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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 21
May 25, 2001


* +Dayton hosts buoyant crowd
* +FCC says regulatory ball in Amateur Radio's court
* +Astronaut thrills students via ham radio
* +Kachina exits ham, HF radio market
* +Nevada amateur antenna bill signed
* +Kentucky ham dies during antenna installation
* +Two ARRL sections getting new SMs
*  Virginia Section Manager position declared vacant
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
    +McGan Award nomination deadline extended:
     Canada makes 5 WPM official:
     FCC reiterates license renewal and modification basics:
     WRTC-2002 seeks donations:

+Available on ARRL Audio News



Rain on the opening day of the 50th Dayton Hamvention did not deter the
crowd from having a good time. Show-priced bargains offered by some dealers
enhanced the enjoyment, and the weather improved immensely on Saturday and

General Chairman Jim Graver, KB8PSO, said Hamvention officials believe that
between 27,000 and 28,000 turned out for this year's show--nearly the same
number as last year. Graver said he was happy to see a good crowd despite
higher gasoline prices and Friday's rain. 

Unlike past Hamventions, major manufacturers had comparatively little new to
offer this year. Among the most noticeable items were: The new Kenwood
TH-F6A compact triband hand-held FM VHF transceiver with wideband receive
including HF; Ten-Tec's long-awaited 6 and 2-meter all-mode transceiver, the
Model 526 "6N2"--the Tennessee company's first factory-built VHF radio;
Yaesu's MD-200 desk mike "for elite-class Amateur Radio operators;" and
Alpha Power's Alpha 6/2 maximum legal power VHF amplifier--the first amp
produced under the company's new management and ownership.

ARRL Advertising Manager John Bee, N1GNV, said he got "almost universally
positive comments" from Dayton Hamvention 2001 exhibitors. "'They came to
buy,' was a common refrain," he said. Bee called the number of new vendors
at this year's show "an encouraging sign" for Amateur Radio.

During the ARRL Forum Saturday, Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ,
said, "It's been great year for Amateur Radio and the ARRL. Things are
moving in the right direction on a number of fronts." ARRL President Jim
Haynie, W5JBP, echoed Sumner's sentiments. Pointing to his career in sales,
Haynie said Amateur Radio is "the best product that I have in my repertoire
of things to sell." Haynie called upon those on hand to think about "the
product" that is Amateur Radio and how they can share the fun with others. 

"I'm asking you to talk to your neighbor, I'm asking you to talk to your
brother, your sister, your city council, your mayor, your congressman, and
tell 'em about your product, which is Amateur Radio," Haynie exhorted.

Haynie presented a plaque to Graver in recognition of the 50th Hamvention.
Speaking on behalf of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association and the
Hamvention Committee, Graver thanked the League for its efforts on behalf of
Amateur Radio.

Saturday morning's AMSAT forum included a telephone visit with "space
tourist" Dennis Tito, KG6FZX. Tito told the gathering that Amateur Radio
provided a great boost to his recent visit to the International Space
Station. "The opportunity to do a phone patch five days in a row was a very
important part of my flight, and I looked forward to it every day," he said.
A planned ham radio contact with the ISS crew from the Hamvention did not
work out, however. In addition to handling the Tito interview, Roy Neal,
K6DUE, of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program, also
chatted with astronaut Janice Voss, KC5BTK.

The FCC's Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, not only was one of the Saturday
banquet speakers but the highlight of the Sunday morning FCC forum. Playing
to a packed house, Hollingsworth and FCC colleague Bill Cross, W3TN, of the
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, reviewed regulatory and enforcement
issues confronting ham radio (see below, "FCC to Amateurs: Detailed
Regulation "Not in the Picture.")

Hollingsworth told the crowd that amateur enforcement complaints are way
down. With tongue only somewhat in cheek, Hollingsworth said "California"
topped his list of enforcement issues that keep him awake at night. "If it
weren't for California, amateur enforcement would be a one-day-a-week job,"
he said, "and we wouldn't need most of the rules."

Hollingsworth also cited "stupidity" and unlicensed 10-meter operation as
other factors that continue to provide grist for enforcement. He played
taped excerpts of contentious on-air amateur discussions to demonstrate his
point. "There was nothing illegal--nothing against our rules" on the tapes,
he said. But, he continued, their content presents a poor image of the
Amateur Service to anyone listening in--and that could include the media,
decision makers and the general public.

