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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 4
January 26, 2001


* +Ham radio giant Bill Orr, W6SAI, SK
* +ARRL Board okays dues hike, new Morse position
* +Year 2000 Humanitarian, Leonard award winners announced
* +Michael Powell tapped to head FCC
* +Ex-ham gets jail, probation for unlicensed operation
* +Indiana latest state to go after PRB-1 law
*  Reciprocal licensing info is on the Web
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
    +Next ARISS school awaits a date with KD5GSL 
     West Central Florida hams plan Super Bowl XXXV net 
     ARRL Foundation elects officers 
     Hearing set for Washington PRB-1 expansion bill
     Virginia ARRL-logo license plate deposits being refunded 
     S21YV is QRV from Bangladesh
     Belgium to join the 5 WPM fold 

+Available on ARRL Audio News



Another Amateur Radio legend is gone. William I. "Bill" Orr, W6SAI, of Menlo
Park, California, died in his sleep January 24. He was 81.

An ARRL member, Orr was best known for his numerous amateur radio books and
reference works, many aimed at beginners. His titles include The Radio
Handbook, The Beam Antenna Handbook, The Quad Antenna Handbook, The VHF-UHF
Manual and The W6SAI HF Antenna Handbook, some written in collaboration with
Stu Cowan, W2LX. Ironically, friends say, the lack of an antenna in recent
days had kept Orr off the air.

Licensed in 1934 at age 15 as W2HCE in New York, Orr graduated in electrical
engineering from the University of California in the early 1940s.

In his younger years, Orr was a well-known DXer and DXCC Honor Roll member.
He also was involved in DXpeditions to various exotic locations, including
St Pierre and Miquelon and Monaco, among other locales.

From the 1940s through the 1980s, Orr was a frequent contributor to QST,
writing about tube-type amplifiers, Project OSCAR, and other topics. Orr
constructed some of the amplifiers once used at ARRL Maxim Memorial Station

For many years Orr worked with tube manufacturer EIMAC. Orr's application
notes for EIMAC products were favorite reading within the amateur community.
In later years, Orr penned columns for Ham Radio magazine and, more
recently, for CQ, where he edited "Radio Fundamentals."

In 1996, Orr was named the Dayton Hamvention Technical Excellence award

Chip Margelli, K7JA, of Yaesu, called Orr "one of the technical giants in
Amateur Radio." Margelli said a hallmark of Orr's talent was that he always
published information for designs that had actually been proven in the
field. "He also was a true gentleman, and I shall miss him greatly,"
Margelli said.

Long-time friend Willard "Tiff" Tiffany, W6GNX, said Orr had a knack for
making technical topics easy to follow and understand. He remembered Orr as
"a friendly, helpful guy who wrote from the heart because he enjoyed doing

Another friend, Marv Gonsior, W6FR, says Orr "had a great sense of humor, a
lot of wit about him."

Orr owned a condominium in Maui, Hawaii, and operated from there two or
three times a year as KH6ADR.

Orr's wife, Sunny, died about five years ago, and he lived alone. He is
survived by four daughters and a son. Arrangements are incomplete at this


Meeting in Irving, Texas, January 19 and 20, the ARRL Board of Directors
voted to increase membership dues from $34 to $39 annually for full members
younger than 65, and from $28 to $34 for full members 65 and older. The dues
hike goes into effect July 1, 2001. The last ARRL dues increase was in July

The dues increase resulted from a need to fund initiatives to expand the
League's advocacy activities on behalf of Amateur Radio--including the
defense of amateur spectrum--and to enhance ARRL Headquarters' abilities to
serve members during a period of projected deficits. The Board okayed a $1
greater increase for seniors in an effort to narrow the dues gap, as more
and more ARRL members fall into the senior category.

At the same time, the Board approved the hiring of development and sales and
marketing professionals on the Headquarters staff as part of an overall plan
to augment revenues.

