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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 25
June 22, 2001


* +Morse testing changes become effective July 1
* +Nevada ARES helps Red Cross in fire response
* +AO-40 readies for orbit shift
* +Colorado students quiz Jim Voss on ISS by ham radio
* +FCC orders two hams off most repeaters
* +Round-the-world ham-sailor to sit out hurricane season
* +Registration opens June 25 for ARRL Level II Emergency Comms course
* +WA1VVB joins HQ staff
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Headquarters seeks teacher
     West Texas getting new Section Manager
     Ham radio-carrying balloon launch set
     AMSAT-NA announces nominations for directors
     GM creates Web link to aid mobile installations
     Hams assist US Navy flight is for sale
     QSL card postage jumps a penny on July 1
     Space tourist Tito expresses appreciation to ARISS
     Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award
     ARRL-Affiliated Club database now available to all

+Available on ARRL Audio News



New Morse code exam standards go into effect Sunday, July 1, for all
Volunteer Examiner Coordinators. The new standards call for Farnsworth
character speed in the 13-to-15 WPM range and the end of multiple-choice
questions for routine Morse code exams.

The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators voted last July
to set up the revised standards for the administration of Morse code
examinations in the US after amateur restructuring established 5 WPM as the
sole Amateur Radio Morse code requirement.

ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, points out the required change to the
Farnsworth protocol replaces the 18-WPM character speed ARRL VEC has used
since 1989. "Standard 5 WPM messages with 5 WPM characters are available as
an accommodation," he said. "Standard (non-Farnsworth) speed messages are
available upon special request from the ARRL VEC for ARRL VE teams." In
addition, the Morse exam audio frequency range should be between 700 and
1000 Hz for routine exams. 

Consistent with the revised standards, Jahnke said, ARRL VEC has set 15-WPM
characters as its Farnsworth setting and 750 Hz as its audio-frequency

Code practice transmissions from Maxim Memorial Station W1AW will reflect
the new Farnsworth standard. W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, says
transmissions using the new protocol will begin Monday, July 2. "Any of our
code transmissions at speeds below 18 WPM will drop from 18 WPM to 15 WPM
character speed," he said. "We will maintain the standard method at speeds
above 18 WPM--20 WPM at 20, 25 WPM at 25, etc."

Carcia said the W1AW Web code practice files
<>; also will be changed to mirror the
W1AW transmission protocol. ARRL's Your Introduction to Morse Code cassette
tapes and audio CDs also have adopted the new standards.

The new Morse examination standards also affect test administration. After
July 1, Morse examinees will have to supply fill-in-the-blank answers for
the 10-question Element 1 quiz. Multiple-choice type examinations no longer
will be acceptable. Under the new testing regime, Morse code examinees must
either correctly answer seven of the ten fill-in-the-blank questions or
correctly copy 25 consecutive characters.


As a forest fire raged out of control along the Nevada-California border
this week, amateurs from both states responded to lend valuable
communication support to the American Red Cross. The Red Cross Sierra Nevada
Chapter provided relief services to firefighters battling the major woodland
blaze southwest of Reno. Northern Nevada Amateur Radio
Services--representing Washoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service and
Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service--is coordinating the Amateur Radio

The so-called Martis fire began June 18 about 20 miles west of Reno near
Truckee, California--possibly the result of an improperly doused campfire
that got out of control from high winds. Residents of several areas along
Interstate 80 in California were briefly evacuated earlier in the week but
were allowed to return home after the fire danger had subsided. At week's
end, the fire covered nearly 15,000 acres and was considered 50-percent
contained on the western side. 

Nevada Section Emergency Coordinator Paul Cavnar, NN7B, said most of the
fire is burning dense forest areas that have not burned for nearly 200

Cavnar said local Amateur Radio resources have become strained as the week
wore on because several volunteers were away on vacation or had full-time
jobs during the daytime when the need for operators has been the greatest.
Cavnar said hams from the Douglas County Amateur Radio Team (DCART) have
provided "mutual assistance" operators during the day. "Most of them are
traveling 50 or 60 miles," he said.

