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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 35
August 31, 2001


* +Northern California ARES responds to fire emergency
* +ARRL clears the air in power-line noise cases
* +Brief AO-40 outage gives earthlings another scare
* +FCC wants explanation for alleged interference
* +ITU adopts recommendation on amateur qualifications
* +US, UK WRTC 2002 teams choose partners
* +Former ARRL staffer Bill Jennings, K1WJ, SK
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     Sign up for ARRL Level II Emergency Communications on-Line course
    +Tristani to depart FCC September 7
     ISS crew to resume ARISS school contacts after Labor Day
     Ham-sailor KB6TAM postpones return
     ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service address changes with call sign
     WRTC 2000 video available from ARRL
     Japan's Ham Fair to feature special event station

+Available on ARRL Audio News



Northern California members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service this week
assisted with communication at the "Oregon Fire" emergency near the historic
town of Weaverville in Trinity County. The fire, named for nearby Oregon
Mountain, caused the temporary evacuation of around 1000 residents. 

Sacramento Valley (North) Section Emergency Coordinator Dave Thorne, K6SOJ,
reports that more than a dozen trained volunteers were providing emergency
radio communication and other support for the American Red Cross and the
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Emergency Communication--or EMCOMM--stations were set up at Red Cross
evacuation centers near Weaverville and at the Red Cross Shasta Area Chapter
Headquarters. Team members--who are also registered with the CDF's
Volunteers in Prevention, or VIP, program--helped CDF officials at the fire
scene and at CDF facilities in Redding.

The fast-moving fire near Weaverville was reported around 2:30 PM on August
28. Evacuations ordered in the town of approximately 3,000 included the
local hospital's patient population. Thorne said patients were transported
via air or ground to hospitals in Redding. About a dozen homes were
destroyed in the fire, believed caused by sparks from a motor vehicle.
Evacuated residents were allowed to return August 29.

ARES operators successfully handled several out-of-state disaster welfare

The ARRL Sacramento Valley Section's mutual aid plan was activated, and
additional team members from Shasta and Tehama counties provided back-up


The ARRL has successfully "run interference" in several recent cases where
electric utilities were accused of causing problems for amateurs. One
longstanding case in Tennessee involved suspected power-line interference
affecting both the amateur bands and satellite dish reception. Other
successful outcomes occurred in New Mexico and North Carolina, where
amateurs had been plagued by line noise.

Paul Fulk Jr, N8ITF, of Springfield, Tennessee, had first complained to
Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative more than two years ago to get
his noise situation resolved. After the company claimed it had done
everything possible, the FCC's Riley Hollingsworth advised the utility in
June to get in touch with the ARRL. The ARRL convinced Cumberland to secure
the services of Mike Martin, K3RFI, who operates RFI Services in Traceys
Landing, Maryland. Martin was able to pin down the problems in fairly short

"As of today all interference has been cured," Fulk recently reported to
Hollingsworth. He credited Martin with "an exceptional job" in finding the
interference sources.

Since coming to Headquarters in May, ARRL RFI Engineer John Phillips, K2QAI,
has been working closely with the Cumberland and other suspected
power-line-interference situations. He says even some experts are easily
befuddled while trying to pin down interference sources, but that Martin's
technique is nothing short of amazing.

"He's almost supernatural in his ability to find line noise," said Phillips,
who attended Martin's RFI seminar earlier this year. Phillips says line
noise usually turns out to be the result of something that's typically
fairly easy and inexpensive to fix. "You just need to know the techniques,"
he said.

Another recent case referred to the ARRL was resolved without heavy FCC
pressure. Mark Mandelkern, K5AM, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, had reported
noise apparently coming from lines operated by the El Paso Electric Company.

"We merely wrote a letter to the CEO of El Paso Electric--with a copy to
Riley Hollingsworth--and it quickly trickled down to a local manager who
called me with a real sound of apprehension in his voice," Phillips
recalled. Mandelkern wrote Hollingsworth August 14 that the company has been
very cooperative and has begun work to completely rebuild a troublesome
section of line.

