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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter

Volume 19, Number 27
July 14, 2000


+Available on ARRL Audio News


When the ARRL Board of Directors meets July 21 in Hartford, members will hear an extensive report on the recent activities of the RFI Task Group, which has concluded that interference to amateur operations appears to be today's most significant RFI issue. "RFI, especially RFI from unlicensed devices, poses real threats to Amateur Radio," the Task Group's report says.

Board members will hear of recent Task Group efforts to resolve interference complaints involving wireless modem jacks and power line interference, among other issues. The Task Group report will address the interference potential of other Part 15 devices, including unlicensed emitters on 2.4 GHz, home phone networking devices, and Very High Speed Digital Subscriber Line technology, which could affect amateur HF bands.

FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, will meet informally with ARRL officers and members of the Board when he visits ARRL Headquarters July 20. The visit will be Hollingsworth's second trip to ARRL Headquarters. A report from the Enforcement Task Force is on the Board's formal agenda.

The Hartford Board meeting will mark the first for Jim Haynie, W5JBP, in his role as ARRL President. Haynie was elected to office at the Board's January meeting in Memphis.

The Board also is scheduled to hear a progress report on the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program. The program expects to roll out a pilot project in emergency communications by late summer.

Discussion of the first six months since the FCC announced its decision to restructure Amateur Radio licensing is expected to take place during the Board meeting as well.

The Board also will hear a report on the recently concluded World Radiocommunication Conference 2000 in Turkey and the recommended agenda for the next WRC, likely to be held in 2003. Board members are expected to consider the implications of the 7-MHz band realignment--or "harmonization"--tentatively on the agenda for WRC-2003. The International Amateur Radio Union seeks an exclusive world-wide amateur allocation in the vicinity of 7 MHz of no less than 300 kHz. One way to accomplish this would be to shift the band downward.

Visiting from Radio Amateurs of Canada and addressing the Board will be RAC Vice President Ken Pulfer, VE3PU, who was part of the Canadian delegation at WRC-2000.


We are the champions! WRTC-2000 winners Dan Street, K1TO (left), and Jeff Steinman, N5TJ. [ARRL photo]

World-champion contesters Dan Street, K1TO, and Jeff Steinman, N5TJ (ex-KR0Y), retained their title at the World Radiosport Team Championship 2000 competition in Bled, Slovenia. Street and Steinman topped the field of 53 WRTC-2000 two-operator teams from around the world in off- and on-the-air operating events designed to test their contesting skills. Using the call sign S584M, the top-scoring K1TO-N5TJ WRTC-2000 team racked up 969 points of out a possible 1000.

The competition included a 20-hour on-air event, concurrent with the IARU HF World Championship Contest held over the July 8-9 weekend as well as off-air pileup tapes competition held prior to the contest. The winning team also scooped the pileup tapes competition.

During the 20-hour WRTC event, K1TO and N5TJ managed to put 2234 contacts into the log--1277 of them on CW--and collected 364 multipliers (under WTRC rules, multipliers were counted separately on phone and CW). Street and Steinman also topped the field of competitors at the last WRTC, held in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area. This time around, however, they did not enjoy the same home-court advantage.

Finishing in second place with 910 points was the Russian team of Igor Booklan, RA3AUU, and Andrei Karpov, RV1AW, operating as S587N. Coming in at number 3 with 870.34 points was the US wildcard team of Doug Grant, K1DG, and CQ magazine contest editor John Dorr, K1AR. Grant and Dorr operated as S582A.

In the final results, only one other US team made the top 10. The S519I team of Bob Shohet, KQ2M, and Dan Handa, W7WA, finished at number 9. A scoring correction for the Finnish team of OH1EH and OH1NOA, operating as S537L, nudged the S531R combo of Jeff Briggs, K1ZM, and Andy Blank, N2NT, out of the top 10 to number 11.

During this third WRTC, world-class contest operators competed using modest stations running 100 W on CW and SSB, plus equivalent antennas--three-element triband Yagis for 10, 15, and 20 meters, and Windoms for 80 and 40 meters, both mounted about 40 feet above ground. All stations were on hilltops or mountains.