"The ARRL carries out a lot of activities that no longer can be fully funded
by dues or publication sales revenues," ARRL Executive Vice President David
Sumner, K1ZZ, explained. While voluntary contributions towards Amateur Radio
advocacy are helping greatly, "we need to professionalize these activities
if we are going to sustain them," he said. 

Sumner said putting more emphasis on voluntary contributions was "the only
route to financial security" for the ARRL. Among ARRL programs that will
rely heavily on voluntary contributions is "The Big Project" educational
initiative proposed last year by ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP.

The Board also revised its position on whether Morse code proficiency should
continue to be an international licensing requirement for operation below 30
MHz. The Board approved a resolution that "recognizes and accepts" that the
Morse requirement likely will be dropped from Article S25 of the
international Radio Regulations at the 2003 World Radiocommunication
Conference. But the Board held the line on retaining a domestic Morse
requirement, saying that each country should be allowed to determine for
itself whether it wants to have a Morse requirement.

The Board declared that Morse code deserves continued support as "an
important operating mode" as well as in terms of spectrum and "should be
retained as a testing element in the US." The resolution also calls on ARRL
Headquarters staff to "develop a program designed to promote the use of

The resolution supersedes all previous Board policy statements regarding
Morse code and Article S25.

The Board also established a committee to solicit membership input to update
the ARRL's position on refarming the HF Novice bands "in light of the 1999
FCC license restructuring Report and Order." The five-member panel will be
named by President Haynie. It will report to the board in one year. 

Attending their first ARRL Board meeting were new Rocky Mountain Vice
Director Director Warren "Rev" Morton, WS7W, and new Central Division
Director Dick Isely, W9GIG. Returning as Hudson Division Vice Director was
former ARRL First Vice President Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML.

In other action, the Board:

* called on the Volunteer Resources Committee to study the ARRL field
organization and recommend possible changes. The yearlong study will be the
first in the two decades.

* adopted the ARRL's official legislative program during the 107th Congress,
including a resolution urging Congressional support to clarify the FCC's
limited preemption policy PRB-1 governing Amateur Radio antennas to
incorporate private land-use preclusions such as deed restrictions and
restrictive covenants.

* named former Central Division Director Ed Metzger, W9PRN, an ARRL Honorary
Vice President. Metzger served as Central Division Director from 1981 until
this year and has 44 years of service as an ARRL elected official.


The Hurricane Watch Net and net manager Jerry Herman, N3BDW, have been named
to receive the 2000 ARRL International Humanitarian Award. The award is
dedicated to those amateurs who, through Amateur Radio, are devoted to
promoting human welfare.

The Hurricane Watch Net ( activates on 14.325 MHz
whenever a hurricane is within 300 miles of landfall in the western
Atlantic, the Caribbean or the eastern Pacific. Working with the operators
of W4EHW at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Hurricane Watch Net
participants relay weather data from isolated islands, marine assets and
other areas that are not part of the Center's routine communication network.
This allows the Center's forecasters to more accurately prepare advisories
and predict the movements and size of storms. 

Since 1965, Amateur Radio participants on the HWN have provided critically
needed hurricane information. In addition to real-time weather data
reports--typically wind speed, wind direction and barometric pressure--the
net relays damage reports that can aid forecasters in evaluating a storm's

The Net also relays important weather advisories and information back to the
affected areas, broadcasting storm advisories to remote islands, mariners,
and others. On many occasions, this information is only available via the
Hurricane Watch Net.

Operators at W4EHW work with the HWN to 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

The winner of the 2000 Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award is
Marjorie Wertz, a staff writer for the Standard Observer, a twice-weekly
insert in the daily Tribune-Review newspaper in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
This award goes each year to a professional journalist--or group--for
outstanding coverage of Amateur Radio in TV, radio, print or multimedia. The
winner receives an engraved plaque and a check for $500.

Wertz was cited for her entry, "There's more to this hobby than meets the
eye," which appeared in the September 2, 2000, edition of the Standard
Observer. "For the most part, they are almost invisible," Wertz's article
begins. "But, in an emergency, this network of ordinary folks springs into

Her article focuses on how hams in her community are involved in both public
service and recreational activities. It also touches on the requirements to
get a ham ticket and mentions the role of the ARRL and the volunteer
examination program.

