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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 19
May 11, 2001


* +AO-40 transponder tests a hit!
* +ARRL again asks FCC to make hams primary at 2300-2305 MHz
* +ARISS partners meet in Europe
* +California ham turns in ticket in W6NUT case
* +Antenna bill introduced in Wisconsin
* +Information sought for Colvins book
* +Alinco USA shifts to Ohio distributor
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     Armed Forces Day Communications Test reminder:
     NY governor enrolled as ARRL member; antenna reassigned:
     ISS astronaut to visit alma mater:
     May 12-13 is National Foxhunting Weekend:
     Kid's Day is June 16:
     National Hurricane Center's W4EHW announces on-the-air test event:
     QSL card postage to jump a penny:
     SETI League gives Bruno Memorial Award to DJ0BI:

+Available on ARRL Audio News

NOTE: Somewhat abbreviated editions of The ARRL Letter and ARRL Audio News
for Friday, May 18, will be distributed on Wednesday, May 16, to accommodate
Dayton Hamvention travel schedules. See you in Dayton!--Rick Lindquist, N1RL


The inaugural AO-40 transponder tests this past week have been a huge
success. Reports from amateurs making their first contacts on AO-40 have
come from all over.

"It was just great!" enthused AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, who
worked a dozen or so stations via AO-40 last weekend. AMSAT has announced
plans to test the 10-GHz X-band downlink over the weekend. The solid state
X-band amplifier will be turned on and adjusted on May 13 at 0500 UTC, at MA
165. If that works, the 60-W traveling-wave tube amplifier will be fired up.
"Beacons will be used and probably the L1 uplink," said the AO-40 team's
Peter Guelzow, DB2OS. Guelzow said plans also call for connecting the C-band
receiver to the X-band downlink.

AO-40 ground controllers opened up the next-generation satellite's
transponders May 5 for general amateur use on an experimental basis.
Stations can uplink on either 435 MHz or 1.2 GHz. The transponder downlink
is at 2.4 GHz. The operation is experimental, the schedule subject to
change, and the transponders could be shut down at any time without warning.

Mike Seguin, N1JEZ, in Vermont, says he successfully logged a dozen contacts
in the first hour of operation, including two contacts using the Mode-L
uplink. "I also logged my first DX contact with IZ8EDE." Seguin said his
final first-day tally was 24 contacts.

Ed Krome, K9EK, in Indiana, echoed N1JEZ's comments. "Wow, AO-40 was
terrific on this first morning of transponder operation, he said. "After
almost 10 years, what a thrill!

Bruce Paige, KK5DO, in Texas also got lucky, racking up several DX contacts
in Europe and later in Japan. 

At this point, AO-40 may be available for use several hours a day, starting
at orbital positions MA 136 and continuing through MA 240. During recent
passes, the transponders have been available for six hours or so from a
given point on Earth.

The tests have shown that uplink frequencies (without taking Doppler into
account) are 435.495-435.780 MHz and 1269.211-1269.496 MHz, and the downlink
passband is 2401.210-2401.495 MHz. The transponders are inverting, so a
downward change in uplink frequency will result in an upward frequency shift
in the downlink. 

Users are being asked to avoid the "middle" telemetry beacon at 2401.323
MHz. For maximum QSO signal strength, stations should aim for a passband
signal that's 10 dB below the beacon's. AO-40 has been operating without the
benefit of the LEILA system, which can compensate for stations that are too
strong in the uplink.

Haighton expressed appreciation for the "very hard work" of Project Leader
Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, AMSAT-DL President Guelzow and the worldwide support
group of command stations and technical advisors "for providing us with a
great satellite."

Check the AMSAT-DL Web site for the latest information, .


The ARRL has again asked the FCC to create a primary domestic Amateur Radio
allocation at 2300-2305 MHz. Amateurs now are secondary there. The ARRL
first asked the FCC in 1996 to upgrade the allocation there to primary, but
the Commission never acted on the request. 

"The segment 2300-2305 MHz is of extreme importance to the Amateur Service,
especially for weak-signal communications and propagation research,
including beacon operation, due to the low noise levels in that band," the
ARRL said. The renewed petition was prompted by increasing demands on that
portion of the spectrum due to development of new telecommunications

The Amateur Service has primary allocations in this part of the spectrum at
2390-2400 MHz and 2402-2417 MHz. The ARRL last year sought to have the
segment 2400-2402 MHz elevated from secondary to primary, but the FCC has
not acted on the request to date. The AO-40 satellite has been successfully
using that band for downlink telemetry and transponder operation.