Sponsoring WRTC-2000 was the Slovenia Contest Club. Serving as the chief referee at this year's event was the ARRL's Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ.

A listing of the WRTC-2000 teams and scores is available on the WRTC web site and stories posted by several participants and observers are at


An artist's conception of the completed International Space Station. [NASA]

The just-launched International Space Station Zvezda Service Module eventually will become home to the first permanent Amateur Radio station in space. Until the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station--or ARISS--antennas can be installed on the Service Module, however, the initial ham station gear will be installed aboard the Zarya Functional Cargo Block, already in space.

The first ISS crew, headed by US astronaut Bill Shepherd, KD5GSL, is scheduled to be launched in October from Kazakhstan. Accompanying Shepherd will be Russian cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR, and Yuri Gaidzenko.

If all goes as planned, the initial amateur station hardware will be sent up to the ISS aboard shuttle mission STS-106 in August, and Shepherd and his crewmates will be on the air on 2 meters (FM voice and packet) from the Functional Cargo Block this fall. The initial station will use an existing Functional Cargo Block antenna that's being adapted to support operation on 2 meters but not on 70 cm.

Current plans call for amateur 2-meter and 70-cm antennas to be installed on the Service Module during a space walk next year. The initial station gear will be reinstalled in the Service Module once the antennas have been fitted.

A Russian Proton-K rocket carried the long-delayed Service Module into orbit July 12 from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Zvezda ("star") will contain flight controls, waste-disposal facilities, and crew sleeping quarters. Once in orbit, the unmanned Zvezda will be docked July 26 by computer with Zarya ("dawn") and the US Unity modules launched in 1998.

The ARISS initial station hardware, stowed for transport. [Frank Bauer, KA3HDO]

A Russian call sign, RZ3DZR, has been issued for the ISS ham radio station. A German call sign, DL0ISS, also has been issued, and a US call sign has been applied for. An international call sign may eventually be assigned if a call sign block is established for international space stations.

A primary goal of ARISS is to establish and maintain a schedule of Amateur Radio contacts with schools. ARISS will inherit the long legacy of the successful Space Amateur Radio EXperiment. SAREX, a cooperative education effort involving NASA and the ARRL, has allowed students to speak directly to shuttle astronauts and US astronauts aboard the Russian Mir space station via Amateur Radio.

As ISS construction progresses, it's expected that slow-scan TV, various types of amateur TV, and experimental projects eventually will be added. Phase 2 of the ARISS initial station calls for incorporating a German-built digitalker/speaker-mike, SSTV, and possibly an RF notch filter. Subsequent stages of the ARISS effort call for a transportable station and, ultimately, a permanent station that will include HF through microwave capabilities on several modes. Details of the permanent station still are being worked out.


Stand by to get familiar with some new government acronyms. Amateurs registered in the Universal Licensing System--ULS--can expect to receive a new FCC Registration Number--FRN--in the near future. The new 10-digit FRN is part of the soon-to-be-reannounced Commission Registration System--CORES. An FCC spokesperson said that the FRN will not replace the Licensee Identification Number amateurs were issued when registering with the ULS.

CORES and the related FCC Registration Number system--being implemented by the FCC's Office of the Managing Director--are not expected to become mandatory until sometime next year. An FCC Public Notice to announce implementation of the program is expected soon. The FCC released then promptly rescinded an initial Public Notice on CORES/FRN earlier this year. Specific details and dates of implementation are still not known.

An FCC spokesperson this week urged amateurs not already registered in the ULS to register now, so that they automatically will be incorporated into CORES. The FCC will send each ULS-registered licensee a letter with their FRN and CORES password. The FCC has said it will make every attempt to minimize the impact of CORES/FRN on Amateur Radio licensees, and no action will be required on the part of amateur licensees already registered in ULS.

Amateurs eventually will register with the FCC via CORES, not via ULS, but CORES will not replace the ULS itself. CORES does not include call sign data or licensee data. The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is expected to incorporate the FRN into the ULS database.