In North Carolina, Jim Scholten, AD1V, had been frustrated by noise from
Duke Power Company lines for several years. After a letter went out from
ARRL to Duke Power--with a copy to the FCC--Scholten reported that linemen
suddenly appeared at the suspect poles, and his noise problems abated. "It
was impossible to make the power company do their job without you!" he wrote

Amateurs suffering from interference believed to be emanating from
power-generation or transmission facilities may contact John Phillips,
K2QAI, .


Sighs of relief were heard around the world as the 2.4-GHz S2 beacon aboard
the AO-40 satellite reappeared August 28 after an ominous absence. The
beacon failed to return as scheduled on Orbit 381 after the RUDAK
connections shut off.

Gunter Wertich, DF4PV, who is equipped for moonbounce work, reported hearing
normal telemetry blocks very weakly, however, so ground controllers were
assured that the onboard computer had not crashed. Ground controller Stacey
Mills, W4SM, suspected--correctly, as it turned out--that a solid-state
matrix connection had not properly latched up and that DF4PV was hearing
"bleed through" of the middle beacon through the IF matrix.

When the satellite came into view at Mills' Virginia location, he manually
cycled the middle beacon-to-S2 transmitter connection off and on, "and the
middle beacon popped back up."

According to Mills, the beacon glitch has occurred before and may be related
to critical software timing issues. "This event will be studied further, and
we will watch closely for several days to see if this occurs again," he
said. If it does, ground controllers will try to make changes to the
spacecraft's software to prevent a recurrence. 

AO-40's S1 transmitter recently failed after only a short time of operation.
Attempts to restore it have failed.

The RUDAK has been turned off temporarily, but the schedule will remain in
place. For now, there will be no middle beacon and no RUDAK from MA=30 to
44. AMSAT-NA says AO-40 is entering a long period during which the Earth
eclipses the sun near perigee. During September, eclipses will peak at 85
minutes. In order to conserve the batteries the S2 transmitter, including
the middle beacon, will be off from MA 220 to 250. The on/off times will be
adjusted as the eclipse periods change. Eclipse periods will continue well
into June of next year.


The FCC apparently wants to let the amateur community know that it intends
to put teeth into its infrequent emergency declarations. The Commission has
written William C. Dennison, K0VCD, seeking an explanation for interference
it alleges the Springfield, Missouri, amateur caused to an emergency net
after the FCC declared a general communications emergency on June 10.

In a letter to Dennison on August 16, FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio
Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth called Dennison's apparent failure to abide
by the emergency declaration "a serious breach of the amateur rules."

Because of severe flooding in Texas and Louisiana, the FCC had declared
3.873 and 7.285 MHz--plus or minus 3 kHz--off limits to all but flood
emergency traffic. Agents say they monitored Dennison on 75 meters later
that evening, operating in the vicinity of--and causing interference to--an
emergency net. At one point, the FCC said, Dennison moved onto the net's
frequency to challenge the net control station. 

FCC agents at the Commission's High Frequency Direction Finding Facility in
Columbia, Maryland, were maintaining a watch on 3.873 and 7.285 MHz when
Dennison was heard. After determining that Dennison's signal--on 3.875 and
subsequently 3.876 MHz--was interfering with the net, an FCC agent
telephoned Dennison to make sure that he was aware of the communications
emergency and requesting that he change frequency.

The FCC continued to monitor Dennison's signal "splattering onto the net" on
3.873 MHz, Hollingsworth said in his letter. Dennison is said to have
commented on the air regarding the telephone call from the FCC, then moved
to 3.873 MHz, where he contacted the emergency net control station to
challenge the net's use of HF rather than 2 meters for the emergency
traffic. Hollingsworth told ARRL that Dennison subsequently either moved
away from the net's frequency or went off the air, and the net experienced
no further problems.

Hollingsworth requested that Dennison, a General class licensee, respond to
the letter within 20 days with a detailed explanation of his operation
during the periods detailed in the letter.