In light of the FCC's stated policy to protect incumbent amateur operation
at 2300-2305 MHz, upgrading the amateur allocation there "would constitute
the highest and best use of the band at present," the ARRL asserted in its
latest filing. "It would also be consistent with the protection requirements
for government and NASA operations immediately below 2300 MHz and the [M]WCS
operation above 2305 MHz." Amateur Radio weak-signal work is centered near
2304 MHz. 

The ARRL also requested the FCC not to introduce any other users to the
band. The FCC has not yet put the ARRL's petition on public notice.


Members of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station
International Team met this month in the Netherlands to firm up plans to
expand ham radio operation from space. The gathering offered an opportunity
to involve all ARISS partners in future activities, not primarily the US and

Attending the sessions May 4-6 at the European Space Agency facilities in
Noordvik were delegates from the US, Russia, Canada, Germany, Belgium,
Italy, France, Japan, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Poland.
Those on hand included representatives from AMSAT and the International
Amateur Radio Union. The partners reached accord--in some cases
tentatively--on issues ranging from the scheduling of international ARISS
school QSOs to future hardware plans and the final design of an ISS QSL card

"Up to now, we've mostly been working on projects by country," said Rosalie
White, K1STO, who represented ARRL on the US delegation. "Now, we've
realized that we need to learn to adapt together and to get things
accomplished as an international group." Other American attendees included
ARISS Administrative Committee Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, and Space
Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) Working Group Chairman Roy Neal, K6DUE, who
moderated the sessions.

ARISS Operations Committee Chairman Will Marchant, KC6ROL, updated the group
on the status of school contacts to date. He also reviewed how the crew has
been using the ARISS equipment on the ISS since the first crew came aboard
in November. 

The current "Phase 1" Amateur Radio facility aboard the ISS includes
hand-held transceivers for 2 meters and 70 cm, although in its current
location aboard the Functional Cargo Block, the station only has 2-meter
capability. A packet setup also is aboard and working, but it still needs to
be properly configured or replaced.

With a series of successful ARISS US and Canadian school contacts behind
them, the ARISS partners have appointed an ARISS School Committee--with
representatives from the US, Europe, Canada, Japan and Russia. "In the next
few weeks, we'll be coming up with a plan to integrate the European
schools," said White, who is among those on the panel. One issue is how to
integrate school applications filed more recently with those from schools
that have been waiting for several years to have a space contact.

Still outstanding are plans to complete fabrication of and install the four
ARISS antennas on the ISS Service Module, the ultimate location of the
Amateur Radio station. The antennas could be installed before the end of the
year during a space walk, but several issues still need to be resolved.

The ARISS partners also reviewed applications for some Amateur Radio
projects, including one for a slow-scan television setup. Another is a
proposal from AMSAT-France to deploy a small "IDEFIX" satellite from the
ISS, similar to the mini-Sputnik satellites launched from Mir. 

The ARISS partners okayed a prototype design for a QSL card. It's expected
to be finalized in a few weeks.


A California ham has turned in his Technician license in the wake of an FCC
inquiry into his involvement in alleged rules violations on a Los
Angeles-area repeater. But the FCC has told Gregory S. Cook, ex-KC6USO, of
Chico that he must still address the allegations of broadcasting, playing
music, and one-way phone patching before he'll be allowed to get another

FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth wrote
Cook earlier this year, citing information that Cook had been party to the
transmission of "a lengthy broadcast" in the late evening and early morning
hours of February 1 and 2 over the W6NUT repeater in the Los Angeles area.

Hollingsworth also wrote Technician licensee Ted R. Sorensen III, KC6PQW, of
Agoura Hills, citing information alleging that Sorenson had acted in concert
with Cook, who was hooked in via phone patch while Sorenson facilitated the
actual transmission. A similar transmission February 4-5 was said to have
featured only Cook, again via phone patch to Sorenson's transmitter,
Hollingsworth said.

