingents from the ARRL and from major Amateur Radio manufacturers, suppliers, other publishers and instructors. Representing the League were President Jim Haynie, W5JBP; Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO; Media Relations Manager Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY; and Advertising Manager John Bee, N1GNV.

Bee, who also attended a similar industry gathering earlier this year in Wisconsin, said he thought the Dallas meeting was, in general, positive. "The industry recognizes that it needs to take an active approach and to undertake, or at least fund, new approaches to increase participation," he said.

During the session, President Haynie spoke on the need for an intensified youth-recruitment campaign--now dubbed "The Big Project." He reiterated his intentions to raise $1 million in corporate and foundation donations for the project this year.

White reviewed recent Amateur Radio upgrade statistics and discussed various efforts under way in her department that focus on young people and schools.

Hagy outlined the League's extensive public relations efforts, including those associated with the April release of the Amateur Radio-related movie Frequency and the Willem van Tuijl story earlier this year. The concept to award amateur equipment as prizes to clubs that developed the most creative Amateur Radio promotions associated with Frequency had been a product of the Wisconsin industry gathering.

Top prize is an ICOM IC-746 HF/VHF transceiver. 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.

In an effort to promote greater activity by school clubs, Rick Ruhl, N4GDO, of Creative Services Software offered to donate a copy of LogWindows to any school club that wants it.

Those represented at the Dallas industry gathering included: ADI/Pryme/Premier; Alinco; Alpha Power; Aluma Towers; Amateur Radio Trader; Am-Com; ARRL; Austin Amateur Radio; C.G.A. Enterprises; CQ Publications; Creative Services Software; Gordon West; Houston Amateur Radio Supply; ICOM; M2 Antennas; MAHA; Master Publishing; NCG Companies; Radio City; 73 magazine; W5YI Group; and Yaesu.

Another industry meeting is set to take place at the Huntsville Hamfest in August.


Mir Cosmonauts Sergei Zalyotin, right, and Alexander Kaleri, left, in an SSTV photo received earlier this spring by Murray Peterson, VK2KGM.

As it prepared to mothball the aging Russian space station--possibly for good--and head home, the crew of Mir spoke via ham radio with youngsters at a school in Pennsylvania on June 12. Handling the earthbound end of the contact was Tom Daniels, N3CXT. Sergej Samburov, RV3DR, of Energia was on-line to assist with translating.

Using the R0MIR call sign, cosmonauts Sergei Zalyotin and Alexander Kaleri held a 10-minute conversation with youngsters at the Schnecksville School. At one point, the cosmonauts were asked if they liked it better in space or home on Earth. "When I live at home, I would like to be in space, but now I would like to be home," one of the two space travelers responded.

The cosmonauts arrived safely back on Earth June 16 after a 10 week mission that was financed in part by foreign investors. The cosmonauts' school contact attracted the attention of MSNBC, which carried the story with video on their web site.

The cosmonauts reportedly prepared to abandon Mir, although Russian space officials still have not ruled out yet another mission if the money can be found.--Farrell Winder, W8ZCF; press reports


California's attempt to incorporate PRB-1 language into state law--Senate Bill 1714--will be heard by the California Assembly's Local Government Committee later this month. The bill passed the California Senate 39-0 on May 30. At this point, the measure has no sponsor in the Assembly.

The Local Government Committee is scheduled to consider the bill Wednesday, June 28. ARRL Pacific Division Director Jim Maxwell, W6CF, reports in the Pacific Division Update newsletter that preparations are under way for an amateur contingent to appear before the Committee to support the bill.

As submitted earlier this year, the California bill contained minimum height restrictions, since stripped from the bill, that would have precluded regulation for antenna heights less than 200 feet or less than 75 feet, depending on the community's population density.

Currently, the legislation would provide that any ordinance that regulates Amateur Radio antenna structures adopted by any city or county "shall not preclude Amateur Radio Service communications but shall reasonably accommodate Amateur Radio Service communications." The bill also would require state planners to prepare a model ordinance on local regulation of amateur antennas. Maxwell said efforts continue to try to get some wording changed.

"We continue to face opposition to any meaningful bill from the California League of Cities and other lobbying organizations concerned with land use and real estate," Maxwell said. He encouraged California hams to express their opinions to their individual assembly members as well as to members of the Local Government Committee and/or committee staff. For more information, contact Volunteer Counsel Harry Styron, K6HS,

Elsewhere on the PRB-1 front, Hank Grilk, WA2CCN, reports Rhode Island's PRB-1 bill is stuck in the Senate Corporation Committee and passage this session is doubtful. Midwest Division Vice Director Bruce Frahm, K0BJ, reports the Kansas PRB-1 bill died in committee when the legislature there adjourned for the year. Ten states currently have incorporated the essence of PRB-1 into their statutes.


Solar seer Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar and geomagnetic activity rose this week. Average sunspot number was up nearly 84 points, and solar flux was up by more than 13 points compared with last week. The average planetary A index nearly doubled. Solar flux probably peaked at 1700 UTC on June 14 at 205.5. The official solar flux for that day was taken at 2000 UTC and was 200.6.