The International Telecommunication Union has adopted a recommendation that
outlines basic qualifications for Amateur Radio operators worldwide.
Recommendation ITU-R M.1544, Minimum qualifications of radio amateurs,
states that minimal operational and technical qualifications are necessary
for proper operation of an amateur or amateur-satellite station. It
recommends that any person seeking an amateur license at least be able to
demonstrate specific theoretical knowledge of radio regulations,
radiocommunication methods, radio systems, radio emission safety,
electromagnetic compatibility, and RF interference avoidance and resolution.

"The international Radio Regulations have long required that administrations
take such measures as they judge necessary to verify the operational and
technical qualifications of any person wishing to operate an amateur
station," observed International Amateur Radio Union Secretary David Sumner,
K1ZZ. "In anticipation of changes that are likely to be made in the amateur
and amateur-satellite service regulations at the next World
Radiocommunication Conference, the new recommendation provides additional
definition to these qualifications without reducing the prerogative of an
administration to set its own standards."

Recommendation M.1544 came about as part of the IARU's multi-year effort to
prepare for the 2003 World Radiocommunication Conference, where delegates
will consider possible revision of Article S25 of the international Radio

IARU President Larry E. Price, W4RA, said that establishing uniform minimum
qualifications for Amateur Radio operators should help in the area of mutual
recognition of amateur licenses for international roaming "and particularly
for cross-border movement of amateur operators for disaster communications."
Having the recommendation in place, he explained, makes it possible to
maintain an ITU document on Amateur Radio operator qualifications within
oversight of the ITU-R Study Group and avoids the cumbersome process of
modifying Article S25 of the Radio Regulations.

ITU Recommendations are available from the ITU electronic bookshop:;.--IARU news release


World Radiosport Team Championship 2002 team captains from the US and the UK
have chosen their partners. The WRTC 2002 Organizing Committee has announced
US and UK pairings for the event, to be held next summer in Finland.

The 10 teams representing the US are (in alphabetical order by team captain)
Ralph Bowen, N5RZ, and Rus Healy, K2UA; Doug Brandon, N6RT, and Andy Blank,
N2NT; Daniel Craig, N6MJ, and Dave Mueller, N2NL; John Dorr, K1AR, and Doug
Grant, K1DG; Bill Fisher, W4AN, and John Laney, K4BAI; Trey Garlough, N5KO,
and James Brooks, N1YC; Steve London, N2IC, and Dave Hachadorian, K6LL; Dave
Patton, NT1N, and Mark Obermann, AG9A; Bob Shohet, KQ2M, and Dan Handa,
W7WA; and Randy Thompson, K5ZD, and Tom Frenaye, K1KI.

Team UK will consist of Andy Cook, G4PIQ, and Fred Handscombe, G4BWP.

Jointly organized by Contest Club Finland; and the
Finnish Amateur Radio League--SRAL;, WRTC 2002 will run
from July 9 through July 16. The on-the-air portion of the event will be
July 13 and 14, in conjunction with next year's International Amateur Radio
Union HF World Championship;. In all, 50
teams of world-class contesters will compete for gold, silver and bronze
medals in WRTC 2002 on and off-the-air events.

The 10 US team captains were elected by major contesting clubs. Captains
then selected operating partners of their choice. Slots for two US "wild
card" teams at WRTC 2002 remain open for participants not proposed through
the mainstream US club nomination process. 

WRTC 2000 winners Dan Street, K1TO, and Jeff Steinman, N5TJ, are expected to
defend their title at WRTC 2002. The K1TO-N5TJ duo also topped the field at
WRTC 96.

The WRTC 2002 Organizing Committee recently announced that ARRL Executive
Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, and Pekka Lšnsman of Finland will
co-chair the judging committee for the event. Sumner was the chief judge for
WRTC 2000 in Slovenia. For more information, visit the WRTC 2002 Web site 


Former ARRL Headquarters staff member Ernest W. "Bill" Jennings, K1WJ, of
Franklin, Connecticut, died August 26. He was 54. An amateur beekeeper,
Jennings succumbed after being attacked and repeatedly stung by a swarm of
his own bees.