Graver said there are no current plans for Hamvention to move from the
venerable Hara Arena. Dayton Hamvention's contract to use Hara runs through


The FCC says the ball is in the court of the Amateur Service to determine
the course of future Amateur Radio regulation. Speaking May 20 at the Dayton
Hamvention FCC forum, Bill Cross, W3TN, of the FCC's Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau, said that the days of Commission-imposed
regulation are past.

"Detailed regulation of the nitty gritty of communication services,
including the Amateur Service, is not in the picture," Cross said. "Rather,
the FCC is shifting to strong and effective enforcement of truly necessary
regulations." The FCC, he said, now plans to look to the amateur community
to reach consensus on any new regulations it thinks it wants and needs.

"I hope that those of you who are thinking about asking us to carve up a
band by fiat will think again," he told the packed forum. "You really are
asking us to tie your hands regarding your use of your spectrum."

Before the FCC initiates any rulemaking proceedings in the Amateur Service
to change privileges, Cross said it wants to see proposals involving the
implementation of "new and more modern communications technologies," such as
digital. In addition, he said, any future proposal "must include all
licensees, and it must include all bands," and--most important--the amateur
community must reach a consensus on the topic.

Cross said the FCC does not want and cannot handle "multiple proceedings
that address piecemeal changes in operating privileges" that affect only
certain classes of licensees or certain bands. "You, collectively, need to
reach agreement on how you want to use your spectrum," he reiterated.

Cross said he expected the issue of restructuring operator privileges to
come up "in a couple of years" at the outside. "Changes in operating
privileges for the different classes of operator licenses are inevitable,"
he said.


While he doesn't yet hold a ham ticket, astronaut Jim Voss has been making a
lot of friends on Earth via the Amateur Radio on the International Space
Station (ARISS) program. Voss on May 23 completed an on-air conversation
with youngsters at the Moran Prairie Elementary School in Spokane,
Washington. The previous week, Voss chatted with students at Parkway Central
High School in Chesterfield, Missouri.

Youngsters at the Washington school asked questions ranging from bone
density to exercising in space, radiation and solar flares.

"I think your brain does work a little bit differently up here," Voss said
in response to a question from one Moran Prairie youngster. On the ISS, Voss
said, "you're floating around, and your mind is having to do a lot of things
that aren't natural to interpret the way you see things upside down." He
said the crew members "have to be a little bit more careful up here."

Voss told the pupils that he enjoys space walks and was looking forward to
an excursion outside the ISS in a couple of weeks could prove more
challenging than usual. Voss said he even enjoys microgravity in his free
time. "Sometimes I do things with the zero gravity, floating around and
doing flips and somersaults--it's like playing in space."

Voss told students at both schools that the astronauts are enjoying "quite a
variety" of foods on the space station's menu. He also said he misses his
family but told the Missouri students that he felt "lucky and blessed" to be
aboard the ISS and that he enjoyed the inspiring view. "The earth is quite a
gorgeous place, and we can't take pictures that are good enough to make it
look as good as it really is," he told the Parkway Central students May 17.

The high schoolers also wanted to know about such issues as sleeping in
space, what the crew does if someone gets sick, and what it takes to become
an astronaut and ISS crew member. Both contacts were made directly, via 2
meters, and Voss used the NA1SS call sign for the QSOs.

Voss, astronaut Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, and Russian crew commander Yuri
Usachev, RW3FU, are approximately halfway through their Expedition Two tour
of duty aboard the ISS. They will return to Earth in July. 


Kachina--which made a big splash at the 1997 Dayton Hamvention when it
introduced its then-revolutionary 505DSP PC-controlled Amateur Radio
transceiver--has quit the ham radio market. The Arizona manufacturer
discontinued production and marketing of the 505DSP, its only ham product,
and all other HF radio products and accessories, effective May 24.

Kachina Vice President Cameron Earnshaw blamed "the slowdown in Amateur
Radio in general, and HF radio in particular" for the company's decision to
exit the HF market. "Any radio selling for over $1000 is a pretty hard sell
these days," he said. The Kachina 505DSP, the first amateur transceiver
designed solely for control via a personal computer, has retailed in the
vicinity of $2000.