Solar flux for the near term is expected to fall, with the values for Friday through Tuesday at 200, 195, 190, 185 and 180. Flux values should bottom out around 150 from June 27 through 29, and then peak again around July 12.

Sunspot numbers for June 8 through 14 were 203, 183, 165, 224, 236, 243 and 278 with a mean of 218.9. The 10.7-cm flux was 174.6, 168.9, 179.6, 186.8, 192.7, 199.2 and 200.6, with a mean of 186.1., and estimated planetary A indices were 53, 8, 25, 32, 15, 16 and 23, with a mean of 24.6.

In Brief:

  • This weekend on the radio: The Kid's Day operating event is June 17; the SMIRK 2000 QSO Party, the All-Asian DX Contest (CW), and the West Virginia QSO Party are the weekend of June 16-18. See June QST, page 104 for details. Just ahead: ARRL Field Day is June 24-25 weekend. See May QST, page 84, for details.

  • How to get the W1AW Field Day bulletin: Field Day participants can earn 100 bonus points by copying the W1AW Field Day bulletin. This bulletin will be transmitted on the regular W1AW frequencies. CW: Friday June 23, 0000 UTC; Saturday, June 24, 0000 UTC, 0300 UTC, 1400 UTC; Sunday, June 25, 0000 UTC, 1400 UTC. SSB: Saturday, June 24, 0145 UTC, 1500 UTC; Sunday June 25, 0145 UTC; 1500 UTC; RTTY: Saturday June 24, 0100 UTC; Sunday, June 25, 0100 UTC. The Field Day bulletin must be copied over the air for credit. It is not posted at the ARRL Web site, nor will it be available on the Internet. Remember too that a new bonus of 100 points can be earned by setting up a demonstration of a nontraditional mode of Amateur Radio communication--including APRS, ATV or SSTV. This bonus is not available for demonstrating modes for which QSO credit can be earned, such as packet, PSK31 or other digital modes. Good luck in FD 2000!

  • Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award for June were Howard Teller, KH6TY, and Dave Benson, NN1G, for their article "A Panoramic Transceiving System for PSK31." Congratulations, Howard and Dave! ARRL members are reminded that the winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author(s) of the best article in each issue--now is determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes place each month on the ARRL Members Only Web site. As soon as your copy arrives, cast a ballot for your choice as the favorite article in the July issue of QST. Voting ends July 15.

  • DXCC announces new 15 meter award: The ARRL DXCC Desk has announced the addition of a 15-meter single band, standalone DXCC award. As of June 1, DXCC printouts were set to reflect credits on 15 meters. The award will become available starting July 1. Fifteen Meter DXCC certificates will be dated but not numbered. Deleted entities do not count towards this award. Those who have an active 5 Band DXCC that was processed prior to DXCC computerization and do not have 100 entities on 15 meters will be allowed to submit enough credits on that band to bring their DXCC record to the first 100 needed for this award with no per QSO fee. Simply include postage and the award fee. The award fee is $10. Applicants should note their 5BDXCC award number and original issue date on the application form in the block specified. Those uncertain about their 15-meter DXCC credits should contact DXCC for an updated report, prior to submitting further credits. (This helps both applicant and DXCC in that it will avoid duplicates and additional costs, since QSL costs over the limits noted in DXCC Rule #15 are $0.15 per QSO.) DXCC records are available as Adobe PDF files. Applicants may contact DXCC at for a copy. Hard copies are available from DXCC, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 for $1.50 for postage (or an SASE with $1.50 in postage affixed). The records of those who have not submitted since the later part of 1991 are not in the computer, and those applicants must request a hard copy. For more information, contact the DXCC Desk at Desk

  • Californian sentenced for QRMing police radio frequencies: The Associated Press reports that 64-year-old Jack Gerritsen of Bell, California--near Los Angeles--has been sentenced to five years in prison for interfering with police radio frequencies. The AP also referred to Gerritsen as an "Amateur Radio operator." Although a Jack W. Gerritsen is in the FCC's Amateur Service database, it does not appear to be the same individual. Gerritsen reportedly has admitted he broadcast an obscene message on police frequencies more than 1000 times last fall. He was arrested last December after a lengthy investigation by the California Highway Patrol and the FCC. One of Gerritsen's transmissions is said to have disrupted the pursuit of a suspect who eventually escaped. He also is said to have routinely interfered in person with police activities.

  • South Carolina declares Amateur Radio Week: The State of South Carolina has declared the week of June 19-25 as Amateur Radio week in South Carolina. Field Day is June 24-25 weekend. Gov Jim Hodges signed the proclamation May 12, and a number of hams were present at the signing. Included in the group was 14-year-old Will Lemmon, AF4QR, who advanced from Novice to Extra in two years. He credits his father, Bill Lemmon, KA4TWK, with providing the motivation. Here, Gov Hodges (left) hands Will Lemmon the pen he used to sign the Amateur Radio Week proclamation.