Jennings came to ARRL Headquarters in 1976 as a communications
assistant--shortly after getting his Extra ticket--and went to work in the
Contest Branch. He was assistant communications manager when he left in
1984. "He was one of the kindest and funniest people I have ever met," said
QST Publisher Mark Wilson, K1RO, who worked with Jennings in the early

Others who knew Jennings from his days at ARRL Headquarters remarked on his
irrepressible sense of humor. ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager
Rosalie White, K1STO, recalled Jennings as "a super guy" who always tried to
keep his fellow staff members in high spirits and smiling.

During his ARRL days, friends and colleagues recalled, a rubber chicken
became Jennings' trademark gag. Those who knew him said Jennings frequently
would wave the toy out his car window to acknowledge acquaintances he'd pass
on the highway.

A lifelong Connecticut resident, Jennings was first licensed as WN1AHI in
1963 and was an ARRL Life Member. He graduated from Northeastern University
in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Jennings was a
DXCC Honor Roll and A1 Operator Club member.

Jennings authored the chapter "Basic Operating" that appeared in several
editions of The ARRL Operating Manual. He also penned many of the contest
writeups that appeared in QST during his ARRL Headquarters tenure. Most
recently, Jennings was an engineer for Computer Science Corp.

According to The Hartford Courant, Jennings was working with one of the
three bee hives he kept on his property when he was attacked. Jennings
reportedly was wearing protective gear and was armed with a "smoker" to calm
the insects, which apparently got underneath his clothing and headgear.
Investigators have been trying to determine why the bees were so ferociously
aggressive--a trait uncommon in typical European honeybees kept in New

Survivors include Jennings' wife, Carol Smith, AJ2I, whom he'd met while
both were on the ARRL staff. A memorial service was held August 31.


Sun watcher Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: The solar flux
has been rising this week. Several new sunspots are visible, and flux values
are up around 200 again. Average solar flux rose nearly 35 points this week.
The latest projection shows solar flux rising above 200 over the next few
days. Friday's flux is expected at 205, with 210 on Saturday and Sunday, and
205 on Monday and Tuesday.

Sunspot 9591 caused a big stir last weekend when a coronal mass ejection
caused a sudden HF radio blackout. WWV reported a major solar flare
occurring at 1635 UTC on August 25--said to be the largest solar flare since
last April. A pair of new spots on the sun's northeastern limb pose a threat
for more flares. Unsettled conditions and a geomagnetic storm are possible
this weekend, making things a bit dicey for the All-Asia DX Contest (SSB).

Sunspot numbers for August 23 through 29 were 194, 187, 132, 139, 182, 189
and 136 with a mean of 165.6. The 10.7 cm flux was 169.7, 174.9, 199, 189.9,
192, 199.2 and 197, with a mean of 188.8. Estimated planetary A indices were
12, 4, 10, 12, 12, 15 and 9 with a mean of 10.6.



* This weekend on the radio:  The All Asian DX Contest (SSB), the CCCC
Contest, IARU Region 1 Field Day (SSB), and the Michigan QRP Labor Day CW
Sprint are the weekend of September 1-2. JUST AHEAD: the WAE DX Contest
(SSB), the SLP Competition (SWL), the ARRL September VHF QSO, the North
American Sprint, (CW) and the ARCI End of Summer PSK31 Sprint are the
weekend of September 8-9. NOTE: The dates indicated in September QST
("Contest Corral") for the CQ WW RTTY Contest are incorrect. The contest is
September 29-30 weekend. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, and for more info.

* Correction: A story in The ARRL Letter, Vol 20, No 31 (Aug 3, 2001), "FCC
Scrutinizing Georgia ARRL VEC Exam Session" incorrectly reported the number
of applicants at that session in Statesboro, Georgia. All nine applicants at
the May 19 session qualified for a new license or upgrade.