"Unfortunately, the 505DSP was too expensive to produce," he told ARRL. "For
that we have only ourselves to blame. Performance costs money, but you
really limit your sales when you cross that $1000-$1200 mark."

Earnshaw said he does not know how the Japanese manufacturers continue to
produce and market top-end Amateur Radio gear. He suggested they must be
doing so "out of a labor of love, supporting the losses from other
more-profitable ventures."

Earnshaw said Kachina will continue to provide service and spare parts for
all Kachina HF radio products for the foreseeable future and will honor all
factory warranties through their duration. Amateur Radio products remaining
in Kachina's inventory were being discounted through Kachina's Web site,

Kachina Chief Engineer Doug Smith, KF6DX, said he's sad to see the product
line come to an end. "Some might say that this is another blow to Amateur
Radio, but I would say it is just an indicator of the need to adapt to
changing conditions," he said. "The Amateur Radio Service should see several
exciting developments in the coming years, including digital voice,
high-speed digital modes, remote control and further improvements in
so-called software-defined radios, to name a few."

Smith says he'll be moving on "to greener pastures," but will continue to
edit QEX/Communications Quarterly for the ARRL.


Nevada Gov Kenny Guinn has signed that state's Amateur Radio antenna
legislation--Assembly Bill 61. The law goes into effect October 1.

"I would like to commend everyone who assisted on this effort," said Nevada
Assemblyman Bob Beers, WB7EHN, the bill's author and sponsor. "The grass
roots support for this bill was key to its passage and enactment, and the
subject of awed comments in both houses." The measure cleared the state
Senate on a unanimous vote and went to the Governor this week for his

The measure will incorporate the wording of the limited federal preemption
known as PRB-1 into the Nevada Revised Statutes. Introduced by Beers in
February, AB 61 will require municipal ordinances to "reasonably accommodate
amateur service communications" and "constitute the minimum level of
regulation practicable to carry out the legitimate purpose of the governing
body." The bill would not apply to historic or architectural preservation

As originally worded, the legislation also would have applied to future deed
covenants, conditions and restrictions imposed by homeowners' associations.
That language was stripped from the bill in committee, but the rest of the
measure survived intact.

Nevada Assistant ARRL Section Manager Dick Flanagan, W6OLD, expressed his
gratitude to the state's amateur community for the bill's success. "We have
achieved passage of AB61 only through your efforts!" he said. 

Nevada is the 13th state to incorporate PRB-1 language into its statutes. "I
can't imagine a more natural state to acquire the Number 13 distinction than
Nevada--a state world renowned for beating the odds!" Flanagan said. Amateur
Radio antenna bills also were approved this year in Alaska and Idaho, and
similar measures are pending in New York and Wisconsin.

Updated information on the Nevada PRB-1 legislation is available at the
Carson Valley Radio Club Web site, The full text
of AB 61 is available on the Nevada State Web site, .


A Kentucky Amateur Radio Emergency Service member died May 20 while
installing a 2-meter antenna he'd just bought at the Dayton Hamvention.
According to ARRL Kentucky Section Emergency Coordinator Ron Dodson, KA4MAP,
Ronald L. Oller, KG4JVT, of Irvington, died when the groundplane antenna he
was installing fell onto the overhead electrical service line to his house.
He had been a ham for about eight months.

Dodson said Oller and a teenaged friend, John Betner, KG4LHQ, had purchased
new 2-meter groundplanes at the Hamvention. The pair already had installed
one of the units at Betner's home and were in the process of raising Oller's
antenna when the incident occurred. Betner was not injured and summoned help
for his friend.

Dodson said Oller had a history of heart trouble but said he did not know if
that was a factor in his death.

Dodson described Oller as "one of the most enthusiastic hams I have ever
met" and as "a generous individual who loved to be helpful in spite of his
heart ailment." Earlier in the weekend, Oller had traveled to Dayton
Hamvention on a chartered bus with other amateurs from Kentucky's Meade,
Breckinridge, Jefferson and surrounding counties.

Oller got his license last October and became involved in public service
and, as AAT4YQ/T, in the Military Affiliate Radio System. He also had
"elmered" the 16-year-old Betner when he studied for his license. 