Responding on March 10, Cook sent the FCC his ham ticket, which was due to
expire May 7. Cook said he would agree to not renew his ticket and to stay
off the air for a year if the FCC would consider the case closed.

Hollingsworth obliged him, but only to a point. In an April 18 letter, he
said the FCC had accepted Cook's license for cancellation and that he could
reapply in a year. But before that, Hollingsworth said, Cook would have to
"respond satisfactorily" to the allegations outlined in the FCC's February
21 letter.

In a separate reply, Sorenson told Hollingsworth that he intends to
cooperate fully and adhere to FCC rules. He suggested that a "fair
punishment" would be suspension from the W6NUT repeater for a year. Sorenson
also offered to provide information on other rulebreakers on the W6NUT

On February 20, Hollingsworth initiated a separate inquiry with the
repeater's trustee, Kathryn Tucker, AA6TK. Hollingsworth told Tucker that
the FCC had received complaints that control operators and the repeater
licensee "fail to address long periods of jamming by users, broadcasting,
music playing as well as a plethora of other violations." 

In a lengthy reply, Tucker, said the repeater's owners had not monitored the
alleged February episodes involving Cook and Sorenson.

"The policy of the W6NUT repeater is not to attempt to remove unruly
operators from its use," she told the FCC, adding that "an extensive
educational campaign" has been conducted to inform users of proper

Tucker said the W6NUT owners have received "numerous complaints" about the
repeater's operation. "The policy is to let them 'go in one ear and out the
other'," she told the FCC.


Wisconsin amateurs are making another attempt at getting an Amateur Radio
antenna bill through that state's legislature. Assembly Bill 368 was
introduced May 3 by Rep Joan Wade, with sponsorship from 11 of her Assembly
colleagues and cosponsorship from four members of the Wisconsin Senate. Sen
Fred Risser will shepherd the bill in the upper chamber. 

The bill will attempt to incorporate language from PRB-1--the FCC's doctrine
of limited preemption of authority over Amateur Radio antenna
structures--into Wisconsin state law.

Wisconsin Section Manager Don Michalski, W9IXG, credited ARRL Public
Information Coordinator Jim Romelfanger, K9ZZ, and ARRL State Government
Liaison Jim Lackore, AD9X, for spearheading the effort within the amateur

If approved, AB 368 would require that ordinances or resolutions affecting
the placement, screening or height of Amateur Radio antennas or support
structures have a "reasonable and clearly defined aesthetic, public health
or safety objective." Such an ordinance or resolution also must represent
"the minimum practical regulation" necessary to accomplish the locality's
objectives and must reasonably accommodate Amateur Radio communication.

The measure has been referred to the Committee on Urban and Local Affairs,
and a hearing is set for May 15.

A copy of the proposed legislation is available on the Wisconsin Legislature
Web site, More
information is available on the Badger State Smoke Signals Web site,

A dozen states have incorporated PRB-1 language into their statutes. Bills
also are pending in Nevada and New York.


A book now in the works will highlight the adventures of the late
husband-and-wife DXpedition team of Lloyd and Iris Colvin, W6KG and W6QL.
Author Jim Cain, K1TN, is seeking the assistance of radio amateurs and
others around the world to share reminiscences, anecdotes, photos and other
relevant information for possible inclusion.

Commissioned by the Yasme Foundation, the soon-to-be-published book will
include a history of the Foundation and a biography of the Colvins. Anyone
with information to share may contact Jim Cain at 

Iris Colvin died in 1998, and Lloyd Colvin died in 1993. Between the 1960s
and the early 1990s, the Colvins took ham radio to some 200
countries--including nearly every member-nation of the United Nations. They
racked up more than a million contacts over the years and amassed one of the
largest QSL collections in the world--more than a half million cards at last

Yasme Foundation President Wayne Mills, N7NG, said the Foundation was
extremely pleased to have retained Cain, a former ARRL Headquarters staff
member and a ham since 1961, to research and write the Colvins' and the
Yasme Foundation's story.

The Yasme Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation organized to conduct
scientific and educational projects related to Amateur Radio, including
DXing and the introduction and promotion of Amateur Radio in underdeveloped
countries. Visit the Yasme site at


Amateur Radio manufacturer Alinco has closed its US branch in Torrance,
California, and shifted its North American distribution to an Ohio firm.
Alinco product distribution and customer service now are being handled by
Atoc Amateur Distributing LLC in Covington, Ohio. The change was effective
May 1.