A new CORES registration form is expected to replace the ULS Registration Form 606 once the new system goes on-line. Those who still are not registered in ULS when CORES is implemented will need to register in CORES to obtain an FRN.


At the Dayton Hamvention, the FCC's Bill Cross, W3TN, referred to his agency's Universal Licensing System as "the licensing system you love to hate." That might have been a bit of an overstatement, but questions about ULS to ARRL do suggest that not everyone in the Amateur Radio community has a handle on the system.

The FCC deployed the ULS for the Amateur Service last August 16, and most initial wrinkles were worked out by year's end--including a huge backlog of vanity applications. The ULS recently added filing capability via the Internet.

Some confusion remains between ULS registration and ULS filing. All Wireless Telecommunications Bureau licensees, including amateurs, first must register with the ULS before filing any applications--and that includes license renewal. Registration requires providing a "Taxpayer Identification Number" or TIN to the FCC--a Social Security Number for individuals. The FCC maintains it must collect SSNs under provisions of the Debt Collection Improvement Act.

Registration provides each licensee with a Licensee Identification Number--which may be used in place of the SSN/TIN in future applications. Registrants also select a password so they can access the system.

Amateur applicants who appear at a volunteer examiner session are automatically registered in the ULS when upgrading or qualifying for a new license. These individuals then must contact the FCC's Technical Support Hotline (202-414-1250) in order to obtain a temporary ULS password. Registered amateurs may change their passwords online via the ULS.

The ULS site permits you to update your registration information, but doing so does not change your FCC licensee record. That requires filing an application. Filing includes such things as applying for a vanity call sign, renewing a license, or changing a mailing address. The ULS home page has instructions to accomplish these and other application functions.

The "SGIN" has been another point of confusion. Amateurs registering on the ULS should ignore references to the SGIN (which stands for "Sub Group Identification Number"). The SGIN does not apply to amateur applicants. Creating an SGIN when registering causes problems. Amateurs who inadvertently completed the SGIN section during ULS registration should go back and eliminate it. Otherwise, future ULS transactions could run afoul of the ULS' built-in error-checking system.

It's still not possible to apply for a club station license via the ULS. That requires using the paper FCC Form 610B. An FCC Order designating a system of club station license administrators is expected later this year. It is possible to register an existing club station on the ULS in order to make later changes to the license record, however.

To apply for a new license or to register, the club trustee first must obtain an Assigned TIN from the FCC by calling the Technical Support Hotline (202-414-1250). For a new club station application, the ATIN should appear on the upper righthand corner of the Form 610B. Doing this automatically registers the club station in the ULS. A current club station licensee must register on ULS as "A business entity," completing the "Licensee Information" and "Contact Information" sections, listing the call sign, and providing a "Personal/Corporate Identifier" (the club station call sign will suffice). Club station registrants also must select a ULS password. Club station registrants should not complete the SGIN section.

For more information, call the FCC's Technical Support Hotline, 202-414-1250, visit the ULS site, or the ARRL Web site.


Nominations are open for the 2000 ARRL International Humanitarian Award. The award is dedicated to those amateurs who, through Amateur Radio, are devoted to promoting the welfare of mankind. The prize goes each year to truly outstanding Amateur Radio operators in areas of international humanitarianism and the furtherance of peace.

Any radio amateur or group of amateurs worldwide who has provided extraordinary service through Amateur Radio skills for the benefit of others in times of crisis or disaster is qualified to receive the award.

The ARRL International Humanitarian Award recognizes the hobby's international communication role and that hams regularly help people in need throughout the world. Amateur Radio is one of the few media where average people throughout the world can meet to talk to each other and spread goodwill across otherwise impenetrable political boundaries. The Award is intended to promote positive efforts toward international understanding and peaceful communication.

The award recipient is selected by a committee appointed by the League's President. The committee will accept nominations from a licensed radio amateur, or from a governmental or other organization that has received the benefits of the radio amateur's extraordinary service. Nominations must include a summary of the nominee's actions that qualify the recipient for the award and statements from at least two references--including names and addresses--for verification.