"It can happen to any of us at any time," said Dodson, who advised caution
when installing antennas. "It's too late to help Ron, but, please, let's not
lose anyone else to such a terrible tragedy."

A memorial service for Ron Oller was set for May 27.


New section managers will take office July 1 in the Maryland-DC and Northern
New Jersey ARRL sections. Incumbent section managers were re-elected in six
other sections.

The only contested race was in Rhode Island, where incumbent SM Armand E.
Lambert, K1FLD, held off a challenge from Ellis H. Maris Jr, W3PDK, 180 to
123. Votes were counted this week at ARRL Headquarters.

In Maryland-DC, Tom Abernethy, W3TOM, will succeed Bill Howard, WB3V, who
decided not to run for another term. An Advanced licensee from Accokeek,
Maryland, Abernethy, 49, has field appointments as an Emergency Coordinator,
Official Emergency Station, Official Bulletin Station and Official Relay

In Northern New Jersey, William Hudzik, W2UDT, of Gillette, will succeed
Jeffrey Friedman, K3JF, who did not seek another term. Hudzik, 54, holds an
Extra Class ticket. He serves as a volunteer examiner and also volunteers in
the QSL bureau.

Incumbent section managers reelected without opposition were Jan Welsh,
NK7N, Nevada; Al Shuman, N1FIK, New Hampshire; Donald W. Costello, W7WN, San
Joaquin Valley; Mel Parkes, AC7CP, Utah; and Clay Emert, K5TRW, West Texas.

All terms are for two years.


The ARRL Executive Committee declared the office of Virginia Section Manager
vacant on May 16. Carl A. Clements, W4CAC, of Portsmouth was appointed to
fill the declared vacancy. Clements will fill out the term of Lynn Gahagan,
AF4CD, of Chesapeake, who had been SM since April 1998.

"After lengthy deliberation and careful consideration, the ARRL Executive
Committee has decided that it is in the best interests of the membership to
declare the office of Virginia Section Manager vacant, effective
immediately," a brief statement from the Executive Committee said. "A new
Section Manager, Carl A. Clements, W4CAC, of Portsmouth, has been appointed
to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the current term of office, through
March 31, 2002. These actions have been taken in accordance with the rules
and regulations of the ARRL Field Organization."

Gahagan was notified of the action last week by ARRL Executive Vice
President David Sumner, K1ZZ, who thanked Gahagan for his service to ARRL.
No details of what led the Executive Committee to declare the Virginia
Section Manager's position vacant were released. 

According to the minutes of the May 5 EC meeting in Dallas, Texas, ARRL
First Vice President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, met with Gahagan in February to
"review concerns that had been brought to the attention of the Executive
Committee." Subsequently, at the direction of the EC, Sumner wrote Gahagan
setting out "five points that had to be addressed and resolved with regard
to the administration of the ARRL emergency communications program in the
Section." The Executive Committee discussed Gahagan's reply at its meeting
and agreed to resolve the matter last week.

EC members met May 14 in a teleconference to determine the final disposition
of the matter. Minutes of that session and the May 5 meeting are available
on the ARRL Web site. 


Propagation prognosticator Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports:
SEATTLE, WA, May 25, 2001--Geomagnetic conditions were quieter this week,
and solar flux and sunspot numbers were a little higher. Average solar flux
was up nearly ten points, and average sunspot numbers were up by about seven

Solar flux is expected to peak over the next week. Solar flux for Friday is
predicted at 165, and then 170 for Saturday through Tuesday. Predicted
planetary A index for Friday through Monday is 8, 10, 20 and 12. Earth is
currently inside a solar wind stream flowing from a coronal hole.

Sunspot numbers for May 10 through 16 were 94, 96, 127, 119, 149, 146 and
125, with a mean of 122.3. The 10.7 cm flux was 130.4, 136.6, 138.1, 138.9,
138.2, 142.1 and 137.8, with a mean of 137.4. Estimated planetary A indices
were 28, 9, 34, 23, 12, 16 and 12 with a mean of 19.1. 

Sunspot numbers for May 17 through 23 were 137, 109, 92, 99, 118, 159 and
192 with a mean of 129.4. The 10.7 cm flux was 147.4, 138.2, 141.3, 141.5,
150.1, 152 and 158.7, with a mean of 147. Estimated planetary A indices were
9, 11, 12, 10, 8, 9 and 11 with a mean of 10.