A news release posted on the Alinco Web site says that Alinco will continue
to be "a very committed, viable player in the Amateur Radio marketplace" and
that all Alinco warranties "will remain in force and continue to be honored
through their term." Alinco will exhibit at Dayton Hamvention next week and
will sponsor the W8BI special event station in the outdoor exhibits area as
it has in past years.

In addition to dealer distribution, the Atoc facility in Ohio is taking over
customer support and out-of-warranty service of Alinco products and sales of
Alinco parts. Parts sales have been temporarily suspended during the
changeover, and service could be disrupted for a time as well.

The announcement said Alinco will concentrate on designing and manufacturing
products from its Japan headquarters in Osaka and factory in Toyama.

For more information, visit the Alinco Web site, , or
contact Atoc Distributing LLC, 23 S High St, Covington, OH 45318;


Solar seer Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: As sunspots fade
from view, solar flux and sunspot numbers are down. Average sunspot numbers
for the week declined by nearly 45 points, and average solar flux was off by
more than 40 points. 

The A and K indices went high this week, indicating a minor geomagnetic
storm on May 9 and 10. This began on May 8 when the earth entered a high
speed solar wind stream. The interplanetary magnetic field, which is another
name for the sun's enormous magnetic field, turned south on May 9. This
rendered Earth's magnetosphere vulnerable to gusts of solar wind.

Active geomagnetic conditions are fading, and should become unsettled on May
11 and 12, with planetary A indices of 15 and 12, dropping to around 10 on
May 13 and 14. Contesters should see fairly good conditions for the CQ-M
Contest this weekend. Solar flux is expected to stay near 135 for the next
few days, then rise above 150 after May 17 and above 175 after May 19.

Currently we are moving from spring toward summer propagation conditions.
Ten meters is not as viable as it was in late March, and as longer daylight
hours in the northern hemisphere heat the ionosphere, the ionosphere thins
and the MUF is lower during daylight hours. 15 meters can still be quite
good, especially into areas that are dark, and as the days become longer,
night time openings on 20 meters will become more common.

Sunspot numbers for May 3 through 9 were 157, 186, 151, 120, 103, 88 and 98
with a mean of 129. The 10.7 cm flux was 172.3, 175.6, 160.6, 155, 138.3,
128.7 and 129.4, with a mean of 151.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 7,
9, 5, 7, 17, 14 and 32 with a mean of 13.



* This weekend on the radio: The Armed Forces Day Communications Test (see
below), the Nevada and Oregon QSO Parties, the Volta WW RTTY Contest, the
FISTS Spring Sprint, the CQ-M International DX Contest and the 50 MHz Spring
Sprint are the weekend of May 12-13. JUST AHEAD: The Manchester Mineira CW
Contest and the Baltic Contest are the weekend of May 19-20. The CQ WW WPX
Contest (CW) is the weekend of May 26-27. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, and for more info.

* Armed Forces Day Communications Test reminder: To avoid conflict with the
Dayton Hamvention, the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard
are co-sponsoring the annual Amateur Radio communications tests in
celebration of Armed Forces Day the weekend of May 12-13. The annual
celebration features the traditional military-to-amateur crossband
communications test and message-receiving test. Full information is on the
ARRL Web site,

* NY governor enrolled as ARRL member; antenna bill reassigned: ARRL Hudson
Division Director Frank Fallon, says the Assembly version of New York's
Amateur Radio antenna bill, A 1565, has been reported out of the Local
Government Committee and now is in the Ways and Means Committee. The Senate
version, S 2893, remains in the Senate Local Government Committee. Fallon
says bill proponents have been encouraging club members around the Empire
State to write letters in support of the measures. Fallon said he's "very
optimistic" about the bill's chances this year. If approved by both
chambers, the bill would go to Gov George Pataki, a former amateur (K2ZCZ)
for his signature. In an effort to get Gov Pataki back into ham radio,
Fallon said, the governor has been presented with a two-year ARRL associate
membership with the inscription, "We want to get you back into Amateur
Radio. We hope that you will do for ham radio in the 21st century what Barry
Goldwater did in the last century." Fallon said he's hoping to get the
governor enrolled in a ham radio class and to have him visit a Field Day
site next month. "It sure would be great to see a Yagi flying over the
Capitol Building," he said. The Hudson Division Web page has a copy of the bill and additional information.