All nominations and supporting materials for the 2000 award must be submitted in writing in English to ARRL International Humanitarian Award, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 USA. Nominations must be received by December 31, 2000. In the event that no nominations are received, the committee itself may determine possible recipients or decide to make no award.

The 1999 award went to Ed Petzolt, K1LNC, for his efforts in assisting a missionary family in Guatemala following a terrorist kidnapping. For details, see June 2000 QST, page 56.--Jean Wolfgang, WB3IOS


Sun watcher Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar activity rose substantially this week. Average sunspot numbers compared to the previous week rose nearly 68 points to 244.6, and average solar flux rose nearly 39 points to 207.5. A strong solar flare around 1037 UTC on July 12 sent a bubble of electrified gas, or plasma, toward the earth at more than 2 million miles per hour. Effects of the blast were being felt the next day, and a second more powerful wind was expected to arrive July 14. For late updates, visit

The latest prediction shows solar flux peaking on Friday around 230, then drifting down below 200 by July 18, and reaching a short term minimum around 165 from July 23-26. The next expected peak in solar flux is around August 6-9. Expect geomagnetic conditions to remain active. Based on the previous solar rotation, there are no predicted days over the next month when the planetary A index is expected to be in the single digits.

Sunspot numbers for July 6 through 12 were 210, 226, 260, 262, 232, 281 and 241 with a mean of 244.6. The 10.7 cm flux was 174.3, 187.1, 210, 211.3, 215, 225 and 230, with a mean of 207.5. The estimated planetary A indices were 7, 8, 7, 7, 19, 31 and 12, with a mean of 13.

In Brief:

  • This weekend on the radio: The Six Club Six-Meter Sprint, the Pacific 160-Meter Contest, and the North American QSO Party (RTTY) are the weekend of July 15-16. Just ahead: The Georgia QSO Party is the weekend of July 22-23; The RSGB Islands-On-The-Air Contest and the Flight of the Bumblebees QRP Contest are the weekend of July 29-30. See July QST, page 100, for more information.

  • Correction: The location of the W1AW/4 operation at N4PN was St Georges Island, Florida. The location was incorrect in an In Brief item in The ARRL Letter, Vol 19, No 26, for July 7, 2000. The six-site W1AW/4 operation logged 11,379 contacts during the IARU HF World Championship event July 8-9.

    National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield, sits at the W4EHW station. Standing are NHC Amateur Radio Coordinator John McHugh, KU4GY (right), and Assistant Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4JR (left).

  • Two decades of W4EHW hurricane support: National Hurricane Center Assistant Amateur Radio Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4JR, says this hurricane season marks 20 years of activity for the operators at the National Hurricane Center's W4EHW. Formal Amateur Radio activity at the National Hurricane Center was initiated by Andy Clark, W4IYT (now a Silent Key) and NHC Director Neil Frank in 1980. At the time, Ripoll--then a college student--used to carry in his own transceiver to the Center or borrow one from his college club station, as needed. During the station's first Hurricane Season, about five volunteers sometimes operated up to 12 hours per shift. The first ham radio operation at the NHC was Hurricane Allen. The station spent some 120 hours on the air, filled 20 log pages and sent more than 90 radiograms. Ripoll served as Amateur Radio Coordinator from 1980 until 1986. Today, Ripoll says, more than 30 operators at W4EHW provide hurricane weather communication for the Caribbean, the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic coastal states as well as emergency communications for the Center and local agencies. W4EHW works in conjunction with the Hurricane Watch Net, which activates on 14.325 MHz whenever a hurricane is within 300 miles of land fall in the western Atlantic, the Caribbean or the eastern Pacific. The station is sponsored by the Dade County Amateur Radio Public Service Corps and assembled from donated equipment. Visit W4EHW's informative Web site.