Wertz told ARRL that she got the idea to do the story after seeing the award
program publicized in her newspaper. She consulted the ARRL Web site and
located two hams in her area to interview for her feature.

Members of ARRL's Public Relations Committee judged the 13 nominations

A broadcast journalist, Bill Leonard died in 1994. He was inducted into the
Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 1996.


As expected, President George W. Bush this week named Michael K. Powell to
become FCC chairman. Powell, a Republican and an FCC member since 1997, is
the son of Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell. Since Powell already sits
on the FCC, the nomination is not subject to Senate confirmation.

"I am deeply honored and privileged to have received President Bush's
designation to be Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission," Powell
said in a statement. 

Powell succeeds William Kennard, who stepped down as the head of the FCC on
January 19. A Democrat and a Clinton appointee, Kennard was the first
African-American to serve as FCC chairman.

Earlier this month, Powell voted with the majority to approve the AOL-Time
Warner mega-merger, which he called "unquestionably one of the most
significant mergers in history" and said he was pleased to support it.

FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth says
Powell has a solid relationship with the Enforcement Bureau. "I'm
delighted," Hollingsworth said of Powell's appointment. "He's a very sharp

Powell came to the FCC from the Department of Justice, where he served as
the chief of staff of the Antitrust Division. He has appointed FCC veteran
and former Walt Disney Company vice president Marsha J. MacBride as the
agency's Chief of Staff.

The other members of the FCC are Susan Ness, Harold W. Furchtgott-Roth, and
Gloria Tristani. Among names mentioned as possible Bush appointees to the
FCC is that of Texas Public Utilities Commission Chairman Pat Wood. 


Former amateur Richard Allen Burton this week was sentenced to three months
in jail and one year's probation for unlicensed operation of a radio
transmitter. Burton also must undergo psychological treatment.

Burton was sentenced January 22. The FCC says he'd been operating without a
license on repeaters in Southern California. Burton is scheduled to report
to the US Marshal's office on February 26 to begin serving his jail term. He
has been free on $20,000 bond.

Formerly WB6JAC, Burton, lost his General ticket in 1981 as a result of
unspecified violations. Since then, he's racked up a lengthy history of
alleged unlicensed operation, most or all of it on amateur frequencies. He
has served jail time and probation as a result of earlier convictions. 

Burton was arrested last August 5 following his indictment by a federal
grand jury in California. He faced six felony counts of violating the
Communications Act of 1934. 


Indiana lawmakers will deal with an Amateur Radio antenna bill in the
upcoming 112th General Assembly session. A bill has been introduced to
incorporate the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 into Indiana state

Senate Bill 331 would prohibit Indiana municipalities or counties from
enacting ordinances, resolutions or orders that do not comply with PRB-1.
The proposed law also seeks to prohibit localities from "restricting Amateur
Radio antennas to less than 75 feet above ground level. It would not
prohibit communities from taking action to "protect or preserve a historic
or an architectural district."

In general, the PRB-1 FCC policy requires that local regulations involving
the placement, screening or height of antennas based on health, safety or
aesthetic considerations "must be crafted to reasonably accommodate amateur
communications" and that such local regulations "represent the minimum
practicable regulation to accomplish the local authority's legitimate

Senators Rose Ann Antich and Marvin D. Riegsecker are cosponsors of the
proposed legislation. ARRL member Jerry Suhrheinrich, WD9EDE
(, has been promoting the bill from within the amateur

Ten states have incorporated the essence of PRB-1 into their laws. So far,
only three states--Oregon, Virginia, and Wyoming--include minimum regulatory
height limits in their Amateur Radio antenna laws based on PRB-1. A PRB-1
bill recently introduced in the State of Washington seeks a 70 foot minimum
(see Hearing set for Washington PRB-1 expansion bill, below).