* ISS astronaut to visit alma mater: ISS Expedition One Crew Commander
William "Shep" Shepherd, KD5GSL, will visit his alma mater, Arcadia High
School, in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 15. Students at Arcadia spoke with
Shepherd via ham radio on March 7 when he was still aboard the ISS. The
contact was arranged as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space
Station (ARISS) program. This time, in answer to an invitation from
students, he will address the entire school about his own life and times at
Arcadia. He'll also share his ISS experiences and visit the Arcadia Amateur
Radio Club, KD7LAC. Arcadia High School senior and club president Ross
Tucker, AC7JO, spearheaded the effort to make the Arcadia ARISS contact a
reality. During his visit to the school Shepherd will take part in a ham
radio special event, taking calls from students and youth Amateur Radio
clubs in Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, New Mexico and
Texas. School clubs can listen in at 28.500 MHz. For more information about
ARISS, visit the ARISS Web site, For more
information on Shepherd's Arcadia visit, contact Ross Tucker, AC7JO, e-mail 

* May 12-13 is National Foxhunting Weekend: ARRL Amateur Radio Direction
Finding Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, says CQ magazine is sponsoring National
Foxhunting Weekend, May 12-13. Foxhunters from around the country will
choose their own favorite RDF adventure. For basic information about the
sport of foxhunting, suitable equipment for mobile and on-foot hunting and a
form for reporting the results of your NFW efforts, visit Moell's ARDF Web
site, .

* Kid's Day is June 16: Kid's Day is just around the corner. On June 16,
1800 to 2400 UTC, kids of all ages are invited to experience ham radio.
Amateurs are encouraged to invite youngsters into their shack to enjoy the
fun. Kid's Day began in 1994 with a one-hour program created by the Boring
Amateur Radio Club in Boring, Oregon. The youngsters exchanged names and
their favorite color. Forty kids participated. Last year, more than 1000
took part in the event, now sponsored by ARRL. All participants can download
a personalized certificate. There's no limit on operating time. The
suggested exchange is name, age, location and favorite color. You are
encouraged to work the same station again if an operator has changed. Call
"CQ Kid's Day." Kid's Day rules, frequencies and other information are on
the ARRL Web site, and in the
June issue of QST, p 48.

* National Hurricane Center's W4EHW announces on-the-air test event: The
National Hurricane Center in Miami will sponsor the W4EHW Hurricane Season
2001 On-The-Air Test Event Saturday, June 2, 1300-2200 UTC. W4EHW will be
on-the-air on HF, VHF and UHF, including 7.268, 14.325, 21.325, and 28.525
MHz on HF, and on VHF and UHF repeaters and 146.52 MHz simplex FM in the
Miami area. Stations should report call sign, signal report, location, and
brief weather report (eg, sunny, rain, cloudy, etc). QSL via W4VBQ and
include a self-addressed stamped envelope.--Julio Ripoll, WD4JR 

* QSL card postage to jump a penny: It will cost another penny to mail a QSL
card (sans envelope) after July 1. The US Postal Service has announced that
it's raising the postcard rate by $0.01. First-class domestic postage in the
US increased to 34 cents on January 7. The complete rate schedule is
available on the USPS Web site, 

* SETI League gives Bruno Memorial Award to DJ0BI: The SETI League has named
Peter Wright, DJ0BI, as the winner of its 2001 Giordano Bruno Award, the
organization's highest honor. Wright was cited for his efforts to promote
the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and amateur radio astronomy in
Europe. He is the seventh recipient of the award. A native of Scotland,
Wright is a former member of the US-based Society for Amateur Radio
Astronomy. He founded a similar organization in Germany--the European Radio
Astronomy Club. The SETI League promotes a privatized search for
extraterrestrial intelligence. Many of its members are hams, and the
executive director is Paul Shuch, N6TX. For more information, visit the SETI
League Web site, . 

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

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of interest
to active amateurs. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise,
and readable. Visit ARRLWeb at for the latest news,
updated as it happens. The ARRLWeb Extra at offers ARRL members access to
informative features and columns.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or
in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to
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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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