  • Michigan proclaims Amateur Radio Awareness Week: Michigan Section Manager Dick Mondro, W8FQT, reports that Gov John Engler has signed an executive declaration proclaiming June 19-25 as Amateur Radio Awareness Week in the State of Michigan. ARRL Field Day is the weekend of June 24-25.--Dick Mondro, W8FQT

  • League represented at Florida hurricane conference: West Central Florida Section officials and a former HQ staff member represented the ARRL at the Florida's Governor's Hurricane Conference, May 22-26 in Tampa. Section Manager Dave Armbrust, AE4MR, and members of the section cabinet met with dozens of conference attendees and demonstrated some of the latest technologies that League members could use before, during and after a storm.

    West Central Florida Section Manager Dave Armbrust, AE4MR, demonstrates SSTV to representatives from the Manatee County Red Cross Chapter and Manatee County Florida Emergency Management. Left to right: Armbrust, Steve Simpson, KF4MBN, Bea Pearsall, KA9QJS, Charles Roberts, Malone Groover and Danny Coangelo. [Paul Toth, NA4AR]

    Two such technologies prominently displayed were a live WinAPRS station and SSTV. The SSTV demonstration for local Emergency Managers, Red Cross Disaster Coordinators and others included the transmission of images to and from WX4TBW, the Amateur Radio station at the National Weather Service office in Ruskin. "Our goal this week was to demonstrate the flexibility and depth Amateur Radio can provide our many served agencies," Armbrust said. The annual conference also gave the amateurs a chance to exchange ideas with Florida's state and county emergency managers. Other presenters included former ARRL HQ staffer Rick Palm, K1CE, now an Assistant Section Manager in Northern Florida. Palm discussed ARRL Headquarters disaster operations functions and presented the Northern Florida ARES organization and plan on behalf of Section Manager Rudy Hubbard, WA4PUP. Speaking at a Low Cost Communications Forum on Friday, John Fleming, WD4FFX, of the Florida Division of Emergency Management thanked amateurs for their dedication to emergency communications. He said ham radio will continue to play an important role in the state's emergency communications plan because ham satellite technology is improving, and ham radio proved itself during Y2K exercises.--Paul Toth, NA4AR; Rick Palm, K1CE

  • Anti-virus software may impair ULS access: Dennis Faist, WB8TUU, reports he had problems during recent attempts to log on to the FCC's Universal Licensing System using direct dialup. He suggests that individuals running into difficulty during the Netscape Navigator 4.73 logon/encryption procedure disable McAfee anti-virus software. Faist says running McAfee in the background inhibited his system's ability to download Java applets necessary for filing an application via the ULS. "I was running McAfee anti-virus software initially in the background. Disabling the McAfee software, re-logging onto the FCC ULS site, and letting the four FCC applets--ClientUtil.jar, jaguar.jar, jconnect.jar, and powerj.jar--download and function cured the problem," he says.--Dennis Faist, WB8TUU

    [John Kanode, N4MM]

  • President Haynie among Kenwood "Top Gun" Award winners: ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, along with Ed Petzolt, K1LNC, Dr Jim Hirschman, K4TCV, and Hector Godoy, HR3HGB, were named as recipients of Kenwood's "Top Gun" Award. All were cited for their participation in the rescue of young Willem van Tuijl, who was seriously wounded during a pirate attack off the coast of Honduras while sailing with his parents, Jacco and Jannie van Tuijl, KH2TD and KH2TE. Haynie was instrumental in getting the youngster to the US for treatment and rehabilitation. He accepted his award during a Kenwood reception during the Dayton Hamvention.
  • Hatfield honored by PCIA: The Personal Communications Industry Association has honored FCC Office of Engineering and Technology Chief Dale Hatfield, W0IFO, with its prestigious Eugene C. Bowler Award. The award was presented May 2 in Washington. FCC Chairman William Kennard commended Hatfield for his teaching abilities and for his efforts to ensure that wireless phones are compatible for those with disabilities.

  • K2UYH elected IEEE Fellow: ARRL Member Allan Katz, K2UYH, of West Windsor, New Jersey, was among those recently elected to be a Fellow in the IEEE--the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. Congratulations, Al!

  • W1AW exposed! Fast-moving, violent thunderstorms June 11 certainly made their presence felt around W1AW. Large branches from the two trees nearest the rear entrance came down onto the station, exposing the once leaf-shrouded side that faces ARRL Headquarters. While there was severe tree damage in the neighborhood, W1AW and its antennas came through it all unscathed. The storm did result in a power outage, however. A number of branches ended up resting right against the windows, however, and Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, promptly removed them in the interests of safety. He then enlisted the help of Building Manager Greg Kwasowski to cut down the badly damaged trees. Although hindered by the inclement weather, Brennan Price, N4QX--on hand over the weekend to put W1AW on the air for the ARRL June VHF sweepstakes--made 129 QSOs (with 37 grids) total on the 50, 144, 222 and 432 MHz bands combined, using CW, SSB and FM.
  • site back in service: After experiencing technical difficulties this past week for a couple of days, Mark Downing, WM7D, reports his site is back to normal. The site includes a call sign server and other information and links of interest to Amateur Radio operators.--Mark Downing, WM7D


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.

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