US amateurs planning to vacation in a foreign country this year will find it
easier to obtain permission to operate there. Amateur Radio operation from
several countries is now a reasonable goal--even for short trips.

The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administration--or
CEPT--Amateur Radio licensing system requires that you carry only three
documents. You'll need a copy of FCC Public Notice DA 99-2344 (available at, proof of US
citizenship, and your FCC-issued Amateur Radio license.

The CEPT instant reciprocal privileges apply only for travel by US hams to
those European countries that recognize US participation in the CEPT
protocols. As a reciprocal system, hams from CEPT-participating European
nations have similar privileges while touring the US and Canada. For a list
of countries that recognize US participation in the CEPT reciprocal system,
visit the CEPT countries page on ARRLWeb,

The International Amateur Radio Permit is another special licensing
arrangement. It applies to certain countries in the Americas, including
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Peru, US, Uruguay, and Venezuela, who are
signatories of the CITEL Amateur Convention. US amateurs may use the IARP to
operate only in those countries. An IARP is not a license, but it certifies
the existence of a license. The CITEL Convention provides that IARPs may be
issued by a country's government or by its International Amateur Radio Union
member-society, and the ARRL is the sponsoring society in the US.

To obtain an IARP or for more information on operating from a CEPT or CITEL
(IARP) country, visit the ARRL International Operating page,

Obtaining a license to operate in a country that is neither a CEPT nor a
CITEL Amateur Convention signatory or participant requires more paperwork
and some advance planning. Delays of a month or longer are common. Licensing
and operating requirements for all other countries are available on the
"Operating Permit Information by Country" page on ARRLWeb,

Another source for reciprocal licensing information is the "Information on
licensing abroad for radio amateurs" Web site of Veikko "Veke" Komppa,
OH2MCN, OH2MCN and the ARRL share
information to assure that both sites are as accurate as possible and that
the information is suitable for their respective audiences.


Substitute solar sage Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, Fort Wayne, Indiana, reports
this week for Tad Cook, K7VVV, who's on vacation: Solar activity over the
past seven days, January 19-25--was mostly moderate due to C7 and M1 flares
produced by Regions 9311, 9313, and 9325. The highest activity was seen on
January 21, when Region 9313 produced an M7 flare.

The 10.7-cm solar flux, following the sun's 27-day rotation period,
gradually rose from 153 at the beginning of the period to around170 at the
end of the period. The planetary A index was 11 or less for most of the
period, with a jump to 18 on January 21 and 24.

The most recent smoothed sunspot number data for Cycle 23 indicates we may
be seeing the peak of Cycle 23. The last four month's of data (March, April,
May, and June 2000) shows the SSN to be hovering around 120. Only time will
tell if this is just a plateau toward a slightly higher peak or indeed it's
the peak. Historically the SSN of a solar cycle of this magnitude will
remain somewhat constant for a couple more years (as Cycle 20 did). So take
advantage of the excellent worldwide propagation opportunities on the higher
bands, 15, 12, and 10 meters, while you can.



* This weekend on the radio: The CQ Worldwide 160-Meter DX Contest (CW), the
REF French Contest (CW), and the UBA Contest (SSB) are the weekend of
January 26-28. JUST AHEAD: The North American Sprint (SSB), the Minnesota,
Delaware, Vermont and New Hampshire QSO parties, the FYBO Winter QRP Field
Day, the Ten Ten International Net Winter Phone QSO Party, the YL-OM Contest
(CW), and the Delaware Valley 2 meter FM simplex contest are the weekend of
February 3-4. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, for more info.