* Sign up for ARRL Level II Emergency Communications on-Line course: There's
still time to register for the ARRL Intermediate (Level II) Emergency
Communications on-line course (EC-002). But, don't delay! The course begins
the week of September 3. The Level I class is not a prerequisite. The Level
II class offers new tools for those desiring to learn more about emergency
communications and net procedures. Visit the ARRL Course Registration Page; to take advantage of this continuing
education training. Each class is limited to 50. New classes open every four
weeks. Additional information is available at the ARRL Certification and
Continuing Education Web site;. Be sure to check
out the links in the box at the right. Level II course manuals (order item
8519) now are available through the ARRL catalog;. To learn more, contact Certification and
Continuing Education Coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG, 

* Tristani to depart FCC September 7: FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani has
announced that she will leave the Commission on September 7, 2001. "It has
been a great honor to serve as a member of the FCC during this period," she
said, adding that after nearly four years on the FCC, she believed it was
time for her to move on. A Democrat and Clinton appointee, Tristani plans to
return to New Mexico, where she previously served as a member and chairman
of the State Corporation Commission. It's been speculated that Tristani
might seek elective office from her home state--possibly the governorship or
a seat in the US House. FCC Chairman Michael Powell thanked Tristani for
"her outstanding contribution" to the FCC over the last four years and cited
her leadership on issues such as the V-Chip and bringing communication
services to underserved areas. Tristani's departure leaves three Republicans
and one Democrat on the five-member FCC until President Bush appoints
someone to complete her term, which expires in June 2003.--FCC and press

* ISS crew to resume ARISS school contacts after Labor Day: The
International Space Station's Expedition 3 crew is scheduled to resume
Amateur Radio school contacts after Labor Day. The first ARISS crew contacts
had been penciled in for late August, but members of the crew, headed by
Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ, requested that ham radio activities be rescheduled
while they got acclimated to their new home. The first scheduled contact is
set for Tuesday, September 4, with Science Magnet Program students at
Seabrook Intermediate School in Texas. A contact with Altamonte Elementary
School in Florida has been tentatively set for the following week. The ARISS
packet station reportedly is on the air, but still using the old TNC that
does not reflect a call sign. A new packet TNC, correctly programmed with
RS0ISS, now is aboard the ISS and scheduled to be installed by the
Expedition 3 crew.

* Ham-sailor KB6TAM postpones return: David Clark, KB6TAM--who hopes to
become the oldest person to sail solo around the world--will delay his
departure from Trinidad at least until mid-November. Clark has been sitting
out the Atlantic hurricane season there and had hoped to embark on the final
leg of his round-the-world journey in time to reach Ft Lauderdale, Florida,
on his wife's birthday, November 18. Lynda Clark said this week that her
husband's been told by several sources that it's neither advisable nor safe
to leave Trinidad until mid-November, so he's now setting his sights on a
mid-December arrival in Florida. She said her husband has been spending some
of his time in Trinidad working on a book about his round-the-world sail.
Clark left Ft Lauderdale in December 1999. He nearly lost his life when his
original sailboat sank last February off Cape Town, South Africa. Clark
resumed his journey from South Africa in a new vessel last April. 

* ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service address changes with call sign: ARRL
Information Systems Manager Don Durand reminds ARRL members who are planning
to obtain new calls sign that their ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service address
will follow suit. So, plan ahead. The system is designed to
provide only one e-mail forwarding address per member, based on your current
call sign. Durand says the system will automatically update your ARRL E-Mail
Forwarding System address to reflect your new call sign. ARRL membership
records also are automatically updated using data provided by the FCC
Amateur Service database. Visit the ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service page; for more information.

* WRTC 2000 video available from ARRL: A half-hour video--"The Ham Radio
Olympics"--produced by The Yasme Foundation and The Northern California DX
Foundation--is available from ARRL. The video, produced and narrated by Dave
Bell, W6AQ, recounts the events of World Radiosport Team Championship 2000
held in Bled, Slovenia, where teams of the world's top operators competed in
on and off-the-air events. The 48-hour Olympic-style competition is a
celebration of contesting and ham radio. "The Ham Radio Olympics" is
available from ARRL in VHS videocassette format or as a Video CD for $19.95.
Visit the ARRL on-line catalog; for details. 

* Japan's Ham Fair to feature special event station: Special event station
8J1HAM will be on the air during the Amateur Radio Festival 2001--better
known as Ham Fair--August 31-September 2 in Yokohama, Japan. A special QSL
card is available. For more information, contact the JARL Operation Section, 

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
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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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