To the west of the fire in California, the California Department of Forestry
set up a staging area in the Hirshdale area--not easily accessible from the
east due to smoke and fire. Cavnar said he contacted Sacramento Valley
(North) SEC Dave Thorne, K6SOJ, who alerted section leadership of the need
for assistance from the California side of the fire. Placer County (West)
EC, Wayne Mikel, KE6DJE, responded by providing operators for daytime

Efforts June 22 were concentrated on the fire's southern and eastern sides,
Cavnar said. "We're all keeping our eyes on the weather. If we do get strong
winds, we will go into active alert status, and all available operators will
be put on standby to mobilize."

Washoe County RACES Officer and NNARS team member Russ Shively, W7LWI, said
the Red Cross initially requested NNARS communication support because its
radio liaison was on duty for the Texas and Louisiana floods. In light of
the isolated, mountainous terrain involved, hams have made use of several
repeaters. "Many of these areas were so remote, even cell phone links were
inoperable," Shively said. 

At one point on June 18, one of the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles
lost its radio, and a ham with a hand-held transceiver was assigned to ride
shotgun to provide communications. After an ERV broke down and lost contact
and another ERV radio failed, it was decided that hams with H-Ts would ride
along with all ERVs, Shively said.


With the AO-40 satellite's transponders still shut down, preparations are
under way for a slight shift in orbital configuration. Ground controllers
want to raise the satellite's orbit at perigee--the position nearest
Earth--by about 200 km. As AO-40 approached the planned attitude, ground
controllers successfully activated the arcjet--or ATOS--propellant feed
system during orbit 295. According to telemetry, the ammonia heater,
flow-rate controller, valves and pressure indicators seem to work

For the "cold" test, the gas was warmed by a 120-W heater and flowed for
approximately 22 minutes. Since AO-40's solar panels have not been fully
deployed, no electric current was applied to the arc. Plans call for
additional cold firings of the arcjet.

The next out-gassing will occur when the spacecraft reaches apogee again. It
will probably last about an hour. The S2 transmitter will be turned off
during the test to save power, so all telemetry will be logged in the
IHU-2's memory and downloaded later. Guelzow says that if the hour-long
out-gassing works successfully, then it will be extended--possibly to as
long as four hours.

AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, has said the arcjet firings will
not significantly change the apogee. He said it's hoped that a slightly
higher perigee for AO-40 will eliminate the effects of what he described as
"a mysterious force" that alters the satellite's attitude when it comes
through perigee. One possible theory, he said, is that atmospheric expansion
caused by the current sunspot cycle peak is influencing the satellite's
orbit in some way.

For more information on AO-40, visit the AMSAT-DL Web site, or the AMSAT-NA Web site, to Bruce Paige, KK5DO


Eight students from several schools in the Boulder, Colorado, area used ham
radio to ask US astronaut Jim Voss about his experiences and activities
aboard the International Space Station. The June 21 contact was arranged
through the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)

Participants ranged from elementary school age through college, including
one questioner who attends the University of Colorado in Boulder, Voss' alma
mater. The students gathered at the home station of Bill McCaa, K0RZ, in
Boulder for the linkup, which lasted just over 10 minutes.

Students' curiosity ran the gamut from scientific to spiritual. One high
schooler asked about how the lack of gravity affected Voss' sensation of

"Actually, the fluids of your inner ear do change a little bit, but after a
day or so, you're used to it--your eyes take over and you don't really feel
like you're off balance or anything like that," Voss replied. Voss said the
body adapts very quickly to space, "and you feel like you're right at home,
whether you're upside down or right side up."

Another youngster asked Voss if being aboard the International Space Station
made him "feel any closer to any heavenly body." Voss pointed out that the
ISS was only a couple of hundred miles or so above Earth and that the view
of the heavens wasn't that much different than from the ground. "I just feel
further away from Earth," he said. 

Voss told the students that he and his crewmates still can see the stars and
planets, but they don't twinkle as they do on Earth because of the lack of
atmosphere. More spectacular, he said, is the view of Earth from the ISS.
"It is truly beautiful!" Voss exclaimed. Seeing Earth from space for the
first time was "a very emotional experience," he said.