* Next ARISS school awaits a date with KD5GSL: Students at the George West
Elementary School in George West, Texas, will be the next in line to speak
via Amateur Radio with Space Station Alpha Commander William "Shep"
Shepherd, KD5GSL. The contact is being arranged under the auspices of the
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station--or ARISS--program. The
contact will be during the week of January 29, but a specific date and time
have not been set. Successful ARISS contacts have been completed so far with
schools in Illinois, Virginia, and New York. A contact with a school in
Canada is being arranged. For more information on ARISS, visit .--ARISS 

* West Central Florida hams plan Super Bowl XXXV net: A stand-by Amateur
Radio Emergency Net will be activated in the Tampa, Florida, area on Super
Bowl Sunday, January 28, from noon until midnight. West Central Florida
Assistant Section Manger Paul Toth, NA4AR, says the net participants will be
ready "just in case" any emergencies arise during the annual sports
spectacular that's expected to attract 100,000 or more visitors to the city.
"Tampa is center stage on Sunday," Toth said. "Anything and everything is
possible. We'll be there, in place and ready to go if the situation warrants
it." Toth says that a number of hams--among them several Hillsborough County
law enforcement officers--will operate a voice and digital net from several
sites, including Raymond James Stadium, Hillsborough County's 911 center, St
Joseph's Hospital near the stadium and the National Weather Service station
WX4TBW in Ruskin, Florida, 20 miles to the south. "Several repeaters and
APRS will be used during the operation," Toth said.--Paul Toth, NA4AR

* ARRL Foundation elects officers: The ARRL Foundation Inc held its annual
meeting via teleconference on January 23 and elected a new slate of
officers. The new officers are New England Division Director Tom Frenaye,
K1KI, President; Dakota Division Director Jay Bellows, K0QB, Vice President;
retired investment banker Roger Franke, K9AYK, Treasurer and ARRL Field and
Educational Services Projects Supervisor Mary Lau, N1VH, Secretary. All
officers are elected for one-year terms. ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank
Fallon, N2FF, was appointed by the ARRL Board of Directors as a new
Foundation Board member; ARRL Southeastern Division Director Frank Butler,
W4RH, and ARRL Honorary Vice President and former Central Division Director
Ed Metzger, W9PRN, were reappointed to the Foundation board. The term of
office for directors is three years.

* Hearing set for Washington PRB-1 expansion bill: Proposed Senate Bill 5002
that would set a 70-foot minimum regulatory height for Amateur Radio
antennas in the State of Washington is set for January 29, 8:30 AM, in
Senate Hearing Room 2, Cherburg Bldg, Olympia, Washington (on the Capitol
campus). The proposed amendment would specify that local governing bodies
could not restrict antenna height to less than 70 feet without a clearly
defined health, safety, or aesthetic reason.

* Virginia ARRL-logo license plate deposits being refunded: An arrangement
with the Commonwealth of Virginia to make available ARRL diamond logo
license plates for League members there has been terminated due to lack of
interest. ARRL members who made deposits will get them back. The
Commonwealth of Virginia required at least 350 orders before it would begin
manufacturing the special plates, but the minimum number was never attained.
Refund checks were sent the week of January 22. ARRL Roanoke Division
Director Dennis Bodson, W4PWF, expressed appreciation to those ARRL members
in Virginia who supported the effort.

* S21YV is QRV from Bangladesh: ARRL member John Core, KX7YT, is on the air
until February 1 as S21YV from Dhaka, Bangladesh, 20 meters only, SSB,
PSK31, MFSK16, and possibly CW and RTTY, looking stateside 0100-0200 and
1500-1700 UTC. He's been alternating days on 14.195 MHz SSB and 14.071 MHz
on PSK31. QSL via KX7YT. Core says he will apply for an extension of
operating authority and hopes to be back in Bangladesh in April as well.
(For information on other current DX operations, see the ARRL DX Bulletin
page, . You can sign up to receive the ARRL DX
Bulletin via e-mail each week by logging into the Web site and visiting the
Member Data page at .--Ed) 

* Belgium to join the 5 WPM fold: The Belgian Minister of Telecommunications
has signed a new decree on Amateur Radio that, among other things, reduces
the Morse code requirement for HF access to 5 WPM. The decree will go into
effect after official publication, which is expected to take a few
weeks.--Gaston Bertels, ON4WF

The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American
Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main St,
Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259; Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President

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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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