  • AMSAT News Service seeks assistant editor: AMSAT News Service is looking for an assistant editor. Duties would include assisting ANS Editor Dan James, NN0DJ, in preparing the weekly AMSAT news report, including researching and writing material. The assistant editor also would fill in when other ANS team members were not available. Interested applicants should have a solid background in writing--preferably news writing--and a keen interest in AMSAT activities and satellite communication. For more information, contact ANS editor Dan James, NN0DJ.--AMSAT News Service

  • California PRB-1 bill update: The California effort to incorporate the essence of the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 into state law continues. The California Assembly's Local Government Committee acted favorably on the bill, SB-1714, on June 28. The vote was 9-0. The measure now has been referred to the Committee on Appropriations, which has scheduled a hearing for August 8 in Sacramento. ARRL Pacific Division Director Jim Maxwell, W6CF, and Southwestern Division Director Fried Heyn, WA6WZO, are urging California amateurs to express their opinions on the bill to their Assembly representatives. It's not known when SB-1714 might reach the floor of the Assembly. The bill already passed the California Senate 39-0. Maxwell requests copies of any correspondence to Assembly members to He notes that correspondence to Assembly members should reference SB-1714. (The bill carries a Senate Bill number because it originated in the Senate.)--Pacific Division Update newsletter

  • Choose-a-Name! The ARRL Continuing Education Pilot Project in Emergency Communications is looking for an appropriate name. Members may help by casting their votes on the web. ARRL Certification Specialist Dan Miller, K3UFG, says votes will be tallied and a decision announced Monday, August 7.

  • DXCC List to arrive soon: The ARRL DXCC Desk says the October 2000 issue of The ARRL DXCC List should be arriving by the first week in August.--DXCC Desk

  • Jim Gray, W1XU, SK: 73 magazine propagation editor Jim Gray, W1XU, of Payson, Arizona, died June 30. He was 73. Gray had recently been reported ill. He took over as propagation editor of 73 in 1984 following the death of John Nelson. "His powerful curiosity, pervasive optimism, and gentle spirit made him a remarkable man for others to know," said friend and onetime 73 colleague Larry Ledlow, N1TX, in a posting to the AMSAT reflector. Gray's wife, Peggy, is among his survivors.

    (L-R) Acadiana ARA President Ward Tilly, NG5T, Honorary Vice President Eddie Miller, W5EXI, and ARRL Delta Division Director Rick Roderick, K5UR.

  • Louisiana club donates to "Defense" fund: During the recent Louisiana Section Convention at the Baton Rouge Hamfest, the Acadiana Amateur Radio Association of Lafayette, Louisiana, presented a check for $2000 to the Fund for the Defense of Amateur Radio Frequencies. In making the donation, members of the club expressed their belief that the defense of amateur frequencies "is the most important issue facing Amateur Radio today."--Al Oubre, K5DPG

  • SAQ report, address: Henric Nilsson at the SAQ Alexanderson alternator station in Grimeton, Sweden, reports perfect weather July 2 for the 75th anniversary of SAQ's formal inauguration. More than 300 visitors turned out for the event. Nilsson says the transmitter was started up at 0815 UTC. "Everything seemed OK. Then speed-regulation collapsed. Transmission was impossible," he said. "No smoke, no bad connections. Finally, we found a short circuit in a cable." Nilsson said the cable was replaced, and transmissions proceeded at 1230 and 1245 UTC according to schedule. Special event amateur station SA6Q reported 263 QSOs. Nilsson said SAQ received some 40 reports via e-mail and telephone from Europe and the US. Reports may be sent to Radio Station Grimeton, Radiostationen, Grimeton 72, SE-430 16 Rolfstorp, Sweden.--Grimeton Radio

  • Wireless e-mail users take note: Subscribers to The ARRL Letter who hope to be able to receive the weekly e-mail dispatch via their palmtop computers first might want to check on the maximum incoming message size their service allows. A recent "bounce" message from Bellsouth Wireless Data on behalf of a subscriber indicated a maximum message size of 16,000 characters, considerably smaller than the size of a typical edition of The ARRL Letter.


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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