He said the crew has been working to get the Canadian-built manipulator arm
working properly and would be involved next month in the installation of a
module that will serve as a launch platform for space walks.

Voss used the NA1SS call sign for the contact. Each student got to ask two
questions. Questioners included at least two hams, 17-year-old Brian Bowman,
KC0FSO, and 12-year-old Emily Arthur, KC0GIA.

Voss said he hoped to make it back to Boulder for an in-person visit after
he returns to Earth. The Expedition 2 crew of Voss, Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, and
Yuri Usachev, RW3FU, is scheduled to leave the ISS in mid-August.


Never say that FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley
Hollingsworth lacks creative flair in applying enforcement sanctions. Acting
in two ongoing cases, Hollingsworth this month notified two Technician
licensees that they must stay off all repeaters on the 144, 222, and 440-MHz
bands for the next three years.

Hollingsworth invoked Section 97.27 of the FCC's Amateur Service rules to
modify the licenses of Ted R. Sorensen III, KC6PQW, of Agoura Hills,
California, and Joseph Mattern, KG4NGG, of Orlando, Florida. Both licensees
have been the subject of repeater-related enforcement inquiries.

Sorensen's restriction was among other actions recently taken in conjunction
with the Los Angeles-area W6NUT repeater. In February, the FCC asked
Sorensen and Gregory S. Cook, ex-KC6USO, of Chico, California, to respond to
allegations that they conspired in making late-night one-way transmissions
on W6NUT that originated from Sorensen's station. 

In March the FCC accepted Cook's voluntarily surrendered license. For his
part, Sorensen, who did not dispute the allegations, wrote the FCC offering
to accept a year's banishment from the W6NUT 147.435 repeater "as fair
punishment." Instead, the Commission imposed a ban on the use of all
repeaters on the three most popular repeater bands for the next three years.

Mattern, who formerly held the vanity call sign WW4WJD as a Tech Plus, was
called for retesting last September after the FCC received allegations that
the licensee had been using amateur repeaters in his area to solicit traffic
reports for his employer, a company that markets the reports. In a reply to
the FCC, Mattern characterized his traffic-reporting activities as "a hobby"
that earned him very little money. He also agreed to abide by the wishes of
repeater control operators who had asked him to stay off their machines.

Mattern failed all elements of last year's retest, but he passed the
Technician exam earlier this year, and was granted KG4NGG on May 3. In
reaction to numerous additional complaints from Central Florida amateurs the
FCC set aside that license grant until the Enforcement Bureau could
investigate. Mattern's application was granted on June 8 with the repeater
restriction imposed.


Ham-sailor David Clark, KB6TAM, plans to sit out the Atlantic hurricane
season and complete his round-the-world sail this fall. Clark left Brazil
June 10 and expects to make Trinidad around June 25. There he plans to rest
and wait out the hurricane season before resuming his adventure. He now says
he'll arrive in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on his wife's birthday, November

Clark, 77, is seeking to be the oldest solo circumnavigator on record. Lynda
Clark has been in regular contact with her husband via Amateur Radio phone
patches. This week, however, Clark reported his radio was not working when
he called his wife during a refueling stop in French Guiana.

Clark survived a disaster in February that sank his original sailboat, the
Mollie Milar. His beloved canine companion Mickey was lost during the rescue

Clark gets support from corporate sponsors, but he has funded much of the
trip through Social Security earnings and occasional clarinet gigs. For more
information on Clark's journey, visit and McKay, K4GA


Registration for the ARRL Level II--Intermediate Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Course (EC-002) will open Monday, June 25, at 4 PM EDT. The
on-line class will begin the following week.

For those with previous experience and for anyone who took the Level I
course (EC-001) the Level II course will enhance your skill and knowledge by
providing a more in-depth look at emergency communications. Among the many
topics covered are: Working With Volunteers, Human Resource Aspects for NCS,
Net Manager Duties and Qualifications, Mutual Assistance and the ARESMAT
Concept, FCC Emergency Frequency Declarations, Handling Hazardous Material
Incidents, and National Disaster Medical System Emergency Communications.