* This weekend on the radio: The CQ WW WPX Contest (CW), the Anatolian RTTY
WW Contest, the Memorial Day CW Sprint and the ARCI Hoot Owl Sprint are the
weekend of May 26-28. JUST AHEAD: The Major Six Club Contest is June 1-4;
the QRP TAC Contest (CW), the WW South America CW Contest and the IARU
Region 1 Field Day (CW) are the weekend of June 2-3. The ARRL June VHF QSO
Party, the ANARTS WW RTTY Contest, the Portugal Day Contest, the
Asia-Pacific Sprint (SSB), and the TOEC WW Grid Contest (SSB) are the
weekend of June 9-11. Kid's Day is June 16-17. See the ARRL Contest Branch
page, and for more info.

* McGan Award nomination deadline extended: The ARRL Public Relations
Committee has voted to extend the McGan Award nomination deadline. All
nomination materials now must be received at ARRL Headquarters in Newington,
Connecticut, by 5 PM Eastern Time on June 1, 2001. The ninth annual Philip
J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award will go to an Amateur Radio operator
who has demonstrated outstanding volunteer public relations success on
behalf of Amateur Radio. For more information on the award program, see QST,
February 2000 (page 48). For a nomination form and official rules, visit the
ARRL Web site Public Relations Department page, .
Submit all McGan nominations and supporting documents to Philip J. McGan
Memorial Silver Antenna Award, c/o Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, ARRL, 225 Main St,
Newington, CT 06111. 

* Canada makes 5 WPM official: Canadian Basic operators with 5 WPM credit
now have full HF Amateur Radio privileges. Effective May 19, Industry Canada
has amended the Technical Requirements set out in the Radiocommunication
Information Circular 2, "Standards for the Operation of Radio Stations in
the Amateur Radio Service." The IC grants full operating privileges in all
Amateur Radio frequency bands below 30 MHz to operators holding the Basic
plus 5 WPM Morse code qualification. Copies of the revised RIC-2 are
available from the Industry Canada Web site, .--RAC 

* FCC reiterates license renewal and modification basics: The FCC took
advantage of the Dayton Hamvention FCC forum to remind Amateur Service
licensees that license renewal and modification now is done via the
Universal Licensing System--or ULS. The ULS is accessible via the FCC ULS
Web site, Bill Cross, W3TN, of the FCC's
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau noted that Amateur Radio licenses may not
be renewed any sooner than 90 days prior to license expiration. When only
changing an address, he said, licensees should choose the "Administrative
Update" (AU) option. When renewing only, he said, choose "Renewal Only"
(RO). To change an address while renewing your license within the 90-day
window, select the "Renewal/Modification" option. An application requesting
renewal that's outside the 90-day window will be dismissed, Cross said.
Modifications no longer automatically result in a new ten-year license term.
Call sign changes are not made unless requested by the licensee. Cross said
amateur applicants needing assistance or who believe they have made an error
on an application they've filed should contact the ULS help desk,

* WRTC-2002 seeks donations: Donations are now being sought for the World
Radiosport Team Championship 2002. Under the leadership of Organizing
Committee Chairman Jouko Hšyrynen, OH1RX, the Contest Club Finland and the
Finnish Amateur Radio League have agreed to jointly host WRTC 2002 from July
9 through July 16, 2002. The on-the-air operating portion of the event will
be held in conjunction with the 2002 IARU HF World Championship on July 14
and 15. Appointed as US representatives are Dennis Motschenbacher, K7BV, USA
West; Bob Allphin, K4UEE, USA South and Jeff, Briggs, K1ZM, USA East. The
Northern California DX Foundation has agreed to assist in processing US
donations. Donations by credit card or by check (made out to "NCDXF [for
WRTC Project]") are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law for US
taxpayers. Send cash, check and VISA/MC/AMEX donations from the US to NCDXF,
c/o Rusty Epps, W6OAT, 651 Handley Trail, Redwood City, CA 94062.
( Donations from outside the United States can be sent
directly to a WRTC 2002 bank account. See the WRTC 2002 Web site, for specific information. For event
information, visit the WRTC 2002 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

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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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