If you found Level I--Introduction to Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
an interesting and educational experience, you will certainly appreciate the
Level II course even more.

The registration fee is $40 for ARRL members and $70 for non-ARRL members.
To enroll, visit  the ARRL Course Registration Page, after 4 PM Monday, June 25. ARRL course
welcome letters will be sent later in the week once mentors have been
assigned to each student. Access codes will be sent the following week, so
that all students can begin the program.


Mark Simcik, WA1VVB, of Bloomfield, Connecticut, has joined the ARRL
Headquarters staff. He will work in the Electronic Publications Branch as a
Web applications programmer. 

"Mark will be a strong addition to our group," said Electronic Publications
Branch Manager Jon Bloom, KE3Z.

Simcik's career has been in the field of embedded software engineering and
transaction processing. He's a University of Connecticut graduate with a
degree cognitive science--an interdisciplinary degree in computer science,
linguistics and psychology.

Simcik recently upgraded to General class and now serves as the president of
the Bloomfield Amateur Radio Club. He is an ARRL Life Member.


Heliophile Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: All solar
indicators rose this week. New sunspots emerged, and the average daily
sunspot number for this week rose over 43 points. Average solar flux was up
32 points. 289 was the sunspot number on Sunday, the highest since April 1,
when it was 320.

A strong interplanetary shock wave struck Earth on Monday, beginning its
journey last Friday from a coronal mass ejection. The ejection was not aimed
toward Earth, but as it expanded through the gaseous interplanetary medium
it created a shock wave that affected Earth's magnetosphere. The result was
a planetary A index on Monday of 34.

Solar flux for Friday through Monday is expected to be 205, 205, 200 and
195. Geomagnetic conditions should be fairly stable, with a predicted
planetary A index of 10, 10, 10 and 12 for the same days.

Sunspot numbers for June 14 through 20 were 273, 264, 276, 289, 220, 222 and
232 with a mean of 253.7. 10.7 cm flux was 194.7, 196.9, 207.6, 204.6,
221.3, 195.4 and 198.5, with a mean of 202.7, and estimated planetary A
indices were 9, 12, 7, 9, 34, 14 and 15 with a mean of 14.3.



* This weekend on the radio: ARRL Field Day (see May QST, page 112), the
Marconi Memorial HF Contest, and the ARCI Milliwatt Field Day are the
weekend of June 23-24. The RAC Canada Day Contest is July 1. JUST AHEAD: The
Michigan QRP July 4th CW Sprint is July 4-5; IARU HF World Championship is
July 14-15. See the ARRL Contest Branch page,
and for more info.

* ARRL Headquarters seeks teacher: The ARRL is seeking a state-certified
teacher/educator with classroom experience to serve as the coordinator of
the ARRL Amateur Radio Education Project ("The Big Project"). Candidates
should hold a current Amateur Radio license, have several years of teaching
experience at the middle/junior high school-level, have excellent
communication, computer and interpersonal skills and be involved in a wide
range of amateur activities. The position is at ARRL Headquarters in
Newington, Connecticut. Send resume and salary expectations to Education
Project Coordinator, Bob Boucher, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111;
fax 860-594-0298; For more information, contact Rosalie
White, K1STO,, 860-594-0237. The ARRL is an equal
opportunity employer.

* West Texas getting new Section Manager: Lee Kitchens, N5YBW, of Ransom
Canyon, Texas, has been appointed West Texas Section Manager, effective July
1. He succeeds Clay Emert, K5TRW, who stepped down for health reasons. Emert
had been appointed SM last January and was recently elected to a two-year
term. He also has served as an assistant section manager and assistant
director. Kitchens is a retired electrical engineer. An ARRL member even
before he got his license, he's been a ham for 10 years and holds a Tech
Plus ticket.--Rosalie White, K1STO

* Ham radio-carrying balloon launch set: Four high-altitude balloons
carrying Amateur Radio gear will be launched from Manhattan, Kansas, the
weekend of June 30-July 1. Participants in "Great Plains Super Launch 2001"
are preparing payloads supporting 2-meter APRS navigation and telemetry via
packet radio, a 70-cm simplex voice repeater, 70-cm and 13-cm ATV, 2-meter
SSTV, science experiments and film cameras. Amateur Radio operators within
350 miles of northeastern Kansas are encouraged to participate in all
communications modes. More information is available at the Great Plains High
Altitude Balloons site,
.--Ralph Wallio, W0RPK 

* AMSAT-NA announces nominations for directors: AMSAT-NA has announced the
slate of candidates for the four seats available on the AMSAT-NA Board of
Directors. They are Barry Baines, WD4ASW; Dick Daniels, W4PUJ; Robin
Haighton, VE3FRH; Bill Tynan, W3XO; Richard Hambly, W2GPS and Bruce Paige,
KK5DO. Bains, Daniels, Haighton and Tynan are incumbents. Ballots will be
mailed by July 15. 

* GM creates Web link to aid mobile installations: In response to a request
from ARRL, the General Motors Engineering Center has created a Web link to
its official guidelines for installing radio transmitters in vehicles. The
Radio Telephone / Mobile Radio Installation Guidelines page is Installation guidelines for
Chrysler and Ford are reprinted, with permission, in the ARRL RFI Book, . ARRL offers additional information about
automotive RFI on its Web site, 

* Hams assist US Navy flight: Participants on the 20-meter Maritime Mobile
Net June 13 were a bit surprised when a ham aboard a US Navy plane checked
in for assistance. John Pierce, KC4YWP, informed the Net that the Navy
aircraft--using the military call sign "Copperhead 5"--had lost
communication with its base. "He asked us to place a telephone call to his
base to inform them he was returning due to loss of communications," said
Bob Puharic of Pennsylvania--one of the net controllers. Puharic said that
retired US Air Force Col Bob Botik, K5SIV, placed the call and informed
Copperhead 5 that it had been delivered. "The US Navy thanked the net and
secured," Puharic said.

* is for sale: The Web site is for sale. Owner and webmaster
Fred Lloyd, AA7BQ, says he wants to retire. "After eight years work on this
project, I've simply decided to pursue other interests," he said. "When I
started QRZ, I also became a certified flight instructor. Now I would like
to spend more time teaching people how to fly." Lloyd said the Web site is
being offered as a running business. For details e-mail Fred Lloyd, or see . 

* QSL card postage jumps a penny on July 1: It will cost another penny to
mail a QSL card (postcard) after July 1. The US Postal Service announced in
January that it would raise the postcard rate by one cent--to 21 cents. The
complete postal rate schedule is available on the USPS Web site, . 

* Space tourist Tito expresses appreciation to ARISS: Dennis Tito, KG6FZX,
the first so-called "space tourist" has written a letter of thanks to the
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) International Team.
"Now that I have returned to Earth and found my footing after nearly a week
of weightlessness, I wanted to write to you to extend my personal gratitude
for your assistance while I was aboard the International Space Station,"
Tito said. "Your help made it possible for me to share my deep feelings of
joy and fulfillment. I thank you very much for making my space flight so
much more meaningful for my family and me."--ANS 

* Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winners of the QST Cover Plaque Award
for June were Wes Hayward, W7ZOI, and Bob Larkin, W7PUA, for their article
"Simple RF-Power Measurement." Congratulations. The winner of the QST Cover
Plaque award--given to the author of the best article in each issue--is
determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting takes place each month on the
Cover Plaque Poll Web page,
As soon as your copy arrives, cast a ballot for your favorite article in the
July issue of QST. Voting ends July 15. 

* ARRL-Affiliated Club database now available to all: Each year thousands of
people contact ARRL asking for information on Amateur Radio. Prospective
hams may want to know if there is a nearby ARRL-affiliated club that holds
licensing classes. Licensees may be looking for a club that offers
assistance in a specialty area. The ARRL maintains a Web site,, that permits
searches by state, ARRL section, ZIP code and club name or call sign. Club
officials may update their clubs' information via a special site, As a security measure,
clubs that are inactive or have not contacted ARRL within two years may not
change any data. The site
is available for all clubs to input data, and it's checked daily. Once
verified, the data are transferred to the current database.

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
The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):
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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.

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 The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

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